Thursday, August 9, 2012

The River - Is Wide

So, a blind man goes to the Dahlia Lama and ask, "Is there anything worse than losing you sight?" The Dahlia Lama replies, "Yes, losing your vision."

When we speak of the United States we are usually speaking about individual states united within the group of states. When we speak about America we are speaking about things that are quite different. Reagan metaphor was the shining city on the hill. Kenney metaphor was a candle in the darkness.

When we decide to tell someone what America is we realize why these two articulate presidents used metaphors. Concocted with beliefs, human values, hope, dreams, national and individual freedoms, unspoken promises, social trust, the hand of God. America is ephemeral. Nothing you can put your finger on and say that's it!  Also, always interpreted by each of us in different ways. Although the ideals are not tangible they are binding. They have given us strength to persevere during the nations darkest times. They directed behavior…They give purpose… They were guides… They were the underpinning of the American culture. Our political system evolved out of this  culture. Our American culture today is being assaulted. Not by foreign enemies or Islam terrorist…

"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."

Throughout the founding documents the writers kept coming back over and over  to the individual. Protecting his rights to his property and his rights to speak and to act in ways that were important in protecting his life and family. Before the ink was dried, every level of government from town, city, state, federal government had the right to take his property for unpaid taxes and turn him family out in the street. The position states take is that the individual owns property nominally and only so long as they are paid yearly rent...Southern history after the Civil War and the early part of the last century was, for the most part, a unwritten history of this abuse.

"The right to life is the source of all rights -- and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave."

A question that might be asked is have any of our readers ever been asked by one of their representatives if it would be OK if they voted this way or that way on anything? Has anyone in government every asked you how you want them to vote on a bill that raises your taxes or burdens you with regulations? If the answer is 'no' then how is it they represent you and your family's interest? The representatives query doesn't have to be about taxes it could be about anything and everything that impacts you as an individual. Always, if congress is considering a new bill or passing a new law it will impact you one way of another and often in unforeseen ways over time.

 "Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production."

Jumping back a couple of hundred years when congress met for only a few months out of the year, these elected representatives when back home, worked their farms, or ran their businesses. They interacted with their voters. They knew each other often growing up together. Today the political class has, at best, only have clues as to who they represent or what the people who elected them need or want. Worse still they don't seem to care.

 "The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see."
Maybe we have moved so far from the original guiding principles of the American experiment we can't get back. The political class knows that going back reduces their power over the citizens. The underclass that is supported by government doesn't want to go back for reasons that are obvious. Also, a huge block of the electorate doesn't know what the Tea folks are making all this fuss is about. 

"The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles."

At its essence, culture is a shared set of beliefs and common behaviors. Core values are the important element in the belief set. In combination, these communal values, beliefs and behavior form a unique organizational identity or ethos that guides how the people within a society perceive one another, which in turn guides behavior and decision-making….

The division within our American society has never been about who has money or who doesn't have money. Or is this person better educated than that person. Although there weren't necessarily social ties between the groups they were attached through the shared values and beliefs. Values in common such as raising children, working hard, not cheating, lying, stealing, and certainly not killing one another.

A common culture.

In an interview on the news with the police chief of New Orleans this morning he was distraught about the extent his officers were corrupt and the fact that black young people were killing each other daily. Memphis news each morning is about the killings the night before and the failure of the school system. After generations of failures Memphis has finally given up its school charter. Who will now run the education system is up in the air. This is pretty much the news out of every city of any size in our country.

"Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent."

We see this same culture breakdown in the majority of our elected officials at every level of government. Three major cities are in bankrupt court in California. How many more should be or will be? How many states balance budgets each year by not funding their pension system. Is this not a sleight of hand Mississippi has indulged in? The American culture has always been unique. Rooted in beliefs and values of Christian teachings. Once our historic culture is abandoned there isn't anything left to replace it  - except government.

 "Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.".

In a capitalistic economy all goods and services are denominated in dollars. Dollars are measures of value… The work we do is measured within the economy in dollar amounts according to the value of the kind of work we do. The same  measure is applied to a bag of peanuts or a dozen eggs. When and if government decides that a dozen eggs are four dollars instead of two dollars the entire system becomes distorted. The value of our work doesn't change but our demand for more dollars for the same work adds to this distortion.

So, the argument is when government through even the slightest law or regulation inserts itself into the economic market a nail is driven into the American dream. If one man works and is rewarded for his labor and another, who is able to work doesn't, and is rewarded by government then we know all  values within the capitalistic economy become an empty skeleton of our history for both the worker and the non-worker.  

This America is an experiment in self governing. The whole idea was that if people govern themselves as citizens then they could have local and national governing bodies that governed on their behalf. A simple idea… Governing starts and ends with people knowing and doing what is right in their lives, their families, and communities.  If done, then elected representatives would take this same behavior into the various levels of government and govern with the same basic principles. Lo-and-behold it once worked…. It worked for a long time until something began to change. Not all at once but like a slow growing cancer.

"We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality."

This downward spiral in the values and beliefs is seen daily with our elected and our citizens. The restrictions and regulations the government has imposed tries to fills the gap of created by the lack of responsibility of the citizens. In the process their actions consolidate their power under the guise of stewardship.  All of our always-to-be-reelected good old boys in congress, going back to 1964, are the fathers of this change. Obama election is a symptom of this change. His 2008 campaign was a clarion call for a government directed economy as well as government directed citizens. Without him this slowly evolving government control over every aspect of American life may have gone on more or less unnoticed. 

"The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles."

Basic principles have been compromised. There is some percentage of our citizens who are no longer able or willing to evade reality. Clearly Tea Party citizens are in this group and many more not quite sure of what they need to do.

All of the quotes in italics are from the mid fifties by Ayn Rand. So she along with others were able to see the early stages of the changes in America and shouted out warnings. 

96 days, 0 hours, 34 minutes till the polls open in November. We are now below the 100 day mark and there isn't much time but enough for us to make a difference once again. 

Cruz in Texas has pulled ahead and Mandel in Ohio is now within four points and closing on Brown. He needs money really badly. Brown is seen as a must win for the Dems and their money is flowing.

Obama is still way ahead of Romney in likeability and more often than not that is the deciding factor in how people vote. Romney is ahead in managing the economy which is what you would think is the most important issue. However, in these times who knows what voter will do?

The conservative voice was heard in 2010 in the House but not clearly in the Senate. We need to focus on the Senate. The senate races are crucial. Even more so should Obama a second term.

I have great hopes that the world may become a better, more peaceful, more equitable place in the twenty-first century. From my own experience, at 16 I lost my freedom, at 24 I lost my country and for the last more than 50 years have faced all sorts of problems, but I have never given up hope. We have a Tibetan saying, ‘Nine times fall down, Nine times pick yourself up.’  Dalai Lama

Before I hit the send key let me encourage you to click on the link below and see one of new 2010 Congressman Mike Kelly from Pennsylvania third district giving a speech on the House floor. (If you know any way we can clone this new congressman please send me a note.)


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