Thursday, November 24, 2011


A video on the Occupy San Diego website asks mostly young participants in this event to describe how they feel—in one word. Terms like “angry” and “frustrated” are common. Other popular responses concern feelings of exhilaration. The word “thankful,” however, is conspicuously absent from this verbal potpourri.

Gratitude isn’t a sentiment that’s typical among folks who delight in expressing indignation over perceived injustices perpetrated by faceless villains. Individuals obsessed with utopian dreams (“free education for everyone”) also tend to ignore the absurdity of demanding higher pay for teachers who provide a theoretically free service.

A world of rights and free lunches provided by an all-caring government is the vision that permeates the rhetoric of most occupiers.

Well, here’s something for which occupiers in New York, San Diego, and Los Angeles can give thanks: The much-vilified “one percent” isn’t a static group of individuals.

Indeed, economist Thomas Sowell notes that while the percentage of national wealth parked within that category has increased over the years, the “flesh-and-blood people” occupying that one percent in 1996 actually “had their incomes go down…by a whopping 26 percent by 2005.”

These seemingly contradictory statistics become understandable when one realizes that “most people who are in the top 1 percent in a given year do not stay in that bracket.”

Viewed more broadly, folks tend to go up the economic scale as they get older. That’s why households headed by someone 65 or older have, on average, more than 15 times as much wealth (not income) as households headed by persons under 35.

This circumstance indicates that experience and a lifetime of work is typically rewarded in the U.S.—a nation where, according to World Bank economist Branko Milanovic, the poorest five percent of Americans are richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants. That’s a startling statistic, especially in light of the fact that most “poor” Americans will eventually become better off.

At Thanksgiving it’s also instructive to recall that the settlement at Plymouth only flourished after the Pilgrims abandoned the collectivist economic system they initially practiced—with disastrous results.

As Governor William Bradford observed in his diary, the “communism” of goods produced “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment.” By contrast, when private property was introduced, the new system “had very good success” and “made all hands industrious.”

That industry was consummated with abundance and gratitude—an attitude that’s perhaps the best indicator of an individual’s (or a society’s) character. Unfortunately, many occupiers seem woefully deficient when it comes to expressing gratitude for blessings (economic and otherwise) that are often taken for granted.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


San Diego’s Patrick Henry High School made national headlines recently—not for academic achievement but for pushing the social envelope a bit further in a direction that tickles the fancy of progressives. Specifically, the school selected a girl (presumably a lesbian) as homecoming king. Her girlfriend was picked as homecoming queen.

For folks whose understanding of sexuality is shaped by the ideology-driven lessons dispensed by most academics and by story lines within the secular media (e.g. “Glee” and MTV), the proper response to this event would be, “Isn’t that special.”

Individuals whose views aren’t a mirror image of pop-culture are more likely to sigh and feel pity for a cohort of youngsters who’ve been so badly served by their teachers.

The presumptions reflected in this student vote include the idea that sexual orientation is solely determined by one’s genes, that same-sex relationships stand on the same level as male-female commitments, and that differences between males and females are insignificant, even when it comes to parenting.

These are among the notions drummed into the heads of kids eager to embrace the message that most folks over thirty are bigots and that following one’s impulses is a virtue known as “being yourself.”

However, that same-sex attractions can be fostered by societal expectations is clearly shown by the homosexual bonds promoted, with ultimately disastrous demographic consequences, in the Greek city-state of Sparta. (See David Goldman, “How Civilizations Die.”) Has anyone ever asked students at Patrick Henry to ponder such facts?

If ancient history is too far removed from young iTuners, how about considering the bio of actress Anne Heche, a three-year “gay” partner of Ellen Degeneres who later had a son by her now-divorced husband, Coley Laffoon. Doesn’t such ambiguity about one’s own sexuality deserve more than thoughtless dismissal via the handy term “bisexual”?

As for the oft-asserted claim that all sexual relationships are created equal and that children only require two loving adults in their lives, I’m confident that this politically-correct assertion will eventually be seen as bogus.

Several decades ago the intense desire to sympathize with single parents led a host of sociologists to claim that it was only the stigma of single-parenthood that harmed children in such households. This non-judgmental judgment was eventually reversed (as the late Senator Patrick Moynihan noted in his monograph, “Defining Deviancy Down” *) after the stigma vanished, single-parenthood proliferated, but the related child pathologies persisted.

Something similar will happen, I predict, after the harm done by progressive sexual pedagogy and a sex-crazed, rootless culture becomes so widespread that it will be impossible to deny and all but impossible to reverse.


* A relevant quotation from Moynihan’s monograph: Writing in the Journal of Marriage and the Family in 1989, Sara McLanahan and Karen Booth noted: "Whereas a decade ago the prevailing view was that single motherhood had no harmful effects on children, recent research is less optimistic."