Understanding Propaganda

The disgusting bias of the major news media in the recent election may give us pause to consider the difference between journalism and propaganda.

Those of a certain age will recall classes in school–yes, public schools–about how Nazis and Communists and other -ists manipulate their messages to mislead the masses. That was during the height of the cold war and was important so the American people could more easily discern truth from error. More recent generations have not been given such information, just as they have long since stopped hiding under desks during air-raid warnings.

In the end, all such tools, just as the -isms which use them, are means to a common end: the exercise of power by one group over another. This was one of the themes of my book, All Enlisted, and is perhaps the dominant theme of all history.

An excellent review of how journalism becomes corrupted follows:

http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/21/journalism-turns-propaganda/

 

Almost Election Eve

This election has become a bitter and desperate battle for survival of the most utterly corrupt figure ever to occupy the national stage and the so-called “elite” politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, media, and academics who support her. That includes a sizeable number of Republicans who care more about their perks and privileges than their duty and honor. You may not have wanted Trump as the leader of the charge against this cabal, but there he is, doing well and speaking right. We will hope for the best. Following is a quote from my book, The Federalist, Excerpts With Commentary, 2nd edition, first Madison, then my commentary:

 

LXXI. THE DURATION IN OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE

The tendency of the legislative authority to absorb every other, has been fully displayed and illustrated . . . The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter; as if the exercise of its rights, by either the executive or judiciary, were a breach of their privilege and an outrage to their dignity. They often appear disposed to exert an imperious control over the other departments . . .

(T)he best security for the fidelity of mankind is to make their interest coincide with their duty.

 

  1. Arrogance, the Imperial Congress, and the Imperial President

Congress has been particularly aggressive in expanding its power relative to the presidency following periods of presidential embarrassment such as after Watergate, during much of the Carter administration, and during the latter portions of the Reagan and first Bush administrations. This took on a partisan character because of long-lasting, one-party rule in the legislature. How then to explain the lack of congressional assertion of power during the remarkably expansive and repeatedly illegal actions of the Obama years? When controlled by the same party, they presumably agreed with him, but when controlled by the opposing party, why are there no concrete actions, special prosecutors, indictments, etc.? Does an unprecedentedly arrogant, Imperial President intimidate them? Or has Congress become so corrupt they simply want to stay at the trough and not “rock the boat”? Do their personal interests coincide with their duty?

 

Reasons For Trump

I grew up on stories of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, Sir Walter Raleigh and Columbus, King Arthur and Sir Galahad. The highest ideal in life for a man is to be a Christian Gentleman, to emulate in our small lives the lives of great ones who have gone before us, most especially the greatest of all, our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when one of my grown daughters asked me after the recent release of that embarrassing 11 year old videotape of Donald Trump whether I still supported him for president, she might have been surprised when I answered, “yes”.

That was not to condone whatever was said on the tape–I have not and will not watch it, but the reports are enough. The fact is that though it has been many years since I was in a locker room, I remember how vulgar and uncouth some of the speech was. I was the quiet, nerdy guy, not one of the jocks who later became businessmen, lawyers, and politicians.

Through the years we have heard many stories and reports of similar embarrassing recordings of vulgar and uncouth language of leaders from FDR to Kennedy to Johnson to Nixon. Usually they are hidden by their friends in the media, unless their carefully timed release can sway an election toward the Democrat. And then, of course, they are all shocked, shocked at such language. Fact is, we are electing a president, not a Pope, and a vulgar and uncouth president may be all that a vulgar and uncouth people can handle.

There are four excellent reasons for voting for Trump:

First, we apply the Bill Buckley principle, “You should vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.” Trump is not a conservative, but he is infinitely better than Clinton, the most corrupt, vile, anti-Constitutional candidate in American political history. No third-party candidate can win.

Next, he has a remarkable talent for hiring good people such as Steven Moore as economic advisor. His lists of Supreme Court candidates, consultants, and supportive admirals and generals is a Whose Who of sensible, experienced, and constitutional thinkers and doers. He hires to his weakness, and is not reluctant to fire when necessary. (Incidentally, any previous Secretary of State would have resigned after the debacle in Libya; any previous President would have demanded it.)

Third, he is a disrupter. Not part of the political establishment and not beholden to the Establishment and their power brokers, he is committed to shaking up what has become an  utterly corrupt federal government which has usurped the powers and rights of the people and the states. His commitment to be the “law and order” candidate is refreshing, especially his most recent vow in last night’s debate to direct his Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to take action against Clinton for her many crimes. The fear you saw in her and her husband’s eyes when he spoke about it was real.

Finally, he has all the right enemies. Like a majority of my fellow Americans, I have grown to hate the fawning leftist media, the arrogant leftist academics, the violent leftist agitators, the complacent leftist bureaucrats, the rich leftist bankrollers, and the corrupt and haughty politicians of both parties they foist upon us. They call themselves “the Elite.” If they hate him, he has my vote.

 

Best Wishes.

Treason

A prosaic dictionary definition is “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.” This is sufficiently vague that it was used through the centuries to justify vicious persecutions by the sovereigns of their political opponents. The Founding Fathers wisely wrote a more specific definition into the Constitution.

Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The section was worded in this way so as to preserve the efficacy of the First Amendment–people can say what they want, even oppose the very Constitution that keeps them safe in saying it. “Levying War” is straightforward, but “Adhering to their Enemies” may be a little more difficult to pin down. It probably includes promoting sharia law, which is incompatible with the Constitution. “Aid and Comfort” means more tangible support such as furnishing them arms in Libya, Syria, and Mexico (the so-called “fast and furious” operation). It might consist of providing billions of dollars in support including the recent $400 million “non-ransom”.

Ah, but then . . .

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

Sir John Harrington (1561-1612)

The 2016 election, more than anything else, is to determine whether treason shall prosper.

Best Wishes.

The Federalist

As the current election cycle proceeds, I am ever reminded of the importance of returning to and adhering to first principles. For purposes of government, those principles are best illuminated in our founding documents, to which may be added The Federalist Papers. Following is an excerpt from my recently published 2nd edition of Excerpts with Commentary (first the quote, then the commentary):

LXXXV. CONCLUDING REMARKS

(There is an) utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded . . .

The establishment of a Constitution, in time of profound peace, by the voluntary consent of a whole people, is a prodigy, to the completion of which I look forward with trembling anxiety.

85. Renewing The Heritage of the Founding Fathers

. . . Renewal requires education of young and old, re-examination of the founding documents and the arguments for and against them, and a thoughtful rejection of so-called “progressive” doctrines which at their heart are anti-American, meaning opposed to the principles that made Americans uniquely distinguishable from others around the world. Progressive has been revived as a label, borrowed from the turn of the 19th century to replace the discredited term liberal; it is an unexamined term that assumes “progress” is an ideal, without consideration of what one progresses toward; it is a godless millennial term that supposes mankind can create a perfect society of perfect people in a modern Eden, but in practice is always an excuse for an elite few to rule without restraint over the non-elite many.

On the political level, renewal can be effected by the states reasserting their individual and collective authority not only over themselves, but over the Union itself in those matters not delegated to it. This can be accomplished only by careful selection at state and local levels of candidates who understand and are committed to the principles of individual liberty and federalism, as well as by promotion of like-minded people on the national level.

 

Best Wishes.

 

 

Blessed Are The

Someone was recently quoted saying, “We should abolish the police.” I try to think kindly about people, but it seems about the only ones who would favor such a position are either criminals or stupid. Perhaps instead of calling them “police” we should use the more old fashioned term, “peace officers.”

Dad often spoke fondly of the sheriffs and deputies he knew while growing up in Price, Utah. They included Matt Warner, the reformed outlaw and crack shot, who as Deputy Sheriff and Justice of the Peace used to tell the children stories of life on the outlaw trail with his friend, Butch Cassidy, and others. The stories always concluded with an observation that it was not worth it and an admonition to do what is right. Dad’s experiences in those days included seeing several mobs up close. He hated mobs for their utter mindlessness, unpredictability, and uncontrollability.

Mobs are what we are seeing around the country these days, incited by scattered anarchists and rabble rousers (“community organizers”) for their own nefarious purposes. Surely there are few jobs more difficult than that of being a peace officer in a time when so many are being stirred up to anger and contention. Hats off to these courageous and dedicated men and women. Let us also remember them in our prayers. If Peacemakers are Blessed, then certainly Blessed are the Peace Officers, as well.

Best Wishes.

A New Edition

The Federalist: Excerpts with Commentary

Authored by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay

Commentary by Roderick Saxey MD

 

 

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were a series of newspaper articles published by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay to persuade the citizens of 1787 and 1788 to vote for the newly proposed Constitution upon which our American government is based. They were so well done that Thomas Jefferson called them “The best commentary on the principles of government ever written.”

Despite the passage of years, the founders’ insights are as fresh as the latest headlines and deal with such topics as excessive legislation, arrogance in public officials, limitations of government, multiculturalism, taxation, and more.

The problem for modern readers is THE PAPERS are long (about 600 pages) and sometimes difficult to understand. This is where THE FEDERALIST, EXCERPTS WITH COMMENTARY comes in. First published in 1994, it earned such comments as “a delectable book” (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR) and “I will keep this important work in my office” (Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice).

This new edition of THE FEDERALIST, EXCERPTS WITH COMMENTARY brings you the best quotes from that “best commentary” along with short explanations of their importance in today’s America. Ours is an age of constitutional crisis, not just the conflicts between Congress and President or between conservative and liberal, but a crisis of understanding the basic principles and objectives of American government. Reading THE FEDERALIST can help deal with that crisis.

In the words of Mark Brunelle in THE OREGON OBSERVER, “This short book is a must read . . worth its weight in gold! . . . (A) timely work . . . a masterpiece!”

A New Edition of THE FEDERALIST, EXCERPTS WITH COMMENTARY, to appear soon!

The Federalist, Excerpts with Commentary was published in 1994. It was kindly received with a number of good reviews by various public figures and authors, including Clarence Thomas and Pat Buchanan. R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., editor of The American Spectator, referred to it as a “delectable book”.

It is now time to bring it out again in a second edition with minor revisions. The Founding Fathers gave us splendid examples and counsel about how to govern ourselves, organize our government, and evaluate our political candidates. Following is a sample, first the excerpt in italics followed by my commentary:

  (A) dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun heir career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

Demagoguery

The wisdom of this observation was verified again with the French Revolution in 1789, the same year the Constitution was adopted, as well as on many occasions since that time, most notably in the 20th century with its varied socialist regimes, many ironically named “peoples'” republics. The diligent student may profitably review in this context George Orwell’s brilliant little book, Animal Farm, noting the portentous year of publication, 1945.

Another Book Review I Did Not Know About

While doing an internet search recently I found that my mission memoir was reviewed in Deseret News online back in May 2014. There is a certain irony in this–I only recently released a revised edition, available at Amazon and Kindle (prices are lower for the revised version). Not many changes, a few small corrections and a name change requested by the daughter of one of the Austrians who were kind to the missionaries. Thanks to Brooke Porter for the following:

ALL ENLISTED: A Mormon Missionary in Austria During the Vietnam Era,” by Roderick Saxey, Haus Sachse Enterprises, $17.95, e-book $5.50, 308 pages (nf)

As it turns out, many aspects and quirks of Mormon missionary work are the same — regardless of the area or time served — and “All Enlisted: A Mormon Missionary in Austria During the Vietnam Era” is evidence of that.

Author and Washington resident Roderick Saxey crafted his self-published memoir in a way to let people inside the life of a missionary serving in 1970. The book — some 300 pages — bounces back between journal entries, factual tidbits and letters to and from family and friends, notably his brother, Edward, who was serving in the Navy in various places in Asia and Australia.

For a 19-year-old boy, Roderick Saxey’s writing was quite mature — and quite endearing. With references to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” (as well as letters to a friend he called Frodo), Saxey draws you in with beautiful Austrian landscape and food imagery coupled with raw entries about the lack of missionary success and the all-too-often slammed door.

Saxey begins the book with a background of his family, helping readers understand where he came from, which proves helpful when reading the back-and-forth missionary letters. He was born into a part-member family — a father who was a less-active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a mother who was a Protestant. He took the Mormon missionary lessons at age 11 and was baptized, but quickly joined his family in inactivity.

That is until his faithful home teacher, Clair Cantwell, invited him to attend seminary in 1965. Soon after, Saxey became strong in his LDS faith. After receiving his mission call to Austria and delivering his missionary farewell, his mother surprised the whole family by being baptized.

She literally surprised them.

Saxey received a phone call from the bishop asking him to perform a baptism. “I thought nothing of it since our leaders often gave opportunity to priests and new elders to perform ordinances whenever possible,” he said. “Unknown to me, similar calls to attend the stake baptismal service went out to Dad and (my brother) Wayne, without explanations why.” His first, and only, baptism was of his dear mother.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Saxey’s family as well as Austria. The letters to and from his brother, Edward, are quite sweet and playful, and it’s difficult not to worry that Edward may not survive his tour in Vietnam.

Some journal highlights include a visit from then-Elder Thomas. S. Monson.

Just a handful of months before completing his mission, Saxey was sent home due to what doctors thought was a faulty liver — “hepatomegaly.” Only later when Saxey became a doctor in the Air Force did he discover that he never had hepatitis, but rather a condition called Gilbert’s Syndrome.

“All Enlisted” includes a helpful glossary of German words used throughout the book, as well as updates on the mission companions and family members, as well as black-and-white pictures. The book is self-published and the format could use a bit of polish, but overall this is an endearing look into the life of one man’s mission.

It’s free of any foul language and there was one reference where sex is implied as the elders encounter a prostitute and a man at a cafe.