“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” —United States Constitution, Amendment One
■ The Mountain Press ■ Page A7 ■ Friday, May 28, 2010
Republican bubble may get deflated In a rather charming video at randpaul2010.com, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate from Kentucky, Rand Paul himself, a libertarian by birthright, says that he was not named for Ayn Rand. The writer is acclaimed as a prophet by many libertarians, although she once said she would rather vote for the Marx Brothers than a libertarian. No, says Paul. The candidate chuckles and says his first name was actually “Randal.” His wife called him “Rand” and it stuck. He goes on to express great admiration for the other Rand, the lady who invented “Objectivism” as a raging individualistic, anti-government political and cultural philosophy in the 1940s. He read all her books and she led him, intellectually, to the Austrian school of “laissez faire” economics and governance — which finally can mean no government. I would guess that he has also read Federalist Paper 51, written as an anti-big government tract in 1788 by James Madison. If he has not, he should, although it is probably too late. In the flush of his victory in the Republican primary last week, he stretched his own anti-government attitude to more or less defend segregation and attack government for picking on corporations just because they destroy things like the national economy or the Gulf of Mexico. This is what Madison could have told him in the paper that famously argued for “checks and balances” in a democratic society: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Ironically, the most recent (and fatally flawed) comparison of men and angels came from the most famous of Ayn Rand’s acolytes, Alan Greenspan, who worked for the lady when he was a young man. He went on to great distinction, becoming chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve for 18 years. In explaining how he missed the warning signs of the housing and market bubbles from that lofty perch he said: “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.” Ah, yes. If bankers were angels we might not need a Federal Reserve system. And they are not the only anti-regulation, anti-government conservatives to ignore the necessary connection between human nature and governance. In last Sunday’s New York Times, Sam Tanenhaus recounted William F. Buckley’s epiphany on states rights, civil rights and big government, writing: “One fierce opponent of civil rights legislation, William F. Buckley Jr., admitted as much. ‘I once believed we could evolve our way up from Jim Crow,’ Mr. Buckley said in 2004. ‘I was wrong: federal intervention was necessary.’” Ah, yes. If only those Southern sheriffs and their ilk were angels. Rand Paul, it seems, is going to try to stay out of sight and sound for a while. He canceled a coveted spot on “Meet the Press” last Sunday. I assume he is sitting down now with friends and advisers to try to figure out how to turn his principles and philosophy into sane political patter. His charm and ideas may have been salable in a Republican primary in a border state, but he sounded like a fool in the days after his Kentucky victory. He may be revealed as a great philosopher. But politics isn’t philosophy, or as Peter Finley Dunne said a long time ago, “It ain’t beanbag.” And governance ain’t a tea party. The Republicans have been thriving on the conventional wisdom that they will do well in November because voters are angry at Washington. That might happen. But the contradictions between human nature and what Republicans are talking about these days could deflate that particular political bubble. — Richard Reeves, a presidential scholar and expert on six presidents, is the author of several books, including profiles of Richard Nixon and John Kennedy. Column distributed by Universal Syndicate.
The right ade
SIS, Catlettsburg students sell lemonade for good causes For some area youngsters, charity work isn’t their thing. It’s more like their cup of lemonade. That’s been the case over the last couple of weeks when students at Sevierville Intermediate and Catlettsburg Elementary set up lemonade stands to raise money for worthy causes. At Sevierville Intermediate, the cause was the flood victims in Nashville and was the brainchild of fourth-grader Alexandria Ramsey. She was in a dance competition a few weeks ago when the torrential storms rolled through, and her teacher heard that the No. 1 need was money. So passionate was Alexandria that she went to Principal Terri Dodge. During Field Day week, students sold cups of lemonade for 50 cents, and also sold fruit snacks and juice.
The Sevierville Fire Department donated ice. Inspired by Alexandria and with the help of her friends, SIS raised about $1,000 to donate to the American Red Cross to help flood victims. At Catlettsburg, the charity was childhood cancer research and the fundraiser was the brainchild of thirdgrade teacher Jessica Justus, with help from colleague Kim DeBusk. When Justus heard about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national organization, she thought it was perfect for her students. Students were assigned to a number of details. As at SIS, the lemonade stands at Catlettsburg were open during field day hours. The young students took the project to heart. “They bring their own money
and buy the lemonade, too,” said DeBusk. “They’ve worked very hard, and I think they’ve done a wonderful job.” The original Alex’s Lemonade Stand belonged to Alex Scott, diagnosed with cancer shortly after her first birthday. The day after she got out of the hospital after her fourth birthday, Alex wanted to open a stand so she could help doctors. She raised $2,000 that year, and the seeds to her foundation were planted. Going into their last day, Catlettsburg students had raised over $600 toward their $1,000 goal. Add that to the thousand dollars raised at SIS for another good charity and it comes to a tidy sum for worthy causes. Join us in raising a glass — of lemonade — in a toast to a lot of hardworking third- and fourth-graders.
Public forum Criminals on way to trial should read Ten Commandments
Editor: I have before me a copy of the Constitution of the U.S., which I think should be a required study in our public schools. I also think that our president and Congress should also study this great document. We’re taught in the Holy Bible to pray for our leaders and those in authority, and each of us needs to do that today like never before. God has blessed the U.S. like no other nation on earth and I think it is because it was founded as a nation where we could have freedom of religion. Many of our civil laws were made from Christian laws. Wouldn’t it be a good thing if, as a criminal was carried into the courthouse for trial, they see and read the Ten Commandments which are written in God’s Holy Bible? If criminals had been taught these commandments as a child, maybe our jails wouldn’t be so overcrowded today, because they teach you not to kill, steal, lie, commit sexual sins or to covet what does not belong to you. Those who are so opposed to the Christian
religion in the U.S. are free to leave our country, as there are many places in the world where they can go and Christianity is strictly forbidden. May God continue to bless America and may we always honor our veterans and those in the military service of our country who have helped to keep us free. Melba Oakley Gatlinburg
God wants all people to love him, if they choose
Editor: Once again I’ve been told to shut up or leave this country. At least I didn’t have a cross burned on my lawn. Many of my friends came back to this country and got spit upon, so why should I think anything has changed. When I started my ministry it was to serve God only, not religion. It’s my belief no religious group has the right to shove their beliefs on another. Anyone living in our country has the right to worship with their own belief. We are, I think, a free nation. I serve God, not religion. Some people think we should complicate God, but God
wants all people to love him, if they choose. I don’t condemn anyone because of their beliefs. Certain people think they control others because they think they are right and everyone else is wrong. When the Democrats were creating this so-called recession, as some believe, what were the Republicans doing? They were supposed to have been in charge. Why can’t Americans be responsible for their own actions? Christians are taught Jesus died for everyone’s sins. So, why do they preach hell and Lake of Fire? It’s only scare tactics. if a person keeps God in his or her heart and does good, then why should there be a need of a place called hell? I help homeless veterans and homeless families. All my donations are for them. God provides the needs and we serve God. All I ask is, when and if I do leave this country, I’m afraid my homeless vets and families will be herded like cattle. I’ve already told them that because this is such a strong Christian community they don’t have a homeless problem here. This was told to me 20 years ago. Thomas Bordeaux Sevierville
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The Mountain Press for Friday, May 28, 2010