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The Hand Writing is on the Wall July 10, 2010

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

Red Emperors Exploit Red Ink May 23, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Where does our federal government get the right to put the chains of hopeless debt on our grandchildren to buy a better hammock for those who won’t work? The 10th Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” If we never delegated the power to create a National Debt how did the government get it? The power to encumber is the power to destroy. This habit of charging the Visa to the MasterCard is selling us out to the rising red star in the East and if we don’t pull the brake we’re heading for a cliff.
East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet passed for wisdom in the days when information took more than a nanosecond passing between continents. Today they not only meet they compete, and the Red Emperors of the East exploit the red ink of the West. Today our Progressive leaders embrace the suffocating sameness of socialist conformity and collectivist confiscation while communist mandarins release the long pent up energies of their people.
Living behind the veil of a high-tech Forbidden City unseen by the outside world Red Emperors abandoned the unattainable ideal of equality of outcome for the more economically successful model of indigenous industries and monetary policies designed to ensure a favorable balance of trade. Alexander Hamilton once recommended these policies and the early United States followed them. The unseen hand of Chinese leaders transforms Mao’s Stalinist nightmare into the poster child for an economic miracle.
Transforming a cult of personality into an oligarchy holding local elections monitored by the Carter Center and judged by them to be open and competitive top leadership faces intraparty elections and peacefully transfer power from one leader to the next. They’ve jettisoned Communist economic policies, which inevitably lead to ruin transforming themselves into a corporate-style authoritarianism resembling the Five Families of New York, or the Outfit and Machine of Chicago. An efficient arrangement that provides ample benefits for those who shut-up and go along to get along and ruthless whacks for any mole silly enough to poke its head up.
The tale of two civilizations: America slides into the decay of collectivism with oppressive regulations and confiscatory taxes discouraging the innovation and enterprise which made us great. China turns away from these tools of re-distribution and embraces capitalism without naming it. Today, business opportunities found in the shadow of Tiananmen Square are discouraged and penalized in the shadow of the Liberty Bell.
Today Union Bosses no longer break your legs if you oppose them, instead they sell your stock short, likewise the leaders of the People’s Liberation Army openly urge that China dump American bonds to influence American policies a naked example of Chinese power and American weakness. China knows they can’t face America militarily. However, due to crippling collectivist policies the American economy is on life support propped up through massive borrowing from China making us vulnerable to extortion. In addition to the $798.9 billion in U.S. Treasuries China holds its accumulated $2.4 trillion in foreign reserves mainly in American dollars. How are they using this economic arsenal? China buys American natural resources, major stakes in American Icon companies, and control of vital natural resources around the world.
As the economies and social systems of Western Europe stumble and America lurches in the same direction what type of system will rise from the abyss? Will dazed survivors of the coming crash shuffle off into a shabby future replicating the collectivist mistakes that drove us off the cliff adding totalitarian terror tactics to the mix or will the re-booted West re-embrace the inspirational thinking of the Enlightenment? Though it’s the excesses of casino capitalism protected and bailed-out by cronies in government inflating the bubbles of our drowning civilization economic freedom and republican principles are blamed for the crime. The true engine of our decline is the collectivism of the Progressives slipping in one entitlement and one tax at a time regulating opportunity and predetermining outcomes. This undermined the economic and social forces of Western exceptionalism. As bewildered citizens become aware of what’s happened to their countries they’ll gravitate to whoever promises the best example of success. It’s an inescapable conclusion China is well situated to provide that example.
Confucius said, “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” The debtor is slave to the lender, and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Whether it comes from the East or the West, wisdom tells us spending yourself into oblivion isn’t such a good deal when it comes time to pay the bill, and payday’s coming some day.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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