Every parent concerned with their state implementing Common Core standards as it relates to federal dollars match to them should download this form, print, sign and forward to everyone you know. It is from Truth in American Education. Locally, FoundersIntent signed onto several press releases (click HERE to view letter to Luther Olsen, and HERE to view letter to members of the Republican Governors Assoc) to stone-walling state legislators that refuse to hold public hearings on the issue.
Since they won’t let us speak to them, we must try other measures. You may share any of the letters provided here by links with anyone you like.
Please make this go viral, as the video of THIS MAN has since last night. A father in Maryland stood up in a public education meeting designed to silence debate (you had to write your questions down, no discussion), and for doing so he was assaulted by a security officer, arrested and charged with assaulting the GUARD! Please stand up at every turn.
Sign the form. Share the video. Stand up. Speak out. Without you, liberty stands still.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you still cannot see the file above by left or right-clicking on the link, then please try this shockwave preview window below
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory, and might I add, nor the bullet for its swift precision. I love only that which they defend.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Aside from the Constitutional realities of limiting the second amendment, it’s puzzling that mayors and governors demand federal action for things that are reasonably their responsibility to begin with. Public safety, education, public works are local issues, yet every time something bad happens, leaders seek help from D.C. It’s an addiction. The alleged “gun problem” we have is only the latest vehicle of surrender. Continue reading →
Since the Supreme Court’s infamous 4-1-4 ruling on the Affordable Care Act in June, nearly two dozen states have grappled with whether or not to comply with the first of many forthcoming deadlines found in the rules written (and still being written) by the functionally unconstitutional entity known as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
November 16th is the deadline, and a flurry of letters are finding their way to Kathleen Sebelius’ desk this afternoon telling her they will not comply with the requirement to set up an exchange. The great debate has been over the enticement written into the law:
Either states create the exchanges, and the Feds will not only pay for the administrative costs but also the cost increases of expanding Medicare and Medicaid, or…
The Federal government will set one up for them and not give states the authority to direct their exchanges. Continue reading →
Constitutionalists were far from confident that either result of the recent Presidential election would help restore the Founders’ intentions, but many were hoping that an Obama loss would at least slow the extinction. Especially in regard to Obamacare, Conservatives have put a lot of weight on winning federal elections to save what is left of our waning Republic. After a frustrating, suspect and humiliating loss, few noticed the victories for Federalism made across the country – by Progressives.
While Obamacare looks to be intact, and in light of the Supreme Court ruling in June, the battles of Tuesday seemed to be the primary battlefield for Conservative reform. But consider something else, for a moment. The states of Colorado and Washington each approved the recreational use of marijuana, as a product to be regulated and taxed. This is in direct opposition to Federal statute (the Controlled Substances Act) – and a 2005 Supreme Court decision – stating that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S., and lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. But, many states have said otherwise. And this is the balance the Founders presumed the Constitution would protect. But under countless laws, conservatives and progressives alike have mistakenly sought the Federal government to solve local concerns, even if they are unconstitutional actions. And, the Supreme Court has repeatedly supported this presumption, as recently as the Raich decision in 2005, under the bastardization of the Commerce Clause. Coincidentally, this ruling was in regard to marijuana regulation by the Federal government. Nonetheless, today, nine states have approved either conditional or recreational use of marijuana, with many others considering it. All but one are traditionally “blue states.” Whether you approve of the legalization or not, it is an interesting observation in contradiction. Continue reading →
Last week, many pundits commented on the New York Times op-ed that vindicated Sarah Palin’s infamous “death panels” that drew scrutiny from Democrats and moderate Republicans during the ObamaCare debates of 2009.
See, Republicans boasted, she was right all along! Even the New York Times admits that there will be rationing. Yes, Steven Rattner did write in his op-ed that “unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently—rationing, by its proper name—the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.” Yes, Rattner did write that “elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.” And yes, he also stated that families that try every available treatment option to extend or improve the life of their elderly relatives are “an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear.” Continue reading →
In 2007, the Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
For those who are listening to the fallacy that everything is “Bush’s Fault”, think about this: On January 3, 2007, the day the Democrats took control of Congress, the DOW Jones Industrial Average value was, at closing January 5, 2007: 12,398.01. Since then, from June 20, 2008 to January 28, 2011 it went well below 12,000 (as far down as 6,626.94 on March 6, 2009). It is finally showing some signs of recovery, but even the current Dow is inflated by virtually free money and the cash-printing of the Fed.
The Unemployment rate: Was 4.6% in January of 2007, and at 8.1% currently. Please note that an undetermined number of unemployed people that have used up all unemployment benefits and continue to be unemployed IS NOT counted in this percentage as it only counts those on the unemployment compensation rolls.
Debt: Is shown in the table below for each President and who controls Congress. And ahead of predictions, total national debt reached 100% of the GDP by the third quarter of 2011. If counted using the total public debt outstanding over the annual GDP in chained 2005 dollars, the ratio reached 115% on Feb. 2012.
People complain about exploding deficits under George W. Bush, and some of this consternation is well-founded with his increased spending every year, often at a greater pace than his predecessor. However, his economic policies led to even greater increases in tax revenue per economic dollar created. President Bush demonstrated that letting people keep more of their own money leads to economic growth. In 2001, America was experiencing the unprecedented triple shock of a recession following the dot-com bust, economic disruption due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, and corporate accounting scandals. Fortunately, the country was able to overcome these challenges, in part because President Bush’s tax relief put more money in families’ pockets and encouraged businesses to grow and invest. Following the President’s 2003 tax relief, the United States had 52 months of uninterrupted job growth, the longest run on record” per the White House.gov archives site.
As another example: Based on that historical record from the National Bureau of Economic Research, we should be in the third year of an economic recovery boom right now. That is what we experienced under Reagan, which was the last time we recovered from a recession of similar magnitude. In September 1983, the Reagan recovery, less than a year after it began, created 1.1 million jobs in that one month alone compared to Obama’s 230,000. In the second year of the Reagan recovery, real economic growth boomed by 6.8%, the highest in 50 years.
But back to our current issues: Clinton shares at least some of the blame for the current financial chaos. He beefed up the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act to force mortgage lenders to relax their rules to allow more socially disadvantaged borrowers to qualify for home loans. In 1999 Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which ensured a complete separation between commercial banks, which accept deposits, and investment banks, which invest and take risks. The move prompted the era of the superbank and primed the sub-prime pump. The year before the repeal sub-prime loans were just 5% of all mortgage lending. By the time the credit crunch blew up it was approaching 30%. In 2003, the Bush administration tried to stop the runaway train of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. Democrats alone didn’t stop this. No one filibustered the Bush administration’s bill in the Senate; it didn’t have the votes to pass. Likewise in 2006, when Chuck Hagel, John McCain, John Sununu, and Elizabeth Dole attempted to fix Fannie and Freddie, Republicans controlled Congress and did nothing to pass this bill. Democrats blocked it, but had there been some help from Republicans, both efforts would have passed easily. This is not just a Democratic or a Republican party problem at this point.
January 3rd, 2007 was the day Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee. The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in those same areas of the economy…BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES which were weakened by Clinton’s actions mentioned above and mismanaged.
THANK YOU for dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES! BTW: Bush attempted to control and reign in Fannie & because it was financially risky for the US economy. Barney blocked it and called it a “Chicken Little Philosophy” (but…the sky did fall!) and the Republicans in congress followed his lead. Why? Because both parties were getting money from Freddie and Fannie. You can look at this table at this site to see the total contributions made to each member….which, strangely enough, Obama had the second largest contributions (just under C. Dodd)….
The last balanced budget was in 2001 in the 106th congress controlled by Republicans. In that first year of Bush’s administration, Congress had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending when he, somewhat belatedly, got tough on spending increases. Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009, as well as 2010 & 2011. Obama has now gone 1,000 days without a budget, and is still blaming it on the minority Party for most of the last 6 years.
For FY 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid bypassed Lame Duck President George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budget.
And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of those massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009. Let’s remember what the deficits looked like during that period:
If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.
If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself and a Democratic Congress.
In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is: “I inherited a deficit that I voted for, and then I expanded that deficit four-fold since January 20th 2009.”
“The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.”
To remind you: All financial matters are initiated by the House. Here is the breakdown of who controlled which areas of Congress and for what years for each President.
A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT is the most sensical, most accountable method of reining in runaway spending. While the Founders never included such a provision, they didn’t think it was necessary with the limitations on revenue channels and the foundation of Federalism. Since the 16th and 17th Amendments, the Constitutional system we had has been perverted enough to create an almost insurmountable imbalance that can only be corrected with Constitutional limitations on borrowing and spending on the federal level. The first attempt at a BBA was in 1936, in the midst of a massive socialistic transformation in our Federal Government. On May 4, 1936, RepresentativeHarold Knutson (R-Minnesota) introduced House Joint Resolution 579, resolution in support of a Constitutional Amendment that would have placed a per capita ceiling on the federal debt in peacetime. Clearly, it never saw the light of day. Two Democrats, Thomas Perriello (D-WV) and Sen. Udall (D-CO) have both proposed their own versions, along with a more recent initiative by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). We need grassroots help to make this a major initiative in the coming years, or our children may literally not have an American Dream of which to pursue, let alone achieve.
Solyndra – Founded in 2005; received $528 million in government subsidies in 2009. Result: Bankrupt in 2011. The Chinese and others made solar panels better and cheaper.
Samuel Langley – Tried to build first airplane in history. In 1900, U.S. government funded two flight attempts.
Result: Both times, Langley crashed his plane into the Potomac River. Shortly thereafter, the Wright brothers flew a plane with their own money.
Union Pacific Railroad – Founded in early 1860s with government money to build part of a transcontinental railroad.
Result: Bankrupt, and some officers of the railroad convicted of bribing Congressmen. JJ Hill and The Great Northern Railroad then built a transcontinental railroad with no corruption and no federal subsidies.
Edward Collins Steamship Company – Founded in 1840s to go from New York to England, and also received government subsidies in 1840s and 1850s. Result: Bankrupt in 1858. Cornelius Vanderbilt successfully built ships to go from New York to England with no subsidies.
Government operated fur company – Founded in 1795 with federal money to compete with the British. Result: Near bankruptcy, and shut down in 1822. John Jacob Astor built the American Fur Company in 1808 and flourished with no federal subsidies.
“If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
President Obama had some words for small business owners last week, reminding them that without Government subsidization, infrastructure, education dollars and loans, they would have never existed. Paternal dependence is the new economic bubble. Don’t you forget it.
The president suggested all business owners striking out on their own and fulfilling the American Dream are beholden to teachers, road-builders, bridge-builders, and other government workers. His reasoning of course, is to lead us to believing the wealthiest 1%, which now pays 38% of all income taxes, should pay even more.
By contrast, Mitt Romney stopped in Bowling Green, Ohio and spoke about the President’s words, and discussed the virtues of economic liberty and the dangers of government meddling in free markets. He then asked small business owners to stand. The crowd, without any cue, broke into spontaneous applause as Romney shouted “Thank you! Thank you!”
Which vision of America, and perspective of America’s most productive people do YOU want in a President? While Mitt Romney does not exactly embody traditional Conservative or Libertarian principles, and is more of a Rockefeller Republican than a Coolidge Constitutionalist, he certainly knows the meme a nation needs to pull itself out of the deepest and longest recession in its history. Praising the producers as well as the laborors as ONE CLASS of Americans is not just shrewd politics, but also distinctly American. The Founders would have been clapping with everyone else.
While we have much gratitude to share with our parents, LOCAL teachers, friends and business partners, we have very little obligation to position our ever-benevolent Government at the top of the credit list for our personal accomplishments. The audacity of the mindset is breathtaking.
Everything the Government touches languishes. Great ideas go to government programs to catatonically survive until a better idea comes along to make it an enterprise or industry. Brilliant minds are capable of big dreams when they enter a government institution, but soon fall into an undead state of think-tank do-nothingness and check-writing.
The Pentagon created a technology: the communication of computers, for its own security and efficiency. It took 20 years before businesses like Microsoft, Apple, IBM and AOL made the internet a commercial reality.
NASA landed on the moon and made space travel a reality, but we are now seeing the costs of this industry radically drop as entrepreneurs are finding ways to build rockets and capsules without $20,000 O-rings and $500 bolts. Tickets to space are predicted by the end of the decade.
Even the Federal Government’s foray into modical care for seamen of the late 18th century fell into terrible quality and cost issues that plague the industry to this day. The best and most creative, affordable care is penalized with regulations that make it difficult for the free market to make health care truly competitive and transparent.
THE FOUNDERS’ INTENT AND WISDOM: LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES
The federal government was designed by the Founders to protect the general welfare, not to facilitate its economic health. The concept of paternal government care, democracy, republicanism or managed economic markets were nothing new last century, or in theirs. In fact, the Founders, namely John Adams and Alexander Hamilton knew better than most the history of governments of old and what worked and what didn’t. They knew every great idea had failed eventually, and they determined to build a system that would balance itself when one part became imbalanced. The result would be vibrant, long term growth, economic wealth and what they perceived as the greatest of all, individual liberty.
They certainly accomplished just that. What’s amazing is that despite wars, mass immigration, rapid industrialization and a cultural melting pot, Americans succeeded because of the principles set in place by our Founders. These principles were very simple, and will never be out-dated:
Property – What you earn or buy is yours and cannot be confiscated without your consent
Protection - You have the right to protect your family and possessions by any means necessary
Rule of Law - A nation without laws is a breeding ground for anarchy. Equitable and fair justice by your peers
Personal Responsibility - Human nature is flawed, and altering the realities of failure or success kills responsibility
Limited Government - Because human nature is flawed, government is inherently at war with indivdual liberty. Limiting government, and keeping it as local as possible, minimizes the allure of power on the front end and limits the damage of corruption on the back end.
Republicanism - Pure Democracy has always led to anarchy and tyranny. Every time. Republican representation provides a protection between minorities and majorities, and a buffer between timely wisdom and emotional mobacracy.
When the Federal Government involves itself with subsidization, it alters these principles by perverting reality.
Property is no longer yours, it was given to you by the collective. Protection is no longer a right, because others have a stake in your estate. Rule of Law is questionable, because laws are altered to maintain the perverted relationship, or altogether ignored. Personal Responsibility is lost because success is never truly earned and appreciated, and failure is never truly feared, or learned from. Limited Government is impossible when it receives the power of the purse like a carrot and horse. It will naturally grow, manipulate and perpetuate its existence until it is much larger than intended even by those who enjoy utilizing it. Finally, Republics die when they focus on manipulating the masses they care for, rather than allowing the people to determine their own local fate.
The President was right, no one is an island. But the Government is certainly not an oasis. It infects, it corrupts and it controls. Even in the hands of good men, government is a dangerous tool and a tempting weapon. So the President was wrong, Government is not the answer. A free community is.
SUBSIDIES OF ANY KIND ARE TROJAN BENEFITS
Texan farmers wanted government assistance in 1887, but President Cleveland vetoed the bill and warned they stand to lose their liberty if they’re willing to sacrifice for security. 50 years later, farmers wanted help, so President Roosevelt attacked an Ohio farmer for growing wheat on his land during the Great Depression, for his own consumption. They ordered his wheat destroyed and charged him a debilitating fine claiming he was manipulating market prices by not buying wheat on the open market.
Conservative, self-reliant men and women still rely on family, friends, neighbors and local government for their success, but not without the Founding Principles being in place. Government exists to protect and execute the rule of law, not to manage the nature its intended to limit.
Henry Ford once said, “Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them.” When you centralize that dangerous reality, you include everyone in the misery of human nature in the name of saving us from it.
Americans everywhere, in construction industries, local schools, entertainment, news, technology, research, manufacturing and services must learn from history that while rejecting government support makes their dreams riskier, the liberty they’ll retain with their coming riches are a far greater reward than the harsh reset failure occasionally forces us to tolerate.
Economic Development groups, School Boards, Research Facilities… seek your success among the private sector and loosen yourself from the chains of Government money; build yourself with those around you, not the government, or you’ll end up the footnote in history, rather than the headline.
I will never forget what my dad told me the night my high school basketball team won the Wisconsin Division I State Championship: “you’ll appreciate this more as time goes on.” At the time, I didn’t think that was possible, but thirteen years later, he was right (as usual). Today I marvel at what my team accomplished because I understand what a rare opportunity it was to play with such talented female athletes, but also because we overcame so many obstacles in order to cut down those nets.
Such victories grow sweeter with time. And over time we will marvel about what took place in Wisconsin on June 5, 2012. Sure, we reelected Scott Walker in a heated recall election, and I don’t intend to re-hash the significance of this victory here, but it’s worth noting what the fiscally-responsible voters overcame, because we will need the same exertion and ardor on a national scale to overcome SCOTUS’s constitutional illusion on taxation come November.
TRUTH BEARS REPEATING. AGAIN.
Votes have consequences. But who says the consequences must be a slap in the face to conservatism? In eighteen months, Wisconsin voters mandated, then re-mandated, a leader that campaigned on fiscal responsibility and limited government. And here is a synopsis of what we put up with in the process:
Governor Scott Walker proposed Act 10 on February 11, 2011. The budget bill was aimed at overcoming the state’s $137 million deficit from the current budget, and by eliminating collective bargaining rights from public-sector unions, communities would now have the ability to adjust revenue by placing competition and authority in the driver’s seat. Hell broke loose on February 12.
Paid protestors and flustered fraternities descended on the Wisconsin State Capitol building within hours. With greasy hair, sleeping bags, drums, banjos, air horns and guitars, the protestors lived in the Capitol’s rotunda singing songs devoted to world peace and human rights. They craftily created a human peace sign, captured perfectly in a photograph displayed on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s website. For weeks, news crews captured their passionate songs and chants that drowned out legislative meetings taking place only a few feet away behind closed doors.
Protestors pushed against the closed doors of the senate chambers, pounding with their fists and shouting about injustices. Other protestors sat in front of the main entrance to the chambers, preventing republican senators from entering; the senators were forced to enter a separate doorway, walking between police officers holding back the rabid crowd.
Speaking from the second-level of the capitol rotunda, Jesse Jackson led the impassioned crowd in a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” Teachers received fake sick notes written by doctors excusing them from their jobs so they could partake in the festivities, and some even brought their students with them—a nod to alternative education by demonstrating social activism, and apparently, medical fraud.
On February 13, 2011, Republicans called for a vote on the Budget Repair Bill. Fourteen senate democrats, out of ideas (or principles), fled to Illinois and outside of the jurisdiction of state authorities, and remained at “undisclosed locations” for 26 days. Legislative leaders were forced to put off the vote, urging the senators to return to Wisconsin to “do their jobs.” Assembly democrats wore orange t-shirts with “Assembly Democrats for Working Families” printed across the front in bold, black letters—an act of solidarity with their fleeing friends.
Because 20 senators of the 33-member house are required to pass a fiscal bill, the “fleeing fourteen” left only 19 voting senate members at the capitol. Democrats hoped that by postponing the vote, the pressure of local union organizations and protestors would force Walker to negotiate. Senator Chris Larson of Milwaukee said, “It was pretty obvious they [republican senators] weren’t going to listen to the thousands of people protesting.” Yes, that was correct.
Instead of waiting for vacationing senators to return to work, Walker’s assembly called for a vote on the bill on March 9. Even in the hours before the assembly voted, local school districts called emergency school board meetings to extend current teacher contracts, effectively nullifying the budget repair bill’s effects for school districts. The assembly voted. Protestors were enraged. The bill passed.
As quickly as the bill passed, activists demanded the recall of Scott Walker. The recall effort officially began on November 15, 2011, and on January 17, 2012, United Wisconsin, the coalition that spearheaded the recall effort along with the Democratic Party, announced that they had collected one million signatures, far exceeding the 540,208 required.
Donald Duck, Adolf Hitler, out-of-state activists, 25 journalists and 29 circuit court judges also signed the petitions.
Governor Walker requested that the Governmental Accountability Board certify the signatures gathered due to numerous reports of fraud, but a Dane County judge denied his request. Another Dane County judge, David Flanagan, issued a temporary restraining order on March 6 against Walker’s new voter ID law, right after he signed the petition. Because of his restraining order, the voter ID law would not be in effect for the recall election. Of course not.
Facebook provided an extended soap box to the impassioned youth who “stand with the teachers.” Innuendos ensued— the under-appreciation of teachers, lachrymose for hard-working middleclass families thrown under the proverbial bus, and iconic images of the blue fist—which AFL-CIO explains as an image “of solidarity and strength not only for the Wisconsin union movement but for the global struggle for social justice and democracy”– flooded the social media site for months. But the same crowd felt no compassion for Scott Walker’s sons who were also targeted with cruel comments. Of course not.
During the petition push, public-sector unions raised $17.6 million from state and national union organizations, and many protesters were paid to continue their foot battle right through election night. The governor’s family was targeted daily by an irate union supporter who shouted and honked his car horn outside of the family’s private residence. Lawmakers shouted “Shame!” at their republican counterparts entering and leaving the capitol each day.
Unions threatened and boycotted local businesses for supporting Walker, or for simply refusing to post pro-union propaganda visible to their clientele. The protestors caused $270,000 in damage to the state capitol building over the course of their stay (that is what democracy looks like?).
The recall election took place on June 5. Walker was the third governor in U.S. history to be recalled—and the first to survive. Rachel Maddow was stunned. Ed Schultz felt the same, befuddled that a man “who could be indicted in a couple of days” would win the election. CNN interviewed a distraught protestor who claimed, through impassioned tears, that the end of democracy—and the U.S— was upon us.
SO, WHO WON?
The voters won. Regardless of money, pressure, national labor organizations, biased media coverage, cheating, activist judges, distrustful politicians or misinformation, the voters won. We did it once this year and we can do it again. Repealing ObamaCare—and Obama— are much higher stakes for our nation, but regardless of the jeopardous policy, the jeopardous opponent remains the same. Time to lace up, folks. We can celebrate once we repeat.
No doubt, the last several years in America have been challenging to everyone, on all sides.
It has both challenged those on the left as they see so many millions question their policies and principles, and has infuriated said millions on the right because they cannot believe how quickly America has turned away from its founding principles. Both sides agree there’s problems in education, costs of health care and national security – they differ widely in how to address them. Interestingly, their differences are not usually as wide as they think. In policy, yes; in principle, no.
What was new in 1787 was the unique opportunity for free, moral men to establish their own government in a fair and enduring manner for all men. What was new turned out to be the specific system of checks and balances between governments; the acknowledgement of fallen human nature; government’s suspicion of their own power and the preservation of innate liberties that would create the most successful society in human history
Our system was not perfect, but as the Founders wrote, they sought a “more perfect union,” and fortunately, because of the character of her people the nation has found its way around the pragmatic decisions at the time to extend liberty to everyone as equally as possible before or since. We inspired a world in slavery; we liberated a continent under siege; we invented entire industries among our creative people; we ushered in the greatest economic improvement in the global community ever in history, and have managed to maintain it for longer than any other time in history.
And yet, never before has this legacy been more threatened by the very mindset that results from such long-lasting prosperity. Complacency, removal from struggle, disassociation from organic, neighborly concern is birthed in societies where we assume someone else can take care of this or that; we have allowed collectivism to creep into a society where collectivism had no part. Yet, we use the benefits of its absence (true liberty and free markets) to make an argument for it.
We have been doing this for over 120 years. The chickens have come home to roost; as they’d say in the northwest, the salmon have come back to spawn. And spawn they have – last year, 40,000 new laws were passed and enacted into law. Tacitus, the Roman orator and considered the world’s greatest historian warned us: “The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates.”
How did this happen? It didn’t happen overnight, but it didn’t happen by accident either, nor by mere neglect. Good people were sold on false ideas proven faulty by the Founders, and the liberty baby was proverbially thrown out with the bathwater of a young and imperfect republic. The notion of the fallibility of man was replaced with the belief we could improve the human condition collectively. Every man has a voice; good government must surely follow, yes? No. It has never worked in human history, and unless we intervene now, history will replay itself once again and we will have failed to learn from it.
The Progressives’ war has been engaged for well over 150 years, but it received its greatest and most imperative successes about 100 years ago. After a series of failures in the Supreme Court, and multiple attempts to expand government taxation and service programs throughout the country in the late 19th century, Progressives, who had been working on reforming public education for years, finally got what they wanted in the early 1900’s with the democracy movement fueled by unions, women’s suffrage and increased civil liberties in the South. They saw the opportunity to seize on legitimate cultural reforms to change the very structure of American government, and our relationship to it. Real abuses in the corporate world and the harsh adjustment of cities to transition during the industrialization era led people to believe investing more power in government could be the best solution. They abrogated local power to state and federal power, and the consolidation of this authority was cemented when the idea of direct elections became the emphasis, rather than representative republicanism. From 1901-1913, nearly every republican structure in the nation had changed. In 1913, democratic energy finally came to a zenith with the passage of the 16th and 17th amendments – the power to tax, and the direct election of U.S. Senators, respectively.
The “federation” of government, by definition was intended to be a dispersed concentration of power, where the States individually retained the appropriate powers, “innumerable” as they were, and collectively delegated, few and “enumerated” as they are,in the central “national” government. This was by design.
In Federalist No. 46, James Madison asserted that the states and national government “are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers.”
Alexander Hamilton, writing in Federalist No. 28, suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens’ benefit: “If their [the peoples’] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress.”
The birth of the Progressive reforms at the turn of the 20th century was the destruction of the only preventive-check on manipulated democracy. The 17th amendment fundamentally changed the balance of federal and state power by eliminating the accountability the Senators had with their states and transforming them into 6 year versions of the 2 year House. The result was 5 years of unaccountable, easily-corrupted de-governance determined more by lobbyists than that alleged “direct voice” everyone was looking out for. The clarification in the 16th amendment gave this new imbalanced government the power to confiscate as much money as it deemed necessary to its ambitions.
In the Founders’ vision of the Senate, the distance for positive action is as close as the state capitol and its legislature. Senators used to represent their state and the people’s need within that state.
The Founders understood that the failures of the Roman Republic and the Greek Democracy could both be gleaned from; their respective falls into extinction showed that no perfect government existed and could be manipulated by a flawed human nature, individual OR collective, for which the Founders had a profound fear of. They intended to create a dispersed power structure that both maintained the wisdom of republican representation, while protecting the right of a self-governing people to direct the behavior of their own government. The 17th destroyed the balance, and the results are the last 100 years of Progressive havoc. Prior to ratifying the amendment, citizens saw much more of their Senators. They also usually retained the ability to vote for their most popular choice, and the State legislatures would then most often appoint the most popular choice, subject to their discretion and the needs of their state. As a result, the Senate was essentially an advisory board to the House and Executive branch, not a mere politicking body as it is now.
While convincing arguments are made of caring for the poor, the mathematical realities are ignored. The concept of forced charity doesn’t register in the minds of the masses, because the masses are increasingly the beneficiaries of that forced compassion, rather than the ones with the gun in the face. Resisting the illogical programs – never mind their constitutionality for a moment – is futile because so many around you have come to depend on those benefits to survive. Very few are principled enough to vote themselves into struggle.
The problems are many-fold, but the most acute symptom of our degrading society is the federalization of these benefits. Local determination has been lost, local control is irrelevant and the consolidation of power in Washington, D.C. has become so great, that many have failed to see the sickening marriage between corporate powers and government powers are equally as frightening. Because the problem appears so daunting, we just vote our heart and hope for the best. But that’s what got us here in the first place.
The direct election of Senators removed the most important safe-guard against the mobocracy and manipulated masses. Where the states once had a direct representation in the Federal government, so they may protect the interests of their local determination, we now have a more corrupt body than the one we had sought to reform in 1913.
And make no mistake, the “reform” to be sought was merely the veneer selling point – the goal of far too many Progressives was the consolidation of power, not merely the improvement of human conditions, and they understood very well what they were doing. It was the manipulated masses that did not. Touché
THE REPUBLIC MUST FIND A HOME IN OUR HEARTS
The way to restore the balance the Founders intended is complicated, and you will never find complete agreement as to how, but we all should agree as to why. Without the repeal of the 17th amendment the 9th and 10th amendments have no value. Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution promises the States a republican form of government, for a reason.
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect them against invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.”
Every structure needs tensions on either side to secure the structure and assure stability. The 17th Amendment, in essence, violates the spirit of Article 4, Section 4, and eliminated that guarantee of stability, making the assurance a matter of one’s word only, not enforceable by any legal or practical means.
What I fear may eventually occur is that the imbalance Conservatives find echoing socialist ideals will become far worse, and lead us down a road much more repressive than the economies of Europe. One would think observing their experiments in enlightenment-communalism mixed with convenient shreds of facio-capitalism would have shown us the Founders were right, but it appears that this paradigm realization has not yet happened.
To restore the value of the 9th and 10th amendments, we must repeal the 17th amendment; Senators would once again be directly accountable to State capitals, and could be recalled in the case of malfeasance or counterproductive policy. And in order to accomplish this, I propose that a consistent dedication to education be orchestrated to teach our local communities how important a republican government is, and why our Founders constructed the careful balance they did. The Progressives have de-educated three generations of Americans into believing pure democracy is a human right, and that a representative system is more easily corrupted. Once the people have an understanding and cautious trust in the system, we may have States willing to forcibly restoring that balance. It will take more than a brave politician or two; rather, millions of educated citizens need to understand the need to tell their Federal government that it is too powerful; too presumptuous; too untrustworthy to retain the power once held by their local State governments. If power is forever corrupting, let the corruption be that which I can see and not be hidden; power distanced from the hand which can rightly correct it is forever lost to the ambition of rulers.
Our relationship with government will always be a fluid interpretation; as well it should be. We change as people, and as such, while our principles must remain, our methods of governing should also change. Instead of looking ahead into the unknown and experimenting with proven tenets of good governance, we should trust more the lessons of history than the dreams of planners and manipulators. The modern relationship we currently have in the 21st century with government will assure that we as a people only change in one direction – more dependency, less self-sufficiency, less education, more consolidation of wealth in the hands of few. Harry Browne aptly described the self-perpetuating nature of a benevolent government:
“Government is good at one thing: it knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch and say, ‘see if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.’”
It is not coincidence that the transfer of power from State to Federal government in 1913 directly correlates with the rapid increase in spending, government welfare experiments and the radical assumption of public debt. For the same reason credit cards are so easy to fall prey to in personal finance, removing oneself from the direct cost of local subsidies removes all inhibition to passively approving unsustainable debt and dependency.
Local government is so important to a free and successful society, and most people will agree with this. So the relationship with the federal government must change. Our relationship is determined by our status and morality as a community. So it would be reason to say experiments in social services, environmental policies, education structures and the means to pay for them should be retained as locally as possible. We can win hearts, and votes with this logical argument. You may be surprised how many progressive neighbors will agree with this line of thinking.
Our goal should be to know and engage our community as much as possible, not depend on the benevolence of a distant government to perfect the condition of a world it is too far removed from to understand. Education, health care, security, economic freedom, work conditions, civil rights are very personal, intimate areas of our lives, and should be held tightly and locally, even if they affect us as a whole nation. Teach your neighbors the virtues of a local community knowing and controlling its own fate, and you just might see the republic which protects this, find a home in the hearts of the democratic masses once again.
Without the principles of the First Amendment, revolution would be impossible.
With the First Amendment, revolution is unnecessary.
In our part-one article on this amendment, the case was made that the first amendment was intended not as four independent liberties, but four interdependent liberties that assured the People could be protected from the Government through their own choice in faith, association, speech and protest, and the freedom to file grievances. This was a distinct protection not enjoyed under England’s rule. They assured peaceful revolution would always be possible, and tyranny almost impossible. Any without all would prove toothless in the path of true tyranny.
The Founders understood how the revolution dramatically changed the political landscape from King George’s England; if Americans could break off from the Church of England, why not England itself?[i] Politically, the states needed assurances the national government they created could not reverse the new spiritual freedoms now practiced on farms and plantations. The Virginians, Madison and Mason helped shepherd the creation of some amendments to the young Constitution. They wrote:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
ROOTED IN MORAL AWAKENING
Madison and Mason lived through the end of the Great Awakening and the entire Revolution. They must have learned a critical lesson: government is downstream from culture. Taxation without representation is correctly viewed as the impetus for the American Revolution. At the same time, they knew the Revolution likely would not have occurred without the Great Awakening.[ii]
The political aspects of the Revolution cannot be separated from the religious. The Great Awakening in the colonies in the first half of the 18th century fractured the King’s control over a centralized, national religion. By the Revolution, approximately two-thirds of the white population[iii] were dissenters from the Church of England. Although not political, the Great Awakening held deep political ramifications.
The Virginians were the first to articulate the principles of the First Amendment, but the elder statesman from Pennsylvania had already practiced them for years. Without realizing, Benjamin Franklin and his Philadelphia press demonstrated the practical use and logical outcome of putting government downstream of culture;[iv] a government of the people.
Pennsylvania’s pluralism already promoted the first goal of the First Amendment: disestablishment. The colony had no official State religion. At the same time, the public donated money to build a hall specifically reserved for preachers of all faiths.
George Whitefield noted,
“The House and Ground were vested in Trustees, expressly for the Use of any Preacher of any religious Persuasion who might desire to say something to the People of Philadelphia…”
WHITFIELD, AMERICA’S FIRST PASTOR
If transported to modern culture, Whitefield would be a household name. He would be the most widely known preacher in America. He would be a pioneer on social networking sites, possibly a commentator on a Fox News morning show, have a blog, and have an hour blocked off on Sunday morning television. Think Billy Graham meets Mark Zuckerberg.[v] Everyone knew him. And Whitefield was impressed that Philadelphia would pay for a pulpit for preachers of all religions.
Publicly funding a hall for preaching would certainly be viewed as a violation of First Amendment principles today. No doubt, secularists would assert the principle of “separation of church and state.”[vi] This phrase as understood today would have been completely foreign to Franklin, Madison, and Mason. While they sought to keep a national government from mandating a national religion, they did not seek to prevent religion from influencing government.
Whitefield and Franklin met in Philadelphia in 1739. Around the same time Whitefield came to Philadelphia, he began printing journals and a monthly periodical.[vii] Although unproven, it is believed Franklin and Whitefield grew wealthy in large part to Franklin publishing Whitefield’s stories.
Famously, Franklin and some friends from his Junto club attended a Whitefield sermon in Philadelphia. He had resolved not to donate any money to an orphanage Whitefield planned, but by the end of the sermon, emptied his pockets. Another fellow had anticipated the overwhelming urge to donate, and had removed his money before coming to the sermon. He turned to a friend for a loan, but was rebuffed. “At any other time, Friend Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; but not now; for thee seems to be out of thy right Senses,” he said.
HOW THE AWAKENING AFFECTED FRANKLIN – DISESTABLISHMENT
Franklin is not viewed by history as a revolutionary. He was loyal to the Crown. He arranged for his illegitimate son to become Governor of New Jersey. Sent to London by his fellow Pennsylvanians, his initial task was to convince Parliament to make the Penn’s pay their fair share of taxes. He remained in Europe, and after the French and Indian War, Britain attempted to pay for the war via the Stamp Act. The House of Commons summoned Franklin and demanded an explanation of why the colonists would not pay the taxes. Franklin stood in the House of Commons during questioning. Now age 60, Franklin’s gout would have put him in excruciating pain. This may have been the final insult. Franklin was the most well-respected colonist America had to offer, yet the House would not permit him to sit in their presence. From then, Franklin was one of the most effective forces for freedom.
Franklin’s premise in the House of Commons was that the colonists were willing to lay taxes on themselves. Instead, they were being taxed without having a true say in the matter. It was taxation without representation. Franklin said in part,
“The assemblies have only peaceably resolved what they take to be their rights; they have taken no measures for opposition by force, they have not built a fort, raised a man, or provided a grain of ammunition, in order to such opposition. The ringleaders of riots, they think, ought to be punished; they would punish them themselves if they could….The Colonies raised, paid, and clothed near twenty-five thousand men during the last war — a number equal to those sent from Britain, and far beyond their proportion; they went deeply into debt in doing this, and all their taxes and estates are mortgaged for many years to come for discharging that debt.”
Franklin lived each point and principle of the First Amendment before it existed; the choice in faith, assembly, speech and protest and grievances.
Disestablishment, as a principle, guaranteed religion (faith) would impact the broader culture without government control, which was the forward protection of individual liberty.
Without free speech and free press, the words spoken by the evangelists could not have been heard or disseminated across the nation. Without the right to peaceably assemble, those longing for spiritual freedom could only find their hope at the feet of a preacher told by the State what to say. And without the right to petition for a redress of grievances, no citizen could attempt to fix wrongs by peaceful, non-revolutionary means.
What is the Founders Intent for the First Amendment? In short, the First Amendment guarantees revolution would only be a last resort against a tyrannical regime, and if preserved by the people and exercised, assures it would never be needed.
[i] The Great Awakening was by no means intended to be political, as today’s “Liberation Theology” professes. [ii] I can hear the laptops shutting across America. Fear not! I am no ghostwriter for David Barton. [iii] A. James Reichley, Faith in Politics, 85. [iv]I do not assert Franklin as the mastermind behind the First Amendment, nor do I suggest against historical evidence Franklin was a revolutionary. I merely point to Franklin because most Americans have some framework with his body of work, and his life touched on every First Amendment principle. Finally, I do not assert the First Amendment was in place when Franklin began his work. [v]Only with more investors. [vi] Which appears nowhere in the Constitution. Jefferson supposedly wrote the phrase in a letter to the Danbury Baptists some time after the Constitution was written. Jefferson, serving overseas during the debate over the Constitution and its Amendments would have had very little influence on its terms. [vii]See page 15, FN 1 of the following link. http://www.quintapress.com/files/whitefield/Journals.pdf