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Equality is Never Equal June 27, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Equality is a sacred word in the modern American lexicon. It’s the politically correct positive to the negative of discrimination. There’s a philosophy known as Egalitarianism based upon a belief in human equality in all social, political, and economic affairs. This philosophy advocates the removal of all inequalities among people. Egalitarianism is one of the foundational principles of the Progressives currently controlling the government of the United States.
There’s one major flaw with this philosophy. It doesn’t reflect reality. No matter what anyone wants to believe, hopes to encourage or pretends to see people are not equal. There are the physical differences of size, shape, appearance, intelligence and temperament. There are also differences in family environment, economic situation, education, and location. There’s no natural way to eradicate these inherent differences. This is where the progressive philosophy kings seek to insert the coercive actions of government to level the playing field creating what they believe is a perfect environment for human activity. However, perfect equality is impossible to create, for in the artificial hothouse of government enforced equality there are still those who decide what equal is, and as the privileged commissars of the USSR taught us everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.
Founded in the fires of revolution against the tyranny of hereditary monarchs and privilege, the people of the United States sought to establish a nation unique in the world where everyone could work their way to the highest positions in a free society. Today the richest people in the country, the most celebrated in media and the most powerful in politics, bare witness that this system works. However, beginning at the end of the nineteenth century the Progressives began their Long March to power building upon the idea that government intervention, as opposed to the withdrawal of government control, was necessary to create, as opposed to allow, the equality of opportunity which has always been the key to America’s greatness.
To gain control, the Progressives changed the definition of equality from the opportunity to achieve to the absence of failure advocating governmental action to create a safety net. Unfortunately, while their plan isn’t based on the reality of human nature it must deal with the results of human nature. Many people, when they’re given a safety net turn it into a hammock and decide life isn’t a challenge it’s a vacation with the bill sent to someone else.
The first step the progressives identified as necessary to impose an unreal vision upon reality was education. The goal: expel God and positive views of American History to turn a nation founded upon inalienable rights endowed by a Creator into a secular Humanist commonwealth where government is the arbiter of all, and change our iron-clad Constitution into a Living Document. The press came next growing into a media monster ridiculing traditional values and extolling deviance as the new normal. To protect people from the predatory practices of rapacious capitalism government regulation became the Progressives’ tool of choice.
The federal regulators led step-by-step to massive government distortion of the marketplace. Federally-funded Fannie and Freddie inflated a housing bubble. Casino capitalism run by government cronies invented bazaar financial instruments convincing people that buying funds backed by bad loans made sense. Central planners were picking winners and losers instead of the self-directed interests of consumers, thus making this economic shell game unsustainable. The Progressive’s answer was more government intervention, which successfully transformed a recession into the Great Recession.
After serial bail-outs, which haven’t bailed out anyone except politically-connected interest groups, we have career politician Sen. Christopher Dodd’s going away present. Another magical mystery bill: crisis-driven financial reform, which even he admits, “No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.” One more multi-thousand-page document redrawing how our society works all in the name of promoting equality, fairness and security by extending government control instead of freedom.
Political and social philosophy cannot change human nature, and no matter how people wish for another reality all we have is the real one. It’s time people admit that once government acts to equalize the lives of all it must act unequally towards some. Equality of opportunity is based upon the idea of treating everyone the same. Equality of outcome is based upon the idea of redistribution. To prevent economic inequality take from those who produce and give to those who don’t. To prevent racial inequality make judgments based on race using racial quotas. In this drive to create an unreal reality the Progressives have manufactured an endless supply of special classes of people, giving some extra rights and privileges while encumbering others with added burdens and barriers. The goal of perfect equality always ends in rearranged inequality. Perfection is not attainable in this life. The utopian dream that humanity can create a government funded heaven on earth has led to more carnage and human suffering than any other delusion known to man.
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 Unlimited Blessings of Limited Government June 20, 2010

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The battles were over and the war won now the hardest task of all: how to secure the rights fought for while providing a government strong enough to endure.  The Framers gathered in Philadelphia for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation.  Within days they decided instead to frame a new government launching an experiment in centralized but limited government.

That they believed the people to be the source of legitimate authority is exposed in the Preamble which begins, “We the People.”  They based this belief upon the Enlightenment concept of Natural Law, that God endowed men with unalienable rights.  Many people in Western Civilization believed in Natural Law realizing that these rights, though endowed by the Creator as inherent prerogatives, would not continue to exist in organized society unless protected by limitations on government power.  The Framers believed Natural Law not only conferred rights it also established limits to the scope of government and man-made law.  In their mind no legitimate law violated the possession and enjoyment of the rights of man.  In declaring independence our ancestors proclaimed their purpose as assuming the station, “to which the laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them.”

Knowing all this was one thing, but devising a manner in which not only authority but also power could be conceded from society in general to a government which by the nature of organization consists of a much smaller number was quite another.  How was this power to be limited?  How were the rights of all to be protected from the power of the few?  What was to stop the concentration of power into the hands of factions combined for their own benefit?  How to provide a government with sufficient authority and power to ensure the security and order necessary for everyone to enjoy their natural rights, and yet restrained enough to allow them to do so?  This was the problem which confronted those locked in Independence Hall in 1787 devising a government strong enough to do good, yet limited enough to do no harm.

The concept of a written Constitution was the first step.  England had no written constitution.  It was ruled by tradition and precedent.  After the Revolution the Framers knew traditions and precedents can change.  So they looked to a written Constitution to provide a framework and guide for the new government, thus setting boundaries and establishing them for all to see.  They provided a means for change in the amendment process, but they made it difficult and cumbersome so that change would not be easy or readily accessible to the whim of a moment or the rulers of the day.

Beyond this primary recourse to a lasting written code the Framers sought to employ two vehicles for the limitation of government; a federal system wherein power is divided between the parts and the whole, and representation through which the voice of the people would speak.  To accomplish these twin goals the States retain their sovereignty and provide a legislature made up of two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The House of Representatives was and still is popularly elected by all eligible voters.  Every two years these closest of all national leaders return to the people for affirmation and a renewed mandate.  And the Senate, which was originally elected by the states through their legislatures who were all at least partially elected by the public thus, ensuring both: more input from the people and the federal nature of the government. The President and Vice President were and still are indirectly elected by the members of the Electoral College, which are chosen in accordance with procedures designated by the individual states, thus once again enhancing the federal nature of the government.  The President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, chooses the judges of the Federal Courts.

This system, which we’ve come to call checks and balances, provides that no law can be enacted without a majority vote by representatives elected directly by the people, representatives chosen by the States and signed by the President, whose election is a result of a combination of the people and the States.  Thus the authority of the people is employed, the voice of the people is heard, yet the indirect manner in which it is applied and the muted manner in which it is heard seeks to ensure a government insulated from the volatile passions of the day.

What the Framers sought was a government of reason. The Enlightenment thinkers believed through the use of reason people discover natural rights and natural law.  They also believed reason is the source of a government capable of protecting those rights by enforcing that law.  To this end they created a federal system to diffuse power and a representative republic to provide a voice for the people safeguarded from the emotions of the moment.  They hoped that reasonable people working within a federal government divided between branches and surrounded by a written constitution would ensure the authority of the many would pass through the hands of the few for the blessings of all. At least that was the hope.

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 Bottleneck is Always at the Top June 13, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Why does bureaucracy cover the world?  Because bureaucracy is the most efficient form of organization ever devised.  Max Weber first pointed out the defining traits of a bureaucracy calling it the ideal type of organization because it’s rational, efficient and practical.  Before his definition this form of organization was called common sense.

As with most things in life the foundational elements of bureaucracy, the things which make it good, can also make it bad.  Division of labor which allows the best adapted to concentrate on appropriate tasks producing efficiency also produces people who can only do one thing.  Layers of authority make it clear who’s in command also deprives those below a role in decisions and facilitates the concealment of mistakes.  Written rules and regulations which allow everyone to know what’s expected also stifles individual initiative and imagination.  Impersonality which reduces personal bias also makes people feel like faceless numbers and fosters feelings of alienation.  Employment based on technical qualifications discourages favoritism and also discourages ambition.  Maintenance of position as the primary occupation of office holder, which produces continuity also breeds stagnation.  Promotion based on seniority institutionalizes stability, but it also brings those who can survive in the system to the top instead of innovators.  All of which equals the bottleneck is always at the top.

The Leviathan of national government has grown far beyond anything our founders would’ve envisioned.  Spreading across the landscape inserting tentacles into everything from who does what to who gets what.  Americans stand before the drones making up the business end of the federal bureaucracy hat in hand waiting for service.  We’re in the midst of a transaction wherein we’re expected to trade in our freedom for cradle-to-grave security and individual liberty for bureaucratic regimentation.  The problem is that when our Progressive collectivist leaders herded us toward giving them total control of our lives the American people have risen up in Tea Parties, Town Halls and State governments declaring, “We the People will not go quietly into that dark night!”

The more the President flexes his media-enhanced, teleprompter-controlled, highly-reverberated communication skills the more people don’t want what he’s selling.  Using procedure and manipulation the same 50+ 1 strategy candidate Obama said should not be used to pass health care was used to pass health care while the rest of the agenda stands waiting in the wings.  With an overwhelming majority in Congress and enough votes to make the Progressive’s evolution/revolution happen, watch as the total transformation of America metastasizes before the people get a chance to speak in November.

What a travesty!  First the best Congress money can buy passes bills without reading them.  Now we’re bluntly told we don’t get to know what’s in them until they pass them.  It is hard to imagine such arrogance.  After taking control of GM, Chrysler and the largest insurance company the Progressives reformed America’s medical system into who knows what and are now moving on to and the financial sector.  What will they bail-out (take over) next?  The unions?  The fossil press?  This is no spur of the moment off the cuff solution to immediate problems.  This is not just a case of an imperial president passing collectivist legislation against the wishes of the electorate.  This is the culmination of a long march by the Progressives.  They’ve pretended to be one thing or another: liberals, unions, advocacy groups, or whatever it took to slip past the voters.  And let’s face it, they’ve been much more dedicated and disciplined than those who want a nation based on free enterprise and individualism.

From Teddy Roosevelt to Barak Obama we’ve had one Trojan horse after another: one more Federal mandate, one more dependency creating entitlement, and each one a step closer to total government control.  Luckily the American spirit of individualism and tradition of liberty hasn’t been completely cowed by 100 years of the Progressive’s evolution/revolution.  Not only are the Tea Party  and the Town Hall Patriots continuing to stand up for liberty many states are lining up to resist these naked power grabs.   Congress refuses to have open debates on the implementation of legislation designed to fundamentally transform America.  The Pelosi-Reid Congress following their leader have instituted what in effect is a one-party government seeking no input from the minority party and ignoring the outcry of citizens. They’ve bludgeoned their collectivist bills through to the President’s desk, but when he signed them he signed the marching orders for a legion of awakened voters who will troop to the polls and guide the way home to the America we’ve known and loved.  The night may be dark, the way may be long, but if we keep the faith and keep the peace we shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University Systemhttp://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System.  http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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