Category: John Dale Dunn

The Great Victor Davis Hanson Takes On World War II


Victor Davis Hanson is a conservative icon, well known and respected; a prolific author of twenty-plus books and current occupant of a chair of historical, military, and agrarian classical studies; a Ph.D. from Stanford; and the founder of classical studies at University of California at Fresno.  ;Now he occupies a chair at the Hoover Foundation of Stanford University. 

I first came to know him reading The Western Way of War (1989), which explained the reason for the lethality and effectiveness of Western armies throughout history.  ;This past year, he wrote one of his best books: The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won (Basic Books, 2017).

Hanson titled the book for the fact that there were at least two major wars going on in World War II, and it is a mistake to think of the Axis Powers and the European and Pacific wars as a one big theater of war.

Hanson also sets up the thesis that the Axis Powers succeeded initially only because of the hesitance and even fecklessness of the Allies during the late thirties, when the Nazis and the Bushido Empire expanded without resistance to take regional control and acquire influence, and even more while the major Allied powers pretended not to see the threat or, in some cases, refused to do anything to stop the aggression.

For the French, English, and Americans, the problem was a collective memory of the carnage of WWI and the commitment to pacifism, or at least weak responses to evil and aggression that resulted.

When the Allies committed to unconditional surrender, the game was over.  ; 

The unique and enlightening thing about Hanson’s book is his focus on two things: resolve, political and societal, and then the national resources and industrial capabilities of the belligerents, key to a successful war effort.  Startling realities include odd things like the German Army that committed to Operation Barbarossa in the East being dependent on horses and surprisingly ragtag.  The blue-water German navy was no match for the Brits or the American navy.  ;Germany had limited access to petroleum and had to convert coal to fuel oils until the Romanian fields were annexed, but then those fields were inadequate.  Japan was always fuel-starved.  The Allies went to war on an ocean of Texas oil. 

As for tech, Germany had the V1 and then later the V2 and many superior weapons, but they had no ability to make them mean something.  Germany and Japan just didn’t have the industrial capacity and resources to match American power and competence in warfare – supplies, manpower, firepower.  

In the Pacific, the Japanese had no ability to replace fleet carriers or a declining number of pilots and planes, even though the Zero was a good plane and Japan started with a group of good fleet carriers.  German Monster tanks were lethal but in limited numbers.  ;The net effect was that the Russian T-34 and even the inferior American Sherman tanks were effective because of numbers combined with other factors such as air support and mobility. 

The Germans had no ability to invade England or reach out from their initial base without a navy or any long-range bombers like what the allies had, like the British Lancaster and the American B17, 24, 25, and 26 – particularly the 17.  The mighty B-29 was a difference-maker in the last stages of the Pacific war.   British defenses in the battle of Britain were better not just because of Spitfires, but also because of superior British radar.  The Hellcat and Corsair were a match for the Zero when they came online.

American production of small and large carriers for the Pacific was astounding and emblematic of the ability of the American output on all sorts of things – guns, artillery, vehicles, tanks, planes, ships, transports, cargo, and fuel-carriers for land and water.  As the war went on, American industry continued high-volume production of essentials with modifications that improved quality, effecting a telling change in force effectiveness in categories such as submarines or various carriers.  ;Likewise with the output of bombers and fighters, such as the P-51 Mustang – fifteen thousand-plus were made, the last version with wing tanks for bomber escorts to the German heartland that were demoralizing to the Germans.  ; 

American capability in ground forces and support armaments and gunnery along with air superiority were decisive.  ;The American forces just kept coming in the Pacific, overwhelming by numbers and firepower the Japanese fortress islands.  ;In the Pacific, the U.S. Navy, Marines, pilots, and planes supported by good logistics and naval firepower dealt with even the fanatical Japanese resistance.  Bombing runs of hundreds of big bombers hit the island targets and the Japanese homeland.  Hundreds of bombers in the skies were what the Japanese looked up at in the closing days, before the atomic bombs.

Hanson points out the unique and horrifying number of deaths of non-combatants killed by the Axis powers despite losing the war.  ;The Axis powers were able initially to take adjacent powerless or weak nations, were able to target and destroy civilian populations, along with on the ground pogrom and genocidal projects.  ;

I agree with the Hanson argument that World War II was not a single conflict, but several, ranging the expanse of the globe, each varying with the arrival and departure of advanced technologies, sophisticated ideologies, national armies, and legendary statesmen.

A concerning last thing one must consider is that WWII was a break in time, when the failure of deterrence during the late ’30s resulted in an out-of-control aggressive nationalistic statist movement of the Nazis, Japanese, and Italian fascists to get out ahead of more civilized elements.  ;The price to be paid was the destruction of civility and a massive loss of innocent lives.  ;

Hanson reasonably says Germany in 1939 “was not stronger than the combined French and British militaries – or at least not so strong as to be able to defeat and occupy both powers.”  The Japanese were a regional factor and had been to attack and annex part of China, but they still were not really that capable – certainly not as capable as a fully alert and motivated United States.  ;However, the fecklessness of both the Brits and the French and the inactivity and lack of concern by the United States clearly encouraged the adventurous Nazi and Bushido belligerents.  ;

Hanson as a historian appreciates the reality of moral indecision.  ;His book could not be timelier, since we are facing fanatical enemies who in two examples are close to nuclear capability, and nuclear capability may be possible for these intractable enemies even in a black market or in the role of surrogate for another more established nuclear power like Pakistan.  Why the Western world – which was aware of the classical lessons and geography of war, and was still suffering from the immediate trauma of the First World War – chose to tear itself apart in 1939 is a story not so much of accidents, miscalculations, and overreactions (although there were plenty of those, to be sure) as of the carefully considered decision to ignore, appease, or collaborate with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany by nations that had the resources and knowledge, but not yet the willpower to do otherwise.

Tens of millions of innocents died at the hands of the Nazi, Bushido, and Italian fascist war machines because action was not taken to stop the evil forces eventually unleashed to bring on WWII.  Hanson asserts and espouses a moral clarity too often lacking in political and foreign policy salons that are infected with Marxist and Progressive magical thinking dangerous to civilized nations.

I will leave it to the reader to guess how America would or would not act to protect the safety of the country and its citizens.  Churchill proved that men do make a difference in history.  What is playing out now because of aggressive socialism and bellicose Islam could end badly if mistakes leading up to WWII are repeated.  ;Hanson’s book gives us a vivid reminder – the book is a heavyweight, and you will benefit from hefting it.  I avoided the lift with a Kindle.

Victor Davis Hanson is a conservative icon, well known and respected; a prolific author of twenty-plus books and current occupant of a chair of historical, military, and agrarian classical studies; a Ph.D. from Stanford; and the founder of classical studies at University of California at Fresno.  ;Now he occupies a chair at the Hoover Foundation of Stanford University. 

I first came to know him reading The Western Way of War (1989), which explained the reason for the lethality and effectiveness of Western armies throughout history.  ;This past year, he wrote one of his best books: The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won (Basic Books, 2017).

Hanson titled the book for the fact that there were at least two major wars going on in World War II, and it is a mistake to think of the Axis Powers and the European and Pacific wars as a one big theater of war.

Hanson also sets up the thesis that the Axis Powers succeeded initially only because of the hesitance and even fecklessness of the Allies during the late thirties, when the Nazis and the Bushido Empire expanded without resistance to take regional control and acquire influence, and even more while the major Allied powers pretended not to see the threat or, in some cases, refused to do anything to stop the aggression.

For the French, English, and Americans, the problem was a collective memory of the carnage of WWI and the commitment to pacifism, or at least weak responses to evil and aggression that resulted.

When the Allies committed to unconditional surrender, the game was over.  ; 

The unique and enlightening thing about Hanson’s book is his focus on two things: resolve, political and societal, and then the national resources and industrial capabilities of the belligerents, key to a successful war effort.  Startling realities include odd things like the German Army that committed to Operation Barbarossa in the East being dependent on horses and surprisingly ragtag.  The blue-water German navy was no match for the Brits or the American navy.  ;Germany had limited access to petroleum and had to convert coal to fuel oils until the Romanian fields were annexed, but then those fields were inadequate.  Japan was always fuel-starved.  The Allies went to war on an ocean of Texas oil. 

As for tech, Germany had the V1 and then later the V2 and many superior weapons, but they had no ability to make them mean something.  Germany and Japan just didn’t have the industrial capacity and resources to match American power and competence in warfare – supplies, manpower, firepower.  

In the Pacific, the Japanese had no ability to replace fleet carriers or a declining number of pilots and planes, even though the Zero was a good plane and Japan started with a group of good fleet carriers.  German Monster tanks were lethal but in limited numbers.  ;The net effect was that the Russian T-34 and even the inferior American Sherman tanks were effective because of numbers combined with other factors such as air support and mobility. 

The Germans had no ability to invade England or reach out from their initial base without a navy or any long-range bombers like what the allies had, like the British Lancaster and the American B17, 24, 25, and 26 – particularly the 17.  The mighty B-29 was a difference-maker in the last stages of the Pacific war.   British defenses in the battle of Britain were better not just because of Spitfires, but also because of superior British radar.  The Hellcat and Corsair were a match for the Zero when they came online.

American production of small and large carriers for the Pacific was astounding and emblematic of the ability of the American output on all sorts of things – guns, artillery, vehicles, tanks, planes, ships, transports, cargo, and fuel-carriers for land and water.  As the war went on, American industry continued high-volume production of essentials with modifications that improved quality, effecting a telling change in force effectiveness in categories such as submarines or various carriers.  ;Likewise with the output of bombers and fighters, such as the P-51 Mustang – fifteen thousand-plus were made, the last version with wing tanks for bomber escorts to the German heartland that were demoralizing to the Germans.  ; 

American capability in ground forces and support armaments and gunnery along with air superiority were decisive.  ;The American forces just kept coming in the Pacific, overwhelming by numbers and firepower the Japanese fortress islands.  ;In the Pacific, the U.S. Navy, Marines, pilots, and planes supported by good logistics and naval firepower dealt with even the fanatical Japanese resistance.  Bombing runs of hundreds of big bombers hit the island targets and the Japanese homeland.  Hundreds of bombers in the skies were what the Japanese looked up at in the closing days, before the atomic bombs.

Hanson points out the unique and horrifying number of deaths of non-combatants killed by the Axis powers despite losing the war.  ;The Axis powers were able initially to take adjacent powerless or weak nations, were able to target and destroy civilian populations, along with on the ground pogrom and genocidal projects.  ;

I agree with the Hanson argument that World War II was not a single conflict, but several, ranging the expanse of the globe, each varying with the arrival and departure of advanced technologies, sophisticated ideologies, national armies, and legendary statesmen.

A concerning last thing one must consider is that WWII was a break in time, when the failure of deterrence during the late ’30s resulted in an out-of-control aggressive nationalistic statist movement of the Nazis, Japanese, and Italian fascists to get out ahead of more civilized elements.  ;The price to be paid was the destruction of civility and a massive loss of innocent lives.  ;

Hanson reasonably says Germany in 1939 “was not stronger than the combined French and British militaries – or at least not so strong as to be able to defeat and occupy both powers.”  The Japanese were a regional factor and had been to attack and annex part of China, but they still were not really that capable – certainly not as capable as a fully alert and motivated United States.  ;However, the fecklessness of both the Brits and the French and the inactivity and lack of concern by the United States clearly encouraged the adventurous Nazi and Bushido belligerents.  ;

Hanson as a historian appreciates the reality of moral indecision.  ;His book could not be timelier, since we are facing fanatical enemies who in two examples are close to nuclear capability, and nuclear capability may be possible for these intractable enemies even in a black market or in the role of surrogate for another more established nuclear power like Pakistan.  Why the Western world – which was aware of the classical lessons and geography of war, and was still suffering from the immediate trauma of the First World War – chose to tear itself apart in 1939 is a story not so much of accidents, miscalculations, and overreactions (although there were plenty of those, to be sure) as of the carefully considered decision to ignore, appease, or collaborate with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany by nations that had the resources and knowledge, but not yet the willpower to do otherwise.

Tens of millions of innocents died at the hands of the Nazi, Bushido, and Italian fascist war machines because action was not taken to stop the evil forces eventually unleashed to bring on WWII.  Hanson asserts and espouses a moral clarity too often lacking in political and foreign policy salons that are infected with Marxist and Progressive magical thinking dangerous to civilized nations.

I will leave it to the reader to guess how America would or would not act to protect the safety of the country and its citizens.  Churchill proved that men do make a difference in history.  What is playing out now because of aggressive socialism and bellicose Islam could end badly if mistakes leading up to WWII are repeated.  ;Hanson’s book gives us a vivid reminder – the book is a heavyweight, and you will benefit from hefting it.  I avoided the lift with a Kindle.



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Doctor Hamburger Diagnoses a Malignant Administrative State


Any regular reader at American Thinker is aware of the rising concern about government overreach and amplified, expanded executive branch abuses and multi-agency multifarious misconduct.  The ominous nature of the administrative state (think IRS, EPA, DOJ, DEA, Interior, FCC, SEC) transforms our government originally designed as limited and by the consent of the governed.  Emblematic of the administrative state problem is the slow-rolling special counsel coup being orchestrated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies intent on overturning a presidential election, energized and perpetrated by human creatures in the embedded federal bureaucracy that occupies a wide swath of swampland on the Potomac River.

Angelo Codevilla rang the alarm about the excesses of statism in a 2009 essay about the growth of the Bismarckian (think Prussian) administrative state.  He wrote an insightful and compelling essay, “Scientific Pretense and Democracy,” that warned of an army of state-appointed and supported experts recruited to entrench the statist government and expand the administrative state structure and power.

Codevilla followed the “Pretense” essay in 2010 with the famous and well received 2010 essay “The Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution,” warning of the growth of an unelected and totalitarian ruling class, whose influence and power are derived from the self-bestowed “expertise” and status they thought justified their position and ambitious exercise of power, suppressing dissent and intimidating the citizenry for the benefit of the ruling class.  

Phillip Hamburger, Friedman Professor of constitutional law at Columbia, reminded me of the problem of administrative law growth in America with his 2017 bite-sized 70-page book, The Administrative Threat, that summarizes the points of his magisterial and erudite 650-page 2014 book, Is the Administrative State Legal?  I liked the short book – but I was more taken by the long book because Hamburger moves into the weeds to explain in depth what motivated the American founders to write a Constitution that intentionally hobbled the power of the executive.  He explains the history of tyranny in England that was well known to the framers of the Constitution, abuses such as government by crown edict; crown-initiated Star Chamber prosecutions that were politically motivated; and the excessive and oppressive nature of the reigns of James I and Charles I, who were kings from 1603 to 1649, when Charles was beheaded after a civil war.  The Americans, the founders, were acutely aware of royal tyranny and bound to avoid it. 

So Hamburger made a big splash in 2014 and since, with two books that stirred up things because of his condemnation of the expansive administrative state.  It was present at the founding in a limited degree, but it underwent dramatic growth in 20th-century America, pushed by high-profile activist presidents like Teddy Roosevelt; Woodrow Wilson; and, more dramatically, Franklin Roosevelt.

The Administrative Threat (2017) is short but packed with legal good sense, full of powerful and well framed arguments.  The book is penetrating and energetic.  Hamburger’s longer book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (2014), provides a longer and more thoroughgoing review of the main tenets of Hamburger’s thesis: that the legislative and judicial powers and authority exercised by agencies and officials of the executive branch are clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the powers of the other branches and clearly illegal and unconstitutional, and bring back the abuses of the Star Chamber and government by royal edict.

Hamburger writes a damning indictment of the administrative state, and he makes his case carefully and with attention to detail.  He shows convincingly why he considers the powers of current agencies of the executive branch to be in contradiction of the Constitution that was intended to create restraints on all of the three branches.  Hamburger contends that the laws are to be written and interpreted by the Legislative and Judicial Branches and that only those two branches can articulate the obligations created for citizens.  Executive agencies cannot and must not create laws and regulations, as is the case presently, and do not have the authority to determine if citizens have violated the law.  Executive Branch agencies and authority are restricted to enforcement of the law, but now agencies make law and regulations and determine compliance and assess punishment for non-compliance after making judgments that citizens have committed violations in administrative proceedings.

Hamburger in his public statements and comments on his writings about the administrative state makes these points that are well developed and reasoned in both books:

  • Administrative law and power are extra-legal, since they do not originate as acts of the legislature and the judiciary. 
  • The use of executive power to legislate and judge is the nature of tyranny that the founders and the Constitution they wrote intended to prevent – the power of monarchs: prerogative power, unfettered power, absolute power characteristic of dictators or kings, who may also be unrestrained despots.
  • Do not be fooled by the apparently benign and beneficent nature of administrative power, born of expertise and authority, exercised for the general benefit.  If it is illegal, extra-legal, and not approved by the Constitution of the United States for a good reason: to prevent tyranny.
  • The founders and the citizens of the time of the founding were profoundly committed to prevent tyranny of government.  They specifically prohibited extralegal powers and endowed the legislative and judicial arms of government with separate powers as well as limiting the power of the executive.
  • Just because the Congress abdicated its legislative and rule-making powers, that doesn’t make it right or legal.  It only means that the Congress has neglected its constitutional duties.
  • Just like the Congress, the Judiciary has abdicated a duty its members have to assure that the Constitution is enforced – judicial “deference” to executive agency rule and regulation-making that is extra-legal is judicial abdication of duty to enforce the law.

Professor Hamburger points out the extra-legal activities of government executive agencies violating voting rights of the citizens, putting into power unelected bureaucrats and “experts” warned of by Codevilla.  And the circle is closed.  Hamburger warns of the “expert” ruling class, based on mistrust of citizens and arrogance of the elites.

Hamburger speaks in an interview for Columbia Law School News about the importance of Supreme Court repair of the agency power imbalance: “The conundrum is all the more serious because administrative power is a profound threat to civil liberties and an evisceration of equal voting rights.  If the [Supreme] Court rigidly adheres to precedents that have gutted people’s constitutional rights, it will end up undermining its own legitimacy.”

The Supreme Court has a long way to go before it will have a salutary impact on the growth of this cancer of a federal agency-driven administrative state that was created to a great degree by the Court’s terrible opinion in Chevron, allowing agencies to interpret the enabling legislation for their activities.  However, we have a small start by Justice Clarence Thomas, applauded by Myron Magnet at City Journal, and by the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, who has been clearly in favor of restraining the administrative state.  Thomas and Gorsuch are a first step, as earnest and energetic critics of unbounded federal executive agency power and activities.  Scalia was not sensible about the Administrative State expansion, and he even wrote a terrible opinion on agency power and deference to that power in Whitman v. American Trucking Association (2001), applauded by the usual suspects on the left (New York Times) as giving the EPA “deference” to expand and interpret the Clean Air Act.  The left wing of the Supreme Court is all in for the administrative state, and the right wing is inclined to oppose Administrative State expansion.  The problem of agency overreach into the constitutional authority of the Legislative and Judicial Branches is a known problem, deserving some legal ablation therapy.

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is an emergency physician; inactive attorney in Brownwood, Texas; and policy adviser to the American Council on Science and Health of NYC and to the Heartland Institute of Illinois.

Any regular reader at American Thinker is aware of the rising concern about government overreach and amplified, expanded executive branch abuses and multi-agency multifarious misconduct.  The ominous nature of the administrative state (think IRS, EPA, DOJ, DEA, Interior, FCC, SEC) transforms our government originally designed as limited and by the consent of the governed.  Emblematic of the administrative state problem is the slow-rolling special counsel coup being orchestrated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies intent on overturning a presidential election, energized and perpetrated by human creatures in the embedded federal bureaucracy that occupies a wide swath of swampland on the Potomac River.

Angelo Codevilla rang the alarm about the excesses of statism in a 2009 essay about the growth of the Bismarckian (think Prussian) administrative state.  He wrote an insightful and compelling essay, “Scientific Pretense and Democracy,” that warned of an army of state-appointed and supported experts recruited to entrench the statist government and expand the administrative state structure and power.

Codevilla followed the “Pretense” essay in 2010 with the famous and well received 2010 essay “The Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution,” warning of the growth of an unelected and totalitarian ruling class, whose influence and power are derived from the self-bestowed “expertise” and status they thought justified their position and ambitious exercise of power, suppressing dissent and intimidating the citizenry for the benefit of the ruling class.  

Phillip Hamburger, Friedman Professor of constitutional law at Columbia, reminded me of the problem of administrative law growth in America with his 2017 bite-sized 70-page book, The Administrative Threat, that summarizes the points of his magisterial and erudite 650-page 2014 book, Is the Administrative State Legal?  I liked the short book – but I was more taken by the long book because Hamburger moves into the weeds to explain in depth what motivated the American founders to write a Constitution that intentionally hobbled the power of the executive.  He explains the history of tyranny in England that was well known to the framers of the Constitution, abuses such as government by crown edict; crown-initiated Star Chamber prosecutions that were politically motivated; and the excessive and oppressive nature of the reigns of James I and Charles I, who were kings from 1603 to 1649, when Charles was beheaded after a civil war.  The Americans, the founders, were acutely aware of royal tyranny and bound to avoid it. 

So Hamburger made a big splash in 2014 and since, with two books that stirred up things because of his condemnation of the expansive administrative state.  It was present at the founding in a limited degree, but it underwent dramatic growth in 20th-century America, pushed by high-profile activist presidents like Teddy Roosevelt; Woodrow Wilson; and, more dramatically, Franklin Roosevelt.

The Administrative Threat (2017) is short but packed with legal good sense, full of powerful and well framed arguments.  The book is penetrating and energetic.  Hamburger’s longer book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (2014), provides a longer and more thoroughgoing review of the main tenets of Hamburger’s thesis: that the legislative and judicial powers and authority exercised by agencies and officials of the executive branch are clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the powers of the other branches and clearly illegal and unconstitutional, and bring back the abuses of the Star Chamber and government by royal edict.

Hamburger writes a damning indictment of the administrative state, and he makes his case carefully and with attention to detail.  He shows convincingly why he considers the powers of current agencies of the executive branch to be in contradiction of the Constitution that was intended to create restraints on all of the three branches.  Hamburger contends that the laws are to be written and interpreted by the Legislative and Judicial Branches and that only those two branches can articulate the obligations created for citizens.  Executive agencies cannot and must not create laws and regulations, as is the case presently, and do not have the authority to determine if citizens have violated the law.  Executive Branch agencies and authority are restricted to enforcement of the law, but now agencies make law and regulations and determine compliance and assess punishment for non-compliance after making judgments that citizens have committed violations in administrative proceedings.

Hamburger in his public statements and comments on his writings about the administrative state makes these points that are well developed and reasoned in both books:

  • Administrative law and power are extra-legal, since they do not originate as acts of the legislature and the judiciary. 
  • The use of executive power to legislate and judge is the nature of tyranny that the founders and the Constitution they wrote intended to prevent – the power of monarchs: prerogative power, unfettered power, absolute power characteristic of dictators or kings, who may also be unrestrained despots.
  • Do not be fooled by the apparently benign and beneficent nature of administrative power, born of expertise and authority, exercised for the general benefit.  If it is illegal, extra-legal, and not approved by the Constitution of the United States for a good reason: to prevent tyranny.
  • The founders and the citizens of the time of the founding were profoundly committed to prevent tyranny of government.  They specifically prohibited extralegal powers and endowed the legislative and judicial arms of government with separate powers as well as limiting the power of the executive.
  • Just because the Congress abdicated its legislative and rule-making powers, that doesn’t make it right or legal.  It only means that the Congress has neglected its constitutional duties.
  • Just like the Congress, the Judiciary has abdicated a duty its members have to assure that the Constitution is enforced – judicial “deference” to executive agency rule and regulation-making that is extra-legal is judicial abdication of duty to enforce the law.

Professor Hamburger points out the extra-legal activities of government executive agencies violating voting rights of the citizens, putting into power unelected bureaucrats and “experts” warned of by Codevilla.  And the circle is closed.  Hamburger warns of the “expert” ruling class, based on mistrust of citizens and arrogance of the elites.

Hamburger speaks in an interview for Columbia Law School News about the importance of Supreme Court repair of the agency power imbalance: “The conundrum is all the more serious because administrative power is a profound threat to civil liberties and an evisceration of equal voting rights.  If the [Supreme] Court rigidly adheres to precedents that have gutted people’s constitutional rights, it will end up undermining its own legitimacy.”

The Supreme Court has a long way to go before it will have a salutary impact on the growth of this cancer of a federal agency-driven administrative state that was created to a great degree by the Court’s terrible opinion in Chevron, allowing agencies to interpret the enabling legislation for their activities.  However, we have a small start by Justice Clarence Thomas, applauded by Myron Magnet at City Journal, and by the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, who has been clearly in favor of restraining the administrative state.  Thomas and Gorsuch are a first step, as earnest and energetic critics of unbounded federal executive agency power and activities.  Scalia was not sensible about the Administrative State expansion, and he even wrote a terrible opinion on agency power and deference to that power in Whitman v. American Trucking Association (2001), applauded by the usual suspects on the left (New York Times) as giving the EPA “deference” to expand and interpret the Clean Air Act.  The left wing of the Supreme Court is all in for the administrative state, and the right wing is inclined to oppose Administrative State expansion.  The problem of agency overreach into the constitutional authority of the Legislative and Judicial Branches is a known problem, deserving some legal ablation therapy.

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is an emergency physician; inactive attorney in Brownwood, Texas; and policy adviser to the American Council on Science and Health of NYC and to the Heartland Institute of Illinois.



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When Federal Prosecutors Go Bad


Life can become a nightmare for those targeted by federal prosecutors in search of scalps. Ask General Michael Hayden.  After reading two excellent books on federal prosecutors who have been willing to cross the line into misbehavior, I am having nightmares, too.

Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice (2014) is written by Sidney Powell, a defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds target the innocent (2011 is by Harvey Silverglate, campus rights activist, attorney and prolific author.  Both tell you the dark side of the US Law enforcement system, at the DOJ and FBI, and among career prosecutors and investigators who become miscreants and hacks. 

Powell and Silverglate write about the horror faced by regular, even prominent citizens whom the FBI and DOJ destroyed, or tried to destroy, using their  unlimited resources and the trust of the courts and the public.  From the very beginning of the prosecution when the affidavits for charges are submitted to the court, the honesty and fairness of the prosecutors is tested, and all too often, ambitious and aggressive prosecutors betray that trust. 

Most of all, these books warn that the character and virtue of prosecutors are the critical factor in the proper conduct of a prosecution, the choice of target, the charge made, and the conduct of the discovery and the trial.  Prosecutors have all the cards, and if they don’t conduct an honest and fair prosecution, innocent people are harmed, destroyed by their striving for conviction at any cost, even by cheating or by abuse of the process.

With Robert Mueller on a general warrant fishing expedition to take down a president, its time to face the menace, the monster of mendacious and malicious prosecutors on the hunt with the resources of the government and the advantage of the assumption by the courts that they are reliable and honest, dedicated to justice. 

Some of the prosecutors featured in the two books are people whom Robert Mueller hired for his special counsel office.  The poster boy for abusive prosecutors is Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s number one boy, a longtime ally who was in charge of the Enron prosecutions and the Arthur Anderson debacle that resulted in multiple appellate court reversals of convictions. Unfortunately, Weissmann had already destroyed the large accounting firm and damaged the lives and fortunes its more than 10,000 employees.

Powell discusses others in the DOJ who were arrayed against her in the Enron and Arthur Anderson matters, who ended up in prestigious positions in the private sector or promoted with the DOJ after the dishonest and predatory prosecutions and other stunts.  Senator Ted Stephens lost his political career to a corrupt prosecutiobn that was eventually nullified.

Harvey Silverglate relates his own experience of Mueller attempting to entrap him into suborning perjury when he was defending a Mueller target.  As Silverglate said in an interview  for WGBH (Boston TV) news, he wouldn’t trust Mueller, who has the attitude of a Grand Inquisitor, not the choirboy Marine portrayed by his leftist allies in the press.  Mueller has an uneven, sometimes incompetent record — for example his Anthrax Letters investigation, the failure to convict Hell’s Angels on drug trafficking and his role during the Eric Holder time as Attorney General.

Prosecutors in the American system are charged to be exemplary in their role — they are not mercenary destroyers, but rather represent the government and are tasked to be fair and judicious in their decisions to prosecute. They are also supposed to be guarantors of a fair trial; but unfortunately the incentives make some prosecutors unethical and low down mean, malignant, and mendacious in their practices and tactics.

Ms. Powell quotes The Center for Prosecutor Integrity list of misconduct that can terrorize targets of government prosecution, even if they are innocent:

Charging with more offenses and more serious offenses than warranted.

Withholding or delaying the release of exculpatory evidence.

Deliberately mishandling, mistreating or destroying evidence.

Allowing witnesses they know are not truthful to testify.

Pressuring defense witnesses not to testify.

Relying on fraudulent forensic experts.

During plea negotiations, overstating the strength of the evidence.

Making statements to the media that are designed to arouse public indignation.

Making improper or misleading statements to the jury.

 Failing to report prosecutor misconduct when it is discovered.  

In the real world of imperfect humans prosecutors are subject to a variety of pressures that make them forget their special status in the legal system as guarantors of justice.  Incentives such as gratitude of victims, favorable media coverage, career promotions for successful prosecutions, appointments to judgeships or election to high office can tempt stepping over these lines.

These two books narrate in relentless and compelling detail the misconduct by hack prosecutors, and the low down “sharp” tactics used to get convictions. Too often, the FBI and DOJ cheating that was apparent and even asserted to the court by the defense, subject to some inquiry, was allowed by a acquiescent court, sometimes motivated, it appears, by political pressure to allow a rogue prosecution.  That was clearly a factor in the Enron cases, but if politics enters, it can impact all kinds of cases and judges would only hope to be impartial are partisans. 

Ms. Powell and Mr. Silverglate detail many cases of FBI and DOJ cheating on investigations and prosecutions, for example misrepresentations of affidavits to charge crimes and investigative interview summaries, called 302 reports, to the court.  I was most alarmed to see that judges are not inclined to properly supervise and test the claims of prosecutors, even after their deceptions were pointed out.   Courts offer great leniency to miscreant and dissembling government prosecutors for various reasons.  

Mr. Silverglate’s book focuses on the problem of vague statutes that ensnared innocent people in prosecutions that were wretched examples of government prosecutor misconduct.  His examples come out of the panoply of federal statutes that are so vague that prosecutors and courts can invent crimes out of whole cloth.  You probably never heard of the despicable statute that creates a crime based on loss of honest services, There are wire fraud and drug regulations cases that result in prosecutions of business and professional people engaged in what should be considered normal activities. Silverglate relates stories of physicians, businessmen, and politicians conducting normal activities or routine affairs who were accused under arcane and tortured interpretations of fraud and corruption laws that were poorly written. 

Both Powell and Silverglate narrate with wrenching and horrific details in multiple cases.  I recommend that you read these riveting and revolting stories of prosecutor and law enforcement misconduct, purely evil stuff that ruined people’s lives.  But look under the bed and keep a light on.

John Dale Dunn MD JD is an emergency physician, inactive attorney, Policy Advisor to the American Council on Science and Health of NYC and the Heartland Institute of Illinois.      

Life can become a nightmare for those targeted by federal prosecutors in search of scalps. Ask General Michael Hayden.  After reading two excellent books on federal prosecutors who have been willing to cross the line into misbehavior, I am having nightmares, too.

Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice (2014) is written by Sidney Powell, a defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds target the innocent (2011 is by Harvey Silverglate, campus rights activist, attorney and prolific author.  Both tell you the dark side of the US Law enforcement system, at the DOJ and FBI, and among career prosecutors and investigators who become miscreants and hacks. 

Powell and Silverglate write about the horror faced by regular, even prominent citizens whom the FBI and DOJ destroyed, or tried to destroy, using their  unlimited resources and the trust of the courts and the public.  From the very beginning of the prosecution when the affidavits for charges are submitted to the court, the honesty and fairness of the prosecutors is tested, and all too often, ambitious and aggressive prosecutors betray that trust. 

Most of all, these books warn that the character and virtue of prosecutors are the critical factor in the proper conduct of a prosecution, the choice of target, the charge made, and the conduct of the discovery and the trial.  Prosecutors have all the cards, and if they don’t conduct an honest and fair prosecution, innocent people are harmed, destroyed by their striving for conviction at any cost, even by cheating or by abuse of the process.

With Robert Mueller on a general warrant fishing expedition to take down a president, its time to face the menace, the monster of mendacious and malicious prosecutors on the hunt with the resources of the government and the advantage of the assumption by the courts that they are reliable and honest, dedicated to justice. 

Some of the prosecutors featured in the two books are people whom Robert Mueller hired for his special counsel office.  The poster boy for abusive prosecutors is Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s number one boy, a longtime ally who was in charge of the Enron prosecutions and the Arthur Anderson debacle that resulted in multiple appellate court reversals of convictions. Unfortunately, Weissmann had already destroyed the large accounting firm and damaged the lives and fortunes its more than 10,000 employees.

Powell discusses others in the DOJ who were arrayed against her in the Enron and Arthur Anderson matters, who ended up in prestigious positions in the private sector or promoted with the DOJ after the dishonest and predatory prosecutions and other stunts.  Senator Ted Stephens lost his political career to a corrupt prosecutiobn that was eventually nullified.

Harvey Silverglate relates his own experience of Mueller attempting to entrap him into suborning perjury when he was defending a Mueller target.  As Silverglate said in an interview  for WGBH (Boston TV) news, he wouldn’t trust Mueller, who has the attitude of a Grand Inquisitor, not the choirboy Marine portrayed by his leftist allies in the press.  Mueller has an uneven, sometimes incompetent record — for example his Anthrax Letters investigation, the failure to convict Hell’s Angels on drug trafficking and his role during the Eric Holder time as Attorney General.

Prosecutors in the American system are charged to be exemplary in their role — they are not mercenary destroyers, but rather represent the government and are tasked to be fair and judicious in their decisions to prosecute. They are also supposed to be guarantors of a fair trial; but unfortunately the incentives make some prosecutors unethical and low down mean, malignant, and mendacious in their practices and tactics.

Ms. Powell quotes The Center for Prosecutor Integrity list of misconduct that can terrorize targets of government prosecution, even if they are innocent:

Charging with more offenses and more serious offenses than warranted.

Withholding or delaying the release of exculpatory evidence.

Deliberately mishandling, mistreating or destroying evidence.

Allowing witnesses they know are not truthful to testify.

Pressuring defense witnesses not to testify.

Relying on fraudulent forensic experts.

During plea negotiations, overstating the strength of the evidence.

Making statements to the media that are designed to arouse public indignation.

Making improper or misleading statements to the jury.

 Failing to report prosecutor misconduct when it is discovered.  

In the real world of imperfect humans prosecutors are subject to a variety of pressures that make them forget their special status in the legal system as guarantors of justice.  Incentives such as gratitude of victims, favorable media coverage, career promotions for successful prosecutions, appointments to judgeships or election to high office can tempt stepping over these lines.

These two books narrate in relentless and compelling detail the misconduct by hack prosecutors, and the low down “sharp” tactics used to get convictions. Too often, the FBI and DOJ cheating that was apparent and even asserted to the court by the defense, subject to some inquiry, was allowed by a acquiescent court, sometimes motivated, it appears, by political pressure to allow a rogue prosecution.  That was clearly a factor in the Enron cases, but if politics enters, it can impact all kinds of cases and judges would only hope to be impartial are partisans. 

Ms. Powell and Mr. Silverglate detail many cases of FBI and DOJ cheating on investigations and prosecutions, for example misrepresentations of affidavits to charge crimes and investigative interview summaries, called 302 reports, to the court.  I was most alarmed to see that judges are not inclined to properly supervise and test the claims of prosecutors, even after their deceptions were pointed out.   Courts offer great leniency to miscreant and dissembling government prosecutors for various reasons.  

Mr. Silverglate’s book focuses on the problem of vague statutes that ensnared innocent people in prosecutions that were wretched examples of government prosecutor misconduct.  His examples come out of the panoply of federal statutes that are so vague that prosecutors and courts can invent crimes out of whole cloth.  You probably never heard of the despicable statute that creates a crime based on loss of honest services, There are wire fraud and drug regulations cases that result in prosecutions of business and professional people engaged in what should be considered normal activities. Silverglate relates stories of physicians, businessmen, and politicians conducting normal activities or routine affairs who were accused under arcane and tortured interpretations of fraud and corruption laws that were poorly written. 

Both Powell and Silverglate narrate with wrenching and horrific details in multiple cases.  I recommend that you read these riveting and revolting stories of prosecutor and law enforcement misconduct, purely evil stuff that ruined people’s lives.  But look under the bed and keep a light on.

John Dale Dunn MD JD is an emergency physician, inactive attorney, Policy Advisor to the American Council on Science and Health of NYC and the Heartland Institute of Illinois.      



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Why the Academic Left Fears and Loathes Dr. Jordan Peterson


Who is this man, this Jordan Peterson, academic clinical psychologist, tenured at the University of Toronto with hundreds of thousands of YouTube followers, who has made a splash recently as a voice of reason, battling the political correctness elites and upsetting the academic grandees?

Less than a week ago, we got a stormy weather alert in an article that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “What’s So Dangerous about Jordan Peterson?” by Tom Bartlett, with the tease “Not long ago, he was an obscure psychology professor.  Now he leads a flock of die-hard disciples.”  One might suppose, considering Mr. Bartlett’s choice of words, that Peterson is a Jim Jones-style cult-leader, but instinctively, I knew I would like to find out about anybody described as dangerous by the trade paper of American higher education.

Mr. Bartlett considers Dr. Peterson a threat because Peterson deviates from the leftist academic canon – a conservative, traditionalist, moralist anti-political correctness psychologist academic.  He objects to the speech police and the tyranny of the left.  He that a totalitarian-speech police state is developing in Canada, and, by instinct and conviction, he objects strongly to the “good speech” laws demanding the use of concocted or inapposite pronouns and labels preferred by the little darlin’s of the newly concocted gender-identity claxon, cowbell, and tin drum army.

Peterson objects to speech police tactics, and he does it eloquently.  That’s a threat to and dangerous for the academic poobahs who live and breathe censorship and intellectual tyranny.  Bartlett’s essay is an alert: watch out for this conservative who has a bad attitude on lots of things and opposes our new pronoun gender identity group project and our promotion of the grievance status of the newly formed sex-gender-dysmorphist deviant group.

After I wrote to others about my discovery of Peterson, I was directed by one reader to a recent Peterson media splash, a YouTube interview cum debate by a feminist firebrand interviewer Cathy Newman at Britain’s Channel 4.  Ms. Newman, a veteran U.K. TV personality, engaged Dr. Peterson on her claim that unequal female pay and power in business and other organizations are an example of gender persecution and oppression by patriarchal Western societies.  Ms. Newman came, all armed up, shouting her flinty-edged argument that gender job inequalities are due to bias and abuse by men.  Then came a well deserved Peterson social sciences buzzsaw refutation of her arguments, delivered with a smile to the visibly frustrated and increasingly desperate Newman, who seemed relieved when the 30 minute “interview” ended.

Peterson, to the delight of millions of people who watched the video (it is nearing 4 million views, 150 thousand likes to 3-some thousand dislikes) was the well prepared and skilled matador with Newman, gently, politely reminding her that sex is not the only thing to consider when there are male-female differences.  Peterson took Newman’s arguments in mid-flight and decimated her attack, didn’t miss opportunities to point out her interrogatory misconduct.  It was a rout, highlighting his rhetorical skills, command of the social sciences research literature, good sense, and overarching good humor.  There was a particularly good segment where Peterson reminded Newman that her accusations and assertions were based on an incorrect and nonscientific univariate (one cause) analysis blaming sex, when good social science research requires a multivariate (multiple causes) analysis.  He followed up with examples of many alternative causes for inequalities – simple things like choice, preferences, conflicts of personal and social responsibilities, female fertility time frames, emotional constitution, physical energy realities, required time commitments, and domestic and family priorities – and he pointed out that the variates list was incomplete.  Game, set, match, Peterson. 

Peterson’s expertise as a debater and interviewee is not the place to stop this discussion.  His great accomplishment is teaching, counseling, and coaching people to urge them to live the good life, the virtuous life.  He has an impressive social media following consistent with his success as a revered and respected classroom teacher everywhere he taught, combined with a successful general clinical practice that has a special effort devoted to career and life coaching.

Peterson teaches people to be better, stronger, faster, and more competent and respected, including women looking for tips and coaching on how to succeed.  Coaching is his deal, his nature, his forte, and you can see his intensity when he does intimate videos with just him up close to the camera, with a look that reminded me of Vince Lombardi. 

Peterson is as compelling filling up a camera as he is wandering the classroom, appearing to be improvising on a theme, but doing it as musicians do a cadenza, jazz artists an improvisation.  The trick to jazz improvisation is playing music on a theme that repeats with a disciplined creativity that furthers the theme.  Peterson has his game in order: no lulls or empty places, a stay-awake lecturer, well aware of the theme, effective because he is insightful and eloquent, but committed to teach and modest in his attitude.    

Peterson’s got it and ain’t gonna lose it.  The only way he might be ambushed is being targeting by the destroyers of the left with their name-calling and politics of personal destruction.  I never underestimate the people-shredder political correctness crowd, which has vile and vicious tactics down to an art form.  I am reminded of the old saying that faculty politics is so bloody because the stakes are so small – and Peterson has a lot of natural and dedicated academic enemies.

Take a look at Peterson’s website and his various lists of rules for good living, and you get the picture: he is a classical stoic, and he advises people on how to grow up and be adults with a mature and virtuous approach to life.  He says honesty is the key to civil behavior, and courage and fortitude are essential.  People on our side of the cultural divide would have to agree with damn near everything he says.

Peterson objects to identity politics as the product of socialist cant and ideology that wants to put people in groups based on grievance or the socialist theory of deterministic societal struggle.  He considers socialism misanthropic at its core, dead to the importance of the individual.  He opposes the socialist mindset that is nihilistic about the value and importance of the human spirit and human action and conduct that subscribe to a moral code.  That is a mouthful, but necessary to be fully indicative of his superior intellect and good instincts about what is good, what is right.

Peterson is a traditionalist, committed to teaching people to live a virtuous life – and he thinks happiness is living the virtuous life.  Pursuit of happiness is his theme, how to be your best friend in achieving real happiness, and he adheres to the Aristotelian-Stoic-Buddhist-American philosophy that being a virtuous, honest, courageous, engaged adult, a credit to society and to your friends and family, is the way to achieve happiness.  Peterson has staked out his position and is at war with totalitarians and ideologues of the left in academia and society in general as an old-fashioned stoic.  A fearsome sight for a leftist.   

Peterson has written and lectured about rules for a good life – ten rules, twelve rules, and a longer set of forty rules for life that are discussed in his YouTube videos and other media, including books.  Some rules are mother wit, commonsense reminders for the needy.  Most are just wisdom, essential to a good and happy life.

The label “Alt Right” is used as a weapon against Peterson because it is an all-encompassing epithet, a flexible way to condemn anyone with a conservative lean.  It is being used now by critics of Peterson to describe him, since he teaches from a conservative point of view – and his enemies would be happy to label him misogynist, racist, homophobe, dysmorphophobic, transgenderophobic, a moralistic, intolerant bigot who must be destroyed.

Stoics know these things.  Marcus Aurelius said: 

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.  They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.  But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me.

I took a few days to absorb Peterson, a bright and fascinating phenomenon, an articulate, smart, eloquent man doing some public counseling as a lecturer in a classroom on a video, taking on politically correct tyrants on the side.  I have read his rules for a good life, listened to his commentaries on the rules.  It became evident that Peterson, who grew up in a remote, very cold Fairview, Alberta, north and west of  Edmonton, and went on to great success in academia and as a psychologist in practice and then a public psychologist and teacher, exemplifies an old but important story.  His life course appears to be the story of the human search for meaning, wisdom, and purpose – the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path, Taoist and Confucian philosophy, Christian concepts of wisdom and virtue, the Roman and Greek Stoic meditations of Marcus Aurelius, and the teachings of the Greek slave Stoic doyen Epictetus.

One thing Peterson has done is awakened a young audience, predominately male, to the value of the virtuous life, the life of a responsible, engaged, and effective adult male, or female, who is a credit and an asset, a benefit for friends and family.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the academy and chattering class are opposed to such teachings as promoting values of the evil and oppressive Western tradition.  

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is a physician and inactive attorney living in Brownwood, Texas.

Who is this man, this Jordan Peterson, academic clinical psychologist, tenured at the University of Toronto with hundreds of thousands of YouTube followers, who has made a splash recently as a voice of reason, battling the political correctness elites and upsetting the academic grandees?

Less than a week ago, we got a stormy weather alert in an article that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “What’s So Dangerous about Jordan Peterson?” by Tom Bartlett, with the tease “Not long ago, he was an obscure psychology professor.  Now he leads a flock of die-hard disciples.”  One might suppose, considering Mr. Bartlett’s choice of words, that Peterson is a Jim Jones-style cult-leader, but instinctively, I knew I would like to find out about anybody described as dangerous by the trade paper of American higher education.

Mr. Bartlett considers Dr. Peterson a threat because Peterson deviates from the leftist academic canon – a conservative, traditionalist, moralist anti-political correctness psychologist academic.  He objects to the speech police and the tyranny of the left.  He that a totalitarian-speech police state is developing in Canada, and, by instinct and conviction, he objects strongly to the “good speech” laws demanding the use of concocted or inapposite pronouns and labels preferred by the little darlin’s of the newly concocted gender-identity claxon, cowbell, and tin drum army.

Peterson objects to speech police tactics, and he does it eloquently.  That’s a threat to and dangerous for the academic poobahs who live and breathe censorship and intellectual tyranny.  Bartlett’s essay is an alert: watch out for this conservative who has a bad attitude on lots of things and opposes our new pronoun gender identity group project and our promotion of the grievance status of the newly formed sex-gender-dysmorphist deviant group.

After I wrote to others about my discovery of Peterson, I was directed by one reader to a recent Peterson media splash, a YouTube interview cum debate by a feminist firebrand interviewer Cathy Newman at Britain’s Channel 4.  Ms. Newman, a veteran U.K. TV personality, engaged Dr. Peterson on her claim that unequal female pay and power in business and other organizations are an example of gender persecution and oppression by patriarchal Western societies.  Ms. Newman came, all armed up, shouting her flinty-edged argument that gender job inequalities are due to bias and abuse by men.  Then came a well deserved Peterson social sciences buzzsaw refutation of her arguments, delivered with a smile to the visibly frustrated and increasingly desperate Newman, who seemed relieved when the 30 minute “interview” ended.

Peterson, to the delight of millions of people who watched the video (it is nearing 4 million views, 150 thousand likes to 3-some thousand dislikes) was the well prepared and skilled matador with Newman, gently, politely reminding her that sex is not the only thing to consider when there are male-female differences.  Peterson took Newman’s arguments in mid-flight and decimated her attack, didn’t miss opportunities to point out her interrogatory misconduct.  It was a rout, highlighting his rhetorical skills, command of the social sciences research literature, good sense, and overarching good humor.  There was a particularly good segment where Peterson reminded Newman that her accusations and assertions were based on an incorrect and nonscientific univariate (one cause) analysis blaming sex, when good social science research requires a multivariate (multiple causes) analysis.  He followed up with examples of many alternative causes for inequalities – simple things like choice, preferences, conflicts of personal and social responsibilities, female fertility time frames, emotional constitution, physical energy realities, required time commitments, and domestic and family priorities – and he pointed out that the variates list was incomplete.  Game, set, match, Peterson. 

Peterson’s expertise as a debater and interviewee is not the place to stop this discussion.  His great accomplishment is teaching, counseling, and coaching people to urge them to live the good life, the virtuous life.  He has an impressive social media following consistent with his success as a revered and respected classroom teacher everywhere he taught, combined with a successful general clinical practice that has a special effort devoted to career and life coaching.

Peterson teaches people to be better, stronger, faster, and more competent and respected, including women looking for tips and coaching on how to succeed.  Coaching is his deal, his nature, his forte, and you can see his intensity when he does intimate videos with just him up close to the camera, with a look that reminded me of Vince Lombardi. 

Peterson is as compelling filling up a camera as he is wandering the classroom, appearing to be improvising on a theme, but doing it as musicians do a cadenza, jazz artists an improvisation.  The trick to jazz improvisation is playing music on a theme that repeats with a disciplined creativity that furthers the theme.  Peterson has his game in order: no lulls or empty places, a stay-awake lecturer, well aware of the theme, effective because he is insightful and eloquent, but committed to teach and modest in his attitude.    

Peterson’s got it and ain’t gonna lose it.  The only way he might be ambushed is being targeting by the destroyers of the left with their name-calling and politics of personal destruction.  I never underestimate the people-shredder political correctness crowd, which has vile and vicious tactics down to an art form.  I am reminded of the old saying that faculty politics is so bloody because the stakes are so small – and Peterson has a lot of natural and dedicated academic enemies.

Take a look at Peterson’s website and his various lists of rules for good living, and you get the picture: he is a classical stoic, and he advises people on how to grow up and be adults with a mature and virtuous approach to life.  He says honesty is the key to civil behavior, and courage and fortitude are essential.  People on our side of the cultural divide would have to agree with damn near everything he says.

Peterson objects to identity politics as the product of socialist cant and ideology that wants to put people in groups based on grievance or the socialist theory of deterministic societal struggle.  He considers socialism misanthropic at its core, dead to the importance of the individual.  He opposes the socialist mindset that is nihilistic about the value and importance of the human spirit and human action and conduct that subscribe to a moral code.  That is a mouthful, but necessary to be fully indicative of his superior intellect and good instincts about what is good, what is right.

Peterson is a traditionalist, committed to teaching people to live a virtuous life – and he thinks happiness is living the virtuous life.  Pursuit of happiness is his theme, how to be your best friend in achieving real happiness, and he adheres to the Aristotelian-Stoic-Buddhist-American philosophy that being a virtuous, honest, courageous, engaged adult, a credit to society and to your friends and family, is the way to achieve happiness.  Peterson has staked out his position and is at war with totalitarians and ideologues of the left in academia and society in general as an old-fashioned stoic.  A fearsome sight for a leftist.   

Peterson has written and lectured about rules for a good life – ten rules, twelve rules, and a longer set of forty rules for life that are discussed in his YouTube videos and other media, including books.  Some rules are mother wit, commonsense reminders for the needy.  Most are just wisdom, essential to a good and happy life.

The label “Alt Right” is used as a weapon against Peterson because it is an all-encompassing epithet, a flexible way to condemn anyone with a conservative lean.  It is being used now by critics of Peterson to describe him, since he teaches from a conservative point of view – and his enemies would be happy to label him misogynist, racist, homophobe, dysmorphophobic, transgenderophobic, a moralistic, intolerant bigot who must be destroyed.

Stoics know these things.  Marcus Aurelius said: 

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.  They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.  But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me.

I took a few days to absorb Peterson, a bright and fascinating phenomenon, an articulate, smart, eloquent man doing some public counseling as a lecturer in a classroom on a video, taking on politically correct tyrants on the side.  I have read his rules for a good life, listened to his commentaries on the rules.  It became evident that Peterson, who grew up in a remote, very cold Fairview, Alberta, north and west of  Edmonton, and went on to great success in academia and as a psychologist in practice and then a public psychologist and teacher, exemplifies an old but important story.  His life course appears to be the story of the human search for meaning, wisdom, and purpose – the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path, Taoist and Confucian philosophy, Christian concepts of wisdom and virtue, the Roman and Greek Stoic meditations of Marcus Aurelius, and the teachings of the Greek slave Stoic doyen Epictetus.

One thing Peterson has done is awakened a young audience, predominately male, to the value of the virtuous life, the life of a responsible, engaged, and effective adult male, or female, who is a credit and an asset, a benefit for friends and family.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the academy and chattering class are opposed to such teachings as promoting values of the evil and oppressive Western tradition.  

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is a physician and inactive attorney living in Brownwood, Texas.



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Medical Journals and the Global Warming Noble Lie


The Noble Lie is a concept discussed by Plato in the dialogues, lies told by oligarchs to get the populace in the right frame of mind, deceptions intended to influence the mindset and behavior of the populace.  The Noble Lie is not often noble; it is the tool of the totalitarian.  Totalitarianism is built on the Noble Lie and the best evidence of it in modern society is political correctness and its accompanying censorship and intimidation of any speech or conduct that contradicts the Orwellian “good think” of the Noble Lie. 

Most would assume that prestigious medical journals like Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on this side, and Lancet and British Medical Journal on the other side of the Atlantic are reliable and scientifically trustworthy, certainly not involved in perpetrating Noble Lies.  Not so, sadly, simply not so.  Medical journals, as a part of the academic life and social structure can be counted on to publish junk science that supports Orwellian “good think.”

So how is the Noble Lie promoted in the medical literature, you might ask.  What subjects would possibly be a place where medical journals participate in the promotion of junk science in service to the totalitarian Noble Lie?  The answer is that the administrative state needs and creates armies of experts to push their agenda and Noble Lie, so the academy and its journals are recruited—with money and rewards of power and position.  Funding and research awards and the resulting academic advancements create dependents in academia.  Name a leftist cause and without fail academic medical journals will enthusiastically and cooperatively publish those well-funded research reports and articles in support the leftist/ socialist position.  Journals are the voice of the academy and the academy is the mouthpiece for the oligarchic government science advocacy intended to justify government actions. 

For many years I have been collecting research on the effect of warming on human health, counting on the help of Dr. Craig Idso (MS Agronomy, PhD Geography), an energetic researcher who is constantly scanning the scientific literature for research on climate then putting it up at his web site CO2 Science.Org in archives of articles.  The Subject Index includes human health.  Idso, Dunn and others have written extensive discussions on warming and human health, including chapter 9 in Climate Change Reconsidered (2009) and Chapter 7 in Climate Change Reconsidered II (2013), both published by Heartland Institute of Chicago.   Our conclusions, supported by the medical research around the world studying rates of disease and death, are that warming will benefit human health and welfare, for obvious reasons — warm is easier on the plants and animals, so also humans. 

Lancet is a multi-faceted medical journal entity, iconic in medical history, founded in England in 1823, now with offices in London, New York and Beijing, publishing multiple specialty and general medical journals on line and in print.  Lancet published in 2015 a long term and planet wide study of death impacts of hot and cold extreme or moderately extreme ambient temperatures, by Gasparinni and 22 other authors, 384 locations around the globe, 27 years studying 74 million deaths, and their results showed that cold and cooler ambient temperatures killed 17 times more people than warmer and hot temperatures. 

On November 1, 2017 Lancet published an article by a group it had created called the “Lancet Countdown on health and climate change,” and the 64 authors produced a 50 page paper with a 195 references that declares a global health crisis due to warming (Climate Change).

Consider the contradiction.  Warm is good, warm is deadly.  Which will it be?  Could the Lancet editors and the Countdown group they put together be in the bag for the warmer/climate change movement?  Prepared to do what they can to promote claims that terrible things will happen to people because of warming?  Could this be pushback on their enemy, the warming-skeptical Trump Administration, for leaving the Paris Climate Treaty? 

Lancet has been a political advocacy journal on many political issues for a long time.  Should we expect medical journals to be politically neutral when the academy is extremely leftist/socialist in attitude? 

So you might say: “Well, OK,  Lancet – British — they are leftist by habit, so no surprise, but here in America medical journals are more middle of the road, more impartial, less partisan.”  Au Contraire.

The NEJM and the JAMA are both dedicated to the leftist ideology — socialized medicine, environmentalism, all the political, social, sexual and cultural aspects of the leftist revolution.  No room for dissent and disagreement, the medical journals pick their articles and the articles always display a leftist orientation, aggressively.

Medical Journals do not entertain or publish ideas and comments by dissenters to the leftist canon.  That is across the board on social and societal, political, medical, scientific issues.  They keep alive, pursue and promote the Noble Lies of the left.

John Dale Dunn MD JD is an emergency physician and inactive attorney, Medical Officer for the Brown County Texas Sheriff, Policy advisor to the Heartland Institute of Chicago and the American Council on Science and Health of New York City.

The Noble Lie is a concept discussed by Plato in the dialogues, lies told by oligarchs to get the populace in the right frame of mind, deceptions intended to influence the mindset and behavior of the populace.  The Noble Lie is not often noble; it is the tool of the totalitarian.  Totalitarianism is built on the Noble Lie and the best evidence of it in modern society is political correctness and its accompanying censorship and intimidation of any speech or conduct that contradicts the Orwellian “good think” of the Noble Lie. 

Most would assume that prestigious medical journals like Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on this side, and Lancet and British Medical Journal on the other side of the Atlantic are reliable and scientifically trustworthy, certainly not involved in perpetrating Noble Lies.  Not so, sadly, simply not so.  Medical journals, as a part of the academic life and social structure can be counted on to publish junk science that supports Orwellian “good think.”

So how is the Noble Lie promoted in the medical literature, you might ask.  What subjects would possibly be a place where medical journals participate in the promotion of junk science in service to the totalitarian Noble Lie?  The answer is that the administrative state needs and creates armies of experts to push their agenda and Noble Lie, so the academy and its journals are recruited—with money and rewards of power and position.  Funding and research awards and the resulting academic advancements create dependents in academia.  Name a leftist cause and without fail academic medical journals will enthusiastically and cooperatively publish those well-funded research reports and articles in support the leftist/ socialist position.  Journals are the voice of the academy and the academy is the mouthpiece for the oligarchic government science advocacy intended to justify government actions. 

For many years I have been collecting research on the effect of warming on human health, counting on the help of Dr. Craig Idso (MS Agronomy, PhD Geography), an energetic researcher who is constantly scanning the scientific literature for research on climate then putting it up at his web site CO2 Science.Org in archives of articles.  The Subject Index includes human health.  Idso, Dunn and others have written extensive discussions on warming and human health, including chapter 9 in Climate Change Reconsidered (2009) and Chapter 7 in Climate Change Reconsidered II (2013), both published by Heartland Institute of Chicago.   Our conclusions, supported by the medical research around the world studying rates of disease and death, are that warming will benefit human health and welfare, for obvious reasons — warm is easier on the plants and animals, so also humans. 

Lancet is a multi-faceted medical journal entity, iconic in medical history, founded in England in 1823, now with offices in London, New York and Beijing, publishing multiple specialty and general medical journals on line and in print.  Lancet published in 2015 a long term and planet wide study of death impacts of hot and cold extreme or moderately extreme ambient temperatures, by Gasparinni and 22 other authors, 384 locations around the globe, 27 years studying 74 million deaths, and their results showed that cold and cooler ambient temperatures killed 17 times more people than warmer and hot temperatures. 

On November 1, 2017 Lancet published an article by a group it had created called the “Lancet Countdown on health and climate change,” and the 64 authors produced a 50 page paper with a 195 references that declares a global health crisis due to warming (Climate Change).

Consider the contradiction.  Warm is good, warm is deadly.  Which will it be?  Could the Lancet editors and the Countdown group they put together be in the bag for the warmer/climate change movement?  Prepared to do what they can to promote claims that terrible things will happen to people because of warming?  Could this be pushback on their enemy, the warming-skeptical Trump Administration, for leaving the Paris Climate Treaty? 

Lancet has been a political advocacy journal on many political issues for a long time.  Should we expect medical journals to be politically neutral when the academy is extremely leftist/socialist in attitude? 

So you might say: “Well, OK,  Lancet – British — they are leftist by habit, so no surprise, but here in America medical journals are more middle of the road, more impartial, less partisan.”  Au Contraire.

The NEJM and the JAMA are both dedicated to the leftist ideology — socialized medicine, environmentalism, all the political, social, sexual and cultural aspects of the leftist revolution.  No room for dissent and disagreement, the medical journals pick their articles and the articles always display a leftist orientation, aggressively.

Medical Journals do not entertain or publish ideas and comments by dissenters to the leftist canon.  That is across the board on social and societal, political, medical, scientific issues.  They keep alive, pursue and promote the Noble Lies of the left.

John Dale Dunn MD JD is an emergency physician and inactive attorney, Medical Officer for the Brown County Texas Sheriff, Policy advisor to the Heartland Institute of Chicago and the American Council on Science and Health of New York City.



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