Tag Archives: democracy

Russell’s Rules vs. Today’s Government Rule

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

This week, on Openculture.com, I stumbled onto a reference of a Bertrand Russell column from 1951. In the New York Times Magazine article, Russell shared his “10 Commandments for a Healthy Democracy”. Now, dismissing for a moment whether he was a classical liberal, a neo-liberal, an English liberal, or American liberal, I would like to allow the commandments to stand on their own.

I propose to take Russell’s rules, and use them to give a simple zero to two grading scale for each of the majorities in the houses of Congress, and for the President and his administration. Along with the grades, I will also list the most significant reasons for assigning the grades that I have. At the end, I will tally the scores, and reveal who has been the most misguided, and most ignorant when it came to Russell’s advice. So, here is Russell’s commandments vs. the United States government’s behavior:

1. “Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

Senate Dems: Senate Democrats were positive that Obamacare was a brilliant idea, and Democrats’ self assuredness led them to believe that the benefits Americans received would help them overlook the massive costs. (0 points)
Obama: “The shovel-ready jobs weren’t so shovel-ready…” (0 points)
House GOP: Republicans were sure that the 2012 election would end in a Romney win, and then, with their increased majority in the House, they could begin repealing Obamacare… (0 points)

2. “Do not think it worthwhile to produce belief by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

Senate Dems: 1450+ days without any budget, while they (Harry Reid especially) claim to hold solutions to the miserable economic conditions. (1 point)
Obama: Benghazi (-2 points)
House GOP: John Boehner claims constantly to hold the line, and be ready to tell the president and Reid that he will not budge. However, after closed-door meetings, he seems to sing a different tune. Just what magic happens behind those doors? (0 points)

3. “Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to do so.

Senate Dems: As Rand Paul held a 13-hour filibuster, in order to get definitive answers on the domestic drone program, Harry Reid sought to quash the filibuster. (0 points)
Obama: Obama was famously quoted, when referring to a great number of his fellow Americans in the Midwest as “get[ting]bitter and they cling to their guns or religion.” (o points)
House GOP: Speaker Boehner infamously warned fellow Republican Congressmen that he was paying close attention to their voting records, and that he will be “…watching all [their] votes.” (0 points)

4. “When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

Senate Dems: Harry Reid claims that the Senate needs legislation that has passed through the House so that they may vote on it in the Senate…While he uses his power as majority leader to table legislation that has passed the House. (0 points)
Obama: President Obama has expressed his want to work without Congress, and he has already signed 147 executive orders. (0 points)
House GOP: Paul Ryan has repeatedly offered a budget that has both cuts and overhauls Medicare, and balances in ten years – but it doesn’t seem able to receive consideration from Democrats. (1 point)

5. “Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

Senate Dems: In the Senate, rumblings have been heard to force changes for filibusters, and  again, I mention Harry Reid’s attempt to override the recent Rand Paul filibuster. (2 points)
Obama: Obama’s czars and heavily regulating EPA, not to mention his non-recess appointments of NLRB officials, reveal his penchant for thumbing his nose at authority and rule. (2 points)
House GOP: John Boehner famously responded to a Harry Reid jab, wherein Reid intimated Boehner was acting like a dictator – “Go f**k yourself.” (2 points)

6. “Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

Senate Dems: Harry Reid’s unwillingness to even allow any up-or-down votes on legislation from the House is within his powers as majority leader (setting the calendar for discussing legislation). (0 points)
Obama: Criticized for purposely avoiding certain media networks, and giving more interviews with networks seen as friendly to his agenda, Obama has used power and access to control many narratives. (1 point)
House GOP: John Boehner’s December removal of Tea Party caucus members from committees, after their election to Congress specifically to usher in a different, more responsible way of spending, really seemed to dismiss the voters’ wishes. (1 point)

7. “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

Senate Dems: Senator Diane Feinstein takes the cake here, with her hugely over reaching plan to seize and ban this, that, and the other gun, even as such plans fly directly against the 2nd Amendment. (2 points)
Obama: Joe Biden, famously explaining that the way to get out of debt, was simply to increase spending. (2 points)
House GOP: With his last, and arguably most successful presidential bid, Representative Ron Paul has pushed many ideas to the forefront of American political thought. From illustrating the dangers of fiat currency, to the arbitrary nature of Federal Reserve policy, even though he has retired from the House, he will continue to tour college campuses, and share his ideals. (1 point)

8. “Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

Senate Dems: Perhaps finally realizing how yet another tax may hinder the economy, in December, 2012, 18 Senators and Senators-elect petitioned Harry Reid for a moratorium on the Obamacare tax on medical devices, the repeal of which, had previously been decried as a Republican concern. (2 points)
Obama: As the president has yet to offer any really intelligent dissent to, or passive agreement with much of anything, he receives no points. (incomplete)
House GOP: While there has been much rhetoric bandied about regarding Obamacare, much of which has been intelligent dissent, it has also been coupled with criticisms describing exactly why the healthcare overhaul will cause more pain than benefit. (1 point)

9. “Be scrupulously truthful, even when the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

Senate Dems: Harry Reid had a very credible (but never named) source that said Mitt Romney has not paid taxes in ten years. (0 points)
Obama: The president has shared varying reasons for the Benghazi attack, and the explanation has been hazy on why military backup was never sent to the compound to rescue the Americans who were under siege. Over 30 witnesses are now being kept quiet and cannot share their experiences during the Benghazi attacks. (0 points)
House GOP: House Republicans said they had enough debt ceiling compromises. The time for dealing was over. Boehner et al. had drawn their line in the sand. Then…the debt ceiling was raised. Again. (0 points)

10. “Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

Senate Dems: The Senate seems to have little ethical or moral dilemma when it comes to raising taxes on the 1%, or any other income brackets. Without consideration, taking more from those who have more just makes sense. (0 points)
Obama: Obama has frequently compared himself to Abraham Lincoln – despite Lincoln’s presidency spanning with one of the darkest times in American history. Obama seems to relate more to the Lincoln legend than the actual Lincoln presidency. (1 point)
House GOP: The House leadership at times seems befuddled with the left’s ability to command so much of the media, and they definitely seem envious of media’s power to create and direct narratives, neglecting to consider the ability that the media still holds to also destroy at their whim. (0 points)

So, using the arbitrary scoring system, and examples that I have chosen, the final tally is as follows. Out of a possible total of 20 points:
Senate Dems: 7
Obama & his administration: 4
House GOP: 6
Despite their best efforts to score at a “healthy democracy’s” level, all three show themselves to be quite anemic. It is interesting to note that without the president being penalized for the ongoing Benghazi scandal and cover-up, he would be tied with the House GOP. They all appear unable to follow Russell’s guidelines, and, in what should come as a shock to no one, they look ineffectual and like failures.

So, readers – what do you think? What examples, scandals, and failings would you use to illustrate how the government has neglected to follow Russell’s commandments? More importantly – how would you score them? I am looking forward to some interesting and impassioned responses.

The US Needs to Learn About Fighting Terrorism From Norway

Sure, that probably sounds insane. How in the world could Norway know anything about fighting terrorism, right?

Maybe not. With the recent shooting in Colorado, there has been some mention of the terrorist in Norway that rocked that nation about a year ago. Unlike the U.S., Norway did not pass sweeping legislation, and radically increase security. Their solution was increased transparency and democracy.

While I am not in the least bit interested in, or impressed with the “love in”, warm and fuzzy attitude of Norway’s leaders, I am intrigued with the concept of the full-frontal assault on terrorism without raising a weapon. They recognized something that we didn’t, at least not immediately, after 9/11. Maybe Norway wouldn’t have taken the route they did if it wasn’t for our losses, but I digress.

Beverly & Pack (CC)


Instead of acting on fear, Norway chose to stick to its principles, and refuse to give in to that base emotion. And that is, from a psychological point of view, arguably the best response to a terrorist attack. Acts of terror are perpetrated to instill fear. If the target doesn’t respond in a fearful manner, the terrorist does not truly succeed, regardless of what physical damage was caused.

Al Qaeda’s real victory over the U.S. wasn’t on the day of the attacks. It was when our Congress passed the Patriot Act, and when we stopped living our lives the way we had before 9/11. We lost part of our identity as a nation because of that, and we may never be able to retrieve that. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from Norway now.

There have been many complaints and investigations over the past several months about the incompetency and overreaching of the TSA, for example. Is the screening that we subject ourselves to really necessary? I know there are plenty out there that would argue that it is. But there are those on the other side that say the screenings really do not do much to protect us.

While I’m not saying that the U.S. could ever approach terrorism exactly the way Norway has, I do think that we need to examine the psychology behind their choices. We need to re-examine our priorities when it comes to national security, and terrorism. With an administration that hasn’t been very good at plugging intelligence leaks, ironically enough we are presented with a unique opportunity. We can look at least a few of our choices when it comes to “making America safe from terrorism”, and weigh their real value. Are they really worth surrendering certain freedoms? Or would dispensing with those measures be the better choice?

The big question for us is the same one Norway faced. Is just feeling safer worth surrendering even an ounce of freedom as we have for past decade? Are we really any safer, and is our “increased security” hurting us more than it is helping us? This is not about threat assessment. That is another issue. This is about weighing our current (false?) sense of security versus giving terrorists the satisfaction that they have made us change our way of life because of them. Is walking through airport security barefoot worth it anymore? Are the intrusive groping sessions making us safer, or just disgusted and humiliated? Are we daily giving terrorists their jollies by jumping through insane hoops? And, perhaps even more important than all of that, are we surrendering too many personal liberties, and too much privacy to allow the government to investigate “potential terror threats”? Norway has shown it is possible to move on after suffering a terrorist attack without surrendering freedoms. If they can do it, why can’t we?

The Perils of Democracy

In America, it is nearly a ubiquitous truism that ours is a democratic nation. In popular imagination, all virtues spring forth from the fountainhead of democracy, and all vices consist of its aristocratic or reactionary opposition. Yet we were blessed with the founders’ vision to anticipate the instability and capriciousness of mob-majority rule, and our Constitution was imbued with individual rights, sanctioned by no less than the Almighty itself.

The terms democracy, freedom, and liberty are retained in our popular vernacular without meaningful engagement of the historical circumstances that gave rise to them in the culture. The intellectual doctrines of the progenitors of these terms, Locke, Paine, Madison, and Jefferson, among others, are obliterated in the people’s education, while their persons are held aloft as exemplary and heroic. Even as their names are occasionally invoked for the expediency of politicians, these great thinkers’ innovations and exhortations have tended to become progressively inaccessible to most citizens.

Over time, such conceptual errors as the conflation of majoritarian fiat and individual liberty, surely propagated by the enemies of freedom, prove fatal. We are at pains to point out that the American revolution, which was not simply a revolt against the tax-slavery of Britain, but rather an unprecedented revolution of philosophical bearings away from collectivist tyranny, turned out as it did almost precisely because it was not the French Revolution. In France, democratic fervor soaked the decrepit land in blood, providing fertile soil for the regrowth of an authoritarian form of governance. Sprung forth from the chaotic masses was the spirit of nationalism, which renounced the emancipatory powers of self-rule, and instead crowned an emperor.

Thus, in revolutionary France, unbridled passion led the unthinking mob to dethrone a monarchical despot, only to cede all power to a nationalistic dictator. At least the monarchy had the wisdom of studied self-preservation on its side; the new regime, self-confident and poised to sweep up the continent, embarked on a heady crusade to remake the ancien regimes of Europe in its own image.

The impending disaster of the Napoleonic Wars foreshadows the experience of twentieth century Germany, whose National Socialist movement was nearly as romantic and just as collectivist; but the latter departed from the French by implementing “scientific” methods of manipulating and controlling society. We are loathe to point out that the great dictator was democratically elected. The formula strikes the modern-day American as hauntingly familiar.

From the great upheavals of the modern era, we may trace a thin pencil line back to the Fourth Crusades, whose impulsive sacking of Constantinople removed a Christian bastion stemming the rising tide of the Musselman. Therefrom we may leap back to the doomed Sicilian expedition of the Athenians, a hasty gambit that was pitched to the war-weary citizens by demagogues in the language of greed and glory. The dispassionate historian Thucydides displays the Athenian ploy’s divergence from reality as a retreat into sheer hubris.

The common theme of these historical events is that there is no “wisdom of the people,” as a populist politician of late would have us believe. The desire to promote “the common good,” as the current opposition party has enshrined in its latest pledge to the American people, is as vacuous and venal as the politicians themselves choose it to be, and is merely an homage to the democratic status quo.

With each passing generation, we depart from the exceptionalism that is the hallmark of the American tradition, the individual and his capability of transforming the world through humility, hard work, and rational self-interest. America’s reverence for the individual is what made it a shining beacon to the world, driving millions to come to this nation’s shores. Today, the individual is culturally and politically absent, brushed away from the history books, and disappearing into competing democratic mobs.

As Alexis de Tocqueville put it in his prescient introduction to Democracy in America:

The poor man retains the prejudices of his forefathers without their faith, and their ignorance without their virtues; he has adopted the doctrine of self-interest as the rule of his actions without understanding the science that puts it to use; and his selfishness is no less blind than was formerly his devotion to others.

Self-interest devoid of rationality is anathema to civil society; and it is no surprise that the deposed oligarchs of the ancien regime would eventually seek vengeance upon the wayward children of the European and American revolutions by retaining the politically useful aspects of their historical movements, while stripping them of their redeeming cores.

In Europe, the supposedly ineluctable drive for equality gave way to uncritical reception of the primitive ideology of socialism. The irony of socialism is that it does not lead to the promised utopia of perfect equality, but rather to a state of severe impoverishment of the preponderance of the people, led by the naturally self-interested oligarchs who impose a socially ossified system.

The genius of the American revolution is that its core tenet of liberty nurtures men who learn to rule themselves. A hardy, self-directed people, innocently propelled to meet their own needs, provides the general equality conducive to what Aristotle considered the best society, the one directed by a vibrant middle class.

America’s impending reversal from individual rights and resultant self-reliance to a political system of paternalism and patronage will foist conditions on the nation that will appear in many respects like pre-revolutionary France. The hard left has deliberately fostered revolutionary conditions in this nation and has sought to implement social upheaval that will engulf the American people and lead to the return of the state. The imagined revolution will feature the reaction of the increasingly mislabeled “conservatives,” who now find themselves in the awkward position of radicals, strangers in a strange land.

Should the dreaded hour arrive when we are forced to choose, when our nation reaches some unforeseen but steadily approaching breaking point, will we choose the “democratic” revolution of France or the individualist revolution of our forefathers? Our country’s clamoring for “democracy” will presage socialism, the chosen model of the beneficiaries of the welfare state, as well as the preferred ideology of elites who seek to return man to a neofeudal order animated by the secularized religion of altruism. If we persist in our ignorance of the perils of democracy, we will undoubtedly choose in error, and become prey to the hubris that precedes all calamitous falls.

Big Government Incompetence: Pew Study Shows U.S. Voter Registries Totally Corrupt

A recent Pew Study  shows the U.S. voting registry to be a massive failure, including the following facts:

There are currently nearly 2 million dead people on active voter registries across America.

1 in 8 voter registrations is invalid or contains major inaccuracies, according to the study.

Almost 3 million Americans are currently registered to vote in multiple states.

The U.S spends over 12 times as much to maintain voter lists as does Canada.

Pew’s research suggests that elections authorities need to take a proactive approach to rooting out errors and keeping lists current, rather than relying on voters to correct errors and make changes to their registration. So what are Americans paying the government all that money for?

There is a very simple solution to this problem, and it is called Voter ID. Contrary to what some Democrats say about how there is no vote fraud in America, The Faces of Vote Fraud slide-show tells us a different story. Requiring Voter ID when voting makes it very difficult for dead people to vote, among other things. Protecting our electoral system from vote fraud is needed to retain our true form of Democracy in America. All states should pass Voter ID laws and enforce them vigorously in the 2012 elections. Every fraudulent vote cast makes one honest person’s vote not count for anything. Demand Voter ID America.

 

About That Democracy Plan in Egypt

Two U.S. political activists groups pushing for what is largely an undefined “democracy” in Egypt under the guise of  human rights/ election monitoring [U.S. Government funded]  programs have been told they will not be allowed to leave Egypt recently. The two groups involved are the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute.  (NDI) Their mission statements are as follows:

IRI –  A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law.

NDI – A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

According to this IRI retread of a New York Times news report, “In addition to Mr. LaHood, four other employees from the Republican Institute, including two Americans, had been barred from travel. Officials of the National Democratic Institute said that six of its employees had been banned, including three Americans.” That would be current Obama appointee and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s son Sam, they are referring to in that paragraph,as he is listed as the current Director of the IRI.

As is always the case when Americans are detained abroad for what has been termed “politically charged” criminal investigations, the devil is always in the details. For instance, this problem didn’t just pop up on Thursday when Sam LaHood and company were detained. As a matter of fact President Obama actually called Egyptian Field Marshall Tantawi on Wednesday, the day before the people were detained. In that call he told the Field Marshall that this year’s American military aid hinged on satisfying new Congressional legislation requiring that Egypt’s military government take tangible steps toward democracy, said three people briefed on the conversation. So apparently, there were concerns prior to this week that there were investigations into possibly illegal political activities in Egypt.

Considering that last spring the Egyptian government had initiated a formal criminal investigation into  foreign financing of non-profit groups operating in Egypt during the now infamous Arab Spring, it seems ludicrous to suggest that the U.S. State dept. and the Obama administration did not see all of this coming. Then again, just this past December, heavily armed Egyptian police officers raided several of these “rights groups” offices included four that were funded by the U.S. Government. Of course the U.S. Gov’t. denounced these raids as attempts to block the human rights and democracy building groups from their stated missions of helping the people of Egypt to install a new government through a fair democratic voting process.

The question here is whether or not the United States government has the right to interfere with the formation of a new government and the creation of a new constitution. Americans were told that Egypt is free from the tyrannical dictator now, and the people can install the government of their choice through free and fair elections. So why is the U.S. still over there trying to manipulate and control the formation of the new government? This is why the U.S is hated in that part of the world. This is also why other countries are now here in America demanding that their religions and laws be obeyed here. Sharia law is now being injected into the American judicial system in many states, causing them to draft legislation that specifically outlaws Sharia law defenses in their states. We have no business influencing the political system of Egypt or any other country through political activist groups that are funded by our very own government. The U.N. is supposed to help ensure fair elections in countries where the government has been toppled like in Egypt. It is one thing to try to help to ensure fair elections, yet it is a whole new ballgame when we are caught trying to push for Western-style democracy  in a country rooted in 7th century Islamic ideology. The detention of these political activists in Egypt is a stiff warning to the American government. Stay out of  Egypt’s business .

 

 

Why We Should Vote

While some countries do not allow their citizens to vote, Americans are fortunate enough to have that right protected by their founding documents. Unfortunately, there are many who take that right for granted which may some day cost us that freedom.

The United States of America is a constitutional republic (and a democracy to a certain extent). The word democracy comes from the two Greek words demos and kratos. “Demos” means people, and “kratos” means power or authority. In a constitutional republic (and democracy), the government’s power comes from its people. Pure democracy is the rule of the people. If there were only a few people in our local, state, or national communities it would be possible for all of them to meet in one place and personally make their own laws. Since our country, states, and most of our local communities are too large for this, we select individuals to represent us in making laws for the good of the people. This means that the vote of each individual citizen determines who is elected, but it wasn’t always this way.

Democracy and Republic are two forms of government, which are distinguished by their treatment of the minority, and the individual, by the majority. In a Democracy, the majority has unlimited power over the minority. This system of government does not provide a legal safeguard of the rights of the Individual and the minority. It has been referred to as “Majority over Man”. In a Republic, the majority is limited and constrained by a written Constitution which protects the rights of the individual and the minority. The purpose of a Republic form of government is to control the majority and to protect the God-given, inalienable rights and liberty of the individual.

When our country was first colonized, the English settlers that came to the U.S. brought the idea of a constitutional republic (and democracy) with them. All the colonies had some kind of elections, but only the colonists who owned property were permitted to vote. This pretty much limited the voters to being white, male landowners. In 1870, the fifteenth amendment stated that citizens cannot be kept from voting because of race or color. The nineteenth amendment gave women citizens the right to vote, in 1920. Voting is a hard earned important right that should not be taken for granted.

Some people ask themselves if they have to vote. People do not have to vote if they do not want to, but they should vote.

One of the first responsibilities of citizens in constitutional republics (and democracies) is to be an informed voter.  Informed, intelligent voters are necessary to a strong democratic government. If citizens are poorly informed or indifferent, it increases the risk of having a poorly-run, inefficient government. Voters should check out the different candidates and issues on the ballot.  In this nation, we take great pride in our freedom of speech and of the press. Voters can read newspapers, magazines, and books to learn more about the candidates. They should also watch the news, listen to the radio, or check the Internet. It is very important for the voter to use critical thinking to evaluate this information. Have all the sides of an issue been presented or only the facts which support a certain view? Have candidates’ quotes been taken out of context? Some TV programs reflect the view of their sponsors. Even the newscasts are slanted towards republican or democrat thinking. Magazine articles often reflect the views of their advertisers. Voters need to take this into consideration. Decisions should not be based on prejudice or emotions. Don’t accept other people’s opinions; make up your own mind.

There are some people who ask the question, why should I vote anyway? I’m only one person, my vote doesn’t make a difference; but if they do not vote and the candidate that they wanted to win loses, then the only people that they should blame is themselves. If they had voted, the candidate that they wanted to win might have won the election. Sometimes the winner of an election is decided by just a few votes. In fact some important decisions in our nation’s history have been decided by just one vote.  California was admitted as a state by just one vote in 1850. In 1868 President Andrew Johnson was acquitted of impeachment charges by just one vote. Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president by one electoral vote in 1876.

Every republic (and democracy) is a reflection of the citizens being governed. Each citizen can contribute to good government by voting. It is part of a citizen’s responsibility in a constitutional republic (and democracy). Participating in free elections is one of the traditional rights of the American people. Your vote is important.  Vote!

Ninety-Nine Percent in America? REALLY??!!

…..speaking of morons…

I am conflicted every time I see coverage of these Occupy schlubs. On one hand, like anyone who has actually earned a paycheck, I would like to see most of the them told that they are too old for the sandbox – time to go get a job. On the other hand, I jump for joy over the fact that these morons have no clue that they have royally over-stayed their welcome; and that even their most staunch supports’ patience is wearing thin.

But as a person with the heart of a teacher, I really want them to grip how silly their premise is…. Actually, I just don’t want anyone else drinking that kool-aid.

“How can the 1% REALLY lord it over the other 99% in a democratic republic?”

SHORT VERSION: They can’t. Thanks for playing, have a safe trip back home (to your parent’s basement)

LONG VERSION: Listening to your Bolshevik teachers (who, by the way, said in their youth, “never trust anyone over 30″…. and now they are your professors) you would think that the evil capitalists have been holding down the hoi-polloi since those white dudes in wigs forced out the peace loving British who only want to spread the wealth around (back to England of course). And it got worse from there! As the centuries past, the unwashed masses grunted along to the tune of “Look Down” from Les Miserables, being forced by those mean Republicans to accept slavery, Jim Crow Laws, Poll taxes, grandfather clauses…. oh wait…. that’s right, it WASN’T the Republican that did that. Wanna take a guess at which party that was?

Generation after generation, the 99% stood there and took it, until finally (cue the Halleluiah Chorus) kids barely out of diapers came running down to Zuccotti Park, dragging their massive craniums behind them to solve the unsolvable, cure the incurable, to DREAM… the IM-POSS-I-BLE….. you get the picture.

They, inspired by their “fundamentally transform American President” (erk… had to fight off some GERD there), have solved society’s problems by occupying a private park, taking dumps on cop cars, practically driving the MIDDLE CLASS vendors in the area out of business (fat cats order in during an occupation, check the manual) and of course, changed western civilization as we know it by coming up with call and response phrases like, “this is what democracy looks like!” – which with the cerebral skill of a parrot, the rest of the crowd repeats… over and over and over and over…

Ya know what? That IS what democracy looks like! Tell ya what, I’ll get back to that in a minute.

SO…. if this has always been the condition of America, then why hasn’t it been fixed?! HMMMM?!!! If it really has been 99% versus 1%…… in a representative republic – then why are we just NOW getting to the problem? Why wasn’t it fixed 100 years ago when Mr. Smith really could go to Washington? How about 435 Mr. Smith’s in the house…. or I suppose if the OWS stats are correct, it would be 430-5? Well?? And the Senate? Hey, back then I bet you could have pulled 100% given that Senators were elected by state legislatures, who I am just sure were made up of purely 99%ers.. Right??

During the Great Depression? FD who? Who needs a President when you’ve got 430-5 and 99-1, right?!! I am sure you could’ve had some wealth spreadage back then? WELL????

Want to know why??.. Uh oh, here it comes….

BECAUSE IT ISN’T 99% VS 1% IN THIS COUNTRY!!! Nine out of every 10 of the 1% in America (statistically is families and businesses making $350,000 or more per year) are FIRST GENERATION RICH! Meaning that they started somewhere other than Richville. AND most of the so-called rich (tell someone living in downtown Manhattan and ONLY making 350k per year they are rich) from 30 years ago have cycled OUT of Richville and have been replaced by new 1%ers. In other words, there is no LOCK on wealth in this country other that the fact that it takes a huge amount of blood, sweat, tears and TIME!! The ‘microwave generation’ (I want it now, now, now!!) doesn’t grip that.

Oh, and getting back to what democracy looks like? Yep, that what it looks like alright – a mob that shares space, food, braincells, joints and other things I can’t mention. It is exactly the reason why our framers did NOT give us a democracy, but a republic. If the “take up oxygen” crown would have gripped that back in civics class, they probably wouldn’t be fertilizing Zuccotti Park the way they have been doing. Then again, if they would have paid attention in econ class, they would be working on getting to the other side of the glass on Wall Street.

What it Means to Me to Be an American

I found an old paper my father wrote a long time ago – May 1955 to be exact.

I knew my father had strong feelings about our country later on in life, but I didn’t really know much about it early on.

I am going to share it with all of you – remember this was originally written in 1955 but it still has a tremendous meaning even today.

 

     Being an American means Democracy. Democracy is a government of the people, by the people, for the people, as Lincoln defined it in his famous Gettysburg Address. But it is more than that. It is a way of thinking, and a way of living. It is the foundation on which our civilization is built, and on which it must continue to rest. It is an American ideal, resulting from inheritance and environment.

    Our forefathers made great sacrifices to lay the foundations for our government, which each generation has helped to build.  This government is based upon the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity, and cooperation.  These ideals represent the American way of life – the democratic way.

    Democracy recognizes the importance of the people through representative government.  It safeguards and protects them by its laws.  It provides them the opportunity to attain whatever success they desire. It offers the condition for a higher standard of living than any other country. More than anything else it stands for freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

    These principles of democracy have made our people happier, more progressive, more creative, and more energetic than any other people.  A democracy gives us all these advantages and privileges but it also places upon us certain responsibilities.  If we are worthy to accept the democratic way of life we must be willing to assume our duty, and help keep it democratic.  We young Americans hold the fate of the coming years in our hands. We must work out the future of our country.  First of all, we must learn to fully appreciate the many privileges which are ours.

    What does democracy mean to me?

Next to the gift of life, it is the greatest of all gifts.

© 1955 Tom Cox

Some points in this piece I don’t agree with completely, maybe it is the strong Conservative and Christian  beliefs I have. But whatever it may be I am still glad for now that we have our freedoms to say and do as we wish. I hope you enjoyed this small piece as much as I did.

It is funny how 56 years has gone passed and the meaning is still the same.

America's New Rulers

As we approach another Independence Day, I reflect on what has made this nation great and fret over the actions being taken that threaten its greatness.  What cold irony it is that we celebrate our independence from one tyrannical ruler only to find ourselves struggling against an entire collection of them.

The threat is not from radical Islamic terrorists, small groups of  home-grown radicals or the hyperbole espoused by pundits from both ends of the political spectrum.  It is from those we chose to put in power – our elected officials.

Once power is gained, it is not easily relinquished.  The simple human desire for self-preservation makes it a most-difficult task to voluntarily weaken one’s own position.  It takes an extraordinary person to unselfishly accept loss of power – I would submit that few if not zero of those exist in power today.  What that creates is a new aristocracy.  Not one of inherited title, but of entitlement none-the-less. Tocqueville pondered the value of Democracy over Aristocracy, we are allowing the worse to replace the better.

How do they make their death-grip on power palatable to a large-enough portion of the American voting population?  They condemn that which dilutes their power – freedom.  They don’t directly attack individual freedoms, they use shame to get enough of the citizenry to give it away on their own.

Achievement is ego, success is greed, self-reliance is selfishness.  How many times have we heard it?  Selfish CEOs, greedy bankers, assaults on State and individual rights – all to diminish that which made this nation great.

Those of us that produce are selfish.  We work hard to keep what we have earned and to have the right to assist those that deserve the help – which is certainly different than those that might demonstrate need.  A person can be needy of a thing yet not be deserve it.

Why is it immoral to produce something of value and keep it for yourself, when it is moral for others who haven’t earned it to accept it? If it’s virtuous to give, isn’t it then selfish to take? – John Galt, Atlas Shrugged

This denouncing of those who produce, create wealth, and succeed serves only to take power from individuals and concentrate it in the government.  Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “Once works of the intellect had become sources of force and wealth, each development of science, each new piece of knowledge, each new idea had to be considered as a seed of power put within reach of the people.”  He understood that a man’s success took power from central authority and gave it to the people.  Our leaders understand this relationship and are working to reverse the flow of power by making the desire for success and reward .. evil.

The self-doubt this creates among the producers in the economy is dangerous.  At what point will those that create wealth quit doing so because they do not wish to create wealth for someone that chooses to produce nothing?  From another perspective, if the government takes from the producers and gives to non-producers, how long before all benevolence is performed through government programs?  In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt weighs these questions (emphasis mine):

You know that you can’t give away everything and starve yourself. You’ve forced yourselves to live with undeserved, irrational guilt. Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it’s your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn’t built by men who sought handouts.

This country was built by men who sought to earn, produce, trade.  They asked for and expected nothing that they did not work for.  This morality  is one that is being shamed, pushed into the shadows, broken.

Power must be re-distributed, wealth must not.  This Independence Day let us celebrate those still willing to be productive and take the power back from the new aristocracy in America.