Just the Facts

It is not often I find something worth writing about, but lately have been trouble at the lengths people will go for a little attention or traffic for a blog.  It recent times the call for attention from complete strangers has blanketed our society and culture like a plague.  With outlets like Facebook and Twitter it is easy to find something that someone will grab onto and spread like a wildfire.  With this wildfire will come fame and a glimpse of importance in what ever the person seeking this attention professes to know something about.  It does not mean that they are by any means an expert in a particular area, have a valid opinion on a topic, or anything of great importance to say.

Recently this past weekend we have a prime example of what I am speaking about.  The website The Huffington Post and the trollers they have as editors found a blog about, that may or may not have happen, at a local Wal-Mart in Clermont Florida.  A young woman, Kathleen Carpenter, went shopping with her two young sons, ages 2 and 5 months.  There is nothing special about that, Wal-Mart happens to big very popular in Florida.  She wrote in her blog post that this “…is something I don’t do very often.”  Which is odd because on her byline on the Huffington Post it listed her as a stay-at-home mom and blogger.  I know people that live in this region of Florida and stay-at-home mom is a very popular job title.  Where I live, Connecticut, to be a full time mom and stay at home and raise the kids is something we do not see that often, unless you live in Greenwich.  I cannot prove, but I will bet the stay-at-home moms in Greenwich are not shopping at Wal-Mart.  It is fair to say that most people that shop at Wal-Mart are working class to low-income people, and they are not sometimes the best of people.

Wal-Mart also has issues of it’s own that it cannot avoid.  We all know how poorly the employees of Wal-Mart are treated and how Wal-Mart encourages manufactures to produce goods in China.

Lets get back to Ms. Carpenter, she decides to do something she does not do often and go to a place where there is a possibility of running into questionable people, in a state which does have a bit of a red-neck, ultra conservative, population.

She starts her story with a talk up of how typical her son is compared to others his age, liking super heroes and typical boy stuff.  In her words “he’s a real boys’ boy.”  She feels there is a need to prove to us how heterosexual he is.  As I read this I was like “why do we need this build up, where is this going, and why does this sound more like fiction than truth?”  However she goes one with how it is a struggle to get two kids ready to go to the store and how all parents know what she is talking about. I am a parent, I have an 18-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son, and I never had a hard time getting them ready for anything.  Motivating kids is easy and if you have a strong relationship with your children they will follow you into the gates of hell and back as if it were as easy as going to Six Flags.  One has parenting skills or you don’t, you cannot learn them because every child is different and reacts differently to what the parent does.

Back to the story, so Ms. Carpenter ventures to Wal-Mart to do a little shopping with her young children in tow.  To claim one down, the 2 year old, she let him wear a pink headband that is hers.  Keep in mind she already has told use how much of a boy’s boy he is.  Ms. Carpenter goes as far to say “…two old birds came to tell me how adorable he was.”  Two old birds, does she mean two elderly women?  Is it polite to call elderly women old birds?  To me it seems kind of mean to call to nice ladies old birds, especially after they said something nice.

Oh it gets better, shortly after that Carpenter writes about how two teenage girls questioned if her son was a boy or girl.  Let me be honest for moment here, with young boys this happens often regardless of pink headband or not.  My son when he was that age had very curly hair, still does, that his mother and I let grow long.  From afar he could be and would be often mistaken for a girl.  No big deal because as he matures that will change.  It is not the end of the world or insulting.  But as these two girls ask this question and man overhears an says with some surprise “that’s a boy!”

This is where the story gets ugly.  This man she describes as “…overly large with a bushy beard and a camouflage shirt with the arms cut off.  He had tattered shorts and lace-up work boots with no laces.  I could smell the fug of cigarette smoke surrounding him, and there was a definite pong of beer on him.”  That is a pretty detailed description of about half the male population of Central Florida.  I was waiting for her to say he slipped into the Everglades on a fan boat.  Apparently this man took the headband off the boy, put his hand on the boys’ head.  She evens states in her blog that the man cuffed his hand around the boys head, not struck, cuffed.  I assume much the way we would cuff our hand around a pet’s head.  She goes on to write that she would “…cut your arms off…” if he touched her boy again.  Keep in mind in her blog post, this man has not threaten violence and struck either of them in a violent manner.  This is, according to Carpenter, the man called her son a “fucking faggot” and he may get shot one day for being gay.  The man did not threaten him in any means.

If these events are true, this is alarming.  However she wrote her blog post 24 hours after the fact, spoke about on Facebook (probably looking for support or the courage to write her post), but she never went to store management or the police.  If this “assault” was as bad she made it out to be why not going to the police right away, store management could have held the man for the police.  Why let witnesses leave without making a statement.  In fact she complains about how people stood by and did nothing.  If it was that bad someone would have done something, it is Florida after all, shoot first asks later.  With mobile phones out there you mean to tell me no one got video.  This is why her story does not hold water.  Her failure to act is what loses the creditability for her tale.  According to an Orlando Sentinel article she waited a week to contact police.

It gets worse, the hardened liberal news outlet The Huffington Post jumps on this and posts it.  Of course Carpenters name under the byline is Katie Vyktoriah and has her Twitter tag and a reference to her blog.  MSNBC, Fox News, or any other news sources with journalistic integrity did not pick up this blog post with journalistic integrity for reposting.  Not only did the Huffington Post promote it, they stood by it as if it was fact.  Any post from a commenter questioning if these events in this blog post actually happen or called it out for being bogus was deleted.  The Huffington Post went as far as to interview Carpenter on their Huff Post Live feed.  Some editor so a moment to make some headlines and a name for him/herself and this was the vehicle, as it was a vehicle for Carpenter to get traffic to her blog.  In the Orlando Sentinel article the police are evening looking into this to see if it was made up.  The Orlando Sentinel, an old time newspaper is fact checking, checking police sources (3 police reports are citied in the article), and doing what reporters are supposed to do.  One would think the Huffington Post, a global news source, would have done this.  When the Huffington Post decided to censor those who called “Bullshit” on this story, they made a decision that proper news reporting is not as important as a splashy head line of a homophobic incident at of all places a Wal-mart, will that is too big to pass up even if it is made up.

I give a tip of the hat to the Orlando Sentinel for working towards good news reporting and the truth, and to the Huffington Post, you will never compete against the big boys with hackwork.  Huffington Post, if you haven’t noticed in recent days the newspaper world in changing in huge ways and you will become a dinosaur like your partner AOL.

Elements of Failure

    

Kelo vs. City of New London

 

The other day while at the gym I overheard a man complaining about how the town of Ellington, via eminent domain, took a segment of his front yard to have a traffic rotary built.  This is considered a typical use of eminent domain and how most people in the United States in envision the government use of eminent domain.  However in the post-war World War II era the use of eminent domain has taking a radical shift in its implications, cultivating into what would become the landmark case of Kelo v. New London.  This shift has to do with economic issues, such as job creation and the increase of tax revenue.  Although the need for municipalities to increase tax revenues is the primary reason for this shift has taking place in the use of eminent domain.  Cities and towns see tax revenue drying up so local governments have no issue with taking land from person A and giving it to person B because person B usually is a business that will develop that land increasing the value of that land, which in turn brings in more tax revenue than what was previously there. 

For many in the United States the Kelo decision would be a welcome outcome, for many others the decision would take what they held as sacred and place it in the crosshairs of any entity that saw a value in the land their homes stood on.  Across the United States in any given year there could be as many as ten thousand cases in which governments are using the power of eminent domain to take land from tax paying homeowners or business owners and handing that land over to development companies or wealthier business owners claiming that doing so will increase tax revenue for the city or town and spurring economic growth[1].  Businesses and their supporters would point to changing market conditions and the need for economic growth should take precedence over everything else, even if it takes from person A and gives it to person B[2].  The Kelo decision would swing the pendulum into an area that would let a segment of the population infringe on the rights and liberty of another, however the pendulum was starting to swing that way for some time.

To get to the Kelo decision one must take a look at how the process of Prior to the Civil War the concept of eminent domain was limited to the federal government in that the government could take land from a private owner for use to build a project that would benefit the general public, like a road or bridge.  What gave the federal government the right to do this was the 5th Amendment[3], however the government had to give just compensation.  The first change to eminent domain, or the takings clause, would not come until the 14th Amendment when it was decided by the Supreme Court that the states, and local town governments, have a right to take land via eminent domain under the equal protection clause[4].  It would not be until after the Second World War, which ushered in a period of unprecedented prosperity in the United States, that the takings clause would again change.

The United States since the beginning of the 20th century has promoted urban renewal by means of urban redevelopment.  One such project that succeeded in urban redevelopment, and did not need to use eminent domain, was the building of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, The New York Central Railroad already owned the land the new terminal was built on.  However projects like the Terminal are rare because the land the Terminal was built on so there was no need to use eminent domain to acquire land.  With successes like Grand Central Terminal comes a need to continue that success.    Railroads are what most people think of when they think of eminent domain, the greedy railroad baron trying to steal land from honest Americans.  With an increase in industrialization and changes in the national economy it would not be the greedy railroad robber-baron trying to get peoples land for nothing by eminent domain, it would become corporations wanting the land to build factories, hotels, and office space.

As urban renewal hit full steam state and local governments face the problem land was limited, so to make up for the lack of land the governments would look for areas within cities and towns that were blighted.  Now in most blighted neighborhoods most of the people may not have much and are willing to take the compensation offered.  However there would be some whose property was in good shape, or better, but unfortunately fell into the blighted zone.  In Washington D.C. one case like this would arise in 1954, Berman v. Parker.   In the District of Columbia there arose a need to improve blighted areas because these substandard areas could be “…injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and welfare…” of the citizens within these areas[5].  The District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency was given the authority to take in possession of properties for redevelopment and in doing so blighted a neighborhood that the Berman’s department store stood.  The Berman’s store was in better shape compared to the rest of the neighborhood in which the overwhelming majority of buildings were beyond repair and still had outside toilets, some even lacked electricity[6].  Without dissent the Court affirmed the decision of the lower court stating it is “…fruitless…” to define the limits of eminent domain, which the Court defined as a police power.  It was, and is; in the eyes of the Court a police power municipal governments need to insure “public safety, public health, morality, peace and quiet, law and order[7].”   The Court further explains it is not the responsibility to of the “…courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line…nor size of a particular project area[8].”  The Court explains why takings such as this are important to the public, but gives a stinging rebuke to the Bermans and others that may want to challenge the takings clause in the future with the final sentence of the opinion.  The Court said in that rebuke “The rights of these property owners are satisfied when they receive that just compensation which the Fifth Amendment exacts as the price of the taking[9].”  This one sentence is very powerful and it alone, despite the precedents the court used, explains what eminent domain is and will be in the future.  It more or less says to take the money that is offered as compensation, do not dispute eminent domain because the government will always win.

Like the Berman case, there is another that the Supreme Court used in the Kelo decision as a precedent was the case of Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff from 1984.  Even though the Midkiff case is an eminent domain case it is nothing like the Berman or Kelo case.  The Midkiff case had to deal with breaking up a long-standing feudal tradition in Hawaii were that 47% of the land was owned by 72 private landowners who leased the land to tenants[10].  The State of Hawaii contended that because of the vast amounts of land these 72 landowners held the value of land was overly inflated and limited growth within the state.  The State wanted to take possession of the land to sell to private individuals; therefore the Hawaiian Legislature enacted legislation to seize the land from the landowners[11].  The landowners claimed they wanted to sell their land but federal tax code would inflict substantive monetary costs, making leasing the land more profitable for them[12].  Like the Kelo case the state of Hawaii wanted to give the land to private homeowners, however many of these homeowners already were leasing the land from the landowners.  It would be because of this that the Court would “…have no trouble concluding that the Hawaii Act is constitutional[13].”  The Midkiff case lacked the usual elements of an eminent domain case in that the land was not blighted and in some cases the renters improved the land.

A case that gets a single mention in each, the Supreme Court decision and the Connecticut Supreme Court, decision is Poletown Neighborhood Council v. City of Detroit.  The Poletown case is from 1981 and was decided in the Supreme Court of Michigan, never made it to the United States Supreme Court.  The Poletown case is very much like the Kelo case, in that a corporation is involved.  By time Kelo was argued in the United States Supreme Court Poletown would be overturned by the Supreme Court of Michigan in 2004 with the Wayne County v. Hathcock case[14].  The details of the Poletown case are eerily similar to that of the Kelo case, which makes one wonder why the Connecticut Supreme Court did not reference it more in the decision it rendered, the Poletown case deals with many of the same elements as Kelo.  The Poletown case revolves around a neighborhood of mostly Polish immigrants that was blighted by the city and taken by eminent domain by the city of Detroit to be given to General Motors, so that a factory can be built on the land. Michigan Supreme Court decided that the land should be given to General Motors because the plant would “…alleviate and prevent conditions of unemployment…” in the state and any “…benefit to a private interest is merely incidental[15].”  To make the point clear the Michigan Supreme Court quoted former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Cooley from an eminent domain case just over a century prior that said “…the most important consideration in the case of eminent domain is the necessity of accomplishing some public good which… the law does not so much regard the means as the need[16].”

The Kelo case is similar to that of Poletown in that a private corporation is involved in that the private corporation will be receiving the taken land to develop for its own need.  In Poletown General Motors was directly involved in the need to take the land, in Kelo Pfizer Pharmaceutical was involved, however Pfizer’s amount of involvement may never be truly known.  It would be safe to say Pfizer was very involved in the process, to the point that some felt there was a backroom deal between Pfizer and then Governor John Rowland[17].  It would be the State of Connecticut issuing the funds, seventy million dollars, to New London and New London Development Council to move forward with what become known as the Fort Trumbull Project, that was to be injection of jobs and tax revenue into the city of New London, with Pfizer building a new state-of-the-art research center next to the proposed project[18].  The land for this proposed project consisted of a scrap metal yard, water treatment plant, residential housing, and abandoned AMTRAK station, and the closed Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory totaling ninety acres of undervalued waterfront property[19].  Not the most attractive pieces of land, certainly showing the elements of a dead city, and one could question why anyone would want to live in this neighbor, but yet a home is a home.

At the core of the defense were a small number of homeowners, nine in total. Some like Suzette Kelo lived there a short while, Kelo herself had just bought her house in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood 1997, a year prior to the project being announced.  Others like, Wilhelmina Dery, lived in the neighborhood for long periods of time.  Dery herself was born in the house she lived in, and would die in that house[20].  It is east to see why Dery would choose not to sell her house; it would be tough for her to replace all the memories.  Suzette Kelo on the other had could have should with the possibility of making a profit, granted it would be at taxpayer expense.

The question in the Kelo case was far beyond that of public use, because to many involved it was exactly how the land would be used.  Many felt the land was going to be used for the benefit of Pfizer, not the public, because Pfizer asked for a hotel, upscale condos, and office buildings be put on the land.  These are all things that were worked into the final proposal, giving the Fort Trumbull project a direct similarity to the Poletown case.  The proposal from the New London Development Corporation would have in one parcel of the project close to ninety thousand square feet of “…high technology research and development office space…located close to other research and development facilities, including those of Pfizer[21].”  New London is not known for high technology research, there are other areas in the state that may fit that description, and New London would be more suited for naval research and development with the Electric Boat Shipyard across the Thames River.  Another issue involved in this project was doubt of any success, Pfizer included or not, because of a number of failures the New London Development Corporation has had since it was formed in 1990[22].  This feeds in the publics beliefs that Pfizer was indeed the entity behind the project with its self interests being served.

New London is a dying city, if not a dead one already.  With the United States Coast Guard Academy and Connecticut College takes up the vast amounts of the land in New London, neither of which is taxable.  Including the parks and churches fifty six percent of the land in New London is nontaxable, leaving the city to struggle to find ways to bring money in[23]. With limited tax revenue coming into the city, the city struggles to pay for services such as police, fire and education.  There is a negative impact to the citizens of New London, an impact that was starting to be felt within the city.  Not helping New London, to the north two casinos were opening up on Native American reservation land.  Growth was all around New London, but not in New London.  There were few options for New London, and the city government knew something would have to be done soon to help the city.

It could be said the Supreme Court may have had the best of intentions in mind when it affirmed the ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court, helping a city that is dying a slow death rebuild and prosper benefiting those who live in the city.  Cities over time become stagnate and need to find sources of increased revenue.  However its borders limit a cities growth, which means they have to take from one and give to another to generate new streams of tax revenue.  However what the Supreme Court failed to do was protect the rights of citizens, who put time and effort in making a home a home.  It is a difficult balance that the society needs to maintain.  With history as a guide we can see that many times the Supreme Court has not always made the best decisions, sometimes choosing a perceived benefit over actual law and actual benefits.  Today in the city of New London the neighborhood that was fought over, the piece of land the Supreme Court said there would be perceived benefits of tax revenue and job growth, is nothing but a empty plot of grass, void of any buildings, jobs, and increased tax revenue.  It seems everyone in New London knew this project would be a failure, except the Supreme Court.

Bibliography:

Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

“Bill of Rights Transcript Text”, n.d. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html.

Cohen, Charles E. “Eminent Domain After Kelo V. City of New London: An Argument for Banning Economic Development Takings.” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 29, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 491–568.

“Eminent Domain – 60 Minutes – CBS News”, September 28, 2003. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7380308n&tag=mncol;lst;1.

“FORT TRUMBULL PLAINTIFF DIES: [5 NORTHWEST CONNECTICUT/SPORTS FINAL Edition]”, n.d. http://0-search.proquest.com.www.consuls.org/hartfordcourant/docview/256969587/135404C5AAB37FA166B/7?accountid=9970.

Hawaii Housing Authority V. Midkiff, 467 US 229 (Supreme Court 1984).

Kelo, Susette, Thomas B Metzloff, Sarah Wood, Todd Shoemaker, Duke University. School of Law., and Distinctive Aspects of American Law (Project). Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005). Durham, NC: Distinctive Aspects of American Law Video Project, Duke University School of Law, 2006.

Kelo V. City of New London, 268 Conn. 1 (Supreme Court 2004).

Kelo V. New London, 545 US 469 (Supreme Court 2005).

Poletown Neighborhood Council V. City of Detroit, 410 Mich. 616 (Supreme Court 1981).

Saginor, Jesse, and John F. McDonald. “Eminent Domain: A Review of the Issues.” Journal of Real Estate Literature 17, no. 1 (January 2009): 3–43.

STEWART, GEOFFREY T., JERILYN BOWIE-HILL, ANNE K. KEATY, and RAJESH SRIVASTAVA. “The Influence of Kelo V. City of New London, Connecticut on the Use of Eminent Domain in Place Marketing and Economic Development.” Marketing Management Journal 18, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 179–190.


[1] “Eminent Domain – 60 Minutes – CBS News”, September 28, 2003, http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7380308n&tag=mncol;lst;1.

[2] Geoffrey T. Stewart et al., “The Influence of Kelo V. City of New London, Connecticut on the Use of Eminent Domain in Place Marketing and Economic Development,” Marketing Management Journal 18, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 179.

[4] Jesse Saginor and John F. McDonald, “Eminent Domain: A Review of the Issues,” Journal of Real Estate Literature 17, no. 1 (January 2009): 3.

[5] Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

[6] Berman V. Parker, 348 US 26 (Supreme Court 1954).

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Hawaii Housing Authority V. Midkiff, 467 US 229 (Supreme Court 1984).

[11] Charles E. Cohen, “Eminent Domain After Kelo V. City of New London: An Argument for Banning Economic Development Takings,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 29, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 512.

[12] Hawaii Housing Authority V. Midkiff, 467.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Cohen, “Eminent Domain After Kelo V. City of New London,” 515; Saginor and McDonald, “Eminent Domain,” 11.

[15] Poletown Neighborhood Council V. City of Detroit, 410 Mich. 616 (Supreme Court 1981).

[16] Ibid.

[17] Susette Kelo et al., Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) (Durham, NC: Distinctive Aspects of American Law Video Project, Duke University School of Law, 2006).

[18] Ibid.

[19] Kelo V. City of New London, 268 Conn. 1 (Supreme Court 2004); Kelo V. New London, 545 US 469 (Supreme Court 2005); Kelo et al., Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

[20] “FORT TRUMBULL PLAINTIFF DIES: [5 NORTHWEST CONNECTICUT/SPORTS FINAL Edition]”, n.d., http://0-search.proquest.com.www.consuls.org/hartfordcourant/docview/256969587/135404C5AAB37FA166B/7?accountid=9970.

[21] Kelo V. City of New London, 268.

[22] Kelo et al., Kelo V. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

[23] Ibid.

What is Good Customer Service?

Through out my life I have worked a wide variety of jobs, but none strike me more then when I have worked a customer service position.  I worked at one place that prided itself on quality customer service.  One would assume that quality customer service would mean that we the consumer/customer would come first and that at the end of that call that the customer would feel like what ever the issue it was resolved.  However what the company may consider quality would shock us.  In this article I will highlight how over the years I have worked in customer service how it has changed.

When I first worked in a customer service call center I had little, if any, training.  The company was a heating and cooling company and they just had me sit with a few people and listen to their calls.  This approach worked well, I was able to pick up the essence of the job and what the company was trying to do.  It was a smaller company, but they wanted their customer service people to have a personal touch with the customer, this the customer appreciated a lot.  The customer felt they knew the customer service representative and knew when they called in they would get some one who would treat them with respect. The company did not monitor the calls, nor did the company grade the representative.  The goal was to have a happy customer, quality was measured by that customer not calling back about the same issue.  Needless to say there were very few call backs, except for those who had credit issues.  When new upper management came in and wanted scripted openings and closings with branding the customers complained and were unhappy with the new corporate style of customer service.  The company has since lost a large number of customers.

Now there would be another company I would work for, a large utility company.  When I started there I had 3 straight months of training which took place in a class of other newly hired customer service representatives.  We would be given Powerpoints and other work in a classroom.  If we were lucky one of the trainers would take a couple calls.  In the first month the trainer took a total of six calls for use to hear, with the call on the sound system and the computer put on the overhead project for use to see what the trainer was doing on the computer.  The projector was barely in focus and it was hard to hear the caller and what the trainer was saying.  Then they had us pair up and take calls for a total an hour in the classroom.  After that without any more prep at the end of the first month of training they had us take customer calls on our own.  It is important to keep in mind that the training was a rushed and very little effort was made to see if the class fully understood what to do.  They did test us, but multiple choice test is easy to pass.  This companies idea of quality was much different than the first company.  It was not so much is the customer was happy, it was more of if certain things were said.  The call would be monitored and scored on what was said.  The call could go bad, but if the representative said “Thank you for calling Company X” they call was considered to be a quality call.  If the representative repeated what the customer said often that was considered quality, also it was important to ask the customer a series of “verifying” questions to make sure they were who they say the are.  This questions including asking for the address, name, phone number and last four of the social security number.  One would think just asking for the last four of the social security number would be enough.  Needless to say the customer would become frustrated during these questions, not a one that I had was in a good mood after all those questions.  Then after business was conducted and the customer wanted to get off the phone we had to repeat everything that was done, noting it on the account while the customer was on the phone, then thank the customer for calling the company.  By time I got to “Thank you for” I was hung up on.  But if the attempt was not made to say “Thank you for calling Company X” the call was considered a epic failure.  The customer could get off the phone with the sense that nothing was done, but if the representative branded the call with the company name the call was of the highest quality.  The company would record all the calls and have the representative listen to a few each month and point out the lack of branding and would encourage more branding in the call.  Keep in mind this company had a monopoly in the state it was in.  As long as the representative noted the account and send the branding the call was a success.

Why do companies decide what the customer considers to be good customer service and why is the customer now secondary in the scheme of things?  These are two questions that will require research to answer.

Conforming Carl Schmitt

Central Connecticut State Universirty

Conforming Carl Schmitt

Elitist Controlling the Mob

Dan Whalen

3/13/2010

 

 

A look at how Carl Schmitt conformed to what Hannah Arendt had in mind as a member of the elite allying with the mob within a totalitarian movement,

 

 

 

Hannah Arendt and Carl Schmitt are two on different sides of the political and philosophical spectrum.  Even with these differences they make arguments that parallel each other.  They were and still are considered intellectual elites.  This is important because when Arendt in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism she speaks of an alliance between the mob, the disgruntled lower classes, and the elite, the intellectual.  In essence she is pointing the finger at those like Carl Schmitt.

It is interesting to point out that Arendt feels that the intellectual elite is part of the reason a totalitarian movement is able to grab a foot hold within in a country. She fails to disclose that she is part of the intellectual elite, but a Marxist bias does come out in her writing.  This is not to be confused with her critique of Stalinism.

The term elite is a broad term that can mean almost anything, but Schmitt does support her claim of an attraction between the intellectual elite and the mob as a clue to understanding the totalitarian movement[i].  He does seem to lean towards a totalitarian style government.  Schmitt says “A state standing above society could be called universal but not total, as the term is under stood nowadays[ii].”  This can be seen as a whitewash of what totalitarianism is, making totalitarianism seem as if it can be better than what it is known of being.  It places him on “the terrifying roster of distinguished men whom totalitarianism can count among its sympathizers, fellow-travelers, and inscribed party members[iii].”  Whitewash maybe to weak of a word, but what he is saying that within a totalitarian regime there will be a sense of universality that will be all in inclusive.  Everyone will be better off and equal within the state based on his theory.  It would be the Utopia Sir Thomas More[iv] wrote about, giving all those within the state the social and economic justice they are seeking.  This gives the mob Arendt speaks about hope if the message is relayed to them correctly.

The mob, whipped up in a frenzy unleashing its terror, well have to have an enemy, some entity that has denied them social and economic justice or is the way of it.  Schmitt would admit, “The actual participants can correctly recognize, understand, and judge the concrete situation and settle the extreme case of the conflict… Emotionally the enemy is easily treated as being evil.[v]”  How ever as Arendt points out “the European status quo was still the most serious threat to the ambitions of the mob.[vi]”  An enemy foreign or domestic would have to be created.  The concept of the domestic enemy does not elude Schmitt; he wrote “as the state is a political entity this requirement for the internal peace compels it in critical situations to decide also upon the domestic enemy.[vii]”  As for the Nazis there was not a shortage of people to be labeled as an enemy.  The enemy is the scapegoat of the totalitarian regime to distract the populous from the shortcomings and mistakes made by the regime.  Schmitt notes, “the distinction of friend and enemy denotes the utmost degree of intensity of a union or separation[viii]” and “without having simultaneously to draw upon all those moral, aesthetic, economic, or other distinctions[ix].”  The elite and the mobs “preference for terrorism over all other forms of political activity[x]” means they need an enemy so weak that there is little possibility for them, the enemy, to have any desire to fight back or resist.  This is why the Nazis chose the Jews within Germany, because their first enemy, the Communists, fought back.  As Germany occupied territory other groups became domestic enemies based on that territory, for example the Gypsies in Hungary[xi].  Also common for a totalitarian regime is an ideological enemy, for Stalin it was the United States.  The enemy is important not only for propaganda purposes but for their “desire to see the ruin of this whole world of fake security, fake culture, and fake life.[xii]”  The enemy is opposed to the realness of the totalitarian regime and its virtues.

With upheaval caused the mob under control from the elite is what causes both entities to form “an alliance because of their common antipathy toward the state[xiii]” and the elites “smugness of spurious respectability gave way to anarchic despair[xiv].”  The newfound status of the intellectual elite supersedes “the fact that their lives prior to their political careers had been failures, naïvely held against them by the more respectable leaders of the old parties.[xv]”  To have these new successful careers they need the mob to whip up support by any means necessary.  An example of which would be how Mafia heads, not to be confused with the mob Arendt is speaking of, transcend their lack of education to acquire wealth and power through brute force.  The mobs violence “become(s) a kind of philosophy through which to express frustration, resentment, and blind hatred, a kind of political expressionism[xvi]” which is the fuel the elite needs to push forward their platform which would other wise be quashed by the wealthy elite.  Plus the intellectual elite needs to use the mob because unlike the wealthy elite who have money and power they can use to garner influence within the political establishment.  Intellectual elite really cannot garner influence in the same manner.  Writing papers and journal articles can only do so much and hardly leave the realm of academia.  The sphere of influence is not that large, but with the power of the mob the sphere grows and expands into a stratum of society it had not reached before.  As it grows it is reinforced by means like propaganda, even if the messages meaning is distorted.

As I wrote this one story kept popping in my head and that was The Cave by Plato.  Reasoning being perception is everything because we all see things differently.   The intellectual elite would know this and in knowing this would know how to exploit it.  That is why the allegory of The Cave is so important.   The mob would be more or less the people bound in the cave and the intellectual elite are the people behind the mob projecting images on to the cave wall.  The only difference is the mob does not break free and see the light.  The mob is forever trapped in an

endless cycle, forever doing the bidding of the intellectual elite.   It is like the slogan “Stupid people in mass can be a very dangerous thing.”   The slogan was referring to the election of George W. Bush, but it’s meaning is timeless.   The mob is in effect mindless, lacking direction, until the intellectual elite gives it a mind.   That is why the alliance is needed between them and so important for both parties.   Carl Schmitt is, for lack of a better word, the poster child of the elite that Arendt is describing.  She to fits in that group, but to the other extreme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End Notes


[i] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 433

[ii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 24

[iii] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 432

[iv] For this paper I will refer to Thomas More as Sir Thomas More and not St. Thomas More .  Referring to him as Saint gives the meaning of my words a religious context that is not desired.  Although Schmitt does reference religion in his text I reframed from using religion in my paper.

[v] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 27

[vi] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 436

[vii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 46

[viii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 26

 

[ix] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 27

[x] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 439

[xi] It is well known that the Nazi’s also had Gypsies and homosexuals among other groups in the concentration camps.   My Grandmother, a German born in Hungary, would rail against the Gypsies.  Other members of her, she came to the United States during the First World War, family that came after the Second World War felt the Gypsies were more of a threat than Jews because Gypsies never laid roots in the manner other Europeans had.  This was exploited by the Nazi occupation force to build support among the local population.

[xii] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 435

[xiii] Schmitt,Carl. The Concept of the Political, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): 41

[xiv] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004): 433

[xv] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004)  : 434

[xvi] Arendt,Hannah. The Origins of Totalitrianism, (New York: Schocken, 2004) : 439

Works Cited

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism: Introduction by Samantha Power. New York: Schocken, 2004.

Schmitt, Carl. The Concept of the Political. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1996.

 

The Sheep of Christ

Central Connecticut State University

The Sheep of Christ

How Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson over estimated their importance

Daniel Whalen

12/12/2009

A brief overview and look at how Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson took different paths to gain lobbying power for the Religious Right.  With their methods one can see how they failed to push any Christian agenda forward.


 

In the early part of the United States the citizens felt the country should be a country with a religious orientation.  The overwhelming majority of people were Protestants.   Protestantism is a made up of many dominations, many of which have beliefs that overlap each other.   Religion has always been a part of the United States in one form or another.  It was not until after the Second World War that religion had a reawaking and reinserted it’s self into everyday American life.  Most of this has come from the ever-shrinking Protestant majority.   Many have selected to follow those who have extreme and outrageous views of what the country and world should be.   To better understand this one must look at two of the movements most notable leaders and see why people are driven to their point of view.  Also it is important to see if these men are actual leaders or looking for something else such as money and notoriety.

As the post-war era was beginning a new war was beginning.   The new enemy was the atheist Soviet Union.  Under communism all forms of religion were discouraged and persecuted.  With the Soviet Union as a political and militarily enemy it was only natural for the religious to choose it as an enemy.  With its godless society it was easy for the religious leaders to shepherd a flock.  These factors would forge a partnership with some of the top preachers in the United States and its elected officials.   A partnership that over the years would try to define a nation and push towards sites people never thought possible.

In the 1950’s the United States was coming out of World War II the victors and engaged in the Korean Conflict to stop the spread of Communism.  Americans were not just looking for leadership in the war against the Communist, but a spiritual guide.  One of these guides was Rev. Billy Graham. We today think of Rev. Graham as a man who periodically was on television during prime time interrupting our favorite programs.   But he was more than that, some would say he pulled America from the abyss.  He was not out for power, nor was he out for political gain.  By the time of his preaching had ceased he had established a legacy like no other.  He also advised a number of presidents from Eisenhower to Clinton.  This relationship he had with Presidents would not go unnoticed by preachers that would try to follow in his footsteps.

Pat Robertson is a man we all know is known for saying outlandish things from time to time.  A person from outside the United States surely would think he is insane for the remarks that he has made over a variety of issues.  Born Marion Gordon Robertson on March 22, 1930 to Absalom Willis and Gladys Robertson in the state of Virginia.  His father was a Democratic Senator from Virginia from 1946 to 1966; this gave Pat a leg up in politics[1][2].  This is important because as Pat becomes a televangelist he will champion causes dear to religious conservatives.  An ability to know the workings of government is a vital tool to have.  In 1960 Pat would found the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the first Christian television network in the United States[3].  As the CBN evolved over the decades it would become the soapbox from which Pat Robertson would spread his message.  In 1989, after a failed run for President, Robertson would form the Christian Coalition to promote the religious conservative agenda within the United States[4].

Jerry Falwell was also from Virginia and started the Thomas Road Baptist Church with 35 members in June of 1956[5].  Falwell would not have the background of Pat Robertson, nor would he have the ambitions of Robertson.  Jerry Falwell would have a television show that would never reach the heights of the CBN and he would never run for office.   But he had the same impact on the religious conservative movement that Pat Robertson had.   Falwell in 1979 would found the Moral Majority with the hopes of returning America to Christian morality[6].  Falwell would want to have the power Robertson had, but he would go about it in a different way with different results.

As the decade of the 1970’s was about to close, the United States was at a crossroad.  The 1960’s brought an end to school prayer with the Supreme Courts ruling on it[7].  Along with this the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is legal with the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.  These rulings and the open sexuality and drug use were emerging threats to the values of the conservative Christian people in the United States.   They also were concerned with passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, which a staggering 91% of conservative Christians against it[8].  Also among their issues was reestablishing school prayer, teaching creationism in schools, and homosexuality[9].  They had lost hope in President Carter, himself a born-again Christian, in getting these ruling reversed.   The Religious Right as the conservative Christians are known as needed a new leaders to pin their hopes on, to forge a new trail for the country.  They knew they would have to form a voting bloc that can in some way sway the election in 1980.  The Religious Right would start this process of organizing in 1979.  Prior to this it is important to point out that they did have smaller groups that acted more like think tanks and never went to the methods we would see in the 19080’s..  One of these early think tanks was the Religious Roundtable founded in the late 1970’s[10].  The Roundtable was a collection of preachers, television evangelists, wealthy business, conservative anti-feminists, and lastly politicians gathered together to promote an agenda put forth by the Religious Right[11].  The most notable of these meetings for the Religious Roundtable happen in Dallas, Texas in August of 1980[12].   In attendance would be two television evangelists who had a taste for power, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson[13].  It was at this event that a candidate named Ronald Reagan gave a speech and within that speech said, “I know this is nonpartisan, so you can’t endorse me, but I want you to know that I endorse you.”[14]  To the ears of Robertson and Falwell these words would be like magic, a gateway to the most powerful office in the country if Reagan gets elected.  Actually to them it meant that they could harness the power to shape the country as they see fit if they can get their followers out to vote.  The difference is they each had a different idea of how to achieve that power.  Not only can this be used for personal gain, it would give these to men a key to the White House, ideal for marketing to their followers.

For Falwell this remark by Reagan would be a godsend.  Falwell already had the Moral Majority established and knew he could make it into a powerful lobbing machine.   He just needed away to make it known it was a force to be reckoned with.  To make his voice heard he would stage rallies in what he called “I Love America.”  He would have these rallies in 44 state capitols for which would not only be political rallies, but anti-abortion rallies also[15].  This was the kind of mobilization that could benefit the Republican Party[16].  The negative to these rallies would be Falwell and his Moral Majority would be supported by mainly by fellow Baptists[17] and white fundamentalists[18].  The issue with this is that the  message Falwell wants to spread is already focused onto his core following.  There is not any expansion into mainstream America.    His Moral Majority in reality is the Moral Minority.  Falwell fails to see this and insists he has an impact on policy.

Meanwhile as this is developing for Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson focuses spreading his message from his show the 700 Club.  The powerbrokers in the Religious Right decided that Robertson would not be the vocal point for their political ambitions because they felt that his background, being a Senators son and having a Law Degree from Yale, he would be seen as to elitist[19].   That is why Falwell was chosen, he was easier to mold into what the political professionals wanted and he had never publicly indentified his political leanings[20].  Even though he was not in the forefront, Robertson would be able to maneuver behind the scenes.  This would put him in the position of picking up the pieces if Falwell failed and have a framework to build his own organization.  But early on Pat Robertson is content at letting Falwell have the limelight[21].  Sometimes it is best to be in the background letting others fail.

The Religious Right had many issues on their plate; they had their champions to promote their causes.  Hanging all their hopes on to the Republican Party starting with Ronald Reagan would be a double-edged sword for them.  The Religious Right, mostly Jerry Falwell during the Reagan years, felt that they not only helped Reagan get the Republican nomination but got him elected President[22].  Falwell had proven to the Republicans that the Religious Right can be a force, or that they are sheep that can be easily manipulated with very little persuasion.  The Republican Party has been known as the Big Business Party, which meant siding with the Religious Right is an odd mix.  The Republicans notice how charismatic the evangelical leaders are and how Falwell is a lightening rod for attention.  Falwell between the years of 1973-1997 would have a total of 358 news stories written mentioning him or the Moral Majority, where as Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition would have 234[23].  This exposure would back fire on Falwell, making him a bit of a laughing stock.  All that really happened was Falwell was exposed as the megalomaniac he was. Falwell believed that he helped garner votes that the Republicans might have never have had.  With all this by 1988 the Republicans had a list of 1,000 religious leaders they could manipulate, not on that list were Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson[24].  Perhaps Robertson was left out of that list because he was planning to run for President.

Pat Robertson felt that Reagan and the Republicans had let down the evangelicals of the Religious Right.  He would try to get the nomination for the Republicans, but would lose out to George Bush.  This would leave a sour taste in the mouth of Robertson, prompting him to follow in the footsteps of Jerry Falwell and found his own lobbying group.   With the Christian Coalition Robertson would be able to project perceived power within the Republican Party.  Where as  Falwell failed to move any of the Religious Rights ahead with Reagan[25].   In fact he had done so little that the Moral Majority had to shut down operations.  Falwell would say his church needs him as an excuse for shutting down the Moral Majority[26].  The reality was he was marginalized and played by the Republicans to garner votes which in the end meant supporters moved on to other groups..  Later in his life Falwell would still think he was a powerbroker and would always be a talking head on the cables news.  He was reduced to being a talking mouth with nothing to back up his words.   Falwell even endorsed then Vice President Bush in the 1988 election in the hopes of having the success he was not able to have with President Reagan[27].  This is odd because Bush was uneasy with evangelicals; this goes back to the 1980 election[28].  Bush and his inner circle knew that the evangelicals would vote for anyone who would give them hope for pushing their addenda.  George W. Bush would do this in the 2000 election with great success, but it is not the reason he won the election.  Robertson having been in the wings during the Reagan years was able to build a network and recruit people to help him, such as Ralph Reed.

The Christian Coalition learned from the failures of the Moral Majority.  Falwell focused too much on the Presidency and the larger national scope of his movement.   Robertson with the help of Ralph Reed would focus more on the smaller local, state and congressional elections[29].  Many of the issues people in the Religious Right hold dear, like school prayer and the teaching of creationism over evolution, can be achieved more easily in the smaller elections.  By focusing on these smaller elections, like for school boards, the Christian Coalition can stack the majority of board votes into their favor.  It would seem that Pat Robertson learned by the mistakes Jerry Falwell made.  The Christian Coalition would also tell the people running for election not to mention they are associated with the Christian Coalition[30].  Unlike the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition was quick to realize there is a stigma with being associated with Christian activism.   They did not want to scare away independent and moderate voters.  Interesting by doing so in the state of Washington the Christian Coalition along with like minded groups were able to gain control of the Republican Party.  With this control they put forth a campaign platform targeting witchcraft and other New Age religions[31].  Needless to say with a platform that out of touch with mainstream society.   It is hard to fathom a campaign platform like that having any success in the United States outside of 17th century Plymouth Colony.  Another tool the Christian Coalition uses to influence the vote is voter guides[32].  The voter guides will give the voter a comparison of the issues each candidate supports and opposes.

In the 1990’s these two men, Falwell and Robertson, would see the focus of attention shift away from them.  The country was flourishing under the guidance of President Clinton and the moral attitudes of everyday people were more relaxed.   The society was more excepting of homosexuals and women.  Societies over time tend to become more liberal and tolerant as a way of adapting to the growth of the society.  This would send evangelicals into a tailspin, eventually make them more aggressive in their views and opinions.  In 1996 the Christian Coalition force Republican candidate for President Bob Dole into adding abortion to the issues covered by his campaign[33].  The Religious Right, championed by the Christian Coalition, would also try to gain control of the public schools and the media[34].  The ability to control information is a powerful weapon.   It is as if the Religious Right would prefer that the United States be a totalitarian type government instead of a democracy.  Ideally under this government there would be one religion because evangelicals are intolerant of all other religions, especially Islam[35].  Like with Reagan, the Religious Right hoped that Dole would give them greater power within government to achieve these goals.   The defeat of Dole would be a major setback and can be said the end of the Religious Right as a legitimate national lobbying force[36].

From 1996 on the two former power holder of the Religious Right have been reduced to men who would from time to time make absurd remarks to make themselves seem pertinent in today’s society.  Robertson would say the Constitution “is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people,” discounting the fact that our government does not indorse any religion of any kind[37].  He would also say that Orlando, Florida would be destroyed by a meteor for having rainbow flags during “Gay Pride Month,” for evoking God’s wrath[38].  Robertson would go as far as saying that an equal rights amendment in Iowa is support for women to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.[39]”  Falwell would not be outdone by Robertson however.  In 1999 Falwell would say the Antichrist would come to us as a Jew and that the children’s show The Teletubbies was a front for homosexual propaganda[40].  He would also blame the 9/11 attacks, not on Islamic extremists, but on gays, pro-choice groups, and people for the separation of church and state[41].  They both would say these things not just to draw attention to themselves, but to assert themselves as relevant.  The fact of the matter is the country had moved on leaving them behind.

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were, Robertson still is, two men that were power hungry and driven by greed.   For all they have done the bottom line at the end of the day is that both men have profited by all that they have done.   Why else have a television network but to gain wealth, and with that wealth, comes power.   In a capitalist system greed comes in a variety of different things.   Falwell was a man from humble beginnings that was gives a taste of things on the big stage, and he got addicted to it.  Robertson saw how people treated his father and wanted that same treatment.  The problem for both men is that religious mavericks in the United States history will forget who you are.   The masses within the American society will listen for a will and move on.   The average American could not say with any amount of certainty who was the first preacher to come up with the “Social Gospel” or who decided that communism was unchristian. Their statements alone show the importance of the separation of church and state.   Their view of religion is very archaic and most importantly goes against the equality the United States stands for.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Brown, Ruth Murray. For a Christian America: A History of the Religious Right. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.

This book is a detailed history of the Religious right from the 1970’s to the end of the century.  It’s primary focus in on Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and how they were able to rise to power.  It was also a good tool to find other sources.

Moen, Matthew C.. Christian Right & Congress. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press, 1989.

This book focused on how the Christian Right influenced Congress during the Reagan years.  The book is detailed and shows why it would be important for the Christian Coalition to focus on smaller elections instead of the Presidential election.

Smith, Christian. Christian America? What Evangelicals Really Want. 1 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

This book was a good source of material on how the Evangelicals more vocal leaders like Pat Robertson seem to be out of touch with the everyday Evangelical.

Spring, Joel. Political Agendas for Education:  From the Religious Right to the Green Party, Third Edition. 3 ed. Mawah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2005.

This book provided me with insight into the Christian Right and their educational agenda.  Also I was able to get some good information about the Christian Coalition.

Spring, Joel. Political Agendas for Education: From the Christian Coalition To the Green Party (Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies in Education). 1 ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997.

This book provided me with information about the 1996 election and how the Christian Right influenced Bob Dole’s campaign

Young, Perry Deane. God’s Bullies: Power, Politics and Religious Tyranny. 1st ed. Austin: Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1982.

This insightful book discusses the rise of Jerry Falwell and the religious right.  The writer suggests that the religious right is more power than it actually was.  The book also warns us of what might happen if religious conservatives gain too much power.

Marley, David John. “Ronald Reagan and the Splintering of the Christian Right.” Journal of Church and State 48 (2006): 851-868.

This article is what got my paper going.  He talks about how Reagan and the Republicans held a carrot out to the people in the Religious Right.  Discussed is how Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell go two separate paths leading to different goals. I also used a quote from this article in my paper from one of his sources.

Briggs, Kenneth. “Evangelical Preachers Gatjher to Polish Their Politics.” New York Times, August 21, 1980, sec. B.

A brief article about how the Religious Roundtable gathered with about how many people will be there.  Has listed a number of speakers, mostly Republicans.  Most notably is Ronald Reagan.

New York Times, “Robertson Letter Attacks Feminist,” August 26, 1992, sec. A.

This is a great article with Robertson attacking a equal rights amendment in Iowa.  A perfect example of his outlandish remarks.

“Robertson’s Revenge: Gay Flag Flap leads to Orlando Ban.” Church & State , September 1998.

A humorous article about how Pat Robertson predicted a end to the city of Orlando, Florida.  He says because of the support and tolerance for gays the city will be destroyed by God.

Shribman, David . “The Christian Coalition sucks wind.” Fortune, July 19, 1999.

This article mentions how the Christian Coalition is losing influence and seems to me spinning out of control.  Also has another quote by Pat Robertson.

Smith, Christian. Christian America? What Evangelicals Really Want. 1 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

This book was a good source of material on how the Evangelicals more vocal leaders like Pat Robertson seem to be out of touch with the everyday Evangelical.

Secondary Sources

“Evangelicals and the Media.” MIT. http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/forums/evangelicals.html (accessed October 17, 2009).

This is a transcript of a roundtable lecture on the evangelical cause.  Not as insightful as i would have hope, but did get me headed into the right direction.

Gaily, Phil . “Evangelist and Demcrats’ Cheif Trade Fire.” New York Times, March 2, 1986.

This article wrote about how Pat Robertson may run for President and how Jerry Falwell endorsed George H. W. Bush.  Pat Robertson also calls the head of the Democratic Party anti-Christian.

Gaustad, Edwin S., and Leigh Schmidt. The Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today. Revised ed. SanFrancisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.

This provided me with the basic elements that I needed to start my research.   The information was general, but it had lot of insight and useful information was gathered from this book.

Herbers, John . “Ultraconservative Evangelicals a Surging Force in Politics.” New York Times, August 17, 1980.

Another article about the Religious Roundtable meeting in Dallas, Texas.  Pointed out is how political activism is new to the Religious Right.  Points out the leaders of this movement are Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

Hicks, John. “The Political Subsistence of the Religious Right:   Why the Christian Right Survives and Does Not Thrive By John Hicks.” American Religious Experience at WVU. http://are.as.wvu.edu/jhicks.htm (accessed December 17, 2009).

This article goes into how in the 1990’s the Religious Right through various groups gained control of smaller localized elections.  Also covers some of the issues that are cherished by evangelical Christians.

Martin, William. With God On Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America. New York City: Broadway, 2005.

McDaniel, Charles. “The Decline of the Separation Principle in the Baptist Tradition of the Religious Liberty.” Journal of Church and State 50 (2008): 413-430.

This article was useful to explain how Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority was a extremist form of the Baptist faith.  It was interesting to read that mainstream Baptists did not see things the way Jerry Falwell did.

Moen, Matthew C.. Christian Right & Congress. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press, 1989.

This book focused on how the Christian Right influenced Congress during the Reagan years.  The book is detailed and shows why it would be important for the Christian Coalition to focus on smaller elections instead of the Presidential election.

“A Sea-Change Election.” The Nation, March 31, 2008.

A brief recap of how in the 2000 election the Religious Right is mobilized much like it was in 1980.

Boston, Rob. “The real Legacy of the Reverend Jerry Falwell.” The Humanist, Sep. – Oct. 2007.

In the article Jerry Falwell is criticized for his political leanings and for many of the statements he has made during his life.   Summarizes his extreme views.

Briggs, Kenneth. “Debate Is Growing.” New York Times, October 3, 1980, sec. A.

This article draws awareness to the growing influence of the Religious Right.  Important thing in this article is it has Pat Robertson backing away form political involvement in the 1980 election.

“About Liberty – Bio – Dr. Jerry Falwell – Liberty University.” Liberty University. http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=6921 (accessed December 17, 2009).

A brief and positive look at the life of Rev. Jerry Falwell.  A good source for personal information

“Moral Majority – Home.” Moral Majority – Home. http://www.moralmajority.com/ (accessed December 1, 2009).

This site is not the original Moral Majority, but a rehash of it controlled by Jonathan Falwell, Jerry Falwells son.

“PatRobertson.com – The Official Site of Pat Robertson.” PatRobertson.com – The Official Site of Pat Robertson. http://www.patrobertson.com/ (accessed December 28, 2009).

A detailed background and message from Pat Robertson.  From reading it one would think Robertson was a saint.

Sullivan, Joseph . “Coalition opens Campaign To Ban Meditation Classes.” New York Times, February 19, 1976.

In this article the attack against New Age religions from evangelicals is spoken about.

“The Religious Right and the Christian Coalition.” Wake Forest University — Winston-Salem, North Carolina. http://www.wfu.edu/~matthetl/perspectives/thirty.html (accessed October 22, 2009).

This is a transcript of a lecture on the Religious Right and the Christian Coalition.  Did not gather much useful information, but did give me avenues to search under for other information.

Vecsey, George. “Militant Television Preachers Try to Weld Fundamentalist Christians’ Political Power.” New York Times, January 21, 1980, sec. A.

This article highlights Jerry Falwell and his goals for the Christian Right.  Also within the article a mention of a rally led by Pat Robertson with Republican candidates.  Jimmy Carters problems with the Christian conservatives are discussed.

“Voter Guides | Christian Coalition of America.” Christian Coalition of America | Defending America’s Godly Heritage!. http://www.cc.org/voter_guides (accessed December 17, 2009).

This page has a voter guide from the 2008 election.  It shows how John McCain and Barak Obama opposed and supported things important to evangelical Christians.

“Why Jerry Falwell Killed the Moral Majority.”  University of Virginia Library. http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=HadWhyk.xml&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=1&division=div1 (accessed November 1, 2009).

A different take on how and why Jerry Falwell disbanded the Moral Majority.  Unlike many of my other sources this one does not mention how the Moral Majority went bankrupt.

Wilcox, Clyde , Ted Jelen, and Sharon Linzoy. “Rethinking the Reasonableness of the Religious Right.” Review of Religious Research 36 (1995): 263-276.

This article discusses how the Moral Majority is against many issues, most notably the Equal Rights Amendment.

Wilcox, Clyde . “America’s Radical Right Revisited. A Comparison of the Activists in Christian Right Organizations From the 1960s and the 1980s.” Sociological Analysis 48 (1987): 46-57.

The article is a comparison of religious right groups in the 60’s and 80’s.  Has plenty of information about their views and how they changed over the years.  Many useful tables with supporting information.

Wilcox, Clyde . “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century.” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994): 243-261.

This article deals with how Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition is a raising force in politics.  Points out the strategy used by the Christian Coalition and some of the issues they had on their agenda.

“YouTube  – Jesse Jackson debates Falwell about terrorism.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself.             . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY71nzkZHKQ&feature=related (accessed October 21, 2009).

A lively debate between Jesse Jackson and Jerry Falwell.  Interesting because they are both Baptists but disagree and many issues.

“YouTube- Jerry Falwell claim 9/11 was caused by gays             .” YouTube- Broadcast Yourself.             . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK_hYsCkDH4 (accessed October 21, 2009).

A example of Jerry Falwell putting his foot in his mouth.  Shocking what this man believes and says.

“YouTube- Pat Robertson: “Islam Is Not a Religion”  YouTube- Broadcast Yourself.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPVNaz6xvVY&feature=related (accessed October 21, 2009).

Pat Robertson expressing his intolerance to Islam.

“YouTube- Pat Robertson: Bush “Asking for the Wrath of God” YouTube- Broadcast Yourself.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_zt8wFGX8I (accessed October 21, 2009).

Pat Robertson predicting the President George W. Bush will suffer at the hands of God for siding with the Saudi’s.

 

 


[6] Ruth Murray Brown, For A “Christian America”: A History of the Religious Right (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2002), 17

[7] Joel Spring, Political Agendas for Education (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997), 2

[8] Wilcox***

[9] Clyde Wilcox, “America’s Radical Right Revisited. A Comparison of the Activists in Christian Right Organizations from the 1960s and the 1980s,” Sociological Analysis 48 (1987): 54

[10] Ted G. Jelen, Sharon Linzey, Clyde Wilcox, “Rethinking the Reasonableness of the Religious Right,” Review of Religious Research 36 (1995): 264

[11] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Evangelical Preachers Gather to Polish Their Politics,” New York Times, August 21 1980, sec. B

[12] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Evangelical Preachers Gather to Polish Their Politics,” New York Times, August 21 1980, sec. B

[13] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Evangelical Preachers Gather to Polish Their Politics,” New York Times, August 21 1980, sec. B

[14] William Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway books, 1996), 216

[15] Ruth Murray Brown, 157

[16] Robert L. Borosage, “A Sea-Change Election?” The Nation, March 31, 2008, 6

[17] Ruth Murray Brown, 157

[18] Christian Smith, Christian America?: What Evangelicals Really Want (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000

[19] Perry Deane Young, 197

[20] Perry Deane Young, 197

[21] Kenneth A. Briggs, “Debate is Growing on Legalities of Religious Activism,” New York Times, October 3, 1980, sec. A

[22]  John Herbers, “Ultraconservatives Evangelicals a Surging New Force in Politics,” New York Times, August 17,1980, sec. A

[23] Ruth Murray Brown, 160

[24] Sarah Posner, “God’s Profits,” Church & State, April 2008, 13

[25] David John Marley, 851

[26] Ruth Murray Brown, 161

[27] Phil Gaileys, “Evangelist and Democrats’ Chief Trade Fire,” New York Times, March 2, 1986 sec. A

[28] David John Marley, 859

[29] Clyde Wilcox, “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century,” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994) 251

[30] Clyde Wilcox, “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century,” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994) 251

[31] Clyde Wilcox, “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-first Century,” Sociology of Religion 55 (1994) 252

[33] Joel Spring, 5

[34] Joel Spring, 5

[35] Joel Spring, 11

[36] Ruth Murray Brown, 186

[37] David Shribman, “ The Christian Coalition sucks wind,” Fortune, July 19, 1999

[38] “Robertson’s Revenge: Gay Flag Flap leads to Orlando Ban,” Church & State, September, 1998, 15

[39] “Robertson Letter Attacks Feminists: Says Effort in Iowa Supports Witches and Child Killers,” New York Times, sec. A

[40] Rob Boston, “The Real Legacy of Reverend Jerry Falwell,” The Humanist, September-October, 2007, 36

[41] Rob Boston, “The Real Legacy of Reverend Jerry Falwell,” The Humanist, September-October, 2007, 36

Looking for Work?

There is a lot people can complain about and complain about often, so I shall complain about something people don’t complain about that often.   The other day I went on a job interview, for a job I did not care if I got or not.  It was for Joseph A. Bank, the clothier, as a sales person in one of their stores.  For the life of me I cannot fathom a guess on why some person would want to pay $199 for a polo shirt they could easily buy else where for a whole lot less.  Back to the point, the interview turned out to be a group interview, another gentleman and I.  This is the second group interview I have had and they are not ideal settings.  This gentleman will call Al, if you can call me buddy.  Although Paul Simon would have been a better person to have a group interview with for the reason I will explain.  Al had amazing gift, the gift of talking excessively and really about nothing that has to deal with the job.  I can talk quite a bit, but Al talked as if letting me talk would somehow diminish his lack of skills.  He said time and time again that he worked in marketing and sales, and judging from his clothes and lack of a car I could tell he was not that good at it.  I had to take a more aggressive approach to the interview process, which is something a person never wants to do.  I would say for every word I had the chance to say, Al said three hundred.  It had gotten to the point to that the people giving the interview were trying to give me a chance to speak, and when they did ask me a question it was amazing how Al would answer it before I did.  The lesson is, avoid group interviews.

Craziness that is life

I was listening to the radio today and they were talking about how the New Orleans Saints had a bounty program that paid defensive players to hurt opposing offensive players.  It goes to show that the society we live does not care much about others, in that these players were putting the livelihood of others in jeopardy just to make a few dollars more.  The American society is driven b y greed, greed is not a virtue, but a vice.  Money does not buy happiness, only despair.

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