Friday, November 19, 2010

Changing the Debate in Congress

"No man ever prospered by unjust practices, but in a righteous cause there is hope of safety." - Euripides 480-406 BC

The tactics, goals and methods employed by the Obama administration; the bailouts, the stimulus packages, the executive orders and the unilateral rules making as well as a host of trial balloons intent on re-distributing income have failed with the American people.

Yet with the coming Republican majority in the House of Representatives, we appear to be headed toward intense debate rather than fixing problems. Many people are saying don’t go after this program or that; right now is not the time to go after NPR; we have more important issues to address; getting people back to work and improving the economy. Some people say we should ignore earmarked programs that represent a miniscule amount of theft and keep our hands off of programs that represent a gargantuan amount of theft. This debate within a debate threatens to block our ability to act at all.

The strategy behind this obfuscation is that of progressives of both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Both parties want to continue the spending banquet that they enjoy regardless of how much damage is done to the lives of real people. They don’t want change, in spite of how bad things are, so they avoid meaningful reform of government. They have no bearings, no principles that would guide their decisions, they are pragmatists concerned only about the “practical” means of keeping power. They are the problem.

A different, though not new, idea came out of the Tea Party revolution that swept so many Republicans into power in 2010. The idea that the Constitution meant something has emerged and, certainly, there are more than a few interpretations of what it means to get back to the original meaning of the Constitution. So I’d like to offer my suggestions and hopefully, by approaching these debates from a Constitutional base, we can obtain a political consensus rather than baseless gridlock.

First principle
I think the Bill of Rights expressed one principle that will help in our understanding of what the Founders had in mind. The principle of individual rights holds that each individual is a sovereign agent who must make his own decisions about his life. I use the word “sovereign” to contrast individual rights with the idea of sovereignty of the King or of the government. When we say that the individual is sovereign we negate and deny the idea that anyone else is above him or in control of his life and the decisions he will make. No one, neither King nor government has the authority to dictate the choices that the individual is responsible for making on his own behalf. This precludes any government regulation that would tell an individual or business how to operate, the decisions that individuals may make in the marketplace when selecting products and the moral choices they might make when it comes to their most important decisions and dealings with others in society. It assumes that man is capable of deciding for himself, that his mind is competent to affect his survival. In other words, by right, according to the nature of man and of how he survives on this earth, no one has the authority to dictate to him what he will do. The only constraint on the individual under this premise is that he or she must also operate according to that principle when it comes to dealing with others; he must respect their individual rights.

This principle means no income taxes, no welfare, no re-distribution of any type and especially no interference in the individual’s personal choices about what he will buy, what he will sell, what he will say, with whom he will associate, what he will think or believe, what he will do with his money and property.

Once that principle is established, we must agree not to look for exceptions or find arguments that justify violating these rights in delimited ways or in any way. This first principle, the principle of individual rights, is sacrosanct and the individual who is thus liberated, as long as he does not violate the rights of others, must then live with, suffer from or prosper as a result of his individual choices. Even charity must be a freely chosen act.

Because we know that reason is the singular most efficient faculty possessed by man, and since we know that once left to their own devices, most men will seek to live according to the best exercise of their minds, we know that the result of a society based on individual rights, the best possible outcome, will be a vast realm of peace and prosperity.

As I wrote in a previous blog post, “Do You Know Your Rights”:

“You have a right to make a living. This means you can create your own job by learning skills and selecting the profession you desire. More than this, you have a right to be proud of making a living. You should never accept the idea that you owe something to a collective or to others. The idea of having a moral obligation to “give back” to society is a collectivist notion intended to make you feel guilty and exploit your production for the sake of despots. The more freedom you have to make a living, the better our society is becoming. Likewise, the more the government creates jobs paid for by the money of other citizens, the worse our society is becoming. You do not have a right to a job created by government for the purpose of giving you an income.

You have a right to what you create. If you use your mind to create a product, what you create is yours to trade with others or to keep. Your production cannot be taken from you for the sake of a collective that thinks it knows what to do with your work. In order to be productive, you had to use your mind and, because of this, whatever you produce is yours by right. You also have a right to be proud of what you create. You should never accept the idea that all production and creative thought is a collective endeavor undertaken for the sake of the group.

You have a right to make as much money as you can possibly make. You create wealth by producing and if you have invested time in educating yourself, spent money in buying the tools of production and worked hard for hour upon hour, the money you make, all of it, should be yours to keep. No one, especially the government, has a right to take it.

You have a right to say what you think without fear of disapproval from others. Your mind is your property. It is an expression of your excellence and of your ability to ascertain reality. Just as you respect the right of others to think, your right to think should be respected as well. Only when you are free to express what you think are you living in a society that is just and fair. If government assumes the power to tell you how to think and how to express yourself, you are living in a society that considers you a slave. If government attempts to punish you for your ideas, you are living in a dictatorship.

You have a right to be moral. Whether you are young and inexperienced or old and wise, you are the decision maker about what is right for you. No one has the authority to dictate to you what you should do. As long as your actions do not violate the rights of others, you have the ability and the obligation to decide for yourself what is moral.

You have a right to your own philosophy. Whether you accept a religion or a secular philosophy or decide upon your own philosophical views, no one has the right to tell you how you should think. Just as in any other decision, if you accept wrong ideas you will have to deal with the consequences. No one can force you to accept a given religion or body of ideas at the point of a gun or by law.

You have a right to associate with whomever you like. This right is an extension of the fact that you have a right to decide what is moral. No one has a right to demand that you go to group meetings, that you repeat slogans and that you think group thoughts. You are a free person and you can do as you please so long as you do not violate the rights of others.

You have a right to all the energy you can use…there is no way you will ever use more energy than is available to the planet. The more energy you use, the more you can produce and the more money you can make. As long as your energy use does not harm the property or lives of others, you should use all the energy you can use to make a better life. Anyone who says you are harming the planet is trying to destroy your mind and stifle your ability to enjoy your life.

You have a right to privacy. What you do in the privacy of your own home is your business so long as you violate no other person’s rights. No one has a right to invade your privacy without due process of law whether it is a policeman or a census taker. You have a right to your body and your health. Your health decisions are yours to make in consultation with your doctor. The government can never tell you what to do with your body. You have a right to choose your doctor, choose your treatment, choose your method of payment and no one can violate your body and tell you or your doctor what to do.

You have a right to protect yourself against violence and fraud. The government that seeks to prohibit your right to self-defense is a government intent on robbing you. You have a right to live where you want. As long as you are able to trade income for a residence, you are free to live where you choose. No one can tell you what house or what neighborhood should be your abode.

You have a right to trial by a jury of your peers. A fair trial using objective laws and logical argument is the only way you can keep thieves and government from destroying your rights or stealing your property. It is also the best way to fairly settle disputes among citizens in civil cases.

You have a right to capital accumulation. Capital accumulation is the method that enables you to grow your wealth. Savings, astutely invested, should never be skimmed by government. When the government assumes the right to take your savings by means of money inflation or direct taxation, it is operating as a thief. You have the right to keep your savings in whatever form you see fit such as gold, silver or secured paper. The government has no right to decide for you what currency you should use.

You have a right to make your own economic decisions. The government has no right to intervene in your economic decisions, business operations, banking decisions, transactions or more. It does not have the right to tax your property away or tell you how you should act economically. It has no business regulating your business and as long as you are not defrauding anyone, it should always be “hands off” of your economic activity.

Each of these rights is an extension of the concept of individual rights. If our society respects these rights, then we can have a vibrant, healthy society, diverse in people and in opinions, where the best ideas win and where there is no limit to how far you can advance. It is a secure society because there are no threats to the individual, where people can trust one another and where self-sufficiency and respect are the hallmarks. Let no one tell you that freedom is the gateway to sin or that self-interest is evil. Never let them tell you that freedom has failed and it is time for central planning. The man who tells you that is a thief. Freedom is the gateway to accomplishment, to cooperation, to reason and to happiness. Anything else is slavery.”

If our elected leaders would keep these principles in mind and recognize that the government does not have a justification, nor does it have a prerogative to violate these rights, we’ll know our priorities going forward.

In addition, we should look closely, not only at the 16th Amendment, but also at the Interstate Commerce provisions as well as the “general welfare” clause in the Constitution and interpret them, properly as restrictions on government action, not as license to act. There is no valid justification for the violation of individual rights by government – which means that the common interpretations of these clauses are invalid. Any effort to use them to justify government coercion must be opposed and stopped by the people.

The principle of individual rights is the principle that can guide our politicians as they move forward. The only proper “social” goal of government is to respect and protect the rights of individuals.

This is the debate we should be having.

Friday, November 12, 2010

On the Fringes of Power

Once again, the Progressives have exposed themselves as unable to lead or govern. After decades of planning, scheming, scandalizing, dividing and lying, they took power in 2006, completed it in 2008 – and are once again back on the mere fringes of power. The American people, according to the left, are still clinging to their guns and religion. So the left, as it moves forward, will continue to cling to its (government) guns and Marxist religion.

Have the progressives learned a lesson? Have they reviewed the flaws in their thinking, corrected the mistaken premises that caused their electoral defeat? No, they are continuing with their strategy of feigned superiority based on feigned outrage at demons they have created. Below is a list of the strategies they will employ going forward.

1. As long as we allow them to participate in the debate about governmental policies, they will offer us an incrementalist strategy. They will give us a mix of solutions, some good, most bad, from which to choose. Through this process, they hope that we will compromise with them and allow them to continue their advance toward more coercive, more rights-violating re-distribution schemes.

2. They will continue with their divide and conquer strategy by attacking the fictitious “Military Industrial Complex”, our troops, as well as our past wars and military actions. The goal here is to denigrate our power in the world and our ability to defend freedom against dictatorship. Their criticisms are designed to prejudice the American public against the many fine soldiers in the military as well as the justified actions taken on behalf of freedom and the long-term stability of the world; and especially our desire for a peaceful world. By turning the tables, so to speak, making us into the dictators and murderers of the world, they undermine our strength and willingness to defend ourselves; and this destroys the freedoms acknowledged in the Constitution and our need to fight for them when necessary.

The left claims that their goal is to fight war mongering and special interests that need war in order to make profits; but what they want to attack is the profit motive itself, the idea that a free country can produce abundance and become a bulwark against the thieving dictators that the left has turned into victims. If they can destroy our industries, they can make us weak and destroy our freedoms.

3. They will continue to divide us by means of the various groups that they contend exist in our country. They will designate certain groups as victims and others as oppressors. These divisions are myriad and ever-changing based upon which divisions yield the most immediate political gains at any given moment. They will pit black against white, Hispanic against white, rich against poor, rich against middle class, middle class against indigent, Hispanic against black, Muslim against Christian, Arab against Jew. The problem for the left, with this approach, is that Americans generally dislike being herded into groups, and even new immigrants will seek to individualize themselves and strive for affluence. Oftentimes, by the time the left has created a major ethnic or racial division politically, the people in the designated groups will have moved on into the middle and upper middle classes through their own diligence and hard work.

4. Once again they will debate among themselves about how they are going to mainstream socialism. This has always been difficult for them because people generally reject the notion that it is their duty to sacrifice their hard earned income for the sake of others, especially if it is accomplished by force of law. People work hard enough as it is and they don’t like being forced to work harder for the sake of others who do not earn their own keep. There is a sense of injustice about it. The left will always debate about the difficulty of having to present themselves and their socialist views to the voting public. Giving the voters a choice in the matter always means electoral defeat.

In fact, after a major electoral defeat, when the idea of re-distribution has been rejected, they often delude themselves by crying that if they had only admitted they were socialists they might have been able to “sell” the idea and win a mandate. Other leftists who consider themselves to be realists suggest the incremental approach over time so that one day the people will wake up and realize that they have a socialist state and everything is fine and working well. I’ve suggested before that this day will never come. The more they incrementally impose coercive measures into society, the worse things get. So the electoral defeat comes anyway. This is why socialism is seldom voted into power when it is a clear explicit choice (think McGovern). Most socialist states in history came into power by means of violent revolution and they too ended in economic collapse.

5. Yet, what keeps the left at the table is an ages-old killer. It is an idea that has insidiously destroyed life; an idea so unscientific, so backward and barbarous, a killer that hides behind fake benevolence; an idea known as altruism. Altruism is the belief that man's duty is to sacrifice for others regardless of what is in his self-interest. Altruism is a war against self-interest, a war against the individual; and by destroying man's right to pursue self-interest, altruism destroys much of the good that man would otherwise bring into the world. Historically, the losses caused by altruism are staggeringly huge and, if measured, would total billions of lives. The imagined damage to be caused by global climate change pales when compared to the loss of life and human energy that can be attributed to altruism's impact on the planet.

The Dark Ages are a good example of the influence of altruism. This period was full of famine, starvation, poverty, early death and illiteracy because the leaders convinced the people that their purpose in life was to sacrifice their minds and bodies for God and the state. When people have no prospect of affecting their own futures, when they must obey rules established by others; rules that demand their willing sacrifice; when they are not allowed to use their minds, when they never learn such concepts as individual rights inherent in their nature, the result is always death and destruction.

The ritual practice of altruism has been with mankind since the first kings discovered a need to control the masses and turn them into herds of obedient cattle. A religious ritual is a re-enactment by men of the lives of the gods. The most common ritual is the suffering savior allegory about the man who learns, through his suffering, that he is good only if he sacrifices for others. Altruism, joined with collectivism, creates the compliant “good” citizen; who mindlessly obeys the edicts of Kings and Religious leaders. Today, altruism is taken for granted, almost to the extent that it is invisible. Point to a problem, it is taken for granted that someone must sacrifice, see a starving person, someone else must starve so he may eat. The nation has enemies; young men must sacrifice their lives so that the kingdom may grow. Who must sacrifice? It is always the better, the most intelligent, the most beautiful, the most productive, the most industrious; always it is the better person who is denigrated, defamed, humiliated and destroyed, not because he is a parasite, but because he is not a parasite. Refuse to sacrifice and you are the enemy of society, the bringer of evil, the selfish brute who would take rather than give. So go the propaganda and lies of altruism.

Yet, the flaw in this scheme of moral manipulation is that altruism, because it invalidates the human mind, creates only devastation, battlefields running red with blood, concentration camps filled with rotting corpses, nations looted of their wealth and starving children who have no one to take care of them. This is because altruism is not about being a good citizen; it is about letting men in power loot wealth and human energy under the pretext that things will be better “if you’d only give a little.” To convince the citizen that he is only giving "a little" they minimize the value of life, of production, of human inventiveness and of self-reliance. If they convince you that you are nothing, then everything they take from you must have little value too.

Altruism is at the base of the ideas of the left and of the right today. Our President once told a would-be plumber that re-distribution helps everybody, as if this were an unquestionable truth. He was oblivious to the fact that re-distribution destroys everybody. He tells us that in order to spur economic growth we must devalue the currency, oblivious to the fact that whenever this form of re-distribution has been tried, it plunders and destroys entire nations. His wife tells us that “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.” In other words, things will be better “if you’d only give a little.” She is completely oblivious to the fact that she is talking down to people as if she were a Queen speaking to peasants who wouldn’t know what to do without Her. And if you look at our nation since "Barack" took control, things have not gotten better as a result of the unprecedented re-distribution he has enacted.

It is altruism that she demands; self-sacrifice for the sake of the King.

Will the left give up altruism? Will the right? Will they not see that the opposite principle, the principle of individual rights and the pursuit of happiness, the principle that the state has no right to confiscate the property of citizens is the very principle that did away with the Dark Ages and with concentration camps and economic hardship? Will they not examine the lies in their views? Such as the lie that man is a mindless slave who must do what he is told? The lie that man is meaningless and dirty and selfish? The lie that he can only be happy when he gives to others? The lies that reason doesn’t work, capitalism doesn’t work, freedom doesn’t work?

The question becomes then, why allow anyone who preaches altruism into the debate at all? After, the 2010 elections, the people now control the legislative agenda; they have the majority. There is no benefit to continuing the march toward dictatorship by allowing the left to incrementally advance their force-laden solutions. Why don’t we demand our freedoms, stand on individual rights and then let the left respond to us? Why compromise when compromise would mean our demise?

One thing you can count on; the left’s strategies for power will not change. They are too deeply entrenched in their mindset. According to their critique, capitalism is the scourge of history, the enslaver and the exploiter. In spite of the fact that the lives of capitalist workers today are several magnitudes more comfortable than during the 19th Century, the left’s view that the workers are exploited by capitalism will persist. At the base of this view, and of every other re-distribution scheme proposed by people on the left and the right is the idea that the individual has a duty to sacrifice for others. You find it everywhere, on the left with Obama and Soros, and on the right with Beck and the neocons.

As long as you believe it too, the thieving politicians will always have a seat at the table.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hugs for the Cuddly Dems

In looking over some of the leftist blogs, it seems that the lunatic fringe of the Democratic Party is still clinging to its feigned superiority and Marxist religion. Once again they are insulting the people who voted “No” against their superior solutions that somehow didn’t work again.

This time it is really bad for them. And they are so depressed again. Their counselors appear to be laughing under their breath again to see them on the couches again crying that the American public has rejected them...again. All they’re trying to do is make things better. Why don’t things get better and how could those hicks vote them out again? What’s wrong with the world?

The Tea Parties have been instrumental in creating a Republican majority in the House, in spite of the left’s efforts to marginalize them. So with that failure under their belt, they continue to marginalize them. Where did these people come from?

ACORN has been defunded by Congress and they've filed for bankruptcy. They were too busy defending themselves in the courts from the last election and they couldn't take Obama's money this time to register fraudulent voters so they could claim a grass roots surge of support from the bottom up. So much for the idea of "the poor man's revolution."

The media was not able to swing many votes this time and so they engage in character assassination of newly elected Republican politicians while decrying character assassination toward themselves.

Our educational system continues to indoctrinate our children with leftist anti-capitalist propaganda while the left ignores the fact that they have failed to educate those children in how to read, write and calculate. So they tell us it is better for America if we continue to let them run the schools.

The global warming scam has been exposed and so they spew fire about how stupid the deniers are in rejecting real impending global disaster that seems never to come.

Glenn Beck is causing George Soros to be exposed for the nation killer that he truly is which causes Soros to lose billions…and the press stands in line to get more of Soros’ money.

The unions are on the verge of going bankrupt because the Republicans are poised to stop the deficit spending necessary to bail them out; and to make things worse, they plan on investigating their ties to Obama.

The cities and states run by Democrats for decades are going bankrupt so they elect the Democrats back into power because they are experienced in government. But Obama will soon not be able to bail them out.

Barney Frank got re-elected and looks forward to the investigation into his role in the sub-prime fiasco.

President Obama wonders how he is going to advance the Alynsky strategy that his college buddies insist upon. Should he just rule by Executive Decree, create an emergency so he can declare Marshall Law or just take dictatorial power while he has the chance?

Everywhere the leftists are talking about the evils of capitalism and how they intend to fight the corporate interests that they’ve been partnered with over the last two years. They complain that the capitalism they tried to destroy has failed, and they even pretend that they are defending the middle class by raising taxes on the people who hire them.

In order to pretend to be courageous, some of them are outing themselves as socialists and calling their collaborators cowards for not standing up and saying it out loud. I think they regret not coming out when they had the chance to mainstream themselves. Now they are looking at another 40 years before they can deceive another generation of Americans into thinking that they are just nice fellows who happen to admire Mao.

What do the leftists have to do to make people think that they are really just a bunch of cuddly nice furry little people who want to make things better with other peoples’ money? Why do Americans always associate them with Stalin and Mao and Castro?

Just watch, one of them is going to start a new company selling little cuddle-bears named Josef, Mau Mau and Fidel. Maybe that’ll help.

That’s the problem with the left. They just can’t sell socialism to the American public – no matter how hard they try to indoctrinate the children. They are now convinced that the right move after Obama’s victory in 2008 would have been to outlaw the Constitution and the elections and just declare Obama ruler for life.

I’m sure George Soros would be sleeping better had they done that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reflecting

Today President Obama told us he would be reflecting on the meaning of yesterday’s election defeat. I don’t know if anyone noticed the irony in that promise. One would have thought that a man of his education and intelligence, particularly a constitutional scholar, would already know the limits of his office before he decided to run for it.

Is he really just learning on the job? Did he really think the oceans would fall and the skies would open when he became President? Does it take an election defeat to teach him a lesson that he should have already known? Why didn't he know that it is his job to protect American citizens not confiscate their earnings? He should certainly have known that free people do not like being treated like draft animals.

Well, if we must educate our President on the job, we have certainly made a mistake in electing him. How could so many educated citizens, who certainly know their own limitations, elect to the highest office in the world a person who does not know his own limitations?

Well, if we have to teach you to be a grown up, Mr. President; here goes:

Mr. President, you should reflect on the education you received in your youth from people like your mother, from Frank Marshall Davis and perhaps even from your father. These people taught you that capitalism is evil and that it should be destroyed. And we know that your socialist friends and fellow radicals in the various schools you attended held the same Marxist belief. Perhaps you should reflect on that; and you should ask yourself the following questions: is it possible that you and all your radical friends are wrong about capitalism? Is it possible that your job is not to create a crisis in our economy but to protect our freedom to make our own decisions?

Is it possible that all your friends, the William Ayers, the Reverend Wrights and many others in your life were wrong? What if they don’t have the knowledge of history (or of economics) that you think they do? Perhaps they have miscalculated in thinking that they have the right to decide what is a proper society or who should pay taxes and who should not?

What if their idea of social justice is an excuse for slavery; and, most importantly, what if you do not have the authority to decide who gets taxed, who gets fired, who gets bailed out, who can drill for oil; who should “nudge” us in any direction whatsoever? What if all this moral authority you assume for yourself was not really given to you by the election of 2008? What if you really have no authority to violate the individual rights and the individual choices of citizens and business people?

Mr. President, perhaps you don’t understand as much as you think you do. Perhaps you are revealing to the world your utter inability to lead; perhaps you are embarrassing yourself for all to see. The point is, the office of President of the United States does not give you the authority to make arbitrary, unilateral decisions that everyone else must follow because you won an election. We live in a constitutional republic that limits every office of the government including yours. The government is limited in what it can do and prohibited from dictating individual choices and decisions. For lack of a better word, this is what they call "freedom."

Perhaps your constitutional scholarship did not teach you that, properly, you cannot make arbitrary decrees, that only Congress can write laws, not you. Perhaps you missed the point that our government was limited to only those actions authorized by constitutionally drafted laws and that you have no right whatsoever to violate the Bill of Rights. I feel like I'm talking to a second grader.

Where did you come up with the idea that being elected President meant you could do whatever you want? We are not your subjects, you are not a god, and we won’t accept your efforts to turn us into slaves, no matter how much Michelle says you are going to require of us.

What if your belief that you hold a moral authority over other individuals is actually a “reflection” of your immaturity, your poor education, perhaps even your arrogance?