Editor’s note: The following article is a research essay by one of our members, George Seaver, a former Teaching Fellow and postdoctoral Fellow at
NAS is publishing this essay in three daily installments:
Domestic Faction in a Republic
From the Invisible Hand to Postmodern Poison
V. Factions in the Postmodern
By 1960 an ideology, emanating from higher education, began to compete with the Classical Liberalism of the American Founding and Constitution. Historicism, of 18th century origins, was a philosophy that cited time, place and local culture as determinate, rejecting immutable laws and transcendent properties. In the 1950s the New Historicism was introduced by French philosophers Foucault and Lacan, found a home in higher education and added to this lack of transcendency. Now, truth was relative to the power structure of the society at that time and place. French philosopher Jacques Derrida in 1967 both applied this to literature and brought it to the
Higher education was the mainspring of deconstructive philosophy in the
"We...acknowledging that socially constructed differences based on certain characteristics exist within systems of power that create and sustain inequality, hierarchy, and privilege. The
and Human Services is determined to eliminate these forms of inequality, hierarchy, and privilege in our programs and practices.26 Collegeof Liberal Arts
The schools and profession of Social Work have encouraged the poisonous nature of factions in their courses and accreditation requirements. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits the programs for social work education. One of its primary requirements for both the Bachelor and Masters degrees is to "understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and apply strategies of advocacy...that advance social and economic justice," and its Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice states that the "...well documented disparities based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion,...remain stubbornly resistant to eradication as the different treatment based on these traits remains structured into prevailing systems of power and privilege."27 The Council and the Center pursue "..institutional arrangements that foster the achievement of diversity and social and economic justice as a central priority"27b.
In 1992 and again in 1999, diversity summit meetings were held by the American Society of Newspaper Editors (policy), the Newspaper Association of America (business), the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Times-Warner, Knight-Ridder, Gannett, Times-Mirror and 190 other media corporations, to set policy in regard to race, gender and other minority factions. The policies adopted were "style guides" to guide editors on language to use in writing about race; photo policies do the same for images; "mainstreaming guidelines" seek to increase the number of citations of minority sources in news reporting; "content audit" to measure the way that minorities have been portrayed in the news; and "diversity management" seminars to point out institutionalized cultural privileging and how this oppresses and holds back minorities.28 In 1993 Arthur Sulzberger of the New York Times declared, "We can no longer offer our readers a predominantly white, straight male version of events and say we, as journalists, are doing our job."29 Two months later he followed up in the Columbia Journalism Review, "you can't merely bring in Hispanics or African Americans or Asian Americans and hold them to a standard that says, 'Fine, you're in, now behave like a white male.’"30 Summarizing the state of the media in his 2001 book Coloring the News, William McGowan wrote, "One of the academic clichés that has penetrated journalism to its detriment holds that 'reality' is merely a set of power relationships in which those who are in control—i.e. white people—impose their vision of the social order on people of color, who in turn must defend themselves by creating 'competing narrative'...the deconstructionist belief that language controls reality."31Law
The rise of factions in legal thinking and decisions is consistent with the concept of social justice, although incompatible with that of individual justice. In 1977 Critical Legal Studies (CLS), and later Critical Race Theory, was introduced at
In January 2009 a lawsuit was heard in Federal District Court in San Francisco, California to overturn the recently and democratically passed ban on homosexual marriage (Proposition 208). As part of that proceeding the federal district judge issued an order permitting the live video broadcasting of the trial, reversing a standing rule. This order was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2009, who reversed that order, finding that: "...applicant has demonstrated the threat of harm they face if the trial is broadcast."35 This ruling was supported by a 14-page document, cataloguing retaliation against supporters of the original
The leadership of the CIA, the FBI, and the senior officer corps of the military have empowered factions through a commitment to social justice, under the guise of diversity, and with lethal results. In 1997 George Tenet was appointed Director of the CIA; he soon sent out a letter to the personnel of the CIA entitled, Intelligence Community Functional Diversity Strategic Plan. In it he states, "...we are going to have to become a much more diverse intelligence community...We must see diversity as a corporate imperative—a strategic goal...Our community will need to attract, train and retain talented employees who have a deep understanding of other societies, cultures and languages...I consider the advancement of diversity to be a vital part of our strategic plan for the Intelligence community"37 [emphasis in the original]. In 1999 Donald Rumsfeld was appointed to head a commission looking into the effectiveness of the CIA. In his March 1999 report to Congress he stated that there were "problems within the intelligence community [the CIA]" and that these involved "excessive turnover, a decline in scientific and engineering competence,...[and] a highly-charged political atmosphere..."38. In 2002 Bernard Goldberg, in his book Bias, attributed "political correctness" for the inability to "connect the dots"39 prior to the September 11, 2001 attack on the
A similar culture grew up at the FBI under Director Louis Freeh, and with similar results. Charles Hill, a fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, editorialized in the Wall Street Journal that the "main cause of inadequate intelligence performance over the past three decades has been a decline in the quality of personnel, brought about by the pressures for diversity."40 At his retirement from the FBI in June 2001, Louis Freeh cited as his greatest accomplishment that he diversified the agents in the force; and that he had increased the numbers of blacks, women and 'sexually-diverse agents,' and the bureaucracy to go with it.
The military is in general a traditional culture, but in peacetime the senior officer corps becomes dependent upon politics for advancement, and soon reflects the current political climate. This was demonstrated by an event that occurred on November 5, 2009 at
The 2000-year history of republics tells us that unfettered faction has caused great internal mayhem and ultimately, the collapse of the republican structure. The actual encouragement of faction will bring about that result faster, as Machiavelli told us of the 1498 events in
Today, the prevailing opinion amongst cultural observers seems to be that the civil rights movement, beginning in the 1960's, along with the subsequent legislation providing special attention to minorities and women, was necessary, but went too far. Robert Putnam, Professor of Public Policy at
These "negative effects of diversity," as discovered by Professor Putnam and presented in section V, suggest that the "era of civil rights" is better seen as the "era of the rise of faction," Professor Samuel Huntington, almost alone as an academic in 2004, described this in his book Who Are We when he concluded:
These efforts by a nation's leaders to deconstruct the nation they govern were, quite possibly, without precedence in human history. Substantial elements of America's elites in academia, the media, business, and the professions joined government elites in these efforts.48
Thomas Sowell in his 2009 book Intellectuals and Society finds specifically that academic institutions in which "intellectuals have their greatest direct control" are the origin and mainspring of this rise of faction. "Setting group against group...through the prism of race, class, gender," we have "fragmented...society into jarring segments" under the ideology of social justice. He concludes that "...there is a limit to the...ferocity of these disintegrative forces which a society can survive..."49
Today, under the imprimatur of social justice, Hispanic immigrant groups such as La Raza aggressively reject public virtue and demand exception from the laws; homosexual groups demand repudiation of religious fundamentals, labeling them hate speech; black racial groups aggressively assert "no justice no peace"; and Muslim groups demand separate and victim status. The first three of these factions represent a significant portion of the citizenry and stage large demonstrations that frequently turn violent50a,b,c; the last inflames the particularly poisonous nature of religious faction. In the absence of self-restraint, of public virtue, faction turns the invisible hand of exceptionalism into incurable poison. A tipping point would occur if the "Tea Party" movement was to become an aggressive counter-faction and respond in kind, as did the Tiberius Gracchus faction in Rome in 134 BC. Whether they be from the Sophists of Athens, the populace land reformers of Rome, or the postmodernists of today, poisonous factions left to fester ultimately destroy their republic.
25. Meszaros, Peggy, 2009: Strategic Diversity Plan. Virginia Polytechnic Institute, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
26. Council on Social Work Education, 2001: Educational policy and accreditation standards. Last corrected, November 2002, pg. 6. www.cswe.org.
27b. CSWE, 2010: Mission Statement, Center for Diversity and Social & Economic
Justice. June 2010. http://www.cswe.org/CentersInitiatives/Diversity-CDSEJ.aspx.
27. McGowan, William, 2001: Coloring the News. Encounter Books, San Francisco, p.12-13.
28. Sulzberger, Arthur, 1993: New York Times: Sept. 10, 1993.
29. Sulzbeger, A., 1993: Columbia Journalism Review. Nov.-Dec. 1993.
30. McGowan, W., ibid., p.232.
31. Lehman, David, 1991: Sign of the Times. Poseidon Press, p.38, 39.
33. Tribe, Laurence, 2008: The Invisible Constitution. Oxford Press USA, Sept 2008.
34a. Heriot, G., 2008: The ABA's diversity dictat. The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2008.
34b. Neal, A., 2008: Dis-Accreditation. Academic Questions, 21(4). Fall, 2008. National Association of Scholars, NJ.
35. Supreme Court of the United States, 2010: Dennis Hollingsworth et al. v Kristin M. Perry et al. on Application for Stay. 558 U.S.___January 13, 2010.
36. Messner, Thomas, 2009: The Price of Proposition 8. October 22, 2009, The Heritage Foundation.
37. Gertz, Bill, 2002: Breakdown. Regnery Publishing. Washington, D.C., Appendix.
38. Ibid., pg. 76.
39. Goldberg, Bernard, 2002: Bias. Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C. p.200.
40. Hill, Charles, 2004: "Commissionism". Wall Street Journal, July 123, 2004. Op-Ed Article.
41. Casey, G., 2009: Meet the Press. Sunday, November 8, 2009. www.msnbc.com/meetthepress.
42. Loomis, Louise, 1942: Plato, Introduction. Walter Black, NY. Pg. 6.
43. Plato, ibid., Apology. Pg. 31.
44. Adams, John. Ibid., pg. 284.
45. Loomis, Louise. Ibid., pg.8.
46. Putnam, R.. Bowling Alone, op. cit. P.402, 17, 201, 195, 202.
47. Leo, J., 2007: Bowling with our own. City Journal, 25 June 2007. www.cityjournal.org
48. Huntington, Samuel, 2004: Who Are We. Simon&Schuster, NY. Pg. 43.
49. Sowell, T., 20089: Intellectuals and Society. Basic Books. New York. 2009. pgs. 314, 310, 305, 317.
50a. Messner, T., 2009: The price of Prop 8. Backgrounder, Heritage Foundation, Oct. 22, 2009. <www.heritage.org/research>
50b. Supreme Court of the United States, 2010: Dennis Hollingsworth et al. v Kristin M. Perry et al. On application for stay. Jan. 13, 2010. pgs. 2, 3, 7, 13.
50c. McCough, K., 2010: Banned: The American Flag on Cinco de Mayo. <townhall.com>