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Posts Tagged ‘Limited Government’

Socialism is the Problem Capitalism is the Solution

In the long and dismal History of human bondage an unbroken chain of command economies and tyrants has kept their boot on the neck of humanity.

Then came the American experiment, the spirit of 76, the miracle at Philadelphia, and for brief moment in the hours of human bondage the flame of freedom flickered and then blazed, lighting the way to a new age: the Age of Liberty. Unfettered by central planning and tyranny the ingenuity and enterprise of man brought forth in two short centuries more innovation and accomplishment than the previous eons of slavery.

Then the shackles were re-forged by the Progressives who want the power to dictate the lives of others for goals they say are for the betterment of others but which are in reality merely tools they use to gain power. Through manipulation of the media and control of education the Progressives gained the tacit approval of the general population. Most people were too busy working and living their lives to keep their attention on the wider society. The prosperity freedom had created bred generations of people who began to take it for granted. Today after years of bread and circus cycles of neglect we have a mass of citizens who follow like sheep to the slaughter or lemmings to the cliff anywhere the Progressive puppet masters portray as the next free entitlement.

Founded upon a limited government, today we have an imperial president who rules by decree as we pretend that the Constitution is still in force. We live in a dysfunctional oligarchy that is masquerading as a functional republic. We flounder and lurch from one crisis to the next on the world stage because we are divorced from our principles and hypnotized into believing we actually still stand for freedom when we actually are a front for multi-national corporations and international banks. A giant hobbled by pygmies unable to understand that by discarding our heritage of personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity we have made ourselves no different from every other plunder empire that has fallen from Rome to Britain.

We have descended into mediocrity by adopting the same over regulated, ”from everyone according to the ability to everyone according to their need” pathology that doomed the commissars with their five-year plans, their gulags, and iron curtains. Whenever this rob from the rich to give to the poor looting of producers to support non-producers runs into trouble, which is whenever they run out of other people’s money, they blame Capitalism: the goose that lays the golden eggs. In a classic bait and switch the Progressive collectivists offer freedom and deliver regulations. They offer prosperity and deliver stagnation, inflation, and economic ruin. Our rob Peter to pay Paul pied pipers blame capitalism when in reality Socialism is the problem and Capitalism is the solution.

This progressive slide into the dustbin of History will only be reversed by applying the opposing force of freedom. This must include freedom of action, freedom of association, of speech, thought, and the freedom to excel.

If we outlaw failure with a security net of social programs we ensure that some will turn it into a hammock. When we open the borders and welcome the world should we really watch in disbelief as the programs our elected masters have implemented turn the greatest nation the world has ever known into a third world hellhole saluting the stars and stripes and repeating like a robot, “We’re number one!”

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

 

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

Last week I offered five simple solutions that could turn this ship around.

First, jettison the Empire to save the Republic

Second, declare our energy independence.

Third, end the de facto amnesty.

Fourth, end the centrally planned welfare state.

Fifth, grow the economy instead of the bureaucracy to bring back prosperity, opportunity, and hope.

Does anyone realistically think the two headed leviathan in Washington will implement any of them?  No matter who is elected the bureaucracy will maintain full speed ahead into the iceberg of collapse.  In other words these fixes may be easy to propose however they are impossible to implement given the current toxic climate in Chicago on the Potomac.

Look at the Planned Parenthood scandal for an example of how degraded our society has become.  Secretly produced videos clearly show Planned Parenthood leaders laughing and joking about harvesting the organs of babies and selling them for profit.  The supporters of Planned Parenthood respond by saying that the videos are heavily edited.  Then we learn they were edited to take out things like taking trips to the bathroom and ordering food and that forensic experts overwhelmingly find them authentic.  The advocates of abortion on demand do not dispute what is said they dispute the manner in which the information was obtained.

Progressives will argue for the personhood of chimpanzees because their DNA is a 99% match to human.  Yet they deny the personhood of babies in the womb that are a 100% match.  These types of dichotomies and absurdities among our ruling class remind one that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

Look at the current presidential demolition derby.

The Republicans clearly favor people who are not traditional Republicans.  After looking over their establishment, mainline Republicans and the rank and file members of the Party are asking isn’t there someone else?  I believe if Someone Else was on the Ballot in the coming primaries they could well win.  As it is, since they must choose from people actually on the ballot after dismissing him as a reality star the betting is beginning to move towards a Trump win.  Mr. Trump is a big man with big ideas, unfortunately most of these will need big government to accomplish and the hope for a return to limited government recedes a little further from the realm of possibility with big government advocates on both sides.

On the Democrat side we are witnessing the Clinton restoration and America is heading for a sequel to the Golden Nineties when character didn’t matter and White House interns were fair game.  Hillary, after her original courageous testimony concerning Benghazi summed it up in “At this point what does it matter?” continues doing her Whitewater stonewalling routine to the applause of her devotees.

The handwriting is on the wall and we may have truly reached the tipping point where whoever wins the Democrat primaries wins the election.  Eighteen States have voted Democrat in six consecutive elections with 242 electoral votes.  University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said the hurdle for Republicans doesn’t look any better if you count the underlying votes by citizens, not just the electoral results.  “Democrats have also won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential contests,” Sabato said. “The demographic shifts heading to mid-century are all pro-Democratic.”

Add to this that the illegal migration invaders are being dispersed to red states combined with court ordered motor-voter status and what is coming is a tsunami of undocumented democrats to turn the red states blue.  We are nearing a mirror image of Chicago where the Republicans often don’t even bother to run a candidate for mayor because they have a hard time finding sacrificial lambs.

They have elections in China.  Everyone eighteen years or older can vote.  They get the chance to choose between a communist and another communist. This adds up to an election in name only or a distinction without a difference.

In America today we get to choose between one of two members of the twin headed party of power.  Whoever wins the government grows and more power is concentrated in Washington.  Clinton, Bush, Trump, or Sanders whoever wins the bureaucracy continues to wield extra-constitutional power and the Founders dream of a limited government grows dimmer.

Seeing what is happening to our American heritage is like waking up one day and realizing that eventually all of your prized possessions and all of your memories will end up in a land fill.

This all reminds me that a pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist.

Sounds depressing doesn’t it?  In the world we have little hope for change.  We are on an express to national suicide and the fix is in.  This is why I have written my latest book, Political Action Follows Political Philosophy.  This book was written because I believe once liberty is extinguished it may be generations before the light of freedom will again burn bright.  I wrote this book to be a seed for future generations so they will know what happened to the American experiment and provide the philosophical foundations for the rebirth of limited government, personal freedom, and economic opportunity.

Because, the vast majority of human action reflects the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings of the actor.  There have always been and there will always be those whose actions are erratic or divorced from reality.  The actions of this small minority are best ascribed to pathology not philosophy.  For the rest of us, we think therefore we are.  What we think about today we act upon tomorrow.

The Dispatches from the History of the Future contained in this book convey the basic political philosophy which I believe will one day re-inspire our nation to stride upon the stage of History with another round of liberating political action.

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

 

It Is Time to Put the Limit Back in Limited Government

I own a small farm, a berry patch to be exact, and for the particular type of berry that I grow it is much more profitable to market them as organic.  I grow everything organically out of choice.  However to market anything as organic the operation must be certified by the government.

So of course I must spend hours filling out and filling out and filling out forms.  Of course there are fees, filing fees, inspection fees and certification fees.  Then there is the time spent with the inspector at the kitchen table talking, not long, only a few hours out of a busy day.  If you add up the fees and add in a reasonable estimate of the time I ended up spending more to become certified than I made selling my “Organic” berries.

I put the word organic in quotation marks not because they aren’t organic.  I do it because there is no way the inspector could actually know whether they are or not.  He didn’t test the soil.  He didn’t test the plants.  He didn’t test the berries.  He went exclusively by what I told him, what I documented in my field logs, and in the forms I filed.

We actually do grow everything organically, and as I said we do that because of our own desire to grow, eat, and market chemical free food not because the government tells us we have to do so.  However, the process the government follows not only encourages fraud it makes it possible.  Does it seem credible that every farmer everywhere at all times is honest?  Does it seem credible that somewhere there may be a farmer who farms using every chemical available and then just lies about it?  In the end “Organic” means all the proper forms have been filed, all the fees paid, and the farmer told the inspector what he needed to hear.

Here we have one more victory for government regulations that cost the farmer (read consumer) time and money.

When regulation becomes strangulation economies stumble over the government instituted by the social contract between those governed and those governing.  When regulations carry the force of law, when they read like telephone books written in insurance language held upside down, when they multiply like mosquitoes in a swamp people begin to regard them and the governance they represent as a hindrance instead of a help.  Have we reached the point where everyone is guilty and the government merely needs to decide when to pick us up?

In the Declaration of Independence the Founders first told us what beliefs their actions were based upon, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Then they told us why governments exist, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

They then went on to tell us what to do if government ever oversteps its bounds, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect (sic) their Safety and Happiness.”

I guess it is lucky for the peace and tranquility of the present regime that the descendants of these Founders are too busy watching the game and throwing back a few cold ones to follow this final piece of advice for if any government has ever become destructive of these ends it is the Leviathan with which we are now confronted.  The current crowd of the perpetually re-elected and their K-Street crony capitalist friends remind me more and more of King George every day.  If you ever wonder about this just read the bill of particulars in the Declaration and substitute the Federal Government for He.

If we are too comfortable or otherwise engaged to “institute new Government” might it be possible to at least return to the Constitutional limits upon the present one?  If so how can we go about it?  Should we pass a law that says, “The Federal Government must abide by the Constitution” and then wait for the Supreme Court to interpret that to mean “The Federal Government can do whatever it pleases”?

That might not work out too well; however there is an idea whose time may have come.  The REINS Act is designed to reign in government and at least provide some accountability.  You see here is how the people’s elected representatives have stacked the deck so that they get the accolades and avoid the brickbats.

First they pass a law which says something general that everyone can agree on such as, “Make the water or the air cleaner.”  This law will just say that, make whatever it is better with no specifics.  However the law will create and empower a bureaucracy such as the EPA to fill in the blanks and enforce the new blank filling regulations with the force of law.  Then when these new regulations step on someone’s toes as they inevitably will and they complain to their representative the perpetually re-elected become incensed and rail against the unjustness of the regulation.  Perhaps they will even march in protest in solidarity to the great unwashed against the arbitrary nature or silliness of the regulation.  They will at the least offer to write a letter to the bureaucracy on behalf of the outraged citizen and thus they get the credit for wanting the cleaner whatever without the responsibility for imposing the statist regulations that make the cleaner whatever possible.

So how do we wrest control of our lives back from the bureaucracy our elected officials have abdicated their authority to?  We pass the REINS Act and reign them in.

According to Neil Siefring in The Hill:

On July 28, 2015 by a vote of 243 to 165, the House passed H.R. 427, the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015, known as the REINS Act. Introduced in the House by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.), the bill “would require any executive branch rule or regulation with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more — designated by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a ‘major rule’ — to come before Congress for an up-or-down vote before being enacted.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced the companion legislation, S. 226, in the Senate.

The Judiciary Committee’s report on the bill explains that back in 1996, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) was implemented as an attempt to get control over the large number of regulations coming from the federal government. But only one regulation has been undone using CRA, while 60,000 regulations have come into being. Major regulations accounted for 1,000 of them. These regulations are costly. According to The Economist, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reported that in 2013, the compliance cost of federal regulations was $1.86 billion, or $15 billion per household.

The biggest problem with this approach is that the current resident of the White House will veto the law and it is doubtful if the Congress has enough people dedicated to putting the limit back in limited government to override an imperial president who rules by decree. And the beat goes on as We the People continue to get beat down by our own government.

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

 

You Need Limits to be Free

The problem with anarchy is that it must become organized to accomplish anything.  Then like militant apathy it declares war against the machine never realizing that it is merely another cog in the wheel that grinds itself to dust.

The Law of Liberty defines that space where an individual is secure and free to live their life as they choose.

The life of humanity with society is only possible because the vast majority of people act within the framework of certain rules.  As society becomes more complex these rules evolve from the basic instinct of what is right and wrong to evermore explicit guidelines that are both general and abstract.

The fact that we are the products of thousands of years and hundreds of generations of institutional law makes us as blind to the intricate and all-encompassing nature of this skeleton upon which our society lives and moves.  Just as a fish does not notice the water within which it moves and we are not constantly aware of the air in which we move our social self is not aware of the framework of laws which daily provide the context within which we find our meaning.

If we were to have one flash of insight which revealed to us the web of law, tradition, and ceremony within which we move we would realize that it is no more the invention of design of one person or group than the ubiquitous personal computer upon which I am writing this essay and upon which you are reading it.  We realize that this wonder of technology that in so many ways defines our lives has evolved by fits and starts.  One person or group developed this and some other individual or group added that.  From hardware to software we have advanced from the Commodore to the Mac from the mainframe to the tablet.  To trace the development of the life changing wonder now takes volumes yet we wake up every morning, turn it on, go to work, and never give a thought as to how it got here.  Such is the scaffold which delineates both our limits and our freedom.

In the simplest of societies, when two individuals meet a basic level of order is inherently understood thus establishing a sphere of action that is recognized as belonging to each one separately.  In personal relations this is usually through the unconscious acceptance of rules inbred by that society not by formal law.  These are habits of thought and action not expressed as legally proscribed but instead as universally accepted.

This is the basis for the abstract nature of human society wherein individuals respond in a similar manner to circumstances which share some but not all things in common.  People will obey and follow such abstract rules long before it becomes necessary to write them down.  People knew it was wrong to murder or steal long before it became necessary to have formal laws saying these actions were illegal.

The most important aspect of laws in relation to freedom is that they need to be general and they need to apply to everyone equally as opposed to directives which are specific and focused.  It is vitally important to keep these two aspects of society’s structure clearly understood and delineated.

Laws should be applicable to all people at all times in all places.  In this way they do not encumber our freedom and are more as a natural part of the environment with which all must contend equally.  As laws are applied in varying situations they become more specific and directed morphing from law into directive.  Directives proscribe the actions of individuals and laws define the actions of all.

For example in a large enterprise most of the time individuals will go about their tasks without singular guidance.  They will follow standing orders adapting them to unique situations as they arise only on rare occasions receiving specific direction.  In other words within the sphere of general subordination most of the time is spent as an autonomous actor accomplishing individual tasks.

In this large enterprise we envision all activity is directed ultimately by the highest authority.  In order to provide for the appearance of unforeseen and unforeseeable events a certain amount of latitude is always allowed to the individual.  This is the sphere of freedom even within a tightly controlled environment.  Of course this also means that the means to any end must be presupposed to be allocated to any particular individual presented with any particular circumstance.  Such an allocation of resources might be the assignment of particular things or times that can be applied by the individual to their own design.

These general guidelines for individuals can only be altered by new laws from the highest authority that are announced for longer periods of time and for more unforeseen events.  These new laws may serve to change the shape or complexion of the sphere of freedom however they will apply to everyone and therefore become an impediment to personal freedom akin to a natural barrier affecting all the same.  Everyone must climb the same mountain to reach the same valley.

Thus within even a tightly controlled enterprise each individual comes to know what their sphere of liberty is, where it ends, and another’s begins.  This is how, even within societies that mandated the communal ownership of the means of production and the state ownership of everything else such as the former USSR, people still spoke of “My” house, “My” clothes, and “My” children.

Some measure of liberty will always exist as long as humans are humans.  Even as our current government seeks to exert control over the totality of life our sphere of liberty still exists.

The greatest safeguard for the preservation and restoration of liberty is the limitation of the power of government to move beyond the general into the specific.  As long as laws apply to everyone the individual is secure.  As long as the laws our representatives pass apply to them as well as us we are all secure.  However when we find ourselves dominated by a perpetually re-elected ruling class aided, abetted, and encouraged by a unionized civil-service-protected nomenclature intent on ignoring constitutionally mandated limits we approach a time when the directives of the few will trump the laws of the many.

We need limits to be free.  In a complex society we need laws to have limits.  The Constitution was written to limit the laws to certain areas for certain reasons making them general and universally applied.  The progression of the advocates of control past the written certainty of the Constitution to the fog of the Living Document seeks to issue directives that are specific and individually applied.

Anarchy does not bring freedom but neither does totalitarian control.  Somewhere in between is the sweet spot.  Somewhere in between lies a dynamic relationship where each person does not do whatever is right in their own eyes and no one attempts to make every decision for everyone everywhere.  Somewhere in between is a place that declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has been endowed upon everyone equally by our creator.  Somewhere in between lays a more perfect union of limited government, personal liberty, and economic opportunity.  We were there once.  Let’s find our way home.

Keep the faith, keep the peace, we shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Can Learning the Truth Unlearn the Lie?

I have witnessed a teacher of Political Science in America require a class to watch Fahrenheit 911 by Michael Moore then write an essay outlining how many ways President Bush lied to trick America into invading Iraq. If you don’t find this assignment offensive you’ve already had you quota of Kool- Aid and you should step away from this article and dial 911. Tell them someone is about to tell you the truth and you aren’t prepared for what that might do to your world-view.

Conversely when I say we should have listened to the Anti-Federalists, echoing the message of my book The Constitution Failed I’m sure many who often turn to these dispatches from the History of the Future are ready to call the headquarters of the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy and report that poor old Dr. Owens has veered off the reservation. I was once hired to teach history in a high school devoted to promoting the Socratic learning style using the works of the Enlightenment in the hopes of molding another generation akin to the Founders, critical thinkers dedicated to the proposition that liberty is the fountainhead of achievement. I was fired before the semester started because I did not hold the Founders in enough reverence believing as I do that they were mere men and not demigods infallible and universally inspired.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that the Founders of American independence and the Framers of the Constitution were a unique collection of political geniuses who did their best to craft the vehicle for their posterity’s benefit and for this nation’s greatness. The limited government they founded allowed the forever pent-up abilities and longings of man to burst forth into the flowering of American Exceptionalism, the brilliance of the American experiment.

However, that experiment crashed upon the shoals when Abraham Lincoln and the newly birthed Republican Party decided to interpret the Constitution which had been freely entered into by sovereign States to say that no State could ever voluntarily leave even though this is not stated anywhere in the document. Having made that determination this minority government used the overwhelming majority they had in what was left of the Congress to shackle the power of the Industrial North to crush the seceding agricultural South. Slavery,

which cannot be divorced from its evil nor defended in any way, provided the spark, the rallying cry, and the effective explanation for a war which shattered the myth of a federal republic composed of sovereign states.

Since that war between brothers our nation has inexorably grown from the vision expressed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence of a commonwealth of freemen into what is rapidly becoming a statist express highballing its way to the gulag of collectivist uniformity and shabby mediocrity. Gone is the meritocracy of the young republic. Gone is the equality of opportunity smothered in the cold dead grasp of the equality of outcome. Gone is the blind justice of a nation of laws devoured by the politically correct insanity of social justice. The Progressives and their coalition of mega-state lobbies have turned the protections of a Constitution written to limit government into a suicide pact wherein if the nationalist federal government chooses open borders in contravention of federal law and states are condemned for passing laws which requires police to enforce the law.

It is time to think the unthinkable and to embrace the abhorrent conclusion that the Constitution has failed. It was meant to limit government. This is proven conclusively by the 10th Amendment which states, “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.” Without the promise of the immediate adoption of the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution would never have been ratified by a majority of the States. This important though neglected amendment says, and means that only those powers expressly delegated to the central government are legitimate not the endless multiplication of powers which allows that government to intrude into every aspect of our lives as it does today.

The very reason for a written Constitution was and is to limit the government created by that document to the powers expressly delegated not to open the door for interpretation and precedent to expand infinitely until all limits are gone. If that wasn’t the intent why have a Constitution at all?

Though many trace the diversion from republican purity to Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressives the truth is Hamilton set the stage for a big government. He fathered the movement away from a decentralized federation of free people agreeing to disagree so that compromise would leave enough space for liberty to bloom. John Marshall the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court manufactured the power of judicial review by exploiting political factions clearing the path for the rule of unelected black robed aristocrats with the power to turn a country of laws into a country of men.

This history lesson may not make my fellow Patriots glow with the satisfaction derived from accepting the Constitution as inviolable scripture received from on high. However, our current decent into the Progressive’s transformed America should make every lover of liberty ready to embrace the truth. The only question remaining: Can learning the truth unlearn the lie?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Is America a Republic or an Empire?

Over the years in this column I have written about the American Empire.  I have advocated jettisoning the Empire to save the Republic.  This topic has sparked debate and controversy even among the most dedicated readers.  Usually the argument runs like this, “America is not an Empire, never has been and never will be,” or “America’s far-flung military deployments are not the garrisoning of an empire it is instead a forward defense of the homeland.”

In my most recent column along these lines, aptly entitled, “Republic or Empire?” in several publications there was spirited debate about whether or not America could be called an empire.  Some people seemed to take offense at the very idea.  Others who usually agree with my political stands find this and my other foreign policy positions such as bringing our troops home, concentrating on defending America, and equitable trade with all unacceptable.  I present and promote these foreign policy positions as requirements for restoring limited government. It is my belief that as long as we are involved in endless war there is no real possibility to re-gain control of our government, our budget, or our future.

What I propose to do in this column is examine the hallmarks of empire and ask my readers to honestly ask themselves, “Is America a republic or an empire?”

First, it makes no difference whether it is the President, the Paramount Chief, an Augustus, the First Citizen, the Dear Leader, the Great Helmsman or der Fuehrer.  It doesn’t matter if it is an executive branch, a Politburo, a Central Committee, the Cabinet, or the collective leadership.  Whatever form it takes, an empire is always dominated by a highly centralized executive power.

America was designed not to be an empire but instead to be a federal republic made up of a central government and state governments which were the precursors and creators of the central government.   This central government founded upon and constrained by a written constitution originally presented the world with something new, a national government made up of divided co-equal powers.  The Congress to make the laws, the executive to enforce the laws, and the judicial to judge if the laws conformed to the Constitution: the guiding light and touch-stone of American limited government.  This worked well to establish and maintain a republic but it would not foster nor perpetuate an empire.

Thus the Constitution established the framework of what became known as the system of checks and balances.  Only congress could make laws, but the President could veto them.  Congress could over-ride a president’s veto, but the Supreme Court could declare laws unconstitutional making them null and void.  The president is in charge of foreign policy and is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, but the Congress controlled the purse and could cut off funding.  Upon petition the Supreme Court could declare the actions of the president unconstitutional yet the president could appoint justices to the Supreme Court.

Did this work perfect?  No, there were always swings one way or another.  There have been powerful Supreme Courts such as under Chief Justices Marshall or Warren that changed the complexion of the country.  There have been powerful Congresses such as the one from 1865 to the mid 1870’s that virtually ignored presidents and set policy.  There were powerful presidents such as Jackson or Lincoln.  However the pendulum always swung back and forth.  If you examined all three institutions there was one thing missing.  Where was the sovereignty?  Who was the nation?

In the highly centralized state, which is an empire whether personal or national, the leader or leadership operates according to the sentiments of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France who said, “I am the State.”  During the birth of the American system, our Founders had spent more time debating this than any other aspect of the government, who would be the sovereign power.  They had just fought and defeated one tyrant and they did not want to exchange one for another.  They didn’t trust the sovereignty of the nation in the hands of an executive because of the long and bloody history of Europeans with absolutism and divine right.  They didn’t trust an assembly after their recent history with the tyranny of the British Parliament and their Stamp Act, Quartering Act and other attempts to bring the colonies to their knees.  They couldn’t place it in the hands of the Supreme Court for that body would be merely judicial.

Instead they came up with a new idea in the world.  They placed the sovereignty of the nation in the hands of We the People.

The Constitution is designed to empower the people not the government.  Though today it is stretched and interpreted to give the government the power to do whatever it wants whenever it wants originally it was constructed to limit government.

We the People could vote the Congress in or out, we could choose our own president, and if the Supreme Court said something was unconstitutional that we wanted we could change the Constitution using a mechanism embedded within the document itself.  For the first time no leader or oligarchy owned the state, instead the state belonged to the citizens.

What do we see in America today?  We have a president who says, “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”  When Congress after deliberation decides not to pass the Dream Act giving amnesty to millions, the President uses an executive order to make it law by decree.  When the Congress refuses to pass a cap-and-trade law that many believe will hamstring our industry and hobble us in the race with other nations, the president orders his EPA department to enforce it anyway.  Without consulting Congress the President takes us to war against Libya and deposes a government.

These are the actions of an executive out of control.  Under the original American system if anyone would have asked, “Who speaks for the people?” the answer would have been the House of Representatives because they were elected every two years and were thus closest to the people.  It wouldn’t have been the Congress as a whole because under the original system the senate was chosen by the various state legislatures and was designed to represent the states.  It was the House which spoke for the people.  Today it is the President who uses the bully pulpit magnified by a subservient press and a thousand government media pressure points and outlets saying in effect, I have a mandate from the people.  I am the embodiment of their will.  I am the state.

The next hallmark of an empire we will look at is that domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy.  The American President is constitutionally in charge of foreign policy so there is no better place for the holder of that office to act without any restraint.  Treaties must be ratified, so our presidents began in the 1940’s to forge personal agreements with the leaders of other countries that had all the force of treaties with none of the messy Senate confirmation required.  Using their power as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces modern presidents have also used their authority to start wars as in Kosovo and Libya, to sign cease fires as in Korea, and to commit America to the support of dictators and tyrants through deployments and equipment transfers, all without any Congressional oversight.

If we ask ourselves, has domestic policy really become subordinate to foreign policy think about whose infrastructure are we being taxed to rebuild?  In Afghanistan and Iraq our money and our companies are building new schools while ours fall apart, we are building new roads in Afghanistan while we watch our own bridges crumbling.  We give billions to countries and governments that despise us.  We borrow money to give it away and then sometimes borrow it back all in a bizarre dance balancing foreign interests at the expense of We the People.

Another hallmark of an empire is that the military mindset becomes ascendant to the point that civilians are intimidated.  Think about the Defense budget.   In 2012 it was over 600 billion dollars.  Does anyone believe Congress or anyone else really knows where all that money is going?  The size, scope, and unbelievable waste in the defense budget stagger the imagination.  However, to even question the defense budget will immediately get someone labeled as an isolationist who wants to gut our defense and surrender to the enemy.

Many people will argue that we are in a war and that during war of course the defense budget will be bloated.  Can you remember any time since 1942 that we haven’t been in a war?  Yes, there were the brief days of the “Peace Dividend” under Clinton after the Soviet Union dissolved which actually became the rational for increased defense spending.  And during those brief days of peace back in the 1990’s we fought a war and enforced a decade long no-fly zone in Iraq, attacked Serbia, sent troops, planes or other assets to Zaire, Sierra Leone, Bosnia (numerous times), Herzegovina, Somalia, Macedonia, Haiti, Liberia, Central African Republic, Albania, Congo and Gabon, Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Afghanistan, and East Timor.  And this was our only decade of peace since the 1940’s, and to question any of this is considered tantamount to treason.  We must ask ourselves, “Has the military mindset become ascendant to the point that civilians are intimidated?”

Perpetual war for peace has led the peaceful American people to be ensnared in the clutches of the military-industrial complex as president Eisenhower warned it would in 1961.

All empires develop and maintain a system of satellite nations.  When we hear of this we immediately think of the old USSR and their slave states in Eastern Europe.  Advance the idea that America has satellite nations and people become irate.  “How could you say such a thing about America?”  Look at our so-called allies.  Do they fit the description as satellite nations?  A satellite nation is one that the empire deems is necessary for its own defense.  It is also one that feels it cannot stand alone and wants the empire’s protection.

That is the deal.  The empire commits to protect the satellite and the satellite agrees to stand with its back against the empire facing a common foe.  Add to that the fact that we supply money and material to build the national defenses of our satellite/allies as well as economic aid and a preferential trade system.  Think about these ideas and decide for yourself whether or not America has satellite nations ringing the heartland of the empire.

Another hallmark of empire is that a psychology or psychosis of pride, presumption, and arrogance overtakes the national consciousness.   We are all familiar with the twenty-first century incantation of “Too big to fail.”  That was applied by our bailout happy leaders to their pet banks and companies during the opening days of the Great Recession.  It is also an apt description for the way in which most Americans view our position as the most powerful nation on earth or as the silver tongued talking heads like to say, the world’s sole superpower.  Since the end of World War One the United States has been the unchallenged mega power among the western block of nations.  Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union we have towered like a colossus over the rest of the world.  In the memory of most people now alive it has always been this way.

To most people the way it has been is the way it shall be.  We speak of embracing change and of realizing that change is the only constant but few can really think that way.  The familiar seduces us into thinking that the momentary circumstances of today are the unshakable foundations of tomorrow.  To the children and grandchildren of the greatest generation the world will always gaze in awe at the great American eagle soaring above the world.  Our navies rule the waves, our masses of fighters, bombers, and drones can reach out and touch any corner of the globe, our troops are the best trained, best equipped, and best led armies the world has ever seen, so such a mega power could never fall.

So it seemed to the inhabitants of Rome the eternal empire.  So it seemed to the British when the sun never set upon the union jack.  And so it seems to us.  Even though a rag-tag group like Al Qaeda defies our attempts to destroy them and continues to grow and multiply around the world.  Even though the Taliban not only have withstood more than a decade of war they stand poised to reclaim their country as soon as we leave.  Even though our deficit spending and the national debt it creates is leading us to a financial collapse that our own military leaders have identified as the greatest threat to our security, and our leaders only answer is more spending.  This pride, presumption, and arrogance blinds us to the enduring truth of what comes before a fall.

Finally an empire is the prisoner of history.  A republic is not required to act upon the world stage.  It can pick and choose its own way seeking its own destiny as a commonwealth of citizens.  An empire must project its power for fear that if it doesn’t another leviathan will arise to take its place.  A free republic that has maintained its independence is able to decide where and when it will become involved.  An empire is always the leader of a center heavy coalition comprised of the imperial core and the associated or satellite nations.  As such it is the collective security against the barbarian, the other that drives the actions of the empire.

In the parlance of our day it is our turn.  It is our turn to be the policeman of the world, our turn to keep the peace, to guard civilization from the unwashed hordes who seek to turn back the clock and bring darkness into the world.  We are a vanguard of stability in a world beset by chaos, and so were the British and the Romans before them.

Other writers may say something has been left off these hallmarks while others may say some of these don’t apply.  To all I would recommend a study of former empires to see if they agree these properties are found in all of them.  Then ask ourselves, “Are these properties present in America today?”  Once we have completed this process we will be able to answer the question for ourselves, “Is America an Empire?”  If we decide, yes it is, we have to realize that there is a trajectory all empires follow: they rise and they fall.

We might decide that,we as the first empire that is not set-up to plunder wealth but instead to distribute wealth, are different, and therefore we will break the mold.  We will stand while others have fallen.  One look at our debt should persuade anyone that what we have built is as unsustainable as the British, the Roman, or any other empire we wish to use as a standard.

Do you say, “We can’t be an empire because our president is elected.”  So were the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, so were the kings of Poland. It is the empire that empowers our executive.  Do you say, “We can’t be an empire because we have a Congress.”  So did Athens, Rome, and Britain.  Do you say, “We can’t be an empire because we have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, why we even have the freedom to own weapons.”  So did Athens, so did Rome, and so did Britain.

While we are yet on the glory side of the fall let us abandon the empire to save our republic.  Let us resign from the great game of thrones, rebuild America, secure our own borders instead of those of Korea, or Afghanistan, and reaffirm our dedication to be the last best hope of mankind: a federal republic operating on democratic principles, securing our God given liberties, providing personal freedom, individual liberty, and economic opportunity to all its citizens.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Republic or Empire?

Historians spend their lives looking backwards.  Futurists spend their lives looking forward.  My goal has been to blend the two disciplines into one seamless panorama. For if you don’t know the past you have no context for the present, and if you have no context for the present the future appears to be whatever those who shape the present portray it to be.  Those who believed the Eternal Empire was truly eternal, those who believed the sun would never set on the British Empire, those who believed in a 1,000 year Reich, and those who believed the USSR was the vision of the future proved those who shape the present always project a future which shows their empire as the one that will never fall.

When I was studying to become a Historian I came to a point where I had to declare a field of special study. This is where my obsession with current events intersected with my love for History.  This is when I realized that current events are the forever unfolding always receding conveyor belt of reality.  This is when I first verbalized the perception that as the future slides into the present and the present slides into the past our lives are the history of the future.   Therefore in my writings I seek to frame the flow of today with knowledge of yesterday to create a window into tomorrow.

History tells us that Imperial Republics fall.  We have the examples of Athens and all the other grasping Greek republics that followed her.  We have Rome the example always deferred to of a republic that allowed an empire to stifle freedom.  The list however does not end there, we can look at Venice and the various republics of Renaissance Italy, and of course the First Republic of France which was birthed in blood and died in fire.  The siren song of empire has seduced republics down through history to trade in their freedom for power which eventually cost them both their freedom and the power.

It is time to re-think America’s international military commitments.

Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires, the United States wasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.  Then, although the world was filled with despotic kings, our Framers gave us a Republic.  However, it is worth remembering the exchange that took place between Ben Franklin, the elder statesman of the Constitutional Convention, and an unknown woman.  As he left Independence Hall he was asked, “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy?”   Appealing to his legendary wit Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”   We and our ancestors have been blessed by the Republic for hundreds of years.  We’ve benefited from the liberty to live our lives and pursue our happiness.  Now we’ve arrived at the “if you can keep it” phase of our journey.

At the cost of hundreds of billions and thousands of lives we doubled-down in Afghanistan.  At the cost of over a trillion and thousands of lives we conquered Iraq and deposed Saddam.  We spearheaded the bombing campaign in Libya.  Our drones strike suspected enemies far and near including American citizens.  Troops have been dispatched to central Africa.  And the perennial war drums still beat at the very mention of Iran.  We are committed to treat any attack on dozens of countries from South Korea to Lithuania as an attack on our homeland.  In other wards we are committed to send American troops to fight and die for countries which in the case of South Korea are well able to defend themselves, and in the case of Lithuania and many others that are of no strategic importance to the United States.

We have sent our fellow citizens to fight long hard slogs in countries whose names are the very synonym for Quagmire.  As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed our leaders deeper into thankless nation-building campaigns in nation after nation including one that’s resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander to Moscow.

Instead of using our cruise missiles and stealth capabilities we fell into the trap announced and laid by Bin Laden.  Whose strategy was as Lawrence Wright told us in his seminal book Looming Towers to, “lure America into the same trap the Soviets had fallen into: Afghanistan.”  How did he plan to do it?  “To continually attack until the U.S. forces invaded; then the mujahedeen would swarm upon them and bleed them until the entire American empire fell from its wounds. It had happened to Great Britain and to the Soviet Union. He was certain it would happen to America.”

There were twists and turns on our journey from republic to empire.

George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements.  Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.”

For more than one hundred years we concentrated on using our liberty to build a mighty nation.  Then the temptation of empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s, a time when Europe was rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence.  Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and the Philippines

Teddy Roosevelt followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet and multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  After being re-elected on the promise to keep America neutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight World War I to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300, 000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires of England, France, and Japan.  After the war, the Congress of the United States re-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action.

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior to Pearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended not with the defeat of totalitarianism but instead with the expansion of it in Eastern Europe the guiding light of American foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished.  As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War.   For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed under the weight of their own  empire  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe promising to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia among others, and now the sun never sets upon the American Empire.

Not only is it against the founding principles of America to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts, we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them. How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure did we invest in Iraq, and what is the result?  A Shi’a ally for Iran.  The war in Afghanistan was obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support for Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Or have we walked into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

Currently the United States has armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were all these allies on 9-11?  Where are they in Afghanistan?   Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Station them on the border to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who’re overloading our systems.  We can seal and secure the mountainous border between the Koreas and we can secure our own borders if we have the wisdom and the will.  If we need to project American power use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  Protect America and rebuild our infrastructure instead of everyone else’s.  When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ’em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.”

If we want to save the Republic we need to lose the empire, or we can cling to the empire and lose both.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

Praetorian Progressives and Their Imperial Dreams

 Under President Obama we doubled-down in Afghanistan?  We sent more of our fellow citizens to a long hard slog in a country whose synonym is Quagmire while announcing the eventual date of their withdrawal at the same time.  In an unprecedented action Mr. Obama announced our attack as he heralded our retreat in a calculated political decision that has cost lives, squandered treasure and told the Taliban to wait in the wings for the second act.

As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed the leader deeper into a thankless nation-building campaign in the Little Bighorn of nations.  A nation that is more of a Western construct than an actual nation-state, and the tribes which inhabit this mountainous waste have resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander toMoscow. 

There is a fundamental difference between a republic and an empire.  Republics are based upon the consent of the governed.  Empires are imposed from above.  Republics foster a community of equals each with the opportunity to achieve.  Empires exalt the ruling class at the expensive of everyone else.  Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires theUnited Stateswasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.

It is time to re-thinkAmerica’s international military commitments.  It is our world wide web of foreign commitments and entanglements that has been used by the self-righteous Progressives and their cronies in the military industrial complex in their efforts to transform theUnited Statesfrom republic to empire.  They have used the never ending wars for peace to regiment our society and create a centrally-planned bureaucratic mega government.

 George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements telling us, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world…”  He warned us about allowing the military to grow to big, “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”

Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.” 

For the first 100 years of our existence we followed Washington’s great rule, “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.”

The temptation to empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s: the beginning of the Progressive Era.  This was a time whenEuropewas rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence. 

Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and thePhilippines as well as a long war against those in thePhilippines who wanted the independence they had expected when liberated from the Spanish Empire by theAmericanRepublic. 

Teddy Roosevelt the great grandfather of the Progressives followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet.  He used America’s new found industrial might and military power for multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  While better known for his war against business, or trust busting as it was then called, the first President Roosevelt extolled war as a means to national greatness, “No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war”

After being re-elected on the promise to keep Americaneutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300,000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires ofEngland,France, andJapan while sowing the seeds of an even greater war. 

After Wilson’s war the Congress of the United Statesre-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action. 

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior toPearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended with the defeat of German, Italian, and Japanese totalitarianism and the vast expansion of Soviet totalitarianism, the guiding light ofAmerica foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished. 

As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War. For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed.  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe.  We made a vain promise to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia.  We coaxed color-coded revolutions all around Russia while our allies moved the EU to the East.  All of this rebuffed the hand of the Russians and made them instead of friends bitter foes who realized America had exploited their weakness and attempted to surround them with enemies.  This is the exact scenario which has haunted Russian paranoid dreams for centuries.

It is against the traditional principles of American foreign policy to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts.  Doing so has broken the bank and we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them while allowing our own infrastructure to decay.  How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure did we invest in Iraq and what will be the result: a precipitous pull-out resulting in a Shi’a ally for Iran

The war inAfghanistanwas obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support and collusion with Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Have we blundered into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

And it isn’t only our current hot deployment that is problematic. 

The United Stateshas armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were these allies on 9-11?  Where are they inAfghanistan?  Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Sell the bases and save the money.  Station our troops on the borders to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who are overloading our systems. Let the maintenance of the bases and the spending of the troops contribute to our domestic economy instead of the economies of other countries.  If we need to project American power, use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  ProtectAmericaand rebuild our infrastructure. 

When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get ’em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That’s the best thing in the world to do with them.” 

We must jettison the Empire to save the Republic!  If we don’t the imperial power will swamp the republican nature.  We will retain the forms our Founders gave us as we find ourselves under the jackbooted heel of the Praetorian Progressives and their imperial dreams.  

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

The Sun is Setting Tell Everyone You Know

If we say nothing while watching someone walk off a cliff and plunge to her death we would be criminally negligent.  If we ride past a home in the early morning and see smoke rising from the roof and don’t call 911 we would be criminally negligent.   Today, as we watch our nation walk off a cliff, as we watch the smoke rise from the home of the brave and the land of the free, if we do not do all we can to raise the awareness of our fellow Americans we are criminally negligent.   

Those who are awake to the coming end of limited government have watched this slow motion train wreck for our entire lives.  We have watched as inch by inch the Federal Government has lured our fellow citizens into one entitlement trap after another.  We have wondered when they will wake up and pay attention.   

Election after election we have marveled at the shallowness of the debate.  One side says, “If you elect them they will gut the safety net and throw Grandma off the cliff!”  And after every election no matter who wins the safety net becomes more of a hammock.  The other side says, “If you elect them they will gut the defenses and whoever the currently fashionable model of a barbarian horde happens to be will soon stifle freedom, walk upon Old Glory and turn us all into slaves.”  And after every election the defense budget grows and the policeman of the world continues to walk the beat. 

Blind justice may be good but a blind electorate is falling for these two straw man arguments electing demagogues whose motto might as well be, “You know I’m lying but you like what I say.”  The social safety net will not be eliminated by any of these empty suits. It will instead become the sack the cats are sewn in before the crazy guy throws it in the river.  The defense budget will not be gutted.  It won’t even be reduced.  Baseline budgeting and secret off budget black ops funding will make sure our 900 base 130 country overseas empire continues to make sure the sun never sets on the stars and stripes.  

As each constitutional guarantee falls by the wayside we wonder when enough people will turn off the game, forget about the vampires, the hoarders, and the dysfunctional non-reality reality stars and realize our nation and our children’s heritage is being transformed into what our ancestors fought a revolution to be rid of?   

Most of us, even the comatose can recite, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Our assembly line public education has drilled that into our heads. 

What our one more brick in the wall system hopes we don’t recall is the next line, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”  And they pray that we don’t shout the next line, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.” 

When a government uses the excuse of security to tap our phones, monitor electronic communications, and generally read our mail without a warrant, to arrest and detain American citizens on American soil without a warrant, and hold them indefinitely without trial, to wage war without declaration or even congressional approval what we have here is more than a failure to communicate.  What we have is a central government establishing a tyranny in the name of providing security. 

Ben Franklin told us, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” 

Looking for substance we tune into the ad nauseam insipid debates organized and orchestrated by a partisan press merely trying to make the Republicans look like the bar scene from Star Wars.  What do we hear?  Except for the lone exception we hear one after another big government professional calling for less spending, less regulations and more war.  Out of that list all we will get is more war.  And the lone exception is continuously relegated to the status of an also ran by every news organization including the supposedly conservative one. 

On the other side we are offered four more years of this: four more years of total transformation until we wake up one day in the Progressive version of Heaven: a cradle-to-grave nanny state fighting endless wars for peace.  Regimented, controlled, secure and listening as the same comatose voters who brought us to this place repeat the pabulum that jumps off the teleprompters into the mouths of the info-announcers as if these were their own opinions. 

We cannot, we must not allow this to happen without at the very least exerting every effort to wake up anyone within the sound of our voice.  To do this we of course must be awake and aware ourselves.   

If we do not know where we came from how can we know where we are?  If we don’t know where we are, how can we know where we are going?   

We must study to show ourselves approved.  If we lose the foundation how will the structure stand?  We must know and understand the constitutional and historical underpinnings of this noble experiment in human freedom if we are to preserve it.  We must know and understand the flow of current events if we wish to shape the future. 

Study, learn, share, and look for the lights in the tower.  One if by land and two if by sea, we must recognize the signs of the times and try to wake up as many people as we can.  The time is late, the hour is dark, but the right shall prevail. 

Forty-seven years ago a young pre-rap poet songwriter tried to wake people up to the intrusion of government and the need to recognize it when he said, “Maggie comes fleet foot face full of black soot talkin’ that the heat put plants in the bed but the phone’s tapped anyway Maggie says that many say they must bust in early May orders from the D.A.  Look out kid Don’t matter what you did. Walk on your tiptoes don’t try “No-Doz” better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose keep a clean nose watch the plain clothes you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”   

Knowing which way the wind blows should tell us that we must do our duty to save our country or it will be lost.  I don’t know about you but in the future when my grandchildren ask, “What did you do to hold back the night?”  I want to be able to say more than, “I didn’t notice the darkness.” 

Keep the faith, keep the peace, we shall overcome. 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens