Originally at American Thinker

By Chuck Rogér

It is time that someone said, straight up and out loud, “Enough.

As America flirts with permanent economic decline, certain GOP presidential contenders talk of gay marriage, Charles Darwin, and religiosity.  Are we losing our minds?

While the current progressive regime is rife with overbearing economic and social agendas, the critical battle — which, if lost, would render all other battles irrelevant — is singularly economic in nature.

Let Election 2012 not be about spreading “conservative values” throughout the land.  Let the election be about restoring America to economic good health.  Let the election be about freeing the people from legislative, regulatory, and judicial tyranny inflicted by congresses, administrations, and courts both Democrat and Republican.

Now is not the time in the course of human events to push what Peter Berkowitz calls “The Myth of Conservative Purity.” Berkowitz observes:

The great mission of American conservatism — securing the conditions under which liberty flourishes — has always depended on the weaving together of imperfectly compatible principles and applying them to an evolving and elusive political landscape.

There will be plenty time for America to debate the contentious social issues that distinguish the progressives who dominate government, education, and media from the conservatives who once enjoyed but lost similar dominion.  But there will be time for such debates only if America returns to prosperity.  Without economic healing, economic survival will consume the people.

Conservatives could choose to expend energy asserting mythically pure values, but this won’t bring Barack Obama’s defeat.  GOP contenders, and later the GOP nominee, can either try to push a rope uphill or advocate a doable conservatism — i.e., a non-idealistic approach.

An eminently doable form of conservatism is something with which most Americans would be happy.  Vociferous ideologues relentlessly claim inside knowledge of the American mindset, but in reality, the conditions that would please most people are simple and few: a physically secure country, government that maintains that security and plays favorites with no corporation or individual, and citizens free to pursue lawful aspirations without governmental interference and imposed social agendas.

Today’s America is home to armies at both ends of the sociopolitical spectrum, with warriors preaching of giving no quarter to the “other side.”  On the sociopolitical left, many soldiers speak venomously, thuggishly, often using wartime metaphors.  Indeed, staunch ideologues of all stripes see conciliation as the path of weaklings.  But Berkowitz instructively points out that although many conservatives see compromise as “the province of the mealy-mouthed, weak-kneed, and lily-livered[,] … when circumstances warrant — and they often will — compromise will be the considered choice of the steely-eyed and stouthearted.”

In other words, it takes confidence and courage to willingly engage threats posed by ideological impurities.  It takes wisdom and patience to hunker down and weather the threats to achieve the objectives demanded by one’s principles.

To win the White House and possibly the Senate, while maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives, Republicans must sell to a critical mass of “independent” voters a plan consisting of more than promises.  And the plan must be focused.  It must stick to economics.  The GOP presidential nominee’s platform must hint of no rhetoric on gay marriage and the theory of evolution, with no overly enthusiastic speechifying on illegal immigration.

Such distractions would alienate voters who otherwise have been growing more and more inclined to embrace conservative politicians.  By railing against gay marriage, illegal immigration, and Darwin at this point in time, the GOP presidential nominee could easily antagonize the very people itching to vote against Obama.  Indeed, a most dunderheaded Republican tack right now would be to parade religiosity as not just a conservative virtue, but also a virtue required to lead America out of an utterly secular disaster.

Two GOP presidential contenders’ campaigns suggest a belief that Christians who oppose illegal immigration, gay marriage, and the theory of evolution will not support a candidate who refuses to carry the religious right’s banner all the way to the polls.  If this belief reflects reality, then disengaged “values-driven” conservatives could assure the reelection of Barack Obama.

It remains distinctly possible that Republican presidential contenders will continue to push divisive social issues even as America faces economic oblivion.  On the other hand, the candidates may abstain from the social rhetoric, motivating social conservatives to stay home on November 6, 2012.

But there is a third option, in which social conservatives accept a Republican candidate with a solid plan to defeat Barack Obama even if that plan is silent on social issues.  If this sane and most pragmatic alternative does not materialize, then history might record that social conservatives were willing to let an unimaginable reality — four more years of the most destructive American presidency ever — come to pass.

I cannot accept that conservatives would invite this mother of all calamities.

“Easy ‘A'” Policies Reflect a Generally Decayed Education System

By Chuck Rogér

Would you enroll in a university program which practically guarantees a grade of “A” in most courses? Look no further. You might want to consider studying to be a teacher.

University of Missouri economics professor Cory Koedel has released a report showing that education school courses have generally low grading standards. “A” grades dominate many courses. In some classes, literally every student gets an A. Koedel finds that “a sizable fraction” of teachers “is trained in education departments where evaluation standards are astonishingly low.”

George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, asks, “Why do the ed schools operate this way?” Leef reports that Koedel found that whereas a school that trains other professionals such as engineers “would rapidly destroy its reputation” by issuing all As,  “in the field of education, which is ‘notoriously ineffective at identifying high- and low-quality workers,’ there is no penalty for easy grading.”

Let’s expand.

Because teachers’ unions relentlessly resist teacher performance measurement as a criterion for pay as well as continued employment itself, there is no way to measure the horrific effects that poorly-educated teachers have on the kids.

Now let’s be clear. Koedel’s findings are not an indictment of all teachers. There are very fine teachers who graduate from both inflated-grading schools and also very fine schools. But there’s a saying: “What gets measured gets improved.” A corollary would be, that which doesn’t get measured is likely to be ignored.

Did feminist groups derail the stimulus bill?

Originally at American Thinker

By Chuck Rogér

American women are resourceful. In the business world alone, women have racked up impressive gains, earning three times as many college degrees and doubling the female presence in the workplace compared to forty years ago. In the realm of entrepreneurship, the adult American female is leaving the male in her dust, starting up businesses four times faster than men.

But such progress leaves some feminists unimpressed. According to Christina Hoff Sommers, in 2009, when President Obama proposed massive construction industry-boosting “infrastructure” spending, women’s groups “were appalled.” (HT: Hans Bader)

Even though 80 percent of the 5.7 million jobs lost over the first eighteen months of the recession were held by men, cries for more jobs for women arose from a feminist group calling itself “WEAVE” (Women’s Equality Adds Value to the Economy). The group’s complaints were bolstered by the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and National Women’s Law Center. Members of the super-coalition slammed Obama for pushing a “Macho Stimulus Plan” packed with “testosterone-laden ‘shovel-ready'” lingo that focused on “jobs for burly men.” Rumor has it that the ladies also objected to the President speaking in deep masculine tones when talking about shovels and stuff.

In a recent analysis, Hans Bader points out that even though much of Obama’s 2009 $800 billion stimulus was originally targeted for projects such as road and bridge repairs, the stimulus got skewed toward social welfare spending after the afore-mentioned feminist groups demanded that Obama put more women to work.

In his Stimulus II-pushing September 8 joint-session address to Congress, the President himself admitted that, two years after Stimulus I, there are still “private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work.” As a result of feminist outrage-driven redirection of funds from “shovel-ready” projects, Obama now aims his 2011 “American Jobs Act” at “[putting] more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.” This latest destined-to-fail Keynesian brainchild will allegedly “create more jobs for construction workers.”

But jobs would be the last thing that anyone should look for from the web of illogic, misinformation, and tribalistic dogma that pervades women’s groups’ arguments. Gender “fairness” pusher and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis admits to huge gains by women in the workplace–at the expense of men–and then but a breath later calls for more help to close the “gender gap” between men and women. The feminist group, WEAVE, stares down evidence of men losing jobs at a rate four times faster than women and cries foul when government “stimulus” aims to restore the lost male jobs. Tribal credo, not reality, rules the gender warrior’s thinking.

As Peter Schwartz points out in “Gender Tribalism,”

All forms of collectivism rest on a certain metaphysics. The collectivist tenets… that the group, not the individual has rights… that the judgment of an individual mind is subordinate to the collective consensus… stem from a deeper premise: that the individual is impotent to cope with reality. The individual, on this premise, cannot sustain [her] life on [her] own, and must depend upon the group for survival.1

The bold-faced fact that women are not only coping with reality but outpacing men in the business world goes unnoticed by gender tribalists. The feminist collective strives to protect the female individual, who, judging by evidence, needs no protection. Proof that individual women are doing stunningly well does not deter the collective from the noble crusade.

Reality points to American women thriving without “help” from feminist groups. But if those groups were to acknowledge such truth, a herd of zealots would head off in search of a new mission. There is no telling which would be worse, the devil we know or the devil we don’t know.
1 Peter Schwartz (Ed.), Return of the Primitive by Ayn Rand, Meridian, 1999, p.305.