America Before The Entitlement State By Yaron Brook and Don Watkins

Reacting to calls for cuts in entitlement programs, House Democrat Henry Waxman fumed: “The Republicans want us to repeal the twentieth century.” Sound bites don’t get much better than that. After all, the world before the twentieth century–before the New Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society–was a dark, dangerous, heartless place where hordes of Americans starved in the streets.

Except it wasn’t and they didn’t. The actual history of America shows something else entirely: picking your neighbors’ pockets is not a necessity of survival. Before America’s entitlement state, free individuals planned for and coped with tough times, taking responsibility for their own lives.

In the 19th century, even though capitalism had only existed for a short time, and had just started putting a dent in pre-capitalism’s legacy of poverty, the vast, vast majority of Americans were already able to support their own lives through their own productive work. Only a tiny fraction of a sliver of a minority depended on assistance and aid–and there was no shortage of aid available to help that minority.

But in a culture that revered individual responsibility and regarded being “on the dole” as shameful, formal charity was almost always a last resort. Typically people who hit tough times would first dip into their savings. They might take out loans and get their hands on whatever commercial credit was available. If that wasn’t enough, they might insist that other family members enter the workforce. And that was just the start.

Read more from Forbes.com

Romney owes his boost to Gingrich By Marc A. Thiessen

When they meet in the green room before Monday night’s debate in South Carolina, Mitt Romney should probably give Newt Gingrich a big thank you. In just a few days’ time, Gingrich has managed has to do something Romney has tried and failed to do for more than five years: rally conservatives behind Mitt Romney.

Rush Limbaugh has called Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital “indefensible,” “sad,” “absurd,” and “the language of leftists like Michael Moore and Oliver Stone.” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola declared them “disgusting” and called on Gingrich to “apologize to Governor Romney.” The Wall Street Journal wrote that those like Gingrich attacking Romney’s business record “are embarrassing themselves” and “taking the Obama line.”

Voters in South Carolina appear to agree. At a candidates’ forum hosted by Mike Huckabee on Saturday, Gingrich was booed lustily when he tried to defend his Bain attacks. Hilton Head resident Donald Hare spoke for many when he was asked by the New York Times this weekend if he is supporting Romney and replied “I am now. What Newt did convinced me.” A new Insider Advantage poll this weekend shows Romney gaining ground with an 11-point lead. It appears the former speaker’s anti-capitalist attacks have only helped, not hurt, Romney’s campaign.

Why has Gingrich’s ploy backfired so badly?

Read more from WaPo.com

Secular Theocracy: The Foundations and Folly of Modern Tyranny, Part 2 By David Theroux

We live in a secularized world of nation states in which traditional religion, especially Christianity, is unwelcome. Rooted in the “Enlightenment,” this view supports a secularized and authoritarian public square enforced by government and that progress requires forcing religion ever backward into remote corners of society. In short, America has become a secular theocracy with a civic religion of national politics (nationalism) occupying the public realm in which government has replaced God.

Continued from Part 1:

During the Enlightenment, nationalism became the new civic religion, in which the nation state was not merely a substitute for the church, but a substitute for God, and political religion benefited from being more tangible than supernatural religion in having the physical means of violence necessary to enforce mandatory worship and funding. Nation states provided a new kind of salvation and immortality; one’s death is not in vain if it is “for the nation,” which will live on.

This “myth of religious violence” lived on with legal theorist John Rawls who claimed that the modern problem is a theological one and the solution is political. For Rawls, since people believe in unresolvable theological doctrines over which they will kill each other, a secular state must rule. Similarly, Stanford law professor Kathleen Sullivan, a secularist, has claimed that as a necessary condition for peace to avoid a “war of all sects against all,” religion must be banished from the public square.

As William Canavaugh notes, “[O]nce the state had laid claim to the holy, the state voluntarily relinquished it by banning religion from direct access to the public square . . . then what we have is not a separation of religion from politics but rather the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church.”

Hence, in Abington Township School District v. Schempp, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan stated that the function of public schools is:

    the training of American citizens in an atmosphere in which children may assimilate a heritage common to all American groups and religions. . . . This is a heritage neither theistic nor atheistic, but simply civic and patriotic. A patriotic and united allegiance to the United States is the cure for the divisiveness of religion in public.

In his dissent, Justice Potter Stewart correctly warned that the Abington ruling would be seen “not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.”

The reality of today’s secular theocracy is its hypocritical authoritarianism that circumvents the natural-law tradition of Christian teachings. Cavanaugh well sums up the incoherence of the secular theocrat who claims that, “Their violence—being tainted by religion—is uncontrolled, absolutist, fanatical, irrational, and divisive. Our violence—being secular—is controlled, modest, rational, beneficial, peace making, and sometimes regrettably necessary to contain their violence.” The appalling problem with the “myth of religious violence” is not that it opposes certain forms of violence, but that it not only denies moral condemnation of secular violence but that it considers it highly praiseworthy.

In Politics as Religion, Emilio Gentile notes that the “religion of politics” is “a system of beliefs, myths, rituals, and symbols that interpret and define the meaning and end of human existence by subordinating the destiny of individuals and the collectivity to a supreme entity.” A religion of politics is a secular religion because it creates “an aura of sacredness around an entity belonging to this world.” And according to Cavanaugh, “People are not allowed to kill for ‘sectarian religion’. . . . Only the nation-state may kill. . . . it is this power to organize killing that makes American civil religion the true religion of the U.S. social order.”

For full Part 2 of the article with footnotes, please click here.

For the complete article (Parts 1 and 2) with footnotes, please click here.

Bankrupt Solyndra seeking to pay bonuses

Now seems an unlikely time for handing out bonuses at bankrupt Solyndra LLC, but that’s the plan of company attorneys intending to dole out up to a half-million dollars to persuade key employees to stay put. Nearly two dozen Solyndra employees could receive bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 each under a proposal filed by Solyndra’s attorneys in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

SideBear: Let’s get this right…The Company is going to pay? Not hardly…The American Taxpaper is going to pay!

Today’s Toon