Democracy - Page 1
The Enemy Within -- Cicero
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive
treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known
and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the
gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the
very halls of government itself.
"For the traitor appears not a traitor – he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." – Marcus Tullius Cicero 42 B.C
The founding fathers believed that voting should go to those that have knowledge of the issues and have a vested interest in the country. That is why those that were allowed to vote were those that owned property.
They knew that those that did not have a vested interest in the country would utilize their vote for individual gain. And this is what we are seeing today. Those that do not pay income taxes are voting to implement taxes on those that do. Those that are on welfare vote for more entitlements. This is why the founding fathers did not want a DEMOCRACY because democracies fail. That is why they created this REPUBLIC. Allowing everyone to vote is inherently wrong and unfair.
Voting should NOT be a right for everyone. The way people vote and the way the vote is counted can be changed, but that has always been the case. If the states believe the voting system is fine, then why should they be forced to change it? The federal government should stay out of state's rights.
The framers have been right up till now, so why change? So Dems can garner more votes; it is a Dem versus Republican issue. That is the only reason they're calling for this. And here's what's going to happen when those changes do not bring about their victory. They will want a mandatory vote (much like Saddam), and they will want everyone to vote, to get a receipt, and register their names and how they voted. I guarantee, the only way their claims of disenfranchisement will ever go away will be to do away with the secret ballot, and that is what they will eventually call for.
There is a reason voting is a state's right and that is to keep the federal government from legislating it. Remember, Senators were not originally elected by popular vote but were appointed by their respective state legislatures. The President is still elected through the Electoral College and not the popular vote. These were specifically created and implemented to avoid the pitfalls of a true democracy; democracies fail.
The following quote is from Alexander Tyler. No, he wasn't writing about the United States. This quote is well over one hundred years old. Tyler was writing about the fall of the Athenian Republic in Greece:
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."
This is exactly what is happening today in America. This is why we cannot afford to have the federal government legislate and oversee elections. This is why we should redefine who is allowed to vote.
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Earlier today on American Street, I commented that one of the reasons so many Americans have such disjointed and misinformed views on the state of our nation and the direction its going is due to a fundamental lack of solid history teaching in schools...
"The tree of liberty must be watered periodically with the blood of tyrants and patriots alike. It is its natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson.
"The tree of liberty only grows when watered by the blood of tyrants." -- Bertrand Barere de Vieuzac, one of the leaders of the French Revolution.
A Republic, If You Can Keep It: http://www.ronpaulforcongress.com/html/republic.html
Sorry Mr. Franklin, We're All Democrats Now: http://www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2003/cr012903.htm
The Original American Foreign Policy: http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul375.html
A Foreign Policy for Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty: http://www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2002/cr090502.htm
Is America a Police State?: http://www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2002/cr062702.htm
Regulation, Free Trade and Mexican Trucks: http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2007/tst090907.htm
The Case for Defending America: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/paul11.html
A Republic, If You Can Keep It
by Dr. Ron Paul
Address to the U.S. House of Representatives delivered on the Floor of the House January 31 - February 2, 2000
The dawn of a new century and millennium is upon us and prompts many to reflect on our past and prepare for the future. Our nation, divinely blessed, has much to be thankful for. The blessings of liberty resulting from the republic our forefathers designed have far surpassed the wildest dreams of all previous generations.
The form of government secured by the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, and the Constitution is unique in history and reflects the strongly held beliefs of the American Revolutionaries.
At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powell anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly: "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" "A republic if you can keep it" responded Franklin.
The term republic had a significant meaning for both of them and all early Americans. It meant a lot more than just representative government and was a form of government in stark contrast to pure democracy where the majority dictated laws and rights. And getting rid of the English monarchy was what the Revolution was all about, so a monarchy was out of the question.
The American Republic required strict limitation of government power. Those powers permitted would be precisely defined and delegated by the people, with all public officials being bound by their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. The democratic process would be limited to the election of our leaders and not used for granting special privileges to any group or individual nor for defining rights.
Federalism, the binding together loosely of the several states, would serve to prevent the concentration of power in a central government and was a crucial element in the new Republic. The authors of the Constitution wrote strict limits on the national government and strove to protect the rights and powers of the states and the people.
Dividing and keeping separate the legislative, executive, and the judiciary branches, provided the checks and balances thought needed to preserve the Republic the Constitution created and the best way to preserve individual liberty.
The American Revolutionaries clearly chose liberty over security, for their economic security and their very lives were threatened by undertaking the job of forming a new and limited government. Most would have been a lot richer and safer by sticking with the King. Economic needs or desires were not the driving force behind the early American patriotic effort.
The Revolution and subsequent Constitution settled the question as to which authority should rule man's action: the individual or the state. The authors of the Constitution clearly understood that man has free will to make personal choices and be responsible for the consequences of his own actions. Man, they knew, was not to be simply a cog in a wheel, or a single cell of an organism, or a branch of a tree, but an individual with a free will and responsibility for his eternal soul as well as his life on earth. If God could permit spiritual freedom, government certainly ought to permit the political freedom that allows one to pursue life's dreams and assume one's responsibilities. If man can achieve spiritual redemption through grace, which allows him to use the released spiritual energy to pursue man's highest and noblest goals, so should man's mind, body, and property be freed from the burdens of unchecked government authority. The Founders were confident that this would release the creative human energy required to produce the goods and services that would improve the living standards of all mankind.
Minimizing government authority over the people was critical to this endeavor. Just as the individual was key to salvation, individual effort was the key to worldly endeavors. Little doubt existed that material abundance and sustenance came from work and effort, family, friends, church, and voluntary community action, as long as government did not obstruct.
No doubts were cast as to where rights came from. They came from the Creator, and if government could not grant rights to individuals, it surely should not be able to take them away. If government could provide rights or privileges, it was reasoned, it could only occur at the expense of someone else or with the loss of personal liberty in general. Our constitutional Republic, according to our Founders, should above all else protect the rights of the minority against the abuses of an authoritarian majority. They feared democracy as much as monarchy and demanded a weak executive, a restrained court, and a handicapped legislature.
It was clearly recognized that equal justice and protection of the minority was not egalitarianism. Socialism and welfarism were never considered.
The colonists wanted to be free of the King's oppressive high taxes and burdensome regulations. It annoyed them to no end that even the trees on their own property could not be cut without the King's permission. The King kept the best trees for himself and his shipbuilding industry. This violation of property ownership prompted the colonists to use the pine tree on an early revolutionary flag to symbolize the freedom they sought.
The Constitution made it clear that the government was not to interfere with productive non-violent human energy. This is the key element that has permitted America's great achievements. It was a great plan; we should all be thankful for the bravery and wisdom of those who established this nation and secured the Constitution for us. We have been the political and economic envy of the world. We have truly been blessed. The Founders often spoke of "divine providence" and that God willed us this great nation. It has been a grand experiment, but it is important that the fundamental moral premises that underpin this nation are understood and maintained. We as Members of Congress have that responsibility.
This is a good year to address this subject. The beginning of the new century and millennium provides a wonderful opportunity for all of us to dedicate ourselves to studying and preserving these important principles of liberty.
2. Success of the Republic
One would have to conclude from history as well as current conditions that the American Republic has been extremely successful. It certainly has allowed the creation of great wealth with a large middle class and many very wealthy corporations and individuals. Although the poor are still among us, compared to other parts of the world, even the poor in this country have done quite well.
We still can freely move about, from town to town, state to state, and job to job. Free education is available to everyone, even for those who don't want it nor care about it. Both the capable and the incapable are offered a government education. We can attend the church of our choice, start a newspaper, use the Internet, and meet in private when we choose. Food is plentiful throughout the country and oftentimes even wasted. Medical technology has dramatically advanced and increased life expectancy for both men and women.
Government statistics are continuously reaffirming our great prosperity with evidence of high and rising wages, no inflation, and high consumer confidence and spending. The US government still enjoys good credit and a strong currency in relationship to most other currencies of the world. We have had no trouble financing our public or private debt. Housing markets are booming, and interest rates remain reasonable by modern-day standards. Unemployment is low. Recreational spending and time spent at leisure are at historic highs. Stock market profits are benefiting more families than ever in our history while income, payroll, and capital gains taxes have been a windfall to the politicians who lack no creative skills in figuring out how to keep the tax-and-spend policies in full gear. The American people accept the status quo and hold few grudges against our President.
The nature of a republic and the current status of our own are of little concern to the American people in general. Yet there is a small minority, ignored by political, academic, and media personnel, who do spend time thinking about the importance of what the proper role for government should be. The comparison of today's government to the one established by our Constitution is a subject of deep discussion for those who concern themselves with the future and look beyond the fall election. The benefits we enjoy are a result of the Constitution our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to write. However, understanding the principles that were used to establish our nation is crucial to its preservation and something we cannot neglect.
3. The Past Century
Unbelievable changes have occurred in the 20th Century. We went from the horse and buggy age to the space age. Computer technology and the Internet have dramatically changed the way we live. All kinds of information and opinions on any subject are now available by clicking a few buttons. Technology offers an opportunity for everyone who seeks the truth to find it, yet at the same time, it enhances the ability of government to monitor our every physical, communicative, and financial move. And let there be no doubt, for the true believers in big government, they see this technology as a great advantage for their cause.
We are currently witnessing an ongoing effort by our government to develop a national ID card, a medical data bank, a work data bank, "Know Your Customer" regulations on banking activities, a National Security Agency all-pervasive telephone snooping system called Echelon, and many other programs. There are good reasons to understand the ramifications of the many technological advancements we have seen over the century to make sure that the good technology is not used by the government to do bad things.
The 20th Century has truly been a century of unbelievable technological advancement. We should be cognizant of what this technology has done to the size and nature of our own government. It could easily be argued that, with greater technological advances, the need for government ought to decline and private alternatives be enhanced. But there's not much evidence for that argument. In 1902 the cost of government activities at all levels came to 7.7% of the GDP; today it's more than 50%.
Government officials oversee everything we do from regulating the amount of water in our commodes to placing airbags in our cars, safety locks on our guns, and using our own land. Almost every daily activity we engage in is monitored or regulated by some government agency. If one attempts to just avoid government harassment, one finds himself in deep trouble with the law.
Yes, we can be grateful that the technological developments in the marketplace over the last 100 years have made our lives more prosperous and enjoyable, but any observant person must be annoyed by the ever-present "Big Brother" that watches and records our every move. The idea that we're responsible for our own actions has been seriously undermined. And it would be grossly misleading to argue that the huge growth in the size of government has been helpful and necessary in raising the standard of living of so many Americans. Since government cannot create anything, it can only resort to using force to redistribute the goods that energetic citizens produce. The old-fashioned term for this is "theft." It's clear that our great prosperity has come in spite of the obstacles that big government places in our way and not because of it. And besides, our current prosperity may well not be as permanent as many believe.
Quite a few major changes in public policy have occurred in this century. These changes in policy reflect our current attitude toward the American Republic and the Constitution and help us to understand what to expect in the future. Economic prosperity seems to have prevailed, but the appropriate question asked by too few Americans is, "Have our personal liberties been undermined?"
Taxes are certainly higher. A federal income tax of 35 to 40% is something many middle-class Americans must pay, while on average they work for the government for more than half the year. In passing on our estates from one generation to the next, our "partner," the US government, decides on its share before the next generation can take over. The estate tax certainly verifies the saying about the inevitability of death and taxes. At the turn of the century we had neither, and in spite of a continuous outcry against both, there's no sign that either will soon be eliminated.
Accepting the principle behind both the income and the estate tax concedes the statist notion that the government owns the fruits of our labor, as well as our savings, and we are permitted by the politicians' "generosity" to keep a certain percentage. Every tax-cut proposal in Washington now is considered a "cost" to government, not the return of something rightfully belonging to a productive citizen. This principle is true whether it's a 1% or a 70% income tax. Concern for this principle has been rarely expressed in a serious manner over the past 50 years. The withholding process has permitted many to believe that a tax rebate at the end of the year comes as a gift from government. Because of this, the real cost of government to the taxpayer is obscured. The income tax has grown to such an extent and the government is so dependent on it that any talk of eliminating the income tax is just that, talk.
A casual acceptance of the principle behind high taxation, with an income tax and an inheritance tax, is incompatible with a principled belief in a true Republic. It is impossible to maintain a high tax system without the sacrifice of liberty and an undermining of property ownership. If kept in place, such a system will undermine prosperity, regardless of how well off we may presently be.
In truth, the amount of taxes we now pay compared to 100 years ago is shocking. There is little philosophic condemnation by the intellectual community, the political leaders, or the media of this immoral system. This should be a warning sign to all of us that, even in less prosperous times, we can expect high taxes and that our productive economic system will come under attack. Not only have we seen little resistance to the current high tax system, it has become an acceptable notion that this system is moral and is a justified requirement to finance the welfare/warfare state. Propaganda polls are continuously cited claiming that the American people don't want tax reductions. High taxes, except for only short periods of time, are incompatible with liberty and prosperity.
We will, I'm sure, be given the opportunity in the early part of this next century to make a choice between the two. I am certain of my preference.
There was no welfare state in 1900. In the year 2000 we have a huge welfare state, which continues to grow each year. Not that special-interest legislation didn't exist in the 19th Century, but for the most part, it was limited and directed toward moneyed interests--the most egregious example being the railroads.
The modern-day welfare state has steadily grown since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The federal government is now involved in providing health care, houses, unemployment benefits, education, food stamps to millions, plus all kinds of subsidies to every conceivable special-interest group. Welfare is now part of our culture, costing hundreds of billions of dollars every year. It is now thought to be a "right," something one is "entitled" to. Calling it an "entitlement" makes it sound proper and respectable and not based on theft. Anyone who has a need, desire, or demand and can get the politicians' attention will get what he wants, even though it may be at the expense of someone else. Today it is considered morally right and politically correct to promote the welfare state. Any suggestion otherwise is considered political suicide.
The acceptance of the welfare ethic and rejection of the work ethic as the accepted process for improving one's economic conditions are now ingrained in our political institutions. This process was started in earnest in the 1930s, received a big boast in the 1960s, and has continued a steady growth, even through the 1990s, despite some rhetoric in opposition. This public acceptance has occurred in spite of the fact that there is no evidence that welfare is a true help in assisting the needy. Its abject failure around the world where welfarism took the next step into socialism has even a worse record.
The transition in the past hundred years from essentially no welfare to an all-encompassing welfare state represents a major change in attitude in the United States. Along with its acceptance, the promoters have dramatically reinterpreted the Constitution from the way it had been for our first 150 years. Where the general welfare clause once had a clear general meaning (which was intended to prohibit special-interest welfare, and was something they detested and revolted against under King George), it is now used to justify any demand of any group, as long as a majority in Congress votes for it.
But the history is clear and the words in the Constitution are precise. Madison and Jefferson in explaining the general welfare clause left no doubt as to its meaning.
Madison said: "With respect to the words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of power connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs not contemplated by its creators." Madison argued that there would be no purpose whatsoever for the enumeration of the particular powers if the general welfare clause was to be broadly interpreted. The Constitution granted authority to the federal government to do only 20 things, each to be carried out for the benefit of the general welfare of all the people. This understanding of the Constitution, as described by the Father of the Constitution, has been lost in this century.
Jefferson was just as clear, writing in 1798, when he said: "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated."
With the modern-day interpretation of the general welfare clause, the principle of individual liberty and the doctrine of enumerated powers have been made meaningless. The goal of strictly limiting the power of our national government as was intended by the Constitution is impossible to achieve as long as it is acceptable for Congress to redistribute wealth in an egalitarian welfare state. There's no way that personal liberty will not suffer with every effort to expand or make the welfare state efficient. And the sad part is that the sincere efforts to help people do better economically through welfare programs always fail. Dependency replaces self-reliance while the sense of self worth of the recipient suffers, making for an angry, unhappy, and dissatisfied society. The cost in dollar terms is high, but the cost in terms of liberty is even greater, but generally ignored, and in the long run, there's nothing to show for this sacrifice.
Today, there's no serious effort to challenge welfare as a way of life, and its uncontrolled growth in the next economic downturn is to be expected. Too many citizens now believe they are "entitled" to monetary assistance from the government anytime they need it, and they expect it. Even in times of plenty, the direction has been to continue expanding education, welfare, and retirement benefits. No one asks where the government gets the money to finance the welfare state. Is it morally right to do so? Is it authorized in the Constitution? Does it help anyone in the long run? Who suffers from the policy? Until these questions are seriously asked and correctly answered, we cannot expect the march toward a pervasive welfare state to stop, and we can expect our liberties to be continuously compromised.
The concept of the Doctrine of Enumerated Powers was picked away at in the latter part of the 19th Century over strong objection by many constitutionalists. But it was not until the drumbeat of fear coming from the Roosevelt administration, during the Great Depression, that the courts virtually rewrote the Constitution by a reinterpretation of the general welfare clause. In 1936 the New Deal Supreme Court told Congress and the American people that the Constitution is irrelevant when it comes to limits being placed on congressional spending. In a ruling justifying the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Court pronounced: "The power of Congress to authorize appropriations of public money for public purposes is not limited by the grants of legislative power found in the Constitution." With the stroke of a pen, the courts amended the Constitution in such a sweeping manner that it literally legalized the entire welfare state, which not surprisingly, has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. Since this ruling, we have rarely heard the true explanation of the general welfare clause as being a restriction of government power, not a grant of unlimited power.
We cannot ignore corporate welfare, which is part of the problem. Most people think the welfare state involves only giving something to the unfortunate poor. This is generally true, but once the principle is established that special benefits are legitimate the moneyed interests see the advantages in influencing the legislative process. Our system, which pays lip service to free enterprise and private-property ownership, is drifting toward a form of fascism or corporatism, rather than conventional socialism. And where the poor never seem to benefit under welfare, corporations become richer.
But it should have been expected that once the principle of favoritism was established, the contest would be over who has the greatest clout in Washington. No wonder lobbyists are willing to spend $125 million per month influencing Congress! It's a good investment. No amount of campaign finance reform or regulation of lobbyists can deal with this problem.
The problem lies in the now-accepted role for our government. Government has too much control over people and the market, making the temptation and incentive to influence government irresistible and to a degree necessary. Curtailing how people spend their own money or their right to petition their government will do nothing to help this influence peddling. Treating the symptoms and not the disease only further undermines the principles of freedom and property ownership.
Any serious reforms or effort to break away from the welfare state must be directed as much at corporate welfare as routine welfare. Since there's no serious effort to reject welfare on principle, the real conflict over how to divide what government plunders will continue. Once it's clear that the nation is not nearly as wealthy as it appears, this will become a serious problem, and it will get the attention it deserves.
Preserving liberty and restoring constitutional precepts are impossible as long as the welfare mentality prevails, and that will not likely change until we've run out of money. But it will become clear, as we move into the next century, that perpetual wealth and the so-called balanced budget, along with an expanding welfare state, cannot continue indefinitely. Any effort to perpetuate it will only occur with the further erosion of liberty.
The role of the US government in public education has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. Most of the major changes have occurred in the second half of this century. In the 19th century, the closest the federal government got to public education was the Land Grant College program. In the last 40 years, the federal government has essentially taken charge of the entire system. It is involved in education at every level through loans, grants, court directives, regulations, and curriculum manipulation. In 1900 it was of no concern to the federal government how local schools were run at any level.
After hundreds of billions of dollars, we have yet to see a shred of evidence that the drift toward central control over education has helped. By all measurements, the quality of education is down. There are more drugs and violence in the public schools than ever before. Discipline is impossible out of fear of lawsuits or charges of civil rights violations.
Controlled curricula have downplayed the importance of our constitutional heritage while indoctrinating our children, even in kindergarten, with environmental mythology, internationalism, and sexual liberation. Neighborhood schools in the early part of the 20th Century did not experience this kind of propaganda.
The one good result coming from our failed educational system has been the limited but important revival of the notion that parents are responsible for their children's education, not the state. We have seen literally millions of children taken from the public school system and taught at home or in private institutions in spite of the additional expense. This has helped many students and has also served to pressure the government schools into doing a better job. And the statistics show that middle-income and low-income families are the most eager to seek an alternative to the public school system.
There is no doubt that the way schools are run, how the teachers teach, and how the bills are paid is dramatically different from 100 years ago. And even though some that go through public schools do exceptionally well, there is clear evidence that the average high school graduate today is far less educated than his counterpart was in the early part of this century.
Due to the poor preparation of our high school graduates, colleges expect very little from their students, since nearly everyone gets to go to college who wants to. Public school is compulsory and college is available to almost everyone regardless of qualifications. In 1914, English composition was required in 98% of our college; today it's about one-third. Only 12% of today's colleges require mathematics be taught, where in 1914, 82% did. No college now requires literature courses. But, rest assured plenty of social-babble courses are required as we continue to dumb down our nation.
Federal funding for education grows every year, hitting $38 billion this year, $1 billion more than requested by the administration and 7% over last year. Great congressional debates occur over the size of a classroom, student and teacher testing, bilingual education, teacher's salaries, school violence, and drug usage. And it's politically incorrect to point out that all these problems are not present in the private schools. Every year there is less effort at the federal level to return education to the people, the parents, and the local school officials. For 20 years at least, some of our presidential candidates advocated abolishing the Department of Education and for the federal government to get completely out of the public education business. This year we will hear no more of that. The President got more money for education than he asked for, and it's considered not only bad manners but also political suicide to argue the case for stopping all federal government education programs. Talk of returning some control of federal programs to the state is not the same as keeping the federal government out of education as directed by the Constitution.
Of the 20 congressionally authorized functions granted by the Constitution, education is not one of them. That should be enough of a reason not to be involved, but there's no evidence of any benefit, and statistics show that great harm has resulted. It has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars, yet we continue the inexorable march toward total domination of our educational system by Washington bureaucrats and politicians. It makes no sense!
It's argued that if the federal funding for education did not continue education would suffer even more. Yet we see poor and middle-class families educating their children at home or at a private school at a fraction of the cost of a government school education, with results fantastically better--and all done in the absence of violence and drugs. A case can be made that there would be more money available for education if we just left the money in the states to begin with and never brought it to Washington for the bureaucrats and the politicians to waste. But it looks like Congress will not soon learn this lesson, so the process will continue and the results will get worse.
The best thing we could do now is pass a bill to give parents a $3,000 tax credit for each child they educate. This would encourage competition and allow a lot more choice for parents struggling to help their children get a decent education.
The practice of medicine is now a government-managed care system, and very few Americans are happy with it. Not only is there little effort to extricate the federal government from the medical-care business, but the process of expanding the government's role continues unabated. At the turn of the 19th Century, it was not even considered a possibility that medical care was the responsibility of the federal government. Since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs of the 1960s, the role of the federal government in delivering medical care has grown exponentially. Today the federal government pays more than 60% of all the medical bills and regulates all of it. The demands continue for more free care at the same time complaints about the shortcomings of managed care multiply. Yet it's natural to assume that government planning and financing will sacrifice quality care. It is now accepted that people who need care are entitled to it as a right. This is a serious error in judgment.
There's no indication that the trend toward government medicine will be reversed. Our problems are related to the direct takeover of medical care in programs like Medicare and Medicaid. But it's also been the interference in the free market through ERISA mandates related to HMOs and other managed-care organizations, as well as our tax code, that have undermined the private insurance aspect of paying for medical care. True medical insurance is not available. The government dictates all the terms.
In the early stages patients, doctors, and hospitals welcomed these programs. Generous care was available with more than adequate reimbursement. It led to what one would expect: abuse, overcharges, and overuse. When costs rose, it was necessary through government rulemaking and bureaucratic management to cut reimbursement and limit the procedures available and personal choice of physicians. We don't have socialized medicine, but we do have bureaucratic medicine, mismanaged by the government and select corporations who usurped the decision-making power from the physician. The way medical care is delivered today in the United States is a perfect example of the evils of corporatism, an artificial system that only politicians responding to the special interests could create.
There's no reason to believe the market cannot deliver medical care in as efficient a manner as it does computers, automobiles, and televisions. But the confidence is gone and everyone assumes, just as it is in education, that only a federal bureaucracy is capable of solving the problems of maximizing the number of people, including the poor, who receive the best medical care available. In an effort to help the poor, the quality of care has gone down for everyone else and the costs have skyrocketed.
Making generous medical savings accounts available is about the only program talked about today that offers an alternative to government mismanaged care. If something of this sort is not soon implemented, we can expect more pervasive government involvement in the practice of medicine. With a continual deterioration of its quality, the private practice of medicine will soon be gone.
Government housing programs are no more successful than the federal government's medical and education programs. In the early part of this century, government housing was virtually unheard of. Now the HUD budget commands over $30 billion each year and increases every year. Finances of mortgages through the Federal Home Loan Bank, the largest federal government borrower, is the key financial institution pumping in hundreds of billions of dollars of credit into the housing market, making things worse. The Federal Reserve has now started to use home mortgage securities for monetizing debt.
Public housing has a reputation for being a refuge for drugs, crimes, and filth, with projects being torn down as routinely as they are built. There's every indication that this entitlement will continue to expand in size, regardless of its failures. Token local control over these expenditures will do nothing to solve the problem. Recently the Secretary of HUD, using public funds to sue gun manufacturers, claimed this is necessary to solve the problem of crime which government housing perpetuates. If a government agency, which was never meant to exist in the first place under the Constitution, can expand their role into legislative and legal matters without the consent of Congress, we indeed have a serious problem on our hands. The programs are bad enough in themselves, but the abuse of the rule of law and ignoring the separation of powers makes these expanding programs that much more dangerous to our entire political system and is a direct attack on personal liberty.
If one cares about providing the maximum and best housing for the maximum number of people, one must consider a free-market approach in association with a sound non-depreciating currency. We have been operating a public housing program directly opposite to this, and along with steady inflation and government promotion of housing since the 1960s, the housing market has been grossly distorted. We can soon expect a major downward correction in the housing industry, prompted by rising interest rates.
Our attitudes toward foreign policy have dramatically changed since the beginning of the century. From George Washington through Grover Cleveland, the accepted policy was to avoid entangling alliances. Although we spread our wings westward and southward as part of our manifest destiny, in the 19th Century we accepted the Monroe Doctrine notion that Europeans and Asians should stay out of our affairs in this hemisphere and we theirs. McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Spanish American War changed all of that. Our intellectual and political leaders at the turn of the last century brought into vogue the interventionist doctrine setting the stage for the past 100 years of global military activism.
From a country that once minded its own business, we now find ourselves with military personnel in more than 130 different countries, protecting our modern-day American empire. Not only do we have troops spread to the four corners of the earth, we find Coast Guard Cutters in the Mediterranean and around the world, our FBI in any country we choose, and the CIA in places the Congress doesn't even know about.
It is a truism that the state grows and freedom is diminished in times of war. Almost perpetual war in the 20th Century has significantly contributed to steadily undermining our liberties while glorifying the state. In addition to the military wars, liberty has also suffered from the domestic "wars" on poverty, literacy, drugs, homelessness, privacy, and many others.
We have, in the last 100 years, gone from the accepted and cherished notion of a sovereign nation to one of a globalist, New World Order. As we once had three separate branches of our government, the United Nations proudly uses its three branches, the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization to work their will in this new era of globalism. Because the US is by far the strongest military industrial power, it can dictate the terms of these international institutions, protecting what we see as our various interests such as oil, along with satisfying our military industrial complex. Our commercial interests and foreign policy are no longer separate. This allows for subsidized profits, while the taxpayers are forced to protect huge corporations against any losses from overseas investments. The argument that we go about the world out of humanitarian concerns for those suffering-which was the excuse for bombing Serbia-is a farce.
As bad as it is that average Americans are forced to subsidize such a system, we additionally are placed in greater danger because of our arrogant policy of bombing nations that do not submit to our wishes. This generates the hatred directed toward America, even if at times it seems suppressed, and exposes us to a greater threat of terrorism, since this is the only vehicle our victims can use to retaliate against a powerful military state.
But even with the apparent success of our foreign policy and the military might we still have, the actual truth is that we have spread ourselves too thinly and may well have difficulty defending ourselves if we are ever threatened by any significant force around the world. At the close of this century, we find our military preparedness and morale at an all-time low. It will become more obvious as we move into the 21st Century that the cost of maintaining this worldwide presence is too high and cutbacks will be necessary. The cost in terms of liberties lost and the unnecessary exposure to terrorism are difficult to determine, but in time it will become apparent to all of us that foreign interventionism is of no benefit to American citizens, but instead is a threat to our liberties.
Throughout our early history and up to World War I, our wars were fought with volunteers. There was no military draft except for a failed attempt by Lincoln in the Civil War, which ended with justified riots and rebellion against it. The attitudes toward the draft definitely changed over the past century. Draftees were said to be necessary to fight in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. This change in attitude has definitely satisfied those who believe that we have an obligation to police the world. The idiocy of Vietnam served as a catalyst for an anti-draft attitude, which is still alive today. Fortunately, we have not had a draft for over 25 years, but Congress refuses to address this matter in a principled fashion by abolishing, once and for all, the useless Selective Service System. Too many authoritarians in Congress still believe that in times of need an army of teenage draftees will be needed to defend our commercial interests throughout the world..
A return to the spirit of the Republic would mean that a draft would never be used and all able-bodied persons would be willing to volunteer in defense of their liberty. Without the willingness to do so, liberty cannot be saved. A conscripted army can never substitute for the willingness of freedom-loving Americans to defend their country out of their love for liberty.
The US monetary system during the 20th Century has dramatically changed from the one authorized by the Constitution. Only silver and gold were to be used in payment of debt and no paper money was to be issued. In one of the few restrictions on the states, the Constitution prohibited them from issuing their own money and they were to use only gold and silver in payment of debt. No central bank was authorized. The authors of the Constitution were well aware of the dangers of inflation, having seen the great harm associated with the destruction of the Continental currency. They never wanted to see another system that ended with the slogan "It's not worth a Continental." They much preferred "sound as a dollar" or "as good as gold" as a description of our currency. Unfortunately their concerns, as they were reflected in the Constitution, have been ignored and, as this century closes, we do not have a sound dollar "as good as gold." The changes to our monetary system are by far the most significant economic events of the 20th Century.
The gold dollar of 1900 is now nothing more than a Federal Reserve note with a promise by untrustworthy politicians and the central bankers to pay nothing for it. No longer is there silver or gold available to protect the value of a steadily depreciating currency. This is a fraud of the worst kind and the type of crime that would put a private citizen behind bars.
But there have been too many special interests benefiting by our fiat currency, too much ignorance and too much apathy regarding the nature of money. We will surely pay the price for this negligence. The relative soundness of our currency that we enjoy as we move into the 21st Century will not persist. The instability in world currency markets, because of the dollars' acceptance for so many years as a reserve currency, will cause devastating adjustments that Congress will eventually be forced to deal with.
The transition from sound money to paper money did not occur instantaneously. It occurred over a 58-year period between 1913 and 1971 and the mischief continues today. Our central bank, the Federal Reserve System (established in 1913 after two failed efforts in the 19th Century) has been the driving force behind the development of our current fiat system. Since the turn of the century, we have seen our dollar lose 95% of its purchasing power, and it continues to depreciate. This is nothing less than theft, and those responsible should be held accountable. The record of the Federal Reserve is abysmal. Yet at the close of the 20th Century, its chairman is held in extremely high esteem, with almost zero calls for study of the monetary system with intent to once again have the dollar linked to gold.
Ironically, the government and politicians are held in very low esteem, yet the significant trust in them to maintain the value of the currency is not questioned. But it should be.
The reasons for rejecting gold and promoting paper are not mysterious, since quite a few special interests benefit. Deficit financing is much more difficult when there's no central bank available to monetize government debt. This gives license to politicians to spend lavishly on the projects that are most likely to get them reelected. War is more difficult to pursue if government has to borrow or tax the people for its financing. The Federal Reserve's ability to create credit out of thin air to pay the bills run up by Congress, establishes a symbiosis that is easy for the politicians to love. It's also advantageous for the politicians to ignore the negative effects from such a monetary arrangement, since they tend to be hidden and disseminated.
A paper-money system attracts support from various economic groups. Bankers benefit from the "float" they get with a fractional reserve banking system that accompanies a fiat monetary system. Giant corporations, who get to borrow large funds at below-market interest rates, enjoy the system and consistently call for more inflation and artificially low interest rates. Even the general public seems to benefit from the artificial booms brought about by credit creation, with lower interest rates allowing major purchases like homes and cars.
The naïve and uninformed fully endorse the current system, because the benefits are readily apparent while the disadvantages are hidden, delayed, or not understood. The politicians, central bankers, commercial banks, big-business borrowers all believe their needs justify such a system. But the costs are many and the dangers are real. Because of easy credit throughout this century, we have found that financing war was easier than if taxes had to be raised. The many wars we have fought and the continuous military confrontations in smaller wars since Vietnam have made the 20th Century a bloody century. It is most likely that we would have pursued a less militaristic foreign policy if financing it had been more difficult. Likewise, financing the welfare state would have progressed much slower if our deficits could not have been financed by an accommodative central bank willing to inflate the money supply at will.
There are other real costs as well, that few are willing to believe are a direct consequence of Federal Reserve Board policy. Rampant inflation after World War I, as well as the 1921 Depression, were a consequence of monetary policy during and following the war. The stock market speculation of the 1920s, the stock market collapse of 1929, and the Depression of the 1930s (causing millions to be unemployed) all resulted from Federal Reserve Board monetary mischief.
Price inflation of the early 1950s was a consequence of monetary inflation required to fight the Korean War. Wage and price controls used then totally failed, yet the same canard was used during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s to again impose wage and price controls with even worse results. All the price inflation, all the distortions, all the recessions and unemployment should be laid at the doorstep of the Federal Reserve. The Fed is an accomplice in promoting all unnecessary war as well as the useless and harmful welfare programs with its willingness to cover Congress' profligate spending habits.
Even though the Fed did great harm before 1971, after the total elimination of the gold dollar linkage, the problems of deficit spending, welfare expansion, and military industrial complex influence have gotten much worse.
Although many claim the 1990s have been great economic years, Federal Reserve board action of the past decade has caused problems yet to manifest themselves. The inevitable correction will come as the new century begins and is likely to be quite serious.
The stage has been set. Rampant monetary growth has led to historic high asset inflation, massive speculation, over-capacity, malinvestment, excessive debt, negative savings rate, and a current account deficit of huge proportions. These conditions dictate a painful adjustment, something that would have never occurred under a gold standard. The special benefits of foreigners taking our inflated dollars for low-priced goods and then loaning them back to us will eventually end. The dollar must fall, interest rates must rise, price inflation will accelerate, the financial asset bubble will burst, and a dangerous downturn in the economy will follow. There are many reasons to believe the economic slowdown will be worldwide since the dollar is the reserve currency of the world. An illusion about our dollar's value has allowed us to prop up Europe and Japan in this past decade during a period of weak growth for them, but when reality sets in, economic conditions will deteriorate. Greater computer speed, which has helped to stimulate the boom of the 1990s, will work in the opposite direction as all the speculative positions unwind, and that includes the tens of trillion of dollars in derivatives. There was a good reason the Federal Reserve rushed in to rescue Long-Term Capital Management with a multi-billion dollar bailout. It was unadulterated fear that the big correction was about to begin. Up until now, feeding the credit bubble with even more credit has worked and is the only tool they have to fight the business cycle, but eventually control will be lost.
A paper money system is dangerous economically and not constitutionally authorized. It's also immoral for government to "counterfeit" money, which dilutes the value of the currency and steals value from those who hold the currency and those who did not necessarily benefit from its early circulation. Not everyone benefits from the largesse of government spending programs or a systematic debasement of the currency. The middle class, those not on welfare and not in the military industrial complex, suffer the most from rising prices and job losses in the correction phase of the business cycle. Congress must someday restore sound money to America. It's mandated in the Constitution; it's economically sound to do so; and it's morally right to guarantee a standard of value for the money. Our oath of office obligates all Members of Congress to pay attention to this and participate in this needed reform.
A police state is incompatible with liberty. A hundred years ago the federal government was responsible for enforcing very few laws. This has dramatically changed. There are now over 3,000 federal laws and 10,000 regulations employing hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats diligently enforcing them, with over 80,000 of them carrying guns. We now have an armed national police state, just as Jefferson complained of King George in the Declaration of Independence: "He has sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance." A lot of political and police power has shifted from the state and local communities to the federal government over the past hundred years. If a constitutional republic is desired and individual liberty is cherished, this concentration of power cannot be tolerated.
Congress has been derelict in creating the agencies in the first place and ceding to the executive the power to write regulations and even tax without congressional approval. These agencies enforce their own laws and supervise their own administrative court system where citizens are considered guilty until proven innocent. The Constitution has been thrown out the window for all practical purposes, and although more Americans everyday complain loudly, Congress does nothing to stop it.
The promoters of bureaucratic legislation claim to have good intentions but they fail to acknowledge the costs, the inefficiency or the undermining of individual rights. Worker safety, environmental concerns, drug usage, gun control, welfarism, banking regulations, government insurance, health programs, insurance against economic and natural disasters, and regulation of fish and wildlife are just a few of the issues that prompt the unlimited use of federal regulatory and legislative power to deal with perceived problems. But inevitably, for every attempt to solve one problem, government creates two new ones. National politicians aren't likely to volunteer a market or local-government solution to a problem, or they will find out how unnecessary they really are.
Congress' careless attitude about the federal bureaucracy and its penchant for incessant legislation have prompted serious abuse of every American citizen. Last year alone there were more than 42,000 civil forfeitures of property occurring without due process of law or a conviction of a crime, and oftentimes the owners weren't even charged with a crime. Return of illegally seized property is difficult, and the owner is forced to prove his innocence in order to retrieve it. Even though many innocent Americans have suffered, these laws have done nothing to stop drug usage or change people's attitudes toward the IRS. Seizures and forfeitures only make the problems they are trying to solve that much worse. The idea that a police department, under federal law, can seize property and receive direct benefit from it is an outrage. The proceeds can be distributed to the various police agencies without going through the budgetary process. This dangerous incentive must end.
The national police state mentality has essentially taken over crime investigation throughout the country. Our local sheriffs are intimidated and frequently overruled by the national police. Anything worse than writing traffic tickets prompts swarms of federal agents to the scene. We frequently see the FBI, DEA, CIA, BATF, Fish and Wildlife, IRS, federal marshals, and even the Army involved in local law enforcement. They don't come to assist, but to take over. The two most notorious examples of federal abuse of police powers were seen at Ruby Ridge and Waco, where non-aggressive citizens were needlessly provoked and killed by federal agents. At Waco even army tanks were used to deal with a situation the local sheriff could have easily handled. These two incidents are well known, but thousands of other similar abuses routinely occur with little publicity. The federal police-state, seen in action at Ruby Ridge and Waco, hopefully is not a sign of things to come; but it could be if we're not careful.
If the steady growth of the federal police power continues, the American Republic cannot survive. The Congresses of the 20th Century have steadily undermined the principle that the government closest to home must deal with law and order and not the federal government. The federal courts also have significantly contributed to this trend. Hopefully, in the new century, our support for a national police state will be diminished.
We have, in this past century, not only seen the undermining of the federalism that the Constitution desperately tried to preserve, but the principle of separations of power among the three branches of government has been severely compromised as well.
The Supreme Court no longer just rules on constitutionality but frequently rewrites the law with attempts at comprehensive social engineering. The most blatant example was the Roe vs. Wade ruling. The federal courts should be hearing a lot fewer cases, deferring as often as possible to the state courts. Throughout the 20th Century with Congress' obsession for writing laws for everything, the federal courts were quite willing to support the idea of a huge interventionist federal government. The fact that the police officers in the Rodney King case were tried twice for the same crime, ignoring the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy, was astoundingly condoned by the courts rather than condemned. It is not an encouraging sign that the concept of equal protection under the law will prevail.
When it comes to Executive Orders, it's gotten completely out of hand. Executive Orders may legitimately be used by a president to carry out his constitutionally authorized duties but that would require far fewer orders than modern-day presidents have issued. As the 20th Century comes to a close, we find the executive branch willfully and arrogantly using the Executive Order to deliberately circumvent the legislative body and bragging about it.
Although nearly 100,000 American battle deaths have occurred since World War II, and both big and small wars have been fought almost continuously, there has not been a congressional declaration of war since 1941. Our presidents now fight wars, not only without explicit congressional approval, but also in the name of the United Nations with our troops now serving under foreign commanders. Our presidents have assured us that UN authorization is all that's needed to send our troops into battle. The 1973 War Powers Resolution, meant to restrict presidential war powers, has either been ignored by our presidents or used to justify war for up to 90 days. The Congress and the people, too often, have chosen to ignore this problem saying little about the recent bombing in Serbia. The continual bombing of Iraq, which has now been going on for over 9 years, is virtually ignored. If a president can decide on the issue of war, without a vote of the Congress, a representative republic does not exist. Our presidents should not have the authority to declare national emergencies, and they certainly should not have authority to declare marshal law, a power the Congress has already granted for any future emergency. Economic and political crises can develop quickly, and overly aggressive presidents are only too willing to enhance their own power in dealing with them.
Congress, sadly, throughout this century has been only too willing to grant authority to our presidents at the sacrifice of its own. The idea of separate but equal branches of government has been forgotten and the Congress bears much of the responsibility for this trend.
Executive Powers in the past hundred years, have grown steadily with the creation of agencies that write and enforce their own regulations and with Congress allowing the President to use Executive Orders without restraint. But in addition, there have been various other special vehicles that our presidents use without congressional oversight. For example the Exchange Stabilization Fund, set up during the Depression, has over $34 billion available to be used at the President's discretion without congressional approval. This slush fund grows each year as it is paid interest on the securities it holds. It was instrumental in the $50 billion Mexican bailout in 1995.
The CIA is so secretive that even those Congressmen privy to its operation have little knowledge of what this secret government actually does around the world. We know, of course, it has been involved in the past 50 years in assassinations and government overthrows on frequent occasions.
The Federal Reserve operation, which works hand-in-hand with the administration, is not subject to congressional oversight. The Fed manipulates currency exchange rates, controls short-term interest rates, and fixes the gold price; all behind closed doors. Bailing out foreign governments, financial corporations, and huge banks can all be achieved without congressional approval. A hundred years ago when we had a gold standard, credit could not be created out of thin air, and because a much more limited government philosophy prevailed, this could not have been possible. Today it's hard to even document what goes on, let alone expect Congress to control it.
The people should be able to closely monitor the government, but as our government grows in size and scope, it seeks to monitor our every move. Attacks on our privacy are incessant and are always justified by citing so-called legitimate needs of the state, efficiency, and law enforcement. Plans are laid for numerous data banks to record everyone's activities. A national ID card using our social security number is the goal of many, and even though we achieved a significant victory in delaying its final approval last year, the promoters will surely persist in their efforts. Plans are made for a medical data bank to be kept and used against our wishes. Job banks and details of all our lending activities continue to be of interest to all national policing agencies to make sure they know exactly where the drug dealers, illegal aliens, and tax dodgers are and what they're doing, it is argued. For national security purposes, the Echelon system of monitoring all overseas phone calls has been introduced, yet the details of this program are not available to any inquiring Member of Congress.
The government knew very little about each individual American citizen in 1900, but starting with World War I, there has been a systematic growth of government surveillance of everyone's activities, with multiple records being kept. Today, true privacy is essentially a thing of the past. The FBI and the IRS have been used by various administrations to snoop and harass political opponents and there has been little effort by Congress to end this abuse. A free society, that is a constitutional republic, cannot be maintained if privacy is not highly cherished and protected by the government, rather than abused by it.
And we can expect it to get worse. Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen was recently quoted as saying: "Terrorism is escalating to the point that US citizens may soon have to choose between civil liberties and more intrusive forms of protection;" all in the name of taking care of us! As far as I am concerned, we could all do with a lot less government protection and security. The offer of government benevolence is the worst reason to sacrifice liberty, but we have seen a lot of that during the 20th Century.
Probably the most significant change in attitude that occurred in the 20th Century was that with respect to life itself. Although abortion has been performed for hundreds if not thousands of years, it was rarely considered an acceptable and routine medical procedure without moral consequence. Since 1973 abortion in America has become routine and justified by a contorted understanding of the right to privacy. The difference between American's rejection of abortions at the beginning of the century, compared to today's casual acceptance, is like night and day. Although a vocal number of Americans express their disgust with abortion on demand, our legislative bodies and the courts claim that the procedure is a constitutionally protected right, disregarding all scientific evidence and legal precedents that recognize the unborn as a legal living entity deserving protection of the law. Ironically the greatest proponents of abortion are the same ones who advocate imprisonment for anyone who disturbs the natural habitat of a toad.
This loss of respect for human life in the latter half of the 20th Century has yet to have its full impact on our society. Without a deep concern for life, and with the casual disposing of living human fetuses, respect for liberty is greatly diminished. This has allowed a subtle but real justification for those who commit violent acts against fellow human beings.
It should surprise no one that a teenager delivering a term newborn is capable of throwing the child away in a garbage dumpster. The new mother in this circumstance is acting consistently knowing that if an abortion is done just before a delivery it's legally justified and the abortionist is paid to kill the child. Sale of fetal parts to tax-supported institutions is now an accepted practice. This moral dilemma that our society has encountered over the past 40 years, if not resolved in favor of life, will make it impossible for a system of laws to protect the life and liberty of any citizen. We can expect senseless violence to continue as a sense of self-worth is undermined.
Children know that mothers and sisters when distraught have abortions to solve the problem of an unwanted pregnancy. Distraught teenagers in copying this behavior are now more prone to use violence against others or themselves when provoked or confused. This tendency is made worse because they see, in this age of abortion, their own lives as having less value, thus destroying their self-esteem.
The prime reason government is organized in a free society is to protect life-not to protect those who take life. Today, not only do we protect the abortionist, we take taxpayers funds to pay for abortions domestically as well as overseas. This egregious policy will continue to plague us well into the 21st Century.
A free society designed to protect life and liberty is incompatible with government sanctioning and financing abortion on demand. It should not be a surprise to anyone that as abortion became more acceptable, our society became more violent and less free. The irony is that Roe vs. Wade justified abortion using a privacy argument, conveniently forgetting that not protecting the innocent unborn is the most serious violation of privacy possible. If the location of the fetus is the justification for legalized killing, the privacy of our homes would permit the killing of the newborn, the deformed, and the elderly-a direction in which we find ourselves going. As government-financed medical care increases, we will hear more economic arguments for euthanasia-that's "mercy" killing for the benefit of the budget planners. Already we hear these economic arguments for killing the elderly and terminally ill.
Last year the House made a serious error by trying to federalize the crime of killing a fetus occurring in an act of violence. The stated goal was to emphasize that the fetus deserved legal protection under the law. And indeed it should and does-at the state level. Federalizing any act of violence is unconstitutional; essentially all violent acts should be dealt with by the states. And because we have allowed the courts and Congress to federalize such laws, we find more good state laws are overridden than good federal laws written. Roe vs. Wade federalized state abortion laws and ushered in the age of abortion. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, if passed into law, will do great harm by explicitly excluding abortionists, thus codifying for the first time the Roe vs. Wade concept and giving even greater legal protection to the abortionist.
The responsibility of the Congress is twofold. First, we should never fund abortions. Nothing could be more heinous than forcing those with strong right-to-life beliefs to pay for abortions. Second, Roe vs. Wade must be replaced by limiting jurisdiction, which can be done through legislation-a constitutional option. If we as a nation do not once again show respect and protect the life of the unborn, we can expect the factions that have emerged on each side of this issue to become more vocal and violent. A nation that can casually toss away its smallest and most vulnerable members and call it a "right" cannot continue to protect the lives or rights of its other citizens.
Much has changed over the past hundred years. Where technology has improved our living standards, we find that our government has significantly changed from one of limited scope to that of pervasive intervention.
A hundred years ago, it was generally conceded that one extremely important government function was to enforce contracts made voluntarily in the marketplace. Today government notoriously interferes with almost every voluntary economic transaction. Consumerism, labor-law, wage standards, hiring and firing regulations, political correctness, affirmative action, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the tax code, and others all place a burden on the two parties struggling to transact business. The EPA, OSHA, and government-generated litigation also interfere with voluntary contracts. At times it seems a miracle that our society adapts and continues to perform reasonably well in spite of the many bureaucratic dictates.
As the 20th Century comes to a close, we see a dramatic change from a government that once served an important function by emphasizing the value of voluntary contracts to one that excessively interferes with them.
Although the interference is greater in economic associations than in social, the principle is the same. Already we see the political correctness movement interfering with social and religious associations. Data banks are set up to keep records on everyone, especially groups with strong religious views and anybody who would be so bold as to call himself a "patriot". The notion that there is a difference between murder and murder driven by hate has established the principle of thought crime, a dangerous trend indeed.
When the business cycle turns down, all the regulations and laws that interfere with economic and personal transactions will not be as well tolerated, and then the true cost will become apparent. It is under the conditions of a weak economy that such government interference generates a reaction to the anger over the rules that has been suppressed.
To the statist, the idea that average people can and should take care of themselves by making their own decisions, and that they don't need Big Brother to protect them in everything they do, is anathema to the way they think. The bureaucratic mindset is convinced that without the politicians' efforts, no one would be protected from anything, rejecting the idea of a free-market economy out of ignorance or arrogance.
This change in the 20th Century has significantly contributed to the dependency of our poor on government handouts, the recipients being convinced they are entitled to help and that they are incapable of taking care of themselves. A serious loss of self-esteem and unhappiness result, even if the system on the short run seems to help them get by.
There were no federal laws at the end of the 19th Century dealing with drugs or guns. Gun violence was rare, and abuse of addictive substances was only a minor problem. Now after a hundred years of progressive government intervention in dealing with guns and drugs, with thousands of laws and regulations, we have more gun violence and a huge drug problem. Before the social authoritarians decided to reform the gun and drug culture, they amended the Constitution enacting alcohol prohibition. Prohibition failed to reduce alcohol usage, and a crime wave resulted. After 14 years, the American people demanded repeal of this social engineering amendment and got it. Prohibition prompted the production of poor-quality alcohol with serious health consequences, while respect for the law was lost as it was fragrantly violated. At least at that time the American people believed the Constitution had to be amended to prohibit the use of alcohol, something that is ignored today in the federal government's effort to stop drug usage.In spite of the obvious failure of alcohol prohibition, the federal government after its repeal, turned its sights on gun ownership and drug usage.
The many federal anti-gun laws written since 1934, along with the constant threat of outright registration and confiscation, have put the FBI and the BATF at odds with millions of law-abiding citizens who believe the Constitution is explicit in granting the right of gun ownership to all non-violent Americans. Our government pursued alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and confiscation of gold in the 1930s, so it's logical to conclude that our government is quite capable of confiscating all privately owned firearms. That has not yet occurred, but as we move into the next century, many in Washington advocate just that and would do it if they didn't think the American people would revolt, just as they did against alcohol prohibition.
Throughout this century, there has been a move toward drug prohibition starting with the Harrison Act in 1912. The first federal marijuana law was pushed through by FDR in 1938, but the real war on drugs has been fought with intensity for the past 30 years.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, and not only is there no evidence of reduced drug usage, we have instead seen a tremendous increase. Many deaths have occurred from overdoses of street drugs, since there is no quality control or labeling. Crime, as a consequence of drug prohibition, has skyrocketed, and our prisons are overflowing. Many prisoners are non-violent and should be treated as patients with addictions, not as criminals. Irrational mandatory minimal sentences have caused a great deal of harm. We have non-violent drug offenders doing life sentences, and there is no room to incarcerate the rapists and murderers.
With drugs and needles illegal, the unintended consequence of the spread of AIDs and hepatitis through dirty needles has put a greater burden on the taxpayers who are forced to care for the victims. This ridiculous system that offers a jail cell for a sick addict rather than treatment has pushed many a young girl into prostitution to pay for drugs priced hundreds of times higher than they are worth. But the drug dealers love the system and dread a new approach. When we finally decide that drug prohibition has been no more successful than alcohol prohibition, the drug dealers will disappear.
But the monster drug problem we have created is compounded by moves to tax citizens so government can hand out free needles to drug addicts who are breaking the law, in hopes there will be less spread of hepatitis and AIDs in order to reduce government health-care costs. This proposal shows how bankrupt we are at coming to grips with this problem.
And it seems we will never learn. Tobacco is about to be categorized as a drug and a prohibition of sorts imposed. This will make the drug war seem small if we continue to expand the tobacco war. Talk about insane government policies of the 20th Century, tobacco policy wins the prize. First we subsidize tobacco in response to demands by the special interests, knowing full well even from the beginning that tobacco had many negative health consequences. Then we spend taxpayers' money, warning the people of its dangers without stopping the subsidies. Government then pays for the care of those who choose to smoke despite the known dangers and warnings. But it did not stop there. The trial lawyers' lobby saw to it that local government entities could sue tobacco companies for reimbursements of the excess costs they were bearing in taking care of smoking-related illnesses. And the only way this could be paid for was to place a tax on those people who smoke.
How could such silliness go on for so long? For one reason. We as a nation have forgotten a basic precept of a free society-that all citizens must be responsible for their own acts. If one smokes and gets sick, that's the problem of the one making the decision to smoke, or take any other risks for that matter, not the innocent taxpayers who have already been forced to pay for the tobacco subsidies and government health warning ads. Beneficiaries of this monstrous policy have been: tobacco farmers, tobacco manufacturers, politicians, bureaucrats, smokers, health organizations and physicians, and especially the trial lawyers. Who suffers? The innocent taxpayers that have no voice in the matter and who acted responsibly and chose not to smoke. Think of what it would mean if we followed this same logic and implemented a federal social program, similar to the current war on smoking, designed to reduce the spread of AIDS within the gay community. Astoundingly, we have done the opposite by making AIDS a politically correct disease. There was certainly a different attitude a hundred years ago regarding those with sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, compared to the special status given AIDS victims today.
And it is said an interventionist economy is needed to make society fair to everyone! We need no more government "fairness" campaigns. Egalitarianism never works and inevitably penalizes the innocent. Government in a free society is supposed to protect the innocent, encourage self-reliance, and impose equal justice while allowing everyone to benefit from their own effort and suffer the consequence of their acts.
A free and independent people need no authoritarian central government dictating eating, drinking, gambling, sexual or smoking habits. When rules are required, they should come from the government closest to home, as it once did prior to America's ill-fated 20th Century experiment with alcohol prohibition. Let's hope we show more common sense in the 21st Century in these matters than we did in the 20th.
A compulsive attitude by politicians to regulate non-violent behavior may be well intentioned but leads to many unintended consequences. Legislation passed in the second half of the 20th Century dealing with drugs and personal habits has been the driving force behind the unconstitutional seizure and forfeiture laws and the loss of financial privacy. The war on drugs is the most important driving force behind the national police state. The excuse given for calling in the Army helicopters and tanks at the Waco disaster was that the authorities had evidence of an amphetamine lab on the Davidian's property. This was never proven, but nevertheless it gave the legal cover-but not the proper constitutional authority-for escalating the attack on the Davidians, which led to the senseless killing of so many innocent people. The attitude surrounding this entire issue needs to change. We should never turn over the job of dealing with bad habits to our federal government. That is a recipe for disaster.
4. Social and Philosophic changes.
America has not only changed technologically in the past hundred years, but our social attitudes and personal philosophies have changed as well. We have less respect for life and less love for liberty. We are obsessed with material things, along with rowdy and raucous entertainment. Needs and wants have become rights for both rich and poor. The idea of instant gratification too often guides our actions, and when satisfaction is not forthcoming anger and violence break out. Road rage and airline passenger rage are seen more frequently. Regardless of fault, a bad outcome in almost anything, even if beyond human control will prompt a lawsuit. Too many believe they deserve to win the lottery, and a lawsuit helps the odds. Unfortunately the only winners too often are the lawyers hyping the litigation.
Few Americans are convinced anymore that productive effort is the most important factor in economic success and personal satisfaction. One did not get rich in the 1990s investing in companies that had significant or modest earnings. The most successful investors bought companies that had no earnings and the gambling paid off big. This attitude cannot create perpetual wealth and must someday end.
Today financial gurus are obsessed with speculation in the next initial public offering (IPO) and express no interest in the cause of liberty, without which markets cannot exist.
Lying and cheating are now acceptable by the majority. This was not true a hundred years ago when moral standards were higher. The October 1999 issue of US News and World Report reveals that 84% of college students believe cheating is necessary to get ahead in today's world, and 90% are convinced there's no price to pay for cheating. Not surprisingly, 90% of college students believe politicians often cheat. An equal percentage believe the media cheats as well. There's no way to know if the problem is this bad in the general population, but these statistics indicate our young people do not trust our politicians or media. Trust has been replaced with a satisfaction in the materialism that a speculative stock market, borrowing money, and a spendthrift government can generate. But what happens to our society if the material abundance, which we enjoy, is ephemeral and human trust is lost?
Social disorder will surely result and there will be a clamor for a more authoritarian government. This scenario may indeed threaten the stability of our social order and significantly undermine all our constitutional protections. But there is no law or ethics committee that will solve this problem of diminishing trust and honesty-that is a problem of the heart, mind, and character to be dealt with by each individual citizen. The importance of the family unit today has been greatly diminished compared to the close of the 19th Century. Now, fewer people get married, more divorces occur, and the number of children born out of wedlock continues to rise. Tax penalties are placed on married couples; illegitimacy and single parenthood are rewarded by government subsidies, and we find many authoritarians arguing that the definition of marriage should change in order to allow non-husband and wife couples to qualify for welfare handouts. The welfare system has mocked the concept of marriage in the name of political correctness, economic egalitarianism, and hetero-phobia.
Freedom of speech is still cherished in America, but the political correctness movement has seriously undermined dissent on our university campuses. A conservative or libertarian black intellectual is clearly not treated with the same respect afforded an authoritarian black spokesman. We now hear of individuals being sent to psychiatrists when personal and social views are rude or out of the ordinary. It was commonplace in the Soviet system to incarcerate political dissenters in "mental" institutions. Those who received a Soviet government designation of "socially undesirable elements" were stripped of their rights. Will this be the way we treat political dissent in the future? We hear of people losing their jobs because of "socially undesirable" thoughts or for telling off-color jokes. Today sensitivity courses are routinely required in America to mold social thinking for the simplest of infractions. The thought-police are all around us. It's a bad sign.
Any academic discussion questioning the wisdom of our policies surrounding World War II is met with shrill accusations of anti-Semitism and Nazi lover. No one is even permitted without derision by the media, the university intellectuals, and the politicians to ask why the United States allied itself with the murdering Soviets and then turned over Eastern Europe to them while ushering in a 45-year saber-rattling dangerous cold war period. "Free speech" is permitted in our universities for those who do not threaten the status quo of welfarism, globalism, corporatism, and a financial system that provides great benefits to powerful special interests. If a university professor does not follow the party line, he does not receive tenure.
We find ourselves at the close of this century realizing all our standards have been undermined. A monetary standard for our money is gone; the dollar is whatever the government tells us it is. There is no definition, and no promise to pay anything for the notes issued ad infinitum by the government.
Standards for education are continually lowered, de-emphasizing excellence. Relative ethics are promoted, and moral absolutes are ridiculed. The influence of religion on our standards is frowned upon and replaced by secular humanistic standards.
The work ethic has been replaced by a welfare ethic, based on need not effort. Strict standards required for an elite military force are gone, and our lack of readiness reflects this.
Standards of behavior of our professional athletes seem to reflect the rules followed in the ring by the professional wrestlers where anything goes.
Managed medical care, driven by government decrees, has reduced its quality and virtually ruined the doctor-patient relationship.
Movie and TV standards are so low that our young people's senses are totally numbed by them.
Standards of courtesy on highways, airplanes, and shops are seriously compromised and at time lead to senseless violence.
With the acceptance of abortion, our standards for life have become totally arbitrary as they have become for liberty. Endorsing the arbitrary use of force by our government morally justifies the direct use of force by disgruntled groups not satisfied with the slower government process.
The standards for honesty and truth have certainly deteriorated during the past hundred years.
Property ownership has been undermined through environmental regulations and excessive taxation. True ownership of property no longer exists.
There has been a systematic undermining of legal and constitutional principles once respected and followed for the protection of individual liberty.
A society cannot continue in a state of moral anarchy. Moral anarchy will lead to political anarchy. A society without clearly understood standards of conduct cannot remain stable any more than an architect can design and build a sturdy skyscraper with measuring instruments that change in value each day. We recently lost a NASA space probe because someone failed to convert inches to centimeters-a simple but deadly mistake in measuring physical standards. If we as a people debase our moral standards, the American Republic will meet a similar fate.
5. Law and Morality
Many Americans agree that this country is facing a moral crisis that has been especially manifested in the closing decade of the 20th Century. Our President's personal conduct, the characters of our politicians in general, the caliber of the arts, movies and television, and our legal system have reflected this crisis. The personal conduct of many of our professional athletes and movie stars has been less than praiseworthy.
Some politicians, sensing this, have pushed hard to write and strictly enforce numerous laws regarding personal non-violent behavior with the hope that the people will become more moral. This has not happened, but it has filled our prisons. This year it will cost more than $40 billion to run our prison system. The prison population, nearing 2 million, is up 70% in the last decade and two-thirds of all the inmates did not commit an act of violence. Mandatory minimum drug-sentencing laws have been instrumental in this trend.
Laws clearly cannot alter moral behavior, and if it is attempted, it creates bigger problems. Only individuals with moral convictions can make "society" moral. But the law does reflect the general consensus of the people regarding force and aggression, which is a moral issue. Government can be directed to restrain and punish violent aggressive citizens or it can use aggressive force to rule the people, redistribute wealth, make citizens follow certain moral standards, and force them to practice certain personal habits. Once government is permitted to do the latter, even in a limited sense, the guiding principle of an authoritarian government is established and its power and influence over the people will steadily grow at the expense of personal liberty.
No matter how well intentioned, an authoritarian government always abuses its powers. In its effort to achieve an egalitarian society, the principle of inequality that freedom recognizes and protects is lost. Government then, instead of being an obstacle to violence becomes the biggest perpetrator. This invites all the special interests to manipulate the monopoly and evil use of government power. Twenty thousand lobbyists currently swarm Washington seeking special advantage. That's where we find ourselves today.
Although government cannot and should not try to make people better in the personal moral sense, proper law should have a moral non-aggressive basis to it-no lying, cheating, stealing, killing, injuring, or threatening. Government then would be limited to protecting contracts, people, and property, while guaranteeing all personal non-violent behaviors-even the controversial.
Although there are degrees in various authoritarian societies as to how much power a government may wield, once government is given authority to wield power, it does so in an ever-increasing fashion. The pressure to use government authority to run the economy and our lives depends on several factors. These include a basic understanding of personal liberty, respect for a constitutional republic, economic myths, ignorance, and misplaced good intentions. In every society there are always those waiting in the wings for an opportunity to show how brilliant they are, as they lust for power, convinced they know what's best for everyone. But the defenders of liberty know that what is best for everyone is to be left alone, with a government limited to stopping aggressive behavior.
6. Philosophic Explanation
The 20th Century has produced socialist dictators the world over, from Stalin, Hitler and Mao to Pol Pot, Castro, and Ho Chi Minh. More than 200 million people died as a result of the bad ideas of these evil men. Each and every one of these dictators despised the principle of private-property ownership-which then undermined all the other liberties cherished by the people.
It is argued that the United States and now the world have learned of a Third Way-something between extreme socialism and mean-spirited capitalism. But this is a dream. The so-called friendly Third Way endorses 100% the principle that government authority can be used to direct our lives and the economy. Once this is accepted, the principle that man alone is responsible for his salvation and his life on earth, which serves as the foundation for free-market capitalism, is rejected. The Third Way of friendly welfarism, or soft fascism, that is, where government and businesses are seen as partners, undermines freedom and sets the stage for authoritarian socialism. Personal liberty cannot be preserved if we remain on the course on which we find ourselves at the close of the 20th Century.
In our early history, it was understood that a free society embraced both personal civil liberties and economic liberties. During the 20th Century, this unified concept of freedom has been undermined. Today we have one group talking about economic freedom while interfering with our personal liberty and the other group condemning economic liberty, while preaching the need to protect personal civil liberties. Both groups reject liberty 50% of the time. That leaves very few who defend liberty all the time. Sadly, there are too few in this country who today understand and defend liberty in both areas. A common debate that we hear occurs over how we can write laws protecting normal speech and at the same time limiting commercial speech as if they were two entirely different things.
Many Americans wonder why Congress pays so little attention to the Constitution and are bewildered as to how so much inappropriate legislation gets passed. But the Constitution is not entirely ignored. It is used correctly at times when it's convenient and satisfies a particular goal, but never consistently across the board on all legislation. And too, the Constitution is all too frequently made to say exactly what the authors of special legislation want it to say. That's the modern way; language can be made relative to our times. But without a precise understanding and respect for the supreme law of the land, i.e., the Constitution, it no longer serves as the guide for the rule of law. In its place we have substituted the rule of man and the special interests.
That's how we have arrived at the close of this century without a clear understanding or belief in the cardinal principles of the Constitution-the separation of powers and the principle of federalism. Instead, we are rushing toward a powerful executive, centralized control, and a Congress greatly diminished in importance. Executive Orders, agency regulations, federal court rulings, and unratified international agreements direct our government, economy, and foreign policy. Congress has truly been reduced in status and importance over the past hundred years. And when the people's voices are heard, it's done indirectly through polling, allowing our leaders to decide how far they can go without stirring up the people. But this is opposite to what the Constitution was supposed to do. It was meant to protect the rights of the minority from the dictates of the majority. The majority vote of the powerful and the influential was never meant to rule the people.
We may not have a king telling us which trees we can cut down, but we do have a government bureaucracy and a pervasive threat of litigation by radical environmentalists who keep us from cutting our own trees, digging a drainage ditch, or filling a puddle-all at the expense of private-property ownership.
The key element in a free society is that individuals should wield control of their own lives, receiving the benefits and suffering the consequences of all their acts. Once the individual becomes a pawn of the state, whether a monarch or a majority runs the state, a free society can no longer endure. We are dangerously close to that happening in America, even in the midst of plenty and with the appearance of contentment. If individual freedom is carelessly snuffed out, the creative energy needed for productive pursuits will dissipate. Government produces nothing, and in its effort to redistribute wealth, can only destroy it.
Freedom too often is rejected-especially in the midst of plenty--when there is a belief that government largesse will last forever. This is true because it is tough to accept personal responsibility, practice the work ethic, and follow the rules of peaceful co-existence with our fellow man. Continuous vigilance against the would-be tyrants who promise security at minimal cost must be maintained. The temptation is great to accept the notion that everyone can be a beneficiary of the caring state and a winner of the lottery or a class-action lawsuit. But history has proven there is never a shortage of authoritarians-benevolent, of course-quite willing to tell others how to live for their own good. A little sacrifice of personal liberty is a small price to pay for long-time security, it is too often reasoned.
7. Worth the Effort
I have good friends who are in basic agreement with my analysis of the current state of the American Republic, but argue it is a waste of time and effort to try and change the direction in which we are going. No one will listen, they argue, and besides the development of a strong centralized authoritarian government is too far along to reverse the trends of the 20th Century. Why waste time in Congress when so few people care about liberty, they ask. The masses, they point out, are interested only in being taken care of, and the elite want to keep receiving the special benefits allotted to them through special-interest legislation.
I understand the odds, and I am not naïve enough to believe the effort to preserve liberty is a cakewalk. And I am very much aware of my own limitations in achieving this goal. But ideas, based on sound and moral principles, do have consequences. And powerful ideas can have major consequences beyond our wildest dreams. Our Founders clearly understood this, and they knew they would be successful, even against the overwhelming odds they faced. They described this steady confidence they shared with each other when hopes were dim as "divine providence." Good ideas can have good results and we must remember bad ideas can have bad results.
It is crucial to understand that vague and confusing idealism produces mediocre results, especially when it is up against a determined effort to promote an authoritarian system that is sold to the people as conciliatory and non-confrontational--a compromise, they say, between the two extremes. But it must be remembered that no matter how it's portrayed, when big government systematically and steadily undermines individual rights and economic liberty, it's still a powerful but negative idea and it will not fade away easily. Ideas of liberty are a great threat to those who enjoy planning the economy and running other people's lives.
The good news is that our numbers are growing. More Americans than ever before are very much aware of what's going on in Washington and how, on a daily basis, their liberties are being undermined. There are more intellectual think tanks than ever before promoting the market economy, private property ownership, and personal liberty. The large majority of Americans are sick and tired of being overtaxed and despise the income tax and the inheritance tax. The majority of Americans know government programs fail to achieve their goals and waste huge sums of money. A smoldering resentment against the unfairness of government efforts to force equality on us can inspire violence, but instead it should be used to encourage an honest system of equal justice based on individual not collective rights. Sentiment is moving in the direction of challenging the status quo of the welfare and international warfare state. The Internet has given hope to millions who have felt their voices were not being heard. And this influence is just beginning. The three major networks and conventional government propaganda no longer control the information now available to anyone with a computer.
The only way the supporters of big government can stop the Internet will be to tax, regulate, and monitor it, and although it is a major undertaking, plans are already being laid to do precisely that. Big government proponents are anxious to make the tax on the Internet an international tax as advocated by the United Nations, apply the Eschelon principle used to monitor all overseas phone calls to the Internet and prevent the development of private encryption that would guarantee privacy on the Internet. These battles have just begun, and if the civil libertarians and free-market proponents don't win this fight to keep the Internet free and private, the tools for undermining authoritarian government will be greatly reduced. Victory for liberty will probably elude us for decades. The excuse they will give for controlling the Internet will be to stop pornography, catch drug dealers, monitor child molesters, and to do many other "good" things. We should not be deceived.
We face tough odds, but to avoid battle or believe there is a place to escape to someplace else in the world would concede victory to those who endorse authoritarian government. The grand experiment in human liberty must not be abandoned. A renewed hope and understanding of liberty is what we need as we move into the 21st Century.
A perfectly free society we know cannot be achieved, and the idea of perfect socialism is an oxymoron. Pursuing that goal throughout the 20th Century has already caused untold human suffering. The clear goal of a free society must be understood and sought or the vision of the authoritarians will face little resistance and will easily fill the void.
There are precise goals Congress should work for, even under today's difficult circumstances. It must preserve, in the best manner possible, voluntary options to failed government programs. We must legalize freedom to the maximum extent possible.
1. Complete police protection is impossible; therefore we must preserve the right to own weapons in self-defense.
2. In order to maintain economic protection against government debasement of the currency, gold ownership must be preserved-something taken away from the American people during the Depression.
3. Adequate retirement protection by the government is limited, if not ultimately impossible. We must allow every citizen the opportunity to control all his or her retirement funds.
4. Government education has clearly failed. We must guarantee the right of families to home school or send their kids to private schools and help them with tax credits.
5. Government snooping must be stopped. We must work to protect all our privacy, especially on the Internet, prevent the National ID Card, and to stop the development of all government data banks.
6. Federal police functions are unconstitutional and increasingly abusive. We should disarm all federal bureaucrats and return the police function to local authorities.
7. The army was never meant to be used in local policing activities. We must firmly prohibit our presidents from using the military in local law enforcement operations which is now being planned for under the guise of fighting terrorism.
8. Foreign military intervention by our presidents in recent years, to police the American Empire, is a costly failure. Foreign military intervention should not be permitted without explicit congressional approval.
9. Competitions in all elections should be guaranteed, and the monopoly powers gained by the two major parties through unfair signature requirements, high fees, and campaign donation controls should be removed. Competitive parties should be allowed in all government sponsored debates.
10. We must do whatever is possible to help instill a spiritual love for freedom and recognize that our liberties depend on responsible individuals, not the group or the collective or society as a whole. The individual is the building block of a free and prosperous social order.
The Founders knew full well that the concept of liberty was fragile and could easily be undermined. They worried about the dangers that lay ahead. As we move into the new century, it is an appropriate time to rethink the principles upon which a free society rests.
Jefferson, concerned about the future, wrote: "Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction." "They" that he refers to are " we." And the future is now. Freedom, Jefferson knew, would produce "plenty," and with "material abundance" it's easy to forget the responsibility the citizens of a free society must assume if freedom and prosperity are to continue. The key element for the Republic's survival for Jefferson was the "character" of the people, something no set of laws can instill. The question today is not that of abundance, but of character, respect for others, their liberty and their property. It is the character of the people that determines the proper role for government in a free society.
Samuel Adams, likewise, warned future generations. He referred to "good manners" as the vital ingredient a free society needs to survive. Adams said: "Neither the wisest Constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
The message is clear, if we lose our love of liberty and our manners become corrupt, character is lost and so is the Republic.
But character is determined by free will and personal choice by each of us individually. Character can be restored or cast aside at a whim. The choice is ours alone and our leaders should show the way.
Some who are every bit as concerned as I am about our future and the pervasive corrupt influence in our government in every aspect of our lives offer other solutions. Some say to solve the problem all we have to do is write more detailed laws dealing with campaign finance reform, ignoring how this might undermine the principles of liberty. Similarly, others argue that what is needed is merely to place tighter restrictions on the lobbyists in order to minimize their influence, but they fail to recognize that this undermines our constitutional right to petition our government for redress of grievances.
And there are others with equally good intentions that insist on writing even more laws and regulations punishing non-violent behavior in order to teach good manners and instill character. But they fail to see that tolerating non-violent behavior-even when stupid and dangerous to one's own self-is the same as our freedom to express unpopular political and offensive ideas and to promote and practice religion in any way one chooses. Resorting to writing more laws with the intent of instilling "character" and good "manners" in the people is anathema to liberty. The love of liberty can come only from within and is dependent on a stable family and a society that seeks the brotherhood of man through voluntary and charitable means.
And there are others who believe that government force is legitimate in promoting what they call fair economic redistribution. The proponents of this course have failed to read history and instead adhere to economic myths. They ignore the evidence that this effort to help their fellow man will inevitably fail. Instead, it will do the opposite and lead to the impoverishment of many more. But more importantly, if left unchecked this approach will destroy liberty by undermining the concept of private property ownership and free markets, the bedrock of economic prosperity.
None of these alternatives will work. Character and good manners are not a government problem. They reflect individual attitudes that can only be changed by individuals themselves. Freedom allows virtue and excellence to blossom. When government takes on the role of promoting virtue, illegitimate government force is used, and tyrants quickly appear on the scene to do the job. Virtue and excellence become illusive, and we find instead that the government officials become corrupt and freedom is lost-the very ingredient required for promoting virtue, harmony and the brotherhood of man.
Let's hope and pray that our political focus will soon shift toward preserving liberty and individual responsibility and away from authoritarianism. The future of the American Republic depends on it. Let us not forget the American dream depends on keeping alive the spirit of liberty.
HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 29, 2003
Sorry, Mr. Franklin, "We're All Democrats Now"
At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin told an inquisitive citizen that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gave the people "a Republic, if you can keep it." We should apologize to Mr. Franklin. It is obvious that the Republic is gone, for we are wallowing in a pure democracy against which the Founders had strongly warned.
Madison, the father of the Constitution, could not have been more explicit in his fear and concern for democracies. "Democracies," he said, "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."
If Madison's assessment was correct, it behooves those of us in Congress to take note and decide, indeed, whether the Republic has vanished, when it occurred, and exactly what to expect in the way of "turbulence, contention, and violence." And above all else, what can we and what will we do about it?
The turbulence seems self-evident. Domestic welfare programs are not sustainable and do not accomplish their stated goals. State and federal spending and deficits are out of control. Terrorism and uncontrollable fear undermine our sense of well-being. Hysterical reactions to dangers not yet seen prompt the people- at the prodding of the politicians- to readily sacrifice their liberties in vain hope that someone else will take care of them and guarantee their security. With these obvious signs of a failed system all around us, there seems to be more determination than ever to antagonize the people of the world by pursuing a world empire. Nation building, foreign intervention, preemptive war, and global government drive our foreign policy. There seems to be complete aversion to defending the Republic and the Constitution that established it.
The Founders clearly understood the dangers of a democracy. Edmund Randolph of Virginia described the effort to deal with the issue at the Constitutional Convention: "The general object was to produce a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origins, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy."
These strongly held views regarding the evils of democracy and the benefits of a Constitutional Republic were shared by all the Founders. For them, a democracy meant centralized power, controlled by majority opinion, which was up for grabs and therefore completely arbitrary.
In contrast, a Republic was decentralized and representative in nature, with the government's purpose strictly limited by the Constitution to the protection of liberty and private property ownership. They believed the majority should never be able to undermine this principle and that the government must be tightly held in check by constitutional restraints. The difference between a democracy and a republic was simple. Would we live under the age-old concept of the rule of man or the enlightened rule of law?
A constitution in and by itself does not guarantee liberty in a republican form of government. Even a perfect constitution with this goal in mind is no better than the moral standards and desires of the people. Although the United States Constitution was by far the best ever written for the protection of liberty, with safeguards against the dangers of a democracy, it too was flawed from the beginning. Instead of guaranteeing liberty equally for all people, the authors themselves yielded to the democratic majority's demands that they compromise on the issue of slavery. This mistake, plus others along the way, culminated in a Civil War that surely could have been prevented with clearer understanding and a more principled approach to the establishment of a constitutional republic.
Subsequently, the same urge to accommodate majority opinion, while ignoring the principles of individual liberty, led to some other serious errors. Even amending the Constitution in a proper fashion to impose alcohol prohibition turned out to be a disaster. Fortunately this was rectified after a short time with its repeal.
But today, the American people accept drug prohibition, a policy as damaging to liberty as alcohol prohibition. A majority vote in Congress has been enough to impose this very expensive and failed program on the American people, without even bothering to amend the Constitution. It has been met with only minimal but, fortunately, growing dissent. For the first 150 years of our history, when we were much closer to being a true republic, there were no federal laws dealing with this serious medical problem of addiction.
The ideas of democracy, not the principles of liberty, were responsible for passage of the 16th Amendment. It imposed the income tax on the American people and helped to usher in the modern age of the welfare/warfare state. Unfortunately, the 16th Amendment has not been repealed, as was the 18th. As long as the 16th Amendment is in place, the odds are slim that we can restore a constitutional republic dedicated to liberty. The personal income tax is more than symbolic of a democracy; it is a predictable consequence.
Transition to Democracy
The transition from republic to democracy was gradual and insidious. It seeds were sown early in our history. In many ways, the Civil War and its aftermath laid the foundation for the acute erosion that took place over the entire 20th century. Chronic concern about war and economic downturns- events caused by an intrusive government's failure to follow the binding restraints of the Constitution- allowed majority demands to supersede the rights of the minority. By the end of the 20th century, majority opinion had become the determining factor in all that government does. The rule of law was cast aside, leaving the Constitution a shell of what it once was- a Constitution with rules that guaranteed a republic with limited and regional government and protection of personal liberty. The marketplace, driven by voluntary cooperation, private property ownership, and sound money was severely undermined with the acceptance of the principles of a true democracy.
Unfortunately, too many people confuse the democratic elections of leaders of a republic for democracy by accepting the rule of majority opinion in all affairs. For majorities to pick leaders is one thing. It is something quite different for majorities to decide what rights are, to redistribute property, to tell people how to manage their personal lives, and to promote undeclared, unconstitutional wars.
The majority is assumed to be in charge today and can do whatever it pleases. If the majority has not yet sanctioned some desired egregious action demanded by special interests, the propaganda machine goes into operation, and the pollsters relay the results back to the politicians who are seeking legitimacy in their endeavors. The rule of law and the Constitution have become irrelevant, and we live by constant polls.
This trend toward authoritarian democracy was tolerated because, unlike a military dictatorship, it was done in the name of benevolence, fairness, and equity. The pretense of love and compassion by those who desire to remold society and undermine the Constitution convinced the recipients, and even the victims, of its necessity. Since it was never a precipitous departure from the republic, the gradual erosion of liberty went unnoticed.
But it is encouraging that more and more citizens are realizing just how much has been lost by complacency. The resolution to the problems we face as a result of this profound transition to pure democracy will be neither quick nor painless. This transition has occurred even though the word "democracy" does not appear in the Constitution or in the Declaration of Independence, and the Founders explicitly denounced it.
Over the last hundred years, the goal of securing individual liberties within the framework of a constitutional republic has been replaced with incessant talk of democracy and fairness.
Rallying support for our ill-advised participation in World War I, Wilson spoke glowingly of "making the world safe for democracy," and never mentioned national security. This theme has, to this day, persisted in all our foreign affairs. Neo-conservatives now brag of their current victories in promoting what they call "Hard Wilsonism."
A true defense of self-determination for all people, the necessary ingredient of a free society, is ignored. Self-determination implies separation of smaller government from the larger entities that we witnessed in the breakup of the Soviet Union. This notion contradicts the goal of pure democracy and world government. A single world government is the ultimate goal of all social egalitarians who are unconcerned with liberty.
Today the concepts of rights and property ownership are completely arbitrary. Congress, the courts, presidents and bureaucrats arbitrarily "legislate" on a daily basis, seeking only the endorsement of the majority. Although the republic was designed to protect the minority against the dictates of the majority, today we find the reverse. The republic is no longer recognizable.
Supporters of democracy are always quick to point out one of the perceived benefits of this system is the redistribution of wealth by government force to the poor. Although this may be true in limited fashion, the champions of this system never concern themselves with the victims from whom the wealth is stolen. The so-called benefits are short-lived, because democracy consumes wealth with little concern for those who produce it. Eventually the programs cannot be funded, and the dependency that has developed precipitates angry outcries for even more "fairness." Since reversing the tide against liberty is so difficult, this unworkable system inevitably leads to various forms of tyranny.
As our republic crumbles, voices of protest grow louder. The central government becomes more authoritarian with each crisis. As the quality of education plummets, the role of the federal government is expanded. As the quality of medical care collapses, the role of the federal government in medicine is greatly increased. Foreign policy failures precipitate cries for more intervention abroad and an even greater empire. Cries for security grow louder, and concern for liberty languishes.
Attacks on our homeland prompt massive increase in the bureaucracy to protect us from all dangers, seen and imagined. The prime goal and concern of the Founders, the protection of liberty, is ignored. Those expressing any serious concern for personal liberty are condemned for their self-centeredness and their lack of patriotism.
Even if we could defeat al Qaeda- which surely is a worthwhile goal- it would do little to preserve our liberties, while ignoring the real purpose of our government. Another enemy would surely replace it, just as the various groups of barbarians never left the Roman Empire alone once its internal republican structure collapsed.
Democracy Subverts Liberty and Undermines Prosperity
Once it becomes acceptable to change the rules by majority vote, there are no longer any limits on the power of the government. When the Constitution can be subverted by mere legislative votes, executive orders or judicial decrees, constitutional restraints on the government are eliminated. This process was rare in the early years of our history, but now it is routine.
Democracy is promoted in the name of fairness in an effort to help some special-interest group gain a benefit that it claims it needs or is entitled to. If only one small group were involved, nothing would come of the demands. But coalitions develop, and the various groups ban together to form a majority to vote themselves all those things that they expect others to provide for them.
Although the motivating factor is frequently the desire for the poor to better themselves through the willingness of others to sacrifice for what they see as good cause, the process is doomed to failure. Governments are inefficient and the desired goals are rarely achieved. Administrators, who benefit, perpetuate the programs. Wealthy elites learn to benefit from the system in a superior fashion over the poor, because they know how to skim the cream off the top of all the programs designed for the disadvantaged. They join the various groups in producing the majority vote needed to fund their own special projects.
Public financing of housing, for instance, benefits builders, bureaucrats, insurance companies, and financial institutions, while the poor end up in drug-infested, crime-ridden housing projects. For the same reason, not only do business leaders not object to the system, but they also become strong supporters of welfare programs and foreign aid. Big business strongly supports programs like the Export/Import Bank, the IMF, the World Bank, farm subsidies, and military adventurism. Tax-code revisions and government contracts mean big profits for those who are well-connected. Concern for individual liberty is pushed to the bottom of the priority list for both the poor and rich welfare recipients.
Prohibitions placed in the Constitution against programs that serve special interests are the greatest threat to the current system of democracy under which we operate. In order for the benefits to continue, politicians must reject the rule of law and concern themselves only with the control of majority opinion. Sadly, that is the job of almost all politicians. It is clearly the motivation behind the millions spent on constant lobbying, as well as the billions spent on promoting the right candidates in each election. Those who champion liberty are rarely heard from. The media, banking, insurance, airlines, transportations, financial institutions, government employees, the military-industrial complex, the educational system, and the medical community are all dependent on government appropriations, resulting in a high-stakes system of government.
Democracy encourages the mother of all political corruption- the use of political money to buy influence. If the dollars spent in this effort represent the degree to which democracy has won out over the rule of law and the Constitution, it looks like the American republic is left wanting. Billions are spent on the endeavor.
Money in politics is the key to implementing policy and swaying democratic majorities. It is seen by most Americans, and rightly so, as a negative and a danger. Yet the response, unfortunately, is only more of the same. More laws tinkering with freedom of expression are enacted, in hopes that regulating sums of private money thrown into the political system will curtail the abuse. But failing to understand the cause of the problem, lack of respect for the Constitution, and obsession with legislative relativity dictated by the majority serve only to further undermine the rule of law.
We were adequately warned about the problem. Democracies lead to chaos, violence and bankruptcy. The demands of the majority are always greater than taxation alone can provide. Therefore, control over the monetary and banking system is required for democracies to operate. It was no accident in 1913, when the dramatic shift toward a democracy became pronounced, that the Federal Reserve was established. A personal income tax was imposed as well. At the same time, popular election of Senators was instituted, and our foreign policy became aggressively interventionist. Even with an income tax, the planners for war and welfare (a guns and butter philosophy) knew that it would become necessary to eliminate restraints on the printing of money. Private counterfeiting was a heinous crime, but government counterfeit and fractional-reserve banking were required to seductively pay for the majority's demands. It is for this reason that democracies always bring about currency debasement through inflation of the money supply.
Some of the planners of today clearly understand the process and others, out of ignorance, view central-bank money creation as a convenience with little danger. That's where they are wrong. Even though the wealthy and the bankers support paper money- believing they know how to protect against its ill effects- many of them are eventually dragged down in the economic downturns that always develop.
It's not a new era that they have created for us today, but more of the same endured throughout history by so many other nations. The belief that democratic demands can be financed by deficits, credit creation and taxation is based on false hope and failure to see how it contributes to the turbulence as the democracy collapses.
Once a nation becomes a democracy, the whole purpose of government changes. Instead of the government's goal being that of guaranteeing liberty, equal justice, private property, and voluntary exchange, the government embarks on the impossible task of achieving economic equality, micromanaging the economy, and protecting citizens from themselves and all their activities. The destruction of the wealth-building process, which is inherent in a free society, is never anticipated. Once it's realized that it has been undermined, it is too late to easily reverse the attacks against limited government and personal liberty.
Democracy, by necessity, endorses special-interest interventionism, inflationism, and corporatism. In order to carry out the duties now expected of the government, power must be transferred from the citizens to the politicians. The only thing left is to decide which group or groups have the greatest influence over the government officials. As the wealth of the nation dwindles, competition between the special-interest groups grows more intense and becomes the dominant goal of political action. Restoration of liberty, the market and personal responsibility are of little interest and are eventually seen as impractical.
Power and public opinion become crucial factors in determining the direction of all government expenditures. Although both major parties now accept the principles of rule by majority and reject the rule of law, the beneficiaries for each party are generally different- although they frequently overlap. Propaganda, demagoguery, and control of the educational system and the media are essential to directing the distribution of the loot the government steals from those who are still honestly working for a living.
The greater problem is that nearly everyone receives some government benefit, and at the same time contributes to the Treasury. Most hope they will get back more than they pay in and, therefore, go along with the firmly entrenched system. Others, who understand and would choose to opt out and assume responsibility for themselves, aren't allowed to and are forced to participate. The end only comes with a collapse of the system, since a gradual and logical reversal of the inexorable march toward democratic socialism is unachievable.
Soviet-style communism dramatically collapsed once it was recognized that it could no longer function and a better system replaced it. It became no longer practical to pursue token reforms like those that took place over its 70-year history.
The turmoil and dangers of pure democracy are known. We should get prepared. But it will be the clarity with which we plan its replacement that determines the amount of pain and suffering endured during the transition to another system. Hopefully, the United States Congress and other government leaders will come to realize the seriousness of our current situation and replace the business-as-usual attitude, regardless of political demands and growing needs of a boisterous majority. Simply stated, our wealth is running out, and the affordability of democracy is coming to an end.
History reveals that once majorities can vote themselves largesse, the system is destined to collapse from within. But in order to maintain the special-interest system for as long as possible, more and more power must be given to an ever-expanding central government-which of course only makes matters worse.
The economic shortcomings of such a system are easily understood. What is too often ignored is that the flip side of delivering power to government is the loss of liberty to the individual. This loss of liberty causes exactly what the government doesn't want- less productive citizens who cannot pay taxes.
Even before 9/11, these trends were in place and proposals were abundant for restraining liberty. Since 9/11, the growth of centralized government and the loss of privacy and personal freedoms have significantly accelerated.
It is in dealing with homeland defense and potential terrorist attacks that the domestic social programs and the policy of foreign intervention are coming together and precipitating a rapid expansion of the state and erosion of liberty. Like our social welfarism at home, our foreign meddling and empire building abroad are a consequence of our becoming a pure democracy.
Foreign Affairs and Democracy
The dramatic shift away from republicanism that occurred in 1913, as expected, led to a bold change of purpose in foreign affairs. The goal of "making the world safe for democracy" was forcefully put forth by President Wilson. Protecting national security had become too narrow a goal and selfish in purpose. An obligation for spreading democracy became a noble obligation backed by a moral commitment, every bit as utopian as striving for economic equality in an egalitarian society here at home.
With the growing affection for democracy, it was no giant leap to assume that majority opinion should mold personal behavior. It was no mere coincidence that the 18th Amendment- alcohol prohibition- was passed in 1919.
Ever since 1913, all our presidents have endorsed meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and have given generous support to the notion that a world government would facilitate the goals of democratic welfare or socialism. On a daily basis, we hear that we must be prepared to spend our money and use our young people to police the entire world in order to spread democracy. Whether in Venezuela or Columbia, Afghanistan or Pakistan, Iraq or Iran, Korea or Vietnam, our intervention is always justified with a tone of moral arrogance that "it's for their own good."
Our policymakers promote democracy as a cure-all for the various complex problems of the world. Unfortunately, the propaganda machine is able to hide the real reasons for our empire building. "Promoting democracy" overseas merely becomes a slogan for doing things that the powerful and influential strive to do for their own benefit. To get authority for these overseas pursuits, all that is required of the government is that the majority be satisfied with the stated goals- no matter how self-serving they may be. The rule of law, that is, constitutional restraint, is ignored. But as successful as the policy may be on the short run and as noble as it may be portrayed, it is a major contributing factor to the violence and chaos that eventually come from pure democracy.
There is abundant evidence that the pretense of spreading democracy contradicts the very policies we are pursuing. We preach about democratic elections, but we are only too willing to accept some for-the-moment friendly dictator who actually overthrew a democratically elected leader or to interfere in some foreign election.
This is the case with Pakistan's Mushariff. For a temporary alliance, he reaps hundreds of millions of dollars, even though strong evidence exists that the Pakistanis have harbored and trained al Qaeda terrorists, that they have traded weapons with North Korea, and that they possess weapons of mass destruction. No one should be surprised that the Arabs are confused by our overtures of friendship. We have just recently promised $28 billion to Turkey to buy their support for Persian Gulf War II.
Our support of Saudi Arabia, in spite of its ties to al Qaeda through financing and training, is totally ignored by those obsessed with going to war against Iraq. Saudi Arabia is the furthest thing from a democracy. As a matter of fact, if democratic elections were permitted, the Saudi government would be overthrown by a bin Laden ally.
Those who constantly preach global government and democracy ought to consider the outcome of their philosophy in a hypothetical Mid-East regional government. If these people were asked which country in this region possesses weapons of mass destruction, has a policy of oppressive occupation, and constantly defies UN Security council resolutions, the vast majority would overwhelmingly name Israel. Is this ludicrous? No, this is what democracy is all about and what can come from a one-man, one-vote philosophy.
U.S. policy supports the overthrow of the democratically elected Chavez government in Venezuela, because we don't like the economic policy it pursues. We support a military takeover as long as the new dictator will do as we tell him.
There is no creditability in our contention that we really want to impose democracy on other nations. Yet promoting democracy is the public justification for our foreign intervention. It sounds so much nicer than saying we're going to risk the lives of our young people and massively tax our citizens to secure the giant oil reserves in Iraq.
After we take over Iraq, how long would one expect it to take until there are authentic nationwide elections in that country? The odds of that happening in even a hundred years are remote. It's virtually impossible to imagine a time when democratic elections would ever occur for the election of leaders in a constitutional republic dedicated for protection of liberty any place in the region.
Foreign Policy, Welfare, and 9/11
The tragedy of 9/11 and its aftermath dramatize so clearly how a flawed foreign policy has served to encourage the majoritarians determined to run everyone's life.
Due to its natural inefficiencies and tremendous costs, a failing welfare state requires an ever-expanding authoritarian approach to enforce mandates, collect the necessary revenues, and keep afloat an unworkable system. Once the people grow to depend on government subsistence, they demand its continuation.
Excessive meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and involving ourselves in every conflict around the globe has not endeared the United States to the oppressed of the world. The Japanese are tired of us. The South Koreans are tired of us. The Europeans are tired of us. The Central Americans are tired of us. The Filipinos are tired of us. And above all, the Arab Muslims are tired of us.
Angry and frustrated by our persistent bullying and disgusted with having their own government bought and controlled by the United States, joining a radical Islamic movement was a natural and predictable consequence for Muslims.
We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, and we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack. But we refuse to listen to his explanation of why he and his allies are at war with us.
Bin Laden's claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel's occupation expands. There will be no peace in the world for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking us do it.
To dismiss terrorism as the result of Muslims hating us because we're rich and free is one of the greatest foreign-policy frauds ever perpetrated on the American people. Because the propaganda machine, the media, and the government have restated this so many times, the majority now accept it at face value. And the administration gets the political cover it needs to pursue a "holy" war for democracy against the infidels who hate us for our goodness.
Polling on the matter is followed closely and, unfortunately, is far more important than the rule of law. Do we hear the pundits talk of constitutional restraints on the Congress and the administration? No, all we ever hear are reassurances that the majority supports the President; therefore it must be all right.
The terrorists' attacks on us, though never justified, are related to our severely flawed foreign policy of intervention. They also reflect the shortcomings of a bureaucracy that is already big enough to know everything it needs to know about any impending attack but too cumbersome to do anything about it. Bureaucratic weaknesses within a fragile welfare state provide a prime opportunity for those whom we antagonize through our domination over world affairs and global wealth to take advantage of our vulnerability.
But what has been our answer to the shortcomings of policies driven by manipulated majority opinion by the powerful elite? We have responded by massively increasing the federal government's policing activity to hold American citizens in check and make sure we are well-behaved and pose no threat, while massively expanding our aggressive presence around the world. There is no possible way these moves can make us more secure against terrorism, yet they will accelerate our march toward national bankruptcy with a currency collapse.
Relying on authoritarian democracy and domestic and international meddling only move us sharply away from a constitutional republic and the rule of law and toward the turbulence of a decaying democracy, about which Madison and others had warned.
Once the goal of liberty is replaced by a preconceived notion of the benefits and the moral justifications of a democracy, a trend toward internationalism and world government follows.
We certainly witnessed this throughout the 20th century. Since World War II, we have failed to follow the Constitution in taking this country to war, but instead have deferred to the collective democratic wisdom of the United Nations.
Once it's recognized that ultimate authority comes from an international body, whether the United Nations, NATO, the WTO, the World Bank, or the IMF, the contest becomes a matter of who holds the reins of power and is able to dictate what is perceived as the will of the people (of the world). In the name of democracy, just as it is done in Washington, powerful nations with the most money will control UN policy. Bribery, threats, and intimidation are common practices used to achieve a "democratic" consensus-no matter how controversial and short-lived the benefits.
Can one imagine what it might be like if a true worldwide democracy existed and the United Nations were controlled by a worldwide, one man/one vote philosophy? The masses of China and India could vote themselves whatever they needed from the more prosperous western countries. How long would a world system last based on this absurdity? Yet this is the principle that we're working so hard to impose on ourselves and others around the world.
In spite of the great strides made toward one-world government based on egalitarianism, I'm optimistic that this utopian nightmare will never come to fruition. I have already made the case that here at home powerful special interests take over controlling majority opinion, making sure fairness in distribution is never achieved. This fact causes resentment and becomes so expensive that the entire system becomes unstable and eventually collapses.
The same will occur internationally, even if it miraculously did not cause conflict among the groups demanding the loot confiscated from the producing individuals (or countries). Democratic socialism is so destructive to production of wealth that it must fail, just as socialism failed under Soviet Communism. We have a long way to go before old-fashioned nationalism is dead and buried. In the meantime, the determination of those promoting democratic socialism will cause great harm to many people before its chaotic end and we rediscover the basic principle responsible for all of human progress.
Paying for Democracy
With the additional spending to wage war against terrorism at home, while propping up an ever-increasing expensive and failing welfare state, and the added funds needed to police the world, all in the midst of a recession, we are destined to see an unbelievably huge explosion of deficit spending. Raising taxes won't help. Borrowing the needed funds for the budgetary deficit, plus the daily borrowing from foreigners required to finance our ever-growing current account deficit, will put tremendous pressure on the dollar.
The time will come when the Fed will no longer be able to dictate low interest rates. Reluctance of foreigners to lend, the exorbitant size of our borrowing needs, and the risk premium will eventually send interest rates upward. Price inflation will accelerate, and the cost of living for all Americans will increase. Under these conditions, most Americans will face a decline in their standard of living.
Facing this problem of paying for past and present excess spending, the borrowing and inflating of the money supply has already begun in earnest. Many retirees, depending on their 401k funds and other retirement programs, are suffering the ill-effects of the stock market crash- a phenomenon that still has a long way to go. Depreciating the dollar by printing excessive money, like the Fed is doing, will eventually devastate the purchasing power of those retirees who are dependent on Social Security. Government cost-of-living increases will never be able to keep up with this loss. The elderly are already unable to afford the inflated costs of medical care, especially the cost of pharmaceuticals.
The reality is that we will not be able to inflate, tax, spend or borrow our way out of this mess that the Congress has delivered to the American people. The demands that come with pure democracy always lead to an unaffordable system that ends with economic turmoil and political upheaval. Tragically, the worse the problems get, the louder is the demand for more of the same government programs that caused the problems in the first place- both domestic and international. Weaning off of government programs and getting away from foreign meddling because of political pressure are virtually impossible. The end comes only after economic forces make it clear we can no longer afford to pay for the extravagance that comes from democratic dictates.
Democracy is the most expensive form of government. There is no "king" with an interest in preserving the nation's capital. Everyone desires something, and the special-interest groups, banding together, dictate to the politicians exactly what they need and want. Politicians are handsomely rewarded for being "effective," that is, getting the benefits for the groups that support them. Effectiveness is never measured by efforts and achievements in securing liberty, even though it's the most important element in a prosperous and progressive world.
Spending is predictable in a democracy, especially one that endorses foreign interventionism. It always goes up, both in nominal terms and in percentage of the nation's wealth. Paying for it can be quite complicated. The exact method is less consequential than the percent of the nation's wealth the government commands. Borrowing and central-bank credit creation are generally used and are less noticeable, but more deceitful, than direct taxation to pay as we go. If direct taxation were accomplished through monthly checks written by each taxpayer, the cost of government would immediately be revealed. And the democratic con game would end much more quickly.
The withholding principle was devised to make paying for the programs the majority demanded seem less painful. Passing on debt to the next generation through borrowing is also a popular way to pay for welfare and warfare. The effect of inflating a currency to pay the bills is difficult to understand, and the victims are hard to identify. Inflation is the most sinister method of payment for a welfare state. It, too, grows in popularity as the demands increase for services that aren't affordable.
Although this appears to be a convenient and cheap way to pay the bills, the economic consequences of lost employment, inflated prices, and economic dislocation make the long-term consequences much more severe than paying as we go. Not only is this costly in terms of national wealth, it significantly contributes to the political chaos and loss of liberty that accompany the death throes of a doomed democracy.
This does not mean that direct taxes won't be continuously raised to pay for out-of-control spending. In a democracy, all earned wealth is assumed to belong to the government. Therefore any restraint in raising taxes, and any tax cuts or tax credits, are considered "costs" to government. Once this notion is established, tax credits or cuts are given only under condition that the beneficiaries conform to the democratic consensus. Freedom of choice is removed, even if a group is merely getting back control of that which was rightfully theirs in the first place.
Tax-exempt status for various groups is not universal but is conditioned on whether their beliefs and practices are compatible with politically correct opinions endorsed by the democratic majority. This concept is incompatible with the principles of private-property ownership and individual liberty. By contrast, in a free society all economic and social decision-making is controlled by private property owners without government intrusion, as long as no one is harmed in the process.
Confusion Regarding Democracy
The vast majority of the American people have come to accept democracy as a favorable system and are pleased with our efforts to pursue Wilson's dream of "making the world safe for democracy." But the goals of pure democracy and that of a constitutional republic are incompatible. A clear understanding of the difference is paramount, if we are to remain a free and prosperous nation.
There are certain wonderful benefits in recognizing the guidance that majority opinion offers. It takes a consensus or prevailing attitude to endorse the principles of liberty and a Constitution to protect them. This is a requirement for the rule of law to succeed. Without a consensus, the rule of law fails. This does not mean that the majority or public opinion measured by polls, court rulings, or legislative bodies should be able to alter the constitutional restraints on the government's abuse of life, liberty, and property. But in a democracy, that happens. And we know that today it is happening in this country on a routine basis.
In a free society with totally free markets, the votes by consumers through their purchases, or refusals to purchase, determine which businesses survive and which fail. This is free-choice "democracy" and it is a powerful force in producing and bringing about economic efficiency. In today's democracy by decree, government laws dictate who receives the benefits and who gets shortchanged. Conditions of employment and sales are taxed and regulated at varying rates, and success or failure is too often dependent on government action than by consumers' voting in the marketplace by their spending habits. Individual consumers by their decisions should be in charge, not governments armed with mandates from the majority.
Even a system of free-market money (a redeemable gold-coin standard) functions through the principle of consumers always voting or withholding support for that currency. A gold standard can only work when freely converted into gold coins, giving every citizen a right to vote on a daily basis for or against the government money.
The Way Out
It's too late to avoid the turbulence and violence that Madison warned about. It has already started. But it's important to minimize the damage and prepare the way for a restoration of the republic. The odds are not favorable, but not impossible. No one can know the future with certainty. The Soviet system came to an abrupt end with less violence than could have ever been imagined at the height of the Cold War. It was a pleasant surprise.
Interestingly enough, what is needed is a majority opinion, especially by those who find themselves in leadership roles- whether political, educational, or in the media that rejects democracy- and support the rule of law within the republic. This majority support is essential for the preservation of the freedom and prosperity with which America is identified.
This will not occur until we as a nation once again understand how freedom serves the interests of everyone. Henry Grady Weaver, in his 1947 classic, "The Mainspring of Human Progress," superbly explains how it works. His thesis is simple. Liberty permits progress, while government intervention tends always to tyranny. Liberty releases creative energy; government intervention suppresses it. This release of energy was never greater than in the time following the American Revolution and the writing of the U.S. Constitution.
Instead of individual activity being controlled by the government or superstitious beliefs about natural and mystical events, activity is controlled by the individual. This understanding recognizes the immense value in voluntary cooperation and enlightened self-interests. Freedom requires self-control and moral responsibility. No one owes anyone else anything and everyone is responsible for his or her own acts. The principle of never harming one's neighbor, or never sending the government to do the dirty work, is key to making the system tend toward peaceful pursuits and away from the tyranny and majority-induced violence. Nothing short of a reaffirmation of this principle can restore the freedoms once guaranteed under the Constitution. Without this, prosperity for the masses is impossible, and as a nation we become more vulnerable to outside threats.
In a republic, the people are in charge. The Constitution provides strict restraints on the politicians, bureaucrats and the military. Everything the government is allowed to do is only done with explicit permission from the people or the Constitution. Today, it's the opposite. The American people must get permission from the government for their every move, whether it's use of their own property or spending their own money.
Even the most serious decision, such as going to war, is done while ignoring the Constitution and without a vote of the people's representatives in the Congress. Members of the global government have more to say about when American troops are put in harm's way than the U.S. Congress.
The Constitution no longer restrains the government. The government restrains the people in all that they do. This destroys individual creative energy, and the "mainspring of human progress" is lost. The consequences are less progress, less prosperity, and less personal fulfillment.
A system that rejects voluntary contracts, enlightened self interest, and individual responsibilities permits the government to assume these responsibilities. And the government officials become morally obligated to protect us from ourselves, attempting to make us better people and setting standards for our personal behavior. That effort is already in full swing. But if this attitude prevails, liberty is lost.
When government assumes the responsibility for individuals to achieve excellence and virtue, it does so at the expense of liberty, and must resort to force and intimidation. Standards become completely arbitrary, depending on the attitude of those in power and the perceived opinion of the majority. Freedom of choice is gone. This leads to inevitable conflicts with the government dictating what one can eat, drink or smoke. One group may promote abstinence, the other tax-supported condom distribution. Arguments over literature, prayer, pornography, and sexual behavior are endless. It is now not even permissible to mention the word "God" on public property. A people who allows its government to set personal moral standards, for all non-violent behavior, will naturally allow it to be involved in the more important aspects of spiritual life. For instance, there are tax deductions for churches that are politically correct, but not for those whose beliefs that are considered out of the mainstream. Groups that do not meet the official politically correct standards are more likely to be put on a "terrorist" list.
This arbitrary and destructive approach to solving difficult problems must be rejected if we ever hope to live again in a society where the role of government is limited to that of protecting liberty.
The question that I'm most often asked when talking about this subject is, "Why do our elected leaders so easily relinquish liberty and have such little respect for the Constitution?" The people of whom I speak are convinced that liberty is good and big government is dangerous. They are also quite certain that we have drifted a long way away from the principles that made America great, and their bewilderment continuously elicits a big "Why?"
There's no easy answer to this and no single explanation. It involves temptation, envy, greed, and ignorance, but worst of all, humanitarian zeal. Unfortunately, the greater the humanitarian outreach, the greater the violence required to achieve it. The greater the desire to perform humanitarian deeds through legislation, the greater the violence required to achieve it. Few understand this. There are literally no limits to the good deeds that some believe need to be done. Rarely does anyone question how each humanitarian act by government undermines the essential element of all human progress- individual liberty.
Failure of government programs prompts more determined efforts, while the loss of liberty is ignored or rationalized away. Whether it's the war against poverty, drugs, terrorism, or the current Hitler of the day, an appeal to patriotism is used to convince the people that a little sacrifice of liberty, here and there, is a small price to pay.
The results, though, are frightening and will soon become even more so. Poverty has been made worse, the drug war is a bigger threat than drug use, terrorism remains a threat, and foreign wars have become routine and decided upon without congressional approval.
Most of the damage to liberty and the Constitution is done by men and women of good will who are convinced they know what is best for the economy, for others, and foreign powers. They inevitably fail to recognize their own arrogance in assuming they know what is the best personal behavior for others. Their failure to recognize the likelihood of mistakes by central planners allows them to ignore the magnitude of a flawed central government directive, compared to an individual or a smaller unit of government mistake.
C. S. Lewis had an opinion on this subject:
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
A system that is based on majority vote rather than the strict rule of law encourages the few who thrive on power and exerting authority over other people's lives, unlike the many driven by sincere humanitarian concerns. Our current system rewards those who respond to age-old human instincts of envy and greed as they gang up on those who produce. Those individuals who are tempted by the offer of power are quick to accommodate those who are the most demanding of government-giveaway programs and government contracts. These special-interest groups notoriously come from both the poor and the rich, while the middle class is required to pay.
It's not just a coincidence that, in the times of rapid monetary debasement, the middle class suffers the most from the inflation and job losses that monetary inflation brings. When inflation is severe, which it will become, the middle class can be completely wiped out. The stock market crash gives us a hint as to what is likely to come as this country is forced to pay for the excesses sustained over the past 30 years while operating under a fiat monetary system.
Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman philosopher, commented on this subject as well: "Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep."
Good men driven by a desire for benevolence encourage the centralization of power. The corruptive temptation of power is made worse when domestic and international interventions go wrong and feed into the hate and envy that invade men's souls when the love of liberty is absent.
Those of good will who work to help the downtrodden do so not knowing they are building a class of rulers who will become drunk with their own arrogance and lust for power. Generally only a few in a society yield to the urge to dictate to others, and seek power for the sake of power and then abuse it. Most members of society are complacent and respond to propaganda, but they unite in the democratic effort to rearrange the world in hopes of gaining benefits through coercive means and convince themselves they are helping their fellow man as well. A promise of security is a powerful temptation for many.
A free society, on the other hand, requires that these same desires be redirected. The desire for power and authority must be over one's self alone. The desire for security and prosperity should be directed inward, rather than toward controlling others. We cannot accept the notion that the gang solution endorsed by the majority is the only option. Self-reliance and personal responsibility are crucial.
But there is also a problem with economic understanding. Economic ignorance about the shortcomings of central economic planning, excessive taxation and regulations, central bank manipulation of money, and credit and interest rates is pervasive in our nation's capital. A large number of conservatives now forcefully argue that deficits don't matter. Spending programs never shrink, no matter whether conservatives or liberals are in charge. Rhetoric favoring free trade is canceled out by special-interest protectionist measures. Support of international government agencies that manage trade, such as the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and Nafta politicizes international trade and eliminates any hope that free-trade capitalism will soon emerge.
The federal government will not improve on its policies until the people coming to Washington are educated by a different breed of economists than those who dominate our government-run universities. Economic advisors and most officeholders merely reflect the economics taught to them. A major failure of our entire system will most likely occur before serious thought is given once again to the guidelines laid out in the Constitution.
The current economic system of fiat money and interventionism (both domestic and international) serves to accommodate the unreasonable demands for government to take care of the people. And this, in turn, contributes to the worst of human instincts: authoritarian control by the few over the many.
We, as a nation, have lost our understanding of how the free market provides the greatest prosperity for the greatest number. Not only have most of us forgotten about the invisible hand of Adam Smith, few have ever heard of Mises and Hayek- two individuals who understood exactly why all the economic ups and downs of the 20th century occurred, as well as the cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But worst of all, we have lost our faith in freedom. Materialistic concerns and desire for security drive all national politics. This trend has sharply accelerated since 9/11.
Understanding the connection between liberty, prosperity, and security has been lost. The priorities are backwards. Prosperity and security come from liberty. Peace and the absence of war come as a consequence of liberty and free trade. The elimination of ignorance and restraints on do-goodism and authoritarianism in a civilized society can only be achieved through a contractual arrangement between the people and the government- in our case, the U.S. Constitution. This document was the best ever devised for releasing the creative energy of a free people while strictly holding in check the destructive powers of government. Only the rule of law can constrain those who, by human instinct, look for a free ride while delivering power to those few, found in every society, whose only goal in life is a devilish desire to rule over others.
The rule of law in a republic protects free-market activity and private-property ownership and provides for equal justice under the law. It is this respect for law and rights over government power that protects the mainspring of human progress from the enemies of liberty. Communists and other socialists have routinely argued that the law is merely a tool of the powerful capitalists. But they have it backwards. Under democracy and fascism, the pseudo-capitalists write the laws that undermine the Constitution and jeopardize the rights and property of all citizens. They fail to realize it is the real law, the Constitution itself, which guarantees rights and equal justice and permits capitalism, thus guaranteeing progress.
Arbitrary, ever-changing laws are the friends of dictators. Authoritarians argue constantly that the Constitution is a living document, and that rigid obedience to ideological purity is the enemy we should be most concerned about. They would have us believe that those who cherish strict obedience to the rule of law in the defense of liberty are wrong merely because they demand ideological purity. They fail to mention that their love of relative rights and pure democracy is driven by a rigid obedience to an ideology as well. The issue is never rigid beliefs versus reasonable friendly compromise. In politics, it's always competition between two strongly held ideologies. The only challenge for men and women of good will is to decide the wisdom and truth of the ideologies offered.
Nothing short of restoring a republican form of government with strict adherence to the rule of law, and curtailing illegal government programs, will solve our current and evolving problems.
Eventually the solution will be found with the passage of the Liberty Amendment. Once there is serious debate on this amendment, we will know that the American people are considering the restoration of our constitutional republic and the protection of individual liberty.
Democracy: a government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meetings or any form of direct expression results in mobocracy. Attitudes towards property is communistic -- negating property rights. Attitude towards the law is that the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, and anarchy.
U.S. Government Training Manual No. 2000-25, WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, November 30, 1928
Thought you might enjoy this interesting prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate. It seems prayer still upsets some people. When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard.
Kansas Senate Session Opening Prayer
Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance.
We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that is exactly what we have done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent: to direct us to the center of Your will and to openly ask these things in the name of Your Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ.
The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In six short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. The church is now receiving requests for copies of this prayer world-wide.
Democracy in Action
March 21, 2007
Continually, in the course of our daily lives, we are subjected to the term "democracy"; the connotation being that the United States of America is a democracy. Listen to President George W Bush pontificate on any given day and you will hear him use the word at least once.
The United States of America is an emerging democracy; it was not founded as a democracy. In fact, our Founding Fathers made their aversion to democracy well known. James Madison in Federalist #10 had this to say about democracy:
"From this view of the subject, it may be concluded, that a pure Democracy, by which I mean a Society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the Government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert results from the form of Government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short I their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretical politicians, who have patronized this species of Government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions."
Their disdain was apparent; the why of their disdain was also apparent.
To the end of protecting the people against the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party, to protect the rights of property, to provide personal security, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution were carefully written and enacted. Those first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights, providing equal access and equal protection under the law.
The judicial system, established on the rule of law was to be blind, ruling according to law, equally for all. Under democracy the judicial system becomes a legal system with activist judges who rule not according to law but according to their own passions, opinions and prejudices. The result is that the Bill of Rights has been pretty much nullified.
In our emerging democracy, the transformation of the United States of America from a constitutional republic to the United States of Amerika, a democracy in which the rights of the minority are at the whim of the majority, no better example exists then a recent incident involving a professor at North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
As some will recall, the Coeur d'Alene area of Idaho was, in the not too distant past, the home of Richard Butler of the Aryan Nation persuasion. Butler and his neo-Nazi followers had a compound there, attracting the attention of local and federal law enforcement including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). Butler's followers would, on an annual basis, parade through downtown Coeur d'Alene proudly displaying their flags bearing swastikas, dressed in their Nazi uniforms adorned with the same, and displaying the stiff-armed salute known to be the Nazi sentiment honoring Hitler. They would always draw a crowd of protesters, some without fail carrying signs announcing boldly and passionately "stop hate".
Nazi-ism is a euphemism for "national socialism", a system of government in which the rights of the minority are at the whim of the majority, incompatible with the rights of property or personal security; and as so adequately displayed under Hitler, spectacles of turbulence and contention -- violent in both its life and death.
In short, national socialism is synonymous with democracy. One has to wonder if all those protestors, carrying signs proclaiming "stop hate", are as adamant, as passionate in their zeal to stop democracy from taking over their country.
Recently a North Idaho College student requested a refund of her course fees for an English class. Her story appeared on local television stations with articles appearing in both the Spokesman Review out of Spokane and the Coeur d'Alene Press out of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
According to an article published in the Spokesman Review, the professor is quoted as saying:
"I believe in the death penalty ... First we line up everyone who can't think and right behind them, anyone who's ever voted Republican."
The professor than is quoted as saying,
"Most (comments) were said facetiously in an attempt to get my students to think ... Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that anyone would take it seriously ... They were always said with a smile."
What the professor actually said, however, was reported more fully by the Coeur d'Alene Press article in which the above offending quote was reported as follows:
"Republicans should be executed. I believe in the death penalty. I love it. I think we should use it every day. First we line up everyone who can't think and right behind them, anyone who's ever voted Republican."
But no one should take it seriously or be offended?
That level of enmity, vehemence, is not "tongue in check", cannot be relegated to the realm of "teasing", both definitions of "facetious" as used by the professor in "explaining" her actions. It becomes obvious that the professor's comments were a matter of her own personal intolerance toward Republicans voiced to a class of students over which she, as a professor, has influence and control. As reported on television, remarks such as these were apparently standard fare for the professor, making it apparent that the professor had a personal intolerance toward anyone Republican.
The student's remarks, made during an interview for television, relegated the professor's remarks to the realm of "stupid" and questioned why anyone should have to pay for "stupid."
The reaction of North Idaho College was to declare this teacher's actions to be a matter of "freedom of speech".
But others were offended and responded to the professor's remarks in kind. An article published in the Coeur d'Alene Press stated that the professor began getting correspondence from "across the country". A sampling of that correspondence as reported by the Coeur d'Alene Press:
"You contemptuous excuse for an instructor. If you are trying to start another civil war and it comes about, I hope your family will be targeted first. As a Republican, I take umbrage at your suggestion that I should be shot. You'll find that Republicans can shoot back."
"Screw you, Communist (expletive deleted). Even though you are entitled to your opinion we all have freedom to vote anyway we please. You would do well teaching in Iran hating Jews. Bottom line I feel the same way about Liberal (expletive deleted) such as you."
"I hope you lose your position and cease poisoning the flower of our future who enroll in your class with your leftist indoctrination."
North Idaho College responded by contacting local law enforcement who contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); NIC claiming the above to be death threats.
This is a perfect example of democracy in action.
This professor mouthed what amounted to a death threat against Republicans or anyone who ever voted Republican. Not only that but she did it to a group of students under her influence and control creating a situation of possible incitement of students so inclined to act on her personal intolerances.
North Idaho College deemed her behavior "freedom of speech".
But when people across the country responded in kind to what NIC deemed the professor's First Amendment right of freedom of speech, North Idaho College deemed those a threat against her life and notified local law enforcement who contacted the FBI.
Under rule by law, if this professor's actions are deemed "freedom of speech" than so should the above reported responses; if the authors of the correspondence to this professor are prosecuted then so should this professor be prosecuted.
Democracy, however, says that the professor's actions are freedom of speech because, well, "we agree"; but when her actions elicit in kind responses such isn't freedom of speech but threats against her life because, well, "we don't agree." The message, intended or not, is that the powers that be agree that all Republicans, or anyone who has ever voted Republican, should be put to death.
In the politically correct climate of America today, would this professor have dared make this comment about any ethnic group but whites, any political group but one that is supposedly conservative and Christian? If she would not have dared, why is such being tolerated because she made the comment against whites who are supposedly conservative and Christian? Such is the reality of democracy and why democracy is as short in its life and as it is violent in its death.
So it will be with our emerging democracy in America; a democracy which has all the trappings of, and will be no different than Germany under Hitler, the USSR and China under communism -- communism being nothing more than socialism in a hurry.
Note: This author does not condone death threats, from professors or anyone else. Neither has this author been a registered Republican since the early to mid-90's when she discovered, much to her chagrin, that the Republican Party was pandering to the big business take-over of education for the purposes of producing a dumbed-down work force willing to work for minimal compensation for the greater good of the collective whole while CEO's collected millions in bonus' and other compensation; the feudal system of the Middle Ages.
© 2007 Lynn M Stuter -- All Rights Reserved.
Democracy in Action, Part 2
April 16, 2007
The timing could not be better, as a follow-up and great example of what I spoke of in Democracy in Action. The airwaves, this past week have been inundated with the remarks of radio personality Don Imus. As of this writing, Mr Imus has been effectively fired for his comments made about the mostly black Rutgers women's basketball team.
Before going further, let me put it bluntly: Don Imus' remarks were inappropriate, unethical, unprofessional, uncalled for and certainly reflect on him as an individual.
With that said, enter stage left, the usual team of Sharpton and Jackson -- as in Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson -- who assumed, uninvited, the role of mouth-piece for the Rutgers women's basketball team. The faces of these two blacks appeared on every mainstream media source, spewing forth the racist anti-white rhetoric they are well-known for, doing nothing more than making the situation worse. Of course, and as usual, the amount of money pouring into the deep pockets of these two provides the motive for the race-baiting that constantly spews forth from their mouths.
But they have their agenda and the mainstream media is only too glad to accommodate them.
And there-in lays the problem.
I sent the following e-mail to MSNBC on Friday morning, April 13, 2007:
Subject: The Don Imus Debacle
Isn't it ironic that Don Imus can make inappropriate racist remarks and it becomes nation-wide news, but when a college professor at North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene Idaho makes inappropriate racist remarks, it's freedom of speech.
What's the difference?
What Imus said was a white man making remarks about blacks. In our politically correct society of today, that's not allowed.
What the NIC professor said was ""Republicans should be executed. I believe in the death penalty. I love it. I think we should use it every day. First we line up everyone who can't think and right behind them, anyone who's ever voted Republican."
That remark was made well over two months ago and that NIC professor still has her job. Not only that, but what she said has received very little attention or air time. No huge outcry of racism. No top of the news hour reporting by MSNBC or any other mainstream media source. Just a blip on the radar screen of bigotry.
Why no coverage of the NIC professors bigoted remarks? The NIC professors comments were made by a white obviously alluding to what are considered conservative white Christians. In our politically correct society of today, if you are white, conservative, Christian you are fair game for every bigot out there who wants to take a poke at you, with the blessing and cooperation of mainstream media.
Now tell me, what's the difference between what Don Imus said and what this NIC professor said? At least Don Imus didn't incite a room full of impressionable young minds to kill someone.
So, tell me, which was worse?
If MSNBC got all bent out of shape about Don Imus, why didn't MSNBC get all bent out of shape about this NIC professor's comments? Isn't hate speech hate speech no matter who says it about whom, or is it only hate speech if said by a white about a black?
That is certainly the appearance given. And when you allow blacks to slur whites or whites to slur whites or blacks to slur blacks with not a word said, but a debacle of this magnitude becomes the front page story, top of the hour, top of the news when it is white on black, then what you are promoting is class warfare.
And I have to wonder if that isn't your intention which means you -- all of you, Katie Couric included -- are just as big a bunch of bigots as you portray Imus to be.
And please don't respond with "We just report the news" because that would be a lie, pure and simple. You decide what becomes news and anyone with even half a brain knows that. MSNBC chose to make this into a big deal.
Lynn M Stuter
MSNBC has not responded which really says it all.
[As a point of clarification here, I do realize that Katie Couric is now with CBS. When I used "you", I was including the whole of mainstream media, including Katie Couric, the only female anchor.]
On April 11, 2007, the Attorney General of North Carolina pronounced the three Duke lacrosse players innocent of all charges brought against them by Prosecuting Attorney Mike Niphong in the alleged rape and assault of a black "exotic dancer" -- allegations made over a year ago that have turned the lives of three young men upside down and inside out; have caused them and their families a great deal of heart-ache and stress not to mention the expense of having to defend themselves against trumped-up charges brought by a rogue prosecutor intent on promoting his political career at their expense.
At the time of the arrest of these three young men, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were johnny-on-the-spot, spewing forth their usual racist rhetoric before the witting and willing microphones of mainstream media. Yet, since these three young players were pronounced innocent of all charges, we have not seen Sharpton and Jackson so quick to appear before the same microphones to apologize for the aspersions they so readily and quickly cast upon these three young men in the name of their fellow black woman.
I demand, and every American should demand, that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson apologize to these three young men, on the air, before the same microphones from the same mainstream media sources that gave them an audience for their racist rhetoric when the three young men were arrested and falsely accused.
That they have not already done so makes a statement in and of itself.
Note: Following the publishing of this article, an individual forwarded to me copies of interviews in which Sharpton was asked if he intended to apologize for the aspersions he cast upon the three Duke lacrosse players. Sharpton's response was to the effect that he had been mislead as though that excused his jumping to conclusions from the outset.
© 2007 Lynn M Stuter -- All Rights Reserved.
Lynn M. Stuter
February 9, 2003
Not long ago, a local television station aired a piece featuring U. S. Representative George Nethercutt, 5th District, Washington State. Representative Nethercutt holds the distinction of having unseated a sitting Speaker of the House--Tom Foley. In the piece, Representative Nethercutt spoke of "our democracy."
Our democracy? When did our nation become a democracy? Did we citizens have a Rip Van Winkle moment? So, what's the fuss all about, anyway?
Remember the Pledge of Allegiance:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all."
We are a republic. My goodness, what a news flash! So what is the difference between a republic and a democracy?
A democracy is a form of government in which the citizens exercise direct government, one person one vote, with majority rule. James Madison, in Federalist #10, spoke for the Founding Fathers when he wrote:
"From this view of the subject, it may be concluded, that a pure Democracy, by which I mean a Society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the Government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert results from the form of Government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths."
In this one short, concise paragraph, James Madison laid out the problems inherent to a democracy: rule by man with the rights of the minority at the whim of the passions and opinions of the majority; in a short time, resulting in civil unrest and chaos, leading to bloodshed and violence as people rebel against the tyranny and oppression of arbitrary and capricious rule. Democracy is often referred to as "mobocracy."
Our Founding Fathers, obviously wishing to avoid the problems inherent to a democracy, established our nation as a Constitutional Republic, in which rule is by law, not by man in accordance with his own passions and opinions; and establishing the first ten amendments to the Constitution--the Bill of Rights--to protect the minority, the dissenter, from the whims of the majority; to establish equal protection under the law for all.
Our Founding Fathers also established representative governance in which the people elected, by secret ballot, those who would represent them in assembly to make laws. These representatives would be bound to uphold the constitution of their state and the United States by Oath of Affirmation, commonly referred to as the "oath of office." Article VI, Section 3, United States Constitution:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath of Affirmation, to support this Constitution ...."
So, if our nation is a Constitutional Republic, why do government documents, briefs, reports, and our elected representatives continually refer to it as a "democracy?" Is this just a slip of the lip, or what?
Concerned citizens have documented, with ever-increasing frequency in the past ten years with the "transformation" of our nation, a move away from representative governance to governance by appointed councils, committees, and task forces. In the words of James Madison, "...a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the Government in person ..." Rule by man according to his own passions and opinions rather than rule by law as laid down by constitutions of the several states and the United States.
People are watching their rights trampled on, ignored and steam rolled by groups and government bodies whose focus may be politically correct, but is certainly not constitutionally correct.
The chasm is becoming ever wider between those who are doing the trampling and those being trampled on. As that chasm grows, chaos and civil unrest will ensue. America is headed down the path of violence that James Madison warned against.
Every elected official--every legislator, governor, president, judge, sheriff, county official, city official--who has embraced the tenets of democracy do so in violation of their Oath of Affirmation to uphold the constitution of their state as well as that of the United States.
What is the remedy? Thomas Jefferson, 1779:
"The most effectual means of preventing the perversion of power into tyranny are to illuminate...the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that they may...know ambition under all its shapes, and... exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes."
"...the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government, they should watch over it ... It is universally admitted that a well-instructed people alone can be permanently free."
The answer is not more laws, the answer is to educate, that every citizen, every voter, every teacher, every elected official should have a thorough understanding of representative governance, of the constitution of the several states and the United States.
We are not a democracy; we are a Constitutional Republic in which every man, woman and child has a responsibility, a duty, to understand and practice the concepts of self-governance.
A Republic, Not A Democracy (www.learn-usa.com)
It is notable that we pledge our allegiance to a republic, and not to a democracy.
The original wording of the pledge of allegiance was:
I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
It has been claimed that the pledge of allegiance to the flag first appeared in a children's magazine called The Youth's Companion. On Columbus Day, October 12, 1892, by proclamation of President Benjamin Harrison, the pledge was first used by school children, and it was amended by the substitution of the words the flag of the United States of America rather than my flag. The pledge was adopted officially on Flag Day, June 14, 1924 by joint resolution of Congress and was again amended, this time in 1954, by the addition of the words under God.
How many times a day, listening to the news on television, or radio, reading the newspaper, or listening to general conversation, have you heard of our form of government referred to as a democracy? Just what is a democracy anyway?
DEMOCRACY -- Government by the people; a form of government, in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively, or in which the people exercise the power of legislation. Such as the government of Athens. 
At first glance it seems that this fits exactly what we learned in a previous lesson, that the sovereign power of this nation rests with the people, not the government:
In the United States, Sovereignty resides in the people, who act through the organs established by the Constitution. 
ORGAN, 2] The instrumentation or means of conveyance or communication. A secretary of state is the organ of communication between the government and a foreign power. 
...The Congress cannot invoke the sovereign power of the people to override their will as thus declared. 
Why is it, do you suppose, that we pledge allegiance to the Republic for which it (the flag) stands and not the democracy? Is there a difference between the terms democracy and that of republic?
REPUBLIC, A commonwealth; a state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by the people. In modern usage, it differs from a democracy or democratic state, in which the people exercise the powers of sovereignty in person. Yet the democracies of Greece are often called republics. 
So we see several things regarding the differences between a democracy and a republic:
In a democracy the sovereignty of the nation rests with the people, as it also does in a republic. The primary difference is in the exercise of that sovereignty. In a democracy the people exercise the powers of sovereignty in person, while in a republic they exercise the powers of sovereignty through representatives elected by the people, or through the organs established by the constitution.
The true distinction between these forms (democracy and republic) is, that in a Democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. 
The above definition by Madison of what constitutes a Democracy has also been termed a 'pure democracy'. Those who wrote our Constitution, which created our government, never mentioned a democracy at all in that document. Nowhere in the Constitution does it even mention a democracy, nowhere at all. That same Constitution does however guarantee to each State a republican form of government:
Article IV, Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
The founders of this nation decided to establish a republic rather than a democracy:
In Philadelphia, a Mrs. Powel asked Dr. Franklin, "Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy?"
"A republic," replied the Doctor, "if you can keep it." 
Our founders, in establishing our republic, had some very harsh words regarding a democracy:
... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
On May 31, 1787, Edmund Randolph told his fellow members of the Constitutional Convention that the object for which the delegates had met was ...
to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and trials of democracy...." 
At that Constitutional Convention another delegate, Elbridge Gerry, said,
The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want [do not lack] virtue; but are the dupes of pretended patriots. 
That a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity. 
As we learned earlier, in both a democracy and in a republic, the sovereign power of the nation rests with the people. The difference is in how they exercise that sovereign power. In a democracy the people exercise their power in person, all is subject to the will of the majority directly. In a republic the people exercise their sovereign power through the organs created by the constitution, through the people that they elect to those offices created by the constitution. In the words of the founders, exercising sovereign power directly in person through a democracy was: the character of tyranny, the figure of deformity, the evils of excess, turbulence and trials, contention, incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and so on.
A moments consideration of a 'pure democracy' reveals a couple of its primary weaknesses, it would only work with a very small population, and rights would be subject to the will of the majority.
The founders worried much about what they termed 'factions':
[T]he same advantage which a republic has over a Democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic . . . 
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community. 
A republican form of government, or properly termed, our Constitutional Republic, was one of the guards against a segment of society, a faction, from dictating their whims to the rest of society, this is what Alexander Hamilton was warning against when he stated regarding democracies, "Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity." Another guard against factions that was built into our system of government is our Electoral College.
A very good example of a possible faction in a pure democracy is the anti-gun movement, united by passion rather than facts, and adverse to the rights of others. In a pure democracy, if the anti-gun view became the one held by the majority (which thankfully it has not), then they could destroy our right to keep and bear arms by dictate of the majority. Our Constitutional Republic stands as a guard against this type of factionalism.
A nation that knows not from where it came, knows not where it is going! Today, Americans know too little about the foundations of our nation. The result is a nation now in chaos, its people unable to discern what is wrong with the transformation (paradigm shift) of our society and form of government that, if left unchecked, will destroy every facet of freedom, liberty and justice. The price of freedom is vigilance; the price of vigilance is knowledge. Many of America's founding documents are now available on the web.
America's Foundations HyperLinks:
The American Colonist's Library
The Anti-Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers
The Republican, Historical Vault
During the past several months in the American press, the Democrats have frequently denounced the Republicans as Nazis due to their attempts to control runaway federal spending. How very ironic. I remember the Nazis. Let me share a little about them and recall some of their exploits.
First of all, "Nazi" was gutter slang for the verb "to nationalize." The Bider-Mienhoff gang gave themselves this moniker during their early struggles. The official title of the Nazi Party was "The National Socialist Workers Party of Germany." Hitler and the Brownshirts advocated the nationalization of education, health care, transportation, national resources, manufacturing, distribution, and law enforcement.
Hitler came to power by turning the working class, unemployed, and academic elite against the conservative republic. After Der Fuhrer's election ceased being a political conspiracy and was transformed into a fashionable social phenomenon, party membership was especially popular with educators, bureaucrats, and the press.
Being a Nazi was "politically correct." They called themselves "The Children of the New Age of World Order" and looked down their noses at everyone else. As Hitler acquired more power, he referred to his critics as "The Dark Forces of Anarchy and Hatred." Anyone who questioned Nazi high-handedness in the German press was branded a "Conservative Reactionary." Joseph Goebbels, minister of communications, proclaimed a "New World Order."
The Nazi reign of terror began with false news reports on the Jews, Bohemians, and Gypsies who were said to be arming themselves to overthrow the "New World Order." Hitler demanded that all good people register their guns so that they wouldn't fall into the hands of "terrorists and madmen." Right-wing fanatics of the "Old Order" who protested firearms registration were arrested by the S.S. and put in jail for "fomenting hatred against the Government of the German people."
Then the Reichstag (government building) was blown up and Hitler ram-rodded an "Emergency Anti-Terrorist Act" through Parliament that gave the Gestapo extraordinary powers. The leader then declared that for the well-being of the German people, all private firearms were to be confiscated by the Gestapo and the Wermotten (federal law enforcement and military). German citizens who refused to surrender their guns when the "jack-boots" (Gestapo) came calling, were murdered in their homes. By the way, the Gestapo were the federal marshals' service of the Third Reich. The S.W.A.T. team was invented and perfected by the Gestapo to break into the homes of the enemies of the German people.
When the Policia Bewakken, or local police, refused to take away guns from townsfolk, they themselves were disarmed and dragged out into the street and shot to death by the S.A. and the S.S. Those were Nazi versions of the B.A.T.F.and the F.B.I. When several local ministers spoke out against these atrocities, they were imprisoned and never seen again. The Gestapo began to confiscate and seize the homes, businesses, bank accounts, and personal belongings of wealthy conservative citizens who had prospered in the old Republic. Pamphleteers who urged revolt against the Nazis were shot on site by national law enforcement and the military. Gypsies and Jews were detained and sent to labor camps. Mountain roads throughout central Europe were closed to prevent the escape of fugitives into the wilderness, and to prevent the movement and concealment of partisan resistance fighters.
Public schools rewrote history and Hitler youth groups taught the children to report their parents to their teachers for anti-Nazi remarks. Such parents disappeared. Pagan animism became the state religion of the Third Reich and Christians were widely condemned as "right wing fanatics."
Millions of books were burned first and then people. Millions of them burned in huge ovens after they were first gassed to death. Unmarried women were paid large sums of money to have babies out of wedlock and then given medals for it. Evil was declared as being good, and good was condemned as being evil. World Order was coming and the German people were going to be the "peacekeepers."
Yes, indeed, I remember the Nazis and they weren't Republicans, or "right wing," or "patriots," or "militias." They were Socialist monsters.
-- Thomas Colton Ruthford
He who ignores the past is doomed to repeat it. In 60 short years, the people have forgotten what happened in Germany leading up to, and during, World War II. It is not a lesson that should ever be forgotten. One only has to read the above to see the ominous parallels with America as we prepare to enter the 21st Century. For anyone who wants an eyeful of the parallels between our "emerging" society and Germany leading up to, and during, Hitler's reign of terror, The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff (New York: Meridian Publishing; 1982), is recommended reading. For those who need to be reminded of what madmen can do in their lust for power and position, I Cannot Forgive by Rudolf Vrba and Allen Vestic (New York: Bantom Books; 1964) is a must read. Rudolph Vrba was a Jew who spent the years of World War II in a German concentration camp where he was an eyewitness to the atrocities of the German madmen at the helm, finally escaping to Hungary where his efforts stopped the exporting of Jews to the gas chambers of Germany.
Democracy Is the Enemy in the
By: Arnaud de Borchgrave
To paraphrase Winston Churchill on the Battle of Britain: Never in the field of Middle Eastern reporting was so much owed by so many to so few.
In fact, to one man.
Martin Sieff's "Politically Incorrect Guide to the
Puncturing myths is one of his strong suits.
Among the gems in Sieff's "Politically Incorrect Guide":
The intelligence agencies of the
Contrary to most reporting on
The Saudis have copied
King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud led the real "Desert Revolt" -- the one that worked -- whereas Lawrence of Arabia was a self-created myth who had little impact on the
Osama bin Laden, a Saudi, hates the Saudi royal family as the biggest obstacle to his dream of a new, nuclear-armed, oil-controlling, super caliphate that would dominate the world. He chose Saudi nationals to carry out the
The dream of a world without oil is ridiculous because even if oil is no longer needed for power stations and automobiles, it remains essential for plastics to make furniture and dozens of other widely used items -- otherwise we'd have to cut down billions more trees -- as well as to fuel the Haber-Bosch process for making nitrate fertilizer for crops, without which one-third of the human race would starve.
Democracy is not
Sieff the contrarian explains why an Israeli-Palestinian peace is not only impossible, but undesirable; why democracy is not America's friend in the Middle East; why Iran can't be reformed, but the Saudis can; Islamic fundamentalism isn't ancient, which is why it's do dangerous. And, says Sieff, no one understands radical Islam better than Prince Turki, a son of the late King Faisal, who was assassinated by a deranged nephew in 1975.
Turki ran the Saudi intelligence service for a quarter of a century before going on to be the Saudi ambassador in the
Extreme Islamist terrorists are inspired by perverted non-Islamic cult psychology, Sieff quotes Turki, rather than a classic terrorist organization like the Irish Republican Army or the Basque separatist group ETA.
"Far from being any kind of logical extension of traditional Islam, the kind of nihilistic violence and revolution advocated by Osama bin Laden and others is akin to the revolutionary utopianism of Bolshevism and the Russian and Chinese revolutions," Turki said in London several years ago. And the kind of people attracted by this message, as was the case with Marxism, are not the actual poor and suffering, who are overwhelmingly preoccupied with making ends meet and securing better lives for themselves and their families, but the displaced, rootless intellectuals, the "superfluous men" described by the great 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky as being the driving forces of the revolutionary movement.
Turki was among the first to understand that al-Qaida's recruits are more likely to be drawn from middle-class university backgrounds than from mean slums. As Sieff points out, Turki's early assessment revealed the Saudi government correctly understood the complex and critical nature of the problem.
For the war against the Islamists to be won, they must first be isolated from the mainstream of the Islamic world.
What Muslims Really Think
By Dinesh D'Souza
Monday, April 28, 2008
While on the debating circuit pounding atheists--a pastime I am really getting to enjoy--I have just started reading Dalia Mogahed and John Esposito's Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think. It's one of the first books to put some real data behind a much-disputed question.
For several years now liberal and conservative pundits have been pontificating about the Muslim world, usually without a shred of data. I was amused last year to cross swords with some of my fellow conservatives like Scott Johnson and Victor Davis Hanson. These ideologues seem of the opinion that the average Muslim is a crazed polygamist who is ready to blow himself up. No surprise: this is supposedly what Muslims all learn in the school where they read nothing but the Koran! Only pundits who have no exposure to Muslim countries, Muslim history and Muslim people can go on like this.
For such gurus, Islam itself is the problem and nothing short of an Islamic Reformation headed by ex-Muslims like Hirsi Ali will show the Muslim world where it has gone wrong over the past five centuries. I admire Ali and sympathize with her hardships, but how likely is it that Muslims will follow a woman who the author of a book titled Infidel? In Christianity, the Reformation was led by a devout Martin Luther and not by skeptics and freethinkers like Hume or Voltaire.
Practical difficulties aside, we often forget the simple fact that Islam has been around for 1300 years and Islamic terrorism has been around for a few decades. Yes, one can find isolated instances in Islamic history of fanatical groups like the Assassins, but these are hardly typical of the Islamic regimes that have ruled for centuries. The intelligent questions to ask are, "What is it about Islam today that has made it an incubator of radicalism and terrorism?" And second, "What do most Muslims really think about the West?"
Fortunately there is an increasing body of reliable data on Muslim beliefs. One source is the World Values Survey, which has the benefit of tracking opinions over a period of decades. Another is the Gallup surveys which are now under the aegis of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, a group headed by Mogahed. Esposito is one of the most respected American authorities on Islam. I am only getting into their book, but here I offer my own hypothesis, and then I'm going to find out if their data vindicate it.
The problem for Muslims is not Christianity or Judaism. In fact, Islam sees itself as incorporating both in much the same way that Christianity sees itself as incorporating Judaism. Moses and Christ are considered prophets in Islam. If you read the propaganda of the radical Muslims, they almost never condemn the West for being a Christian society. They typically describe the West as an atheist and immoral society. Bin Laden has called America "the leading power of the pagans and unbelievers."
The problem for most Muslims is Western liberalism. But here we must distinguish between two kinds of liberalism. There is the classical liberalism of the American founding. Call this Liberalism 1. This liberalism is reflected in such principles as the right to vote, to assemble freely, to debate issues, to trade with others, to practice one's religion, political and religious toleration, and so on.
Then there is the modern liberalism of the 1960s. Call this Liberalism 2. This liberalism is defined by such tenets as the right to blaspheme, the complete exclusion of religious symbols from the public square, the right of teenage boys and girls to receive sex education and contraceptives, the right to abortion, prostitution as a worker's right, pornography as a protected form of expression, gay rights and gay marriage, and so on. It is this second type of liberalism that seems to drive the social agenda of today's Democratic Party. For example, Hillary Clinton chaired a presidential task force during the 1990s that promoted prostitution as an international right for workers.
Now we are in a better position to understand Islamic attitudes regarding the West. The vast majority of Muslims worldwide embrace Liberalism 1 while rejecting Liberalism 2. They are generally comfortable with classical liberalism while abhorring the tenets of modern liberalism. And by equating America with such things as blasphemy, pornography, prostitution and homosexuality, the radical Muslims appeal to ordinary Muslims to join their cause in a battle against the Great Satan. This is what I have argued in my recent book The Enemy at Home. The book is just out in paperback, with an Afterward responding to my critics on the right and the left. I always try and learn from my critics, and I'm also interested to see how my thesis stands up in light of Mogahed and Esposito's data.
Of course today's liberals will chafe at the idea that their values are producing a powerful "blowback" from the House of Islam. That's why we need good empirical work like this book. Let us find out what Muslims really think, and then let us look at the propaganda of the radical Muslims to see how they rally traditional Muslims to their side. Who cares if liberals don't like to admit what is going on? People are entitled to their own opinions but they are not entitled to their own facts.
Placing Liberals Under a Microscope
By Burt Prelutsky
Monday, April 28, 2008
What makes liberals so endlessly fascinating isn't just that they manage with a consistency that verges on the miraculous to be wrong on every important issue, but the latitude they extend to their political leaders to lie, cheat and steal.
For instance, has any liberal ever questioned Al Gore's apocryphal pronouncements about climate change in light of the fact that the man continues to live in a mansion and gad about in private jets? Now, thanks to Mr. Gore, we are having those new, terribly ugly light bulbs shoved down our throats. And if you think dealing with nuclear waste is a headache, just wait until you try to dispose of light bulbs jam-packed with mercury! Frankly, in view of Gore's success at creating mass hysteria, I, for one, won't be too surprised if the ecology Nazis next begin demanding that we insulate our homes with asbestos.
Chelsea Clinton, while giving one of her recent speeches for Mother Clinton, was asked whether, like Hillary, she recalled running from gunfire at the Kosovo airfield in 1996. The audience, no doubt filled with true believers, first groaned at the impertinence of anyone daring to question the First Daughter, then rewarded Chelsea with an ovation for saying nothing more than "I was there."
Now that Chelsea is all of 28, I suppose, like her parents, she is mastering the technique of avoiding direct questions as the all-important first step in carving out a political career. The fact is, by 2016, when Hillary expects to be winding up her second term, her daughter would be 36 and of an age to make a run for the White House herself. Heck, if things pan out, none of the Clintons might ever have to pay rent again.
Let us not overlook that grand old sot of the Democratic party, Ted Kennedy. Although he preaches clean energy from his pulpit in the Senate, nary a liberal called him a hypocrite when he prevented windmills from being erected near his home because they might interfere with his view. Although how much he can really see through the bottom of a shot glass is anybody's guess.
More recently, oil was dumped from his boat into the nearby bay, but you can't expect that the guy who was never indicted for dumping a woman in a body of water would be reprimanded over such a trifle. Of course, if he were a Republican, the Boston Globe would call for his resignation and the New York Times would call for his head.
This brings us to Barack Obama. Accused of attending a racist, anti-American church, he first claimed he never heard Rev. Wright make a single blasphemous remark from the pulpit. Then, when he was reminded that he'd been sitting there Sunday after Sunday for 20 years, soaking in the sewage, he made a speech in which he pretty much ignored the specific, hate-filled remarks spewed by his mentor, except to say that he understood where Jeremiah Wright was coming from. Only later did we all find out that the Obamas had dropped over $25,000 in Wright's collection box last year.
When Trent Lott made a single stupid remark to a bigoted white senator on the occasion of Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday, Lott was made to walk the plank by the Republicans. But when a black Democrat who, along with his wife, has received every benefit that a guilt-ridden white society has to offer, tells us that he never once spoke up when his surrogate father damned our nation; accused white people of inflicting HIV on black people in order to exterminate the race; and claimed that 9/11 was a case of America's chickens coming home to roost; the liberals don't ride him out of the party on a rail. Instead, they insist he gave a great speech and opened an honest dialogue on race.
Frankly, I find the Obama phenomenon a total mystery. He has the most left-wing voting record in the U.S. Senate, but claims he's the guy who can bring Republicans and Democrats together. In his books and in his church attendance, he proves that he sees everything through a prism of race, but he contends he's the guy who can unite blacks and whites.
I find it absurd that his entire platform consists of two extremely vague words -- hope and change. That was pretty much the same thing the Democrats promised us before taking control of the House and Senate in 2006.
Well, recently, a friend of mine reminded me that just prior to the 2006 election, consumer confidence was unbelievably high; regular gasoline sold for about $2.25-a-gallon; and the unemployment rate was 4.5%.
Since then, consumer confidence has plummeted; gas now costs about a dollar-and-a-half-a-gallon more; unemployment stands at 5%; American homeowners have seen their home equity drop by over a trillion dollars, with one percent of our homes in foreclosure; and, for good measure, the liberals refuse to eliminate earmarks.
It wasn't all bad news, though. The Democratic-controlled Congress, no doubt in appreciation for what they regarded as a job very well done, voted to increase their own salaries.
So, I can only assume that the change that Barack Obama longs for is to see the Republicans re-claim the House and Senate. If so, it's the only thing the man has ever said or done with which I heartily agree.