There may be one or two Americans left in the country who don’t know that we are currently living in an anti-Establishment, anti-professional, anti-politician era. Nationally we have voted someone into the Presidency whose primary claim to high office is that he has never held office. (In my own state, we have had a smaller version of the exact same phenomenon.) In virtually every Congressional and state-level campaign beyond the Presidential elections, we have candidates (including incumbents) engaged in an ever-escalating rhetorical battle to claim the low ground of experience. In Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for all the Others, Bruce K. Chapman argues that this disdain for long-serving public servants has to stop. Keep reading.
Historian of science Frederic Burnham has stated that the God hypothesis is now a more respectable hypothesis than at any time in the last one hundred years. This essay explores recent evidence from cosmology, physics, and biology, which provides epistemological support, though not proof, for belief in God as conceived by a theistic worldview. It develops a notion of epistemological support based upon explanatory power, rather than just deductive entailment. It also evaluates the explanatory power of theism and its main metaphysical competitors with respect to several classes of scientific evidence. The conclusion follows that theism explains a wide ensemble of metaphysically-significant evidences more adequately and comprehensively than other major worldviews or metaphysical systems. Thus, unlike much recent scholarship that Read More ›
Many Americans — Christian, Jewish and secular — find Thanksgiving to be their favorite holiday of the year. And for good reason beyond the joy of a feast. Thanksgiving was the first holiday of the Pilgrim forefathers, who spoke of their voyage to the New World in terms of a flight from persecution to freedom, much like the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt to reach the Promised Land.
Thanksgiving is the holiday that made the other American holidays possible. Without the Pilgrims having courage, a quest for adventure, and a willingness to sacrifice and risk everything, and absolute faith in their cause and calling, they never would have embarked on the unseaworthy 94-foot Mayflower. Were it not for their dream and determination to find freedom of conscience and religion in the New World there may have never been a July 4th Independence Day or many of the other American holidays we take for granted and celebrate every year.
After a harrowing passage across the Atlantic — one that included wild pitching and broadside batterings by gale force winds and ferocious seas that caused the splitting of one of the ship’s main beams — the Mayflower was blown off course from the intended destination of the established Virginia Colony to wilds of Cape Cod. The Pilgrims knew not where they were nor how to proceed, so they beseeched the Almighty for favor in a safe arrival and in establishing a new and independent settlement.
Now in sight of land after a frightening voyage and facing hunger from depleted provisions, some of the secular Mayflower passengers were clamoring for rebellion. And so under the direction of Pilgrim leaders William Brewster and William Bradford, the drafting of a governing agreement was undertaken to quell unrest and ensure the establishment of a unified settlement that would be acceptable to both their Christian brethren and the secular crewman and merchant adventurers who made up about half the 102 people aboard the Mayflower. That governing document, known as the Mayflower Compact was introduced “solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another,” and it was specifically referred to as a covenant. A covenant is an unbreakable agreement — with precedents being made between God and towering figures of Jewish history — such as Abraham, Noah, and Moses.
After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and journeyed on to Mt. Sinai, God made a covenant with Moses providing the Israelites the Ten Commandments and other laws — a necessary requirement before they could proceed and cross into the Promised Land. Similarly, every able man aboard the Mayflower, had to sign the Mayflower Compact before each could “cross over” and finally set foot in the New World after their ship arrived at Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod at sunrise on Saturday, November 11, 1620. As a covenant adapted to the civil need of forming a government with laws — established “for the general good of the colony” — the Mayflower Compact embodied fundamental principles of self-government and common consent. Thus, the Mayflower Compact was the beginning of democratic government in America, and it is often cited as the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution.
The fact that all the Pilgrims survived the squalid and cramped ship quarters during the dangerous crossing of a vast ocean, is no doubt partially attributable to the good fortune that the Mayflower had previously been enlisted as a wine transport cargo ship. Unlike most ships, she had a “sweet smell,” from all her decks and bilges being “disinfected” with wine sloshing and soaking from broken barrels of Bordeaux in the many prior crossings of the sometimes stormy English Channel.
That all changed once the Mayflower’s passengers settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts in December of 1620. The first winter was devastating, with over half the Pilgrims dying, including nearly half the women. Four whole families perished. But it could have been worse.
Had those colonists not settled in Plymouth, adjacent to friendly Native Americans, and had they not befriended two who could speak broken English — Samoset and Squanto — perhaps none would have survived. In fact, just four months after the Pilgrims disembarked in Plymouth, Samoset facilitated the signing of a Peace Treaty between the Pilgrim colonists and Massassoit, the chief of the Wampanoag tribe. At the same time native tribesman were teaching the Pilgrims survival skills, showing them how to hunt, fish and plant various crops, such as corn — which was unknown to Europeans.
The Pilgrims were extraordinarily grateful for the first season’s harvest — modest though it was — and decided to invite Massassoit and some of his people to a three-day long feast, at which they would thank God not only for the harvest, but also for their survival and initial success of a diverse colony that included both Christians and non-believers.
No one knows for sure the exact date of this three-day event patterned after the “harvest fest” in England and also the Feast of Tabernacles in the Jewish calendar. Massassoit arrived with some 100 followers, more than two times the number of the Pilgrims, and for three days they entertained each other and feasted.
This feast later became known as the first Thanksgiving, which we now celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November. Some eighteen months after this feast, it came to be known that Massassoit was on the brink of death from an unknown sickness. Governor William Bradford immediately sent elder Edward Winslow to administer natural herbs, medicines, and prayers to Massassoit. Astonishingly, he made full recovery within days, and remarked, “Now I see the English are my friends and love me; and whilst I live, I will never forget this kindness they have showed me.”
Times are very different than they were nearly 400 years ago at the time of the Mayflower’s voyage to the New World. But the qualities of character that made the Pilgrims exemplary are as relevant today as they were back then. A contemporary Thanksgiving makeover might include: rekindling a quest for adventure; growing the faith to hold on to a vision of a promised land no matter what; mustering the courage to go against the crowd and defend the truth; gaining determination to endure hardship; rejuvenating a joyful willingness to sacrifice for others; revitalizing respect and tolerance of people of different beliefs; and renewing the predisposition to extend love and gratitude at every appropriate opportunity.
Scott Powell is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and managing partner of RemingtonRand LLC. Three generations of his family lived in the Peabody Bradford House, built by a great grandson of Governor William Bradford in 1760 in Kingston, MA. Reach him at [email protected]Go to Story (offsite) ›
The following article references Discovery Institute’s own Bruce Agnew. Check it out at The Seattle Times.
Veteran’s Day had its origin at the end of World War I in 1918, a conflict so horrendous that it was dubbed “the Great War” or “the war to end all wars,” with the United States playing the decisive role in the Allied powers final victory. It was first known as Armistice Day, celebrated on Nov. 11 because that was the day agreed upon by the Allied nations and Germany to begin a total cessation of hostilities. It went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, after some 20 million people from both sides had given their lives in the war effort. The Treaty of Versailles was signed some seven months later Read More ›
Personal mobility is changing before our eyes. In addition to public transportation, services like Uber, Lyft, BMW’s ReachNow, and other rideshares are providing a variety of new options for commuters. As shared, electric, and autonomous vehicles continue to gain market share, what does this all mean for Seattle? Will it usher in a golden age of transportation, or result in more trips, by more people? Discovery Institute recently hosted a talk with Board member Bryan Mistele. As one of the nation’s leading experts of automotive transportation, Bryan co-chairs Discovery’s ACES Northwest Network with Tom Alberg. He is also the co-founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of INRIX, the leading provider of traffic information in North America. You’ll want to tune into Read More ›
America’s representative form of constitutional democracy is on the verge of breaking down because of political corruption at the highest levels and the concurrent decline in civility and growing mob behavior.
Fundamental and deep division prevents government from fixing itself. But we the people can play a decisive role in turning things around by voting in the midterm elections. First some background.
By the end of the eight-year Obama administration, the Democratic Party leadership found itself with the two-fold challenge of a weak presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton and ineffective and unpopular public policies. At the same time, a significant number of high-ranking U.S. government officials and their subordinates in the Department of Justice, the FBI and the CIA — almost all appointed during the Obama administration — decided collectively to take unusual action to assist Clinton. They effectively formed a cabal and quietly weaponized the Justice Department, the FBI and the CIA to run an operation to create a sensational false narrative about candidate Donald Trump and leak it to the press to stir up scandal they hoped would undermine his candidacy leading up to the November 2016 election.
When those efforts came to naught and Trump was elected, the cabal became more determined. They needed to cover their tracks and take new steps to undermine the now duly elected president — actions that were tantamount to a coup d’état . These actions sent a message to Democratic Party elites that it’s OK to disrespect the results of a legitimate presidential election. And it sent a message to rank-and-file Democrats that it’s OK to break the law and engage in mob behavior to hound and verbally assault highly visible Republican Party figures.
Clinton recently said that “civility can start” if Democrats “are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate.” Her former vice presidential running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., publicly advocated to “fight in the courts, fight in the streets.” Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder recently said of Republicans: “When they go low, we kick them.” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who may seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, has called for people to “get up in the face of some Congress people.” In similar fashion, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has gotten endless media replay of her advocacy that, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. You push back on them. Tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”
Even though these are the ways of banana republics — which almost always end in tyranny — Democrat leadership apparently thinks it will be different if they can get away with it and prevail. But substantively, there is no denying that these actions are repudiating core principals of America’s founding and its 230 years of Constitutional rule of law.
And for those who can’t fathom what mob rule would look like in the United States, the 11th-hour ambush of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reveals all you need to know: unscrupulous tactics of personal destruction exploiting the #MeToo movement to set the stage for presumption of guilt ginned up by media sensationalism that feeds mob rule. Is Democratic Party leadership now all in with Saul Alinsky, whose 10 Rules for Radicals are simply “the ends justify the means”?
Regardless of party affiliation, citizens need to take a stand now, and voting remains the surest way to send a clear message. It’s time to repudiate mob rule and high-level corruption that has severely harmed federal government institutions — the FBI, the Justice Department, the Senate, the Supreme Court and constitutional due process .
The most important issue this midterm election is not the candidates, but rather the political parties, and where each stands on rule by constitutional law vs. rule by deep state elites and mob rule. Make that determination and get out and vote.
Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and managing partner of RemingtonRand LLC. Email him at [email protected]Go to Story (offsite) ›
Transhumanists have seen the future and it is authoritarian. More specifically, it is both authoritarian and anti-human. To make matters even worse, transhumanism would coercively bankrupt the world economy. Beyond that, it’s a pipe dream that threatesn venerable Western values. What’s not to like? For those who may not know, transhumanism is an increasingly influential futuristic social movement that flowed out of the high academy to become a pet cause of atheism advocates and Silicon Valley billionaires. Akin to a contemporary Tower of Babel project, it is utopian to the core, with adherents who grandiosely plan to “seize control of human evolution” to bring about a “post-human” species that will leave natural humanity in its wake. When it first emerged, Read More ›