by Mike Pyatt
James Fenimore Cooper, best known for his1841, The Deerslayer, warned in his publication, The American Democrat, that equality is widely misunderstood, maintaining it isn’t absolute, “The very existence of government infers inequality,” and “liberty like equality is a word more used than understood.” He stated “that perfect and absolute liberty is as incompatible with the existence of society, as equality of condition.” Cooper reminded us, “The inclination of democratic peoples to invade the securities of private life is a shocking perversion of liberal democracy, for individuality is the aim of political liberty.” With these arguments he attempted to awaken the American public of the danger of its own vices. He held that social injustice and inequality is unavoidable “due to individual pursuit, station in life, education, habits, on caprice or fashion,” insisting, “No civilized society can exist without these social differences.” Cooper would be disenchanted with our current slate of legislators, believing “such duties to be fulfilled by gentlemen.” He distinguished between “gentleman” and “aristocracy,” favoring gentlemen. Scoundrels weren’t easy to extirpate then either.
Is there still space for individuality, while our culture inclines toward collectivism, where individual rights are amalgamated into those with the shrillest voices, dominating the 24/7 news and social media, who’ve commandeered our educational system? On the Left we hear an endless drone on inequality and injustice, even in the theological realm. Rev. Jim Wallis claims that “God hates inequality,” absent any supporting biblical proof text. Based on Wallis’ assertion, God would have to disperse His gifts uniformly, which He doesn’t. Wallis blasted “Trump’s Un-Godly Wall contradicts Jesus’ Teaching of welcome the stranger.” He should revisit Nehemiah’s rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. Nehemiah got it. A city without walls spells ”trouble.” Nehemiah’s enemies got it. Another tawdry “immoral wall” story.
Our Republic’s rich with accounts of individuals rising above daunting circumstances, for inspiring rags to riches stories. Why are legions troubled that there are those worth billions, yet others seek out an existence? Newly elected NY Congress woman Casio-Cortez, a graduate from prestigious Boston University, who couldn’t correctly identify the three branches of government, is pushing for a government guaranteed living wage for everyone. However, the very economic system she opposes, comes closest to enabling the impoverished to realize their dreams of upward mobility. She naively assumes that Peter’s poor because Paul’s rich.
Most informed citizens understand our Republic’s annals have notorious tales of the ignoble rich, unfairly disadvantaging the poor. It’s descriptive, not normative. The Left perpetuates this lie that justice means sameness or equality in everything. This has the patina of morality, that’s flimsily upheld by a sinful impulse of envy and avarice-that which they accuse the entrepreneur or capitalist of perpetuating. If Bonny and Clyde distributed their ill-gotten gain at-gun-point-equitably with the downtrodden, would Cortez champion that system?
Many recall the 2008, Presidential campaign in Toledo, Ohio, when Barack Obama was approached by “Joe the Plumber,” who asked, “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Eventually Obama replied, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Obviously, the “you” Obama meant, was the government. Individuals get kicked to the curb for the “good of everybody.” Anent Seattle’s imposed graduated $15 minimum wage, USA Today cited, 2017 study, reported that law has left low-wage workers with less money in their pockets, due to many employers slashing worker’s hours. Few Americans stick with low-wage jobs for their entire career. Minimum wage laws eliminate entry level jobs for those who most need them. Individuals get hurt by such socialistic initiatives, reportedly “good or all.”
Taxation’s our government’s most pervasive weapon for “spreading the wealth.” President Trump’s tax cut plan was vociferously opposed by the Left and Democrats, even though it still punished the top wage earners. The vast majority of Americans still think it’s fair for the wealthier to pay more taxes than the middle class or indigent, according to a recent NPR-Kaiser poll. Why are so many blasé when the government distributes wealth? The “wisdom” of the government grows exponentially. We’re experiencing a diversity and inclusion conundrum-the individual has lost meaning to the collective group. As the clout of group-think metastasizes culturally, the loss of individual liberty shrinks proportionately.
The university’s the petrie dish for these onerous socialist experiments. Academe has distorted America’s melting pot, E pluribus unum, where diversity now means agreement to one set of values-theirs. Old fashioned fables like a Judeo-Christian culture must be expunged, from the campus. Diversity of ideas, political, religious or otherwise, are a mirage. Tradition is taboo. Most religious organizations, Evangelicals in particular, are being marginalized, or expelled from campus life, except the ubiquitous “green religion.” The cult of flora and fauna, supported and advocated by most liberal faculty members. Vanderbilt University, Rollins College, Grinnell College and 23 campuses in the California System, expelled InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for refusing to alter their requirements that campus leaders “commit to Christian standards.” Such organizations are voluntary; students aren’t compelled to join or attend.
Thanks to lobbying efforts by the California Family Council, who lead a broad coalition, mobilizing tens of thousands of Californians to express their opposition to senate bill AB 2943, it was withdrawn in August 2017. It threatened to penalize any public institution, college or university, that promotes traditional Biblical views on gender, sexual orientation, and marriage-like Title IX, that expanded LGBTQ protection, before President Trump shortened its reach. Government wields uncanny power to circumscribe the realm of religion-limiting individual choice to its choice. In California there’s a not a whit of difference between state high-jacked higher education, and legislative opposition to conservative and traditional values, weaponizing the taxpayer’s dime to assault anything Divine.
Syndicated columnist, economics professor emeritus at George Mason University, Walter E. Williams, noted the Left bias at most of the nation’s universities stand in stark contrast to the nation’s political leanings, according to recent Pew Research Center Surveys. His dire warning, “These Americans are seeing their tax dollars going to people who have contempt for their values and seek to indoctrinate their children with leftist ideas.” He’s been a voice in the wilderness for years on the relentless onslaught from those in academia who’ve disdain for Western Civilization, staking their future on its demise. It’s the lopsided political ideology of the faculty, especially in the humanities and social sciences, creating a homogeneous worldview, that shuts down open exchange of ideas, while fawning to champion diversity and tolerance.
Does the University of Wyoming still champion Western Civilization? President Trump, early in his presidency, drew criticism from the mainstream media and elitist academe, for stressing the importance of “Western tradition” in a speech in Poland. Hands in our pockets again, begging for more money from the legislature, in 2017, while preparing to layoff 37 staff workers, UW doled out $150K annual salary for a vogue new position, “Chief Diversity Officer,” reporting directly to trendy President Nichols. The National Association of Scholars, in a lengthy 2008 exposition, wrote, “Actually, it is yet to be proven that racial diversity lends educational benefits. Many have tried; nothing has been conclusive.” Zero empirical evidence. Wyoming Legislators should remind the university’s president who funds bloated salaries for “academic window-dressing” jobs, having nugatory relationship to educational outcome, designed as a soporific agent to atomize naive students, disengaged parents, and the public-at-large. Most major university’s core curriculum avoid Western history like the plague. In 1988, after pressure from vocal freshman, Stanford University altered its Western Culture Program, favoring PC courses like “gender, minority, and class studies.” Dropping Homer and Dante.
Read Allan Bloom’s 1987, The Closing of the American Mind, that traces the origin of such one dimensional movements, that prize racial grievance and ethnic antagonism, that’s infused with a grim one-sided political litmus test. Such fatuous initiatives are unambiguous to those who understand the story of Western Civilization, that once cast its majestic shadow across our Republic. Bill Bennet observed, “Denying we are a product of Western civilization won’t change history.” They still tell that story at Wyoming Catholic College. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org