Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Idea. A Philosophy


Tuesday, June 2nd is the last day of my encore US History class. At this writing, I have only two more classes left to tie up all that I’ve taught them through the year. To that end, I’ve decided to quote two foreigners who looked at the United States from the outside and described what is great about our country.
The first is Bono, head of the rock band U2, who said: “It’s not a left/right issue. It’s a right/wrong issue, and America has constantly been on the side of what’s right.”
I was quite surprised to hear him say that because he was speaking at Georgetown University - an ostensibly Catholic institution that has become a liberal bastion.  It’s full of professors who probably cringed when they heard it because they’d spent their careers magnifying America’s flaws to the point where all the right things we’ve done are overshadowed.
Slick Willy at Georgtown

“America is an idea,” the Irishman Bono continued. “That’s how we see you around the world: As one of the greatest ideas in human history… The idea is that you and me are created equal… If we have dignity, if we have justice, then leave it to us. We’ll do the rest… This country was the first to claw its way out of darkness and put that on paper.”
He’s talking, of course, about our Declaration of Independence, which laid out our founding principles. Then our Founding Fathers wrote a constitution to make sure “we have dignity” and “we have justice” as Bono put it. That constitution put restrictions on government to see that it didn’t get too big or too powerful and take away that dignity and justice.
“Then leave it to us,” he said. “We’ll do the rest.” In this, he was absolutely right. Government should stay out of our way because the best government is that which governs least,” as John O’Sullivan put it back in the 19th century.
But it isn’t lately. Ours is becoming the government that governs most,  intruding into nearly every aspect of our lives. It’s regulating everything from baby furniture to soda pop to the carbon dioxide we exhale, and there’s no end in sight.
Then there’s this quote from the other foreigner: “Europe was created by history,” said former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “America was created by philosophy.” Not only did America jettison the European idea of the Divine Right of Kings, we designed a replacement system that restricted government as much as possible while still preserving order.
Thatcher also said: “There are significant differences between the American and European version of capitalism. The American traditionally emphasizes the need for limited government, light regulations, low taxes and maximum labor-market flexibility. Its success has been shown above all in the ability to create new jobs, in which it is consistently more successful than Europe.”
That agrees with Bono’s remarks at Georgetown. He had gone on to praise capitalism as the best way to stem poverty. Speaking about Africa, he said: “Entrepreneurial Capitalism takes more people out of poverty than [foreign] aid.” The progressives in audience must have gasped because then he said: “Rock star preaches capitalism. Wow!” He put his hand to his head and declared: “Sometimes I hear myself and I just can’t believe it.”
Bono appeared to be speaking from his heart and not from notes. What slipped out had become his truth: The best government is the one that, to the greatest extent possible, gives everyone and everything a good leaving alone. If we’re free to, we usually do what’s right.
Small government is the original design for America. It was the American way and it could be again if we dust off the Constitution and actually apply it. That’s what I want to leave my students with.

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27 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article as usual, Tom. I pray we have enough people to "just say no" when the time comes. It only takes three recent of the population. This as been proven time and again.

5/26/15, 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darn tablet changes words. It's 'percent'.

5/26/15, 6:13 PM  
Anonymous aliledar said...

Your students are lucky to have had you for their teacher and we Americans are so extremely lucky to be Americans, even as our great idea country gets farther away from that idea - limited, limited government. Thank you and wow, Bono!!

5/27/15, 7:37 AM  
Anonymous David said...

As a proud liberal, I agree with Bono. Because Bono also made the following statement:

“Capitalism can be a great creative force but it can be a destructive force. It is not immoral but it is amoral, we need to give it some instructions."

Exactly, and the instructions we give it are in the in the order of regulations. Without the government regulating them we get the inside trading, the cheating, the selling of junk mortgages, and all the other lunacy that led to the economy's collapse.

It seems Tom would prefer they just stand back at let whatever will happen to happen. He would allow companies to build dangerous baby furniture and let the product fail by itself after a few babies are killed. The market will sort itself out. He would allow corporations to spew out all the pollution they need to in order to make a higher profit margin. Who cares that it is poisoning the people, it's unregulated capitalism, baby!

Here are some thoughts from our founding fathers:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 1802 letter to Secretary of State Albert Gallatin.

“I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
— Thomas Jefferson

The power of all corporations ought to be limited, […] the growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.”
— James Madison


5/27/15, 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

Bono must be extremely happy that his country showed itself to be on the right side of gay marriage!

5/28/15, 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

"they’d spent their careers magnifying America’s flaws to the point where all the right things we’ve done are overshadowed."

What evidence do you have of this? You are, after all, the one that has complaining about the lack of empirical data.

5/28/15, 12:22 PM  
Anonymous The Edge said...

What part of the constitution calls for a "small" government?

5/28/15, 1:46 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Brian, Susan, and sometimes Rick, are all the same person from IP Address: 50.232.169.#

I'm on to you. Use one consistent name or I'm going to delete all your posts.

Do you suffer from Multiple personality disorder? Are you schizophrenic? Just a deluded lefty with too much time on your hands?

5/28/15, 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Has it ever occurred to you that sometimes more than one person share a computer?

I also noticed you had no answers for the questions, so resorted to attacking the questioner.

5/28/15, 3:14 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Give it up Brian/Rick/Susan/Edge et al. Get another hobby. Post as Brian only or you're gone.

5/28/15, 3:18 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

And the anonymous homo harpie who works for Unum? "Works" would be a misnomer when you spend four hours a day cruising this blog and dropping your textual turds. I've notified security at Unum in Chattanooga about you. Have they tapped you on your shoulder yet?

5/28/15, 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

Believe whatever you want, it is no skin off my back. And if you "ban" us it is obviously just an excuse to avoid critics, and to avoid answering questions like you are doing right now. If you can't beat 'em, ban 'em. The cowards way out.

5/28/15, 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Me said...

I don't get the fuss over exactly who is behind every post, and what their name is. I would get rid of the Anon option (because with more than one "anon" in a conversation can be very confusing), but who cares what other people call themselves. Who cares if somebody does have multiple personalities, or are sharing a computer or whatever. It is the message that is important, right? It is the point of view of the messenger that should be debated, not the identity of the messenger. And are you really so desperate to shut down opposing viewpoints that you would notify "security" where people work? That is really pathetic, especially with the fact that you have not been able to answer or respond to ANY of the content to the posts. You are looking like a real loser here, Tom.

5/28/15, 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Brianricksue said...

Rick, etc.-- this is his mo-- deflect by feigning he cares about who is posting . That way he can ignore content which means he can ignore the truth. It's transparent and quite pathetic really. I would suggest he take a class in rhetoric. It is quite concerning that a teacher would model such behavior. It seems to me he is all about himself----narcissistic, shallow and incapable of critical thinking.
Further. I would say tom and those like him ( those who identify as "liberals" too) rubes who still are victims of the dualistic paradigm and it's limited intellectual capacity, are in fact quite afraid---- afraid that they've been lied too about this country and it's "history" ( and they have been) afraid of true freedom, afraid to confront any semblance of truth or anything that chambers their poring of view.
Just look at the previous posts and count the times tom has refused to engage anything contrary to his opinion--- even when documented facts stare him in the face! It's quite sad really.

If anything this should serve to wake some folks up--- stop listening to fox and cnn and do your own research. Stop raking guys like tom seriously and simply ignore them. Same goes for his counterparts on the "left" who are just as ignorant, selfish and obtuse.

Good riddance! I'm done here.

5/28/15, 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Me Too said...

Since we are gathered here "Wow"ing and thanking Bono for expressing his views, let me also praise him on his following statement:

"I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God. It’s almost like religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building. God’s Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm."




5/28/15, 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Me again said...

How very true, Bono. Trying to claim that your personal way to connect with God is better than somebody else's is staggeringly self-centered and dim-witted.

5/28/15, 9:40 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

You're outa here? Watch out for that doorknob.

I have to go into Google's blog software and see how to better control comments. Getting rid of the option for Anonymous would be good. Don't know if that can happen, but I'll try. Should have enough time to do all that in a month or so.

5/29/15, 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Will you have enough time in the next month or so to answer the posts that you have been avoiding?

5/29/15, 9:48 AM  
OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 said...

"...I've notified security at Unum in Chattanooga about you."
Woah!
The proper folks would be IT,AND HR.
Of course, being an insurance interest, with unique new "financing" sources,(Portland office I suspect) they may not care how "performance art" affects their "labor/infrastructure" bottom line.
I COULD be wrong.
CaptDMO


5/29/15, 11:16 AM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

I got their IT security guy and he was very interested. I gave him all the technical information about the harpie from my sitemeter hit counter, including when and for how long he was on this blog when he should've been working. It was four hours the day I reported him.

It could have been, and likely was somebody from the Portland/South Portland office, but the internet services are based in Chattanooga. The guy said he'd follow up. He's the guy, or one of them, who continues to insist I'm a closeted homosexual. I don't mind criticism, but he was nasty to other posters as well, so I tried to put some heat on him too. He clearly was wasting Unum's resources.

I refer to him in the past tense, but he may be back.

5/29/15, 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

“To hear some people tell it, you'd think the American government had expanded radically in recent years-- Nope.”
From Business Insider

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/percentage-of-americans-work-for-the-government-2012-7#ixzz3bY0KYrrL


The following article describes what has happened with the size of the government under Obama:

August 3, 2012
A Record Decline in Government Jobs http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/jobs/posts/2012/08/03-jobs-greenstone-looney

Here is more from The Atlantic
We Now Have Our Smallest Government in 45 Years
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/we-now-have-our-smallest-government-in-45-years/260701/

Ah, those pesky facts, huh Tom?

5/29/15, 3:15 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

He was logged on for four hours, but didn't he, in all likelihood, remain logged in with the window minimized and continue to work? You're assuming a lot, and it's dangerous. It's not unreasonable to expect your call to security might cause his termination. You're going after his job, his livelihood because he committed the unpardonable sins of calling you gay and being "nasty" to some other posters. His behavior isn't defensible, but let the punishment fit the crime. You could've just blocked him from your site, right? What you did was vicious, punitive and unnecessary.

5/29/15, 10:17 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Should I have been more compassionate? Like your people were with Brendan Eich?

5/30/15, 7:30 AM  
OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 said...

Hmmmm.....Americans working in government, as a percentage of population (American, or not?)
Business Insider, and Atlantic, BOTH from the same "source"
KNOWN (by me) as long time, consistent, greater gub'mint control advocates/"Progressive" think tank Brookings (who pays for them?), link is bad on AOL and Binkiland.

"“To hear some people tell it, you'd think the American government had expanded radically in recent years"
I'm not seeing Welfare, Foreign Aid, and other "subsidies" listed in considering "size of American Government", NOR the growth in over reaching fees/penalties/"durable" goods mandates considered.
So yes, MORE actual people (including everyone STILL getting paid for not working/ "pensioned" WITH social security, (and maybe a NEW gub'mint job, at "Union rate")
I wonder if there are any OTHER sources, ever "official" enough to demonstrate contrary evidence, or "interpretation".
I wonder how many pages of "law" have been added in the last...say...seven years, WITHOUT repealing ANY pages of "gub'mint" they were interpreted to "fix"?

Steve said....(etc.)
Yeah "he"? coulda' been a LOT of things. Ad hominum, straw man, stalking troll, "critic" is one.(and WHO's "assuming"?)
Of course, I guess it's up to "his?" employer to consider "his?" value ad integrity. 4 hours, or 4 seconds, the difference in the value of theft of assets is...? (There's a joke about prostitution along those lines)
Reason, and admonishment for civility has failed, as it has with "others" of the (poorly) sock puppet/ballot box stuffing, ilk.
CaptDMO


5/30/15, 7:36 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Your people? I’ve never been on the receiving end of that phrase. Now I know how unpleasant it feels to hear it. But for what it’s worth, to quote George Costanza, “I have an unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality.” Your certain assumption to the contrary is interesting though. You tried to get this person fired – least jeopardize his/her job – from unum because he/she was “nasty” to some of your readers, and you’re at peace with that, even boastful. How many blogs have you dedicated to your outrageous outrage when the homosexual community speaks up towards the same end? They’re at least calling out people who seek to deny them rights only recently acquired after centuries without them. Here’s a good article from Forbes about Brendan Eich. http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2014/04/11/did-mozilla-ceo-brendan-eich-deserve-to-be-removed-from-his-position-due-to-his-support-for-proposition-8/
I first logged onto your site about four hours ago. In that time I did my grocery shopping, unpacked my groceries, prepped tonight’s dinner, tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch, took a nap and responded to you. In those four hours, I was engaged in your site for about six or seven minutes.

5/31/15, 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

...and still NO response to the questions and posts that tear apart the ideas of his column. It seems that for some it is not so much about the issues as it is about the pure hatred felt for those with opposing viewpoints and different lifestyles and religions. It is much easier to make personal attacks than to think, and to engage in rational debate.

6/1/15, 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

What could you possibly have against people choosing not to do business with Brendan Eich? Isn't that how free market captitalism works?

6/1/15, 3:42 PM  

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