About three years ago, I received through my college mail, an offer to subscribe to TIME Magazine at a great offer of $12.00 for the entire year. Although I had a subscription to the magazine during my early graduate school years and already knew about some of the biases of the editorial staff, I decided to take the offer anyway. After just three issues, I could barely tolerate reading the magazine. What I had expected was at least some critique or commentary on the policies of the Obama administration, its domestic policy platform, or even a review of its foreign policy. What I did get out of the subscription were stories that instead of focusing on real domestic issues, were all focused on pop trends, the latest fads in the green energy movement, and even a blistering and biased view of conservative principles that were sometimes complete fabrications or gross embellishments; straw man arguments that had to be created to make the administration’s attitudes, policies, and agendas appear to be more balanced than they were.
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The concept of personal freedoms and rights have no greater defenders than those men that began to write the Constitution of the United States in the summer of 1782. First hand, they had witnessed the tyranny of King George III and Parliament in their combined attempts to turn the thirteen colonies into puppets. Britain’s interests were not to preserve the rights of Englishmen living overseas, but to protect her financial interests. Various laws such as the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, Navigation Acts, and a few others bear the testimony that the British colonies in North America were regarded by many members of Parliament as a source of wealth for an empire needing financial resources to support its global reach.
These men had a firm belief in the ideals of personal liberty. These men had witnessed first hand the effects on the individual when government begins to see itself as the grantor of rights and liberties. The Stamp Act, which required that all printed materials in the Colonies be subjected to a tax which when paid would result in a stamp from the Crown being affixed to the document, literally affected everything from newspapers and political pamphlets to playing cards. Its reach included legal documents such as wills and deeds; literally everything printed in the Colonies had to bear the Crown’s stamp. The generation that fought and led the American Revolution saw the Stamp Act for what it was – a way to control what was being published and a means to discourage political discourse that the Crown found questionable.
As American independence was won, that generation of Americans were skeptical of a large national government. The idea of a weaker national government with the bulk of political action happening at the state level was seen as much more desirable. Even when the Articles of Confederation were abandoned at the ratification of the new Constitution of the United States, there was a lengthy discussion on the role of the national government, rights of the individual, and the rights of the member States. Any resistance to the ratification of the Constitution subsided as the framers added ten amendments, referred to as the Bill of Rights, as a means to place constraint on the national government. Many of the framers of the Constitution, such as James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton objected to the Bill of Rights. Not for the reason that they did not believe Americans had those rights, but because of the fear if the right becomes defined, then the government can interpret the definition to place limits on those rights. In other words, the “laws of Nature and Nature’s God” that Jefferson had inferred within the Declaration of Independence as being absolute would now be defined by man.
Fast forward now to our modern times. Earlier this week, a young woman from Harvard University, Sandra Korn, was lauded by some as she actually stated in an editorial for the Harvard Crimson, the university’s official newspaper, that free speech should be stopped since it distracts from the goals of liberalism. She coined a phrase, “academic justice,” meaning that in the interests of creating the liberal utopia envisioned by the American Left, all ideas, research, and publications that do not support the liberal agenda must be silenced. Add to this the introduction of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to place government monitors in newsrooms across the nation as a part of an “official study” it was conducting. According to the FCC, the study was to determine why there were not more minority owned television stations and networks. Many critics began to criticize the study as the Obama administration’s way of encouraging American media to report on stories favorable to the Affordable Care Act and the Obama administration, both are already experiencing low poll numbers.
The position taken by Korn is not a surprising one. When I entered graduate school at Murray State University, not only did I come across students that had a similar mindset, but a few faculty members as well. Within the Progressive movement and beginning with the Wilson administration, there has been a desire to force a national consensus on the people. The Espionage Act of 1917 combined with the Sedition Act of 1918 sought to enforce consensus among the American people. Any critique of Congress, the President, or America’s war efforts during the First World War would be met with swift and excessive punishment. To combat the problem of the free press, Wilson instituted the Office of Public Information (OPI) to ensure that only officially sanctioned news was reported to the American public. Newspapers and magazines that violated the OPI standards were not permitted to use the United States Post Office services to distribute their materials. By the end of the war, there were nearly a thousand periodicals that did not report on America’s war efforts for the duration of the war. Freedom of the press had become a liability and the Wilson administration sought to find a way for the nation to enter World War I.
Similar policies were adopted under the F. D. Roosevelt administration as a means to direct American sympathies to a common goal. FDR saw American media, especially the owners of the newspapers and radio stations, as being enemies to his agenda and the harmony of the nation. In his early efforts, he did actively woo the media by offering the press unprecedented access to him and his cabinet. When those efforts began to falter, Roosevelt included what became known as the “newspaper code” to the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). As a part of NIRA, the press was not to report on the various strikes across the country that resulted from the NIRA and policies implemented by the National Recovery Administration (NRA). Again, borrowing from the Wilson administration, the American media could only report on labor issues that placed the government and the NRA in a positive light. Beginning shortly after his third inauguration, he began to use the FBI and IRS as political tools to investigate the owners and shareholders of media outlets that were critical of his policies.
If you are a regular visitor to Right of Center, you may have noticed that since last week the site has been down. Right of Center began as a personal project that I began in the spring semester of 2005 as an outlet for my frustrations while attending graduate school at Southern Illinois University, located in Carbondale, Illinois. It was in my pursuit of my Ph.D. that I began to learn first hand of the open hostility that academia has towards conservatism and what was once deemed as traditional American values.
Originally, I had used a hosting company called FreeHostia (www.freehostia.com); it seemed to offer what I need: flexible hosting plans, a decent traffic allowance, and the ability to use platforms such as WordPress. Renewals were fairly easy and I had no complaints until the beginning of 2012. For the last year, my site frequently was inaccessible or would not accept certain updates from WordPress. Earlier this month was the annual renewal for the hosting plan and for the domain name (or so I thought). I paid to renew the hosting plan and when I went to log into the site earlier on Saturday, I received an error message I have never encountered before:
Error connecting to database
Not being sure of what that actually meant, I attempted to contact FreeHostia’s technical support for nearly three days before I got an emailed response. To make an incredibly long and tedious story short, three major problems colluded at the same time resulting in not only the SQL database for this site being deleted, but all the site’s WordPress program files becoming corrupted. From an error that had occurred on THEIR end, all I was given is a token “we’re sorry, but this is why we advise you to back up your site periodically…” One of the funny twists to the story is that I pay an additional fee as part of my annual renewals for them to provide the site backup service.
On Tuesday, I decided that it was time for a major change. I compared two nationally known companies, GoDaddy and BlueHost, to see for myself which company could offer me the best price and the best assistance in transferring the domain. After about three hours, I made my decision – Right of Center is now proudly hosted by BlueHost. The determining factors were the customer support assistance that I did receive from their online help system, the reasonable prices, and the overall user-friendliness of their control panel interface. While it will take some getting accustomed to, I think this move to BlueHost will actually benefit Right of Center. As a side note, this was not a solicited advertisement from BlueHost, nor was I compensated for my comments.
With any new relaunch of a website or blog, there is always the potential to make something that was good into something that is even better. There were some things that I did like about the old website, but there were also a few things that I always felt could have been better – especially the categories and tags. Newer graphics with sharper imaging will be used and there will also be some new additions in the future that I will introduce as they are brought online.