jump to navigation

You Should Ask Whose Property Is It February 27, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Even for someone who learned at their grandmother’s knee that what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable the knowledge that some things are mine and some things aren’t came early.  The whole idea of freedom rests upon the idea that within the wider world which is society there is a smaller circle that outlines what is personal and what is communal.  Even in monasteries where monks have taken vows of poverty they refer to my cell, my candle and my prayers.

Private property is an essential ingredient of a free society.

Two of the greatest rewards derived from the study of History are the ability to build upon the achievements of others and the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.  One of the greatest calamities caused by the failure to study History is a lack of context.

Most people live their lives as if History began the day they were born and they forever live in a constantly flowing and ever changing now.  George Orwell said in his epic dystopian novel 1984 that, “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

The Progressives captured the majority of American education long ago and have taught generations of Americans that capitalism is bad and socialism is good.  They have also taught children since at least the 1950s that America has been a grasping imperialistic power that has prospered by taking from others.  We are seeing the fruits of this propaganda today.

Instead of memorizing the Declaration of Independence, our children have memorized the outlandish theories of Al Gore.  Instead of learning the truth they have been indoctrinated with an inconvenient truth that is inconvenient because it isn’t true. They have been taught from History books that have more about Nelson Mandela than they do about George Washington.  And this is not a new thing.  I am in my 60s and I was thrown out of public schools for standing up for capitalism by people who were pushing socialism.

If we want to recapture the future we have to recapture the present so we can recapture the past.  Today those of us who believe in limited government, individual freedom and economic opportunity live as subjects in a land dominated and occupied by people who act as if America should pay a penalty or do penance for being the greatest country to have ever existed.  We must regain and preserve our heritage of knowledge by regaining knowledge of our History or it will be erased from the consciousness of our children and replaced with the inconvenient lies of a shabby Progressive future.  A future where the sun is setting for the West rising in the East, and a paternal government seeks to take the place of god.

If we want to save America we must begin at the beginning.  Most people think the Constitution is the beginning.  Even though our Progressive masters seek to reinterpret it to bring about our end it wasn’t our beginning.  Before the Constitution came The Declaration of Independence.  This is the seminal document proclaiming to the world a new nation not ruled by kings had appeared upon the stage.  This Declaration did not spring freshly from the imagination of Thomas Jefferson.  It was not born in a vacuum.   Jefferson was a student of Philosophy and History.

When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he built many of the ideas on the works of John Locke one of the greatest influences on the Framers.  Locke had written in The Second Treatise of Civil Government, “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…”

This in turn inspired George Mason to write in The Virginia Declaration of Rights which was published just before the Declaration of Independence in 1776, “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

Today the concept of private property is out of fashion as our collectivist rulers try to build a classless society on such misunderstood and elastic phrases as the Pursuit of Happiness and the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Looking at the works and words of our founders and of those who framed the Constitution it is plain to see that the phrase Pursuit of Happiness was everywhere used as meaning the right to own, control and use private property which brings us to economics.

In a capitalistic system people own, control and use their own private property for their own devices.   The opposite of that is Communism which advocates the state ownership of all property.  Portraying itself as half way in between is Socialism which seeks to extract a portion of the rewards of private property for the benefit of those who do not own it.  A malignant form of socialism with a capitalist veneer, Fascism advocates private ownership and total state control of its use.

Looking at capitalism we see the miracle that was the United States.  In just a little over 150 years we rose from being 13 impoverished, war ravaged states loosely bound together into a colossus that strode upon the world stage saving freedom first from fascism and then from communism.

One of the founders of the Soviet nightmare Leon Trotsky said of the communistic system he helped create, “In a country where the sole employer is the state. Opposition means death by slow starvation.  The old principle, he who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.”

And although Socialists try to play the part of sentimental reformers who are only out to help the children their ultimate agenda shows that they are in reality merely a stalking horse for their communist big brother.  One socialist site puts it this way, “In Socialism, the laborer is the direct manager of their means of production, and receives the whole of their production. In Capitalism, the laborer is dominated by a Capitalist, who directs production and sets wages.”

As for the Fascists their program may sound familiar, “We ask that government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunity for employment and earning a living. The activities of the individual must not be allowed to clash with the interests of the community, but must take place within the confines and be for the good of all. Therefore, we demand: … an end to the power of financial interest. We demand profit sharing in big business. We demand a broad extension of care for the aged. We demand … the greatest possible consideration of small business in the purchases of the national, state, and municipal governments. In order to make possible to every capable and industrious [citizen] the attainment of higher education and thus the achievement of a post of leadership, the government must provide an all-around enlargement of our system of public education…. We demand the education at government expense of gifted children of poor parents…. The government must undertake the improvement of public health — by protecting mother and child, by prohibiting child labor — by the greatest possible support for all groups concerned with the physical education of youth. [W]e combat the … materialistic spirit within and without us, and are convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only proceed from within on the foundation of The Common Good Before the Individual Good.”

Ask yourself where are we today?  The government issues regulations at the mind numbing rate of 68 per day.  According to a study by the American Action Forum, regulations that went into effect in 2013 cost Americans $112 billion – or $447 million for each of the 251 days the federal government was open.  This study also predicts that the regulatory burden will increase to $143 billion in 2014.  Who controls the property you own?  Who reaps the benefit of your labor?  Tax Freedom Day, the day after which you have worked enough to pay your taxes and can now start working for yourself gets later each year.  In 2013 it was April 18th, five days later than it was in 2012.

F. A. Hayek tells us in The Constitution of Liberty, “True coercion occurs when armed bands of conquerors make the subject people toil for them, when organized gangsters extort a levy for ‘protection,’ when the knower of an evil secret blackmails his victim, and, of course, when the state threatens to inflict punishment and to employ physical force to make us obey its commands.”

John Locke told us, “Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.”  He also said, “All wealth is the product of labor,” and “Government has no other end, but the preservation of property.”  These are the bedrocks upon which our system was originally built.  The next time you receive your pay look at the deductions.  Ask yourself for whose benefit do you toil?  Then look around you and think of the taxes you pay, the regulations you must follow, and the rules you must obey; then ask yourself, whose property is 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

 

Organized Anarchy Leads to One Last Question November 18, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

In the topsey turvey world of 21st century America those who live by the kindness of strangers wish to dictate how much kindness they deserve changing the strangers from benefactors to victims.  We have reached a point where our national motto should be “Stand and Deliver” as a runaway government devours everything in sight in an effort to satisfy the growing demands of their pre-programmed supporters.

America has taken such a bizarre turn that oxymorons are the only things that make sense any more.  Organized anarchy has exploited militant apathy to create regulated liberty so that producers must provide for slackers and the informed must follow the dictates of the willfully ignorant. You can’t fix stupid but there is a cure for ignorance.  If we could just get these products of public education and sports hypnosis to take off the blinders long enough to understand the meaning behind the matrix perhaps we could garner one more electoral victory to stop us before we step off the cliff.  Except of course the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media are working as hard as they can to make sure our choice comes down to Tweedle De and Tweedle Dum.

Our Progressive era seeks to change the old adage, “Those who refuse to learn from History are doomed to repeat it” to “Those who refuse to learn from History doom the rest of us to repeat it.”  The patients have seized control of the asylum.  The land of the free and the home of the brave is transforming into the land of the free lunch and the home of the knaves.  Symbiosis is the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms as in parasitism. What we are witnessing today is symbiosis on steroids wherein the parasite isn’t merely along for the ride but instead demands the driver’s seat.

Looking at the almost bewildering explosion of reality we call today our minds behold the organized anarchy of the occupy everywhere movement that is spreading around the world.  We are now witnessing a government supported revolution akin to Mao’s Cultural Revolution. This isn’t a revolt of the 99% seeking to devour the 1% it is the 46% that pay no federal taxes seeking to increase the production from their 54% milk cows. To call forcing one segment of the population to work to support another segment of the population paying your fair share makes theft a contribution and bondage a responsibility.

The people involved express a variety of causes.  They want a bailout for home owners who are upside down or in foreclosure.  At the same time they want those who accepted the bailout on Wall Street prosecuted.  They want student loans forgiven, wars stopped, big corporations downsized, and an end to capitalism.  Many politicians and their major media publicity machine have embraced the movement labeling it the Progressive version of the Ta Party.  This is a window on the future.  Showing the silent majority what is to come: a shabby world where the Lilliputians have not only bound Gulliver they have harnessed him to the cart and forced him to be their beast of burden.

By seeking the destruction of capitalism instead of seeking to break the umbilical cord between the crony capitalists and their bought and paid for politicians what they really seek is to force us to worship the myth of free enterprise as we sacrifice the energy and inventiveness of the productive on the altar of the indolent.

It is time to lay our cards on the table.  It is time to call a spade a spade.  Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined by competition in a free market.  Socialism is an economic characterized by collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.  Fascism is an economic system that exalts the nation above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government with severe economic regimentation.  Essentially fascism is socialism pretending to be capitalism since private ownership exists in a government straightjacket.

Which of these systems do we have?  Which of these systems is staring us in the face every day?

I challenge anyone and everyone to take this test.   Watch the stock market for one month.  Watch its ups and downs.  What you will see is that the market does not move because of innovation or production it moves in response to government actions, statements, and policies.  While we still have private ownership the government is increasingly regulating and controlling the economy.  Take the test.  Review the definitions above and you decide.  Which of these systems do we have?  Or does it have us?

America has never experienced a truly capitalistic system.  We were born under mercantilism. We grew to power under Henry Clay’s American System of nationalistic paternalism.  We have flirted with socialism in a mixed system since FDR reshuffled the deck and institutionalized the New Deal.  And now we struggle to maintain some visage of freedom at the edge of a crony capitalism whose Progressive public-private security blanket has become the pillow that smothers all incentive.  We have morphed from a representative republic operating on democratic principles into a state wholly owned by a good old boy coalition composed of the perpetually re-elected, the unions, and the crony capitalists: the Outfit.

The over educated under informed lemmings that call themselves the 99% are being duped by the Outfit.  They are a collective battering ram assailing the last remnants of American individualism.  They are using the threat of social unrest to demand the final triumph of “I want what I want” over “I get what I earn.”

What’s the cure for the Great Recession?  Is it more government spending and more government control as the Outfit and their 99% fellow-travelers tell us?  Is it “Drill baby drill” and a return to a golden-age of pure capitalism that never really existed?

First we must understand our situation.  What is the cause of the chronic state of our anemic recovery?  Is it as our president tells us and the world: Americans are soft, arrogant  and lazy?  Or have we finally reached the tipping point?  Have we finally reached the point where all the Peters being robbed to pay for Paul’s vacation have decided to change their name to Paul? Is this a recession or is it a strike?  The central planners look at the wreckage of a once great economy that their programs have gutted and say, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.”  They should be asking “How many omelets can they make if the goose doesn’t lay any more golden eggs?”

Which leads to one last question: “Who is John Galt?”

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

 

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

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 453 other followers

%d bloggers like this: