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A World Filled With Strangers Keeps Getting Stranger July 11, 2012

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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Some people believe in the Six Degrees of Separation Theory: the idea that everyone in the world is separated from everyone else by six links.  Some people believe all of us are in this thing together, and that diversity is our strength and I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Even if we are all connected in ways we cannot know I believe the world is filled with strangers.  Take a ride and as you pass through country, town, and city you are constantly presented with the faces of people you will never know, and all of whom have lives and families that will never know you or your life or your family.  Every day we see people we have never seen before and will never see again.  They rise out of the mist beyond the pale of our personal knowledge and immediately are submerged again never to rise again.  Our only connection will forever be that one fleeting moment when we moved through a single frame of the separate sagas which are our lives.

Unlike Cain I do believe we are our brother’s keeper, and unlike Scrooge I believe we should help our brothers in need instead of seeing them boiled with their own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through their hearts.  However, unlike the rhetoric of Marx, Lenin, and President Obama I do not believe that life should operate on the basis of from each according to their ability to each according to their need, or as we say in America today, spreading the wealth around.  In other words, I am not a socialist.  I believe in personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity.  Sadly I find myself out of phase with the Progressive Clique which has successfully maneuvered its way to power using the education system, the media, and uninformed, uninvolved, and emotional voters.

Out of phase or not, I believe in the equality of opportunity which gives everyone a shot at success as opposed to the equality of outcome which our Leader and his fellow travelers wish to foist upon us, and which gives everyone the assurance of mediocrity.   No matter the consequence, no matter the sacrifice we must stand up for what we believe or we will stand by while our nation is transformed into what we won’t be able to believe is still called the United States of America.

Day by day the bean counting pencil pushers who make up the nameless faceless bureaucracy grind out rule after rule and regulation after regulation.  President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, Obamacare, is already churning out thousands upon thousands of pages of federal requirements all meant to fill in the blanks in a 2600 page bill that we had to pass to find out what was in it.

Hope and change has become bait and switch.  Mr. Obama isn’t even trying to win votes from those who disagree with him.  He isn’t trying to change minds. He is trying to buy votes.  He is betting that generations of entitlements have finally birthed the lumpen proletariat that his theories of government proclaim must exist for History to reach its summit.  He is betting his second term on the belief that there are now enough people dependent upon the government that they will vote for a handout instead of voting for a hand up.  He is betting that America has been dumbed down enough and bribed enough to trade our heritage of freedom for the yoke of a guaranteed something instead of the opportunity for everything.

Class warfare, penalizing success, dividing America into interest groups and voter blocks this is the strategy Mr. Obama thinks will win as he works to build a coalition of leftist intellectuals and those convinced they are disenfranchised.  Looking at the polls it appears he has the solid core of 40+% who will vote for a Democrat even if he is the devil himself.  The question is will the unengaged and uninformed voters who should at least hope he will change when combined with the illegals and the dead who at least get to vote in Chicago be enough for him to win?

Can you imagine what a second Obama term will look like won on the basis of a promise to double down on social democracy, a complete disregard for the balance of power, and a desire to totally transform America?  What will be left of the America we have known?  How would we ever get back to where we came from?  No entitlement once enacted has ever been repealed.  The size of government never shrinks.  The power it usurps from the people and the States is never surrendered.

A world filled with strangers keeps getting stranger all the time.  No matter how many degrees of separation we should never be as divided as our Dear Leader tries to portray us.  We are Americans, and we can do better than this.  Reject the siren song of free entitlements which are never free, and embrace the liberty our forefathers won for us.  Let us renew the great experiment in human freedom and strive to see our nation rise again to be the last best hope of man that it is meant to be.  The shining city on a hill that can light the way to a future worthy of free men and women held together by unity not united in our separation.

Even if it takes more than six degrees of separation to connect to others what does it matter how connected we are to people around the world if we are in terminal disagreement with our fellow Americans?  As a nation we are divided between those who want to strive to achieve and those who thrive because they receive.  The Progressives have bred generations of passive takers who believe they are entitled to the fruit of others’ labor.  They pay no taxes so they don’t care how high taxes go.  They have no conception of paying for what you have, so they don’t care about the national debt.  They see America as a vending machine, so they don’t believe in our unique place in History.  They desire a shabby world of bread and circuses based on equality of outcome, so they don’t long to be all they can be..

Those of us who want America to be what America has been and what it should be, the home of the brave and the land of the free, can’t let divisions divide us anymore!  We must unite to save liberty or we will stand alone at the end of the day.  We may be strangers to one another.  We may not know each other but if we are fellow believers in the personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity we must unite over what connects us to save what has always made us E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

 

Let’s Learn From the Past and Stop Spending the Future May 31, 2012

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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Remember the BP oil spill? We can still learn a few things from that experience.

In the constantly multiplying days since the BP oil spill all we have received from President Obama are many nuanced, vetted, and parsed versions of Bart Simpson’s famous dodge, “I didn’t do it, nobody saw me do it, there’s no way you can prove anything!”  Not exactly the change those who voted for the only honest politician from Chicago had hoped for is it?  It makes me wonder, is there a sign on the President’s desk that says, “The Buck Stops Over There.”  More than three years into a national calamity and only six months away from what we hope will be change in 2013 and Mr. Obama still thinks his fingerprints aren’t on anything except the levers of imperial power and a big arrow that points to Crawford, Texas.

In his first address to the nation from the Oval Office President Obama sounded like a professor lecturing his self-indulgent students as to why they failed their test because they didn’t study, “It’s a bad result but it’s your fault.”  BP was responsible for the leaking oil because they are greedy capitalists, but America was responsible because we use more oil than we possess or are allowed to produce parroting the falsehood, “We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserve.”   Mr. Obama went so far as to blame Mother Nature falsely saying “And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean — because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”

The safest place to drill for oil is on land and we have proven reserves in ANWAR a region that was specifically set aside for drilling, but the Green Police who now rule the nation won’t allow it.  There are also proven reserves in shallow water but the Green Police once again wag their petulant finger in denial.  We are drilling in the most dangerous places almost asking for a disaster because our ineffectual unrealistic leader and his fellow travelers would rather invest billions more on green technology in the hopes of creating green jobs.

Acting as Venture Socialists, the Progressives our President represents have been investing billions of our tax dollars for decades in windmills and solar panels, and they still aren’t viable.  And if Spain, the world’s leader in creating Green Jobs is any indication for every green job produced 2.5 private sector jobs are lost and most green jobs are either non-producing government jobs or temporary.  Where’s the leadership?  Our government has told us for forty years that they have been trying to achieve energy independence.  Now we know we have the reserves to make that a reality and what has our leader led us to?   President Obama has managed to lead us from a recession into The Great Recession.  Which at least qualifies as following the advice of a cartoon characters or as Hank Hill said to his near-do-well son, “Bobby, if you’re gonna do something wrong, do it right!”

Everyday drip, drip, drip another assault on American traditions another insult to the American people as our President bows to foreign potentates or apologizes for our history.  His poll numbers show this is wearing thin.  Even the shills over at MSNBC have begun to question the leadership of President Obama, “What are we trying to do in this administration?  Why does he want a second term? Would he tell us? What’s he going to do in his second term, more of this? Is this it? Is this as good as it gets? Where are we going?”  If this is leadership, as Dilbert once observed, don’t step in it.

Having spent the better part of two decades teaching, I thought I had heard every excuse ever to grace the mind of an evasion artist.  I’ve heard everything from “I know its plagiarized but I didn’t have time to check over the work of the guy I hired to write my paper,” to  “I didn’t know that no late submissions accepted meant I couldn’t turn in work after the due date.”  And in the comedy series category I have heard 8,000 versions of “Bill Gates ate my homework.” However, as creative as some of those have been President Obama’s endless variations of “George Bush did it” has now become the all-time longest running excuse.  Evasion isn’t leadership just as saying something doesn’t make it true.

Now Mr. Obama is telling us he is a fiscal conservative and a budget cutting tightfisted economically conservative red white and blue deficit hawk.  After three years of FDR on steroids we are supposed to believe he is really Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, and scrooge McDuck all rolled up in one.  Then again it isn’t class warfare; it is making sure everyone pays their fair share except of course for his supporters who pay nothing.  It isn’t helping establish Islamist regimes throughout the Middle East; it is supporting democracy.  And, oh yes, it isn’t out-of-control spending; it is investing in our future.  I guess since we’re investing in the future it makes sense to spend the incomes of our great great grandchildren.  Can anyone say taxation without representation?

The continual fog of political spin and deception is poisoning the already fractured dialog between America’s citizens and their perpetually re-elected representatives.   This lead from behind, managing the decline transformation of America has got to stop.  Just as no one ever gets to step into the same river twice no one gets to live in the country they grew up in because the times they are a changing. But what we are experiencing today is not normal change. This is a top down revolution that is designed to transform America into a social democracy.

Evading the problems will not make them go away.  We have got to face up to the hard choices that need to be made.  Are we all going to silently follow as we are led over a cliff?  Or are we going to stand for something before we fall for nothing.  What we need is someone who will tell us the truth: “We’re broke.”  We need someone who will stand for limited government, personal liberty, and economic opportunity.  We need someone who will stand up and be counted not someone who counts on others standing up to do the job so they can buy votes by expropriating the hard-earned fruit of their labor to pass the wealth around.

We don’t need another four years of evasion and trickery. We need to take a long hard look at the dire situation these Progressives have created, and then we need to plan ahead, put our nose to the grindstone, and work our way out of this hole.  Or as Hank Hill said, “If you plan ahead, then when things happen, you’re prepared for them.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

What’s Mine is Mine What’ s Yours is Negotiable May 17, 2012

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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The economy is scheduled to plunge off a cliff in January.

Back in the first two years after the Progressive’s November Revolution of 2008, the big government party enacted tax increases not scheduled to take place until after the 2012 elections. They also passed Obamacare which carries within it multiple tax increases, which are also scheduled to take affect after the 2012 election.  Combine these with previous tax rollbacks scheduled to expire in January 2013 and we are looking at the major economic crisis the progressives have worked so hard to create so they can then work so hard to solve.

In 2010 the voters got a chance to let the central planners know what they thought of what had been done with the power entrusted to them in 2008.  However, with only one house of Congress in Republican hands they were unable to reverse any of the changes made in the first two years of the Obama administration, so come January we hit the wall.

This manufactured economic crisis will be used by the triumphant Progressives as proof that capitalism doesn’t work.  Then following their play book, since too much government wrecked the economy we need more government to fix the economy.  They will tighten the already strangulating regulatory straight jacket.  If Obamacare is upheld and implemented, within a few years it will kill the private insurance industry as company after company figures out it is cheaper to pay the fines imposed than purchase the insurance required.  The flight of paying customers from the private insurance companies will force them into bankruptcy.  Remember even if they used deceptive language at the moment of passing the bill President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid were on the record many times saying what they were aiming at was a single payer European type healthcare system.  And we can all see how well that is working out for the Europeans.

They will also use the failure of the insurance industry as more proof that capitalism doesn’t work.

As President Obama travels around the country inciting class warfare with his constant attacks on the millionaires and billionaires which he tells us aren’t paying their fair share he continues to accept vast amounts of money from those same millionaires and billionaires.  While his administration imposes regulation after regulation that every day makes it harder to start new businesses, maintain or expand small businesses he turns a blind eye to the continued casino like atmosphere at the largest banks: the ones that are too big to fail and which should be too big to bail.

The largest bank in the country, J. P. Morgan Chase just lost another couple of billions in risky credit derivatives that their own chairman says were ill-conceived, poorly executed, and not managed very well.  This is the same bank that President Obama says is one the best run banks in America and the same chairman who has visited the Whitehouse at least 18 times since 2009..  The Chairman of the Board Jamie Diamom, the one in charge when all the poor execution was going on was just voted 23 million dollars in compensation while the stockholders take it in the wallet.

Crony capitalism, where the public takes the risk and bears the loss while the cronies who contribute money to the politicians reap the benefits is alive and well.  Favored corporation such as GE whose chairman, Jeffrey R. Immelt serves on the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness makes billions in profit and often pays nothing in taxes.  Personally I believe there should be no corporate taxes since they are in reality double taxation but taxing some while exempting others is the worst kind of Corporatism and the President merely uses this system to reward donors and then turns around and attacks this pay-to-play system as an example of the rich not paying their fair share.

There is a con game going on.  Straw men are being set up only to be knocked down.  Our fellow Americans who get their news from Jay Leno and the Daily Show have no idea what is being done.  They swallow the party line as belched out by the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media and troop to the polls to vote for the same party their fathers and grandfathers voted for.  But the major parties today aren’t ideologically, organizationally, or in practice the same parties America has known.

Neither party stands for smaller government, individual freedom, and economic opportunity.  At one time they both stood for these fundamentally American concepts.  Operating like the twin heads of one bird of prey, both major parties expand the government and add to the regulatory burden which is changing America from the Land of the Free into a totalitarian morass that is stagnating its way from the first world to the second world.

From the beginning of the primary process it was obvious that Romney was the anointed choice of the establishment Republicans and the media.  Now that he has been all but chosen it is time for the Democrats to scare up a third party somewhere somehow.  President Obama’s record of socialist accomplishments is so stunning it has even aroused enough of the politically comatose to push him back to the 40+% of the electorate who would vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for anyone except a Democrat.  He has lost the independents and the undecided.  His only chance for victory is a third party, so there will be a third party even if the Democrats have to invent it and pay for it themselves.

As the big day, the day when we as voters will get a chance to reverse the November Revolution of 2008, watch as a third party emerges, well-funded and well prepared.  This third party will say all the right things.  They will come across as conservative ideologically and economically.  They will probably even try to portray themselves as the organized expression of the thousands of independent Tea Parties across the country.

No third party has won a presidential election in America since 1860.  The rules have been rigged, and so many people vote instinctively for the party their fathers voted for the odds of a third party winning are close to the odds of winning the power ball.

If the progressives win one more election they will cement in their transformation of America from a land based on equal opportunity to a land of based on equal outcome.  Everyone gets the same thing except of course for those who divvy up the swag.  Those who divide what they take from the producers to give to the non-producers always seem to end up with everything while everyone else gets just enough to get by long enough to produce something else that can be expropriated by an all-powerful central government.

The Progressives who have taken control of America act as if all the money we earn is theirs and the only debate is about how much they will let us keep.  And they constantly remind us that the government can’t afford to leave us with too much money.  If they did we wouldn’t be dependent on them.

Maybe we should change the motto from E Pluribus Unum to What’s Mine is Mine What’s Yours is Negotiable.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

 

 

If I Wanted to Make America Prosperous Again April 26, 2012

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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First, I would ask myself how did our ancestors build America from an agricultural colony on the edge of civilization into the number one manufacturing and commercial nation the world had ever known.

Why reinvent the wheel if round ones still roll?

The early American colonies of the British were founded based upon the economic ideas of Mercantilism.  Governmental regulation of industries, trade, and commerce characterized Mercantilism as every aspect of the economy was utilized for national policy. This was especially true with foreign trade, which was determined more by national aims rather than individual or local interests.

The definition of wealth began to change in the sixteenth century.  During the Middle Ages, wealth was defined by the amount of productive land a nation possessed.  As transportation, especially by sea, improved so did the ability to conduct foreign trade bringing with it an increase in the amount of cash generated by that trade.  The definition of wealth came to be the amount of cash a nation possessed.  Therefore every nation sought to have a favorable balance of trade.  They also sought to develop monopolistic type environments wherein they provided their own raw materials thus avoiding imports which meant money flowing out and fostering the export of finished goods raising the level of money flowing in.  Defining wealth as the accumulation of cash, the nations of Europe desired to conduct foreign trade on a larger scale, and they began looking for foreign sources of gold, silver, and raw materials.

This brings us to the British effort to develop North America as a source of wealth.

The Chesapeake colonies of Virginia and Maryland were the first successful British colonies in what was to become the United States of America.  Though the initial colonists came looking for gold they soon learned that prosperity came not from a shovel but instead from a plow.  It was tobacco that primed the pump and lifted the colonies from a burden to a benefit for the mother country.  After years of mounting expenses for the British and years of starvation for the colonists the cultivation of tobacco brought prosperity.  Virginia’s production of tobacco grew from 200,000 pounds in 1624 to 3,000,000 pounds in 1638 overtaking the West Indies as the number one supplier of tobacco for all of Europe thus boosting Britain’s balance of trade.

The cultivation of tobacco fostered a plantation system based upon indentured and slave labor.  A gentrified class of great planters sought to replicate the social structure of Britain with a small number of very rich ruling a large number of small land holders who prospered to a certain extent but never enough to challenge the status quo.  The wretched poor of Britain who had come to the Chesapeake colonies to find a better life did find more opportunity and the ability to advance from the landless poor to the ranks of yeoman farmer.  However, there was little opportunity to enter the ranks for the gentry which became a type of American nobility.

New England, because of the soil, the climate, and the fact that there was no major cash crop that grew well in the area, did not lend itself to large plantations.  Most farmers were operating at a subsistence level.  If they did generate a surplus it was in crops that were not easily transported across the ocean, and they were also crops that could be grown in England and were not needed as imports.

This climatic and environmental adversity did not condemn New England to being a poor relation to the Chesapeake nobility.  Instead the New English diversified, innovated, and used individual enterprise to not only match but to surpass Chesapeake and every other colony in the British Empire.  Those who settled New England were Puritans who sought to purify the Anglican religion of ceremony and return it to what they saw as the simplicity of early Christianity.  They did not believe that good works brought salvation but they did believe that salvation brought good works.  Therefore they sought to occupy their time with productive activity to glorify God through their labors.  This was a manifestation of what the sociologist Max Weber later called , “The Protestant work ethic.”  Whatever you choose to call it, it was this drive to succeed no matter what the adversity that led the New English to look beyond the soil, beyond the climate and to the opportunity.

First they exploited the fisheries of the Northeast.  In 1641 the New English caught 600,000 pounds of fish much of which was exported to Britain.  By 1645 they were catching more than 6,000,000 pounds per year employing more than a thousand men on 440 ships.  They came to dominate the fish trade shipping not only to Britain and its empire but also to Spain, Portugal, the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands.

By the end of the 1600s the merchants of the New English coast began to circle the globe trading the fish, surplus crops, and lumber of their area to all parts of the British Empire.  They became such shrewd traders that soon American ships were carrying trade from one colony to another even when the cargo didn’t originate in New England.  This secondary carrying trade generated a growing profit that in turn rebounded in a number of ways.  The increased profits brought home financed increased industry and growth at home, and it also spawned a shipbuilding industry which exploited the vast resources of the northern forests.

Between 1674 and 1714 the New English built more than 1200 ships, totaling more than 75,000 tons.  By 1700 there were fifteen shipyards in Boston which produced more ships than all the rest of the British colonies combined.  Only London had more shipyards.  This was a significant engine of economic growth.  To build one 150 ton merchant ship required as many as 200 workers, mostly skilled craftsmen.  The shipyards also supported the growth of numerous enterprises to supply their needs such as saw mills, smithies, barrel makers, sail makers, iron foundries, and rope makers. In addition, the farmers of New England benefited by feeding the craftsmen, supplying the ships, and providing the timber.

By 1700 Boston was the third city of the Empire behind only London and Bristol and the New English shippers were earning freight charges for carrying produce and material that was neither produced, shipped to, or shipped from their home colony.  The enrichment of the area spread prosperity far beyond the sphere of shippers, sailors, and their sundry suppliers.  According to Boston’s shipping register for 1697-1714 over 25% of the adult males in Boston owned shares in at least one ship.

All of these linkages produced an economy filled with diversification and development as opposed to the stratified monoculture of the Chesapeake colonies.

These trends continued as time went on leading to the industrial North eventually overwhelming the agricultural South.  The expansion and growth of America was based upon a foundation of hard work and innovation born of adversity.  Finding themselves in a hard place Americans found a way to prosper and grow like a young plant reaching for the sun.  Freed from the rigid restraints of the home country and then guaranteed freedom by the constitution and the limited government it provided America surged to the front ranks of nations.

Today, America labors under self-imposed adversity.  We are in the grip of an oppressive Progressive Movement that after 100 years of incremental advance is poised to transform America from what she has always been into what they want her to be.  America has traditionally been a constitutionally limited Republic operating on democratic principles providing individual liberty and economic opportunity.  The Progressives envision America as a centrally-planned highly regimented social democracy where the wealth is spread around from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs .

If I wanted to make America prosperous again I would take off the self-imposed shackles of a central government on steroids, stop imposing new regulations, and reduce taxes everywhere on everyone.  Then I would stand back and watch our economy takes off like a rocket and we take our place beside our ancestors as free people with economic liberty and a will to succeed.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

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