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OWENS’ LAW OF OSCILLATING PYRAMIDS December 29, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Which explains

The Cyclical Rise and Fall of Bureaucracy

While at the same time answering the age-old question:

“What happened to the Maya?”

OR

I’M NOT GIVING YOU ANYMORE CORN TO BUILD PYRAMIDS

Introduction

“The Mayas were intelligent; they had a highly developed culture. They left behind not only a fabulous calendar but also incredible calculations. They knew the Venusian year of 584 days. . . ” (p.55)

Von Daniken, Erich. Chariots of the Gods? Bantam Books: New York.

 

For years people wondered where did these peaceful geniuses go.  Did the mother ship come down and carry them back to Jupiter or wherever peaceful geniuses come from?  Did they evolve into a higher state of being?

All this wondering provided the gist for popular speculation and pseudoscientific pontification for many years or at least until Yuri Valentinovich Knorosov and other linguists translated the Mayan language.  Then it was learned that they might not have been so peaceful after all, and as a matter of fact they may have been one of the most warlike of all peoples.  And low and behold archeological data began to supply the required evidence and the problem was solved: the Mayan had destroyed themselves in an orgy of fire and arrows.  It all seemed so neat, scientific, and profitable.

Then some smart aleck historian, who also happened to be an organizational leadership researcher, made the mistake of interviewing some of the Native Americans who today make-up a sizable portion of the population of Guatemala and Mexico who happen to look surprisingly like the people depicted in the Mayan bas-reliefs.  And inconvenient as it may seem once all this speculation, pontification, and general wondering had made several careers and helped some otherwise starving publishers buy much needed yachts and mansions this eager young researcher emerged from the wilds of Northern Arizona and declared, “The Maya had NOT disappeared after all.”

“What!”  Cried the popular speculators.

“Away with him!”  Yelled the enraged pseudoscientific pontificators.

“Quick, have him write a book about it!”  Yelled the copious publishers from their thousand foot yachts docked outside their hundred room mansions.

Since it is impossible to categorically answer the question, “What?”  And since no one really ever feels like following the Red Queen’s advice and conveniently being, “Away withed.”  I figured I might as well at least write an article and do my little part to help keep poor, disadvantaged publishers supplied with at least enough caviar, truffles and European blended coffees to avert any relief from the high cholesterol and gout which serve as their red badge of courage.

So where did the Maya go?  To quote one of my sources, “We got tired of giving those guys all our corn to build pyramids so we moved to the next valley and kept our corn for ourselves or something like that.”

This somehow brings me to the breakthrough Organizational Leadership concepts that should make my career as a leadership expert and hopefully get me an invitation to sip European coffee and eat truffles on one of those yachts.

Are you ready?

Here they come:

  1. Bureaucracy is a good thing.
  2. History supports the theory that bureaucracy is fundamental to the human condition
  3. Bureaucracies all start out as pyramids with a large base, a small peak, and a proportional center, which adequately supports the top and adequately covers the base.
  4. Bureaucratic pyramids all eventually become diamonds as they bloat in the middle.
  5. All organizational diamonds eventually collapse due to the bloated weight of the expanded center.
  6.  The top is always lost in the crash.
  7. A majority of the center plunges back to the base.
  8. The natural leveling process of change never leaves a level playing field.
  9. A new peak immediately appears because there is always a point that rises above the field.
  10. The remaining middle coalesces to support the new peak in order to accentuate and solidify its difference from the base.
  11. Another pyramid establishes itself on the ruins of the preceding one.

I call this Owens’ Law of the Oscillating Pyramid.  I propose that this Law explains the cyclical rise and fall of bureaucracy.  This Law is based upon observation and research and upon the fact that eventually the costs outweigh the benefits and someday, somewhere someone is going to yell, “I’m not giving you anymore of my corn to build pyramids!”

The collapse of the Soviet Union provided a perfect example of this phenomenon.  For decades, this highly bureaucratic “Evil Empire” had enforced its rule by giving benefits to one group (the communists) to brutalize and dominate other groups (everyone else).  As the model predicted the Soviet system admitted more and more people into the middle of the pyramid thus bloating the mid-level brutalizers and increasing the number of people who supposedly had a stake in the system.  But unfortunately for the Evil Empire the inefficiencies of the system didn’t allow the pyramid to provide the material advantages needed to continue the inflation nor to even sustain the growing weight of the middle level.  Therefore with no incentive to continue supporting the regime the pyramid collapsed.

Bureaucracy = hierarchical structure, division of labor, written rules, and records.

This has been evident since the beginning of time.

Examples:

Revolution every generation

Revolutionary youth becoming Reactionary adults

Luther from 99 theses to peasant revolt

British bureaucracy “the ministry” goes on though ministers may come and go.

Pyramids are made of pyramids, each department or group has a head, and each head is supported by layers.

When a pyramid falls these component pyramids tend to seek independence (Chinese mandarins – Roman Empire) and then they begin to coalesce into succeeding pyramids, such as exemplified by the successive Egyptian and Chinese dynasties or the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne.

Signs that the end of a pyramids cycle is approaching:

  • “I was just following orders,”  or “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” as an excuse for doing things that common sense tells us are foolish.
  • Malicious obedience.  When a subordinate follows the nonsensical orders of superiors in the hopes that doing so will bring about change.
  • Geritocracy.  Look at Congress.  Almost automatic re-election ensures a constantly aging pool of leaders with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

In modern American society we have moved from Trueman’s “The buck stops here,” to Clinton’s “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.?’ ”  From Bill Gates leading an industry to change the world to octegenarian politicians whose secretary’s have to turn on their computers deciding what shape that industry should take.

At the time of the American Revolution there was no direct taxation there was instead taxes on various transactions which in total added up to a miniscule percentage of their income.  Today, for many it is now over 50%.  How much corn are we willing to give to those we don’t trust to do things we don’t want?  How long can this continue?  We are spending the money of the unborn to pay for the repose of the unproductive.  This is the ultimate expression of taxation without representation.

The Oscillating Pyramid Cycle:

Formless base – pinnacle dominated true pyramid – bloated middle diamond shaped twin pyramid – out of balance wobble (component pyramids strive for increasing individual autonomy) – collapse

Historical opportunity to break this cycle: The Israelites at Mt. Sinai.  Instead they reject God’s offer to reinstate a personal relationship and demanded that Moses build them a social pyramid instead.

Proposed Exception to the Rule:

Steady-state primitive (Neolithic, pre-agriculture) societies both ancient and modern have been advanced as being different then the cultures of the present and therefore by implication exempt from this theory of bureaucratic/organizational structure.  There is not enough social or organizational data to make informed statements about unknown cultures.  Every one that has been extensively studied and reported on exhibited the pyramidal, hierarchical social structure and rule based operation even if a lack of writing precluded the development of true bureaucracy.

Long running societies (China, India, and Rome) exhibit this oscillating character within the ebb and flow of civil war and dynastic change.

In modern democracies, elections are designed to provide stability through a peaceful, periodic change in the pinnacle thereby allowing the base to exert influence and buy into the existence of the pyramid through nationalism.  Economic self-interest has also become a major factor in modern democracies.  Periodic major changes, Andrew Jackson, FDR, etc. change the tenor but not the shape as the middle continues to bloat.  Modern democracies are still too new of a phenomenon to contend that they will break the pattern and at the moment they appear to be textbook cases of its operation.

Change of focus for modern consideration: Bureaucracy is a GOOD thing.  The oscillating nature of its natural life cycle should be understood, recognized, appreciated, and factored into current calculations for what it is, the natural course of human organization.  Change is a constant component of life.

So the next time you’re standing in line to renew whatever permit happens to need renewing at the time tell yourself that, “Bureaucracy is a GOOD thing.”  Tell yourself that about a thousand times as you wait for the clerk who has been standing at the window for ten minutes waiting to open the window at exactly 9 AM and not one second sooner.  And as your mind numbs through this exercise you can comfort yourself with the thought, “Eventually all pyramids fall,” as you fight to keep yourself from standing on a chair and yelling,

“I’M NOT GIVING YOU ANYMORE CORN TO BUILD PYRAMIDS!”

Then again as every pyramid falls another takes its place. That is Owens’ Law of Oscillating Pyramids.

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

A Different Gospel December 22, 2011

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A Pew Research Center national survey found that nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) believe President Obama is a Muslim and 43% don’t know what religion has our president’s allegiance.  The study goes on to say that 34% of Conservative Republicans believe the president is a Muslim as do 30% of those who disagree with his policies.  Amazingly it also shows that only 46% of Democrats believe Mr. Obama is a Christian.    After more than two years campaigning and two years in office this confusion about the spirituality of the leader of our nation is without precedent.

As a retired pastor and a continuing follower of Jesus Christ I have often been accused of practicing an exclusivist belief that discriminates between believers and is intolerant of opposing views.  I have often had other believers and non-believers beat me about the ears with Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  The problem with this is that it is addressing the believer who judges non-believers.  In a more related passage I Corinthians 1 5:12 Christians are taught, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?”  Therefore when the President goes on record declaring why he became a Christian it is appropriate for others who profess to be Christians to weigh in, offering their considered judgments and reactions. I say “converted to Christianity” because according to Islamic tradition President Obama as the son of a Muslim Father was born a Muslim.  As a youth in Indonesia he attended an Islamic school and ostensibly lived as a Muslim and was accepted as a Muslim by those around him.   His official records from Indonesia list him as a Muslim, so I don’t believe it is inaccurate or partisan to say he converted to Christianity.

Moving on to the statement which has opened this door for a Christian to render and express a judgment.  Reacting to the many questions concerning his faith President Obama shared why he became a Christian telling a group of residents in New Mexico that he had become a “Christian by choice.”   The reason for that choice being “the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead – being my brother and sister’s keeper.”

Not to be doctrinaire, there is an answer to the question, “Why have I become a Christian?” that is Biblically sound and universally accepted by those of an Evangelical, Pentecostal or (dare I say it) Fundamental view of the Bible and of faith, and the one our President shared is not that answer.  The answer, which directly addresses the belief that Jesus is THE Way is found in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  This exclusivity, this belief that salvation is found only in the acceptance of Jesus, in the belief that He is God from all eternity, that He came to Earth to bear the burden of our sins, that He died, rose again and ascended into Heaven to come back again one day for those who have chosen Him is the source and the summit of the faith.

It all relates to the fact that human beings have been separated from God.  Most of us notice along the way that there is something out of phase in this world, something not quite right.  As in, “Why do bad things happen to good people,” or “What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?” Personally I spent thirty years wandering about in a fog thinking, “There’s got to be something more” until I came to the end of myself, read the Gospels, and had to decide whether this good news that there is a way back to God is either true or a lie. I decided it is true, confessed Jesus as my risen Lord, and began a new life.

This “something’s not quite right” situation is aptly expressed in Romans 5:12-14, “You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in— first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.” 

The Bible doesn’t leave us hanging. It shows us the way home too.  How are we supposed to get across this gulf that exists between us and God?  Someone has to pay the price.  And in Romans 5:6-8 it tells us “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.”

That’s it.  He paid the price and we get the benefit.  Any other answer than one which conforms to this is “Another Gospel.”  How do we know this and where does Dr. Owens get off saying this is the one, the only answer?  The ancient creeds (or statements of belief) of the Church testify that this is the Gospel as received by the Apostles and as delivered to the Church.

Paul the principle author of the New Testament warns us in Galatians 1:6-8 when speaking to believers who were wandering from this simple Gospel, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

And this is what the narrative of our President tells us: he believes another gospel a gospel based on collective rather than individual salvation.  He spent more than twenty years sitting in the pew listening to Reverend Wright.  I know he claimed to have never heard anything like the Reverend’s famous “God Damn America” tirade, but is that believable?  The President has said Rev. Wright is the one who led him to the Lord.  Rev, Wright performed the President’s wedding ceremony, and baptized his children.  Most telling of all Mr. Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope is named after one of Wright’s sermons, so it strains credulity to believe he sat there for twenty years and never heard his Pastor preach week in and week out the tenants of Black Liberation Theology, which is a variant of Liberation Theology.   Liberation Theology was condemned by the Catholic Church, whose South American priests developed it as a heresy and not as a true reflection of the Gospel as received by the traditional church.  Pope Benedict went so far as to say, “the visible consequences’ of the ‘deceitful principles’ of liberation theology have been ‘rebellion, division, dissent, offense, anarchy [that] are still being felt.’” And it is this gospel our President follows.

The question that needs to be asked is do you believe in personal salvation based upon the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus?  Or do you believe in a collective salvation which is diametrically opposed to the truth who was born in a manger, lived a perfect life, died on a cross in payment for sin, and rose from the dead.  President Obama has said he believes his salvation is impossible without a national collective salvation. Christ tells us salvation is possible for all who believe in Him.  Paul tells us that whoever confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead will be saved.  I don’t know about you, but I know in whom I believe.

Celebrate the season and remember the reason.

Merry Christmas!

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

 

 

Executive Orders December 16, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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The problem with social engineering is that the engineers don’t know how to drive the train.  More like a complicated machine than a single celled organism society is a collection of individuals.  Human nature decrees that freedom of choice is an inherent part of our social DNA therefore a healthy society is one built upon the choices and decisions freely arrived upon by the individuals who make up the whole.  It is the self-interest and self-direction of these choices which build into the productive life of a free society.

Adam Smith addresses the contributions of societies individuals when he says, “intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

Conversely, Friedrich Hayek warns us “To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.”

Unfortunately, politically motivated social engineers short circuit this process by replacing the countless choices and decisions of free people with the corrosive and stifling mandates of central planning.

Our nation was not founded to be a centrally planned socially straight-jacketed empire ruled by the decrees of a sovereign.  We were founded upon the revolutionary principles born of our colonial heritage and the thinking of the Enlightenment.  Having fought our way free from the crushing embrace of an overbearing king, our Founders were determined to establish a representative republic of the people, by the people, and for the people.

We are a constitutional Republic.  We are a nation of Laws.  As Thomas Paine said in the Rights of man, “The government of a free country … is not in the persons but in the laws.”  Paine also remarked that if someone should ask, “Where is the King of America?” let us answer, “In America Law is King!”

Having studied the writings of Montesquieu and other Enlightenment thinkers, having established and maintained the separate branches of the various state governments, the Framers of our Constitution enshrined the principle of the separation of powers.  This separation of powers is expressly stated in our Constitution.  Article 1, Section 1 states, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”  Article 2, Section 1 states, “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”  Article 3, Section 1 states, “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.”  These passages separate the three functions, legislative, executive, and judicial into three distinct spheres and it is the dynamic relationship between the three which restrains the government from becoming repressive and allows freedom to bloom.

Montesquieu said, “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person.”  James Madison, the Father of the Constitution said, “The accumulation of all power, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands…may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Executive Orders have been used by presidents since George Washington.  They are nothing new.  Yet they have always been controversial.  Washington issued the first one instructed the heads of departments to make a “clear account” of matters in their departments.  His next one called for a national day of thanksgiving.  He also issued the first one to cause controversy when he issued an order in 1793 stating that the United States would be “friendly and impartial toward the belligerent powers” of Britain and France. In this “Neutrality Proclamation,” Washington justified his power to issue such a statement based on the “law of nations.”  Perhaps a constitutional justification could have been found in the powers of the President over foreign affairs but these were not referenced. Washington did not convene the Congress to debate the proclamation before issuing it.  Immediately James Madison criticized Washington’s order as an overextension of executive authority and an infringement on Congress’s authority to decide issues of war and peace.

Although they have been stirring controversy since the dawn of the Republic originally Executive Orders were just what the name implies, orders from the executive and they were only binding upon the departments which made up the executive department.   Most were never published and were only seen by the federal agencies involved.  Some were of historical note such as when Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and issued the Emancipation Proclamation or when Wilson segregated the military.

The Presidency of FDR marked a major turning point in the use of Executive orders, as in many other things.  Roosevelt confronted the Great Depression as the moral equivalent of war and fought an undeclared war in the Atlantic and crippled Japan through trade sanctions.  Truman desegregated the military.  Eisenhower ended wage and price controls imposed by his predecessor.  Kennedy and Johnson ended discrimination in housing and education.  Nixon declared a war on drugs.  Presidents used executive orders to steer the ship of state.

Then starting with the Clinton Administration a sea change took place in the use of Executive Orders.  President Clinton used his executive power to achieve results he failed to achieve legislatively.

Over time though technically applying only to executive agencies, executive orders have taken on a wider interpretation until today they have become legally binding mandates issued by presidents who rule by decree.

With President Obama, seconded and supported by his Attorney General Holder, deciding not to enforce laws they disagree with, the rule of law has ended in the United States.  We can date our passage from a nation of laws to a nation of men not with this momentous decision but more effectively from the moment our elected representatives declined to declare this action to be unconstitutional and illegal.

Today we have a government that is careening out of control and those we have elected to protect our rights by upholding the Constitution are abusing our rights and subverting the Constitution.  Thomas Paine made it clear which was the cart and which was the horse when he said, “A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only a creature of a constitution.  The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting a government.”

We have clearly reversed the order. The cart is before the horse and the tail is wagging the dog.  The use and abuse of executive orders have changed us from a nation of laws to a nation of men, from a federal republic with a limited government to a centrally-planned bureaucracy with leaders attempting to rule by decree.  We know where they want to lead us. The question before us now is; will we go quietly into that dark night?

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

 

Putting the Paste Back in the Tube December 9, 2011

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We all know that trying the same thing over and over expecting different results is a popular definition of insanity.  And we also know that putting the paste back in the tube is a popular illustration of an impossible task.

I tested the first truism mentioned above as a young man whose motto should have been, “I’ll never do that again – I just did it again.”  For some reason just as not going to school didn’t lead to improved job prospects attempting to spend every day at a party didn’t lead to happiness.  Over and over I valiantly kept trying to rock-n-roll all night and party every day.  I developed a patented hang-over cure. Stay drunk.  I figured it wasn’t the drinking that caused the hangover it was the getting sober, and I tried my best to avoid hangovers from the time I was fifteen until I was thirty.   Then at thirty I had my Come-to-Jesus moment, meaning I literally came to Jesus.  With His guidance I found another path which included school and working which yielded a different result including a soul mate for a wife, a son to be proud of, and a wonderful life.

Turning to the second truism mentioned above, as a person who actually tried putting toothpaste back in the tube I can attest that it deserves its symbolism as impossible.  At best you can manage to get a little back in the tube.  But the process is messy, frustrating and in the end so fruitless it’s laughable.  All of which brings me to my question for the week.  Can those of us who believe in limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom walk America back from the cliff to which the embrace of Progressive leadership and its collectivist mindset, one hundred years of reinforcement by indoctrination, and an addiction to entitlements have led us?

How best to describe the problem we face?  Often a good example will expose a basic problem better than any technical explanation.  Look at the debate about the payroll tax extension.   Both wings of the Party of Power continue the baseline inspired fiction that you have to pay for tax cuts when all they ever do is allow those who earn money to keep it.  The Democratic wing, always seeking to divide America into interest groups, contends the only way to pay for tax cuts on one segment of the population is to tax someone else.  Therefore they propose to pay for the extension by taxing millionaires and billionaires.   The Republican Progressives propose cutting federal salaries to pay for it.  An approach which sounds as it if should appeal to those seeking to re-limit the central government.

Looking at the first solution, taxing the rich to give to the un-rich is merely more of the same spreading-the-wealth-around income distribution socialism that is the hallmark of the Democratic wing of the Party of Power.

Turning to the second solution it sounds good while in reality it is more baseline thinking where cutting a proposed increase is a cut even though the budget still increases. Instead of cutting salaries why not cut some of the tens of thousands of new bureaucrats which have been added in just the last two years?   Merely cutting the salaries of the hordes of federal drones is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  It may look better but ultimately it really won’t help keep the ship of state afloat.  This is typical of the governance proposed by the big government Republican wing of the Party of Power.  It may look good, it may even sound good, but when you peel back the onion the deficits continue and the debt goes up.

Peering through the fog generated by the media amplified rhetoric the entire debate is bogus because the original payroll tax cut was a trap to begin with.  It put money in the pocket of every person who receives a pay check by letting each of us keep a little more of the money we earned.  But the payroll tax is what supports the current recipients of Social Security.  There is no Trust Fund.  That is a fiction, since the money goes directly to the general funds to be replaced by IOUs that aren’t worth the paper they would be printed on if they weren’t electronic.  If this money is taken away Social Security loses even the illusion of a pay-as-you-go system and is starkly revealed for what it is: welfare for seniors.

It is time for my generation to admit we have been ripped off for every cent ever extorted from us for Social Security, and the only way we can receive benefits is to have the government extort it from our children and give it to us.  By decreasing the plunder taken from the kids and instead taking it from the perennial enemies of the Democratic Progressives, the most productive, Social Security is revealed for what it is: just another welfare entitlement.  And merely lowering the salary of a bloated bureaucracy perpetuates the growth and legitimizes the recent exponential expansion of a centrally-planned government that has run amuck.  It also makes social security visible as the Ponzi scheme it has always been.

Europe is exploding because the bill is coming due for countries that have played this social welfare shell game for generations.  Austerity is the word that is igniting riots and strikes from Athens to London.  Faced with the possibility that they won’t be able to retire at fifty with full pensions, generous benefits, and guaranteed vacations people are throwing fire bombs and toppling governments.

Western Civilization was born in the Mideast, was launched as a world embracing power from Europe, and culminated in the great experiment of America.  Today Western Civilization teeters on the edge of destruction.  Our Federal Reserve is pumping out funny money faster than anyone can count trying to prop up the European launching pad as we abandon our occupation of the Middle Eastern cradle and fear for the continued vitality of its American summit.  Western Civilization burns while our Party of Power plays the fiat financial fiddle.  Will we continue the shadow dance pretending we have a limited government or will we muster up the courage to tell our media enhance perpetually re-elected puppet master that he who pays the piper calls the tune?

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

 

Smoke and Mirrors December 1, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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Like a sleight-of-hand-artist on a busy street with a briefcase that turns into a table, three walnuts shells and a pea the perpetually re-elected and their town criers in the Corporations Once Known as the mainstream Media appear to be perennially able to fool the perpetually distracted by pulling a metaphorical quarter out of their ear.

I know a professional revolutionary.  We grew up together.  He has correctly diagnosed America’s disease as a corporate cult in a symbiotic relationship with a corrupt government.  He deftly outlines the general theory, although not the specifics of how crony capitalists and political hacks have crafted a system wherein money laundering has become national policy.  The political hacks fleece the sheeple through taxes and inflation.  They give the money to their accomplices in the flimflam corporations who funnel huge chunks of cash back to the hacks for re-election.  Every few years the sheeple rouse themselves out of their media induced coma long enough to be herded to the polls to vote for more of the same.

Yes, the professional revolutionaries and their government educated followers have correctly diagnosed the disease.  However, they have prescribed poison instead of medicine.  Their answer to the curse of Corporatism’s National Socialism is less nationalism and more socialism.  Since corporatism has built a coffin our body politic cannot seem to claw its way out of, he prescribes cutting out the crony capitalists and giving the whole operation to the political hacks. In other words if the black shirts have ruined the country let’s try the reds.  That would be as transparent as fighting the most horrendous war in human history because Hitler attempted to pull Poland into his freedom smothering embrace and then giving Poland to Stalin.

Headlines and talking heads scream for days, “The Super Committee cannot fail or the sky will fall!”  Endless hours in the 24 hour news cycle are devoted to debating, “Will the Super Committee succeed or will they fail?”  Meanwhile most of the sheeple are consumed with concern about the NBA strike, a celebrity drowning thirty years ago, or was Kim’s wedding a set-up all along.  Then we’re told he Super Committee failed accompanied by endless squabbling about who caused the failure.

It is all nothing but Kabuki, a form of Japanese drama based on popular legends and characterized by elaborate costumes, stylized acting.

Remember how the Super Committee became so super?  It didn’t come from another planet with a red sun and lower gravity.  It was instead the Frankenstein created as the cover for another rise in the debt ceiling.  The Tea Party had just made a Herculean effort in the 2010 elections and achieved an historical sweep of the House of Representatives.  Over sixty newly minted congressmen owed their seat at the table of plenty to the greatest grassroots movement America has seen in generations.  They had campaigned on changing the culture of corruption in Washington, stopping the deficit spending, severing the cord to the crony capitalists, and paying down the national debt.

Before they could even arrive the Republican leadership colluded with a recently humiliated inexperienced president and a recently repudiated Democratic leadership to extend the Bush tax cuts in exchange for more spending in the lamest of all lame duck sessions.  Then as soon as the fresh troops arrive they raise their hands in salute to the same old Republican leadership, renew the patriot Act, pass a series of continuing resolutions allowing the drunken sailors to continue spending, and then vote to raise the debt ceiling by another few trillions. Oh but they fought!  They wrangled and they refused to give the Spender in Chief more trillions of our great grandchildren’s money unless he agreed to a Super Committee backed up by automatic cuts and automatic tax increases in future deficits totaling trillions of dollars in cuts.  This was drama worthy of As Washington Turns.  If it was joke it wouldn’t be funny.

To begin with the Super Committee wasn’t filled with deficit hawks and balanced budget advocates.  It was instead filled with the most partisan members from both wings of the Party of Power guaranteeing there would be no settlement.  Obviously the plan all along was for the automatic cuts and taxes to come into play, over the next ten years.  In other words the spendaholics of this Congress are going to place limits on the credit card of following Congresses who have the ability to vote away the limits any time they want to.  How could that ever fail?

The smoke and mirrors of political theater is meant to hide the fact that all they’re arguing over is reducing the yearly deficits way off there in the future somewhere.  All they ever discussed was slowing the rate of increase.  Even if the most draconian plan so far introduced by the young firebrand Representative Ryan had been adopted the budget still went up every year, and the national debt still grew every year.  And though there would have been more and more spending with no end to the red ink in sight Ryan was portrayed as pushing Grandma off the cliff and a large percentage of the population believes it.  This is baseline budgeting wherein the proposed budget becomes the base for what is cut.  In other words our leaders can cut all day and the spending still goes up.

It is time to tell our hypnotized fellow citizens to take the blinders off.  Wake up!  The house is on fire and the firemen are pouring gasoline on the flames.

The system is broke and it is becoming very clear that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put this thing together again.  The spending goes on every second of every minute of every hour of every day.  The tax code that ostensibly is designed to pay for it all is in reality a bewildering maze meant to trap those unsophisticated enough not to hire an army of tax lawyers and accountants while legally recognized persons such as GE file 57,000 page tax returns on fourteen billion in profits and pays no tax at all.

While the hemorrhaging of our descendants wealth goes on night and day we are being set up for the next battle to raise the debt ceiling, the balanced budget amendment.  Even if this long threatened turkey could finally make it to the block what good is a balanced budget amendment?  The spendthrifts we call a government can still spend all they want as long as they raise enough money to pretend to cover at least the on budget portion of the swag.  And where do you think they will raise the money?  They will either raise taxes or print money.  Either way we pay so they can play. What we need is a spending amendment that limits spending to a prescribed percentage of the GDP.

At one time the best tongue in cheek advice for coping with the policies of the convention of confidence men masquerading as the American government was get a government job and study Spanish.  Now the situation has descended even beyond the black humor of that cynical joke.  Today the best advice may be to hunker in the bunker, store food, and learn enough History so you can tell those who come after what America used to be.

Last year I thought it was time to take the gloves off and tell America the emperor has no clothes.  To do so this advocate of the Constitution and limited government wrote The Constitution Failed.  A book which places current events in a constitutional and historical context proving that while our nation was founded upon a document meant to limit government we now stand face-to-face with an unlimited government.  I believed it was time to sound the alarm.  I thought people were ready to admit the terrible truth; our government does little more than tip its hat to the Constitution while doing whatever it wants.   The first step in solving any problem is admitting you have a problem.  The second is recognizing what that problem is.  My hope is that The Constitution Failed will help people recognize and identify the problem so that we the people can reach a solution.

As one who has been pounding this drum and singing this song for fifty years all I can do is wonder, will the drowning Lady Liberty finally see the life preserver as she goes down for the last time?  Will she finally grasp the Constitution as the only thing that has ever guaranteed limited government, personal freedom and economic opportunity in America?  Will she remember her past and save her future or will she sink beneath the waves of government regulation and drown in the red tape of an all-powerful central government?

I wrote The Constitution Failed to make a difference.  I wrote it because I see my beloved country walking off a cliff into the abyss of socialism and I am compelled to throw out the life line.

If you want to read The Constitution Failed send me an email with your address and I will send you a complimentary copy.  I want to see the re-birth of limited government.  I want to see personal liberty and economic freedom continue to exist in this: the last best hope of mankind.   And I’m ready to put my money where my heart is, limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom.

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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