There was a time, within living memory, when the achievements of others were not only admired but were often taken as an inspiration for imitation of the same qualities that had served these achievers well. Somewhere along the way, all that changed. Today, the very concept of achievement is de-emphasized and sometimes attacked. Following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard has made the downgrading of high achievers the centerpiece of her election campaign against Senator Scott Brown.

Those of us who love liberty, regardless of whether we call ourselves libertarians or conservatives, know all too well the depths of intellectual and moral squalor in which egalitarian ideology is mired. Still, we would be well served to familiarize or perhaps reacquaint ourselves with some theorists of yesteryear who fought the same battles that engage our energies today.

One such theorist is the nineteenth century American conservative sociologist, William Graham Sumner, whose devastating critique of the egalitarian fantasy is well worth a look.

When Barack Obama said recently, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” he wasn’t all wrong. In fact, he knows well someone whose life thus attests. This person is a man of mixed race who billed himself as black. Growing up in a liberal state, he was surrounded by guilt-ridden white liberals. He benefitted from scholarships granted on the basis of race. He then won a state seat by running unopposed. When he ran for the U.S. Senate, he had a prostrate media in his corner. And when he ran for the presidency, they cranked it up into high gear, making this nobody a household name.

But there’s a kicker: Obama didn’t even get his you-didn’t-get-there-on-your-own speech on his own. It’s essentially the same speech that Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren gave in September 2011 when she said, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.

In the middle of the 20th century, Sri Lanka had a level of mutual respect and even friendship between its majority and minority communities that was rightly held up to the world as a model. Yet this situation degenerated over the years into polarization and violence that escalated into a civil war that lasted for decades, with unspeakable atrocities on both sides.

All it took were clever demagogues and gullible followers. We already have both. What it will take to nip in the bud the small but widely spreading race riots will be some serious leadership in many quarters and that rarest of all things in politics, honesty.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the U.S. Department of Education is its obsession with data collection. But it all makes perfect sense if you see it from the point of view of the educational totalitarians whose aim it is to use behavioral psychology for the purpose of modifying and controlling human behavior.

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