Ideological Watershed

I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

- Macbeth, Act III, Scene iv

Prior to my having taken the administrative position that I currently hold in a Catholic, all-boys’ secondary college prepatory high school, I was a full-time instructor of British literature for our senior class. Although I truly feel as though the capacity in which I’m currently working is both a good fit for me personally and best serves the interests of the school, I can honestly say that what I miss most about my classroom days is the time that I had to teach the works of William Shakespeare to my students.

Without a doubt, Shakespeare is most likely the single most quoted figure in the history of the English language, and with good reason. The Bard had the unique ability to explore and flesh out the very essence and core of human nature (of course, there is also the continuing academic debate as to who may have actually written these incredible works, but that’s another discussion for another time). Personally, I’ve always found the tragedies to be the most fascinating works of literature that I’ve ever read, because quite simply, as I always tried to show my students, they’re the anguish-riddled, gut-wrenching stories of something that never should have happened, save for the specific human flaw in each of these characters that leads them irresistibly to their own demise.

In the case of the erstwhile Thane of Cawdor, MacBeth (an actual historical figure who did usurp the Scottish throne), we have a man who does, at a reasonably early point following his horrific act, realize that what he’s done is wrong. In fact, were one to study the play closely, a person would probably come to see that even at the very end, MacBeth, a man who at this point has nearly wholly gone over to the forces of darkness, still possesses what we might term the “divine spark” of goodness embedded into the human soul by our Creator. He does, however, realize that he’s made his own decisions and that he’s now obligated to see the consequences through to the end. Indeed, a person could undertake a rather fascinating and quite topical analysis of the play and its central figure in light of the basic ideological debates between the liberal and conservative mindsets, especially in what appears to be the blind leftist tendency to continue down the destructive path that has no turns. Shakespeare’s genius is that we see MacBeth (as well as all of his other famous characters) literally evolve and develop as a human person: he moves from temptation, to finding the allure of power impossible to resist, to villainy and tyranny, to forcing Scotland onto an unnatural path, to determination in the face of what he knows is wrong, to finally – at the very end – realizing the necessity of personal accountability and that the natural course of events must be restored in order for Scotland to flourish once more.

Kinda sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I reference this play and the lines at the beginning of this article because as we inch more closely toward November, I can’t help but think (and pray) that we’re witnessing the historical watershed of far-leftist thought, at least in America. It doesn’t work. How many examples from history do liberals need in order for them to understand? Facts and math never lie.

But, like Macbeth, they continue stubbornly down the same one-way street, even though they most likely already know how the story is going to end.


About six weeks ago, we up here in little Rhody experienced a natural disaster ourselves, as an unprecedented amount of rain fell on our state over the course of three days. It goes without saying that what’s currently taking place in the Gulf is a disaster of far more enormous scope, as it may conceivably affect the lives of people in that region specifically, and America more generally, for perhaps decades. I find it interesting, though, that while the current administration has been feeble in its attempts to do seemingly anything about solving the problem (except tell us what they might be thinking about doing), the massive, life-altering flooding in Rhode Island was barely a glint in President Obama’s eye.

I guess some crises can go to waste, after all.

See, from where I’m standing politically, what I’m seeing is the cresting of an ideological river, and the flood, I think and hope, is about to swallow the last century-and-a-half of the failed attempts to force the people of the world into a social structure that does not work – how’d socialism/communism work out for the Soviet Union, and how’s Western Europe looking these days? Are all our liberals ready for Greece Part Duex to make its way to our cities? Gotten a look at the protests in New Jersey that are now taking place, in response to a new governor who is desperately trying to restore some degree of fiscal sanity to that state? Those on the Left maintained that the election results in November of ’08 were a mandate from the American people to move the country even further left; I maintain and hope that the mandate that emerges from this November’s elections is nothing short of the leading edge of the call for the end of socialism itself.

Look, I’m not delusional (at least my wife tells me that much); I’m quite well aware that the eternal struggle between Left and Right will always be there, and, I’d even be willing to argue, that that struggle should always exist, because from out of honest debate always comes broadened horizons. As the old adage goes, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” I’m simply hoping that the American people, and to a lesser extent, the people of the world, begin to take the first steps back in the direction of common sense and personal responsibility.

The global political Left has clearly entered a period of what we might refer to as “The Era of Diminished Marginal Returns”, and, given the alleged brilliance of those on the Left, I find it rather shocking that they apparently never quite digested this general mathematical axiom. Simply stated, the principle of ‘diminished marginal returns’ basically states that in any mathematical situation, and especially as it applies to economics, the natural course and development of any numerical consideration reaches a point of optimum performance; in other words, the specific consideration approaches the time when one must consider how much more to continue to “put into” further development, something that we might otherwise refer to as ‘investment’. Once that optimum threshold is crossed (the point of no return?), returns on any additional investment gradually become less significant and worthwhile, leading the rational person to determine whether further resources are worth it. I can speak first-hand to debates of this type, as the school at which I’m employed has had to more recently come to a general consensus as to what student enrollment figure would presently constitute “optimum performance”. Indeed, over the course of the past ten years or so, our school had made the conscious decision to “widen the strike zone”, so to speak, and to try to open up our doors to more students; what we discovered was that despite the extra tuition stream, the quality of what we were providing to the students and their parents was of a decidedly lesser quality. Consequently, as we’re obviously more concerned with the ultimate integrity of our Mission and not the dollars flowing through the school, we returned to our previous admission standard and decided that roughly 900 students seems to constitute optimum performance on a school-wide basis.

Had we continued on that particular path, I’d venture to say that our “tragic flaw” could have been characterized as blind avarice.

Based on what we’re seeing politically these days – quite honestly, stuff that in most cases makes absolutely no sense – it’s not too much of a stretch to view the “diminished marginal return” concept as a metaphor for what’s beginning to happen not so much to this administration, as there’ve been plenty of bad ones in our history; what I’m hoping is that many of our fellow citizens who view themselves as “liberals” begin to see that across the country, there are fewer and fewer dividends in terms of support that are being returned on their political, emotional, and financial investments. As I’ve said, I really hope that socialism is cresting, at least in the United States.

Look at the general course of just the past year-and-a-half. One could certainly argue that after having been ushered into the Presidency on an absurdly high note and on the wave of a “blame-Bush-and-the-Republicans-for-every-scintilla-of-evil-in-the-world sense of hysteria, things certainly began to go south for this administration in a reasonably quick fashion, mostly because once they had started the ignition, they never even gave the new government bulldozer a chance to warm up; they just pushed the pedal straight to the medal, shifted those big gears, and began to terraform. Beginning with an alleged stimulus package that was never intended to stimulate anything other than Democratic-machine votes and to flood the economy with useless dollars, to the attempted spreading-the-wealth coup of Cap & Trade (which, thankfully, seems to have been stopped for the time being), the Obama administration never left any doubt in the minds of the American people who had a political clue that its intention was truly nothing short of a socialist re-constitution of the United States of America. For those Americans who only had a sense that something wasn’t generally right, the hysteria that emerged from this Congress’ successful violation of the American people’s right to freely make their own decisions in life as embodied in the health care debacle finally undressed this administration once and for all.

Since then we’ve witnessed and continue to witness the scandals swirling around the allegedly-attempted bribes of Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff, nearly blatant anti-Semitic signals emerging from this White House, and an oil catastrophe that not only has been extraordinarily ill-addressed but also – strangely enough – one that at least seemed to come hot on the heels of President Obama’s apparent contention that he would once again consider offshore drilling and as the result of the purported negligence of a huge campaign contributor in British Petroleum.

Strange – if BP were, in fact, running such a careless operation (and believe me, I am in no way letting them off the hook here), why would they be such a significant campaign contributor to a candidate who – one would think, anyway – would not hesitate to bring them down if they were negligent in any way, given the politically-tenuous nature of their occupational field?

I guess we might have to ask the folks at Goldman-Sachs the answer to that one.  Or, perhaps, the descendants of Saul Alinsky.

Of course, President Obama is in full populist-anger whipping mode against BP and big oil in general, and, naturally, offshore drilling will have to be put on hold. I’m curious, however: is his base really, really mad at the evil antics of BP, or are they grateful to BP for helping him to get elected, in spite of the fact that we just can’t have big business contributing to political campaigns, an issue that the President addressed in his sharp-tongued admonishment of the Supreme Court during what passed for a State-of-the-Union Address?

I was just wondering. I wonder a lot.

Lines have also been drawn in the sand elsewhere with regard to this administration’s policies, as seen in the elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in Arizona’s ‘new’ immigration law, a law that 1) is a whole lot less draconian than the actual federal statute currently on the books and 2) has apparently not even been read by the key people in our federal government. The only thing that I’m left to conclude is that most of the people who position themselves on the far-left of the political slider are simply upset that the governor of Arizona, in addition to 70% of her citizens, wants to enforce the law.

The nerve of them. I mean, really – what are they thinking?

How does a reasonable person continue to support this?

The simple answer is that we’re not dealing with reasonable people. These are people who, in the end, have no use for the rule of law and boundaries in general, either real or abstract. They just keep trying to cross lines, upping their investment, refusing to cut their losses, and all despite the fact that in their heart of hearts, they all probably have a pretty good idea how this story is going to end.

Just like MacBeth.

Unlike our liberals, however, MacBeth knew when the gig was up and what needed to happen in order to set things straight.



  1. Anonymous says:

    “I was just wondering. I wonder a lot.”

    I too spend my time wondering why patriots sit idle.
    DAILY debt being added: $6,500,000,000.00
    Explain this to my grandson in a few years.

    2015 debt: $19,500,000,000,000.00

    Forget the watershed, take these fools behind the woodshed.

  2. Al Bore (missing Tipper) says:

    Speaking of ‘ideological’,
    global warming (from the sun, no less) is headed to your electronic gizmos.

  3. chuckharrison says:

    No offense, but your article was so freakin boring I think I feel asleep 2 times trying to get through it. Try sticking to one, maybe two points. You were all over the map. I see why you couldn’t get a job as a public school teacher and make some real money. What do they pay you to teach in a Catholic school? My guess is probably 50% of what your counterparts make in the public sector.

  4. Boston Blackie says:

    Not for nothin’ but I’ll hand over my kid to John to educate her before ANY public school teacher which is why I haven’t had a real vacation in 15 years. The teachers / administrators at catholic schools are there to educate not to count the days until they can collect their bloated pensions while pushing their left wing agenda.
    How about the school in N.J. that made it MANDATORY that students “accomplish chores around the house with the goal of being paid the sum of $20”. The student then must hand over the full $20 to the school to make up for the shortfall in the overall budget. My reply to them would have been screw you and the horse you rode in on. Another reason I hate public school teachers and unions.
    Probably like MacBeth, this article was over your head. Or as Obeyme likes to say, this was above your pay scale.

  5. Anonymous says:

    12:20 oooohhhhhh my daddy makes twice your daddy
    what a waste of a post

  6. Anonymous says:

    upchuck harrison,
    your beloved love of wealth redistribution will catch John up.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Harrison thinks MacBeth is a McDonalds sandwich. He’s been licking on the Shrek glasses all week.

  8. Barack O'binary says:

    “stick to one or two points”
    Like Obama,…. healthcare and raising taxes, oil spill be damned.

  9. John Feeny says:

    Wow –
    Quite a bit of give-and-take there.

    Harrison- thanks for taking the time to read my article. I’ll try to refrain from using so many big words in the future. My apologies.

    As to your concern about my financial situation (which is truly appreciated), allow me to say this: if you define yourself by counting the very last dollar tat you make, then I’d venture to say that you mod likely identify yourself as a chic liberal; further, the percentage to which you alluded is actually 85% of the public school step system, which in my mind, is an excellent trade-off, since I’m able to actually teach at my school, in addition to having the privilege of working with some of the greatest kids you’ll find.

    Couple that with the fact that I’m assistant principal, and I have a nice professional career indeed.


  10. Cheech says:

    “I think I feel asleep 2 times trying to get through it”

    Me thinks young Chuck might be hitting the weed.

  11. Order up! says:

    12:20 said
    “My guess is probably 50% of what your counterparts make in the public sector.”

    What are the odds Chuck, at the drive-thru, makes 50% of what his counterparts make in the cafeteria at the Capitol.

  12. You stop that Chuckie! says:

    Chuck (12:20) had a freudian slip in his typing. See what he does in his sleep? Gross

  13. A Tennesseean says:

    Ignore him Feeny, I love ya man.

  14. Dee says:

    John, good article. I agree that this administration is headed down the wrong path. Unlike MacBeth, I don’t think BO will see the error of his ways and try to correct them. I think he “put the pedal to the metal” in order to get everything he wants done before the people realize what is happening.
    Poor Chuck did not understand what your were trying to say. Maybe he never read Shakespeare. Also, don’t feel too badly, he actually did not fall asleep, he just felt asleep.

  15. Adios amigos says:
  16. Nine iron? No, hand me the nine millimeter says:

    Man Robbed While Golfing
    Danya Bacchus

    70-year old Man Robbed On Golf Course
    Police Spot Suspect
    Robber Able To Get Away

    (Southaven, MS 06/12/2010) 70-year old Ed Couch is teed off.

    “Of all places to be accosted, the golf course would be the last place I ever expected that to happen.”

    The avid golfer usually comes to Southaven’s North Creek Golf Course in the evening to work on his game. Thursday, as he hit the green, a robber was planning to take his money.

    Couch says he noticed the crook at different holes on the course. Then, as he started to the green for hole number seven the man came up behind him.

    Sign Up For ALERTS From Us

    “It was like he tackled me. It knocked me to my knees. He was on my back. He was hitting me on the side of my head saying where’s your wallet. Give me your wallet or I’m going to hurt you,” Couch explained.

    Couch gave the man his wallet. The robber took off and he called 911.

    Southaven police spotted the suspect, chased him but he got away. Couch says he may have escaped police but he didn’t make off with much.

    “I gave him my wallet there was no money in it anyway. Unfortunately, he got my identification and credit cards but I keep my money in my pocket.”

    Saturday, Couch was back at the golf course. He’s thankful his attacker didn’t have a weapon and says from now on when he hits the green he’ll be packing more than his clubs.

    “Monday, I will go to the Hernando courthouse, when I come out I will have a permit to carry. I will go to the golf course and there will be a piece in my bag.”

    North Creek Golf Course says it will beef up security. Southaven Police are asking anyone with information to call 662-393-8654.

  17. Gail B. says:

    “I think I feel asleep 2 times trying to get through it”

    Perhaps if you had stayed awake while you were in school, you would not have been bored by words too big for your understanding today.

    John Feeny is not teaching here at AR; he’s sharing his thoughts based upon his own education and experience, and he’s doing a fantastic job! Have you read his book? I have.

    If you think that you can do a better job than John is doing, cut a trail, Chuck! Meanwhile, try not to distract from the message by pointing fingers and ridiculing! –Or is that something you learned from public schools?

  18. Served says:

    1:15 advantage Gail.

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