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Why Have a Bill of Rights?

In any free society that area of life which is left to the sole discretion of the individual includes all actions that are not specifically forbidden by a general law.

In our nation when it came time for the ratification of the Constitution it would have been impossible to gain the votes needed if the backers of a centralized national government had not promised that the first thing they did was pass a Bill of Rights.  It had been asserted by the proponents of liberty that to enumerate such a list would eventually become a statement that only those rights enumerated were protected.  However, it was generally believed certain rights were so important and so open to suppression that fundamental guarantees were needed.  In consequence the Constitution was lengthened to include the first ten amendments as the opening business of Congress.

Over time the argument that these enumerated rights would come to be seen as the only ones protected has certainly come to pass, which is another of the assertions of the Anti-Federalists that have stood the test of time.  However, it has also been shown that without these constitutional protections these enumerated rights would have long ago been relegated to the ash heap of History.

Even with the protection of the Bill of Rights there has been a steady chipping away at the rights our forefathers thought were so important.  A Supreme Court that has abrogated onto itself the power to nullify the will of the people as expressed in legislation and to invent rights that are nowhere enumerated debates whether or not “shall not be infringed” really means it is legal to restrict.

In our age of seemingly endless technological change we must admit that any enumerated list of rights cannot be complete.  What about surveillance?  Does our right to privacy which has been asserted to allow tens of millions of abortions extend to our growing Orwellian Omni-present surveillance state?  Does the state have a right to follow us with drones?  To kill us without due process?  To collect our emails, our phone calls or keep a ledger of where we go?  Under President Bush people demonstrated because his administration wanted to see the records of library withdrawals.  Under President Obama the populace is silent about the most egregious violations of our rights.

What about the rights of the States?  Do they have the right to be protected from invasion?  Do they have the right to pass and enforce laws that call for local agencies to enforce the federal laws that the central government refuses to enforce?   Ever since the 17th Amendment stripped the States of their representation in Congress our federal system has been debilitated to the point of paralysis.  Today the central government runs roughshod over the States demanding that they stand by helplessly as their citizens are harassed and their sovereignty is evaporated.

If the Bill of Rights is to remain as any type of bulwark against tyranny it must be accepted that they contain a general assumption that government is restrained from infringing upon the traditional rights that we have enjoyed.  If we stand ideally by while our rights are redefined to irrelevance we will one day wake up to find ourselves in a prison camp we once called the United States of America.

We have experienced over the course of the last two hundred years that the Constitution could be no more than a somewhat porous protection from the assumption of total power by a centralized government.  Today we endure levels of control and taxation that make the causes of our own Revolution pale in comparison.  It is hard not to believe that if Washington, Henry, and that generation were with us today they wouldn’t be issuing declarations and raising the alarm, “The totalitarians are coming!  The Totalitarians are coming!!”

The only protection of this creeping corruption of our constitutionally limited government is an informed public.  If the people sleep the tyrants dream.  They dream of ordering society to match whichever version of a utopian pyramid scheme they adopt to fool the people.  It matters little whether they call it communism, fascism, or progressivism a re-education camp is a prison by another name.  It matters little whether we call it censorship or political correctness.  It matters little whether we call it taxes or penalties.  It matters little whether we call it coercion or regulation.

What does matter is whether we are truly free or free only in name.  Can we do what we want or can we merely do what is allowed?

Outside of the bounds of the constitutionally established amendment process the Progressives have used the fiction of a Living Document to make the Constitution a dead letter.  Executive orders, signing statements, court decisions, and the bewildering framework of regulation stretch the power of government while restricting the freedom of the people.

Empires rise and empires fall.  Some fall due to invasion and some due to suicide.  The European Empires committed suicide in two fratricidal World Wars that destroyed their cities and left their people shell-shocked and unwilling to bear the burden of power.

Today we watch while our great republic jettisons the world girdling empire it inherited from the exhausted Europeans.  We stand mute as our leaders abandon the leadership not only of the free world but of the world itself.  Not for the noble cause of reasserting freedom at home but instead because we have spent ourselves into bankruptcy with bread and circuses to amuse the masses while a clique of elites concentrates power.  We have empty suits leading representatives who have gerrymandered their way to perpetual election presiding over an unelected bureaucracy that rules by decree.

Does liberty still ring or has the bell finally cracked beyond repair?  Why do we have a Bill of Rights?  So we can remember who we once were.

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

 

Why Do We Obey?

How can a law be illegitimate?  Isn’t this an oxymoronic question?  It is a question that brings us to the concept that there can be a difference between what is legal and what is right.  This is the debate between those who believe in Legal Positivism and those who believe in Natural Rights.

Legal positivists “believe that the only legitimate sources of law are those written rules, regulations, and principles that have been expressly enacted, adopted, or recognized by a governmental entity or political institution, including administrative, executive, legislative, and judicial bodies.”  In other words whatever the government says is legal is right.

While those who believe in Natural Law believe “all written laws must be informed by, or made to comport with, universal principles of morality, religion, and justice, such that a law that is not fair and just may not rightly be called law.”  Any law which is contrary to Natural Law is not a legitimate law. For example a law that says it is legal to murder others would be seen by all to be illegitimate in amoral sense even though it would be technically legal.

That this is the concept under which the United States was first formulated is self-evident when we read that incomparable document which was issued by the Continental Congress as a justification for its war and its purpose: the Declaration of Independence.  In its opening paragraph, the preamble which all school children once memorized, this document explains itself thusly: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

This brings us to the first debate of this essay. Is God supreme and consequently His laws binding upon all people and all nations?  Or is man supreme and all nations amendable to his will and purpose and all his laws supreme until they are changed?

When they decided to adopt the phrase “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” the fifty six signers of the Declaration based the foundation of our country on a legal standard of freedom.  They sought to impress this mold into all the various forms of government to follow. This legal standard of freedom they adopted was that God’s law was supreme and that this law inherently gives man freedom. The phrase “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” referred to the laws that God as the Creator of the universe established for the governance of people, nations, and nature. Throughout History these laws have been described as the laws of Creation, God’s Creation laws, or as the Founders of our nation chose to call them, the laws of nature and of nature’s God. These laws, whatever they are called, are ascertained through an examination of God’s creation, the text of the Bible, and instinct or reason.

The decision of the Founders to expressly rely upon God’s law was not a casual one.  The debate concerning the basis of law had raged on both sides of the Atlantic for many years before and after the Declaration was drafted. After years of reflection on the Declaration of Independence, its principle author, Thomas Jefferson,  stated in 1825 that its central point was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject.”

That this is a generally accepted theory has been affirmed by the world in the universal acceptance of the correctness of the Nuremburg Trials after World War II.  The Nazis who were on trial universally sought to defend themselves on the grounds that everything they did was legal and that they were just following the orders of the legally constituted government.  This defense was universally rejected.  The world came together and said in effect there is a higher law.

In America today it is the accepted practice that our federal legislature enacts laws which direct the apparatus of government as to how it should operate.  It is also accepted practice that the same body enacts laws which establish rules for how ordinary individuals should live their lives.  This duality obscures the truth that though it is necessary and proper for the government to administer the labor of those who have been hired to carry out its will this does not translate into an objective right to administer the individual efforts of its citizens.

The distinguishing characteristic between a free societyand a command society is that in a free society there is a recognized sphere of personal action which stands apart from the public sphere.  In a free society it is recognized that within the private sphere an individual cannot be ordered about at the whim of government bureaucrats.  It is also recognized that in the public sphere individuals should only be required to obey laws which are generally applicable to all.  It used to be the proud declaration of free people that as long as they kept within the bounds of known law they didn’t need to ask by your leave of anyone, they were sovereign of their own life.

This however was a declaration grounded on the belief that laws should be of a general nature; they should be clearly stated and knowable.

Today our Progressive leaders pass laws composed of thousands of pages written in the clear and precise language of government new-speak insurance papers by saying, “We have to pass it to know what’s in it.”  We also have the spectacle of the man who was in charge of writing the tax code for decades when he is caught cheating on his taxes saying, “I personally feel that I have done nothing morally wrong.”   While Mr. Rangle was never indicted for tax evasion since he is above the laws he passes he was found guilty of violating the rules of the House for the same charges.

There is little that is more important to a free society than laws being clear and certain.  If people do not know what the law is there will be paralysis.  In totalitarian societies people never know when they might be accused of breaking a law or rule that they may not even be aware of.  In authoritarian and totalitarian societies the apparatus of government is not used merely to operate the necessary functions of civil administration it is used to coerce citizens to obey.

Article 2 section 1 of the Articles of Impeachment filed against President Nixon was about the abuse of power.  It stated, “He has, acting personally and through his subordinated and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

Nixon “endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information.”  He “endeavored to obtain,” but he never did obtain this information.  The IRS turned him down and turned him in.  Today the Obama regime after years of hiding documents and sending their operatives to Congress to either mislead, lie, or plead the fifth has finally been exposed by documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request that was enforced by a judge.  It has definitively been learned that the IRS persecution of conservative groups was not the work of a few rogue agents in a district office.  The targeting of the Tea Party groups was directed by the IRS Headquarters in Washington.

We have come full circle.  From a nation founded upon the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God we have allowed the Progressives and their Living Document to lead us to a land governed by the laws of man.  The children of the Founders and the descendants of the Framers now cower before an all-powerful corporate state that passes laws no one reads, regulates everything, and employs armies of bureaucrats to harass us into obedience and conformity.

Looking at the contradiction between what we were created to be and what we have become, the question why do we obey comes to mind.  Is it that we are too timid to follow in the footsteps of Washington, Jefferson, and Henry?  Is it that we have developed a habit of following the directions of our leaders?  Or is it that we have a respect for the rule of law?

In the face of continued abuse the timid grow bold, old habits are broken, and when respect is lost it is not easily regained.

One day there will be one abuse too many.  And in that day the people of America will recall that the same people who based our society onthe Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God also said, “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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Why do we obey?  Ask yourself, why do I obey, and you will have the answer, because We the People is merely you and I waiting to recall who we are, how we got here, and what we are supposed to be.

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

 

 

Why Are the Republicans Committing Suicide?

With what could be a wave election on the horizon in November due to the unpopularity of Obamacare, why is the Republican leadership raising the white flag?  With the end result being a perpetual Democrat lock on the White House if amnesty brings tens of million illegals out of the shadows and into the voter booths, why is the Republican leadership ridiculing those who oppose it and working to implement it daily?

This is like the captain of the Titanic steering his ship into the iceberg on purpose.  It seems so inexplicable yet at the same time it appears so obvious.  A Progressive is a Progressive no matter whether there is a D or an R after their name.  Or to put it another way, a chameleon may change its colors but you can always tell a leopard by its spots.

With the best government money can buy leading the way like the Pied Piper we are flowing like lemmings towards a cliff.  We learned nothing from watching the USSR disappear overnight.  One day after generations of nightmarish oppression we woke up and it was there and by the time we went to bed it was gone.  This great jailhouse of nations spent itself into oblivion chasing centrally-planned visions of utopia and bled itself to death in Afghanistan.  Now we are whistling in the wind as our Progressive regime and its counterfeit conservative fellow-travelers dance to the K-Street tune of crony capitalists more concerned with purloined profits than with patriotism.

The two-party system has evolved into a strangle-hold on power by a twin headed bird of prey that makes Mexico’s PRI look like a pale imitation of an oligarchy masquerading as a representative republic.  An obviously biased major media ranges from a thinly disguised front for the DNC over at MSNBC to an almost blatant mouthpiece for the RNC at Fox.  The populace has been dumbed down by generations of educational malpractice and is lulled to sleep with the bread and circus routine of government support and 24/7 sports addiction.

It is a well-known truism that if you tax something you get less of it and if you subsidize something you get more of it.  In America today we aggressively and progressively tax the income of producers while we pay more to those who do less.  A culture of entitlement has ensnared a majority of the population.  Those who complain about their grandchildren getting trophies for showing up eagerly accept Social Security checks even though they should know the money they paid in was flushed down the Washington maw before they sent it in.  A war on poverty has cost trillions and produced no change.  A war on racism has produced an entire industry that exists to perpetuate racism in set asides and quotas.  Endless wars for peace have only brought more wars as anonymous drone strikes produce as many new enemies as they kill current ones.

Something has gone drastically wrong with the greatest experiment in human freedom the world has ever seen.  While we worked to produce food for our families those we had entrusted to be the caretakers of freedom sold our birthright for a bowl of porridge. And now the opposition, the very ones we have elected to reverse these trends, proposes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by conceding on Obamacare and passing amnesty.

To imagine that they are misguided is I believe misguided.  Mistakes of this magnitude are not made innocently.  There is no way our pretend protectors haven’t known since Obamacare passed that no entitlement has ever been repealed.  And I predict even if the Republicans win both houses of Congress and the Whitehouse they still would not repeal Obamacare, but they would instead “fix” it.  Likewise, there is no way these RINOs don’t know that if they pass amnesty Texas will suddenly face the possibility to returning to the Democratic tent which means a perpetual Democrat lock on the Electoral College.

The Republican leadership knows these things yet what do we see?  John Boehner, the Speaker of the House mocking those who oppose amnesty and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the House Republican Conference Chair saying, “We need to look at reforming [Obamacare’s] exchanges.”   I have always felt and continue to feel that raising a white flag is not an effective way to lead a charge.   Even though like roaches when you turn on the light these “leaders” will skittle back for cover once their enraged followers shoot down these trial balloons this is how they want to reach across the aisle and shove the knife in their own back.

We can’t really say there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.  The Democrats seem to be in the business of managing America’s decline by retreating from the role of policeman of the world while the Republicans led by their Neo-Con wing would have us in wars in Syria and possibly Europe.  They may divide on foreign policy from surrender to attack; however, on domestic policy no matter what they say they are both for bigger government, crony capitalism, and socialized everything else.

If the everyday working people whatever their gender, whatever their color, whatever their religion want even a shot at regaining control of the ship of state we need to come up out of the boiler room that is keeping this thing moving, demand to be heard, and take all these perpetually re-elected despots for a perp-walk to the dustbin of History.

The big question is how?

Tune out the propaganda machine of the major media, organize a viable opposition party, give of our time, talent and treasure, and most importantly vote against them all.  Don’t re-elect anyone.  Turn the whole lot of them out and bring in a new batch.  We would do better if we just drafted the first 537 people from any telephone book to be the representatives, senators, vice president, and president.  They couldn’t do any worse than spend more than we make and at least there would be someone in there who might actually work for a living.

The Committees of Correspondence, the Sons of Liberty and other organizations fueled and supported the Revolution that made us free.  Without organization nothing of importance is ever accomplished.  To restore limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom organization is needed or we will continue our drift into a centrally-planned surveillance state that still calls itself the land of the free and the home of the brave.

So why are the Republicans committing suicide?  It isn’t because it is the only honorable thing left to do since they have betrayed the trust of their supporters.  It isn’t because they see no other way out like the zealots at Masada.  It is because the spirit of limited government they once represented is already dead and we just don’t know it.  It all makes sense to me now, so can we please wake up and do something about it?

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

 

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

 

Who Will Win the War Against Income Inequality?

From each according to their ability to each according to their need was the hollow promise of the Soviet Union.  It was long known to be merely the cover for a ruthless Communist Party that pretended to build a worker’s paradise while in fact enslaving a nation for its own gain.

Today this infamous lie has been resurrected in America as the war against income inequality.

The war on poverty has failed.  After decades of propaganda, trillions of dollars, and tens of thousands of regulations there is no less poverty in America than when LBJ sounded the charge of the contrite brigade. Of course it was a shell game all along.  The idea that you could take money out of one pocket and put it in another while dropping some along the way aptly describes the effort to tax the rich to alleviate poverty.  If all the money that has been expropriated to end poverty had been given directly to the poor we would have ended poverty.

However this isn’t what happened.  It was never what was intended to happen.  It will never happen because instead of a direct wealth transfer the loot is filtered through politicians, programs and bureaucrats who all siphon off enough to make sure the pennies that eventually dribble out of the welfare pipeline have little resemblance to the dollars that went in. They certainly don’t want to actually eliminate the poor since their campaign slogans and their jobs would evaporate with them.

Anyone who has ever stood hat-in-hand at a welfare office knows the scorn dished out with the meager fare always makes the meal a little less satisfying than imagined.  Jesus told us that “The poor will always be with you.”  Yet somehow the political savants who hold sway are always able to convince the low information voters that they will end poverty, or as we call it today, income inequality.

The only equality that is compatible with freedom is equality before the law.  By this I mean that whenever society, as expressed through government, makes rules they should apply to everyone the same.  In other words if a millionaire commits murder and a homeless person commits murder they should both stand before the same tribunal charged with the same crime.  Or if a tax is passed everyone should pay the same percentage.  We know that in the first case the difference between a dream team of lawyers and a public defender may mitigate the equality just as in the second case a progressive tax system will distort it.  However, this goal of equality before the law is the only one where actual equality is what is required to make it work.

All other types of equality, of income or opportunity or outcome require inequality.  If this sounds like circular thinking don’t be surprised; it is.

Since people are obviously not equal in talents, abilities, resources or nature the only way to make everyone start in the same place and end up in the same place is to treat them differently.  Some must be slowed down and some must be artificially pushed forward.  Some must get less than they earn so that some can get more.  This is the dirty little secret hidden behind the campaign slogan to end income inequality.  In reality it is just another way to describe income redistribution or as our president calls it, “Spread the wealth around.”

Those who make their living selling these illusions are supported by those who make their livings distributing the loot and by all those who think they will get something for nothing.   Unfortunately after generations of Progressive education, incremental socialism, and the sloth that is the bread by the bread and circus culture of the couch potato this may now be a majority of the votes counted.

Having sunk beneath the contempt of the Russian people and drown in the red capitalism of the Chinese it seems as if the infection of class envy co-joined to state power has emerged from the faculty lounge and fastened its death grip on America.  In the 2012 election the campaign slogan, “GM is alive and Bin Laden is dead” trumped a devastated economy to re-elect the inspiration of the IRS and the excuser of Benghazi.  If the war against income inequality proves the media enhanced key to return Nancy Pelosi to the Speakership and retain Harry Reid as the agenda setting leader of the Senate the Progressives will know they have two years to seal the deal.

We will still call it the United States of America.  We will still tell ourselves we are free, prosperous, and powerful however we may all be whistling in the wind.  Our politicians may win their war to end income inequality as they seek an American version of a worker’s paradise.  The comatose voters may even notice that things aren’t quite like they used to be, but then half-time will be over and that will be that.

Look at the results of the 2012 election.  GM is moving overseas after ripping off the American tax payers.  Al-Qaeda is marching to victory.  Think about the pledge that gained passage for Obamacare, “If you like you plan you can keep your plan.  Period.”  Reflect on this swindle and ask yourself how equal will anything be if we swallow the next big lie: ending income inequality.  Ask yourself who will win the war against income inequality.  The answer is those who distribute the loot will keep the lion’s share.

 

As an added bonus this war against income inequality as a campaign tool to fool the masses is leading us further into the unconstitutional waters our president has sailed for so long.  Brazenly saying, “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”

The question here is, “Will anyone in the House have the courage to do something about it?”

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

 

You Didn’t Build That

We can’t know what we don’t know however we can know that we don’t know or as Socrates taught us the recognition of our ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.

The society and civilization in which any human lives and operates is like water to a fish.  Something they move around in, something they need to survive, it is also something they don’t even notice.  If we wish to understand the world in which we live we need to realize that the civilization which serves as our support and framework is based upon vast amounts of knowledge those who fill its ranks give no thought to whatsoever.

It is also necessary to understand that civilization isn’t something consciously created by man.  Civilizations build up over time by humans interacting with and attempting to modify their surroundings.  As such our civilizations are more accretions than structures.

What our civilization is today is no more the conscious product of some master plan than the course of a river.  Life flows into the channels of least resistance and is moved by forces that act upon it.  We can no more predict what our civilization will look like in a few generations than one of our 17th century ancestors could have described the lives we live today.

What will be invented tomorrow that will change the future in ways we could never imagine?  Thirty years ago in 1983 who would have thought we would all walk around with minicomputers we call cell phones?  Or that there would be hundreds of television stations?  Or a worldwide internet that can cross-pollenate thought at the speed of light?  What may be around the next corner is anyone’s guess.  One thing is for sure, thirty years from now we will live in ways we never imagined today.

This is the foundational problem that undergirds and eliminates the possibility of success from any of the utopian central-planning schemes that litter History and of the ones we are trying today.  The planners cannot take the place of masses of people living, innovating and creating.  No one person or group can substitute their decisions for the independent decisions of everyone else without short circuiting the system and causing civilization to stall out.  No one is as smart as everyone.

If two minds are better than one how much better are 100,000 or 1 million or billions?  Over and over those who think they and they alone are intelligent, far seeing or inspired enough to shape the future have grabbed the reins of power and tried to impose their vision on the world around them.  Sooner or later reality comes along and teaches them that it just won’t work.  We have people trying to guide trillion dollar economies who know nothing of economics, and people trying to guide History who know nothing of History.  We are surrounded by political savants who know how to get elected and not much else.  Some even have the hubris to list running a campaign as a life skill that qualifies them to run the lives of everyone around them.

What is even more bizarre than this is that people believe them and vote them into office based on such sketchy experience and vague promises as hope and change.  Then when the Rube Goldberg plans they devise fall apart and everyone is worse off than before the savants say, “You just didn’t give us enough power to accomplish the task. What we need now is more of the same.”  Time after time civilizations have fallen for this siren song of perfection.   And time after time civilizations have fallen because they did.

Why does this destructive desire to trade freedom for the promise of utopia always fail?   Because it’s based on the erroneous idea that humanity created civilization and therefore it is possible to alter its institutions, operations, and mechanisms whenever and however we please.

This assertion would be valid only if we had created civilization deliberately with full knowledge of what we were doing while we were doing it.  In a way it is true that humanity has made its civilization in that it was not brought here by some aliens who placed us in it like animals in the artificial habitat of a zoo.  Civilization is the product of the combined actions of hundreds of generations living their lives, making choices, succeeding and failing, rising and falling.  This however, does not mean civilization is the conscious product of human design or that any one individual or group can completely comprehend all of its functions or what is required for its continued existence.

The very idea that humanity sprang from the earth with a mind able to conceive civilization and then proceeded to systematically create it does not fit the anthropological or historical record.  Our minds themselves are the product of the constant adjustments we make as we attempt to adapt to our surroundings.

Is it nature or nurture is an age old debate.

The reality is that it is both.   Our minds are what they are, unbelievably intricate bio-computers able to think in symbolic terms and extrapolate beyond what is known to what is imagined.  They are the wonder upon which civilization is built; however they did not design and then initiate civilization.  If they were, all we would have to do to reach a higher plane of civilization is imagine it and then make it happen.  The fact that civilization has advanced by fits and starts shows that some things work and some things don’t.  It is the constant adjustment that moves us forward.

Believing the lie that man is the measure of all things is the trap the utopians fall into: that man in and of himself has the capacity to control History.  It seems so enticing and yet it never works because that isn’t how civilizations grow.  They grow by the friction between our present conditions and our dreams.  They grow by the incessant revision of what is into what we want it to be.  Our current experience shapes our course deviations in so many ways that cannot be foretold leading in a zigzag fashion from the present to the future.

The weathermen who have a hard time accurately predicting what the weather will be like five days from now seem ever ready to tell us what it will be like five hundred years from now.  The economic forecasters who are surprised every month by what the economy did last month have no problem making absolute statements about how actions today will guide our multifaceted economy for years in the future.

Man knows not his time and we cannot know the future. In other words we can’t know what we don’t know.  About the best we can do is know that we don’t know.

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

 

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