Diary

WISDOM OF OUR PAST

WISDOM THAT FORTIFIED OUR COMMON HERITAGE.

I am 50 years old born in the the United States of America . I have not been too confident in our country’s direction for quite a while. It could be rationalized that every prior group can become disillusioned about their country due to generational differences. I am sure these differences existed between the generation that witnessed the constitutional convention and the one that grew up with Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Even though these differences exist we should not turn away from the knowledge we can gain from history.

Below is a comment used frequently to crystallize revolutionary thought in colonial America . The statement is by one of Cromwell’s prior solders found guilty of a plot to assassinate Charles II of England . His statement comes as he is about to be drawn and quartered still defiant as to the injustice of monarchical power.

Richard Rumbold.”I may say this is a deluded generation, veiled with ignorance, that though popery and slavery be riding in upon them, do not perceive it; though I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another, for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.”

I believe the fundamental problem is that we as a people have allowed the federal government to become too powerful thereby overly intrusive in our lives. Government has become the problem, a major cause of anxiety within our republic. It is this constant nonsense from Washington (which goes unchallenged by the media) that aids this distress and fear on a daily basis and people are agonizing over it.

“The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles.”
VIII, ch. I Charles de Montesquieu.

A new perception seems to be taking hold in the country. We no longer have a rational government that holds the best interest of the United States at heart. The last two administrations that controlled the White House for sixteen years assisted in the establishment of laws that have notably continued this intrusiveness. Through the use of federal dollars Washington exerts greater control over local communities. Some of these dictates are born in bureaucratic departments without legislative scrutiny. The congress has never been further from its constituency or more deaf to the needs as to the greater good of these communities. The use of televised and printed (emergency) politics has reached a new level where hast to enact sweeping restrictive laws takes precedent without discussion or debate. The speed in which these laws are being passed reeks with the fear of detection as if the merit of the legislation itself is deceitful.

What type of personality craves the office of a politician in present day Washington ? Our first president walked away from the aphrodisiac of power two hundred and twelve years ago. It was said that King George III commented that if Washington left the seat of power “he would be the greatest man in the world”. The office of the presidency has been usurped granting narrow favors to the very people that finance their campaign? The key word being narrow. Hell even there own kids are becoming lobbyist or running for office consolidating generational influence.

When you surrender to the collective thought of the party you loose your ability to be effective in your job. Instead of your unique insight you begin to make decision based on party loyalty. There was a young congressman today bellowing that “he would rather have the government decide his health care options than an insurance company driven by a profit motive “. Let’s look to the one thing congress has been in charge of for many years (federal spending) the result is out of control deficits. At least the private sector (staying private) cannot bankrupt the total population of the country. The opinion polls echo the belief that congress no longer represents the will of the people or the greater good of the country. I am sure there are enlightened legislators in office and coming up, nevertheless my problem lies with the structure that promotes this environment.

“But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go.”
XI, ch. 4 Charles de Montesquieu.

Through out history a large centralized government has never worked. Yet each new generation of politicians advance the same agenda with a new label to validate their lives. Then we as a country have to untangle the mess decades later (Fannie May, Freddie Mac).

John Witherspoon .
“The only reward that a state can be supposed to bestow upon good subjects in general is protection and defense”.

I would argue that we as Americans should reverse this latest political path and limit the size and intrusiveness of our government. We should return to a path that magnifies common sense not invalidates it. Restricting the reach of the federal government would decrease the narrow calculating influences that shape the national legislative agenda.
The American people could again trust their leaders and not be ashamed by their lack of diligence with regard to the American legacy. It is exactly that legacy the world looks to and fights for as the definition of freedom. ( Honduras , Iran ).

Frederic Bastiat.”The state is the great fiction by which everybody tries to live at the expense of everybody else. The doctrine that places the moving force of Society in the legislators and Government results in imposing crushing responsibilities on them in matters where they ought to have none. If there is suffering, the fault is the Government’s; if there is poverty, the fault is the Government’s – Is it not the general and sole motor of society? If the motor is not good, it must be discarded and replaced by another.”

Without even a facade of common sense the federal government risks anarchy. Legislative actions seem beset by irrationality. Even though people are very disturbed at the path both the legislative and executive branches have taken us down (look at congressional poll numbers) the rule of law must be maintained at all cost. That does not mean (government) uses the contrivance of (emergency powers) to suppress assembly. These tactics are usually invoked by cowards and are easily evident to the public as the last act of a fearful entrenched government. In America we change the law. We are not prone to chaos.

The following statement seems to spell out the intent of the founding fathers.

Samuel Seabury 1774 ” Government was intended for the security of those who live under it- to protect the weak against the strong- the good against the bad- to preserve order and decency among men, preventing everyone from injuring his neighbor. Every person, then, owes obedience to the laws of the government under which he lives, and is obliged on honor and duty to support them. Because if one has a right to disregard the laws of the society to which he belongs, all have the same right ; and then government is at an end.”
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The founding fathers being well versed both in Latin and history, created a form of government that held individual rights superior to that of the state. This was the first republic in history to anchor the hierarchy of such natural rights.

Let’s look at three thousand years of acquired thought, culminating in the birth of the United States of America . Incidentally, Latin was the popular language taught in the early American educational system. You were expected you to know the English language when you entered school which was taught at home.

A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”– Barry Goldwater

“Government is not reason, nor eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”– George Washington”

Which condition would require more force, large or limited government? I can understand force to right a current injustice such as slavery in early America . When laws are not uniform to all the seeds of tyranny begin to grow. This statement on slavery does not condone a view by some that prior generational actions require the current generation to atone for such past conduct. The argument for reparations is nothing but outright theft.

When the government begins the task of regulating my life choices, I must begin to question the power and motive of that government. Every tax dollar I abdicate sending an individual to college through affirmative action binds my own ability (through force) to send my own child to school. Funds accumulated through private foundations or voluntary donations are acceptable because they are free from government coercion. By what right does the government ask me to sacrifice my child’s future for another?

Alexis de Tocqueville. “About this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the public should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the soul agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principle concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

The new government czars (33 as of last count) are needed to streamline mountains of red tape to accomplish the original function of the agency they control. I would argue that the appointment of so many czars is an acknowledgment as to the inefficiency of a fixed bureaucracy. If that is the case we should reduce the headcount of government employees. The other day it was reported that public service wages for the first time have surpassed that of the private sector.

The history of government involvement in industry is dubious at best.
Instead of a free market approach to energy our representatives divert the natural flow of capital creating more bureaucracy and an onerous tax ploy (The cap and trade bill). This type of legislation is exactly what gives rise to the distrust of government within the American psyche. It truly illuminates the assumption that the legislator is a slave to special interest groups. There is possible evidence that over reaching legislation may have been the impetus that caused much of this financial cataclysm (Fannie and Freddie Mac).

Here is the substance of the situation.
Large Government is not capable of respecting individual freedom. They are also not equipped to be efficient. Government has a just role in the defense of the nation and to uphold property rights through a court system that defends contract law. The function of Government is not to take control or back one group against another as in the Chrysler and GM bailout.

“It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.”– Robert H. Jackson

A brief historical comment on the national debt.

A pamphleteer named Brutus in the 18th century warned against a centralized government’s power to borrow money.” borrow money on the credit of the United States . The Congress may mortgage any or all of the revenues of the union and may borrow of foreign nations a principle sum, the interest of which will be equal to the annual revenues the country. By this means, they may create a national debt so large as to exceed the ability of the country ever to sink. I can scarcely contemplate a greater calamity that could befall this country than to be loaded with a debt exceeding their ability to discharge. If this be a just remark, it is unwise and improvident to vest in the general government a power to borrow at discretion, without any limitation or restriction.”

Distrust plagues the economy. The markets are vacillating partially due to the ineptitude of rules emanating from Washington . The federal government’s quest for control hampers the ability of knowledgeable people to move the economy forward. Individuals cannot plan when government has fostered an environment with autocratic laws and inconsistent rules. Large companies profit from this centralized approach. The CEO’s of Wal-mart and GE have both backed the latest junk science coming out of Washington (current Heath care and Energy bills). They run to government and back every centralized plan being introduced without the spine to exercise commonsense and put the country first. Thankfully, so far small business is the largest employer of workers in the country.

Capitalism demands innovation. Central planning has never brought society forward without an idea or seed planted by the individual. That seed can only take place in a free society (good or bad) and will be judged by history. The recent avalanche of top down legislation has already been discredited by history. The more they try to harness the individual the more they loose the conditions necessary to bring the creative intellect forward. The marriage between government and large corporations is rampant in Washington . I don’t regard this alliance as free enterprise capitalism. It seems to be a methodical alternate to obtain market share which is hostile to free competition.

You can actually sense the fear in Washington . They used to raise the sin taxes on cigarettes and alcohol a few cents to close a deficit. (Note the taxes never seem to go down after enacted). These sin taxes are no longer enough to satisfy the voracious spending by Washington . Now they need to go after the necessities of life by taxing energy through cap and trade and nationalizing health care.

Useless laws weaken the necessary laws. XXIX, ch. 16 Charles de Montesquieu

As the citizenry of the country we must take some blame if not all of it by looking to government for help. We are disavowing our birthright through either ignorance or apathy. Our founding fathers were aware of this tendency for some men to concentrate power. This historical backed recognition led to the Bill of Rights elevating the sovereignty of the individual above the state…

Thomas Jefferson
warned George Washington in 1791 if the federal government was allowed to overstep its bounds with regards to the States “to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition.” Keep government limited and close to home. That will maintain freedom.

The Preamble of the constitution states: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America,

As the debate began in America over the rational of the Constitution and its objective. Samuel Adams and others began to draft the argument “That the Constitution is fixed; it is from thence that the supreme legislative as well as the supreme executive derives his authority.”

John Zubly in his 1769 pamphlet, An Humble Enquiry. “The rule of law–the constitution–is superior to the Parliament”. He further declared that Parliament derives its authority and power from the constitution, and not the Constitution from Parliament.” The Constitution ” is permanent and ever the same,” and Parliament ” can no more make laws which are against the Constitution or the unalterable privileges of British subjects than it can alter the constitution itself the power of Parliament , and of every branch of it, has its bounds assigned by the constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson” free government is founded in jealousy not in confidence, it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power…our constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”

The fundamental basis of the constitution is to delineate the power of government. The constitution derives it’s authority by the very process that brought the document into existence (ratification by the states) through the consent of the people of the United States .

On Natural Rights. In 1766 John Dickinson argued that “Kings and Parliaments cannot give the rights essential to happiness.” “We claim them from a higher source from the king of kings, and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the degrees of Providence , which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice.”

The rights acknowledged in the Bill of Rights are accepted as (natural rights). These rights cannot be conferred by government to the people. They are not governments to give. We are born with these rights. The constitution recognizes these rights and we the people validate the constitution. The dictator that revokes these rights seals their own doom. They leave no other door open to free people except force. The use of the word rights is bantered around in the media. Here is a sample of original intent. This definition below was taken from a paper by Michael Kearney (The Purpose of the U.S. Constitution).

The Founders all knew that the Constitution neither gave nor guaranteed any “rights,” as Natural Rights cannot be given by any government, as no man or group of men has the power either to give or restrict the rights of others. In Thomas Jefferson’s words, our rights are “endowed to us by our Creator,” not any government. Neither can a government guarantee any of our “Natural Rights.” Liberty is always tenuous. It can be taken from us, at gunpoint, by either thugs or rogue government officials. Franklin knew this when he admonished the woman who tormented him with the question, “What kind of government is this that you give us,” replying, “A republic Madame, if you can keep it.”

The federal government exists to serve the states, not the other way around. The states have the right and the duty to restrain the federal government. The states hired the federal government and set forth the rules as to how it should operate. The Constitution is a list of those rules. It is the responsibility of the states to enforce the Constitution to manage the federal government.

“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.”– James Baldwin.

Even though free enterprise capitalism has never truly been tested. We have a system that allows competition among private enterprise. This practice has provided us with the highest standard of living in the world. As long as we maintain capitalism as the engine of economical growth we will be a free nation. When we follow people that believe in large governmental solutions accompanied by a welfare state mentality we begin surrender our freedom.

The shame of this new president was that he could have enhanced competency among Americans with the idea of individual responsibility. Instead he talks of responsibility but crafts a system that reward’s incompetence and advances America towards socialism.

Below are recommendations that may help congress restore some discipline.

1. A complete halt to new government hiring and spending on new programs.

2. In all aspects congress must live by the very laws they create. You are public servants.

James Madison wrote. “The house of representatives can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as the great mass of society. This (circumstance) has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interest, and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny”.

3. A restriction of all relatives or married partners benefiting in any law being enacted by members. This keeps the axiom of “In the countries best interest “vigilant.

4. Free and open (public airway sponsored) televised debates. So a progression of ideas can be examined and deliberated among the citizenry.

5. Everybody that works in the United States pays a flat tax. All will have a stake in the size and intrusiveness of government while cutting out congressional shenanigans through special tax laws.

6. All legislation in front of congress should be transparent and visible (not accessible two hours before the vote). Prohibit the use of non vetted attachments.

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice” Charles de Montesquieu

The left talk of fairness yet exercise the blunt force of government through quota’s and affirmative action legislation. It is the ability of the individual that steers ones career not the heavy hand of government. Color or ethnicity seems to be the litmus test for occupational advancement. By embracing this path you create a huge bureaucracy to enforce these restrictive laws. Even worse is the abrogation of optimism inflicted on the young through biased laws that cripple their hopes and dreams for the future.

Socialists employ force in order to get their agenda through. As opposed to legislation that increases freedoms which passes almost without debate or opposition. Acceptance is not difficult because it favors all. It is the narrow views of an influence peddler that requires hours of debate due to the narrow benefits it confers to one group over another. If a group thinks their goal of universal health care is noble, we must ask our self, at whose expense or whose rights does this noble goal violate?

There is a role of force by the government in insuring the rights of the individual such as property and life. As mentioned earlier slavery is a good illustration where governmental force was needed and enacted. The force halted the practice of one individual to control and interrupt the natural rights of another human being. That is the ethical purpose of government. Almost every other agenda from health care to global warming are political requiring force on the American people. These programs are not being instituted to protect individual rights they are an assault on individual rights.

Money confiscated through higher taxes will interfere with your individual dreams of sending your child to private school, a family vacation, a new car, a new home. Government control only diverts capital from its natural flow creating false markets. When the majority of our population is dependent on some remuneration or service by the government our freedom will be lost. You will never be able to restrict the size and intrusiveness of government until it implodes. It is at this point the dictator emerges to calm your fears and alleviate your burdens.

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”– Benjamin Franklin

William Penn.” Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them, and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments”.

The bottom line is history only shows one direction and that it is to reduce centralized governmental power not expand it. Inevitably concentrated authority is discredited and society returns to a more natural state where local influence is easily kept in check. I would dissuade the young would be bureaucrat from entering into a government career. The quest for power always leads to disappointment because it is never fully achieved. Look to the satisfaction of freeing mankind not controlling it. Instead use your mind to enhance exploration in science and physics and other disciplines that advance freedom. Throw off the bankrupt philosophy of the welfare state it will only confuse and enslave you.

So before these current legislators are thrown out of office in the next election. I would ask Congress to commit occupational suicide. Craft laws to limit your own power and that of future elected officials. Bring in to existence legislation that performs in the best interest of the Republic instead of your own. Enact laws that concentrate power at the local level where it is best checked. You may no longer have a job but you would make history. You could be proud of accomplishing something great. That you gave the country back to its rightful owners, the American people.

You see I am a free man. The current congress or white house may not understand a declarative statement such as that. Although it is the embodiment of that statement that impels mankind to stand erect, proud and confident of the future. The burden of proof rests with the administration to make the case why I should follow a large government, socialist agenda. So far as I have commented in the beginning, I have little confidence.

William Bradford