Thursday, September 9, 2010

Changing Change

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

"Change doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington."

“The change we seek has always required great struggle and great sacrifice. And so this is a battle in our own hearts and minds about what kind of country we want and how hard we’re willing to work for it.”

“So let me remind you tonight that change will not be easy. Change will take time. There will be setbacks and false starts and sometimes we’ll make mistakes.”

“We’ve done this before: Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what’s needed to be done. Today we are called once more, and it is time for our generation to answer that call. For that is our unyielding faith that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.”

“I recognize that there is a certain presumptuousness in this, a certain audacity, to this announcement. I know that I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

“The genius of our Founders is that they designed a system of government that can be changed. And we should take heart, because we’ve changed this country before.”

“When I hear the cynical talk that blacks and whites and Latinos can’t join together and work together, I’m reminded of the Latino brothers and sisters I organized with and stood with and fought with side by side for jobs and justice on the streets of Chicago. So don’t tell us change can’t happen.”

“And so if we do not change our politics � if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works � then the problems we’ve been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come.”

One thing that President Obama never talks about is what he means by the word “change”. The question is, what is he changing America into; specifically, what is the “system” he wants for us? Is it a system of constant change such as socialism or fascism? It is certainly not the kind of slow, deliberate change that created the domestic tranquility for which our Founders strove.

Believe it or not, this issue of changing our government was critical to the discussions during our Constitutional Convention in 1787. Our Founders wanted a government that could be changed but only in a very limited, slow, deliberate and thoughtful way; they wanted to secure and strengthen freedom not change it on a whim. They wanted a government based on sound and true principles that corresponded with the real world in which men lived. And, more importantly, they sought to institute “protections” against the government changing into a dictatorship. They created the separation of powers, checks and balances, regular elections, property rights, judicial review and even freedom of speech in order to ensure that society did not change into a system where factions such as economic or religious groups could turn the government into a tool of oppression. They wanted a government that secured “domestic tranquility” rather than revolutionary change. They created a republic.

The real issue for the Founders was not how to re-distribute income. They established a government that, for the first time in recorded history, allowed and protected the pursuit of happiness; a system that allowed hard working people to keep the results of their work…by right. They were philosophically grounded in Enlightenment ideas, the development of parliamentary government in England, the experiments of the Ancient Greeks and Roman forms of government; and they carefully pondered how to create something so good and so well constituted that it could not be changed easily. Many of their arguments revolved around the question of how to ensure domestic tranquility.

Something tells me that President Obama would probably give lip-service to the idea of domestic tranquility. I think he wants to ensure that people don’t correctly understand that the “change” he refuses to define is really revolutionary change; the kind of change that obliterates and unravels all the work done by the Founders. Revolutionary change destroys domestic tranquility because it is an assault on the Constitution and individual rights.

Why is President Obama’s “change” the opposite of domestic tranquility? First of all, any undefined concept can only do harm. The fact that it is undefined means that those in charge of it can “change” the definition to suit their needs at any time. It is reminiscent of George Soros’ “Open Society”; a full democracy where a majority can enslave the productive minority without opposition. In such a “democratic” system, we find that few honest citizens can garner the support necessary to defeat or amend the plundering of their property. A government that has a free hand to disregard individual rights and Constitutional protections can do virtually anything it wants in the name of changing the system to something that it decides is “fair”. What you get is what we’ve got; a government whose leader rules virtually by decree without reference to laws or the Constitution.

This “change” society destroys economic activity because business people and private citizens are effectively prohibited from planning their futures. As a matter of survival, they must refuse to invest in the future until domestic tranquility is restored. If they have only plunder of their property to look forward to, they will not produce very much. This is a law of nature, not something you can fix about man. It is a form of justice where honest people refuse to feed parasites.

The truth is that a revolutionary government like ours does not see domestic tranquility as a value. Its highest value is change. Change is necessary because the leaders do not know what to do and they must have the flexibility necessary to change policies and conditions unilaterally and without debate. Their greatest enemy is the man who expects to be reasoned with and treated honestly. This is why revolutionary governments have always made an enemy of capitalism and capitalists. They have committed virtually every form of crime against these people including murder and imprisonment, disenfranchisement and plunder. Capitalists are the proverbial scapegoats of history, damned by altruism because they pursue happiness and want to live better lives.

Revolutionary government needs the ability to steal value through re-distribution, progressive taxation, debt, expropriation, violation of contracts and outright nationalization…in order to get the money it needs to build oligarchs, regulatory agencies, secret police and armies. Revolutionary government requires altruism and self-sacrifice among those it intends to loot and, therefore, it cannot be constrained by such ideas as individual rights and reasoned debate. So the “change” that revolutionary government requires is the destruction of domestic tranquility.

Revolutionary governments, seeking change, necessarily make bad decisions. For instance, our government, under the Obama administration, has accepted Keynesian economic fallacies that recommend government re-distribution (through debt) to stimulate demand for products. The false premise of Keynesianism is that government can spur economic activity by giving money to consumers who will then buy from producers. But the money given to the consumers has been taken from the producers, capitalists, factory workers, service employees; and this means that the government is not creating wealth…it is only moving it around (This is why the Stimulus Programs have not created any new jobs). Where producers would otherwise invest their money in production, thereby increasing domestic products, wealth is reduced due to re-distribution.

In fact, the government is destroying what would otherwise be rational expenditures of money, diverting those expenditures from the purchase of production capacity to the purchase of snacks, alcoholic beverages and candy. The economy declines because it has been “changed” into a less efficient system. A perfect example of this, if it is implemented, will be the so-called “Cap and Trade” program that will move even more money around and destroy one of the most vital industries we have; our energy industry. This program will tax today's most efficient uses of energy and re-distribute money to oligarchs paid by the government to develop inefficient energy products whose prices will be subsidized by the government in order to encourage their consumption. If you thought Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were failed re-distribution schemes (that brought about a financial collapse) you haven’t seen anything yet. This is what you can expect from President Obama’s vision of change in America.

The basic fallacy of Keynes and Obama is best expressed by Jean Baptiste Say, " is the aim of good government to stimulate production, of bad government to encourage consumption."(1) How does good government stimulate production? It establishes domestic tranquility and leaves people alone to make their own economic decisions.

Domestic tranquility is promoted when the government is prohibited from violating individual rights, and more importantly, when the government is constrained, into the distant future, from interfering in the private decisions of citizens. When the government can never “change” into a rights-violating government, then the people can freely plan their lives, invest their money, produce abundance and make profits…into the distant future. They require domestic tranquility in order to survive.

It is not likely that President Obama will ever admit that his “change” is the cause of our economic problems. He would prefer to blame capitalism and small business people for being selfish than to admit that his policies have upset our domestic tranquility. He pretends not to see what is in front of his eyes, that his government is doing exactly the opposite of what is necessary for a vibrant economy. His government is “changing” so fast and regulating so much that people do not know how to prepare for the future. He is destroying their rights so fast, spending their money so fast at a level unheard of in the history of the world, that you can validly ask whether he is deliberately destroying our nation.

The re-establishment of domestic tranquility is not about being a Republican or a Democrat. The Founding Fathers did not think of party divisions or of winning elections when they sought to create the circumstances that enabled citizens to perennially live without the interference of government. Today, we have no such tranquility and the actions of our change-prone government are pushing us further and further into decline. Not only is the private citizen under siege by his own government but the consequences of President Obama’s policies will likely make our nation vulnerable to enemies intent on destroying us.

We need to restore the time-honored principles that created our society, not because they are traditional but because they are true; they lead to the kind of society where citizens can plan their lives; where they can live secure in the knowledge that they are protected from tyranny.

In this sense, we need to change change back to the original change.

(1) Jean Baptiste Say, Traite d'Economie Politique (Say's Law, that supply creates its own demand was originated in 1803).

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