Posts Tagged ‘progressives’

The Climate Agenda Behind the Bacon Scare

The widely publicized warning about meat isn’t about health. It’s about the progressives fighting global warming.

Headlines blaring that processed and red meat causes cancer have made this steak-and-bacon-loving nation collectively reach for the Rolaids. Vegans are in full party mode, and the media is in a feeding frenzy. But there is more to this story than meets the (rib)eye.

With United Nations climate talks beginning in a few weeks in Paris, the cancer warning seems particularly well timed. Environmental activists have long sought to tie food to the fight against global warming. Now the doomsayers who want to take on modern agriculture, a considerable source of greenhouse-gas emissions, can employ an additional scare tactic: Meat production sickens the planet; meat consumption sickens people.

Late last month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—part of the World Health Organization, an arm of the U.N.—concluded that red meat, like beef and pork, is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, and that processed meat is an even greater cancer threat. The IARC placed foods like bacon, sausage and hot dogs in the same carcinogen category as cigarettes and plutonium.

The working group assessed “more than 800 epidemiological studies that investigated the association of cancer with consumption of red meat or processed meat in many countries.” But support for the IARC’s sweeping conclusion is flimsy at best.

First, the report largely addresses only one cancer—colorectal—while making passing mention of other cancers, like stomach and prostate. Yet the evidence linking red meat and colorectal cancer is unconvincing. The authors write that “positive associations were seen with high versus low consumption of red meat in half of those studies”—hardly enough conclusive evidence to justify a stern cancer warning.

The working group even admits in the same paper that “there is limited evidence for the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat” and “no clear association was seen in several of the high quality studies.” Despite this, the agency placed red meat in its second-highest carcinogen category, alongside DDT and the human papillomavirus, HPV.

The case against processed meat is dubious, too. According to the IARC report, each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. That might sound scary, but the absolute risk is what really matters. As an example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2% of 40-year-olds will develop colorectal cancer over the next 30 years of their lives. What the IARC study suggests is a slightly higher rate—say, 2.4% over 30 years—for those 40-year-olds who tear through a 16-ounce package of bacon every week without fail.

A doctor with the IARC acknowledged in a news release announcing the findings that “for an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small.” But that statement—widely overlooked in most media coverage—didn’t stop the agency from putting processed meat in its highest category of carcinogens, alongside mustard gas and formaldehyde.

Sensationalist reporting makes processed meat sound more dangerous than even the IARC report claims. A headline at NBC News reads: “Ham, Sausages Cause Cancer; Red Meat Probably Does, Too, WHO Group Says.” Another by the national desk at Cox Media Group runs: “Bacon poses same cancer risk as cigarettes, world health group claims.” This is a case where many journalists and policy makers fail to give proper scrutiny to claims that advance the prevailing political narrative. When a report advises eating less meat, few bother to check the facts, because the conclusion is already popular among them and assumed true.

Now we get to the connection between climate alarmism and the meat-is-bad movement. In advance of the Paris climate talks, the World Health Organization released a lengthy report about climate pollutants and global health risks. The section on agriculture discusses the need to direct consumers away from foods whose production emits high levels of greenhouse gases: “A key action with large potential climate and health benefits is to facilitate a shift away from high-GHG foods—many of which are of animal origin—and towards healthy, low-GHG (often plant-based) alternatives.”

The report specifically mentions red and processed meat: “In affluent populations, shifting towards diets based on careful adherence to public health recommendations—including reduced consumption of red and processed meat and/or other animal-sourced foods in favor of healthier plant-based alternatives—has the potential to both reduce GHG emissions and improve population health.”

How would this shift in consumers’ tastes be produced? “Experimental and modeling studies demonstrate that food pricing interventions have the ability to influence food choice,” the report states, before favorably citing a study in the United Kingdom of “taxing all food and drinks with above-average GHG emissions.”

Much of this is aimed at the U.S., which is the world’s top producer of beef and its third-largest producer of pork. Americans, along with Australians and Argentines, are among the world’s biggest per capita meat-eaters. Now climate busybodies can shout that meat causes cancer and is as bad for the person eating it as it is for the planet.

In other words, meat is a double threat that governments should contain. Hang on to your T-bones and sausages, folks.

Ms. Kelly, a cooking instructor and food writer, lives in Orland Park, Ill. Mr. Stier leads the risk analysis division at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

McDonald’s Sales in Decline So Let’s Raise Minimum Wage!

by Mark Home
As you may know, unions are scheming for ways to force fast food franchises to raise their minimum wage. Usually, McDonald’s is treated as the wealthiest of these franchises. Everyone seems to assume they have plenty of money and are only refusing to pay employees more out of spite.

I’ve mentioned before that McDonald’s is not that well off. And the bad news keeps coming. According to CNN: “McDonald’s July sales fell more than expected.”

McDonald’s on Friday reported July sales results that were much worse than analysts had expected.

Following the report, the company’s shares traded lower.

The dismal results prompted Janney Capital Markets to lower its estimates for the fast-food giant. Its analysts said the results “were the worst worldwide month in the last 10 years, once trading-day adjustments are taken into account.”

Same-store sales in the U.S. sank 3.2 percent, weaker than the 2.6 percent expected.

So what happens if McDonald’s goes bankrupt and closes?

Yes, I know that total liquidation is quite unlikely. But I think it is worth considering. As far as I can tell from the rhetoric for a higher minimum wage law, McDonald’s is an exploiter of poor people. The restaurant chain is guilty of paying wages that leave employees in squalor.

Well, if they are such an evil company, then obviously all their employees will be immensely better off if the restaurants are all closed down. Right?


Wait a minute! Are you saying that the sudden disappearance of McDonald’s would be a really bad thing for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of employees? Are you saying that, if there were no McDonald’s chain, these people would not be able to earn money?

So which is it? Is McDonald’s a blessing to its many employees or is it a curse? Are you willing to admit that they make the lives of many, many people much better off? Or are you going to claim that they should disappear and that everyone would be better off without them?

Something to think about.


The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives.


Social conservatives. Libertarians. Country-club conservatives. Tea party conservatives. Everybody in politics knows that those sets of people who usually vote Republican cannot be arrayed in a continuum from moderately conservative to extremely conservative. They are on different political planes. They usually have just enough in common to vote for the same candidate.
Why then do we still talk about the left in terms of a continuum from moderately liberal to extremely liberal? Divisions have been occurring on the left that mirror the divisions on the right. Different segments of the left are now on different planes.
A few weeks ago, I was thrown into a situation where I shared drinks and dinner with two men who have held high positions in Democratic administrations. Both men are lifelong liberals. There’s nothing “moderate” about their liberalism. But as the pleasant evening wore on (we knew that there was no point in trying to change anyone’s opinion on anything), I was struck by how little their politics have to do with other elements of the left.
Their liberalism has nothing in common with the political mind-set that wants right-of-center speakers kept off college campuses, rationalizes the forced resignation of a CEO who opposes gay marriage, or thinks George F. Will should be fired for writing a column disagreeable to that mind-set. It has nothing to do with executive orders unilaterally disregarding large chunks of legislation signed into law or with using the IRS as a political weapon. My companions are on a different political plane from those on the left with that outlook—the progressive mind-set.
Wait, doesn’t “progressive” today reflect the spirit of the Progressive Era a century ago, when the country benefited from the righteous efforts of muckrakers and others who fought big-city political bosses, attacked business monopolies and promoted Good Government The era was partly about that. But philosophically, the progressive movement at the turn of the 20th century had roots in German philosophy ( Hegel and Nietzsche were big favorites) and German public administration ( Woodrow Wilson’s open reverence for Bismarck was typical among progressives). To simplify, progressive intellectuals were passionate advocates of rule by disinterested experts led by a strong unifying leader. They were in favor of using the state to mold social institutions in the interests of the collective. They thought that individualism and the Constitution were both outmoded.
That’s not a description that Woodrow Wilson or the other leading progressive intellectuals would have argued with. They openly said it themselves.
It is that core philosophy extolling the urge to mold society that still animates progressives today—a mind-set that produces the shutdown of debate and growing intolerance that we are witnessing in today’s America. Such thinking on the left also is behind the rationales for indulging President Obama in his anti-Constitutional use of executive power. If you want substantiation for what I’m saying, read Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 book “Liberal Fascism,” an erudite and closely argued exposition of American progressivism and its subsequent effects on liberalism. The title is all too accurate.
Here, I want to make a simple point about millions of people—like my liberal-minded dinner companions—who regularly vote Democratic and who are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Along with its intellectual legacy, the Progressive Era had a political legacy that corresponds to the liberalism of these millions of Democrats. They think that an activist federal government is a force for good, approve of the growing welfare state and hate the idea of publicly agreeing with a Republican about anything. But they also don’t like the idea of shouting down anyone who disagrees with them.
They gave money to the ACLU in 1978 when the organization’s absolutism on free speech led it to defend the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill. They still believe that the individual should not be sacrificed to the collective and that people who achieve honest success should be celebrated for what they have built. I’m not happy that they like the idea of a “living Constitution”—one that can be subjected to interpretations according to changing times—but they still believe in the separation of powers, checks and balances, and the president’s duty to execute the laws faithfully.
These Democrats should get exclusive possession of the word “liberal.”
As a libertarian, I am reluctant to give up the word “liberal.” It used to refer to laissez-faire economics and limited government. But since libertarians aren’t ever going to be able to retrieve its original meaning, we should start using “liberal” to designate the good guys on the left, reserving “progressive” for those who are enthusiastic about an unrestrained regulatory state, who think it’s just fine to subordinate the interests of individuals to large social projects, who cheer the president’s abuse of executive power and who have no problem rationalizing the stifling of dissent.
Making a clear distinction between liberals and progressives will help break down a Manichaean view of politics that afflicts the nation. Too many of us see those on the other side as not just misguided but evil. The solution is not a generalized “Can’t we all just get along” non-judgmentalism. Some political differences are too great for that.
But liberalism as I want to use the term encompasses a set of views that can be held by people who care as much about America’s exceptional heritage as I do. Conservatives’ philosophical separation from that kind of liberalism is not much wider than the philosophical separation among the various elements of the right. If people from different political planes on the right can talk to each other, as they do all the time, so should they be able to talk to people on the liberal left, if we start making a distinction between liberalism and progressivism. To make that distinction is not semantic, but a way of realistically segmenting the alterations to the political landscape that the past half-century has brought us.
Mr. Murray is the W.H. Brady BRC +2.04% Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Why Gridlock is a Good Thing

Gridlock is one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us by the Framers.  It is a natural result of the checks and balances built into the system to stop any temporary majority from fundamentally changing the country.  If it wasn’t for the checks and balances FDR would have completely socialized the country back in the 1930s.  If it wasn’t for them now BHO would simply impose his agenda on us.  Wait a minute I think he is.

Living as the occupants of an occupied nation those of us who believe limited government, personal freedom, and economic liberty are good things have to face up to the fact that a cadre of political savants who advocate for the collectivization of the American experiment have maneuvered their way into the halls of power.  They have captured the media, the unions, Hollywood, and a large segment of education.  The elections have been gerrymandered into a parody of democracy.  Political Correctness dries up free speech and affirmative action uses racial quotas and discrimination while saying they are doing it to increase integration.

It takes a conspiracy theory wrapped in a spiral of silence to pretend the foregoing isn’t true.  Every day the regime is bent on fundamentally changing this country from a representative republic founded upon respect for the laws of nature and of nature’s God into a centrally-planned social safety net.  Our education system spends more money per capita than any other, and instead of academic superstars we produce illiterate whiners with high self-esteem.

The borders are open to a mass migration from the third world.  Free trade has gutted our industrial base.  Our foreign policy is in tatters as the conquerors of the republic allow our ambassadors to be murdered, our citizens to be unfairly imprisoned, and our national interests to be sacrificed for hidden goals and secret agendas.

America the beautiful where have you gone?  From sea to shining sea your people watch as the alabaster cities rot into bankrupt hulks where socialism has failed.  At the same time those who exemplify and lead the destruction of the once proud land of the free and home of the brave point to the very instrument which provided the opportunity for humanity to excel in the bright sunshine of freedom.

Seeing gridlock not as a brake upon the ambitions of temporary ruling factions to establish themselves as permanent oligarchies, President Obama attacks the structure of government as created by the Framers of the Constitution.

One of the greatest mistakes ever foisted upon this country by the progressives was the passing of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.  This change to the Constitution was pushed through in the early days of the 20th century finally becoming law in 1913.  This amendment took the election of U. S. Senators away from the state legislatures and made them part of the march towards democracy that has always been a hallmark of the progressive movement.

Before the 17th Amendment the Senators had acted as the representatives of the States preserving the federal nature of our government.  Since its passage the various states must hire lobbyists to represent them in Washington as if they were just another interest group.  This has given us the best government money can buy and left the States at the mercy of a central bureaucracy on steroids.

Now President Obama, as the leader and spokesman of our Progressive masters is railing against the fact that every state has two senators.  In his political cradle the paragon of party politics, Chicago Mr. Obama described to a small group of wealthy supporters several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and possibly recapturing the House. One of those hurdles, according to the President, is that each state regardless of its population has two Senate seats.  Or as Mr. Obama said, “Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage.”

The President noted that the congregation of Democrat voters in big cities gives Republicans an advantage in rural states affecting both the elections for the House and the Senate.   Of course it is those very concentrations and the massive political machines’ support that allow the democrat Party to control so many States and their electoral votes.  In essence what Mr. Obama is complaining about is that while Democrat control of big city machines has perhaps locked up the electoral keys to the White House they are not able to translate that into a lock on the legislative side for a true one party state.

If you will remember the last time they were able to pull off this hat trick (2008-2010) they shoved Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or as it is also known as, the Federal Reserve Empowerment Law down our throats. This has socialized one sixth of our economy, has entrenched crony capitalism, and enshrined too-big-to-fail.

The Progressives from the Ivory Tower to the White House have worked tirelessly for over 100 years to change the iron-clad guarantees of the Constitution into a Living Document that is as firm as Jell-O and as clear as mud.  They want a one party state and a unified centralized government to efficiently complete their transformation.  It is in the interests of all lovers of liberty to vote for divided government so that we can bask in the light of gridlock.  For when the lawyers in Washington and the bureaucratic minions aren’t able to do anything maybe we will have a chance to do something.

The biggest hurdle we have in maintaining the safety of gridlock is that the Progressives have captured the leadership of both major parties.  They have also rigged elections in such a way as to almost eliminate the possibility for a minor party to win.  Using our ballots strategically we must find ways to keep the Progressives from gaining one more shot at one party rule.  We must maintain some breathing room so that freedom doesn’t suffocate.

Why is gridlock a good thing? Because it might be our last chance to get something done.

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


Hoarder in Chief


Government hoarding. We’re being buried alive in big government.

What’s the Reason?

Just as the pursuit of perfection can often end in the sacrifice of what is good so too the worship of reason often results in the exaltation of mediocrity and the circumscription of reasonable thought and action.

Daily the Progressives aggressively push forward against positions which have long been the traditional battle lines of the conservative movement.  The front lines in the culture war move ever closer to the transformed America they envision.  First prayer was expelled from School.  Then the sexual revolution wave peaked with the nullification of state abortion laws by the Supreme Court and then crashed into the mainstream with condoms and birth-control distributed to school children.  Divorce became common-place, and out-of-wedlock births account for the majority in several demographics.  Pornography is a constitutional right and as close as a mouse click away in most homes.

Those who want to hold on to the America we were raised in are ridiculed in the press, movies, and by our elected officials as a wild-eyed fringe of traditionalist America-firsters clinging to our guns and Bibles.  This is why it is important to examine the place of reason as opposed to tradition in the operation of society.

To paraphrase the infamous phrase of George Bush the Younger, “I have sacrificed free market principles to save the free market system,” I would say, “At times we must suspend the rule of reason for reason to flourish.” Or follow in the footsteps of David Hume who was said to have turned against the Enlightenment its own weapons to whittle down the claims of reason by the use of rational analysis.

It is the ability to think in symbols and imagine abstract things that sets man apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.  Therefore at the outset let me say this is not an appeal for irrationality or any type of transcendental mysticism.  It is instead meant to be a rational examination of the anti-rationalistic position which is necessary for the preservation of individual freedom, personal liberty, and economic opportunity, and the only conditions under which reason can flourish and evolve.  For the attempt to apply reason and reason alone to the organization of society’s intricately woven interface of conventions stifles creativity, leaves no place for innovation, and is ultimately unreasonable.

When we attempt to apply the laws of science or the mechanical practices of engineering to human activity we run the risk of building a maze so perfect the mouse can never find the cheese.  Or in other words we can seek to make our processes so ideal that there is no room for free thinking, free action, or for the splashes of genius that are the real catalysts of societal evolution.

Those who stand by the idea that reason and reason alone should shape the future must of necessity seek to abandon tradition; for traditions are not built upon reason.  They are built upon trial and error.  That which doesn’t work is discarded, and that which works becomes accepted through use and time.  However it is impossible to completely disregard tradition.  Every day each of us moves through life acting upon hundreds of unconscious rules and procedures that we don’t think about because they were bred into us by those who raised us.  It is the consensus of a common culture and heritage which makes a people one, E Pluribus Unum.

Those who worship reason believe that they can design a perfect society, a utopia, and that all of their dreams of perfection will stand the light of day.  History proves over and over that those who seek to guide the evolution of man through the evolution of society do not create the heaven on earth they advertise.

Look to the French Revolution which cast down Christ and enshrined Reason as their God.  It didn’t produce the liberty, equality, and fraternity it promised; instead it brought forth Terror, dictatorship, war and ruin.  The Russian Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy of the Romanovs and installed an even more absolute dictatorship that promised a worker’s paradise and delivered the gulags, starvation, and collapse.

When those who think they are wise enough to make everyone’s decisions about everything try to manufacture a society that looks like their computer models they must use coercion to force those who do not accept their vision to act as if they did.  Rules, regulations and red tape bind the human spirit and prevent the growth of the un-designed, the unforeseen, and smother the spark of genius.  As counter-intuitive as it may sound a free society will always be in large measure a tradition bound society. For traditions, though they may seem unbreakable at times, are always evolving while rules are cast in concrete.

Patrick Henry told us, “Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed . . . so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger.”

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Our virtue is embodied and defended in our traditions.  Once these walls have fallen how can our virtue stand unprotected assailed on all sides in what is becoming an alien culture?

The ethics of virtue tells us “virtue is determined by the right reason. Virtue requires the right desire and the right reason. To act from the wrong reason is to act viciously. On the other hand, the agent can try to act from the right reason, but fail because he or she has the wrong desire. The virtuous agent acts effortlessly, perceives the right reason, has the harmonious right desire, and has an inner state of virtue that flows smoothly into action. The virtuous agent can act as an exemplar of virtue to others.”

The virtuous person acts in the way they do because it is their nature.  They have imbibed the virtue of their society and they act naturally as an embodiment of the good.  They have absorbed the traditions and they act as they do without thought, without regard or reliance on reason.  They do not question what is right or wrong.  They know what is right or wrong and act accordingly.  They follow tradition.

The worshipers of reason reject the traditions that have grown up organically in society and design their own.  They reject the good and seek the perfect.  The problem is that perfection is impossible in this life.  Perfection does not belong to the realm of man.  The air castles and utopias of the rationalistic social engineers may look good on paper; however they never materialize into anywhere we can live.

Why is it hell the Progressives will deliver instead of the heaven they promise?   This is what has traditionally happened and that’s the reason.

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


The Question is, “What’s the Answer?”

In politics and economics as in everything in life there always seems to be more questions than answers.

Some answers previously shared:

Politically speaking, I have said before in these columns that I no longer consider myself to be a conservative because there is nothing left to conserve.  Instead I consider myself a Liberal in the classical sense: in the tradition of Jefferson and Paine a believer in human liberty.  The once proud name of Liberal has been coopted and fundamentally transformed by the Socialists who have followed the advice of one of their early leaders, Norman Thomas, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

I say it is time to reclaim the name.

In the economic realm, I am unabashedly a believer in capitalism.  The reason for this is that it is the only system ever devised by man that requires freedom as a foundation for it to exist.  Every other economic system ever tried is a centrally-planned command system.  The king, the dictator, or the politburo decides how many widgets the country needs and that is how many widgets the country gets and everyone works at the widget factory.

As a child of the Cold War who had Marx shoved down his throat by Socialist teachers from grade school through college, I rebelled when one of my History professors told me that economics was the lynchpin of History.  It wasn’t until after the fall of the Evil Empire that I was able to appreciate this truth.  It is interesting to note that before we adopted the German style of College education in the 1890s Economics, History and Political Science were all one discipline.  How can we understand any one of them without the others?  One legged stools do not stand very well.  Information in a vacuum is still a vacuum.

So what is the question?

How can America continue to exist politically as a Republic with a constitutionally limited government dedicated to personal liberty, economic freedom and individual opportunity if our central government destroys competition?

The support of competition does not make someone an anarchist as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accuses.

The use of competition as an organizing mechanism in society precludes the use of certain types of coercive regulations.  However, it does not preclude the use regulations or guidelines.  There are important reasons why the negative aspects of this statement have been stressed by the advocates of competition while the positive have been neglected by its opponents.

It is necessary that all parties in the market place must be free to buy and sell at any price which they can agree on. It is also necessary that everyone should be free to produce, sell and buy anything that can be produced or sold.  It is also necessary that everyone has equal and free access into the trades.

Any attempt to control or regulate prices or quantities of commodities deprives competition of its ability to bring about the effective coordination of individual efforts because price changes then are no longer able to correctly act as a reliable guide for an individual’s actions.

This is not an iron-clad rule.  As long as any restrictions placed on all potential producers affect all producers the same and are not used as an indirect method for controlling prices and quantities.  All such restrictions impose extra costs however if they are imposed evenly competition can survive if not thrive.  For example, it is generally agreed that regulations to control the use of poisonous substances, to limit working hours, or to require sanitary conditions are both desirable and necessary.

The only question here is: are the social advantages gained by these regulations greater than the economic costs they impose.  Neither is the existence of social services incompatible with freedom as long as their organization and operation is not designed to restrict competition.

Thus it is shown that the advocates of competition and economic freedom are not anarchists demanding a Laissez-faire anything goes free-for-all.  They admit the need for safety and agree that as long as things are equal things are fair.

The fairness of competition is shown in one of its primary foundational principles: that the owner of private property benefits from all the useful services rendered and is liable for all the damages caused to others by its use.  When it becomes impossible to make the enjoyment of certain services dependent on payment or if the damages from its use are deflected then completion is ineffective as a social organizer because the price system has been disrupted.

Thus both restrictions on the use of property and bailouts which transfer the cost of failure from those who made the bad decisions to the taxpayers cause the market to become unhinged from reality and the creature of government direction.  We see licenses, permits, and other regulations control who can engage in what economic activity.  Look at the stock market.  Does it rise or fall because of innovation?  Do the efforts of people to create and market new products lead the DOW to new heights?  No.  The market rises and falls on whether or not the Fed is going to continue pumping fiat money into the system.

The rules of the game have been so distorted by the government that honest and open competition is almost impossible.  This is why the underground economy flourishes, because it the only place where free competition still exists.  And people will always yearn to be free.  No matter how governments try to chain their citizens down with webs of regulations and nets of laws Gulliver will always struggle and strain against the ties that bind until he breaks free.

It is obvious to all that President Obama has succeeded in his goal of fundamentally transforming America.  For example, his massive stimulus that paid off campaign debts to unions and donors and his mountains of new regulations on everything from banking to coal to student loans. There is the never-ending FED pump which just keeps pouring more money into an already bloated bubble in an effort to make a socialized crippled economy at least look like it works. And of course there is Obamacare which effectively socializes 1/6 of the entire economy.  The combination of these policies breaks the back of competition and sound the death knell of the great experiment in freedom begun in 1776.  Drip by drip, inch by inch we have been moved closer to the goal.  Now it is the Health Care take-over and the flood of fiat currency that are leading to a terminal case of bankruptcy, a systems collapse, and as our Progressive leaders hope the dawn of a new day.

When the invisible hand has been tied and competition weighted in favor of government chosen winners and losers, when the electoral game has been stacked in favor of a two headed Progressive Republicrat party of unlimited power, pride and ambition, when equal justice under the law applies only to citizens and not to officials, the Question is, “What’s the Answer.”

That answer might be, “How long?”

How long before we the American people demand that our nation founded in revolution against tyranny reject the empire and restore the Republic?  We can all see that the emperor has no clothes.  We all know the deck has been stacked, the game rigged, and the winners chosen.  How long before we demand that we are allowed to live in a nation where we will be judged by the content of our character and not by our membership in a protected or favored group, our political contributions or whether or not we have saluted the party line?

As we watch our beloved nation transformed it might be well to remember what our second President John Adams once said, “a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  Then again he also said, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

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


I’ll Try Not to Get Arrested

Recently a person I know who saw himself as being in the forefront of the cultural revolution in the 60s and 70s proudly announced he was going to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. After his announcement he added the tag line, “I’ll try not to get arrested.”

Let me set the scene. Yes, this person did protest the Vietnam War by burning his draft card and applying and receiving conscientious objector status while going to school not jail. Yes he did turn his back on some traditional America traditions such as Christianity and eating meat. However, he did retain at least two traditions he learned from his family: he has always supported democrats and he is a capitalist.

Of course he would argue vehemently if anyone ever called him a capitalist since he will tell you all day long that he hates capitalists and capitalism. No, he is no capitalist, he is an entrepreneur. According to “Capitalism is an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.”

Let’s see, my acquaintance is comfortably retired, living on a multimillion dollar private estate in a fashionable area. How did he grab the golden ring? He did it by his own hard work and enterprise. He invented and developed several products; he established a manufacturing company which employed others to do the actual manufacturing and sold enough products to make a living while investing for the future. Then he sold the company and lives on the dividends. But he isn’t a capitalist, he hates capitalism.

I know several people like this. They have reaped the benefits of capitalism yet they hate capitalists. Or as Lenin said, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

Fifty years ago MLK participated in a march on Washington because Blacks in America were suffering from unprecedented unemployment, unspeakable inner city violence, and unconstitutional government surveillance. Fifty years later with the former revolutionaries of the 60s and 70s secure as the power elite, they have finally delivered unprecedented unemployment, unspeakable inner city violence, and unconstitutional government surveillance for everyone without regard to race, creed or color.

The only way someone could get arrested in today’s Washington ruled by Progressives and the very epicenter of Political Correctness is to counter-demonstrate on the other side of the street from the victorious revolutionaries at the MLK triumphal procession.

It amazes me that they cannot see their own inconsistency. They make a pilgrimage to worship a man who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” and yet they support racial quotas, set asides and preferential treatment just to make things fair.

This proudly quintessential anti-war crowd now supports a regime that waged an illegal war in Libya and whose chosen leader wants to kick the hornet’s nest in Syria. These are needless wars that resulted in the establishment of Al Qaeda franchises in Libya and who knows what we will see from an attack on Syria.

The people who elected the Watergate Congress, the people who hounded Nixon out of office because they believed he had violated the Constitution now sow blindly supports our Imperial President, the purported constitutional scholar when he says, “Congress doesn’t have a whole lot of core responsibilities.” Yet the Constitution places Congress as first among equals and devotes more space to its powers than to any other branch.

As they used to remind us the powers of Congress include the sole and exclusive power to declare war.

When President Bush took us into what so many Democrats called illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he sought a debate and received a vote of authorization from Congress. Our over-the-hill revolutionaries held vigils outside Bush’s Texas home and tried to ignite an antiwar movement. Yet when President Obama attacks Libya without even notifying Congress they said nothing.

Now there is a congressional debate over attacking Syria and that is a good thing.  And some are speaking out against a war that doesn’t have anything to do with American national interests.  But where are the limousine liberals?  Are they still supporting a president who is willing to take us to war to put the red in his line?  If they are I pray they remember that red will be the blood of American heroes and what we call so innocently collateral damage.

If you watch the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media tonight you can guess what these perennial revolutionaries will say tomorrow since their personal opinions are plagiarized.

Back during the Vietnam War they were duped into supporting the communists, and now they’re duped into supporting people who want to bring central-planning and eternal surveillance to America.

Is this naivety or hypocrisy? Is this selfless altruism combined with low information? Or is it the self-centered arrogance of people who can be proven wrong time after time yet still believe only they can see the right course.

These aging middle-class capitalists who hate capitalism, these social revolutionaries who live on private estates still see themselves as revolutionaries after they’ve won the revolution. They still worry about getting arrested after their Dear Leaders have taken over control of the police, the IRS, and the NSA. In their 21st Century utopian USSA we find that according  to a Department of Defense training material, “people who embrace “individual liberties” and honor “states’ rights,” among other characteristics, as potential ‘extremists’ who are likely to be members of ‘hate groups.’” In Amerika today the 60s radicals are the establishment and the silent majority has become the outsider.

So while I pray for my acquaintance’s safe return from his pilgrimage, I will keep writing about the need to preserve limited government and I’ll try not to get arrested.

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




The Benching of Uncle Sam – A GOP Syria vote shouldn’t ratify U.S. decline at home and abroad.

David Axelrod on Saturday gave his opinion on the situation in Syria with a tweet on Twitter: “Congress is now the dog that caught the car.” On Wednesday, the president of the United States retweeted Mr. Axelrod’s 43-character analysis. He said in Stockholm that the credibility at stake in the decision on Syria isn’t his. Instead, it is “America’s,” and “Congress’s credibility,” and the “international community’s credibility.” Mr. Obama looks like the dog who ran away from the car.

The purpose of Mr. Obama’s fantastic statements Wednesday could not be more obvious: He is trying to drive the Republicans into a “no” vote on the Syria resolution. He is shirking presidential responsibility for the U.S.’s role in the world. He doesn’t want that responsibility.

The GOP should not be a party to this abdication. It should vote for a resolution authorizing Mr. Obama to act militarily in Syria. After that bipartisan vote, it will be Barack Obama who caught the presidency.

With the presidency comes the job of commander in chief. He never wanted that job. He wanted to let the U.S.’s global status decline while he dallied at home with windmills, college rankings and health data.

Now he has to step up. An authorization vote on a discrete world crisis will force the inconstant Mr. Obama to focus and think about the world with the seriousness it requires from the president of the United States.

Republicans should support an authorization on Syria for the same reason they are opposing him on ObamaCare: to stop America’s decline. Whether by design or incompetence, Barack Obama’s policies are putting in motion a historic American reversal at home and abroad.

If this were September 2015, it wouldn’t matter. But we are little more than eight months into Mr. Obama’s second four years. A responsible and loyal opposition would recognize that it is not in the interests of the U.S., or the world, to have an irreparably damaged U.S. president this early in his second term.

Americans, including those in Congress, wake up every day to a country that was handed to them by earlier generations of Americans after World War II. The United States had become the world’s pre-eminent nation. Great nations, however, are not like planets passing through the sky in fixed orbits. They can drop.

Republicans understand the dangers of domestic economic decline. That is why they are opposing this president on ObamaCare, spending and the national debt.

Growth in the Obama years has hovered around 2%, way off the century-long average of 3.3% that produced abundance and prosperity for the U.S. Signs of economic revival have begun to appear, but the Obama economic agenda is a structural impediment to the sustained, higher growth rates that produced the American Century.

A less prosperous America is acceptable to Barack Obama and his progressive supporters, who have convinced themselves that the distribution of wealth in the U.S. since its founding has been “unjust.” If public policy can forcibly redistribute U.S. wealth, a lower level of economic growth is acceptable. Relative to America’s achievement, this will be decline.

What is unique about the Obama presidency is that American decline as a world power won’t, as with Europe, be the unhappy result of wealth redistribution. It is part of Mr. Obama’s agenda. In future crises, Mr. Obama said in his 2009 Cairo speech and elsewhere, the U.S. would act only after building “international consensus,” which meant the United Nations or the faded European allies. An Obama aide called this “leading from behind.” That is what the U.S. did in Libya. This partnership-of-equals policy was the basis for the failed Russian reset.

In short, Barack Obama’s view of the U.S. role in the world is that the time has come to bench Uncle Sam.Uncle sam Benched

The end of what they call “the American imperium” is a policy goal progressive activists have sought for decades. If Republicans vote to defeat a resolution on using military power against Assad, whose victory may let Iran and Russia achieve hegemony in the Middle East, it will be a vote to take Uncle Sam out of the world power game.

That will give Barack Obama a reason to proceed with the downsizing of America at home and in the world for the rest of his term. The depressed GOP hawks on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who voted on Wednesday against authorization are merely enabling this outcome.

This will put the U.S. in a very bad place. Those who think their president can begin reversing all this in 2017 are dreaming. A sinking world power is the heaviest lift imaginable. Ask Winston Churchill.

Legitimate questions exist about a Syria resolution—about goals, means and the status of the opposition forces—and they should be addressed. But that’s not the issue being raised here. The American decline put in motion under this presidency is real, not speculative. We are not at the edge of the cliff, but in September 2013 we are at a serious inflection point.

As they vote, the Republicans in Congress should make clear that they understand the historic stakes. The American people, who the last time I looked weren’t interested in throwing in the towel, will appreciate hearing something that sounds like leadership.

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A version of this article appeared September 5, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Benching of Uncle Sam.