Dr. Paul Kengor's blog

‘Memories of Deer Season’ strikes a chord

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Last week I wrote an article on Deer Season a half century ago, focusing on my grandmother’s town in the mountains of Emporium, Penn. Each year, my grandmother and other households opened their doors and kitchens and beds to perfect strangers who came to town to shoot a deer — and there were no problems.

The piece was about more than Deer Season. It was about America, our culture, and how much this country and its people have changed. Read More»

Memories of Deer Season a half century ago

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This month hunters across America storm the woods loaded for deer. For yet another indication of how times have changed, consider this account of Deer Season a half century ago:

My mother’s family lived in Emporium, Penn., as did dozens of their relatives. Emporium is a tiny town nestled in the mountains near the north/central part of the state. Back in the 1940s, when my mother was born, my grandmother had worked as a Rosie Riveter at the Sylvania plant. Some reading this article will remember owning a huge, heavy Sylvania TV — back when you got only three channels. Read More»

Two Septembers: When Wall Street erupted

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[Editor’s note: A shorter version of this article first appeared in the Nov. 10, 2011 issue of USA Today.]

As the indignation of the Wall Street Occupiers spreads across the nation, it is time to step back and consider the broader historical perspective. What will history books record about the Wall Street Occupation? For starters, what was the start date? The answer to that simple fact alone has some potentially profound meaning.

The Wall Street Occupation began on Sept. 17. How ironic that date is. Read More»

To progressives, factual data is irrelevant

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I’ve only recently come to realize the nature of the hurdle this country faces in trying to turn around a stalled economy and horrendous deficit. Here it is: liberal Democrat politicians have fully convinced huge numbers of people that our economic/fiscal mess is the result of two principal demons: 1) “the rich” and 2) the Tea Party. The former, of course, has been a longtime liberal scapegoat; the latter is a new one. Read More»

Reagan’s stimulus vs. Obama’s stimulus: one works, one doesn’t

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[Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in USA Today.]

How ironic that as America debated its debt ceiling all summer and faced a stunning credit downgrade, the nation approached a most timely anniversary: It was Aug. 13, 1981, that President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Act. Understanding Reagan’s thinking 30 years ago is critical to discerning where we are now. Read More»

History is clear: Its the spending, stupid

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We have failed to heed the lessons of economic history, with terrible consequences for our economy and country. And the most crucial of those lessons, particularly since the start of LBJs Great Society, is this: deficits have been caused not by a lack of income-tax increases but by recession and, most of all, by excessive government spending. Read More»

Could you survive another Great Depression?

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I just read two very interesting articles on the U.S. economy, written from historical perspectives. They compelled me to share my own historical perspective. And what I want to say is more about our changing culture than our economy.

One of the articles, by Julie Crawshaw of MoneyNews.com, notes that the “Misery Index” — the combined unemployment and inflation rates — made infamous under President Jimmy Carter, has hit a 28-year high. It’s also 62 percent higher than when President Obama took office. Read More»

For July 4th, ‘Confirm thy soul in self-control’

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I encourage you to set aside the burgers and dogs and soda and beer for a moment this Fourth of July and contemplate something decidedly different, maybe even as you gaze upward at the flash of fireworks. Here it is: Confirm thy soul in self-control.

What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

The founders of this remarkable republic often thought and wrote about the practice of virtue generally and self-control specifically, two things long lost in this modern American culture of self. Read More»

Another doomsday prophet who needs to say, ‘Sorry’

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Every April 22 is Earth Day. As one who studies Soviet Russia, I can’t help notice that the day coincides with the birthday of Vladimir Lenin. The inaugural Earth Day occurred April 22, 1970, no less than Lenin’s birth centennial.

This is most ironic. Lenin is a decaying symbol of central planning, which, regrettably, is the ideological preference of many of those filling the streets on Earth Day. Although Lenin was a collectivist, not an environmentalist, he is frequently recycled, as mortuary specialists from Russia’s health ministry regularly re-embalm him in his tomb. Read More»

Echoes of President Bush’s speech

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“In Bin Laden Announcement, Echoes of 2007 Obama Speech,” declared the headline in The New York Times. It’s difficult to find a newspaper that has demonstrated a worst pro-Obama and anti-Bush bias than The New York Times, especially when dealing with the War on Terror. And so, I expected a headline like this in the Times.

When I searched Google this morning, looking for a text of President Obama’s statement on the death of Osama Bin Laden, the Times headline was the first thing that popped up. Read More»