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You Say You Want a Revolution April 3, 2014

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Our revolution changed the world. Our Declaration of Independence proclaims self-evident truths. That all men are created equal, they’re endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These words shook a world held in the vise-grip of hereditary privilege inspiring people around the globe. Our Constitution established a representative republic with a limited government of the people, by the people and for the people.

We’ve watched as our constitutionally limited government grew until today it’s a leviathan running amok like Godzilla in Tokyo smashing things and scaring boy scouts. Today the Federal government is the largest employer in America, states are the largest employers in the states and counties are among the largest employers in the counties get the picture? Government is on a rampage and unless Mothra is going to fly in to save the day we’ll have to deal with Frankenstein-on-the-Potomac ourselves.

Such brazen power-plays as the Executive branch issuing the Legislature an ultimatum, either pass Cap-N-Trade or we’ll impose it administratively through command-and-control make the dramatic changes in our political culture shockingly apparent.   Has our balance of powers melted away under the glare of executive orders, signing statements and now ultimatums?   Some people say this is evolution. To others it’s devolution. Our hard-won and dearly-paid-for Republic is devolving into a command-and-control all-encompassing central-state.

With political dynasties bequeathing congressional seats like hereditary fiefdoms it’s becoming hard to explain why we left the British Empire. Today we not only have taxation without representation as congressional party-line voters ignore their constituents we also have representation without taxation as the perpetually re-elected Lords and Ladies represent the illegal immigrants and the professional welfare hammock-riders.

These big government social planners may believe they’ve achieved their community organizing goals fulfilling Historian Will Durant paraphrase of Lincoln’s famous quote, “It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” They may believe their revolutionary administration will fundamentally change America however, if they’d step 20 miles outside the Beltway obviously there’s a counter-revolution brewing. The Tea Party is overtaking the Republican Party in popularity. It has already supplanted them at the grassroots of the conservative movement. By 2010 an avalanche of voters thronged the polling places demanding their country back.

Following the tactics of Saul Alinsky brought the Obama-Acorn-SEIU coalition control of the Democratic Party and the country but following the Cloward/Piven Strategy for overwhelming the system to impose an alternative system is going to lead to a complete repudiation of this radical departure from traditional American politics and economics. We aren’t Venezuela. Even after decades of legislative efforts to progressively create a permanent underclass of government dependents who’ll follow the leader to the next looting of productive members of society the majority in this country still want freedom and opportunity not cradle-to-grave mediocrity.

We can and should stage a counter-revolution against this growing tyranny. A peaceful, lawful revolution at the ballot box and if you’re talking about destruction, you can count me out. The last thing we need in this crowded theater full of combustible emotions is either a match or someone shouting fire. Any incident right now would trigger a massive response. Just as the executive is using the EPA to impose the onerous restrictions of a Cap-N-Trade style economy stunting strangulation of regulations he’s also using ICE to change the enforcement of immigration policy and cook the books without any messy debate.

Ruling by decree, “I have a pen and I have a phone,” is hardly compatible with constitutionally-limited government. We’re told the administration has solutions. They sold us a solution to heal the greatest health care system in the world “If you like your plan you can keep your plan. Period” lik e a pig-in-a-poke. They claim to have a solution to save or create jobs while we lose jobs every month, a draconian solution for the man-made global warming hoax, a solution for endless wars for elusive peace. You say you have a solution. We’d all love to see the plan.

They say they want a contribution. Back in the good old change we could believe in days the dialogue of class warfare repeated that no one making under 250,000, or was it 150,000, or was it …anyway only the evil rich would have to pay a dime of new taxes. Watch out! You might find out you’re rich come next April 15th.

Everyone has known since at least that tax-cutting wild man JFK that cutting taxes increases revenue to the government and raising them lowers revenue. Since the government knows raising taxes lowers revenue and since they’re raising taxes to increase revenue what are they trying to do? Complicated tax codes are used as a way to incentivize and de-incentivize behavior.

If you want more widgets give tax breaks for buying widgets. If you want less widgets tax widgets. Using that for a guide notice what’s being pushed and what’s being pulled? Taxes on producers and tax breaks for non-producers imagine tax cuts for people who don’t pay taxes and tax increases for those who do. Taking the money of producers to bailout the greedy, reward the cronies and support the lazy. It’s time to tell the statists at the ballot box if they want money for things we hate they’re going to have to wait.

Executive orders and signing statements have been used in Republican and Democrat administrations for years to change the constitution without changing the Constitution. Now sweeping new powers by regulators threatens to make Congress irrelevant as an all-powerful executive branch grows like a malignant tumor. Don’t lose heart, don’t despair, don’t you know it’s going to be all right? Keep the faith, keep the peace, organize and win the day. We shall Overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Without Hope You’re Hopeless October 12, 2012

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Listening to the lies of the politicians as presented by the prattle of the biased it is easy to lose hope in a secular sense.  My hope in an eternal sense is founded on the rock of an unshakable faith in Jesus, and so it cannot be shaken.  However, in the secular resting, as it must upon the shifting sands of man in America today, hope as a measured commodity is all too often hopeless.  Seeking for hope in current events, a diamond among the discards and a point of light in a sea of darkness, is seeking something positive among the gathering gloom of an empire in eclipse.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot focus on the negative trends of our current situation for long without at least contemplating depression and I don’t mean the economic kind.  I am thankful I have a peace that passes all understanding and a hope that cannot be taken away, and I am also glad that I have a sense of History which gives me a context to frame the Now.  For if all we have is the Now it can always be changed with the next headline, the next news bulletin, or the next press release.  Having a historical context brings things into focus fitting the events of today into flow of time from yesterday to tomorrow.

Truth often becomes the victim of expediency.  For what seems true at the moment may end up as the lie of the hour.  Politicians bend truth like gravity bends light: the heavier the perceived need the greater the unperceived distortion.  Lies can become so widely believed that truth is swallowed in truism. Lies become the accepted wisdom of professional pundits chattering endlessly, supporting that which ultimately must fall for those who seek to surf a tsunami into a safe harbor.  The news is filled with half-truths and as my second favorite philosopher, Anonymous, once said, “Beware of half-truths, you may have gotten the wrong half.”

We live in a twilight time.  Twilight by definition is a time when two sources of light pierce the gloom. It is that quivering moment when both the sun and the moon hold back the darkness.  The darkness of confusion is dispelled by the brightness of the sun of truth, but it is disputed by refracted light of the moon of opinion masquerading as truth.

Casting about for something solid in the midst of the swirling fog of conflicting facts, shifting observations, and contradictory visions in the secular sense I must focus on one thing: the people.  I trust the American people.  I trust them to make the right choice when presented with unvarnished reality.  I trust them to do what must be done to preserve the bequest of our forefathers for the inheritance of our posterity.

The Declaration of Independence was written to proclaim the righteousness of the actions of “One people” with the courage to declare to a world sold into bondage that our liberty was founded upon truth. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We the People wrote the Constitution in order to perfect that which had been founded upon the truth.  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It is to this one people, this “We the people” that I look for secular hope, political peace, and the eventual solution to our current cultural conundrum. The popular definition of a conundrum is a problem without a solution.  However it also has another meaning: a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun.  Since I am referring to the second meaning I will present the riddle, “How is liberalism the solution to the problem of liberalism?”

In our through-the-looking-glass world, politicians use actual truth to obscure the obvious truth.  Congressman Joe Early (D-Mass) at a press conference to answer questions about the House Bank scandal said, “They gave me a book of checks. They didn’t ask for any deposits.”  While I’m sure it is true he was given a book of checks, obviously one needs to make deposits if one is to honestly write checks.  In this same manner the leaders of our free country promote socialism as the solution to the problems socialism has caused knowing that you cannot honestly write checks if you don’t make deposits.  Capitalism makes the deposits and socialism wants to write the checks.  As Churchill said “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

We are awash in polls.  Every campaign and every major news source constantly trumpet polls many of which contradict each other.  No matter what the polls say I believe that the American people still believe in freedom.  I believe they still believe in the equality of opportunity and the opportunity of equality.  We all aren’t the same.  Each of us is born with a particular set of talents and each of us uses those talents in a certain way.  It is my belief, that given the level playing field of individual liberty and economic freedom, the vast majority of Americans will work hard to earn what they deserve.  This is my secular hope. Heaven on earth is not possible but given individual liberty and economic freedom inherently promised in the perfect union we the people sought to create we can at least avoid remaining in the hell of socialism the Progressives are currently foisting upon us, as Churchill also said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Oh, by the way, the answer to the riddle is that Classical Liberalism promotes the general welfare by promoting the limitation of government and the liberty of the individual in order to better serve the whole. Welfare Liberalism erodes the general welfare by expanding the government at the expense of the individual in order to better serve the individual.  Thus Classical Liberalism is the solution to the problems caused by Welfare Liberalism.  And that’s the truth which brings me to one last Churchill quote for the day, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.”

Hope and change may have convinced our fellow citizens to sell their birthright of freedom for the savory red stew of give me more; however, November is coming and things may change. At least we can hope.  For without hope we are hopeless and we are a hopeful people.

Don’t be discouraged by the blather of the pontificating politicians or confused by the conflicting ruminations of the professional talkers. When all is said and done we can trust us.  We the people will eventually come down on the side of truth, justice, and the American way.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens. Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens  You can contact Dr. Owens at drrobertowens@hotmail.com

We Can Trust Us November 25, 2011

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Listening to the lies of the politicians as presented by the prattle of the biased it is easy to lose hope in a secular sense.  My hope in an eternal sense is founded on the rock of an unshakable faith in Jesus and so it cannot be shaken.  However, in the secular resting, as it must upon the shifting sands of man in America today, hope as a measured commodity is all too often hopeless.  Seeking for hope in current events, a diamond among the discards and a point of light in a sea of darkness, is seeking something positive among the gathering gloom of an empire in eclipse.

I don’t know about you but I cannot focus on the negative trends of our current situation for long without at least contemplating depression and I don’t mean the economic kind.  I am thankful I have a peace that passes all understanding and a hope that cannot be taken away, and I am also glad that I have a sense of History which gives me a context to frame the Now.  For if all we have is the Now it can always be changed with the next headline, the next news bulletin or the next press release.  Having a historical context brings things into focus fitting the events of today into flow of time from yesterday to tomorrow.

Truth often becomes the victim of expediency.  For what seems true at the moment may end up as the lie of the hour.  Politicians bend truth like gravity bends light: the heavier the perceived need the greater the unperceived distortion.  Lies can become so widely believed that truth is swallowed in truism. As lies become the accepted wisdom of professional pundits chattering endlessly supporting that which ultimately must fall for those who seek to surf a tsunami into a safe harbor.  The news is filled with half-truths and as my second favorite philosopher, Anonymous once said, “Beware of half-truths, you may have gotten the wrong half.”

We live in a twilight time.  Twilight by definition is a time when two sources of light pierce the gloom, that quivering moment when both the sun and the moon hold back the darkness.  The darkness of confusion is dispelled by the brightness of the sun of truth but it is disputed by refracted light of the moon of opinion masquerading as truth.

Casting about for something solid in the midst of the swirling fog of conflicting facts, shifting observations, and contradictory visions in the secular sense I must focus on one thing: the people.  I trust the American people.  I trust them to make the right choice when presented with unvarnished reality.  I trust them to do what must be done to preserve the bequest of our forefathers for the inheritance of our posterity.

The Declaration of Independence was written to proclaim the righteousness of the actions of “One people” with the courage to declare to a world sold into bondage that our liberty was founded upon truth. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We the People wrote the Constitution in order to perfect that which had been founded upon the truth.  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It is to this one people, this “We the people” that I look for secular hope, political peace, and the eventual solution to our current cultural conundrum. The popular definition of a conundrum is a problem without a solution.  However it also has another meaning, a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun.  Since I am referring to the second meaning I will present the riddle, “How is liberalism the solution to the problem of liberalism?”

In our through-the-looking-glass world politicians use actual truth to obscure the obvious truth.  Congressman Joe Early (D-Mass) at a press conference to answer questions about the House Bank scandal said, “They gave me a book of checks. They didn’t ask for any deposits.”  While I’m sure it is true he was given a book of checks, obviously one needs to make deposits if one is to honestly write checks.  In this same manner the leaders of our free country promote socialism as the solution to the problems socialism has caused knowing that you cannot honestly write checks if you don’t make deposits.  Capitalism makes the deposits and socialism wants to write the checks.  As Churchill said “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

We are awash in polls.  Every campaign and every major news source constantly trumpet polls many of which contradict each other.  No matter what the polls say I believe that the American people still believe in freedom.  I believe they still believe in the equality of opportunity and the opportunity of equality.  We all aren’t the same.  Each of us is born with a particular set of talents and each of us uses those talents in a certain way.  It is my belief, that given the level playing field of individual liberty and economic freedom, the vast majority of Americans will work hard to earn what they deserve.  This is my secular hope. Heaven on earth is not possible but given individual liberty and economic freedom inherently promised in the perfect union we the people sought to create we can at least avoid remaining in the hell of socialism the Progressives are currently foisting upon us, and as Churchill also said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Oh, by the way, the answer to the riddle is that Classical Liberalism promotes the general welfare by promoting the limitation of government and the liberty of the individual in order to better serve the whole. Welfare Liberalism erodes the general welfare by expanding the government at the expense of the individual in order to better serve the individual.  Thus Classical Liberalism is the solution to the problems caused by Welfare Liberalism.  And that’s the truth which brings me to one last Churchill quote for the day, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.”

Don’t be discouraged by the blather of the pontificating politicians or confused by the conflicting ruminations of the professional talkers. When all is said and done we can trust us.  We the people will eventually come down on the side of truth, justice, and the American way.

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

 

Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater December 1, 2010

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As America appears to swirl down the drain under the current maladministration, and as the new normal of 9-10% unemployment, crushing debt, and diplomacy by the wiki-wonks compromises our credibility it’s time to recall that there must be limits if there’s to be freedom.  President Obama believes the Constitution is flawed, because it only speaks of “negative” liberties and it merely restrains government instead of empowering it.  This reveals a lack of understanding of the American Experiment that is breath-taking to behold in the man elected to defend the Constitution.

A constitutional novice, let alone a supposed constitutional scholar, should know the reason for a written constitution is to set limits for government so that individual liberty and freedom can bloom.  This has been true since King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta.  It was true when the Miracle at Philadelphia produced the Constitution, and it’s true today.  If government is not limited it is limitless.

What should be taught has not been taught.  What should be known is not known.  And what should be self-evident remains hidden in plain sight: “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These words ring down the halls of History reverberating in the heart of every Patriot.  Flowing from this same well-spring of wisdom is the reason for the institution of government, the source of the social contract which holds us together as a people: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Two hundred and thirty-four years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great culture war, and testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. These Dispatches from the History of the Future are brought forth on a great battle-field of that war: the media.

The world will little note, nor long remember what is said here, but it will never forget what patriotic authors have done and are doing. It is fitting for we who labor in the field of communications to dedicate our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to the task remaining before us that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Therefore, no matter if a certain Dispatch elicits praise or condemnation, whether it agrees or disagrees with every nuance of each individual it is hoped that positions will be taken in context.  That people will react to articles and not headlines.  To disagree on matters of foreign relations does not distract from our unity of vision that limited government, personal freedom, and individual liberty are the source and the summit of the American Experiment.  Another pearl of wisdom from our forefathers may also be relevant to the necessity of not allowing divisions to divide us, “We must all hang together, or we shall all hang separately.”

A free press and people willing to share their thoughts whether popular or unpopular have long been the bane of tyrants.  Those who seek to order the lives of others and to micromanage the fate of nations cannot abide the literature of liberty or the discourse of free people boldly proclaiming that the government that governs least governs best.  Thus, these Dispatches from the History of the Future have been banned by the editors of the elite from China to Denver.

A quick review of recent history (Germany & Japan) teaches that nations which were once enemies can become friends, and those who were friends (Iran) can become enemies.  This alone should direct us to the wisdom of George Washington, “The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”  To base our future foreign relations upon our past chains us to backward thinking and tunnel vision, two things our current enemies are exploiting on a daily basis.  Please take your shoes off and prepare for the porno scan or grope.

Let us not lose sight of the sacred cause for which we labor: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Let us stand together against the assault upon freedom that is the growth of Progressive government.  The time is fast approaching when no matter how dedicated some may be to America remaining on the beat as the world’s policeman, building nations in our own image and chasing the mirage of security through empire, the burden of garrisons in ninety nations, and wars in several more will compel us to retire to the security of our borders.

This does not mean isolationism for we cannot retreat from commerce.  It does however mean the time has come to once again heed the wisdom of our first President, “Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.  Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?”

The time is also fast approaching when the words of our founders may once again ring clear in a land losing sight of our focus: limited government, liberty, and personal freedom.  A time when the words of Jefferson will once again make tyrants quake, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Let all patriots stand together for truth, justice and the American way.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  Get the latest dispatches from the History of the Future and find books by Dr. Owens @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

 

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

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

That man was conceived of by our founders as a created being is attested to in the Declaration of Independence when it says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These rights the Creator endowed us with fall into two broad categories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does Equality Mean We Are All The Same April 26, 2010

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In the Declaration of Independence a new thing entered the world, a country founded upon the idea of equality. The Old World consisted of societies built upon hereditary class and entrenched privilege. Beginning with words that still burn within the breast of Patriots, this great document proclaims two types of equality.
Based upon the first clause, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” the first type is equality before the law. We all stand before the bar of justice on the same footing. There aren’t different laws for different classes. The definition of murder is the same for the homeless person, the mechanic and the billionaire. This equality, a natural part of our creation proclaims that neither classes nor other artificial divisions will ever be recognized in law or enshrined through legislation.
Based upon the second clause, “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” the second type is equality of opportunity. Everyone is entitled to their life and the fruits of it. Each of us has an equal right to the liberty of action, the freedom to choose our life’s path and to make our own decisions. And each of us has the right to pursue happiness. In almost all other lists such as this from the period, many of them written into state constitutions by the same people who wrote the Declaration, this is the right to own property and the happiness here is assumed to mean the right to use our own talents and the things they gain for us for our own benefit as long as we do not injure nor hinder others.
These rights and the equality they express were later protected by the Constitution. Congress shall not confer titles of nobility. Congress shall not pass bills of attainder convicting groups or individuals without a trial. Through the use of these and other negatives the Framers sought to secure Americans the possession of the equality proclaimed by the Declaration. The Bill of Rights went even further in declaring what Congress could not do in the attempt to guarantee the continued exercise of the equality granted by our Creator. The mechanism the Framers used to keep freedom alive was limiting government for they knew governments gain power by subtracting freedom from individuals.
However, it needs to be noted that the limitations placed upon government as a means of securing the equal rights of citizens in no way states that there should be a leveling of all people or that there will not continue to be distinctions and differences among them. This was never stated and never intended for the belief in or vision of a population with standardized talents, inclinations and goals does not match reality. There are as many different sets of these as there are people. In each individual, life should be open to choice. The only boundaries being that we do no harm nor proscribe the choice of others. This is the level playing field of creation, a pure equality of opportunity to be harvested in proportion to the Creator’s gift of talents and our investment of time and effort.
As long as the role of government is limited, and as long people are free to operate within the informal social arrangements of a non-regimented, non-stratified society there’s no tension between equality of opportunity and liberty. This quest for equality of outcome has become a social goal adopted as a reason for destroying society as it is in the name of society as a small cadre of radicals thinks it should be. In the aftermath of economic or societal collapse, revolutionaries, or in the case of the American Progressives “Evolutionaries,” will seek to erect in the place of popular government a bureaucratic tyranny devoted to leveling all to the lowest common denominator. Except of course for the levelers themselves who rise by deciding who gets what, and it’s the deciders who always seem to get the most. For, some perceive that equality of all is not the same as the equality of some, or as the ruling pigs in George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm declare, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This reflects the subversion of equality of opportunity into equality of outcome or as it’s termed by Progressives equal opportunity.
To build this monument to mediocrity the philosophers of progressivism subtly change the meaning of equality. Instead of the opportunity for all to succeed it becomes the certainty of everyone getting a trophy for showing up, a diploma for attendance or a check for not working. Built upon the premise that if all are created equal all should end up equal thus denying the goal of equality the chance to go as far and as fast as talent and hard work can lead.
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

How True is the Truth? February 14, 2010

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Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. In a similar fashion everyone wants smaller budgets and lower taxes but nobody wants their services cut. Like all truisms these sound right but are they?
Consider the first one. Agnostics aren’t sure whether there is a God or not consequently they say there is no heaven and pray there is no hell so they have a vested interest in remaining above room temperature. Atheists are sure there isn’t any God and sure there isn’t any heaven so they want to hang on as long as they can since the alternative isn’t. The big rub comes when we think of believers. They know there’s a God and know there is a heaven so why don’t they want to die? Some believers believe there’s a God and believe there’s a heaven but aren’t sure if they’ll make it in so it makes sense they want to hang around at least long enough to earn enough points to get to where they want to go instead of any alternatives they may also believe in. The real puzzler is the believers who believe in God and believe in heaven and who also believe they know they’re going to heaven. I know many people who fit into this category and without an exception none of them appear to want to die. Now if heaven is a better place and dying is the entrance fee wouldn’t it make sense to want to die?
One of the principle leaders of the we know there’s a God, know there’s a heaven and know we’re going to heaven party once said if it was up to him he’d just as soon go to a better place but since it would benefit others if he kept on keeping on he’d forgo the pleasure dying would bring and continue to live. Now a selfless choice to keep on living makes sense in that situation and I want to imagine that’s what everyone fitting into this category is doing but I also imagine I should see a whole lot more “Benefiting of others” going on. So actually the saying should be, “Some people believe in heaven but for one reason or another nobody wants to die.” That doesn’t have the impact of the original does it?
Turning to the second truism, “Everyone wants smaller budgets and lower taxes but nobody wants their services cut.” Not everyone wants a smaller budget. Most people who work for government don’t. Most people who receive benefits don’t. Most elected officials don’t. And among those who do it usually comes down to take theirs don’t touch mine. If an environmentalist wants a smaller budget they want subsidies cut from big oil but support subsidies to big ethanol. If supporters of military intervention want a smaller budget they may support cutting off the tree-huggers at the knees but they want that latest weapons systems. Then there are those who want to increase the budget dropping pearls of wisdom like, “We’ve got to spend our way out of this recession.”
What about taxes? Doesn’t everyone want taxes lowered? No, taxation without representation may have worked to stir this country to rebellion but today there are many people who don’t vote yet want taxes raised higher and higher. How can this be? In America today we have certain groups of people who’re essentially exempt from taxes and recipients of direct benefits and others who pay taxes and don’t receive much from the government except next year’s quarterly tax vouchers. The progressive tax system has achieved its goal, from each according to their ability to each according to their need.
Since people from the boomer-living-life-large-petal-to-the-metal generation are in charge budgets equate to if one is good ten is better so if the milk cow rich finance our lifestyle now how about a bigger day? Let’s milk them twice, three times, how about four times as much. Problem is we want more cheese than we have milk. As the national Visa bill grows and our foreign bankers want more interest the income level it takes to be considered one of the milk cow rich keeps getting lower. The long coddled poor still don’t realize that the amount they receive in their monthly dole will eventually paint a target on their wallet to help the still poorer in our globalized village. The morbidly obese welfare recipient with three color TVs and two cars is one of the wealthiest people on earth and this redistributionist plunder empire can only continue to survive with fresh victims to plunder. Have we changed our national motto to “Stand and deliver” yet?
How true is the truth? The definition of a truism is an undoubted or self-evident truth. We see from the short examination above truisms often falter when they collide with scrutiny. What about these truisms, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” They acknowledge a creator and speak of life. They acknowledge liberty and a right to pursue happiness. Milk cows don’t pursue happiness they only exist to give milk and they only live as long as they do. And that’s the truth.
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

You Say You Want a Revolution December 14, 2009

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Our revolution changed the world. Our Declaration of Independence proclaims self-evident truths. That all men are created equal, they’re endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These words shook a world held in the vise-grip of hereditary privilege inspiring people around the globe. Our Constitution established a representative republic with a limited government of the people, by the people and for the people.
We’ve watched as our constitutionally limited government grew until today it’s leviathan running amok like Godzilla in Tokyo smashing things and scaring boy scouts. Today the Federal government is the largest employer in America, states are the largest employers in the states and counties are among the largest employers in the counties get the picture? Government’s on a rampage and unless Mothra is going to fly in to save the day we’ll have to deal with Frankenstein-on-the-Potomac ourselves.
Such brazen power-plays as the Executive branch issuing the Legislature an ultimatum, either pass Cap-N-Trade or we’ll impose it administratively through command-and-control make the dramatic changes in our political culture shockingly apparent. Has our balance of powers melted away under the glare of executive orders, signing statements and now ultimatums? Some people say this is evolution. To others it’s devolution. Our hard-won and dearly-paid-for Republic is devolving into a command-and-control all-encompassing central-state. With political dynasties bequeathing congressional seats like hereditary fiefdoms it’s becoming hard to explain why we left the British Empire. Today we not only have taxation without representation as congressional party-line voters ignore their constituents we also have representation without taxation as the perpetually re-elected Lords and Ladies represent the illegal immigrants, the professional welfare hammock-riders and now Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his band of war-criminals.
These big government social planners may believe they’ve achieved their community organizing goals fulfilling Historian Will Durant paraphrase of Lincoln’s famous quote, “It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” They may believe their revolutionary administration will fundamentally change America however, if they’d step 20 miles outside the Beltway obviously there’s a counter-revolution brewing. The Tea Party is overtaking the Republican Party in popularity. It has already supplanted them at the grassroots of the conservative movement. By 2010 an avalanche of voters will throng the polling places demanding their country back.
Following the tactics of Saul Alinsky brought the Obama-Acorn-SEIU coalition control of the Democratic Party and the country but following the Cloward/Piven Strategy for overwhelming the system to impose an alternative system is going to lead to a complete repudiation of this radical departure from traditional American politics and economics. We aren’t Venezuela. Even after decades of legislative efforts to progressively create a permanent underclass of government dependants who’ll follow the leader to the next looting of productive members of society the majority in this country still want freedom and opportunity not cradle-to-grave mediocrity.
We can and should stage a counter-revolution against this growing tyranny. A peaceful, lawful revolution at the ballot box and if you’re talking about destruction, you can count me out. The last thing we need in this crowded theater full of combustible emotions is either a match or someone shouting fire. Any incident right now would trigger a massive response. Just as the executive is using the EPA to impose the onerous restrictions of a Cap-N-Trade style economy stunting strangulation regulation he’s also using ICE to change the enforcement of immigration policy without any messy debate. Ruling by decree is hardly compatible with constitutionally-limited government. We’re told the administration has solutions. A solution to heal the greatest health care system in the world, a solution to save or create jobs while we lose jobs every month, a draconian solution for the man-made global warming hoax, a solution for endless wars for elusive peace. You say you have a solution. We’d all love to see the plan.
They say they want a contribution. Back in the good old change we could believe in days the dialogue of class warfare repeated that no one making under 250,000, or was it 150,000, or was it …anyway only the evil rich would have to pay a dime of new taxes. Watch out! You might find out you’re rich come next April 15th. Everyone has known since at least that tax-cutting wild man JFK that cutting taxes increases revenue to the government and raising them lowers revenue. Since the government knows raising taxes lowers revenue and since they’re raising taxes to increase revenue what are they trying to do? Complicated tax codes are used as a way to incentivize and de-incentivize behavior. If you want more widgets give tax breaks for buying widgets. If you want less widgets tax widgets. Using that for a guide notice what’s being pushed and what’s being pulled? Taxes on producers and tax breaks for non-producers imagine tax cuts for people who don’t pay taxes and tax increases for those who do. Taking the money of producers to bailout the greedy, reward the cronies and support the lazy. It’s time to tell the statists at the ballot box if they want money for things we hate they’re going to have to wait.
Executive orders and signing statements have been used in Republican and Democrat administrations for years to change the constitution without changing the constitution. Now sweeping new powers by regulators threatens to make Congress irrelevant as an all powerful executive branch grows like a malignant tumor. Don’t lose heart, don’t despair, don’t you know it’s going to be all right? Keep the faith, keep the peace, organize and win the 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 © 2009 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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