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The Question is, “What’s the Answer?” September 26, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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In politics and economics as in everything in life there always seems to be more questions than answers.

Some answers previously shared:

Politically speaking, I have said before in these columns that I no longer consider myself to be a conservative because there is nothing left to conserve.  Instead I consider myself a Liberal in the classical sense: in the tradition of Jefferson and Paine a believer in human liberty.  The once proud name of Liberal has been coopted and fundamentally transformed by the Socialists who have followed the advice of one of their early leaders, Norman Thomas, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

I say it is time to reclaim the name.

In the economic realm, I am unabashedly a believer in capitalism.  The reason for this is that it is the only system ever devised by man that requires freedom as a foundation for it to exist.  Every other economic system ever tried is a centrally-planned command system.  The king, the dictator, or the politburo decides how many widgets the country needs and that is how many widgets the country gets and everyone works at the widget factory.

As a child of the Cold War who had Marx shoved down his throat by Socialist teachers from grade school through college, I rebelled when one of my History professors told me that economics was the lynchpin of History.  It wasn’t until after the fall of the Evil Empire that I was able to appreciate this truth.  It is interesting to note that before we adopted the German style of College education in the 1890s Economics, History and Political Science were all one discipline.  How can we understand any one of them without the others?  One legged stools do not stand very well.  Information in a vacuum is still a vacuum.

So what is the question?

How can America continue to exist politically as a Republic with a constitutionally limited government dedicated to personal liberty, economic freedom and individual opportunity if our central government destroys competition?

The support of competition does not make someone an anarchist as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accuses.

The use of competition as an organizing mechanism in society precludes the use of certain types of coercive regulations.  However, it does not preclude the use regulations or guidelines.  There are important reasons why the negative aspects of this statement have been stressed by the advocates of competition while the positive have been neglected by its opponents.

It is necessary that all parties in the market place must be free to buy and sell at any price which they can agree on. It is also necessary that everyone should be free to produce, sell and buy anything that can be produced or sold.  It is also necessary that everyone has equal and free access into the trades.

Any attempt to control or regulate prices or quantities of commodities deprives competition of its ability to bring about the effective coordination of individual efforts because price changes then are no longer able to correctly act as a reliable guide for an individual’s actions.

This is not an iron-clad rule.  As long as any restrictions placed on all potential producers affect all producers the same and are not used as an indirect method for controlling prices and quantities.  All such restrictions impose extra costs however if they are imposed evenly competition can survive if not thrive.  For example, it is generally agreed that regulations to control the use of poisonous substances, to limit working hours, or to require sanitary conditions are both desirable and necessary.

The only question here is: are the social advantages gained by these regulations greater than the economic costs they impose.  Neither is the existence of social services incompatible with freedom as long as their organization and operation is not designed to restrict competition.

Thus it is shown that the advocates of competition and economic freedom are not anarchists demanding a Laissez-faire anything goes free-for-all.  They admit the need for safety and agree that as long as things are equal things are fair.

The fairness of competition is shown in one of its primary foundational principles: that the owner of private property benefits from all the useful services rendered and is liable for all the damages caused to others by its use.  When it becomes impossible to make the enjoyment of certain services dependent on payment or if the damages from its use are deflected then completion is ineffective as a social organizer because the price system has been disrupted.

Thus both restrictions on the use of property and bailouts which transfer the cost of failure from those who made the bad decisions to the taxpayers cause the market to become unhinged from reality and the creature of government direction.  We see licenses, permits, and other regulations control who can engage in what economic activity.  Look at the stock market.  Does it rise or fall because of innovation?  Do the efforts of people to create and market new products lead the DOW to new heights?  No.  The market rises and falls on whether or not the Fed is going to continue pumping fiat money into the system.

The rules of the game have been so distorted by the government that honest and open competition is almost impossible.  This is why the underground economy flourishes, because it the only place where free competition still exists.  And people will always yearn to be free.  No matter how governments try to chain their citizens down with webs of regulations and nets of laws Gulliver will always struggle and strain against the ties that bind until he breaks free.

It is obvious to all that President Obama has succeeded in his goal of fundamentally transforming America.  For example, his massive stimulus that paid off campaign debts to unions and donors and his mountains of new regulations on everything from banking to coal to student loans. There is the never-ending FED pump which just keeps pouring more money into an already bloated bubble in an effort to make a socialized crippled economy at least look like it works. And of course there is Obamacare which effectively socializes 1/6 of the entire economy.  The combination of these policies breaks the back of competition and sound the death knell of the great experiment in freedom begun in 1776.  Drip by drip, inch by inch we have been moved closer to the goal.  Now it is the Health Care take-over and the flood of fiat currency that are leading to a terminal case of bankruptcy, a systems collapse, and as our Progressive leaders hope the dawn of a new day.

When the invisible hand has been tied and competition weighted in favor of government chosen winners and losers, when the electoral game has been stacked in favor of a two headed Progressive Republicrat party of unlimited power, pride and ambition, when equal justice under the law applies only to citizens and not to officials, the Question is, “What’s the Answer.”

That answer might be, “How long?”

How long before we the American people demand that our nation founded in revolution against tyranny reject the empire and restore the Republic?  We can all see that the emperor has no clothes.  We all know the deck has been stacked, the game rigged, and the winners chosen.  How long before we demand that we are allowed to live in a nation where we will be judged by the content of our character and not by our membership in a protected or favored group, our political contributions or whether or not we have saluted the party line?

As we watch our beloved nation transformed it might be well to remember what our second President John Adams once said, “a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  Then again he also said, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

A Word to the Wise September 19, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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The most insidious result that central-planning and the overabundance of government control that it requires is not the maladjustments that it inevitably creates in the economy.  It is not the crony capitalism and bureaucratic nepotism that it always fosters.  It is not the smothering blanket of nanny-state regulations that strangle creativity.  It is not even the tendency to one-party rule even when camouflaged behind a two party system that is in reality two heads of the same bird of prey.  It is not a system which may actually contain only two parties if you believe there is the government party and the country party.

No none of these missteps on the way to an illusionary utopia are the most insidious result of any system no matter what it is called that is some variation on the socialist theme of “From each according to their ability and to each according to their need.” Instead the most insidious result of the effort by some to control all is a change in the character of the people.

When government regulation becomes an all-embracing web of minutia that requires lawyers, accountants, and other translators of government-speak to comprehend, when safety-nets become hammocks, and when the do-gooders believe that they know what is best for everyone reaches a tipping point people begin to expect others to do for them what they used to do for themselves.  A nation of self-reliant, go-getters can be changed into a sea of slugs on the dole constantly crying and voting for more.

The descendants of the pilgrims and the pioneers are content to wait for their government check and their food stamps as long as there is a game on their flat screen and minutes left on their obamaphone.    Militant apathy has ossified the sinews of a once great people.  So many people don’t care about anything beyond their creature comforts, the most basic of which are guaranteed, that the will to succeed has been squashed.

When you guarantee success and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up few will strive to do more than is required.   When success is punished by the ridicule of the media and the inequality of government policies such as a progressive income tax that says, “The more you make the more we take” few will strive to do more than is required.  When college entrance quotas and set-asides say, “We don’t seek the best and the brightest we look at race and gender to pick the winners and losers” few will strive to do more than is required. When government subsidies and tax-breaks say, “If you have connections the government will hold back the crushing reality of the market at tax-payers’ expense” few will strive to do more than is required.

In America today we are surrounded by low-information voters who either don’t pay any attention to affairs beyond their life or who get their news exclusively from the Progressive controlled Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media.  Their opinions are scripted for them by the progressive group-think of corporate hacks constantly building a narrative to advance their utopian agenda.  If it doesn’t fit it doesn’t print.  If they don’t like what you say it will never play.  America’s once dynamic free press transformed into a one-sided monologue reciting over and over, “Government knows best.”

Our government controlled and increasingly standardized education system works hard to say as some of my students have; “a ‘D’ is good enough.” Or, “At our school we receive an attendance diploma it just means we were there it don’t mean we learned anything.”  Assignments such as I witnessed in a 12th grade Political Science class, “Watch Michael Moore’s film, ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ and then write an essay on how many ways Bush lied to trick us into invading Iraq” show indoctrination has in many places swallowed education.  Circumstances such as these tend to stifle those who would drive innovation and promote those who are just along for the ride, pass the mediocre while holding back the brilliant.

We have moved from a capitalist system to a mixed economy and now under a president who promised to fundamentally transform America we are lurching into a socialist system in all but name that seeks to ensure equality of result instead of the equal opportunity which has traditionally been the seedbed of America’s meritocracy.  We have transitioned from a small limited government, a representative republic that operates on democratic principles into an all-powerful central government that operates through a massive bureaucracy.  Executive orders are used to make end-runs around Congress and the Constitution.  Unconstitutional and illegal recess appointments are used to avoid the scrutiny of a Senate confirmation.  Our borders are for all intents and purposes open like an automatic door at Wal-Mart.  Forgetting what Ronald Reagan told us, “A nation without borders is not a nation.”

Norman Thomas, an early Socialist candidate for President said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”  And as Lenin said, “Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.”

Step-by-step we have journeyed from being a people birthed in rebellion against tyranny, a people who founded the world’s first experiment in a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Until a nation founded upon a written constitution which guaranteed limited-government, personal liberty, and economic freedom has become just another failed utopia that is spending itself into oblivion as the band plays, “let the good times roll.”
At a time like this it is good to remember some of the wisdom of those who have gone before:

Noah Webster said, “There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow.   Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government.”

Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”

Benjamin Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

Barry Goldwater said, “A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”

AND

Alexander Tyler said, “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship”

A word to the wise they say is sufficient.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

I’ll Try Not to Get Arrested September 5, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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2 comments

Recently a person I know who saw himself as being in the forefront of the cultural revolution in the 60s and 70s proudly announced he was going to the 50th anniversary of the March   Washington. After his announcement he added the tag line, “I’ll try not to get arrested.”

Let me set the scene. Yes, this person did protest the Vietnam War by burning his draft card and applying and receiving conscientious objector status while going to school not jail. Yes he did turn his back on some traditional America traditions such as Christianity and eating meat. However, he did retain at least two traditions he learned from his family: he has always supported democrats and he is a capitalist.

Of course he would argue vehemently if anyone ever called him a capitalist since he will tell you all day long that he hates capitalists and capitalism. No, he is no capitalist, he is an entrepreneur. According to Dictionary.com “Capitalism is an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.”

Let’s see, my acquaintance is comfortably retired, living on a multimillion dollar private estate in a fashionable area. How did he grab the golden ring? He did it by his own hard work and enterprise. He invented and developed several products; he established a manufacturing company which employed others to do the actual manufacturing and sold enough products to make a living while investing for the future. Then he sold the company and lives on the dividends. But he isn’t a capitalist, he hates capitalism.

I know several people like this. They have reaped the benefits of capitalism yet they hate capitalists. Or as Lenin said, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

Fifty years ago MLK participated in a march on Washington because Blacks in America were suffering from unprecedented unemployment, unspeakable inner city violence, and unconstitutional government surveillance. Fifty years later with the former revolutionaries of the 60s and 70s secure as the power elite, they have finally delivered unprecedented unemployment, unspeakable inner city violence, and unconstitutional government surveillance for everyone without regard to race, creed or color.

The only way someone could get arrested in today’s Washington ruled by Progressives and the very epicenter of Political Correctness is to counter-demonstrate on the other side of the street from the victorious revolutionaries at the MLK triumphal procession.

It amazes me that they cannot see their own inconsistency. They make a pilgrimage to worship a man who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” and yet they support racial quotas, set asides and preferential treatment just to make things fair.

This proudly quintessential anti-war crowd now supports a regime that waged an illegal war in Libya and whose chosen leader wants to kick the hornet’s nest in Syria. These are needless wars that resulted in the establishment of Al Qaeda franchises in Libya and who knows what we will see from an attack on Syria.

The people who elected the Watergate Congress, the people who hounded Nixon out of office because they believed he had violated the Constitution now sow blindly supports our Imperial President, the purported constitutional scholar when he says, “Congress doesn’t have a whole lot of core responsibilities.” Yet the Constitution places Congress as first among equals and devotes more space to its powers than to any other branch.

As they used to remind us the powers of Congress include the sole and exclusive power to declare war.

When President Bush took us into what so many Democrats called illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he sought a debate and received a vote of authorization from Congress. Our over-the-hill revolutionaries held vigils outside Bush’s Texas home and tried to ignite an antiwar movement. Yet when President Obama attacks Libya without even notifying Congress they said nothing.

Now there is a congressional debate over attacking Syria and that is a good thing.  And some are speaking out against a war that doesn’t have anything to do with American national interests.  But where are the limousine liberals?  Are they still supporting a president who is willing to take us to war to put the red in his line?  If they are I pray they remember that red will be the blood of American heroes and what we call so innocently collateral damage.

If you watch the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media tonight you can guess what these perennial revolutionaries will say tomorrow since their personal opinions are plagiarized.

Back during the Vietnam War they were duped into supporting the communists, and now they’re duped into supporting people who want to bring central-planning and eternal surveillance to America.

Is this naivety or hypocrisy? Is this selfless altruism combined with low information? Or is it the self-centered arrogance of people who can be proven wrong time after time yet still believe only they can see the right course.

These aging middle-class capitalists who hate capitalism, these social revolutionaries who live on private estates still see themselves as revolutionaries after they’ve won the revolution. They still worry about getting arrested after their Dear Leaders have taken over control of the police, the IRS, and the NSA. In their 21st Century utopian USSA we find that according  to a Department of Defense training material, “people who embrace “individual liberties” and honor “states’ rights,” among other characteristics, as potential ‘extremists’ who are likely to be members of ‘hate groups.’” In Amerika today the 60s radicals are the establishment and the silent majority has become the outsider.

So while I pray for my acquaintance’s safe return from his pilgrimage, I will keep writing about the need to preserve limited government and I’ll try not to get arrested.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

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