Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
by Harry Browne
December 25, 1966
(This article was originally published as a syndicated newspaper column, dedicated to his 9-year-old daughter.)
It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.
But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.
If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.
The truth is simply this:
No one owes you anything.
How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.
No one owes you anything.
It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.
When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.
It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.
When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.
No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.
No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.
Living your Life
No one owes you anything.
You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.
Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.
Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.
If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.
A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.
No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.
That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.
And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.
It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.
I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free: no one owes you anything.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
T'was the night before Christmas:
All year through the House
And the Senate you'd find
Not a smidgen of nous.
Were there a machine
That detected IQ,
One could run it a month,
Then return it as new.
Except for one person
Asleep in a corner,
A government watchman
Named Ermingard Horner,
Who woke up abruptly
And pointed her Glock
At a fat man who stood
By the grandfather clock.
Drop em!" she said.
He replied with a quake,
"Dear me! Do you want
"All the presents to break?"
As she patted him down,
She concluded, right quick,
The nocturnal intruder,
In fact, was Saint Nick
But inside his bag
Was no football, no ring,
Nor a toy nor a doll
Or new video thing,
Just pieces of paper
And pieces galore,
And they spilled from the sack
On his back to the floor
"What's this?" she demanded,
"Start telling me true!"
"Each," he confessed,
"Is a big I.O.U.
"For many a year
"Congress plundered the store;
"When they spent all they had,
"Then they borrowed some more."
"Till the lenders, exhausted,
"Collapsed in distress,
"Then the government cranked up
"Its vast printing press,
"Until every tree
"From Nome to Miami
"Was cut to print money
"For your Uncle Sammy."
Knew in an instant
That Santa was right.
And even today, she recalls
(With some chills),
The ladies room stalls
Stacked with ten-dollar bills.
The money was there for
(She found this alarmin')
The banknotes were worth less
Than White Cloud or Charmin.
Somewhere, she knew,
Politicians would gloat
That they'd picked her own pocket
To buy her own vote.
Then Santa sighed, "Presents?
"Let's all just forget it,
"Since cash is now worthless
"And no one gives credit.
"So, Christmas? Prepare
"All the kids for bad news,
"As I stuff their wee stockings,
"With cheap I.O.U.s"
He mumbled farewell
With a cynical laugh.
But she said, "I've a sandwich
"And you can have half."
He paused and he squinted,
Then smiled with a sigh,
And sat down beside her,
A tear in his eye.
He said, "Christmas can be,
"What we make it to be.
"Merry Christmas to you,
"Tuna salad for me."
Thanks to S.J. Masty
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tax his land, Tax his bed,
Tax the table At which he's fed.
Tax his tractor, Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes Are the rule.
Tax his work, Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts Anyway!
Tax his cow, Tax his goat,
Tax his pants, Tax his coat.
Tax his ties, Tax his shirt,
Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his cigars, Tax his beers,
If he cries, Tax his tears.
Tax his car, Tax his gas,
Find other ways To tax his ass.
Tax all he has Then let him know
That you won't be done Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers,
Then tax him some more,
Tax him 'til He's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he's laid.
Put these words upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me to my doom...'
When he's gone, do not relax,
Its time to apply the inheritance tax.
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax - CDL license Tax - Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax - Dog License Tax - Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax - Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax - Food License Ta x - Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Ta x (44.75 cents per gallon) - Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax - Inheritance Tax - Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax - Luxury Taxes - Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax - Personal Property Tax - Property Tax
Real Estate Tax - Service Charge Tax - Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax - Sales Tax - Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax - State Income Tax - State Unemployment Tax
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non- recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax - Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax - Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax - Well Permit Tax - Workers Compensation Tax
THINK THIS IS FUNNY?
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. We've come a long way, and not in a good way.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."--Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Vince Lombardi is one of the all-time great football coaches. The following is one of the best speeches he ever gave.
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
“There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.
“Every time a football player goes to play his trade he’s got to play from the ground up - from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.
“Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization - an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win - to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.
“It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there - to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules - but to win.
“And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.
“I don’t say these things because I believe in the ‘brute’ nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour - his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear - is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.”
Friday, November 28, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
To the dismay of many Christians, John McCain was not elected president of the United States. Were it not for the support of evangelicals and other conservative Christians, McCain would have been more soundly defeated in what was probably his last election. It didn’t really matter what McCain believed or didn’t believe; these Christians turned out in droves to vote for him because he was a Republican. As bad as Barack Obama was, most Christians who voted for McCain would have voted Republican no matter who the Democratic and Republican nominees were.
Throughout the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, Yellow Dog Democrats in the South consistently voted for Democrats no matter who the Democratic and Republican nominees were. The idea was that they would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican. Christians who consistently vote Republican – and especially after decades of Republican compromises and sellouts – are even worse. They would vote for a dead yellow dog over a Democrat.
But it gets even worse. Instead of Christians admitting how detrimental to freedom the Bush administration was, acknowledging that McCain was a pathetic excuse for a real conservative, conceding that the Republicans badly disappointed them once again, holding their noses shut with the firmest of grips, positioning in front of their mouths a barf bag saved from their last airline trip, closing their eyes tightly – and then voting for McCain, some Christians, or rather, McChristians, actively supported him. Some even went so far as to put McCain/Palin bumper stickers on their cars, signs in their yards, and buttons on their shirts.
It is bad enough for a Christian to do evil by voting for what he thinks is the lesser of two evils; it is another thing to embrace, defend, and promote evil.
Whenever I hear anyone, and especially conservative Christian Republicans, talk about voting for the lesser of two evils, I think of an election between Stalin and Hitler. I can just imagine one group of people saying that they are voting for Stalin because Hitler believes in a, b, and c, while the other side says that they are voting for Hitler because Stalin believes in x, y, and z.
This analogy really fits the recent election since the choice was between a socialist or national socialist. The newspaper headlines for the day after Election Day should all have read: SOCIALIST WINS OVER NATIONAL SOCIALIST.
As bad as Obama is, it doesn’t change the fact that the Republicans deserved to lose. But because the Democrats didn’t deserve to win, some Christians thought they faced a dilemma and, after assuming the position outlined above, voted for McCain.
But there was no dilemma. There were other choices on the ballot – like Chuck Baldwin, a conservative Christian who is miles ahead of McCain when it comes to being a real conservative. But it comes as no surprise that Baldwin was rejected since Ron Paul was likewise rejected in the Republican primaries.
Christians also had the option of abstaining "from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22); that is, not voting. For the Christian, it is better to endure an evil than to commit one. Even if McCain is the lesser of two evils, he is still evil. And it is never right to do evil. Period. The Apostle Paul said it was slanderously reported of him that he believed in a philosophy of "let us do evil that good may come" (Romans 3:8). But that is the philosophy of many Christians.
But is McCain the lesser of two evils? Consider his record:
* McCain scores a dismal 36 on the New American magazine’s Freedom index.
* McCain is worse on foreign policy than Bush.
* McCain joined with Ted Kennedy to sponsor an illegal-alien amnesty bill (S.1033, 2005).
* McCain is a CFR member who supports expanding the power of the UN.
* McCain has voted against income tax, capital gains, and estate tax cuts.
* McCain was rated an F– on gun issues by Gun Owners of America in 2004 and 2006.
* McCain is the Republican behind the attack on free speech known as McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform.
* McCain supports draconian environmentalist legislation.
Both McCain and Obama voted for the Wall Street bailout bill. Both support more government intervention to "fix" the economy. Both support the war on drugs and the war on terror. Both support the Federal Reserve. Both support maintaining the welfare state and the warfare state. And as Anthony Gregory pointed out before the election: "Both are for preserving virtually everything the government does" and "neither proposes to abolish anything."
McCain is marginally better on some issues than Obama, but how hard is that? There is not a dime’s worth of difference between McCain and Obama when it comes to issues of substance like peace, liberty, property, free markets, sound money, and the size and scope of government.
I suppose that the main reason Christians think that McCain is less of an evil than Obama is the abortion issue. There is no question that Obama’s views on abortion are reprehensible. But then he doesn’t claim to be pro-life like McCain does. If McCain is so pro-life then why did he vote to confirm to the U.S. Supreme Court pro-abortion justices like Stephen Breyer, Ruth Ginsburg, and David Souter? Why did he consider the pro-abortion senator Joe Lieberman for his vice presidential running mate? Why does he think it is okay to kill babies who had the misfortune to be conceived via rape or incest? Why has he voted for Health and Human Services Title X funding for Planned Parenthood?
And then there is the issue of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and God knows where else the U.S. military will be sent on the next mission of death and destruction. There is no ethical difference between being rabidly pro-abortion and being rabidly pro-war. Obama is the former and McCain is the latter – but both positions are anything but pro-life. Killing babies outside of the womb in Iraq is just as much an evil as killing babies inside the womb in America.
But far worse than voting for the perceived lesser of two evils is championing evil. Christians who embraced, defended, and promoted John McCain because he was a Republican and was not Barack Obama should be ashamed of themselves for being pragmatic instead of being dogmatic. They should also be embarrassed, not only that they were so uninformed about McCain (I guess they relied too much on those Christian Coalition voter guides), but because about the only thing they could think of to say about him started with either "Barack Obama is" or "Barack Obama will."
How shallow and how pathetic are these McChristians. They can be counted on to enthusiastically and unconditionally support the next litter of yellow dog Republican candidates.
This piece was written by Laurence M. Vance. The original can be viewed here.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Captain, what do you think, I asked, of the part your soldiers play?
The Captain answered, I do not think. I do not think, I obey!
Do you think you should shoot a patriot down and help a tyrant slay?
The Captain answered, I do not think. I do not think, I obey!
Do you think your conscience was meant to die and your brains to rot away?
The Captain answered, I do not think. I do not think, I obey!
Then if this is your soldiers code, I cried, your mean unmanly crew,
And for all of your equipment, guns and braid, I'm more of a man than you.
For whatever my lot on earth may be and whether I swim or sink,
I can say with pride - I do not obey. I do not obey - I think!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, then WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, then WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? You and I don't propose a federal budget, the president does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices. 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one damn thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Army & Marines are in Iraq, it's because they want them in Iraq. If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
These 545 people and they alone, are responsible. They and they alone, have the power. They and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees, we should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
"'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "'My mother, drunk or sober.'"
-G. K. Chesterton
Monday, November 3, 2008
By: Joe Sobran.
Nowadays, in startling contrast to my youth, it’s very fashionable to claim to be a conservative. Back in the Sixties, conservatism was still rather a fugitive thing, and the fashion was liberalism or even radicalism. By the late Eighties, liberal had become “the L-word,” and liberals were looking for a less alarming euphemism, such as progressive. As I say, the change is startling.
But have things really changed that much? Or is the change really superficial? I’m afraid the latter is the case. The airwaves are clogged with the clamorous voices of talk radio, or “squawk radio,” as I like to call it — people claiming to be conservative, though they don’t sound much like the great conservatives I grew up admiring: Bill Buckley, Frank Meyer, James Burnham, Russell Kirk, Willmoore Kendall, and Barry Goldwater, to name a few.
In fact many of today’s so-called conservatives seem to me to be liberals without knowing it, no matter how much they say they detest liberalism. Rush Limbaugh, to name only the most audible of them, seems to have no real philosophy, no awareness of conservative literature outside journalism. His premises are hard to distinguish from liberalism’s. Apparently he equates favoring war with conservatism. He likes big government just fine, as long as it’s shooting something. He says the Republican Party will save Social Security and Medicare, huge liberal programs which a real conservative thinks shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Sometimes, after listening to him for a half hour, I want to beg him, “Rush, how about equal time for real conservatism?”
Well, just what is “real” conservatism? This is an old question, much debated. Dictionaries define it in such terms as “preference for tradition” and “resistance to change,” but these are too general to take us very far. After all, nearly everyone wants to preserve some tradition and opposes some kinds of change, and people we call conservatives often want to do away with certain traditions and bring about important changes.
And all of life is in flux at all times. You can never conserve everything. We are forced to face the question of which things we should conserve, which we should discard or even destroy, and which we should let pass away. When a house catches fire, we may have to decide very quickly what we can rescue from the flames and abandon all the rest.
And conservatism isn’t just passivity. It’s active maintenance. An old house needs repair and painting, a garden needs weeding, trees and shrubs need pruning. To conserve is to renew. Conservatism can’t mean neglect.
And conservatism varies from place to place, from people to people. The great Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, even under the Soviet regime, wanted to preserve tsarism and the Russian Orthodox Church. Islam is in many ways deeply conservative, but we have also seen it take radical and revolutionary forms. Mormonism was once seen as radical, but today it seems a very conservative religion. The same might be said of Christianity in various forms. And as G.K. Chesterton says, “It is futile to discuss reform without reference to form.”
The word conservatism came into general use after the French Revolution of 1789, its first and most eloquent spokesman being Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke argued for the traditional liberties of the English against the “abstract” Rights of Man advocated by the revolutionaries, predicting correctly that such abstract rights, with no force of custom behind them, would perish in a reign of terror. The revolutionaries, he said, were so obsessed with man’s rights that they had forgotten man’s nature.
History has vindicated Burke’s warning, but many have doubted that his kind of conservatism fully applies to America. We don’t have the sort of history England and France had, a feudal ancien régime with a social hierarchy and inherited status. It is even argued that our only tradition is a liberal one, of legal equality for everyone. After all, we are not divided into peasants versus noblemen, or anything of the sort. We even take pride in our social fluidity and more or less equal opportunity.
This brings us to a paradox. The most eloquent of our own Founding Fathers was Thomas Jefferson, who welcomed the French Revolution and had no use for Burke. Yet most American conservatives look to Jefferson as their intellectual patriarch, he who wrote the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed that “all men are created equal.”
Today conservatism has become a confusing term. It can refer to a Jeffersonian vision of limited government and strict construction of the U.S. Constitution, or it can be equated with President Bush’s militarism and what has been called his “big-government conservatism.” And of course the title is also claimed by “neoconservatives” who share Bush’s enthusiasm for war and are, when it comes to social policy, more like liberals than Jeffersonian conservatives.
Both Bush and the “neocons” favor an undefined war and speak of a “global democratic revolution.” But what is conservative about war and revolution? It has often been pointed out that this sort of talk is more akin to Leon Trotsky than to Edmund Burke. Bush even speaks of eliminating tyranny from the face of the Earth — a neat trick, if you can do it.
Here I think we should keep in mind Burke’s distinction between “the abstract rights of man” and man’s actual nature. Conservatives tend to believe in Original Sin, or something like it, that will forever prevent man from achieving perfection. This attitude produces a disposition that tends to be both skeptical and tolerant, deeply dubious about overhauling society. Societies and traditions can’t be built from scratch; as Burke said, we must build out of existing materials — that is, real human beings and their habits, rooted in history.
Liberals, on the other hand, speak freely of “ideals,” imagined perfections that we can achieve if only we have the will. “I have a dream,” as Martin Luther King said. Hence liberals typically talk of abolishing evils — “eliminating poverty,” “eradicating racism,” “doing away with prejudice,” “ending exploitation,” and so forth. This usually means strenuous government action, massive coercion and bureaucracy, because these things don’t just evaporate of themselves.
Conservatives don’t speak much of “ideals.” They think, more modestly, in terms of norms, which are never perfectly realized, but only approximated by sinful man. Consider homosexuality. Whereas the liberal wants to impose “gay rights,” by law and coercion, the conservative sees homosexuality as a defect, which to some extent can and must be tolerated, because it can’t be “eradicated,” but it can’t rationally be exalted to the plane of normality; and he knows that all talk of “same-sex marriage” is nonsense, like trying to breed calves from a pair of bulls. But to the liberal, the only issue is equal rights; human nature and normality have nothing to say to him. What the conservative sees as life’s mysteries, the liberal sees as mere irrationality.
One word is notably absent from the liberal vocabulary: enough. For the liberal, there is hardly such a thing as “too much” government. There is no point at which liberals say, “Well, we’ve done it. We’ve realized our dreams. We have all the government we need, and we should stop now.” No, they always want more government. There is no such thing as enough government.
Again, Chesterton sums up liberalism in a phrase: “the modern and morbid habit of always sacrificing the normal to the abnormal.” We see this again in the grisly business of abortion. To the typical conservative it is an ugly thing, something that may not be entirely “eliminated” but must be contained, condemned, and above all must never be accepted as normal. But to the typical liberal it is a right — even “a fundamental human and constitutional right”!
The role of Lincoln
Consider Abraham Lincoln, claimed by both liberals and conservatives. Most Americans consider him our greatest president — a view I emphatically reject. But both sides have a point in claiming him. In some respects he was rather conservative — for example, in his willingness to compromise on slavery before the Civil War. He doubted that he had the constitutional authority to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which he finally justified only as a wartime measure, applying only to the seceding states.
But he finally became an all-out abolitionist, and he had a radical dream of colonizing all free blacks outside the United States; in his 1862 State of the Union message, he called for a constitutional amendment authorizing such colonization! In addition, Lincoln was a high-handed centralizer of power, who suspended habeas corpus and crushed freedom of speech and press throughout the North. Like most liberals, he talked of freedom — “a new birth of freedom,” in fact — but the reality was power. Under the Constitution, he insisted, no state could withdraw from the Union for any reason. This was a view Jefferson did not share. The United States had begun in secession. Lincoln himself had once called secession “a most sacred right, which we believe is to liberate mankind.”
A more recent conservative, Willmoore Kendall, who died in 1967, argued that American conservatism is rooted in its own constitutional tradition, best understood in the light of The Federalist Papers, where the limits of the Federal Government are clearly set forth. As far as I can tell, Lincoln was entirely ignorant of The Federalist Papers, as well as of the Articles of Confederation — a point I’ll return to.
An even more recent conservative, Michael Oakeshott, who died in 1990, was English rather than American, but he had much to teach us. Oakeshott, like Burke, decried “rationalism in politics” — by which he chiefly meant what we call liberalism. He observed that some people (liberals) see government as “a vast reservoir of power,” to be mobilized for whatever purposes they imagine would benefit mankind. By contrast, Oakeshott argued, the conservative sees governing as “a specific and limited activity,” chiefly concerned with civility and the rule of law, not with “dreams” and “projects.” I consider Oakeshott the most eloquent expositor of conservatism and the conservative temperament since Burke.
I have already said that Lincoln was poorly acquainted with the Founding Fathers. By contrast, Jefferson Davis was thoroughly familiar with them, and in his history of the Confederacy (too little read nowadays) he makes a powerful, I would say irrefutable, case that every state has a constitutional right to withdraw — to secede — from the Union.
In the North, secession is still seen as a regional “Southern” issue, inseparable from, and therefore discredited by, slavery. But this is not so at all. At various times, Northern states had threatened to secede for various reasons. On one occasion, Thomas Jefferson said they should be allowed to “go in peace.” After all, the whole point of the Declaration of Independence was that these “are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States.” Not, as Lincoln later said, a single “new nation,” but (to quote Willmoore Kendall) “a baker’s dozen of new sovereignties.”
And the Articles of Confederation reinforced the point right at the beginning: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.” And at the end of the Revolutionary War, the British specifically recognized the sovereignty of all 13 states! This is flatly contrary to Lincoln’s claim that the states had never been sovereign.
But didn’t the Constitution transfer sovereignty from the states to the Federal Government, outlawing secession? Not at all. The Constitution says nothing of the kind. And as Davis wrote, sovereignty cannot be surrendered by mere implication. In fact, several states ratified the Constitution on the express condition that they reserved the right to “resume” the powers they were “delegating” — that is, secede. And if one state could secede, so could the others. A “state” was not a mere province or subdivision of a larger entity; it was sovereign by definition.
Claiming sovereignty for the Federal Government, Lincoln felt justified in violating the Constitution in order to “save the Union” — by which he meant “saving” Federal sovereignty. One of the best-kept secrets of American history is that many if not most Northerners thought the Southern states had the right to secede. This is why Lincoln shut down hundreds of newspapers and arrested thousands of critics of his war. He had to wage a propaganda war against the North itself.
Were you told this in your history classes? Neither was I. We are still being told that Lincoln’s cause was the cause of liberty; just as we are told that he was the friend of the black man, though he wanted the freed slaves to be sent abroad, leaving an all-white America. Lincoln had a dream too, but it wasn’t Martin Luther King’s.
Lincoln achieved what the Princeton historian James MacPherson calls “the Second American Revolution,” giving the Federal Government virtually full authority over the internal affairs of the states. Columbia’s George Fletcher credits him with creating “a new Constitution.” A third historian, Garry Wills of Northwestern University, says he “changed America,” transforming our understanding of the Constitution.
Mind you, these are not Lincoln’s critics — they are his champions! Do they listen to themselves? They are saying exactly what Jefferson Davis said: that Lincoln was abandoning the original Constitution! But they think this is a high compliment. Lincoln himself claimed he was “saving” the old Constitution. His admirers, without realizing it, are telling us a very different story.
Peaceful secession was a state’s ultimate constitutional defense against Federal tyranny. Without it, the Federal Government has been able to claim new powers for itself while stripping the states of their powers. Lincoln neither foresaw nor intended this when he crushed secession. But today the states are helpless when, for example, the Federal Courts suddenly declare that no state may constitutionally protect unborn children from violent death in the womb. If even one state had been able to secede, the U.S. Supreme Court would never have dared provoke it to do so by issuing such an outrageous ruling, with no support in the Constitution.
But Lincoln has been deified as surely as any Roman emperor. Today he is widely ranked as one of our “greatest presidents,” along with another bold usurper of power, Franklin Roosevelt. And as I say, even conservatives, so called, join in his praise. President Bush and his supporters invoke both Lincoln and Roosevelt to justify the war in Iraq and any powers he chooses to claim in its prosecution. In the old days, Americans told the government what our rights were; now it tells us. And we meekly obey.
If Bush and his right-wing supporters are conservatives, what on earth would a liberal be like? In these last six years, the Federal Government has vastly increased in power, with a corresponding diminution of our freedoms. Every American child is now born $150,000 in debt — his estimated share of the national debt, which he had no say in incurring. And of course the figure will be much higher when he is old enough to vote.
Meanwhile, he will go to a school, where he will be taught that he enjoys “self-government,” thanks to great men like Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Bush.
What passes for “conservatism” now is a very far cry indeed from even the limited-government conservatism of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan just a generation ago. It is merely a variant of the liberalism it pretends to oppose.
How do these pseudoconservatives differ from liberals? Chiefly, for some reason, in their reflexive enthusiasm for war. Ponder that. War is the most destructive and least conservative of all human activities. It is big government par excellence; it breeds tyranny and, often, revolution. Yet most Americans now identify it with conservatism!
I am very much afraid that the next generation will have forgotten what real conservatism means: moral stability, piety, private property, and of course the rule of law (as distinct from the mad multiplication of regulations).
But genuine conservatism will reassert itself, even if it has to find another name and new spokesmen. If the Bushes and Limbaughs have usurped and discredited the word conservatism for the time being, we must try to take it back. If we can’t, we’ll just have to find a label they can’t steal.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
By Andrew Napolitano.
In a radio interview in 2001, then-Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama noted -- somewhat ruefully -- that the same Supreme Court that ordered political and educational equality in the 1960s and 1970s did not bring about economic equality as well. Although Mr. Obama said he could come up with arguments for the constitutionality of such action, the plain meaning of the Constitution quite obviously prohibits it.
Mr. Obama is hardly alone in his expansive view of legitimate government. During the past month, Sen. John McCain (who, like Sen. Obama, voted in favor of the $700 billion bank bailout) has been advocating that $300 billion be spent to pay the monthly mortgage payments of those in danger of foreclosure. The federal government is legally powerless to do that, as well.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt first proposed legislation that authorized the secretary of agriculture to engage in Soviet-style central planning -- a program so rigid that it regulated how much wheat a homeowner could grow for his own family's consumption -- he rejected arguments of unconstitutionality. He proclaimed that the Constitution was "quaint" and written in the "horse and buggy era," and predicted the public and the courts would agree with him.
Remember that FDR had taken -- and either Mr. Obama or Mr. McCain will soon take -- the oath to uphold that old-fashioned document, the one from which all presidential powers come.
Unfortunately, these presidential attitudes about the Constitution are par for the course. Beginning with John Adams, and proceeding to Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush, Congress has enacted and the president has signed laws that criminalized political speech, suspended habeas corpus, compelled support for war, forbade freedom of contract, allowed the government to spy on Americans without a search warrant, and used taxpayer dollars to shore up failing private banks.
All of this legislation -- merely tips of an unconstitutional Big Government iceberg -- is so obviously in conflict with the plain words of the Constitution that one wonders how Congress gets away with it.
In virtually every generation and during virtually every presidency (Jefferson, Jackson and Cleveland are exceptions that come to mind) the popular branches of government have expanded their power. The air you breathe, the water you drink, the size of your toilet tank, the water pressure in your shower, the words you can speak under oath and in private, how your physician treats your illness, what your children study in grade school, how fast you can drive your car, and what you can drink before you drive it are all regulated by federal law. Congress has enacted over 4,000 federal crimes and written or authorized over one million pages of laws and regulations. Worse, we are expected by law to understand all of it.
The truth is that the Constitution grants Congress 17 specific (or "delegated") powers. And it commands in the Ninth and 10th Amendments that the powers not articulated and thus not delegated by the Constitution to Congress be reserved to the states and the people.
What's more, Congress can only use its delegated powers to legislate for the general welfare, meaning it cannot spend tax dollars on individuals or selected entities, but only for all of us. That is, it must spend in such a manner -- a post office, a military installation, a courthouse, for example -- that directly enhances everyone's welfare within the 17 delegated areas of congressional authority.
And Congress cannot deny the equal protection of the laws. Thus, it must treat similarly situated persons or entities in a similar manner. It cannot write laws that favor its political friends and burden its political enemies.
There is no power in the Constitution for the federal government to enter the marketplace since, when it does, it will favor itself over its competition. The Contracts Clause (the states cannot interfere with private contracts, like mortgages), the Takings Clause (no government can take away property, like real estate or shares of stock, without paying a fair market value for it and putting it to a public use), and the Due Process Clause (no government can take away a right or obligation, like collecting or paying a debt, or enforcing a contract, without a fair trial) together mandate a free market, regulated only to keep it fair and competitive.
It is clear that the Framers wrote a Constitution as a result of which contracts would be enforced, risk would be real, choices would be free and have consequences, and private property would be sacrosanct.
The $700 billion bailout of large banks that Congress recently enacted runs afoul of virtually all these constitutional principles. It directly benefits a few, not everyone. We already know that the favored banks that received cash from taxpayers have used it to retire their own debt. It is private welfare. It violates the principle of equal protection: Why help Bank of America and not Lehman Brothers? It permits federal ownership of assets or debt that puts the government at odds with others in the free market. It permits the government to tilt the playing field to favor its patrons (like J.P. Morgan Chase, in which it has invested taxpayer dollars) and to disfavor those who compete with its patrons (like the perfectly lawful hedge funds which will not have the taxpayers relieve their debts).
Perhaps the only public agreement that Jefferson and Hamilton had about the Constitution was that the federal Treasury would be raided and the free market would expire if the Treasury became a public trough. If it does, the voters will send to Congress those whom they expect will fleece the Treasury for them. That's why the Founders wrote such strict legislating and spending limitations into the Constitution.
Everyone in government takes an oath to uphold the Constitution. But few do so. Do the people we send to the federal government recognize any limits today on Congress's power to legislate? The answer is: Yes, their own perception of whatever they can get away with.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
by G.C. Dilsaver
Leaders in the Catholic and other conservative pro-life churches are almost making it mandatory this presidential election that the faithful vote for McCain or, more to the point, vote against the pro-abortion Obama. But is this single-issue pro-life exhortation really in harmony with authentic Christian tradition? Are these leaders really showing that they are of the mettle of their predecessors, from the Apostles to St. Thomas Beckett to Cardinal Mindszenty? Or instead are these Christian leaders more aligned with those predecessors who all too often compromised the faith and kowtowed to political power, the world, the flesh, and the devil? This essay advances that it is the latter.
The Pro-Life Ploy
Indeed, the pro-life ploy is perfectly demonic: in holding out the illusionary possibility of destroying an evil an even greater evil is fed. But what can be more evil than killing babies? It is that which is the cause of this killing and myriad other evils. Indeed, as atrocious as abortion is, it is nonetheless a symptom. Our nation is not vicious because it allows abortion, rather it allows abortion because the nation is vicious.
It is good that church leaders are finally showing some spine in regards to politics and the crime of abortion, but this is neither remarkable nor prophetic. In doing so they are merely reacting to the most gruesome and sensational symptom of a systemic evil. But tragically the election of another Republican will not take care of the symptom; at the very best (don’t hold your breath) it will remand it back to the states. Abortion will remain, legal or illegal. However, it is certain that voting for either the Republican or Democratic candidate will strengthen the systemic evil that is the current Republican-Democratic political axis, and the powers that manipulate that government. Also be certain that the last thing the national government wants to do is remand anything back to the states, much less to the community, church, or family. Indeed, Roe v. Wade is the rotten fruit of the Federal government’s usurpation of state’s rights.
The systemic evil that must be primarily combated is the rise of the most omnipotent State in history, both on the domestic and international level. Under this State, and abided by mind-boggling advances in technology, totalitarianism has the potential of reaching an apex of power and control undreamed of by past despots. The future is ominous indeed, for already this State contravenes its own constitution. Already this State ignores international law in its kidnapping and torture of suspects. Already this State justifies its attack of other countries under the immoral concept of pre-emptivity. Already this State has free license to spy on its citizens. Already this State claims the right to intrude itself into the family, even to the extent of confiscating children. Already this State imprisons 1 in every 100 of its citizens, a quarter of the world’s entire prison population. In short, already this State is fascist, viewing itself as omnipotent and beholding to nothing.
While ultimately this unprecedented totalitarian State is an international-united-states, domestically it is the United States of America and is represented by the Republican-Democratic political axis. These political parties are but two sides of the same ticket; a tag team that take turns every four or eight years beating up on the hapless American populace who nonetheless continue to cheer them on with "USA, USA" thinking these parties are actually wrestling each other. Yes, the Democrats and Republicans are two sides to the same ticket: and that ticket is a one-way ticket to fascism. It is the ticket to the attempted destruction of any remnant of authentic Christianity and a ticket to the reign of an antichrist, if not the antichrist. Supporting this regime, this Republican-Democratic axis of evil, is not pro-life; it is pro-death, both physically and spiritually. It will not end abortion, but quite the contrary, it will metastasize the culture of death, killing the bodies of its opponents and the souls of its proponents.
The urgent case in point shows an example of this culture of death. One would think U.S. pro-lifers would care about the Iraqi unborn just as much as they care about other unborn babies. A baby in-utero is neither Christian nor Moslem, neither American nor Iraqi. In Iraq how many unborn have died along with the millions of civilians that have been killed or maimed by the USA’s destruction of infrastructure, aerial bombing, and depleted uranium bombs. These depleted uranium bombs also have the added "military" advantage of causing spontaneous abortions and birth defects. However, I’ve yet to hear one single denouncement of this from the "traditional Catholic" pulpits I frequent, and only extremely rarely from the "Christian pro-lifers" I encounter. Indeed, the pro-life movement’s new found darling, Mrs. Palin, is silent on the Iraqi special needs children debilitated by our special bombs. Of course, Bomb-Bomb-Iran McCain couldn't care less. He is the same fellow who bombed innocent civilians in North Vietnam when Nixon decided to stop risking our own soldier’s lives and concentrate our military efforts on terrorist blanket bombing of North Vietnam population centers. Anyone that supports a candidate that gleefully looks forward to the bombing of innocent civilians (born or unborn, Christian or Moslem) in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the devil knows where, is not pro-life, and surely not a good Christian!
The Two Party Axis of Evil
"Vote pro-life." If only the battle between good and evil was so simple. But it’s not, for evil is deceptive and insidious. When one becomes myopic and single-issue oriented one is easily hoodwinked, for one’s field of vision is already curtailed. Indeed, he usually becomes blinded to his own personal issues, especially those that require real courage to confront.
Christian pro-life leaders are right, for aside from all the other issues, right or wrong Obama advocates, his abortion stance makes it a very simple and closed case: a Catholic or other pro-life Christian cannot vote for him or his running mate, the apostate Catholic Biden. So it is a no-brainer that one can’t vote for Obama, but it takes only a bit more brains (maybe a bit-of-brains should be a poll requirement) or a smidgen of true Christian spirit to see that one can’t vote for McCain either. An orthodox Christian must hold that voting for any overtly pro-abortion candidate is intrinsically evil. But so is voting for a totalitarian warmonger like McCain, though it seems that only wise or authentic or uncompromising Christians realize this.
The Christian single-issue advocates are in effect, if not always in intent, minimalists and compromisers. What they are urging is what a functional conscience with but the slightest sense of natural law and moral rectitude would urge. These single-issue Christians fail to see the bigger picture, the essence of the evil itself, because they compartmentalize their faith. It is safer than living that faith out in its totality and it is safely political and issue-oriented rather than dangerously militant and prophetic. Being pro-life becomes militant and prophetic, it becomes heroic and a personal encounter with Christ Crucified, most especially for those who endure a pregnancy that is somehow tragic. But for most of us being pro-life remains an issue, even the banner issue of our conservative politics and our Christian faith.
But Christianity can’t be reduced down to issues or politics. It isn’t liberation theology nor neo-conservatism nor dispensationalism, all of which fall under the category of a semi- or anti-Christianity. Not only is Christianity not merely political, it is not merely moral. You can’t reduce the faith down to a moral code much less one moral position, no matter how serious that position is. To do so does irreparable damage to that faith and, as such, best assures the defeat of the moral position one advocates.
Christianity is much more than politics or morals: it is a fully integral, all pervasive, all transcendent though eminently practical worldview. Both parties on the vast majority of issues, on their all-pervasive worldviews, are incompatible with, indeed hostile to, the Christian worldview. Thus there are many other issues that disallow a Christian from voting for either Obama even if he were pro-life or McCain even though he claims to be pro-life. True, one could be more easily deceived and not know that a vote for McCain is a vote for that which is antithetical to Christianity; but isn’t such deception in keeping with the insidious tactics of the demonic?
Means and Ends
In traditional Christian morality a good end never justifies an evil means, and even if it did an evil means never procures a good end that lasts. A strikingly relevant case in point was the Fascist government in Italy. Mussolini’s state banned abortion, birth control, and homosexuality activity. As a Catholic I hold these things as intrinsically evil and their curtailment good. However, supporters of Italian fascism, even those who supported it primarily for the advancement of these moral issues, are responsible for facilitating a cataclysmic evil. This evil culminated in Catholics sheepishly submitting to national conscription and participation in an unjust and horrifying war. In addition, it led to the subsequent weakening of Catholic culture, morals, and faith in Italy and to the final eradication of European Christendom. The result now being a de-Christianized Italy that fully accepts those very moral issues some sought to address by compromising with the fascist regime. If even a fraction of the effort and sacrifice that was squandered by Italian and other Catholics in World War II had instead been brought to missionary efforts the world would be looking at the rebirth of Christendom rather than its demise.
Moral decadence always comes in the wake of war. Indeed among Catholic countries, erstwhile totalitarian Italy and Spain have the lowest birthrates in the world due to rejection of the Church’s moral teachings on sexuality and marriage. Compare this to the erstwhile victims of totalitarianism, Ireland and France, which still have the highest birthrates. The lesson being, you can’t compromise with a totalitarian regime even for a single issue, for that issue, along with a host of others, will only be gravely exacerbated in the long run.
Catholic weren’t so taken in by the blatantly pagan Nazi movement and the Catholic regions of Germany remained the last bastion of opposition to it. Indeed, Catholics biggest weakness in regards to Nazism was tolerating it because it wasn’t as blatantly atheistic as Communism. Today Catholics and other pro-life Christians are asked by their clergy to tolerate McCain and the Republicans to avoid Obama and the Democrats. This tactic is akin to supporting Communism to destroy Nazism. However in this case the chances of eradicating the evil of abortion are zilch. Just as there was little difference between the Communists and the Nazis there is even littler difference between the American Axis of the Republicans and Democrats. They are both socialist and totalitarian. Indeed, it is a hoax being played on the American people to make them believe there is a difference. Unfortunately for a people raised on TV and other fantasies this hoax is easily perpetrated.
There is a Unifying Issue
We have abortion because of the break-up of the family and the ensuing moral decadence, not because of Roe v. Wade. Why do we have the breakup of the family? It is because the family has been supplanted by the State (and the corporation). In actuality families have absolutely no rights in the United States, indeed, children can be taken from the home on mere suspicions. Yet it is the family that is ever the last bastion against tyranny.
Christians must realize that the evil of abortion, like all moral evils, will only be eradicated when the populace converts from its neo-paganism. This is the job of the Church, not the current government, which itself is neo-pagan in its self-worship. Indeed, there is an indisputable correlation between the waxing of the State and vice and the waning of the family and virtue. As the State becomes more totalitarian its citizens become more vicious and as the citizens become more vicious the State becomes more totalitarian. Thus to end abortion we must defeat the totalitarian State and increase personal virtue. The most effective way of increasing personal virtue is to restore the sacrosanct status of the family. A strengthened family plus a weakened State equals a moral virtuous populace equals less abortion.
Note well that patriotism is not nationalism. Patriotism is a virtue, nationalism is a vice. Love of one’s soil, one’s family, one’s clan, one’s (in some way) homogeneous community is the essence of patriotism. But nationalism, and more so today than ever, undermines all of that. The central principle of traditional Christian social thought is subsidiarity. Subsidiarity holds that all social and governing functions should be implemented at the most local level possible. Thus the locus of authority should be the family, then the neighborhood, and then the community; as opposed to the State. It’s Dad’s responsibility and competency to police Junior not Officer Storm Trooper’s. In other words, the Christian principle of subsidiarity upholds regional rights, community rights, and family rights! It holds that the State (and even the police!) exists to serve the citizen and the family.
This cause of family, of community, and region – of subsidiarity – against the totalitarian State is the closest Christians have to a single issue. More exactly it is the unifying issue because all else flows both in morals and politics from this. Thus Christians should be fighting tooth and nail against the omnipotent national government, which means they should be in militant opposition to either major party, to either Obama or McCain, which are puppets of the State.
The Good Means to the Lasting Ends
The end of abortion is not a quick fix. It has taken 500 years for Christendom to be unraveled completely and it may take another 500 years, if God so wills it, for a new Christendom to fully arise. This rebirth entails a moral and spiritual dynamics, not a political and judicial one. For a Christian the most evil element of abortion is the mortal sin of the perpetrators – not the death of the infant, as sorrowful as that is. It is the spiritual death of this country and the choking out of authentic Christianity that is the essential evil we must confront. It wouldn't matter if all abortions were outlawed tomorrow, abortion would still remain and the evil that emanates from a decadent populace and an omnipotent state would continue to increase.
Fight abortion not by feeding the State leviathan so it can gobble up the saved unborn 18 years later in a draft or sooner in some other form of indentured servitude or indoctrination or incarceration; but rather by strengthening the autonomy of the family, the community, and the natural and sociological regions of this country. Fight abortion by reestablishing the sacrosanct status of the home, which is itself the womb of community and Christianity. Fight it by being uncowed by the police state. Fight it by rejecting legal positivism, the ideology that holds that just because the state declares something to be legal or illegal it is. Fight it by studying truth, especially the ancient truth of our Western Christian civilization. Fight it by becoming virtuous and holy. Fight it by heroically preaching the Gospel in lifestyle and words. Fight it by the prophetic witness even if it includes "civil disobedience." Fight it by being open to life and valuing of all human life even when those lives are deemed to be "enemies" or "non-persons" by the state. Fight it by establishing families united in sacrosanct indissolubility. Fight abortion by fighting the ungodly regime in Washington that rapaciously seeks to supplant both faith and family.
Dear Christians, refuse to offer a pinch of incense by refusing to punch the ballot for either official Republican-Democratic Axis candidates. Refuse to offer tribute to the gods of American socialism, totalitarianism, and imperialism and their incarnation in the president. Resist participation in this sham election. The USA is the most powerful and hence the most dangerous nation in the history of the world. Its potential for evil is absolutely unprecedented. If there is not a reversion to the constitution then totalitarianism is inevitable. If this reversion does not occur the only hope for our country will be in those willing to give their lives as witnesses to Christ against the antichrist of the State. Whoever occupies the Whitened Sepulcher House this January is a tool of the powers and principalities of this world and of the devil. And all who facilitate the legitimacy of this sham election are, at best, the devil’s dupes, at worst his minions.
G.C. Dilsaver is a clinical psychologist and director of Imago Dei Clinic in Harrisburg, PA. Dr. Dilsaver works with therapants both face-to-face and telephonically from throughout the country who are seeking an efficacious alternative to psychotropic medication and mainstream psychotherapy.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
View more here.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
All men desire peace, but few men desire those things which lead to peace.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
It's a suburban neighborhood, on Sunday morning. There is a three-way stop at which hardly anyone ever goes the other direction than the main one. But you often see a police car in the nearby parking lot, keeping his sharp eye out for evil lawbreakers. These are the dangerous criminals who slow down almost to a full stop that causes the car to shift back the other direction, but don't quite do this. Instead they do what is sometimes called a "rolling stop" which stops short of full immobilization.The policeman in the car regards this as "running a stop sign," as if you paid no attention to it at all, and he'll give you a ticket whenever he catches you doing it.
From the policeman's point of view, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. One recent empirical accounting at this intersection (I dragooned some neighborhood kids into keeping count) observed that more than 9 in 10 people do not come to what the law regards as a "full stop."
I should know about this because, try as I might to be a law-abiding citizen, I have now received my fifth ticket this year at this very intersection one block from my house. That's not a typo. Five! I know it sounds crazy — why the heck can't I obey those who are ordained to keep me safe? — but when you consider that I go through this intersection several times per day, I'm actually doing rather well.
It goes without saying that this is a racket. The city is many hundreds of dollars richer because of my penchant for law breaking alone, and probably hundreds of thousands richer if you include everyone else's.
But it wasn't until someone drew my attention to this link that I understood the full extent of what this whole racket is about. Yes, it's about money. But there is more to it than that. You see, it turns out that I'm an archetype, a person who rolls through stop signs in my safe neighborhood and then gets outraged when the ticket is issued and attempts to "fight authority" rather than pay up. So, fool that I am, I actually believe in "challenging the system." I take seriously the claim that I'm innocent until proven guilty. Can you believe the naïveté?
It's typical of suburbanites. We challenge tickets, especially frivolous ones. And this, it turns out, is precisely what the police want us to do, for reasons explained below.
So on the appointed court day, I leave the office to go to the courthouse to fight this ridiculous ticket. I sit for hours and hours until I'm given a chance to declare my innocence. All the while, the cop who stopped me stands at the back of the courtroom with his arms folded over his bulletproof chest. He is heavily armed. I, on the other hand, was searched before I even walked in.
If at this point I declare my innocence, I am given the opportunity for a trial with my own attorney, whom I must pay because I'm not poor enough to have the court appoint a lawyer even if I wanted it to. This trial is scheduled for sometime in the future, which means another trip to the courthouse, and another opportunity for the cop to enjoy the air-conditioned surroundings of the courtroom he rules. What chance is there for me? In the end, I would probably have to declare myself guilty of something or other, and pay a lesser fine; meanwhile I will have missed at least two days of work.
What's going on here turns out to do with the way policemen are paid. According to federal labor law, they are only allowed to be scheduled for patrolling up to 40 hours per week, just as the rest of us can only be scheduled to work up to a certain number of hours. Courtroom time — and by subpoena, they have to be there — often counts as overtime, meaning 50% more than they are paid for patrolling during regular hours.
In the case examined by John Stossel on 20/20, a policeman named Officer Kanapsky made an additional $21,562 over his regular pay just by standing around in court. The more tickets he issued, especially for minor issues that outraged people are likely to challenge in court, the more money he made. This is a result of labor law. As the Department of Labor says, "An employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work."
Now, it starts to make sense.You and I — his employers, so to speak — are paying a premium for his court time, which is why he spends his patrolling time trying to goad people into going to court. The policeman is being paid time and a half to waste our time and to cause our insurance rates to rise.
In the private sector, the permission to work more than 40 hours per week is a real benefit to the employee and the employer, though the terms ought to be left to the contracting parties. But in the police work, this overtime permission results in a scam that causes police to engage in low-risk, high-revenue earning activities that exploit the population.
It occurs to everyone who is given a frivolous ticket: surely the cop's time would be better spent stopping real crimes, not harassing nonthreatening citizens. Now we can better see why they do this. It may be a product of federal overtime rules, another case in which the ghost of FDR haunts us every day.
But what to do about it? Denounce the cop on the spot? That's not a good idea. It strikes you immediately when you are stopped by a policeman that there is a huge disparity of power at work here. You are effectively captured by them. You must comply no matter what. They have the legal right to use any method to keep you quiet and docile and to punish you to the point of death if you resist.
YouTube is filled with clips showing people being subjected to the latest weapon of choice: the taser gun. The police love the taser gun. It leaves no trace of physical injury. You are shot through with electricity, which causes frightening physical and mental convulsions, but there is nothing you can take a picture of. No bruises. No wounds. No broken bones. This is all the better for them — and all the worse for you.
Never forget what happens to you if you decide to run instead. That's a death sentence. Forget that the instinct to evade your captors is universal and deeply embedded in our mental/biological equipment. The state operates on the assumption that you are its slave when it wants you to be, and otherwise free in name only. This is especially true in the age of Bush, in which all police at all levels have morphed into militarized "security personnel." The friendly, helpful policeman of old civics texts seems to be a thing of the past.
In any case, the phenomenon of Officer Kanapsky raises fundamental questions not only about federal labor law but also about the role of the police in any community. Do they really stop crime? Sure, they arrive after a crime has been committed; they take fingerprints (those only seem to work in the movies) and file reports. In real life, however, crime prevention is due to the private sector: locks, alarm systems, and the like.This is what prevents crimes from taking place.
The police aren't so hot at prosecuting crime either, but for people who commit crimes like slowing down at three-way stops. Yet we are all somehow under the illusion that the police are the reason we are safe. It is the core mythology of our civic religion.
If you do believe that they do more good than harm, consider the unseen costs. What kind of private alternatives are being crowded out by the very presence of the police?
It is also deeply troubling that most people believe there aren't too many police but too few. How many are too many? What if one in three people were a cop? One in two? Maybe we should have two cops for every one civilian. How safe we would be! Really, there is an ethos in this country that you can never have too many cops on the street, and the idea of hiring more nearly always garners public support.
And yet, when it comes right down to it on the particulars, we can't stand the police. We keep a constant lookout for them when we drive. We dread being pulled over. We know in our hearts that they are out to get us, and represent more of a threat than a security for our freedoms.
In the end, we need to realize that the police are like all other government employees: self-interested, living off tax dollars, parasitical on our liberties. The case of Officer Kanapsky shows precisely how and why.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument.
Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'.
You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry;
God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life,
don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion.
Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:
'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone, everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will.
Always stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything
you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,
we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
"People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."
Monday, July 14, 2008
by Bill Walker
Switzerland has not been in a foreign war of any kind since 1815. This would be astounding, even miraculous, for any nation. But Switzerland borders Germany. And France. And Italy. And Austria. And Liechtenstein. Now Liechtenstein has rarely lashed out in Blitzkrieg in a desperate bid to reign über alles, but ALL of Switzerland's other neighbors have spent their entire histories invading other countries.
In addition to the encircling foreign marauders, Switzerland itself is composed of four different ethnic groups (German, French, Italian, Romansh) that get along as well as, e.g., Germans and French. They don’t even speak the same language.
Yet the Swiss peace prevails through the centuries. The Kaiser didn’t attack the Swiss. Hitler didn’t attack the Swiss (though he thought about it a lot). Stalin started to pursue some refugees into Liechtenstein at the end of WWII, but retreated rather than face the Swiss-Liechtenstein alliance. Terrorists don’t attack the Swiss.
Nobody attacks the Swiss. Not even the Swiss attack the Swiss; their crime rate is minuscule.
The features of the Swiss system for keeping the peace are simple. They have a president with no power to declare war (of course ours can’t either, but no one has told HIM). They have a very small professional army, even small per capita. And they have very strict gun control. By which they mean that every Swiss male must have a gun, except for those who also have to carry a missile launcher or a mortar. Swiss women are not subject to compulsory military service, but many of them frequent the rifle ranges anyway. In the event of any attack on Switzerland, the whole Swiss population becomes the army.
As an additional deterrent against megalomania, the Swiss have rigged the tunnel vaults of their banks for demolition. Any dictator attacking Switzerland will find the gold in his numbered bank account buried in rubble hundreds of meters under mountains swarming with snipers and missile launchers. It is known that Hitler had a numbered account... maybe that was in the back of his mind when he chickened out.
Switzerland has also provided for defense of the lives of its civilian population against nuclear terrorism. Realizing during the Cold War that nuclear weapons in the hands of power-mad politicians posed a potential public health threat, the Swiss started a nationwide shelter-building program in 1960. By 1991, there were enough shelter spaces in Switzerland to protect everyone in their home or apartment, and also at their workplaces and schools. A Swiss citizen is never more than a few minutes from a fallout shelter with an air filter.
The entire Swiss shelter program was accomplished for somewhere on the order of 35 dollars (1990 dollars) per year per capita. The US spends vastly more every year to support a military capable only of intervening in Third World nations that do not have WMDs.
The huge US war machine could not even intercept civilian airliners on 9-11, let alone credibly stop nuclear-tipped cruise and ballistic missiles from a major power. Nor are there bunkers with filtered air supplies under our glass cities or particle-board suburbs. The only civil defense in the US is for the President and the backup supply of bureaucrats under Iron Mountain. Everyone else is nuclear fodder, except for those provident few (such as the Mormons) who build their own shelters to protect their families.
Switzerland does not send troops to intervene in other nations. Switzerland does not spend tens of billions of dollars yearly to fund dictators around the world, nor did Switzerland donate hundreds of billions of dollars to the Warsaw Pact through bank "loans." Switzerland does not send billions of dollars worth of weaponry every year to the warring tribes in the Middle East. Switzerland has no enemies. Yet the Swiss are armed to the teeth and dug into every hill and under every building.
The US intervenes everywhere, spies on everyone, supports every faction in every fight. We have as many enemies as there are hate-filled people in the world. We have a vastly expensive conventional army (though the best units are marching back and forth in Middle Eastern deserts, Afghanistan, Korea, and other "strategic" places). We have vast numbers of offensive nuclear weapons for murdering the civilian populations of cities (but against whom will we retaliate in the event of an anonymous nuclear terrorist attack?).
But we have no civil defenses for our children, no shelters, no thought-out plan for recovery from attack. In fact, when we suffered a few thousand dead on 9-11, we panicked and did ten times more economic damage to ourselves than the terrorists had. We also let ourselves be suckered into joining a Middle Eastern tribal war without end, on transparently fraudulent grounds.
Worse, our fears have destroyed much of our own Constitutional freedom. Would we be braver now, if a few anonymous smuggled nuclear bombs killed millions? Or would we just descend tamely into dictatorship without a struggle?
Our Founding Fathers studied the Swiss when they designed our system of government. Maybe it would pay us to study the long Swiss peace again... before it's too late.
Monday, July 7, 2008
“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
Friday, July 4, 2008
The real meaning of the Fourth of July.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
"Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions."
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
2 Wolves (House & Senate) and a Sheep voting on what
to have for dinner.
Wolves (House, Senate & Executive) taking out a loan
Sheep hunting for dinner.
Sheep guarding against Wolves.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I am honored by the invitation to address you on this august occasion. It's about time. Be warned, however, that I am not here to impress you; you'll have enough smoke blown your way today. And you can bet your tassels I'm not here to impress the faculty and administration.
You may not like much of what I have to say, and that's fine. You will remember it though. Especially after about 10 years out there in the real world. This, it goes without saying, does not apply to those of you who will seek your careers and your fortunes as government employees.
This gowned gaggle behind me is your faculty. You've heard the old saying that those who can - do. Those who can't - teach. That sounds deliciously insensitive. But there is often raw truth in insensitivity, just as you often find feel-good falsehoods and lies in compassion. Say good-bye to your faculty because now you are getting ready to go out there and do. These folks behind me are going to stay right here and teach.
By the way, just because you are leaving this place with a diploma doesn't mean the learning is over. When an FAA flight examiner handed me my private pilot's license many years ago, he said, 'Here, this is your ticket to learn.' The same can be said for your diploma. Believe me, the learning has just begun.
Now, I realize that most of you consider yourselves Liberals. In fact, you are probably very proud of your liberal views. You care so much. You feel so much. You want to help so much. After all, you're a compassionate and caring person, aren't you now? Well, isn't that just so extraordinarily special. Now, at this age, is as good a time as any to be a Liberal; as good a time as any to know absolutely everything. You have plenty of time, starting tomorrow, for the truth to set in. Over the next few years, as you begin to feel the cold breath of reality down your neck, things are going to start changing pretty fast .. including your own assessment of just how much you really know.
So here are the first assignments for your initial class in reality: Pay attention to the news, read newspapers, and listen to the words and phrases that proud Liberals use to promote their causes. Then compare the words of the left to the words and phrases you hear from those evil, heartless, greedy conservatives. From the Left you will hear "I feel." From the Right you will hear "I think." From the Liberals you will hear references to groups --The Blacks, The Poor, The Rich, The Disadvantaged, The Less Fortunate. From the Right you will hear references to individuals. On the Left you hear talk of group rights; on the Right, individual rights.
That about sums it up, really: Liberals feel. Liberals care. They are pack animals whose identity is tied up in group dynamics. Conservatives and Libertarians think -- and, setting aside the theocracy crowd, their identity is centered on the individual.
Liberals feel that their favored groups, have enforceable rights to the property and services of productive individuals. Conservatives (and Libertarians, myself among them I might add) think that individuals have the right to protect their lives and their property from the plunder of the masses.
In college you developed a group mentality, but if you look closely at your diplomas you will see that they have your individual names on them. Not the name of your school mascot, or of your fraternity or sorority, butyourname. Your group identity is going away. Your recognition and appreciation of your individual identity starts now.
If, by the time you reach the age of 30, you do not consider yourself to be a libertarian or a conservative, rush right back here as quickly as you can and apply for a faculty position. These people will welcome you with open arms. They will welcome you, that is, so long as you haven't developed an individual identity. Once again you will have to be willing to sign on to the group mentality you embraced during the past four years.
Something is going to happen soon that is going to really open your eyes. You're going to actually get a full time job! You're also going to get a lifelong work partner. This partner isn't going to help you do your job. This partner is just going to sit back and wait for payday. This partner doesn't want to share in your effort, just your earnings.
Your new lifelong partner is actually an agent; an agent representing a strange and diverse group of people. An agent for every teenager with an illegitimate child. An agent for a research scientist who wanted to make some cash answering the age-old question of why monkeys grind their teeth. An agent for some poor aging hippie who considers herself to be a meaningful and talented artist ... but who just can't manage to sell any of her artwork on the open market.
Your new partner is an agent for every person with limited, if any, job skills; for every person who ignored all offered educational opportunities, dreaming of nothing more than a job at City Hall. An agent for tin-horn dictators in fancy military uniforms grasping for American foreign aid. An agent for multi-million-dollar companies who want someone else to pay for their overseas advertising. An agent for everybody who wants to use the unimaginable power of this agent's for their personal enrichment and benefit.
That agent is our wonderful, caring, compassionate, oppressive Imperial Federal Government. Believe me, you will be awed by the unimaginable power this agent has. Power that you do not have. A power that no individual has, will have or should have. This agent has the legal power to use force – deadly force – to accomplish its goals.
You have no choice here. Your new friend is just going to walk up to you, introduce itself rather gruffly, hand you a few forms to fill out, and move right on in. Say hello to your own personal one ton gorilla with a gun. It will sleep anywhere it wants to.
Now, let me tell you, this agent is not cheap. As you become successful it will seize about 40% of everything you earn. And no, I'm sorry, there just isn't any way you can fire this agent of plunder, and you can't decrease it's share of your income. That power rests with him, not you.
So, here I am saying negative things to you about government. Well, be clear on this: It is not wrong to distrust government. It is not wrong to fear government. In certain cases it is not even wrong to despise government for government is inherently evil. Oh yes, I know it's a necessary evil, but it is dangerous nonetheless ... somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.
Now – let's address a few things that have been crammed into your minds at this university. There are some ideas you need to expunge as soon as possible. These ideas may work well in academic environment, but they fail miserably out there in the real world.
First – that favorite buzz word of the media, government and academia: Diversity!
You have been taught that the real value of any group of people - be it a social group, an employee group, a management group, whatever - is based on diversity. This is a favored liberal ideal because diversity is based not on an individual's abilities or character, but on a person's identity and status as a member of a group. Yes – it's that liberal group identity thing again.
Within the great diversity movement group identification - be it racial, gender based, or some other minority status - means more than the individual's integrity, character or other qualifications.
Brace yourself. You are about to move from this academic atmosphere where diversity rules, to a workplace and a culture where individual achievement and excellence actually count. No matter what your professors have taught you over the last four years, you are about to learn that diversity is absolutely no replacement for excellence, ability, and individual hard work.
From this day on every single time you hear the word "diversity" you can rest assured that there is someone close by who is determined to rob you of every vestige of individuality you possess.
We also need to address this thing you seem to have about "rights." We have witnessed an obscene explosion of so-called "rights" in the last few decades, usually emanating from college campuses.
You know the mantra: You have the right to a job. The right to a place to live. The right to a living wage. The right to health care. The right to an education. You probably even have your own pet right - the right to a Beemer, for instance, or the right to have someone else provide for that child you plan on downloading in a year or so.
Forget it. Forget those rights! I'll tell you what your rights are! You have a right to live free, and to whatever wealth you are able to produce with your labor. I'll also tell you have no right to any portion of the life or labor of another.
You may think, for instance, that you have a right to health care. After all, Hillary said so, didn't she? But you cannot receive health care unless some doctor or health practitioner surrenders some of his time - his life - to you. He may be willing to do this for compensation, but that's his choice. You have no "right" to his time or property. You have no right to his or any other person's life or to any portion thereof.
You may also think you have some "right" to a job; a job with a living wage, whatever that is. Do you mean to tell me that you have a right to force your services on another person, and then the right to demand that this person compensate you with their money? I can't wait for you to point that one out for me in our Constitution. I sure would like to be a fly on the wall when some urban outdoorsmen (that would be "homeless person" for those of you who don't want to give these less fortunate people a romantic and adventurous title) came to you and demanded his job and your money.
The people who have been telling you about all the rights you have are simply exercising one of theirs - the right to be imbeciles. Their being imbeciles didn't cost anyone else either property or time. It's their right, and they exercise it brilliantly.
By the way, did you catch my use of the phrase "less fortunate" a bit ago when I was talking about the urban outdoorsmen? That phrase is a favorite of the Left. Think about it, and you'll understand why.
To imply that one person is homeless, destitute, dirty, drunk, spaced out on drugs, unemployable, and generally miserable because he is "less fortunate" is to imply that a successful person - one with a job, a home and a future - is in that position because he or she was "fortunate." The dictionary says that fortunate means "having derived good from an unexpected place." There is nothing unexpected about deriving good from hard work. There is also nothing unexpected about deriving misery from choosing drugs, alcohol, and the street instead of education and personal responsibility.
If the Left can create the common perception that success and failure are simple matters of "fortune" or "luck," then it is easy to promote and justify their various income redistribution schemes. After all, we are just evening out the odds a little bit, aren't we?
This "success equals luck" idea the liberals like to push is seen everywhere. Democratic presidential candidate Richard Gephardt refers to high-achievers as "people who have won life's lottery." He wants you to believe they are making the big bucks because they are lucky; all they did was buy the right lottery ticket. What an insult this is to the man or woman who works that 60 hour week to provide for a family.
It's not luck, my friends. It's choice. One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was in a book by Og Mandino, entitled "The Greatest Secret in the World." The lesson? Very simple: "Use wisely your power of choice."
That bum sitting on a heating grate, smelling like a wharf rat? He's there by choice. He is there because of the sum total of the choices he has made in his life. This truism is absolutely the hardest thing for some people to accept, especially those who consider themselves to be victims of something or other - victims of discrimination, bad luck, the system, capitalism, whatever. After all, nobody really wants to accept the blame for his or her position in life. Not when it is so much easier to point and say, "Look! He did this to me!" than it is to look into a mirror and say, "You S.O.B.! You did this to me!"
The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms.
Some of the choices are obvious: Whether or not to stay in school. Whether or not to get pregnant. Whether or not to hit the bottle. Whether or not to keep this job you hate until you get another better-paying job. Whether or not to save some of your money, or saddle yourself with huge payments for that new car.
Some of the choices are seemingly insignificant: Whom to go to the movies with. Whose car to ride home in. Whether to watch the tube tonight, or read a book on investing. But, and you can be sure of this, each choice counts. Each choice is a building block - some large, some small. But each one is a part of the structure of your life. If you make the right choices, or if you make more right choices than wrong ones, something absolutely terrible may happen to you. Something unthinkable. You, my friend, could become one of the hated, the evil, the ugly, the feared, the filthy, the successful, the rich.
Quite a few people have followed that tragic path.
The rich basically serve two purposes in this country. First, they provide the investments, the investment capital, and the brains for the formation of new businesses. Businesses that hire people. Businesses that send millions of paychecks home each week to the un-rich.
Second, the rich are a wonderful object of ridicule, distrust, and hatred. Few things are more valuable to a politician than the envy most Americans feel for the evil rich.
Envy is a powerful emotion. Even more powerful than the emotional minefield that surrounded Bill Clinton when he reviewed his last batch of White House interns. Politicians use envy to get votes and power. And they keep that power by promising the envious that the envied will be punished: "The rich will pay their fair share of taxes if I have anything to do with it.'
The truth is that the top 10% of income earners in this country pays almost 50% of all income taxes collected. I shudder to think what these job producers would be paying if our tax system were any more "fair."
You have heard, no doubt, that in America the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Interestingly enough, our government's own numbers show that many of the poor actually get richer, and that quite a few of the rich actually get poorer. But for the rich who do actually get richer, and the poor who remain poor ... there's an explanation -- a reason. The rich, you see, keep doing the things that make them rich; while the poor keep doing the things that make them poor.
Speaking of the poor, during your adult life you are going to hear an endless string of politicians bemoaning the plight of the poor in America. So, you need to know that under our government's definition of "poor" you can have a $5 million net worth, a $300,000 home and a new $90,000 Mercedes, all completely paid for. You can also have a maid, cook, and valet, and $1 million in your checking account, and you can still be officially defined by our government as "living in poverty." Now there's something you haven't seen on the evening news.
How does the government pull this one off? Very simple, really. To determine whether or not some poor soul is "living in poverty," the government measures one thing -- just one thing. Income. It doesn't matter one bit how much you have, how much you own, how many cars you drive or how big they are, whether or not your pool is heated, whether you winter in Aspen and spend the summers in the Bahamas, or how much is in your savings account. It only matters how much income you claim in that particular year. This means that if you take a one-year leave of absence from your high-paying job and decide to live off the money in your savings and checking accounts while you write the next great American novel, the government says you are 'living in poverty."
This isn't exactly what you had in mind when you heard these gloomy statistics, is it?
Do you need more convincing? Try this. The government's own statistics show that people who are said to be "living in poverty" spend more than $1.50 for each dollar of income they claim. Something is a bit fishy here. just remember all this the next time Peter Jennings puffs up and tells you about some hideous new poverty statistics.
And please remember this: The average person in this country described as "poor" has a higher standard of living than the average European. Not the average "poor" European, the average European.
Why has the government concocted this phony poverty scam? Because the government needs an excuse to grow and to expand its social welfare programs, which translates into an expansion of its power. If the government can convince you, in all your compassion,that the number of "poor" is increasing, it will have all the excuse it needs to sway an electorate suffering from the advanced stages of Obsessive-Compulsive Compassion Disorder.
Well, it looks like I'm about to be given the hook. The faculty looks a little angry. I'll bet they've already changed their minds about that honorary degree I was going to get.That's OK, though. I still have my Ph.D. in Insensitivity from the Neal Boortz Institute for Insensitivity Training. I learned that, in short, sensitivity sucks. It's a trap. Think about it - the truth knows no sensitivity. Life can be insensitive. Wallow too much in sensitivity and you'll be unable to deal with life, or the truth. So, get over it.
Now, before the dean has me shackled and hauled off, I have a few random thoughts.
You need to register to vote, unless you are on welfare. If you are living off the efforts of others, please do us the favor of sitting down and shutting up until you are on your own again. To the welfare class I say that we're taking care of you we would appreciate if if you would just stay out of our way so we can get the job done.
When you do vote, your votes for the House and the Senate are more important than your vote for president. The House controls the purse strings, so concentrate your awareness there.
Liars cannot be trusted, even when the liar is the president of the United States. If someone can't deal honestly with you, send them packing.
Don't bow to the temptation to use the government as an instrument of plunder. If it is wrong for you to take money from someone else who earned it -- to take their money by force for your own needs -- then it is certainly just as wrong for you to demand that the government step forward and do this dirty work for you.
Don't look in other people's pockets. You have no business there. What they earn is theirs. What your earn is yours. Keep it that way. Nobody owes you anything, except to respect your privacy and your rights, and leave you the hell alone.
Speaking of earning, the revered 40-hour workweek is for losers. Forty hours should be considered the minimum, not the maximum. You don't see highly successful people clocking out of the office every afternoon at five. The losers are the ones caught up in that afternoon rush hour. The winners drive home in the dark.
Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection.
Finally (and aren't you glad to hear that word), as Og Mandino wrote:
1. Proclaim your rarity. Each of you is a rare and unique human being.
2. Use wisely your power of choice.
3. Go the extra mile ... drive home in the dark.
Oh, and put off buying a television set as long as you can.
Now, if you have any idea at all what's good for you, you will get the hell out of here and never come back.
No, this speech has never been delivered at a college or a university. It was written to protest the fact that such an invitation has never been offered! The irony is that this commencement speech has been more widely distributed, and has been the subject of more comment than any commencement speech that actually has been delivered at any college or university in the past 50 years. Thanks to Neal Boortz for authoring this provocative and truthful piece.