Posts Tagged ‘Restoration’

The Inevitable Question Arises: What Shall We Do?

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

I am dispensing with the chore of attaching images to posts in this category.  It takes too much precious time, and effort, better spent on other things.  More than a few of my readers noted on Friday night in response to my To Hell With the Republicans… posting that we have no leader.  It is true that there is no formal leader if we are to do this.  At the moment, there is no Lincoln, and no General Patton, and those who might be haven’t stepped up as yet.  Let me take a moment to offer another notion, since it seems that all too often, we seem to wait on some savior to rescue us.  Why can’t you be that savior?  Why can’t you be the next Lincoln, or Patton, or whatever figure you might prefer?  It’s easy to lay about and pretend that we must continue to lose for lack of a leader to show us the way, but even were we to find one, that leader was not born knowing the ins and outs of the task at hand.  Chances are, they learned through trial by fire, and since it’s our damned country anyway, and nobody else has nearly as much as we who know fully the value of the liberties we have enjoyed, I think it’s time to stop waiting for a leader and simply be one.  Besides, it’s a good deal easier to attract an experienced leader to your cause if you’ve already assembled an army.

One of the things I learned during my Army career that had separated us from our Soviet adversaries had been the fact that if a battalion commander of the Red Army went down on the battlefield, his unit would be fairly ineffective, since without that leader in place, there was nobody who could step up into his place and do the job of commanding an effective unit.  In stark contrast, in the American tradition, every man knew the basics of the jobs two steps above him and had already done the jobs below him, so that when the time came, the American unit could continue to fight even if it lost half its chain of command.  This was because in our services, we expected every member of every unit to know at least the rudiments of leading, and I don’t think this situation is any different.  The top of the Republican heap has gone AWOL, but rather than wait around lolly-gagging in the hope they will return to their senses, it’s time we get off our duffs and lead this ourselves.

I have received suggestions that what would be easiest is to simply conduct a coup against the Republican party, take over its rotting machinery, and build a new party within the husk of the old, breaking out and discarding the useless shell when we are strong enough.  One of the problems is that this often leads to a co-opting of the new, as some of the old will try to cannibalize the fresh blood, or contaminate them with the same old diseases.  I think the average conservative to whom I speak is so thoroughly sick of the GOP in its present form that co-opting them will not be so easy a task.  Like any organization, we must start with a goal, and it can be ambitious, or it can be tepid; it can be vague or it can be specific. In any case, it will be up to you to decide what those goals must be, and what the overall mission of your organization is to be.

If you decide that the best approach is indeed to simply take over the Republican Party in place, I would suggest you find a way to differentiate yourselves from the old guard.  “Conservative” has been claimed by other parties, and let’s face it, despite the factually good record of conduct among Tea Partiers, the media has succeeded in destroying their good name in many quarters, but I had thought something like “Restoration Republicans” might do.  In that vein, we might also call it the “Re-Po Party,” since it would be our intention to re-possess the party from the establishment that now denies its own existence, but exercises a stranglehold over its machinery.  On that note, we might choose to call it the “Re-Establishment Party,” since we have a constitution our forebears once ordained and established, but must now be re-established as the supreme law of our land.  As a bonus, since there is an establishment, there would also be now a re-establishment wing of the Republican Party.  I know some of you will think that last is to play with fire, but if we’re going to be burned anyway, we might just as well make the most of it.

The other approach is to start from scratch, or to join an existing albeit obscure party and make something of it.  One of the most devilish obstacles laid before any party that is neither Democrat nor Republican is the matter of ballot access. Depending upon your state or locale, it may be exceedingly difficult to get a candidate onto the ballot for a given office.  One of the things that helps keep the Dems and Repubs going is that they have party recognition on their side.  Many voters will not have heard of the “Constitution Party,” as poster Ken suggests, or the “American Restoration Party,” one I’ve run across, and the reason is quite simple:  The two major parties basically control the vast bulk of media and media resources, even on the Internet.  The news covers Democrats and Republicans, but seldom any of the other parties.  This makes breaking-in that way difficult, not impossible, but very difficult, and the big two know it, and like it that way.

One reader posted a link on my Facebook profile to an older article by Erick Erickson at Redstate, who suggested simply conducting a coup within the Republican Party, and he offered a number of reasons it would be a good deal easier than most people might believe, and at least a few of the comments offered experiences in agreement.  Still, I believe whatever course we will take, we must embark, and we must do so immediately.  What shall be our first destination? I am investigating several things, but I am certain my readers have many ideas, as reflected in the responses to the previous posting.

One thing about which I am reasonably certain is that we do not have much time remaining in which to save the republic. It’s tempting to look at all that has happened and pretend that it will continue to go on as it has gone on for the indefinite future, but I think we’re all mature enough, experienced enough, and otherwise armed with sufficient understanding of our situation to realize that the system is on the cusp of catastrophic breakdown in some form. With the obscenely absurd spectacle of serious people suggesting the minting of trillion-dollar platinum coins, you have to know that it’s a good deal more dire than is being reported.  Time may be as short as that, never mind the gun-grabbing plans and all the other dastardly legislative proposals now in play.  When a country runs its course, and you see the airing of the most preposterous ideas to cure monetary matters, you know the “powers-that-be” don’t know how to fix it, and you know also that they’re not willing to do what it will take.

Let us begin with the premise that we haven’t the time to build a party from scratch in quite the way we might have done it a generation or more ago.  That leaves the notion of a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, from the ground floor, starting in a sweep of the local party offices.  We will need to begin there, and for that task, we will need lots of people, from all over the nation, pulling in the same general direction.  We will also need a few people who have some experience at doing this, and recent Tea Party experiences will likely offer plentiful, salient wisdom as to the pitfalls and the methods that work. As our faithful poster “The Unit” has mentioned, people who helped to form Ross Perot’s “Reform Party” came to discover that not all would-be leaders turn out to be what they had promised.  Let us be wary of any who too easily wish to lead. We don’t have the time to waste, and we don’t want this to die by sabotage or incompetence.  We have enough daunting challenges ahead of us without unnecessarily imposing new ones.

I believe our single-minded goal must be to restore constitutional government, in all the meanings explicit and implicit in that charge.  Our constitution worked until the politicians began to work around its restrictions and tempt us into turning a blind eye to it, as they bought votes with our treasure.  Now, there’s not enough treasure to be looted in order to satisfy all the promises, and the politicians are pointing fingers.  The problem is that we should have kept these people on a much shorter leash all these years, but how many times have we ourselves bent to the expedient measures of the moment?  If we are to take over the Republican Party, let us start now, this day, this week, and in this moment.  We must keep the pressure on Washington DC Republicans, but we must turn our immediate focus to the state and local levels in order to have any impact.  I believe it can be turned around with your efforts, and the efforts of your friends and neighbors.  Let us resolve that this will be the year that we will begin the task with redoubled efforts to wrest this government from the demagogues and incompetents.  Let it begin today.

Who’s with me?

 

New SarahPac Video “Chords of Memory”

Monday, February 20th, 2012

This new SarahPAC Video is excellent.  It’s no wonder that so many Americans wish Sarah Palin would have sought the presidency. In this video, her voice is overlaid with images of our great presidents, particularly Lincoln, and she expresses our indebtedness to them.  She also reminds us that we can restore our country, and this hopeful message is one for which Americans have been hungering.  She may not be a candidate, but her message resonates with most Americans, and it’s a message we should take to heart.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L00pHnv0W1A]

On the Issues That Matter Most to You

Monday, October 17th, 2011

How Nearly All of You See Government

As a follow-up to my post Boiling It Down, This Is What You’ve Said, where we discussed first principles, it’s now time for we conservatives to talk about the particular issues on which we agree.  I notice that there is a fairly libertarian streak in most of what you’ve offered, which suits me just fine.  Let’s see what sense we can make of all of this. One of the things you’ve told me in various forms is that you want a platform of issues that are positive actions, rather than a bill of all the things against which you stand.  It’s true that there are certain things against which we must all align, but the truth is that most of you would rather see issues in which we are for something, rather than merely against something, which seems to be the reactive role into which Conservatives are all too frequently shoe-horned.

You are for a massive overhaul of the tax-code, in part by repeal of the 16th amendment, and by then instituting some other form of tax with some specific limits enshrined in the constitution.  I don’t think any person who responded expressed any sort of support for our current tax code or system.  Many of you referenced the gargantuan compliance costs for the entire economy that ultimately produce no net wealth.

You are for a balanced budget amendment that will severely curtail the run-away spending of government, with no recourse to additional taxes, but instead to some form of line item veto.  A line-item veto amendment was popular.

You are for the national defense, but not wastefully so, in either men or material, and you are for defending our few actual allies around the globe.

You are all some flavor of pro-life, those of you who mentioned the abortion issue, although there were some differences on any exceptions.

You are for a return to strict constitutional adherence.

There is a half-page of agencies and departments of the federal government you would like to see eliminated.  Those that showed up most frequently in your comments and emails are: Department of Education, EPA, and Department of Energy. Let’s call them the three E’s of disaster, because nearly all of you wanted these three gone, at a minimum.

Virtually all of you wish to see the repeal of Obamacare, with the only replacement being what I would term a de-regulation of health insurers so that they can compete across state lines, among other things.

You want the borders secured, and most of you have no sympathy with the notion that “we can’t deport 12-20 million people.”  Your idea seems to be that while we won’t do so in one day, or even one year, we need to take away the reasons illegals come to the US by instituting a uniform set of rules with respect to benefits and employment. You also want the practice of “sanctuary cities” specifically banned and all federal grants to cities which adopt that policy denied.

You want the government out of medicine except perhaps for veterans, and there is some variation on Medicare.  What you seem to want most in the medical care arena is government to take its nose out of it.

You have varying opinions on social security, although there seems to be a sentiment if not universally held, than held by a clear majority of opinion that the program is fatally flawed, probably unconstitutional by a strict yardstick, and certainly in need of overhaul. At least two people suggested that while they believe the program to be unconstitutional, they suggested amending the constitution to include it long enough to phase it out over twenty years.  Some of you actually said you’d be willing to do without it in the future if you could stop paying into it now.

There were a number of differing opinions on issues like gay marriage, and assisted suicide and such things,  but all in all, the bulk of the comments and suggestions were in relative agreement on most issues.

Of those who spoke of foreign policy, almost all of you wanted a radically reduced American role in any sort of global alliances like the UN.  From there, proposals differed radically, but one thing surfaced repeatedly: You want the United States to continue its support of Israel, with only one exception.

There was near unanimous support for term limits, although ideas on how long varied.  I saw a suggestion for a maximum of six terms in the House, two terms in the Senate, while leaving the President as is.  There was one that suggested nobody needed to serve more than a single term as President.  There was one that I found interesting suggesting that we should have a total of twenty years federal service for elected officials, but that the presidential term limit still ought to apply.  The idea was to discouraged lengthy federal careers, giving the edge to people from the states to move up.  More than one of you suggested that staff be term-limited just like the officials under which they serve.  It was a mixed bag of ideas from very sedate and practical to much more radical and creative.

Speaking of ‘radical ideas,’ the number of you who thought it would be a good idea to reform the Federal Reserve system, or abolish it outright was rather high.  I always knew that conservatives never really liked the Federal Reserve, but I figured this to be mostly a libertarian position.  Apparently, that’s not at all the case. You want a stable currency with a stable store of value providing its backing.

Most of you wanted the bulk of the welfare state eliminated, particularly for able-bodied people.  You wanted strict lifetime limits. You wanted to see cash and cash-like subsidies replaced with food allotments to discourage widespread fraud. Three of you expressly called for a requirement to establish paternity of any child for whom support would be claimed.

You wanted work and savings and thrift to pay.  Four of you suggested eliminating the minimum wage outright, citing its negative effects on total employment and inflation.

Most of you thought our energy policy is a joke.  You think the government is discouraging rational energy ideas while subsidizing what some of you called boondoggles(“green energy” and ethanol subsidies) and others among you called corporate welfare.

There were a few other things you expressed.  Most of you were in favor of harsh punishments for corruption. Almost all of you favored a federal death penalty, those who mentioned it. Anybody who mentioned “affirmative action” did so in the negative.

There were various opinions on drug legalization, some strongly against, and a couple strongly in favor.

Everybody was angry about debt growth and deficit spending.

That’s covering a lot of ground, and I hope you’ll help me with the next step in this.  What I’d like to do is get your help in prioritizing these things.  So, here’s what you can do:  Select your top five, in order of importance, and if you think there’s something not mentioned here that must be mentioned, make  it number six on your list, and I will add it for the second round.

I think this gives us a good toe-hold on this cliff, but it’s a long and treacherous climb ahead.  I expect there will be disagreements, but the general sentiments expressed suggested to me that you’re mostly willing to work around some issues in favor of your most important priorities.  Much of what you’ve offered comports well with what I’ve seen of Tea Party doctrine, insofar as I know it, and you all seem willing to give this a go.  I want to thank all the respondents who filled my inbox, and submitted comments.

Submit your new lists with the subject line [Priorities] to markamerica@embarqmail.com

Thank you!

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.