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Freedom From Tyranny Is Our Goal July 24, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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When taxes become destructive they surpass the consent of the governed bending to the will of tyranny. When regulations strangle competition instead of securing it from evil combinations they become counterproductive and defeat the very purpose for which they were proposed. When foreign entanglements bleed the nation but do not secure the peace or defeat the enemy they become interventionist vehicles for vested interests. When spending becomes a hemorrhaging of assists leading to national bankruptcy those who continue to pile debt upon debt seek not the good of the nation but instead its destruction. When leaders selected to unite instead do all they can to divide they no longer advance the interest of the whole and are instead partisan leaders in a factional fight.
A social contract is one made between a people and their government. It is an agreement whereby the people surrender certain aspects of their independence for the guarantee of corporate security and the enjoyment of a general welfare. In the case of most countries this is an unwritten and unconscious arrangement built upon tradition and precedent as in the case of England. However in the United States we have an actual contract, the Constitution. This was ratified by the original states and the subsequent states were formed under it and admitted as full partners to it.
All contracts may be legitimately changed over time as long as there are mechanisms either within the document or established by the document to do so. Within our Constitution there is an amendment process, and it has been amended 27 times so far. Whether we agree with those amendments or not they have been legally ratified and accepted becoming part of the document. However, over the years our government structure has been changed, and our manner of life transformed more by the informal changes than by the formal. Nowhere in the Constitution is the central government given the power to wage unending undeclared war. Nowhere is the central government given the right to ignore the requirement to protect the states from invasion. Nowhere is there found any basis for executive orders, signing statements, or bureaucratic regulations to have the force of law without legislative action by Congress.
Well-connected rabble rousers now say equality will not be achieved until everything is equal in everybody’s house. Leveling the playing field has finally thrown off its cloak of deceit and exposed itself as from each according to their ability to each according to their need. The professional civil rights entrepreneurs who’ve extorted vast amounts of personal wealth with threats of boycotts and demonstrations have been unmasked as the true purveyors of prejudice seeking to keep race and gender differences alive for their own benefit. Union bosses build political empires using the legally forced dues of members with more money spent on political activity than on member service. The union bosses ride in limousine comfort from board meetings to political rallies while their members lose jobs. The pensions of the bosses are golden parachutes while the pensions of the members are underfunded.
The Land of the Free is held captive, locked in a two party system where both parties are merely two heads on the same bird of prey. Both parties are dedicated to more spending and bigger government. Both parties exploit gerrymandering of districts and overwhelming corporate donations to ensure a hierarchy of the perpetually re-elected that use a system of seniority to enhance their power. Legal barriers exist at every turn to stop any new parties from gaining access that might deflect the central government from its ever increasing growth towards totalitarianism.
When will enough be enough? When will citizens rise in their righteous anger and demand not a New Deal, not a Great Society, a New Frontier or a Fundamentally Transformed America but instead their original deal. The one we wrested from the hands of the tyrant King George. The one we’ve fought to establish and defend from Yorktown to Kandahar, and the right of a people to be free to live as they choose, to work for their own benefits and choose their own destiny. Free from the smothering governmental control which has been the lot of most people in most places since the beginning of time. When will the yoke of tyranny become too heavy to be borne? What will be the spark that lights the torches and brings the incensed villagers to the gate of the castle demanding, “Bring the monster out!” so that a stake can be driven through the heart of tyranny and freedom can return to the land?
When that day comes what will we the people do? Will we try to resurrect the government of old that ultimately brought us full circle, or will we be bold enough to forge anew the social contract and design better ways to ensure the beast of tyranny doesn’t once again break the chains of restraint.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

Watchmen on the Walls July 17, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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As a Professor of History I can understand why most people dismiss History as boring. It is usually presented as a static jumble of dates, names and events that must be memorized, regurgitated and with luck forgotten. I have often marveled at the ability of students who can tell me how many points their favorite athlete scored in a mid-season game ten years ago or how many horsepower their favorite driver had under the hood five seasons back can’t seem to remember the relationship or the difference between the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.
Instead of this rigid collection of repetitious minutia, History is a dynamic flow of reality that changes every day. Not only is there more of it every day, thus changed by addition, it is also open to new interpretation and comprehension every day, thus changing by multiplication and division.
In Patrick J. Buchanan’s ground breaking book Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War the author presents the case that the Second World War was not precipitated by Germany’s attack upon Poland it was instead precipitated by the worthless guarantee given by Britain and France to an authoritarian Poland, which prevented it from avoiding war by returning the German city of Danzig to Germany. A move even Neville Chamberlain thought would be fair. Then when what would have been the fourth partition of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union did occur it is forgotten by all that it was France and Britain that declared war on Germany not the reverse. No matter whether you agree or disagree with this presentation of the same facts presented in opposite order as in American History classes or not, anyone would admit at least it made you think.
Rush Limbaugh catapulted from being a self-admitted multiple failure to being the greatest broadcaster in the history of radio by doing nothing more than as he often repeats, “What comes naturally.” He says what so many others think. He aptly sums up the collective observations of millions and acts as a prism for the sensibilities of the here-to-for silent majority. Performing his host duties 99.8% perfectly, Rush gives voice to the common sense and inherent belief that if you work hard and play by the rules you should prosper. He points out the hypocrisy of leaders leading people where they don’t want to go and the frustration of followers who know they’ve been had but don’t know how to out organize the organizers.
Glenn Beck, after decades in the trenches, shot like a meteor to the top by realizing his position wasn’t just to have fun it could instead really mean something at a pivotal time in History. The morning zoo became the people’s think tank as we watched Glenn learn the difference between Socialism, Communism and National Socialism. We cheered as he kept his sense of humor while holding aloft the torch of individual freedom in a world swirling down the collectivist drain. His television show has transformed the afternoon blah hour into the University of Beck as he and his chalk boards do what all of the teachers and professors have failed to do: make the average American interested in History. Glenn’s greatest service may turn out to be his impartation of the knowledge that “You are not alone,” which sparked the 9-12 movement and launched the tea parties. Or it might yet be that an informed electorate will not go quietly into that dark night.
History is often the chosen discipline of those who seek order in a world they find confusing. A system or frame upon which to place the events of time avoiding the yawning maw of random oblivion. A way to bring meaning and importance not only to the Battle of Waterloo but to our own personal Waterloos, which may be a symbol of defeat but is also the symbol of victory still celebrated as a holiday marking liberation by everyone but the French.
As a Professor of History I’ve studied, taught and written for years hoping to make some contribution to the historical literacy of my generation. I’ve long believed it’s the lack of a historical perspective that’s doomed our generation to walk through the looking-glass into a wonderland where none dare call it treason to subvert individual liberty in the name of collective security. Now I have found the lens which brings the fog of current events into the focus of historical understanding. The key which unlocks the meaning of seemingly random events uncovering a pattern discernable and comprehensible to all who will follow the chain of events to their logical conclusion.
Our overly centralized nationalist government, though limited at its inception, has grown through the accretion of time and tradition ultimately becoming that which it was never meant to be: a colossus standing with its steel boot upon the throat of freedom.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

The Hand Writing is on the Wall July 10, 2010

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In a Bible passage so powerful even those who don’t believe the Bible unknowingly quote it an arrogant young ruler is so enamored with his exalted position he thinks he can disregard the traditions of his predecessors with impunity. In the midst of a celebration of his greatness the proud young man calls for the sacred vessels captured when his father conquered Judah so that he can drink toasts to himself. Suddenly before a stunned king and his smug courtiers a hand appears in mid-air writing on the wall of his palatial palace. Never having seen a teleprompter the king had no idea these words would come to define his reign. He called for the wisest man in his kingdom to tell him what they meant.
When Daniel arrived he told the haughty king, “The writing reads: ‘Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin.’ The meaning of the words is this: Mene: God has measured your sovereignty and put an end to it; Tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; Parsin: your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.” That same night through an unperceived chink left by neglect in their previously impregnable defenses Babylon was conquered, the king was overthrown, and the rest is history.
If History doesn’t help us in the world today it’s useless. We might as well study tea leaves if we can’t learn from the past to live in the present and shape the future. There are numerous old sayings which attempt to pass this wisdom along to the oblivious young who always act as if youth was a new invention or something clever they have personally devised instead of a fleeting possession most of us squander. These sayings include; “Those who fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it.” “The past may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.” Or, my personal favorite, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” However you say it if we fail to do it we’ve sown the wind and will reap the whirlwind.
History tells us that on New Year’s Eve 1991 the Soviet Union ceased to exist. A Cold War which had often blazed hot ended in the unequivocal demise of one super-power and the undeniable triumph of the other. What lesson did we learn? What truth did we walk away with that would allow us to avoid the dust-bin of history which had devoured them?
Before the dust had a chance to settle the joy of victory over the agony of defeat was turned to political maneuvering, military mission creep and economic chicanery. The same people who wanted us to unilaterally disarm during the darkest days of the fifty year confrontation, since it was obviously our belligerency causing the Soviet dictators to follow their oft announced plan to bury us, wanted to cash in the peace dividend the people who had ignored their previous advice had earned. After George the First shot himself in the foot by going back on his no new taxes pledge the man from Hope was only too eager to comply since he had been one of the people marching in the streets and leading the charge to disarm in the face of aggression. Cutting defense and expanding government, the Clinton administration partied its way across the stage of history leaving us weaker then they found us. George the Second rallied the world to punish the terrorists who assaulted us on 9-11. Then instead of declaring victory and coming home he opened a second front, and frittered away the admiration and allegiance of the world and our truncated military capacity in a pre-emptive war he knew how to win but didn’t know how to conclude. Now ignoring the fact that it was in large part a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan that set the stage for the collapse of the Soviet Union our current commander believes we can win a war by dispatching more troops with a pre-announced date of departure.
Recalling the “Those who fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it” truism here’s a history lesson. Great Britain led the world into the Industrial Revolution becoming the number one manufacturer on earth by 1780. This led to over a century of British ascendancy. The United States over took Britain and became the number one manufacturer on earth after Europe committed suicide on the Fields of Flanders and assumed the acknowledged lead of Western Civilization after Europe administered the coup de grace in World War Two. If current trends continue, China will become the number one manufacturer on earth by 2011 while at the same time America is seeking a cure through bleeding itself in two hot wars with no end, open borders and one-way free trade. Is there something we should learn here? Is there some remedy we could apply?
We must stop the hemorrhaging. We must stop the invasion. We must insist on fair trade. We must rebuild our industrial base. If we don’t, one day we’ll wake up to hear a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen, Babylon the great is fallen!”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

July Fourth 2010: The State Versus the Individual July 4, 2010

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In America, individualism is a kind of philosophical almost theological ideal upon which our society was founded.  This foundation birthed a society of free individuals who entered into a social contract wherein they surrendered some authority and power to government to gain enough security and peace to enjoy their rights while retaining their inherent freedom and inviolable personal independence.

That man was conceived of by our founders as a created being is attested to in the Declaration of Independence when it says, “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.”  These rights the Creator endowed us with fall into two broad categories.

The primary of these is the right to think and act as we see fit in matters which concern and affect only ourselves.  Then there are civil rights.  These are the rights all people possess before entering into the social contract such as, to act, to own property, to manage our own affairs in areas that might affect others all of which are not surrendered by our entrance into society, since they are inherent and endowed by our Creator.   These second are the rights which no one individual can assure for themselves without the cooperation of others, hence the need for a social contract and society.  And although the individual is not personally capable of ensuring the enjoyment of these rights this does not give society the authority to curtail them.  It’s for the protection of these rights that governments are established, or as the Founders put it, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”

All of the above refers to and elaborates upon the rights of individuals.  Each individual as created and endowed is sovereign in and of their own person and should therefore enjoy the unfettered exercise of their rights which besides those already enumerated also consist of the right to equality before the law, to participate in political activity, to engage in commerce, and to express their thoughts and beliefs.

The state is nothing more than individuals bound together by the social contract which they have all either directly or indirectly agreed to.  The state is not an individual.  The state is not a separate entity with inherent rights of its own.  This is a destructive concept which is equivalent to making the state god and is contrary to reality.  For when states begin to exert their personhood, to demand their rights this always equates to the usurpation of individual rights by corrupt leaders who say by their actions, “I am the State” in the name of a vague collective that is ultimately beneficial to them.

When contemplating the forceful nature of government within the lives of men Henry David Thoreau accepted the motto, “That government is best which governs least,” and he even expanded it to say, “That government is best which governs not at all” making him the poster child for modern anarchists.  While not embracing the extremity of Thoreau’s position the reasonableness of Jefferson’s is seen in his statement, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences of too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it.”  Perhaps Thoreau had too much faith in his fellow man, but sad to say his descendants have become a people with too much faith in government.  For government, once it has secured the peace and security necessary for the individual to enjoy the use of their personal rights, once it has secured the border from invasion and made provision for defense is more an encumbrance than a help.

Over the years there have been many abuses of power by the representatives of the people.  The rights of the individual have been curtailed and the imagined rights of the government have been expanded at their expense.  However, the American ship of state has always righted itself after the aristocratic or bureaucratic storm passed.  However, today the dreamweavers of collectivism are ensnaring whole generations in their cradle-to-grave web of dependency.  Collectivism is not native to the human condition, and it does not spontaneously evolve from the actions or the desires of life.  Everywhere it is imposed by ideologues through either the use or the threat of force.  The modern manifestations of collectivism in its extreme Communism, National Socialism, and Fascism have everywhere been attended by massive dislocations of society, mass murder, war and collapse.  In its milder and more immediate manifestations, socialism and corporatism leads the way to stagnation, loss of incentive and economic collapse.

In America we see the fusion of politicians, unions, interest groups and too-big-to-fail crony capitalism into a formless cross-party bloc reminiscent of the outfit which has controlled Chicago politics for generations.  The principle proponents of this new conception of American society, the Progressives in the left-wings of both major political parties, have maneuvered themselves to the apex of power, and are controlling all three branches of the federal government.  They have the stated goal of transforming America, and the transformation they have in mind is the collectivization of all for the benefit of the few.  Washed away will be the individualism which has been our foundation and the sanctity of the rights this individualism proclaims.  As an unnatural creature the collective state asserts its imagined rights at the expense of our endowed ones.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System.  http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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