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Aristocracy

Definitions That Matter, II

September 26th, 2011 // 10:49 am @

As I have said before, one mark of ruling classes in society is the understanding of nuanced definitions. In American society, the original design was for the regular people to be the rulers.

Here are some words that need to be closely considered, understood and discussed by the regular people who care about freedom:

  • Administration
  • Aggression
  • Allegiance
  • Alliances
  • Amendments
  • Aristocracy
  • Authority
  • Balances
  • Banks
  • Borrowing
  • Business
  • Centralization
  • Character
  • Checks
  • Citizenship
  • Civil Rights
  • Classes
  • Common Law
  • Communism
  • Community
  • Consent
  • Constituent
  • Constitution
  • Contracts
  • Courts
  • Culture
  • Currency
  • Defense
  • Democracy
  • Diplomacy
  • Duty
  • Economy
  • Election
  • Empire
  • Equality
  • Ethics
  • Executive
  • Faction
  • Fallacy
  • Fallibility
  • Family
  • Farming
  • Federal
  • Feudalism
  • Fiscal Policy
  • Force
  • Foreign Policy
  • Forms of Government
  • Freedom
  • Good
  • Goods
  • Guilds
  • Human Nature
  • Independence
  • Independents
  • Individuality
  • Investment
  • Judgment
  • Judiciary
  • Jury
  • Jury of the Vicinage
  • Justice
  • Law
  • Leadership
  • Legislature
  • Leisure
  • Liberal Arts
  • Liberal Education
  • Liberty
  • Limited Government
  • Local Government
  • Loyal Opposition
  • Mercantilism
  • Mixed Government
  • Modernity
  • Monarchy
  • Monetary Policy
  • Natural Law
  • Oligarchy
  • Optimism
  • Ownership
  • Political Economy
  • Political Parties
  • Politics
  • Popular Sovereignty
  • Positive Law
  • Powers
  • Pragmatism
  • Precedent
  • Principle
  • Private Property
  • Profit
  • Progress
  • Propaganda
  • Prosperity
  • Providence
  • Public Office
  • Public Opinion
  • Public Policy
  • Public Virtue
  • Realism
  • Reason
  • Representation
  • Representatives
  • Republic
  • Rights
  • Savings
  • Separation of Powers
  • Slavery
  • Social Contract
  • Socialism
  • Society
  • Taxation
  • Tyranny
  • Utilitarianism
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom

Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Citizenship &Constitution &Culture &Economics &Education &Featured &Leadership &Liberty &Mini-Factories

On Reason, II

September 26th, 2011 // 3:51 am @

Aquinas held that angels are intellectual beings because they know all things, while men are merely rational beings because they know little and therefore must figure things out.

Descartes and Locke differentiate between intuition and reason by arguing that intuition can be believed without demonstration while reason requires that we demonstrate every step of our thinking.

Since each person must reason out each answer on his own to really use reason, the fact that others have outlined their thinking at every step makes reason easier to follow and to expand upon than intuition. Also, the argument goes, reason can be used to analyze and test intuition, while the opposite is seldom true.

The Bible discounted this view, comparing the rationalist “goats” with the more obedient and intuitive “sheep.” In much of Western culture, the term “sheep” became a negative name given to those who refuse to think things through.

Religious icon Aquinas, who certainly cannot be accused of not thinking things through,[i] argued that those who trust God’s full knowledge more than man’s limited knowledge are in fact more rational than those who believe in man’s abilities.

Ultimately, Aristotle taught, all demonstration rests on certain indemonstrable truths. Human rationalism can extend our understanding, as can science, but it cannot prove or disprove every detail.

However, rationalism is based on the assumption that there are truths in the universe, and that the use of our minds can help us learn these truths. In fact, modernism is based on this same concept.

For example, if there are no universal truths then math, logic and the scientific method are all flawed and useless. All of these depend on the ability to discover and detect truths that are out there.

Reason is the most democratic thinking method to date because it holds that each individual person can use it without depending on experts or elites.

In fact, it is how the regular people can analyze and test the words and assurances of the experts and elites. The other major methods of arriving at truth—from science, math and logic to theology, aestheticism and credentialism—depend on the assurances of experts.

Jefferson goes as far as saying that the people are bound by duty to use reason as they oversee government. The committee of founders which approved The Declaration of Independence agreed with this assessment.

A free people is a deep-thinking, well-read, independent-thinking people.



[i] His works are the longest and among the most logically and meticulously argued of the great books.

Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Citizenship &Culture &Education &Generations &Government &History &Leadership &Liberty &Science

Review of Don Peck’s “Can the Middle Class be Saved?”

August 29th, 2011 // 2:00 pm @

This article in The Atlantic by Don Peck is a must-read for those who are interested in the future of American freedom and prosperity. Highlights from the article include:

  • The United States is “now composed of two distinct groups: the rich and the rest. And for the purposes of investment decisions, the second group” doesn’t matter.
  • The new name for this state of society, coined by three analysts at Citigroup, is “plutonomy.”
  •  “A 2010 Pew study showed that the typical middle-class family had lost 23 percent of its wealth since the recession began, versus just 12 percent in the upper class.”
  • The lifestyles of non-professional college graduates now more closely resemble those of high-school dropouts than of the professional class.
  • The meritocracy is increasingly only a meritocracy of the upper classes.
  • “Among the more pernicious aspects of the meritocracy is the equation of merit with test-taking success.”
  • “For the most part, these same forces have been a boon, so far, to Americans who have a good education and exceptional creative talents or analytic skills.”
  • Most Americans don’t want the middle class to disappear or continue to shrink, and such a development would certainly bring a drastic change to the people-based freedom that has characterized the historical successes of the United States.
  • These trends, and the growing divide between the rich and the rest, are increasing the longer the economy remains sluggish.

Peck gives a number of suggestions for improving this situation, including:

  • Increasing the funding for effective job training and education.
  • “Removing bureaucratic obstacles to innovation is as important as pushing more public funds toward it.”
  • Changing our public policy to accelerate innovation.
  • Significantly improving our schools.
  • Creating clear paths of training and skilled work for those who don’t go to college.
  • Altering current immigration policy to allow more “creative, highly skilled immigrants” to come to the U.S. more easily.

Whether or not you agree with Peck’s recommendations, one reality is clear: The success of these things ultimately depends on incentivizing entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity and economic growth.

By spurring significant economic growth, we will directly and indirectly address most of our national economic problems.

On the other hand, if government policies continue to thwart major innovation and growth, little can be done.

Peck makes a case for higher taxes, but hardly mentions that Washington has a serious spending problem.

Democrats typically argue for tax hikes, while Republicans now mostly champion spending cuts.

Most Independents, in contrast, would likely support both—as long as the tax hikes on the professional class were used not to increase or maintain federal spending but rather to directly help put America’s financial house back in order.

Whatever your view on this debate, it is a discussion desperately needed right now.

Too much of the rhetoric on this topic is just that—two sides deeply entrenched and firmly committed to one view only.

We need fresh ideas and inspiring leadership to move beyond this gridlock.

With all this said, Peck’s article is mandatory reading. Every American should think about its main points.

Most will find things to disagree with, perhaps, but the dialogue is needed.

If the middle class is to survive and thrive, it must increase its role of deeply considering, thinking about and making its views felt on important economic and other national issues.

Freedom only works when involved citizens of all socio-economic levels actively participate in such important national discussions.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the co-author of New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller LeaderShift, and 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.

Category : Aristocracy &Book Reviews &Community &Culture &Current Events &Economics &Family &Featured &Statesmanship

19 Questions Answered in FreedomShift

August 13th, 2011 // 1:56 pm @

  1. Following historical cycles and trends, we have recently experienced a significant recession and major unemployment. According to the patterns of history, what is the third major economic challenge which is just ahead? (Learn what it is so you can prepare for it before it comes.)
  2. Based on the lessons of past generations which faced major economic problems, what are the twelve things every family should do to deal with the economic challenges ahead?
  3. What are the three major choices which American citizens need to make to overcome our nation’s economic problems and restore economic growth and increased freedom?
  4. Where did Tocqueville say that the greatness of America lies? (The answer may surprise you.)
  5. What exactly is a FreedomShift and how is one accomplished?
  6. What is “the Law of the Vital Few?”
  7. How is this law drastically changing America today?
  8. What are the three top problems that are keeping America from fixing its problems right now?
  9. What are six predictions of the Anti-Federalists from the founding generation that have come true today and are causing major problems in Washington D.C.’s ability to lead the nation?
  10. Is our society being run by the cultures of our Elementary Schools, High Schools, Colleges & Corporations, Government Officials, or the Adults in our society?
  11. How can we move back to adult culture, especially in Washington?
  12. What are the three major groups in the Republican Party, the three major groups in the Democratic Party, and the other major groups running our nation politically?
    (We are much more complex than the historical two-party system that dominated during the Cold War, and only those who understand these splits in the parties will know what is really going on in the nation.)
  13. Who is the new group that is literally running the United States now? (Hint: it’s not the Tea Party, socialists, environmentalists, the religious right, liberals or even conservatives. The answer is surprising and deeply important.)
  14. What are the nine types of people who run both of the two major political parties?
  15. How will they impact the election of 2012?
  16. What should we expect in the upcoming election?
  17. What are the eight kinds of freedom, and which have we already lost in America?
  18. Which of the eight are we now losing?
  19. What does this loss mean directly for your family and the economy?

These challenges can be dealt with positively, but only if we know what is coming in the decade ahead.

For the answers to these questions and more on how “regular” people like you and me have all the power to refresh our liberties, read FreedomShift: 3 Choice to Reclaim America’s Destiny, available in paperback, pdf and Kindle editions. (Audiobook version, read by the author, coming soon!)

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is a co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the co-author of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller LeaderShift, and 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.

Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Citizenship &Community &Culture &Current Events &Economics &Entrepreneurship &Featured &Government &Independents &Leadership &Liberty &Mini-Factories &Politics &Prosperity &Tribes

Meritocracy is Elitism

July 19th, 2011 // 6:01 am @

Modernism dislikes all types of elitism– except for meritocracy.

When elite status is merited, according to this view, it is a good thing.

In such a society, our elites are:

“…made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of monopoly industry and centralized government.”

Cool quote, right?

This was written by George Orwell in his description of Big Brother’s society in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Some may think that a meritocracy is the same as Thomas Jefferson’s “natural aristocracy,” but in fact the roots of the two are quite different.

In a meritocracy some rise to elite status through their individual merit, which is determined by the institutions of society.

In short, the current elites get to choose their successors—those of merit determine which people in the rising generation are to be people of “merit.”

In contrast, Jefferson’s natural aristocracy rose because of their “virtue, wisdom and service” to humanity.

And the current societal servants don’t choose tomorrow’s natural servants—they arise naturally according to their service.

Meritocracy offers special perks and benefits for those who are accepted by the current generation of elites.

A natural aristocracy looks around, sees needs and gets to work meeting these needs.

Meritocracy is the best way to choose elites (far better than basing it on land ownership or heredity, for example), but elitist society of any kind is far from the best choice.

Leaders arising naturally through genuine merit is a different thing than meritocracy.

Government by the people is a real concept, not just an idealistic dream.

It gave us the most free and prosperous nation and society in history, and it can do so again.

To repeat: merit, not meritocracy.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is a co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the co-author of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller LeaderShift, and 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.

Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Citizenship &Culture &Education &Featured &Leadership &Postmodernism

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