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Those Who Read the Past Write the Future October 28, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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Unfortunately most of what we are taught in History survey classes in American schools consists of simplistic formulas.  Formulas designed to persuade those forced to attend the government controlled education mills that they should ride the same ideological hobby horses as whoever currently has the power to select textbooks and prescribe curricula.   Whether it was the rabidly pro-American imperial History of yesteryear that pushed lines such as, “We never started a war and never lost one,” and “We turned a raw wilderness into a civilized nation.” or, if it is the rabidly anti-American propaganda of today spouting lines such as, “America was founded by deists who used serial genocide and economic fascism to steal a nation, pollute the earth, and poison the sea” neither are correct. Both versions are merely two sides of an extremely myopic view which does not seek to discover nor promote the truth but instead seek to mold the next generation into what they think will be foot soldiers in their own crusade.

History, if it has any value at all is that it fulfills two goals.  First, the study of History should provide context.  A text without a context is a pretext and we must have context so we can understand how we as a people became who we are, how the world became what it is, and where it might go next.   Secondly, the study of History should help us learn from and hopefully avoid the mistakes made by those who have gone before so we can leave a better world to those who come after.   However, as stated above, these are rarely the goals of History education.  The reason why is summed up in a joke only Historians seem to get.

Objectivity.

Most people in the world believe objectivity exists.  They act as if the stories presented in survey of history classes are “the facts ma’am and nothing but the facts.”  I was once part of this blissful herd.  I was a self-taught Historian before I took the plunge and studied to become a card carrying member of the profession.  I was captured by the allure of History when I was nine years old.  Nothing in the world made any sense.  What I was taught and saw at home conflicted 180 degrees from what I was taught at church.  What I was taught at church conflicted 180 degrees from what I was taught at school.  What I saw on the streets appeared real because it seemed to be the way the world actually worked, but it was out of synch with my home my church and my school.  Not knowing myself well enough to know that I am a person who operates best when things make sense and the world appears orderly I was confused and uncomfortable living in a world so out of joint.

Consequently when I learned in the third grade that there were histories of the world available I latched on to them like a drowning man latches on to a life preserver.  I began reading History books every day.  They became my raft in a swirling sea of confusion creating an orderly world of sequential reality that I used to build my bridge to the first positive value of History, gaining a coherent understanding of how we as a people became who we are, how the world became what it is, and where it might go next. However, I was a rebellious child. A child who never moved to the second value of History.  I never learned to profit from the mistakes of those who went before.  Following those in my family who went before I walked out of traditional education at age sixteen figuring I knew enough to make my way in the world.  Twenty plus years of manual labor later I thought it might be a good idea to finish my education.

When I finished my Bachelor degree in History I realized that a Bachelor degree in History is good for two things, it can help you become the manager of the electronics department at Wal-Mart and it opens the door for a Master Degree in History.  Since I was determined to become a History professor, I chose the latter.  On my first day of graduate school this budding self-taught Historian had to grit my teeth as a professor told our class, “There are no facts, and History is only what Historians say it is.”

Of course I had to run up after class to argue, “How can you say there are no facts?  Look at the Vietnam War.  We know it happened.  We know when it started and when it ended.  Those are facts and we can know them!”  After listening calmly to my impassioned tirade the professor quietly said, “Maybe there’s another side to that story.”

This rude awakening sent me on a journey of discovery: searching for the other side of the story.  Along the way I contributed my first chapter in a History book.  My research helped me realize there is more than one side to every story.  There are often conflicting facts, overlapping timelines, and always another way to look at everything.  The truth of this is displayed in an endless series of quotes.  Napoleon once said, “History is a set of lies agreed upon.”  Voltaire said, “History is a pack of lies we play on the dead.”  Ambrose Bierce said, “God alone knows the future, but only an historian can alter the past.”  And one of my favorite philosophers, Anonymous sagely added, “The certainty of history seems to be in direct inverse ratio to what we know about it.”

What is the purpose of this self-revealing stroll down memory lane?  It isn’t for the purpose of either self-actualization or confession.  Both of those goals were achieved long ago.  It is instead my attempt to lead you my loyal reader (for those will be the only ones left after such a lesson in historiography) to the second value of the study of History.  I am encouraged by the multitudes of people who are today engrossed in this study.  So many of the recently awakened yearn to know the History of America, they long to know how our Constitution was written by whom and why.  I am here to remind everyone we need to look at all sides, consider every angle, and remember everyone has a point of view, even Historians, and objectivity is in reality subjectivity in a grey flannel suit.

Remember that second value of History?  It should help us learn from and hopefully avoid the mistakes made by those who have gone before so we can leave a better world to those who come after.   If we merely exchange the unabashedly anti-American lenses of the present for the unquestioning pro-American lenses of the past we will be blind to what we really need to see.

The complexity of reality defies the easy interpretations of partisan politics.  Has America always been right?  No, the jingoistic refrain of “My country right or wrong” will lead those who blindly salute it into supporting what is wrong as easily as what is right.  Has America always been wrong?  No, the view currently used to indoctrinate the youth in our public schools which sees America as an imperialistic power that used genocide, racism, and naked aggression to build a hegemonic empire forget all the good America has accomplished.  This view presents an America bent on maintaining the privileges of the rich over the rights of the poor and leads those who imbibe its venom into ignoring that America was founded as the world’s greatest experiment in personal liberty and economic freedom.

Both views are too simplistic for people who want to break free of the matrix and see the world for what it truly is: a struggle between those who wish to control mankind for their own benefits and those who wish to see man set free so he can become all that he may be.

This is a call for those who have taken the bread and circus blinders off their eyes not to replace them with another set.  Today we don’t have to rely on what we have been taught. We can use the Internet as a portal into every perspective imaginable, histories beyond counting, and all the great works of mankind.  Read broadly, study extensively and think for yourself.  Don’t exchange the purveyors of self-serving pap on the left for the purveyors of self-serving pap on the right.  Open both ears, hear both sides, use the mind God gave you, and find the center path.

America has done some things wrong.  America has done some things right.  When it all is brought to the scales, when enough is seen to grasp the big picture, it is the non-objective view of this Historian that America has provided more freedom for more people than any other country that has ever existed.  It is also my opinion that powers of anti-freedom have sought to regain control since the Revolution, and if those who have been too busy working and raising families don’t spend enough time to learn what History teaches we will soon earn the reward for the failure to hold on to the past.  We will lose the future.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

Imperial Republics Fall October 21, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Historians spend their life looking backwards.  Futurists spend their life looking forward.  My goal has been to blend the two disciplines into one seamless endeavor.

When I was studying to become a Historian I came to a point where I had to declare a field of special study. This is where my obsession with current events intersected with my love for History.  This is when I realized that current events are the forever unfolding always receding conveyor belt of reality.  This is when I first verbalized the perception that as the future slides into the present and the present slides into the past our lives are the history of the future.   Therefore in my writings I seek to frame the flow of today with knowledge of yesterday to create a window into tomorrow.

History tells us that Imperial Republics fall.  We have the examples of Athens and all the other grasping Greek republics that followed her.  We have Rome the example always deferred to of a republic that allowed empire to stifle freedom.  The list however does not end there, we can look at Venice and the various republics of Renaissance Italy and of course the First Republic of France which was birthed in blood and died in fire.  The siren song of empire has seduced republics down through history to trade in their freedom for power which eventually cost them both their freedom and the power.

Is it time to re-think America’s international military commitments?  Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires the United States wasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.  Then, although the world was filled with despotic kings, our Framers gave us a Republic.  However, it is worth remembering the exchange that took place between Ben Franklin, the elder statesman of the Constitutional Convention and an unknown woman.  As he left Independence Hall he was asked, “Well Doctor what we have got a republic or a monarchy?”   Appealing to his legendary wit Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”   We and our ancestors have been blessed by the Republic for hundreds of years.  We’ve benefited from the liberty to live our lives and pursue our happiness.  Now we’ve arrived at the “if you can keep it” phase of our journey.

At the cost of hundreds of billions and thousands of lives we doubled-down in Afghanistan.  At the cost of over a trillion and thousands of lives we conquered Iraq and deposed Saddam.  We spearheaded the bombing campaign in Libya.  Our drones strike suspected enemies far and near.  Troops have been dispatched to central Africa.  And the perennial war drums still beat at the very mention of Iran.

We have sent our fellow citizens to fight long hard slogs in countries whose names are the very synonym for Quagmire.  As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed our leaders deeper into thankless nation-building campaigns in nation after nation including one that’s resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander to Moscow.

Instead of using our cruise missiles and stealth capabilities we fell into the trap announced and laid by Bin Laden.  Whose strategy was as Lawrence Wright told us in his seminal book Looming Towers to, “lure America into the same trap the Soviets had fallen into: Afghanistan.”  How did he plan to do it?  “To continually attack until the U.S. forces invaded; then the mujahedeen would swarm upon them and bleed them until the entire American empire fell from its wounds. It had happened to Great Britain and to the Soviet Union. He was certain it would happen to America.”

There were twists and turns on our journey from republic to empire.

George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements.  Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

For more than one hundred years we concentrated on using our liberty to build a mighty nation.  Then the temptation of empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s, a time when Europe was rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence.  Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and the Philippines

Teddy Roosevelt followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet and multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  After being re-elected on the promise to keep America neutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight World War I to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300, 000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires of England, France, and Japan.  After the war, the Congress of the United States re-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action.

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior to Pearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended not with the defeat of totalitarianism but instead with the expansion of it in Eastern Europe the guiding light of American foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished.  As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War.   For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed.  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe promising to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia among others, and so the sun never set upon the American Empire.

Not only is it against the founding principles of America to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts, we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them. How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure will we invest in Iraq, and what will be the result?  A Shi’a ally for Iran.  The war in Afghanistan was obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support for Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Or have we walked into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

Currently the United States has armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were all these allies on 9-11?  Where are they in Afghanistan?   Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Station them on the border to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who’re overloading our systems.  We can seal and secure the mountainous border between the Koreas and we can secure our own borders if we have the wisdom and the will.  If we need to project American power use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  Protect America and rebuild our infrastructure instead of everyone else’s.  When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ‘em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.”

If we want to save the Republic we need to lose the empire or we can cling to the empire and lose both.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

The Coming Contraction October 14, 2011

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The party’s over and it’s time to pay the bill.  Our government has been on a spending binge for as long as I can remember.  With Clinton and Newt’s slight-of-hand accounting back in the late 90s notwithstanding, which wouldn’t withstand the level of scrutiny we give a tab at our local burger joint, there have been yearly deficits every year since I was born back in the 40s. The debt piled up to a record amount under Bush the Younger, and under Obama it has sky rocketed to the point where people have actually begun to notice that the emperor has no clothes.

It isn’t that our nation is broke since our assets still outweigh our debt, but who wants to sell Yellowstone to satisfy the Chinese?  It isn’t just our government who has buried us buying $640 toilet seats, $436 hammers, or a $797,400 outhouse.  All of us have had an apple out of that sack.  We have pushed our personal credit to the max, our plastic to the limit, and our “Gotta have it now” culture to the breaking point.  It isn’t just the 51% who pay no federal taxes but seem to have an insatiable appetite for federal services that are to blame.  Those of us who make enough to merit a tax target on our backs have also drunk deep from the government trough.  Social Security, Medicare, disaster relief, and student loans have added billions if not trillions to the national debt transferring money to the middle class.

All of us have contributed to this problem.  If not by accepting the money or services ourselves than by voting for people who’ve made careers doling out the plunder, robbing Peter to pay Paul, buying votes, and corrupting the system.  The entire edifice of Western Civilization teeters on the brink of financial collapse due to the last three generations squandering the as yet unearned income of the next three.  We invested the great grand kid’s future in Ponzi schemes so that we could play today and they could pay tomorrow.  This is the national version of “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

Our lack of interest allowed politicians to run amuck.  Our personal greed and lack of restraint have all of us living in houses made of plastic cards.  We look at Greece and ask for whom the bell tolls ignoring the answer that it tolls for thee.

The enemies of capitalism learned the wisdom of Alinsky that “Change comes from power and power comes from organization.”  They followed gurus such as Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven two Columbia professors who advocated overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands.  They followed leaders such as Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd who have pushed legislation that created the bubbles and then strangled the recovery.  Now these well organized and well financed Progressives have come to the end game.  In the great tradition of all socialist power grabs now that the crisis has arrived they have taken to the streets.

The Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media are falling all over themselves trying to equate the current Occupy Everywhere movement with the Tea party.  I’ve known the Tea Party. The Tea Party is a friend of mine, and this is no Tea Party.  I have attended many Tea Party Events and they were all peaceful.  They all respected the police, and stayed within the limits of lawful protest.  When the events were over they left the areas cleaner than when they arrived.  The only people arrested at Tea Party events have been Progressive street thugs who have attempted to disrupt a peaceful protest. The liberal version is trashing every place they lay their head and threatening violence.  In all the Tea Party events over the last few years not one persona has been arrested.  In the Occupy Movement in just a few weeks hundreds have had to be hauled away.

I personally know a professional agitator who glories in the title of the Rude Guy.  He has made a lifestyle out of pushing for the socialist agenda he imbibed as a youth in public school.  He has spent decades moving from protest to protest advocating an end to capitalism while supporting himself through the sale of his books and paintings.  This Rude Guy has moved from the implosion of Europe to what some enemies of our nation are calling the American Spring seeking free room and board in New York to continue his work.  Given the fact that Van Jones has spent years, George Soros has spent millions through his front groups, and that professional organizers are flocking in from around the world it is hard to buy the Corporate Media line that this Occupy Everywhere movement is spontaneous.

However, there are the Howard Beale types who want to scream “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  And there are also the young party people who are looking for an opportunity to have an experience, to recreate the golden years of the 60s when they fantasize the Summer of Love produced something of value besides a generational overdose and a rise in STDs.  These naive sheep will be driven before the organizers into the police truncheons.  It is these unengaged warm bodies being interviewed nightly.  These are the ones who come across as unfocused, confused, and almost comical.  They do not represent the well-oiled machinery behind the curtain.

The list of millionaire entertainers who stop by to step out of their air-conditioned limousine to shout, “Power to the people” as they shake their bejeweled fist grows every day.  The union bosses express solidarity and send in their shock troops.  Leading Democrats praise the movement.  The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has said the Occupy Everywhere Movement is more in the mainstream than the current crop of Republican candidates for president.  This movement is not spontaneous, and it is not going to end well.  In some places the leaders of this leaderless movement are calling for violence and socialism.  In other places they are leaving the public square to march on private residences to intimidate and threaten.  Is this organized anarchism or militant apathy?

Some of the issues their signs rail against: bank bailouts, corporate welfare, and other aspects of crony capitalism are issues they do share with the Tea Party.  However, the Tea Party Movement has directed their anger at government which is the culprit as far as wasting our national treasure to support their donors.  The Occupy Movement is focused on attacking the donors who have received the payouts.  The people who invested with Bernie Madoff thought they had found the goose that laid golden eggs, and yes they did receive unrealistic and what are now called unearned payouts, but at the end of the day it wasn’t the investors who were arrested it was Madoff.  The Tea Party offers concrete proposals: end the over spending, cut taxes and regulations, and free the economy to free the people.  The Occupy Movement offers no solution besides more of the same government intervention that caused the problems to begin with.

As stated at the beginning, we have all had a hand in leading our great nation to the edge of the abyss.  And it seems as if our inability to agree upon who the culprits are or what the answers are may push us over the edge.  A great contraction in our economy and in our life styles is coming.  We must choose.  Are we willing to make the changes that will right the ship of state and begin to bail out the rushing tide of debt that threatens to capsize us?  Or, will we continue to argue ourselves into paralysis until our creditors demand the austerity we dread?

The one thing worse than being poor is being poor again.  Most of us individually and all of us as a nation have been living far beyond our means charging extravagance to a credit card that has reached its limit.  We can either send back the steak and have a hamburger on our own now or eventually sit powerless as our card is cut up by the foreign maître.  We can either change our menu from caviar to corn flakes now or end up eating rubber biscuits as we wash dishes in the back room.

One thing is for sure the contraction is coming, how do you want to deal with it?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

How Do We Re-Industrialize America October 7, 2011

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Manufacturing in America peaked in 1979 when 19.5 million Americans actually produced durable goods.  In the last 30 years our manufacturing sector has declined by 40% losing almost 8 million jobs.  Nearly 6 million jobs have been lost since 2000 and since the Great Recession began we have lost an average 89,000 manufacturing jobs every month for the last two years.  Due to this dramatic constriction America has fallen below 12 million workers employed in manufacturing for the first time since 1946 and is now below levels not seen since 1941.  This dismal record portrays the stunning decline of America as a manufacturing superpower.  And while a rise in productivity has helped America maintain a prominent position in the world this has not resulted in manufacturing continuing to be an avenue for upward mobility for Americans.

So how do we re-industrialize America?  How do we get back all the jobs that have been exported in the last 30 years?  What will be the consequences of taking the bold steps necessary to make America once again the engine that drives the world’s economy?  What will be the result of failing to do so?

To set this discussion into its proper context first we must look at how America grew from a rustic agricultural nation on the edge of Western civilization into the greatest industrial superpower ever known.

In the interest of full disclosure I must confess that I am a life-long capitalist.  I believe that capitalism is the only economic system ever devised by man that requires free choice as a necessary requirement.  Every other system is either more or less a command economy.  The defense and restoration of America’s capitalist economy is today a hallmark of the conservative movement.  Many study the works of Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek.  Those of us who want to see economic opportunity unshackled espouse the principles of both the Chicago and the Austrian Schools of economics as opposed to the theories of the Frankfurt School which have moved America in the direction of a centrally planned economy.

Flying in the face of this conventional wisdom for the purposes of this discussion we must ask the question, was it capitalism that provided the environment which set America on the road to material riches and industrial power?  Culture to humans is like water to a fish.  It is everywhere.  It provides the medium through which we move.  However, since it is ever present it is not something we constantly notice or concentrate on.  Most of those who read these words were raised in a time or by people who taught American History as a positive, ever improving saga.  We were taught that America never started a war and never lost one.  We were taught that rugged individualism carved out an empire from a raw wilderness.  We were taught that capitalism paved and paid the way.

At the hazard of being branded an apostate to conservatism I must continue to ask the question, was capitalism the catalyst for America’s industrial power or do we labor under the after-glow of a time when American History was taught in such a way as to magnify present circumstances by projecting them into the past?  Are we looking to a myth of free enterprise to recreate what it didn’t create in the first place?

Was it capitalism that fostered the founding of the colonies which became the seedbed of the United States?

Mercantilism was the economic system that proceeded capitalism in western civilization.  This was a system of economic nationalism which sought to build a strong country by maintaining a favorable balance of trade and by being self-sufficient.  This was one of the primary reasons why the sea-going European powers sought to establish colonies.  They wanted to secure sources of raw materials for their developing industrial sectors and to control external markets allowing them to produce and sell products all within their domestic economy, keeping all the gold at home.

The term mercantilism was coined by Adam Smith the philosophical father of capitalism, but it was not capitalism.  Inherently Mercantilism necessitated a centrally planned and controlled economy.  What benefitted the nation was permitted and encouraged.  What didn’t was prohibited and discouraged.  It was under this system that the English colonies were founded.  The first viable English colony in the New World, Virginia was founded by the Virginia Company a joint stock company which was given a charter by James I.  This charter, like subsequent charters given to the Massachusetts Bay Company and proprietary charters given to individuals such as William Penn and the Lords Baltimore gave these companies and individuals monopolies within specific geographic areas.  Government imposed and enforced monopolies are a restraint of trade and by nature incompatible with a free capitalist system.

The colonies founded upon this restraint of trade followed suit giving monopolies to companies and individuals to do everything from making iron to importing. Government planning and control of the economy did not stop there.  The colonial governments also granted subsidies, bounties, land grants, loans and money prizes to encourage the birth and prosperity of the industries and services desired.  Through these actions the precursors of modern America were doing what is today reviled as inherently un-American, picking winners and losers.

If we fast forward to the founding of the United States do we find the unbridled free enterprise seen today to be the natural state of the Republic?

In 1791 Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton issued his third path-breaking report to Congress the Report on Manufactures.  Of all his reports this one is considered the most innovative.  It provided a stark revelation of Hamilton’s and his Federalist compatriots’ vision for America and its economy.  So did this report outline an economy based upon capitalism and free enterprise?  No it did not.  This report envisions an America “independent of foreign nations for military and other essential supplies” this is the heart of a mercantilist program.  Hamilton proposed subsidies to encourage industry.  Some of the mercantilist policies advocated by Hamilton encouraged the central government:

  • To constitute a fund for paying the bounties.
  • To constitute a fund for a board to promote arts, agriculture, manufactures, and commerce.  Hamilton wanted the fund to:
  1. to defray the expenses of the emigration of artists, and manufacturers in particular branches of extraordinary.
  2. to induce the prosecution and introduction of useful discoveries, inventions, and improvements, by proportionate rewards.
  3. to encourage by premiums, both honorable and lucrative, the exertions of individuals and of classes.

The historical evidence of America’s reliance upon protectionist and economic interventionist policies as tools in the building of our greatness can be found everywhere.  The central government built, licensed, and encouraged roads and canals to foster interstate trade by providing monopolies, subsidies and grants.  It fought wars to safeguard sea lanes and to expand territory and markets.  And it birthed, regulated and controlled the financial industry from its very inception.

The incontrovertible evidence points to the fact that America was founded, launched, and nurtured as the successor to and the continuation of mercantilist not capitalist policies.

If these were the policies of economic nationalism which helped foster America’s rise to industrial greatness wouldn’t it seem appropriate for these policies to be the ones that would help it rise again?  There is only one national figure who has consistently urged a return to economic nationalism, Patrick Buchanan.  He has pointed out for years that our rush to embrace so-called free trade has put American workers at a decided disadvantage.  The dissolution of tariff protection forced our workers to compete against people who will work for a small percentage of what Americans can afford to work for in societies with little or no regulation.

How do we get back all the jobs that have been exported in the last 30 years?

If we want to re-industrialize America we have to protect our markets and support our industry otherwise we will soon sink to a supplier of raw materials and a market to China and the other rapidly rising industrial powers of Asia.

What will be the consequences of taking the bold steps necessary to make America once again the engine that drives the world’s economy?

Such a policy calculated to re-build our industry and re-capture our domestic markets from China, Japan, and the four tigers of Asia will carry as many risks as it does benefits.  Just as any predator will react to resistance on the part of its prey so to if we enact tariffs on Chinese goods it may well ignite a trade war.  Then again anything worth having is worth fighting for.  If we want to once again rise to the top of the industrial world to once again have a favorable balance of trade we need to look to what is best for America not what is best for the U. N. or what is best for the globalization lobby.

What will be the result of failing to rebuild our industrial sector?

Some may deride this proposed return to mercantilist policies as isolationism.  However, just as a nation without borders will soon cease to be a nation any nation that fails to protect and encourage its industry will find itself an agricultural and raw material colony in all but name for those nations which do.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

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