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Culture

Are You Part of TV World (A Different Way to Get the News)

March 21st, 2014 // 12:01 pm @

Where to Look

I keep getting asked what I read to study current events. I actually taught a whole class on this recently—and it’s still available.tv 300x225 Are You Part of TV World (A Different Way to Get the News) By taking this class, you’ll get the real scoop on the best current events publications.

In this article, I’ll just share the Cliff’s Notes version. Read Foreign Affairs, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and The Economist.

There. That’s it.

Enjoy.

But there is a deeper way to think about this. To begin, there is actually a bit of a problem with the question itself: “What should I read to study current events?” The real answer is, “Everything.” Read a lot. If you’re conservative, read conservative and liberal publications. If you’re liberal, read liberal and conservative periodicals. You can’t study current events from one political view—not if you want to really know what’s happening.

Compare and Contrast

This goes for television and radio as well. When I watch a certain event to see how it is reported in the news, I always see what MSNBC and Fox News both have to say. Then I watch CNN and one of the networks, usually ABC or CBS, for their views as well. Bloomberg Television, C-Span, and PBS news shows often add interesting nuances.

But reading is better than watching. The NY Times and Wall Street Journal are fun to compare. USA Today and various online thought leaders share vital out-of-the-box insights. I could go on and on. Read. Read a lot. Read more.

But that’s only half of the message. The other half is a bit counter-intuitive, but it is still very important.

One of the problems with looking for one or two publications to read is that it limits us to one or two publications. This brings us to the main point: It is a major problem when we only get our news from news outlets.

To really know what’s going on in our world, you have to get beyond the news. Behind the news, under the news. You have to feel what the people are feeling, and dig to get a sense of what is happening in their culture. Their daily lives.

Culture and Events

To do this, I read lots of non-news publications. They are incredibly insightful. I read men’s magazines (like Men’s Health, Esquire, GQ, etc.), women’s magazines (Vanity Fair, More, Good Housekeeping, etc.), variety magazines (Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Via), cultural magazines (The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Harper’s, etc.), specialty magazines (Harvard Business Review, Guns and Ammo, Yoga Journal, etc.), science magazines (Psychology Today, Prevention, Popular Science, etc.), and more. These teach as much about current events as any news publication.

For example, I like to go to Barnes and Noble and grab a copy of Yoga Journal, Guns and Ammo, Entertainment Weekly, and Harvard Business Review. Then I read the main articles in each, in one sitting. It’s fascinating. These four publications are written to very different audiences, as you might have gathered, and they use different vocabularies, examples, assumptions, and writing styles. Yet all are quality publications with important articles. Add TV Guide to these four and you’ve got a manual on current America—like it or not.

Together they give the reader a cross-section insight into current events, much more than you could get by concurrently reading a top conservative magazine (say, The Weekly Standard) and liberal periodical (for example, The Nation). The ads in each of these four magazines listed above teach almost as much, sometimes more, than the articles. Reading non-news publications along with news is the key to really understanding current events.

Take off the Rose Glasses

Really. It is important, however, to read them differently than typical readers. Don’t read non-news periodicals looking for literal news. Read them to see what things they talk about that are newsworthy. Read like an anthropologist, looking for interesting trends and groups in modern society that could influence the world.

And think, think deeply, while you read. What does each article say (implicitly as well as explicitly) about our modern society? What trends does it portend? What assumptions does each author make about our current world, and what does this tell you about our culture?

Become a voracious reader. Turn TV World into Thinking World, at least in your own life. Oh, and ask the same kinds of questions when/if you watch television. We live in an Information Age, but we need more people who treat it like a Thinking Age.

*******************

odemille Are You Part of TV World (A Different Way to Get the News) Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Culture &Current Events &Education &Generations &Information Age &Statesmanship

Dictionary Freedom: It’s Fun!

March 17th, 2014 // 11:39 am @

Finding Words

glossary Dictionary Freedom: Its Fun!Let’s go deep. Or really basic, depending on your viewpoint. Socrates is credited with saying that the definition of terms is the beginning of wisdom. Sometimes defining things can be a bit overwhelming, and that’s the case in our topic today. What am I talking about?

Well, I was reading through the compact edition of the Oxford English Thesaurus (a really fun read—try it sometime), and I came to the word “Political.” The list of synonyms was interesting to me: governmental, constitutional, ministerial, parliamentary, diplomatic, legislative, administrative, bureaucratic; party, militant, factional, partisan.

The first time through, I was struck by the number of ways governments can try to control people. But something else was bothering me, in the back of my mind, so I read through the list again to see if I could figure it out. I still wasn’t sure. “Maybe it’s that there’s a strong legislative and also executive focus,” I mused to myself, “but the judicial power of government is left out. As if the judiciary is really not political,” I laughed.

Then I furrowed my brow. “Or maybe it’s that this list is missing so many synonyms,” I thought. I quickly skimmed through the pages and found the word “government,” to see it if added more depth or nuance. It added the following words: executive, regime, authority, directorate, council, cabinet, ministry, regulation, supervision.

“Interesting,” I thought. I had planned to look up each of the synonyms above, one at a time, so I went ahead and turned to the entry for “constitutional.” It added the synonyms statutory, chartered, vested, official, and sanctioned.

Sharing Discoveries

“This isn’t really what was bothering me,” I realized. “It’s not the need for more synonyms. It must be something else.” I wondered what it could be. While I was thinking about this, I reviewed this growing list of synonyms and shook my head. I said aloud, “That’s a lot of government control!”

Then I got it. Somehow, the thing that had been bothering me made it into my consciousness. It was a Eureka! moment. I walked through the house, looking for Rachel or one of the kids to share my new discovery with. Nobody was awake, since it was very late at night, so I opened my laptop and started writing. This is too good not to share, after all.

What was my big epiphany? Simply this: None of the synonyms seem to have anything to do with the people. The word “constitutional” refers to rules written by the people to the government, but most people today don’t realize this. None of the other words were about the people at all, except the word “party,” meaning political parties.

That’s something. I’m not sure what it means, but in our modern language the words “political” and “constitutional” only have one major synonym that includes the people—and that one refers to political parties. Sad.

My question is, “Why?”

Citizens and Leaders

In the time of the American founding, both words held the connotation of actions and choices by the people. Why isn’t “election” or “citizenship” listed as a synonym under either in today’s dictionary? In fact, I turned to these words and found that the synonyms of “citizen” are subject, passport holder, native, resident, denizen.

“Denizen?” That’s an interesting way to view the regular people. In fact, all of these synonyms are passive, none of them are active. None of them present the citizen as a leader, as the true head of the nation.

This is consistent with our modern world, I guess, but it is still wrong. We’ve come to see governments as rulers, and people as subjects. Period. That’s sad.

While I was analyzing this, I realized that something was still bothering me. There was still something tugging at the back of my mind. “What is it?” I asked. I still had my bookmark tucked into the page where the word “political” is found, so I turned back to it and reread the synonyms. Then I noticed something, and everything clicked.

A Sharp Contrast

The word right above “political” is “politic.” Just read this list of synonyms of “politic,” and think about how these relate to politics: wise, prudent, sensible, judicious, canny, sagacious, shrewd, astute, advantageous, beneficial, profitable.

What do any of these have to do with the political world? I mean, they should be connected. They really should. But they hardly ever are.

“Wow!” I said aloud. “This is really interesting. I love reading the dictionary.” Just compare these two lists:

Synonyms of “Political”

governmental

ministerial

parliamentary

diplomatic

legislative

administrative

bureaucratic

party

factional

partisan

Synonyms of “Politic”
wise
prudent
sensible
judicious
canny
shrewd
astute
advantageous
beneficial
profitable

Does anyone else see the irony? Bureaucratic paired with Astute? Partisan with Profitable? Really? Governmental paired with Wise? It’s like a Mark Twain Guide to Preparing for the S.A.T.s.

And yes, both words, “political” and “politic”, come from the same root word, the Greek politikos, meaning “statesman,” “leader of the city,” or in modern terms, “leader of the nation.”

Decline is real.

Let’s read more dictionaries.

 

*******************

odemille Dictionary Freedom: Its Fun! Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Culture &Education &Government &History &Leadership

The Future of Feminism

January 9th, 2014 // 9:00 am @

wecandoit The Future of FeminismIt could be over. The whole, centuries-long debate between men and women, as well as between women and women, over the best role for women, may be coming to an end.

Ironically, this hinges not so much on women or men, but on both. And on children too.

Let me explain.

Feminism has progressed through several phases in history.

  1. First, women demanded voting and other basic equality with men.
  2. Second, they argued for the basic intrinsic equality of both genders.
  3. Third, they sought legal equality in the Equal Rights Amendment era.

All of these strategies made sense to men and women, even those who disagreed with the various leaders and agendas of feminism. After all, the idea of seeking equitable treatment and rights is basic to most Americans.

But at some point, starting in the 1980s, feminism took several interesting, and surprising, turns. Most men were shocked by the intensity of the woman vs. woman debate between those who argued that all women should have full-time careers and those who felt that such a choice was a downgrade for women, that their best work was done in the home.

This was followed by the “We Can Have It All” era, where many young women idealized having both full-time careers and all the benefits and rewards of full-time homemaking. One side said this was the ideal, another side argued that this was a mere illusion.

And finally, in the most recent evolution of feminist debates, dubbed “The Mommy Wars” by the media, some promoters of women in careers and some who believe that homemaking is the female ideal faced off in increasingly tense and extremely strong language.

By this point in the dialogue, men were basically left out of the conversation. National reports showed that more women than men are in college, and that men’s financial outlook is in decline while the earning future for women is bright.

Feminism was still a passionate topic, but the battling sides were made up almost exclusively of women.

That brings us to today. We now seem to be entering yet another major era of this discussion, but this time men are back in the conversation. They are front and center, in fact.

Women are increasingly talking about what men should, or shouldn’t, be. The idea seems to be that if men would just get their act together, many of the modern problems faced by women would be solved.

Like past battles, this one tends to anger almost everyone who thinks about it. One side makes the case that women are better off just living independently. They can have men in their life, if they choose, as long as they don’t become dependent on a man.

In fact, this view seems to accept that men will come and go, and that ultimately a woman has herself, her education and career, and a few close (women) friends that she can really depend on.

Her battles, in this narrative, are against enemies and frenemies, who are nearly always other women — not against men.

This worldview shows up in numerous recent movies and a host of articles in women’s magazines. Watch popular women’s talk shows, and this perspective is nearly always accepted as a fundamental — and undebatable — assumption.

On the other side is a growing view that men and women are very different, that each should fully engage their differences, and that both are happiest when this occurs.

As I said, this is ruffling feathers wherever the new view is shared.

Many women who agree with the historical goals of feminism — and men who view themselves as enlightened, modern, sensitive males — find this newly popular perspective corrupt, positively medieval, and above all, baffling.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this new era of discussion about men and women is that the majority view (the “Independent Woman”) patently refuses to even entertain the growing new perspective (“Real Men/Real Women”).

It is similar to when feminism first began, and men just ignored it, discounted it, or perhaps even laughed at it. This is how the current majority Independent Woman crowd is treating the growing Real Man/New Women minority.

In case you haven’t yet heard this new perspective, it goes something like this:

  • Men are happiest when they are deeply involved in a chosen life mission that centers around their deepest interests and passions, their life purpose.
  • Women want just such a man; anything less is a letdown to them.
  • Men want a woman who will support them in this purpose and help them achieve it.
  • Women are happiest when they are helping a man who is deeply engrossed in such a life mission, and raising sons who will someday pursue just such a mission and daughters who will help a man do this as well.

For the Independent Woman crowd, the Real Man/Real Woman view sounds a lot like a modern return to the worst elements of old-style patriarchy, the very reason that feminism was invented.

But as feminism proved, just ignoring this growing minority perspective isn’t going to make it go away.

A lot of people, both men and women, swear by this rising view. For them, women are equal to men, and should have all the same opportunities in education and work. And the happiest equal men and women, they maintain, follow these simple guidelines.

Men want a woman who above all wants to support him and raise a family, and women want a man who gives his life to a central purpose and raising a family.

If a man doesn’t have a life mission, a great purpose, he isn’t going to be very happy. And his woman won’t be very impressed with him. Neither will she feel valued or fulfilled in a marriage if her spouse does not depend on her to help in a real, important purpose.

This is the immediate future of feminism, the debate between the Independent Woman viewpoint and the Real Man/Real Woman perspective. Like I said, this is making a lot of people angry.

On the humorous side, this really is a return to the beginning of the whole debate about feminism. The first shall be last and the last shall be first, I guess.

But there is one big difference this time: the Independent Woman crowd is in the majority — at least in the media, academia, government, and other centers of pop culture.

How this difference impacts the debate remains to be seen.

Just to be clear, I agree with the Real Man/Real Woman side of this argument. I’m just fine with men or women being fully independent. I think we should all have the freedom to choose what we want, and the fact that my daughters (I have 5) have as many options as my sons makes me very happy.

I also think that the happiest men are passionately focused on a great life purpose, and the happiest women are married to such men — where they help each other in the most important parts of life.

Are they equal? Of course. Are they different? Of course. Should this be used as an excuse for men to control women, or for women to control men? Of course not.

But here’s the real problem: Our modern society is structured by the elitist class to convince the rest of us not to engage a central life mission or purpose. We are taught to get an education that will give us a job, a career, working for corporations and institutions run by the upper class. We are taught that our great life passions and interests are at best hobbies.

We are taught that well-paid professional drone work is the ideal — for men and for women. We are taught that children should be trained in schools run by the policies of elitists, seeking the goals outlined by elitists for those in the middle and lower classes.

This message is being taught in nearly every school in modern America. It is being promoted from Hollywood, and encouraged by Madison Avenue. It is being increasingly regulated and enforced from Washington.

Worst of all, more and more parents teach this message to their kids: “Get good grades, get into a good college, get a good career, and spend most of your adult hours working for someone else’s profit and power. This is the key to a happy life.”

As long as this lie dominates our society, a majority of men and women are going to miss out on real life. That’s the future of feminism, manhoodism, childhoodism, socialism, and capitalism.

It’s a serious problem.

For men, women, and children.

And the only thing that has any chance of changing it is Real Man/Real Woman ism. Real Men and Real Women find a great life purpose and give their all for it. And, where possible, they do this together. This is the key to a happy life.

That’s where I stand. I hope you do too.

*******************

odemille The Future of Feminism Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Culture &Current Events &Family &Generations &History &Politics

The Death of The Middle Class

July 19th, 2013 // 10:51 am @

Columnist Joe Klein said on The Chris Matthews Show:

“This is the biggest problem that we’re facing going forward. We were a homogenous, middle class country, by and large, for the fifty years after World War II.

“Now we’re no longer homogenous, and there’s a good aspect to that in that we have become a true multiracial country. But there’s a bad aspect to that, in that the middle class, which was the heart of this country, is beginning to fracture, and to panic, in many ways.

“And unless we figure out a way to find jobs for the vast middle class in this country, it’s going to be really hard to sustain democracy. We now have a plutocracy in this country.”

This is exactly true, and many Americans feel Wall Street and Washington are working together against the middle class.

Worse, many people aren’t sure that any solution is ahead.

Many experts suggest that education can solve the class divide, but the people realize that most schools are actually increasing the gap between elites and the rest.

Modern schooling has become a huge part of the problem, not a solution.

The only real solution is a widespread shift from the employee mentality to entrepreneurship.

As David Ignatius points out, many immigrants to America see the United States as a great place to start businesses.

Sadly, most native-born Americans are afraid of entrepreneurship and feel that jobs should be plentiful—as if it were a birthright.

The future of American freedom hinges on this question: will the current generation of Americans embrace entrepreneurialism, or will we keep whining about Washington while waiting for more jobs to somehow appear?

Is the American spirit dead, or is free enterprise still one of our greatest American traditions?

Only the regular people can make this choice.

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odemille 133x195 custom The Death of The Middle ClassOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Business &Citizenship &Culture &Current Events &Economics &Entrepreneurship &Featured &Leadership &Producers

A Surprising Choice by America’s Founders

July 18th, 2013 // 10:48 am @

declaration of independence1 300x199 A Surprising Choice by Americas FoundersOne of the most surprising events in the American founding occurred when the Continental Congress used the word “happiness” in the Declaration of Independence.

Up to that point, it was not a word often utilized in great political writings.

Words like “justice,” “liberty,” “property,” “honor,” “power,” “rights” and others were expected in such a document.

But “happiness” was not.

George Washington expressed the American perspective when he said, “the United States came into existence as a nation, and if their citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.”

In this view, a good government protects people’s freedom, and what they do with it is up to them—and determines their happiness.

Still, the very idea that governments are instituted among men to do just this (protect a person’s right to pursue happiness), was a significant thought.

It was certainly not the view of the European aristocrats, who believed that happiness required financial means and the comforts of leisure time and was only meant to be enjoyed by a few.

The American founding generation took a different view.

They believed that happiness was the result of enterprise, and was possible for everyone.

This is a patently American perspective, and it provided a foundation for the whole American freedom experiment.

It is a profound idea.

If happiness is the result of individual actions and choices, then it follows that government’s primary role is to protect the right to act and choose.

Indeed, in such a view, the only purpose of government and law is to keep any person from taking these rights from anyone else—or of enforcing restitution if such protection fails.

This is the proper role of government: to protect inalienable rights (defense), and if this fails to cause restitution (justice).

This was the crux of the American system, the only one that could really be adopted if the goal of government was to protect “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

In ancient Rome, the Stoics argued that virtue is the cause of happiness, and this same view was promoted by ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

In feudal times, the meaning of happiness switched more to “good fortune,” which took it out of the hands of each individual.

By 1600, however, this was refined to mean “a pleasant and contented mental state.”

The American founding generation added to the meaning of “happiness” with the idea of voluntarily doing important things—from personal morality to economic enterprise, to family relationships, political and military sacrifice, and charitable service.

They also connected these same things to the concept of freedom, thereby forever linking the words “freedom” and ‘happiness.”

This bears repeating, because it is a central foundation of American government, but has been mostly forgotten today.

Specifically, the American founders put forward an amazing new view of government:

The proper role of the government is to protect inalienable rights, and to leave everything else to the people—who will increase or lose their liberty and happiness according to their personal virtue, economic enterprise, family relationships, charitable service, and other voluntary choices.

For the Founders to adopt this view was a remarkable and vitally important turn of world events, and it established a whole new view—and era—of freedom.

To a large extent, we have now lost this view, and our freedoms have decreased with this change.

We now follow the more traditionally European perspective that great changes in society come from the upper class, experts, elections, and government officials and policies.

The Founders disagreed.

They believed that the American Founding was the result of the people, not a few great leaders.

As John Adams responded when someone tried to compliment his role in the founding: “Don’t call me ‘Godlike Adams,’ ‘The Father of His Country,’ ‘The Founder of the American Republic,’ or ‘The Founder of the American Empire.’ These titles belong to no man, but to the American people in general.”

Freedom and happiness are always connected, and they are always up to the regular people, whether they realize it or not.

To the extent that freedom is declining, it is the fault of the regular people.

Our freedoms and happiness are up to us.

If freedom is in decline, we aren’t doing enough.

The good news is that the people have the power to do something about it, no matter how much the experts try to convince us otherwise.

***********************************

odemille 133x195 custom A Surprising Choice by Americas FoundersOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Culture &Featured &Government &History &Leadership &Liberty

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