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Why Liberty Dies May 15, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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To understand why liberty is imperiled in our country today we must first state clearly and unequivocally what is liberty.  Then and only then can we understand what is necessary for its preservation as well as see what is undermining it today.  Liberty is the absence of coercion and the freedom to act upon your own will within the perimeters of not infringing the freedom of action of others.  The only way that has been found among the societies of man to ensure, promote and protect liberty is through the rule of law.

The rule of law means that government is not allowed to coerce an individual except through the enforcement of a previously known and explicitly stated principle of limited government.  This principle places a limit upon the power of government to legislate by calling into question what sorts of laws are legitimate and which is not.  This looks beyond individual statutes to the very nature of legislation itself.  This differs markedly with the modern notion of the rule of law that holds as long as all the actions of a government comply with the law it is meeting the standard.  It is well to remember that under this definition both the Nazis and the Soviets operated under the rule of law.

This modern definition is actually an oxymoron.  If a government passes a law which says that it can do whatever it wants than everything it does is legal.  Hitler passed the Enabling Act and accomplished this in one fell swoop.

Because the rule of law is an absolute limitation on all legislation it cannot be a law of the same order as that passed by a legislature.  No Legislator can effectively limit himself through legislation since he can always amend that legislation at a later date.  Constitutions can make the infringement of pre-decided basic principles more difficult; however, as we have seen in our own Progressive land of the Living Document limitations can be re-defined away through courts and tradition.

The rule of law can only prevail where its basic principles are an organic part of the culture of the people.  They must be part of the commonly held beliefs and standards of a majority of the people or they will be jettisoned as soon as they restrain that majority from following the path of least resistance and living as they believe they should.  For if the rule of law is the common belief it will be followed closely and guarded jealously.  If it is seen as impractical or as an impediment to life as the majority wish to live it, it will be soon rejected and replaced.  Such a society will gladly embrace tyranny and arbitrary rule as long as they are convinced that they can now live as they want to live.

In our nation we have built a rather impressive framework to restrain the government: our Constitution.  Though it has been interpreted into meaninglessness in many ways it is still given lip service and is still the penultimate law of the land.   However there is one glaring hole that is currently being exploited to make an end-run around its remaining provisions: the rise of the Federal Bureaucracy.

We have gone to great lengths to limit what powers the elected officials of our government possess and left open the door for appointed officials to run rough shod over our lives.  The legislature passes vague thousand page laws and then the bureaucrats interpret them any way they desire with little or no oversight.  Elected officials, even the perpetually re-elected gerrymandered creatures of today come and go.   The bureaucracy lives forever.  When the elected officials cannot find the power to impose the Progressive agenda they do it through the bureaucrats they have appointed.

When they couldn’t pass Cap-N-Trade, they imposed it through the EPA.  When they can’t pass gun restrictions they have their bureaucrats buy up all the ammunition and make it almost impossible for the people to obtain any.  When they can’t pass amnesty they impose it through regulations and edicts.  The control of private land is taken through wet lands regulations.  Between the out of control legislators-for-life and their appointed regulators we are told to do everything from what kind of light bulbs to buy to how many gallons we can use to flush a toilet.

Liberty is being eaten away inch by inch and day by day, legislated, and  regulated into oblivion.  When our government can’t pass laws or impose regulations they will utilize the IRS, the NSA or anyone of a hundred of their alphabet agencies to spy on us or intimidate us into silence.  Common Core is coming for the kids.  Amnesty is coming for the jobs.  Political Correctness is coming for free speech.

Unless patriots stand-up the country will fall.  It will still be called the United States of America.  People will still say the pledge of Allegiance.  They will still sing the national anthem and salute the flag but will it be the same country that our forefathers fought and died for?  Will it still be the land of the free and the home of the brave?  Or will it be something else: a place where the rule of law once protected its citizens from the rule of men until the laws of men overwhelmed the laws of nature and of nature’s God?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau one those who inspired the Framers of the Constitution reminded us, “Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.”

Barry Goldwater said, “Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.”

The enemies of freedom also speak of liberty.  Vladimir Lenin said, “It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.”

Benito Mussolini said, “The truth is that men are tired of liberty.

The controllers of men may try to use the language of liberty to subvert liberty however, the God given spirit of man shall always strive to become what God meant for us to be, free people in a free world.”

Norman Vincent Peale said, “Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America’s problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God.”

Winston Churchill told us, “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

And every school child should know that Patrick Henry famously said, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

Why does liberty die?  Because the people allow it.

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

 

You Say You Want a Revolution April 3, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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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

 

Are the States Out of Date? July 5, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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The people of the founding generation did not think of Americans as Americans. They did not see them as one people but instead as citizens of the various states. Even as late as the Civil War, people such as Robert E. Lee, who disagreed with secession and wanted a united United States, left because his State seceded and not because he suddenly wanted Virginia to be another country. Another example of the feelings of many in the founding generation was the fact that the term “We the People of the United States” that opens the  preamble to the Constitution caused great controversy during the ratification debates. It was pointed out as a blatant attempt to make the States irrelevant.

The Constitution was meant to improve the federation of the various States as created under the Articles of Confederation. It was not meant to create anything new. This was stressed over and over by the supporters of the Constitution in the ratification debates. The Framers voted by State, and, though some of the Framers wouldn’t sign the completed document, since it was adopted by all the States it was called unanimous. The ratification votes of the various conventions voted by state not as individuals. As provided in the original document the members of the Senate were not elected by the people at large. They were instead selected by the State legislatures. The house was designed to represent the people, and the Senate was designed to represent the States.

The Constitution never would have been ratified without this provision designed to protect the States from losing their integrity as sovereign republics which had voluntarily joined together. This was essential and this was generally understood.

So when was our social contract revised? How can a contract be unilaterally revised?

When did we agree to surrender our liberty in exchange for security? When did we agree to move from a voluntary federal republic to a centrally-planned democracy? When did our freedom from warrantless searches morph into 360° surveillance? When and how were the guarantees found in the Bill of Rights turned inside out and upside down?

The scariest thing I see about all this as I travel around the country is not that our totalitarian wanabes will use any excuse and any subterfuge to undermine limited government for the benefit of their power and their crony capitalist’s profit. No, that doesn’t scare me or surprise me at all. What catches my attention is that as I speak to more and more people about this creeping corporatism the majority of them say things like, “I’m glad the government is watching out for terrorists” or “If you’re not saying or doing anything wrong why should you care if the government listens in?”

Not only have Americans been dumbed down to the point where the majority of college freshmen need remedial studies, but these descendants of the pioneers have lost sight of the American Dream. Asked “What is the American dream?” most citizens today will recite the pabulum spooned out by the Federal Reserve Bubble Machine, the political hacks who gave them power, and the Wall Street Casino that profits by the game: “The American Dream is to own your own Home.”

That is not the American Dream! The American dream is limited government, personal liberty, and economic opportunity.

At what point do unilateral changes to a contract render it null and void?

I have long said, it will still be called the United States of America. The stars and stripes will still wave, there will still be elections, and we will still hear that this is the freest most prosperous nation on earth as our freedom slips away and our opportunities shrink.

During the ratification debates it became clear that the Constitution would not be ratified unless there was a promise that the first order of business for the new government was going to be to amend the document to state some things that a majority of people thought were missing. The promise was made and the first ten amendments were added. Today we call this our Bill of Rights. While some people can recite all of them and many more can recite a few almost every American knows they exist. The Bill of Rights has a treasured place in the American heart.

Few if any know what was said in the Preamble to the Bill of Rights, which is neither mentioned nor studied today. This sets out their purpose and is enlightening as a starting off point for understanding what they are and what we are losing.

“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution” (emphasis added). The Bill of Rights was added in order to prevent misconstruction, or the words of the document, or abuse of its power by the government to be established under the Constitution. This could not be possible unless the words of these amendments were supposed to mean what they say, not what black-robed partisans can interpret them to say.

The Bill of Rights were not written nor adopted in their order of precedence. The number one amendment requested by the States was set as the 10th or capstone. “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.” In other words, above all the citizens of the various States were concerned most that the central government not run rough shod over the States which were the home republics closest to and controlled by the people. They feared that the central government would become a Leviathan, crushing dissent and smothering freedom.

And they never heard of the IRS, the NSA, or the EPA. They never imagined an unelected, appointed for life Supreme Court that would cancel amendments to State constitutions that were legally adopted according to the processes within those constitutions. Not since they had overthrown King George had they lived under the suffocating tyranny of a Patriot Act or rule by decree such as executive orders.

According to the amendment  process in the Constitution, the States can offer amendments to the Constitution by calling for a convention to propose such amendments. Many people are afraid of a convention believing that those who advocate for a limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom could not carry the day and the Constitution would be altered in a negative way.

It is time to admit to ourselves that the progressives have been and are changing their “Living Document” every day in countless ways: executive orders, regulations (from the EPA for example) and legislation (the 4th Amendment bending Patriot Act for example). We must face the fact the dam has broken and the foxes are guarding the hen house. The ship has sailed and the fix is in. We need a reset button before we slide completely into the abyss of totalitarianism. The flag will still fly, the national anthem still play, yet the land of the free and the home of the brave will be fundamentally transformed into a centrally-planned, regimented, surveillance state.

Once the scales have fallen from our eyes and we see that just because they call themselves liberals, people who want to control every aspect of every one’s lives are no more liberal than any of the other statists who have sought total control to impose their idea of utopia on anyone at any time in any place.

What we need is an American Spring. We need Americans to act like Americans and demand the freedom that is their birthright. Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose. We the People who believe in limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom have got to unite or we might end up joining a worldwide chorus singing, “And freedom, oh freedom well, that’s just some people talkin’ your prison is walking through this world all alone.”

The center no longer holds. We must all work to influence our States, our home republics, to reign in the runaway Washington-centered bureaucracy machine before we are strangled in the red tape and buried in regulations.

The States must prove their relevance or perhaps the States are out of date.

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

 

You Say You Want a Revolution December 14, 2009

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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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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