The Burning Platform: A Time for New Beginnings and Ending That Which Must End

The Burning Platform has A Time for New Beginnings and Ending That Which Must End which discusses their take on the ending of our republic, the battle for our liberties, and who the enemy is.

Janus is an ancient Roman, a composite god who is associated with doorways, beginnings, and transitions. A usually two-faced god, he looks to both the future and the past at the same time, embodying a binary.

Source

 

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.

– Thomas Pynchon, “Gravity’s Rainbow” (1973)

 

Two years ago, also during the month of Janus, I wrote a speculative article on Trump as two faces on the same coin and, specifically, considered the president as the “most interesting man in the world”: an enigmatic “ringleader”, of sorts, who always keeps us guessing between transitional episodes:

In so many ways, Trump is the perfect foil to usher in a new epoch… a forerunner of sorts before another ringleader takes center stage.

To be sure, President Trump is like a flip-sided Obama the way he’s branded upon America’s psyche. And, like Obama, he’s a walking, talking, Rorschach test.

For good? Or bad?

Either way:  We all have our suspicions and are becoming more certain with each passing day.

And here we are today, two years later, still wondering.

 

In the wake of Russiagate, the Mueller Show, the 2018 Midterms, the Ukraine impeachment debacle, Covid, and, now, a stolen presidential election, it calls to mind the following questions:

What if the innermost circle of The Borg, or, at least, the mid-level components like the Deep State, Orwellian Media, Dems, Rinos, and punditry, were actually caught off guard by Trump’s 2016 win – simply as a result of underestimating the awareness and will of the American voters who overwhelmed The Borg’s systemic election fraud four years ago? What if Trump were real and Spygate, Mueller, Ukrainegate, and Covid, were the means to gaslight the dupes and tie-up the president as much as possible over the previous four years?

In consideration of Occam’s Razor: What if everything we have seen during Trump’s presidency was merely a natural progression of events?

Then, what if the same voter fraud occurred in the 2020 Election except, this time, The Borg was caught red-handed?

Certainly, the Orwellian Media’s anointing of Dementia Joe was, in part, a plan conceived and launched by the “bipartisan” Transition Integrity Project (T.I.P.) under the cover of Covid and using technologies and methodologies defecated straight from the bowels of Langley.

Everything about November 3, 2020, and the ensuing post-election narrative propagated by the Orwellian Media smacks of desperation by those attempting to pull off the coup. Does it not?

Or it could be another show: A really, super-big, gigantic, end-of-America-type media event.

During the holiday break, I listened to attorney Sidney Powell and Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) interviewed by a guest host on the Rush Limbaugh radio program. To hear Powell and Gohmert outline the overt suppression of evidence of fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election was staggering, to say the least. But, that very evening, the nightly news, instead, showed Kamala Harris receiving her Covid vaccine. The “Vice President-Elect”, then, through her mask, and with her trademark nasal whine, implored Americans to follow her lead and get their shots in the arm too.

What is occurring in America now may seem surreal but it is, indeed, actually happening.

In early December, President Trump, by his own admission, gave what may have been the most important speech of his lifetime, and it was not given one iota of coverage on my local nightly news. Instead, we were informed on “President-Elect” Joe Biden’s virtual round-table of small business owners who were impacted by the Covid pandemic as well as the number of new Covid cases in the country that day.

Furthermore, if you go to YouTube and query “Trump’s most important speech december 2, 2020” this is what appears: “Fact-check” videos on Trump’s “baseless voter fraud claims” and “speech riddled with falsehoods”.

Now try this: Search for the word “Plandemic” on the Duck Duck Go search engine, and you will see the website for PlandemicVideo.com appearing at the top of the results.  But if you search the same term on Google, the Plandemic video website does NOT show.  Instead, you will see a Wikipedia link labeling Plandemic as “misinformation” and a science magazine’s website “fact-checking” “unsubstantiated claims and accusations”.

Consider for a moment the kind of power we are witnessing:  The mainstream media, the FBI, the Justice Department, the CIA, Big Tech, The Drudge Report, most of Fox News, and, now, even the American electoral system and Supreme Court… ALL assimilated by The Borg.

How could this all-inclusive collusion exist?

What follows will provide some of the answers to that question.

Catherine Austin Fitts is a former banker turned whistleblower and served as the Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the late nineteen-eighties under Bush the Elder. A few days before Christmas 2020, an interview of Fitts was posted whereby she described five pillars of a Transhumanist Technocracy currently being constructed in plain sight by The Borg.  The five pillars are as follows:

 

1.)  Tech engineers building “The Cloud” and Intel communications

2.) The military installing satellites in space in conjunction with Operation Warp Speed here on earth

3.) Big Pharma designing vaccines and injection mechanisms

4.) The Mainstream Media’s ever-spinning propaganda machine

5.) The Central bankers creating crypto systems designed to enslave the masses

 

Fitts claimed these “pillars” are painstakingly being kept separate by the Borg until they can be integrated into our bodies, and our minds, by means of our own blood and DNA – like a trap being sprung at just the right time; and the reason we are not completely caught in the trap yet, is because The Borg has not quite finalized construction of the five pillars.

In her interview, Fitts described our current circumstances as a war between those who consider mankind as “individuals” with rights divinely ordained and against a High Tech Oligarchy (i.e. The Borg) who views the citizens of the world as cattle and chattel…(continues)

Cato Institute: Government in a Pandemic

From Thomas Firey at the Cato Institute, Government in a Pandemic

When the threat of COVID-19 became apparent, some political commentators began arguing that Americans must accept much greater governmental intervention in their lives if the United States were to respond effectively to the disease. This idea was soon distilled into a pithy slogan: “There are no libertarians in a pandemic.”

In fact, government can respond effectively to the historic COVID-19 crisis while following the principles of limited government. However, federal, state, and local governments in the United States have done a poor job of identifying and implementing good policies for the pandemic that are compatible with those principles. Instead, policymakers have attempted interventions far beyond the powers of a properly limited government—with poor results.

Americans and their political leaders are understandably worried about COVID-19 and its effects, both on human health and the economy. That worry may indeed lead some people to reflexively demand broad government intervention. But if the United States follows the principles of limited government, those principles will help see us through this crisis.

Introduction

When the threat to the United States from the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) became apparent, political leaders and commentators began calling for large governmental interventions to counter the disease’s health and economic effects. Many of these people added that the political philosophy of limited government—“liberalism” in the classical sense—would handicap the country’s response to the crisis and thus must be rejected. This was soon distilled into a pithy slogan: “There are no libertarians in a pandemic.”

As COVID-19’s grim health toll and economic statistics have accumulated, the criticisms of liberalism have grown louder.

Appropriate to the era, the “no libertarians” slogan was popularized by a Twitter post: Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson used it to introduce a news item about Republican lawmakers advocating public funding for COVID-19 testing and for treatment of uninsured victims of the disease.1 A week later, his Atlantic colleague Peter Nicholas used a variant of the slogan as the title of a column criticizing President Trump for campaigning on “anti‐​socialism” while his administration pushed a host of extraordinary interventions into the economy in response to the pandemic.2 “Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, in a national emergency, there’s no truly laissez‐​faire government,” Nicholas wrote.

Others quickly picked up the theme. New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo, noting the same news item as Thompson, concluded, “Everyone’s a socialist in a pandemic.”3 Ryan LaRochelle, a lecturer at the University of Maine, wrote in the Washington Post that a “decades‐​long war on the safety net and the government’s administrative capacity [has] made our society particularly vulnerable to the pandemic’s impact on our economic life. This has seriously hampered the federal government’s response to the coronavirus and shown how dangerously ill‐​suited this ideology is to the crisis.”4

Perhaps the sharpest criticisms came from essayist and novelist George Packer, who bemoaned “a federal government crippled by years of right‐​wing ideological assault” and “politicians and donors who wanted government to do as little as possible for the common good.”5 He described a dystopian America that, without active management from Washington, DC, is nearly powerless against COVID-19:

Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan—no coherent instructions at all—families, schools, and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter. When test kits, masks, gowns, and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill‐​equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive. Russia, Taiwan, and the United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power—a beggar nation in utter chaos.6

As for the idea that private actors could respond to the virus, Packer asserted simply, “It turns out that ‘nimble’ companies can’t prepare for a catastrophe or distribute lifesaving goods—only a competent federal government can do that.”7

The belief that COVID-19 shows the need for bigger, more interventionist government has not been confined to the left of the U.S. political spectrum. The right, which in previous decades repeatedly declared a commitment to “small government,” began talking about the need to boost “state capacity” to respond to the pandemic and other problems. Two of the right’s up‐​and‐​coming leaders, Sens. Marco Rubio (R–FL) and Josh Hawley (R–MO), pushed large‐​scale government financial assistance programs, with Rubio helping to craft the Paycheck Protection Program that has blossomed into a roughly $650 billion subsidy to businesses.8 Its creation was part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that provides federal support to businesses, households, and state governments.9 The CARES Act passed with overwhelming support from Republican lawmakers and was signed by President Trump, who had his name prominently stamped on the ensuing household subsidy checks.10

Those efforts are in accordance with the new “national conservative” movement, which endorses government intervention in the economy to promote a host of goals.11 As one of the movement’s intellectual leaders, Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told Politico about policymaking in response to COVID-19:

This is going to jump‐​start the already simmering debate over how the right should deal with domestic policy. Clearly there’s going to be demand for many types of stimulus. There’s going to be demand for the view that we’re not going to let this happen again. And a libertarian, hands‐​off policy doesn’t really respond to that.12

These calls for government to intervene in response to COVID-19 are understandable. The disease is often painful and sometimes fatal, and it is produced by a novel virus that spreads through social contact. As yet, there is no known effective vaccine against the virus, and treatment therapies are limited. People naturally want something to “fix” a crisis, and they look for government to be that powerful fixer. It is comforting to envision government scientists in their labs probing the virus, government doctors tending to the infected and uninfected alike, government financing research and development on therapies and vaccines, and government policymakers, counseled by sage experts, directing the public toward safety and away from danger.

That’s the vision; the reality is different. Government leaders and their advisers have been operating with imperfect knowledge about the recently discovered disease, resulting in public recommendations and policies that, especially in the early months of the outbreak, have been wasteful at best and harmful at worst. Though a number of those failures can be attributed to an especially inept Trump administration, they can be found across the political spectrum, at different levels of government, and among both the virtuous and dishonorable.

Government does have important roles to play in a pandemic. However, those roles are consistent with the principles of limited government. This analysis examines some of those interventions—constraining negative externalities and providing public goods—and notes instances where government has performed poorly in those areas when responding to COVID-19. The analysis also discusses interventions that limited government should not undertake—such as manipulating the production and distribution of private goods—but that government has attempted broadly in this crisis, with poor results.

Limited Government and Market Failure

Critics of limited government often equate it with anarchy, the lack of any government activity. That equivalence is false. The philosophy of limited government does place the highest value on individual liberty, including people’s freedom to privately arrange for the satisfaction of their wants. These arrangements often take place in the market, an arena for many forms of voluntary exchange. So, rather than rejecting government altogether, valuing liberty means creating important roles for government in protecting the freedom of exchange and private ordering.

Among the oldest roles of the state is defending its citizens from violent invaders, thereby protecting against a dramatic disruption of the market. This defense is difficult, if not impossible, to provide through purely private agreement. Residents operating individually would be hard‐​pressed to fend off an invading horde, and private mutual aid agreements or contracts employing mercenaries would be weakened by residents who did not join the arrangement or who joined only when a threat was imminent. A defense that protects only parts of a community is a defense penetrated by invaders.

Defense is an example of market failure: a want that cannot be adequately addressed through private exchange. Specifically, defense is an example of market failure known as a public good. Public goods are difficult to limit only to individuals who pay for them; the goods must be provided to everyone in a community if the goods are to have much value. If left to private exchange, residents would be tempted to not purchase the goods but instead free‐​ride on the purchases of others. That would result in only some residents—or perhaps none—purchasing the goods. That, in turn, would reduce the funding and quality of the public goods provided, to the detriment of all residents, including those who do purchase the goods.

Government can provide its citizens public goods via taxation. Government can produce the goods itself (e.g., by employing troops to provide defense) or contract with a private provider to furnish them (e.g., purchasing materiel to equip the troops). The key is that taxation overcomes the market failure by requiring citizens to pay for the goods. Besides defense, examples of public goods include police and fire services (private security and firefighters cannot ignore crimes and fires at noncustomers’ properties without putting their customers at risk), street lights (the lighting’s benefit cannot be limited to customers), and—at least until recently—local roads (before technological advances, it was prohibitively costly to toll local roads).

Other types of market failure exist. Though there is no definitive list, several forms are commonly recognized. One of these is externalities, which are costs or benefits of an exchange that are borne by some party other than the participants who agree to the exchange. Externalities result in less welfare than if all involved parties had voluntarily reached agreement. For instance, a polluting factory inflicts a cost (negative externality) on its neighbors, who may not be part of the voluntary exchange between the factory and its customers. Positive externalities, in which a third party receives a benefit, are less commonly cited as a problem, but they do exist.

Government can intervene to address other market failures.13 Often, such policies take the form of laws, regulations, and enforcement. For instance, environmental law is intended to reduce the negative externality of pollution.

Minimizing Government Failure

From an economic perspective, under a properly limited government, market failure is a necessary but insufficient condition for government intervention. Another necessary condition is that the proposed policy does not violate established liberties. Also, intervention always comes with costs, and those costs must not outweigh the benefits.

Further complicating matters, many of the troublesome dynamics that produce market failures also afflict government policymakers and bureaucrats, producing government failures.14 For instance, policymakers often suffer from imperfect information, resulting in bad policies.15 Also, policymakers and bureaucrats are motivated by private incentives just like everyone else, and those incentives can yield misguided—and even corrupt—outcomes.16 Unlike in the marketplace, where interaction is voluntary and participants can look for the exchanges that best fit their wants, citizens are compelled to abide by and pay for the choices of government policymakers and bureaucrats regardless of how sensible those choices may be. Classical liberal principles help to minimize those problems.

Despite the constraint of limited government, there is much it can do to address COVID-19 by focusing on the market failures associated with the disease. Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government and some state and local governments have struggled to identify and implement such policies. Instead, they have intervened in ways beyond the powers of properly limited government, with poor results. The following sections describe some of those government failures.

Limited Government and COVID-19

Several market failures are present in the COVID-19 crisis. Among them:

  • Negative externality: Infected persons can transmit the virus that causes the disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐​CoV‐​2), through common social contact. Transmission involuntarily inflicts costs on others, making it a negative externality. As libertarians often say, “People’s right to swing their fists ends at the tip of another’s nose”; likewise, people’s liberty ends at the point that they put others at involuntary risk.
  • The public goods of medical research: People want to avoid the disease and recover from it quickly if they are infected. That creates market incentives for research into the virus and disease and distribution of the findings. But the benefits from that work are difficult to confine to the individuals who pay for it. Information is easily transmitted, and the academic world rewards the broad distribution of many types of research to accelerate scientific discovery. That makes research into SARS‐​CoV‐​2 and COVID-19, and the resulting knowledge, public goods. Though some people would still pay for that work even if others free‐​ride on the results, private funding would likely be below optimal levels.
  • The public good of acquired immunity: Relatedly, an effective vaccine against the virus has public goods characteristics. A population can become resistant to an infectious disease if only a portion of its members develop resistance to it, a phenomenon known as “herd immunity.” Some diseases require high member immunity rates to produce this resistance—80 percent or more—but others have lower thresholds.17 Currently there is no scientific consensus on a threshold for COVID-19, though early guesses by epidemiologists fall in the 60–70 percent range, and one study argues that it could be as low as 43 percent.18 Those numbers suggest that a third to more than half of the population could free‐​ride on others’ bearing the cost of the vaccine, allowing for a public goods problem.

Some government interventions are justified to address these market failures regarding COVID-19, provided that the interventions’ benefits outweigh the costs and that the interventions do not violate protected rights. The U.S. federal government and state and local governments have made efforts at this sort of policymaking. Below are a few examples…(continues)

Rutherford Institute: Since 9/11, the Government’s Answer to Every Problem Has Been More Government

From Constitutional law attorney John Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute, Since 9/11, the Government’s Answer to Every Problem Has Been More Government

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”—Anonymous

Have you noticed that the government’s answer to every problem is more government—at taxpayer expense—and less individual liberty?

The Great Depression. The World Wars. The 9/11 terror attacks. The COVID-19 pandemic.

Every crisis—manufactured or otherwise—since the nation’s early beginnings has become a make-work opportunity for the government to expand its reach and its power at taxpayer expense while limiting our freedoms at every turn.

Indeed, the history of the United States is a testament to the old adage that liberty decreases as government (and government bureaucracy) grows. To put it another way, as government expands, liberty contracts.

To the police state, this COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge boon, like winning the biggest jackpot in the lottery. Certainly, it will prove to be a windfall for those who profit from government expenditures and expansions.

Given the rate at which the government has been devising new ways to spend our money and establish itself as the “solution” to all of our worldly problems, this current crisis will most likely end up ushering in the largest expansion of government power since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This is how the emergency state operates, after all.

From 9/11 to COVID-19, “we the people” have acted the part of the helpless, gullible victims desperately in need of the government to save us from whatever danger threatens. In turn, the government has been all too accommodating and eager while also expanding its power and authority in the so-called name of national security.

As chief correspondent Dan Balz asks for The Washington Post, “Government is everywhere now. Where does it go next?

When it comes to the power players that call the shots, there is no end to their voracious appetite for more: more money, more power, more control.

This expansion of government power is also increasing our federal debt in unprecedented leaps and bounds. Yet the government isn’t just borrowing outrageous amounts of money to keep the country afloat. It’s also borrowing indecent sums to pay for programs it can’t afford.

The government’s primary response to this COVID-19 pandemic—flooding the market with borrowed money in the amount of trillions of dollars for stimulus payments, unemployment insurance expansions, and loans to prop up small businesses and to keep big companies afloat—has pushed the country even deeper in debt.

By “the country,” I really mean the taxpayers. And by “the taxpayers,” it’s really future generations who will be shackled to debt loads they may never be able to pay back.

This is how you impoverish the future.

Democrats and Republicans alike have done this.

Without fail, every president within the last 50 years has expanded the nation’s debt. When President Trump took office on January 20, 2017, the national debt—the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back—was a whopping $19.9 trillion. Despite Trump’s pledge to drain the swamp and eliminate the debt, the federal debt is now approaching $27 trillion and is on track to surpass $78 trillion by 2028.

For many years now, economists have warned that economic collapse would be inevitable if the national debt ever surpassed the size of the U.S. economy. The government passed that point in June 2020 and has yet to put the brakes on its spending.

In fact, the Federal Reserve just keeps printing more money in order to prop up the economy and float the debt.

At some point, something’s got to give.

As it now stands, the U.S. is among the most indebted countries in the world.

Almost a third of the $27 trillion national debt is owed to foreign entities such as Japan and China.

Most of the debt, however, is owed to the public.

How is this even possible? Essentially, it’s a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

First, the government requires taxpayers to pay a portion of their salaries to the Social Security Trust Fund. The government then turns around and borrows from Social Security to cover its spending needs. Then the government raises taxes or prints more money in order to pay out whatever is needed to the retirees.

It’s a form of convoluted economics that only makes sense to government bureaucrats looking to make a profit off the backs of the taxpayers.

According to the U.S. Debt Clock, each taxpayer’s share of the national debt is $214,000 and growing.

That’s almost five times more than the median income for what Americans earn in a year. That’s also almost five times more than the average American has in savings, across savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, call deposit accounts, and prepaid cards. Almost 60% of Americans are so financially strapped that they don’t have even $500 in savings and nothing whatsoever put away for retirement.

Just the interest that must be paid on the national debt every year is $338 billion and growing. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the fastest growing item in the budget over the next decade will be interest on the debt.

As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reported in 2019, before COVID spending pushed the country over the fiscal cliff, “Interest payments will rise from $325 billion last year to $928 billion by 2029, a nearly threefold increase. If tax cuts and spending increases are extended, interest will exceed $1 trillion and set a new record as a share of the economy. The federal government will spend more on interest than on Medicaid or children by 2020. By 2024, interest will match defense spending.

Bottom line: The U.S. government—and that includes the current administration—is spending money it doesn’t have on programs it can’t afford, and “we the taxpayers” are the ones who will have to pay for it.

As financial analyst Kristin Tate explains, “When the government has its debt bill come due, all of us will be on the hook.”

Despite the tax burden “we the people” are made to bear, we have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow.

We have no real say, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn and forcing us to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

All the while the government continues to do whatever it wants—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

This brings me to a curious point: what the future will look like ten years from now, when the federal debt is expected to surpass $78 trillion, an unsustainable level of debt that will result in unprecedented economic hardship for anyone that does not belong to the wealthy elite.

Interestingly enough, that timeline coincides with the government’s vision of the future as depicted in a Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command.

According to the video, the government is anticipating trouble (read: civil unrest), which is code for anything that challenges the government’s authority, wealth and power, and is grooming its armed forces (including its heavily armed federal agents) accordingly to solve future domestic political and social problems.

The training video, titled “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” is only five minutes long, but it provides a chilling glimpse of what the government expects the world to look like in 2030, a world bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.

And then comes the kicker.

Three-and-a-half minutes into the Pentagon’s dystopian vision of “a world of Robert Kaplan-esque urban hellscapes — brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers,” the ominous voice of the narrator speaks of a need to “drain the swamps.”

Drain the swamps.

Surely, we’ve heard that phrase before?

Ah yes.

Emblazoned on t-shirts and signs, shouted at rallies, and used as a rallying cry among Trump supporters, “drain the swamp” became one of Donald Trump’s most-used campaign slogans.

Far from draining the politically corrupt swamps of Washington DC of lobbyists and special interest groups, however, the Trump Administration has further mired us in a sweltering bog of corruption and self-serving tactics.

Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Now the government has adopted its own plans for swamp-draining, only it wants to use the military to drain the swamps of futuristic urban American cities of “noncombatants and engage the remaining adversaries in high intensity conflict within.”

And who are these noncombatants, a military term that refers to civilians who are not engaged in fighting during a war?

They are, according to the Pentagon, “adversaries.”

They are “threats.”

They are the “enemy.”

They are people who don’t support the government, people who live in fast-growing urban communities, people who may be less well-off economically than the government and corporate elite, people who engage in protests, people who are unemployed, people who engage in crime (in keeping with the government’s fast-growing, overly broad definition of what constitutes a crime).

In other words, in the eyes of the U.S. military, noncombatants are American citizens a.k.a. domestic extremists a.k.a. enemy combatants who must be identified, targeted, detained, contained and, if necessary, eliminated…(continues)

Tenth Amendment Center: The Constitution Wasn’t Written to Protect Your Liberty

From the Tenth Amendment Center comes a short piece on the limited purpose of the US Constitition, The Constitution Wasn’t Written to Protect Your Liberty

One of the most biggest misconceptions I hear about the Constitution is that it was written to “protect our liberty.”

It wasn’t. At least not in a direct sense.

The confusion likely arises from the words of the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

It’s true that the Constitution was written during a time when protecting unalienable rights was widely viewed as the primary role of government. But the Constitution is not a philosophical document. It is a legal document that formed a political union and created a central government.

That’s all it does. Asking it to “protect your rights” is really asking too much. That wasn’t why it was written or ratified.

Now the Constitution does reflect the philosophy espoused in the Declaration in that it established a general government of limited, enumerated powers. The decentralized nature of the political system it created was intended to encourage liberty.

By strictly limiting the authority of the general government, the founding generation hoped it would never possess enough the power to intrude on our rights.

But there isn’t any provision in the Constitution that actually empowers the federal government to protect our liberty. In fact, the founding generation would have almost certainly considered that too much power for a general government to wield.

In practice, this means the federal government really doesn’t have any responsibility to “protect your rights” beyond staying within its constitutionally delegated powers. Its obligation isn’t to act in order to protect liberty, it is to not act outside of its legitimate authority.

In the same way, the Bill of Rights was never intended to empower the federal government to protect your rights. As the preamble to the Bill of Rights makes clear, it was intended to add “further declaratory and restrictive clauses” to the Constitution “in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers.” I have often said it would be better named “The Bill of Restrictions.”

A lot of people want the Constitution to deliver something it never promised. They want the government to serve as a liberty enforcement squad. This is a dangerous proposition. In order to protect your liberty, the government must define your liberty. The best thing the government can do is stay out of the way. The Constitution created a limited federal government for that purpose.

But it’s ultimately up to us to hold it within its limits. Unfortunately, by insisting that the government “protect their rights” they are doing the exact opposite.

Rutherford Institute: A Case for Not Giving Up on the American Dream

From Constitutional attorney John Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute, We’re All in This Together: A Case for Not Giving Up on the American Dream on paying attention and not being distracted so that we don’t lose our liberty.

The powers-that-be want us to forget these basic lessons in how to get along. They want us to fume and rage and be so consumed with fighting the so-called enemies in our midst that we never notice the prison walls closing in around us.

Don’t be distracted.

No matter what happens in the next presidential election, no matter how many ways the powers-that-be attempt to sow division and distrust among the populace, no matter how many shouting commentators perpetuate the belief that there is only one “right” view and one “wrong” view in politics, the only “us vs. them” that will matter is whether “we the people” care enough to stand united in our commitment to the principles on which this nation was founded: freedom, justice, and equality for all.

The rest is just noise intended to distract us from the fact that life in America has become a gut-wrenching, soul-sucking, misery-drenched, demoralizing existence, and it’s the government that is responsible.

Even so, here’s why I’m not giving up on the American dream of freedom, and—despite all the reasons to the contrary—why you shouldn’t either: because this is still our country.

I’m outraged at what has been done to our freedoms and our country. You should be, too.

We have been subjected to crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.

We’ve been held up, stripped down, faked out, photographed, frisked, fracked, hacked, tracked, cracked, intercepted, accessed, spied on, zapped, mapped, searched, shot at, tasered, tortured, tackled, trussed up, tricked, lied to, labeled, libeled, leered at, shoved aside, saddled with debt not of our own making, sold a bill of goods about national security, tuned out by those representing us, tossed aside, and taken to the cleaners.

We’ve had our freedoms turned inside out, our democratic structure flipped upside down, and our house of cards left in a shambles.

We’ve had our children burned by flashbang grenades, our dogs shot, and our old folks hospitalized after “accidental” encounters with marauding SWAT teams.

We’ve been told that as citizens we have no rights within 100 miles of our own border, now considered “Constitution-free zones.”

We’ve had our faces filed in government databases, our biometrics crosschecked against criminal databanks, and our consumerist tendencies catalogued for future marketing overtures.

We’ve seen the police transformed from community peacekeepers to point guards for the militarized corporate state. The police continue to push, prod, poke, probe, scan, shoot and intimidate the very individuals—we the taxpayers—whose rights they were hired to safeguard. Networked together through fusion centers, police have surreptitiously spied on our activities and snooped on our communications, using hi-tech devices provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

We’ve been deemed suspicious for engaging in such dubious activities as talking too long on a cell phone and stretching too long before jogging, dubbed extremists and terrorists for criticizing the government and suggesting it is tyrannical or oppressive, and subjected to forced colonoscopies and anal probes for allegedly rolling through a stop sign.

We’ve been arrested for all manner of “crimes” that never used to be considered criminal, let alone uncommon or unlawful, behavior: letting our kids walk to the playground alonegiving loose change to a homeless manfeeding the hungry, and living off the grid.

We’ve been sodomized, victimized, jeopardized, demoralized, traumatized, stigmatized, vandalized, demonized, polarized and terrorized, often without having done anything to justify such treatment. Blame it on a government mindset that renders us guilty before we’ve even been charged, let alone convicted, of any wrongdoing. In this way, law-abiding individuals have had their homes mistakenly raided by SWAT teams that got the address wrong. One accountant found himself at the center of a misguided (armed) police standoff after surveillance devices confused his license plate with that of a drug felon.

We’ve been railroaded into believing that our votes count, that we live in a republic or a democracy, that elections make a difference, that it matters whether we vote Republican or Democrat, and that our elected officials are looking out for our best interests. Truth be told, we live in an oligarchy, politicians represent only the profit motives of the corporate state, whose leaders know all too well that there is no discernible difference between red and blue politics, because there is only one color that matters in politics: green.

We’ve gone from having privacy in our inner sanctums to having nowhere to hide, with smart pills that monitor the conditions of our bodies, homes that spy on us (with smart meters that monitor our electric usage and thermostats and light switches that can be controlled remotely) and cars that listen to our conversations, track our whereabouts and report them to the police. Even our cities have become wall-to-wall electronic concentration camps, with police now able to record hi-def video of everything that takes place within city limits.

We’ve had our schools locked down and turned into prisons, our students handcuffed, shackled and arrested for engaging in childish behavior such as food fights, our children’s biometrics stored, their school IDs chipped, their movements tracked, and their data bought, sold and bartered for profit by government contractors, all the while they are treated like criminals and taught to march in lockstep with the police state…

Appearances to the contrary, this country does not belong exclusively to the corporations or the special interest groups or the oligarchs or the war profiteers or any particular religious, racial or economic demographic.

This country belongs to all of us: each and every one of us—“we the people”—but most especially, this country belongs to those of us who love freedom enough to stand and fight for it.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we are fast approaching the point at which we will have nothing left to lose.

Don’t wait for things to get that bad before you find your voice and your conscience. By then, it will be too late.

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s character reflects in The Gulag Archipelago:

How we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if … during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.

Take your stand now—using every nonviolent means at your disposal—while you still can.

Don’t wait to reflect back on missed opportunities to push back against tyranny.

Don’t wait until you’re the last one standing.

Time is running out.

Click here to read the entire article at The Rutherford Institute

AIER: How Liberalism Can Survive Left-Right Polarization

This article from the American Institute for Economic Research looks into the rise of political extremity, both left and right, in the US, and what we need to do to affirm dedication to liberty while rejecting the vengeful appeal of authoritarianism.

The rise of political extremes in America, both left and right, poses a particular challenge for those of us who prefer liberty over government control. It’s not only in the US; the same grows in the UK, Europe, Latin America, and Brazil. As the old managerial elite in all countries loses credibility and power, socialist and nationalist forms of statism are vying to take their place, while relegating liberalism to the political margins.

To survive and thrive, we will need to gain greater confidence in who we are and what we believe about the social order, clarifying and focusing on what liberty looks like and what precisely we are going for, while avoiding partisan traps along the way. In particular, we need to avoid being lumped in with movements – rightly or wrongly, by expedient or intellectual error – that are contrary to our tradition and philosophical longings.

In case you haven’t heard, for example, many academic and media observers are on a hunt to discover the origin of the nationalist resurgence, and particularly its most bizarre and violent segment of the alt-right. To the horror of many dedicated intellectuals and activists in the liberty space, some academics and journalists have tried to link this movement backward in time to the libertarian political movement as it developed over the last two decades, and, by extension, the rise of the Trump-controlled Republican Party.

It should be obvious that, in theory and contrary to what the socialist left has long claimed, there is no connection whatsoever between what we call libertarianism and any species of rightist ideology. One negates the other. As Leonard Read wrote in 1956, “Liberty has no horizontal relationship to authoritarianism. Libertarianism’s relationship to authoritarianism is vertical; it is up from the muck of men enslaving man…”

And yet today, there does indeed appear, at least superficially, to have been a social, institutional, and even intellectual connection, and migration, between what is called the liberty movement and the emergence of nationalism, right-wing identitarianism, and the politics of authoritarianism. Some of the most prominent alt-right voices in the 2017 Charlottesville marches once identified as libertarians. This fact has been widely covered. It’s a fair question to ask: did these individuals ever really believe in a liberal worldview? Were they trolling all along? Were they just deeply confused?

I’ve been interviewed many times on these questions. How did this come to be? The answer is complex. It was more than six years ago that my article “Against Libertarian Brutalism” raised a conjecture: a libertarianism, rendered simply as nothing more than a “leave me alone” outlook, with no larger aspiration for the good life, and no interest in the subject of social cooperation, could find itself divorced from a historical conception of what the advent of liberty has meant to human life and society as a whole. Without that, we fail to develop good instincts for interpreting the world around us. We are even reduced to syllogistic slogans and memes which can be deeply misleading and feed even illiberal bias.

And where does this bias end up? Where are the limits? I see them daily online. In the name of fighting the left, many have turned in the other direction to embrace an alternative form of identitarianism, restrictions on trade and migration, curbs on essential civil liberties, and even toyed with the freedom of the press and the rights of private enterprise, all in the name of humiliating and eliminating the enemy. Some go further to celebrate anything they believe the left hates, including even odious causes from the authoritarian past.

The rhetoric at the extremes approaches nihilism. The press isn’t really free so why not impose restrictions, censorship, and litigated punishments? The borders aren’t private so why not prohibit all entry? Some speech doesn’t support freedom so why permit it the rights that freedom entails? Social media companies aren’t really private enterprises, so why not force them to carry and promote some accounts that I like? That large company has a government contract so why not bust it up with antitrust?

The gradual evolution of language has unleashed all kinds of confusion. Activists denounce “the establishment” without a clear distinction between government and influential media voices. They will decry “globalism” without bothering to distinguish the World Bank from an importer of Chinese fireworks. They promote identitarianism and racial collectivism without the slightest understanding of the illiberal origins and uses of these ideologies in 20th-century history. After all, they say, there is nothing “inherently un-libertarian” about casting down an entire people, religion, gender, language, or race, so long as you don’t directly use violence.

It takes a special kind of circuitous sophistry to justify, in the name of liberty, collectivistic animus and state violence against voluntary association. But the history of politics shows people are capable of making huge mental leaps in service of ideological goals. All it takes is small steps, little excuses, tweaks of principle here and there, seemingly minor compromises, some element of confirmation bias, and you are good to go, ready to make as much sense as the old communist slogan that you have to break eggs to make omelets…

Click here to read the entire article at AIER.

Charles Carroll Society: Rep. Matt Shea Did Nothing Wrong

This article was written by Idaho State Senate candidate Alex Barron over at the Charles Carroll Society – Matt Shea Did Nothing Wrong.

Alex Barron candidate Idaho State Senate D3

Washington State Representative and Army veteran Matt Shea is a Republican from the Spokane Valley (Eastern Washington) area. Matt Shea is not a racist. Matt Shea is not a terrorist. Representative Matt Shea is a liberty-leaning conservative Christian that actually believes in the Republican platform.  He is more conservative than many. He angers progressives in and out of the Republican Party because he takes a no-holds-bar approach to promoting a society based upon Christian moral norms and the Bill of Rights; thus, he has become popular in the “patriot” movement and the enemy of the far-left antifa.

The patriot movement, in general, are conservative Christians who lean libertarian.  We have a strong attachment to the Bill of Rights and especially the 2nd Amendment. We are often modern-day anti-federalist or extremely distrustful of the corrupt over-powerful federal government and unaccountable administrative Deep State.  Yet the same men would often fight tooth and nail for their local governor. The attitude of the Sage Brush rebellion is nothing new out here in the West.

Recently a Seattle-based retired FBI agent named Kathy Leodler, who founded a firm called The Rampart Group, delivered a “report” to the Washington State far-left Democrats. Yes, there are Democrats in Washington State that wear communist black shirt (antifa) political pins as they perform their official duties in the State capital. In this report, retired-FBI agent Kathy Leodler accused Representative Matt Shea of being a domestic terrorist. The story has been picked up by a lot of lying, liberal and legacy mainstream media.

There are similarities between what violent communist black shirts (antifa) is trying to do to Republican Washington State Representative Matt Shea and what the congressional Democrats and their far-left aligned groups and the lying, legacy, liberal mainstream media tried to do to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump. In all three cases, some questionable people make allegations, then a partisan investigation and then “cancel culture” or attempting to remove someone from public life you politically disagree with.

In Brett Kavanaugh’s case, it was Christine Blasey Ford; in Trump’s impeachment trial, it was initially started by Democratic-aligned opposition firm Fusion GPS, paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), who hired a retired British spy Christopher Steele. In Matt Shea’s example, it was a Republican turned progressive turncoat Jay Pounder, retired FBI agent Kathy Leodler and far-left Democrats in Washington State…

Click here to read the entire article at Charles Carroll Society.

Imprimis: Freedom and Obligation

The excerpt below comes from a commencement address given by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas at Hillsdale College back in 2016. In order to have liberty our freedom must be tempered by the duties and responsibilities that we have.

…In my youth, we had a small farm. I am convinced that the time I spent there had much to do with my firm resolve never to farm again. Work seemed to spring eternal, like the weeds that consumed so much of our time and efforts. One of the messages constantly conveyed in those days was our obligation to take care of the land and to use it to produce food for ourselves and for others. If there was to be independence, self-sufficiency, or freedom, then we first had to understand, accept, and discharge our responsibilities. The latter were the necessary (but not always sufficient) antecedents or precursors of the former. The only guarantee was that if you did not discharge your responsibilities, there could be no independence, no self-sufficiency, and no freedom.

In a broader context, we were obligated in our neighborhood to be good neighbors so that the neighborhood would thrive. Whether there was to be a clean, thriving neighborhood was directly connected to our efforts. So there was always, to our way of thinking, a connection between the things we valued most and our personal obligations or efforts. There could be no freedom without each of us discharging our responsibilities. When we heard the words duty, honor, and country, no more needed to be said. But that is a bygone era. Today, we rarely hear of our personal responsibilities in discussions of broad notions such as freedom or liberty. It is as though freedom and liberty exist wholly independent of anything we do, as if they are predestined…

America’s Founders and many successive generations believed in natural rights. To establish a government based on the consent of the governed, as the Declaration of Independence makes clear, they gave up only that portion of their rights necessary to create a limited government of the kind needed to secure all of their rights. The Founders then structured that government so that it could not jeopardize the liberty that flowed from natural rights. Even though this liberty is inherent, it is not guaranteed. Indeed, the founding documents of our country are an assertion of this liberty against the King of England—arguably the most powerful man in the world at the time—at the risk of the Founders’ lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Over the lifespan of our great country, many occasions have arisen that required this liberty, and the form of government that ensures it, to be defended if it was to survive.

At the risk of understating what is necessary to preserve liberty and our form of government, I think more and more that it depends on good citizens discharging their daily duties and obligations…

Today, when it seems that grievance rather than responsibility is the main means of elevation, my grandfather’s beliefs may sound odd or discordant. But he and others like him at the time resolved to conduct themselves in a way consistent with America’s ideals. They were law-abiding, hardworking, and disciplined. They discharged their responsibilities to their families and neighbors as best they could. They taught us that despite unfair treatment, we were to be good citizens and good people. If we were to have a functioning neighborhood, we first had to be good neighbors. If we were to have a good city, state, and country, we first had to be good citizens. The same went for our school and our church. We were to keep in mind the corporal works of mercy and the great commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Being wronged by others did not justify reciprocal conduct. Right was right, and two wrongs did not make a right. What we wanted to do did not define what was right—nor, I might add, did our capacious litany of wants define liberty. Rather, what was right defined what we were required to do and what we were permitted to do. It defined our duties and our responsibilities. Whether those duties meant cutting our neighbor’s lawn, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, or going off to war as my brother did, we were to discharge them honorably…

if we continue to consume the benefits of a free society without replenishing or nourishing that society, we will eventually deplete that as well.  If we are content to let others do the  work of replenishing and defending liberty while we consume the benefits, we will someday run out of other people’s willingness to sacrifice—or even out of courageous people willing to make the sacrifice…

Click here to read the entire article at Imprimis.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Algorithmic Feudalism (Tech Giant Evil)

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has written another good article, this one on the dangers that the algorithms used by tech giants pose to our very ability to think. Are you sure your thoughts are your own when every interaction online is being used to present the ideas that are most profitable to those with the power?

Algorithmic Feudalism

…It’s important to note that while much of the recent focus on tech giants revolves around market dominance and anti-competitiveness, the real danger posed is far more extensive. Particularly since the post-election “panic of 2016,” these companies have begun to more earnestly morph into digital information gatekeepers in the name of empire and the national security state.

Day by day, tweaked algorithm by tweaked algorithm, and with each new thought criminal banished from major digital platforms, we’ve seen not only dissident views marginalized, but we’ve also lost a capacity to access information we’re looking for should tech company CEOs or their national security state partners deem it inappropriate. The powers that be have determined the internet permitted too much freedom of thought and opinion, so the tech giants stand ready to bluntly throw the hammer down in order to reverse that trend and regain narrative control. The algorithm will be used to get you in line, and if you don’t comply, the algorithm will destroy you.

More from TruthDig:

Stiegler believes that digital technology, in the hands of technocrats whom he calls “the new barbarians,” now threatens to dominate our tertiary memory, leading to a historically unprecedented “proletarianization” of the human mind. For Stiegler, the stakes today are much higher than they were for Marx, from whom this term is derived: proletarianization is no longer a threat posed to physical labor but to the human spirit itself…

Stiegler firmly believes that a distinction must always be upheld between “authentic thinking” and “computational cognitivism” and that today’s crisis lies in confusing the latter for the former: we have entrusted our rationality to computational technologies that now dominate everyday life, which is increasingly dependent on glowing screens driven by algorithmic anticipations of their users’ preferences and even writing habits (e.g., the repugnantly named “predictive text” feature that awaits typed-in characters to regurgitate stock phrases)… As Stiegler’s translator, the philosopher and filmmaker Daniel Ross, puts it, our so-called post-truth age is one “where calculation becomes so hegemonic as to threaten the possibility of thinking itself.” 

This is the true crux of what we’re dealing with, and so we find ourselves at a terrifying transition point in the entire historical human experience should we fail to correct it. As a consequence of their dominant market shares in core areas of our modern digital world like e-commerce (Amazon), human-to-human communication (Facebook) and information access (Google), tech giants now have the capacity to replace human curiosity and thought with opaque and ever-changing algorithms…

The internet was supposed to free information while connecting people and ideas across borders. This promise is being lost with each passing day, and rectifying the situation is one of the most significant challenges we face. Should we fail, we can look forward to a future where humanity consists of little more than digitally lobotomized automatons responding like lab rats to algorithms created by tech CEOs and their national security state partners.

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Gary Barnett: All Hail the Emperor

All Hail the Emperor by Gary Barnett.

Once upon a time in this country, there was no president, and there was no federal tax, as all the tyrannical government was relegated to the states. Prior to that time of a somewhat free society, there were only local government structures overseen by a sitting king from afar, so most of the common people did not have to deal daily with bureaucracies, restrictive laws, heavy taxation, and large scale corruption. But then the Constitution was born, and all power was given to a central authority under the guise of a democratic republic ruled over by the people. But people do not ever rule over governments, governments always rule over people.

Fast forward to today, and government hell has taken center stage. This is not in the sense that most would understand, because the lowly citizen thinks any assault on liberty is due to government policy or tyrannical interference, but it is much more complicated than what is believed. Government is but a pawn in a game of power over the masses orchestrated by a controlling elite bent on total authority over all. It is a partnership of sorts, fascist to be sure, but government officials have to play by the rules laid out by the real power, or they will face harsh measures. Many have fallen to a deadly fate due to breaking the rules of this allowed power.

We now live under 24 hour a day surveillance, police state tactics and SWAT raids, extreme taxation, the ruination of money, out of control prison incarceration, continuous war, and restrictive laws that touch every aspect of every life. Nothing is allowed without state license and extortion payments, and nothing is truly owned by the individual. Any resident of this country, citizen or not, can be “legally” held, imprisoned, tortured, or murdered without any due process whatsoever. This fact alone eliminates any possibility of a free society.

And yesterday, it was announced that the Trump administration through its corrupt attorney general, William Barr, have announced a new program that will set up a “pre-crime” authority in 2020; one that will be able to legally arrest and incarcerate any it deems as “likely’ to commit a crime in the future. If any reading this do not understand the dire implications of such an Orwellian nightmare scenario as this, then please go back to your phone apps and zone out of reality.

Crimes that harm others are real crimes. Should a man steal from another, he has committed an act that should be condemned. Should a man injure another or his family, he has committed an act that should be condemned. Should a man imprison or murder another without cause, he has committed a heinous act that deserves condemnation. But when the government does these things; when a government steals, injures and harms innocents, when it falsely imprisons those who have harmed no one, when it murders thousands of innocent people in the false name of national security, it is applauded for protecting the public and upholding the law.

The bar should be set the same for the entirety of government as it is for individuals. If any individual should do something that is considered a crime due to natural law, then the government should be held to that same standard should it commit the same crime. But obviously, the government lives in a world of double standards, deceit, and corruption, and is allowed to continue its nefarious lies and indiscretions, its thievery, and its murder without limit.

Logic in the crowd is seemingly lost, and so long as the huddled masses continue to allow criminal behavior by those it sanctions through the asinine voting process, then only a continuation of tyranny will result. So long as kings and presidents are allowed to rule, the people will serve their chosen masters, and remain in a state of servitude, slaves to the system they themselves allow to exist.

Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry. ~ Thomas Jefferson

AEI: The Moral Case for Capitalism

This is an older article from 2012 by Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, but it is certainly applicable in this day when capitalism is being thrown under the bus by those who either want to equate capitalism with crony corporatism, those who want to replace it with forms of socialism, or both. Free enterprise has lifted millions around the world from poverty and is the most humane and compassionate economic system.

The topic is expounded upon in the book Wealth & Justice: The Morality of Democratic Capitalism. Brooks and his co-author Peter Wehner note that “a free economy requires a strong civic and social order and a shared belief in an underlying moral code–a moral code that should come not from the government, but from family, churches, neighborhood associations, and local schools.” Capitalism must be a part of the “golden chain” which includes morality and democracy in order to benefit society.

Making a Moral Case for Capitalism

Earlier this month in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney made an unusual argument by modern political standards: that long-term deficit spending is not just an economic issue, but a moral one. “I think it’s . . . not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation.”

This is a notable occurrence, not just because Romney is frequently chided for being cool and detached, but because it represents a return to something our founders knew but succeeding generations have forgotten: Limited government and individual liberty aren’t merely policy alternatives. They’re moral imperatives. “Limited government and individual liberty aren’t merely policy alternatives. They’re moral imperatives.” — Arthur Brooks

America’s founders were moralists, not materialists. The Declaration of Independence defends not our right to material prosperity, but, rather, the covenant between government and citizens of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In both public declarations as well as personal correspondence, the founders discussed, debated, and explained their thinking using moral language.

In today’s commercial republic, the freedom our founders fought for is expressed in the form of free enterprise: the system of laws and institutions that rewards entrepreneurship and hard work, largely on the basis of markets and competition. Free enterprise is what Thomas Jefferson meant by the “free exercise of industry … and the fruits acquired by it.” Free enterprise is compatible with government in the case of market failures (such as crime) and a safety net for the indigent, but it is inconsistent with today’s growing statism and corporate cronyism.

Today, we rarely hear a moral defense for free enterprise from our politicians, which is why Romney’s statement was so striking. And the general lack of moral defense explains why – despite the fact that surveys find a large majority of Americans think the government is too big and trying to do too much – we acquiesce to larger and larger government from both parties. Indeed, it is why government at all levels has grown from 15 percent of U.S. GDP in 1940 to more than 35 percent today, and – according to the Congressional Budget Office – will hit 50 percent in 2038.

Day after day, politicians offer one government benefit after another to our citizens. This has made a majority of Americans into net beneficiaries of the welfare state, as my colleague Nicholas Eberstadt chronicles in his new book, Nation of Takers. While most Americans dislike the crisis and culture this has brought us, few are eager to give up their benefits. It is not compelling enough to point out that these goodies will lead to fiscal problems sometime in the future. It isn’t even enough to scare citizens with threats of a Greek-style debt crisis, which will surely come if we continue to build a Greek-style social democracy with Greek-sized government.

Only the moral case for freedom and opportunity – the case that stimulated the struggle of our founders – will have a chance to save the American experiment that we say we want. That case requires that we make three arguments.

First, we have to argue for the right of every American to earn his or her success. Earned success does not mean making money. It means creating value with our lives, and in the lives of other people. For some, this means starting a for-profit business; for others, it means creating a beautiful work of art, raising great kids, or helping others. Regardless, there is a tremendous amount of evidence that people who say they have earned their success are our happiest citizens.

For earned success, we need a system that matches our skills and passions, rewards hard work, and lets us keep these rewards. If not, we will suffer what the eminent University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman calls “learned helplessness.” This is a condition in which our earned rewards are stripped away, or we are given something we have not earned. When we learn helplessness, we become passive and unhappy.

Second, we have to argue for basic fairness. For most Americans, a fair society is one in which hard work, creativity, and honest competition result in financial reward. It does not mean that we redistribute resources through government power just to get more equality. It also does not mean rewarding the government’s cronies in favored industries – from green energy, to banks, to labor unions. It means rewarding merit and creating opportunity. It does not mean insider dealing, social engineering, equalizing economic outcomes, and pork-barrel spending.

Third, we have to argue for the rights of the poor, and fight for the system that lifts them up by the billions. Between 1970 and 2010, the percentage of the world’s population living on less than a dollar a day has been reduced by about 80 percent. What explains this miracle? The United Nations or International Monetary Fund? U.S. foreign aid? Of course not. It was globalization, free trade, entrepreneurship, property rights, and the rule of law spreading around the world.

So what is the system that satisfies our demand to let people earn their success, that is fair, and that lifts up the poor by the billions? There is only one: free enterprise.

Two hundred years ago, Jefferson wrote: “The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us.” That is as true today as it was then. Free enterprise is America’s blessing, and our gift to the world. Yet it is in peril, and only a moral defense will save America from squandering it as we follow the ruinous path of our European allies. We need more politicians, intellectuals, activists, and everyday Americans to stand up for free enterprise – not just because it makes us better off, but because it makes us better.

Rutherford Institute: No, the Government Shouldn’t Be Policing the Globe

Here is another good article from author and Constitutional law attorney John Whitehead on whether the U.S.A. will have its empire collapse and remain a democratic republic, or have its democracy collapse and keep the empire. An excerpt follows:

Guns for Hire: No, the Government Shouldn’t Be Using the Military to Police the Globe

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” — James Madison

Eventually, all military empires fall and fail by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death.

It happened in Rome.

It’s happening again.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

The American Empire—with its endless wars waged by U.S. military servicepeople who have been reduced to little more than guns for hire: outsourced, stretched too thin, and deployed to far-flung places to police the globe—is approaching a breaking point.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire and its incestuous relationship with a host of international defense contractors, is one of its best buyers and sellers. In fact, as Reuters reports, “[President] Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors to act as a salesman for the U.S. defense industry.”

Under Trump’s leadership, the U.S. military is dropping a bomb every 12 minutes.

This follows on the heels of President Obama, the so-called antiwar candidate and Nobel Peace Prize winner who waged war longer than any American president and whose targeted-drone killings resulted in at least 1.3 million lives lost to the U.S.-led war on terror

Click here to read the entire article at the Rutherford Institute.

Tenth Amendment Center: Step by Step for Liberty

Michael Boldin at the Tenth Amendment Center has a nice, short article about the federal government’s usurpation of powers never delegated to it by the Constitution – Step by Step for Liberty: Small Things Grow Great by Concord.

Let us remember that if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom!

Writing as Candidus in the Boston Gazette on Oct. 14, 1771, Samuel Adams recognized an important and timeless truth. Turning a blind eye to an attack on liberty only guarantees that more attacks will come in the future.

The same goes for violations of the Constitution, which the Founders often referred to as “usurpations,” or the exercise of “arbitrary power.”

In his 1791 Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, Thomas Jefferson agreed with Adams in principle when he wrote:

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.’ [10th Amendment] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” [emphasis added]

Here’s something that shouldn’t be surprising: Jefferson was right.

But turning things around from a government with tens of thousands of unconstitutional “laws,” regulations, rules and orders on the books isn’t going to happen in a single step either…

Click here to read the entire article at the Tenth Amendment Center.

City Journal: The Knife Went In

City Journal recently reprinted an article from 1994 in their Spring 2019 issue, The Knife Went In by Theodore Dalrymple.

It is a mistake to suppose that all men, or at least all Englishmen, want to be free. On the contrary, if freedom entails responsibility, many of them want none of it. They would happily exchange their liberty for a modest (if illusory) security. Even those who claim to cherish their freedom are rather less enthusiastic about taking the consequences of their actions. The aim of untold millions is to be free to do exactly as they choose and for someone else to pay when things go wrong.

In the past few decades, a peculiar and distinctive psychology has emerged in England. Gone are the civility, sturdy independence, and admirable stoicism that carried the English through the war years. It has been replaced by a constant whine of excuses, complaint, and special pleading. The collapse of the British character has been as swift and complete as the collapse of British power.

Listening as I do every day to the accounts people give of their lives, I am struck by the very small part in them which they ascribe to their own efforts, choices, and actions. Implicitly, they disagree with Bacon’s famous dictum that “chiefly the mould of a man’s fortune is in his own hands.” Instead, they experience themselves as putty in the hands of fate.

It is instructive to listen to the language they use to describe their lives. The language of prisoners in particular teaches much about the dishonest fatalism with which people seek to explain themselves to others, especially when those others are in a position to help them in some way. As a doctor who sees patients in a prison once or twice a week, I am fascinated by prisoners’ use of the passive mood and other modes of speech that are supposed to indicate their helplessness. They describe themselves as the marionettes of happenstance…

Click here to read the entire article at City Journal.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Arrest of Julian Assange Is Attack on Journalism, Liberty

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has a nice article summarizing the ways in which the recent arrest of Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame is a bad sign for our liberty and western civilization.

A key quote is this: Americans are being taught, by repeated example, that there exists two main classes of people in this country. Those aligned with — in one way or another — the national security state, and those who are not. If you’re aligned with the interests of empire and are somewhat prominent, you will never suffer consequences for any of your actions.

Your career will flourish irrespective of how wrong you are, how many countries you destroy, how many civilians you murder, or how many lives you ruin with fraud and corruption. You are for all intents and purposes a member of the imperial royalty, and as such, completely and totally above the law. This isn’t speculation or exaggeration, it’s demonstrably provable reality. We’re being gradually conditioned to accept a society comprised of rulers and the ruled, of masters and servants. There’s no place in such a construct for self-government. You are a subject not a citizen. 

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.