Director of Strategy and Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason
Sean Faircloth served five terms in the Maine Legislature. Faircloth served on the Judiciary and Appropriations Committees. In his last term Faircloth was elected Majority Whip by his colleagues.
An accomplished legislator, Faircloth successfully spearheaded over thirty laws, including the so-called Deadbeat Dad child support law which saved Maine taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and was later incorporated into federal law. Faircloth had numerous legislative successes in children’s issues and justice system reform.
In two years as Executive Director of Secular Coalition for America, Faircloth conceived and led the Secular Decade plan, a specific strategic vision for resecularizing American government. Faircloth writes about his ten point vision of a Secular American government in his book Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What to Do About It.
Faircloth earned a reputation for strategic thinking, innovative ideas, and speaking to groups in a way that energized them to support the secular cause.
As Director of Strategy and Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason, Faircloth will expand his strategic efforts on behalf of the entire secular movement, speak regarding policy issues, discuss the ideas in his book, and seek innovative ways to improve the secular movement. Faircloth has spoken around the United States about separation of church and state, the Constitution, children’s policy, obesity policy, and sex crime law. Faircloth chaired a Commission on sex crime law reform which led to substantive improvement in that area of law. Faircloth chaired an early childhood commission, as well as a Commission regarding the citizen initiative process.
In Maine Faircloth also had the idea for the Maine Discovery Museum and led the four-year project from concept to completion in 2001. Maine Discovery Museum was then the second largest children’s museum outside Boston of the twenty-five children’s museums in New England. Faircloth graduated from the University of Notre Dame and has a law degree from University of California Hastings College of the Law. Faircloth served as a state Assistant Attorney General, and as a lobbyist for the state bar association.
- A New Way of Thinking — Faircloth Interview – - – Point of Inquiry (richarddawkins.net)
- Q&A, Sean Faircloth on Secular Strategy, Romney & the Religious Right – Sean Faircloth – RichardDawkins.net (richarddawkins.net)
- [UPDATE 10-Feb - video Chapter 7] Sean Faircloth discusses his new book Attack of the Theocrats – Sean Faircloth – Pitchstone Publishing (richarddawkins.net)
- Attack of the Theocrats!: A Review and an Interview with Author Sean Faircloth (patheos.com)
- Universal Tolerance (atheistethicist.blogspot.com)
- Religious Bias in Public Schools (atheistethicist.blogspot.com)
The Hitting Stops Here! A campaign for teaching kindness and respect in schools everywhere.
The Hitting Stops Here! A campaign for teaching kindness and respect in schools email@example.com, 408.509.6835September 29, 2011New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy’s federal bill for banning USA school corporal punishment, HR 3027, news reports and PSA:REP CAROLYN McCARTHY’S PETITIONFor Banning USA School Corporal Punishment: http://DontHitStudents.com/American Civil Liberties Union PetitionTell Congress to Support The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act:https://secure.aclu.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=3669&s_sbsrc=110925_CorpPunishSchools_bor
What American Schoolchildren Can Do For Gaining Their14th Amendment “protective” and “due process” rights :By clicking on the following link and completing the simple form, an automated letter will besent to your Representatives in Congress urging them to Support H.R. 3027, “The EndingCorporal Punishment in Schools Act,” which can be sent daily:
Additionally, it is important to know:Where Does Governmental Power Exist For Ending USA “School Corporal Punishment”“The Umbrella of U.S. Power,” p. 52, by Dr. Norm Chomsky, reveals that the US SenateHolds the Power to End All USA School Beatings and Other Forms of School Corporal Punishment:“The U.S.A. accepted the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other forms of Cruel andInhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, BUT THE SENATE IMPOSED RESTRICTIONS, USING ITS POWER TO AMEND AND RATIFY TREATIES UNDER THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, to protect in part, the Supreme Court’s ruling ALLOWING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN SCHOOLS.”Dr. Chomsky is an esteemed lecturer and professor of Government and International Politics at Harvard University.Therefore, US Senator Education Committee Chairman Tom Harkin has the MOST influential power for ending USA school corporal punishment. While American schoolchildren of color, disadvantaged and special needs, primarily, face allkinds of abusive punishment in USA schools, Tom Harkin has focused his attention on the following:“…Tom is working to insure that the Middle Class has a bright future…” He has fought toimprove education in Iowa and across the country. He has worked to reduce class size, givestudents better computer and Internet access, expand school counseling and safety programs andimprove teacher training. He has also led the effort to modernize America’s school infrastructure.Each year he secures funding to help school districts in Iowa update and repair their facilities.Please note: Iowa Senator Harkins resides in the top-performing state for education in America.Do schoolchildren in US “paddling” states fit anywhere in his agenda?Tom Harkin is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that funds the USA Education schoolsystem. These funds are those referred to in NY Rep Carolyn McCarthy’s bill. See news report, Bill forBanning US School Corporal Punishment Introduced To Congress:Senator Tom Harkin’s biography:Senator Harkin has a, “Tell Tom how you Feel About a Bill” link at: http://harkin.senate.gov/contact.cfmALL U.S. SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBER names and contact information, tobe posted here soon.The following link is to their main website containing their contacts:__________US House of Representative Education and Work force Committee Chairman John Kline was reelected to represent suburbs and rural Minnesota counties in the House of Representatives a fourth term in 2008. He has established himself as one of Congress’s foremost experts on defenseand veterans issues, a conservative voice on tax and budget policy, an advocate for education,and a champion for helping America become more energy independent. But ending US school beatings of disadvantaged American schoolchildren under his jurisdiction,being targeted at them by American Educators who are under his command, appears to be for him, a daunting task. Fall 2011, the House of Representatives is expected to consider proposals to roll back FEDERAL INTRUSION in classrooms, eliminate wasteful education spending, improve accountability, support more effective teachers, and provide more flexibility to state and local education leaders.Rep. John Kline’s contact information: MN Ofc: 952.808.1213, Wash. DC Ofc: 201.225.2271, email address for MN residents: http://kline.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=233ALL U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBER names and contact information, to be posted here soon. The federal bill for banning USA school corporal punishment was introduced to the House by Representative Carolyn McCarthy on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.
See news report, Paddling is Bullying, Outlaw It, Says U.S. Congresswoman:
PLEASE POST!REP CAROLYN McCARTHY’S PETITION FOR BANNING USA SCHOOLCORPORAL PUNISHMENT:PSA ON BANNING USA SCHOOL CORPORAL PUNISHMENT:Other links worthy of attention:Statistics on Children in America: www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0408_census_youth_frey.aspx
“Forced medication” in American schools: http://psychrights.org/kids/pizzuroforceddrugging.pdf
- Harkin’s Education Bill Draft Shows A Federal Rollback (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rare Bipartisan Accord on No Child Left Behind Revamp (usnews.com)
- Bipartisan Rewrite Of Contentious Bush-Era Law Sparks Debate (huffingtonpost.com)
- Corporal punishment cannot be practiced in the name of disciplining child: Shantha Sinha (equalityindia.wordpress.com)
- SEN. TOM HARKIN: It was my understanding that there would be no math. Plus, from the comments: … (pjmedia.com)
Help ban corporal punishment in our schools
U.S. House Education and Labor Subcommittee to Hear Bill on April 15th Banning School Paddling
On April l5th, a subcommittee of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee will begin hearings on banning school corporal punishment. Please write committee members immediately to ask for support for a bill banning school corporal punishment being introduced by Representative Carolyn McCarthy in the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities. The measure would link corporal punishment bans to federal funding and, if successful, would probably be added to the ESEA (formerly “Leave No Child Behind”) reauthorization measure.
(1) Write Representative Carolyn McCarthy, Subcommittee Chair, Ranking Member Representative Todd “Russell” Platts and committee members. Thank Representative McCarthy for sponsoring the bill, ask all subcommittee members to support a ban on school corporal punishment and tell them why it should be banned. See arguments and contact information below. Ask the Chair and Ranking Member to copy all committee members on your letter or write them individually.
(2) If you live in a state with a Representative on the committee, it is important that you email that person and ask for support for a ban.
Honorable Carolyn McCarthy
2346 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5516
Fax: (202) 225-5758
Constituent Email: http://forms.house.gov/mccarthy/contact.shtml D-NY 4th District
Honorable Todd Platts
2455 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5836
Fax: (202) 226-1000
Constituent Email: http://www.house.gov/platts/email.shtml R-PA l9th District
Representative George Miller, the House Education and Labor Committee Chair, is a member of the subcommittee hearing the bill. His email accepts messages from all states, not just his constituents:
Honorable George Miller
2205 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
fax:202-225-560905 Rayburn House Office Building
Contact information for committee members:
Please be sure to contact members from your state. If you do not know your district, please go to www.congress.org. Type in your zip code under “get involved.”
U.S. House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities Contact Information (email for constituents). Open hyperlink or copy/paste in your browser.
You can also go to these sites to find regular office mail addresses:
Honorable Russell Platts
http://www.house.gov/platts/email.shtml R-PA l9th District
Honorable Buck McKeon
http://mckeon.house.gov/lets_talk.shtml R-CA 25th District
Honorable Brett Guthrie
http://guthrie.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=117§iontree=4,117 R-KY 02 District
Honorable David P. Roe
https://forms.house.gov/roe/webforms/contact.html R-TN 01 District
Honorable Glen “GT” Thomson
https://forms.house.gov/thompson/contact-form.shtml R-PA 5th District
Honorable Carolyn McCarthy, Chairwoman
Constituent Email: http://forms.house.gov/mccarthy/contact.shtml D-NY 4th District
Honorable George Miller
http://georgemiller.house.gov/contactus/2007/08/post_1.html (D CA-07)
Honorable Yvette Clarke
http://clarke.house.gov/contact/contact-us-form.shtml (D NY-11)
Honorable Bobby Scott
http://www.bobbyscott.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=272&Itemid=60 (D VA-03)
Honorable Carol Shea-Porter
http://forms.house.gov/shea-porter/webform/issue_subscribe.htm (D NH -01)
Honorable Paul Tonko
Honorable Jared Polis
http://polis.house.gv/Contact/ ( D CO-02)
Honorable Judy Chu
http://chu.house.gov/contact/index.shtml (D CA-32)
Facts About and Arguments For Banning School Corporal Punishment:
In 2006-07, over 223,000 students were paddled in US schools, that’s over 1,200 paddlings a day. U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Study: www.stophitting.com/index.php?page=statesbanning
Sources for the following information can be found at:
www.stophitting.com/index.php?page=atschool-main or under (laws)
* Corporal punishment is linked to poorer academic achievement.
* Physical injuries occur. Welts and bruises frequently occur as well as other injuries requiring medical treatment.
* Psychological injury may occur that adversely affects learning and attitudes toward teachers and others in authority.
* Litigation against school boards and educators because of paddling injuries is not uncommon.
* Corporal punishment teaches children that physical violence is an acceptable way to solve problems.
* Better alternatives exist.
* Corporal punishment is disproportionately used on poor children, children with disabilities, minorities and boys.
* States have already determined corporal punishment is harmful.
* In almost all states it is banned in childcare, foster care and institutions for children. It should be banned in schools too.
* More than 50 national organizations oppose the use of school corporal punishment. These include the National Education Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association.
* Over twenty African American leaders have signed a proclamation opposing it.
Corporal punishment is illegal in schools in over l00 countries in the world.
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Do we have a right to tell people they are wrong?
Believe it or not, this question was posed to me in a public parenting forum, hosted by Amazon.com. This is how I responded.
Yes, you bet we do. In life we all make choices that effect our communities, unless we live alone on a desert island. Incompetent parents raise children who because of the maltreatment they endured are angry and become dangerous to everybody around them. Not to mention they live stunted lives and never achieve the potential every human has a right to aspire to. Some wind up incarcerated for long periods or are even executed for capital crimes. Would it not make a lot more sense to get ahead of the problem and seek KNOWN strategies of prevention?
Others who suffered abuse seem to live quasi-normal lives, marry, and have children. Which are likely going to also wind up abused and create yet more stunted lives. This fact only recently came to light although children have been maltreated throughout history.
An official estimate of the Department of Health and Human Services, using 2007 child abuse data for the US, puts the cost for that year at around 94 billion dollars. We all pay such costs and besides an ethical obligation to improve life for all our citizens, the fact we must pay such staggering financial costs certainly gives us the right to speak out, especially against willful ignorance. It is vital that we drop the pretensions and speak frankly.
If people are so backward and simple minded that they cannot understand this basic fact, that is unfortunate for them. Trying to protect the feelings of such people, who will not listen to reason, commands far less importance that trying to prevent very real harm to thousands of children.
I will bend over backwards for anyone who lacks knowledge and is sincere in wanting to understand the facts. I realize that many people do not, unfortunately, have a grasp of the scientific method or how statistical analysis operates to reveal truth. (I only managed a C in that course and I had to have a tutor.) The average American is mystified by how a tv or radio works let alone the bell curve of statistics. But if I can manage some understanding, others can if they try.
Studies have documented the link between abuse and neglect of children and a range of physical, emotional, psychological, and behavioral problems. In addition to the tragic consequences endured by the children who have been maltreated, society pays a high monetary cost for child maltreatment. The costs for child maltreatment include both direct costs (i.e., those associated with the immediate needs of abused and neglected children) and indirect costs (i.e., those associated with the longer term and secondary effects of child maltreatment). Since some maltreatment goes unrecognized and it is difficult to link costs to specific incidents, it is not possible to determine the actual cost of child abuse and neglect. As estimated by Prevent Child Abuse America, the total annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States may be as high as $94 billion, as shown in Exhibit 6-1
Hitting or humiliating children is maltreating them. Centuries of this practice does not validate it as legitimate.
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A Strange Form of Indoctrination
The Western religions by no means have a monopoly on childhood indoctrination. This is perhaps one of the more bizarre examples of that:
The journey from Jigme Wangchuk to His Holiness Galwa Lorepa; the journey from Boston, USA to Drukpa Sangag Choeling Monastery in Dali, near Darjeeling town in North Bengal was definitely a trying and testing time for both 11-year-old Jigme, his parents and his sister.
However, for the Drukpa Kagyu Sect of Tantrayana Buddhism (Lamaism), it was a time for boundless exhilaration as they had found one of the Gyalwa Namsum (Three Victorious Ones) after a long gap of more than 700 years.
Born in Boston, USA, Jigme Wangchuk was identified as the first reincarnation of HH Galwa Lorepa of the Drukpa Kagyu sect, a reincarnation after more than 700 years. With Jigme Wangchuk coming to Darjeeling even his parents have sold their family business in the USA and come to Darjeeling to stay here and serve him. His sister also will be studying in Darjeeling henceforth.
Talking to HT, he stated it is a big transition. “I do miss being a joyful school boy. I miss my home, my grandparents, aunts and uncles. However, being a Rinpoche is such a great honour and I feel blessed with my past responsibilities.
“My parents keep visiting me here in the monsatery and they told me that they have moved here to serve me and take care of me. As for my friends, I will contact them through emails,” he added.
HH Galwa Lorepa has withdrawn himself (own will) from Grade 5 of St. Peter School in Boston. Henceforth he will be continuing his monastic studies in the Druk Sangag Choeling Monastery in Darjeeling.
However, the transition from a USA schoolboy to one of the heads of a Buddhist sect has not been an easy one for the family. Dechen, mother of Jigme talking to HT stated, “He used to always talk of his past life but we did not take it seriously, dubbing it as a young mind fantasies. Two years back we were visiting South India on a holiday. One afternoon at the Kagyu Nalanda Monsatery in Mysore, Jigme suddenly stopped playing and started narrating his past life as if in a trance.”
Perhaps the parents should have trusted their first instinct about this young boy’s childhood fantasies – now he really believes that he is a reincarnation of some 700 year old religious guru.
Patriotism for all
A Patriotic Activity for Every Student
It is a sad day in America when every child cannot join in a unified expression of patriotism, cannot stand with pride and declare, “I, too, am an American.”
In school districts across the nation, thousands of patriotic students are not only deprived of the opportunity to express and develop their patriotism, but are actively discouraged in their patriotism.
The standard options of remaining silent or waiting outside the classroom do not solve the blatant discrimination and hurtful exclusion in the current practice.
To correct this injustice, we are asking that a patriotic alternative be afforded to every child who, for reasons of conscience, must otherwise abstain from daily participation in the Pledge of Allegiance. It is through group participation with our community that we feel our bonds to our country. Patriotism is not something that can be taught only at home.
- We are not asking that “under God” be removed from the Pledge.
- We are not asking that the Pledge be removed from the school.
- We are asking that a patriotic exercise be afforded to every child.
For several solutions to this vexing issue, go here:
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Parental rights amendment – Act II
The parental rights amendment is going to be re-introduced by Representative Hoekstra:
This time he has rounded up 60 co-sponsors. Write to the sponsors and let them know we don’t want them messing with our constitution.
My message to the sponsors:
The idea that parents lack rights in the United States is risible. Many state laws have purposely been written to allow parents to deny their children educational benefits they are entitled to. Some children actually suffer and die because of their parent’s superstitious religious beliefs.
Our constitution does not need amending. If anything, we should consider passing laws that make parenting education and testing mandatory. Perhaps we even need to go so far as issuing licenses to couples who want to procreate.
You cannot even give a child a haircut in this country without passing an examination that certifies you are qualified to cut hair. Likewise, teachers, child care center workers and anyone providing services to children must undergo education and prove they are qualified. For some jobs, a criminal background check is required.
What does it take to legally create a new life? Nothing. How are couples qualified to be parents? There is no way to know because they are not required to actually know anything about parenting or be tested. Sweden has had comprehensive parenting education in place for decades. The only people who object to it do so because they are zealots and they claim the bible has all the child rearing guidance they need.
Why should we as a society tolerate incompetent faith based parenting? We could fashion public policies that would save hundreds of little lives and millions of cases of neglect and abuse each year. All that stops us is the political motivation and a sick infatuation with individualism.
Rights For Our Future: The New Child Health Insurance Bill Provides Momentum for the Systemic Reform of Child Rights in the US
In last year’s campaign for the U.S. Presidency, Barack Obama admirably deemed himself as “a champion for children.” Given his recent child advocacy plan, he has begun to show a serious intention to live up to that title. In the plan, he has promised that every child will be granted health insurance. The plan will also expand educational opportunities for children in low-income families, extend other necessary resources for these families, support and supplement the foster care system, and provide better protections for children within the U.S. from violence and neglect.
Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that it is the right of a child to enjoy the highest attainable standards of health. Consistent with this crucial Convention, on February 4, 2009 President Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Bill. The recently passed Child Health Insurance Bill expands the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to increase coverage to 11.1 million children. Currently SCHIP provides coverage for 7 million children who are otherwise ineligible to receive Medicaid. This action is in line with an eventual goal to secure health insurance for every child within the U.S.
When Parents Call God Instead of the Doctor
By Deena Guzder Thursday, Feb. 05, 2009
On Easter Sunday of 2008, 11-year-old Kara Neumann of Weston, Wisconsin, suffered waves of nausea as she lay motionless on her deathbed, too weak to walk or speak. Kara’s parents — both followers of the Unleavened Bread Ministries, an online church that shuns medical intervention — knelt in prayer beside their dying daughter. They did not call a doctor for help. A few hours later, Kara died of diabetes, a relatively common — and treatable — condition.
Within weeks, a Wisconsin state attorney brought charges of reckless endangerment against Kara’s parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann. The couple protested on grounds of religious freedom, but Judge Vincent Howard of Marathon County Circuit Court ordered Mr. and Mrs. Neumann to stand trial this spring. If convicted, each faces up to 25 years in prison. Unleavened Bread Ministries immediately released a statement saying the couple is being unfairly punished for the “crime of praying.”
The Neumanns’ highly anticipated trial has sparked new debate in a long-running battle over faith healing in the United States. Under current Wisconsin law, a parent cannot be convicted of child abuse or negligent homicide if they can prove they genuinely believed that calling God, instead of a doctor, was the best option available for their child. The law is part of the legacy of the 1996 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which included a landmark exemption for parents who do not seek medical care for their children for religious purposes. While all states give social service authorities the right to intervene in cases of child neglect, criminal codes in 29 other states also provide additional protection for parents who forgo mainstream medical treatment….
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The origin of Christian fascism
Interacting with fundamentalist Christian parents we start to see patterns in their responses. Eventually the light dawns that these people hate democracy, are racists, and misogynists. And those are their good qualities. Here are some answers to why you will never get through to them.
Answer number one is they do not believe in dialog, they see no point because they hold the ultimate truth. Answer number two, they hate you. Here, lifted from the Yurica Report is a crucial part of the back story.
The father of neo-conservatism had many “spiritual” children at the University of Chicago, among them: Paul Wolfowitz and Abram Shulsky, who received their doctorates under Strauss in 1972. Harry V. Jaffa was a student of Strauss and has an important connection to Dominionists like Pat Robertson as we shall see below. However, Strauss’s family of influence extended beyond his students to include faculty members in universities, and the people his students taught. Those prominent neo-conservatives who are most notable are: Justice Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, Irving Kristol and his son William Kristol, Alan Keyes, William J. Bennett, J. Danforth Quayle, Allan Bloom, John Podhoertz, John T. Agresto, John Ashcroft, Newt Gingrich, Gary Bauer, Michael Ledeen and scores of others, many of whom hold important positions in George W. Bush’s White House and Defense Department.
To understand the Straussian infusion of power that transformed an all but dead conservative realm, think of Nietzsche’s Overman come to life. Or better yet, think of the philosophy most unlike Christianity: Think of pure unmitigated evil. Strauss admits that Machiavelli is an evil man. But according to Strauss, this admission is a prerequisite to studying and reading Machiavelli: the acknowledgement is the safety net that keeps the reader from being corrupted. One is tempted to talk back to Strauss and point out an alternative: the admission could be the subterfuge that keeps a man from being ridiculed and rejected for espousing Machiavellian methods.
In one of the most important books for our times, Shadia Drury’s Leo Strauss and the American Right, undertakes to explain the ideas behind Strauss’s huge influence and following. Strauss’s reputation, according to Drury, rests in large part on his view that “a real philosopher must communicate quietly, subtly, and secretly to the few who are fit to receive his message.” Strauss claims secrecy is necessary to avoid “persecution.”
In reading Strauss, one sometimes encounters coded contradictory ideas. For example, Strauss appears to respect Machiavelli because—as he points out—in contrast to other evil men, Machiavelli openly proclaimed opinions that others only secretly expressed behind closed doors. But we have just noted that Strauss teaches that secrecy is essential to the real philosopher. Strauss concluded, some would say that Machiavelli was after all, a patriot of sorts for he loved Italy more than he loved his own soul. Then Strauss warns, but if you call him a patriot, you “merely obscure something truly evil.” So Strauss dances his way through the Machiavellian field of evil, his steps choreographed with duplicity and it’s opposite. The reader cannot let go.
In Strauss’s view, Machiavelli sees that Christianity “has led the world into weakness,” which can only be offset by returning the world to the ancient practices of the past. (Implied is not a return to the pagan past, but rather a return to the more virulent world of the Old Testament). Strauss laments, “Machiavelli needed …a detailed discussion revealing the harmony between his political teaching and the teaching of the Bible.” These statements of Strauss, by themselves, were sufficient to send neo-conservative Christians to search for correlations between Machiavellianism, radical conservatism and the scriptures.
Strauss’s teaching incorporated much of Machiavelli’s. Significantly, his philosophy is unfriendly to democracy—even antagonistic. At the same time Strauss upheld the necessity for a national religion not because he favored religious practices, but because religion in his view is necessary in order to control the population. Since neo-conservatives influenced by Strauss are in control of the Bush administration, I have prepared a brief list that shows the radical unchristian basis of neo-conservatism. I am indebted to Shadia Drury’s book (Leo Strauss and the American Right) and published interviews for the following:
First: Strauss believed that a leader had to perpetually deceive the citizens he ruled.
Secondly: Those who lead must understand there is no morality, there is only the right of the superior to rule the inferior.
Thirdly: According to Drury, Religion “is the glue that holds society together.” It is a handle by which the ruler can manipulate the masses. Any religion will do. Strauss is indifferent to them all.
Fourthly: “Secular society…is the worst possible thing,” because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, all of which encourage dissent and rebellion. As Drury sums it up: “You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty.”
Fifthly: “Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat; and following Machiavelli, he maintains that if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured.”
Sixthly: “In Strauss’s view, the trouble with liberal society is that it dispenses with noble lies and pious frauds. It tries to found society on secular rational foundations.”
Strauss’s Student, Harry Jaffa on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson
For four days in 1986, from July first through the fourth of July, Pat Robertson interviewed neo-conservative Dr. Harry Jaffa, a former student of Leo Strauss, on the 700 Club show. The topic was the importance of the Declaration of Independence. Joining with Jaffa was Robertson’s own man, Herb Titus, the Dean of CBN’s School of Public Policy. This series of interviews was one of the most important philosophical moments in the development of the political agenda and political philosophy of the Dominionists.
Robertson found in Harry Jaffa, the champion he needed, whose reasoning would influence how the Constitution should be interpreted by conservatives and would provide a “Christian” view of the establishment of the United States that excluded the secular social contract view. Harry Jaffa would influence both Clarence Thomas (who would be appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Bush senior in 1991) and Antonin Scalia (who would be appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan on September 26, 1986).
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