Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Persons Under the Law

I'm certainly no expert on Missouri state law. But in the course of a discussion about a proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution, I discovered that Missouri already has a similar statement:

Life begins at conception--unborn child, defined--failure to provide prenatal care, no cause of action for.
1.205. 1. The general assembly of this state finds that:
(1) The life of each human being begins at conception;
(2) Unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being;
(3) The natural parents of unborn children have protectable interests in the life, health, and well-being of their unborn child.
2. Effective January 1, 1988, the laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development, all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and decisional interpretations thereof by the United States Supreme Court and specific provisions to the contrary in the statutes and constitution of this state.
3. As used in this section, the term "unborn children" or "unborn child" shall include all unborn child or children or the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development.
4. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.

If the Colorado "Personhood" Amendment passes, it will be interpreted by the courts as simply a statement of "values," and not anything that could possibly interfere in any legal way with the "rights" created by Roe v. Wade. This was the conclusion of the Supreme Court in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, in which William L. Webster, Attorney General of Missouri, attempted to defend Missouri's statement of the "personhood" of the unborn.

Technically, Webster won.
Technically, partial-birth abortions have been banned.
Technically, no lives have been saved.

Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of issues analysis at Focus on the Family, quoted in the Washington Post article above,

said the organization supports efforts to ban abortion, but not the Colorado strategy. "In our view, you don't have to have a personhood amendment before the court to overturn Roe v. Wade. You just need the right court. So we are more interested in the makeup of the court than what particular challenge comes before the court," she said.

This is technically true. ANY case could be used by a pro-life court to overturn Roe v. Wade. So it does indeed depend on who is on the court.

So far, unfortunately, Focus on the Family has been unable to distinguish between pro-life and anti-life justices, as indicated in their support of the pro-abortion appellate judge Samuel Alito.

But they are correct to be interested in the makeup of the court. As long as nine pro-abortion judges make this nation's laws, state constitution amendments will not save any lives. Not even Colorado's.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jasper County Farm Bureau

I appeared last night at a Candidates' Forum sponsored by the Jasper County Farm Bureau. My opponent in this race, Congressman Roy Blunt, and the Democrat front-runner, Richard Monroe, were also there.

Randy at the Turner Report has filed an excellent video report, for which we are grateful. Check the comments.

I was given a copy of the Missouri Farm Bureau policy book when I arrived. I have a complete analysis of the book here:

http://mofb.KevinCraig.us

(It's the 2006 edition, but I've completed the comparison with the 2008 edition, and the changes -- not many in number -- will be analyzed soon.)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Looking out for the Voters"

Today's Springfield News-Leader has an article about the 7th Congressional District Race:

"The strongest case against Roy Blunt is that he has not looked to the interests of 7th District voters," [Democrat challenger Richard] Monroe said. "What the 7th District needs is strong, independent leadership that looks out for all of the voters."

If George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, and other Founding Fathers said that they were going to "look out for all the voters," what would they mean?

They would not mean what Democrats and Republicans mean: "I'm going to use my political power to take money from other congressional districts and 'bring home the bacon' to voters in my district."

Republicans generally claim to "bring home the bacon" to businesses, Democrats claim to bring it home to "the poor" or "the disenfranchised."

America's Founders would have frowned on both approaches.

They did not trust politicians. The Constitution and the debates that surrounded it were all about protecting the voters' God-given rights from the government.

The government takes over 50% of everything you earn (assuming you work for a living, rather than vote for a living). Sam Adams tossed tea into the harbor over a tax of 3 pence per pound of tea (colonists used only about 10 lbs. of tea per year). What would he think about a tax ten times larger on every gallon of gas?

If you hired a home protection service to guard your home, and the service allowed burglars to control 60% of your home and spend 60% of your income, would you say the security service is "looking out for you?"

To "look out for the voters" means to protect voters from the most dangerous institution most likely to destroy their rights and the fruit of their labor: the government. To "look out for the voters" does not mean to use the government as an offensive weapon against some voters on behalf of a few other voters.

To "look out for all the voters" -- meaning bring home some bacon for all the voters so that all the voters end up with a net gain from Washington -- is an impossible political fantasy. This is for two reasons:

First, all the other Congressmen are promising the same thing. They're telling their constituents that they are going to make us (those fools in Southwest Missouri) pay for their goodies. They're telling their constituents that they are more politically savvy than the other representatives in Congress, and they'll pull strings and negotiate deals in Washington to make sure that their district gets all the goodies without paying the taxes for goodies for other districts.

"Something for nothing." Or at least a net gain.

It's unethical and immoral. Using government this way is a violation of the oath to "support the Constitution."

But, second, there is a way all voters in all Congressional districts can get free goodies with no taxes.

Print up the money.

The Federal Reserve does it every day.

This results in goodies today and less purchasing power tomorrow, but hey, let's let tomorrow take care of itself!

Also immoral and unethical.

Also very dangerous, likely to lead to economic collapse, political instability, riots and chaos, and ultimately tyranny. Your current Congressman has participated in running up the national debt to the point where the government has promised voters over $80 trillion in goodies that cannot be paid for.

Democrat Richard Monroe, by all appearances a good and decent man, is correct to say that our incumbent Congressman has not been looking out for the voters, and America's Founding Fathers would certainly agree. But nothing on the Monroe for Congress website indicates that this Democrat is different from all the other Democrats, or even all the other Republicans, and understands the big issues facing America, and will protect voters from the dangerous armed gang that seizes 60% of everything we earn, and threatens to destroy the America that Washington, Jefferson, and Adams promised themselves "and our posterity."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hamburg and the Unjust War

July 26, 2008 is the 65th anniversary of the Allied firebomb-murder of Hamburg known as "Operation Gomorrah."

Timothy J. Harris thoughfully recalls 16 Milestones in Thinking about Just War.

The British part, which deliberately targeted civilians, actually involved four night-time attacks beginning the nights of 7/24, 7/25, 7/27, and 8/2 of 1943.

The intensive bombing was justified in part by speculation that the "experiment" would "shorten" the war. The term “shortening” the war is ambiguous, as Harris noted last year at this time. "More people might be killed in a few hours of a bombing raid than die in several weeks of a major battle engagement. And this is not to mention the extra and needless loss of libraries, art galleries, ancient churches and priceless landmarks."

But America has replaced the Cathedrals with McDonalds, so only a pacifist could complain about the bombing.

Besides, as John Galvin explains, "Any country where the people have unpronounceable names can be bombed by the US with impunity." Or as Ann Coulter delicately phrased it, "We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

Is War Ever "Just?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Baldwin's Blunder

I like Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party nominee for President. I've quoted him several times, and I haven't ruled out voting for him rather than Bob "Your Papers, Please" Barr.

But Baldwin's latest column is badly misguided.

He quotes Martin Luther's great line:

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

Then Baldwin makes this surprising chain of assertions:

the real battlefield today is not abortion. It is not homosexual marriage. It is not Social Security. It is not al Qaeda. It is not taxes. It is not inflation. It is not electing conservatives. It is not posting the Ten Commandments. It is not even the high cost of gasoline. That is not to say that those issues are not important and not deserving of our best efforts and attention, because they are. But those issues do not represent the major battlefield today.

As I was reading these words, I was racking my brain trying to think what the major battlefield of the day was, if none of the above. I was shocked by Baldwin's answer:

The battlefield where the devil has amassed his greatest forces and is thrusting his deadliest armies is the surrender of our national sovereignty and independence, and the creation of global government.

To his credit, unlike Phyllis Schlafly, Baldwin is able to tell the truth about Bush:

before Bush was a Republican, before he was a "conservative," before he was a Christian, he was and is a globalist, as was his father and grandfather before him.

Relying on Jerome Corsi's investigations, Baldwin warns of the promises Bush made in March of 2005 in the "Security and Prosperity Partnership," which I have written about many times before. There can be no doubt that the European Union is a model for US-Mexican-Canadian convergence in a "North American Union" of some kind.

But why is this worse than the murder of 50 million children, the destruction of the family, the $83 trillion bankruptcy of America, or the secularization of American Law?

What if Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution for a "North American Union" in which the regional government had no jurisdiction over abortion, homosexuality, marriage, retirement planning, healthcare, home loans, or a thousand other policy issues? What if the regional government of North America were not a secular government, but a Christian libertarian Theocracy?

Gary North explains why Baldwin is not a visionary Christian statesman, but just another conservative nationalist:

There were no passports in the West before 1914. Few Western nations had rigorous immigration laws. There was also no mass democracy or socialism. People who would obey the laws and work hard were seen as a benefit. But mass democracy and the rise of socialist ideology changed all that. With the progressive income tax came immigration barriers in every nation. The welfare State is illiberal with regard to work-oriented immigrants. To the extent that welfare State thinking has become common among Christians, they too have adopted the closed-border mentality.

The sovereignty of the nation is the modern substitute for the divine right of kings and legislatures. It was a doctrine asserted by the French revolutionaries in the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen" in 1789. Point three declares: "The source of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation; no group, no individual may exercise authority not emanating from it." Nationalism has since become a major ideology in the modern world. It lodges absolute sovereignty in the nation.

The danger with this is the danger of proclaiming absolute sovereignty for any human institution. When this is done, then men are tempted to overcome its supposedly final judgment through violence. Revolution, terrorism, and military conquest become both the justification and the means of replacing one absolute earthly sovereign with another. The doctrine of "divine right" leads to the doctrine of "might makes right."

The Biblical doctrine is opposed to all theories of divine right. God is absolutely sovereign, and all [legitimate] human sovereignties [if any] are delegated by Him. All human sovereignties are under God's law, and God's law is always administered by agencies -- not by one single agency, but by plural agencies. There must always be a legal and institutional check and balance on every human agency. Furthermore, there will always be an institutional check: big bullies eventually encounter bigger bullies or an alliance of defenders. But for the sake of peace, there should be legal checks that invoke lawful, predictable, and legitimate restraints on unwarranted power. Checks and balances are basic to Christian liberty.

This is why the political conservative's rejection of international law and international justice is misguided, if this rejection is based on permanent principle rather than temporary tactics. In an era such as ours -- an era of legal chaos and competing national religions -- nationalism is a legitimate check on the expansion of humanist empires, but if conservatism's intellectual defense of national sovereignty is made in terms of an absolute and permanent national sovereignty, then the defender has adopted one more version of the divine rights doctrine: the divine right of autonomous nations. Only Jesus Christ possesses divine rights, yet He graciously humbled Himself to be judged by a pagan imperial court for the sake of the world.

All institutions are under God's law. God's laws are to be enforced institutionally. No one can legitimately claim divine rights, a claim of locating a final, unitary, earthly court of appeal beyond which there can be no earthly appeal.

Christ's victory at Calvary in principle reclaimed the ownership of the whole earth from Satan, and it legally transferred this certificate of ownership to God's people. The certificate of ownership is the New Testament itself. The New Testament is a covenant: a legal document. It assigns the inheritance to God's adopted sons (John 1:12). The boundaries of this nation of nations in principle are the whole earth. Though sin will restrict a perfect working out in history of these boundaries, the goal of Christians all over the world should be to work toward this goal: the creation of a formally covenanted confederation of Christian nations under God. God's kingdom must triumph in history over Satan's kingdom. Christ's nation of nations must triumph over Satan's empire of empires.

Some critics may complain that I am calling for international theocracy. They are correct, for this international theocracy is exactly what the Bible requires.

Baldwin criticizes the "Religious Right" for grovelling before President Bush and the Republicans. From whom is Baldwin seeking approval?

Eventually the concept of "national sovereignty" will be abandoned. The sooner the better.


-----=====******O******=====-----

Stop The SPP
The SPP Coup d'Etat
Canadians Against SPP
SPP Deception
More SPP Deception
Rep. Ron Paul on SPP
More Canadian Opposition to SPP
SPP = European Union
SPP Destroying Evidence?
Anti-SPP Resolution in Congress

Gary North's books are free at freebooks.com

Paul Krugman's Millionaires

The recent news about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac make clear that the government creates millionaires out of special interests who suck wealth from the poor and middle classes.

Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, has taken apart defenses of these corrupt government agencies:

The Fannie Mae Gang

This is really troubling reading.

Pro-government economist Paul Krugman, writing regularly in the New York Times, consistently goes to bat for the government as a champion of the poor.

Gigot writes, "Fannie's left-wing defenders are underwriters of crony capitalism, not affordable housing."

Notice that when any brash young politician attempts to expose government corruption -- corruption greater than Enron's -- established political leaders revoke their power and destroy their careers.

"Government" is the business of protecting corruption.

It's called "fascism" when "the right" does it, but the same activity is called "socialism" or "progressivism" when "the left" does it. When the Board of a corrupt government enterprise is populated by both Republicans and Democrats, that form of corruption is called "bipartisanship," and no matter what party the calls for investigation or criticisms of corruption come from, they will be ignored or slandered.

The only thing worse than the lies, corruption, theft, and personal aggrandizement exhibited in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac racket is the complete apathy and ignorance of the American people, aided and abetted by the lapdog media.

HT: Club for Growth

Monday, July 21, 2008

Inflation: Taxation Without Representation

America's Founding Fathers threw tea into the Boston Harbor rather than pay a tax of 3 pence per pound. Considering Americans used only about 10 lbs. of tea per year, today's tax on gas is easily 100 times greater, but no Americans are throwing gas anywhere.

Was their objection not to the amount of the tax, but simply their dogmatic stand: "No Taxation Without Representation"?

Even in that case, the modern federal government is far more tyrannical than the government overthrown in 1776.

Federal Reserve Commissar Ben Bernanke has admitted as much, under the firm but far-too-gentle questioning of Congressman Ron Paul. Will Grigg reports:

“Inflation is a tax," Rep. Paul observed during his colloquy with Bernanke. "And if the Federal Reserve, and you as chairman, have this authority to increase the money supply arbitrarily, you’re probably the biggest taxer in the country."

I couldn't agree with you more that inflation is a tax," admitted Bernanke, quickly seeking to evade responsibility by saying that "inflation currently is too high." The criminal syndicate over which Bernanke presides imposes taxation without representation or accountability.

The Constitution vests the taxing power in the hands of Congress. Not the Executive Branch. Not the Judicial Branch.

Nobody is able to say for sure whether the banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System are private or governmental, but they are not Congress, and every time they create "fiat money," Americans are taxed because the purchasing power of their dollars is transferred away from them. Fed Chairman Bernanke admits this. Everyone knows it.

Any Congressman that fails to call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve is derelict in his duty to "support the Constitution" and God's Laws on Money.

Furthermore, [the Fed] exports that inflation world-wide, thanks to the fact that the instrument of debt the Fed calls the "dollar" is the world's reserve currency. This means that nearly everyone who uses the dollar to conduct business is paying the tax called inflation. This is a unique form of withholding, in that the Fed steals an increment of value from each dollar before it ends up in the hands or accounts of private actors in the economy.

Where a government exercises the power to tax through inflation, no other taxes are "necessary," including the income tax. Furthermore, where governments tax through inflation, no tax evasion is possible, as long as people conduct business in that adulterated currency.

The redoubtable G. Edward Griffin points out that former Fed Chairman Beardsley Ruml admitted that, because of the Fed's ability to tax via inflation, "Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete" -- the title of an essay Ruml published in the January 1946 issue of American Affairs. As Ruml wrote,"given control of a central banking system and an incontrovertible currency [that is, a fiat currency not backed by gold], a sovereign national government is finally free of money worries and need no longer levy taxes for the purpose of providing itself with revenue. All taxation, therefore, should be regarded from the point of view of social and economic consequences."(Emphasis added.)

Thus, where Washington is concerned, taxation exists purely for the purpose of social manipulation through vulgar redistribution of wealth, not to pay the operating costs of government. And as carried out by the IRS, taxation is an instrument of intimidation and terror used to compel social conformity.

Capital Punishment

CATO scholar Tom G. Palmer is still obsessed with Gary North, taking yet another swipe at him yesterday.

Palmer and Walter Olson at Reason probably don't realize that not all "Christian Reconstructionists" (whom Palmer labels as "pure evil") support capital punishment. I've posted my views here, with more detail here.

As to whether Gary North would say I'm a "real" Reconstructionist, I don't know. Read footnote 7 from his "Publisher's Epilogue" in Paradise Restored by David Chilton.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why I LOVE Money

I Y MONEY!

Reporter: But I thought you were a "Bible-believing Christian." Doesn't the Bible say "Money is the root of all evil?"

Actually, the Bible says "The love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV).

Reporter: OK . . . still . . . aren't you in flagrant opposition to the Bible by saying you "Love Money?"

Actually, when the Bible condemns those who are "lovers of money," it uses a Greek word which literally means "lovers of silver," "because," as St. Augustine says, "among the ancients, coins were made of silver."

Reporter: Yeah, but aren't coins money?

Of course!

Reporter: Then aren't you still in opposition to the Bible by saying you love silver coins that function as money?

I honestly don't think so. When I say "I Y Money!," I'm not saying I'm like Scrooge McDuck, who likes to accumulate coins made out of gold and silver, just to have more coins:




I'm saying I think "money" is the greatest invention of the human race.

Reporter: You mean, a greater invention than the wheel, or fire?

Absolutely! You can have a wheel and make a little wheelbarrow for around the house, but money makes it possible to have an industrial economy that produces huge tractors that can move tons more than your little wheelbarrow. And you can have fire and burn some wood in your fireplace, but you can't have central heating, or all the other things we enjoy in an industrial civilization without an effective money. Money makes civilization possible.

Reporter: So aren't you saying you want more money to get more stuff? And doesn't this put you at odds with the Bible?

Actually, I've never earned enough money in any given year to put me over the federal poverty level. But I've enjoyed hospitality in the homes of many wealthy people, and I appreciate what this invention called "money" makes possible. I've been to the dentist several times, and I appreciate high-speed drills and anesthesia. These wouldn't be possible without money. I really love the idea of money.

Reporter: I'm confused. How does this "appreciation" for the "idea" of money make you different from the people condemned in the Bible for their "love of money?"

The people who "love silver" love money for the things they can exchange it for. They are only concerned about things for themselves. If you told them you could give them more things by destroying their money, for example, by taking the silver out of their money, they wouldn't care; they are stupid people who just want more stuff. But if you destroy the money this way (the way governments always do), you destroy the possibility of all this stuff ever coming into existence. You condemn millions of people into poverty.

Reporter: Are you saying that if you don't have a large quantity of money, you can't build a factory to make stuff? That seems like a pretty obvious point.

No, I'm not saying we need more money. What we need is honest money. Years ago, writes James E. McAdoo,

a special kind of advertisement appeared regularly in many magazines. It pictured an attractive, gray-haired couple, attired in sports clothes, and smiling happily. The caption said, in effect, “I retired with $250 a month, for life.” The clear implication was that, with the proper plan for prudence and thrift, the reader could provide for a comfortable lifetime income.

Today these elderly people need more money, but not because they covet more stuff. They need more money just to get food and clothing. It's a very bad situation when people need more money to get the same amount of stuff. When you have honest money, the price of stuff is always going down, and the same amount of money will buy more stuff.

Reporter: I'm lost.

That's my point. Money is the most important invention in the history of the human race, and government schools never explain what money is, or why it's so important. So let's start at the beginning.

Let's say I'm "self-sufficient." I don't need money because I don't do business with anyone else. I grow all my own crops and hammer out my own plows on my own anvil. Many environmentalists want us to be more "self-sufficient," "in harmony with nature." But in reality, people like me -- with no marketable talents -- would live in abysmal poverty if we had to be "self-sufficient." I don't know how to grow crops, butcher cattle, forge steel, build a central air conditioning unit, or drill my own cavities.

Reporter: So money makes it possible for you to buy other people's stuff. More money = more stuff, right?

That's not what I'm getting at.

Suppose I know how to grow wheat, but I want to have a computer. You know how to build computers, but you're on a wheat-free diet. I'm out of luck. Even if you wanted some of my wheat, the computers you make are all worth more than 500 lbs. of my wheat, and you don't want that much wheat. We can't trade. I'm forced to be "self-sufficient." My standard of living goes down.

If there are ten things I want, I don't have time to search around the country for the ten people who have those things and who also want my wheat. Or, if I find ten people who have the things I want, but who want things other than my wheat, I don't have the time to find ten more people who (1) have the things those first ten people want, and who are (2) willing to trade those things for my wheat, so I can trade those things with the ten people who have the things I want. By this time, my wheat has spoiled anyway.

Direct exchange ("barter") will always keep humanity "self-sufficient" and in poverty.

What I need is a medium of exchange, so I can engage in indirect exchange with many other people, and avoid being "self-sufficient." Something I can trade my wheat for -- like silver -- not because I want silver, but because I'm going to trade it for something I do want, with people who accept silver in trade for the goods or services they provide.

If all I wanted were computers, and all the computer-maker wanted was my wheat, I wouldn't need any "money" at all -- the computer-maker and I could make direct exchanges of wheat for computers all day long, never needing any "money." "Love of money" would be irrelevant.

But once we agree that living in "self-sufficiency" isn't as good as living in community with billions of other human beings, where all the labor that needs to be done to create The New Jerusalem is divided up among all the inhabitants, so we each work at what we do best, exchanging the fruits of our labor for the fruits of everyone else in the community, we need money.

Money isn't wealth, or at least that's not why people want it. Money makes exchanges possible. Money makes the division of labor possible.

Reporter: So isn't it a good thing we have the government to create money for us?

Money doesn't require "the government" at all. In fact, governments have always been the group that destroys money. The government is the only group that can make it a curse to have piles and piles of money:


Money is the most marketable commodity, the stuff that can be traded for everyone else's stuff, because everyone accepts the stuff, knowing that everyone else accepts the stuff.

Using gold and silver for exchanging indirectly is consistent with "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God". Using aluminum electroplated with gold is fraud, a violation of many laws in the Bible about honest money. If the Bible really taught that money is evil, why so many laws protecting its purity and efficiency?

Using a common commodity also enables human beings to create "prices," so that if I need to trade with ten different people to get the stuff I want, I don't have to make ten different calculations about the value of the stuff based on ten different commodities that I'm trading for. Every day, trillions of exchanges are made around the world, and "prices" enable us to decide if an exchange is a good one.

A stable price means calculations can be relied upon into the future. That makes effective planning possible, and an honest price system integrates the plans of billions of individual people, each with individual wants, into a rational economic system.

By messing around with our money, governments always mess around with our prices, and people get cheated. The economic system breaks down, and people are thrust into lower standards of living.

When the government takes complete control of money and the freedom of individuals to trade everything they have for something else (a situation called "socialism"), the price system breaks down completely, economic calculation and planning become impossible, and poverty and death is the result. All those who hate God's laws on money love death.

With so much of our lives dependent upon money, and with the brutal alternative of socialism looming on the horizon, the reader would do well to become acquainted with the importance of money and prices. A good place to start is chapter 5 of George Reisman's wonderful book, Capitalism.


Or, open your Acrobat Reader and browse through the entire book now in pdf and see the wealth of original economic theories and irrefutable logical arguments it offers in defense of economic freedom and laissez-faire capitalism.
Free.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The "Robber Baron" Healthcare Plan

Michael Tennant writes:

Few people today, except for a few out-and-out socialists, would argue against free markets in principle. Most people now recognize that capitalism provides the common man with a vast array of quality goods at affordable prices, thereby improving his lot, whereas state-controlled economies, such as that of the former Soviet Union, inevitably produce shortages of necessary goods (let alone luxuries) even for the elite.

At the same time, however, few would also argue for a completely laissez faire approach to markets. After all, were it not for government regulations, most people believe the following would occur:

  • Businesses would exploit workers, paying them wages far below what they deserve and forcing them to work under grueling sweatshop conditions.
  • Businesses would force customers to pay exorbitant prices for shoddy merchandise.
  • Outsourcing and importing would transfer jobs from wealthy countries to poorer countries, with neither population benefiting.
  • Many hiring, firing, and promoting decisions would be based on connections in the old boys’ network rather than on productivity and merit.

The most notorious alleged example of these practices is, of course, Wal-Mart, whose very success has bred contempt for it among Americans of all classes and political persuasions. Wal-Mart’s importing of so many goods from China seems to be one of the primary bugaboos of all Wal-Mart haters, for it encapsulates in their minds most of the above supposed problems with capitalism.

Fortunately, Time magazine, not the most likely of sources, has come to the rescue of the barons of Bentonville with an outstanding and upbeat piece on the positive effects of Wal-Mart’s doing business in China. The result is an essay that not only helps rescue the reputation of one of the world’s most maligned corporations but also goes a long way to prove that capitalism improves everyone’s lives without any government intervention whatsoever.

"Robber Barons" gave us cheap oil and aluminum:

The Truth About the "Robber Barons" - Thomas J. DiLorenzo - Mises Institute

The "Robber Baron" plan worked for Katrina victims:

Real Katrina hero? Wal-Mart, study says - MSN Money

And The "Robber Baron" plan can work for healthcare.

In 2006 Wal-Mart started offering 300 generic drugs for $4 a prescription. It then added 24 more drugs to the list in 2007. The program expanded again this year. Customers can now buy a 90-day supply of 350 different drugs for just $10. The list of $4 prescriptions has also grown, to more than 1,000.

Let Wal-Mart fix US health care - MSN Money

Mark J. Perry, professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan, notes that Wal-Mart is adding walk-in health clinics in partnership with local hospitals, with a goal of having 400 outlets by 2010. This is a major new business trend that includes Walgreens, Kroger, CVS, and Target.

CARPE DIEM: Kroger Joins Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and Walgreens

Congressman Ron Paul has introduced a bill that would accelerate these free-market solutions. His "Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act" (H.R. 3343) would give you . . .

• A 100% refund from your taxes on all money you spend on health care expenses, including health insurance premiums.

• Make it easier for your employer to deposit the money it now gives to the health insurance companies into a Health Savings Account that would belong to you

• This money would come to you tax free, and you could pay for both health care costs and health insurance premiums out of it

• This means you could buy health insurance that would belong to you instead of your employer

• It also means that small medical expenses could be paid out of your Health Savings Account, which would allow you to reduce your insurance premiums by buying a Major Medical Plan instead of a Cadillac Plan

• Plus, you would earn interest on the money in your Health Savings Account, tax free -- you would get this interest instead of the insurance companies getting it (collecting interest on premiums is how the insurance companies make their money -- these profits could be yours instead)

• Plus, you would become your doctor's customer, instead of the government or your insurance company being your doctor's customer

• This would place the consumer in charge, allowing you to choose low-priced customer-friendly clinics run by "robber barons" instead of impersonal high-priced bureaucracies created by the Healthcare Czar

• This would create competition that would continuously lower prices and improve quality for everyone.

You would rather live in the United States under capitalism than in the Soviet Union under socialism. Click here and in less than 60 seconds you can send a message to your "elected representatives" to start making American heathcare as good as it was before the socialists started messing with it.

Get a Tax Refund for your Health Care Expenses

Thursday, July 17, 2008

TWA Flight 800 and the Media

On this day in 1996, two years after Republicans gained control of Congress, and already spending huge sums of campaign funds via “soft money” for an unprececented early TV blitz of swing states promoting his agenda and record, against which yet-to-be-nominated Republican candidate Bob Dole could not respond, Bill Clinton was in the family quarters of the White House, along with Sandy Berger and Hillary, when TWA Flight 800 exploded and fell into the Atlantic Ocean, taking the lives of all 230 persons on board in full view of literally hundreds of eyewitnesses on Long Island’s affluent south shore.

270 of those eyewitnesses—pilots, fishermen, surfers, military people—gave the FBI detailed accounts, many with illustrations, of a likely missile attack on the aircraft. These were very credible witnesses. The New York Times interviewed not a one of them.

Jack Cashill has been investigating this story for seven years. He has come to see the TWA 800 cover-up less as a scandal of government than as a scandal of media. He writes:

If the New York Times chose to pursue this story, it could break it open in a week. A TV network could break it in a month. And yet none of them do. None of them likely will.

All of this willful blindness, I am convinced, derives from the fact that TWA Flight 800 went down on Clinton’s watch. Collectively, the media spent more energy on George W’s DUI.

When the National Archives released 11,000 pages of Hillary's schedule as first lady, the schedule revealed that she was indeed holed up with President Clinton and Sandy Berger in the family quarters of the White House that fateful night of July 17, 1996.

At 3 a.m.—her fabled time to shine—the president had apparently gathered enough information to call National Security Advisor, Tony Lake, with the following message: "Dust off the contingency plans."

Yes, the Eisenhower Option, an all out attack on Iran precipitated by the terror bombing of an Air Force compound in Saudi Arabia three weeks earlier. But with the 1996 election comfortably in the bag, war was the last thing the Clintons wanted or needed. As usual, nothing happened.

Yet for all the peril and intrigue of that first night of near war, in "Living History," Hillary’s 500-plus page memoir, she summarized the entire TWA Flight 800 episode in exactly one-third of one sentence. Bill gave the entire incident two sentences in his 900-page memoir.

The media, alas, paid this extraordinary oversight no more attention than it did the content of Sandy Berger’s famous socks.

When Berger made his now storied sorties into the National Archives, he risked his career and his reputation in so doing, and he knew it.

Rest assured, he would not have done so were the secrets to be preserved not worth the risk of pilfering them. True to form, the major media refused to even ask the most fundamental question: just what secrets would justify so much personal exposure.

Having read the report on Berger by the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, I am confident that I know the answer.

According to Archives staff, “Berger was especially interested in White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke’s personal office files.”

Clarke, a Clinton sycophant, devised the “exit strategy” that transformed a seeming aeronautical assault on TWA Flight 800 into a “mechanical failure.” In his blowhard book Against All Enemies, he takes full credit for this bit of aviation alchemy.


Clarke was likely also responsible for getting the CIA and FBI to breach the famed “wall” and work together on the creation of an animation that the media could pass on to their flock. The CIA's notorious “zoom-climb” animation shows a nose-less 747 pitching up abruptly, climbing more than 3,000 feet, and allegedly confusing the eyewitnesses into thinking they were seeing a missile attack.

The animation is indefensible nonsense. Even the NTSB has backed away from it.

What was in the documents that Berger pilfered from the National Archives? Cashill relates these events:

At that time Col. Buzz Patterson carried the "nuclear football" for President Clinton. Given his security clearance, Patterson was entrusted with any number of high security assignments. One morning in "late-summer,” Patterson was returning a daily intelligence update from the Oval Office to the National Security Council when he noticed the heading "Operation Bojinka."

As Patterson relates, "I keyed on a reference to a plot to use commercial airliners as weapons." As a pilot, he had a keen interest in the same. "I can state for a fact that this information was circulated within the U.S. intelligence community," Patterson writes, "and that in late 1996 the president was aware of it." The President’s hand written comments on the documents verified the same.

The Philippine police had uncovered plans for aerial assaults as early as January 1995 and shared those plans with the FBI almost immediately. The man responsible for those plans was Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing and very possibly an Iraqi contract agent. His accomplice was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9-11 and allegedly Yousef’s uncle.

Understandably, the 9-11 Commission was very concerned about who knew what when in regards to the use of planes as bombs. Bush National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was asked on her first real question: “Did you ever see or hear from the FBI, from the CIA, from any other intelligence agency, any memos or discussions or anything else between the time you got into office and 9-11 that talked about using planes as bombs?”

Rice said no. She was likely telling the truth. Clarke had acknowledged as much during his earlier testimony. He admitted that the "knowledge about al-Qaeda having thought of using aircraft as weapons" was relatively old, "five-years, six-years old." He asked that intelligence analysts "be forgiven for not thinking about it given the fact that they hadn't seen a lot in the five or six years intervening about it."

Before the summer Olympics of 1996, in fact, Clarke had warned security planners about the possibility of Islamic terrorists hijacking a 747 and flying it into Olympic Stadium. Two days before the start of those Olympics, on July 17, Saddam’s National Liberation day, with the U.S Navy on the highest state of alert since the Cuban missile crisis, TWA Flight 800 blew up inexplicably off the coast of Long Island.

The fact that the President was reviewing Bojinka plans soon after the destruction of TWA Flight 800 makes the versions of those plans with his hand written notes on them all the more critical. If found and revealed, they would, at the very least, acknowledge that the Clinton administration had a keen interest in the possible use of planes as bombs five years before September 11.

The media is no longer America's watchdog.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Colonialism" and Homosexuality

Following the legalization of homosexual marriages by Republicans in California, a number of "gay pride parades" were held in San Francisco and other cities around the world. ABC/AP reported,

In India, hundreds chanted for gay rights in Calcutta, Bangalore and New Delhi in the largest display of gay pride in the deeply conservative country, where homosexual acts are illegal. The marches came days before the Delhi High Court is expected to hear arguments on overturning a law against homosexual sex that dates to the British colonial era.

As a Christian, I oppose violence and vengeance against homosexuals, even violence agreed upon "democratically" and meted out by uniformed officials of "the State." But these laws are not being changed out of obedience to Christ, but in rebellion.

More change is taking place than simply some legislative amendments. The change is cultural.

In 1992, Pat Buchanan received a prime time speech slot at the Republican National Convention, which is sometimes dubbed the "'culture war' speech." He said,

There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.

The legislative changes in San Francisco and those being discussed in India are not just minor statutory revisions, but they are rooted in rival religions, or what we might call a "world and life view," and the two sides are equally devout adherents of their cultural/religious views.

Adherents of a worldview can become more mature and more consistent with the fundamental presuppositions of that worldview, or they can become more and more inconsistent until they adopt a rival worldview.

Britain inconsistently claimed to be a Christian nation before the slave trade was abolished. Ridding Britain of slavery made it more Christian, at least on that issue. Britain abolished the practice of "thuggee" in the British colony of India, believing it to be contrary to Christian civilization, along with homosexuality. (Indian thugs were worshippers of Kali, goddess of chaos and destruction, who demonstrated their piety by attacking travelers and robbing or decapitating them.) Whether British criminal sentences were consistently Christian or not, their goal was to make the colony of India more Christian, not less.

The rejection of "colonialism" after World War II was based primarily on an anti-Christian worldview. Anti-colonial leaders were communist or socialist, and rejected the capitalist morality ("the Protestant work ethic") of Britain and other colonial nations with at least a Christian background.

Steven Yates has made these Ruminations on the Road:

-----=====******O******=====-----

That evening, Rev. Robert Slimp of Columbia’s Red Shirt Reading Circle, a discussion group that has met in a downtown restaurant once a month for years now, presented the most comprehensive account I’ve encountered of how political correctness has destroyed the entire Southern African region. Rev. Slimp is more than qualified to present on the topic, because he spent time there and knows (or knew) some of the major players personally. He covered much of the past 400 years of the region’s history. Those attending were able to review the founding of Capetown and eventually the settling of regions such as Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Rev. Slimp observed, among other things, that the geological and mineralogical riches that made Cecil Rhodes billions in diamonds were discovered not by African tribesmen who had lived there all along but by the white settlers. The region was well on its way to becoming one of the most prosperous in the world. Everyone – the British, the Dutch-derived Afrikaaners, and the native black populations – was benefiting.

Not anymore.

Rhodesia has become Zimbabwe. The South Africa of "white minority rule" has become the South Africa of Nelson Mandela’s socialist African National Congress (ANC).

Today, of course, the region is on a downward spiral. Zimbabwe is now a place where whites who have not already fled are driven from their land. More than 200 white farmers have been jailed for resisting, even though the country’s own courts have called the seizures of their farms illegal. Many of these people hold British passports, but Britain’s Tony Blair has done nothing. The global forces of political correctness have seen to it that little of this makes it into the mainstream Western media. Meanwhile, official calls for ethnic cleansing have spread to South Africa, where one can hear chants of "Kill the Boer, kill the Farmer!" These, by the way, are not considered instances of "hate speech." Since 1994, the year the ANC took power, over 1,400 white farmers and their families have lost their lives to gangs of thugs. "Interestingly," writes Slimp,
"in 85 percent of the killings, not one item was stolen from the farms and farm houses."

Over half the remaining commercial farmers have fled the country. The region is now threatened with a massive famine. Whites live behind the walls of gated communities protected by militia-like units. They dare not go out at night. Again, there is a near-blackout on the situation in the mainstream Western media.

And apartheid was supposed to have been the evil.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s strongman, is also waging war on other blacks. Their crime: being members of the wrong tribe.

It should be obvious that Mugabe is a more brutal tyrant than Saddam Hussein ever thought of being. But instead of threatening him and working to oust him from power, the U.S. government (i.e., the U.S. taxpayer) is funding him! Rev. Slimp reported last year that in 1999 Mugabe’s genocidal regime got $9.3 million in foreign aid, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. In 2000 he received $12.6 million. In 2001, he was given $13.7 million.

But then again, lest we forget, Robert Mugabe isn’t sitting on top of one of the world’s largest oil reserves.

-----=====******O******=====-----

Gary North wrote:

That Western capital should wind up in the treasuries of the [Zimbabwes] of the world is preposterous. To subsidize the demonic systems that have kept most of the world in spiritual darkness and economic poverty is to erode Christian capital that much faster. It is masochism — multi-billion-dollar masochism — yet the practice has gone on for a generation. We think that Western money and Western secular educations can convert savages into modernism. What we see before our eyes is one set of savages, bearing Ph.D.’s from Harvard and D. Phil.s from Oxford, subsidizing the savages in the Third World (who sometimes have degrees from the same universities) with the earnings of less sophisticated men who have been made to feel guilty for their hard-earned prosperity. The politics of guilt and pity, as Rushdoony has called it, is the devil’s tool. It is money down the devil’s fiscal rathole.

Notice that every worldview has its own version of "hate speech." "Kill the Boers [Dutch farmers]" is not "hate-speech" for the anti-colonialists, while "homosexuality is a sin" is "hate-speech."

"Gay bashing" is nothing compared to "Boer bashing." In the current milieu, "gay rights" means "sanctions against Christians."

The use of government force to civilize African tribesmen is just as wrong as the use of government force to abolish homosexuality or thuggism. These government laws should be abolished. What's important is the motivation or cultural direction of the change.

Barack "Change We Can Believe In" Obama is carrying on the agenda of the Clintons, which is not fundamentally different from the change of the Bushes or McCain, despite media portrayals of Republicans as being in the hip pocket of "the Religious Right."

Buchanan warned in 1992:

The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America--abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat--that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country.

The change which both Republicans and Democrats have pursued for decades is the kind of change that will turn a productive capitalist economy into an impoverished, chaotic, "post-colonial" dictatorship.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Conservatives" and War

On August 31, 2006, prior to the election that put the Democrats back in control of Congress, Joseph Sobran wrote an article which is good to review in 2008. Sobran is a true conservative. Here is what he wrote two years ago:

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Yes, I’m disillusioned with the GOP. It was bad enough when I thought they were unprincipled. Now, however, it’s worse, because they do have a principle after all: war.

This Bush administration has managed to pervert the meaning of conservatism: in most Americans’ minds, for the next generation, the word will mean, above all, militarism.

Quite a change from the days when Democrats wanted war on fascism and Republicans were accused of “isolationism” for preferring peace. Does anyone remember Robert Taft?

Today’s blowhard conservatives have no reservations about it. For these right-wingers, the Iraq warnot the Constitution, government spending, or abortion — is the defining issue dividing liberals and conservatives.

They even pardon liberal Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger (as well as the liberal Democrat Joe Lieberman) for supporting abortion and homosexual rights, as long as they support the war. That is, they count a liberal as a conservative, provided only that he’s for this war.

Being the most devastating of human activities, war would seem to be at the opposite pole from conserving anything. It’s a grotesque accident of history that it should have acquired even a verbal association with the philosophy of conservatism.

Conservatism is a more or less articulate sense of normality, whereas liberalism has been described (by G.K. Chesterton) as “the modern and morbid habit of always sacrificing the normal to the abnormal.” Conservatism can tolerate many abnormal things that can’t be eliminated from human society, but it doesn’t call them “rights” or confuse them with normal things. And, after all, few things are more abnormal than war.

So today’s alleged conservatives (and especially the misnamed “neoconservatives”) are aberrations. They delight in destruction; they are full of enthusiasm for violent and radical action; they lack the ironic and skeptical attitude of real conservatives, the prudent sense that precipitate acts bring “unintended consequences.”

The presidency of George W. Bush has been one long object lesson in unintended consequences. It’s amusing to recall that his father was kidded for using the phrase wouldn’t be prudent, an expression the son could profitably adopt.

Until the Republicans learn that peace is normal, they will deserve defeat and infamy.

-----=====******O******=====-----

No conservative should actively vote for a Democrat. But many conservatives fear that if they vote for a true conservative Libertarian, a Democrat might be elected as a result.

This unintended result would in fact be very, very good. This is actually an important reason why conservatives should vote for a Libertarian.

If a powerful Republican incumbent were to lose his office because conservatives voted for a Libertarian, it would be well-publicized that the Libertarian caused the defeat of the Republican, not that the Democrat actually won popular support. (Sure, the Democrats would try their best to spin the results, but the election results math is inflexible.)

A Congressman is only elected for a two-year term. Then he faces the voters once again. Conservatives need to think well beyond the next two years. The defeat of a powerful Republican because of large numbers of Libertarian votes will set in motion political trends which will last for decades.

If you and your neighbors vote for a true conservative Libertarian, the election of a Democrat and the defeat of a Republican who is not a true conservative will be the most important and promising political event of this upcoming election.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Images of Iran

How many of these human beings -- "endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights" -- will the United States federal government kill before the November elections?

Monday, July 07, 2008

From Independence to Dependence

The Declaration of Independence reflects not just a desire to gain independence from a tyrannical government, but to gain personal independence, or self-reliance. James Bovard writes in "The Capsizing of American Democracy,"

In the era of the Founding Fathers, few things were more dreaded than “dependency” — not being one’s own man, not having a truly independent will because of reliance on someone or something else to survive. One of the glories of America was the possibility that common people could become self-reliant with hard work and discipline.

The idea was seen particularly in the frequent allusions to the Old Testament prophecy of "every man dwelling safely under his own vine and fig tree." Bovard continues:

Prof. John Philip Reid, the author of The Concept of Liberty in the Age of the American Revolution, summarized 18th-century political thinking:

Property was independence; lack of property was servility, even servitude.... A man without independent wealth could easily be bought and bribed. A man of property had a will of his own.

This was part of the reason that many of the states initially required a property qualification for voters. Sir William Blackstone, whose work on the English constitution profoundly influenced Americans, observed that a property qualification for suffrage was necessary because if the property-less “had votes, they would be tempted to dispose of them under some undue influence or other.”

But in modern times, dependency is the highest political good — at least for politicians. Since the 1930s, politicians have striven to leave no vote unbought. Government aid programs have been endlessly expanded, and the government has sought to maximize the number of people willing to accept handouts. Government aid has become redefined as a symbol of self-actualization.

Political campaigns are now a head-long rush into dependency.

The key question for many voters is: How much is the candidate offering for my vote? Elections routinely degenerate into “an advance auction sale of stolen goods,” in Mencken’s apt phrase. There is vastly more interest during election campaigns in Social Security handouts and policies than in Justice Department cover-ups and FBI abuses.

During election season there is certainly more interest in government subsidies and benefits checks than there is in the issues that animated America in 1776.

Sums spent on government vote-buying usually dwarf all private campaign expenditures. Incumbents perennially use the machinery of state to bombard voters with government handouts, often on the flimsiest pretexts. President Clinton turned the Federal Emergency Management Agency into a permanent part of his reelection campaign.

FEMA now routinely blankets residents of swing states with lavish checks for dubious claims for damage from hurricanes and other bad weather. Florida was a key swing state in the 2004 election, and thanks to FEMA and four hurricanes and storms, Florida residents received more FEMA handouts than any state in history.

Bovard lays out the statistics on how FEMA passes out checks before elections to buy votes for the party in power. The scene is one of corruption on the part of government and a crippled sense of virtue and independence on the part of the People.

The Heritage Foundation created an Index of Dependency to measure the rising number of Americans reliant on government. Now, roughly half of all Americans are dependent on the government, either for handouts, pensions, or paychecks.

All of this is unethical. It is a species of theft to use government to transfer wealth from the haves to the have-nots. It is not charity. Charity is voluntary, from the heart. Government welfare is theft. And "democracy" creates a vicious cycle: dependent people want more subsidies, and ambitious, corrupt politicians are happy to provide them. Bovard appropriately quotes Thomas Jefferson's warning:

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”

Private charities appeal for donations based on success: "We transformed X number of people from dependency to self-sufficiency." Truly successful welfare systems will see the number of dependent people drop over time. Government welfare, by contrast, has created increasing dependency and wiped out virtue. Charles Murray demonstrated in depressing detail that government programs have led to an increase in poverty despite trillions of dollars in expenditures. In the "War on Poverty," he says, we've been Losing Ground.

Private charities will boast that they require less and less money to achieve greater results, just as the prices for nearly everything we use have gone down thanks to the Free Market. Politicians, on the other hand, say the exact opposite: "If elected, I promise to spend MORE on the such-and-such program." The "success" of a government program is not fewer people in poverty, but: "We're providing coverage to more and more people." Many politically-connected people undoubtedly sincerely believe this is a good thing.

America's Founding Fathers would disagree. It means more dependence, less independence, more tyranny, less virtue.

Bovard's conclusion:

American democracy is capsizing as a result of the vast increase in the number of government dependents and government employees. This has created a voting bloc that overwhelms every other potential force. H.L. Mencken quipped in the 1930s that the New Deal divided America into “those who work for a living and those who vote for a living” — a division truer now than ever before.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Two Notable Executions

July 6 is the anniversary of the execution of two defenders of religious freedom.

John Huss was burned at the stake on this day in 1415.

John Wycliffe (1323?-1384), the English Reformer, opposed the Church's sequestering of the Bible from the masses. “This Bible is for the government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Wycliffe said. Huss took Wycliffe's message to Bohemia and what is today the Czech Republic. Huss, a great scholar, also introduced the use of diacritics (especially the háček) into Czech spelling. Jan Hus Day (Den upálení mistra Jana Husa) is one of the public holidays in the Czech Republic.

This humble blogger emulates Huss in being an extremist and a plagiarist. In a famous dispute in 1412 over indulgences (fully 100 years before Martin Luther), Huss set before the university at Prague an address which was drawn almost entirely from the writings of Wycliffe. Huss stated that no pope or bishop had the right to take up the sword in the name of the Church; he should pray for his enemies and bless those that curse him; man obtains forgiveness of sins by real repentance, not through money.

What an extremist!

Naturally, he was burned at the stake.

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Sir Thomas More was executed on July 6 in 1535.

More coined the term "utopia." As a radical libertarian, your humble blogger has often been accused of being "utopian."

In 1935, four hundred years after More's death, Pope Pius XI canonized St Thomas More in the Roman Catholic Church; More was declared Patron Saint of politicians and statesmen by Pope John Paul II in 1980.

In some ways More was out to undo what Wycliffe and Hus did. He imprisoned and tortured Lutherans in horrible ways -- if he didn't burn them. It's sometimes a challenge to extract his admirable qualities from the reigning errors of his day. More defended the Church of Rome against Henry VIII, who formed his own "protestant" church when Rome wouldn't grant him a divorce. (Henry's church was really just Rome II, but in England.) More's book Utopia was actually a defense of hierarchy.

More denied that the State had power over the Church: "no temporal man may be the head of the spirituality." He would not take an oath falsely, even though pressured to do so by the king. More put his conscience ahead of the government. He was willing to die for what he believed. For this he is rightly admired.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

John Quincy Adams on Independence

From John Quincy Adams’ “Oration on the Life and Character of Gilbert Motier de la Fayette.”
Delivered at the request of both Houses of the Congress of the United States, before them, in the House of Representatives at Washington, on the 31st of December, 1834.
House Journal

The war was revolutionary. It began by the dissolution of the British Government in the Colonies; the People of which were, by that operation, left without any Government whatever. They were then at one and the same time maintaining their independent national existence by war, and forming new social compacts for their own government thenceforward. The construction of civil society; the extent and the limitations of organized power; the establishment of a system of government combining the greatest enlargement of individual liberty with the most perfect preservation of public order, were the continual occupations of every mind. The consequences of this state of things to the history of mankind, and especially of Europe, were foreseen by none. Europe saw nothing but the war; a people struggling for liberty, and against oppression; and the People in every part of Europe sympathized with the people of the American Colonies.

With their Governments it was not so. The people of the American Colonies were insurgents; all Governments abhor insurrection; they were revolted colonists. The great maritime Powers of Europe had Colonies of their own, to which the example of resistance against oppression might be contagious. The American Colonies were stigmatized in all the official acts of the British Government as rebels; and rebellion to the governing part of mankind is as the sin of witchcraft [1 Sam. 15:23]. The Governments of Europe, therefore, were, at heart, on the side of the British Government in this war, and the People of Europe were on the side of the American People.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day 2008

I had the best view of the 18th Annual Midtown "Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade & Celebration." As I walked down the street, on my left and on my right I saw kids and their parents sitting in front of one lovingly preserved historic home after another, all celebrating "the birthday" of a once-prosperous, once-admired nation. Since I didn't get to see the entire parade, I hope they had something better to watch than a bunch of political candidates like me (and I know they saw quite a few).

And I hope they were celebrating an ideal, and not a nation. The ideal is "Liberty Under God." This ideal is embodied by the people I saw sitting on the sidewalks, not the political candidates in the parade; the ones who were enjoying a holiday from work, work which produces the goods and services that make my standard of living the highest in human history, not the politicians who burden their lives with regulations and threats.

The Declaration of Independence is, after all, a declaration of independence from government tyranny.

America -- a nation of "Liberty Under God" -- existed for more than a decade before the Constitution of 1787 created a federal government. It's not the federal government or the Constitution that makes America worth celebrating.

In fact, the name "America" goes back centuries before 1776. This land was settled by people fleeing tyranny and seeking to promote Christian civilization. As the NEW ENGLAND CONFEDERATION of 1643 put it: "We all came into these parts of America, with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Declaration of Independence did not change that end and aim on July 4th, 1776. In September of 1776, Delaware -- no longer a colony of Britain, but now assuming a "separate and equal station" "among the Powers of the earth" as an independent sovereign State -- drafted a new constitution which required of office-holders:

Art. 22. Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust . . . shall . . . make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: "I ________, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, Blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration."

It wasn't until 1961 that the U.S. Supreme Court "discovered" that requirements like these were "unconstitutional." And a year later the Court made the same "discovery" about public schools:

Like many states, Nebraska, following the requirement of the U.S. Congress, patterned its state constitution after the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. That ordinance, and the Nebraska Constitution of 1875, both agreed on a fundamental fact about America:

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

Unfortunately, the next generation of parade-goers may not know America's great end and aim. They may know nothing about Liberty Under God. They may know nothing about independence from government tyranny. In fact, they may learn about government tyranny up close and personal. After all, it is currently illegal for publik skool teechurs to tell their students that the Declaration of Independence -- which we celebrate on this day -- really is true. If you truly believe what the Declaration of Independence says, you cannot get a government job, serve on a jury, or become an American citizen, as I explained a week ago.

"Religion, morality, and knowledge" have all been removed from government and its schools. As long as this is true, America hasn't got a prayer. Like this prayer:

Our father's God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

Or this one:

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.

Celebrate America's past.
Pray for America's future.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!