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Does the Sun Set in the West

I have taught the history of Western Civilization for many years. I praise God that I have taught at institutions that allowed me to teach this history without the disdain that is often heaped upon what some call Eurocentric culture. Personally I believe that Western Civilization which may have peaked before the beginning of our current Long War, brought humanity to the highest point so far attained.

Of course I am prejudiced. Of course my prejudice is informed and shaped by my heritage, my education, and my faith. Having made that disclaimer I still stand by my previous statement. Why? Because I believe that personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity which have been the hallmarks of Western Civilization created the only framework in which man could become what man is meant to be. A child of God who freely chooses to be so and is able to develop his God given talents to their fullest extent.

For the vast majority of human history humanity has been in chains. They were crushed by oppressive governments and exploited by centrally-planned collectivist economies. They were trodden down by the rapacious descendants of barbaric conquerors who established plunder empires. They were uneducated, unarmed and unable to resist the power of the government.

Beginning with the Magna Charta and the evolution of English Common Law which flowered into the clearest expression of Enlightenment thinking in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States limited government was born. Suddenly it was the government in chains so that people could be free. Suddenly there was a new dawn and a fresh wind. Within the short span of 150 years 13 struggling colonies grew into the greatest, richest and most powerful nation the world had ever seen. All fueled by the release of humanity from the chains of oppression.

Today this 239 year old experiment in personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity is in jeopardy. This is not a new development. It is the culmination of a long series of events that stretch back to our nation’s founding. From the beginning the forces of reaction have sought to re-forge the chains of oppression and regain their privileged positions with the whip hand driving humanity back into servitude.

This nation was founded upon and has stood upon the Constitution. It was the Constitution that limited government so that people could expand. It was the Constitution which set the limits for government and ensured the protection of the personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity which the Declaration of Independence had proclaimed were the endowed upon humanity by God. Then came the Progressives and their concept of a living document that had made the Constitution a dead letter.

I have said in the past and I say again The Constitution Failed. People often ask me, how can you say the Constitution failed?

The short answer is:

If the Constitution was written to ensure a limited government and if today we have an unlimited central government my question is, “How can anyone contend that the Constitution hasn’t failed?”

The longer version explains that:

For the last 100 years the Progressives have sought progress by changing the Constitution, which was written to establish unbreakable boundaries for government, without recourse to the amendment process. The Framers knew that without these boundaries government would grow into a millstone around the neck of the American people. Instead of a document establishing solid limits the Progressives say it is a living document that can be re-interpreted with each passing year evolving into whatever the current leaders may desire.

Our twin headed Progressive party of power expands and twists the General Welfare, the Commerce, and the Supremacy clauses to sanction any executive, legislative, judicial, or regulatory action they wish to impose whether it’s a welfare state, energy policies, or the mandatory purchase of insurance. However, nothing is more symbolic of the current irrelevance of the Constitution to our leaders than the utter contempt they hold for the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Back during the original debate to ratify the Constitution these two sentinels of limited government were forced upon the proponents of a strong central government by those much maligned patriots the Anti-Federalists. The Constitution never would have been ratified without an assurance that the first order of business for the new government would be the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The capstone of these sacred rights is the 9th and the 10th Amendments which state:

The 9th Amendment, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The 10th Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

I present the following examples of how our Progressive central government infringes upon the rights of the States and the people:

Term limits:

While in almost every instance that voters have had an opportunity to voice their opinion they have overwhelmingly approved term limits, and the courts have just as consistently overturned the will of the people. Through ballot initiatives and Constitutional amendments to State Constitutions the people have spoken, but instead of the voice of the people we hear the commands of the elites.

The Supreme Court in a classic five-to-four decision in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1995) said the states don’t have the authority to limit the terms of their own congressional delegations. They further ruled that unless the Constitution is amended neither the states nor Congress has the power to limit the number of terms members of Congress can serve. Dissenting Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that the majority ignored the clear meaning of the Tenth Amendment. Since there is no explicit denial of the power to limit terms to the States in the Constitution the 10th Amendment clearly states this power is reserved to the States.

Immigration:

When the Governor and legislators of Arizona attempted to address the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who are pouring over their border with Mexico each year they first had to admit that the Federal Government was not enforcing their own laws.   After the central government ignored their petitions and pleas for help for years the government of Arizona acted to protect their citizens.

Immediately, the Justice Department sued to block the law, contending it violates the U.S. Constitution. The Arizona law was subsequently struck down by the Federal Courts using the Supremacy Clause for their justification. Judge Richard Paez, said, “By imposing mandatory obligations on state and local officers, Arizona interferes with the federal government’s authority to implement its priorities and strategies in law enforcement, turning Arizona officers into state-directed [Homeland Security] agents.”

When it reached the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a three judge panel said, “Congress has given the federal government sole authority to enforce immigration laws, and that Arizona’s law violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution” The Federal Government has abdicated its responsibility to protect Arizona from invasion and in their opinion a law that requires law enforcement officials to enforce the law goes too far.

The intrusive actions of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):

Legislators in Texas decided to take action to protect their citizens from what many considered to be overly aggressive pat-downs. The reaction of the TSA to Texas attempting to protect their citizens from the molestation the Federal Agency calls a pat-down is indicative of the attitude our central government has towards any infringement of their absolute power. On their website The TSA Blog the gatekeepers of the air said, “What’s our take on the Texas House of Representatives voting to ban the current TSA pat-down? Well, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article. VI. Clause 2) prevents states from regulating the federal government.” This says it all. As far as our Federal masters are concerned there is no limit to their power.

Obamacare: Mandating action and penalizing inaction:

The Federal Government is attempting to enforce the mandatory purchase provisions of Obamacare alternately as authorized by the Commerce Clause and as a tax, depending on which argument they think a judge will uphold. This massive invasion of personal liberty is currently being challenged by 28 States as being beyond the bounds of the Constitution. Two judges have ruled it unconstitutional and three ruled it constitutional.

The Supreme Court upheld the right of the Federal Government and so this provision wherein not taking an action is considered either engaging in commerce and thereby subject to regulation or if a non-action is taxable what is left of our precious freedom? What other non-actions will now be under the power of the government. If a government can control our non-actions what does that say about their power over our actions?

By ignoring the unambiguous meaning of the 9th and 10th Amendments and by stretching and twisting the meanings of a few vague clauses the Progressive leaders of our Federal government have interpreted our Constitution to mean anything needed to do anything desired. Once the words lose their meanings, once the sentences can mean anything the Progressives want, what power does the Constitution have to limit government?

Ultimately this is a message of hope because I trust in the ability of the American people to solve any problem they confront. However, we have to admit there is a problem before we can solve it, and if we refuse to admit there is a problem we have no chance of solving it. The problem is our limited government has become unlimited and does whatever it wants. How can I say, “The Constitution Failed”? What I am saying is our system is broken, it is no longer functioning as designed, and we need a re-set button.

I believe that the United States represented the Apex of Western Civilization, the vanguard and the protector of that civilization among the varied expressions of humanity. However, Western Civilization without personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity will become another example of what today we call State Capitalism, a system that has gone by other names in the past when governments rule and people obey.

The West began committing suicide in the two act disaster we call World War One and World War Two. He have swallowed the poison of political correctness. We have allowed contraception and abortion to lead us to a declining population. We have allowed unregulated and uncontrolled immigration to submerge the West in a rising tide from the South made up of people who have neither experience nor appreciation of our civilization.

If we aren’t dead already we certainly qualify for a suicide watch as we stick our head in a demographic noose, deny our own values and allow a minority of central planners to plan our own funeral and send our grandchildren the bill.

Every day must eventually end and we may be witnessing the sun setting in the West.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

 

Chicago on the Potomac

Back in the Dream Time, elders were honored because of their accumulated knowledge, if Pops knew a better way to saddle horses that knowledge helped Junior since he saddled horses. Today if Pops knows how to tune-up cars what good is that when cars don’t need to be tuned-up anymore? Now the old are relegated to extolling their own relevance while exclaiming, “I’ve never seen that before.” Doddering ancients who use their cell phones merely to talk wonder why their grandchildren never answer their emails as Gen Z tweet each other: “Don’t trust anyone over 15.”

The world is moving so fast not only is today tomorrow’s yesterday the generations are living in different todays today as we continue to charge our Chinese living standard to our grandchildren. Gen X and Y parents with their once hip lap-tops under their arms stare in wonder as their pre-teen Gen Zs text with one hand while Wii skydiving in the backseat. For these new additions to middle-age who’re just old enough to remember Star Trek imagine Captain Kirk visiting Captain Picard pointing at Commander Data and saying, “What’s that?”

After years of being treated as if the Wisdom of the Ages were as relevant as Confucius in a fortune cookie now that we have Chicago on the Potomac the wisdom gained in the City that Works is suddenly spot-on. Of course George the Second’s doctrine of pre-emptive war made one old saying make sense beyond the Southside, “Never start fights but if you have to hit someone back first once in a while that’s all right.”   Then again ACORN before it morphed into numerous faceless organizations with the same mission and different names or just became part of the nomenclature exemplified the everlasting relevance of Chicago’s best known adage, “Vote early and vote often.”

With the Democrats large-and-in-charge even when they lose elections, Windy City Proverbs may help many understand what kind of change we’ve stepped in.   Such as “Everybody cheats so if you don’t cheat you’re a cheater,” or “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable.”   Maybe the taxman could use, “They must not have wanted it they didn’t have their hand on it.” Looking at our Congress, “If you’re going to get mad at thieves you’ll never have any friends” comes to mind. Thinking of the proposed Green Home Efficiency Inspectors we may one day deal with when buying or selling a home are reminiscent of the Chicago Fire Marshal conscientiously telling a business owner, “We’ll save the city some gas money if we just do the inspection right here in my office,” while patting his desk indicating where to place the money.

The most transparent administration in history started off with some Southside swag calling the biggest earmark in history a stimulus, continued the virtuoso performance calling ward-heelers czars and followed a time-honored Second City tradition in Al Franken’s endless Minnesota recount by finding a bag of votes. Who says you can’t go home again? They may turn the old neighborhood into Yuppie Heaven by knocking down the middleclass housing and putting up three-story imitation Victorians but right here right now the machine that gave no-show jobs to half the wise-guys on the corner as well as Michelle at the hospital is in the process of not just fixing tickets but fixing everything else. The political descendants of Big Bill Thompson, Richard the First and Richard the Second parlayed community organizing into a national organization that should make the Five Families green with envy.

Having fixed the economy, health care, hate-crimes, immigration, and cap-and-trade BHO has also had the opportunity to fix the highest court in the land. In the Chicago justice system lawyers give out printed pricelists stating how much acquittals cost verses dismissals and the old saying concerning courthouses goes, “It may say justice on the outside but that doesn’t mean there’s any on the inside.” Since the Democratic Machine and their Me-To Republican allies rubber-stamped Mr. O’s picks for the A-Team how do the prospects for judicial restraint and the Constitution look?   Fine if you fit the profile for the protected or promoted classes not too good if you naively look for that lady wearing the blindfold and holding the scales. Well at least we have Chief Justice Roberts there to stop the train on its way to totalitarianism, oh wait, we don’t.

Joining the sisterhood on the bench, Ms. Sotomayor feels her gender and her race make her uniquely qualified to reach wise decisions and believes international law should be consulted when weighing appeals. She should feel right at home with the former chief counsel for the ACLU Ruth Bader Ginsburg who apparently believes American Citizenship is the right of all mankind.   In one decision she said, “You would have a huge statelessness problem if you don’t consider a child born abroad a U.S. citizen.”

 

Ah justice, what is it good for? Or as they say in Chi-town, “How much justice can you afford?” The difference between Chicago Prime and Chicago on the Potomac is in the original version Mayors serve for life, or as long as they want, followed by a power struggle. Hopefully in the DC version we will get a change in 2017. I wonder if it will be a Bush or a Clinton.

 

Vive la Différence! Or as the French also say, the more things change the more they stay the same.

 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

A Rose By Any Other Name

The main lesson we learn from History is that we don’t learn from History.  The lack of historical perspective is, I believe, one of the major contributing factors in America’s current state.

People don’t realize that all of these novel fixes our collectivist leaders are shoving down our throats with regard to health care have been tried multiple times before.  Or that they have failed every time.

People don’t realize that preemptive imperial wars of aggression and suppression have been disguised as endless wars for peace since Sargon the Great marched out of Akkad to found the first known empire.

Running true to form most people, apparently including our national leaders both political and military and the news anchors for the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media, do not realize that ISIS is not an aberration in Islamic History.

Neither are the other forms of Islamic terrorist groups which have plagued the world since the late 1960s when Palestinian secular movements such as Al Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) began to target civilians outside the immediate arena of conflict.  These were self-proclaimed secular groups.  As pointed out by RAND’s Bruce Hoffman, in 1980 two out of 64 groups were categorized as largely religious in motivation; in 1995 almost half of the identified groups, 26 out of 56, were classified as religiously motivated; the majority of these espoused Islam as their guiding force.

Political versus Fundamentalist Islam

Political Islam, as opposed to fundamentalist or neo-fundamentalist Islam, posits a worldview that can deal with and selectively integrate modernity. In contrast, fundamentalist Islam calls for a return to an ontological form of Islam that rejects modernity; groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad are representative of fundamentalist Islam.

A Note on State Sponsors of Religious Terror Groups

Unlike the “secular” national, radical, anarchist terrorism which have been sponsored by states such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, North Korea, and behind the scenes by the former Soviet camp, most of the religious Islamic terrorist groups have never been sponsored by states. Many Egyptian organizations emerged from the Egyptian domestic landscape. Algerian groups likewise were not sponsored by foreign states. Hezbollah certainly can be viewed as an Iranian surrogate, but other movements, while open to state assistance, remain operationally and ideologically independent.  ISIS is different in that it has declared itself to be a state.

This brings us to the willful disregard of easily accessible knowledge which brings all of our political and cultural leaders to constantly say:

  • That the forces of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations are not Islamic.
  • That these groups have somehow hijacked Islam or that they are merely criminals hiding behind Islamic names and slogans.

For one thing who are we to judge another’s faith?  If someone says they are followers of Muhammed who are we to say they aren’t?  If someone says they are doing their best to live by their interpretation of the Koran who are we to say they aren’t?

This is one of the reasons it is so hard to get even the most “moderate” of Muslims to denounce ISIS and the other Islamic Terror organizations. Even if they personally disagree with their theology and their methods there is enough in their declarations of faith that align with traditional strains of Islam. It would be like a Catholic saying a Pentecostal isn’t a Christian because they have differing views of the actions of the Holy Spirit in the modern day.

This refusal to admit the Islamic nature of these groups disarms the West.  We cannot understand what they want, what they do, or why they have such a strong hold on the lives of so many.  Another aspect of our official blindness that prevents us from confronting this clash of civilizations appropriately is the oft repeated mantra that those Muslims who support the radicals is a tiny group, often mentioned at 1%.  We are also reminded often that 1.6 billion people make up the Muslim world.  If this second figure is correct the tiny minority of the first figure translates to 16 million people.

Sixteen million people willing to fight to the death, blow themselves up, or financially support them is larger than any army ever fielded by Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, or Stalin.  Obviously this is a threat that should be taken seriously.  It should not be dismissed by ignoring what they say about themselves.  Imagine if the leaders of the western democracies had bothered to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and believe that he meant what he said.  They could have stopped him when he marched into the Rhineland with no trouble whatsoever.  Instead they ignored what he said and fifty million people paid with their lives.

Today we stand in a similar place.  We ignored Osama Bin Laden when he declared war on America in 1988 and 1996 with disastrous consequences.  Now we are ignoring the inherent attraction of those who claim the Islamic world as their own when we say they are not motivated by their religion.  It strips us of the ability to understand them, their objectives, their appeal, and their tactics.

Another disservice our leaders are foisting on us is the other mantra of their secular religion that Islam is a religion of peace.  This flies in the face of historical reality.  Islam did not initially spread as Christianity did by the power of its message and the blood of its martyrs.  Islam spread as a conquering religion.  Muhammed conquered Medina and Mecca, forced unity on the disparate Arab tribes before bursting forth from the Arabian Peninsula and spreading through military conquest and forcible conversions.

Rod Dreher in the American Conservative has done a masterful job of asking two important questions, “Is ISIS Islamic? How would we know?”   Much of what follows is excerpted from his penetrating analysis.

To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide.  As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”

Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion. His exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of Kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic.  Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel contends that the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor.  Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States.  Haykel regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous and sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he saidAccording to Professor Haykel, “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else” Haykel continued.

In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day” says Haykel.

According to one thought passed along by Rod Dreher what we call “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamic extremism” is so hard to defeat because it is so clearly rooted in Islamic history and Scripture. To tell the followers of ISIS that they are “un-Islamic” in their practices when they are doing, or trying to do, exactly as the Prophet and his early followers did, is a hard sell to fellow Muslims.  It is also the kind of self-imposed blindness that stops us from effectively knowing what we are dealing with.

If we ignore what we know due to political correctness how will it ever be possible to do what needs to be done?  If we refuse to name something does that mean it isn’t what it claims to be?  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and an Islamic Fundamentalist is a follower of Muhammad no matter what we say or how we say it.  There are none so blind as those who will not see, and when the blind follow the blind they both end up in the ditch.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

We Need More of Moore

The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution states that, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

This past Sunday Chris Wallace interviewed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.  Chief Justice Moore is once again in the news for standing up for the rule of law, limited government, and the viability of the Constitution as a meaningful document as opposed to a Living Document that means whatever the nine black robed oligarchs say it means.

This happened once before.  Back in 2000 he was elected to the position as Alabama’s top jurist on the promise that he would restore the moral foundations of the law in Alabama.  Several months later he made good on that promise when he set a Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.  He was promptly sued in federal district court by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State who complained that the Chief Justice’s actions were an unconstitutional “establishment of religion.”

The lawyers had charged the Chief Justice with illegally establishing “religion.”   But what religion was he trying to establish?  That remained a mystery since these aggrieved lawyers also argued that the court should not define the term “religion.” The federal district court judge, Myron Thompson, agreed with their argument refusing to render a definition of “religion.” Judge Thompson nevertheless found the Chief Justice guilty of establishing that which he himself could not define and ordered the monument removed.

The Chief Justice refused to comply with this order.  Chief Justice Moore said, “The entire judicial system of the State of Alabama is established in the Alabama constitution invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God. The 10th amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits federal courts from interfering with that power to establish a judicial system. They have no power, no authority no jurisdiction to tell the State of Alabama that we cannot acknowledge God as the source of our law.”

At least in Alabama the Chief Justice did not stand alone.  Another man elected by the voters of the State, Governor Bob Riley said, “I have a deep and abiding belief that there is nothing wrong or unconstitutional about the public display of the Ten Commandments and disagree with the court’s mandate to remove them.”

And yet this representative of the people of Alabama was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court in November 2003. A state ethics panel unanimously decided to remove him from the bench owing to his refusal to follow judicial rulings.

That was then.  This is now.

In 2015 the courageous Chief Justice Moore (he was re-elected in 2012) has ordered probate judges in his state to ignore a Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriages to go forward over the state’s constitutional ban.  Once again the Chief Justice is standing up for State sovereignty against a judicial system that believes they can make law.  This time the battle is over gay marriage.  The Alabama Constitution as amended in 2006 by Amendment 774, the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions.  This amendment was approved by 81% of the voters.  On January 23, 2015, Chief Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Callie V. Grenade, issued a ruling striking down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage as violations of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

This brings us to the aforementioned interview of Chief Justice Moore by Chris Wallace on his Sunday Fox television program.

Chris Wallace seemed baffled by Chief Justice Moore’s arguments as if he had never heard such things before.  When he questioned how anyone could dispute a ruling of a Federal Judge, Chief Justice Moore replied, “When federal courts start changing our Constitution by defining words that are not even there, like marriage, they’re going to do the same thing with family in the future,” Moore declared.  The Chief Justice went on to say, “When a word’s not in the Constitution, clearly the powers of the Supreme Court do not allow them to redefine words and seize power. Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people. This power over marriage which came from god under our organic law is not to be redefined by the United States Supreme Court or any federal court.”

The look on Mr. Wallace’s face was one of bewilderment.

To support his argument that the words of Federal Judges are final Mr. Wallace appealed to President Obama who stated in an interview with Buzzfeed News about this controversy saying, “When federal law is in conflict with state law, federal law wins out.”

The Chief Justice answered, “I’d like to tell President Obama that he’s entirely correct, federal law does trump state law,” Moore said. “But what this Harvard professor who is president of the United States does not understand, is that a trial court’s decision on the constitutionality of a federal question is just that — it’s an opinion. It may be law of the case before her. It is not overturning the Alabama constitution. Federal law is not made by judges.”

Mr. Wallace looked at the Chief Justice as if he were speaking a foreign language.  I believe that the reason for this disconnect is not merely Mr. Wallace’s.  It is shared by many who have had the benefit of America’s progressive education.   It has been drummed into generations of Americans that the opinion of judges about the meaning of the Constitution, and not the Constitution itself, is the law of the land. For them, whether conservative or liberal they have an allegiance to the judiciary rather than to the Constitution and the laws enacted pursuant to it.

A still apparently amazed Wallace then accused Moore of being “a little fuzzy” on whether state judges would have to adhere by a SCOTUS ruling in favor of allowing same-sex marriage.

To which Chief Justice Moore replied, “State courts are bound by the ruling of the Supreme Court,” Moore replied. “But when a strict interpretation of the Constitution…is abandoned in the theoretical opinion of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution. We’re under the government of individual men who for the time being declared what the Constitution is according to their own views.”

As if saying something is the same as proving something Mr. Wallace replied, When Mr. Wallace stated that, “When the Supreme Court Rules, It Rules.”

However, there is a fundamental principle of constitutional law that most Americans have never been taught.  According to the Constitution Congress, and Congress alone, has the power to make law.  According to the Constitution Federal Courts have the power only to apply law in particular cases and controversies. Yet in the face of the clear language of the Constitution, most Americans who have been progressively indoctrinated over several generations blindly repeat the platitude as if it is common knowledge that courts make law.

An error that flows from this false view that courts have the power to make law is the belief that the law is not what the Constitution says but rather what judges say about the Constitution. Through a distortion of the common law principles of precedent and stare decisis, a court’s holding in a particular case is converted into a law binding on all persons within the court’s jurisdiction and all inferior courts. The proper use of the principles of precedent and stare decisis is that holdings in past court decisions serve as a compelling guide in subsequent proceedings, but they do not bind unless they are themselves consistent with the law.

We have come to the place where the Progressives want to ignore the clear language of the Constitution as in the Second Amendment protection of citizens to own and carry guns.  At the same time these same big government statists demand that citizens submit to decisions carrying the weight of law based on the partisan interpretations of words which are found nowhere in the document such as Privacy and Marriage.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

With a vision of State Sovereignty, individual liberty, personal freedom and economic opportunity framed by the ninth and tenth amendments to the Constitution. Looking at the current crop of right and left wing Progressives and the coming crop of potential right and left wing Progressives my only reaction is, “We need more of Moore.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Don’t Tell Someone Else

I’m thinking about changing my economic strategy. My parents were raised in the Roosevelt Depression and they taught me to work hard, save money, and pay for what I wanted. I was a deficit hawk when being a deficit hawk wasn’t cool’ Now that it isn’t even an option why should I stay at the party when there’s no one left to dance with?

In our new Omerica I think I’ll join the winning side and try spending more than I make every day for the rest of my life and see how that works out. If I can just manage to get to where I owe so much that I’m too big to fail I can start really living large on federal handouts, excuse me bailouts, excuse me stimulus. Won’t that be sweet? I’ll hold seminars on “How to Borrow Your Way to Wealth,” or “If You’ll Take a Check I’ll Take Two Please.” What a great racket, excuse me scheme, excuse me program. And technically it’s not a shell game if you don’t use shells.

According to a USA Today study back in 2009 at the beginning of the present Imperial Presidency American taxpayers assumed an additional $55,000 per household for federal spending and promises in the just the last 12 months of the Bush Debacle. That represents a 12% increase in the deficient just in George II’s final year in office and the media tells us he’s a conservative. Of course he’s the kind of conservative who can also use modern double-speak. I think this one should be above the door to his multi-million dollar presidential library down in Dallas, “”I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” This spending spree raised the per household federal debt to $546,668 which is four times the average personal debt for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards combined. Instead of “Don’t Tread on ME” perhaps we should have flags that proclaim, “Send Me the Stuff And Send the Bill to Someone Else”

Don’t tell Someone Else but this means our runaway government assumed a staggering $6.8 trillion in new obligations during the government created crash of 2008 alone. Then along came Obama. His explosion of excess when added to the creatively hidden realities of the federal entitlement programs brings poor old Someone Else’s debt load (including unfunded liabilities) to the incomprehensible total of $187 trillion.

Some might say, “Wait a minute! This guy is way over board! Our national debt is only $18 trillion.” I wish I could convince myself it was only $18 trillion that would help me sleep at night. However, government books are so over-cooked they make Enron and WorldCom look as honest as the day is long. The real number doesn’t just cover what we’ve borrowed so far but what we’ve promised to pay in the future minus what we might conceivably raise to offset future borrowing. When you lump that all together you end up with the $187 trillion or some other such ridiculous number.

At least we can tell Someone Else that all this national shopaholicism isn’t being wasted buying $7,000 toilet seats and $800 hammers its buying things we really need. Remember the stimulus, the one that ended the Great Recession? It paid for such needed items as: $97 million for a program that was already cancelled at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the interests of national defense our government decided to replace old nuclear warheads with new ones. The rocket-scientists in the planning department said they needed two new buildings to produce the necessary plutonium components. Then the program was cancelled.

Never fear government is here and when has the lack of common sense ever gotten in the way of a good boondoggle? Along came our earmark-free stimulus and the $97 Million enters stage-left. Now that the money was there of course we had to spend it otherwise who would get stimulated. So the construction continued for buildings that were no longer needed. At least all these shovel-ready jobs have the economy purring along like a well-oiled machine even if they weren’t as shovel-ready as our Dear Leader thought.

Remember the GM Bailout? Now there was a deal that just couldn’t lose.   It inspired the following joke.

A man walks into a bank to open a checking account the teller says, “I have good news and bad news.” The man asks, “What’s the good news?” The teller says, “When you open an account with us you can have either a new toaster or 1000 shares of GM stock.” “What’s the bad news?” “We’re all out of toasters.” No one would buy GM stock which is why it fell to the 1$ range and our Glorious Leader decided to spend money that was authorized under TARP to buy up toxic assets to instead buy GM. So out comes Uncle Sugar’s checkbook and out goes billions of Someone Else’s money to buy the majority share in a company that was estimated to turn a profit when?

How could this ever fail? It turned out after all the celebrations of success that Someone Else lost $11.2 billion on that deal. And how is the resurrected auto giant? In 2014 GM recalled more cars than they made and while they are closing plants in America they are building them overseas.

What dolts we were working and saving when all you have to do is want something, charge it to Someone Else and shazam you get the stuff and Someone Else gets the bill. That Someone Else sure is a generous person aren’t they? There’s only one problem with this perpetual-motion money machine. When you look in the mirror Someone Else is looking back.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

How Do We Get Back to Where We Were?

It’s hard to be a conservative when there’s little left to conserve. The increasing pace of America’s progression from free markets to a command economy has reached such a pace and become so obvious that way back in 2009 the Russian Prime Minister used his spotlight time at the World Economic Forum to warn America not to follow the socialist path. The Russian newspaper Pravda, once the leading communist voice on earth published an article entitled, “American capitalism gone with a whimper.” People around the world can see the individual decisions of producers and consumers are being replaced by the form letters of a faceless central-planning bureaucracy even if the Obama boosters still haven’t swallowed the red pill and watched the matrix dissolve.

Pushed by the breathtaking speed of America’s devolution into a command economy some conservatives have entered the ranks of the radicals. They’re beginning to think about how to cure the systemic political problems precipitating the November Revolution of 2008. One solution some are embracing is known as the Sovereignty Movement. This is a movement of citizens and state representatives attempting to right the listing ship-of-state by appealing to the 10th Amendment which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The 10th Amendment addressed one of the most hard-fought points in the establishment of a central government. The States even though they surrendered some of their sovereignty didn’t want to lose it all. Specifically they didn’t want to lose the power to make internal decisions. They did not want to be powerless before a distant national bureaucracy. So as the cap-stone of the Bill of Rights the 10th Amendment was meant to reassure the States they would remain sovereign within their borders. However, since the 1830s, court rulings have garbled the once universally accepted meaning of the 10th Amendment as the Federal Government extended its authority from roads to schools to GM to Health Care to whatever they want.

Now some are turning to a resurrection of the straightforward meaning of the 10th Amendment as a way to mitigate the ever expanding power of centralized-control and social engineering combined with perpetual re-election and runaway pork-barrel deficit spending. But, is this enough?

As a Historian I always believe even a little history might help push back the darkness swirling around us.  In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, as Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall a lady asked “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy.” “A republic” replied Franklin “if you can keep it.”

Many have the mistaken idea that the United States is a democracy. It’s not. It’s a representative republic. The Framers distrusted unfettered democracy therefore they inserted several mechanisms into the Constitution which added some innovations between direct democracy and the power to rule.

One of the great innovations the Framers built into our system is the federal concept. Since this is an important component of our political legacy that has been overlooked in our contemporary education system let me define what is meant by federal. A federal system is a union of states with a central authority wherein the member states still retain certain defined powers of government.

According to the Constitution the Federal Government cannot mandate policies relating to local issues such as housing, business, transportation, etc. within the States. At least this was how the Constitution was interpreted by President James Madison, the Father of the Constitution. He expressed this clearly in a veto statement in 1817. In that there has never been anyone more qualified to address the original intent of the framers I believe it is important to bring his entire statement into this article:

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

Having considered the bill this day presented to me entitled “An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements,” and which sets apart and pledges funds “for constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and give security to internal commerce among the several States, and to render more easy and less expensive the means and provisions for the common defense,” I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling the bill with the Constitution of the United States to return it with that objection to the House of Representatives, in which it originated.

The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers, or that it falls by any just interpretation within the power to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution those or other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.

“The power to regulate commerce among the several States” cannot include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such a commerce without a latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms strengthened by the known inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial power to Congress.

To refer the power in question to the clause “to provide for the common defense and general welfare” would be contrary to the established and consistent rules of interpretation, as rendering the special and careful enumeration of powers which follow the clause nugatory and improper. Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms “common defense and general welfare” embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust. It would have the effect of subjecting both the Constitution and laws of the several States in all cases not specifically exempted to be superseded by laws of Congress, it being expressly declared “that the Constitution of the United States and laws made in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges of every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Such a view of the Constitution, finally, would have the effect of excluding the judicial authority of the United States from its participation in guarding the boundary between the legislative powers of the General and the State Governments, inasmuch as questions relating to the general welfare, being questions of policy and expediency, are unsusceptible of judicial cognizance and decision.

A restriction of the power “to provide for the common defense and general welfare” to cases which are to be provided for by the expenditure of money would still leave within the legislative power of Congress all the great and most important measures of Government, money being the ordinary and necessary means of carrying them into execution.

If a general power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses, with the train of powers incident thereto, be not possessed by Congress, the assent of the States in the mode provided in the bill cannot confer the power. The only cases in which the consent and cession of particular States can extend the power of Congress are those specified and provided for in the Constitution.

I am not unaware of the great importance of roads and canals and the improved navigation of water courses, and that a power in the National Legislature to provide for them might be exercised with signal advantage to the general prosperity. But seeing that such a power is not expressly given by the Constitution, and believing that it cannot be deduced from any part of it without an inadmissible latitude of construction and a reliance on insufficient precedents; believing also that the permanent success of the Constitution depends on a definite partition of powers between the General and the State Governments, and that no adequate landmarks would be left by the constructive extension of the powers of Congress as proposed in the bill, I have no option but to withhold my signature from it, and to cherishing the hope that its beneficial objects may be attained by a resort for the necessary powers to the same wisdom and virtue in the nation which established the Constitution in its actual form and providently marked out in the instrument itself a safe and practicable mode of improving it as experience might suggest.

This is an eloquent expression of how the Constitution was meant to be understood. However, through expansive interpretations by activist judges this gradually morphed into almost limitless Federal control of the domestic affairs of the States.

Another vital component of our Constitutional heritage is the protection provided by a system of “Checks and Balances” wherein each level or branch of government acts as a barrier to other levels or branches of government from acquiring too much power. The most important check on the power of the Federal Government in relation to the constituent States was the Senate. In the Constitution the people directly elected the House of Representatives to represent their interests, the various State legislatures elected the members of the Senate to represent the individual states.

The adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913 mandating the popular election of Senators fatally damaged this system. Since then, the States have been reduced from equal partners with the Federal Government to a group of individual lobbyists. Before this amendment senators remained in office based upon how they upheld the rights of their state. The hot-and-cold winds of populist considerations didn’t compromise the Senator’s ability to serve. This freedom to vote against populist sentiment allowed the Senators to balance the directly-elected House.

Now we have two houses of Congress trying to spend enough of other people’s money to make political profits for themselves. So what do I propose? Resurrect the 10th Amendment, repeal the 17th and while we’re at it we should drive a stake through the heart of the 16th which allows progressive taxation and all that’s still on the conservative side of radicalism.

Restore the balance and save the Republic!

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

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