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Why the Welfare State Isn’t Well and It Isn’t Fair October 24, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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Why the Welfare State Isn’t Well and It Isn’t Fair

Throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries Socialism had a fairly precise definition, a somewhat clear program, and a generally agreed upon goal. The definition of Socialism was some variant of Karl Marx’s well known statement, “From each according to the ability to each according to their need.” Socialism’s program was the nationalization of all means of production, exchange, and distribution. Socialism’s goal was the use of all three in a comprehensive plan to bring about some chimera of social justice.

There were two general schools or roads socialists followed to utopia, Marxism and Fabianism. Both were variants of Socialism. They differed mainly in their stated ultimate ideal of a Socialist State and how to get there.

The Marxists said they believed that in a fully Socialist State the State itself would wither away, and all that would be left was a classless society basking in the sunshine of social justice for all. The method advocated by the Communists to achieve this social nirvana was revolutionary change leading to a dictatorship of the working class (proletariat) which ruthlessly exterminated the old society and built the new.

The Fabians saw their road to social justice leading through a highly centralized government built up gradually by democratic means slowly gaining control of the levers of power and gradually implementing its program of bureaucratic control until complete social justice was achieved.

In Europe these schools of thought were explicit and open forming political parties and vying for power either through the ballot or from the barrel of a gun. In America the engrained belief in personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity were too strong to allow the open development of any party that openly claimed Socialism as their philosophy. Therefore the gradualist approach of the Fabians became the incremental approach of the Progressives.

Starting with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, massively redirecting society under FDR, and moving ever forward under every president, except Ronald Reagan, the Progressives have slowly built the web upon which America now is bound.

With the fall of the Soviet Union and of its satellite empire communism finally lost its great patron. It had long since lost its allure in the reality of a brutal dictatorship that ground its people into the dirt in the race to social justice. So in the West Socialism has gone underground in the Green Movement, the vast network of community organizing groups, and in the Democrat Party. Many of the leaders of the Party now openly call themselves Progressives. All of them champion the idea of a Living Constitution that is evolving from the old American ideal of individualism toward a new collectivist ideal of social justice.

As long as the ideas and goals of Socialism were just that: ideas and goals, it all sounded good and many intellectuals as well as many members of the general public bought into the lofty sounding fairness of social justice. However once the Socialists gained actual power in the USSR and later in its satellite empire the crushing reality of its brutish methods and the soul killing dullness of its execution dimmed the glow. It changed its image from a rising sun of opportunity into the glare of an interrogation lamp.

This is where the insidious and dangerous character of the new underground Socialists in the plethora of underground manifestations reveals itself. Today we don’t have a socialist state in America; instead we have a welfare state. Unlike Socialism the welfare State has no precise definition. The attempt to understand all its implications is like trying to take a picture of fog: it obscures the picture however it cannot be seen as anything solid. The leaders of this homegrown style of Socialism: Progressivism, have learned that by incrementally increasing the level of governmental control over private industry and individuals they can still achieve the Socialist goal of income redistribution without the stigma of advocating an admittedly authoritarian dictatorship.

All they have to do is speak in vague terms of the general good and spreading the wealth around and the low information citizens nurtured in state schools will stand in line to proudly vote for hope and change. Never realizing that the prosperity Paul thinks he is voting out of Peter’s pocket will not reach him as it is syphoned off to feed an ever growing bureaucracy needed to transfer the wealth.

As long as the danger to liberty came from self-declared Socialists who were openly pursuing collectivist goals and as long as there was the glaring disconnect of a brutal dictatorship saying it was oppressing its own people in the quest for social justice it was easy to argue that the tenets of Socialism were false. There were examples to show that it would not achieve its goals, that its execution was brutish, and that it would inevitably produce results which most Socialists themselves would find abhorrent.

The situation is different when we face the Welfare State. It has no definite form and is instead a conglomeration of diverse and sometimes even contradictory elements. Some of these elements may seem to make a free society more attractive such as something for everyone while others such as the means to take from one to give to another are incompatible with freedom.

I am not in any way advocating for no government. I am advocating for limited government. There are many things which most will agree are beneficial to society and which are legitimate concerns for government such as defense, the mail system, taxes appropriate to a limited role, and the judiciary. Most people today would also agree that some form of a safety net is possible in a free society to protect against risks common to all.

However here it is important to differentiate between two views of this type of protection. There is limited protection which can be achieved for all and absolute security which can never be achieved.

The first of these types of protection is against severe poverty: the assurance of a minimum level of support for everyone. The second is the guarantee of a certain standard of life which is determined by comparing the standard enjoyed by one group against that enjoyed by another. In other words the difference is between the protection of an equal minimum income for all and the protection of a particular income for particular groups. This is the goal of the Welfare State that brings us back to “From each according to their ability to each according to their need” or as our current Progressive President puts it, “Spreading the Wealth Around.”

To accomplish this, the coercive power of the State is used to ensure that particular people get particular things which in turn require discrimination between people and unequal treatment. Some are forced to give while others receive. This is incompatible with a free society. Thus the welfare State which aims at social justice inevitably leads back to Socialism with its coercive power and arbitrary methods. In addition though some of the aims of the Welfare State such as income equality can only be achieved through the use of methods which are incompatible with freedom all of the aims may be pursued in that fashion.

The primary danger is that once the aims of the Welfare State have been accepted as legitimate it is then tacitly assumed that the use of means which are contrary to freedom are acceptable. The ends justify the means and the rule of law is sacrificed in the name of social justice.

Ultimately we arrive at a place where the criticism of the generally accepted goals of the Welfare State leads automatically to negative labels. If you point out that Obamacare is socialized medicine you are throwing grandma over the cliff. If you point out that common core is indoctrination you are against education. If you point out that progressive taxation is inherently discriminatory and unfair you are the friend of millionaires and billionaires and the enemy of the poor. If you point out that government regulations are strangling business you are against clean air and consumer safety.

Our Progressive leaders always point to the shining city on a hill where everyone has everything. Our low information fellow citizens never seem to realize that a government which ceases to administer limited resources put under its control for a specific purpose will instead use its coercive power to ensure that people are given what some bureaucrat decides they need. They never connect the dots. They do not understand that when larger and larger segments of the population come to depend on the government for everything eventually it will be the decision of those in authority what anyone receives. This isn’t freedom. This isn’t what America was or what it is supposed to be. And this is why the Welfare State isn’t well and it isn’t fair.

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

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

 

Why We Need Capitalists February 20, 2014

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At one time in America most people were financially independent.  I don’t mean by this that most people were wealthy.  What I mean is that they worked for themselves as opposed to working for someone else as a hired laborer.  People were farmers, or craftsmen, trappers, or frontiersmen.  Thomas Jefferson pictured America as a republic based upon the yeoman farmer.

That day has passed.  Today most people who work are employed by someone and draw a wage. As a matter of fact in America today it is not overstating the matter to say that of those who earn their own living the vast majority are exclusively wage earners.

Combine this with the reality of our modern infatuation with democracy and it is no wonder that the majority of voters continue to elect people who are pro-worker and anti-free enterprise.  This is aptly reflected in our labor laws and the radicalized National Labor Relations Board.  It is also reflected in the progressive income tax, the fact that corporate income is taxed twice, once as income to the corporation and secondly as income when the same money is distributed to shareholders.  It is further manifested in the bewildering array of regulations that spew forth from Washington strangling business in red tape.

The masses of wage earners have fallen prey to the siren songs of demagogues.  These pied pipers point to the visible difference between the rewards earned by those who risk their capital and their personal efforts to start and build an enterprise and those who earn wages to work for those enterprises.  These differences in reward are labeled as unfair.  It is either intimated or stated directly that those who start enterprises and build their bigger reward have done so by taking from those who earn a smaller reward by working for the enterprises they build.

We hear endlessly about a fair deal, a level playing field and building ladders to the middle class.  Government control is offered as a gateway to utopia where those who earn too much give to those who earn too little; from each according to their ability to each according to their need.  The Svengalis of redistribution seek to mesmerize people removed from anything except doing a proscribed task for an agreed upon amount.  They teach that free enterprise is the cause of the unfairness portrayed as America’s legacy.  Our state controlled schools drum the same message into our children until it become to them common sense.  The subservient media sing the same song in movies, on TV and in the news.

Building upon this multipronged barrage of propaganda the worship of democracy kicks in to warp our Republic.  When we combine those who succumb to the collectivist delusion among the wage earners with government workers and those who are living off the dole and we have a solid majority dedicated to restricting freedom to gain security.  A bargain our Founders warned us leads to having neither.

This is where we stand today.  The entrepreneur is looked down upon as a parasite on the economic life of the wage earners.  Entrepreneurs are portrayed in movies, on TV, and by our leaders as grasping schemers who care nothing for the environment or their fellow man, and the only reason they aren’t throwing grandma off the cliff is because someone is watching.  Try to remember the last time Outside of an Ayn Rand novel or movie that you saw capitalists portrayed as anything positive in America.  It is generally believed by the low information voters that the only way people get rich is to steal from the poor.

This is a trap; a trap that swallowed Russia and held it captive for generations, and a trap that impoverished Eastern Europe and turned China into one big internment camp.  Those who spent most of the 20th century sitting in the dirt eating leaves as a result of their campaign against free enterprise have broken their chains and are today the Tigers of East Asia and the power houses made of BRIC.

Entrepreneurs are necessary.  They are the engine that makes the wheels of innovation turn.  They are the ones willing to take a risk.  They will turn away from the guaranteed wage and the benefits all our parents taught us were necessary for a good life.  They are the ones willing to take the chance and hazard their all for something others can’t see.  They are the ones who build the organizations for others to work within. Without them economies stagnate, suffocate, and die.

If the government were to take over every business in America and ensure that every wage earner could continue to earn their daily bread does anyone think this would be the America that we have known?  Does anyone believe it would be the America that grew from thirteen impoverished war weary states on the edge of civilization into the greatest power the world has ever known?  This has been tried before and everywhere it has ever been tried it has failed.  Don’t believe the political savants who tell us this time it will work.  The ones who say they will do it differently and whose every program proves they are doing it the same.

In Russia the government actually took ownership of everything, and then ran it all into the ground.  In Italy and Germany they tried it another way.  They allowed for private ownership but with strict government control.  Here in our American version we are following the Italian and German path with crony capitalism building fortunes on political access.  Our stock market does not move in response to innovation and enterprise it moves in tandem with government policies. The Too-Big-to-Fails make the cronies at the top wealthy as they plunder the assets, buy back the stock, and enrich their friends with options.  All while making sizable campaign donations along the way to those who make it all legal.  Then when the bubbles burst they get bailed out and the tax payers foot the bill.

If we are to survive let alone thrive we have got to open the way for the innovator.  We have got to once again encourage the risk taker, quit punishing success, and stop subsidizing failure.

To give a good day’s work for a day’s wage is an honorable thing. To be a faithful and responsible employee is something we can teach our children.  However without the new energy and markets created by innovative entrepreneurs the system will eventually stop growing.  When the pie stops growing everyone ends up fighting over the size of their piece.  When the pie stops growing and the population keeps growing everyone’s piece must get smaller, except of course for those who do the dividing.

Why do we need capitalists?  So that everyone else can have a job.

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

 

Political Action Follows Political Philosophy November 8, 2013

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The vast majority of human action reflects the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings of the actor.  There have always been and there will always be those whose actions are erratic or divorced from reality.  The actions of this small minority are best ascribed to pathology not philosophy.  For the rest of us we think therefore we are.  What we think about today we act upon tomorrow.

In the realm of political action this holds true.  The philosophies propagated today may not bear fruit or even appear to germinate during the lifetime of those who share them.  However, if they resonate with the thoughts, beliefs and natures of others they will bring forth a harvest in due time.

The time and effort involved in producing a coherent and logical body of work in the field of political philosophy may feel like a fool’s errand or wasted effort to the author working away often without recognition and in seclusion, never seeing the validity of their thoughts acknowledged by their peers or their intended audience.  However, anyone involved in such an effort needs to have a long view and the fortitude to plant so that others may harvest.

Having prefaced my thoughts and illuminated my actions let me plant some seeds.

For my entire life I have had Progressive instructors, politicians, friends and relatives admonish me that the reason for subverting the greatest experiment in human personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity in the History of humanity is that we need to provide for the less fortunate.  They often refer to providing some type of economic security for those who cannot provide for themselves.  They often mean the leveling of society so that there is a minimum level of economic security.

The problem with “economic security” is that the term is so vague how do we know when it has been achieved?  Much like a war on terror it is open ended and can be interpreted in many ways.  What is considered economic security to one may not be to another.

If by economic security we mean security with regard to physical needs and a minimum amount of food that is one thing.  If by economic security we mean the guarantee of a certain standard of living or a pre-assigned social status we are speaking of something else altogether.

It seems clear that any society which has achieved the levels of sophistication and civilization that we have should be able to provide for the basic needs of our citizens who cannot take care of themselves without endangering the freedom of all.  There will be debates as to the levels of help which should be provided; however as to the belief that we should not allow our fellow citizens to starve or freeze I believe we are all agreed.

These questions will undoubtedly cause political debate and they may even cause tempers to flare; however that there is some minimum standard all will agree.  These minimum standards of economic security can be provided to those who cannot provide for themselves without endangering the wider economy and without unduly infringing upon the liberty of the productive members of society.

However, any attempt to guarantee the pre-assigned social status of anyone, or any group, the attempt to provide for those who can provide for themselves and choose not to do so will inevitably cause so many dislocations in the economy and require so many regulations both personal freedom and economic opportunity will be severely restricted.

This is where the debate heats up.  We have those who believe our society can and should protect and provide for those who cannot protect and provide for themselves and those who wish to use social welfare for social engineering.

The levels of taxation and regulation needed to support the minimalist approach can easily be borne by our society and our economy without compromising our freedom if they are applied evenly and fairly.  A flat tax without loopholes, subsidies or any of the other trappings of crony capitalism does nothing to inhibit innovation, enterprise, or competition.  Regulations requiring the equal treatment of individuals or the setting of safety or access levels likewise do not detract from opportunity as long as they are universally applied.

However, to attain the maximized levels of central-planning required to impose a Utopian vision of equality of outcome on any society require so many regulations and such high levels of taxation that they effectively strangle innovation, enterprise and competition.  Why couldn’t that gigantic prison house of nations, the USSR, compete with the United States?

Because they professed to seek a society wherein everyone was equal at all times.  Did they accomplish it?  No. The ruling Communists simply replaced the ruling hereditary aristocracy.  They killed millions to improve life.  They destroyed the incentive and creativity of their people in an effort to produce a more productive economy by fiat instead of freedom.  They eventually made working for the collective so meaningless that a common saying was, “They pretend to pay us so we pretend to work.”  Citizens ended up with worthless money, empty stores and services such as health care that only worked for the privileged government workers.   In any society that robs Peter to pay Paul eventually everyone changes their name to Paul.

As dire as the results have always been for Utopian experiments it is the morality of attempting to level society that needs to be questioned.  I contend that competition is a fundamental quality of humanity.  Striving to improve, to provide for one’s self and one’s family are basic instincts, and when governments interfere with these in an effort to ensure the success of some they have to limit the success of others.

This has a butterfly effect where a regulation for a positive action here about that affects something else over there about this negatively.  Multiply this many thousands of time and we have a cascading effect that restricts opportunity except for those who direct the effort to achieve the equality of all.  Or as the last remaining commandment at the animal farm eventually said, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

No one is as smart as everyone.  No set of central planners seeking the improvement of some can substitute their decisions for the millions of decisions made by free individuals seeking their own improvement.  It just won’t work.  It never has and it never will.  Therefore I contend that if it is inherently detrimental to society as a whole and since it is impossible to achieve it is immoral to attempt.

Man was created with free choice.  This is our fundamental nature.  Therefore what goes against that nature is contrary to the truth of who man is or is meant to be.

That the darker side needs to be restrained is generally agreed.  Every society condemns murder.  Even thieves have a code; at home they know theft is wrong.  Children should be protected and provided for as should those who cannot protect or provide for themselves.  No people has prospered or advanced by leaving their poor to starve or their sick to die.

Likewise no people have ever successfully built a society on the pipedream of equality of outcome.  All that has ever produced is the fever dream of a socially engineered stagnant society where the government picks winners and everyone except the choosers and the chosen few end up losers.

The idea that man is meant to be free birthed this country.  No matter how far we fall beneath the Progressive avalanche of regulation, taxation, and corruption this idea will one day once again take flight.  As long as there are those who will propagate the philosophy the action will one day follow.  Just as sure as a sunrise always follows the darkest night someday a free America will rise from the ash heap of History to which socialism inevitably leads.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Central-Planning Won’t Work October 3, 2013

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Failure to plan is planning to fail.  This truism has been a guiding light in my life and in the lives of countless others.  Without planning we would never accomplish much in life.  The haphazard serendipity of chance rarely adds up to a consistently positive result.  We all know people who seem like they can fall into a sewer and come up smelling like roses.  Most of us come up smelling like something quite different if we take the same fall.

On an individual basis planning is absolutely critical.  For society some things also need planning such as coining money, defending the nation, and delivering the mail.  All of these require planning and for all of these things it is possible to plan realistically and effectively.

There is no argument between the citizen supporters of constitutionally limited government and our perpetually re-elected Progressive collectivists and the fellow-travelers who support them about this. Some planning is both necessary and good.  However, this is where we part company.  Those who believe in a constitutionally limited government do not believe that it is possible or advisable to try to run an economy and a society through central planning.

The very attempt to use central planning short circuits the myriad of personal decisions which make up the routine functions of a free economy and that is the bedrock of a free society.  Every group that advocates central planning, no matter what they call themselves are Utopians who believe that they can do a better job making decisions for everyone than everyone can make for themselves.  That is the essence of the Nanny-state: government knows better and must protect us from our own bad choices.

There is one common feature that is clearly a part of all the various collectivist systems no matter what they call themselves.  They all call for the deliberate organization of society to accomplish identifiable social goals.  That a free society lacks this focus and its activities are guided by the personal whims and feelings of individuals all seeking their own good is always the complaint of the Utopians.

This brings the basic difference between the collectivists and the advocates of personal liberty into stark relief.  The different types of collectivists: Socialists, Communists, Fascists, and Progressives may differ as to the specific societal goals towards which they want to drive their populations, and they may differ in their methods depending upon the amount of control they exert over the choices of others.  However much they differ from each other they all uniformly differ from the advocates of individual freedom in that they wish to regiment all of society and all its resources to achieve whichever set of goals their particular brand of collectivism sees as the pathway to Nirvana.

Whatever the social goal is whether it’s called the great leap forward, a worker’s paradise, a classless society, the common good, the general welfare, or the Great Society it doesn’t take much reflection to see that these terms are so vague it’s impossible to determine their exact meaning so that any specific course of action could be decided upon.   It’s like a war on terror, or drugs, or obesity how are you supposed to know when the goal has been reached or victory achieved?

The welfare and happiness of people cannot be measured on a scale of more or less.  There are too many variables.  There are too many possible combinations of circumstances that can become either negatives or positives depending upon another set of widely diverse situations.  The “good” of any society cannot be expressed as simply or succinctly as the collectivists pretend.  It is just too complex.

To direct all of society’s energy and resource by one plan assumes that every need and desire is given a rank in order of importance and a place in order of time.  It also assumes that an absolute lineal order of occurrences must proceed from every action.  If this happens that will automatically occur.   Besides asserting through action that it is possible to order all things as one desires it also inherently expresses the idea that there is one universal set of ethics by which good and bad are obviously seen by the planners.  All of these assumptions, assertions and expressions are not only false they are obviously false.  No one is as smart as everyone.

The very idea of having a universally accepted and complete code of ethics is beyond the scope of human experience.  People are constantly choosing between different values as they go through their daily life.  What is best today in this situation may not be best tomorrow in that situation.  However, when all of society and all of its resources are to be harnessed and driven in one direction toward a preselected set of goals such a universal and complete set of ethics are not only a necessity they are a prerequisite for success.  Since this is unattainable success is also unattainable.  If this sounds harsh please view the tattered hulks and broken lives which litter the history of all Utopian collectivist societies.

Only God can plan the end from the beginning.  Only God has an ultimate and a true ethical code that is universally applicable to all people in all situations.  Only God has a right to order events to suit His purposes. He created all things, and all things exist because He holds them up. All things are His, and He has the ability and the right to do with them as He pleases.

The problem we face is that collectivism puts the state in the place of God.  Collectivists believe that government, through its bureaucracy, can make decisions and take action that could only work if designed and carried out with the aid of omniscience and omnipotence neither of which qualities have ever or will ever belong to government.

A scientist once said to God, “You’re not so much.  We have learned how to make life in our laboratories.”

God answered, “Is that so.”

The scientist proudly said, “Yes it is and I am willing to have a contest with you right now to see who can make life faster and better.”

“All right,” God said, “let’s go.”  With that God stooped down and picked up some dirt and started molding it into a man as the scientist grabbed his test tubes and started pouring liquids from one to another.

Just as God was about to blow the breath of life into His creation, he looked at the scientist and said, “Hey!  Get your own dirt.”

There is one thing I have learned in this life: God is God and I am not and neither is anyone or anything else.  Sounds like a pretty basic lesson; however, it took me about half of my life to learn.  If we could only get those entrusted with our government to learn the same thing maybe we would stop our slow slide into that long dark night.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

The Question is, “What’s the Answer?” September 26, 2013

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In politics and economics as in everything in life there always seems to be more questions than answers.

Some answers previously shared:

Politically speaking, I have said before in these columns that I no longer consider myself to be a conservative because there is nothing left to conserve.  Instead I consider myself a Liberal in the classical sense: in the tradition of Jefferson and Paine a believer in human liberty.  The once proud name of Liberal has been coopted and fundamentally transformed by the Socialists who have followed the advice of one of their early leaders, Norman Thomas, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

I say it is time to reclaim the name.

In the economic realm, I am unabashedly a believer in capitalism.  The reason for this is that it is the only system ever devised by man that requires freedom as a foundation for it to exist.  Every other economic system ever tried is a centrally-planned command system.  The king, the dictator, or the politburo decides how many widgets the country needs and that is how many widgets the country gets and everyone works at the widget factory.

As a child of the Cold War who had Marx shoved down his throat by Socialist teachers from grade school through college, I rebelled when one of my History professors told me that economics was the lynchpin of History.  It wasn’t until after the fall of the Evil Empire that I was able to appreciate this truth.  It is interesting to note that before we adopted the German style of College education in the 1890s Economics, History and Political Science were all one discipline.  How can we understand any one of them without the others?  One legged stools do not stand very well.  Information in a vacuum is still a vacuum.

So what is the question?

How can America continue to exist politically as a Republic with a constitutionally limited government dedicated to personal liberty, economic freedom and individual opportunity if our central government destroys competition?

The support of competition does not make someone an anarchist as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accuses.

The use of competition as an organizing mechanism in society precludes the use of certain types of coercive regulations.  However, it does not preclude the use regulations or guidelines.  There are important reasons why the negative aspects of this statement have been stressed by the advocates of competition while the positive have been neglected by its opponents.

It is necessary that all parties in the market place must be free to buy and sell at any price which they can agree on. It is also necessary that everyone should be free to produce, sell and buy anything that can be produced or sold.  It is also necessary that everyone has equal and free access into the trades.

Any attempt to control or regulate prices or quantities of commodities deprives competition of its ability to bring about the effective coordination of individual efforts because price changes then are no longer able to correctly act as a reliable guide for an individual’s actions.

This is not an iron-clad rule.  As long as any restrictions placed on all potential producers affect all producers the same and are not used as an indirect method for controlling prices and quantities.  All such restrictions impose extra costs however if they are imposed evenly competition can survive if not thrive.  For example, it is generally agreed that regulations to control the use of poisonous substances, to limit working hours, or to require sanitary conditions are both desirable and necessary.

The only question here is: are the social advantages gained by these regulations greater than the economic costs they impose.  Neither is the existence of social services incompatible with freedom as long as their organization and operation is not designed to restrict competition.

Thus it is shown that the advocates of competition and economic freedom are not anarchists demanding a Laissez-faire anything goes free-for-all.  They admit the need for safety and agree that as long as things are equal things are fair.

The fairness of competition is shown in one of its primary foundational principles: that the owner of private property benefits from all the useful services rendered and is liable for all the damages caused to others by its use.  When it becomes impossible to make the enjoyment of certain services dependent on payment or if the damages from its use are deflected then completion is ineffective as a social organizer because the price system has been disrupted.

Thus both restrictions on the use of property and bailouts which transfer the cost of failure from those who made the bad decisions to the taxpayers cause the market to become unhinged from reality and the creature of government direction.  We see licenses, permits, and other regulations control who can engage in what economic activity.  Look at the stock market.  Does it rise or fall because of innovation?  Do the efforts of people to create and market new products lead the DOW to new heights?  No.  The market rises and falls on whether or not the Fed is going to continue pumping fiat money into the system.

The rules of the game have been so distorted by the government that honest and open competition is almost impossible.  This is why the underground economy flourishes, because it the only place where free competition still exists.  And people will always yearn to be free.  No matter how governments try to chain their citizens down with webs of regulations and nets of laws Gulliver will always struggle and strain against the ties that bind until he breaks free.

It is obvious to all that President Obama has succeeded in his goal of fundamentally transforming America.  For example, his massive stimulus that paid off campaign debts to unions and donors and his mountains of new regulations on everything from banking to coal to student loans. There is the never-ending FED pump which just keeps pouring more money into an already bloated bubble in an effort to make a socialized crippled economy at least look like it works. And of course there is Obamacare which effectively socializes 1/6 of the entire economy.  The combination of these policies breaks the back of competition and sound the death knell of the great experiment in freedom begun in 1776.  Drip by drip, inch by inch we have been moved closer to the goal.  Now it is the Health Care take-over and the flood of fiat currency that are leading to a terminal case of bankruptcy, a systems collapse, and as our Progressive leaders hope the dawn of a new day.

When the invisible hand has been tied and competition weighted in favor of government chosen winners and losers, when the electoral game has been stacked in favor of a two headed Progressive Republicrat party of unlimited power, pride and ambition, when equal justice under the law applies only to citizens and not to officials, the Question is, “What’s the Answer.”

That answer might be, “How long?”

How long before we the American people demand that our nation founded in revolution against tyranny reject the empire and restore the Republic?  We can all see that the emperor has no clothes.  We all know the deck has been stacked, the game rigged, and the winners chosen.  How long before we demand that we are allowed to live in a nation where we will be judged by the content of our character and not by our membership in a protected or favored group, our political contributions or whether or not we have saluted the party line?

As we watch our beloved nation transformed it might be well to remember what our second President John Adams once said, “a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  Then again he also said, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

A Word to the Wise September 19, 2013

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The most insidious result that central-planning and the overabundance of government control that it requires is not the maladjustments that it inevitably creates in the economy.  It is not the crony capitalism and bureaucratic nepotism that it always fosters.  It is not the smothering blanket of nanny-state regulations that strangle creativity.  It is not even the tendency to one-party rule even when camouflaged behind a two party system that is in reality two heads of the same bird of prey.  It is not a system which may actually contain only two parties if you believe there is the government party and the country party.

No none of these missteps on the way to an illusionary utopia are the most insidious result of any system no matter what it is called that is some variation on the socialist theme of “From each according to their ability and to each according to their need.” Instead the most insidious result of the effort by some to control all is a change in the character of the people.

When government regulation becomes an all-embracing web of minutia that requires lawyers, accountants, and other translators of government-speak to comprehend, when safety-nets become hammocks, and when the do-gooders believe that they know what is best for everyone reaches a tipping point people begin to expect others to do for them what they used to do for themselves.  A nation of self-reliant, go-getters can be changed into a sea of slugs on the dole constantly crying and voting for more.

The descendants of the pilgrims and the pioneers are content to wait for their government check and their food stamps as long as there is a game on their flat screen and minutes left on their obamaphone.    Militant apathy has ossified the sinews of a once great people.  So many people don’t care about anything beyond their creature comforts, the most basic of which are guaranteed, that the will to succeed has been squashed.

When you guarantee success and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up few will strive to do more than is required.   When success is punished by the ridicule of the media and the inequality of government policies such as a progressive income tax that says, “The more you make the more we take” few will strive to do more than is required.  When college entrance quotas and set-asides say, “We don’t seek the best and the brightest we look at race and gender to pick the winners and losers” few will strive to do more than is required. When government subsidies and tax-breaks say, “If you have connections the government will hold back the crushing reality of the market at tax-payers’ expense” few will strive to do more than is required.

In America today we are surrounded by low-information voters who either don’t pay any attention to affairs beyond their life or who get their news exclusively from the Progressive controlled Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media.  Their opinions are scripted for them by the progressive group-think of corporate hacks constantly building a narrative to advance their utopian agenda.  If it doesn’t fit it doesn’t print.  If they don’t like what you say it will never play.  America’s once dynamic free press transformed into a one-sided monologue reciting over and over, “Government knows best.”

Our government controlled and increasingly standardized education system works hard to say as some of my students have; “a ‘D’ is good enough.” Or, “At our school we receive an attendance diploma it just means we were there it don’t mean we learned anything.”  Assignments such as I witnessed in a 12th grade Political Science class, “Watch Michael Moore’s film, ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ and then write an essay on how many ways Bush lied to trick us into invading Iraq” show indoctrination has in many places swallowed education.  Circumstances such as these tend to stifle those who would drive innovation and promote those who are just along for the ride, pass the mediocre while holding back the brilliant.

We have moved from a capitalist system to a mixed economy and now under a president who promised to fundamentally transform America we are lurching into a socialist system in all but name that seeks to ensure equality of result instead of the equal opportunity which has traditionally been the seedbed of America’s meritocracy.  We have transitioned from a small limited government, a representative republic that operates on democratic principles into an all-powerful central government that operates through a massive bureaucracy.  Executive orders are used to make end-runs around Congress and the Constitution.  Unconstitutional and illegal recess appointments are used to avoid the scrutiny of a Senate confirmation.  Our borders are for all intents and purposes open like an automatic door at Wal-Mart.  Forgetting what Ronald Reagan told us, “A nation without borders is not a nation.”

Norman Thomas, an early Socialist candidate for President said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”  And as Lenin said, “Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.”

Step-by-step we have journeyed from being a people birthed in rebellion against tyranny, a people who founded the world’s first experiment in a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Until a nation founded upon a written constitution which guaranteed limited-government, personal liberty, and economic freedom has become just another failed utopia that is spending itself into oblivion as the band plays, “let the good times roll.”
At a time like this it is good to remember some of the wisdom of those who have gone before:

Noah Webster said, “There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow.   Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government.”

Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”

Benjamin Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

Barry Goldwater said, “A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”

AND

Alexander Tyler said, “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship”

A word to the wise they say is sufficient.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

I’ll Try Not to Get Arrested September 5, 2013

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Recently a person I know who saw himself as being in the forefront of the cultural revolution in the 60s and 70s proudly announced he was going to the 50th anniversary of the March   Washington. After his announcement he added the tag line, “I’ll try not to get arrested.”

Let me set the scene. Yes, this person did protest the Vietnam War by burning his draft card and applying and receiving conscientious objector status while going to school not jail. Yes he did turn his back on some traditional America traditions such as Christianity and eating meat. However, he did retain at least two traditions he learned from his family: he has always supported democrats and he is a capitalist.

Of course he would argue vehemently if anyone ever called him a capitalist since he will tell you all day long that he hates capitalists and capitalism. No, he is no capitalist, he is an entrepreneur. According to Dictionary.com “Capitalism is an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.”

Let’s see, my acquaintance is comfortably retired, living on a multimillion dollar private estate in a fashionable area. How did he grab the golden ring? He did it by his own hard work and enterprise. He invented and developed several products; he established a manufacturing company which employed others to do the actual manufacturing and sold enough products to make a living while investing for the future. Then he sold the company and lives on the dividends. But he isn’t a capitalist, he hates capitalism.

I know several people like this. They have reaped the benefits of capitalism yet they hate capitalists. Or as Lenin said, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

Fifty years ago MLK participated in a march on Washington because Blacks in America were suffering from unprecedented unemployment, unspeakable inner city violence, and unconstitutional government surveillance. Fifty years later with the former revolutionaries of the 60s and 70s secure as the power elite, they have finally delivered unprecedented unemployment, unspeakable inner city violence, and unconstitutional government surveillance for everyone without regard to race, creed or color.

The only way someone could get arrested in today’s Washington ruled by Progressives and the very epicenter of Political Correctness is to counter-demonstrate on the other side of the street from the victorious revolutionaries at the MLK triumphal procession.

It amazes me that they cannot see their own inconsistency. They make a pilgrimage to worship a man who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” and yet they support racial quotas, set asides and preferential treatment just to make things fair.

This proudly quintessential anti-war crowd now supports a regime that waged an illegal war in Libya and whose chosen leader wants to kick the hornet’s nest in Syria. These are needless wars that resulted in the establishment of Al Qaeda franchises in Libya and who knows what we will see from an attack on Syria.

The people who elected the Watergate Congress, the people who hounded Nixon out of office because they believed he had violated the Constitution now sow blindly supports our Imperial President, the purported constitutional scholar when he says, “Congress doesn’t have a whole lot of core responsibilities.” Yet the Constitution places Congress as first among equals and devotes more space to its powers than to any other branch.

As they used to remind us the powers of Congress include the sole and exclusive power to declare war.

When President Bush took us into what so many Democrats called illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he sought a debate and received a vote of authorization from Congress. Our over-the-hill revolutionaries held vigils outside Bush’s Texas home and tried to ignite an antiwar movement. Yet when President Obama attacks Libya without even notifying Congress they said nothing.

Now there is a congressional debate over attacking Syria and that is a good thing.  And some are speaking out against a war that doesn’t have anything to do with American national interests.  But where are the limousine liberals?  Are they still supporting a president who is willing to take us to war to put the red in his line?  If they are I pray they remember that red will be the blood of American heroes and what we call so innocently collateral damage.

If you watch the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media tonight you can guess what these perennial revolutionaries will say tomorrow since their personal opinions are plagiarized.

Back during the Vietnam War they were duped into supporting the communists, and now they’re duped into supporting people who want to bring central-planning and eternal surveillance to America.

Is this naivety or hypocrisy? Is this selfless altruism combined with low information? Or is it the self-centered arrogance of people who can be proven wrong time after time yet still believe only they can see the right course.

These aging middle-class capitalists who hate capitalism, these social revolutionaries who live on private estates still see themselves as revolutionaries after they’ve won the revolution. They still worry about getting arrested after their Dear Leaders have taken over control of the police, the IRS, and the NSA. In their 21st Century utopian USSA we find that according  to a Department of Defense training material, “people who embrace “individual liberties” and honor “states’ rights,” among other characteristics, as potential ‘extremists’ who are likely to be members of ‘hate groups.’” In Amerika today the 60s radicals are the establishment and the silent majority has become the outsider.

So while I pray for my acquaintance’s safe return from his pilgrimage, I will keep writing about the need to preserve limited government and I’ll try not to get arrested.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

Socialism is as Socialism Does August 31, 2012

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Ronald Reagan taught us, “How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

Barack Obama’s mentor as a young man was communist party member Frank Marshall Davis.  As a community organizer he was a follower and promoter of the communist fellow-traveler Saul Alinsky’s methods and goals.  As a professional in Hyde Park he associated with socialist radicals such as Bill Ayers.  As an up-and-coming Chicago Politician he attended the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, an outspoken proponent of the socialist Black Liberation Theology. As president he appointed communist Van Jones to be one of his many Czars.  Mr. Obama says he is not a socialist.  However, simple logic tells us if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck you can be relatively certain it’s a duck.

Mr. Obama has told us that he seeks to be a transformational president like his idol FDR.  He was bold enough to tell us just days before the election in 2008 that he would fundamentally transform America.  In just one term he has accomplished much along the way to changing us from what we have always been into what the Progressives have always wanted us to be.

How has Barak Obama transformed us?  Into what is he transforming us?  A look at his impressive *list of firsts as president of these United States points in the direction he is herding us:

 

Mr. Obama is leading us from being the first among nations to being just another vote in the United Nations.  Now there’s a level playing field for you.  And now it’s time for another election, some say our most important, some say perhaps our last.

In many ways this election cycle is refreshing.  For generations the Progressives have pretended to be something they are not to win elections.  They have pretended to be dedicated to the American dream of personal liberty, economic freedom and the belief that America was different from other nations, that as the world’s first and most enduring modern experiment in a republic based on limited government we were exceptional.  Although the policies of the Progressives have always been at odds with this assumed identity at least every election cycle they would tip their hat to the America of our fathers and portray themselves as a Thomas Jefferson or an Andrew Jackson.

Therefore, 2012 is shaping up to be the election where the Progressives cast aside their mask and run as who they are: the American version of socialism promising to tax the rich and spread the wealth around, from each according to their ability to each according to their need.

If Mr. Obama wins re-election on this platform the Progressives will finally have their chance to give Americans the same kind of cradle-to-grave utopia the happy people of Russia, China, North Korea, and Hitler’s Germany have had the fortune to endure.  If Mr. Obama wins re-election espousing the true intentions of the Progressives, to change the constitution from a rock solid foundation for freedom into a living document that is a dead letter, he will succeed at his vow to fundamentally transform America.

He will fundamentally transform the dreams of our fathers for a land of liberty and opportunity into the dreams of his father who was a pro-communist social engineer and America will become just another country trying to build heaven on earth by plundering some to benefit others.

As to his  utopian beliefs and aspirations President Obama has said, “I am confident we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth”

President Reagan also told us, “Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it, and hell where they already have it.”

*Lists of Mr. Obama’s firsts are found numerous places.  The sources referenced for each first are merely representative of the many available for each.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  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

Smoke and Mirrors December 1, 2011

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Like a sleight-of-hand-artist on a busy street with a briefcase that turns into a table, three walnuts shells and a pea the perpetually re-elected and their town criers in the Corporations Once Known as the mainstream Media appear to be perennially able to fool the perpetually distracted by pulling a metaphorical quarter out of their ear.

I know a professional revolutionary.  We grew up together.  He has correctly diagnosed America’s disease as a corporate cult in a symbiotic relationship with a corrupt government.  He deftly outlines the general theory, although not the specifics of how crony capitalists and political hacks have crafted a system wherein money laundering has become national policy.  The political hacks fleece the sheeple through taxes and inflation.  They give the money to their accomplices in the flimflam corporations who funnel huge chunks of cash back to the hacks for re-election.  Every few years the sheeple rouse themselves out of their media induced coma long enough to be herded to the polls to vote for more of the same.

Yes, the professional revolutionaries and their government educated followers have correctly diagnosed the disease.  However, they have prescribed poison instead of medicine.  Their answer to the curse of Corporatism’s National Socialism is less nationalism and more socialism.  Since corporatism has built a coffin our body politic cannot seem to claw its way out of, he prescribes cutting out the crony capitalists and giving the whole operation to the political hacks. In other words if the black shirts have ruined the country let’s try the reds.  That would be as transparent as fighting the most horrendous war in human history because Hitler attempted to pull Poland into his freedom smothering embrace and then giving Poland to Stalin.

Headlines and talking heads scream for days, “The Super Committee cannot fail or the sky will fall!”  Endless hours in the 24 hour news cycle are devoted to debating, “Will the Super Committee succeed or will they fail?”  Meanwhile most of the sheeple are consumed with concern about the NBA strike, a celebrity drowning thirty years ago, or was Kim’s wedding a set-up all along.  Then we’re told he Super Committee failed accompanied by endless squabbling about who caused the failure.

It is all nothing but Kabuki, a form of Japanese drama based on popular legends and characterized by elaborate costumes, stylized acting.

Remember how the Super Committee became so super?  It didn’t come from another planet with a red sun and lower gravity.  It was instead the Frankenstein created as the cover for another rise in the debt ceiling.  The Tea Party had just made a Herculean effort in the 2010 elections and achieved an historical sweep of the House of Representatives.  Over sixty newly minted congressmen owed their seat at the table of plenty to the greatest grassroots movement America has seen in generations.  They had campaigned on changing the culture of corruption in Washington, stopping the deficit spending, severing the cord to the crony capitalists, and paying down the national debt.

Before they could even arrive the Republican leadership colluded with a recently humiliated inexperienced president and a recently repudiated Democratic leadership to extend the Bush tax cuts in exchange for more spending in the lamest of all lame duck sessions.  Then as soon as the fresh troops arrive they raise their hands in salute to the same old Republican leadership, renew the patriot Act, pass a series of continuing resolutions allowing the drunken sailors to continue spending, and then vote to raise the debt ceiling by another few trillions. Oh but they fought!  They wrangled and they refused to give the Spender in Chief more trillions of our great grandchildren’s money unless he agreed to a Super Committee backed up by automatic cuts and automatic tax increases in future deficits totaling trillions of dollars in cuts.  This was drama worthy of As Washington Turns.  If it was joke it wouldn’t be funny.

To begin with the Super Committee wasn’t filled with deficit hawks and balanced budget advocates.  It was instead filled with the most partisan members from both wings of the Party of Power guaranteeing there would be no settlement.  Obviously the plan all along was for the automatic cuts and taxes to come into play, over the next ten years.  In other words the spendaholics of this Congress are going to place limits on the credit card of following Congresses who have the ability to vote away the limits any time they want to.  How could that ever fail?

The smoke and mirrors of political theater is meant to hide the fact that all they’re arguing over is reducing the yearly deficits way off there in the future somewhere.  All they ever discussed was slowing the rate of increase.  Even if the most draconian plan so far introduced by the young firebrand Representative Ryan had been adopted the budget still went up every year, and the national debt still grew every year.  And though there would have been more and more spending with no end to the red ink in sight Ryan was portrayed as pushing Grandma off the cliff and a large percentage of the population believes it.  This is baseline budgeting wherein the proposed budget becomes the base for what is cut.  In other words our leaders can cut all day and the spending still goes up.

It is time to tell our hypnotized fellow citizens to take the blinders off.  Wake up!  The house is on fire and the firemen are pouring gasoline on the flames.

The system is broke and it is becoming very clear that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put this thing together again.  The spending goes on every second of every minute of every hour of every day.  The tax code that ostensibly is designed to pay for it all is in reality a bewildering maze meant to trap those unsophisticated enough not to hire an army of tax lawyers and accountants while legally recognized persons such as GE file 57,000 page tax returns on fourteen billion in profits and pays no tax at all.

While the hemorrhaging of our descendants wealth goes on night and day we are being set up for the next battle to raise the debt ceiling, the balanced budget amendment.  Even if this long threatened turkey could finally make it to the block what good is a balanced budget amendment?  The spendthrifts we call a government can still spend all they want as long as they raise enough money to pretend to cover at least the on budget portion of the swag.  And where do you think they will raise the money?  They will either raise taxes or print money.  Either way we pay so they can play. What we need is a spending amendment that limits spending to a prescribed percentage of the GDP.

At one time the best tongue in cheek advice for coping with the policies of the convention of confidence men masquerading as the American government was get a government job and study Spanish.  Now the situation has descended even beyond the black humor of that cynical joke.  Today the best advice may be to hunker in the bunker, store food, and learn enough History so you can tell those who come after what America used to be.

Last year I thought it was time to take the gloves off and tell America the emperor has no clothes.  To do so this advocate of the Constitution and limited government wrote The Constitution Failed.  A book which places current events in a constitutional and historical context proving that while our nation was founded upon a document meant to limit government we now stand face-to-face with an unlimited government.  I believed it was time to sound the alarm.  I thought people were ready to admit the terrible truth; our government does little more than tip its hat to the Constitution while doing whatever it wants.   The first step in solving any problem is admitting you have a problem.  The second is recognizing what that problem is.  My hope is that The Constitution Failed will help people recognize and identify the problem so that we the people can reach a solution.

As one who has been pounding this drum and singing this song for fifty years all I can do is wonder, will the drowning Lady Liberty finally see the life preserver as she goes down for the last time?  Will she finally grasp the Constitution as the only thing that has ever guaranteed limited government, personal freedom and economic opportunity in America?  Will she remember her past and save her future or will she sink beneath the waves of government regulation and drown in the red tape of an all-powerful central government?

I wrote The Constitution Failed to make a difference.  I wrote it because I see my beloved country walking off a cliff into the abyss of socialism and I am compelled to throw out the life line.

If you want to read The Constitution Failed send me an email with your address and I will send you a complimentary copy.  I want to see the re-birth of limited government.  I want to see personal liberty and economic freedom continue to exist in this: the last best hope of mankind.   And I’m ready to put my money where my heart is, limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

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