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
In light of the recent buzz surrounding Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s radio PSA on gun safety and crime-prevention, other local sheriffs have been brought into the mainstream with their own opinions. While a few law enforcement officers are vociferously opposed to the PSA and have thrown partisan attack jabs at the Milwaukee Sheriff, most have been supportive. One such local Sheriff is three-time elected Daniel Trawicki, from neigborhing County, Waukesha.
On January 29th, he wrote an op-ed that was featured in the print edition of the Waukesha Freeman, a daily County newspaper. They feature the columns of many prominent, local leaders in the Conservative community. Below is one of the most reasonable and difficult-to-rebut cases for protecting the right to bear arms in a way that is normal, and wise. Not partisan, radical or dangerous. He joins Sheriff Clarke in trusting the people to be partners in crime prevention, tyranny deterring and safety-promotion. Here is the radio PSA Clarke put on the air last week:
Wisconsin is blessed to have a strong Conservative government that has observed open-carry for a long time, and recently passed sweeping concealed carry legislation. In a little over a year, 155,000 citizens have gone through certified safety courses, applied and received their concealed carry permits in the State of Wisconsin. From Governor Walker to Attorney General JB Van Hollen (who is registrant #1 on the list), the state has a strong hunting and personal protection legacy that shows how a government of the people can trust the people to govern themselves. The way the Founders intended.
With the recent tragedies across America, our leaders in Washington are once again calling for stricter controls on firearms.
The obvious answer to senseless violence seems to be the restriction of firearms and access to specific types of guns, magazines and bullets. To many it’s a quick, easy and appropriate solution that will help protect our children, neighbors and friends.
There is, however a serious flaw in that logic. The idea that this simple solution will resolve society’s larger problems is ridiculous. everyone wants a clean, neat and tidy answer as to why we are killing each other, and there is none. No one wants to factor in the status of our health care system in general and the breakdown of mental healthcare in particular across the country. where do family values and the breakdown of family relationships and responsibility come into play? How about our children and young adults have access to over-the-top movies and video games that depict murder and mayhem as just another Saturday morning?
As our children experience difficulty in the classroom or social settings, the answer is to medicate away the problem. Depression, poor grades, anxiety and everything in between have a quick and clean remedy. Don’t focus on the root of the problem, rather take a pill and make the SYMPTOMS go away. No one could deny the outrage we all feel when another senseless killing occurs. And helpless victims are cut down in their prime. But are guns really to blame? National crime statistics show time and again that there are many other causes other than so-called assault rifles, and high capacity magazines that are responsible for the majority of deaths in the United States. A quick look at deaths in automobiles and specifically alcohol-related crashes makes us aware of how fragile life truly is. Yet I don’t see a national movement to outlaw motor vehicles or alcohol.
Many feel that outlawing certain guns and components is a quick and easy solution to a long and complicated problem. I do not follow, nor agree with that line of thinking. Some may think that proposals recently outlined by the President are logical initiatives to combat a national crisis. Others, including myself, feel that they are direct attacks on the constitutional rights and freedoms our Founding Fathers strived so hard to maintain. Our opponents ridicule the second amendment to the Constitution, as never intending to protect what we currently have. They argue that language about a well-armed militia and protection from the government is too broad and misunderstood. I argue just the opposite. That is exactly the type of behavior we are to be protected from, and at least for now, the Supreme Court of the United States of America agrees with me.
One thing we know for sure: with all his faults, President Obama has done more to spur growth and stimulate the economy than any other President in recent times. Since releasing his firearms initiative, sales of firearms and ammunition are at all-time highs. Dealers cannot keep inventory in stock, and business is brisk.
I recently attended the Waukesha gun show with my daughter. What a novel idea – involve your children in healthy family-oriented events like the shooting sports, and hunting. While we were there along with thousands of other enthusiasts I was struck by the passion and dedication of our sporting community. As a law enforcement officer of 34 years, and elected Sheriff three times of Waukesha County, I can tell you that I have no fear of law-abiding citizens carrying weapons, concealed or any other way. It’s those individuals that possess weapons illegally that pose the greatest threat to our community.
While I was at the gun show I was reminded of the role the National Rifle Association has played in defending our freedoms to keep and bear arms. Just like Safari Club is the number one organization to protect your right to hunt, the NRA has been the torch-bearer for our gun rights. I have to admit that personally, I have been and on-and-off-again member of the NRA. No excuses… I believe in the organization and what they stand for. It just seems I have been forgetful in renewing my membership.
I recently heard that since our good President has rolled out his master plan to protect us from ourselves, membership in the NRA has gone up by 100,000. The number of new memberships is now at least 100,001. While at the show I made it a point to not only renew my membership, but become a life-member. No more forgetting or timely excuses for me. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. I believe in the Constitution of the United States, and I believe in the people of this great Country.
If you believe the same, I suggest you become new member 100,002.
You may reach the Sheriff @ email@example.com | Phone: 262-548-7126
In today’s social media-endowed news machine, new Executive Orders or legislative drafts come out into the open and set off a flurry of viral screaming and bloodletting, without much vetting. True, the current administration has a clear disregard for the Constitutional traditions we’ve held for so long, but it’s hard to blame them outside of simply being wrong – they aren’t the first in our nation’s history to attempt or succeed at doing this. From John Adams, to Franklin Roosevelt, there were countless moves to subvert the Constitution as it were for various “emergencies” but were more often stopped, or limited because of that hallowed document that God himself seemed to ordain for passage. Imagine any such document being passed now, even in a very Conservative state on a local scale. Surely, the event of the Constitution’s ratification is perhaps as historically significant as the contents of the document itself.
Currently, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has ordered the three counties of the state to forego their Sheriff’s arrest powers, in contradiction with their state’s Constitution. Earlier in 2012, a bill was passed to approve stripping the Sheriffs of their arrest powers, signed by the governor on June 19th. Of course, this means state statute is in violation of the state Constitution, and courts will have to challenge any potential challenges. What this shows is how relatively quick the traditions we know and take for granted can be stripped away. Now, of course, if this is truly the will of the vast majority of the people, no one has the moral right to question their change. But that is why Constitutions exist, both state and federal – to slow down the process of changing foundational law from being altered by a mere, temporary wave of emotional group-think. The state should be amending the Constitution to clarify this position, but perhaps Atty Gen Biden is not confident it would pass. Time will tell if this is important to Delaware residents.
“WE’RE PARTNERS NOW. CAN WE COUNT ON YOU?”
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, elected Sheriff David Clarke continues to show that not all officials move leftward once in office. In fact, they can evolve forward, or at least reveal more liberty-minded instincts over time. First assuming office in 2002, when Wisconsin was one of only two states that did not allow concealed carry, the Sheriff has witnessed the state of Wisconsin move rightward, and has embraced the recent changes in law that allowed over 150,000 residents to carry a firearm for protection. In a recent PSA on local radio, you can hear the Sheriff take the lead and make a case to the public that we are in fact “partners in this” until they “get there” to help the residents protect themselves. That is the essence of self-government. It is in direct contrast to the nannyism that has overtaken so many in office, and that so many in the public assume is the capability of their government. Until it fails them.
(Above: Sheriff David Clarke (Milwaukee County, WI) PSA on protecting your family. “We’re Partners now, can I count on you?”)
But, the reality is that laws only have an effect when people actually observe them. Violations in preserving liberties, or traditional forms of government (like the Sheriff’s office) only hold their strength in the ignorance, and acceptance of the public. So, cries about usurpations often fall on deaf ears, often to the great dismay of defenders and oathkeepers nationwide. The way these travesties have been beaten back before is not a mere war of rhetoric, but systematic, patient argument for the principles behind the policies, not just the policies themselves. If the people do not change, the government certainly will not. And no one should be surprised when government moves leftward from the line of liberty. No matter what good men or women may be in charge, the Founders learned from history that government inherently moves the opposite direction of freedom. It is not entirely the fault of the leaders that the very nature of government is to subvert the autonomy of the individual.
And as long as the public accepts these changes, nothing can be restored. Ironically, government, even in its abuse of liberties, still wields its power to execute in the will of the people, either by their demand for it, or by their acceptance of it.
OUR GAME PLAN MUST CHANGE
Therefore, each of us must do what we can to teach generations at a time what it means to self-govern. For when this ethic is lost, the vacuum will, and MUST be filled with something. Since those who cannot govern themselves naturally become dependent, that vacuum is always filled with government intervention. History has repeated this over and over again.
During the 19th century, the Progressives looked at a nation constantly rejecting their policies locally and nationally and realized that to change government, they had to change the people. Public schools were already in place in many communities, but they were not ubiquitous and they were not standardized. There was no common standard in every school district, and therefore, no ability to move the masses toward collectivist thought. Indeed, the greatest extent of “collective benefit” ever considered usually ended at the city borderline. In order to achieve their great change, Progressives everywhere understood and agreed in writings that the change must happen at the local level. Each school must become standardized, removing local cultural uniqueness, religious instruction or philosophical differences. The change was motivated by legitimate desires to reform education, but they went further by imposing these changes whenever possible by convincing the public that higher governments should bequeath these changes from on high, rather than among each of the thousands of individual schools. Once this autonomy was surrendered, it was only a matter of gaining a few seats of influence to wield the power to institute the Progressive agenda in the next generation.
By the late 19th century, the tide began to turn. Republican institutions of local government, such as primaries, municipal government and state representation in the US Government began to change. On the back of a populist movement, Teddy Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan and Robert Lafollette reformed the very foundation of government, and the people supported it. After a generation of being taught a new respect for the term “democracy,” the majority of the public despised what they perceived as the autocratic monopoly of the Founders’ intent.
Here we sit, over 100 years later with a nation altogether different than we had then. Prosperous on the backs of greater generations, but squandering it for the assurance that we do not have to govern ourselves, or be responsible for our own actions. We got to this point slowly, progressively by design. And to reverse it, we must come to agreement that it can only change the same way the progressives achieved theirs: education, and asserting independence on a local level.
Too many conservatives dismiss the notion, saying the public education system is too flawed to fix, and that it is beyond hope, and we should retreat to our own families and sew our seeds there. Yet, how can we abandon a campaign we never engaged to begin with? From the very beginning, constitutional lovers of the republican methods of government have no made a concerted effort to hold back the almost unchallenged conquest of the left in education. And since our children play in the back yards of the children still in the system, it is hardly responsible to declare it is not our responsibility.
The state of Delaware has been a progressive state for a very long time, and their people willingly accept these changes without much of a fight. But why would other states wait until the policy becomes a target, rather than take the fight to the mind itself? As Conservatives who love the Constitution and the system the Founders intended, we do not war against policy and elections; but against the minds and impulses of a people conditioned by a machine we have chosen to neglect for far too long. The presumption of strength in Government by the forces behind this centralization is empowered by a lack of knowledge among the people.
We have a nation of ignorance that does not understand God, Natural Law or the simple process of deducing ethics and morals because ironically, they have been taught that moral absolutes and personal standards are archaic and oppressive – while learning these new philosophies in an absolute and standardized environment.
Local politics (read: municipal, school, church government) is the new Third Party of the modern age. Instead of focusing our anger solely on the bahavior of two self-perpetuating Parties that exchange power in peaceful transition, negate their ability to wield that monopoly. Local politics are where it begins. If you truly want to restore the Founders’ vision and preserve the power of the ninth and tenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, get involved and don’t let go. It’s no longer our children’s future that depends on, but our own is at stake.
“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 →
Recently a community voice from Shorewood, WI asked why the political right seems so intent on ending public education? This article is a response to his own. Wisconsin is the epicenter of public sector reforms and the heaven (or hell, depending what you believe) of public education reforms. He used a misguided historical revue to support his premise. That premise: that public education (presumably as we have it now, or under his vision or reform) is what those Puritans desired. Otherwise, why would he make such a blatant endorsement of the first colonists for public education?
Clearly, he’s trying to use the Puritan arrival as a wedge to make a broader point that Conservatives are somehow contradictory in their policies and rhetoric.
He is correct. The first public school was in the home of a pastor, Philemon Poremont, near Boston in 1635. He based their entire curriculum around the Bible studies of the local church and they had a vision of hyper-local public education to increase the intellect, reasoning and understanding of the world around them. The Puritans came from among the Enlightenment, and had a profound respect for higher education.
In his historical journey, the author strangely emphasizes some of the “South’s” methods of focusing on family-based education and “personal responsibility,” and even more strangely emphasizes on only their men receiving education, and even brings up race. The clear inference is that the “political right” is more like the Southern pre-civil war-schooling methods, than they are like the Northern states, who had to drag the Southern states “kicking and screaming into the public education model of the North.”
PRESUMPTIONS WITHOUT A CASE
The problem I have with the entire rabble are the underlying presumptions within. That the fundamentals of education had to change completely, and the principles that make an educated community great (morals, respect for law, full literacy, access to higher education, academic diversity for changing economic sectors) must necessarily change into a more centralized, more expensive, more secular, less accountable system. He makes several false presumptions while making grand generalizations about “social conservatives” (That schools should preach against abortion, and promote a single religious point of view). Really?
“One of the traditions of the American education system has been non-government interference in private and religious schools.”
Actually, the “tradition,” as accurately pointed out in the beginning of the article, was non-government interference in ANY school. Notice how he conveniently changes the terminology to appeal to our common goodness. The American tradition was that the local superintendents or municipal boards that began funding them were allowed to run their schools as they saw fit. The concept of the Federal government being involved was as strange to the first 200 years of American education as Communism was to 1940’s American politics. In fact, it was seen quite the same: anathema, corrupt, a power-play, impractical.
To conclude his piece, the author states quite presumptively:
“Whether one is a social conservative, fiscal conservative or libertarian [as though they all fall into the philosophical box he subtly defined throughout the article]; the goal of ENDING public education holds the promise of ending liberal influence once and for all. [Hmmm… Way to make an argument for it!] That is the real goal of the privatization movement. [What “privatization movement?”] But, if they are successful, I don’t think they are prepared for the unintended consequences. Without a doubt, taking American education back 200 hundred years would be devastating.”
The author abruptly (and awkwardly) ends his article, and I believe it is not a mistake. Rather than explain WHY that would be devastating, or surmising what those “unintended consequences” might be, he ends the conversation with an implied “Selah” moment, as though he just said something completely true, completely devastating and completely irrefutable.
Here’s my take, and yes, I believe I speak for the VAST MAJORITY of Conservatives (social, fiscal, libertarian, or whatever other subcategories one can define) when I say public education isn’t fundamentally wrong. The status quo is what we take issue with.
Why is the political left seemingly intent on KILLING public education? Their policies do not foster economic success, so it would seem logical to deduct that they would not foster educational success. The political left has had a virtual monopoly on public education for at least 60 years, and the influence goes back well over 100 to the time of John Dewey and Horace “the state is the real sponsor/god-parent of the child” Mann. Why do I believe the political left is killing public education? Because they insist on protecting and merely adjusting the policies of the past. The recipe for death is doing the same thing over and over, and society in general shows the fruit of such policies. The “proof is in the pudding,” so to speak:
Because of increasingly more expensive education, state- and federal-funding is a huge portion of public school revenue. This means the local district loses autonomy and must submit to the strings inevitably attached to all funding sources. The money comes from somewhere, why must it be laundered through D.C. or the state Capital first?
Public schools are protectionist
Most public schools are the only choice local parents have, and public funds are only for those neighborhood schools the government has built. About a dozen states have opened up voucher and charter programs to increase competition for students, but like any industry, protected markets become wasteful, inefficient and suffer decreasing results. Yes, it seems cold, but so is the reality of a bad education.
Public schools are unaccountable
The advent of public unions in the mid-20th century changed education for generations. Education was relatively cheap. Retirement was seen as a personal responsibility. Health care was reasonably affordable. Tax revenues were plentiful in a rapidly growing, young superpower. Today, public-sector union membership outnumbers private-sector for the first time in history. These public teacher unions make tenure, shallow-evaluation, no-merit pay, and political power more important than results.
Public schools are amoral
Local schools, possibly for reasons of practicality and scale have become more centralized, reflecting more the diversity of entire communities, rather than individual neighborhoods. Now, instead of local schools reflecting the morals and principles of the parents in the neighborhood, they are forced to be as amoral as possible. Morality is offensive because it says some things are wrong. Rather than parents working hand-in-hand with local schools and teachers in supporting universal values, the schools are forced to become gray slates where the only absolutes are math, language and science. Oh, and tenure.
PARENTS MUST HAVE SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN
The problems in education are many, and the solutions are complex. And they usually involve parents as much as systemic solutions. But parents must have a system they believe in. This is the very reason the federal government must be banned – and in some cases, state government – from ALL local education. In nearly any organization or industry, most decisions must be made as locally as possible, near the source of the problem. This is, in fact the philosophy of the “political right;” running public education like a business as much as possible means it operates better and achieves better results. The “political left” has so badly demonized that process that they cannot possibly tolerate such practices in education, their fortress of power.
But how can one argue with the results? Anyone who believes in free markets and the right of us all to enjoy life, liberty and ownership of property should be consistent and see the benefit of this in the education industry.
WE MUST REDEFINE PUBLIC EDUCATION, NOT FIGHT IT
Is public education a physical school location, or the education of the public? The answer should tell you what side of the spectrum to which you belong. Progressives have ruled the debate by mastering the language we use, and creating the meme. Conservatives believe the local community should promote the education of the public. Liberals believe the local unionized school district should educate the community. Therein lies our difference.
Education is an industry, no matter how you slice it. But is it protected industry, or competitive? The America of 200 years ago, which the author initially praised, then later reviled, was actually quite static. But it was local. Operating public education like the industry that it is, logic would lead you to believe that results would improve, quality would improve, and yes, even market share would improve. Ergo, public schools would likely grow, not end.
ARE WE ACTUALLY, THE TRULY “PROGRESSIVE ONES?”
Conservative policies are, in fact, more “progressive” than our Progressive (liberal) counterparts’ outdated ideas. Imagine that! Rather than trying to bolt the wrong tire on a different part of the car as most liberal “reforms” effectively do, Conservatives want to reinvent the car, not the wheel and make it run more efficiently. Conservatives believe in education, for all races, genders and economic tiers. Yeah, imagine that! Conservatives believe in our schools, locally-funded, locally-educating, and locally-benefiting. Reflecting the beliefs, morals and economic needs of that local community. They believe results should dictate methods and methods should drive results.
Public schools are suffering from cultural decline, yet cultural strength and the infusion of virtue was praised by liberal “reformers” as being the very purpose of the public school system.
“Let the common [public] school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked with the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged; men would walk more safely by day; every pillow would be more inviolable by night; property, life and character held by a stronger tenure; all rational hopes respecting the future, brightened.” – Horace Mann
Wow – was it arrogance or just plain ignorance? Well, we’re holding them accountable, and their grade is F, and their return on investment is one of deep debt and pending bankruptcy. We, the shareholders in our children and our communities at large want the monopoly to end!
If we want to survive as a culture, public education must succeed. It’s time for a change, and Conservatives want cities to embrace true progress, and end ancient liberalism, not public education.
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.
Almost 198 years ago to the month, April 1814, in a letter to John Taylor, the second President of the United States, John Adams made an astute observation amidst calls for more democratic reform:
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
Our nation was merely 25 yrs old at this point, and yet he was terrified of lessons history taught him about the so-called virtues of mass democracy. He worked his entire political life arguing for the true virtue of a Democratic Republic; a system in which the people created their government, but the minority and majority were both protected from the feverish winds of hysterical whim and epidemic-like, collective voices.”
Today, I sit in Wisconsin, a marvel of a state that has had possibly more contradiction in contributed methods in exercising liberty than any other state. We were the birthplace of the slavery-hating Republican Party, borne from the passions of former Whig Party members, anti-slavery activists and Free-Soilers, in Ripon, WI, March, 1854. Yet, we were also, in many ways the birthplace of modern Progressivism and the destruction of the Federalist system assembled by the Founders intended to disperse the concentration of power.
The year after the Republican Party was birthed with individual liberties in mind for all men, Robert La Follette was born in Primrose. Raised a Republican, he unfortunately began his career in Dane County as a DA (warning to all young aspiring Conservative politicians, stay away from Madison!), and by the time he entered politics in the U.S. House of Representatives he had more on his mind than women’s suffrage and minority-rights. While those were noble goals, his intention was to go much further and up-end the entire republican system of government established by the Founders in 1789.
Using local sentiment against corruption in both parties, he branded himself a populist visionary who became Governor in 1901. Within 3 years he had successfully deformed the primary nomination process, drummed up popular support by stumping 61 counties and preaching democracy to 200,000 residents about the unfairness and corruption bred by “stalwarts” of republicanism in D.C. and Madison. By 1906, he nominated HIMSELF as Senator and used his new coalition in Madison to be confirmed to the post, where he served till his death in 1925. For two years he served as BOTH U.S. Senator and Governor in a stunt he boasted was to ensure that his deforms we enacted and seen through. He even founded his own Party before he died, The Progressive Party.
“COLLECTIVE”-ANYTHING IS NEVER FAIR
The damage he accomplished in the name of good during those years till his death has been lasting and irreparable, and we are only now beginning to see large numbers educated voters realize it. Together with other fellow progressives, like William Jennings Bryan and publisher William Randolph Hurst, he pushed hard for Constitutional amendments and further increases of Federal government oversight, cast in Progressive purpose. Farm subsidies, inter-state commerce regulation, the Federal Reserve and direct election of nearly every elected office were his primary goals, and he accomplished nearly every single one of them.
The battle-cry of each “reform” was to “have your voice,” and “the people must be able to speak!” But the reality is that few considered, or even had the opportunity to debate the impact of such a change, or the dangers of this democracy that was being propagated as divine philosophy, and even the vision of the Founders themselves. Yet, we know from the mountains of evidence in a simple Google search that our Founders FEARED pure democracy, and knew it would lead to oligarchy and totalitarianism. John Adams was only one of many Founders to express his disdain for the madness, and James Madison, known for his fight against centralized power, still argued:
“Such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
Note that every Founding Father who spoke of the Republic they were forming cited historical review as their reasoning. Today, call leaders of democracy point to history only so far as to describe transgressions that should motivate us to rebel against “the rich,” or “the elite” that somehow steal our vote, despite their power coming from us to begin with. Today’s leaders would be wise to refrain from rhetoric and instead become students of history when arguing for the future.
The wisdom of the Founders was to find a device by which the historically furious passions of men could be tempered in a system of checks and balances. This system of checks and balances required power to be as divided, local and rotated as possible.
WISDOM: LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES
Wisconsin was the birthplace of the Republic’s poison as one of the first states to eliminate party nominations, one of the first to ratify the 17th amendment, and the only state to embrace self-declared socialists in government. By the 1950’s collective bargaining reforms were guaranteed for public workers, and soon thereafter, in the name of “empowering the individual,” centralize planning and compelled redistribution began to change the face of our state government, our cities and our local education.
The result of these “reforms” during the Progressive Era were mixed. Some were legitimate reforms, like suffrage and workers’ protections, but others did more to change traditional American government than any other time in our history. Most notably, the 17th Amendment, which was debated merely under the auspices of corruption and special interests; it’s passage destroyed the accountability the Senate was designed to have to our local State governments. As a result, power consolidated in Washington like never before and actually made the original concern worse – today the Senate is merely a six-year version of the House, and is more corrupt and unaccountable. And States have NO voice in Washington. State legislatures, once charged by the Constitution to elect our Senators, were merely replaced by corporate lobbyists and think-tanks 1,200 miles closer.
Wisconsin is one of the most democratic, yes even “progressive” communities of people in the world. We have a deep respect for our methods, our culture, our football and our autonomy. And yet, for being so “progressive” we didn’t seem to like change all that much when it was required in the face of record job loss and crippling deficits. That is, until a stiff-necked, fearless executive believed his own local experience in Wisconsin’s largest county could inform his grand strategy to reinstitute local determination, representative government, and true democratic-republicanism. Act 10, championed by Gov. Scott Walker, and dozens of brave legislators like Jeff Fitzgerald, Robin Vos and Van Wanggard was the most significant and sweeping piece of legislation in Wisconsin since public employee collective bargaining itself in 1959. We tried this “reform” for 52 years, and discovered it did not serve the people of Wisconsin. Why aren’t more residents willing to try something new?
It merely served the interests of over 300,000 government employees, their mandatory unions and further, their Democrat Party benefactors. A change was needed, as any household must occasionally purge one-time luxuries for the sake of it’s future.
Benjamin Franklin warned,
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, it will herald the end of the republic.”
So, today we sit in Wisconsin. All of us, as a nation are neighbors today through network and cable news, Twitter, bloggers and Facebook and we await the election of a lifetime; really, the election of a century.
I do not intend to animate a dramatic battle for you in some hubristic amusement. But it cannot be discounted that this battle today in my beloved state is truly about way more than “the backs of public employees,” monopolistic union insurance companies, or the unions themselves.
This is about turning the tide in the Progressives’ war that has been raging for over 100 years. We are in a fight to re-educate the masses on the importance of representation; constitutional terms; republican governance.
Alexander Hamilton wisely observed,
“We are a Republican Government; Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of democracy…it has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.”
GRASPING VICTORY FROM DEFEATISM
Today, Wisconsin is being forced, for the 7th time in 14 months, to exercise democracy one last time in order to save us from it.
Today, Wisconsin goes to the polls to prove that our citizens actually believe the system we established for Wisconsin nearly 200 years ago was a wise one, and ought to be respected and observed as a fundamental philosophy for protecting liberty. Never mind the unions, or the protest organizations, the PAC’s the billionaires on both sides of the aisle, or the immature politician refugees and their out-of-state resorts. They are but mere pawns in a larger game between the true Oligarchy that results from collective ambition that, when threatened can too often motivate a slight majority to impugn the minority, versus the system of republicanism and decentralized power that assured our liberty from the ills of human nature.
The Founders’ intent was to protect our people from its government, and in order to do so they expected us to govern ourselves, not form mobs to demand our own brand of justice, as pawns of a larger, controlling, benevolent Government. No matter which Party you’re from. BALANCE is a virtue democracies seldom understand, let alone conceive.
We are in a fight to save the Republic of Wisconsin from the hands of tyrannical democracy and eventual demise.
And that is why America is sitting in our front yard waiting to see what happens.
“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.” – The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
Four distinct liberties appear in the first amendment, protected by the strongest language one could devise.
At first glance, it is simply several separate liberties. But they are, in fact, one singular liberty with four inter-dependent parts. Likely, a half-drunken clerk, pulling an all-nighter, penned the last draft of the First Amendment. The author scribbled them down hastily, probably at a tavern, and certainly as his whiskey and candlelight dwindled.
To suggest the clerk’s intoxication is by no means a slight on the clerk. It just demonstrates that a drunken Tea Partier understands the type of environment in which liberty flourishes better than the modern Liberal. The clerk must have understood the liberties carefully enshrined in the First Amendment are equally dependent on the others for their success. He also understood that first among the liberties of the First Amendment was the freedom of religion.
As we know, some of the founders believed amendments to the new Constitution were a necessity. Two Virginians, both known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights” were at the center of the debate. They thought that without further limiting instructions for the Federal government, Congress could easily trample on the rights reserved to the states and the people. Thus, they created the 10 amendments to the Constitution we now know as the Bill of Rights.[i] Understanding how Virginia had already dealt with the issue of religion gives us a clue to the Founder’s intent.
VIRGINIA’S WISDOM BY EXPERIENCE
Virginia maintained its officially established Anglican Church throughout its existence as a colony.[ii] In 1689, the English Act of Toleration permitted Protestant dissenters to worship freely, so long as they were registered with the State. Still, non-members were required to pay taxes to the Church for the benefit of indigents in the community. They were also required to attend the Church once a month to receive government news. The Virginia House of Burgesses further limited the freedoms to prevent “night meetings, preaching among slaves, and other new dangers.”[iii]
In 1774, the Virginian legislature debated a resolution calling for the relief of Boston. The Boston port had been closed by the British because of the Tea Party. The British Governor of Virginia, Dunmore, abolished the House of Burgesses rather than allow such a resolution. Dunmore proceeded to steal the powder and shot from the Virginia militia,[iv] and, forced to return it to an angry mob, fled to a British ship off the Virginia shore.[v] Legislators then met in early 1776 at Williamsburg, to establish a new Constitution for the State. Politically, dissenters from the State church comprised “two-thirds of the white population.”[vi] George Mason insisted on “the fullest Toleration in the Exercise of Religion.” James Madison observed toleration would not prevent a State-established religion, and suggested alternate language. Finally, the men agreed on another paragraph which read in part,
“…all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forebearance, love, and charity toward the other.”
Madison and his fellow legislators thus “decreed religious freedom, while at the same time affirming the foundation of Virginia society on…the Christian faith.”[vii] These principles were echoing in the minds of Mason and Madison as they wrote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
The clerk got his words from Madison and Mason. Where did they get their beliefs? “The Virginians avidly read Locke, who Jefferson said was one of the three greatest men in history.”[viii] Locke proposed that people enter into a contract to form a government. Government serves to protect their life, liberty, and property. Locke didn’t end there. He understood salvation is a personal experience, not a state mandate. The Church’s “primary concerns are spiritual and moral, and nothing ought nor can be transacted in this society relating to the possession of civil and worldly goods.”[ix] With this logic, Locke declared disestablishment.
LOCKE’S LOGIC PREVAILS
Locke’s disestablishment became the bedrock for the First Amendment, and prevented the Federal government from foisting a national religion upon the states. Not only did Locke’s logic work, it also fit in with the founder’s understanding of their own history. English rule under Henry VIII became increasingly corrupt and tyrannical as he eliminated papal influence over the church. As he merged the Church with the State, Henry removed every human obstacle. Even Chancellor Sir Thomas More, the most able public servant in England, suffered execution after a show trial. Given the religious pluralism at the Founding, such a consolidation of power would have been politically impossible in America without a civil war. Bad politics and bad government could not coexist in the young Republic.
As the Founders understood it, disestablishment—the principle that Congress could not establish a State religion—prohibited only the national government from establishing a state religion. States kept their State-sanctioned religions for the public good. This keyed in perfectly with their understanding of the 10th Amendment. The Founders also understood the clause did nothing to prevent Church influence over State affairs.
The clerk, at the direction of Madison and Mason, must have understood it all.
This is the first of a series of articles from Daniel Hubert regarding the historical inspirations and legal implications of the amendments. Stay tuned for future musings, and please share these by email and social media. The second installment, when published can be found here.
[i] There were originally 12 amendments proposed, but only 10 were adopted. [ii] A. James Reichley, Faith in Politics, 84. [iii] It should come as no surprise that legislators would be concerned with “preaching among slaves.” The Gospel, where preached, inevitably leads humanity not just to spiritual freedom, but political and economic freedom as well. The most despotic and bloody regimes, where humans are little more than slaves, all deny the existence of God and prohibit Christianity. [iv] The Colony of Virginia owned the powder and shot in case of attack from the natives. The Governor was the Crown’s representative, with no authority over the militia or its weapons. [v] Hyperlinked [vi] A. James Reichley, Faith in Politics, 85. [vii] A. James Reichley, Faith in Politics, 85. [viii] A. James Reichley, Faith in Politics, 89. The other two, Jefferson said, were Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton. [ix] Locke did not support complete tolerance. He rejected Islam (Mohammedanism) and Atheism. See Reichley, 91.