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government

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We All Need a Drink

Ever come across a text you know, but forgot?

I did recently. This gem of a paragraph leapt off the page and into my mind:

I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded — religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and patriot. It is our servant, beholden to us.

Ronald Reagan spoke those words on November 13, 1979, as he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Yes, that’s November–two months before Iowa and New Hampshire–not 12 months before.

The funny thing about great truths: they have staying power.

Who Will Serve That Drink?

But I wonder how many candidates for high office today hold such firm, self-evident, and transcendent beliefs. How many candidates hold a theory of government at all?

Let’s look at what Reagan believed America thirsted for in 1979:

  • Spiritual revival
  • Honor before political expediency
  • Government as protector of our liberties, not as grantor of gifts and privilege
  • Government upholding, not undermining, religion, education, and family
  • Government as our servant, beholden to us

I believe our nation still thirsts for those five sips of freedom.

Spiritual Thirst

We need a spiritual revival, and not just a religious revival. Our national spirits are low–as low as they were in 1979. Reagan’s announcement speech reminded me of the spirit of that age when he said:

Much of this talk has come from leaders who claim that our problems are too difficult to handle. We are supposed to meekly accept their failures as the most which humanly can be done. They tell us we must learn to live with less, and teach our children that their lives will be less full and prosperous than ours have been; that the America of the coming years will be a place where — because of our past excesses — it will be impossible to dream and make those dreams come true.

Doesn’t that sound like the defeatist nonsense we hear from Barack Obama every day? Our best days are behind us. We need to live like Bangladeshi squatters. We don’t deserve the marvels we invented and built.

Oh, Lord, give us a spiritual revival and shake us from our cowardly nap!

Political Honor

How about honor before political expediency? Couldn’t we use a little of that? In Jefferson City, some good Republicans (and I mean good ones) are prepared to accept the politically expedient Prescription Drug Monitoring bill over the honor (and loneliness) of remaining the last state to grant her citizens privacy in healthcare.

Political expediency rules the day in Washington, too, where Republicans have become champions of the Export-Import Bank. And a lot of Democrats who used to know better, too.

Protector of Liberty

And that leads us to our next great thirst, for a government that protects our liberties instead of passing out gifts and privilege. The Export-Import Bank is a grantor of gifts and privilege, I don’t care if Ronald Reagan anointed the building with sacred oils from Russell Kirk’s tobacco pipe.

The labor force is smaller than it has been since before Reagan announce his candidacy in 1979. People are not working, and this time, the government doesn’t want them to. How long can 92 million workers continue to support 230 million recipients?

Paying people to live like trinkets on a shelf is not compassion: it’s spiritual murder.

No wonder our spirits are low. And I’m not talking about the spirits of the workers; I’m talking about the low spirits of the idle. Meaningful work gives meaning to our lives. Every generation, when it’s young, feels angst and hopelessness. That’s because they’re not doing meaningful work yet.

Those young men and women in uniform all around the world and all around the states, they don’t have so much angst. They know they have a mission and a purpose. They know others benefit from their labor, and that’s exactly how they want it.

We need to help people feel a similar sense of mission and purpose in their lives. Every human being deserves to know the feeling of having done hard work well, but America is putting that fundamental, vital experience at risk in millions of lives.

In Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, Eric Greitens describes the destructive nature of idleness beautifully:

I believe it’s also true that without some sense of meaningful struggle in our lives, something inside us begins to break down, a part of us begins to die. Yet it’s amazing how adaptable human beings can be. When we are kept from doing hard and meaningful work (perhaps by living in a prison of idle comfort , by drinking to excess, or by spending endless hours in front of video games or the Internet), people still find ways to eke out an existence. In the long run , though, deprivation of purpose is as destructive as deprivation of sleep. Without purpose, we can survive— but we cannot flourish.

We need leaders of vision and purpose to fix that and fast.

Faith, Education, Family

And by fixing that government-coerced purposelessness, government will take a big step away from its evil (yes, I said “evil”) destruction of religion, education, and family.

The federal government is openly and wantonly hostile to every religion (with possibly one exception). It tells people of every major faith–every one–that their views are mere superstitions that deserve the scorn of the “enlightened” and the regulation of government.

The federal government seeks to regulate families and dictate what parents may teach their children.

And the federal government is working to destroy community and family schools, replacing them with a Common Core education developed largely by a billionaire whose previous adventures in education ended in unmitigated failure. (The man doesn’t know basic statistics. And then some.)

A Beholden Government

And all of these government-created problems and their natural, American solutions, can be summed up in Reagan’s last quest. When a government is our servant, it does our bidding. When we are government’s servant, government brings us down.

If your spirits are low–lower now than when you began reading–buck up. The belief Reagan shared after that litany of problems inspires today as it did the week after the Iranian Hostage Crisis began:

A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and — above all — responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.

I believe that you and I together can keep this rendezvous with destiny.

Let 2016 be the election year we renew our spirit with a sip of life-giving water from the river Liberty and keep our rendezvous with destiny.

 

Which Two Industries Suck Most at Customer Service?

Want to know why Net Neutrality is dangerous?

Forget the Constitutional stuff. That’s important, but most people don’t care. Seriously. As soon as you mention the Constitution or mercantilism, the 99% walk away.

And the remaining 1% already agree with you.

No, the way to scare people about Net Neutrality is this chart from Statista:

Infographic: Which Industries Have The Worst Customer Service?  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

The only thing worse than Comcast’s customer service? Comcast’s customer service regulated by the federal government.

Net Neutrality is the happy name of a plan to make the second-worst customer service even worse.

Which Barack Obama is Right?

 

A genius is someone who can hold contrary concepts simultaneously in mind.

What, then, do we call a person who simultaneously argues two contrary concepts?

obama

How ‘bout “demagogue?”

A few weeks ago, Barack Obama told America’s business owners that they are not responsible for their success.  “Someone else built that.”

Today, the same Obama told Mitt Romney that there not many people who consider themselves victims.

Does Mr. Obama believe that people in dire straights are not victims of circumstances? It seems so. Obama’s telling us that if you succeed, it’s because someone else helped you, but if you fail, you fail on your own.

If that is Obama’s meaning, then his idea of cradle-to-grave government dependency would be, simply, immoral. You don’t systematically reward people who repeatedly fail.

I’d like to welcome Mr. Obama to the world of people who believe we are masters of our domains. But we know Mr. Obama is a demagogue, arguing both sides of the same point to secure himself another four years of dictatorial rule.

 

jeff-neely

Meet the GSA’s 8th Grade Minds That Run Your Life

There are two kinds of people in America: those who grow up to become productive adults, and those who become bureaucrats.

The GSA scandal lit up the 3 Stooges mentality of the “men and women” who would run every aspect of your life if Obama and his czars get their way.

Bureacrat Jeff Neely soaking the taxpayers in Vegas

Jeff Neely’s the guy Thomas Jefferson had in mind when wrote:

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

Neely and his wife showed no shame in living like Donald Trump on taxpayers’ dollars. They posted these photos on Google+.

When you meet one of those undecided voters this year, the ones whose white guilt wants to give Obama four more years to destroy America, show them these pictures of the people who eat the food they can’t afford to feed their kids.

Then there’s Martha Johnson, appointed by both Clinton and Obama to bureaucratic leadership.  While she “will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my appointment,” she still saw fit to give Neely a fat tax dollar bonus for his work in staging the Vegas boondoggle.

On the flip side, there were heroes, like Susan Brita, the whistleblower who uncovered the nonsense. Trouble is, in a bureacracy, it’s the  arrogant swine like Neely who tend to rise to the top–the ones who believe, like their White House leaders, that bureaucrats are the moral superiors of the subjects, the serfs, the commoners.

If we don’t clean house this November, we deserve the gulag we’ll surely inhabit.

Financial Armageddon

NYT Describes Mayhem of “Taxmageddon”, And It Will Scare You Sick

What the hell’s going on at NYT? First, they do a piece on Andrew Breitbart. Then they warn the world that Taxmageddon will crush the world in 2013, beginning with the USA.

Financial Armageddon

Here’s how Business Insider summarized the David Leohardt article:

Basically, with no changes to current law, taxes will rise for everyone, and after tax, inflation-adjusted income for the average American will drop to 1998 levels.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/nyt-here-comes-taxmageddon-2012-4#ixzz1s9RHtbZC

It’s largest tax increase in the history of Western Civilization, and it will happen if Congress doesn’t stop it. We could be looking at a 5 percent drop in GDP in 2013 alone.

Taxmageddon is the result of decades of borrowing to feed the entitlement monster. Only real entitlement reform will solve it.

The After Party will be at Crowne Plaza Grille at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clayton on Thursday, April 19 at 7:00 pm. Join us. Bring a friend.

BTW, David Leonhardt’s strategy for heading off Taxmageddon is electing Mitt Romney president. Imagine that.

How Government Growth Creates Scrooges

Scrooge’s nephew left the office and let in two men in the process. They came to ask for a donation for London’s poor.

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (pp. 5-6). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Liberals, of course, consider Scrooge the quintessential Republican. Scrooge cared only for himself. He was a miser. His miserliness made him miserable, bent, and twisted. 

humbug-scrooge

Of course, this liberal view of Scrooge lacks consideration. It misses the fundamental flaw in 19th century English government meddling. 

Is Scrooge’s attitude so different from most American’s? Do we really take it upon ourselves to help those in need?  Are we, as individuals or groups, trying to build a better society?

Or do we say, “let the government take care of it?”

Government largesse only encourages misers like Scrooge to remain miserly. The debtors’ prisons and Union workhouses lent Scrooge an easy out.  “That’s what government’s for.”

The traditional American view of the good society differs wildly from Scrooges; the welfare state’s view does not.

When it comes to certain topics—sex, drugs, profanity, modest dress—we often hear, “you can’t legislate morality.”  Why do we never hear that about charity?  Isn’t welfare simply government’s attempt to force a moral viewpoint on society?

And doesn’t it fail as surely as attempts to dictate skirt-lengths or song lyrics?

Good societies result from good people. All legislation is moral, but legislation can’t change men’s hearts.

The After Party is St. Louis Tea Party’s attempt to repair the fabric of society—a fabric left to rot as we turned to government for solutions to problems that can and should be handled by local communities, charitable organizations, and states.

That’s not to say that government, at every level, must withdraw from charitable programs. Rather, the Constitution provides no authority to Washington. And local programs tend to trump distant ones precisely because the benefactor and beneficiary live, work, and worship together.

While the Tea Party is not a charity, it does have the tools to make stronger, healthier human bonds.  These bonds give us all resources for handling tough times. 

More importantly, these bonds encourage us to look at each other as human beings. And we’re more likely to help fellow human beings than we are to give up another tax dollar to a bureaucracy that loses and wastes more money than returns to the needy.

By the way, the two gentlemen soliciting donations said something you’ll never hear from a Washington bureaucrat.  Did you catch it?

Jefferson on Debt

With the debt ceiling negotiations closing in, it’s worth looking to Thomas Jefferson.

ThomasJefferson250

Jefferson was very opposed to federal government borrowing.  (He was less concerned with states borrowing.)  What I love about the quote below is Jefferson’s concern for leisure time. 

"To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers . [emphasis added]"

–Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:39

Pay a mortgage? Have student loans? Make a car payment?  Then you might know what Jefferson was talking about.  Debt limits your freedom. You work to pay off the debt, not to live a better life. While you might be perfectly happy selling sea shells you hunted and painted by hand, you cannot. You must work for the man to earn the wage to repay the debts.

These obligations, of course, are your own. If you feel trapped by debt, you trapped yourself.

Government debt, however, enslaves us just as surely. Yet we had little choice in the matter. In many cases, we opposed the borrowing that now forces us to labor.  Our children were born into this financial slavery, and their children will be. 

Free the children.

Separation of Press and State

Borrowing liberally from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, let’s adopt this manifesto of our resolve to keep the government from taking over (via voluntary non-profit status) the free press in the United States:

Americans have more publishing freedom than any people in world history. We can choose what to read; what to teach our children; how, where and when to write; which causes to give money to; or even whether we want to get involved with the news at all. We have the separation of press and state to thank for this broadly based freedom.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: “Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” Most Americans have interpreted this clause to mean that the press and government must stay separate for the benefit of both.

Press-state separation has worked very well in practice. Americans freely support an array of newspapers, television networks, web sites, and other publishing institutions, our nation is media diverse and many opinions exist side by side with remarkably little conflict. Our government treats people of all media (and none) equally.

When our nation’s Founders separated the press and government, it was a revolutionary experiment. That experiment has been an extraordinary success. It’s made us the envy of the world, and Americans United wants to make sure that wise policy continues.

By bailing out Big Media, Congress and the Obama administration threaten to destroy that separation, to tear down that wall, to collapse the freedoms the media in America have enjoyed.  Proposals in Congress and in the White House would turn many newspapers like the New York Times and the Boston Globe into arms of the government.  Through the state-run media, administrations would be free to wage propaganda wars. No one would know what’s real and what’s government spin.  For example, the New York Times could report a “scientific consensus” that humans are causing the Earth’s temperature to rise even though no evidence exists to support that claim.

During the post-9/11 wars, the free press provided a check on government assertions of dangers from Islamofascist terrorists.  The press informed us that the WMD menace in Iraq was overstated.  Without a free, independent press, we might never have learned of these facts. Instead, the Bush administration would simply have typed out the NYT’s stories, keeping us in the dark about the truth.

Think government ownership of the press would be tolerable?  Think again. Already, Democrats Feinstein and Durbin are proposing legislation to make it easier for the U.S. government to prosecute conservative bloggers.  And Democrat Harry Waxman is preparing to propose legislation for a government takeover of newspapers.

Not in my country.  If we have to live with a strict, draconian interpretation of the First Amendment regarding religion, then we damn well demand the same separation of press and state.