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David Salmanson - 12/6/2003

King,
I'm having a hard time sussing out your position on grading standards. The NAS statement argues that history is skills-based and you here argue for content-based standards. Can you clairfy what you mean? For example, learning how to correctly write a research paper is a skill but one that can be measured. Learning to identify the thesis in an author's argument is a skill that can be measured. Do you mean clear and defined grading rubrics? This in of itself does not stop grade inflation. Nor do content based standards; teachers can simply hand out the answers before hand and ask students to memorize the content. I would not consider this last strategy effective teaching but it could yield a variety of grade outcomes depending on who is doing the grading. There was a very interesting discussion on grade inflation over at Invisible Adjunct a couple of weeks ago. I remain a staunch anti-inflationist even though you would probably consider my classes to be in the "soft-leftist" category.


rob - 12/1/2003

http://www.snopes.com/legal/lawsuits.asp


Jim Baxter - 10/27/2003



In an effort to diminish the multiple and persistent
dangers and abuses which have characterized the affairs
of man in his every Age, and to assist in the requisite
search for human identity, it is essential to perceive
and specify that distinction which naturally and most
uniquely defines the human being. Because definitions
rule in the minds, behaviors, and institutions of men,
we can be confident that delineating and communicating
that quality will assist the process of resolution and
the courageous ascension to which man is called. As
Americans of the 21st Century, we are obliged and privi-
leged to join our forebears and participate in this
continuing proclamation.

"WHAT IS MAN...?" God asks - and answers:
HUMAN DEFINED: EARTH'S CHOICEMAKER
by JAMES FLETCHER BAXTER (c) 2003

Many problems in human experience are the result of false
and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised in man-
made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe. The
balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human reason
cannot fully function in such a void, thus, the intellect
can rise no higher than the criteria by which it perceives
and measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure. However,
as with all measuring systems, a standard must be greater
than the value measured. Based on preponderant ignorance
and an egocentric carnal nature, humanism demotes reason
to the simpleton task of excuse-making in behalf of the
rule of appetites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament, cannot
invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist lacks
a predictive capability. Without instinct or transcendent
criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with foresight
and vision for progression and survival. Lacking foresight,
man is blind to potential consequence and is unwittingly
committed to mediocrity, averages, and regression - and
worse. Humanism is an unworthy worship.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with a
functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the foot-
dragging growth of human knowledge and behavior. Faith,
initiated by the Creator and revealed and validated in His
Word, the Bible, brings a transcendent standard to man the
choice-maker. Other philosophies and religions are man-
made, humanism, and thereby lack what only the Bible has:

1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.

The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival equip-
ment for today and the future.

Man is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by nature
and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of Criteria.
Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive characteristic
is, and of Right ought to be, the natural foundation of
his environments, institutions, and respectful relations
to his fellow-man. Thus, he is oriented to a Freedom
whose roots are in the Order of the universe.

At the sub-atomic level of the physical universe quantum
physics indicates a multifarious gap or division in the
causal chain; particles to which position cannot be
assigned at all times, systems that pass from one energy
state to another without manifestation in intermediate
states, entities without mass, fields whose substance is
as insubstantial as "a probability."

Only statistical conglomerates pay tribute to
deterministic forces. Singularities do not and are
therefore random, unpredictable, mutant, and in this
sense, uncaused. The finest contribution inanimate
reality is capable of making toward choice, without its
own selective agencies, is this continuing manifestation
of opportunity as the pre-condition to choice it defers
to the natural action of living forms.

Biological science affirms that each level of life,
single-cell to man himself, possesses attributes of
sensitivity, discrimination, and selectivity, and in
the exclusive and unique nature of each diversified
life form.

The survival and progression of life forms has all too
often been totally dependent upon the ever-present
mutative potential and undeterminative appearance of one
unique individual organism within the whole spectrum of
a given species. Only the uniquely equipped individual
organism is, like The Golden Wedge of Ophir, capable of
traversing the causal gap to survival and progression.
Mere reproductive determinacy would have rendered life
forms incapable of such potential. Only a moving
universe of opportunity plus choice enables the present
reality.

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Man is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes his
definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall that his
other features are but vehicles of experience intent on
the development of perceptive awareness and the
following acts of decision. Note that the products of
man cannot define him for they are the fruit of the
discerning choice-making process and include the
cognition of self, the utility of experience, the
development of value-measuring systems and language,
and the acculturation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity is a
choice-making process. His articles, constructs, and
commodities, however marvelous to behold, deserve
neither awe nor idolatry, for man, not his contrivance,
is earth's own highest expression of the creative process.

Man is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and significant
act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean fulcrum upon
which man levers and redirects the forces of cause and
effect to an elected level of quality and diversity.
Further, it orients him toward a natural environmental
opportunity, freedom, and bestows earth's title, The
Choicemaker, on his singular and plural brow.

Deterministic systems, ideological symbols of abdication
by man from his natural role as earth's Choicemaker,
inevitably degenerate into collectivism; the negation of
singularity, they become a conglomerate plural-based
system of measuring human value. Blunting an awareness
of diversity, blurring alternatives, and limiting the
selective creative process, they are self-relegated to
a passive and circular regression.

Tampering with man's selective nature endangers his
survival for it would render him impotent and obsolete
by denying the tools of diversity, individuality,
perception, criteria, selectivity, and progress.
Coercive attempts produce revulsion, for such acts
are contrary to an indeterminate nature and nature's
indeterminate off-spring, man the Choicemaker.

Until the oppressors discover that wisdom only just
begins with a respectful acknowledgment of The Creator,
The Creation, and The Choicemaker, they will be ever
learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.
The rejection of Creator-initiated standards relegates
the mind of man to its own primitive, empirical, and
delimited devices. It is thus that the human intellect
cannot ascend and function at any level higher than the
criteria by which it perceives and measures values.

Additionally, such rejection of transcendent criteria
self-denies man the vision and foresight essential to
decision-making for survival and progression. He is left,
instead, with the redundant wreckage of expensive hind-
sight, including human institutions characterized by
averages, mediocrity, and regression.

Humanism, mired in the circular and mundane egocentric
predicament, is ill-equipped to produce transcendent
criteria. Evidenced by those who do not perceive
superiority and thus find themselves beset by the shifting
winds of the carnal-ego; i.e., moods, feelings, desires,
appetites, etc., the mind becomes subordinate: a mere
device for excuse-making and rationalizing self-justifica-
tion.

The carnal-ego rejects criteria and self-discipline for such
instruments are tools of the mind and the attitude. The
appetites of the flesh have no need of standards for at the
point of contention standards are perceived as alien, re-
strictive, and inhibiting. Yet, the very survival of our
physical nature itself depends upon a maintained sover-
eignty of the mind and of the spirit.

It remained, therefore, to the initiative of a personal
and living Creator to traverse the human horizon and
fill the vast void of human ignorance with an intelli-
gent and definitive faith. Man is thus afforded the
prime tool of the intellect - a Transcendent Standard
by which he may measure values in experience, anticipate
results, and make enlightened and visionary choices.

Only the unique and superior God-man Person can deserved-
ly displace the ego-person from his predicament and free
the individual to measure values and choose in a more
excellent way. That sublime Person was indicated in the
words of the prophet Amos, "...said the Lord, Behold,
I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel."
Y'shua Mashiyach Jesus said, "If I be lifted up I will
draw all men unto myself."

As long as some choose to abdicate their personal reality
and submit to the delusions of humanism, determinism, and
collectivism, just so long will they be subject and re-
acting only, to be tossed by every impulse emanating from
others. Those who abdicate such reality may, in perfect
justice, find themselves weighed in the balances of their
own choosing.

That human institution which is structured on the
principle, "...all men are endowed by their Creator with
...Liberty...," is a system with its roots in the natural
Order of the universe. The opponents of such a system are
necessarily engaged in a losing contest with nature and
nature's God. Biblical principles are still today the
foundation under Western Civilization and the American
way of life. To the advent of a new season we commend the
present generation and the "multitudes in the valley of
decision."

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV

CONTEMPORARY COMMENTS
"I should think that if there is one thing that man has
learned about himself it is that he is a creature of
choice." Richard M. Weaver

"Man is a being capable of subduing his emotions and
impulses; he can rationalize his behavior. He arranges
his wishes into a scale, he chooses; in short, he acts.
What distinguishes man from beasts is precisely that he
adjusts his behavior deliberately." Ludwig von Mises

"To make any sense of the idea of morality, it must be
presumed that the human being is responsible for his
actions and responsibility cannot be understood apart
from the presumption of freedom of choice."
John Chamberlain

"The advocate of liberty believes that it is complementary
of the orderly laws of cause and effect, of probability
and of chance, of which man is not completely informed.
It is complementary of them because it rests in part upon
the faith that each individual is endowed by his Creator
with the power of individual choice."
Wendell J. Brown

"Our Founding Fathers believed that we live in an ordered
universe. They believed themselves to be a part of the
universal order of things. Stated another way, they
believed in God. They believed that every man must find
his own place in a world where a place has been made for
him. They sought independence for their nation but, more
importantly, they sought freedom for individuals to think
and act for themselves. They established a republic
dedicated to one purpose above all others - the preserva-
tion of individual liberty..." Ralph W. Husted

"We have the gift of an inner liberty so far-reaching
that we can choose either to accept or reject the God
who gave it to us, and it would seem to follow that the
Author of a liberty so radical wills that we should be
equally free in our relationships with other men.
Spiritual liberty logically demands conditions of outer
and social freedom for its completion." Edmund A. Opitz

"Above all I see an ability to choose the better from the
worse that has made possible life's progress."
Charles Lindbergh

"Freedom is the Right to Choose, the Right to create for
oneself the alternatives of Choice. Without the possibil-
ity of Choice, and the exercise of Choice, a man is not
a man but a member, an instrument, a thing."
Thomas Jefferson

THE QUESTION AND THE ANSWER
Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son
of man that You visit him?" Psalm 8:4
A: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against
you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing
and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and
your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

Q: "Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that you are mindful of him?" Psalm
144:3
A: "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose
for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the
gods which your fathers served that were on the other
side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Q: "What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is
born of a woman, that he could be righteous?" Job 15:14
A: "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He
teach in the way he chooses." Psalm 25:12

Q: "What is man, that You should magnify him, that You
should set Your heart on him?" Job 7:17
A: "Do not envy the oppressor and choose none of his
ways." Proverbs 3:31

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son
of man that You take care of him?" Hebrews 2:6
A: "I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have
laid before me." Psalm 119:30 "Let Your hand become my
help, for I have chosen Your precepts." Psalm 119:173

References:
Genesis 3:3,6 Deuteronomy 11:26-28; 30:19 Job 5:23
Isaiah 7:14-15; 13:12; 61:1 Amos 7:8 Joel 3:14
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Psalm 119:1-176
DEDICATION

Sir Isaac Newton
The greatest scientist in human history
a Bible-Believing Christian
an authority on the Bible's Book of Daniel
committed to individual value
and individual liberty

Daniel 9:25-26 Habakkuk 2:2-3 KJV selah

"What is man...?" Earth's Choicemaker JOEL 3:14 KJV
http://www.choicemaker.net/
http://www.geocities.com/James-Baxter/
Choice.maker@verizon.net


+ + +


Michael Meo - 10/26/2003


My comment addresses the limited historical range of the long quotation from Mr Hayek.

I suppose Poland's long experience with parliamentary rule, as well as the centuries of insistence by Hungary that each new Hapsburg accept the ancient Hungarian consitution, qualifies those two countries as "small North European nations."


William P. Perry - 10/2/2003

REVISED -- links misdirected in prior post

Follow THIS LINK http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/09/30/judges.ashcroft.ap/index.html to CNN Law Center report for the latest coverage of ENCROACHMENTS against the Judiciary by the Executive department -- usurpatory encroachments which have been sanctioned by the Legislative branch as "projects of faction".

It NEVER ceases to amaze me just how far out of touch the people in power in Washington, DC are with the principles -- and directions on how to run the U.S. Government written by -- Washington, GEORGE. Example:

"It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free Country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its Administration, to confine themselves within their respective Constitutional Spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the Powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism."

Go: Washington - United States - 19th September 1796

http://first-president.us

There is an INTERNAL National Security crisis at hand to which the American people are oblivious. GOD SAVE AMERICA!


William P. Perry - 10/2/2003

Follow http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/09/30/judges.ashcroft.ap/index.html">THIS LINK to CNN Law Center report for the latest coverage of ENCROACHMENTS against the Judiciary by the Executive department -- usurpatory encroachments which has been sanctioned by the Legislative branch as "projects of faction".

It NEVER ceases to amaze me just how far out of touch the people in power in Washington, DC with the principles -- and directions on how to run the U.S. Government written by -- Washington, GEORGE. Example:

"It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free Country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its Administration, to confine themselves within their respective Constitutional Spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the Powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism."

http://first-president.us/">Go: Washington - United States - 19th September 1796

There is an INTERNAL National Security crisis at hand to which the American people are oblivious. GOD SAVE AMERICA!


Ivan Eland - 9/9/2003

Most of the problems associated with the Bush administration’s collapsing foreign policy stem from one central flaw: the attempt to socially engineer the world using military power or intimidation.
In a speech to the nation laced with presumptive rhetoric, the president demanded that allies, Middle Eastern nations and member of the United Nations share the responsibility of bailing the United States out of its self-inflicted quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, frequent bombings of oil pipelines and other prominent targets in Iraq, an Iraqi infrastructure still in shambles from the war, and an excruciating $166 billion over a two-year period (at the least) for both occupations, you’d think the president would have asked (or perhaps begged) for, rather than demanded, the help of other nations. But the hubris of a superpower and its leader--even when they have their backs to the wall--should never be underestimated.
That same high-handedness got the Bush administration into this bind in the first place. The administration took advantage of the attacks on September 11 to imply—without any evidence—that Saddam Hussein had some complicity in them and then proceeded—in contravention of the U.N. charter--to invade a sovereign nation without a convincing self-defense rationale. The invasion was designed to intimidate other “evil doers”—for example, Iran, North Korea and Palestinian groups, such as Hamas—into being more compliant with U.S. wishes.

Yet all aspects of Bush’s combative foreign policy are now collapsing. Administration neo-conservatives—habitually accusing liberals of being Pollyannas—exhibited a healthy dose of naiveté themselves by asserting that democracy could be brought easily to Iraq at gunpoint and that it would subsequently flower throughout the Middle East. The Bush administration failed to understand how hated the United States is in the Middle East—a state of affairs resulting from many years of supporting authoritarian dictatorships in the region, while paying only lip-service to democracy. Many in the Middle East still remember how little democracy exists in Kuwait today, despite being “liberated” by the former President Bush in 1991.
Also, the brash neo-conservative, interventionist civilians in charge of the Pentagon foolishly denigrated the expert opinion of the Army’s chief general that many more troops would be needed to pacify Iraq than they planned to use in the invasion. The general knew that they were naïve to try to subdue a country the size of California with forces that would fill only the stadiums at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.


Chris Newman - 9/5/2003

I understand the pure libertarian stance that the U.S. government should not be engaged in foreign aid in the first place. To me the question is whether aid to a country like Israel, that shares most of our basic values, and is under constant threat of destruction at the hands of those who do not, can reasonably be regarded as an expenditure that falls within national defense and is thus legitimate from a libertarian (at least a minarchist) perspective.

I recognize that this is highly debatable as a factual matter. Obviously one might well argue to the contrary that it would enhance our national security to cut all ties with Israel, thereby defusing the Arab animosity our support engenders. But before getting into the factual cost-benefit analysis of our relationship with Israel, I'd like to hear some discussion of the following question of principle:

It seems to me that it is not a matter of indifference to our security whether there are other countries in the world that share our basic values. While we should not attempt to bring such countries into existence by force or bribery, when they exist and are under direct threat of annihilation at the hands of much worse regimes, is not aid to them a legitimate aspect of extended self-defense? Is a libertarian bound to condemn lend-lease to Britain during WWII, for example?

If helping Israel to defend itself is of value, then there remains the question whether it is the kind of good that should only be provided through voluntary contribution or the kind of good that falls legitimately within the sphere of government action. If you think defense against foreign aggression is a legitimate function of government however, it can't be the case that our government has to sit back and let despotism take over the entire rest of the world until they get around to attacking us directly. Does this give government carte blanche for foreign adventurism? Not necessarily. It does require us though to make hard case-by-case choices that are not always reducible to the axiomatic reasoning we as libertarians are fond of. Perhaps before asking the aid question, we should ask whether, if there were another attempt to destroy Israel militarily, Mr. Beito would think it legitimate for the U.S. to intervene in Israel's defense. If not, then clearly there's no justification for aid.

Even if such military help against a direct threat is legitimate, that of course doesn't mean our current aid regime is. I don't know whether Israel would be overrun the next day if we turned off the spigot. It's certainly a difficult question how to put principled limits on such aid. But it's not clear to me that we should rule it out entirely.


David T. Beito - 9/2/2003

Barnett did not lecture about the UN as such. In fact, his lecture was a old-fashioned theoretical critique of state power in the tradition of Lysander Spooner or Benjamin Tucker. He compared the the "power principle" to the "liberty principle." In those days, Barnett was something of an anarchist. Actually, the true first important individuals to lay out the Liberty and Power dichotomy in explicit terms were probably Trenchard and Gordon in Cato's Letter from the early eighteenth century.

Despite my quibbles, BTW, I am still a big fan of Barnett's work on the whole.


David Salmanson - 9/2/2003

Here I am thinking that Liberty and Power was a reference to the terrific Harry L. Watson book on Jacksonian America, which in some ways faced similar issues (let's call today's society the world market revolution in deference Charles Sellars' book on the same period) and instead you all say it comes from some lecture on the tyrrany of the UN or somesuch? Minus 2 points.


David Salmanson - 9/2/2003

Here I am thinking that Liberty and Power was a reference to the terrific Harry L. Watson book on Jacksonian America, which in some ways faced similar issues (let's call today's society the world market revolution in deference Charles Sellars' book on the same period) and instead you all say it comes from some lecture on the tyrrany of the UN or somesuch? Minus 2 points.


David - 8/23/2003

You've got to be joking. I would hardly call a leader who has the nation of North Korea enslaved and starving merely eccentric. I suppose that the soviet union wasn't an "evil empire" either? How many of it's citizens does a nation have to murder before they can be properly labeled as evil, rather than merely eccentric?

What gains did we make in the 1990's on the Korean security front? Last I recalled we promised them oil and two nuclear reactors for the guarantee that they wouldn't build nuclear weapons, a promise they didn't keep from the beginning. Bush exposed that they had been continuing their aspiration to be a nuclear power since Clinton was still in office.


Keith Halderman - 8/1/2003

William Bennet has been in the news lately because it was reported that he lost eight million dollars gambling. While the sum was certainly exaggerated, the author of THE BOOK OF VIRTUES did admit, last Sunday on the Tim Russert program, to losing a considerable amount. However, the one time Drug Czar, who argued that all casual drug users should be imprisoned, maintained he is not a hypocrite.
This brings to mind a section in 19th century philosopher Lysander Spooner's 1875 essay "Vices Are Not Crimes." Spooner foreshawdowed and refuted Bennet's claim when he wrote, "What right has any body of men to say, 'The vices of other men we will punish; but our own vices nobody shall punish? We will restrain other men other from seeking their own happiness, according to their own notions of it; but nobody shall restrain us from seeking our own happiness, according to our own notions of it?'"
Unfortunately, the number of people in this country who believe they have the right to make the above statement and to act upon it seems to be growing at a most alarming rate.
Keith Halderman


Andrew Ian Dodge - 8/1/2003

The trouble with all these things is that they are trading one descrimination for another. You either believe that descrimination is wrong or you don't. There is no such thing as "positive descrimination". Its all negative.


Alina - 8/1/2003

I think David Beito is right to warn against falling prey to the temptations of "ideological diversity" tactics, though my reason for thinking so is less pragmatic. Isn't it exciting to have classical liberalism be the radical strain on campus, rather than the institutionalized norm? It is a consistent impetus, and one that maximizes creativity at that.


fyodor - 7/30/2003

Testing, testing.... Watson come here, I need one big leap for Mankind!


HNN Readers - 7/30/2003

.