Monthly Archives: May 2012

Separating Real Truth From Implied Fantasy

I have been a Christian for over fifty years. During that time, I have attended two Bible Colleges, listened to thousands of sermons, listened to many hours of Christian radio, and watched hundreds of Broadcast on Christian TV. I have talked to thousands of “born-again” Christians and been personally involved with many of them as family members and close friends. The one thing they all had in common was that they justified their religious beliefs based on what they thought the Bible teaches. Often times, however, I noticed that a lot of their beliefs conflicted with many of my own, which I also assumed I had derived from the teachings of Scripture. At times, this became a source of confusion and discouragement for me. I sometimes doubted if I could ever understand the teachings of the Bible.

I did not begin to understand this troubling phenomenon until the deteriorating state of affairs in America forced me into a study of American history, politics, and our Founding Documents. I soon noticed the same thing happening in the world of politics that I had experienced in the world of Christianity; Every politician, lawyer, and court, when debating issues of public policy and law, appeal to the Constitution as the authority for their opinions and decisions. Yet, when I listened to the politician or read a court decision, I often had to wonder, “Whose Constitution are you reading”? It gradually dawned on me that I was observing two entirely different methods of reasoning used to come to the “truth”. Some base their final understanding of doctrine or law on what they believe to be the implied meaning of passages in the Bible or in the Constitution, others, on the clear meaning of the words used as defined by the dictionary and the context in which they are used.

For example, in “Roe vs. Wade”, the Supreme Court found the “implied” doctrine of a “right to privacy” in the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause. That decision, based on an implied meaning, not only overturned a Texas state law outlawing abortion, it opened the door to a plethora of other laws and court decisions establishing the “right to an abortion” as “the law of the land”. The laws stemming from this newfound legal wisdom protect a woman’s right to “freedom of choice” all the way up to and including, the criminalizing of certain types of protests against abortion, or attempts to persuade a woman not to go through with a planned abortion, within a specified number of feet from the entrance to an abortion clinic.

The ongoing attacks on Christianity in America is justified by the implied doctrine of “separation of Church and State” found in the religious clause of the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Clearly, this is not a demand for separation, but a declaration of independence on behalf of religion from the authority of the federal government. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing any law that would make any form of religion, the official, established religion of the nation. At the same time, it prohibits Congress from making any law that would interfere with the free expression of the religious beliefs of any individual, church, place of worship, state or community. Since the first sentence of Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the sole authority for making all laws for the federal government, the same prohibitions would apply to the Courts and the Executive Branch as well.

It is natural that we form our worldview based heavily on the things taught to us by our parents, teachers, professors, mentors and other respected authority figures in our educational and professional lives. They, of course, formed their views the same way we formed ours, from those who came before them. Consequently, the lawyers, judges, preachers, and theologians of today, following the same course, often approach the Constitution and the Bible looking for implied meanings that will support their own preconceived point of view, rather than accepting the clear meaning of the passages read. As generations go by it behooves us to reexamine what we believe and discard the false doctrines we have adopted from others in the past. Considering the condition of our institutions of government, our economy and our culture, now is probably a good time to begin our quest.

The reformers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries rejected the false doctrines of the then current religious establishment and the ecclesiastical authority of the established state church. Returning to the source document of their religion, the Bible, as their only basis of truth, they brought about the great protestant reformation to the incalculable benefit of later generations. The Founding Fathers went through the same process in forming our government between approximately 1772 and 1787. They rejected the established theories of government and the concept of monarchs and subjects, turning instead to new concepts of liberty and citizen sovereignty. In forming their own views of government, they relied heavily on the Bible and the writings of legal and political philosophers such as John Lock, Baron de Montesquieu, and Sir William Blackstone, all of whom formed their own philosophy largely from the Bible, as had the Reformers.

America today is sorely in need of both a political reformation and a spiritual revival. In fact, without both there is little chance of preserving an America with the prosperity and liberty we have enjoyed in the past. Both reformation and revival means getting back to basics. The only hope for a worthwhile political reformation is a return to the authority of the Constitution as the final rule or law for the operation of our government. Likewise, the spiritual revival of our culture requires a return to Bible principles as our primary source for the moral values John Adams, George Washington and others among our Founders believed to be necessary for the establishment and preservation of real liberty and prosperity in the nation they were forming.

Crony Capitalism is Hazardous to Your Wealth

Market Capitalism
Market Capitalism is the natural way man interacts with others to satisfy his needs. It is the oldest economic system in existence. Market Capitalism, based on Nature’s Law of “spontaneous order”, has been the dominant economic system in America since its settlement over four hundred years ago. In a spontaneously ordered economy such as ours, millions of people make billions of economic decisions daily, based on their perception as to what is in their own best interest. The principle of spontaneous order arranges these decisions into a natural system that results in the highest possible level of prosperity for the maximum number of people.

The principle of spontaneous economic order is the foundation of our capitalist system. The liberty of individuals to make their own personal economic decisions and live with the consequences is protected by the Constitution in Article I, Section 10 and defended by Jesus in Matthew 20: 1-15. In order for it to function properly requires a relatively honest and moral people. One of the legitimate functions of state and local governments is to establish and enforce laws to protect the public from dishonest, unscrupulous and fraudulent business practices, and little else. At the federal level, the national government is given the power to provide the same protections for buyers and sellers across state lines. That is the primary meaning of the “interstate commerce clause” in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Central Planning
At the other end of the economic spectrum is the centrally planned economy. A centrally planned economy is absolutely necessary to the existence of a socialist or communist society just as a free market economy is essential to maintaining the freedoms and liberties of a free society. In a centrally planned economy, government bureaucrats attempt to predict needs and organize resources to provide for an equal distribution of goods and services to everyone. The result is inefficiency, shortages, and a general decline in overall prosperity.

Central planning does not and cannot work because no individual or collection of individuals has the intellectual capacity or management skills to anticipate and fulfill the needs of any group of people larger than those of an individual family. Even that does not always result to everyone’s satisfaction. The current trend of the American government away from free market capitalism and toward the socialist ideal of a centrally planned and bureaucratically directed economy is not sanctioned by our Constitution or by the Judeo-Christian traditions of our culture

Crony Capitalism
Crony Capitalism is the “bridge” between a free market economy and socialism or communism. It occurs when there is a “marriage” between the government and the economy. Just as marriage between government and religion always ends in disaster for both, so marriage between government and the economy eventually ends in disaster. Crony Capitalism is a major cause of the unemployment crisis and economic dislocation prevalent in America today.

Crony Capitalism gained its foothold in America at the beginning of the progressive era at the turn of the twentieth century. It has progressed during the last few decades to the point of corrupting both our political and economic systems. Major businesses and entrepreneurs must cultivate the favor of government in order to survive and prosper. One of the most common legal means for accomplishing this is by funneling money into the electoral system via campaign contributions to politicians who make the laws and who still maintain some degree of influence over the bureaucracies that govern our economy.

This tenuous and corrupting state of dependency between government and business was made necessary by the creation of the bureaucratic “shadow government” that governs an ever increasing portion of our personal and economic lives. The bureaucracies that make up this bureaucratic state operate with powers equivalent to those given by the Constitution to the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the federal government. Traditionally they were headed by Cabinet level Secretaries appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. None of the officials in the bureaucratic state is accountable to the public through the election process.

In recent years, especially under the Presidency of Barack Obama, the supervision of these agencies has slowly shifted from the Secretaries to Czars appointed by the President, unconfirmed by the Senate and accountable to no one but the President. This arrangement sets up a fertile atmosphere for the establishment of a dictatorial tyranny emanating from the Oval Office itself. As draconian regulations and fines, coupled with exorbitant taxation forces many companies into bankruptcy, those deemed “to big to fail” are bailed out with taxpayer money, making them easy targets for government takeover. The regulatory-taxing-squeeze-play on the economy has two highly negative consequences for the American People. Many companies escape America’s oppressive business climate by moving their operations overseas, eliminating American jobs. Those who do not move, find themselves short of capital for expansion and growth, resulting in fewer jobs being created while increasing job losses.

If progressive Democrats and establishment Republicans retain control of government after the next election, we are in danger of losing forever, any control we have left over the affairs of government. There are less than six months left until Election Day for educating, informing and persuading our friends and acquaintances.

Socialist-NO; Big, Obtrusive Government Adocate-YES

By W.C. Augustine
A friend who most often sees political issues differently than I recently sent me an excerpt from an articlein Daily Finance with the subject line “not bad for a socialist”.  The article said Fortune 500 companies’ profits increased 16.4% over last year and exceeded “the roaring economy” of 2006. (interesting the left was not describing it such in that year’s midterm elections)

I presume he saw the article as evidence that President Obama is not a socialist. To be clear, I believe it is a mistake to allege Obama is a socialist as it is counter productive.  The last generation outputted from the state-controlled school system does not know the meaning of the word.  Describing the President as an advocate of big, obtrusive government is descriptive with more impact.

 Socialism is defined  as an economic system in which the state has ownership or control over the means of production.   Control can be acquired through regulation, taxation, public ridicule or other bullying tactics (think Boeing) without ownership (think GM).  National Socialists (the real name rather than the acronym) found control more effective than ownership.  Without outright ownership a scapegoat is available for politicians to lay blame for problems. Government ownership of BP, in which  he was the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money  over the past 20 years, would have hampered Obama’s ability to lay blame on the company for the oil spill.

Early in the last century businesses became successful by developing products consumers wanted and then making it efficiently.  Later in the century marketing the product became as important as innovation and cost control.  Today a large company ignores pandering to government at its own peril.

According to a study  political activity typically results in a 20% increase in a company’s performance.  Another look at firms doing intensive lobbying shows they have returns much in excess of the S&P.  Think of Microsoft’s change after a hands-off-politicians policy precipitated an anti-trust investigation.

A superficial observer may say the evidence only suggests large corporations are buying government favors.  True, they are, but at what expense and at what competitive disadvantage does that place the small business owner who can not curry sufficient favor?  The favors and payoffs are mutual-think paying the piper.

Does Ma and Pa Heating and Cooling get to keep tax loss carry-forward after their creditors write off debt as General Motors was allowed?  Does the small company receive the tax breaks of General Electric?

Large companies can spread government regulatory burdens over huge sale volumes and still keep overhead under control.  Small companies can not.  A fortune 500 company is more than happy to relinquish some control to the government in return for the government giving them a competitive advantage in addition to the protection of a bailout to recover from mismanagement.  Hence small businesses are caught between large companies’ gained advantages in collusion with the government and a government that through huge deficits usurps more capital from entrepreneurs.

When Democrats seek a way to pay for reducing the interest on student loans,they don’t look to big corporations, their high paid executives, trust funds or highly paid entertainers and athletes, they go after small business via their common organizational structure, S-Corps.   Many in the media are ever available to carry the left’s message such as the Tribune’s Lisa Mascaro whose disparaging use of the adjective “so-called” preceding S-Corps bears her tilt.

Given that 70% of new jobs come from small companies, government putting them at a competitive disadvantage does not grow the economy, but gives government more control over the economy, enhancing the growth of a big obtrusive government.

Have a fulfilling and profitable day,

 

W C (Bill) Augustine,  www.atlasrising.tateauthor.com

Seven Keys of Liberty

1. Follow the Constitution
No nation can survive for an extended period of time without a written, objective and proven set of rules governing its national institutions. The United States Constitution is the “Supreme Law of the Land”. It is the final authority for the administration of our government. We must insist that our elected officials follow it faithfully.

2. Fulfill Your Responsibility As A Citizen
Liberty is our most fragile and valuable possession. Its preservation and nurturing is the personal responsibility of each of us. The surest way to lose it is to sit on the sidelines and expect the government, elected officials and the courts to protect it for us. Government is the antithesis of liberty unless kept in check by an ever-vigilant citizenry.

3. Defend and Promote Our American Heritage.
The dictionary defines heritage as “Something that is passed down from preceding generations; a tradition.” Our American heritage consists of a government system based on our founding documents, a culture based on Christian principles, and an economy based on nature’s economic laws of market capitalism.

4. Reject the False Promises of Utopian Socialism.
Dreamers have always sought a utopian society with universal equality in health, wealth and happiness. Human nature, however, is not compatible with such a society. The annals of History are littered with the wreckage of nations and cultures that have attempted to establish utopian ideals by government fiat. In the modern world we have the examples of Cuba, Russia, Europe, and the ongoing efforts of the Progressives (American Socialists) in our own country.

5. Respect Private Property Rights of Others and Defend Your Own.
The accumulation and possession of private property is the product of how we expend our time and effort. It is the physical manifestation of how we use the time God has given us in life. One of the primary purposes for establishing governments is to protect the property rights of its citizens. Tyranny is when government takes our property without our permission and uses it to expand or strengthen its own power. Liberty is when we are free to use it for our own enjoyment and the benefit of ourselves and our family.

6. Keep Yourself informed.
America has many enemies both foreign and domestic, working to destroy our American way of life. None are more determined than the fifth column that has infiltrated our political and cultural institutions over the past century. Our current President speaks of this destruction favorably as a “fundamental transformation”. Without the concerted actions of the American people, our enemies will succeed in their plans. Liberty can only be preserved by informed citizens. Fortunately, information and knowledge is more available today than ever before. It is the responsibility of each of us to stay informed about events on a daily basis, and to work together with other patriots in the effort to restore the principles that have served us so well in the past.

7. Support Market Capitalism
There are three competing economic systems in operation in America today, Market Capitalism, Crony Capitalism and an Americanized version of socialism. The mixture of socialism and government fostered “crony capitalism” prevalent today is at the heart of our current economic problems.  It was Market Capitalism that made America into the most powerful economy in world history. The survival of our liberty depends on our success in abolishing crony capitalism and restoring once again market capitalism.

Time To Wake Up, America

Perhaps nothing illustrates the depth of depravity and corruption to which the American political system and the American culture have sunk than the practice of deferred taxation. Our national debt today is $15,701,934,801,235. That amount equals a debt load of $50,100 per citizen and $138,300 per taxpayer. (U.S. Debt Clock)

Government does not have the means or the capacity to generate wealth. By its very nature, it can only consume wealth. The only income governments have for paying off debt or purchasing necessary goods or services for its operation is the wealth confiscated from citizens through taxation of one type or another, whether it is through overt taxation, fees, inflation, fines or other means of raising revenue.

Since all debts eventually come due and since this generation insists on living off borrowed money while refusing to pay the taxes necessary to support our leaders’ opulent life styles and prolific spending, or to defray the debt, that debt necessarily falls on future generations. This generational theft, or as Frederic Bastiat would no doubt call it if he were alive today, “generational plunder”, is both our national crime and our national sin. We are plundering the livelihood of our children, grandchildren and future generations in pursuit of the impossible utopian promises of the godless socialists that have infiltrated and now control our governments and our political parties.

Again to quote Bastiat, “…legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole –with their common aim of legal plunder — constitute socialism…” ~Frederic Bastiat, 1801 – 1850; The Law, p. 15.

…With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works. You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice.” ~Frederic Bastiat, 1801 – 1850; The Law, p. 21.

There are no innocents in this scenario. Both political parties, progressives, conservatives and even our beloved tea parties must share in the guilt. The Democrat Party has exploited the natural greed, jealousy and envy of its constituents to win votes by promising free food, clothing, medical care, education, loans, money, etc., all at the expense of other citizens. The gullibility, of what seems to be a majority of the American people, has allowed the Democrat Party and its socialist leadership to gain control over our government. They are using that power to destroy our cultural, economic and political institutions in order to replace them with socialist institutions that they believe will ultimately afford them total control over the lives and liberty of the American people.

The Republican Party has not escaped, by any means, the influence of socialism among its leadership. They may not be as taken in by the utopian mythology of socialism as their Democrat counterparts, but they are every bit as motivated by the lust for power as are the Democrats. In some ways, the Republican Party is even more devious than the Democrat Party. Democrats publicly reveal their intentions, depending on the apathy and gullibility of the American people and the ever-increasing financial dependency of their base, to return them to power. The Republican Party campaigns on conservative values promising to return America to its founding principles. However, once in office too many of them succumb to the perks and powers of office and become more intent on protecting and supporting the Party establishment so as not to risk their own coveted position than in their promises to the voters.

As we witnessed in the last several election cycles the Republican Party sometimes even seems willing to sacrifice the Presidency in order to maintain its dwindling power in Congress as well as in State and local government bodies. In primaries, they denigrate true conservative challengers, supporting candidates they believe will be most advantageous to the Party establishment. Once they have succeeded in winning their spot on the party ticket they drop the conservative façade they exhibited while campaigning and “move to the center” in order to hopefully gain the support of progressive republicans and the coveted “independents”. Once in office their sole consideration becomes how to hold onto the power they have won, perceiving that in order to do so they must kowtow to the Party leadership and support the establishment’s agenda. Their loyalty is to the Republican Party not to republican principles.

This lust for power, present in the breast of all professional politicians was the primary theme of debates during the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. For 84 hot, humid days during that Philadelphia summer from May 25 to September 17, the framers wrestled with the problem of how to organize a government that would protect the liberty and property of its citizens while preventing it from being overcome by its leaders’ desire for power. They succeeded in creating the most effective and practical plan of government ever devised, the United States Constitution. However, like all plans, it only works when it is followed. Our Constitution is incompatible with socialism. For that reason, the socialists among us have been working for over a hundred years to destroy it. They have almost accomplished their goal. Actions by the Supreme Court this summer and/or the actions of voters this fall could sound the death knell for our Constitutional Republic.

Conservatives generally recognize this truth and have fought valiantly for the past couple of years in an effort to reverse course. The problem is that not enough conservatives recognize or accept the remedies necessary to cure all our national ills. Take, for example, the tea parties. The sole focus of many tea parties is fiscal responsibility. Some add to that focus, political reform, calling for a return to the Constitution. A few even address the cultural decay so rampant in America today; this diversity in purpose results in a splintered effort that in the long run may have little effect on the outcome. Many fiscal conservatives often overlook blatant breaches of the Constitution in order to enjoy their share of the socialist pie. They like the taste of the pie, they just don’t like the price attached to it. At the same time, many fiscal conservatives and constitutional conservatives alike denigrate the values conservatives, believing those values would somehow disturb the enjoyment of their pleasures and harm the chances of realizing their political agenda.

The idea that voters “always vote their pocketbooks” when they go to the polls is perhaps the greatest fallacy of all. It is not their pocketbooks they are voting, it is the pocketbooks of future generations. As for themselves, they will never agree to the increase in taxes necessary to pay for their leaders’ prolific spending. For generations we have been returning the same professional politicians to office in election after election. Obviously this practice is not working. Our debt keeps growing, our tax bills keep going up and our standard of living continues to decline. Our social programs are bankrupt, our unemployment rate is higher than it has been in eighty years, and few can say they are better off, spiritually, financially, or physically today, than were past generations. We can attend protest meeting and march with our cleverly worded signs all we want, but the only protest that counts is that expressed at the ballot box.

To solve our problem we have to change our system. We have to change the way our government is run and the people who run it. Thankfully, the Founders gave us a way to do that at the ballot box and not on the battlefield. In November, we need to vote out as many of the professional politicians as possible, replacing them with patriots who have the courage, knowledge and understanding to bring about true reform. As we have pointed out before, the American system has three components, its political system, its economic system and it culture. It is useless to believe that we can reform any one or two parts of this system and leave the other as it is, and hope that we can secure a lasting cure for our ills.

We must have political reform that restores the rightful authority to our Constitution, replacing our corrupt and self-serving political parties with ones made up of true patriots who take their oath of office seriously and abide by it. We must have economic reform that rejects crony capitalism and replaces it with the true market capitalism that made America the most prosperous nation on earth for generations. Last, but by no means least, we must revive the American culture that made us the beacon of liberty and opportunity the world over. In short, we need a political, economic and spiritual revival if we are to survive as a free nation.

To realize this revival we must learn all over again to cherish and abide by our founding principles as set forth in our founding documents, the Bible, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I have heard mothers threaten their errant offspring with the threat, — insincerely, of course — “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.” America was brought into this world by the benevolent providence of God and therefore, it can be taken out by His judgment…. Think about it.