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Why Have a Bill of Rights ? July 24, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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In any free society that area of life which is left to the sole discretion of the individual includes all actions that are not specifically forbidden by a general law.

In our nation when it came time for the ratification of the Constitution it would have been impossible to gain the votes needed if the backers of a centralized national government had not promised that the first thing they did was pass a Bill of Rights.  It had been asserted by the proponents of liberty that to enumerate such a list would eventually become a statement that only those rights enumerated were protected.  However, it was generally believed certain rights were so important and so open to suppression that fundamental guarantees were needed.  In consequence the Constitution was lengthened to include the first ten amendments as the opening business of Congress.

Over time the argument that these enumerated rights would come to be seen as the only ones protected has certainly come to pass, which is another of the assertions of the Anti-Federalists that have stood the test of time.  However, it has also been shown that without these constitutional protections these enumerated rights would have long ago been relegated to the ash heap of History.

Even with the protection of the Bill of Rights there has been a steady chipping away at the rights our forefathers thought were so important.  A Supreme Court that has abrogated onto itself the power to nullify the will of the people as expressed in legislation and to invent rights that are nowhere enumerated debates whether or not “shall not be infringed” really means it is legal to restrict.

In our age of seemingly endless technological change we must admit that any enumerated list of rights cannot be complete.  What about surveillance?  Does our right to privacy which has been asserted to allow tens of millions of abortions extend to our growing Orwellian Omni-present surveillance state?  Does the state have a right to follow us with drones?  To kill us without due process?  To collect our emails, our phone calls or keep a ledger of where we go?  Under President Bush people demonstrated because his administration wanted to see the records of library withdrawals.  Under President Obama the populace is silent about the most egregious violations of our rights.

What about the rights of the States?  Do they have the right to be protected from invasion?  Do they have the right to pass and enforce laws that call for local agencies to enforce the federal laws that the central government refuses to enforce?   Ever since the 17th Amendment stripped the States of their representation in Congress our federal system has been debilitated to the point of paralysis.  Today the central government runs roughshod over the States demanding that they stand by helplessly as their citizens are harassed and their sovereignty is evaporated.

If the Bill of Rights is to remain as any type of bulwark against tyranny it must be accepted that they contain a general assumption that government is restrained from infringing upon the traditional rights that we have enjoyed.  If we stand ideally by while our rights are redefined to irrelevance we will one day wake up to find ourselves in a prison camp we once called the United States of America.

We have experienced over the course of the last two hundred years that the Constitution could be no more than a somewhat porous protection from the assumption of total power by a centralized government.  Today we endure levels of control and taxation that make the causes of our own Revolution pale in comparison.  It is hard not to believe that if Washington, Henry, and that generation were with us today they wouldn’t be issuing declarations and raising the alarm, “The totalitarians are coming!  The Totalitarians are coming!!”

The only protection of this creeping corruption of our constitutionally limited government is an informed public.  If the people sleep the tyrants dream.  They dream of ordering society to match whichever version of a utopian pyramid scheme they adopt to fool the people.  It matters little whether they call it communism, fascism, or progressivism a re-education camp is a prison by another name.  It matters little whether we call it censorship or political correctness.  It matters little whether we call it taxes or penalties.  It matters little whether we call it coercion or regulation.

What does matter is whether we are truly free or free only in name.  Can we do what we want or can we merely do what is allowed?

Outside of the bounds of the constitutionally established amendment process the Progressives have used the fiction of a Living Document to make the Constitution a dead letter.  Executive orders, signing statements, court decisions, and the bewildering framework of regulation stretch the power of government while restricting the freedom of the people.

Empires rise and empires fall.  Some fall due to invasion and some due to suicide.  The European Empires committed suicide in two fratricidal World Wars that destroyed their cities and left their people shell-shocked and unwilling to bear the burden of power.

Today we watch while our great republic jettisons the world girdling empire it inherited from the exhausted Europeans.  We stand mute as our leaders abandon the leadership not only of the free world but of the world itself.  Not for the noble cause of reasserting freedom at home but instead because we have spent ourselves into bankruptcy with bread and circuses to amuse the masses while a clique of elites concentrates power.  We have empty suits leading representatives who have gerrymandered their way to perpetual election presiding over an unelected bureaucracy that rules by decree.

Does liberty still ring or has the bell finally cracked beyond repair?  Why do we have a Bill of Rights?  So we can remember who we once were.

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

 

Happy Days Are Here Again July 17, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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So long sad times
Go long bad times
We are rid of you at last

Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Can you believe it the Bush recession has been over for five years, unemployment is down, the stock market is up, and everything is coming up roses.  There is a flat screen on every wall, a smart phone in every hand, and flying cars just can’t be that far away.  The Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have either been won or soon will be or as the winning slogan said, “GM is alive and Osama is dead.”  The Arab Spring has toppled tyrants and the glory of the administration’s foreign policy savants have ricocheted from the faculty lounge to the UN.  Doesn’t it just feel like another American Century?

The Fed keeps pumping and the Big Board keeps jumping.  The NSA watches us all without a warrant, and the man who tells us about it is a traitor.Congress has to sue the President in an attempt to get him to enforce laws unless of course he wants to change a law unilaterally.  The Court strikes down unconstitutional move after unconstitutional move by the adjunct instructor in the Oval Office.  The IRS is used to suppress the votes of Conservatives, its leaders either lying to Congress or pleading the Fifth while the Attorney General refuses to appoint a special prosecutor just as he refused in Fast and Furious and Benghazi.  Of course if you want to require a photo id to vote you’re a racist attempting to suppress the vote while you need a photo ID to get into the DNC. There’s nothing to see here move so along.

Common Core is poised to take our educational system to higher heights.  After more than 100 years of Progressive Education and generations of Federal intrusions into local school boards America now successfully spends more per capita on education than any other country.  The self-esteem of our students ranks as the highest in the world even as our grades slide.  In other words our students are doing poorly, but they think they are doing well.  It reminds me of a foreman in a factory who was in one of my management classes.  He shared an incident in his shop.  A young man was hired as a material handler who wore his pants down around his knees.  He constantly had to use one hand to hold up his pants while using the free hand to handle material.  When the foreman asked him, “Don’t you think you could get more done if you used both hands?”  The young man answered, “No I’m doing all right.”  The job may not get done but at least he feels good about what he’s doing.  Is this is the American Way in the New Normal?

Russia swallows Crimea, China launches its first aircraft carrier, the Islamic State declares itself to be the Caliphate some were crazy to predict.  Oh Happy Day!  Once again America is respected in the world after that cowboy Bush brought us so low.  Reagan said it was once again Morning in America and now we have Mourning in America as the fruit of Progressive policies, and cum bi ya diplomacy leads us from crisis to crisis.  Then again we should never let a good crisis go to waste said President Obama’s first Chief of Staff before heading to Chicago to strengthen the gun laws.

Looking forward there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that thanks to that paragon of progressivism FDR there are term limits on the presidency.  The bad news is our southern sieve and the import a voter program brings in thousands of undocumented democrats everyday as Flat Broke Hillary and the transition team waits in the wings with self-proclaimed Native American Elizabeth Warren as an understudy.

I used to say, “We made it through the Second World War and we can make it through Bill Clinton.”  Then I said, “We made it through the Cold War we can make it through Bush the Younger.”  Now I wonder, “If we threw away Iraq and we’re about to throw away Afghanistan, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona how will we survive two more years?”

We may not be in Kansas anymore and we may have followed the white rabbit through the looking glass but at least illegal immigrants can now get drivers licenses in Arizona.  Can anyone say “Motor Voter” orcoming to a neighborhood near you soon.

Altogether shout it now
There’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again

Your cares and troubles are gone
There’ll be no more from now on

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So, Let’s sing a song of cheer again

Happy times
Happy nights
Happy days
Are here again!

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

 

 

 

 

 

Why Gridlock is a Good Thing May 29, 2014

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Gridlock is one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us by the Framers.  It is a natural result of the checks and balances built into the system to stop any temporary majority from fundamentally changing the country.  If it wasn’t for the checks and balances FDR would have completely socialized the country back in the 1930s.  If it wasn’t for them now BHO would simply impose his agenda on us.  Wait a minute I think he is.

Living as the occupants of an occupied nation those of us who believe limited government, personal freedom, and economic liberty are good things have to face up to the fact that a cadre of political savants who advocate for the collectivization of the American experiment have maneuvered their way into the halls of power.  They have captured the media, the unions, Hollywood, and a large segment of education.  The elections have been gerrymandered into a parody of democracy.  Political Correctness dries up free speech and affirmative action uses racial quotas and discrimination while saying they are doing it to increase integration.

It takes a conspiracy theory wrapped in a spiral of silence to pretend the foregoing isn’t true.  Every day the regime is bent on fundamentally changing this country from a representative republic founded upon respect for the laws of nature and of nature’s God into a centrally-planned social safety net.  Our education system spends more money per capita than any other, and instead of academic superstars we produce illiterate whiners with high self-esteem.

The borders are open to a mass migration from the third world.  Free trade has gutted our industrial base.  Our foreign policy is in tatters as the conquerors of the republic allow our ambassadors to be murdered, our citizens to be unfairly imprisoned, and our national interests to be sacrificed for hidden goals and secret agendas.

America the beautiful where have you gone?  From sea to shining sea your people watch as the alabaster cities rot into bankrupt hulks where socialism has failed.  At the same time those who exemplify and lead the destruction of the once proud land of the free and home of the brave point to the very instrument which provided the opportunity for humanity to excel in the bright sunshine of freedom.

Seeing gridlock not as a brake upon the ambitions of temporary ruling factions to establish themselves as permanent oligarchies, President Obama attacks the structure of government as created by the Framers of the Constitution.

One of the greatest mistakes ever foisted upon this country by the progressives was the passing of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.  This change to the Constitution was pushed through in the early days of the 20th century finally becoming law in 1913.  This amendment took the election of U. S. Senators away from the state legislatures and made them part of the march towards democracy that has always been a hallmark of the progressive movement.

Before the 17th Amendment the Senators had acted as the representatives of the States preserving the federal nature of our government.  Since its passage the various states must hire lobbyists to represent them in Washington as if they were just another interest group.  This has given us the best government money can buy and left the States at the mercy of a central bureaucracy on steroids.

Now President Obama, as the leader and spokesman of our Progressive masters is railing against the fact that every state has two senators.  In his political cradle the paragon of party politics, Chicago Mr. Obama described to a small group of wealthy supporters several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and possibly recapturing the House. One of those hurdles, according to the President, is that each state regardless of its population has two Senate seats.  Or as Mr. Obama said, “Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage.”

The President noted that the congregation of Democrat voters in big cities gives Republicans an advantage in rural states affecting both the elections for the House and the Senate.   Of course it is those very concentrations and the massive political machines’ support that allow the democrat Party to control so many States and their electoral votes.  In essence what Mr. Obama is complaining about is that while Democrat control of big city machines has perhaps locked up the electoral keys to the White House they are not able to translate that into a lock on the legislative side for a true one party state.

If you will remember the last time they were able to pull off this hat trick (2008-2010) they shoved Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or as it is also known as, the Federal Reserve Empowerment Law down our throats. This has socialized one sixth of our economy, has entrenched crony capitalism, and enshrined too-big-to-fail.

The Progressives from the Ivory Tower to the White House have worked tirelessly for over 100 years to change the iron-clad guarantees of the Constitution into a Living Document that is as firm as Jell-O and as clear as mud.  They want a one party state and a unified centralized government to efficiently complete their transformation.  It is in the interests of all lovers of liberty to vote for divided government so that we can bask in the light of gridlock.  For when the lawyers in Washington and the bureaucratic minions aren’t able to do anything maybe we will have a chance to do something.

The biggest hurdle we have in maintaining the safety of gridlock is that the Progressives have captured the leadership of both major parties.  They have also rigged elections in such a way as to almost eliminate the possibility for a minor party to win.  Using our ballots strategically we must find ways to keep the Progressives from gaining one more shot at one party rule.  We must maintain some breathing room so that freedom doesn’t suffocate.

Why is gridlock a good thing? Because it might be our last chance to get something done.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Obey? May 22, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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How can a law be illegitimate?  Isn’t this an oxymoronic question?  It is a question that brings us to the concept that there can be a difference between what is legal and what is right.  This is the debate between those who believe in Legal Positivism and those who believe in Natural Rights.

Legal positivists “believe that the only legitimate sources of law are those written rules, regulations, and principles that have been expressly enacted, adopted, or recognized by a governmental entity or political institution, including administrative, executive, legislative, and judicial bodies.”  In other words whatever the government says is legal is right.

While those who believe in Natural Law believe “all written laws must be informed by, or made to comport with, universal principles of morality, religion, and justice, such that a law that is not fair and just may not rightly be called law.”  Any law which is contrary to Natural Law is not a legitimate law. For example a law that says it is legal to murder others would be seen by all to be illegitimate in amoral sense even though it would be technically legal.

That this is the concept under which the United States was first formulated is self-evident when we read that incomparable document which was issued by the Continental Congress as a justification for its war and its purpose: the Declaration of Independence.  In its opening paragraph, the preamble which all school children once memorized, this document explains itself thus: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

This brings us to the first debate of this essay. Is God supreme and consequently His laws binding upon all people and all nations?  Or is man supreme and all nations amendable to his will and purpose and all his laws supreme until they are changed?

When they decided to adopt the phrase “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” the fifty six signers of the Declaration based the foundation of our country on a legal standard of freedom.  They sought to impress this mold into all the various forms of government to follow. This legal standard of freedom they adopted was that God’s law was supreme and that this law inherently gives man freedom. The phrase “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” referred to the laws that God as the Creator of the universe established for the governance of people, nations, and nature. Throughout History these laws have been described as the laws of Creation, God’s Creation laws, or as the Founders of our nation chose to call them, the laws of nature and of nature’s God. These laws, whatever they are called, are ascertained through an examination of God’s creation, the text of the Bible, and instinct or reason.

The decision of the Founders to expressly rely upon God’s law was not a casual one.  The debate concerning the basis of law had raged on both sides of the Atlantic for many years before and after the Declaration was drafted. After years of reflection on the Declaration of Independence, its principle author, Thomas Jefferson,  stated in 1825 that its central point was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject.”

That this is a generally accepted theory has been affirmed by the world in the universal acceptance of the correctness of the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.  The Nazis who were on trial universally sought to defend themselves on the grounds that everything they did was legal and that they were just following the orders of the legally constituted government.  This defense was universally rejected.  The world came together and said in effect there is a higher law.

In America today it is the accepted practice that our federal legislature enacts laws which direct the apparatus of government as to how it should operate.  It is also accepted practice that the same body enacts laws which establish rules for how ordinary individuals should live their lives.  This duality obscures the truth that though it is necessary and proper for the government to administer the labor of those who have been hired to carry out its will this does not translate into an objective right to administer the individual efforts of its citizens.

The distinguishing characteristic between a free societyand a command society is that in a free society there is a recognized sphere of personal action which stands apart from the public sphere.  In a free society it is recognized that within the private sphere an individual cannot be ordered about at the whim of government bureaucrats.  It is also recognized that in the public sphere individuals should only be required to obey laws which are generally applicable to all.  It used to be the proud declaration of free people that as long as they kept within the bounds of known law they didn’t need to ask by your leave of anyone, they were sovereign of their own life.

This however was a declaration grounded on the belief that laws should be of a general nature; they should be clearly stated and knowable.

Today our Progressive leaders pass laws composed of thousands of pages written in the clear and precise language of government new-speak insurance papers by saying, “We have to pass it to know what’s in it.”  We also have the spectacle of the man who was in charge of writing the tax code for decades when he is caught cheating on his taxes saying, “I personally feel that I have done nothing morally wrong.”   While Mr. Rangle was never indicted for tax evasion since he is above the laws he passes he was found guilty of violating the rules of the House for the same charges.

There is little that is more important to a free society than laws being clear and certain.  If people do not know what the law is there will be paralysis.  In totalitarian societies people never know when they might be accused of breaking a law or rule that they may not even be aware of.  In authoritarian and totalitarian societies the apparatus of government is not used merely to operate the necessary functions of civil administration it is used to coerce citizens to obey.

Article 2 section 1 of the Articles of Impeachment filed against President Nixon was about the abuse of power.  It stated, “He has, acting personally and through his subordinated and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

Nixon “endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information.”  He “endeavored to obtain,” but he never did obtain this information.  The IRS turned him down and turned him in.  Today the Obama regime after years of hiding documents and sending their operatives to Congress to either mislead, lie, or plead the fifth has finally been exposed by documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request that was enforced by a judge.  It has definitively been learned that the IRS persecution of conservative groups was not the work of a few rogue agents in a district office.  The targeting of the Tea Party groups was directed by the IRS Headquarters in Washington.

We have come full circle.  From a nation founded upon the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God we have allowed the Progressives and their Living Document to lead us to a land governed by the laws of man.  The children of the Founders and the descendants of the Framers now cower before an all-powerful corporate state that passes laws no one reads, regulates everything, and employs armies of bureaucrats to harass us into obedience and conformity.

Looking at the contradiction between what we were created to be and what we have become, the question why do we obey comes to mind.  Is it that we are too timid to follow in the footsteps of Washington, Jefferson, and Henry?  Is it that we have developed a habit of following the directions of our leaders?  Or is it that we have a respect for the rule of law?

In the face of continued abuse the timid grow bold, old habits are broken, and when respect is lost it is not easily regained.

One day there will be one abuse too many.  And in that day the people of America will recall that the same people who based our society onthe Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God also said, “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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –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 affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Why do we obey?  Ask yourself, why do I obey, and you will have the answer, because We the People is merely you and I waiting to recall who we are, how we got here, and what we are supposed to be.

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

 

 

Why Liberty Dies May 15, 2014

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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

 

Why Are the Republicans Committing Suicide? May 1, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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With what could be a wave election on the horizon in November due to the unpopularity of Obamacare, why is the Republican leadership raising the white flag?  With the end result being a perpetual Democrat lock on the White House if amnesty brings tens of million illegals out of the shadows and into the voter booths, why is the Republican leadership ridiculing those who oppose it and working to implement it daily?

This is like the captain of the Titanic steering his ship into the iceberg on purpose.  It seems so inexplicable yet at the same time it appears so obvious.  A Progressive is a Progressive no matter whether there is a D or an R after their name.  Or to put it another way, a chameleon may change its colors but you can always tell a leopard by its spots.

With the best government money can buy leading the way like the Pied Piper we are flowing like lemmings towards a cliff.  We learned nothing from watching the USSR disappear overnight.  One day after generations of nightmarish oppression we woke up and it was there and by the time we went to bed it was gone.  This great jailhouse of nations spent itself into oblivion chasing centrally-planned visions of utopia and bled itself to death in Afghanistan.  Now we are whistling in the wind as our Progressive regime and its counterfeit conservative fellow-travelers dance to the K-Street tune of crony capitalists more concerned with purloined profits than with patriotism.

The two-party system has evolved into a strangle-hold on power by a twin headed bird of prey that makes Mexico’s PRI look like a pale imitation of an oligarchy masquerading as a representative republic.  An obviously biased major media ranges from a thinly disguised front for the DNC over at MSNBC to an almost blatant mouthpiece for the RNC at Fox.  The populace has been dumbed down by generations of educational malpractice and is lulled to sleep with the bread and circus routine of government support and 24/7 sports addiction.

It is a well-known truism that if you tax something you get less of it and if you subsidize something you get more of it.  In America today we aggressively and progressively tax the income of producers while we pay more to those who do less.  A culture of entitlement has ensnared a majority of the population.  Those who complain about their grandchildren getting trophies for showing up eagerly accept Social Security checks even though they should know the money they paid in was flushed down the Washington maw before they sent it in.  A war on poverty has cost trillions and produced no change.  A war on racism has produced an entire industry that exists to perpetuate racism in set asides and quotas.  Endless wars for peace have only brought more wars as anonymous drone strikes produce as many new enemies as they kill current ones.

Something has gone drastically wrong with the greatest experiment in human freedom the world has ever seen.  While we worked to produce food for our families those we had entrusted to be the caretakers of freedom sold our birthright for a bowl of porridge. And now the opposition, the very ones we have elected to reverse these trends,proposes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by conceding on Obamacare and passing amnesty.

To imagine that they are misguided is I believe misguided.  Mistakes of this magnitude are not made innocently.  There is no way our pretend protectors haven’t known since Obamacare passed that no entitlement has ever been repealed.  And I predict even if the Republicans win both houses of Congress and the Whitehouse they still would not repeal Obamacare, but they would instead “fix” it.  Likewise, there is no way these RINOs don’t know that if they pass amnesty Texas will suddenly face the possibility to returning to the Democratic tent which means a perpetual Democrat lock on the Electoral College.

The Republican leadership knows these things yet what do we see?  John Boehner, the Speaker of the House mocking those who oppose amnesty and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the House Republican Conference Chair saying, “We need to look at reforming [Obamacare’s] exchanges.”   I have always felt and continue to feel that raising a white flag is not an effective way to lead a charge.   Even though like roaches when you turn on the light these “leaders” will skittle back for cover once their enraged followers shoot down these trial balloons this is how they want to reach across the aisle and shove the knife in their own back.

We can’t really say there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.  The Democrats seem to be in the business of managing America’s decline by retreating from the role of policeman of the world while the Republicans led by their Neo-Con wing would have us in wars in Syria and possibly Europe.  They may divide on foreign policy from surrender to attack; however, on domestic policy no matter what they say they are both for bigger government, crony capitalism, and socialized everything else.

If the everyday working people whatever their gender, whatever their color, whatever their religion want even a shot at regaining control of the ship of state we need to come up out of the boiler room that is keeping this thing moving, demand to be heard, and take all these perpetually re-elected despots for a perp-walk to the dustbin of History.

The big question is how?

Tune out the propaganda machine of the major media, organize a viable opposition party, give of our time, talent and treasure, and most importantly vote against them all.  Don’t re-elect anyone.  Turn the whole lot of them out and bring in a new batch.  We would do better if we just drafted the first 537 people from any telephone book to be the representatives, senators, vice president, and president.  They couldn’t do any worse than spend more than we make and at least there would be someone in there who might actually work for a living.

The Committees of Correspondence, the Sons of Liberty and other organizations fueled and supported the Revolution that made us free.  Without organization nothing of importance is ever accomplished.  To restore limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom organization is needed or we will continue our drift into a centrally-planned surveillance state that still calls itself the land of the free and the home of the brave.

So why are the Republicans committing suicide?  It isn’t because it is the only honorable thing left to do since they have betrayed the trust of their supporters.  It isn’t because they see no other way out like the zealots at Masada.  It is because the spirit of limited government they once represented is already dead and we just don’t know it.  It all makes sense to me now, so can we please wake up and do something about 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

 

Why Did We Write it in the First Place ? April 25, 2014

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Besides regulating the division of authority, constitutions written to limit government must contain substantive rules. They need to establish general principles which will govern the specific acts of the legislature.  Therefore the essence of a constitution involves not only a hierarchy of power and authority it also establishes a hierarchy of laws.  The founding principles built into the structure of the document itself are of a general nature.  They proceed from a higher authority designed to control the content of the later specific laws which are enacted by the representative and delegated legislature elected subsequent to the establishment of the constitutionally limited government.

The idea of a higher law which governs legislation is an old one.  In the 1700s, at the time of the writing of our Constitution, it was known as the Law of Nature, the Law of God, or the Law of Reason.  It was the idea of enshrining this higher law into a written constitution which would be the foundation for a real world government that was the genius of the Framers.

The difference between the Constitution and any subsequent law enacted by the government it founded is like the difference between laws in general and their specific application by the courts in a particular case.  Just as a judicial ruling is considered sound, only if it is based upon the law and not on the mere opinion of the jurist, so too laws themselves are considered legitimate only if they conform to the higher law.  In the same way that we want to prevent a judge from breaking from the law for some consideration of a specific person or idea so too we do not want the legislature to break the general rules to fulfill any immediate or temporary goals.

In the personal lives we all lead we know that often we are tempted to sacrifice long standing principles for immediate gain.  This is a human trait that all share and only the highly disciplined avoid.  So too legislatures, made up of fallible men, are therefore in desperate need of unbreakable higher laws which will constrain them from doing collectively what we all do individually.

Just as an individual will hesitate or at least contemplate the implications of violating a long held principle for an immediate gain so too a legitimate and responsible legislature will be reluctant to break established general laws for new specific aims.  To violate a particular principle at a particular time for a specific purpose is different than saying that principle is null and void.  Passing laws that either benefit or penalize specific people or making legislation retroactive is different than saying that to do so is correct.  If a legislature passes laws which infringe upon the personal liberty or the property rights of individuals during a war or to achieve some monumental national goal is far different than stating that such rights can be infringed with impunity.  It is to mark these differences that every piece of legislation is supposed to have a clause which identifies where the authority for it is found in the Constitution.

It is also for this purpose that general principles should not be promulgated by the legislature but instead by another body.  It is appropriate that this other body should have a suitable time to deliberate so that any establishment or change in the general principles can be fully debated, considered, and amended if necessary.

It is not that a constitution provides an absolute limit on the will of the people.  Looking to our Constitution, which is the model for all such documents which are truly meant to limit the power of government, there is the amendment process which has been used twenty seven times to change the higher laws of our general principles.  Constitutions are meant to act as a check on the ability of a temporary majority from imposing its will in any manner it chooses.  In other words, the social contract agreed to by the people who allow the governance of temporary and shifting majorities in particular situations is based upon the belief that every majority implicitly agrees to abide by the general principles which embody the higher law.

Consequently no one and no group has complete freedom to impose upon the rest of society any laws or any regulations that it wants.  The very essence of constitutionalism rests upon the foundational belief that all power and authority will be exercised within the framework of the general principles and higher law that the constitution creates.  People are chosen to assume power to legislate, govern, or adjudicate because it is believed they will do what is right.  Not because it is believed that whatever they do is right.  Legitimate authority in a constitutional system rests on the belief that power is not a physical fact but a decision on the part of the people to willingly obey.

Looking at the current situation in America today we have a president who in a 2001 interview expressed his inner most thoughts about the Constitution.  He stated:

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

That is as clear a statement of the way our Progressive leaders view America’s founding document, a charter of negative liberties.

As F. A Hayek told us in The Constitution of Liberty, “Only a demagogue can represent as ‘antidemocratic’ the limitations which long-term decisions and the general principles held by the people impose upon the power of temporary majorities.”

Think of what we had.  Look at what we’ve got.  Imagine where we’re going.

Keep the faith. Keep the peace. 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

 

 

Would We the People Ratify the Constitution Today? April 18, 2014

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We the People are the opening words of the preamble to the Constitution.  Many patriots glory in that name, “We the People” holding it aloft as a banner against the encroachments of an ever expanding central government.   In the minds of many it is connected somehow to Lincoln’s famous description of America’s government, “Of the People, by the people and for the people.”

Both of these were revolutionary terms when first spoken.

The people of the founding generation did not think of themselves as “Americans,” instead they saw themselves as citizens of their respective States.  The thirteen colonies, with the singular exception of North and South Carolina, were each founded as separate entities.  Each had its own history and relationship with the crown.  They banded together for the Revolution during which they established the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation.  This established a confederation composed of thirteen independent States.

When the secretly drafted Constitution was finally revealed to the public many of the leading lights of the Revolution were enraged by what they saw as a counter-revolution seeking to supplant the legally constituted Confederation of States in favor of a consolidated central government.   Some of them say the truth was revealed in the first three words, “We the People.”

Every school child can recite the most famous words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”  You probably said those words in your head before you read them once you saw his name.  He is synonymous with America’s defiance to tyranny.  While these famous words ring in the heads of all, few know his opinion on the Constitution.

At the Virginia Ratification Convention in 1788, Patrick Henry said,

And here I would make this inquiry of those worthy characters who composed a part of the late federal Convention. I am sure they were fully impressed with the necessity of forming a great consolidated government, instead of a confederation. That this is a consolidated government is demonstrably clear; and the danger of such a government is, to my mind, very striking. I have the highest veneration for those gentlemen; but, sir, give me leave to demand, What right had they to say, We, the people? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask, Who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the people, instead of, We, the states? States are the characteristics and the soul of a confederation. If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great, consolidated, national government, of the people of all the states.

Ever since the Civil War fatally warped the original federal structure and We the People became a reality the central government of the United States has assumed more and more power until today totalitarianism appears to be within its grasp.  I am not referring to the crude overt totalitarianism of a Nazi Germany or a Soviet Russia instead I am referring to a soft totalitarianism, a kind of nanny state smothering of individual freedom, personal liberty and economic opportunity.  After the complete subjugation of the States to the central government by the Lincoln administration combined with the increased mobility of the modern era, we the people actually became the way most people think of themselves.

In America today we have a president who in a 2001 interview expressed his inner most thoughts about the Constitution,

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

That is as clear a statement of the way our Progressive leaders view America’s founding document, a charter of negative liberties.  A charter that they believe needs to be expanded with a second bill of rights first proposed by FDR in his 1944 State of the Union Address,

  1. A realistic tax law—which will tax all unreasonable profits, both individual and corporate, and reduce the ultimate cost of the war to our sons and daughters. The tax bill now under consideration by the Congress does not begin to meet this test.
  2. A continuation of the law for the renegotiation of war contracts—which will prevent exorbitant profits and assure fair prices to the Government. For two long years I have pleaded with the Congress to take undue profits out of war.
  3. A cost of food law—which will enable the Government (a) to place a reasonable floor under the prices the farmer may expect for his production; and (b) to place a ceiling on the prices a consumer will have to pay for the food he buys. This should apply to necessities only; and will require public funds to carry out. It will cost in appropriations about one percent of the present annual cost of the war.
  4. Early reenactment of the stabilization statute of October, 1942. This expires June 30, 1944, and if it is not extended well in advance, the country might just as well expect price chaos by summer. We cannot have stabilization by wishful thinking. We must take positive action to maintain the integrity of the American dollar.
  5. A national service law—which, for the duration of the war, will prevent strikes, and, with certain appropriate exceptions, will make available for war production or for any other essential services every able-bodied adult in this Nation.

According to Cass R. Sunstein, the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, President Obama not only believes in FDR’s Second Bill of Rights he seeks to implement them,

As the actions of his first term made clear, and as his second inaugural address declared, President Barack Obama is committed to a distinctive vision of American government. It emphasizes the importance of free enterprise, and firmly rejects “equality of result,” but it is simultaneously committed to ensuring both fair opportunity and decent security for all.

In these respects, Obama is updating Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.

We are in the grip of the Federalists on steroids bent on redistributing their way to total power.  The question before us today is, “Would we the people ratify the Constitution today?”

Even Conservatives believe in a safety net.  Everyone contributes to and hopes to receive from Social Security.  No one wants people dying in the streets because they can’t get medical care so Medicaid is available to the uninsured.  Of course Medicare is considered a right for anyone over 65.  Unemployment is an accepted part of the safety net as are food stamps.  If you add up what is already accepted and expected then throw Obamacare into the mix and you see we have become a society addicted to entitlements all of which would fail the test of a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

The 10th Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  The power to do any of these entitlements is not delegated anywhere in the document as it is written, only as it is interpreted.

So would we the people ratify the Constitution as it is written today?  I think not.  A living document has turned the Constitution into a dead letter and the entitlements we have all accepted have turned the descendants of the Founders, Framers, and Pioneers into supplicants standing before the federal throne waiting for a check.

Only a re-birth of self-reliance, a renaissance of historical perspective and renewed political activity have a chance to bring about a rebirth of liberty in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  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

 

Your Need Limits to be Free March 6, 2014

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The problem with anarchy is that it must become organized to accomplish anything.  Then like militant apathy it declares war against the machine never realizing that it is merely another cog in the wheel that grinds itself to dust.

The Law of Liberty defines that space where an individual is secure and free to live their life as they choose.

The life of humanity with society is only possible because the vast majority of people act within the framework of certain rules.  As society becomes more complex these rules evolve from the basic instinct of what is right and wrong to evermore explicit guidelines that are both general and abstract.

The fact that we are the products of thousands of years and hundreds of generations of institutional law makes us as blind to the intricate and all-encompassing nature of this skeleton upon which our society lives and moves.  Just as a fish does not notice the water within which it moves and we are not constantly aware of the air in which we move our social self is not aware of the framework of laws which daily provide the context within which we find our meaning.

If we were to have one flash of insight which revealed to us the web of law, tradition, and ceremony within which we move we would realize that it is no more the invention of design of one person or group than the ubiquitous personal computer upon which I am writing this essay and upon which you are reading it.  We realize that this wonder of technology that in so many ways defines our lives has evolved by fits and starts.  One person or group developed this and some other individual or group added that.  From hardware to software we have advanced from the Commodore to the Mac from the mainframe to the tablet.  To trace the development of the life changing wonder now takes volumes yet we wake up every morning, turn it on, go to work, and never give a thought as to how it got here.  Such is the scaffold which delineates both our limits and our freedom.

In the simplest of societies, when two individuals meet a basic level of order is inherently understood thus establishing a sphere of action that is recognized as belonging to each one separately.  In personal relations this is usually through the unconscious acceptance of rules inbred by that society not by formal law.  These are habits of thought and action not expressed as legally proscribed but instead as universally accepted.

This is the basis for the abstract nature of human society wherein individuals respond in a similar manner to circumstances which share some but not all things in common.  People will obey and follow such abstract rules long before it becomes necessary to write them down.  People knew it was wrong to murder or steal long before it became necessary to have formal laws saying these actions were illegal.

The most important aspect of laws in relation to freedom is that they need to be general and they need to apply to everyone equally as opposed to directives which are specific and focused.  It is vitally important to keep these two aspects of society’s structure clearly understood and delineated.

Laws should be applicable to all people at all times in all places.  In this way they do not encumber our freedom and are more as a natural part of the environment with which all must contend equally.  As laws are applied in varying situations they become more specific and directed morphing from law into directive.  Directives proscribe the actions of individuals and laws define the actions of all.

For example in a large enterprise most of the time individuals will go about their tasks without singular guidance.  They will follow standing orders adapting them to unique situations as they arise only on rare occasions receiving specific direction.  In other words within the sphere of general subordination most of the time is spent as an autonomous actor accomplishing individual tasks.

In this large enterprise we envision all activity is directed ultimately by the highest authority.  In order to provide for the appearance of unforeseen and unforeseeable events a certain amount of latitude is always allowed to the individual.  This is the sphere of freedom even within a tightly controlled environment.  Of course this also means that the means to any end must be presupposed to be allocated to any particular individual presented with any particular circumstance.  Such an allocation of resources might be the assignment of particular things or times that can be applied by the individual to their own design.

These general guidelines for individuals can only be altered by new laws from the highest authority that are announced for longer periods of time and for more unforeseen events.  These new laws may serve to change the shape or complexion of the sphere of freedom however they will apply to everyone and therefore become an impediment to personal freedom akin to a natural barrier affecting all the same.  Everyone must climb the same mountain to reach the same valley.

Thus within even a tightly controlled enterprise each individual comes to know what their sphere of liberty is, where it ends, and another’s begins.  This is how, even within societies that mandated the communal ownership of the means of production and the state ownership of everything else such as the former USSR, people still spoke of “My” house, “My” clothes, and “My” children.

Some measure of liberty will always exist as long as humans are humans.  Even as our current government seeks to exert control over the totality of life our sphere of liberty still exists.

The greatest safeguard for the preservation and restoration of liberty is the limitation of the power of government to move beyond the general into the specific.  As long as laws apply to everyone the individual is secure.  As long as the laws our representatives pass apply to them as well as us we are all secure.  However when we find ourselves dominated by a perpetually re-elected ruling class aided, abetted, and encouraged by a unionized civil-service-protected nomenclature intent on ignoring constitutionally mandated limits we approach a time when the directives of the few will trump the laws of the many.

We need limits to be free.  In a complex society we need laws to have limits.  The Constitution was written to limit the laws to certain areas for certain reasons making them general and universally applied.  The progression of the advocates of control past the written certainty of the Constitution to the fog of the Living Document seeks to issue directives that are specific and individually applied.

Anarchy does not bring freedom but neither does totalitarian control.  Somewhere in between is the sweet spot.  Somewhere in between lies a dynamic relationship where each person does not do whatever is right in their own eyes and no one attempts to make every decision for everyone everywhere.  Somewhere in between is a place that declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has been endowed upon everyone equally by our creator.  Somewhere in between lays a more perfect union of limited government, personal liberty, and economic opportunity.  We were there once.  Let’s find our way home.

Keep the faith, keep the peace, 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

You Should Ask Whose Property Is It February 27, 2014

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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

 

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