Thursday, September 9, 2010

Liberal or Progressive?

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
Patrick Henry

Note: To fully appreciate this post you need to see the first comment to my post "Populism Through Patriotism or Progressivism?

Ah, now we are getting somewhere. You have given me some insight and some real meat to chew on. I love your analogy with the cats: great point and word picture to use. The first thing I need to do is give some definitions so you may better understand my points. The first two definitions I gathered from Wikipedia.

Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports minimal and gradual change in society. Historian Gregory Schneider finds a continuity in conservatism across the 20th century in terms of five powerful tendencies. The first is defense of tradition, dating from the Founding Fathers. Second is a commitment to preserve the rule of law, with an emphasis on the Constitution. Thirdly, conservatives uphold the Judeo-Christian traditions in the culture wars, opposing secularism. Fourthly, they uphold the principles of freedom, especially the right to bear arms and to conduct business without government regulation. Finally they support a free-market economic system based on capitalism, as opposed to a socialist economy directed by the national government. - Wikipedia

Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutions, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, capitalism, free trade, and the separation of church and state. These ideas are widely accepted, even by political groups that do not openly profess a liberal ideological orientation. Liberalism encompasses several intellectual trends and traditions, but the dominant variants are classical liberalism, which became popular in the 18th century, and social liberalism, which became popular in the 20th century. (Emphasis added, explained later) - Wikipedia

OK, by these definitions it is obvious we could easily agree on many points when it comes to keeping our American republic grounded and directed as it was originally intended. The definition on Conservatism nails where I am coming from. Without labeling you categorically with something to unintentionally pigeonhole you, I think it is fair to assume you agree more with liberalism and ideas of a Liberal. And with the points I emphasis in the definition above and a couple of others not listed (but we have discussed before, like natural or inalienable rights) there are areas we can have healthy disagreement upon as elements that fortify our government.

So where is our disconnect? We need to define progressivism. You seem to use the term interchangeably with liberalism.

“You offer me a choice between either patriotism or progressivism as though they were diametrically opposed.”

Yes, I did because my understanding / definition of progressivism is just that. Not liberalism, but progressivism. We have a neat definition of conservatism and liberalism but there is no single good one for progressivism. Wikipedia says a progressive is, “b : one believing in political change and especially social improvement by governmental action.” It is not as definitive as the other two quoted earlier, partly because it has been high-jacked to replace or augment liberal ideas and is a moving, changing target, still being defined and redefined by the media and both ends of the political spectrum. “Lefties” are not progressives and you may only be distorting your image of liberal ideals if you align yourself with them too closely. Here is another definition from The Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

3. (U. S. History) Of or pertaining to the Progressive party. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
4. Favoring improvement, change, progress, or reform, especially in a political context; -- used of people. Contrasted with conservative.
Note: The term progressive is sometimes used to describe the views of a politician, where liberal might have been used at one time, in communities where the term liberal has come to connote extreme views. (Emphasis added) - The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Those who claim to be progressives are best defined by their actions aligning with their rhetoric. Progressives have and are distorting liberal philosophies because their goals do not necessarily align with those defined as liberal above. I mentioned George B. Shaw because he is one pointed to as a “father” of progressive thought. There are more obvious choices, like those who later took the title; Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt. Notice there is no distinction between Republican or Democrat. Interesting you didn’t mention or object to a contemporary of these, John Dewy, whom I also quoted.

I’ll let one of these be an example of progressive thought and his career accomplishments show a pattern.

“Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence …The Declaration of Independence did not mention the questions of our day. It is of no consequence to us.” - Woodrow Wilson

“All that progressives ask or desire is permission—in an era when ‘development,’ ‘evolution,’ is the scientific word—to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.” - Woodrow Wilson

“In fundamental theory socialism and democracy are almost if not quite one and the same. They both rest at bottom upon the absolute right of the community to determine its own destiny and that of its members. Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals.” (Emphasis added) - Woodrow Wilson

So, to further help I will use your analogy and some distinctions to help understand how I see the difference between a liberal and conservative. Let us just say that cats represent liberals and dogs represent conservatives (only for this example. I would never presume otherwise). We can all live with either, but do have a preference for one or the other. Whether you prefer a cat or a dog, either makes a good pet for the family and depending on the family one fits better than the other. But not all cats or canine are good for the family. It would be a disastrous idea to keep a hungry African Lion or a Dire Wolf as a family pet because chances are great either would destroy the family. If you haven’t already guessed, the African Lion is a liberal progressive and the Dire Wolf is a conservative fascist.

Woodrow Wilson could be called a liberal progressive. Some might try to label me a conservative fascist. I will react very belligerently to that statement. It is untrue because I in no way align myself with any kind of fascist ideas. Conservative, yes; fascist, not in the least. There may be conservative fascist (Hitler) but I’m not one of them. Woodrow Wilson easily lived up to the ideas of a liberal progressive but not all liberals would agree with many of his policies. But true progressives loves his ideas and wish to continue the path. That is what progressivism is all about; if possible quick, radical change. Quick might not be possible, but radical is desired.

This last president, what was his campaign slogan? Oh yea, change. Not enough questioned what kind of change when voting, but now they are asking. What change do we need? Wilson and Obama have much in common. You might believe, “Most lefties would hold up Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Thomas Paine as our founders and role models. We revere the Constitution and hold the Bill of Rights as you do the Ten Commandments”, and I have no issues with it. But progressives have no such proclivity. They want to and need to destroy the republic to accomplish their goals. Some might disagree with this definition of a progressive and lean only to “progress” or “liberal secularism”, but if that is true then you might better stick with liberalism and distant yourself from progressivism.

"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."
Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Populism Through Patriotism or Progressivism?

"Your love of liberty -- your respect for the laws -- your habits of industry -- and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness."
George Washington

My post, “Progressives Want to Control Information” got this response, which I found needed more space than I had for a simple answer. Here was the comment and my answer follows.

Gaia said...
"Self proclaimed elitists?" Would you cite sources, please, because I've never come across a progressive so proclaimed. On the contrary, we want comprehensive health care for everyone; we want a good education for everyone; we want everyone to vote; we want everyone to pay a fair and reasonable amount of taxes; we want a fair judicial system for everyone. That's not elitist: that's an all-embracing populism."

It is such a simple and reasonable question, but it opens multiple avenues of responses. So I will pluck and pare down the volumes that popped into my head. First, you are intuitive in questioning my phrase “self proclaim elitists” and for good reasons. Anyone who would boldly claim such a title as elitist would come off as very egotistical and contrary to “serving the people”. I was using the term loosely, which I should have defined, to mean someone who acts upon and lives out beliefs of elitism. Self proclaimed in the sense that we act upon our philosophical beliefs. More on that in a moment but because I said it, I’ll give a couple of examples of this elitist attitude.

George Bernard Shaw has many interesting comments. Here is one. “I think it would be a good thing to make everybody come before a properly-appointed board, just as they might come before the income tax commissioner, and say every five years, or every seven years, just put them there, and say, ‘Sir, or madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence?’"
John Dewy – “Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent.”

God forbid we have no great answer for a “justify your existence” board or should we learn to think for ourselves. By the way, these two are considered fathers (of many) of the current progressive movement.

There are many others but it is really not the point here. What is actually interesting is that you ignored the fact that I tied elitism to the progressive movement and you seem to equate it to populism. Modern progressive populism is almost like saying frozen fire. It is a great creative word picture but not realistically possible. This is obviously my opinion based on my understanding of Progressives, which I’ll elaborate on later below. I understand your use of populism because it is a good argument against elitism and the philosophy seems to fit your true values.

Populism – “A type of political-social thought that juxtaposes "the people" against "the elites", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social movements. It is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as "political ideas and activities that are intended to represent ordinary people's needs and wishes" - Wikipedia

We probably can agree to the idea of populism. I say right now that I don’t necessarily embrace the full concepts and the far reaching ideas related to the whole populism, but for the purpose of this apologetic I will address the simple definition above “intended to represent the ordinary people’s needs and wishes”. Where we greatly diverge is from our theoretical root for the idea. It is no secret that I get mine from our nations’ founding rooted in Judeo-Christian theology: that all men are created equal and that they have certain inalienable rights. All are also obliged to obey the natural law, under which we have not only rights but duties. We are obliged "to respect those rights in others which we value in ourselves" (Jefferson). This is my idea of an American patriot, borrowed from the Heritage Foundation.

How does a Progressive support populism? First, the predominant view and my understanding of a progressive view is one increasingly radicalized by its transformation into contemporary liberalism. Here are a few points comparing a “progressive” view from a patriots’. (I respectfully use much of the following from the Heritage Foundation)

As mentioned above, “all men are created equal and they have certain inalienable rights” is a patriot’s view. The Progressives rejected these claims as naive and unhistorical. In their view, human beings are not born free. John Dewey, the most thoughtful of the Progressives, wrote that freedom is not "something that individuals have as a ready-made possession." It is "something to be achieved." In this view, freedom is not a gift of God or nature. It is a product of human making, a gift of the state. This is a very important and contrary viewpoint.

Government's main duty for the Founders is to secure that freedom: at home through the making and enforcement of criminal and civil law, abroad through a strong national defense. The protection of life and liberty is achieved through vigorous prosecutions of crime against person and property or through civil suits for recovery of damages, these cases being decided by a jury of one's peers.

The Progressives regarded the Founders' scheme as defective because it took too benign a view of nature. As Dewey remarked, they thought that the individual was ready-made by nature. The Founders' supposed failure to recognize the crucial role of society led the Progressives to disparage the Founders' insistence on limited government. For the Progressives, freedom is redefined as the fulfillment of human capacities, which becomes the primary task of the state.

The American Founders tried to promote the moral conditions of an independent, hard-working citizenry by laws and educational institutions that would encourage such virtues as honesty, moderation, justice, patriotism, courage, frugality, and industry. Government support of religion was generally practiced with a view to these ends. One can see the Founders' view of the connection between religion and morality in such early laws as the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which said that government should promote education because "[r]eligion, morality, and knowledge [are] necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind."

In Progressivism, the domestic policy of government had two main concerns. First, government must protect the poor and other victims of capitalism through redistribution of resources, anti-trust laws, government control over the details of commerce and production: i.e., dictating at what prices things must be sold, methods of manufacture, government participation in the banking system, and so on. Second, government must become involved in the "spiritual" development of its citizens -- not, of course, through promotion of religion, but through protecting the environment ("conservation"), education (understood as education to personal creativity), and spiritual uplift through subsidy and promotion of the arts and culture.

As can be seen, the paving of a road to populism ethics could be reached by diametrically opposed political platforms: of an American patriot or a modern Progressive. A few final questions come to mind. Which political platform embraces the heart or intent of populism best? Which one has the best proven track record of intentionally protecting the people from elitism? Where should my faith be to bring about such desired principles: man or a higher power? My answer is obvious by the argument outlined. A true American patriot (to quote Gaia) “want(s) comprehensive health care for everyone; we want a good education for everyone; we want everyone to vote; we want everyone to pay a fair and reasonable amount of taxes; we want a fair judicial system for everyone.” Which is the best road to get there?

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."
Samuel Adams

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Brings the "P"s Out

“Be religiously careful in our choice of all public officers . . . and judge of the tree by its fruits.”
Elias Boudinot – President of the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1783 and Director of the United States Mint from 1795 until 1805

The ground zero mosque controversy sure deals with “judge the tree by its fruits”. I had a good friend on a social network post a link to a petition by the ACLU, which I disagreed with for reasons other than its stand on freedom of religion. Here was my comment on it.

“As read, no patriotic American would disagree with the obvious tenets of this petition. There is no argument about freedom of religion. No contention of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s or others agreement to this fact. But what is missing is the ethical argument. Yes, they can build the mosque and have the right to do so. Example: The family of my child’s killer has a right to build next door to me, but should they? A majority would question the wisdom of it and protest. They would question the “intolerance” of that family. Why wouldn’t that family understand and not only agree but want to build somewhere not so offensive? The answer to that would be telling. This petition states some truth, but from a perverted perspective of that truth.”

A friend of this friend posted something simple, and I paraphrase, about not trusting the “patriotic American” phrase because it dealt with “hidden agendas”. I don’t know if they even read the rest of post but if they did that phase seemed to close their mind. I replied by copying pretty much what they wrote and inserted “ACLU” in place of patriot to make the point that we all have some kind of agenda and it only differs from the platform we stand upon. My point was missed and they questioned it blankly and then a short time later remarked with a belittling comment. I left it at that. I afraid others on the network did not, but that’s another story.

Oh, what do I mean about the p’s? Well, as I thought about this I couldn’t help but imagine there are many people who stand on issues with differing perspectives. I wore a label on my sleeve when I chose to use the word patriotic. I did this intentionally as to let people know I was coming from, what is generally considered, a conservative point of view. I would much rather be considered a patriot who knows why I believe something rather then a parrot who can talk it but without perception. We all talk from a platform and it is best to fully understand it, rather than just stand on it. Normally what happens with the latter is one ends up just being P-Oed and has difficulty acting politely. I am sure you have witnessed the same thing in the media the last few weeks around the controversy of the mosque. All I suggest is, be open, listen patiently to others’ ideas but know where you stand and be able to give an account with dignity.

Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787

Friday, August 20, 2010

Progressives Want to Control Information

“There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied, and which, therefore, more needs elucidation (clarification), than the current one, that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong.” (Parenthesis added)
James Madison

Nothing irks me more than when self proclaimed elitists (most progressives) claim and work under the impression that they have the only right answers to govern the people. Here is just one recent example of that pious but ignorant philosophical stance.

“With many state legislatures poised to take up some kind of reform-related legislation next year, a group of liberal state lawmakers is preparing Fall events to defend the law in their state houses against “the very conservative politicians and interest groups that are really confusing the American public,” the group's chairman, Iowa State Sen. Jack Hatch, tells PULSE.”
POLITICO Pulse, Aug 19th, 2010

Jack Hatch and all his liberal friends believe the common people are too ignorant to discern appropriate understanding of all views and feel we can only be “confused” by having more than one perspective to choose from. What scares Jack and friends is exactly the issues James Madison addressed above. If the people like the truth and it conflicts with ideology needed to change or annihilate the republic our nation is founded upon, then we shouldn’t be “confusing the American public”.

This doesn’t mean the majority always has it right and our republic has systems within it to help understand and slow process until truth is discerned and people can right any misguided directions that lead us from our great American republic. A great case in point is the majority now feels the direction our present government is headed is not the direction we wish to go. Basically, “we the people” have had time to see and feel the decisions of our current administration and know it is the wrong way. The majority made a mistake November 2008, which led to the Tea Party movement and similar “interest groups”. Jack Hatch, his cronies and the current administration don’t like it when the people “are confused”, which is really people thinking, educated and having choices. The real “confused” ones are them that don’t understand or like the working, living republic we currently have. Now it is up to us to keep it by voting for those who agree with the truth of the American Republic. Nothing will confuse a progressive more.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where Does America Garner Its Morals and Ethics

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
John Adams – 1798

Once again this week, a story developed that should cause Americans to ask the question of this blog title.

“A federal judge has ruled in favor of a public university that removed a Christian student from its graduate program in school counseling over her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong.” Todd Starnes Published July 28, 2010

What is telling about this story is the reason Julea Ward is given for her removal. The university contended she violated school policy and the American Counseling Association code of ethics. Another student, Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been pursuing a master's degree in school counseling at Augusta State University since 2009, but school officials have informed her that she'll be dismissed from the program unless she alters her "central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct. Not because of poor academic showing or demonstrated deficiencies in clinical performance, but simply because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity.

So the question becomes, where does the American Counseling Association get its code of ethics? Certainly not solely from the America John Adams presumed or for that matter, than most all the signers of our Declaration of Independence. Julea and Jennifer are only reflecting morals our nation was found upon. The issue of gay life style is controversial but for a Christian is clear, given the scripture. It all boils down to where this country will receive direction related moral issues. Should we accept and allow the results of a kleptomaniac as an alternate lifestyle because they can’t help it; they were born that way? If not, then why the gay lifestyle? Both are from the same moral compass. Take it a step further, why not accept and protect the serial killer because he can’t help himself; he was born that way?

You may get a sense of where I stand. But let me quote myself from another work I’m working on. The character Leland explains his stand on a gay lifestyle.

"Time has proved this 'alternate' life style hasn't saved people in any way. Rather it's caused multitudes of havoc. They have a right to believe as they wish. Never should they be mistreated or abused simply for having an opposing opinion on sexual preference. They need the help and support of society the same as everyone else. The thing I struggle with is how we Christians should react to that. We don't have laws protecting an employee from being fired if he's drunk or high on the job. Nor is a compulsive gamblers' job protected if he decides to be absent from work for weeks to go on a gambling binge. I say that because the Bible tells us these things are wrong.

"These acts erode and undermine the basis of a good working society and it is the Bible that teaches this. Yes, gays have rights but not anything reaching beyond that which will counteract the worldview this country was founded on. This means no special or equal family status, military standing or any other special privileges they're now striving to achieve, because the Bible says it’s wrong.

"I know the Lord teaches us to love one another and we should, but we need to show that love in the context of His word. Sometimes love is very tough, just as Jesus was with people at times. You notice when the Pharisees brought the women to Him to be stoned He directed those who had no sin to throw the first stone. They all walked away because they had to, but remember He told the women to sin no more. Jesus gave her a chance to understand her plight, but expected her to break the cycle she was in."
Search - Richard Coller

This issue will be with us for years to come. All I can say to Julea, Jennifer and all who want a degree in any counseling program is this. They had better understand where that institution derives its moral base and attend a school that will allow biblical counseling. They will be a better counselors for it.

"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."
George Washington

Monday, July 19, 2010

Protection from Ourselves

It’s been awhile since I have published anything on my blog. Sorry about that, but another project has kept me very busy until now. So, to kind of catch up let us look at the general idea about why the Tea Party movement has been so active while the Obama administration has been in office. If you read Federalist paper #63 you will find James Madison considered the people could easily undermine their own republic. For that reason he suggested a Senate appointed for a six year term. I’ll let him explain.

“Thus far I have considered the circumstances which point out the necessity of a well-constructed Senate only as they relate to the representatives of the people. To a people as little blinded by prejudice or corrupted by flattery as those whom I address, I shall not scruple to add, that such an institution may be sometimes necessary as a defense to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions. As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers; so there are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn.” (emphasis added)
James Madison – Federalist Paper #63 Independent Journal, Saturday, March 1, 1788

The large numbers of Tea Party supporters (and others with similar concerns) are probably those who “they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn.” The founders of our republic understood that “the people” could be misled under certain circumstances. We could fail to patiently garner visions that propel the republic America was founded on. That the people might be compelled by men of anti-republic sediments using ideologies conflicting founding principals and easily misunderstand the corroding effects: et, “too big to fail”, “redistribution of wealth”, “social justice”, etc. This is not ideology attributed to one party but found throughout liberals and conservatives, but has high jacked the liberal philosophy more effectively.

Our republic is founded on individual freedoms, individual rights, individual accountability, individual salvation, and individual numerous other responsibilities that keep a republic working as it should. Any type of socialism that requests collective or group responsibilities directed by a government acting as “big brother” or “director of the majority” against the majorities’ will is anything but a republic our founders envisioned. As “we the people” of the American Republic wake up and realize our individual accountability to our neighbors and nation, there will be more of the Tea Party and similar movements working against progressive, social government actions.

As James Madison indicates, people with republic ideals will discover they are driving off the road and want to steer back on course. Obviously, it is easy to drive back to the road from a shoulder or parking lot, rather than a muddy field. Hence, the reason he argued for a system that would react slower and thoughtfully in times of reactionary or misinformed people. Americans realize we are headed for a muddy field even though the “map” directs otherwise. We know it is time to turn this country back on course because the GPS is falsely programmed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Government Spending Credit Report - Inform “We the People”

Let us use Education as an example

"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."
John Adams

“Too big to fail” and “government bailouts” are all we have heard about for close to two years. The latest request is by Education Secretary Arne Duncan to ask lawmakers to put aside “politics and ideology” as they consider a request for $23 billion in “emergency” funding for public schools. As a taxpayer this is very disturbing to me and I’m sure to the largest percentage of Americans. When is all this “bailout”, “rob Peter to pay Paul” economics nonsense going to be checked? What a great subject to deal with head on. Everyone would agree that our children’s education is something we need to support. Keeping that in mind, we need to have the right information in order to understand how to support that great goal.

I’m sure you are asking “what is he talking about?” First, let me tell you that I’m close to this subject because my daughter is a public school teacher and the major bread winner for her family. Like most Americans I’m proud that we have a system supported by the government (notice I say supported – important to keep in mind) that helps guarantee each person can have a quality education maintained by all taxpayers’ money. Our teachers need to know that we stand behind everyone of them who performs to goals of our expectations as a whole.

The current system has failed in the sense that we seem unable to support it finically. Why is that? There have been suggestions. Education analyst Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., said this.

“More federal funding is not going to solve states' fiscal problems and could in fact exacerbate those problems, by really preventing states from making the difficult budgetary decisions necessary to reduce costs and effect long-term systemic education reform. The real problem within the public education sector has been more and more non-teaching staff positions. These positions continue to grow and really put a strain on state budgets. Roughly half of those people employed by the public education sector are in non-teaching positions.”

This makes a lot of sense to me and I believe we can help direct monies to government supported programs like education if we apply something every American family has either learned to do or should do. Most successful American families have learned to budget based on their family income. That includes borrowing and using credit wisely to achieve intended realistic goals for our needs then wants: in that order. One great tool we have today to assist the decision making on our budgeting is to learn how to use credit reports. These have much information on them that direct us on when we should and should not use credit, how much we could handle and when we should make a change to keep us financially viable.

I’m sure you have caught on to what I suggest. Why not have credit reports for each of our government agencies and recipient of said agency (aka, each school district) that our representatives could use to gauge fiscal responsibilities. For that matter, with today’s technology, it could be made available for all the people to check and inform our representative of our thoughts and wishes. These could help understand status before criticality and make adjustment long before it is serious (too late at this point, but many families learned the hard also). We want our government and all its representatives (politicians) to operate just as we need to. I know there are others much more capable than me to suggest how this might work and it may be too simple for those who serve the people to comprehend but many a family has succeeded by applying principals around this concept. It’s time the government listened to the people and acted more like us.

"Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands."
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

News, Information and Opinion – What About A Free Press?

“The only security of all is in a free press. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
Thomas Jefferson

Not many would argue how our constitution stands on the idea of a free press. Most on both sides of the political arena want to make sure these rights stay free, information flows unreservedly and opinions can be expressed. What I find interesting is how people decide what might be wrong or right. When it comes to news, plain and pure facts and political opinions many will decide the truth based on whether it is liberal or conservative in nature. And both types make the mistake when defining facts from opinion. A friend was certain to make sure I understood this by listing a few places where she received much of her information and didn’t want to hide her understanding of these viewpoints.

“Liberal, yet their facts check out.”

I appreciate the honesty and I have no problems with it. Interesting but I question whether she could equally say of other sources, “conservative, yet their facts check out.” As with many, I think it might be a struggle. So many will predetermine facts reported based on knowing who supplies the information. I might be considered naive but until it is proved otherwise; I tend to believe all the mainstream media outlets, as a rule, try to make sure they report the facts. Now, please understand there is a great difference between the facts of a news report and an opinion based on those facts. This same person has this to say about one news outlet.

“… and wouldn't trust Fox News as far as I could throw my car.”

In her defense, because I find it hard to believe differently, I presume she meant she could not trust the opinions of said news outlet. But then again, the blogs sphere and other news stories (where ever one gets them) seems to indicate people prefer to blur the difference because it is easier to consider truths based on liberal facts or conservative facts. A fact can be proven and if not then it just may be an opinion and that is another issue to discuss. But let’s stick to the facts. It is much like preferring a Chrysler over a Honda. Both are cars but people would argue that point because of such a bias for one or the other. They may choose to believe one is not a car because of who makes it. With that kind of attitude you might see me driving a Honda and tell me to go buy a car. All I’ve really learned is that you don’t like Hondas. The question then becomes, “Why do you prefer a Chrysler over a Honda?”

For current events, I look to all sources of information and evaluate them on their own merits. If it is a fact, which can be tested, then it matters not from whom I garner it from. One thing I do purposely is look for what is reported and notice what is ignored. That says more sometimes than the facts themselves. This means I need to look at all sources to compare who is reporting what. There is the tendency by many reporters to ignore or not report “facts” that make it difficult to support either their liberal or conservative perspectives: and that of course is revealing in itself. So I might not trust as much a news outlet that ignores certain facts or stories because it does not support their idea of what’s news worthy and support their opinions. But guess what, that is news also.

It is not so much who is reporting what, as much as the viewpoint it is filtered through. The problem is many people don’t have a good understanding of what they believe or why they believe it so generally sway from one ideal to another as it feels right. Or their principles are so fanatical that they can not accept any variations or conceive what others might prove as truth. I agree with this statement.

“The truth lies in reading the Constitution, a knowledge of history, and studying the commentaries by the authors, which clearly explains their intentions without the need of conjecturing intellectuals educated with propaganda 250 years later.”

If you can’t consistently point to values, principals and ethics that require integrity to persistently convey ideas, then one might need the support of a particular liberal or conservative bias to sort through.

For instance just yesterday I heard about Attorney General Eric Holder indicating the president was willing to look at changing the Miranda rules to help process terrorists. Many conservatives think this is a good idea but even though I lean towards conservative opinions I strongly disagree with this sudden 180 degree turn around. Why? Without going into the details, this idea goes against what I believe about our American justice system, why we have this law and it would only weaken our liberties as we know them.

Check all avenues of news information. I do listen to Fox, CBS, ABC and I especially am interested in NBC/MSNBC for what they consider news worthy and what they ignore. I compare what the Huffington Post, Washing ton Post, Wall Street Journal, Politico and other major “papers” report. News magazines such as Newsweek, US News, The Weekly Standard and Time all give varying perspectives on current events. But I rely a lot on the Internet also for information that might not make the regular media. It is interesting the people who fight most for “freedom of the press” are often times the same ones who dwell on which is right and wrong regardless whether it is news (facts) or opinion.

“Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.”
Alexis de Tocqueville - 29 July 1805, Paris – 16 April 1859, Cannes

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Capitalism vs. Socialism

"I never ... believed there was one code of morality for a public and another for a private man."
Thomas Jefferson, In a letter to Don Valentine de Feronda, 1809

Many people today feel the following statement may be true.

"I don't see that we're headed for socialism, though a lot of people are asserting that. It's just hyperbole, an attempt at rabble-rousing.”

When it comes to protecting our American republic this is the crutch of the whole debate, is it not? If you visit you can get paragraphs of definitions and variation there of, related to the subject. We could find one that fits our general philosophy quite well, depending on our understanding. But I believe the following one, found elsewhere best states my understanding of socialism.

1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.
The Free

I like this one because it not only defines it well, but the second definition points to the reason any acceptance of socialism is repugnant to a free market system, which America is suppose to be. So now ask yourself, “Is our government distributing and/or controlling goods or direct plans that controls our economy?” How about social security and more recent, company bail outs and now the new government healthcare system? If these are not forms of socialism then what are they? It is taxes used to redistribute the wealth.

I can not argue with the faults stated by some that the Bush administration has helped this drift we are talking about. As a matter of fact, I can think of only one recent president who might have understood this and tried to remedy it and that was the Regan administration. The subject of American socialism might seem like a hyperbole because many who adhere to capitalism have drifted so far from our founders principals and philosophies, which should control the free market that it does seem at times one is no better than the other. But the answer is not going to be to replace it with a new or different system un-related to capitalism, like socialism all progressives are trying to institute; nor any big government either party sees as the answer.

Progression away from our founders’ principles (my definition of a progressive) under any party affiliation is wrong. No big government plan is good for the republic. The difference between the Bush and Obama administration is that Bush may have been uninformed or misunderstood the principles our republic should work under, but Obama seems very direct and purposeful in his decisions directly headed for socialism. He truly believes it is the answer, but he would be wrong.

What is the answer? Why is capitalism sometimes the overbearing, power grabbing entity it should not be? As a nation we have drifted away from the principles that would help it be the positive influence our founders intended. As I mentioned in my previous post yesterday, we need to come back to the American religion. It needs to be taught once again as it use to in schools and college and lived every day by the people. We, as the people, need to be the virtuous, honest, respectful citizens as a whole the nation was founded upon. Our republic intended such and the founders expected it to be taught and practiced this way. If we are that people, then our economy (and all aspects of community) would reflect it and we would not need the government or anyone to direct us or our resources because it would be taken care of without it. Our founding fathers profoundly understood this and expounded diligently for us to hold these truths. We need to stay away from socialism and practice the principles our republic was found upon.

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, (A)nd if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Thomas Jefferson

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
Patrick Henry

The American Religion

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
John Adams October 11, 1798

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
James Madison, 1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia

I had a loving friend (I mean that literally, not facetiously) who replied to a post I made on a social network and thought I would share it and my response. The post involved me encouraging my Christian friends to take a look at the Manhattan Declaration and if they agreed with it consider signing it. Here were the three comments made to that post.

1) “It's not a Christian country. It's a country with christians in it.”

2) "Two quotes from James Madison:"
“And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”

3) "The Christians are fine, Rick, they're protected. It's the rest of us I'm concerned with. Please note:"

Artilcle VI of the Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States...

Here was my response.

“You make some good points. But first make this distinction, I wrote this post on the Manhattan Declaration TO Christians of America and never insinuated this is a Christian nation. Our founders did not use that religious characteristic. But they all agreed to the “American Religion” essential for all philosophies including the basic tenets of our nations founding. This means they drew their perspectives from all religious ideas of the time, philosophers (heavily on Cicero) and similar historical readings. This gave them principals (28 according to W. Cleon Skousen, “The 5000 Year Leap”) which all the founders agreed upon to include even the deists and agnostics present.
     Now, Christian principals fit nicely into this frame but it was meant to be the essential components of our republic government: not validate or promote any religious ideals upon the governed. Hence, the reason for the separation of Church and state. They did not want any particular sect or denomination to pollute the tenets they agreed upon for a good government. All the founders agreed with this and the quotes from Madison simply support it. They wanted separation OF religion not FROM religion. And finally, the Christians are not fine or anyone else who calls themselves Americans, because our current course is undermining the fore mentioned principals our republic is founded upon. Unless you are for socialism or something even more constricting, then everyone should try to express ways to keep us from going down that road. For a Christian, that might mean the Manhattan Declaration but maybe not. There are many other petitions to achieve the same goal.”

There are hundreds of quotes by our founders that support this concept. I happen to be a Christian and the American way of government fits nicely with my philosophies. But every patriotic American, people who believe in our republic, need or should understand the principals our nation is founded upon and at the very least adhere to the “American Religion” or if it makes you feel better, the “American Philosophy”.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Conservatism is Black and White

"I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."
George Washington

I am always saddened when in the news I see prejudice. But when it is in the form of a racial thrashing to ignore or hide a philosophical ideal, it just proves the ignorance or blatant dishonesty of some people. I am referring to those who unjustly slander someone because they align themselves with the Tea Party movement and happen to be black. They've been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values just because they are conservative.

"I've been told I hate myself. I've been called an Uncle Tom. I've been told I'm a spook at the door," said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group of black conservatives who support free market principles and limited government.

If you don’t like the political ideals someone holds then talk about those issues. But no, like most bullies, a racist against his brothers and sisters finds it easier and effective to simply try to demean them, bring them down on other aspects because bullies are not smart enough or have authentic ammunition to counter on the level the issue is really about.

Timothy Johnson continued with this and it tells where the real concern is. "Black Republicans find themselves always having to prove who they are. Because the assumption is the Republican Party is for whites and the Democratic Party is for blacks."

It shouldn’t matter if someone is white, black, yellow, red or rainbow, because it is not about color but a philosophical world view and guess what – we will not always agree but that can be OK when experienced in a good republic (one as our founders developed). So, heed George Washington’s words be honest people. If you can not be that virtuous then we shall need to be the kind of patriots our founding fathers exemplified.

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
Samuel Adams

Monday, April 5, 2010

“Change” and “Gay” Need Definitions

"The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." -- Thomas Jefferson

If I didn’t know better, I would think Mr. Jefferson was able to see the future and determined our modern day mainstream news media was more poisonous than informational. And he would be right. A big problem today is our ever evolving English vernacular. Nothing new really, but today as with much of our contemporary world the speed at which modifications takes place at most times is faster than the definitions needed for qualification. I can’t help but feel it is the very reason many people (mostly progressives) like it that way because it fits their situational ethics as they need it and when they need it. You might be asking, “What is he talking about?” I’ll use two words we read often in the news to qualify.

Gay has been around for a while and long enough for us to understand the change the word has morphed into. People even giggle now when singing a popular Christmas song proclaiming; “now we don our gay apparel”. Fifty years ago visions of “Sunday best” or special attire to reflect a clean wholesome outfit for a special occasion and celebration was envisioned. Today we might more readily attribute visions adapted to an x-rated party or brothel. At the very best just something more colorful; as a rainbow or maybe two suits for a “bride” and / or “groom”. This is a complete one hundred and eighty degree change.

Ummm. I just used the word change. I should be careful. You see, recently that word was used to help elect our last president (and still is used many times). He campaigned on the idea of “change”. The problem is people were not listening to definitions used when this word was thrown around as a positive experience. That might be because “we the people” were defining the idea as something positive and probably related to financial strings as we have become more materialistic. “Change” for the better meant more jobs or more money to buy things or spend on college or any number of other good “things” Americans have come to enjoy. These are extensions and enhancements of our “pursuit of happiness” and most often envisioned when we want “change” for the better.

You can not argue that Obama is delivering on his promise of change. But we should have been listening closer to his idea of it.

“Change doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.”
BARACK OBAMA, DNC speech, Aug. 28, 2008

“It's time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government….”
BARACK OBAMA, weekly address, Apr. 25, 2009

Now let me ask you, when you think of change for our American way of life would you have thought this kind of change? Look again at the quotes. Not change from Washington to the people as it should be, but change to Washington (aka, the government). How? Well, to “fundamentally” change it. Just to make sure we don’t misunderstand the definition of that word, fundamentally –

Basic - relating to or affecting the underlying principles or structure of something.
Encarta Dictionary.

That sounds an awful lot like changing the basic fundamental of our nation’s founding principals as written by the founding fathers. If you agree with Obama, I consider it anything but patriotic as defined by our American principals. People, we can’t blame our president for the changes he is making. We can only blame ourselves for not interpreting his intentions. He is not talking about our kind of change, one to keep our liberties with the help of a small government to assist in letting us change for each individual. No, his change is one of big government that will tell you what you need or don’t need.

From now on, we need to be very clear about what kind of change we want and need; not what government thinks or wants for us. I need to share a quote with you from one of our most recent presidents who understood how our government is supposed to work. Then I’ll finish with another from one our founders who we need to heed now more than ever.

“The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing. Ronald Reagan (October 27, 1964)”

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."--Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Call to “Point Up” the Wall

A term used in masonry work to replace mortar between the bricks.

Once again our founding fathers could predict struggles between government and the people based on knowledge lived in their every day struggle to develop our nation.

The known propensity (a tendency to demonstrate particular behavior) of a democracy is to licentiousness (pursuing desires aggressively and selfishly, unchecked by morality) which the ambitious (one who has strong desire to have or do something) call (seek out or visit), and ignorant believe to be liberty. (Definitions added)
Fisher Ames, speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, January 15, 1788

My translation – “A true democracy unfettered by a moral compass tends to gravitate towards immoral philosophies because true direction is ignored, which the foolish will call liberty.”

We have seen this to be true more and more in recent decades as men and women have chosen to ignore the basic element the founding fathers used to mortar each brick of our republic while it was built. Each element or “brick” the framers eventually agreed upon and used to generate our great nations’ government was held together with a belief in God (the mortar). Mr. Fisher Ames could easily point to current events and say, “I told you so”.

There are those who prefer to confront issues using the moral compass our fathers used and others who not only ignore it but desire to stomp on it. The media in general has determined to villainies any conservative political movement, including the Tea Party movement, while overlooking similar or worse acts perpetrated by the liberals (or more correctly, progressives). This is because most mainstream media is liberal by nature. Just check the news and find all kinds of finger pointing claims to tea partiers as “dangerous, racist, homophobic bunch of loons” as Dan Gainor writes. Day after day the people who are peacefully conveying what they want THEIR government to do or not, most of the media uses a broad brush to paint them all the same as the relatively few truly misled unrelated fools. This is done to misrepresent and nullify the sound arguments true patriots try to convey. “There’s no doubt out of millions of protesters, a few might have said something inappropriate. If the media treated left-wing protest with the same fine-tooth comb, they’d be shocked by the results.” I couldn’t agree more.

People, we need to repair the wall of our republic and bring it back to the roots it was founded upon. Otherwise we will continue to see the shoddy, disrepair that tends to fall in time without it.

"This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed." – Patrick Henry (1736 – 1799)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Be a Patriot of the Republic

Well it has happened. Healthcare reform has been forced upon the people. The US government has changed from the republic our founding fathers had built. Why? The founders knew it could happen.

If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.
Samuel Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780

As Samuel Adams indicates, the wrong kinds of people have been seated over our government. ObamaCare is unconstitutional and if you are a true patriot of our constitution and bill of rights, you will not sit down and take it. It is pretty simple to fight. Use your voice in many petitions available and your vote to change those who would not listen to the people who overwhelmingly spoke against it.  The worst thing you could do is give up and say “there is nothing I can do”. That only put you in the company Mr. Adams outlined and into the “handout mentality” Obama seems to be courting instead of allowing charity to work.

This is a call not to the Democrats or Republicans (whether liberal or conservative) but to those who wish to keep our nation a democratic republic and stop the slide to any type of socialism. Again, I’ll let Samuel Adams say better what I wish you will heed.

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.
Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We are a Republic not a Democracy

Woman - “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Benjamin Franklin - “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
The response is attributed to Benjamin Franklin - at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation.

I’ve been asked why I don’t support the “Move to Amend” movement, which reacts to how the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission last January. My opposition is based on the goal they strive for, which they state is, “In a democracy, the people rule.” Well to inform you, The United States is a republic, not a democracy.

First, don’t loose sight of what I’m trying to convey. I’m not suggesting I agree with the Supreme Courts decision. I might even be convinced that the decision itself is not the best for the people as a whole. What I am concerned about is the way dissenters approach the fix to the disagreement. To amend the constitution is a radical approach that could prove disastrous to the republic the founders built, instead of a democracy, which has failings they were avoiding (again, you need to understand the difference between the two). The approach of amending the constitution can be like shooting yourself in the foot trying to rid an annoying fly. There are better (not necessarily easier or faster) ways to achieve your goal. The Supreme Court was protecting the republic, as good constitutional layers should. Even though they may have agreed with the dissenters goals (not sure, would need to interview them) the decision was based on a higher goal of re-enforcing a republic government. Whether corporations should have the same rights as each individual is another argument entirely and it should not be the business of the judiciary branch. I hope that helps you understand why I believe what I do. Believe me, you want the republic we have and not a democracy some think we need.

If amending the constitution is something needed to achieve goals in supporting our republic government it can be done but is not easy. A more lofty and aligned goal would be the one in “Amend the Constitution” where the supporters believe that Congress needs to be reigned in closer to their original purpose and give the people back power the government branch has been bleeding from them in recent history. This movement is more indicative in keeping and strengthening our republic, possibly because what Mr. Franklin has to say below. Whatever we do remember it’s the republic were are trying to keep and not a democracy.

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Benjamin Franklin

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nancy, Some Pies Will Not Sell

Nancy Pelosi thinks she is, not only a smart woman, but feels she has it correct on the health care bill under debate. In her arrogance, along with her cronies, they want to shove the idea down the American people’s throat and she has such pretty analogy attached to the concept. Just read how she sees the whole debate.

"When we have a bill," she said, "you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie. But you have to have a pie to sell."

The only problem is the pie they are baking. I and the majority of Americans know pies and what we like. It needs to smell good and taste as pleasant. I’m a country boy and as kids we use to play on the farm and had a polite way of referring to something kind of nasty. In the pasture we had to be carful not to step in a “cow pie” because of the mess it would make when we dragged it around. And believe me the smell alone is enough to gag you, say nothing about taking a bite.

Nancy, you and your progressive friends might be baking a pie but it is nothing more than a cow pie and the people know it. It will never sell and only achieve to stink the place up. Nancy and friends might better go back to the “kitchen” and get a receipt the people can agree upon.

Again, our founding fathers knew how our government should work and when it didn’t fit the ideal, knew what the issue probably was.

“A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.”     Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 70, 1788

Friday, February 19, 2010


The Mount Vernon Statement - YES!

Last Wednesday, February 17th  2010, a historic document signing took place, which parallels that of our founding fathers ratification of the Constitution on September 17, 1787. I make it sound big because I believe it is. I read it shortly after my last post yesterday and felt it emphases my point well. The Mount Vernon Statement made all kinds of news but the real story is hard to filter through the media. The Mount Vernon Statement is one you can also sign if you agree with it.

This statement was formed by conservatives, which you can read an opinion of here, but it reflects the true nature of our nations founding documents directing our governments’ scope and limits of power in working for the people. Every American needs to understand this statement and may not totally agree with it but the declaration reflects exactly what our Constitution was designed for.

If you believe this is the mode our government should be in, then I encourage you to go to the website and sign it for yourself. “We the People” have allowed our government to stray too far already from the roots of our nations great experiment and need to bring it back from anything other than the republic it was designed as. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

“We the People” not federal government

"The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present."
G. K. Chesterton 

If you have followed any of my blog you’ve gotten a sense that I appreciate the history of our founding fathers’ struggle to establish a government for the people divisive of any other that limited personal liberty. G.K. Chesterton’s quote above could easily explain why Obama and his die hard followers greatly miss this key point about our established government. Read these quotes of Obama from a 2001 radio show interview at Chicago's public station WBEZ-FM.

"The Warren court", he said, failed to "break free from the essential constraints" in the U.S. Constitution and launch a major redistribution of wealth. Now, just remember that the Warren court was probably the most liberal in US history but he fails to educate his listeners on that point. He went on to say. “But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf” (emphasis added).

Anyone who questions our system of government, the “republic experiment” that our founders shaped and finalize during a period over a dozen years before it was ratified as we have it today, believes it still has major flaws to change just scares the crap out of me. I hope most Americans who have over two hundred years of proof of it’s success feel the same way. The checks and balances instituted keep us protected from such ill placed, arrogant philosophies the progressive Democrats have demonstrated. Those “negative liberties” Obama mentions are the most positive hope we have of keeping the government working for the people as WE direct. No one in government should dictate what we want or need but only the people as we allow them.

The balance of powers we enjoy (or endure sometimes) is not perfect and can make progress seem slow but that is exactly the way the founder designed it. First it was the Articles of Confederation, never ratified but worked within, that held us together through the Revolutionary War. Then when distractions were lesser, the Continental Congress conventions took place to modify the Articles to work better for the nation and today we have the US Constitution with the Bill of Rights.  This history is really fascinating and if you want to read it for yourself I would suggest A Patriots History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen.

I can not express enough the truth G. K. Chesterton put to us when he said, “The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present." Our leaders during these times exemplify this everyday and if you, the regular guy of “We the People” realize this, it’s time to be informed and involved to make sure the founding fathers sacrifices were not in vain. We the People are responsible for that and dare not leave it to our government, which will only further the institution if left to do so.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama Talking in the Mirror?

If so, we can only hope he listens but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Listening to Obama’s state of the union speak was disappointing but studying the transcript was more like disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, Barack Obama is a talented orator. He has a way of drawing you into his dialogue so you are eager to hear what the next sentence will be. But that is just a talent for delivery, which he does it well enough, in spite of the content. I’m not sure now if it arrogance I detected or ignorance. Wow, either one is bad enough but if it is both – that scares the stuff out of me.

Here is why he should listen to himself. Check this quote from his own inaugural address delivered from the Capitol steps in Washington on January 20, 2009:
“We say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us…to those who cling to power through… the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
He can say it but can’t seem to perform it. It has been over a year now and Obama is still bashing the Bush administration. Sounds like a “clenched fist” to me. Talk and listen to the mirror Mr. Obama. You must know that all you accomplish is turning those, who voted for Bush the first time and then you in 2008, against you. Bad move. Talking out of  both sides of your mouth, you say you need to take responsibility from one side as you shout “it’s his fault” out of the other. And was it ignorance when you told the Justices they are allowing foreign countries to fund American political parties, when that just is not true (as Alito politely indicated) or just arrogance trying to coerce public opinion? Either is bad enough but both means a lot of trouble for America the next two and a half plus years.

In reference to the “wrong side of history” as quoted above by Obama, let me just remind everyone what George Washington had to say about Benedict Arnold, only in context of  where Barack politically falls compared to history.

“The Commander-in-Chief would have been much happier in an occasion of bestowing commendations on an officer who had rendered such distinguished services to his country as Major General Arnold; but in the present case, a sense of duty and a regard to candor oblige him to declare that he considers his conduct [in the convicted actions] as imprudent and improper.”
Notice published by George Washington, April 6, 1780

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama Spits in the Face of Separation of Powers

As I alluded to yesterday, I thought president Obama might show his philosophical (please note the qualifier) color again during his state of the union address. Let me qualify right now that I’m not advocating whether the high Courts’ decision last week was good, bad or anything in between. It’s not the point here. What does concern me is the president, using his platform to publicly admonish any of his counter-parts in our governments system of separation of powers. His flagrant disrespect for our system of checks and balance is disturbing. His opinion that the ruling handed down was not a good one is fine, but he acts like the process is wrong and if he had his way it would be reversed immediately: contrary to the whole system the USA was founded on.

It reminds me of another controversial decision the Supreme Court made in 1973, Roe vs Wade. President Nixon in his state of the union address did not bring up the subject in anyway, though history shows he had strong feelings the Court made a bad decision. Nixon showed respect for our system, though he disagreed with the direction taken at the time as the Courts supported legal abortions.

Our founding fathers found it extremely necessary to make sure the people would have protection from someone having extended privilege of power that would undermine our republic. They knew it would not be an easy task and at times make progress messy and slow but knew the mechanics of our type of system was essential to keep our personal liberties. Note James Madison on the subject. 

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. (Emphasis added)
The Federalist Papers - # 51, James Madison - Friday, February 8, 1788

In my opinion president Obama showed his progressive, anti-American philosophy much like a spoiled brat would stamp his foot and fold his arms in defiance to his parents’ refusal in allowing him to write the check for any toy he wanted in the store. There are ways to get what makes sense other than spitting in your parents face even if the toy was for them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feet to the Fire or Run for the Mud

As we head for the state of the union address tonight I have my concerns. Indications are that president Obama has decided to talk to the people’s concerns and put his previous agenda on hold and focus more on what the poles have been telling him. A smart move if he does but here is my concern. His purpose is not grounded in the integrity the office has historically been successful for. You should understand Obama’s thinking as he enters to give his speech tonight. Note this article in Politico and what Obama says of himself.

Democrats say they’ve been completely focused on the danger of a populist backlash for months. One retiring Democrat — Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas — told his local paper that Obama dismissed his concerns in a private meeting by saying the party would avoid a 1994-type debacle because of Obama’s personal popularity. “The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me,’” Berry told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

This displays the arrogance Obama offend exudes and seen most times during his campaign and first year in the white house. Compare that with our first president.

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796

He is polite with dignity, affable without formality, distant without haughtiness, grave without austerity; modest, wise and good.
Abigail Adams, in a letter to John Adams, 1789

More than all, and above all, Washington was master of himself. If there be one quality more than another in his character which may exercise a useful control over the men of the present hour, it is the total disregard of self when in the most elevated positions for influence and example.
Charles Francis Adams (18 August 1807 – 21 November 1886)

No matter what Mr. Obama may say tonight and it may very well be what the majority of people wish to hear, remember the character it comes from and understand it is based on situational ethics and not deep seated integrity our nation was founded on. We will need to keep his feet to the fire because he would rather run to the mud.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

State of the Union – Is Obama Listening?

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate — look to his character....”
Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education, 1789

Only Wednesday night will reveal the answer to the question posed in this title, but I predict this administration doesn’t know how to listen. Why would I say that? Look at what David Axelrod had to say about what happened in Massachusetts a week ago.

“The same forces that we saw at play in Massachusetts were the ones that propelled [Obama] to office,” Axelrod said. “There’s no reinventing any message here. It’s a reaffirmation of a message."

Scott Brown won his senate seat with the similar platform that Obama claims propelled him to the oval office. If that is true what needs to be learned here is not the platforms are “apples to apples” but rather “apples to oranges” and which one is which. The people did vote for change in 2008 and I believe tried to narrow that desire in 2010. Axelrod and group don’t seem to understand the language or are not paying attention. I would interpret it this way.

“We don’t disagree with the idea of change. But the change this current Democratic administration has been unfolding is not the one we want. You had better alter directions and listen to the definition of the change we would like. You’re headed in the wrong direction. Listen and we will try to explain what we want.

So, Mr. Axelrod, it is not an affirmation the people are expecting. It is an accurate definition and then moving in that direction.

”Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. “
Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781

Monday, January 25, 2010

When are Government Costs Taxes?

"A taxpayer is someone who works for the federal government but who doesn't have to take a civil service examination."  - Ronald Reagan

Taxes is something every American is (or should be) concerned about. Many a politician has been or not, elected upon the platform of his stand on the subject. Recently it has been politically prudent to avoid all appearance of raising the people’s taxes, especially for controversial areas of the American life. Obvious problem areas can be for publicly funded abortions and similar subjects. It is always a question of what the majority of people feel is their responsibility to fund for the general betterment of the country.

Another one of those subjects is universal health care. People might more readily agree to it if it didn’t affect their taxes by an increase that hurts the common worker. So, we will call it something other than a tax. President Obama supports such a way to present it to the people. Here is what he has to say about it.

"For us to say you have to take responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase," Obama said in response to persistent questioning, later adding: "Nobody considers that a tax increase." CNN Sun September 20, 2009

You remember that famous saying attributed to our 16th president Abraham Lincoln, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”? Maybe Mr. Obama should heed it and one other of our founding fathers. Here is the truth about what our founders thought of taxes.

“In a general sense, all contributions imposed by the government upon individuals for the service of the state, are called taxes, by whatever name they may be known, whether by the name of tribute, tythe, tallage, impost, duty, gabel, custom, subsidy, aid, supply, excise, or other name.” Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

Call it whatever you want, it is a TAX.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The People Spoke, Not the GOP

"Strive to be the greatest man in your country, and you may be disappointed. Strive to be the best and you may succeed: he may well win the race that runs by himself. "
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1747

I find my Kindle so handy. Reading Politico this morning before I went to work, I read so many stories about the GOP excitement of Scott Brown’s senate win, it makes me think the party may not understand what has really happened. Scott Brown for President in 2012?? Give me a break! The people spoke in Massachusetts, not the GOP. The Republicans better take a long hard look at WHY and by WHOM Scott was seated.

A majority of people have been dissatisfied with the direction the government has been going. But it is not the Republicans who should be shouting this, as you might believe if you do a cursory review of the news. Remember, it was the way the GOP was running things that gave Barack Obama his great opportunity to become president. No, the people have rejected both parties now within a year and a half.

Just so you know, I’m a register Republican and don’t plan on changing anytime soon, but this excitment around the the Massachusetts senate race has nothing really to do with if one is a Democrat or a Republican. It is deeper than that and both parties will miss it if they don’t pay attention. It was the Independents that changed the race, not the “red” or “blue” team. They both have it wrong at the moment. The average American has finally come out his stupor and decided to tell them so. Who are they? I’m sure many people have their description, but maybe the media ought to pay a little more attention to grass roots movement, like the Tea Party goers. You know - the people - not the parties. And if a political party wants to serve the people, maybe they should pay attention too.