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The Uncivil War November 1, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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In American schools the Civil War is a one trick pony.  It was all about slavery and that is all it was about.

There can be no doubt that slavery was a blight upon the History of the United States.  It was incompatible with the inspiring words of our Declaration of Independence, “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.”

The very idea of chattel slavery wherein one person can own another and their children, and their children’s children unto the furthest generation is an abomination.   The South saw this as their peculiar institution, and they had built an entire culture upon slavery as an economic necessity. For a variety of reasons even the Southern Churches supported and attempted to justify the practice.  However, all of this being said slavery was not the only issue at stake in the Civil War.

There was one other that took center stage in the minds of many: State’s Rights.

In the decades that had passed since the ratification of the Constitution slavery had been steadily abolished in the Northern states while remaining prevalent in the South.  This inexorably led to the issue of slavery becoming intertwined in the issues of States Rights, Federalism and the growing power of the Federal Government.

The proponents of States rights appealed to the 10th Amendment which states, “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.”  This had been added to the original Constitution due to the intellectual and political pressure from the Anti-Federalists.  This Amendment was meant to reassure people of the limited nature of the Federal government and that with the few exception specifically delegated to the Federal Government by the States the States and the people were free to continue exercising their sovereign powers.

President Lincoln did not see the Civil War as a war to end slavery until that became necessary to stop European powers from recognizing the South.

Lincoln said in his 1st Inaugural Address, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Lincoln was on record as saying, “”My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

Lincoln also said, “Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a Republican administration would, directly, or indirectly, interfere with their slaves, or with them, about their slaves? If they do, I wish to assure you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that there is no cause for such fears.”  Obviously his object was to maintain the Union at all costs and ending slavery (or not) was to him merely a means to that end.

That Lincoln himself was on record as believing that the invasion of the States was unlawful is shown by another quote from his 1st Inaugural Address, “That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”  Yet in this same address he proclaims his belief that the Union is perpetual and the he has sworn an oath to preserve it.

However there were very basic and foundational problems with the entire effort to preserve the Union.  For one thing it was known by all that it was a voluntary union entered into by sovereign States.  It was also known that the Federal Government only has those powers which are expressly delegated.  Nowhere in the document does it say the Federal Government has the power to force States to remain in the Union.

In addition, three states—New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia included “resumption clauses,” which would allow the states to leave the union to “resume” their status as independent states.

New York declared, “That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness.”

Rhode Island said, “That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness.”

Virginia stated, “Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.”

Everyone loves to quote Lord Acton when he says things like, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Or, “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.”

Most are not aware of the correspondence that took place between Lord Acton and Robert E. Lee after the Civil War.  In that correspondence Lord Acton said, “I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.”

To which Lee answered, “I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.”

I know that States Rights has been tarred with the broad brush of racism; however, I reject that attempt to restrict the speech of a free people along with all of the strangulating impediments of political correctness.

America was designed to be a federal republic which operates on democratic principles.  The continuing attempts to curtail the freedom of actions of the States and to transform the United States into a centrally-planned democracy run counter to our founding documents, our History, and, our nature.

Here’s another Lord Acton quote people seem to overlook, “Socialism means slavery.”

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

 

Who Needs Robin Hood? August 19, 2011

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It’s time to level the playing field.”  “The rich need to pay their fair share.”  “We have to end tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.”  These are some of the stock phrases used by President Obama and his administration to fire up their troops to picket private homes, gin up mobs to protest success and to channel America towards the future they envision.  Like a one trick pony or an extremely inept coach the Progressives’ playbook has only one option.  It’s a Hail Mary pass they run over and over: class warfare.  From Marx to Chavez the collectivists have always played the same card from each according to the ability to each according to their need.

Over a century of propaganda and indoctrination has conditioned most Americans to accept one of the most insidious aspects of class warfare as a natural and respectable feature of our government: progressive taxation.   At its core progressive taxation is the quintessential action of the Trojan horse the Progressives have constructed to transform America from a representative republic with a capitalist economy into a centrally planned socialist democratic republic.

The shock troops for this movement which has captured the leadership of both major parties is made up of the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media, unions, crony capitalists, and a conglomeration of front groups and organizations, many of which receive vast amounts of government money.  These interest groups constantly agitate for Progressive policies and carry the water for Progressive politicians.  They also contribute time, money and resources for the election campaigns of the very Progressive politicians who vote to give them government grants in a circular money laundering scheme which if not illegal is certainly immoral.

Who are these Progressives in America today?  They’re the most vocal proponents of the manmade global warming hoax.  They serve as willing acolytes for their Nobel Prize winning high priest.  After failing to pass their much desired cap-n-trade they are regulating it into existence through the Environmental Protection Agency.

They are also the same ones who after leading the charge against integration, standing in the school house door and attacking peaceful demonstrators with everything from fire hoses to clubs they support every media starved Civil Rights professional who will rant and rave on cue to keep America’s deepest wound festering.

They use Political Correctness to monitor and manage the discussion.  Political Correctness is the Progressives’ version of New Speak and the coin of their realm.  Many of these verbal add-ons are merely variations and expressions on the over-riding theme of take from the evil rich to help the deserving poor, with a good dose of “We’ve got to do it for the children” thrown in for good measure.  Political Correctness is strangling free speech and pushing many into a cone of silence wherein they no longer have the liberty to express their opinions without retaliation on the job or in school.

People who wish to take from the rich and give to the poor never create wealth themselves.  They always want to take from one and give to another so they can drain off a living in between exulting in the power to decide who deserves the blessings of their charity.  And they always seem to get more than anyone else.

The massive frauds and waste of the Federal government shows where this is headed.  As they swallow more of the economy their ineptitude seems to grow in direct proportion to the size of the swag.  Take for instance the stimulus slush-fund of 2009.  Billed as a way to create jobs this bill spent $278,000 for every job created.  In terms of the national debt President Obama is spreading the wealth around at an astounding rate of 3.94 billion dollars per day in deficit spending alone.  He has gone beyond taxing the rich and is now taxing the unborn.

Looking back at the battle cry of “Tax the rich” which symbolizes the inequity which is the Progressive tax system some often confuse this with the story of Robin Hood.  They say he stole from the rich to give to the poor.  They point to Robin and say that is all they want to do, take some of the excess wealth held by the rich and distribute it to the unfortunate.

Unfortunately for them such a translation of the Robin Hood myth turns the story on its head.  After returning from a war of choice initiated by an absentee king in the Middle East Robin learned his estate had been taxed away.  Finding this level of abuse intolerable he became an outlaw stealing the ill-gotten loot government agents were extorting from the people in the form of taxes and then returned the money to those who had actually earned it.

Wait a minute maybe we do need Robin Hood today!

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 View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens.

 

Learning the Truth About Education December 3, 2010

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You can’t know what you don’t know, but you can know that you don’t know.  Knowing the difference is wisdom.  Realizing that knowledge is the cure for ignorance should be the inspiration for education.

If you want to change the future change the children.  It seems like every tin-pot dictator and every megalomaniac destroyer of worlds knows this.  The Progressives figured this out and they’ve been concentrating on it for generations.  The educational guru of the Left, John Dewey may not have coined the term Progressive Education but he has come to be recognized as its earliest and foremost exponent.

In 1889, in his book School and Society he said,”Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”  Dewey, a member of the first teacher’s union in New York City, and a founder of the American Association of University Professors was an early leader and advocate for these unions which have served America well as academic elevator operators in the descent into our 21st Century Blackboard Jungle.

The importance of education and the power it has to shape the future was a lesson Conservative Academics overlooked in their effort to allow all voices to be heard.  Remember, it was the Conservative educational leaders assailed in the 60s and 70s for being too rigid who hired the Liberals who now so often forbid the hiring of Conservatives.  The idea that in the marketplace of ideas all voices should be heard providing the opportunity for everyone to make informed decisions was one of the founding ideas of America, enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Conservatives didn’t realize the Left made a conscious effort to capture American education as a way of shaping America’s future.  The Frankfurt School, a group of Marxists educators who escaped Hitler’s Germany and worshipped Stalin’s Russia came to America intent on transforming this great nation from the bastion of freedom into the pyre of Western Civilization.  From their original lair at Columbia University they’ve inserted themselves throughout the colleges and universities of America spreading their cult of Political Correctness along the way.

Spreading like a cancer through the body politic, metastasizing from one area to another, Political Correctness strangles the life from our society.  Freedom of speech is slipping from our hands as words are eliminated and meanings are changed.  In our current culture war one position seen as a litmus test by both sides of the aisle is the elimination of the Department of Education.

This bureaucratic puzzle factory was birthed during Jimmy Carter’s failed presidency and it has grown larger and more pervasive ever since.  Today its tentacles reach from inside the beltway to inside the minds of millions.  Our government’s No Bureaucrat Left Behind strategy enforces a politically-correct homogenous drivel wherein teaching to the test has fostered a generation that can forget as quickly as they memorize and critical thinking is one component no one thought to include.

This systematic seizure of education by the central government has turned the premier educational establishment in the world into a system where an emphasis on self-esteem produces graduates who feel great about themselves but can’t read their diplomas.  Not surprisingly there are few jobs for people from schools where everyone gets a trophy and everyone passes.

Here’s the Progressive’s answer to this dilemma: let’s add mandatory service to mandatory education and maybe that will give us mandatory mediocrity. Perhaps an army of paid volunteers all marching in lock-step to the drumbeat from Washington will lead us to utopia.  Current member of President Obama’s economic team, former head of the Service Employee Union (SEIU) and former leader of Students for a Democratic Society Andy Stern has proposed that the Federal Government combat the effects of the centrally planned Great Recession by creating a youth work program.

This man who drove the SEIU pension plan into insolvency figures that, “Assuming an average annual cost of $15,000 per person, for just $46.5 billion we could offer every 16 to 24 year old who wanted a job a national service opportunity.”   After twelve years of memorizing the inconvenient absurdities of Al Gore, Michael Moore, and the rest of the politically-correct wisdom from Mount Olympus this stint in a renamed Civilian National Security Force should help round out just the kind of citizens the regime needs.

The take-over of higher education through the direct loan program and its top down restructuring will eventually decide who gets loans and who has to repay them.  Surprisingly, the who gets and the who pays may not end up being the same who.

In addition, the “let’s get everyone in college so they aren’t counted as unemployed” program is turning the halls of Academe into a post-secondary version of the dysfunctional high schools the Progressive teachers’ unions and political correctness have birthed from inner city to the heartland.  Criminal Justice programs filled with criminals, political science classes filled with people who don’t vote, discipline problems, and gangs make one hope the home-schooling college of online education will turn out some scholars for the future.

So what’s the answer to America’s educational problems?  First of all close down the Department of Education and get the Federal government out of the people programming business.  Reassert local control.  Adopt school voucher programs that actually transfer the money so the schools doing the best job get the most resources.  End tenure, seniority, and anything else that protects ineffective teachers.

What we don’t need is more central planning, more federal control, or one more brick in the wall.

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.

I Got Some Transparency for You Right Here June 6, 2010

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President Obama promised the most transparent administration in history.  He pledged all bills would be posted online for five days before he signed them.  Turns out that only applied to NON-emergency bills, and everything is an emergency in our swiftly transforming America.  As Rom Emanuel, President Obama’s closest adviser says, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

The first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which must have been an emergency since it didn’t qualify for the five day guarantee.  We had to pass the pork-laden stimulus bill before the Best-Congress-Money-Can-Buy could even read it, let alone post it online, otherwise unemployment might reach the unacceptable 8% range; though most of the provisions wouldn’t kick in for months or years, but that was an emergency.  Another bill too big to read is America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, which fails to insure the uninsured and doesn’t slow the rising rates, which are the two things it was supposedly designed to accomplish.  And even though most of the provisions won’t overwhelm us until after the next presidential election it was an emergency.  Adding insult to injury, after saying “There has never been a more open process,” Nancy Pelosi crafted the health care take-over behind doors closed so tight they’ve been called an iron curtain.  Eventually she had the nerve to say “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it…”

The American tradition was built upon the idea of limited and dispersed powers, and under the Constitution neither the people, nor the states, nor the federal government was given absolute power or complete sovereignty.  Behind the veil of silence, mockery and misstatements, and continuing a trend that has gone on through the reigns of many imperial presidents, the Obama administration is accumulating more power than any previous administration in American History.

Now the usual suspects are calling for the censorship of the media under the guise of protecting us all from hate speech.  After years of congressional blockade in the 1990s and presidential vetoes in the 21st century current Progressive CABAL has resurrected Ted Kennedy’s Hate Crimes law which now hangs like a shroud on the body politic. These types of laws have been used in Europe and Canada to criminalize opinion and squelch any who don’t repeat the catch phrases, which pass for free speech in the Progressive’s mental gulag.

Mark Lloyd Diversity Czar at the FCC seeks to gain greater control of broadcasting with the aim of curtailing the daily drip-drip of conservative commentary by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  In cyber space Net Neutrality is nothing but the patently unfair Fairness Doctrine for the Internet.  Political correctness has taken its toll of the spoken word.  We no longer know what to call anyone in this day of hyphenated-America and fractionalized interest groups when what is politically correct changes with the winds of doctrine.  The fairness police choke freedom out of speech using peer pressure while the administration tries to malign and marginalize the only network that isn’t acting as a fax service for their press releases.  This isn’t exactly what I envisioned when I heard that pledge to be the most transparent administration in history.  It’s more like the smoke and mirrors that passes for representative government in a one party state like Chicago.

Our Progressive leaders are transparent in one thing: their contempt for the desires of the people.  Even though he gave speech after speech trying to explain why we needed to reform our medical system to death the president said people were only against it because they didn’t understand it.  Now with the coming financial reform act combined with the previous take-over of auto and insurance brings a larger percentage of the American economy under government control than at any other time as poll after poll show the popular sentiment solidly against these acts, but the bills were rammed through anyway.  Obama the candidate denounced the Bush Administration as the most secretive in history.  The Obama Administration is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests at a rate 50% above the previous administration.  I know we see through a glass darkly, but if this opaque obfuscation is transparency I’d hate to see secrecy. Perhaps secrecy is what you call announcing in advance when and where the next offensive is coming in the shooting wars across the sea.

Those who believe the Constitution is a Living Document they can self-amend at will continue to chip away at the traditional definitions of what it means to be free.  In the New-Speak of the transformed America racial quotas aren’t racial discrimination, the take-over of industries are done to save free enterprise and being in charge means it’s always someone else’s fault.  If those of us who want to remain free don’t use our remaining freedom to protect our freedom soon it may not be politically correct to even remind people that once we were free.

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

It’s Never Too Early to be Too Late November 17, 2009

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If no one has told you this yet let me be the first, as you get older time goes faster. If you’re under thirty you’re thinking, “This old coot has finally gone off his rocker! Everyone knows an hour is an hour. So how can time go faster as you get older?” If you’re between thirty and forty you’re thinking, “Who’s got time to think about time and who cares? I’ve got to go to work!” If you’re between forty and sixty you’re thinking “He might have something there” as you day-dream about those endless summers when you were in High School. If you’re over sixty you’re hoping time doesn’t end before you finish reading this paragraph.
Besides being a dimension time is a concept that’s inextricably intertwined with our material reality as in the space-time-continuum, E=MC2 and all that. It took the genius of Einstein to find a way to prove what every old man knows, time can move at different speeds for different people. Knowing all this is little comfort when confronted with reality. The last wave of the Millennial Generation has entered college. I now teach History to students born after the end of the Cold War adults who’ve never known a day without a personal computer, the internet or a cell phone.
When the weapons of the superpowers became too terrible to use the Lost Generation, those who fought World War One and led the world through the Great Depression and World War Two gave America the Cold War. For those too young to remember this was a 50 year conflict marked by bellicose rivalry and our first modern limited war in Korea. Not to be outdone the Greatest Generation, those who grew-up in the Great Depression and fought World War Two and Korea gave us escalating tensions, naval blockades and another limited war in Vietnam. They finished with a flourish by winning the Cold War and then doing a hundred day encore in the Gulf.
The Boomers hit the White House like guest hosts on Saturday Night Live with a snappy monologue and a party in the Oval Office. They tried to keep the limited war train rolling by occupying Bosnia. Losing a Blackhawk in Somalia and bombing Serbia for Kosovo. Then Boomer George met Osama in New York. Enter the first post-boomer president and a War on Terror becomes a law enforcement problem just as Korea with 55,000 dead was a Police Action. Have we refined limited war to the point that we aren’t sure whether it’s a war or a series of unrelated unfortunate incidents?
A friend who optimistically believes every cloud has a silver lining hopes the tragedy at Fort Hood was merely the work of a volunteer in the Insane Clown Army and not a terrorist attack on an American Army base in our supposedly safe Homeland. This struck me as symptomatic of the age we’ve entered; call it the Reality Show at the End of an Era. In the land of the free and the home of the brave the best we can hope for is a demented mass murderer because the alternative is too frightening to face. If home-grown Jihadists are beginning to kill the brave in bosom of the Heartland it won’t be long before check-points and internal passports begin restricting the free in the byways of the homeland.
Have you ever noticed that after Pearl Harbor we didn’t declare war on sneak attacks? Instead, we declared war on those who attacked us. In America today we’re constrained by the emasculating cult of Political Correctness from even naming our enemy. Our leaders blather on about religions of peace when people hold street dances to celebrate 9-11 and mobs murder and burn in reaction to an offensive comic strip. Now we have a person doing his best to enlist as a foot-soldier in Osama’s army while serving in Obama’s, shouting the catch phrase of the 9-11 bomber pilots as he murders more than a dozen unarmed innocents and the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media pussy-foot around trying to give us the false hope that he’s merely a homicidal maniac.
It’s time to understand that if we don’t stand for something we’ll fall for anything and until you admit you have a problem there’s no chance of finding a solution.
Time is slipping into the future. Are we going to stand complicit in our silence as wars without limit fought by people who proudly proclaim they love death more than we love life shoot our unarmed citizens in the name of God? Will we allow apologists for evil to blame the second amendment instead of telling us the truth?
It’s time to rise up and say enough is enough! We know who are enemies are and we know who we are! If the brave want to keep their land the free can’t sit at home chasing the remote. Whatever speed time is moving its going too fast to wait. It’s never too early to be too late. Let’s roll….
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Religion, and Leadership for Southside Virginia Community College. Contact Dr. Owens. © 2009 Robert R. Owens http://robertrowens.com/ Dr. Owens is available for speaking engagements.

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