(Denver Post, Mar. 7) “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” mutters a world-weary American to his paramour at the end of a Hemingway novel. The acid dismissal of love typifies suspicion of idealism in any form, a timeless temptation for humankind.
Hemingway gave his story a modern setting but borrowed its title, “The Sun Also Rises,” from Ecclesiastes, a world-weary classic of 2200 years ago. Since the novel’s publication in 1926, Americans have gone on to conquer the Depression, defeat Hitler and Tojo, end segregation and polio, win the Cold War, computerize earth and explore space. Still the stance of cynicism toward nobility and goodness is widely fashionable.
To enter the new wing of the Denver Art Museum, for example, you walk past a huge whiskbroom-and-dustpan sculpture and make your way into a jarring, angular Daniel Liebeskind structure that resembles a glass skyscraper felled by an 8.8 earthquake. Don’t assume you know what beauty is, the objects seem to say. Not so fast with your delight in the human spirit and your pride in our civilization.
After running this gauntlet of the unpretty on a recent afternoon, however, I was more than rewarded by the DAM’s enthralling exhibit of the works of Colorado painter and muralist Allen True, 1881-1955. His heroic depiction of man and nature in the older and newer West may not tell the whole story, but it immortalizes a proud part of it that we should gratefully cherish. You need to see our state’s past through True’s eyes.
Trappers, prospectors, pioneers, cowboys and Indians, builders and aviators come to life under his imagination and brush in a way that celebrates their “men to match my mountains” vision and purpose while escaping Hollywood cliché. And equally striking as the art itself is the self-confidence of an era that could give it a public place of honor all across the city and region, not so very long ago.
“More people, more scars upon the land,” the gate-closing grumble of John Denver in “Rocky Mountain High” (named an official state song in 2007), was not the way Allen True’s generation viewed the human settlement and beautification of this vast territory previously written off as the Great American Desert. A good example is the specimen of his art most familiar to Coloradans, the water saga with True’s murals and Thomas Hornsby Ferril’s verse in our State Capitol rotunda. The theme is people flourishing as modernity advances – rather than the depopulation grimly sought by leftist scolds.
Water project construction: True mural in Colorado Rotunda. "[Let] aqueducts be laid to nourish cities," says the caption by Ferril.
Under the painted, silent gaze of True heroes and heroines, lawmakers not only in our capitol but also in those of Wyoming and Missouri (from which Lewis and Clark, Pike and Fremont started west) make decisions for this new century. You’d like to think the vitality, generosity, and optimism of his art – and of Ferril’s poetry, sure that “beyond the sundown is tomorrow’s wisdom” – would guide them more than the cramped and gloomy green ideology now ascendant.
“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” said Shelley. The way we visualize and verbalize our sense of possibilities has more power to limit or liberate us than any government. Sentimentality is no substitute for reason and reality, of course, as Hemingway’s scorn for “pretty” thought reminds us. But there is a realism in the American success story, captured by the painter True and the poet Ferril, superior to the sentimentalism of frightened Gaia-worship. Let’s embrace it.
The West portrayed in old songs, an open range and Front Range with never a discouraging word, mountain majesties near gleaming cities undimmed by tears, may lack practicality. Yet it’s a better ideal to strive for than anything in Al Gore’s lugubrious poetry – and Allen True depicts it gloriously. The True exhibit runs through March 28, not to be missed.
('76 Editor) Two important articles published recently, along with a classic from the early Reagan years, remind us how deep and grave are the pathologies threatening American self-government -- and map out the fundamental change of thinking we must achieve as conservatives if our country is not to go the way of Rome or Britain. Contemporary writers Jeff Bergner and Matthew Spalding in recent weeks have echoed the insights of Stan Evans, Bill Buckley's compatriot in the 1980s, warning that the fateful options we face are to understand the soul of America either as unlimited government seeking a coercive utopia (the liberal or progressive vision), or as limited government wherein freely choosing individuals can order their own lives (the Founders' vision). It goes so much deeper than just arguing over who's up and who's down in the polls, how to keep entitlements and the deficit in hand, and whether Democrats or Republicans should win the next election. Underlying those superficial matters is the question of what self-government really means -- and whether Americans are still capable of it.
If you love our country and want to be part of saving and renewing it, I urge you to study these three profound diagnoses:
Can Republicans Govern? Not Unless They Change 'The Narrative'By Jeff Bergner, The Weekly Standard, Feb. 8, 2010
A Republic, If You Want It: The Left's Overreach Invites the Founders' ReturnBy Matthew Spalding, National Review, Feb. 8, 2010
Unlearning the Liberal History LessonBy M. Stanton Evans, Imprimis (Hillsdale College), March 1980
(CCU Faculty) In 1960 at Sharon, Connecticut, home of the modern conservative movement's leader William F. Buckley, the Young Americans for Freedom issued the Sharon Statement declaring the following core beliefs of young conservatives:
THAT foremost among the transcendent values is the individual's use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;
THAT liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;
THAT the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;
THAT when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;
THAT the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;
THAT the genius of the Constitution - the division of powers - is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;
THAT the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;
THAT when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation, that when it takes from one to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;
THAT we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies…
THAT the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;
THAT the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with this menace; and
THAT American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States.
Now half a century later, and on the heels of the recent Manhattan Declaration, a new manifesto of conservative thought has just been released by some leading thinkers. The Mount Vernon Statement is an attempt to restore to their rightful place, the original ideas of constitutionalism, as intended by our founding fathers. The Mount Vernon Statement envisions a constitutional conservatism that lives up to such distinctives as these:
It applies the principle of limited government based on the rule of law to every proposal.It honors the central place of individual liberty in American politics and life.It encourages free enterprise, the individual entrepreneur, and economic reforms grounded in market solutions.It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end.It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith.As we move forward in the 2010 election year, conservatives would do well to stand firm on these principles. Conservatives who share these positions should do two things:
** Sign the petition
** Hold candidates who seek the conservative and Republican Party vote accountable. Make sure that these candidates subscribe to these principles and will govern in a manner consistent with them.
(CCU Faculty) Yesterday while picking up my son and his buddies from a local shopping center, I ran into a student of mine who is preparing to be a missionary to the Muslim world. We briefly spoke about his experiences on a recent trip to the Middle East and his plans for the future. While driving the teenage boys back to their respective homes, one of them asked why someone would want to convert Muslims into Christians. My son’s buddies were not raised in Christian homes, but attend public high school, as does my son. We try to use opportunities like this to share Christ with our kids’ non-Christian friends.
My response was that if Christianity was the true religion and one which promoted peace rather than violence, wouldn’t it be a good thing to convince others to believe in it. My son’s friend told me that all religions were really the same, and that it wasn’t important which religion one believed in. I then asked, if he had ever heard of a Methodist terrorist or a Presbyterian suicide bomber. He answered that there must be some of them out there, which reminded me what they are teaching our children in their “politically correct” public schools.
Are all religions really the same? Are the teachings of Mohammad morally equivalent to that of Jesus? Jesus said to turn the other cheek, while Mohammad taught retribution. Jesus went peacefully to the cross, while Mohammad led jihads and conquered most of the Arabian Peninsula. Christianity was spread peacefully by preaching, while Muslim armies conquered the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, central and south Asia. Christian martyrs were thrown to the lions or burnt at the stake for their faith, while Muslim martyrs died in jihads against the infidel or blew themselves up in cafes and at weddings.
Hollywood can make movies like "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "The Life of Brian," Broadway can produce a play depicting a gay Jesus, an “Artist” can put a crucifix in urine, yet Christians respond with peaceful protests. However Salman Rushdie wrote a few words in a book and got fatwas issued by Muslims world-wide, death threats forced him to live the rest of his life in hiding. Why don’t these movie producers and “artists” treat Mohammad the same as they have Jesus?
In the wake of Rushdie’s words about Mohammad numerous bookstores were firebombed, as was a newspaper which supported Rushie’s freedom of expression. The result was that few bookstores even carried the Rushdie book. Even several British nationals in the Middle East were kidnapped, until the British government handed over the blasphemer. A press release from the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran declared “Even if Salman Rushdie repents and become the most pious man of all time, it is incumbent on every Muslim to employ everything he has got, his life and wealth, to send him to Hell.” Throughout the late 80s and early 90s hundreds died in Muslim violence against Rushie’s book. The current Ayatollah and Supreme Leader of Iran recently reaffirmed to the world that the fatwa against Rushdie was still in force.
When Danish cartoonists drew images of Mohammad in 2005, Muslims throughout the Middle East rioted and burnt down Danish embassies and western cultural centers, resulting in the deaths of over 100 people. Many of the cartoonists now live in hiding. Last month a Muslim assassin was captured by Danish police in the home of one of the cartoonists, attempting to break into the “panic room”, installed by the cartoonist for his own safety. Theo van Gogh produced a documentary on the treatment of women in the Muslim world. In response the imam of the largest mosque in The Hague declared him a ‘criminal bastard’ and called for divine retribution. Shortly thereafter, while bicycling through the streets of Amsterdam, he was shot dead and beheaded by a Muslim man.
Why is it that most Muslim countries have blasphemy laws, some even calling for the death penalty for defaming Islam, the Koran, or Mohammad? Why is it that Muslims now demand blasphemy laws in Western countries? Why have many of these formerly tolerant Western nations complied and now limit freedom of speech to their citizens, prosecuting them for “defaming Islam”? Why is it that I will come under great criticism (not only by Muslims but also by Christians) for even writing this? I have been told over the years by several of my foreign students, that my life would be in danger if I continued to teach about Islam the way I do.
Even Muslims recognize the difference. Several times I have heard Muslims say, “I am not a Christian who would turn the other cheek.” One of my former students went into Military Intelligence and was assigned to interrogate Muslims incarcerated in the “War on Terror”. He told me that several of his Muslim prisoners told him, that if he were a true Christian, he wouldn’t be in the army. Several times I have been told by Muslims, that Christians are taught peace and submission while Muslims are taught war and conquest. This was because Allah intended Muslims to rule over Christians.
Scholars often point to the different roles of the founders of these two religions. Jesus led a small band of Jews, who were subdued by the mighty Roman Empire and put their hope in a spiritual kingdom. Mohammad was the sheik of Medina, who raided caravans for their booty and became the ruler of a vast earthly domain, imposing his religion on its populace. Those who continue to insist that there is no difference between these two religions are either deluded or attempting to delude others.
(CCU Faculty) In a graduate seminar at the University of California 30 years ago, I made the mistake of using the word ‘gals’ instead of ‘women’. The feminists in the class verbally assaulted me at being insensitive to their gender issues. It seems that wherever we go now, we must be careful not offend the hyper-sensitive feelings of those who wish to limit our speech, and force us to use the words they prefer.
Last week the NBC cafeteria served fried chicken, collard greens, and corn bread in honor of black history month. The chef, who happens to be black, had wanted to do this for years but didn’t understand the controversy that flared as other African-Americans claimed they were offended. NBC apologized, took down the sign in the cafeteria, and quickly changed the menu. Had it been St. Patrick’s Day would some have been offended by corned beef and cabbage? Had it been Cinco de Mayo would some have been offended by enchiladas and beans?
The overwhelmingly number of those ‘political correct’ whom I have met were disciples of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Richard Rorty. Those who cajoled me 30 years ago to use their words were leftist feminists, who often cited these thinkers in our class. Marx stressed the overturning of traditional power structure based on wealth. Nietzsche stressed the ‘will to power’ that impels the intellectuals to dominate others. Lenin stressed the seizure of power by a small group of intellectuals, who would then remake society by eliminating traditional power structures and re-educate the masses.
Foucault considered power to be “actions upon others' actions in order to interfere with them”, to make them “behave in ways than they otherwise would not have done.” These disciples of Foucault want new “belief systems to gain momentum as more people come to accept the particular views associated with that belief system as common knowledge.” The politically-correct hope through intimidation to dominate our language and our minds, and thereby alter our culture into one which they believe is more ‘socially just.’
Derrida insisted that ideas don’t even exist outside of the language we use to express them, and that language actually constructs reality. If progressives can change the meaning of words, they believe they can alter reality itself. When the meanings of words change, they believe they can change the nature of truth itself.Rorty claimed, that truth “cannot be out there, cannot exist independently of the human mind, because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the world can be true or false. The world on its own—unaided by the describing activities of humans—cannot.” There is no objective truth, only what we subjectively create by our use of words. By manipulating vocabulary, we impose whatever truth we wish. Grammar destroys science. The politically-correct have read (or are at least following the agenda of) Foucault, Derrida and Rorty. They want to sweep away our world and create their own.
Let’s recognize these claims of ‘offense’ for what they often are, attempts to use power over language to take away our freedoms and way of life, all in the name of their ‘progressive’ agenda. Let’s not allow the thought police, the tyrants of ‘politically-correct’ speech to feign ‘offense’ and intimidate us any longer. Let’s recognize their actual agenda, which is to force us to yield to their use of power, to force us to use their terminology and accept their aberrant world-view. In doing so we will expose their claim to power for what it really is, another attempt to take away our freedoms (especially of speech) and impose their radical agendas.
('76 Editor) Particularly a college such as CCU, devoted to the same biblical truths and principles as most of our Founders? Centennial Institute asked for advice on teaching our country's history to college students, from a dozen of the most thoughtful Christian conservatives in America today. Their recommendations on the most important ideas to be taught, and the best books to help do that, add up to a rich intellectual feast. Our Centennial Institute report, "How Should an American College Teach American History?", contains a summary in the survey respondents' own words. Respondents included David Barton of Wallbuilders, Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute, J. Budziszewski and Rob Koons of the University of Texas, Kenneth Cribb of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Alan Crippen of the John Jay Institute, Michael Farris of Patrick Henry College, Douglas Groothuis of Denver Seminary, author Peter Marshall, Marvin Olasky of The King’s College and World magazine, Paul Prentice of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; and Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education.
Here is a link to the report: centennial - teaching history.doc (76.50 kb)
We look forward to your comments on the report. While it's true, as I often remind patriotic friends, that America isn't specially anointed in the Bible, Lincoln was right when he suggested our moral and spiritual heritage confers upon us special opportunities and obligations as an "almost-chosen people." Colorado Christian University, along with any Christian college and for that matter any intellectually honest college, must strive to convey these objective realities to all its students. CCU's newly revised curriculum is a response to the challenge. It took effect last fall, as explained here: ccu curriculum revision nov08.doc (159.00 kb)
(CCU Student) Since Barack Obama has entered office, the emotional state of the country has shifted from a polarized sense of hope to constant unease and skepticism. To understand how and why this has occurred, it’s first and foremost a necessity to learn about where Barack himself has obtained such principles and agendas that shadow his seemingly slick modus operandi. In particular, a closer look at the notable radical and social organizer named Saul Alinsky will reveal a much darker, yet detailed picture.
Alinsky’s creed was set out in his book ‘Rules for Radicals’ – a book he dedicated to Lucifer whom he so unreservedly called the ‘first radical’. As David Horowitz puts it in a pamphlet summarizing the Alinsky-Obama connection, Saul Alinsky was an avatar of the post-modern left. His weapon, deception; his goal, destroy the American system of government, by any and all means. Like Obama, Alinsky gathered his followers with the catchy “social change” adage, which more intimately reveals itself more as a blueprint for utter chaos rather than a progressive ideal. In a nutshell, his proposal was to make ‘revolution’ the ultimate and final mark on the history and end of American democracy as we know it, this being devised from his devil-worship schemes, power-hungry radicalism, and deceptive tongue to lure the naïve.
So what does this radical-frenzied organizer of the 1960s have to do with the current American standing and threat to the survival of democracy? Referring back to the beginning, Barack Obama is one of Alinsky’s most prominent followers and admirers, never knowing him personally, but becoming an adept practitioner of his methods. Knowing this, Americans have a due right to worry and question the leadership and direction of our country. With this in mind, it’s also a solid reminder that we should never cease to pray for our leaders. The Bible tells us both “to be vigilant, for the devils walks about like a roaring lion seeking to devour us,” (1 Peter 5:8) and to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). The disciples of Alinsky can and will be countered by speaking the truth, defending democracy, and relentless prayer and hope.
Editor's Note: For a free copy of the David Horowitz pamphlet mentioned above, "Barack Obama's Rules for Revolution," email us at Centennial@ccu.edu with your name and postal address.
('76 Editor) As a signer of the Manhattan Declaration on religious liberty, sanctity of life, and dignity of marriage, issued in November 2009, I received the following update from organizers Robert George, Timothy George, and Charles Colson. If you have not already signed, I urge you to click the link and do so at once.
Dear Colleague: Thank you for your support of the Manhattan Declaration. It is off to an amazing start - over 370,000 signers and growing. And it is indeed historic: Evangelicals, Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox Christians uniting to give common witness to the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage, and religious liberty for all persons.
But we need your help: our goal is one million signatures. The marketing pros tell us we will never get to a million signatures without expensive advertising. But we want to prove them wrong. And we can: just think if each person who has signed the Declaration were to get just two others to sign. That would be one million people standing arm in arm in defense of the most vital moral truths in our society.
Remember, too, we are not just collecting signatures; we seek a movement of people defending the truth in the public square. We are already witnessing signs of this: Christians in Mobile, Alabama called us 13 days before Christmas to tell us they were planning a large ecumenical gathering for the 23rd of December. I (Chuck Colson) agreed to speak. At 6:00 AM on December 23, 2,000 citizens, led by clergy from all over the city, gathered in a packed hall in the Convention Center for a rousing rally. Seldom have I seen so much excitement in one room - and all of this was accomplished just by word of mouth with only 11 days to organize! Just ten days ago, Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, DC, Archbishop Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville reached out to all of their brother Catholic bishops asking them to spread this document throughout their dioceses and encourage their clergy and faithful to study it and join as signatories.
The Archbishop of Detroit has planned a grassroots effort throughout his archdiocese. The Bishop of Phoenix has already organized a grassroots effort there.
We are also receiving many reports of evangelical gatherings in a number of areas - and many evangelical pastors referring to the Manhattan Declaration in their sermons.
This bold and exciting movement needs to reach 100 or 200 cities in America. Why not? Can you help? We are urging you to encourage your pastors and community leaders to do what these other cities are doing. Organize ecumenical meetings organized around the Manhattan Declaration; get other concerned citizens to join the effort. Get on the internet or phone and ask friends to join you. If you let us know you want to organize something we can help link you up with others in your area.
As with any grassroots movement, the strength and energy has to come from the people. We have no staff and limited budget. We're people who care passionately and deeply about life, marriage, and liberty. So here's what we are asking you to do.
** Pray fervently. Great movements of faith have always spread on the wings of prayer.
** Know the issues. If you study this Declaration - and a study guide is available on our website - then you can winsomely explain and defend it to your neighbors and friends. The document itself makes a great apologetic defense for these moral truths.
** Look for resources on this website as we're able to post them, and search the websites of the Christian organizations that offer resources in these three areas. You can see the names of the various leaders who have signed the Declaration and then visit their websites.
** Of utmost importance, get your own church involved. As pastors preach, the movement will spread. Prayer meetings and Bible studies on the Declaration are being conducted in many churches, which is a great step.
**Make full use of Facebook, Twitter, and all the devices available today for social networking. Or just go to gatherings in your own community and speak out on this issue. Cultures are changed over the backyard fence, the barbeque grill, and in hair salons - always from the bottom up. Do everything you can possibly do to educate others.
**Organize local gatherings like the one in Mobile. If you want an audio or video of Chuck Colson's talk at the event, you will be able to see it on the website in the next few days. You can also read a firsthand report on how they did this.
**If you are a pastor or ministry leader let us know if you would like to be added to the Additional Signers list on the website.
Just think what might happen in our land if one million courageous Christians declared their uncompromising allegiance to Jesus Christ and to biblical faithfulness on some of the most urgent moral issues of our day.
May God give us the strength to do what He is so clearly calling us to do. From our perspective, this is a cause worth giving every last ounce of effort and energy we have.
Dr. Robert GeorgeDr. Timothy GeorgeChuck Colson
('76 Contributor) During a recent “Meet the Press” the host, with feigned indignation, asked a Senator, “You’re not calling the President a Socialist, are you?” Without waiting for a response, he repeated the question for emphasis. This performance highlights the hijacking of political semantics. “Socialist” was replaced by “Liberal” which, in turn, became a pejorative, and now “Progressive” is preferred, and used in titles of dozens of political and welfare advocacy groups.
Constantly morphing ideas and permutations of definitions make it hard to compartmentalize politicians. An accepted basic view is that Socialism advocates state or collective ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. That essential hallmark of freedom, private ownership of property, is prohibited. Note how the current abuses of eminent domain stretch the traditional definitions of public use.
Marx called Socialism a transition between capitalism and Communism. As any high school sophomore should be able to recite from Marx’s Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, “To each according to his needs; from each according to his ability.” An advocate of these ideas is indeed a Socialist. To quote National Socialist German Workers’ Party leader, Adolph Hitler, “The needs of society come before the individual’s needs.”
Before labeling Obama and his inventory of actions, we must also note the academic definition of Communism. “All economic activity is controlled by the state, dominated by a single political party.” Further: “A system based on holding all property in common, with actual ownership by the state.” Differences between the categories, reduced to simplest form: Socialism actually takes ownership while Communism totally controls enterprise, which ostensibly could remain private. This administration’s actions overlap both, with the common goal of doing away with Capitalism. Degrees of success are temporarily limited by public resistance. Constitutional protections are rejected as archaic annoyances.
Obama, equipped with glibness and arrogance, was dismissed as a buffoon by serious economists. His experience was largely limited to preaching Alinsky to ACORN volunteers. Without apologies, he surrounded himself with cabinet and advisor appointees, and a cadre of czars with no accountability, most of whom have serious ethical, legal and moral taints. The czars have no Congressional approval. Uniformly visible in that group is the disturbing tendency to demonize the concepts of private property ownership and free markets. The last 18 presidents averaged 46% of their advisers from the private sector. Obama has 8%.
As perennial presidential candidate Norman Thomas, and others, famously said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened.”
Fabianism (strategy of establishing Socialism by gradual means), used with patience by subversive movements world-wide, is not in vogue with this administration.
To some degree or another, the administration has addressed all the elements of the Socialist or Communist state, with varying degrees and a common thread of shrinking Capitalism with alarming speed. The advice of Obama mouthpiece Rahm Emanuel is, “Never miss an opportunity to take advantage of a crisis.” Tactics of Chicago-style patronage, populism and corruption, unabashedly taken to the national level, have caught many flat-footed.
To correct what he blames his predecessor for, “long years of drift,” Obama is moving to control major industries in Communist fashion. What better start than the showpiece of American industry for a century, automobile manufacture? The President has no desire to own the auto companies, merely to control them. Perhaps he has read of the disastrous Soviet attempts at controlling manufacture with bureaucrats making all decisions.
Obama wants control while allowing experienced management to take care of the details. Bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler certainly were never meant to be loans, but rather a grab of equity. The action instantly took 78.3% of General Motors by the government, followed by a gift of 17.5% to the auto workers union. Bond value was whittled down to maybe 10% of GM equity. Investors without rational recognition of Communist control strategy held out hope for a rebound.
A sidebar of the auto industry takeover was the “Cash for Clunkers” fiasco which, at taxpayer expense, amounted to a marginal cost per car of $24,000. It had an effect of about 32 thousandths-of-one-percent CO2 reduction. It stimulated car purchases at the expense of future business a few months down the road. For example, by the end the year, Colorado new car registrations were 29.8% less than last year.
(Denver Post, Dec. 27) Remember those times when we thought the world had changed, but it hadn’t? Eight years ago after jihadists attacked the US homeland, and again last year after America elected its first black president, the talk of “forever different” was soon quieted by life’s old patterns. The world does not change, because human nature does not.
But an event that did change the world occurred 2000 years ago in the stable at Bethlehem. Religious differences aside, the earthquake of Jesus’ coming is historical fact. The idea of all persons created equal, all endowed with dignity and liberty, arrived with him and has gained steadily ever since. This makes our seasonal celebrations, both sacred and secular, most fitting.
Among them is the parlor game of tallying up who made a difference in the old year, amid the gusts of forgettable news and fleeting celebrity. In 2009 the very word “change” devolved from a mantra into a punchline. Yet certain individuals had an impact that deserves recognition as the calendar turns. Editors at Time and Sports Illustrated have crowned their national honorees. On behalf of Rocky Mountain conservatives, here’s my award for Coloradan of the Year.
Who would you choose? And by what yardstick would you decide? I took as jurors Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Grant, spiritual fathers under whose wise and brave influence our state was born. We looked for distinguished contributions by fellow citizens in keeping Colorado true to its heritage. The field was broad and bipartisan.
This was the year that Mike Coffman, Iraq veteran twice over, took his war-fighting savvy to Congress. Ken Salazar, son of the San Luis Valley, became steward of all the nation’s public lands. Douglas Bruce left public office but remained a potent force for limited government through his TABOR legacy. Peter Groff, descendant of slaves, took charge of faith-based programs for schoolkids across the country.
None of them, however, made our top-10 finalists. Nor did Jim Tracy, the managerial wizard who electrified Rockies fans, or Michael Bennet, the education wizard who vaulted into the Senate. Nor did leftist campaign financier Tim Gill or Islamist plotter Najibullah Zazi – though jurors sent them backhanded thanks for puncturing the complacency of many.
As finalists for 2009, the jury salutes Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute, laughing lancer of liberty; Joe Blake of Colorado State, common-sense businessman turned university president; and Mayor Hickenlooper along with Congressman Salazar, two solid Johns who remind us not all Democrats are loony liberals.
Plus Philip Anschutz, philanthropist, media mogul, and rising GOP rainmaker; Vincent Carroll, senior pundit of the right at the old Rocky and now here at the Post; Dick Wadhams, quarterback of the state’s impending Republican revival; James Dobson, radio hall-of-famer and hero of the American family; and Jane Norton, new voice of women conservatives in the West.
But last and loudest, as Coloradan of the Year, we applaud Archbishop Charles Chaput. He did the state proud as a leading signer of the Manhattan Declaration on sanctity of life, dignity of marriage, and defense of religious liberty. His book “Render unto Caesar” is a timely guide to principled citizenship in a nation under God. Four centuries of Americans who pushed westward from the Old World’s exhaustion to the New World’s promise would recognize in Chaput a friend to their souls.
I’m not a Catholic, and some of my ghostly jurors were but hesitant Christians; yet no matter. The good archbishop models self-government and self-giving for Coloradans of all faiths. Tempted to believe we live by bread and circuses rather than by truth and love, our state is continually reminded otherwise by this fearless prelate. Soldier of civilization, man of backbone, Charles Chaput will live in grateful memory many Christmases from now.