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Your Need Limits to be Free March 6, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep the faith, keep the peace, we shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

Which Words Work January 30, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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What words mean is important.  The ability to speak, to transfer complex and symbolic knowledge from one person to another is one of the hallmarks of humanity.  When words lose their meaning communication loses its ability to transmit thoughts.  Obviously words can change their meanings over time.  One example is the word prevent.  This word now means to stop something from happening.  Hundreds of years ago it meant for one thing to happen before another: pre-event.

This is natural and is the organic outgrowth of how people speak.  All languages change over time.  What isn’t natural is when, for ideological reasons, groups work to change the meanings of words to either confuse the discussion or to attract support from people who normally would not lend them their support.

Leaving aside the natural organic change of meanings and looking instead at the contrived control of meaning for political purposes we recognize the need to establish precise meanings to convey precise thoughts.

A perfect example is how the words liberty and democracy have become intertwined and confounded.  Knowing that equality before the law is a necessary bridge on the road to liberty advocates of liberty rightfully believe that all citizens should have a share in making the law.  This is where the advocates of liberty and the proponents of the democracy movement share a preference for a means while they do not necessarily share a preference for the ends.

The advocates of liberty standing on the foundation of the enlightenment thinking of the 18th century and the classical liberal traditions of the 19th see democracy as a means for limiting the coercive power of government no matter what form that government may take.  Conversely to the dogmatic democrat the only legitimate limit on government power is the current majority opinion.

The difference between these two positions is starkly revealed if we understand what each side sees as the opposite of their idea.  To the dogmatic democrat it is authoritarianism and to the classical liberal it is totalitarianism.  Neither of these two opposites excludes the other.  It is possible for a democracy to use totalitarian methods, and an authoritarian government might implement the principles of liberty.

Both of these terms democracy and liberty are used in vague and wide references by those who seek to lead our people.  Their precise meanings have been blurred by this usage to the point where many people confound them and believe if they can vote they have liberty.  However if we can return the meaning to these words we will find that it is possible to separate the two and find clarity.

The doctrine of liberty deals with what laws ought to be.  The doctrine of democracy deals with the manner of determining what will be the law.

The advocates of liberty agree that it is best if only what the majority accepts should be law however they do not agree that all majority driven law is always good law.  They seek to persuade the majority that the principles of liberty should be the hallmark of all laws.  They accept that majority rule is the fairest method of deciding what the laws are.  They do not agree that this gives the majority the unlimited authority to decide what the laws ought to be.

The doctrinaire democrat holds that majority opinion not only decides what the law should be and that this majority opinion is also the measure of what is good law.

Therefore when we confound the concept of liberty with the use of democratic action it is natural to accept that everything democratically decided upon is an advance for liberty.  One has only to look at the fact that the German people voted to give Hitler dictatorial powers to see that this is an illusion.

For while the principles of liberty are one of the paths which may be chosen through democratic action the use of democratic action does not preclude other choices and it says nothing about what is the proper role of government.  While the spread of democracy, especially the idea of one-man-one-vote, has advanced the cause of liberty in many nations there is nothing that demands that it do so.  In America today many popular policies are advanced on the merit that they are the democratic desire of a majority.  This does not necessarily mean that they will advance the cause of liberty.  To require a citizen to purchase certain products such as health care and to use the coercive power of the state to enforce it may have passed as part of a democratic procedure; however, this does not advance the cause of liberty.

Giving someone the power to vote does not magically give them the knowledge or the information as to how to vote.  When the franchise is extended to more and more low information voters this may advance the cause of democracy; however, it does not advance the cause of liberty.  Low information voters are easily manipulated by demagogues who exploit the desires of the day to build their own kingdoms and enhance their own power without regard to our constitutional limits.

We have a growing mass of low information voters, a progressive government who makes it their business to shape the majority opinion, and a media that is dedicated to the government party.  This is the prescription for a totalitarian democracy.  The constraining hand of the constitution and tradition has fallen away and the manipulated voice of the majority calls for more entitlements, more regulation, more government to solve the problems caused by entitlements, regulations and government.

We have come full circle.  In our revolution the advocates of liberty rose up against an autocrat to demand freedom.  They then used that freedom to craft a government limited in power so that people could live their lives and build their fortunes without oppression.  Today we have elected leaders who have progressed past these limits.  Leaders who seek to control every aspect of life.  We may have reached the dreams of the democratic fathers however these dreams are turning into the nightmares of our Founders: advocates of liberty one and all.

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

 

Bring the Monster Out January 25, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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When taxes become destructive they surpass the consent of the governed bending to the will of tyranny.  When regulations strangle competition instead of securing it from evil combinations they become counterproductive and defeat the very purpose for which they were proposed.  When foreign entanglements bleed the nation but do not secure the peace or defeat the enemy they become interventionist vehicles for vested interests.  When spending becomes a hemorrhaging of assists leading to national bankruptcy those who continue to pile debt upon debt seek not the good of the nation but instead its destruction.  When leaders selected to unite instead do all they can to divide they no longer advance the interest of the whole and are instead partisan leaders in a factional fight.

A social contract is one made between a people and their government.  It is an agreement whereby the people surrender certain aspects of their independence for the guarantee of corporate security and the enjoyment of a general welfare.  In the case of most countries this is an unwritten and unconscious arrangement built upon tradition and precedent as in the case of England.  However in the United States we have an actual contract: the Constitution.  This was ratified by the original states, and the subsequent states were formed under it and admitted as full partners to it.

All contracts may be legitimately changed over time as long as there are mechanisms either within the document or established by the document to do so.  Within our Constitution there is an amendment process, and it has been amended twenty seven times so far.  Whether we agree with those amendments or not they have been legally ratified and accepted becoming part of the document.  However, over the years our government structure has been changed, and our manner of life transformed more by the informal changes of passing generations and subsequent precedent than by the formal amendment process.

Nowhere in the Constitution is the central government given the power to wage unending undeclared war.  Nowhere is the central government given the right to ignore the requirement to protect the states from invasion.  Nowhere is there found any basis for executive orders, signing statements, or bureaucratic regulations having the force of law without legislative action by Congress.

Well-connected rabble rousers now say equality will not be achieved until everything is equal in everybody’s house.  Leveling the playing field has finally thrown off its cloak of deceit and exposed itself as from each according to their ability to each according to their need.  The professional civil rights entrepreneurs who’ve extorted vast amounts of personal wealth with threats of boycotts and demonstrations have been unmasked as the true purveyors of prejudice seeking to keep race and gender differences alive for their own benefit.  Union bosses build political empires using the legally forced dues of members with more money spent on political activity than on member service.  The union bosses ride in limousine comfort from board meetings to political rallies while their members lose jobs.  The pensions of the bosses are golden parachutes while the pensions of the members are underfunded.

The Land of the Free is held captive, locked in a two party system where both parties are merely two heads on the same bird of prey.  Both parties are dedicated to more spending and bigger government.  Both parties exploit gerrymandering of districts and overwhelming corporate donations to ensure a hierarchy of the perpetually re-elected using a seniority system to enhance their power.  Legal barriers exist at every turn to stop any new parties from gaining access that might deflect the central government from its ever increasing growth towards totalitarianism.

When will enough be enough?  When will citizens rise in their righteous indignation and demand not a New Deal, not a Great Society, a New Frontier or a Fundamentally Transformed America but instead their original deal.  The one we wrested from the hands of the tyrant King George.  The one we’ve fought to establish and defend from Yorktown to Kandahar, and the right of a free people to live as they choose, to work for their own benefits, and choose their own destiny.  Free from the smothering governmental control which has been the lot of most people in most places since the beginning of time.  When will the yoke of tyranny become too heavy to be borne?  What will be the spark that lights the torches and brings the incensed villagers to the gate of the castle demanding, “Bring the monster out!” so that a stake can be driven through the heart of tyranny and freedom can return to the land?

When that day comes what will we the people do?  Will we try to resurrect the government of old that ultimately brought us full circle, or will we be bold enough to forge anew the social contract and design better ways to ensure the beast of tyranny doesn’t once again break the chains of restraint?

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

It Can’t happen Here January 10, 2013

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Revolutions happened in other countries.  The USSR, their satellite countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, African countries, and of course those banana republics somewhere down south, but one thing is for sure, it can’t happen here.  Following in the footsteps of giants who have used these prophetic words of Sinclair Lewis I want to examine how it did happen here.

In the America of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, in the America we inherited from our forefathers we knew that there could never be a revolution.  We had the Constitution with its checks and balances, its separation of powers, and its Bill of Rights.  These were rock solid, carved in stone, and strong enough to preserve the Republic and safe guard the freedom of its people.

Besides the American people would not stand for some wannabe dictator and his brown, black or whatever color shirt followers marching through the streets and into the White House.  The sons of the Pioneers wouldn’t sit still for any attempt to curtail limited government, personal freedom, or economic opportunity.  No way!  No how!  Others might accept censorship, surveillance, and rigged elections, but not us, not Americans.  We had fought wars to defend our independence, wars to defeat totalitarianism; we had even fought wars to spread freedom.  No, we wouldn’t quietly allow homegrown tyrants to grasp the levers of power.

I sounds so comforting, “It can’t happen here.”  If you take a beginning Political Science class in either High School or College you will learn how the government works. How bills become laws, how the legislature is made up of the freely elected representatives of the people, how the President runs the executive branch and the Supreme Court sits atop the judicial branch.  You will learn about the Declaration of Independence and how the Constitution was written to replace the Articles of Confederation which were too weak to work.  Yes, you will learn all about how it’s supposed to work.

In most schools you will also learn that the Constitution is a “living Document” that can be re-interpreted to fit every generation and every age.  The results of 100 years of re-interpretation have led us to the brink of ruin and me to recommend that the study of the Constitution be moved from Political Science to History, since what rules us today is legal precedent and bureaucratic regulation.  The courts use foreign laws and traditions to interpret our laws and traditions.  The legislature passes laws they don’t read filled with thousands of pages of vague platitudes and goals that the bureaucrats fill in with no oversight and the force of law.  And the President does whatever he wants and no one says a thing.

So how did America fall for the oldest con in the world: “Give me your freedom and I’ll give you security?”

Those who wished to gain power had no ideology or theology which inspired them.  They only sought power for power’s sake.  They espoused whatever populist themes gave them the broadest support.  To bring as many interest groups as possible into their coalition they embraced an “I’m okay you’re okay” relativity that rejected absolutes and extoled the fringe as the mainstream.

And all the while the decedents of the blacksmiths and farmers who once congregated on corners to discuss the latest political pamphlet or to debate the merits of economic policy snoozed on the couch waking up long enough to go to work or watch the game.

The Revolutionaries of the New America first took root in the faculty lounges of academia providing the intellectual and cultural cover for an American movement that promoted the opposite of everything America stood for.  From the classrooms of our colleges, came the next generations of teachers, journalists, lawyers, artists, and politicians.  Soon it was common knowledge that our once rock-solid Constitution was a Living Document to be twisted and changed whenever those in power found the need.

From here it was just a matter of time until a revolution was accomplished through evolutionary change.  Once the centers of power were secure in Washington, Hollywood, and in the media the trickle of change became a torrent and the torrent became a tsunami.  Two wings on the same bird of prey, perpetually re-elected representatives from the twin headed party of power pander to the lowest common denominators, buying votes, using taxes to punish enemies, and tax money to reward friends. 

Our tyrants-in-training have captured the government and the economy, created a dependent class of motor-voters, convinced people that a continually growing debt is sustainable, and turned the government into the one who picks winners and losers instead of a free economy.  The slow slide down a slippery slope has accelerated into a precipitous procession over a predictable precipice.  To those who have seen this coming it is like watching a slow motion train wreck.  The coming destruction is not mitigated in the least by the decades or warning.

Our prideful boast of it can’t happen here has become a heart wrenching analysis of how it did happen here.  How did the Progressives capture our land and subvert our Republic?  They did it gradually inch by inch, step by step.  When they lost a round they held their gains and as soon as possible recovered their long march toward a totally transformed nation.

How they changed it brings us to the question, “How do we change it back?”

Violent revolt is both repugnant and obviously suicidal to people who understand that once that genie is out of the bottle there is no way to know which way it will go, except that the odds are heavily against it ever landing back in a stable land of limited government and personal freedom.  The power of the state is overwhelming.  Millions of shot guns, pistols, and even those terrible assault rifles we are constantly being lectured about would make no headway against Abrams tanks and F-18s. 

There are only two ways to have a successful peaceful revolution.  One: the vast majority of the people must go on strike and refuse to operate as a society until the changes have been made.  Or two: it must happen gradually line upon line verse upon verse always keeping the goal in sight and moving forward at every opportunity.  In other words we must do to the new establishment what they did to the old: not overthrow it, supplant it, and replace it in the hearts and minds of the people.

We can rest assured that all people at all times eventually yearn for freedom thus the stage is set by the very nature of man that God imprinted on us in His creation.  Free choice is the natural state of man and in the end we will return to it.  This pall of totalitarianism which is falling like a shadow across the land will one day awake to find the light of liberty cannot be quenched forever.

What should we do?  Education is the key.  If you are not a teacher become one.  Learn to show yourself approved.  Teach anyone who will listen of freedom, of the true History of the American experiment.  Become involved in any way you can to retake control of our education system so that we can train the coming generations to love freedom, truth, justice, and the American way.

And don’t lose hope.  God created us to be free, and though tyrants always seek to ensnare people in their self-serving systems we will one day be free again.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Remember what we thought couldn’t happen here has and what they think can’t happen to them will. Freedom will rise from the ashes and one day the light of liberty will once again burn brightly in America the beautiful.

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

 

Freedom From Tyranny Is Our Goal July 24, 2010

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When taxes become destructive they surpass the consent of the governed bending to the will of tyranny. When regulations strangle competition instead of securing it from evil combinations they become counterproductive and defeat the very purpose for which they were proposed. When foreign entanglements bleed the nation but do not secure the peace or defeat the enemy they become interventionist vehicles for vested interests. When spending becomes a hemorrhaging of assists leading to national bankruptcy those who continue to pile debt upon debt seek not the good of the nation but instead its destruction. When leaders selected to unite instead do all they can to divide they no longer advance the interest of the whole and are instead partisan leaders in a factional fight.
A social contract is one made between a people and their government. It is an agreement whereby the people surrender certain aspects of their independence for the guarantee of corporate security and the enjoyment of a general welfare. In the case of most countries this is an unwritten and unconscious arrangement built upon tradition and precedent as in the case of England. However in the United States we have an actual contract, the Constitution. This was ratified by the original states and the subsequent states were formed under it and admitted as full partners to it.
All contracts may be legitimately changed over time as long as there are mechanisms either within the document or established by the document to do so. Within our Constitution there is an amendment process, and it has been amended 27 times so far. Whether we agree with those amendments or not they have been legally ratified and accepted becoming part of the document. However, over the years our government structure has been changed, and our manner of life transformed more by the informal changes than by the formal. Nowhere in the Constitution is the central government given the power to wage unending undeclared war. Nowhere is the central government given the right to ignore the requirement to protect the states from invasion. Nowhere is there found any basis for executive orders, signing statements, or bureaucratic regulations to have the force of law without legislative action by Congress.
Well-connected rabble rousers now say equality will not be achieved until everything is equal in everybody’s house. Leveling the playing field has finally thrown off its cloak of deceit and exposed itself as from each according to their ability to each according to their need. The professional civil rights entrepreneurs who’ve extorted vast amounts of personal wealth with threats of boycotts and demonstrations have been unmasked as the true purveyors of prejudice seeking to keep race and gender differences alive for their own benefit. Union bosses build political empires using the legally forced dues of members with more money spent on political activity than on member service. The union bosses ride in limousine comfort from board meetings to political rallies while their members lose jobs. The pensions of the bosses are golden parachutes while the pensions of the members are underfunded.
The Land of the Free is held captive, locked in a two party system where both parties are merely two heads on the same bird of prey. Both parties are dedicated to more spending and bigger government. Both parties exploit gerrymandering of districts and overwhelming corporate donations to ensure a hierarchy of the perpetually re-elected that use a system of seniority to enhance their power. Legal barriers exist at every turn to stop any new parties from gaining access that might deflect the central government from its ever increasing growth towards totalitarianism.
When will enough be enough? When will citizens rise in their righteous anger and demand not a New Deal, not a Great Society, a New Frontier or a Fundamentally Transformed America but instead their original deal. The one we wrested from the hands of the tyrant King George. The one we’ve fought to establish and defend from Yorktown to Kandahar, and the right of a people to be free to live as they choose, to work for their own benefits and choose their own destiny. Free from the smothering governmental control which has been the lot of most people in most places since the beginning of time. When will the yoke of tyranny become too heavy to be borne? What will be the spark that lights the torches and brings the incensed villagers to the gate of the castle demanding, “Bring the monster out!” so that a stake can be driven through the heart of tyranny and freedom can return to the land?
When that day comes what will we the people do? Will we try to resurrect the government of old that ultimately brought us full circle, or will we be bold enough to forge anew the social contract and design better ways to ensure the beast of tyranny doesn’t once again break the chains of restraint.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

Red Emperors Exploit Red Ink May 23, 2010

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Where does our federal government get the right to put the chains of hopeless debt on our grandchildren to buy a better hammock for those who won’t work? The 10th Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” If we never delegated the power to create a National Debt how did the government get it? The power to encumber is the power to destroy. This habit of charging the Visa to the MasterCard is selling us out to the rising red star in the East and if we don’t pull the brake we’re heading for a cliff.
East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet passed for wisdom in the days when information took more than a nanosecond passing between continents. Today they not only meet they compete, and the Red Emperors of the East exploit the red ink of the West. Today our Progressive leaders embrace the suffocating sameness of socialist conformity and collectivist confiscation while communist mandarins release the long pent up energies of their people.
Living behind the veil of a high-tech Forbidden City unseen by the outside world Red Emperors abandoned the unattainable ideal of equality of outcome for the more economically successful model of indigenous industries and monetary policies designed to ensure a favorable balance of trade. Alexander Hamilton once recommended these policies and the early United States followed them. The unseen hand of Chinese leaders transforms Mao’s Stalinist nightmare into the poster child for an economic miracle.
Transforming a cult of personality into an oligarchy holding local elections monitored by the Carter Center and judged by them to be open and competitive top leadership faces intraparty elections and peacefully transfer power from one leader to the next. They’ve jettisoned Communist economic policies, which inevitably lead to ruin transforming themselves into a corporate-style authoritarianism resembling the Five Families of New York, or the Outfit and Machine of Chicago. An efficient arrangement that provides ample benefits for those who shut-up and go along to get along and ruthless whacks for any mole silly enough to poke its head up.
The tale of two civilizations: America slides into the decay of collectivism with oppressive regulations and confiscatory taxes discouraging the innovation and enterprise which made us great. China turns away from these tools of re-distribution and embraces capitalism without naming it. Today, business opportunities found in the shadow of Tiananmen Square are discouraged and penalized in the shadow of the Liberty Bell.
Today Union Bosses no longer break your legs if you oppose them, instead they sell your stock short, likewise the leaders of the People’s Liberation Army openly urge that China dump American bonds to influence American policies a naked example of Chinese power and American weakness. China knows they can’t face America militarily. However, due to crippling collectivist policies the American economy is on life support propped up through massive borrowing from China making us vulnerable to extortion. In addition to the $798.9 billion in U.S. Treasuries China holds its accumulated $2.4 trillion in foreign reserves mainly in American dollars. How are they using this economic arsenal? China buys American natural resources, major stakes in American Icon companies, and control of vital natural resources around the world.
As the economies and social systems of Western Europe stumble and America lurches in the same direction what type of system will rise from the abyss? Will dazed survivors of the coming crash shuffle off into a shabby future replicating the collectivist mistakes that drove us off the cliff adding totalitarian terror tactics to the mix or will the re-booted West re-embrace the inspirational thinking of the Enlightenment? Though it’s the excesses of casino capitalism protected and bailed-out by cronies in government inflating the bubbles of our drowning civilization economic freedom and republican principles are blamed for the crime. The true engine of our decline is the collectivism of the Progressives slipping in one entitlement and one tax at a time regulating opportunity and predetermining outcomes. This undermined the economic and social forces of Western exceptionalism. As bewildered citizens become aware of what’s happened to their countries they’ll gravitate to whoever promises the best example of success. It’s an inescapable conclusion China is well situated to provide that example.
Confucius said, “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” The debtor is slave to the lender, and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Whether it comes from the East or the West, wisdom tells us spending yourself into oblivion isn’t such a good deal when it comes time to pay the bill, and payday’s coming some day.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

A Sign For The Next Tea Party April 19, 2010

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Just like it isn’t bragging when you can really do it and it isn’t paranoia when they’re really out to get you the bluster of an undefeated champion is often well founded. For years when Mohammed Ali said, “I’m the greatest” he was right. For years when Iron Mike Tyson said, “Nobody can beat me” he was right. However, there comes a time when Rocky II turns into Rocky III. There comes a time when the Champ is no longer facing the Bum of the Month Club he’s facing Clubber Lang. There comes a time when all the bluster becomes braggadocio. When the hollow taunting of opponents no longer intimidates it merely enrages. President Obama’s recent condescending and insulting mockery of the Tea Party Movement has blended with that of his political soul-mates. The red flag waving on the ramparts of the Progressive juggernaut has become a red cape in front of a raging bull.
Last week I attended the Tea Party in downtown Richmond. Compared to the first one last year it was much larger and better organized. I sat on a hill like a bird on a branch and watched my fellow citizens peacefully express their opinions concerning the rapid descent of America into the stunted future Progressives call a level playing field. The various signs told the story: “Stop Subsidizing Stupidity,” “Failures Love Socialism,” “When Injustice Becomes Law Resistance Becomes Duty,” “I am NOT Your ATM,” and my personal favorite, “Obamacare = More IRS Agents Less Doctors.”
And what’s the reaction of our leader? He’s amused by the TEA Parties. He thinks they should be thanking him for all the tax cuts he’s passed. He thinks they should be grateful he’s ended the recession and healed the economy. He’s using the bully pulpit to bully those who disagree with him. The most powerful man in the world thinks the voices of our enemies should be heard and the voices of American citizens silenced. He’s ready to meet with the rabidly anti-American president of Iran without pre-conditions, but he won’t do the same with the leaders of his domestic opposition.
As if the ridicule of the President and the distortions of the geriatric media, isn’t enough America’s perpetrator-in-chief, the only former president to ever lose his license to practice law in order to avoid prosecution continues the obvious game plan of setting the Tea Party Movement up to take the fall for any future act of domestic terrorism. Of course our current leadership refuses to call our enemies terrorists. To them there is no war against terrorism. There are no Islamic Extremists. To them the only threat of terrorism appears to be the peaceful assembly of American citizens petitioning for the redress of grievances.
Millions of hardworking American citizens sacrifice their time and invest their efforts in an attempt to get a message through to Washington. Although too long to fit on a poster its short enough be heard. The plan to radically transform the United States into a European style social welfare state is not going down easy, and no matter how many thousand page bills filled with surprises get crammed down our throats we will not drink the kool-aid.
The handwriting is on the wall. The ruling party is headed for a fall reminiscent of a famous tower in Babylon or a statue in Bagdad. Unless Acorn registers the voters and Mayor Daley counts the votes the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate is fated to lose the current lock they have on power. The constantly growing ranks of the Tea Party Movement appear at the moment to have the sophistication and political acumen to avoid splitting the patriotic opposition by forming a third party. The two party fix has long had a structural strangle-hold on power. Any attempt at this juncture to supplant the Republicans in that hierarchy would only facilitate the minority victory of what has become apparent to all as a small cadre of dedicated evolutionaries determined to fundamentally transform America.
As I sat on my perch watching the swirling crowd of concerned citizens, as I read the signs, listened to the speeches and spoke to those around me I noticed that one word was missing. This one word aptly describes the destination of all this fundamental change. This one word sums up the goal of every thousand page bill filled with new agencies, enforcement provisions and economic take-overs. This one word should galvanize resistance and focus the emotional and intellectual energies of all those committed to the limited government which secures our heritage. That one word is totalitarianism.
Inimical to the America bequeathed by our ancestors and toxic to the liberty and opportunity which has made the United States the greatest nation to have ever existed totalitarianism is the enemy of humanity and of the rights our Creator endowed. Seeking to control every action, direct every effort and determine every outcome, totalitarianism is the inevitable result of a cradle-to-grave welfare state. A sign for the next Tea Party might be, “Freedom was our cradle – Don’t let socialism be our grave.”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

The Arrogance of Power March 22, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Americans have dealt with the arrogance of power before. From 1756 through 1763 a world war ravaged the globe from India to Europe and from the farthest reaches of the Pacific Ocean to the deepest woods of Ohio. England and France fought to see who would become the greatest colonial power.
For seven years, battles raged throughout the Colonies as the French and their Indian allies pushed the Americans back across the Allegheny Mountains and sought to over-run the fertile area from the mountains to the coast which held the majority of English settlements. After many massacres and defeats the American Militias, with a core of British officers and supplies, were able to not only repulse the enemy but follow them home to Canada. Known as the French and Indian War in America and as the Seven Years War in Europe when the final treaties were signed in 1763, with the lone exception of Florida, England became the master of North America east of the Mississippi.
After the war the politicians in England had to deal with massive debt. They also had a restive public tired of shouldering the burdens of war. The politicians knew raising taxes at home might lead to political problems so they turned to the colonies as a source of plunder where the victims didn’t get a vote. They justified their actions saying England had paid to defend the colonists and now the maturing colonies should pay their own way. The colonists however, felt that with the French gone there was no one to defend them from. They also knew the taxes were bailing out the politicians without angering their voters thus birthing the classic rebel yell, “No taxation without representation!” When the taxes were ignored the British sent troops to enforce their will.
This explosive situation soon met the sparks which set it ablaze. As pamphleteers and patriots railed against the suppression of liberty ham-fisted British officers stumbled into debacles such as the Boston Massacre. The blood of Americans mingled with their economic self-interest and independent nature as the Boston Tea Party, Concord and Lexington led to war. The Declaration of Independence, eight years of war combined with French allies and the American Republic stood independent before the nations of the world. In a time of kings and landed aristocracy this was a bold experiment in freedom and opportunity birthed in a violent reaction to the arrogance of power.
In 1812, a mere two decades after the birth of our nation the arrogance of power evoked another strong reaction from America. The Napoleonic Wars once again pitted England against a newly resurgent France ripping Europe apart. As the wars dragged on England was in desperate need of trained seaman to maintain the navy, which would eventually strangle France. Using the excuse of their blockade they stopped neutral merchantmen on the high seas. Using brute force they kidnapped sailors they said were deserters forcing them to serve in the British navy for the duration of the wars. Many of these men were native born Americans who would never come home again.
When we could bare the insult to our independence and the interference with our commerce no more, we declared war on the super power of the day. Like David against Goliath America with almost no Navy fought against the largest Navy the world had ever seen. With a rag-tag gaggle of militias led by a sprinkling of trained officers we stood toe-to-toe with the best trained and equipped army in the world. They sunk our ships. They invaded our land. They burned our capital. Yet in the end we handed them the worst defeat their arms had suffered in a thousand years at the Battle of New Orleans. Andrew Jackson leading militias from as far away as Kentucky joined a hastily gathered force of irregulars and beat the best England had to offer. Again America stood up to the arrogance of power.
When Mexico, which was considered the greatest military power in the New World, disputed the Texas border we challenged the arrogance of their dictator Santa Anna and won the Southwest. When the German Empire declared unrestricted submarine warfare against our merchant fleet and tried to incite Mexico to stab a knife in our back America stood against the arrogance of power. When the Japanese Empire struck like a thief in the night and Hitler sought to build a thousand year Reich we stood against the arrogance of power. When the Communist slave masters of the Soviet Union sought to subjugate the world we stood against the arrogance of power.
In America today our own government as caricatured by the Democrat Party of Barak Obama, Nancy Peolosi and Harry Reid has decided they know best. Even though the vast majority of Americans said loudly, “We don’t want what you’re selling!” they’re forcing a socialized, collectivist agenda down our throats. With the only bi-partisan feature of their cradle-to-grave nanny state being the opposition of both Republicans and Democrats they’ve succeeded in gaining a legislative victory. But Americans know how to stand against the arrogance of power. Now is the time for all lovers of liberty to rally around the Constitution and the limited form of government it guarantees. Without violence, within the traditions of our great Republic, we must stand together or we’ll all hang separately. Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Look to American History. Educate yourself in what this country was founded to be. Look into the eyes of these totalitarian wannabees and say all together now, “NO!” to the arrogance of power. Keep the peace. Keep the faith. We shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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