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Posts Tagged ‘Representative republic’

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

 

Choose This Day Who You Will Serve

In our current confrontation with Radical Islam the battle lines are portrayed as those between a secular society, us and a religious society, them.  I reject this portrayal as a betrayal of the faith of our Founders and of those patriotic Americans who still hold fast to Jesus as God and Savior, we too are a religious people.

Americawas founded as a Christian country.  Anyone who denies that has not studied enough History or has been sadly misled. Columbusaccentuated his desire to spread the Christian faith to his patrons the King and Queen ofSpainand in his log.  The first thing the English did upon landing atJamestownwas set up a cross to dedicate their endeavor to Jesus their Savior.  Were these early explorers and colonists always true to their faith?  Did they always operate under principles derived from God’s Word?  Sadly they did not.  However, to say that the Christian faith was not an integral part of their motivation and worldview is simply not true.

In the latter part of the twentieth century Progressive leaders pushing a collectivist agenda decided to declare us a pluralistic society.  They sought to detach the heavily Bible influenced Constitution into the dustbin of History by substituting what they call a living constitution for the rock-solid one the Framers bequeathed us.   Mr. Obama, the quintessential Progressive in his speech to the Muslims of Egypt, Turkey, and many places spices up his apology tours by asserting that America is not a Christian country.  This statement of his belief and goal does not make it true.

All of these recent changes aside, most Americans still believe in God and the majority consider themselves Christians.   As a Christian, an Historian, and a Political Scientist in response to numerous questions I would like to share my beliefs concerning government, economies, and the rights of man.

As far as a government goes the only Biblically correct one is that God is God and we are His people.  He is the King and we are the sheep of His pasture.  As concerning an economic system God’s economy knows no lack and is exceedingly abundantly provisioned by the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills.

This being true I do not believe that God mandates any type of human government or economic system as pre-ordained, sanctified, or holy.  However, I do believe that humanity as God has created it does require certain governmental and economic conditions to develop and thrive as God intended.

God created us in His own image.  He gave us the power to create and to choose.  He gave us a mind open to learning and ever eager to improvise.  He also gave us what I believe is the most crucial aspect of our make-up: our free will or the power to choose.  We can choose to follow Him and do what He desires, or we can choose to follow the leadings not only of our thoughts but of our emotions also.  In other words we can dwell within theKingdom ofGod wherein He is our King and we are His people or we can choose to live in the Kingdom of man and become the subjects of either our own designs or of whoever manages to gain control of the physical world around us.

If God wanted slaves or robots He could have created slaves or robots.  Instead He created us and gave us a mind to think and a will to choose because He wanted us to decide to love Him and follow Him freely without compulsion.  Therefore I believe that since free thought and free choice are the foundation of man’s nature freedom is necessary if man is to live as God designed.  This being the case I believe that any governmental or economic system that denies man’s freedom interferes with and attempts to supplant God’s plan, which is the definition of evil.

There are of course limits to freedom as expressed in the Ten Commandments.  Beyond this we should be free to choose our own way.   Will we follow God or will we follow man.  Within these limits and building on the moral framework the Bible provides I believe that a republic based upon the commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness using democratic principles is the governmental structure which most closely matches man’s God-given nature.  I also believe that free market capitalism is the economic system which best allows man to develop and live as God intended.  Conversely, when man rejects God and seeks to create his own utopia he builds some sort of centrally-planned command economy and the intrusive government needed to impose it upon others.

A free economy and the free government it requires allows the independent choices of many to produce the greatest prosperity for all as everyone seeks to do the best they can because they reap the rewards.  In a socialist or any type of hybrid economy between capitalism and socialism bureaucrats make the decisions and stagnation is the inevitable result.  As Gary North, a Christian economist expresses it, “The essence of democratic socialism is this re-written version of God’s commandment: ‘Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.’”  Or as Winston Churchill observed, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  And that is not life as God intended.

If we look at History it is an outworking of the initial fall of man.  In the beginning God created the world including man and it was all good.  Then at the dawn of our existence we choose to go our own way instead of following God.  We chose to follow the siren song of “You shall be like God” and ever since we have attempted to create heaven on earth.  All we have succeeded in doing is to open the gates of Hell instead.  A case in point would be the age-old question, if God is good why is there evil in the world followed by the age-old answer God gave us free choice and we chose evil.

With the help and guidance of those who seek to play god themselves humanity has often been convinced to surrender their freedom for security, to bargain away their God-given nature and assume the subservient nature of slaves.

InAmericathe purveyors of socialism cloak their designs in the language of populism.  They loudly proclaim that they seek a fair deal for everyone, except of course for the people they intend to loot.  They want fair elections as long as nothing is done to stop fraudulent voting.  They want equality enforced by unequal treatment.  In other words they seek to build the kingdom of man where they can be king.

We have a mind to think and the capacity to make a free choice.  As the day of reckoning draws near all I can recommend is, think and choose.  We can choose to follow the path of redistribution, class warfare, and collectivist dependency or we can choose to at least attempt a return to limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom.   Don’t be fooled by the progressive media and their obvious bias.  To be free is God’s design.  For us to be a slave to dependency is man’s.

One of America’s most beloved troubadours told us, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls” and one of those secular prophets he was referring to reminded us “You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”

Or as my favorite book says it, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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

 

 

Freedom is as Freedom Does

Is there any one political or economic system that God wants everyone to follow?  I do not believe God has ordained any one type of government or economy as the divinely ordained path. 

The only government He ever instituted was a kingdom with Himself as the king and that was rejected by His own people when they instead wanted to be like the people who surrounded them.  And even though God had His prophets warn them that this earthly king would take their lands, their children, their goods and their freedom they persisted in rejecting a divine King for kings who would claim divine rights.

The only economy God has instituted is the divine economy where there is never a lack and always abundance.  With cattle on a thousand hills God does not participate in recessions and He has promised many times that those in His hands cannot be plucked out.  He promises that though a thousand fall on one side and ten thousand on the other destruction shall not consume those who trust in Him.  And though in the eyes of this world it may appear that the evil often triumphs and the good are forsaken He tells us, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” 

Free choice is a major part of God’s plan.  As a matter of fact that is His plan.  He could have just as easily created humans who had no free choice, could not disobey, never fall and always remain just as He designed them.  But instead He desired the loving family that can only come about from love freely given and freely received.

Individually God has given each of us free choice.  Therefore, I believe freedom to make choices unencumbered by outside interference is a fundamental building block of human nature and thus a required element of any society which matches the reality of the human condition.  Each of us gets to decide which we are going to believe, our eyes of flesh or our eyes of faith.  Is the world true or is God true?  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  That is my free choice and you are free to make yours.

I believe that God desires us to make free choices with regard to faith and lifestyle.  Therefore, personal freedom is necessary for life as God intended.  And this has a great impact upon the first half of our question, is there any one political system that God wants everyone to follow?

It is apparent that the only form of government ever devised by man that requires personal free choice as a prime component is democracy.  All other forms of government are some variation of the divine right of somebody to tell everybody else what to do.  By the way, that’s democracy as in one-citizen-one-vote not as in Democratic People’s Republic.  And since all forms of direct democracy eventually devolve into a tyranny of the majority the only thing that works over time is a representative republic which operates on democratic principles.  Meaning a system wherein the people have the opportunity to select their own representatives as long as those representatives actually represent the people and do not become the pawns of powerful special interests.

Also based upon the fact that personal freedom is a fundamental component of life as God desires for humanity which brings us to the second half of our question: is there any one economic system that God wants everyone to follow?  It is apparent to even a casual observer that free market capitalism is the only economic system ever devised by man that requires personal freedom to operate.  All other economic systems ultimately translate into some variation of a command economy. Some bureaucrat somewhere decides how many widgets to make and that’s how many widgets are produced regardless of need or demand.  Command economies foster disequilibrium and maladjustments.   There are always either too many widgets or not enough.  In a fee market capitalist system demand always dictates production and inherently guides supply.

Americawas originally launched as a representative republic based upon democratic principles with a free economy which based upon the above exemplifies the ideal for a nation-state.  This is what we have known.  If the Progressives continue to succeed in their efforts to fundamentally transform America what can we expect?

Look at the areas of American life so far transformed, massive government take-overs either through outright purchase or indirectly through regulation of industry, insurance, and finance. Taking this as a guide we should expect further intrusion of the central government into the economy thus transforming America into a command economy with all the problems inherent in that type of system.

The health care take-over which is scheduled to phase in like boiling water phases in for a frog, feeling so comforting until it’s too late to jump out.  Using the need to modify our behavior to cut health care costs we should expect the central planners to inch-by-inch transform our daily routines of eating and exercise until they are telling us when to jump and how high.  It is often the unintended consequences which have the greatest effects as a result of the Progressive impulse to create a Utopia.

The only way Utopians ever try to create a heaven on earth is to build nanny-states to protect us from ourselves with no thought of how the unintended consequences actually harm the people the intention was to help.  Eventually there is also no limit to the amount of force it takes to compel compliance once the bureaucracy has decreed something is good for the collective. An example from Obamacare is the provision forcing insurance companies to accept pre-existing conditions for all children insured.  This sounds great.  And it will surely protect the Kids.  But what it really does is prompt many insurance companies to quit insuring children because they realize this government mandated provision will cause them to lose money, and despite the progressive belief that people should open and maintain private businesses as non-tax supported social agencies people who own businesses do so to make money. 

Another example is businesses either dropping insurance for their employees because the fines imposed will be cheaper than the insurance or seeking an exemption.  It is projected that 30% of employers will drop their employee healthcare once Obamacare is fully instituted.  So much for “If you have your plan and you like it,… or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans.”

The Financial take-over through regulation has not been unwrapped yet and even the politicians most involved in writing it say they don’t know what’s in it so its long term impact can only be imagined.  Does anyone imagine it will be good for free-enterprise, competition, and capitalism?  As the Progressives continue to experiment looking for some way to accomplish the impossible, heaven on earth, the uncertainty keeps people from investing, businesses from growing and the economy from recovering.  After two and a half years it should be apparent the current administration has successfully turned a recession into a new normal of lower expectations and a loss of hope.

But then again my hope was never in the government to begin with, and since they didn’t give it to me they can’t take it away.  My hope is in Jesus and He never fails.

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 View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens.

HELP US KEEP YOU BETTER INFORMED ABOUT THE TRICKS OF THE RADICAL PROGRESSIVE REVOLUTION PLEASE DONATE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN