Curtis Dahlgren
Signs of the Times: Is dissent and "polarization" a thing of the past?
By Curtis Dahlgren
December 5, 2008

"The function of liberal Republicans is to shoot the wounded after battle." — Senator Eugene McCarthy

BARRY GOLDWATER RECOMMENDED SAWING OFF THE EASTERN SEABOARD. "When the wind is in the East, 'tis neither good for man nor beast," and here are some quotations from the Ivy League region of the country:

"The chief problem of the lower-income farmers is poverty." — Nelson Rockefeller

"The streets are safe in Philadelphia; it's only the people who make them unsafe." — former mayor Frank Rizzo

"Marvin never tells a lie if he can give you a misleading statement instead." — friend of former Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel

"The system has not failed — but some of us have failed the system." — Edmund Muskie

ONE THING COMMON TO ALL LEFTIES IS THE OLD SAYING: "There are no enemies on our left — only the Right." They don't believe that Communism failed in the USSR — it was only "mismanaged." And socialism didn't fail in Cuba; it was only persecuted by bullies up north.

I suppose the sexual revolution of the "sixties" hasn't back-fired either. It was "only mismanaged," eh?

But as Edmund Burke said, "The grand Instructor is Time." And the only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is for the good to be silenced by, to paraphrase, the real bullies — on the Left. President-elect Obama won't have to select a Minister of Disinformation; the Associated Press and most of the MSM is already working on that Mission Impossible.

NEVER FORGET — Fascism or National Socialism is to the Left of our classical Liberals, not to their Right. Hitler always knew that he could buy the media. What he didn't know is that he could get them so cheap.

"We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." — George Orwell

You don't need to go to the comic strips anymore to get your laughs. I don't even buy the newspaper anymore; I just read a few headlines. Here are some sample headlines from the mainstream media as well as the Internet (only slightly paraphrased):


"Research: Being fat is bad for your health." [what took them so long to find out?]

"New study: Church attendees live longer lives." [for this we need research?]

"New research proves that vegetarians suffer brain shrinkage." [dittoes]

"Cell phones distract drivers more than passengers." [who would have guessed?]

"Homosexual lifestyles unhealthy" [DUH]

"California driving instructor driving DUI; arrested" [dittoes]

"Indian hotels and Jewish centers attacked by Islamic extremist terrorists."

BUT IF YOU ONLY READ THE NEW YORK TIMES, YOU WOULDN'T KNOW THAT. The Times prefers terms such as "insurgents" or "militants" (code words for Freedom Fighters). To the mainstream media, there are no enemies on the Left — nor on the Taliban extreme either. The Palestinian and Afghan "liberation movements" haven't failed — they've only been "mismanaged" again, I guess!

The MSM is trying to curry favor among the Islamic radicals, which will be in the long run about as successful as John McCain's last 8 years of currying favor with the New York Times (to state one of the obvious facts of life).

What our teenagers and the MSM have in common is that they need to face up to reality of their false sense of superiority before it bites them in the butt. A culture that forbids criticism of the "politically correct" issues will end up forbidding ALL freedom of speech.

In case I didn't make it obvious enough, "my point" of this column is that we must not allow the Age of Discussion to become a thing of the past. Polarization and polemics are good things, not bad. "Polemics" is the antonym of "one-sidedness." In the dictionary, "polemics" (the art of disputation) stands right between police-state and pole-cat.

In a very real sense, indeed, polemics — or the art of criticism — must be preserved as a barrier between the dead skunks in the "middle-of-the-road" and a possible Police State. Once all opposition to one-party rule has been silenced by intimidation or embarrassment, all hopes of Freedom are extinguished. Right now the flicker of the flame of Freedom is burning lower and lower. Thank God our Founding Fathers are asleep in their graves — to spare them the pain, and the rest of us, their WRATH. A few good words by Jefferson:

  • "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

  • "It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."

  • "Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."

  • "Delay is preferable to error."

  • "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

  • "An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never existed . . "

  • "If God is just, I tremble for my country."


Bill Bennett says that we need a time of Great Relearning. Michael Savage says, "Financial bankruptcy always follows moral bankruptcy," and it's hard to keep the economy out of a column such as this one. The 1930s Great Depression followed the Roaring Twenties, just as this decade follows the "Gay" Nineties.

A recent survey says that 30 percent of our young admit to shop-lifting in the past year. And 25 percent of adults surveyed admit to going to pornography sites while at work ("for an escape"). I wonder how many just don't "admit" it?

Our Founding Fathers always preached the concept of the immutable Natural Law, the consequences of which do not have a "morning after" pill or a Silver Bullet for an "escape." The faddish concept now is, we must not make "value judgments"; just go with the flow and let it all hang out. And we must "come together" in all of this.

When Stephen preached his one-and-only recorded sermon before the powers-that-be, they "were not able to resist the wisdom by which he spoke," but he was put on trial and he didn't stop talking.

"When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and gnashed at him with their teeth . . and they stopped up their ears, and ran upon him WITH ONE ACCORD . . and stoned him to death!"

A man named Saul was there to give his tacit approval if not encouragement, to the murder, but he later became "Paul" and wrote 14 books of the New Era anthology called the Bible. "All the world's a stage," and the almost unbelievable subplot to our Era is that ministers in Canada can already be jailed for reading the first chapter of Pual's first book in church.

Since the 2008 election, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has become target number one of the slings and arrows and stones (and other churches are being invaded and desecrated).

Certain political "lobbyists" are confused as to whether a church is a public or private place — and whether so-called redefined "hate speech" can ever be spoken even in private! This is only lawyer-speak, but gutless politicians cower before those lobbyists while Freedom of Religion is set back 300 years or more! The most trendy groups in the "popular culture," of course, will never say, "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I'm not a Mormon, but interestingly enough, I have attended services in an LDS building (our group rented a Sunday School room for church on Saturday). So much for the "bigotry" that the Mormons are accused of, eh?

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) said that freedom of opinion MUST BE defended because of three possible situations: The obvious one, that the suppressed opinion could be truth; the opposite one, that the suppressed opinion may be false (but ought to be allowed); or, that the suppressed opinion might be conflicting half-truths.

Mill saw himself as usually the referee between differing opinions, not a combatant, but he encouraged the verbal and literary "combat," just like Thomas Jefferson. And if the "Inconvenient Truths" of the Left are TRUE, they ought to "stand on their own" without government enforcement, eh?

Those who falsely accused Sarah Palin of "censoring library books" want to ban the whole Bible — even from the pulpit itself. "O it's a strange world after all; it's a strange, strange world . . ."

"The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations" devotes more than 30 pages to the Bible alone. Until a few years ago, the Bible was considered the Keystone of great Anglo-Saxon classical literature (some assembly by the Hebrews was required, of course). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are considered (by the "hip") to be no more worthy of awe than Washington, Adams, or Jefferson.

  • Were an opinion a person possession of no value except to the owner, if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from an opinion, still more than those who hold it.

  • If the opinion is right, they are derived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. — John Stuart Mill

Our present-day "avant-garde, progressive" secularists on the Left, however, press on where even angels fear to tread (treading down any opposing opinions as "polarization" and not worthy of "airing"). They know whom they are, and to think they call US "anti-intellectual"!

Mill said, "Truth, in the great practical concerns of life, is so much a question of reconciling and combining of opposites, that very few have minds sufficiently capacious and impartial to make the the adjustment with an approach to correctness, and it has to be made by the rough process of a struggle between combatants fighting under hostile banners."

That's why Jefferson said, "An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never existed." [UNTIL NOW?]

One of the big unknowns of 2009 is whether America is a government of the People, or a banana republic in which the Government simplistically tells the People what to think! Or, to put it bluntly, whether anyone will be allowed to disagree with the policies of the government without being accused of racism now!

Fred Hutchison, at says:

"The claim that existence exists because I say so, and that what exists is what I will it to be — is the kind of magical thinking men indulge when they begin to posture as gods.

"The presumption of deity is the first step into madness. Nietzsche's superior man resembles the Emperor Caligula, who fancied that he was a god — and went mad. Interestingly, Nietzsche went mad at the end of his life. As we shall see, the third wave of modernism would often have a messianic tone that was accompanied by a touch of madness.

"Keep watch on political leaders who think they are messiahs, for they have a rendezvous with the insane asylum, or with suicide.. . . The superior man must be the agent of history through politics, Nietzsche believed, paving the way for an era of political ambition on the grand sale — ambition without limits. He made possible the twentieth-century cult of the political leader as messiah.

"Nietzsche, the German mastermind of the third wave of modernism, taught the superior man to cultivate the will to power, to cultivate an unlimited political ambition, to use ideology as a means to power, to seize power and rule on his own terms, to develop the cult of personality for the popular worship of the leader as messiah.

"The superior man must subdue and rule the obsequious natural slave peoples, and thereby vindicate his own superior vital powers. He must assert power according to those values he has invented for himself . . . [and worst of all] . . .

"The Nazi regime was incredibly successful, powerful, and popular among Germans for ten years because it embodied all three phases of modernism . . . "

I like to chronicle the major week-to-week news developments, and — as if the vocal attacks on talk radio and the terror attack in India weren't ominous enough — on Monday (12/5/08) the Washington Post ran a little article in which the bombshell was dropped, that:

The US Department of Defense plans to deploy 20,000 troops nationwide by 2011 to help state and local officials respond to terror or nuclear attacks and "emergencies," the Washington Post said Monday. Citing Pentagon officials, the newspaper said the plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces.

The first 4,700-strong unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade, is based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and is already available for deployment, according to General Victor Renuart, commander of the US Northern Command, it said. Two additional groups will later join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops to support local and state authorities nationwide, The Post said . . . The newspaper said that civil liberties groups and libertarians had expressed concern that the plan could undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement.

[Whatever the intentions of this plan, the fact that it was greeted by one big public YAWN is the scary part of the whole situation.]

In Paradise Lost, John Milton (1608-1873) said, "[He who] overcomes by force has overcome but half his foe." The attempted overcoming of religious freedom has begun with a vengeance, just as was the ongoing scene in the Old, Old World, "after all." Milton was a teenager when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and he must have understood perfectly why they had left Europe.

These days we are told to just shut up and be more like Europe. Milton would probably now call America the "Paradise Lost." And here's a concluding remark by John Stuart Mill:

"We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still."

The next time a Lefty tells you to "stifle yourself or we'll sue," just tell him to go sue himself!

P.S. Try to say this phrase three times fast: "Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State." Now there's a thought that ought to make you sleep a lot better at night, eh? Not to pre-judge the incoming Administration (assuming they will still want the job), but don't hit the snooze button. I believe with the Boy Scouts that the best advice is to "Be prepared." Be prepared for anything, and don't be afraid to dissent or disagree.

Not supporting the "gay" political agenda does not put one in the same category as the druggies who killed Matthew Shepard. Not approving every proposal of a black President wouldn't be the same as supporting Jim Crow laws.

Not swallowing all the "man-made global warming" hoopla isn't the same thing as promoting dirtier air or water. And not agreeing with every pontification of Academia isn't the same thing as "anti-intellectualism"; "agreeing to disagree" is closer to Academic Freedom that robotic "Heil Harvards"!

By the way, not all the economic news is bad. I just heard that the Harvard Endowment fund has lost $8 billion (or 22 percent) during the recent "Bear market." As a tree surgeon by trade, I've known for a long time that the Ivy League schools have a lot of deadwood in need of trimming.


Be prepared to keep things in perspective, and "keep the faith." Even though President Bush's dog bit a Reuters correspondent, many British journalists are doing a better job at their trade than their American counterparts. For example: — best-hope-Earth.html

That's your homework assignment until our next history lesson here. A few good excerpts:

"I was in Washington DC the night of the election . . . There had been a few white people blowing car horns and shouting, as the result became clear. But among the Mexicans, Salvadorans and the other Third World nationalities, there was something like ecstasy.

"They grasped the real significance of this moment. They knew it meant that America had finally switched sides in a global cultural war. Forget the Cold War, or even the Iraq War. The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world.

"Suspicious of welfare addiction, feeble justice and high taxes, totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique.

"These strengths had been fading for some time, mainly due to poorly controlled mass immigration and to the march of political correctness. They had also been weakened by the failure of America's conservative party — the Republicans — to fight on the cultural and moral fronts.

"They preferred to posture on the world stage. Scared of confronting Left-wing teachers and sexual revolutionaries at home, they could order soldiers to be brave on their behalf in far-off deserts. And now the US, like Britain before it, has begun the long slow descent into the Third World. How sad. Where now is our last best hope on Earth?"

Yes, as Francis Bacon (1561-1626) put it, "Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper . . .

"In the youth of a state arms do flourish; in the middle age of a state, learning; and then both of them together for a time; in the declining age of a state, mechanical arts and merchandise . . .

"Books will speak plain when counselors blanche."

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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