Monday, December 21, 2009
Freedom doesn’t have to ask the government for permission
The federal government was created by people who were sick and tired of a king’s government that controlled every facet of life. They wrote a Constitution that explicitly limited the power of the new government. Under this new government, individuals were free to pursue happiness as they chose. In 200 years, this new nation of free people created prosperity unmatched in all of history.
While free people were busy pursuing their happiness, others were free to pursue political power. Throughout the 20th century, a cancer grew in the very fabric of freedom. The idea that the role of government is to provide for its citizens is a return to the dark ages when the prevailing thought was that without the protection of a benevolent government (king), man’s life was, as Thomas Hobbes put it, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
The people who share Hobbes’ philosophy have been called by many labels over the years, but they all fit rather nicely into the ideas expressed most eloquently in modern times by Karl Marx.
It matters not what labels are pinned on the people who want to put government in charge of individual lives; what matters is that freedom cannot exist when it requires the permission of government. Freedom cannot co-exist with a government that insists on controlling its citizens
The people who have found life to be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” are eager for government to take control of their lives, and the lives - and fortunes - of those people whose pursuit of happiness has produced prosperity. When government assumes control it can “spread the wealth around.”
The war in Washington is far more than a battle between political parties; it is a war for the survival of America. Forget the labels; forget the political affiliation. Focus on the people who believe that America must remain a nation that honors its’ Constitution and cherishes the freedom of every individual. These are the people who must be elected. People who want to transform the foundation of America must be rejected. Freedom cannot co-exist with a government that insists on controlling its citizens.
For generations, government has been moving away from the idea of Constitutional limitations. Now, Congress no longer even pays lip-service to the Article 1, Section 8 Congressional limitations of power. Now, led by a devout, admitted, “wealth-spreader,” the federal government is moving rapidly to bury all traces of individual freedom. The new government now under construction will require that the pursuit of happiness begin at the desk of a federal bureaucrat, and follow only the path prescribed by government.
The federal government has already imposed, or is imposing, what is called Sustainable Development. This “sound-good” label obscures the control that government exercises over where an individual may live, what type of transportation must be used, and even the kind of materials that may be used in his home. This is not freedom; this is tyranny.
Government has taken control of land use through wetland, critical habitat, urban boundary zones, and other control mechanisms. Government is attempting to take control over all water in the United States, as well as the activities that may affect water (S-787).
Government ignored its Constitutional limitation when it used its citizens’ money to bail out those financial institutions it favored, while allowing others to go broke. Government didn’t even consider the Constitution when it fired the CEO of General Motors, reorganized a private corporation and used tax dollars to buy a controlling interest.
Government is taking control over energy use by declaring carbon dioxide to be a pollutant, and allowing the EPA to regulate it. Government is attempting to create a “cap & trade” program that will not only control the energy available to individuals, but will also produce windfall profits for the government at the expense of the individual.
Nothing in the Constitution authorizes the government to take control of the health care industry. Nevertheless, legislation now pending will create more than 100 new bureaucracies to take control of virtually every facet of health care.
The federal government has become the tyrannical king that our forefathers fought so hard to cast off. The next two elections will determine whether the great American experiment succeeds – or not. The current majority in Washington, which obviously rejects the idea of limited government and individual freedom, must be removed, or at least significantly reduced, in 2010. In 2012, a whole new regime must capture the Capitol.
Support those who support the Constitution. Only candidates who demonstrate their reverence for the Constitution by pledging to vote only for legislation that cites its Constitutional authority should be elected. The people who must be removed from Washington are those who vote for government’s takeover of all water, energy use, or health care. There is no way a politician can “preserve, protect, and defend” the U.S. Constitution while allowing the government to ignore the limitations imposed upon it by the Constitution.
Patriots must look beyond party affiliation to see how individual politicians vote. Support those who support the Constitution and its principles of freedom. Reject all others.
The Party of Repeal
In 1994, Republicans seized control of Congress, largely due to their Contract With America pledge which resonated with the electorate. The same concept will work for the 2010 election — if Republicans have the guts and the foresight to run with it. Note I used the word "concept," because this time their pledge should center around a completely different set of promises.
To begin with, Republicans must understand that Democrats and their media lapdogs are unwittingly doing them a huge favor by referring to them as obstructionists for refusing to abide Democrats' intention to socialize America. They should take that obstructionist label and double down on it: Republicans must become the "Party of Repeal." To wit:
If Democrats pass government-run health insurance, Republicans must first tell Americans they want no part of it — and them tell them that if they become a majority in 2010, they will repeal it.
Ditto for a host of other leftist agendas. Cap-and-trade passes? We'll "unpass" it. Terrorist trials in civilian courts? We'll overturn the Attorney General's decision by crafting a law stating that all non-citizen terrorists will stand before military tribunals. Democrats pass illegal immigration "reform?" We'll toss it overboard and enforce the laws already on the books — and we'll also cut federal funds to all "sanctuary cities" until they comply with those laws.
Runaway government spending? We'll peg federal spending to inflation and population growth, and come up with a realistic plan to reduce federal debt — including a pledge that no Republican will ever again add a single earmark to any federal bill. Democrats raise taxes? We'll lower them and get America working again.
Gutsy? Only if Republicans ignore the reality that Americans identify themselves as forty percent conservative, thirty-five percent independent and twenty-one percent liberal. Only if they have managed to miss the stunning uptick in people supportive of Tea Party Americans who have prospered despite a relentless bashing by the mainstream media and Democrats.
Only if they don't understand that one of the primal fears of most Americans is that once a government program is enacted, it is forever.
Republicans can make it crystal clear that nothing is forever, especially anything which has the capacity to undermine two hundred and thirty three years of individualism, freedom and prosperity.
If Republicans need reassurance that standing against rampant liberalism is a potential winner, perhaps they should cast their collective gaze toward Florida where their own "machine politician," Charlie Crist, has just been caught from behind by conservative upstart — and virtual unknown — Marco Rubio. This is happening despite Crist's huge advantage with regard to both campaign funding and name recognition. At the very least, such a startling development should tell them that Republicans are fed up with the status quo. Add the gubernatorial victory of Chris Christie in bluer-than-blue New Jersey — by an "ACORN-proof" one hundred thousand vote margin — and maybe Republicans might get the idea that moderates are ripe for the taking as well.
Moderates plus conservatives? Even the most math-challenged Republicans should be inspired by the possibilities.
One of the great strategies in selling anything is to turn a negative into a positive. Democrats and the media have excoriated Republicans, labeling them the "Party of No." Republicans should wear that label like a badge of honor — if they truly care about the country. A sizable majority of Americans are fed up with big — and getting bigger — government. If Republicans can't see that, they're comatose.
A lesson from Greece for America
If you don't think heavy regulation, elephantine bureaucracies, union rule and runaway spending amount to poison for an economy, take a gander at what decades of such socialist policies have done to Greece. Last week, the tiny Balkan state seemed like a blazing house threatening to set the rest of its European Union neighborhood on fire.
It started when Greece earned the first of two sovereign downgrades from ratings agency Fitch over its $436 billion budget deficit. Then Standard & Poor's cut Greece to BBB+ from A- and sternly warned that if the government didn't get serious about controlling its spending, the downgrade wouldn't be its last. Through the week, investors dumped Greek bonds, and word rose that Greece would need a bailout from the European Union.
European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel loudly said no to that Wednesday, but it didn't help. By Thursday, Greece's problem became Europe's problem, with the euro tumbling to a three-month low against the dollar while U.S. Treasury prices -- a traditional safe haven for sovereign investors -- soared. On Friday, S&P announced "a more pronounced and faster economic deterioration than we previously anticipated" for Greece, with a "protracted hard landing" next.
The whole crisis has a perfectly logical basis: Greece's budget deficit is more than four times higher than the European Union's 3% ceiling and stands at 12.7% of GDP. Its gross debt, at 112% of GDP, indicates it has more debt than productive output. And its socialist government has no credible plan to quit spending. Years of embedded socialism -- in spending, labor and regulatory practices -- are responsible. They've enabled the government to consume the very economy that's supposed to sustain it.
Even supposedly right-of-center parties spent state cash the same way. The last party in power was nominally conservative, but failed to stop expansion of government. It kept hiring, kowtowed to union demands for fear of strikes and did little to change the culture's gimme-gimme mentality. Bureaucrats were hired like there was no tomorrow. These state employees are union members who can never be fired no matter how nasty, lazy or corrupt. Layers of such people go into ministries as payoffs for political favors.
The newly elected socialist prime minister, George Papandreou, claims he's cleaning up. He has denounced corruption and asked to freeze public hiring and pay. He has proposed to cut social security 10%, perhaps privatize state firms and gut military expenditures -- easy to do with the U.S. doing the heavy lifting in Afghanistan.
Papandreou still can't bring himself to lay the blame where it belongs -- on big government. Instead, he makes bankers the scapegoat, calling for a 90% tax on bank bonuses and vowing to end tax exemptions for everyone else to raise more revenues for the state. His own party blames foreigners. "This group dismisses Greece's financial predicament as a short-lived west European conspiracy to discredit the socialist government," according to a socialist policymaker quoted in the Financial Times.
Papandreou also has vowed to protect the little guys in the bureaucracy, making them immune to discipline even if they protest meager cuts. Already the communist labor union PAME has roused 5,000 teachers and hospital workers to strike, warning Papandreou to cut nothing and blaming the "greedy" private sector. "Papandreou, remember who elected you," the strikers shouted. Newspapers followed with their own work stoppage, and two of the bigger Greek unions warned the government to go gore someone else's ox.
With a shrinking private sector, that's getting harder. One in four Greeks is employed by the state, and 422,000 Greeks -- 10% of the work force -- are unemployed. Salaries and prices are as high as Germany's, but productivity is not. Job mobility is the most rigid in Europe. In 2009, Greece ranked second worst in Europe on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.
This culmination of years of runaway socialism has left the public resentful, bitter and unwilling to pay taxes. "Why should I pay?" a Greek citizen told the New York Times. "I don't care about my government, I don't care about my country." Greece may be Europe's problem for now, but the lesson should not be lost on the rest of us.
The Bondage of Debt
Obama's huge spending has already devalued the dollar, which means that the low prices Americans have been accustomed to pay for goods made overseas will rise -- thus making everyone poorer -- as a dollar buys less. And that process is just beginning
In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, King Solomon details the differences in thought, word, and deed between a wise man and a fool. In addressing the foolishness associated with borrowing money, he makes clear the relationship between debt and servitude: No man can truly be free when he is bound by financial indebtedness to another. It's clear, however, that the danger of debt is something a majority of the American people—including members of Congress and our President—have yet to take seriously. Even though our national debt is spiraling out of control, we appear unwilling to change our spendthrift ways.
Congress has just taken action to increase our national debt limit by $290 billion—bringing our debt ceiling to a whopping $12.4 trillion. This, after two years of unprecedented spending during which time we accrued the same amount of debt that we accumulated in the first 200 years of our nation's history. No matter how much money Uncle Sam extracts for his coffers, however, it appears it's never enough. The demand for entitlements continues to grow and liberals in government are only too willing to accommodate that demand by expanding the power of the nanny state. Contemporary society has been taught that when it comes to the world of finance, credit is king. Credit, we are told, is how we finance the good life. When Gordon Gekko told us that greed was good, we apparently believed him, and set about to prove his point.
But, as the old saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. The United States cannot continue on this path of fiscal gluttony indefinitely. With every dollar we borrow, we sacrifice more and more of our freedom.
As individuals, we've come to rely increasingly on those credit cards in our wallets, charging 40 cents out of every dollar we spend. We finance everything: our homes, our vehicles, our educations, our entertainment...even basic essentials like food and clothing are more often than not purchased on credit in today's marketplace. Thanks to the folks at American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, the American worker's penchant for champagne and caviar need not be stymied by the constraints of a beer budget.
As a nation, we've racked up nearly $12 trillion in debt and have seen the budget deficit soar from $455 billion to $1.4 trillion in the last year alone. And in the same way a strapped homeowner takes out a second mortgage on his house to stave off financial ruin for one more year, Congress has time and again—in the name of the people's "general welfare" no less—voted to take on more and more debt to fund a ballooning list of appropriations and entitlements.
In the face of this grim economic picture, only one of Solomon's fools could say with a straight face that the American government and her people are economically free. To keep up with our consumption habits, we have surrendered the freedom that comes with true ownership and live in service to our lenders. Because we have lost the discipline and maturity to distinguish our needs from our wants, we find ourselves surrounded by material goods bought on credit. But, one too many missed payments and that luxury vehicle in the driveway will be repossessed, and that McMansion in the suburbs will fall into foreclosure.
The risks associated with excess borrowing are no different at the federal level. As it now stands, 35% of the United States' gross domestic product is comprised of foreign debt. Each year, we are financing a larger and larger chunk of the nation's day to day operations on borrowed money, and each year the cost of servicing this debt goes up. This debt burden not only impacts our fiscal strength, it also significantly compromises our political and diplomatic position on the world stage. When the U.S. Government is beholden to foreign nations because of its debt, it is not free to act in the best interests of the American people, particularly when those interests conflict with the interests of our lenders.
Up to this point, America's approach to dealing with the pressures of our debt has been to take on still more debt and leave the headache to future generations. This folly must end. If we truly value our freedom we must overcome our addiction to debt and learn how to live within our means.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 1:37 AM