Category Archives: 2012 Primaries

Chicago: All American City?

CNS News quotes Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as saying, “Chicago is the most American of American cities”. It’s not so much that I disagree with our illustrious Mayor, although I think he is premature in his evaluation. Chicago is what Wall Street would refer to as “a leading indicator”, but even in that, it is not number one. Cities like Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Detroit and New York City are other leading indicators, as are the states of Illinois, California and New Jersey. If you want to know what your city or state will be like in a few years, assuming the current trends continue, you only need to look at these leading indicators of our culture.

Chicago has the highest murder rate in the country, along with the most stringent gun control laws. Its schools are among the worst in the nation, which may explain why its former school Superintendent, Arne Duncan was tapped by Barack Obama to be his Secretary of Education. Chicago’s property, business, sales, gasoline and cigarette taxes are consistently among the highest in the nation. Along with the high taxes, Chicago continues to gouge its citizens with additional “fees” for city services such as, ambulance, parking, and public transportation. The Fiscal Times reports that Illinois leads the nation in citizen exodus following a recent 67% increase in the state’s income tax rate.

Chicago has always been a leader in our slide into socialism. As far back as 1889 a Nationalist Club, advocating for the nationalizing of the nation’s economy was formed in Chicago with famous attorney Clarence Darrow as its head. In 1927, the University of Chicago became the home of America’s first Humanist Fellowship. The U of C has been the Midwest center of the socialist/progressive movement since the turn of the nineteenth Century. It is not by coincidence that President Obama and a surprisingly large number of his closest advisors have their roots in the Chicago socialist/progressive community.

While Chicago has long been a breeding ground for liberals, socialists, communists, humanists, and progressives of every stripe, it is still a long way from being an “all American city” as the 2012 election map shows.

2012 Election May by County

2012 Election Map by County

The electorate was fairly evenly divided in both the 2008 and 2012 elections. The problem was that not enough Republicans, represented by the red states  turned out in sufficient numbers to overcome the Democratic city machines located in the blue patches. Almost all of the (blue) areas where Democrats won in the ’08 and ’12 elections are located around major cities with Democratic Mayors and controlled by “machine politics”.  As this map shows, there is not a single state, with the exception of New England where the Democrats dominate the entire state.

In rural areas the “ground game” is not as effective in getting out the vote because the low population density makes person to person communication more difficult; and they are not as exposed to the constant bombardment of political advertising as those in “major markets”. Also, people in sparsely populated areas are not as affected by regional despots in their day-to-day lives as those in more densely populated areas, therefore they do not “feel” the urgency to vote or see the danger as clearly as their city cousins.

Before the next election we have to figure out how to get patriots in the rural areas of the country more organized and focused on the need for their participation in saving their country from the ravages of humanistic socialism. Tea anyone?

Advertisements

The Progressive Mind: Socialist Planning for Abundance

Socialist Planning for Abundance
By Corliss Lamont

Corliss Lamont (1902 – 1995) was born into one of America’s wealthiest families. His Father was Thomas Lamont, partner and later chairman of J.P. Morgan & Co. He was educated at some of the most prestigious schools in America and England, Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia. Later he became one of the foremost apologists and philosophers of socialism during the twentieth century. The following article is reprinted from one of his better known books, “You Might Like Socialism”1 published in 1939.

1. Everyone Can Live Well
Like anyone else, I want to live well, and I want my wife and three children to live well. I believe in the wholehearted affirmation and enjoyment of life. There are surely few mortals who appreciate more than myself the simple material things that both sustain human existence and can bring to it such delight. I enjoy good food, comfortable living quarters and surroundings that are pleasant and healthful. I am very fond of sports, especially tennis, skating and swimming. I like to dance. And I enjoy, too, the pleasures of culture: the leisured reading of books and poetry, stimulating wit and conversation, evenings at theater and concert and motion picture, the opportunity to write.

Some of my conservative upper-class friends occasionally banter me on the exuberant way in which I relish the sweets of existence, as if such relish showed that I could not really believe in Socialism. But they miss the point. For it is precisely the destiny of Socialism to bring to the whole community those felicities of living that up to now only a small minority have had the chance to enjoy. I want everyone to live well. And I am convinced that Socialist planning could quickly assure to every American family not merely economic security, but also a fair degree of comfort. For this reason, the idea of a Socialist society ought to attract profoundly not just the more poorly paid workers and farmers, but most of the middle class and many members of the upper class as well.

If we attain Socialism in the United States during my lifetime, I fully expect that I and other persons who are at present economically privileged will be able, if we work loyally under the new system, to maintain a very decent standard of living, though not one that is luxurious or extravagant. This Socialist promise of general prosperity is one of the chief reasons why I consider so infinitely shortsighted and unintelligent those members of the upper class who oppose with such bitter-end stubbornness the passing of Capitalism. For they themselves can share to a substantial extent in the abundance which Socialism will make actual. And so long as they prevent this abundance from coming to fruition, they are playing the invidious role of dogs-in-the-manger. They are saying in effect to the people: “It is true that we cannot ourselves unlock the untold possibilities of this modern economy, but just the same we don’t intend to let you do it.”

Suppose the American people woke up some fine morning and read in the newspapers that every factory and farm in the country was operating at full blast, that all the millions of unemployed had been able to find jobs, that sweeping increases in wages would shortly go into effect and that for the first time in years federal, state and municipal governments saw the sure prospect of balancing their budgets. One can imagine the sense of relief, the happiness, the positive thrill that would be felt from one end of the country to the other; one can picture the rejoicing that would be called forth in every American home, in every place of business, in every public gathering. It would be like the end of the Great War (2); indeed, it would be the end of a Great War, the war on poverty, on unemployment, on depression and the thousand ills that accompany these major maladies of the capitalist system.

All this I have been depicting is no mere word-mirage. It is a close approximation of what would actually take place under full-fledged Socialism. For Socialist planning means that the American economic system would in fact be kept going at 100 per cent capacity, that its potential plenty would at long last be released, its productive resources and distributive techniques utilized and developed to the maximum for the people and by the people. The almost immediate outcome would be that $5,000 (3) income for every American family that I mentioned earlier. And as time went on, this figure would steadily rise. These considerations spell out why Socialism means wealth,  fabulous wealth, and eventually tenfold, yes a hundredfold, more wealth than Capitalism has ever been able to bring mankind.

2. The Principles of Planning
The fundamental principle that lies behind planning is fairly simple and one which we encounter in some form in many different realms of human behavior. It consists of coordinating our activities in the light of our capacities and of the objective external environment, especially its economic aspects. As individuals we all plan to some extent, whether it be for a day or a month, a year or a decade, always keeping a weather eye on the state of our finances.

If we have a family, then planning becomes more complex and essential. The intelligent family looks into the future so far as is possible and plans, according to its resources, for the needs of its various members. If it is wise and has any sort of dependable income, it will make an annual budget, allocating definite sums to food, housing, clothing, recreation, baby carriages and the like. It will also probably try to set aside certain amounts as savings; and the most prudent heads of families will plan years and years ahead for the particular needs and vicissitudes of old age. Thoughtful people will take an even further step and, through the process of wills, lay careful plans for friends and family long after they are dead.

Coming to purely economic units, we find that every kind of business concern, no matter what its size and nature, must plan. The larger and more complex it is, the more attention it has to pay to planning. Any big corporation, for instance, with its many different departments, must have central planning in order to coordinate its various activities and to function successfully as a business. This is true whether the U. S. Steel Corporation or General Motors is concerned, whether R. H. Macy and Company or American Telephone and Telegraph, whether Standard Oil of New York or the Pennsylvania Railroad. The planning necessary for the efficient management of huge businesses like these reaches out to all parts of America and in some degree abroad as well. And in certain fields where big business has come to be overwhelmingly predominant, the planning of a few large trusts or even of a single monopoly may extend over well-nigh a whole industry.

The purpose of planning in all capitalist enterprise is, of course, to make money. And this means that each business, in the process of continually establishing and re-establishing its own superiority, must plan against its rivals and win away from them more and more customers, Trusts in the same industry have to plan against each other and also, in order to capture a larger and larger share of the general consumer’s income, against trusts in other industries. Thus, in enterprise both large and small, the plans of individual businesses and businessmen tend to cancel one another out to a considerable extent. The capitalist theory is that the most efficient and intelligently managed concerns come out on top. Undeniably this is frequently true; just as often, however, it is ruthlessness and lack of moral scruple that turns the trick, as has been amply illustrated in the lives of our “robber barons.” But whether efficiency or ruthlessness or perhaps both together are operative in any particular case, the result for the community is in the end economic.

In order to mitigate or prevent the disastrous results of anarchic Capitalism in some important field, capitalist governments sometimes put into effect a species of planning for an entire industry. In most European countries the telephone and telegraph are publicly owned and operated, and in several the railways as well. Then, too, there are public planning schemes in existence over particular localities. A good example of this is the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which is exploiting the power resources of the Tennessee basin on behalf of the population of the vicinity, much to the chagrin of the private utility companies. These types of piecemeal planning, however, no matter, how well they may work in the sectors allotted to them, cannot go far in solving the economic problems of a country as a whole.

It is characteristic that the most far-reaching schemes of public planning under Capitalism should be for profit, or for profit and war. The so-called planning of the New Deal during President Roosevelt’s first term was directed, especially in agriculture, toward decreasing production in order to bring back profits by making goods scarcer and prices higher. While the Great Depression was still ravaging the United States, the NRA (National Recovery Administration) and the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) nobly cooperated, through planned destruction, with the usual haphazard destruction for profit by individual capitalists. Those were the days when almost over-night a fourth of the cotton crop was ploughed under, the wheat acreage reduced by 20 per cent and five million pigs destroyed. The AAA, doing its best under the circumstances to rescue the American farmer by boosting the price level, actually paid bonuses to all the producers who participated in this wholesale sacrifice to the capricious gods of capitalist economics.

During the Great War, America, and more than half the nations of the earth as well, carried out planned destruction on an even larger scale. Not only did this war planning entail the shooting away into nothingness of billions and billions of dollars worth of goods in the form of munitions; even the food, clothing and other supplies for the military and naval forces were for the purpose of enabling millions of men to engage in the entirely unproductive function of fighting to the death millions of other men. In order to wage war more efficiently, the American Government proceeded to co-ordinate in some measure the economic life of the United States by setting up the War Industries Board, the War Trade Board, the Shipping Board, the Fuel Administration, the Food Administration and the Railroad Administration. Since the railroads under private management could not stand the added strain of war conditions, the Government took them over entirely and administered them on a unified basis. Unhappily, today again, the bulk of the planning that is going on in capitalist countries is for belligerent purposes. This is especially true of the Fascist Powers Germany, Italy and Japan in each of which the whole economy has for a number of years been on a war basis. As these Fascist states push farther and farther their present aggressions and prepare for new ones, they are forcing the democratic Capitalisms to introduce ever more extensive planning for the object of armed self-defense.

This brief review of the limited planning that takes place under Capitalism shows how far removed it is in aim and scope from Socialist planning. Planning under Socialism is for use, not profit, for increasing production, not decreasing it, for peace, not war. And it demands as an absolute prerequisite the socialization of production and distribution. For as long as private capitalists retain possession of a country’s natural resources and transportation facilities, of factories, farms, banks and all the rest, they have the power to throw out of gear the best-laid of Plans. It is common knowledge that even with the minor public controls established under Roosevelt’s NRA, the American capitalists, long before the law was declared unconstitutional, constantly sabotaged, dodged and defied the Act. But Socialist planning puts a finish to that unending tug of war, so characteristic of Capitalism, between the Government, supposedly representing the public in general, and various business interests jockeying for control of it and determined to carry out whatever profit promising policies seem most advantageous. Under Socialism, politics and economics are thoroughly integrated.

The socialization of economic activity which I have in mind, however, does not necessarily entail either nationalization by the federal government or ownership by state or city governments. Many industries, under Socialism the national government will certainly take over; many other economic concerns, less far-reaching in their ramifications, state or city governments will own and operate. But besides all this, there will be a broad sector of enterprise which is socialized yet not governmental. It will be advisable to run some industries through the instrumentality of Public Corporations, which will be subject to control by the government planning authorities, but largely independent in their administrative work. In the non-governmental class will also be collective farms and fisheries, and indeed almost the whole of agriculture; co-operative societies for production and distribution; and much of journalism, art and culture in general.

This means that there will be a sizable number, running into several millions, of independent individuals not on the pay-roll of any governmental concern. These will include a large proportion of the handicrafts-men, farmers, fishermen, inventors, teachers, authors, journalists, actors, artists and intellectuals. They will make their living by working in such organizations as I have just mentioned; or by selling their products or services to such organizations, to public agencies or to other individuals. So, in the Socialist state there will be plenty of room for freelance workers of every type.

Socialist planning differs from any sort of capitalist planning, lastly, in that it is not confined to special localities, industries or periods of time, but is continuous and nation-wide. A genuinely planned economy demands not only that all individual businesses in one industry, whether it be concerned with hats, shoes, sugar, coal or anything else, be consciously coordinated, but that each industry as a whole, including the prices of its products and the wages and working hours of its employees, be coordinated with every other industry as a whole. Think of the increase in efficiency and the decrease in waste that would result from planned coordination among America’s big energy-producing industries: coal, gas, oil and electric power. Such coordination, however, could reach its high point only when there was complete coordination also among the industries to be served. For only when we know how much energy is required throughout the whole country, and where and when, can we accurately gauge how much coal, how much gas, how much oil and how much electric power should be made available in a given period and in a particular locality.

Again, it is obvious that there is so much overlapping in the field of transportation among railways, boats, buses, trucks and airplanes that the situation cries out for unified planning. But it is not possible to separate transportation from the things to be transported. A plan for coordinated transportation implies a plan for coal and steel, farm products and finished goods, just as a plan for all these things definitely implies a plan for transportation. And of course all of agriculture must be carefully correlated with all of manufacture. The flow of foodstuffs to the cities must be coordinated with the flow of manufactured goods from them. The needs, of the farmers must be estimated. Our steel plan, for example, must take into consideration the demand for tractors, combines and other agricultural machinery; and our agricultural plan the particular food requirements of the heavily laboring steel workers.

Likewise there must be a well-worked-out plan for wholesale and retail trade, linking up these two main branches of distribution all along the line with industry, transportation and agriculture. The shops in town and city, the restaurants, the warehouses, the gasoline stations and other such distributive units all come into the planning picture here.

Since the planning I envisage covers the entire socio-economic scene, it naturally extends into the fields of health and recreation, of education and culture. Socialism is particularly concerned to bountifully provide all the different activities and services in these realms with the necessary equipment and other economic prerequisites. The educational plan of the country, moreover, must be always closely interrelated with the economic plan, so that there may never be a lack of the needed technicians, scientists and other experts nor a deficiency of suitable employment opportunities for graduating students. Finally, the entire economic and cultural life of the country must be carefully correlated with finance under one vast, unitary budget that takes in all branches of industry and agriculture, of commerce and trade and extra-economic endeavor.

This completes, in outline form, the picture of the great National Plan which Socialism sets in motion, a Plan which brings into the economic and social affairs of any country that adopts it a closely knit unity, a smoothly functioning team-work, among all the myriad enterprises and individuals involved, making each one count for infinitely more and lifting the collective achievement to new and unheard-of heights.

Because of its controls over production and distribution, currency and capital investment, prices and wages and hours, Socialist planning is able to overcome totally and permanently the central capitalist difficulty of lack of purchasing power. As more and more goods come out of the factories, wages go up throughout the land or prices decrease or the working day grows shorter. To take care of the increased turnover in commodities, currency may, depending on its velocity of circulation, be expanded. Since there are no capitalists to appropriate a large proportion of the value which the people produce, the full instead of only the partial value of their labor returns to them in one form or another. Thus, the unceasing abundance of goods is matched by an unceasing abundance of purchasing power. And this results in that depression-defeating, prosperity-ensuring balance between production and consumption, supply and demand, which every orthodox economist and capitalist has fondly dreamed of seeing Capitalism itself attain.

The United States and other capitalist nations are only as rich as the amount of goods that can be sold for a profit during any given period. But Socialist planning makes a country exactly as rich as its entire productive capacity during any period. This is why I say without hesitation that Socialism, in terms of sheer economic efficiency, is sure to far outstrip Capitalism. Since finance is the most important single element in Socialist planning and more crucial, if anything, than in a capitalist economy, a fact which ought to give some slight consolation to capitalist bankers, I want to discuss the subject in more detail. In a Socialist state the banking system operates under and administers an all-embracing Financial Plan for the nation as a whole. This Financial Plan is the counterpart of the Material Plan and translates all the production and distribution schedules of the latter into dollar units. The dollar is the common denominator in which the various aspects of the National Plan can be accurately expressed and clearly related to one another. The Financial Plan and the Material Plan are, in effect, two versions of the National Plan and each serves as a check on the other.

The Government Treasury Department, together with the State Bank and its numerous branches, acts as a great central pool for the national income. This it does not only through taxation of Socialist business concerns and of individuals, but also through receiving a substantial share of whatever surpluses the different businesses, including those involved in foreign trade, succeed in accumulating. A considerable portion of such surpluses, however, are retained locally by the factory or other unit earning them and are used collectively for expansion, improvements or social benefits connected with the same enterprise. The Government also raises a certain amount of capital through savings banks and through the flotation of public loans, which continue to be necessary during the first stages of Socialism.

The surpluses or “profits” which economic enterprises build up under Socialism have a very different status and play a very different role from what we have been accustomed to expect under Capitalism. They are, in fact, mainly a book-keeping device. Socialist business is run, as I have said, not for the sake of making profits, but in order to provide goods and services to the community. The most convenient process of accounting and of distribution, however, demands the mechanism of buying and selling, of money and prices. Furthermore, identifiable “profits” are necessary so that our Socialist planners can set aside a certain proportion of the nation’s income in order to meet depreciation and obsolescence and, above all, in order to expand the means of production. Soviet Russia, for instance, put into social savings for such purposes an annual average of one-third its total income during the first two Five-Year Plans, a feat which stands out all the more owing to the fact that capitalist economists have always argued that a Socialist government would act like a reckless spendthrift and could not possibly exercise the foresight and intelligence to accumulate capital.

Whereas under Capitalism money and prices control the output of goods, under Socialism it is the output of goods that controls money and prices. Money is on a goods standard, not a gold standard. No real need exists for the latter unless to make the initial transition from Capitalism psychologically easier in the minds of the people. There can be no such thing as financial bankruptcy unless the supply of commodities proves inadequate; the value of the currency does not depend on any gold reserve, but on the quantity and quality of goods that nationwide planning has made available. Money ceases to be a commodity in itself, as under the capitalist system. It simply serves as the recognized unit of economic measurement and exchange, a function that some medium will have to perform in any future stage of society.

The most obvious advantage of a Socialist financial system is that it enables the public authorities to distribute and re-distribute the nation’s capital resources according to the needs of the entire economy. The surpluses acquired in one sector of business can be transferred to other less developed and less lucrative branches of economic activity. This is analogous, on a national scale, to the various allocations within the huge budgets of some of the bigger capitalist corporations. Under Socialism a number of enterprises, particularly in the sphere of education and social services, will continue to show financial loss, perhaps permanently. And there will also be deficits in the industrial field, especially when some great new project is getting under way.

Socialist financial planning requires that there be an ordered flow of capital investment all along the line in place of the slap-dash, haphazard methods prevalent in capitalist countries today. Instead of overinvestment in some directions and under-investment in others, with crisis-causing disproportions as the certain result, Socialist planning ensures a balanced and even distribution of capital resources, that is, social savings, in the directions most useful and important. It would be inconceivable, for example, for vast quantities of capital to go into the building of palatial homes, yachts and other super-luxuries for a small class of the economically privileged while millions of families lived
in houses beneath even a minimum standard of decency.

It would also be inconceivable for socialized capital to go into the production of things clearly harmful to health and well-being such as noxious drugs, patent medicines and deleterious foodstuffs for which there might be unintelligent and perverse demand. It would be impossible, too, for capital to create manufacturing plants and services that would be continually duplicating one another, ruining one another through cut-throat competition, spending huge fortunes in misleading advertising, and inundating a locality or even the entire country with a bewildering flow of practically identical goods. The huge sums of money and the very large personnel involved in speculative activities in commodities, in land, and in stocks and bonds would also become a thing of the past. And, alas for the gamblers of high finance, that symbol of Capitalism at its worst, the stock market would be no more.

The perfect synchronization between savings and capital investment that Socialist planning makes possible is one of the weightiest arguments in its favor. Since the decision of how much and where and when to save and the decision of how much and where and when to invest rests in the hands of the Planning Commission and the Government, there is no danger that these important decisions will be at odds with each other as they so often are under Capitalism. The unplanned capitalist method means that two sets of different people, frequently with conflicting interests, save and invest as they see fit, with the result that the relations between saving and investment are always becoming maladjusted. Either savings cannot find an outlet in profitable investment or needed investment cannot find sufficient savings to put it across. In either case economic troubles are the outcome.

Under the financial system I have been outlining, every producing and distributing unit in the country has an account in the central State Bank or one of its branches. And it is the duty of each bank to check up on the use of the credits, long-term, short-term or emergency, which it issues at any time. It must make certain that the automobile factory, for instance, to which it has advanced a certain amount of credit, actually produces the motorcars called for by the Plan and supposedly made possible by the credit. The factory has the obligation of giving the bank definite reports on definite dates showing how it is
fulfilling its program. If the bank discovers that the credit is being wasted or used inefficiently, it will at once stop further credits until the matter is cleared up, even instituting a special investigation if necessary.

Thus, under Socialist planning, the banks become the watchdogs of the whole economy by carrying on what amounts to a constant audit of all business enterprises. They act as the vital link between the various sets of plans drawn up on paper and the fulfillment of these plans in terms of concrete goods and services. Their vigilance means that there can be no let-down on the part of either management or workers in a concern without the whole personnel being called to task.

In this function the banks are aided by a system of accounting which penetrates into every nook and cranny of economic activity. Socialist accounting, organized on the strictest basis, aims to cut production costs and to attain the greatest possible results for the least possible expenditure. Book profits enter again into the picture here as a partial test of whether or not a plant is being operated efficiently. So the idea sometimes advanced that, under Socialism, extravagant executives will fling away heedlessly and without restraint the financial resources of the community is merely a caricature.

Furthermore, besides the checks and balances inherent in the technical set-up of Socialist planning, there is always the control exercised by the people themselves through regular democratic procedures. At established intervals they can approve or disapprove of the planning schemes in effect or proposed by electing representatives and officials committed to carrying out the popular will. And at all times they can bring pressure to bear by criticisms and suggestions through public meetings, the organs of opinion, individual or organized lobbying, and other such processes of democracy. Of paramount importance in this connection will be the role of the trade unions, to which virtually all working persons will presumably belong. There is nothing, then, in the nature of Socialist planning which prevents it from being administered in a thoroughly democratic manner.

One can easily imagine some of the big public issues which are almost certain to emerge in the natural course of collective economic planning. Since the standard of living under Socialism goes steadily up, the question will arise as to how the people can most benefit from the increasing wealth. Shall our planners put the emphasis on raising wages continually or on providing more and better free services like libraries, parks and public concerts? How much of the national income shall be saved for the purpose of new capital construction? And in this connection will the time come when the population will prefer to stabilize the standard of living at a certain point and concentrate on enjoying the consumers’ goods producible at that level rather than to continue with vast expansion programs? For under Socialist planning there is no categorical imperative, as under Capitalism, for an economy to keep on expanding indefinitely.

This particular issue might well develop in relation to the matter of the average annual working time. In order that more leisure be secured, one political party might advocate reducing the work-day by a third or augmenting the number of holidays or cutting the age of retirement to fifty; another party might call for the maintenance of existing work-time schedules and for a mighty increase in production which would lift the standard of living to even greater heights. Or another burning issue might come to the fore, once the necessities of life had been provided for everyone, over whether to stress the provision of cultural as distinct from material goods and services.

The exact planning techniques which I have been describing will certainly not be used in all stages of Socialism nor in all countries adopting the new system. For it is crystal clear that each nation will use somewhat different methods, adapting Socialism to its characteristic traditions, political institutions and degree of economic development. It would be foolish to imagine that if central planning were introduced in China at the same time as in the United States, it could be put into effect by precisely the same measures or at the same rate. Indeed, there will be plenty of differences even between two countries both as highly evolved industrially as

END NOTES: It is important to keep in mind that this was written in 1939 just before WWII.  Some adjustments were made to the socialist agenda as a consequence of the War, however, the basic goals remain the same today. I chose this for our first article on the progressive mind because I have witnessed during my lifetime many parts of its agenda being proposed or actually put in place by progressive Presidents and unconstitutional bureaucracies.

1. Corliss Lamont, You Might Like Socialism (1939) Modern Age Books, New York.

2. Great War= World War I

3. In 1939 dollars

The Constitution, Vattel, and “Natural Born Citizen”: What Our Framers Knew

By Publius Huldah.

We have been visited recently with several very silly articles which assert that Marco Rubio is a “natural born Citizen” within the meaning of Art. II, §1, cl. 5, U.S. Constitution (ratified 1789), and hence is qualified to be President:

Bret Baier (Fox News) asserts that Congress may define (and presumably redefine, from time to time) terms in the Constitution by means of law.

Chet Arthur in American Thinker quips that “the original meaning of ‘natural born citizen’” is determined by reference to “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution” and to the definition of “citizen” at Sec. 1 of the 14th Amendment, ratified 1868.

Human Events claims that anyone  born within The United States is a “natural born citizen” eligible to be President.

Jake Walker at Red State purports to show how the term has been used from 1795 to the present.  After quoting James Madison on the citizenship requirements imposed by Art. I, §2, cl. 2, to be a member of the House, Walker gleefully quotes a 1795 discussion of “natural born subject” to “prove” that anyone born here is a “natural born citizen”:

“It is an established maxim, received by all political writers, that every person owes a natural allegiance to the government of that country in which he is born. Allegiance is defined to be a tie, that binds the subject to the state, and in consequence of his obedience, he is entitled to protection…” [emphasis mine]

“The children of aliens, born in this state, are considered as natural born subjects, and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens.” [emphasis mine]

But “subjects” are not “citizens”; and we fought a war so that we could be transformed fromsubjects of the British Crownto Citizens of a Republic!

The four writers don’t know what they are talking about.  But I will tell you the Truth and prove it. We first address Word Definitions.

Word Definitions:

Like clouds, word meanings change throughout time.  “Awful” once meant “full of wonder and reverence”; “cute” meant “bowlegged”; “gay” meant “jovial”; and “nice” meant “precise”.

Accordingly, if someone from an earlier time wrote of a “cute gay man”, he was not referring to an adorable homosexual, but to a cheerful bowlegged man.

So!  In order to understand the genuine meaning of a text, we must use the definitions the authors used when they wrote it.  Otherwise, written texts become as shifting and impermanent as the clouds – blown hither and yon throughout the years by those who unthinkingly read in their own uninformed understandings, or deliberately pervert the text to further their own agenda.

So!  Is Our Constitution built on the Rock of Fixed Definitions – those our Framers used?  Or are its Words mere clouds to be blown about by Acts of Congress, whims of federal judges, and the idiotic notions of every ignoramus who writes about it?

What Did Our Framers mean by “natural born Citizen”?

Article II, §1, cl. 5, U.S. Constitution, requires the President to be a “natural born Citizen”.

The meaning of this term is not set forth in The Constitution or in The Federalist Papers; and I found no discussion of the meaning in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention or in Alexander Hamilton’s notes of the same.

What does this tell us? That they all knew what it meant. We don’t go around defining “pizza”, because every American over the age of four knows what a pizza is.

Our Framers had no need to define “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution, because by the time of the Federal Convention of 1787, a formal definition of the term consistent with the new republican principles1 already existed in Emer Vattel’s classic, Law of Nations.

And we know that our Framers carefully studied and relied upon Vattel’s work.  I’ll prove it.

How Vattel’s Law of Nations got to the Colonies, and its Influence Here:

During 1775, Charles Dumas, an ardent republican [as opposed to a monarchist] living in Europe sent three copies of Vattel’s Law of Nations to Benjamin Franklin. Here is a portion of Franklin’s letter of Dec. 9, 1775 thanking Dumas for the books:

“… I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author…” (2nd para) [boldface added]

Vattel’s Law of Nations was thereafter “pounced upon by studious members of Congress, groping their way without the light of precedents.”

Years later, Albert de Lapradelle wrote an introduction to the 1916 ed. of Law of Nations published by the Carnegie Endowment.2 Lapradelle said the fathers of independence “were in accord with the ideas of Vattel”; they found in Vattel “all their maxims of political liberty”; and:

“From 1776 to 1783, the more the United States progressed, the greater became Vattel’s influence.  In 1780 his Law of Nations was a classic, a text book in the universities.”(page xxx) [emphasis added]

In footnote 1 on the same page (xxx), Lapradelle writes:

“… Another copy was presented by Franklin to the Library Company of Philadelphia. Among the records of its Directors is the following minute: “Oct. 10, 1775. Monsieur Dumas having presented the Library with a very late edition of Vattel’s Law of Nature and Nations (in French), the Board direct the secretary to return that gentle-man their thanks.” This copy undoubtedly was used by the members of the Second Continental Congress, which sat in Philadelphia; by the leading men who directed the policy of the United Colonies until the end of the war; and, later, by the men who sat in the Convention of 1787 and drew up the Constitution of the United States, for the library was located in Carpenters’ Hall, where the First Congress deliberated, and within a stone’s throw of the Colonial State House of Pennsylvania, where the Second Congress met, and likewise near where the Constitution was framed …” [emphasis added]

So!  Vattel’s work was “continually in the hands” of Congress in 1775; Members of the Continental Congress “pounced” on Vattel’s work; our Founders used the republican Principles in Vattel’s work to justify our Revolution against a monarchy; by 1780, Vattel’s work was a “classic” taught in our universities; and our Framers used it at the Federal Convention of 1787. 3

Vattel on “natural born citizens”, “inhabitants”, and “naturalized citizens”:

From our beginning, we were subjects of the British Crown. With the War for Independence, we became citizens.1 [READ this footnote!] We needed new concepts to fit our new status as citizens.  Vattel provided these new republican concepts of “citizenship”. The gist of what Vattel says in Law of Nations, Book I, Ch. XIX, at §§ 212-217, is this:

§ 212: Natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens – it is necessary that they be born of a father who is a citizen. If a person is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

§ 213:  Inhabitants, as distinguished from citizens, are foreigners who are permitted to stay in the country. They are subject to the laws of the country while they reside in it. But they do not participate in all the rights of citizens – they enjoy only the advantages which the law or custom gives them. Their children follow the condition of their fathers – they too are inhabitants.

§ 214: A country may grant to a foreigner the quality of citizen – this is naturalization.  In some countries, the sovereign cannot grant to a foreigner all the rights of citizens, such as that of holding public office – this is a regulation of the fundamental law.  And in England, merely being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.

§§ 215, 216 & 217: Children born of citizens in a foreign country, at sea, or while overseas in the service of their country, are “citizens”. By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.

Do you see?  The republican concept of “natural born citizenship” is radically different from the feudal notion of “natural born subjectship.” Under feudalism, merely being born in the domains of the King made one – by birth – a “natural born subject”.  But in Vattel’s Model and Our Constitutional Republic, Citizens are “natural born” only if they are born of Citizens.

How Our Framers applied Vattel’s Concept of “natural born citizen” in Our Constitution:

The Federal Convention was in session from May 14, through September 17, 1787.  John Jay, who had been a member of the Continental Congress [where they “pounced” on Vattel], sent this letter of July 25, 1787, to George Washington, who presided over the Convention:

“…Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen…”4

According, Art. II, §1, cl. 5 was drafted to read:

“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” [boldface added]

In § 214, Vattel states that “fundamental law” may withhold from naturalized citizens some of the rights of citizens, such as holding public office. The Constitution is our “fundamental law”; and, following Vattel, Art. II, §1, cl. 5 withholds from naturalized citizens (except for our Founding Generation which was “grandfathered in”) the right to hold the office of President.5

Remember! None of our early Presidents were “natural born Citizens”, even though they were all born here. They were all born as subjects of the British Crown. They became naturalized citizens with the Declaration of Independence. That is why it was necessary to provide a grandfather clause for them. But after our Founding Generation was gone, their successors were required to be born as citizens of the United States – not merely born here (as were our Founders), but born as citizens.

And do not forget that the children born here of slaves did not become “citizens” by virtue of being born here. Their parents were slaves; hence (succeeding to the condition of their parents) they were born as slaves. Black people born here did not become citizens until 1868 and the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

So!  Do you see?  If Our Framers understood that merely being born here were sufficient to confer status as a “natural born citizen”; it would not have been necessary to grandfather in our first generation of Presidents; and all the slaves born here would have been “natural born citizens”. But they were born as non-citizen slaves, because their parents were non-citizen slaves.

David Ramsay’s 1789 Dissertation on Citizenship:

David Ramsay was an historian, Founding Father, and member of the Continental Congress  [REMEMBER: This is where they “pounced” on Vattel], whose Dissertation On The Manner Of Acquiring The Character And Privileges Of A Citizen Of The United States was published in 1789, just after ratification of our Constitution and the Year the new Government began.

It is an interesting dissertation and only 8 pages long. At the bottom of his page 6, Ramsay states:

“The citizenship of no man could be previous to the declaration of independence, and, as a natural right, belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776.” [modernized spelling & emphasis are mine]

Do you see?  Ramsay’s Dissertation sets forth the understanding of the Time, formally stated by Vattel and incorporated by our Framers, that a “natural born Citizen” is one who is born of citizens.  And we had no “citizens” until July 4, 1776.

Now, let us look at the First Congress.

How the First Congress followed Vattel and our Framers:

Article I, §8, cl. 4 delegates to Congress the power “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”.6 Pursuant to that power, the First Congress passed the Naturalization Act of 1790.  Here is the text, which you can find at 1 Stat. at Large, 103:

“SECTION1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any common law court of record, in any one of the states wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such court, that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to support the constitution of the United States, which oath or affirmation such court shall administer; and the clerk of such court shall record such application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States. And the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States.   And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States … APPROVED, March 26, 1790.” 7

So!  This Act of the First Congress implements the Principles set forth in Vattel, embraced by our Framers, and enshrined in Art. II, §1, cl. 5, that:

  • A “natural born Citizen” is one who is born of parents who are citizens.
  • Minor children born here of aliens do not become citizens until their parents are naturalized. Thus, they are not “natural born” citizens.

Our Framers rejected the anti-republican and feudal notion that mere location of birth within a Country naturalizes the children of a foreigner. 8

The distinction written into Our Constitution and implemented by the Naturalization Act of 1790 is between someone who is born a citizen, by being born of parents who are already Citizens, and someone who becomes a citizen after birth by naturalization. Only the former are eligible to be President.

 So!  Original Intent?  Or Whatever the People with the Power want it to Mean?

I have proved the original intent of “natural born Citizen” at Art. II, §1, cl. 5 – it is one who is born of parents who are citizens. We may not lawfully change that definition except by Amendment to the Constitution.  Section 1 of the 14th Amendment does not change the definition because the 14th Amendment defines “citizens” of the United States (which includes naturalized citizens) and not “natural born Citizen”.

Some Democrats no longer pretend that the glib, handsome & black Obama (who, following the condition of his putative father, was born a subject of the British Crown) is “a natural born Citizen”. They now assert that the Democrat Party has the right to nominate whoever they choose to run for president, including someone who is not qualified for the office. [See pages 3 & 4 of the linked Court Order.]

The school-girlish Establishment Republicans who swoon over the glib, handsome & Hispanic Marco Rubio (who is not a “natural born Citizen”, but only a naturalized citizen) will ultimately destroy our sovereignity. Once we accept that our President need not be a “natural born Citizen”, we will have made a major step towards submission to global government. Because then, anybody can be President. PH.

Endnotes:

1 Monarchies have subjects. Republics are formed by citizens.  We broke from a monarchy under which we were subjects; and with our War for Independence, were transformed into citizens!

The common law of England recognizes only subjects of the Crown. England has never had citizens.  Her feudal doctrine of “natural born subjects” is set forth in Book I, Ch. 10, of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (I modernized the spelling):

“THE first and most obvious division of the people is into aliens and natural-born subjects. Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the … allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it.  Allegiance is the tie … which binds the subject to the king …” [emphasis mine]

Under feudalism, people are possessions who belong to the Land in which they were born. So they are “naturally” subject to whoever owns the Land. They were born as subjects to the owner of the land [ultimately, the King] on which they were born.

With our War for Independence, We repudiated the notion of natural born subjects.  As Citizens, We ordained and established Our Constitution wherein We created a federal government which was subject to us!

Jake Walker doesn’t seem to know the difference between being “a subject of a King” and “a citizen of a Republic”, as he equates the feudal concept of “natural born subject” with the Republican concept of “natural born Citizen”.

Chet Arthur and Human Events tell us the “original intent” of “natural born Citizen” at Art. II, §1, cl. 5 is given by an Amendment defining “citizen” [not “natural born citizen”] ratified 80 years later!

And Bret Baier seems unaware that the methods for amending the Constitution are set forth in Article V; and that Congress may not amend the Constitution by making a law which redefines terms set forth in the Constitution!

These four amateurs would do well to study Birthright Citizenship and Dual Citizenship: Harbingers of Administrative Tyranny, by Professor Edward J. Erler. Erler addresses the distinctions between “citizenship” and “subjectship”; and the concept of “citizenship” at §1 of the 14th Amendment. He proves that not everyone born here is a “citizen”: Only those whose parents are “subject to the jurisdiction of the US” are citizens. Illegal aliens are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the US” – they are invaders whose allegiance is to the Country they left.  Foreign diplomats stationed here are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the US”. Thus, children born here of these aliens are not citizens!

2 The 1916 ed. of Law of Nations with Lapradelle’s introduction is a Google digitized book. If you download it, you get an easily readable text.

3 Many thanks to my friend, David J. Edwards, who provided me with Evidence of Vattel’s profound influence on our Founders & Framers.

4 The hyperlink contains another link where you can see Jay’s handwritten letter!

5 Note that Art. I, §2, cl. 2, permits naturalized citizens to serve as Representatives; and Art. I, §3, cl. 3, permits them to serve as Senators.

6 “Naturalization” is the process, established by law, by which foreigners become citizens.

7 Note that in §§ 215, 216 & 217, Vattel says that children born of citizens in a foreign country, at sea, or while overseas in the service of their country, are “citizens”. He goes on to say that by the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.  But he doesn’t expressly say they are “natural born citizens”. The italicized words at the end of the 1790 Act correct that and make it clear that children of citizens of the United States are “natural born citizens” wherever they are born.

8 The 14th Amendment doesn’t change this one whit! READ Prof. Erler’s paper, linked above.

NOTICE! To all who strain to find something I “failed to mention”: I didn’t quote Minor v. Happersett because Minor merely paraphrases, in dicta, a portion of the Naturalization Act of 1790, the text of which is set forth above.

And I didn’t show why John McCain & Mitt Romney ARE natural born Citizens; and why Marco Rubio & Obama are NOT natural born Citizens. J.B. Williams has already done an excellent job in applying the Republican Principles set forth by Vattel, and which were embraced by our Founders, Framers, and the First Congress, in his recent paper, Romney, Rubio, McCain And Natural Born Citizen. PH
More Articles by Publius Huldah

July 19, 2012

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

Romney’s Repeal and Replace Pledge Will Not Solve our Problem

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”. That being the case, this picture is worth volumes in explaining what is wrong with America’s political system and why we find ourselves on the very brink of economic collapse and facing the prospect of losing the individual liberty we have enjoyed since the founding of our Republic.

America did not become the most successful and  prosperous nation in the history of the world because of the wisdom and skills of our political leaders. Instead, it was because our Founders, knowledgeable in both political philosophy and history, understood that democracies always lead inevitably to some form of socialism and ultimately to despotic tyranny. To guard against this political probability and still allow the people to remain sovereign over their government, the Founders established a Constitutional Republic consisting of four co-equal parts designed to protect our liberty and our God-given inalienable rights. The four parts are the national Legislature, the national Executive branch, the national Judiciary, and the state governments, all operating within their sphere of authority with carefully limited powers under the watchful eye of the citizenry.

The bedrock on which this system was based is the Constitution. It worked well until the beginning of the Progressive era at the end of the nineteenth century. The progressive movement used deception, misdirection, and man’s weaknesses to appeal to the basest of human passions, greed, envy and jealousy to gain a prominent foothold in American politics. Progressives in both the Democrat and Republican Parties set the political agenda for the twentieth century. Although most republicans were opposed to the ideas of progressives (American socialists) as a basic principle, in the spirit of political expediency, they accepted many of the progressive’s policies, appealing to their constituencies with the implied motto, “we can do it better”.

On virtually every important issue during the twentieth century, the Republican Party accepted the premises put forth by progressive democrats, even though they may not agree with the policy based on the premise. It became a habitual strategy for the Republican Party to propose policies in opposition to the democrats that accepted the progressive premise but altered the pursuant policy just enough to make it palatable to their constituents. This practice gave rise to the “moderate” republicans so valued by both parties and the national progressive media of today.

The core principles on which the progressive movement is based are the polar opposites of the core principles on which the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are based. A hundred years of compromise and accommodation of these principles by the Republican party and its elected officials has led to a steady erosion of the Constitution, leading to the lawless state of our national government, as well as a growing part of American society that we have today. (The Constitution is the Supreme Law of government.)

On Monday, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on whether or not parts of the Obamacare law is unconstitutional. Already the trial is being played in the press as a sporting event between the four progressives on the court and the four constitutional conservatives, with Justice Stevens, the “moderate”, being the unknown factor. The outcome is far from certain and the results will probably not be known until June, more than likely after the Republican candidate for President has already been decided on.

There is a slim chance that the Court will put aside its law books, consideration of prior Court decisions, and International law and focus their deliberations on the Constitution itself using the debates in the 1787 Philadelphia Convention and the Federalist Papers, to determine the intent of the Framers. In which case, they will rule the Affordable Health Care Act as unconstitutional in its entirety. A more likely scenario, however, is that they will strike down parts of the law, leaving the basic premise intact; that the “commerce clause” gives the Congress, and through it, the bureaucracies in the Legislative Branch, authority to legislate in this, and other matters that are not among the enumerated powers of Congress. If that happens we will have made very little progress in returning America to its Constitutional foundation.

Romney’s “Repeal and Replace” plan simply carries on the Republican tradition of compromise and accommodation, accepting the premise that Congress has the power under the commerce clause to regulate health care in America. Regardless of how many remnants of Obamacare the Supreme Court leaves in place, the entire law must be repealed and eradicated from any possibility of being revived, if we are to salvage what is left of our Republic and the liberties it provides. A concise outline of Romney’s Repeal and Replace plan is found on Romney’s website. Following are the highlights and why they should be unacceptable to the American People.

“On his first day in office, Mitt Romney will issue an executive order that paves the way for the federal government to issue Obamacare waivers to all fifty states. He will then work with Congress to repeal the full legislation as quickly as possible.”  ~mittromney.com

Article I, Section 1, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” The President does not have the Constitutional power to, in effect, make law or alter laws passed by Congress. Neither does he have the power to waive by Executive Order, laws passed and signed into law under prior Presidents. One of the few direct responsibilities given to the President by the Constitution is the enforcement of laws passed by Congress.

Article II, Section 3, at the end of the last paragraph we read: “he [the President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. The President does not have the prerogative of deciding which laws his Justice Department will or will not enforce. Once a law has passed Congress and been signed into law it becomes a part of the Constitution until it is determined to be unconstitutional by the appropriate courts; (Article VI, paragraph two.) If a new law is passed by Congress that the President considers unconstitutional, it is his duty to veto it and return it to Congress along with an explanation for his veto. (Article I, Section 7)

Romney also promises to:

  • Block grant Medicaid and other payments to states
  • Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage
  • Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies
  • Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment
  • Offer innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution ~mittromney.com

Here again, Romney is playing fast and loose with the Constitution. Block grants should be considered as what they are; bribes to the states in an effort to bend them to the will of the federal government. Withholding them from states that refuse or neglect to comply with federal requirements is primarily a pecuniary method for enforcing compliance with the bureaucratic rules of the Executive branch. At best, they represent an application of the socialist principle of redistribution of wealth, as tax money is taken from wealthier states and redistributed to those less wealthy.

His promise to “limit federal standards and requirements on …private insurance” is clearly a violation of Article I, Section 10: “No State shall … pass any … Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts…”. Contract law provides the underpinning of market capitalism. The founders assumed the federal government would not have the power to impair contract law because it was not given as one of the enumerated powers. At the same time, they considered the matter of protecting the integrity of private contracts so important that they also prohibited the states from passing laws that would impair them. Insurance policies are private contracts between the insurer and the policy holder. Neither the President, Congress or the state legislatures have the power to interfere with that relationship. These same arguments apply to the last three promises in Romney’s list as well.

In fact, the same argument is valid against all fifteen points of Romney’s plan listed on his website. They all impair, to a greater or lesser degree, private contracts between private insurance companies and policyholders or between health care providers and their patients. However there is one ironic exception: “Allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines”. Here, Romney inadvertently discloses the original purpose of the interstate commerce clause, which he evidently does not adequately understand himself. Its original purpose was to insure free and fair trade between the states, breaking down the protective barriers put in place by various states during the former government’s existence under the  Articles of Confederation.

It is important for voters in states that have not yet held their primaries to keep this in mind when they vote. Substituting a revised version of Romneycare for Obamacare does not solve the problem of Washington’s failure to follow the dictates of the Constitution every member of government is sworn to uphold and defend.

Romney Continues to Win in Blue States and Democratic Strongholds.

Mitt Romney continues to display his ability to win in Democratic States while Conservatives in those states, desperate to rid themselves of Barack Obama, fall for the Republican Establishment propaganda that only Mitt Romney can win in the General Election against Obama. History tells us otherwise. Obama is beatable, and short of massive voter fraud, I believe he can and will be beaten. In fact, if John McCain and Sarah Palin were running against Obama in this election they would beat him handily. If not, then the nation is too far gone for any conservative to make any difference.

There have been few times in history when the American people were given the opportunity to vote for a tri-partite conservative. When they are, they elect them by a landslide. “Tri-partite conservative” is the term I use to designate a conservative who embraces all three aspects of Conservatism; constitution conservatism, fiscal conservatism and social conservatism”. Those that stand out in history are: Thomas Jefferson (1800), James Madison (1808), James Monroe (1816), Calvin Coolidge (1924) and Ronald Reagan (1980). In between, we have tried “moderate conservatives”, “compassionate conservatives”, and republicans masquerading as conservatives. In each case the socialist juggernaut continues to move forward.

We have to face the fact that the Republican establishment is only concerned with who wields the power of government, not with how they use that power. This election is the most critical election since 1860. While we cannot afford another term of Barack Obama’s style of socialism, we also cannot afford to elect a Republican who is likely to play “footsie” with the Democrat socialists, RINOs, and other big government Republicans in Congress. What we must have this go-round is a tri-partite conservative who has the character and the willingness to attack the socialism in our society on all three fronts.

Of the four remaining candidates in the race, only Rick Santorum is a tri-partite conservative.  Ron Paul is pretty good on the Constitution except for the clause, “provide for the common defense”. He is also a libertarian who believes that  social conservatism is fatal to the  future of the Republican Party. —So much for “insuring domestic tranquility”.

Newt Gingrich is the most knowledgeable of the field when it comes to the Constitution and history. However, in several of the debates he has shown himself to be a “big government” conservative who still believes the federal government can solve our problems —If only he were in charge. He seems to be not so concerned with getting rid of Obamacare and the Department of Education, as he is “making them work better for the American people”.

In many ways Mitt Romney expresses the same attitude. There are four reasons given for the support of Romney during the primaries. According to USA Today, 60% of the Romney voters interviewed in yesterday’s primary election in Illinois, gave as one of their main reasons in voting for him was that they believed he was the only Republican who could beat Obama in November. This seems to be more of a tribute to the national media and the Republican establishment’s campaign to once again pick the Republican candidate than to their confidence in Romney. It also shows the gullibility and desperation of too many Illinois voters.

The second reason given for supporting Romney is that he has been a successful business man and investor. But then, so has Warren Buffet and George Soros. That does not qualify them to be President of the United States; neither does it qualify or disqualify Romney from being President. Another reason given for Romney’s appeal, is his success in turning around the Salt Lake City Olympics. These supporters never mention how much of his success was dependent on the financial support of the federal government. The fourth reason given for Romney’s appeal is his “successful” term as Governor of Massachusetts. This is perhaps, the weakest part of his resume.

While Governor of Massachusetts, Romney instituted same-sex marriage when the Massachusetts Legislature refused to do so. It is a mistake to claim that the Mass. Supreme Court mandated gay marriage. It did not. The Court only recommended that the Legislature change its then existing laws prohibiting same-sex marriages. In fact the Court acknowledged that it did not have the power to change the law itself. —So much for social conservatism. While Governor, Romney also signed into law “Romneycare” which has been a total failure.

He gives two excuses for doing so. First, he blames the Legislature and the people of Massachusetts, claiming that as Governor of a progressive state he had to follow “the will of the people” — so much for standing on principle. He also argues that Romneycare is constitutional because it was instituted at the state level and the state’s power to do so is protected by the Tenth Amendment. In this he is correct. However, although it may be Constitutional, experience has shown it to be extremely bad public policy, and will be a major stumbling block when running against Obama. In addition, it will greatly increase the difficulty of getting Obamacare repealed should Romney become President.

Perhaps the most damaging aspect of Romney’s Massachusetts experience is his willingness to follow, rather than lead in critical situations. He followed the Court’s lead in the matter of same-sex marriage and set the precedent for other states to do the same. He followed the lead of the people and the Legislature with Romneycare, and supplied Obama’s advisers with the model for Obamacare. If elected President without a veto proof Senate and a large majority of conservative Republicans in the House, we stand little chance of substantially reversing the hundred-year-old trend toward socialism. The best we can hope for is to slow it down slightly.

On the other hand, if Rick Santorum becomes president he may prove to be a disappointment, as have so many other Republican Presidents before him. However, at this point in history we cannot take a chance with the future of our Republic and elect anything less than a tri-partite conservative who will fight for conservative principles on all fronts; social, political and economic. At this point in the campaign, it appears that Santorum is the only one likely to do that.

Social Capitalism

I have struggled for two weeks to get this posting out. Even as I write, I cannot reconcile exactly where I should stand on the issue of supporting businesses that absolutely offend my sensibilities as a consumer. The genesis of this posting began when I read about all of the companies that pulled their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh Show. I am not here to defend or support what Rush Limbaugh said,  (he can do that himself), only that he has the right to say whatever he wants. What struck me as appalling was the speed and efficiency in which the left was able to mobilize to bring Rush down. We all know, or should know, the progressives have entire organizations dedicated to listening to conservative voices, waiting for the perfect moment to be offended so that they can snuff out free speech they disagree with.

I must say that I was quite awestruck by the fact that a minority of people, 20% liberal if we go by the latest Gallup survey I could find, could force companies into action despite the fact that 42% of Americans identify themselves as conservatives in that same poll. (Apparently 38% of the people have no idea what they believe in, will not take a stand and they’re called moderates.) With self-righteous indignation I was angered by the fact that companies like Carbonite and ProFlowers.com would acquiesce so quickly to such a small group of people and while I don’t have the purchasing demographics for these companies, I almost have to believe that there are more people purchasing their products and services on the recommendation from a Beck or a Limbaugh or a Levine than the left could ever muster up the support for. (Full disclosure: I tried Carbonite based on one of these recommendations – it didn’t work for me – and I give my wife a box of Sheri’s Berries, a subsidiary of Provide Service which owns ProFlowers, every year, again based on one of these recommendations.)

The original intent of this posting was to point out the fact that these 26 or 27 companies had made a choice. In the name of social Marxism, they would cave to this small but highly vocal group despite the fact that people that label themselves as conservatives are the actual majority of the population. I intended to point out the fact that they could get away with this because we, as conservatives wouldn’t do a damned thing about it. This was going to be a rallying call to all conservatives that believe in the free markets and our freedom of speech to get out there and vote with your purchasing power and call these companies up and let them know that you will not do business with a company that has zero regard for you and what you believe in. All I needed was a few days to think about the best way to articulate how we can make a real difference by supporting other businesses that care about all of their customers. We would take on the defense of our causes by employing the lefts’ tactics. Saul Alinsky would not be remembered if his tactics did not work. And then the wheels started falling off in my thinking….

I believe in capitalism. Not the crony-capitalism of the General Electric / General Motors variety, but true free market capitalism. And while I stand firm on what I’ve previously mentioned, I can’t say that I’m for using the progressive tactic of calling for boycotts every time I disagree with someone. (Note: To be fair, I just found out that some conservatives are also looking at the tactic in the research of this article.) I’m not even sure how effective boycotts are, when they’re actually implemented. Off of the top of my head I do not recall hearing of a boycott that was truly effective in hurting a business’s bottom line. But then again, it’s hard to measure the effectiveness of what a boycott can actually do when any group of fifty people can call, claim they were offended, threaten a boycott and meet their goal of suppressing freedom of speech in the name of tolerance. (Don’t spend too much time thinking about that last sentence; it’s mind numbing when you do.)

However I do believe in personal responsibility when it comes to making purchasing choices but even this has significant downside. I pride myself for the fact that I refuse to pay money to HBO because of what Bill Maher spews out about people – specifically conservative women and people of faith. He has the right to be on cable and say whatever he wants and I have the right not to support the company that supports him. It is hard for me to understand why anyone that calls themselves conservative would pay HBO for their services so that HBO can pay Bill Maher for his services so that Bill Maher can donate one million dollars to a progressive super-PAC. This is an easy case for me to make because there are several choices out there for watching movies and while I do have some movie channels, I rarely watch movies anyway.

What about products this author really likes? I’ll apply the same logic to ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s has some of the best flavors put in pints and they’re everywhere and easy to get. But according to an ABC News story, founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are giving money to the Resource Movement Group, a group designed to fund this year’s Occupy Wall Street protests. Their website openly supports everything I’m against. Using the same argument as delivered in the previous paragraph, every time I purchase a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, I’m paying Ben and Jerry to support and advertise for the OWS movement. So much for “Pistachio Pistachio” and “Everything But The…”. The argument for voting with your wallet remains as sound as ever but the practical application of that argument can be very difficult when the purchasers’ choice is to accept a product of lesser quality. I apologize in advance to the fans of Haagen-Dazs. I made the switch but they’re really not the same.

I’ve “war gamed” these issues with several different people over the past couple of weeks and the conversations ranged from, “whatever we do doesn’t make a difference anyway” to “well, if you’re going to stop buying Ben and Jerry’s, you should stop buying Unilever products as well since they own them”. If this is the case, I’ll need more time to get rid of my Lipton iced tea. I really don’t know what the “answer” is. My next jeans purchase will not be Levi’s. My next pint of ice cream will not be Ben and Jerry’s. My wife will get something that’s not Sheri’s Berries next Valentines Day. But is it even possible to stop doing business with every single company that pulled their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh show to make the point that we are the majority and respect the freedom of ideas – even if we don’t always agree with those ideas?

20% of the population has figured out a way to set the agenda for the entire country. They set the tone and decide what the rest of the country is allowed to say and how they are to say it. I read somewhere that Vladimir Lenin was able kick off the Russian Revolution with 10% of the population. We might want to figure this one out.

Authors Note: In my research for this posting I read a little about the history of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. It is one of the greatest capitalism stories I have ever read all the way to the point that they even won the title of U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year, awarded by President Regan. And yet they support the anti-capitalist movement. Figure that one out.