Talking Points

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation. You know, ‘capitalist pig!’”

— State Board of Education member Terri Leo, R-Spring, arguing for a requirement (which the board approved) that Texas social studies students learn that the economic system in the United States is the free enterprise system, not capitalism. Leo argued that “capitalism” is a word used by “liberal professors in academia.”

“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state. I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

— State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-Beamont (Buna, really), expressing his satisfaction that the board rejected a curriculum standard requiring students to learn that the Constitution bars government from promoting one religion over all others in America.

“Most reporters are lazy, and they don’t do their homework.”

— Texas State Board of Education member Terri Leo, R-Spring, explaining newspapers’ alleged spreading of misinformation about the board. Pot, meet kettle.

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12 thoughts on “Talking Points

  1. Terri Leo said: “Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation. You know, ‘capitalist pig!’’

    I feel sure that would be news to the Capital One finance corporation. They call it Capital One because—dare I say it—they have capital to lend.

  2. Here’s a quote from “In the Land of the Kami” , an article in Japan Times. Shinto is a fascinating old religion, mirroring the cultural richness of Japan. However, it was put to diabolical purposes by Imperial Japan:

    “Long relegated to an official netherworld, Shinto under the 1868 Meiji Imperial Restoration was abruptly adopted as the state cult. Shinto myths, taught in schools as historical fact, propelled Japan first into the most intensive modernization the world had ever seen, then headlong into the most destructive war the world has ever known.

    The curtain came down on state Shinto in December 1945, its abolition decreed under the Occupation by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers — “in order,” reads a SCAP memorandum to the Japanese government, “to prevent recurrence of the perversion of Shinto theory and beliefs into militaristic and ultranationalistic propaganda designed to delude the Japanese people and lead them into wars of aggression.”

  3. Ms Leo’s only concrete example reported in The Texas Tribune was the Faux News dustup. What do you want to bet that she gets most of her news from Faux News?

  4. “Most reporters are lazy, and they don’t do their homework.”

    There goes another irony meter….

  5. Capitalism was invented by Karl Marx and first mentioned in Das Kapital in1867 over seventy five years after the US Constitution came into effect. The system in effect from the landing at Jamestown until now had no simplistic label to use as a straw dummy for academics to flail against.

    Capitalism as a bonafide economic system doesn’t exist except in the minds of Marxists and other forms of socialists which inlcudes Italian Fascism and German Naziism. The central concept of Marxist economics is the Labor Theory of Value in which the quality and quantity of labor is a zero sum game. Supply exists in Marxism, but demand does not, except at the demands of the state which certainly didn’t whither away.

    It might be useful to remember that Jamestown was established by a private stock company which went belly up and was taken over by the crown. Some things don’t change.

  6. “The system in effect from the landing at Jamestown until now had no simplistic label to use as a straw dummy for academics to flail against.”

    Well, actually, the system in effect at Jamestown began somewhere on the plains of East Africa about 1.8 million years ago and has continued up to the present day, and it has always had a simplistic label called “doing business.” Flail at that.

  7. In the Health Care debate going on now, we can safely say that Capitalism is incompatible with Health Care. The greatest doctor of all time (Jesus Christ) never charge the people that he healed. Was He a socialist?

  8. Gordon, the Constitution didn’t institute an economic system. It is a document of government.

    And Marx didn’t “invent” capitalism. I don’t know how someone can “invent” an economic system, anyway. And, yes, he did believe in demand. I don’t even know where you’re getting that from. Also, Adam Smith was one of the first proponents of the Labor Theory of Value. Are you right wing crazies rejecting him now too?

    Finally, the Nazis weren’t socialists. Even Wikipedia knows that.

    This is why these people cannot be allowed to have anything to do with education. Facts mean nothing to them, and they don’t even understand the terms they use or the history behind those terms.

    Can’t we just get back to teaching our children? At least maybe rational, educated people will start paying attention to SBOE elections, and we can let educators create sensible educational standards with curriculum, and not the politics of fear and bogeymen, at the center.

  9. I like you Robert Bohmfalk.

    By the way, this juncture offers an excellent opportunity for me to define the difference between the term “Christian fundamentalist” and my more recent term “Christian Neo-Fundamentalist.” I feel sure TFN and the Texas SBOE members who lurk here to see what we are saying about them have scratched their heads about that one on many occasions, so let’s take a cue from Robert’s statement and define “Christian Neo-Fundamentalist” using a specific example.

    The term “Christian fundamentalist” goes back to around the turn of the 20th century in the United States, and it refers to a belief in Jesus Christ that revolves around a very short list of specific doctrinal statements, just one being the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. While the Christian Neo-Fundamentalist also believes these same things, he is really a very different and more recent breed of animal than his forebears.

    Robert is correct. There is no Biblical evidence that Jesus charged anyone for healing them. There is also no Biblical evidence that Jesus and his disciples distributed money to the poor by going through a “means test” to determine whether a poor person DESERVED IT. In my own family, it is arguable that my parents and their siblings were Christian fundamentalists in the old-time sense. My parents were poor people—me too. I had a better off aunt and uncle who were very loving and compassionate towards our poor family and other people in the local community. I would have been unable to go to college without their help. They would often hear a news broadcast about someone in need and simply send them $100, back when that was still a lot of money—no questions asked—just like Jesus and his disciples.

    The term “Christian Neo-Fundamentalist” refers to an entirely new breed of Christian that just came on the scene here in the United States during the past 40 years. Being burdened by the weight of far right wing conservative economic theory in the political sphere, these people tend to be cold-hearted and calculated in their giving. They cherry-pick the gospel by ignoring the apparent absence of a means test in the giving of Jesus and his disciples and instead hone in tightly on the Apostle Paul’s later admonition that those within the Christian community “who do not work should not eat.” You see. Paul’s statement was specific to the Christian community where everyone was expected to share the work load and be generous among themselves. It was not specified for the society at large. The Christian Neo-Fundamentalists go a step further than the Bible and apply it to everyone—because it serves their own selfish ends and the goals of their political masters, who appear to have pretty much replaced Jesus at times.

    The Christian Neo-Fundamentalists are absolutely convinced that the United States is a land of boundless opportunity. Anyone who wants to work will work. Anyone who wants to be wealthy and works hard will be wealthy. Given all of this boundless opportunity, anyone who is poor in the United States is that way simply because they are either lazy or immobilized by the heavy weight of their own sins. Therefore, by definition, they are UNDESERVING of any love or charity. Apart from the sin of good old-fashioned Biblical selfishness, this is one of the reasons why they are so adamantly opposed to government entitlement programs that help the poor. They just plain believe that these poor people are lazy and do not DESERVE any help. Now let me give you a good example of a Christian Neo-Fundamentalist in action.

    Back about 1970, Vanderbilt University had a program that allowed some students an opportunity to skip their junior and senior years in high school and enter Vanderbilt as a freshman on scholarship. In my high school, we had three black students who were triplets (one girl and two boys that looked as much alike as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee). When they were born, their father deserted the family and never came back. Sometime later their mother died, essentially leaving the three kids to raise themselves in the home their mother left behind—which they did—with some help from relatives. These kids were very poor and in a bad fix—plain and simple. Well, the girl was really smart and showed a great deal of academic promise, so her aunt (a local school teacher) helped her apply for the Vanderbilt progam.

    The principal of our high school was a devout Southern Baptist who was most likely a deacon in his church. It is my understanding that her acceptance to Vanderbilt ate through his body, mind, and soul like nitric acid through a penny. In his opinion, she did not DESERVE IT, and it is my understanding that he did everything in his power to prevent her from going. Although he was a Christian, he apparently had no compassion whatever for these black kids and their situation. In his view, if a rich kid for whom Vanderbilt tuition was mere “chump change” had somewhat higher grades than the black girl, then he should go to Vanderbilt instead of her because he DESERVED IT. Well, I am happy to report that God was more compassionate with this girl than my principal. Biblically speaking, every weapon formed against this girl failed miserably. She went off to Vanderbilt as a freshman, and it is my understanding that she did quite well.

    I just wanted to give you this one example of how Christian Neo-Fundamentalists believe, think, and operate so you can beware of their leaven.

  10. Unfortunately, I think Adam Smith would be considered “too lefty” to get a job with the Wall Street Journal these days.

    All the WSJ (or the Texas SBOE) cares about is one paragraph from Wealth of Nations; they couldn’t give damn about the Theory of Moral Sentiments or anything else Smith wrote.

    Even still, when Leo argued that “capitalism” is a word used by “liberal professors in academia.”…

    Well, Yeah; it’s also used by most economics & business professors; Ayn Rand wrote proudly about Capitalism; as did F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, et. al. I thought it was slightly hilarious that the Board member insisting on more coverage of F.A. Hayek couldn’t actually say who he was (obviously got his/her marching orders from someplace else).

    Marx didn’t “invent” capitalism, he (& Engels) observed it in operation and wrote about what he saw.

  11. I’m not an economist. I even have trouble balancing my checkbook, to be honest. But it seems to me that anymore, capitalism means no holds barred. It’s a no-rules, no referee ball game. It’s a city street without any speed limit signs, stop signs, no left turn signs, or street lights: everyone making up their own restrictions as they go along. In other words, total chaos. That’s what conservatives and the GOP want: chaos.