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Archive for the ‘Big Government’ Category

The idea of America is just as much a moral premise as a governmental structure. To fully understand that moral premise, we have to look to the Constitution’s rule of law. But we can’t stop there.

We must go back 13 years, to the Declaration of Independence. Much of it detailed the “long train of abuses” by King George III. But not all of it.

In Jefferson’s explanation of why such a declaration was necessary, he eloquently laid out a moral case for rights. These rights (among them, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness) were not capricious or based on personal whim, but “Nature’s Laws”. Why did Jefferson, a very precise penman, emphasize Nature’s Laws so strenuously? And what do all of these unalienable rights entail?

“Unalienable” means they are as necessary to sustaining your life as oxygen. The only way to remove these rights is to cease living. So, how does the pursuit of happiness fit that definition?

Well, Natural Law recognizes the fact that your time and effort are both finite. It is further understood that effort is not just physical, but intellectual. Applying time, talents, and physical and/or mental labor to existing matter is generally done to improve it.

That improvement adds value that you can exchange for items (or money with which to purchase them). Perhaps an illustration, then.

I exchange my time and effort for money. With that money, I buy the latest TV. Watching various programs on this TV makes my family happy. Thus, I have pursued (and acquired) a modicum of happiness. The time and effort has already been spent. But it was worth the trade-off.

Then, the unthinkable happens: one night, two men break into my house. They want my TV, but are unwilling to trade their own efforts for it. On top of that, my state has strict gun laws, in knee-jerk response to heinous acts that were already illegal.

So I stay in bed and the men take my TV.

But it’s not just a TV, is it? They also took the happiness my family derived from watching it, and the hours of work I traded for it.

The pursuit of happiness, embodied in that TV, has been stolen from an entire family. Now, more hours of work are needed to replace it. And, on top of redundant pursuit, for items already acquired, I have to also pursue legal action against the thieves.

But I haven’t even seen their faces, because of the fear that they may be armed, while I was not. So the TV’s serial number is all I have to go on, and I give it to the authorities. Of course, it never pops up again.

If I’d had a gun, in our hypothetical scenario, might the outcome have been different? It depends, for the most part, on how badly the men wanted the TV.

You may say, “But, Bradley, that’s absurd! You wouldn’t shoot a person over a trivial item like a TV, would you?!”

But, is it trivial? How important is a workweek of your time, not a second of which you can ever replace? That is, in fact, a portion of your very life.

And if the whole of your life is an unalienable right, according to Natural Law, how can a certain portion not be? You would also do well to remember that force was initiated by the burglars, not me.

Further, why would you take the utilitarian “production for use” approach and presume that simply having a gun, in that scenario, entails using it? Perhaps I would simply hold the robbers at gunpoint, so they didn’t run off before the police arrived? Would you be OK with that?

You say, “Fine. But it’s still not worth a life. Scare ’em off and go back to bed.” Inaccurate, given what the TV represents. But, let’s go with it.

Maybe I live just across the border from a state where politicians have respect for unalienable rights, thus access to guns is easier.

Suppose I have no gun, stay in bed, and let the burglars take my TV. They then break into a house in the next town, just across the state line from me, and steal some guns.

The next morning, they use those stolen guns to murder 43 people in a shopping mall. Would it have been better if I’d had a gun to stop them at TVs?

Are you beginning to question the wisdom of my state’s hypothetical gun laws? Perhaps another scenario will cement the premise?

What if intruders came to steal a TV, and a child walked in on them? What if they were armed, but the homeowner couldn’t own a gun? What if the intruders were so startled they fired their weapons, killing the child?

Did the state’s prohibitive gun laws prevent it?

Would another knee-jerk law, piled atop the others, stop it from happening again? Or bring the child back? Or ease the parents’ grief?

Of course not. But a simple preventative measure, such as the homeowner holding the intruders at gunpoint till police arrive, would do all of the above. And, with the robbers in jail, any further criminal acts they may have planned are thwarted.

Does that not make infinitely more sense?

The villains are no longer free to take a life at the next house (or any portion of a life).

But, rather than a sensible solution, the Progs want even more gun restrictions. Why?

Control.

And it’s hypocritical. A microscopic fraction of high-capacity weapons are used in crimes. So high-cap mags must be banned? But, I thought they loved democracy? Wouldn’t that be “majority rule”, rather than tyranny of the minority?

But, I digress. Prog hypocrisy is documented to the point of tedium. A handful of mass murders justifies gun bans. A handful of gays necessitates universal marriage “rights”. Et cetera.

The point is this: top down policies never solve highly individualized problems. This is why I advocate federalism. Localized rule.

The government closest to individual citizens can best respond to individual issues. And they usually have more reverence for Natural Law.

By way of conclusion, let’s take a look at collectivist regimes:
Tell the people in 1970’s Cambodia that guns, let alone high-capacity magazines, would serve no useful purpose. Wait. You can’t. Because they’re dead. And they couldn’t legally own guns. Maybe high-capacity mags could’ve helped them out when Saloth Sar’s mobs came to round them up?

Tell the people of 1950’s China the fairy tale you insist on pushing, that gun control saves lives. As it turns out, only criminals had guns, and those criminals ran the government. When mobs of soldiers came to murder these innocent rice farmers, could high-capacity mags have saved a few lives? Even if only one life, would you say it was worth it? For the children?

Maybe the Jews in 1940’s Germany could have stood a chance, if they were armed? But Jewish gun ownership had been outlawed long before the first boxcar was loaded with its human freight. Might Anne Frank have lived to have children of her own, if her parents had access to MG34s?

Could the Bolshevik purges have been prevented?

Or perhaps your Leftist sensibilities are unmoved by any of this history? After all, those are foreign countries. And it’s hyperbole, anyway. All you’re calling for is “common sense gun control measures”, right? That kind of thing could never happen here, right?

Perhaps we should look to the Reconstruction South, then? Yes, in America. Progressives and Democrats instituted what they saw as “common sense gun control.” After all, what could be more common sense than keeping guns out of the hands of people you’d very recently held as slaves, amiright!?

Didn’t work out so well for the people in the pictures collected here, did it?

Here’s an idea, Mr. President, and the rest of you gun-grabbing, rights-hating Progs out there: tell the descendants of all these people that the society they lived in would’ve been worse for them, and much more dangerous, if they’d been allowed to have guns (or high-capacity magazines, with which they might have fended off collectivist/racist mobs).

No? Yeah. We didn’t think so.

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As I write this, it is 11 years, to the minute, since hijacked United Airlines flight 175 slammed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

I watched it happen, live on ABC, eyes still blurred from sleep, half-thinking it was some bizarre  nightmare still playing out in the last few minutes of my slumber.

But knowing, from the swelling lump in my throat and the first churnings of nausea in my gut, that it was all too real.

I was just beginning my first full week of unemployment, and had resolved the previous evening to begin my job search in earnest, first thing that Tuesday morning. My tv was set to turn itself on, at high volume, at 9am.

But, instead of looking for work, I never left the house that day. I sat on the couch, flipping between the 4 channels I had at the time, watching the day’s horror unfold, in living color, on the television before me.

The completed job applications sat on the glass coffee table, utterly forgotten, as a million questions, hundreds of fears, and a growing wave of confusion and uncertainty about all of them quickly replaced the now-trivial financial concerns that had been weighing me down for the four days prior.

I thought of my son, then six months old, and spent a good portion of the day attempting to get in touch with his mother. I would not succeed in that for two more days.

I had just learned, three weeks before, that he was my son, through a letter in the mailbox informing me of the paternity test results. I was not prepared to be a father (and who ever really is?), and had only seen him 4 times since his birth.

But that day, all I wanted to do was hold him, cradle him, and show him he had a dad, and not just a donor. I knew, even in those early hours of 9-11, that the world, which he was not even close to being fully aware of yet, would be forever changed, in ways both terrifying and uplifting. In either instance, life would never be the same.

When I couldn’t reach his mom, I did something I hadn’t done for a long time, at that point in my life. I did what I thought would be the next best thing: I prayed.

I prayed for him, and for his mother, and for their safety. I prayed for the families of those on the planes and in the buildings, and for those still struggling to make it outside.

And I prayed for those who cast aside their fears and self-concern, and rushed inside to help them get out.

I prayed for our nation, and its leaders, and not only for their safety, but that God would lend them wisdom to discern the threat, the culprits, and the response.

I knew, as most of us did at the time (though some have forgotten), that there must be a response. I watched the smoke from the fires mingle with the dust from crumbling concrete and drywall, and knew that both would soon be overshadowed by the fog of war.

Indeed, they already were. War was brought to us, just as surely as it had been on a December morning 60 years before.

But no liberty-loving individual ever seeks war. Liberty depends upon a vibrant civil society, wherein mutual respect for the rights of others is the cornerstone of all other interactions.

War and force are generally antithetical to that premise, except when force is necessary for the purpose of reasserting that premise. This is the reason for laws, and the enforcement mechanism they entail.

The terrorists who carried out those horrific attacks violated the laws of nature, by resorting to force and stripping 3,000 fellow human beings of their God-given rights to their lives, their liberties, and their pursuit of their own happiness.

And I can imagine that terrorists like those of 9-11, and influencial people in governments across the globe who fund their terrorist activities, were applauding and chuckling last week, when “God-given” was removed from the Democrat party platform.

I’m sure they saw, too, the irony of forcing those words back into the platform, the following day, in a decidedly undemocratic fashion.

But whether those terrorists or those delegates like it or not (for different reasons, I’m sure), this nation was founded on a covenant with God, first stated by George Washington on a lonely battlefield in Pennsylvania, and witnessed by Isaac Potts.

That is just as much a part of our nation’s history as 9-11, and just as transformational, regardless of the existence of television footage.

Is it any wonder that, as government grows and insinuates itself into man’s relationship with his maker (and, at certain points, even seeks to replace it), our society further erodes?

Our culture, our respect for our fellow men and their rights, and even our fiscal security: all of these have coursened, crumbled, and virtually collapsed, much like those towers, since the beginnings of the “Progressive Era.”

This is not coincidence. This is the inevitable result of the progressive ideology, and its tacit hostility to individual, and, yes, God-given, free will. The fact that we allowed this ideology to take root, in America, denotes our conscious betrayal of that covenant.

We came to terms, after 9-11, with the dire threat of terrorism, and the danger of not confronting and destroying it wherever it lurks. And we renewed our resolve to do just that, if for a short time.

So, too, must we now resolve to confront the evils of progressivism, and the cultural rot they foment, every single time they are allowed to take hold of a society. We must resolve to root out every last vestige of them. No quarter can be given.

This is the most lasting tribute we can give, to those who lost their lives on 9-11, and to those who pledged, before God, their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to defend and preserve those rights He bestowed.

In every civilization, in every age, and in every generation, there are pivotal moments. Triumphs and crises alike that bring a people together to work toward a goal.

And, in times of crisis, human nature compels us to look for leaders who will rise above the confusion and confidently point us in a direction, right or wrong.

We want to trust them, and believe that direction is the right one. But, when the leader we turn to is a flawed mortal, like ourselves, we are eventually, inevitably, let down.

Look, instead, not to government, but to a higher authority. One that ordered the footsteps of this nation from its humblest beginnings, and nurtured it into the greatest bastion of liberty and good will the world has ever known. But only as long as we honored the covenant.

Pray. Seek firm answers in times of crisis.

And steel your resolve to remember that covenant, to restore it and, moreover, to renew it.

The very future of your children, grandchildren, and, yes, my son who is now 11 1/2, depend on it.

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I’m thinking of making this a recurring feature here on SOL2k10: The Spotlight on Irrelevance. Focusing on Federal, State, and Local government spending programs that have outlived their usefulness (provided they ever had any, to begin with, which is a high bar lawmakers generally avoid living up to when their pet projects are running through the legislative paces).

Today’s culprit: USAID. Early last week, the National Journal (a leftist rag) reported, with typical effervescence, on a new program being funded through USAID. According to the article, Citi will be receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of $23 million from USAID to close the loop on “the last mile.” (Click the link above for what this phrase denotes. It would be priceless, if it weren’t so damned infuriating.)

The obvious question (to anyone not blindly enamored of government programs for their own sake, regardless of results, intended or otherwise) is this: what the hell business does the federal government of the United States of America have in funding infrastructure for banking transactions in “emerging” economies? Can we find this power in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution? Nope. Not there.

But wait! The article doesn’t say a word about Congress authorizing this $23 million expenditure, does it? Hmm. So, perhaps this is merely a bureaucratic function of the federal government, through USAID? After all, the agency was instituted by the (unconstitutional) executive fiat of one John Fitzgerald Kennedy (I know it’s wikipedia, but it’s well-sourced), so perhaps we should be looking for the justification in Article 2? Well, I’ll be damned! It’s not there, either. Curious, that.

Well, let’s explore the stated objectives of USAID. Perhaps we can find some language there that vaguely echoes the US Constitution? Well, holy entangling alliances, Batman! Some familiar stuff there, huh? But not from the Constitution, it would seem.

Can you say “League of Nations”? I knew you could.

Despite the “good intentions” of USAID overall (and the fluffing from the National Journal, regarding this most recent $23 million project), it is simply impossible to find any justification for this organization in our Constitution, nor in the writings or practices of our founders. In fact, one need look no further than George Washington’s farewell address to find a stark rebuttal of a myriad of federal practices which are now viewed as commonplace.

And this latest announcement completely ignores that USAID was used to fund “fledgling political parties” in Egypt, following their “glorious peoples’ revolution” last year. Or that funds have been routinely tapped into for decades to pay for dubiously-beneficial projects throughout “emerging nations” around the globe.

In a nation facing a $16 trillion national debt, and unfunded liabilities topping $110 trillion, perhaps it’s time to realize that all manner of profligate federal spending must be curtailed. In the grand scheme, is it “radical” to suggest that USAID has run its course?

USAID was created by an executive order during the Kennedy administration. It can be abolished with a stroke of the pen, as well.

Romney? Romney? Romney?

Bueller?

KHAAAAAANNNN!!!

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