Posts Tagged ‘History’

A Word on the Maddening Ignorance of too many Americans

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I realize that our educational systems are filled with rot and torment, and I know many parents don’t do very much to help the situation, and I understand there are so many distractions for our young people that it’s amazing they have learned to tie their shoes…well, some of them have.  What I notice is the empty byproduct of a vacuous self-esteem that has taught them to value their opinions when it’s clear from listening to them that they don’t know a blessed thing of merit.  I don’t like to attack people in a general way, but for the love of Pete, can somebody tell these dead-heads to remember the quote variously attributed to Lincoln, Twain, and a few others, since we can predict they won’t have known it:

“It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

My apologies. These dead-heads aren’t likely to know who Lincoln or Twain had been.

“Lincoln? The car?”

“Twain? Doesn’t that have something to do with scanners?”

Who am I kidding? I’d be surprised if they could manage that much. This is why I oppose early voting.  This is why I oppose motor-voter laws.  I don’t think our nation should be run by people who haven’t the willingness to learn the first damned thing about it.  Am I an “elitist” for suggesting that some people are too ignorant to vote? I don’t think so, but then, I know what I know. If you’re as blissfully, wretchedly ignorant as the people depicted in this video, you shouldn’t be permitted to vote, or even gain entry to a college, in the first instance because you clearly don’t care enough to be a responsible participant in our nation’s decisions, and in the second because there is probably nothing a university can do to help you, other than to alleviate you of the burden arising from those few funds you likely possess.  If you’re a parent paying for college, you’d better find out whether your money is being well-spent, and if you have children in public education, if you love them, get them the Hell out!

What am I going on about?  Was it the video our friend “The Unit” posted? No, it was another video a reader provided in response to the first.  I caution you that there is vulgar language in this one, but honestly, I want you to see what your trillions of dollars in education spending has produced as college students discuss the meaning of the 4th of July(from chicksontheright.com H/T F. Brown):

This isn’t merely “facepalm” material. It’s an indictment of a nation that has grown far too complacent.  I am thankful that we still have enough young people of sufficient character to populate our armed services, but for those who appeared in this video, may whatever god(s) they worship have mercy on their souls.

I’m betting on Dionysus.

 

History Repeats as GOP Establishment Seeks Unity With Democrats…Again

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

22nd House Speaker

There’s no denying the fact that as we watch the behavior of the Republican insiders, every action and proposal is aimed at shifting the party toward the left.  More and more, Republicans have ceded the ground on so-called “social issues,” where questions of right vs. wrong take precedence over matters of right vs. left.  On such issues, they would rather not engage, preferring instead to avoid the ugly potential fall-out with moderate and leftist voters if some candidates uses the clumsy or foolish language to describe their views.  They support old bulls of the Senate like Dick Lugar(R-IN) over upstarts like Richard Mourdock(R-IN,) but when Lugar could not win the primary, like saboteurs, the establishment wing arrives on the scene to campaign for the Democrat.  It’s not accidental that the establishment Republicans seem to agree so frequently with the statist left.  After all, they know who butters their bread, and it’s obvious that they’re gaining more than their congressional retirement benefits.  They claim leadership over a party largely composed of people they detest as “purists,” and you might wonder about the character of those who openly mock purity. You might ask yourself what kind of Republicans these are, and as Jeffery Lord writes in the American Spectator, history holds the answer:  Rove and his ilk are modern-day “Cotton Whigs.”

As Lord reminds us, the “Cotton Whigs” had been that branch of the powerful Massachusetts Whig Party that acted in most respects like today’s Republican establishment.  Their opponents, the “Conscience Whigs,” opposed slavery and were uncompromising in that pursuit.  In issue after issue, and election after election, the Cotton Whigs did all they could to undermine Conscience Whigs, often siding with the pro-slavery Democrats out of a desire to forestall addressing the slave trade.  Like our contemporary Republican establishment, they claimed to sympathize with Conscience Whigs, but underlying that sentiment, they wanted to hold the country together and continue making money indirectly through the continued use of slaves.  It was this divide that ultimately led to the building of the Republican party, and the abandonment of the Whigs.  Lord’s conclusion is that modern-day Cotton-Whigs are making a similar error, and that Karl Rove and his fellows in that group may soon find themselves kicked by history against the political curb.

It is also fitting that one of the so-called Cotton Whigs had been Robert Winthrop, who served as speaker of the House, whose close ties to the textile industry in Massachusetts made him a less than enthusiastic supporter of abolition. You see, much like modern day Republican establishment types, he couldn’t or wouldn’t take a firm stand against slavery, not because he agreed with it in principle, but because in practice, he profited from it.  Fast-forward to John Boehner and the rest of the Republican establishment, and you find the same sort of principles of convenience that cannot be tolerated if they interfere with profits.  I warned my readers in 2011 that there were any number of Republican establishment types who were fine with Obama-care, because a.) they wouldn’t be affected personally, and b.) they had figured out a way to profit from it.  These are your putative leaders, and they bear an eerily resemblance to the Cotton Whigs of Massachusetts.

I agree with Mr. Lord’s appraisals of the modern-day Cotton Whigs, because much like their political forerunners in pragmatism, establishment Republicans are not interested in conservative approaches to social issues because they threaten to undermine the status quo.  Let us be blunt in admitting that the GOP establishment is comprised of people who have figured out how to make substantial fortunes from the growth of big government, and that they have no concern for underlying issues of morality so long as the cash continues to run freely from the treasury into their accounts through various devices of public expenditure.  They have sold their souls in exchange for ill-gotten loot, and they are willing to destroy “conscience conservatives” in order to continue on their way.  They side with Democrats in every issue in which their money or power comes up against doing what is right.

There are some who will interpret this as an attack against wealthy Republicans, but such is not the case.  It is a matter of examining who is enriching themselves not by entrepreneurial endeavors, but instead by graft and rampant cronyism.  In most respects, the modern day Cotton Whigs are the frequent beneficiaries of government expenditures.  What do they care if tax rates go up if their take from the treasury increases many times over?  Just as the Cotton Whigs were happy to profit from slavery, thus turning away from consideration of the moral aspects of the issue, so too are today’s “Cotton Republicans” willing to ignore the bondage into which you and your children are being cast. The Democrats play roughly the same part they played a century-and-one-half ago, happy to take such assistance as Cotton Republicans will offer while dividing and destroying Republican strength in opposition to their pro-bondage agenda.

Jeffrey Lord must be credited here with seeing an accurate analog to our current political troubles, reaching back to the founding of the Republican party to make it plain how rank-and-file conservatives, concerned as much with the long-term social and moral aspects of our country are again being overwhelmed by well-heeled interests who continue to profit from the bondage we must in good conscience oppose.  Whether the particular issue is abortion, crony capitalism, immigration, or an outrageous health-care mandate, the “Cotton Republicans” live on the wrong side of every issue, not wanting to stop the gravy train to which they’ve hitched their caboose.  What these charlatans offer is that one can gain the whole world, and to devil with one’s soul. There is one other person who deserves a hat-tip in all of this, because it had been Sarah Palin warning the GOP establishment that they might well end up going the way of the Whigs. Who better than the Alaskan crusader against crony capitalism and corruption to have pointed out the similarities between our modern Republican establishment and the Whigs? The time may have arrived in which her unheeded warning will be made fact by the intransigence of the Beltway political class.

There’s no sense pretending that the GOP establishment is on our side.  In fact, it’s so bad that we ought to stop considering them as Republicans at all, or abandon the party to them, as had been the ultimate result with their philosophical forbears, the “Cotton Whigs.”  One thing about which we must be careful is that some of them don’t manage to infiltrate our movement in order to co-opt it.  Given the opportunity, they will quickly set up shop and begin all over again, leaving us right where we started.  If you don’t think they’re willing to stoop to that tactic, I’d urge you to think again.  Wise conservatives will observe the actions of some of our newer brethren, judging their actions rather than merely listening to their words. If Mr. Lord is right, and I must admit that he has struck a chord with me, a single defeat or a string of them will not banish these Cotton Republicans from our party, whether in six weeks or six years.  We will be required to practice resolve and vigilance to keep them at arms length, because I believe that if one can keep them at bay for long enough, they will shed their masks and simply join up with Democrats who are their natural allies. If the GOP establishment wants to find unity with the Democrats, I strenuously suggest we let them.  Put another way, as Jeffrey Lord aptly reminds us, from the historical precedent he offers:

Briskly remarked a young Charles Sumner, another Conscience Whig (whose defiant anti-Cotton Whig leadership would eventually make him a Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts) of the differences with Cotton Whigs: “Let the lines be drawn. The sooner the better.” Said Sumner: “Thank God! The Constitution of the United States does not recognize men as property,” adding at another point “I am willing to be in a minority in support of our principles.”(emphasis added)

We should heed Lord’s analogy, but we should be willing also embrace Sumner’s advice.  In order to clean out the Cotton Republicans from our midst, we may need to be willing to briefly remain a minority party.  That will be the immediate cost of ejecting or abandoning the GOP establishment, but it is a cost we can’t afford to avoid for much longer.  They are unifying with the Democrats, adopting their arguments and their tactics, and isolating conservatives while claiming the mantle of conservatism.  It’s time we give up our fixation on winning at any cost.  If we stick to the fundamentals of our principles, rejecting statist arguments outright, victory will come in due course.  If we stand on principle, the American people will ultimately notice, and when the Republic begins to collapse, they will remember who refused to yield. If we don’t believe that much at least, for what are we fighting anyway? I am calling on all of my conservative brethren to reject the GOP establishment no matter the short-run cost, so that we may go on about the business of saving the country. We must be a people of no lesser a character than our predecessors, the “Conscience Whigs.”

 

 

Do Conservatives Wish to Repair the Supreme Court?

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

We Can Fix This, YES WE CAN!

One of the things I love about the United States Constitution is that it is a living document, but its life is breathed into it not by some magic power to change its meaning, or change the meaning of the words in its text, as leftists do, but by the rules laid down within it, we have the ability to amend it, or replace it altogether, through the amendment and convention processes, respectively.  These are quite difficult and potentially dangerous processes, but this is why progressives have used dishonest means to change the impact of the Constitution on law.  They figure that the best way to get what they want is to place justices on the court who will undo the meaning of the Constitution.  The recent Supreme Court decision has left strict constructionists in a bit of a quandary: Here we have a wayward element within the court, the Chief Justice, no less, and it seems we’re to be stuck with him, probably for a long, long time.  What most people don’t realize about the Court, however, is that its size and most of the rules determining its power are set by Congress, and that the Constitution gives Congress said power.  There is a way to fix the court, but it would require a Congress with guts.  Imagine that such a creature were to exist.  What could Congress do to repair the Court?

Most people don’t study the Constitution, never mind history, so they’re unaware that Congress has the power to set the number of justices on the Supreme Court.  There is nothing locking us into the number nine, and there is nothing sacred about it.  As a cost-saving measure, since we now have another mindless entitlement program for which to pay, Congress could reduce that number to seven.  The Congress could apply the LIFO(Last In-First Out) rule to determine who stays.  This would lop off Kagan and Sotomayor, they having most recently joined the court.  In a punitive mood?  Want further cost savings?  We could make that number three, and by applying the LIFO rule, this would leave us with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas.  I would like to know which of you conservatives wouldn’t favor that?

In 1937, the New Deal was getting hammered in the Court.  President Roosevelt’s agenda was running into resistance much as Obama’s has encountered conservative resistance these days, but with a two differences:  He owned both houses of Congress, but the Supreme Court at the time was busily overturning vast portions of the New Deal.  FDR’s plan was to push his agenda through by increasing the number of justices on the court until he had a liberal ruling majority.  The Senate cried foul, and momentarily, and FDR’s plan was halted.  He naturally found another manner to accomplish his ends, and it was to sweeten the retirement pot for Supreme Court justices, inducing some of the older members to retire, and after the passage of the Supreme Court Retirement Act.  This ultimately led to the rapid retirements of several members, FDR made his appointments, and then the New Deal began to be upheld. (The Retirement Act permitted Supreme Court Justices to retire with 100% of their last salary.)

The Supreme Court was not always composed of nine members. For the record, and thanks to Wikipedia for having it condensed into this form:

Congress organized the Court that year with the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789. It specified the Court’s original and appellate jurisdiction, created thirteen judicial districts, and fixed the number of justices at six (one Chief Justice and five Associate Justices).

Since the passage of the Judiciary Act, Congress has occasionally altered the size of the Supreme Court, historically in response to the country’s own expansion in size. Membership was decreased in 1801 to five, then increased to seven members in 1807, to nine in 1837, and to ten in 1863. It was then reduced to seven in 1866. In 1869, Congress set the Court’s size to nine members, where it has remained since.

As you can see, there were quite a number of modifications, but the salient point is that there is nothing sacred about the number nine(9).  It could just as easily be three(3), or even one(1).

This may seem a radical solution, but as you can see from the history, it’s only because we’ve become accustomed to there being nine justices.  If we reduced the number to three, it is true that we would lose Samuel Alito, but that could be repaired by a conservative president upon the retirement of one of the others.  My point to readers is that there is a solution available to us, but the question is: How badly do we want it, and can we live with the dangers?  Given the ruling of John Roberts, I am of a mind to pursue this.  I’d like to send him packing.  I’d like to send his leftist friends with him.

All we need to accomplish this is bullet-proof conservative majorities in both houses of Congress, but therein lies the problem.  If we are to have any chance to repair this, we must own both the House and the Senate.  This makes taking the Senate our most important priority in the Fall elections, but it also means that we must be sure to place conservatives in office.  Of course, one could argue(and some will) that if we capture both houses of Congress, and the Presidency, we would have no need of this ‘solution’ to our problem, but I must thoroughly disagree. Our Supreme Court is damaged, and in subsequent rulings, it will be worse if we don’t repair the court.  Can you imagine the lawsuits liberals will bring even if we do overturn Obama-care as a matter of statute?  What would this Supreme Court do with that?  With the mindless and idiotic ruling of John Roberts, inventing law out of whole cloth, I can imagine him finding some way to overturn a Repeal Act.  Statists don’t care about logical consistency, after all, or they wouldn’t be statists.

I realize my proposal will fall on deaf ears, and I know too that we have far too few staunch conservatives in either house of Congress to actually carry this out, but I’m merely telling you what could be done, legally, under our Constitution.  After all, the worst part of this Supreme Court ruling isn’t merely that Obama-care has been upheld, but the sinking realization that liberals effectively have a ruling majority with which we will be stuck for a long, long time.  Nothing is more dangerous to the country than a court that will not act as a brake on tyranny.  Let’s call it the Three-LIFO plan and be done with it.

The Curious Statements of Bill Clinton

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Best Buddies?

Many of you will have noticed the oddity over the last week in which Bill Clinton both defended Mitt Romney, and seemed to disagree publicly with President Obama.  Dick Morris raced out to tell the world that he believes Clinton wants Obama to lose, but there are a few problems with that idea.  Clinton isn’t really the sort of guy on whom conservatives should hang their hopes.  If they cite him as an authority for the purposes of a tax cut argument, what will they do when the former President returns to previous positions(and he already has) arguing in favor of higher taxes?  There are conspiracy theories circulating on this subject, and nearly all of them end with Barack Obama losing to Mitt Romney because Bill Clinton will “spike the election.”  I believe Clinton would undercut Obama if it served his ends, but the question must be: Does it?  Perhaps worse, I think some Republicans are falling too easily into citing the impeached serial liar as some sort of authority on economic policy.

Let us remember who it is we’re referencing when we talk about Bill Clinton.  He’s the guy who tried to let his wife ram a healthcare plan down our throats.  He’s the guy who promised to feel our pain, but instead spent most of his two terms feeling-up interns and other “targets of opportunity.”  This is the guy who ignored Al-Qaeda, and who missed vital opportunities to get Osama bin Laden before 9/11.  This is the wretched man who turned over the Department of Justice to Janet Reno, who in turn turned over much of the day to day operations to one Eric Holder, now serving as the Attorney General.  He has a history of cover-ups that began well in advance of Fast&Furious, stretching back to the Waco operation. Bill Clinton was also the guy who blamed the Oklahoma City bombing on Rush Limbaugh, and who couldn’t wait to use the legislative impetus provided by the act of domestic terrorism to enact a nonsensical “assault weapons ban.”

Bill Clinton was the President who helped to created the Housing bubble from which we are still suffering, and he is the goon who lied endlessly, along with his willing accomplices in the lamestream media about the intentions and ultimate effects of the budget the Republicans tried to put through in 1995-6.  He lied endlessly about Newt Gingrich, and the Republican Congress, and he sent his favorite congressional hatchet-man, David Bonior(D-MI,) to do his dirty work.  He lied to a grand jury under oath, and only the malingering of a federal judge prevented him from facing a criminal rather than civil perjury charge.  These are merely some of the highlights of his “esteemed” career in the oval office, or the anteroom in which he caroused with interns, and he lied repeatedly to the American people, waggling a finger, and chastising the people who would even dare to ask him such questions.

I offer this brief refresher up because it seems that some Republicans are gleefully referencing the Slickster’s remarks on the basis that he speaks with some authority.  He has no credibility.  When Clinton pointed out that he had balanced four budgets, I only saw one Republican politician willing to point out that Newt Gingrich had a substantial role in all of that:  Sarah Palin.  Still, it was a bit bothersome to see so many Republican rush out to refer to a guy who they ought not use as a benchmark for anything, budgetary or otherwise.  The simple fact is that Clinton is and always has been out for Clinton, and while it’s true that his wife is the hardcore leftist ideologue in the family, it is also true that Clinton is himself a leftist, albeit a somewhat more malleable one.  It was Clinton who insisted on referring to taxes as “contributions” or “investments in America,” if you’ll recall, so I would just as soon cease the Clinton-worship now.  Still, his behavior seems curious to political observers, because it seems to clearly undermine Barack Obama.  Why would Clinton do that?

I suspect that if that were his true aim, it could only have one or two possible objectives, and both end with Hillary occupying the Oval office.  After all,  if Obama is damaged enough, maybe he follows Doug Schoen’s advice and steps aside, leaving the Democrat convention open to somebody else, or if Obama loses in November to Mitt Romney, perhaps there’s a shot for Hillary in 2016.  On the other hand, one could conclude that both Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham are Soros-shills, and that this may be part of a plan to replace Obama on the ticket with his Secretary of State should Soros find it necessary to pull the plug on a weakened Obama.  Of course, these theories and all of the myriad permutations of them require that we assume that Clinton wants to undermine Obama, but is that the case, or are Republicans being sand-bagged by the Slickster[again?]

As of Wednesday, both Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell made statements referencing Bill Clinton’s remarks, and it leaves one to wonder if the pair aren’t being led down the garden path by the former cigar-aficionado-in-chief.  When one considers the possibilities, one must always remember that despite any differences among them, the Obamas and Clintons are leftists, and if there’s anything they can unite on, it’s defeating conservatives.  It’s probably true that the former president never quite got over Obama’s playing of the race card in 2008, and it’s probably true that Hillary views the Obama administration as a bunch of amateurs, but what of it?  After all, Hillary’s record both in the Senate and in her current job aren’t exactly glistening examples of effectiveness, and while her husband is often given credit for the economic conditions of the 1990s, it’s important to note that it was the conservative insurgence in Congress that actually had built the conditions to the degree we had some fairly prosperous years.

Whether Bill Clinton is actually out to undermine Barack Obama, or is merely playing a game of cat and mouse with Republicans, I don’t think conservatives should fall into the trap of believing that Clinton would be doing much better or much different if he were in office today.  Bill Clinton’s administration is not a model of good governance to which we should turn for reference.  On the other hand, the active and aggressive Congress led by Newt Gingrich that put the brakes on Clinton’s escapades, and restrained the growth of government for the first time in my life is something we should reference, and while Bill Clinton poses as the elder statesman in his party, the simple fact is that if he had gotten his way, unopposed, through 1994-96, he’d be remembered with every bit as much doubt as Barack Obama faces in the electorate now, and we conservatives would do right by history as well as the political debate in this country to remember it that way.

 

 

Gingrich Speaks to the NRA – He Gets It

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Newt on the 2nd Amendment

If you missed Newt Gingrich when he addressed the National Rifle Association in mid-February, you missed a great speech.  He referenced history extensively, and explained the real meaning of the Second Amendment and its critical importance as a political right.  Gingrich did not mince words about the reason for the right to keep and bear arms, its origin, and its continuing relevance and application in our modern world.  It was encouraging to hear a politician say that he understands the new direction of the attacks on the Second Amendment being levied by the Obama administration and the institutional right.

This speech is a classic:

The idea that the Second Amendment is about hunting and target practice ignores the fact that the first purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is a political right, meant to keep government in check.  Yes, that’s right.  The idea of the founders is that by the guarantee of the Second Amendment, the American people ultimately retain the right to throw off a tyrant.  This is why every socialist on the planet, or in the history of the planet, eventually gets around to banning firearms: It’s easy to rule over disarmed peasants.  I am gratified to see that Gingrich has a thorough understanding of this aspect of our constitutional system of government.  His knowledge of history helps explain why this context is not lost on Gingrich, and it’s one of the many particulars of his candidacy that exhibits his qualifications for the job he’s seeking.

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Guest Submission: One Texas College Student’s Run-ins With Bias

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

The Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom

Editor’s Note:  This is a Guest Submission, the first in a long while, and I thank the author for giving us a window into the conditions in the contemporary college classroom.  I present to you Johnanne Galt:

“We don’t often think of Texas as being a progressive state, but at one point we were a very progressive state.  We haven’t always been as backwards as we are today.” – Professor Doug Hales, February 28th, 2012, Temple Junior College

Thirteen years ago I was in fourth grade, attending my Texas History class just as I would during any other school day.  Despite a memory-destroying automobile collision since, I still remember my first encounter with the all-too-common biased teacher.  Growing up listening to talk radio, watching C-SPAN, and studying my father’s old college history textbooks, I was able to quickly recognize someone who offered up her ever-growing string of opinions, instead of presenting facts.  She told the class that Texas was blooming with savages who brutalized Indians and Mexicans to grab more land, essentially filling our heads with the evil of the Texians.  I remember briefly questioning her before she threatened to send me to the principal’s office for disrupting class.  As I’ve done for many years, I merely pushed her garbage from my mind and instead turned to gaining [mostly]un-biased knowledge from my father.  I later had a similar experience in high school after informing a “history teacher” that we weren’t a democracy, but that the states are instead guaranteed by our constitution a representative, republican form of government. Once again, I was told that if I didn’t close my mouth, I would be punished.

As a grown, married woman attending a small community college, I am facing this situation once again.  The one particular difference I’d like to discuss in this encounter is the outcome.  I simply will not remain silent as the teacher, or professor in this case, continues to shove his propaganda down students’ throats.  You see, today’s display of an absolute lack of factual evidence was the final straw to fall on the enormous pile of deceit that has been placed upon my back by the education system.  Today, I will fight back, and offer up a view into the classroom of an agenda-spewing figurehead. This is intended for the parents who unknowingly send their children off to institutions of opinion rather than fact; for students who work tirelessly to place themselves in classrooms in pursuit of  degrees but instead are insulted; for the taxpayers who hand over large portions of their paychecks so that other “less fortunate” citizens and non-citizens will learn of the evil of Republicans, and for the administrations of schools everywhere who unwittingly enable the behavior of power-hungry instructors who take advantage of their positions within the one structure where so many parents feel safe sending their children.

This semester, Spring 2012, I am once again attempting to complete the History II class required for my degree.  I first signed up for the class in 2010, instructed by another professor, Gretchen Reilly, but found myself quickly dropping the class after she began to “teach” us that “the colonists were stupid, and the British had every right to do what they did.”  I asked around prior to signing up for the class this year, hoping I could perhaps find an instructor with less bias, and who would insult our nation less while teaching the facts more.  A co-worker of mine told me that Doug Hales, a professor at Temple Junior College, was “boring” and not biased at all.  To me, the general description of “boring” among people my age is assigned to things and people who are truly educational, so in a very excited manner, I signed up for Mr. Hale’s class.  Less than ten minutes into my first day of class, I was faced with the dreadful realization that I had placed myself into an indoctrination camp once more.  Here are some things that Hales told the class that I found worthy of typing down for later review:

 “Railroads could never be built without the federal government’s assistance”.

“A monopoly is a bad thing, one person can set the price of a commodity.”

“Who does J.P. Morgan remind you of on television? Mr. Burns, the evil rich man on The Simpson’s.”

“Can anyone tell me what socialism is?” (someone in the class answers “when the government regulates and runs everything”) “Yes. That’s why big businesses hate socialism, because the government regulates things.  Socialism is empowerment of the worker.”

[During the time surrounding the Agrarian Revolt] “…farmers faced bad weather, soil erosion, insect infestations, changing prices, high freight rates, high interest rates, and lots of debt because big banks were more than willing to loan out money. They would then just take the farms.” [This started the Populist party, and] “…you could say our President today is a populist.”

“It was disastrous when there wasn’t a central bank, it was chaotic, as there were no set interest rates.”

“Farmers began to depend on railroads to transport their produce, and they had no choice but to pay the high fees, so they went bankrupt and couldn’t pay back the loans to the banks. There needed to be regulation of the railroads.”

“The people’s party, or the Populist party, wanted a flexible currency controlled by the government, public ownership of the railroads, and were anti-tariff.  They also wanted the income tax, but only for the rich people.  They wanted their country back, so they began to tax the rich.”

This last statement provoked me to say something. I raised my hand and asked “so, they punished success?” He replied “that wasn’t their intent. They just wanted power, since they were the 95%.”  I asked “Is that why they advocated violence, like today’s Occupy crowd?”  He responded “yes, well, some of them.  Most of the Occupy people are anarchists”.  I don’t have to tell you that the Occupy crowd as a whole is not of the anarchist mindset, considering they want all of their debt forgiven, their school paid for and the prices of tuition regulated by the government, etc, but I let it go.

Moving on, Hales began to speak about the election of 1896.  He told us that “Mark Hanna and a lot of industrialists had a secret meeting wherein they picked William McKinley, who advocated a high tariff. They bought McKinley’s nomination.  Now, William Jennings Bryan, who was nominated by the Populists, used a railroad car to meet people. McKinley never really campaigned; he would go out on his lawn once a week and give a speech.  McKinley only wins because Republicans had all of the money.”  I asked “I thought you said he was well-liked?”  “Yes, by the Republicans.”   I had to wonder, how did McKinley win the election if only the 5%, the “rich Republicans”, liked him?  Again, this is merely more propaganda.

Hales later began to talk about Civil Service Reform.  He started off by stating “there’s always been a lot of corruption in government, but what we have now is nothing compared to the corruption we had in the 19th century.  The industrialists were putting their people in office.”  Can he honestly be serious? Again, this is an opinion based solely on his skewed theory regarding our government.

During a discussion surrounding the formation of the United States Navy, Hales said this:

“Not many people know this, but Jimmy Carter was a nuclear physicist in the Navy before he became President. Maybe he should have stayed in the Navy.”

Despite my inclination to agree, this is still an opinion, and still an insult, regardless of who it’s directed at.

Then came my absolute favorite subject, Theodore Roosevelt and Progressivism.  I immediately began typing down what he was saying, as I knew it was bound to be as twisted as it could possibly be.  The following is a series of quotes from his lecture:

“What progressivism was, it began in early 20th century, was an urban grassroots movement. Progressivism was a movement to root out corruption in the cities and reform national government, so that the government would pay attention to people and not big businesses. The progressivists wanted to take away power from big industrialists who were running everything and wanted people involved in issues of the day.”

“Scholars believed Roosevelt was our best president ever, then Abraham Lincoln, according to the most recent poll.”

“You just can’t not like the man, we’re going to talk about him because he was one of our greatest presidents.  In many respects he’s a genius.”

“He began to root out corruption as a New York Governor, which is what progressives do.  Boss Platt ran New York, and Roosevelt had problems with him.  Roosevelt was a Republican, and so was Platt. Platt convinced McKinley to run for re-election and put Roosevelt on the ticket for the vice-president, and being a vice-president is a career-ruiner, because the Constitution gives the vice-president limited power.”

“Boss Platt’s worst nightmare, Roosevelt, becomes president when McKinley gets assassinated.  When Roosevelt was elected, it was like a breath of fresh air.”

“Remember, he’s a Republican, and Republicans are run by big business. Well, he went after big business.  He was a supreme moralist.  He saw the Presidency as almost being a high priest, and would never have done what Clinton did in office.”

“The only thing he didn’t do was tariff reform, because he didn’t want to totally antagonize his Republican supporters.  The Anti-Sherman Trust act was only as good as the people enforcing it, and he enforced it.  He reopened the E.C. Knight case which showed that the Supreme Court was in the back pocket of big business by not ruling against the sugar company because the Court would not overturn the case, and Roosevelt threatened to replace them with new justices who WOULD overturn the case. In 1904, they reversed their previous ruling, and ordered E.C. Knight to break into several companies, and sugar prices fell by 3/4.  The only reason the prices got so high is because one company owned them all.”

“Roosevelt announced that he’s going to file suit against J.P. Morgan’s northern securities. Morgan finds out, calls Roosevelt and says “listen Teddy”, which was a big mistake. He didn’t show any respect, and said “just have your lawyer talk to my lawyer, we’ll solve it behind the scenes” and Roosevelt said he was going to break it up.  The court ordered it to be broken up because it was a monopoly.  Roosevelt then became known as the “Trust Buster” by the American people.  He said there were good and bad trusts, and “I do not want to break big corporations up but regulate them”, and created the modern regulatory government.  Then he wants to go after Rockefeller.   Don’t feel sorry for Rockefeller, he made a lot of money after Standard Oil was broken up into many companies.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Hales continued his speech on progressivism, and literally caused my jaw to drop when he said the following: “We don’t often think of Texas as being a progressive state, but at one point we were a very progressive state.  We haven’t always been as backwards as we are today.”  At that point, I scooped up my laptop and jacket swiftly exiting the classroom, mumbling “sure, spread some more of your propaganda” as I left.  I walked to my car and cried, wondering how it could be possible for this professor to be paid to not only insult our state, but to insult me and my money.  I immediately called my husband, and was wordless for a moment before I could collect my thoughts and utter “I don’t know what to do.”  Thanks to tenure,  teachers and professors are allowed to teach however they’d like, and say whatever they deem appropriate to their students, so I was at a loss with regard to what to do.  Fortunately, I was encouraged to speak up rather than dropping History II again due to my frustration with the perpetual spiral of bias that drowned me in the classroom.

History, as far as I know, is a subject about recorded facts.  The past is comprised of things that occurred, rather than what people think about past events today. In fact, I’ll go one step further and provide the first entry in the dictionary under the word “history” – “the branch of knowledge dealing with past events.” Mr. Hales’ opinions are that “Republicans are run by big business”, that “Teddy Roosevelt was one of our greatest presidents”, and that “when Roosevelt became President, it was like a breath of fresh air”.  I did not pay several hundred dollars, aside from the textbook, to sit in a classroom and hear a man attempt to sway students in one political direction or another with regard to our nation’s past.  Had that been my desire, I could have simply stayed at home, saving money, time and gas, and listened to Rush Limbaugh, which now seems preferable.

For a professor to proclaim that “socialism is empowerment of the worker,” is sickening, but to try to imprint that opinion, or any opinion disguised as fact upon a student’s mind is exceedingly vile.  I do not wish for Mr. Hales to preach the good or evil of socialism or progressivism, but instead to educate his students using facts, allowing us to formulate our own thoughts and opinions on such topics, using logic combined with those ever-precious facts that make up the history we know.  This sad, escalating trend of distortion in the classroom must be stopped if we are to gain anything of value from the attendance of classes whose subject matter should be based almost solely upon facts and evidence.  I hope that professors who present their opinions as credible information can understand why a student might feel betrayed by the education system as a whole.  As a student at Temple Junior College attending only as my finances will permit, I would very much enjoy the opportunity to complete this class having gained something other than a distrust of their standard of academic and intellectual integrity.

Fighting Liberal Professors – Time to Go Back to School

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Should We Fill These Seats?

We all know how useless many of our public schools have become, but have you examined the things that are now delivered as “education” in our publicly-funded universities?  You might believe the worst of had been confined to the elite schools of the Northeast, but in fact, leftists have taken over nearly all the country’s universities and colleges, from the large bustling campuses to the tiny community colleges in middle America.  My adult daughter attends a community college, as she works to finish her degree, but the problem is that even in our small town, the liberals are running the community college.  In a history class this week, she was taught that capitalism is bad, that unions are good, and that socialism is good for workers,  and all of this in the context of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.  Too many paying adults throw their money too casually to the institutions of “higher learning” in which their children are propagandized in the destruction of their own beliefs.

My daughter prides herself on the fact that she confronts these sorts of things.  A few semesters ago, she got herself into some trouble for contesting another history professor’s malevolently biased portrayal of historical events, and worst of all, doing so in the classroom setting.  The professor, unaccustomed to being challenged by students, was dumbfounded and became angry in typical leftist fashion.  It resulted in a bit of an issue that wound up before the Dean and ultimately led to a withdrawal from the class and a refund of tuition for it.  These thuggish professors continue to shove their left-wing views down our kids’ throats, and almost nobody is there who can or will challenge them.  When somebody does challenge them, they bully, cajole, and mock, and hope to swing the class to their support, essentially hoping to shut down any dissent or questioning that may go on.

There is an answer, and in the name of justice, and all that is good in the world, I for one will pursue it, but I want to suggest to you that you consider the same action.  We of more experience and knowledge should enroll in classes, basic history, government, and economic classes we’ve taken before, and sit in those classes with the specific goal of challenging very leftist talking-point of the professor.  It would help to know in advance which are the leftist professors, but even if you throw darts at a class schedule, you’re likely to land on a leftist, because they constitute the vast bulk of professors.  When the summer term begins, I am going to see about enrolling in such a class, and I have the professors all picked out.  It will cut down on my blogging two nights per week, but it will certainly give me more about which to blog.

Somebody must oppose these people.  They’ve been wrecking the political understanding of our children for generations, and if we are to have any hope of stopping the bleeding, we must do it here.  This is where the propaganda is hammered in, and it’s why we’ve lost control of our culture. It’s been a long while since I’ve sat  in a college classroom, and even then, since I went to college as a well-informed adult, I intimidated professors by virtue of the fact that in my early thirties, I was more than willing as a husband, father, businessman, and employee to challenge whatever a college professor might say if I suspected it was biased or false.  Now, nearing fifty years of age, I am not only willing, able, and informed for the chore, but now I know fully how they have been abusing their tenure, and I look at it as sport.

The college professors who infect our universities with their leftist bilge had better worry if this sport catches on.  Rather than mocking conservatives, the free market, and the rest of American culture, for once, we have every chance to turn tables on them.  I hope you’ll find time to do similar in your own communities, and join me in starting upon our long road back.

Bringing the Next Generation Along

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

On the Right Path

I’m a middle-aged man, and so while I’ve not yet seen all the world has to offer, I’ve learned a little.  Back when I was a very young man, raised in a liberal Democrat household(at least by the balloting,) I entered adulthood with some pretty liberal ideas. Service in the Army started me out on my path to philosophical reconstruction, and subsequent marriage and fatherhood helped speed along the process, along with a healthy dose of life’s realities to teach me the hard way.  When I joined the service, I went in thinking that Ronald Reagan was the devil, but by the time I had seen the real world on the border between East and West, and witnessed his speech at Brandenburg Gate, I had changed.  We’ve all heard the saying that “a young conservative has no heart, and an old liberal has no brain,” meant to describe the transition many make as they age from the liberal leanings of youth(if for no other reason than rebellion,) to the wiser thinking of somebody who has learned a few lessons.  In considering this mid-life transformation that so many people go through, one of the things you note is that there are those who never make the transition.  More, there are those who change parties, because life’s realities show the way, but they never fully reconcile the two contradictory positions in their thinking.

As an example, I have one friend who is by all estimates conservative now, but when we talk about the political history of the last two decades, a strange thing happens: The further back along the time-line we go, the more liberal my friend sounds, because she begins to almost slide back into her earlier thinking when she was a rabid liberal.  In her youth, given her politics of the day, Newt Gingrich was the devil. For this reason, she has great difficulty looking at him now, some fifteen years later, and seeing him as anything but the devil her college professors, friends and family had described him as being.  It’s not even that she can say why he was the devil, so much as it is a sense about him, or an image, rather than any concretes.  At one point some months ago, she had made a remark about never being able to support him, and I asked why that was.  She hesitated, and started to make an argument from her politics of old against him, but tapered off as she realized it was no longer what she had once believed.

This presented her with a problem, and she finally said to me: “I may need to re-think Newt, not that I’d necessarily support him, but because my view of him was built…a long time ago.”  To a thirty-five year old, fifteen or twenty years is a long time in their past, indeed.  The important thing to notice, and the thing I tried to point out to her is that when people go through political and philosophical transformations in their twenties and thirties, or any time, really, what they frequently fail to do is to go back and re-evaluate the past in light of their current views.  This makes for a significant break, a sort of philosophical and historical discontinuity that leads to difficulties in one’s judgments.  I find this to be most common among people in their thirties, and I also think this is what begets many of our “independents” and “moderates,” because they never reconciled fully between their younger, liberal views, and their elder conservative realizations.

The fact may be that you probably know some number of people who fit this description, or may in fact be one yourself, although based on comments and emails I receive from readers here, I think most are somewhat more settled into a consistent view of the world.   You may want to keep this in mind when you’re listening to such people, and the way to “help” them through it is to reach back to historical touchstones and ask them what they think about some issue or person or event from the political past. If I’m talking to a thirty-five year old, I know the reference points will be in 1990s, because that would have been when they first started formulating views and making judgments.  Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal, and Newt Gingrich and the Republican takeover of the Congress are two of the touchstone events, together with personalities that shape the thinking of many such people still.  Gently pointing them to reconsider those people and events in light of what they now know often helps make the difference between somebody of the squishy middle and a true conservative.

After all, when we evaluate these persons and political or social events, we do so with the lenses with which we were equipped at the time.  Often, we change lenses along the way, but we seldom go back to re-examine them with our better, well-focused glasses.  This explains in part why a character like Newt Gingrich still has such high negatives in the twenty-five to thirty-five year old group, because their views of Gingrich were formed when they held different views altogether.  If in 1995, you viewed Gingrich as a political demon, you would likely have problems some seventeen years later viewing him as anything else.  The mainstream media knows this too well, which is why they work so hard to demonize conservatives, and champion liberals. It’s not simply a matter of your political choices of today they wish to influence, but those of your distant future as well.

As people who have seen it all and firmed up our thinking, upon reaching middle age, we ought to cast a long glance back at the history we have known, and how it’s viewed by others, if only because sometimes, we need to go back and correct the record.  Nothing is harder for people to do than to point back to a time when they now believe they had been wrong, and this natural resistance to such an admission plays a role in shaping one’s views, but also one’s political choices.  I think it’s important for those of us who have obtained a little more wisdom by virtue of our own lengthy struggles to reach out to our younger brethren and help them realize where they may be stuck.  Of course, that’s always a touchy situation, but there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, and letting people draw their own conclusions.  In fact, that’s a larger part of what this site is all about.

Gingrich Releases New Video Recalling Washington

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Historical Lessons?

A new video posted on Monday evening on Newt Gingrich’s website, and it’s an excellent re-telling of the events of 25 December, 1776.  Gingrich, a historian, clearly hopes to leverage his well-known knowledge of history as part of his overall campaign for the Republican nomination for President.  While it’s a timely lesson, it’s also a reminder that while Gingrich has had his share of failings, he is also plainly more conservative in his pronouncements than Mitt Romney.  This is likely part of Gingrich’s appeal to constitutional conservatives and Tea Party patriots, and it certainly comes across effectively.   In the end, Gingrich switches from history professor to politician, and closes by stating:

“Surely, in the most successful country in history, we can do what is necessary,we can be the spirit of General Washington and the Americans who fought for freedom. We can go out, get the vote out, make the argument, and stand up for freedom,and I believe we can have as big an impact in helping America remain free in our generation as they did in theirs.”

You can watch the video below:

It’s a message that will resonate well with constitutional conservatives and Tea Party folk who tend to believe that the country has strayed far from its founding principles.  What remains to be seen is if Gingrich can convince them that he’s solidly in their camp.  If he does convince them, he may well give Romney a battle all the way to the convention, and may even pull off the nomination.  The failure to get on the ballot in Virginia may have been the cause of a long-overdue shake-up in the Gingrich campaign, and he’ll now have a deficit to confront from the outset as a result.

CBS Giving Barack Obama Cover?

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Lincoln?

In an interview for 60 Minutes, Barack Obama compared his administration favorably with other administrations, stating that they had done more than any but Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.  CBS had posted that video on their site, but it’s now being reported that this snippet will not be included in the airing of the show.  One must begin to wonder how far the media will go in giving cover to this President, but I think it’s more important to consider the mindset behind the statement itself, and what sort of wretched narcissist believes the accomplishments of the Obama administration are on par with our country’s greatest presidents, most of whom he excluded from his list.  It also tells us a bit about what he thinks makes a president great, and from that point of view, this video may be more troubling. Below is the clip:

So, just in terms of modern history?  Including Reagan? And Lincoln  is “modern history”?  It’s no secret to my readers that I believe Barack Obama may be the most disturbed man to occupy the White House in history, including Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, and those are saying a bit, with their sexual aggression, antisemitism, and enemies lists, respectively.  This president is an absurd figure, and any President who wishes to place himself in the company of Ronald Reagan will have to do better than Obama has done.

This historical obsession of his is telling, but what you learn about most is the sort of president with whom his feeble mind permits himself to be compared.  All of them grew the power of the federal government to an outrageous extent, and while some will excuse Lincoln, or even FDR, for the wars in which they engaged, still others recognize that both men presided over substantial growth of government, and there are those who would argue these three in particular would be among the worst of our past presidents.  LBJ was put out to pasture in large part for the war into which he took the nation.  One wonders why Obama chose these three, and in looking for that common thread, all I can see that Obama has in common with them is a notion that is best described by his view of himself as an emancipator and provider for “the underprivileged.”

I believe this is the linkage in Obama’s mind, although I’ve had it suggested to me by a cynic that there’s an even more sinister reason for Obama’s consideration of those three presidents: LBJ sent Americans to die in what many considered a useless war; FDR imprisoned American citizens in camps; Abe Lincoln made open war upon Americans and burned the South to the ground.  As angry as Obama seems to be with America at times, I suppose it’s not surprising that somebody would draw that conclusion.

Barack Obama’s claims aside, I can’t imagine how CBS will edit out this portion of the interview and not reveal how thoroughly they are all-in for Obama.  Maybe they don’t care?  Increasingly, I’m finding that media outlets make not even the pretense of objectivity in their reporting.  After all, this is the same news outfit that gave us Dan Rather and the phony letter about George W. Bush.  It’s not really surprising that CBS would be openly aiding Obama, in light of that disgusting bit of fraud.

At this point, I think most Americans would be satisfied if Obama were able to do only so well as Herbert Hoover.  Whatever you think of his claims, it certainly is disturbing to see a president continually compare his administration to those of the past.  It makes one wonder what his priorities are, if all he seems to think about is how history will report on him.  Left to the appraisals of today’s mainstream media, I’m certain it will be a glowing report.

Newt Gingrich’s “Zany” Proposals for the Courts

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

"Zany" Court Proposals?

There are those in media who can’t wait to tell you that Newt Gingrich is nuts for wanting to change the courts in any way. Their arguments consist of a defense of the status quo, and they speak in haughty terms about the sanctity of the Constitution, but let us be honest and admit that such huffing and puffing is more bluster than substance.  After all, the US Constitution already provides most powers over the formation of the judiciary to Congress.  They set the number of judges on a particular court, and they set the jurisdiction of the courts, and they decide how many courts there shall be, except that there must be a Supreme Court, which is spelled out in Article III.  The history of Congress changing the composition of the courts is as long as our history, as Gingrich pointed out aptly, but I disagree with some of the examples he used, including particularly the scheme pushed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to pack the court with friendly justices.

When Roosevelt found that much of his New Deal program was being found unconstitutional by the “nine old men” on the Supreme Court, he concocted a scheme to change the balance in his favor.  He sent surrogates to Capitol Hill with a plan to add six more justices to the Supreme Court, all of which he would ultimately nominate.  At the time, most of his programs were being found unconstitutional by 6-3 or 7-2 votes, so by adding six more, he would attain a working majority of 8-7 or 9-6 on many of these issues.  It was such a crass attempt to change the court for short-run political advantage that even his own party in the Senate went into virtual convulsions at the suggestion.  This effectively killed FDR’s first court-packing plot, but it did not stop his more subtle plan.

FDR saw that he wasn’t going to get by with such a crudely overt attempt to subvert the court to his will, so he came up with a secondary plan, and he waited a while to implement it.  He discovered that most of these nine old men were not particularly wealthy, and so none had any plans to retire, since at the time, justices could retire to pensions one-half their previous salary.  As Supreme Court justices, most had acquired nice fat mortgage payments, so that to retire would make them unable to live in the manner to which they had become accustomed.  FDR therefore had his surrogates in the House introduce a bill that would increase the pensions of the justices to 100% of their salary, so that they would be induced to retire.  It worked, and in rapid succession, while everybody was focused on his overt plan to pack the court in the Senate, none really noticed this adjustment introduced in the House.  In the end, he got his way, and New Deal programs sped along through the courts.

What Gingrich proposes is not nearly so radical as FDR had accomplished, and yet it is met with more outrage among leftists who would go on record having supported FDR’s plan at the time, they being of the sort who see the Constitution as unlimited in its flexibility.  The truth is that to eliminate the 9th Circuit Court as Gingrich proposes is not such a radical idea in the context of court reforms and changes throughout our nation’s history.  It’s certainly worth considering because some courts have outlived their judicial usefulness or efficacy. All too often, the 9th Circuit Court has been used as an instrument by leftists to promote an activist agenda, and we should consider the merits of Gingrich’s proposal carefully.

On the other hand, the part in all this that bothers me is not that Gingrich seeks to restore the balance of power among the three branches, because like many others, including Mark Levin, whose book Men In Black details the myriad ways in which the courts have become their own sort of ruling oligarchy, I too think the courts need reform.  More troubling to me on the part of Gingrich is that this is the same guy who endorsed Dede Scozzafava for the 23rd District of NY, despite the fact that she is anything but a conservative.  That bothered many conservatives and Tea Party patriots at the time, and it should be noted that this gives me pause with respect to the sort of judges Gingrich might appoint to the high court if he were entrusted with the presidency, while admitting that Mitt Romney had not done any better.

This is the reason the selection of a president, or even a party’s nominee for that office is so critical.  On the other hand, in fairness to Newt Gingrich, it must also be said that the way in which his proposals have been greeted with shrill denunciation is a bit unseemly too, because the Constitution makes clear that the formation of the courts is at the discretion of Congress with the President’s approval through ordinary legislative means.  To raise the sort of ruckus we have seen over this issue since Thursday night’s debate is to overstate the importance of remarks that seemed more aimed at applause than serious legislative priorities.  I could be entirely wrong, of course, and Newt Gingrich might be the wild-eyed courts-smasher they’re all pretending, but it hardly seems likely.  While I question many things about Gingrich’s record, I wouldn’t call this one issue earth-shaking.  In point of fact, the US Constitution makes the issue plain:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. (Article III, section 1.)
Later in Article III, it’s given to Congress to establish the jurisdiction of the lower courts.  All in all, Article III makes it plain that the lower courts are subject entirely to Congressional discretion, and the Supreme Court’s make-up and number are likewise under the authority of Congress to determine. Gingrich’s proposals on limiting terms would require a constitutional amendment, and frankly, I have no problem with that either.  This is the primary reason for my opposition to the ridiculously shrill statements some in the media are making about this question, and therefore by implication, Gingrich’s suitability to the office.  There are plenty of  good reasons to question Gingrich, but frankly, this really isn’t one of them. In the establishment media’s desire to undo Gingrich, they’ve actually over-reached this time.

Remember When America Didn’t Want Socialism?

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Classic!

I’ve got news for some of you: It still doesn’t.  Of course, things have changed somewhat since this cartoon was first made, two decades before my birth, but since a friend provided me a link to it, I thought you’d like to see it because after all, it’s a classic, and because it should serve as a reminder of what we’re really fighting in this election season.  It’s time to concentrate on Dr. Utopia and his snake-oil.  I know, it’s difficult to think about such things while we’re caught up in the latest details of candidates’ sex lives, but take a break from that blood-sport. Enjoy!

Isn’t it funny that when this was made, Americans driving 70% of the world’s cars was still seen as a good thing?  Yes, I want that country back. On the other hand, I can’t help but think of the current president’s spokesman assuring us “Everything is fine.”

“Make Mine Freedom.”

2012: Will The Progressives Run the GOP?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Bull Moose or Moose Bull?

In 1911, Theodore Roosevelt began his second campaign for President.  Having retired from the presidency in 1909, Roosevelt tried to capture the the Republican nomination in 1912, because he was angry with President William Taft, who had served under Roosevelt as Secretary of War, and had been Roosevelt’s hand-picked successor.  Failing this, he decided instead to run as the candidate of the Progressive Party.  That party is more commonly remembered by Americans as the “Bull Moose Party,” because upon surviving an assassination attempt, Roosevelt announced he was “as fit as a Bull Moose.”  I prefer to drop that label, and focus instead on what the Progressive Party really was: A National Socialist Party that was subsequently rejected by the American people, but in 1912, resulted in a split in the Republican Party that handed the election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson, a Socialist.  It’s useful to understand the political parties of the time in evaluating the 2012 election, because if the past is prologue,  what we may be seeing now is merely a global re-run of the worst parts of the 20th century.

First, let us understand what the Progressive Party of 1912 had wanted to accomplish, and what its platform contained. Here is a sample:

  • A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
  • Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
  • Limited injunctions in strikes
  • An eight hour workday
  • A federal securities commission
  • Farm relief
  • An inheritance tax
  • A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax

These may sound familiar to you because all of them have become law in some form or fashion.  These may also sound familiar to you because these were the same ideas on which Woodrow Wilson substantially campaigned.  In fact, with the progressives under the flag of the Republican party in Congress, the progressives in both parties succeeded in putting this agenda through, and Wilson was only too happy to oblige.  In short, the “Bull Moose” Party consisted of the RINOs of their day.  They were the barely disguised fifth column of the main socialist political formation, and they managed to convince enough Americans unaware of their designs to aid them in implementing the first steps in converting our country from a Constitutional republic into a Socialist democracy.

Ask yourself this: How many of the current Republican candidates support the list of measures above?  After nearly a century, the answer is: Almost all modern Republicans accept most of the ideas outlined in the platform of the Progressive party of 1912.  So what was the difference, in 1912, between the Democrat progressives, and the Republican progressives?  The Democrat progressives were the US equivalent of European Communists who came to dominate Russia.  The Republican progressives were effectively the same as the National Socialists that would rise to prominence in Germany.  They were both brands of statism, as I’ve discussed previously.

Weigh this against our current situation.  Today, many conservatives look at Romney, or Gingrich, compare them with Obama and are frequently led to ask:  What’s the difference between leftist progressives and so-called “right-wing” progressives?  The truth is that just like in 1912, the differences are few, and you will note with some disappointment that Woodrow Wilson was able to implement most of the planks of the socialist platform outlined above because he had the support of a large number of progressive Republicans who were just enough to rule the day together with Democrats in Congress.    If this sounds familiar when considering Speaker Boehner, and the rest of the Republican sell-outs in our current House GOP leadership, you’re spot on.  The differences between today’s progressive Republicans and 1912′s “Bull Moose” Party are essentially nonexistent.   When you realize that certain powerful players financed both the Bull Moose and Republican parties in 1912, not as a political insurance policy as is so common these days, but in order to keep them at odds, and thus effectively keeping them at rough parity, giving the election to Democrats.  You can bet that this is what is being done in the US at present.

The progressives have always used their friends in the Republican party to undermine conservatives.  This is not a new tactic or practice, and in this sense, Ross Perot was much the same thing, with his runs in ’92 and ’96.  Those of you who believe the establishment wing of the Republican party would rather see Barack Obama elected than to let conservatives into power must understand that this would not be the first time such things have happened in electoral process in the United States.

This is done for no other reason than to prevent the rise of a populist conservative in the Republican party.  The progressive would win every election if they could, and they do their level best to carry that out, rigging both parties with firmly progressive candidates.  That way, while they would prefer the Democrat progressive, the very worst outcome they expect to see is a Republican progressive.  You and I are the rabble to be kept in line with appeals to patriotism, faith, and unity.

In 1992, Ross Perot arose to run on behalf of the “volunteers,” who were roughly analogous to the Tea Party today.  He was doing so well at one point that he suspended his campaign, which was enough to prevent him from winning, but not enough to allow Bush to win: He still  siphoned off enough of the electorate to give Bill Clinton a plurality.  It worked so well that in 1996, they brought him back for a second round.  Dole was a weak candidate, but Clinton had significant problems, so a little insurance was needed. Once again, Bill Clinton failed to achieve a majority of the popular vote, winning with a plurality instead. While not as stark as in 1992, it was clear that without Perot in the race, there was at least some chance Bob Dole could have won.

You might ask what any of this has to do with Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Party.  My answer to you is that conservatives are being set up again.    The progressives aren’t finished, and they intend to win in 2012 irrespective of the Republican Party primaries.  Enter Americans Elect.   As I’ve explained before, Americans Elect is a group that is seeking to put a candidate on the ballot in all fifty states in 2012.  They’ve not yet picked a candidate, who will be picked later on-line, but this candidate will almost certainly seek to appeal to the disaffected Tea Party types.  The purpose of that candidacy will not be to win, but to divide the center-right and allow Obama to be re-elected.  Their candidate will pose as the modern-day variant of the “Bull Moose” party, and in many ways, it will be.  Be prepared for this to play out. Increasingly, you may notice the Americans Elect ads on sites around the Internet.

All of this is contrived.  I see no way to overcome the progressives of either party in the 2012 election without some radical new thinking about our remaining choices.  Mitt Romney is currently attacking Newt Gingrich as not being conservative.  This is roughly akin to a singularity calling the kettle “black.”  While Newt certainly has his warts, Willard has more.  The conservative base generally recognizes this, which accounts for Gingrich’s meteoric climb since the beginning of Cain’s fall.   Conservatives and Tea Party folk  are looking for a real conservative, and while they are forced to overlook many flaws in Gingrich to see him as a conservative, they look at Romney and see what has been widely described in conservative circles as “Obama Lite.”  No conservative wants to vote for such a prospect, and that they’re willing to turn to Gingrich speaks volumes about their displeasure with Romney.

As this blog has reported, many of these same conservatives and Tea Party patriots would have preferred Sarah Palin to the lot of those still now in the race.  The reason for the ups and downs of the primary season thus far is largely due to the fact that conservatives are seeking a single candidate upon which they can all agree.  They look around the party, and they notice flawed candidates, and while no candidate is ever perfect, they simply see little to recommend in the ones now offered.  The worst part is: They’re right.

If you think conservatives are being set up, I have a suspicion you’re right.  Karl Rove is still out there stirring the pot, and whether he’s a Romney guy, or he’s banking on some late entry, he’s not finished either.  He represents the same progressive wing of the Republican party, so there’s little doubt but that where Rove is, trouble can’t be far behind.

Beware the “Bull Moose” or any reasonable facsimile thereof.  Be sure that a late entry isn’t designed to lead you to slaughter.  The progressive wing of the Republican party isn’t a friend to conservatives, never mind Tea Party folk, and while I have no advice to offer you on candidates to support, I nevertheless remain convinced that the progressives of the Republican party would rather assure Obama’s victory than to let an actual conservative win.  It now falls to you to decipher who that may be.  Progressives favor progressives, and they stick together irrespective of party.  The Republican progressive view themselves as the “loyal opposition,” and in this you should recognize with which ideology their loyalties lie.  It isn’t free market capitalism.  It isn’t conservatism.

 

Frédéric Bastiat’s Nation of Plunderers

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Frédéric Bastiat

That’s what we’ve permitted ourselves to become, isn’t it?  Rationalize it in every conceivable way though we may, when we get beyond all of the petty justifications we spout in order to sound less monstrous, we have become a nation of plunderers.  There are exceptions, as with any generalization, but it cannot now be said that a majority of Americans have clean hands in the matter.  To some degree, greater or lesser, the blood of this fact taints most of us.  Some of you will know what I mean, but others may be less familiar with the concept.  I believe in informed consent, which means that to give one’s consent to an action, one must have full knowledge of the consequences, risks, and tribulations that may attend that action.  What I do not believe is that by ignoring the full facts, but still giving one’s consent in willful ignorance, one can somehow hope to evade moral responsibility for the results.  In his great text, The Law, Frédéric Bastiat, the great French economist, statesman, and author offered all of the reasons a nation must avoid transformation into a den of thieves and villains, though the robbery be legalized.  It is important to note that as the United States has been on a long and progressive march to precisely the sort of nation Bastiat lamented, most of our citizenry have accepted this devolution.

Our founders, imperfect though they may have been, understood clearly what Bastiat would tell us only a half-century later.  Though they were no longer alive to appreciate his works, appreciate them they would have because in them may be found some of their own ideas.  What the founders understood, but Bastiat made explicit, is that the only thing a government offers to its people is force.  By force, I mean the legal monopoly on power to coerce, compel, and even kill.  Strip all of the other dressings from the function of government, and this is all that remains.   Bastiat asked the question: In which purposes may that force be turned?  His answer was simply: “Justice.”  At this point, many become confused, because the term justice has been likewise demolished and diluted and demeaned to have virtually any and all possible meanings at once.  In Bastiat’s conception, justice was merely the protection of the rights of life, liberty and property, as well as the enforcement of compensations and punishment for the violation of same.  In short, Bastiat argued that government exists to create an objective guarantor of these simple human rights.   For students of American history, familiar with our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, this idea should be very familiar indeed:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[74] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

How familiar would Bastiat’s words on the subject have seemed to our founders, and the framers of our Constitution?  Let us consider his thoughts on government’s purpose as laid forth in The Law:

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

What Bastiat understood too well, as his own nation began its collapse into socialism, is that there can be no law that does not respect the rights of life, liberty and property without destroying the entire purpose of law.  Limited to these ends, but nothing more, the law serves all people equally, showing favor to none, but merely confirming the natural rights of all people.  His enduring argument is that a nation based on such an objective standard of law could flourish, and that its people would have none to blame but themselves for their particular predicaments or standing.  Of a “Just and enduring Government,” Bastiat wrote:

If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable — whatever its political form might be.

Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.

It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.

This is a monumentally important concept Americans must finally reconsider:  So long as government extends into all parts of every American’s life, no American is safe from the predations of other Americans.  So long as it is accepted that government’s duty is merely to guarantee the rights of individuals, the government is correctly limited, and it does no harm to any citizen.  Each citizen is then safe from predation, or as Bastiat calls it, “plunder,” because protecting people from plunderers, or punishing plunderers is the government’s only just purpose.  As Bastiat explains, man can live by only two basic methods: by his own ceaseless labor in creation of property(material wealth,) or by seizing the property(and wealth) of others.   That’s really all there is, and no exceptions exist in all the world.  What Bastiat noticed is that since people have a tendency to exert themselves to the least necessary extent, they will easily be convinced to engage in plunder by their own rationalizations, or the justifications provided by others.  This is the siren song of socialism, or indeed any form of statism, and Bastiat knew it well.  In explaining how plunder is to be prohibited by the law, he wrote:

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

Bastiat also understood what would happen when the law is turned to the purposes of legalized plunder.  When the proper purpose of law is to prevent or punish plunder, turned to the purpose of managing the plunder instead, the law becomes a great and vast evil from which no man is safe.  This is the reason our framers gave to us a Constitution that protected against plunder, even if the understanding of that Constitution has been perverted precisely to permit the very practice it had been instituted to prevent.  On the Results of Legal Plunder, Bastiat wrote:

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

Consider this carefully in examination of our own country, not as it was founded, but as it has come to be over the span of the last century of Progressivism, from both the left and the right.   His enduring prescience was to realize that such a system would of necessity destroy and obscure the differences between actual justice and all the fraudulent forms we’ve been offered in its place.  What else could be the meaning of such contrived notions as “social justice,” “environmental justice,” “economic justice,” “racial justice,” and any other contrivance and dilution of actual justice you can imagine?  Consider only one of these, for instance “economic justice,” by which the speaker intends to say that taking from one person to redistribute to another person or person(s) is a matter of justice.   Is it?  Or is it truly injustice?  If plunder is the determinant, then such notions are all only plunder dressed up behind a facade of some bastardization of actual justice.   As Bastiat notes, justice concerns itself only with the protection of life, liberty, and property.   With what does “economic justice” concern itself?  The answer is clearly: The collective violation of the rights of life, liberty and property.

Many will have noted that when Governor Palin began making use of the term “crony capitalism,” others began to notice the issue.  “Crony capitalism” is merely another form of plunder:  Use the law as an instrument to get from others that which you otherwise would not have gotten.   What it describes is a system in which plunder is not merely legalized, but normalized and institutionalized through the political process.  Two parties, a politician and a corporation, collude to the benefit of both by using the power of the politician to enrich both.  Is there any doubt but that this is the meaning of Solyndra, or any of the other “green energy/jobs” initiatives in which the current administration has invested our precious dollars?

This is ever the purpose of those who extend the meaning of justice from that which it is, to that which it is not.  How many plunderers do you know?  Are you a plunderer yourself?  Before you blanch at the suggestion, consider it carefully:  Do the things you may receive from government, directly or indirectly, spring from the plunder of the property and wealth of others?  In short, are they yours, in fact, or are they really the property of others bent to your purposes, or so-called “needs?”  You need not even have consented to it, at least not knowingly, and yet there you are tied as another perpetrator and victim in this institutionalized plunder.  Examine all the ways you are being plundered, but then examine more carefully all the ways in which you plunder others.

You might claim, as most will, that: “I had no choice, and besides, they plundered me, first.  Mine is just compensation for an earlier plundering of my property(wealth.)”  Let me ask you bluntly then: If your neighbor’s house is robbed, is it thus acceptable for him to rob the houses of his neighbors?  You would decry that suggestion, and tell me that “two wrongs do not a right make.”  I say to you the same, but that some robberies are given cover of legality does not excuse them.   You might say, for instance, that your situation is dire, and having been plundered all these years, you now have no choice but to resort to legalized plunder.  Is this your best offering against justice?  I am in that stage of life in which I am the constant victim of the plunder, but as a child, I was the beneficiary once too:  Did my parents pay directly for my education, or did they rely upon the plunder of their neighbors, many without children, to pay for said primary education?  I could offer that I was a child, but then I must admit that my daughter also received a public education for most of her schooling, and I might note that for one child, the taxes I paid might well have been roughly proportional to the benefit, but nevertheless, I cannot ignore the timber in my own eye on this matter.  Very few of us have unstained hands.

Yet, even if this is so, that we have nearly all participated to some degree, greater or lesser, does it excuse our continuing the practice?  Bastiat thought not.  He completes The Law with a brief suggestion, exhorting readers “Let Us Now Try Liberty:”

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! A way with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.

Whatever else you may say about Bastiat’s work, we must admit he had been thorough, and we must acknowledge the wisdom of his position.  He knew what most of our founders and framers had known with respect to the purpose of the law, and why it must be kept to those vital purposes, but permitted no more.  In subsequent centuries, we have permitted the law to fall into disrepair, beguiled with promises of plunder, as we have been plundered, but there exists now a burgeoning front of Americans who have never lived by any means but plunder, from cradle to grave, and they expect it to grow and magnify.  Politicians, engaged in a different form of legalized plunder, have created this army of plunderers to excuse and offer cover for their own(as detailed by Sarah Palin, Peter Schweizer, and a number of others.)  Unless and until the American people recognize that these interwoven systems of plunder are the root cause of most of our discontents, our miseries and our pain, we will continue to suffer them until revolution begets even greater and more perverse systems of plunder.  None of us should think ourselves absolved, but let us take Bastiat’s words and restore justice in law.  That’s the only way we’ll save our nation.

Note: I would encourage readers to read The Law in its entirety.  I’d also encourage you to read Bastiat’s other works, translated here.

Is the US Declaration of Independence Illegal?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Illegal?

This was the central question of a debate held as a scholarly exercise between American and British lawyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, at Ben Franklin Hall.  Clearly, I’m partial to the outcome of the debate, but the points put forward by both sides were interesting to say the least.  As a fan of Natural Law, I definitely support the argument the American attorneys put forth. These sorts of exercises are important in remembering why we are a country, and what had been the philosophical basis of our founding.  We need to remember our history and heritage of liberty, no more than ever.  The event was sponsored and presented by the Temple American Inn of Court in conjunction with Gray’s Inn, London. H/T to Drudge for finding this story.

I think all of us should spend a good deal more time examining our founding, so that we can better understand those principles to which we have committed.  For ease, here are the cases put forth by the respective sides:

The American Case:

The Declaration is unquestionably “legal”. Under basic principles of “Natural Law”, government can only be by the consent of the people and there comes a point when allegiance is no longer required in face of tyranny.

The legality of the Declaration and its validity is proven by subsequent independence movements which have been enforced by world opinion as right and just, based on the fundamental principles of equality and self-determination now reflected in the UN Charter.

The British Case:

The Declaration of Independence was not only illegal, but actually treasonable. There is no legal principle then or now to allow a group of citizens to establish their own laws because they want to. What if Texas decided today it wanted to secede from the Union?

Lincoln made the case against secession and he was right. The Declaration of Independence itself, in the absence of any recognised legal basis, had to appeal to “natural law”, an undefined concept, and to “self-evident truths”, that is to say truths for which no evidence could be provided.

The grievances listed in the Declaration were too trivial to justify secession. The main one – no taxation without representation – was no more than a wish on the part of the colonists, to avoid paying for the expense of protecting them against the French during seven years of arduous war and conflict.

As per the norm, our British friends were slightly more long-winded.  Go read the entire story. Then go read the Declaration of Independence and decide for yourself.  We should really all review these documents occasionally.

Boiling It Down, This Is What You’ve Said

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

The Hard Work Has Been Done

I’ve gathered together all the material and information so many of you have sent me these last few days, in response to my article Note to the GOP Establishment: Forget It!   I first wish to thank you all for your contributions, as they were from a diversity of sources and yet they all seemed to abide by a set of principles that I believe we can distill down to just a few things.  One of the recurrent themes was that we must adhere to our Constitution, and that we must bear in mind the reasons for our founding as expressed in our Declaration of Independence.  One of you actually submitted the Declaration and said: “Here, it’s all right here.”  Indeed, much of it is, but I think in order to carry our nation forward, and up out of its current morass, we must make clear what it had meant.

Let us begin, again, with our Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Our founders were breaking away from the King, and they were laying out their justifications.  They were making a case that we must not ignore, because in many ways, it has become our case too, although there is no official monarchy now oppressing us.  Here, they told us something critically important, and I want my readers to pay special heed to it, because we will revisit these concepts repeatedly:

…the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…

I should very much like to drill down on this for a moment, in reflection on its explicit meaning, but also its implicit reasoning.  “Separate and equal station” means the rights of all men as equals under the law.  Which law?  The “laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”  What does this mean to us, now?  It means that our rights are not a gift from the State, but arise from our nature.  It also tells us something else: The founders wanted posterity to understand that irrespective of the particulars of a particular faith, or of a lack thereof, we must acknowledge that all people possess these rights because nature demands it, and if you hold God to be the great author of Nature, then you must admit that these natural rights are those of all mankind.  In other words, it really doesn’t matter if you believe in God, or not, or which version of God, with respect to various religions, because Nature’s laws lay out what are the rights of people, so that if you believe in a God that created the heavens and the Earth, He also created the laws of nature.  Even if you do not believe in a God Almighty, still you must respect the laws of nature.  In this way, the great mind who wrote this document was already laying the groundwork for our nation’s eventual basis in fundamental rights in a way that its people could universally agree, irrespective of the particulars of their individual and very diverse faiths.

We may argue yet what are Nature’s Law, but this much we can be certain:  All people must observe and ultimately obey it.  Since governments are merely fictional entities created by mankind, they too must obey.   No government can be permitted special dispensations to ignore Nature’s Law, just as no individual may ultimately ignore it.  This is a great basis for law, since it represents the most objective basis upon which mankind can derive a governing philosophy.  In their day, the founding fathers and the framers of our Constitution were called “liberals.”  This is because they believed in liberalizing governance, and freeing individual men to pursue their own rational self-interests with minimal interference from other men.   Let me suggest to you that before we go any farther down this road, we must understand these labels, how their meanings have changed over time, and how we must recapture the language that has been stolen from us.

In the days of our revolution, the “conservatives” were those who did not wish to break free of England and its monarchy.  They were adherents of statism, since monarchy is merely another manifestation of the state’s supremacy over individuals.   In the very early 20th century, this went through an odd transformation, in that those who were mere “progressives” grabbed the label for their own use.  They were in fact a sort of counter-revolution, inasmuch as their policy ideas were intended to undo much of what our founders had put in place.  In a burst of Amendments, we got the 16th, establishing the statists’ income tax, the 17th, making the election of Senators by direct majority of the people of the states, thereby silencing the States in the federal government, the 18th, making alcohol illegal(Prohibition,) and the 19th finally giving women the right to vote anywhere in the US where it had been denied to them previously.

For fourteen years, the nation suffered under the idiocy of the 18th Amendment, until it was repealed in 1933 by the 20th.  Two of the other three Amendments of the period were equally awful, those being the 16th and 17th, both put into place in 1913 during the Wilson administration’s first year.  These two Amendments have done more damage to our nation than any others, even prohibition.  The people who put those in place, and carried us into WWI were “progressives,” who were in both parties, but predominately the Democrats, and who were intent upon reversing the ethos of natural law upon which our government had been built.  It was after their ideas became known that they beat a hasty escape to the label they appropriated for themselves: “Liberals.”  It was at this time that conservatism as we now know it was truly born.  Understand with care and attention to detail: Today’s conservatives are the founders’ era’s liberals, and what we today call “Liberals” are in fact nothing but statists, particularly of the leftist persuasion, but nevertheless interested in the supremacy of the state over individual men.

This is a long way of getting  back to our discussion, but it needs to be firmly understood:  We believe in the supremacy of individual rights over the authority of  state.  Our founders were exceedingly careful to build a small sphere of authority in which government could, under specific conditions, temporarily ignore the individual rights of people, but these were remarkably limited.  Several of you have gone to some lengths to remind me precisely how limited, most frequently in the context of Obamacare, but also with respect to other programs and actions of the federal government. Let us then remember that individual liberties are the cornerstone of our Republic, without which it will fall. Let us now consider the preamble of the Declaration of Independence carefully:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Here, the founders through Jefferson’s mighty pen specified that the aforementioned natural rights are unalienable, and that they were numerous.  “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a phrase with which we ought all be familiar, but its meaning is lost on many who mouth the words not knowing their full meaning.  “Life” seems clear enough, and by “Liberty” they meant a variety of things, but remembering the times, they meant even so basic a notion as the concept of Habeus corpus, that people would not be held indefinitely without charges or trial.  Their view of liberty was broad.  “Pursuit of Happiness” has been a phrase of some controversy because the inevitable tyrannical minds wish to reduce its meaning, but we can learn much if we understand that this phrase had been “Life, Liberty and Property,” but that property alone had been deemed too narrow a concept.  This phrase was chosen not to exclude property rights as some statists will argue, but instead to augment those rights with a good deal more.  It was in recognition that men may find happiness in property, but in all manner of things to which they ought properly have a right. Now consider what they told us of the relationship of people to their government:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

This is very important as a basic tenet of our form of government. Government exists not to rule over Men, but merely to secure their rights.  This means that government is to be strictly limited to the role of a policeman, a judge, a prison warden, and a military force.  This is what they were explaining to the King who ruled over them, together with the parliament.  Government does not exist to fund the ambitions or benevolence of some men at the expense of all others.  Having told us the proper function of government, they then tell us what gives cause to changing it:

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Ask yourself:  Has our current form of government become destructive of these ends?  In my view, it is plain to see that it is not the explicit form of our government that has become destructive, but all the incessant adulterations of that form that have been implemented over the last century. In point of fact, the framers of the Constitution would ultimately build a framework in which we could abolish most of any given current government in a single election, for in every fourth year, we can elect a President, all of the House of Representatives, and approximately one-third of the Senate.  The courts and the other departments are institutionally more immune, but nevertheless, we can abolish the corruptions of our system through the electoral process in no more than six years. The founders made clear the great struggle it is to abolish a bad form of government, and carefully explained the reasons why changing form should never be undertaken lightly:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

This is a warning, and one we also should heed, because even now, their are elements within our country agitating to change our form of government in large part for complaints arising from ideas, notions, and practices that are not rightly part of our form of government.  I have read a lot of material from you, my readers, submitted and thoughtfully offered, and what all of them seem to have in common is the notion that our Constitution, if strictly observed, with the Declaration of Independence providing its purpose, really is the answer to our problems.  We don’t need a new form of government, but only to adhere to and practice the one we had been gifted, until the statists wrapped their dictatorial hands about its throat roughly a century ago.

Let us then start from this place, and resolve that we still hold these truths as self-evident:

  • That government must adhere to the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God
  • That government must serve its people through the guarantee of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • That we believe in the supremacy of individual rights over the authority of  state
  • That Governments do not properly exist to fund the ambitions or benevolence of some men at the expense of all others
  • That our form of government ought only be changed after all efforts to repair it have been expended

We will surely expand upon these, and I will continue this series as time permits.  Sadly, it is true that we are running out of time to restore our Republic, but if we are to do so, I believe we must begin with our fundamentals, so that we know that affirmative idea for which we struggle.  Than you to all the many contributors, and even the many who sent an email stating “Interested.”  Even as I finish this more material is coming in.  I’d ask those of you who haven’t read them to consider two articles I’ve previously written as a primer for where we next take this discussion:

If our government is to be in the business of protecting our rights, we ought to know what is or isn’t a right.  If we’re going to restore our form of government, we ought to know what that form had been intended to be.