Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blogging somewhere else...

To the followers of RWA, my writing career is sputtering to life so I've been blogging on my author's blog, www.kevinmarksmith.com, on issues ranging from my fiction works, other Christian writers works, as well as my latest non-fiction project The Bill of Rights: What every Patriotic American needs to know. Also, I've been blogging a lot lately, so I encourage you to follow.

If you're interested in the law, check out www.acelawletter.com, my legal blog. Blessings, Kevin

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It's time to stop training and start winning!

I'm a runner. At least I use to be. I ran 5 marathons and countless 10k's and 5k's back in the day. I remember fondly those hard training runs. Some days I'd run up and down very steep hills over and over again. Others I'd sprint 50 yards, jog 50, sprint 50, jog 50, over and over again for a couple of miles, then will myself home. I'd end the week with a really long run on Saturday, from 2-4 hours, and when I'd run 4 hours two Saturdays in a row, I'd take it easy the week leading up to the 26.2 mile marathon. By the time the race arrived I was ready. Funny thing is after all those hills, sprints and long runs, the marathons ended up being pretty easy (except the last 4 miles!). Sure, there'd be a few hills in that 26.2 miles, but they were spread out. I never ran really fast during the training runs because of the above impediments. But when the impediments were gone, my mile times were surprisingly fast, between 7-8 minutes during the marathons and just a hair over 6 during 10k's.

(There is a point to this, so bear with me.)

I never ran track in high school (late bloomer), but I've read about what top sprinters do to prepare to run like the wind. Foot weights are one method. They train with 5-10 pound weights strapped to their feet. They don't run very fast when those things are on their feet, but they do it anyway. I've also heard about running with parachutes dragging behind. Why? They don't run their fastest when those things are holding them back. Such tools do build strength, but it's more than that even. The real benefit isn't obvious until the weights and chutes are removed. When they are, all that strength and power that was seemingly held back bursts out of the gate resulting in speed and power that sometimes seems superhuman.

But what would happen if these athletes never removed the weights on race day? What if none of their competitors ever used such methods? Surely, such runners aren't stronger or more powerful. Nonetheless, they will win. They will shoot out of the blocks first and keep running faster, leaving the weight- or chute-retarded runners in their wakes. What would you think if those people were on your team or ran for your school? You'd probably scream at them at the top of your lungs, "take off the damn weights!"

So what's my point? Obama and his socialist policies are like those hills, sprints, weights, and chutes. They are dragging America down but, ironically, are also making it stronger. Last week we learned that the unemployment rate finally dropped below 8%. It took longer this time around to right the ship than ever before, excluding the Great Depression (there were actually several mini-recoveries back then, but Roosevelt's training weights kept knocking us down back then, too). Yet, Americans are trying to push forward, weighted down as they are. Much of the world is either catching up or has inched a little in front of us, despite the incredible strength and power that is retarded by the weight of Obama's economic policies.

"Take off the damn weights!"

Here's what we are facing. If Romney wins, the weights fall away like Forrest Gump's leg braces. America's power and strength will surge forward more swiftly than ever before, leaving China, Europe, and Asia in our dust. If Obama wins, the weights stay on, but instead of making us stronger they will wear us out. There's only so much we can take before the law of diminishing returns results in all that extra burden caused by the weights simply wearing us out. Four more years of Obama's training regimen is too much to bear.

"Take off the damn weights America!"

It's time to run like the wind. A good start would be to sprint to the polls on November 7. Ready, set, go!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Home schooling will save America, just as it did in the American Revolution

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

                                                            Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
                                                            Unanimously adopted by Congress July 4, 1776

            The above is the most quoted part of the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, the foundational document that sparked the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson wrote most of it, but received substantial input from many of the Declaration’s signers, including John Hancock, George Wythe, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and John Adams. It captures perfectly the hearts and souls of America’s Founding Fathers, all of them representatives of the people, all of them beneficiaries of an education wholly absent in today’s politicians.
These Patriots studied the political philosophies of Rome, Great Britain, and the totalitarian monarchies of Europe and Asia, not just as exercised in their time period, but historic, dating back millennia, with their studies beginning very early in their own lives. Thomas Jefferson, for example, began college at William & Mary at the ripe old age of 16 since his intellect was, by then, firmly rooted in Latin, French, Greek, as well as history, science, and the classics.
How did such men, as mortal as you or I, acquire such a vast and complete education, one that modern government schools, as well as most private schools, never approach? Many, including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, George Wythe, John Jay (America’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), and James Madison, were home-schooled by parents and private tutors, with Benjamin Franklin self-taught from the age of 10. Their minds were filled with the classics, including the works of Plato and Aristotle, supplemented with a plethora of foreign languages such as French, Greek, German, Spanish, and the foundational language of English, Latin. They were also schooled in rhetoric (Socrates) so when their beliefs were challenged they not only knew how to respond, but how to win the arguments put before them. 
            We should be thankful that our Founding Fathers, many blessed with superior home-school-based educations, knew more about the foundations of democracy and republicanism and the source of our freedoms than their English counterparts. All had studied in depth William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. This tome was the first of its kind. It put down on paper the foundations of English Common Law and principles of a Constitutional government, which was a good thing since back then the “Constitution” consisted of the totality of English jurisprudence, a culmination of case opinions, statutes, and natural law principles pulled directly from the Bible, and not just one or a few pieces of paper or statutes. They also knew the Magna Carta, England’s declaration of what government could and could not do, by heart, something the Colonial Governors, Parliament, and King George somehow believed didn’t apply to the Colonies. (The Magna Carta was a bill of rights for feudal lords and not the people in general.) But the better educated, better informed home-schooled Founding Fathers knew better.
            When I consider the collective genius that led to the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, and the United States Constitution that followed, I am naturally led to a question that bothers me given the recent political unrest in America and worldwide. If we were to change history and be placed under the thumb of a modern King George and a similarly oppressive parliament, would today’s politicians’ educational foundations lead them to reach the same conclusions as American history’s greatest and most brilliant revolutionaries? Or are such modern-day leaders merely the beneficiaries of an ignorant populace that doesn’t know any better thanks to a government-directed education?
            I will leave the ultimate answers up to you, but consider the historic dual purpose of government-directed education when answering: (1) to produce manufacturing workers and troops for armies; and (2) to inculcate in the minds of the people a common vision of government-defined patriotism. Regarding the first purpose, many people don’t know that until the early 20th century America didn’t have a K-12 government education system. Communities would come together and hire a teacher who would be subject to the authority and direction of the parents, or take on the role of teachers themselves. In fact, the idea of government education as we know it today began in Prussia in the early 19th century. The system mandated compulsory attendance, specific training for teachers, mandatory testing for students, and a national curriculum. The stated purpose was to train factory workers (not managers or entrepreneurs) for the industrial age and instill discipline and respect for authority in the students to prepare them for mandatory military service (as troops, not as officers). Most telling was that this mandatory education ceased in the 8th year, with only the most affluent families having the means to enroll their children in private and preparatory schools (or engage private tutors) to prepare them for university or service as military officers. Is it any surprise that although America’s government education system continues to the 12th year the overall literacy rate is a meager 65%? I guess you don’t need to be able to read beyond a 4th grade level if all you’re doing is driving in rivets in cars or aircraft at someone else’s direction, or carrying a rifle into combat with someone else giving the orders.
The secondary purpose is somewhat insidious. It has its roots in communism and in particular Karl Marx’s teachings on the role of government education. In summation, the purpose of the government taking over the education of children was to eliminate familial, religious, and what he deemed destructive patriotic influences from the minds of children. The goal was to begin indoctrinating the populace at a very early age so the government, not parents, churches, or historic influences such as the Founding Fathers, would dictate the path society would go down (and I emphasize “down”). The Progressives under President Woodrow Wilson fully embraced this role, and our nation is bearing the fruits of this philosophy of education today. God is gone as is a respect for entrepreneurs and wealth creators. We have a bigger, more intrusive government, and much fewer freedoms than ever before.
By the way, the Founding Fathers not home schooled attended prestigious private schools. None attended government schools.
The only hope we have of saving this great country of ours just might be, once again, home schooling. Last fall I taught Constitutional Law to a group of home-schooled high school kids, ten kids committed to learning about the United States Constitution, ages ranging from 15 to 18 years. I expected them to be about as well informed as the typical high school kid, but I was pleasantly surprised. What I experienced was a group of kids that, thanks to their parents, already grasped the principles of limited government and unalienable rights that few government-educated law students fully grasp before or after graduating law school. Hence, it appears to me that we have a core group of future Founding Fathers (and Mothers) who enjoy the benefits of home schooling and private tutors shared with the likes of Jefferson, Washington, Wythe, Franklin, Jay, and Madison, and want to benefit society with their superior education. They aren’t hamstrung by the disadvantages of Prussian-styled government schools. They are already leaders and entrepreneurs, the kind America was founded by and who will lead us toward a better, brighter future.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Our State Department of Education should stop throwing stones at home schoolers since it lives in a glass house

Following is an email I sent to Dr. David Dennis, Chairman of the Kansas Board of Education. It speaks for itself:

Mr. Dennis, I am sure you've received plenty of feedback on your recent statements regarding the need to "look into" homeschooling. I am also certain you have been forwarded plenty of studies regarding SAT and ACT performance of homeschooled kids versus government schooled kids. Suffice it to say that as an attorney who home schools his own children, I have far more confidence in any family's ability to teach its own kids, regardless of the parents' level of education, than the average government school.  Statistics affirm my confidence.

There is also the inherent problem of an institution that refrains from moral teachings that would prevent the biggest problems government schools face, such as premarital sex leading to teen pregnancy and questionable anti-God policies that lead kids to question their own parents' religious beliefs.

If you've identified a certain percentage of sub-par home schools that will warrant continued investigation, I suggest you apply the same standard to the schools you oversee. But I am sure the double standards and conflict of interest of your Board won't permit that. The goal, after all, is to preserve the status quo and not produce graduates who can compete with international students taught by those without political agendas. You seem more concerned with preserving the jobs of the teachers than actually providing kids with the best education possible.

Sadly, you are dealing with the best educated constituency in the nation, home school families. We and our children know our Constitution (and the Three-Rs, for that matter) much better than most of the government school teachers in your government school system. And the students I have taught Constitutional Law to are also much better researchers and writers than the very best government schooled kids. Suffice it to say that instead of calling for an investigation of home schools elicited by those with nefarious intentions, you should be reviewing what curricula home school families are using and use it in your own schools. You might actually produce more high school graduates who can read and write above a sixth-grade level (or read and write at all).

Kevin Mark Smith

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sow what we reap!

Two men were having coffee, when one of them said, “Last night, my son just walked into the living room and said, ‘Dad, cancel my allowance immediately, rent my room out, throw all my clothes out of the window, take my TV, stereo, iPhone, iPod, and my laptop. Please give my jewelry to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Then sell my car. Take my front door key away from me and throw me out of the house. Then disown me and never talk to me again. And don't forget to write me out of your will and leave my share to my brother.’"   The other man said, "Wow, he really said that?"   "Well, he didn't put it quite that way.  He actually said...'Dad, I've decided to work for Obama's re-election campaign.’”