A Democracy?

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner”

 – James Bovard

         

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

Democracy vs. Republic

It is frightening when I hear someone refer to this country as a democracy.  Often times, it is elected officials, trying to speak in a language that sounds eloquent and patriotic.  Why does it frightening me? Mainly because the United States contains some portions of a democracy; but, in the end, is and was intended to be closer to a Republic.

Perhaps it may seem as if it is really is just an issue of definitions, but what if it is a whole lot more than that?  What if it is planned and an attempt to establish this democratic set-up?

Let’s look at what a democracy actually is.

Suppose a small group of people approach you and your family while you are walking down the street.  This group encircles your family and demands that you give your wallets, purses, and other valuables to them. Being that you are outnumbered, you comply with your oppressors’ demands.  Being robbed of everything you had on you, your captors are now appeased and they disappear.   The basic concept of Democracy supports what just happened.

Want to counter-argue that the example sounds extreme and there are laws prohibiting what just happened?

Let’s say the country just voted to make it legal to take others’ property?  A pure democracy would support this too; because democracy is based on the concept that majority rule is the final decision.  It does not matter what is deemed right, wrong, ethical, or unethical because the majority have decided what is to happen.

Democracy is mob rule.

For a simple definition, a Republic has boundaries that serve to protect from mob rule and shield individuals or groups from errant majority opinions.  The U.S. was intended to have the will of the people expressed and to guide the nation, but there is a severe difference from Democracy.  This difference is that if at any time the will of the majority of people goes outside the bounds of the U.S. Constitution, then it is to be rejected.

In all correctness, the United States is a Democratic Republic, in which the majority (voters) chooses through (representation) to make decisions for the country.  All these decisions by the majority’s elected officials are tempered through the court system.  If challenged, the courts then decide whether laws passed are within the boundaries set by the constitution.

Fast forward to today’s current hot topics and look how the concept of democracy has taken a tight grasp on many people’s thinking.

There are groups calling for the government to force religious groups to violate their convictions and provide free contraception.  On another front, there are people calling for the rich to pay an undetermined “fair share” of taxes, with talk of 99% against the 1%.  The whole concept of a 99% is ploy to stoke these democratic sentiments.

If the United States was a democracy, as some desire; these actions would have happened without any questioning of the legality. In fact, the 1% wealthy could have every penny taken legally from them if the 99% decided that was what they wanted.

This is why we have a Democratic Party and a Republican Party, and why the term “democracy” has been carefully turned into an acceptable description of our nation.  In basic, the Democratic Party theoretically is based on the belief that the will of the people is what matters, no matter what the majority supports at the moment.

It is mob rule vs. individual rights. 

 

“Democracy is the road to socialism.” – Karl Marx

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What If We Took It All?

The national debt clock outside the IRS office...

U.S. National Debt Clock

What if we took it all? What if we were to take all the money of the richest people and put it on the U.S. national debt.  That would be social justice after all, right? That’s we are being told or hinted at by many liberal activists.  Our President has even attempted to make this issue a pillar of his re-election campaign.   So, with all the 99% vs. 1% arguments and “fair share” comments thrown around these days, let’s look into this a little bit.

The U.S. debt is around $15 trillion at the moment and still rising. That is around $2.5 million every minute you and I breath.  To be fair, not many are truly saying confiscate it all.  Instead, they are simply calling for a “fair share” to be given back to society from the “1%” of America. Of course, what is not being acknowledged is who decides what is “fair”  and how “fair” is determined.

Regardless, for the “greater good” of the nation and in the name of social justice, let’s confiscate every penny from Forbes Top 20 Richest Americans and place it on the National Debt.  Let’s liquidate their assets and take every drop of their net worth and send them to a soup line, homeless and just the cloths on their back.   We would reduce our $15 trillion debt all the way to $14.5 trillion.  That’s right, not quite a half a trillion. Still seeming like a good idea?   Not only have we stripped naked individuals of their wealth, but we have also deprived them of their roles in the business world.  This has removed the Koch brothers (oil), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Larry Elison (Oracle) and three members of the Walton family (Wal-Mart) from influential positions in the economy.  Other companies affected by this confiscation are Google, Facebook, and Amazon; not to mention the numbers jobs lost due to the removal of these visionary leaders.

All for $.5 Trillion, $460 Billion, 1/30th of the U.S. debt.   How ever you want to word it.

What if the United States used it “immoral” superior military force to confiscate the net worth of the 1,226 richest people in the world, which is Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires?   Go outside her borders and force each nation to take it all from these 1,000+ individuals?  The U.S. debt would be diminished by $4.6 trillion to a whopping $11 trillion owed.   So now we have bankrupted every billionaire in the world, destroyed numerous corporations, and caused the loss of countless jobs in exchange for 30% of the U.S. debt.   That’s right; we would still be over the debt level of $10.6 trillion when our President took office a little over three years ago.

Clearly, this is not realistic, yet the cries for this kind of action are being called for on a much smaller scale.  Surely, leaders and activists know that anything less than the severe move described previously would not even make a dent in the debt crisis we face.  It is a political game being played to dredge of jealousy and hatred for those who have more, and it is based on the belief the voters are ignorant enough to believe it.

Still sound like a good idea? Perhaps we should be looking at a change in leadership instead of a change in tax rates.

Perspective on the Limbaugh Boycott Movement

Freedom of speech!

Love him or hate him:  There really isn’t any middle ground when it comes to Rush Limbaugh and his EIB Network.   So there is no reason to debate his actions, words, or show at this time.  If possible, remove him from this whole issue for a moment and remove Bill Maher and Louis CK as well.

Ask yourself if you believe in free speech.

If you believe in the 1st Amendment, then consider why you or anyone would support a boycott of a citizen exercising this precious right.  It is a dangerous slope to be on when we begin to call for economic intervention against individuals who say things that are off-color or outside the box of politically correct barriers.  In a world where we worry so much about safety, we often neglect the safety of our constitutional rights.  Consider that when we call for companies to boycott an individual or a network for language used or comments made, we are saying that the accused stepped outside the bounds of their right to free speech.

Does free speech have a limit?  Certainly, when it causes direct, indisputable physical damage to others, it can be curtailed to a degree.    Yet, with every boycott demand, the dissidents out there are saying that they believe that the word “slut” is beyond the acceptable bounds.

Is it possible that such individuals only believe in free speech when it agrees with them?  Is it even remotely possible that this freedom protects people who use inflammatory word?

Don’t misunderstand me; people are exercising their right to voice their opposition to comments as well. I support their right to call for boycotts; and I even support the right of Bill Maher to call Sarah Palin a c***.  Yet, one can use a constitutional right to inhibit others’.

Public discourse is what was intended to be protected by the founding fathers, even if in the most outrageous terms.  Why?  Without it, the walls of our freedom close in. We become silenced by the fear of repercussions of our words.  There are multiple examples throughout history of nations that limited their citizen’s freedom of speech and they all have at least one common denominator: they all had significantly less free societies than the United States has today.

Instead of using our right to free speech trying to restrict others’ speech through boycotts and advertiser complaints, let’s exercise our right to voice our opinions for and against those who speak publicly.

Unless, of course, you believe that the 1st Amendment applies only when you agree.

A Revelation

I believe all things happen for a purpose.  As I walked toward my polling place on Super Tuesday, I was approached (outside and at a legal distance) by a man, who asked for my support.   I had been vaguely familiar with the name and already had plans to vote for him.  He was Ohio state senate candidate Paul Isaacs.

I thanked him for being out there and continued on to go exercise my constitutional right. As I was leaving, I felt compelled to ask him for information about his campaign and some of his beliefs.  The conversation was continually interrupted as he would greet every voter walking towards the polling center; but through the half-sentences and pauses, I came to know a man who put his convictions and faith above other people’s opinions and the odds. This most obviously demonstrated by the fact that he was asked to run and start a campaign two months before.  As we spoke, I came to learn that Mr. Isaacs’ main reason for running was the lack of interest in the Heartbeat Bill that the current District 06 state senator has shown over the last year.   I listened to his abbreviated campaign story and saw conviction and passion that one rarely sees expressed in an individual.  I stayed that afternoon helping Mr. Isaacs hand out literature and asking voters to support him.  Between the requests, we spoke about our politics, convictions, and our faith in the Lord.  Before I knew it, the sun had gown down and the polls were about to close.  Mr. Isaacs had left a few minutes before to wrap up some loose ends before the results were announced.  Standing there alone in the dark, I found myself campaigning for someone who I’d just met.

Mr. Isaacs lost the election.  His two month old campaign garnered a little bit over 31% of the vote from OH -District 06 voters. For a campaign born not more than two months before Super Tuesday, that is nothing short of incredible, but that’s not the point.  Although we only spent three hours together, I could tell the drive Mr. Isaacs has for his beliefs cannot be stamped out by the loss of an election.  The revelation I experienced that evening was that I have a duty to be active for my beliefs or I need to sit down and be silent.  The middle ground is the easy place to be; in fact, it may be the easiest position.  What could be easier than being silent when dissidents are present and expressing  “convictions” when in friendly circles?  Nothing could be simpler than to blend in with your surroundings, avoiding confrontation with the people around you.

No more!

I cannot call myself a conservative, if I am not willing to speak it.  The biggest spark to this realization was a comment that Mr. Isaacs made to me that evening.  In a discussion around religious beliefs, he said he did not believe that people will die for something they don’t genuinely believe in.  I realized that this is a level of conviction that one must have if they truly believe in something, and it’s time to apply this all areas of life.  Young and old conservatives must live by this; or we must fade away, taking our beliefs with us.  There isn’t really any middle ground anymore; perhaps there never really was.

 

The Almighty Independent

In pursuit of the almighty “Independent”, we …

..are told to…

    • hide our beliefs
    • be quiet
    • leave the discussion to politicians and pundits
    • assume defeat
    • support the most moderate candidates
    • attempt to win the Houses of Congress, before the Presidency
    • compromise our convictions
    • respect our opponents
    • say that our current President is a “good man” and is just in over his head
    • acknowledge our opponents accomplishments
    • accept the candidates that established party members have ordained
    • admit we are ignorant and certain “educated” people know what’s best
    • ignore the assault on our Constitution and freedoms
    • play both sides of  an issue
    • support government intervention if it will garner public support
    • be progressive
    • embrace compromise

..are told to not…  

    • talk about social issues
    • defend morality
    • directly support the concept of traditional family
    • mention any religious beliefs
    • speak negatively of our opposition
    • say anything inflammatory
    • accuse opponents of unconstitutional beliefs
    • teach self-reliance and responsibility for actions
    • defend the wealthy and successful
    • defend our founding father’s intentions
    • offend the “independent”

We are told that violating any of the rules above will send the “independent” running to the arms of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, who abide strictly by none of these rules.

…and in the process, we become…

  • lukewarm
  • spineless
  • ineffective
  • accepting
  • complacent
  • unable to explain our beliefs to our descendants
  • outnumbered

and become the reason why the next generation may be the last who are truly free

Safety First: The Gradual Erosion of Our Rights

Theodore Roosevelt (1904) English: President o...

26th U.S. President

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”

Theodore Roosevelt

The 26th President of the United States may have said it best, and perhaps predicted what could become one of the major downfalls of the United States: “peace at any price” and “safety first”.  Of course, we all would say we want peace and safety as permanent staples of this world.  It’s completely natural as humans to desire this ideal concept which is so noble and moral. The question that should be asked, though, is at what cost do we want to achieve this peace and safety?  Anywhere one looks, it is impossible to escape this safety-minded society.  Government Ad-Counsel commercials ranging from telling us to exercise an hour every day to dealing with bullies saturates the television, compelling us to take a look at how we can protect ourselves and those around us. So, let’s look at how our recent strive for safety and peace has, in many ways, eroded our basic rights as individuals and as a society.

It is logical to start with the 1st Amendment, which primarily guarantees the Right to Free Speech, as it is perhaps one of the most crucial rights we have under our Bill of Rights.  Going back to Sedition Act of 1918, the desire for peace and safety was explicitly mandated by making illegal any language that was “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive” towards the U.S. Government, the Flag, or military.   Not to be outdone, in 1940, the Smith Act was passed, which anyone promoting “the propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force and violence…” faced being prosecuted.  Both of these laws have effectively been overturned by the Supreme Court, giving strong credence in our system of checks-and-balances.  Yet, let’s look at the rationale that leads to anti-speech legislation of this magnitude.  In both instances the U.S. was in conflict with Germany both in WWI and WWII, bringing out both paranoia and strong patriotism.  At this time, with the idea of a declared national enemy and sense of defense of country, it made rational sense to outlaw any negative comments against the United States.  In those times of turmoil, the human desire for safety and unity justified severely altering the Right to Free Speech, resulting in a standing law that would not effectively be ended by the Supreme Court until 1957.

Fast forward to this decade, and the ideas of safety and peace have become even more controlling and invasive. In Dariano V. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist., a student was told he could not wear an American flag on his shirt because it posed a risk to his safety from Hispanic students during Cinco De Mayo celebrations.  The ruling was federally upheld on the basis that the shirt would cause disruptions and that the student’s well-being was in risk.  So much as the risk may have been to student, what is significantly trampled is the student’s right to wear the U.S. flag and his freedom of speech.   Although using a similar “safety-first” rationale, this is directly in the opposite spirit of the Sedition and Smith Act half a century before.

Perhaps the most emotionally charged argument in today’s society around society and peace is around the 2nd Amendment: “The right to bear arms…”  Pro- and Anti-Gun groups are found throughout society and today’s political system, but both will agree one basic fact: guns can be dangerous.  While multiple factors propel anti-gun lobbyists to pursue legislation and laws, the one central argument they use is that the removal or control of firearms will bring safety to families, communities, and society. It drives deep into many people’s deepest fear and leads them to imagine a world without firearms.  The picture that the mind wants to paint is that of a perfectly safe world, where no one is ever harmed and crime ceases to exist.  Yet, this is where it quickly implodes.  The idea that crime ceases with the removal from guns is not only incorrect; it’s actually counter-productive, with it assuming that criminal’s would obey established laws or not be able to find another weapon of choice.   Sadly, it doesn’t matter to many individuals, as the ideal of a safe world is overpowering compared to the logical portions of our mind.  It is not uncommon to mention firearms as a hobby or the carrying of a concealed handgun and receive emotions ranging from confusion to perpetual fear.  Most of the time, if prodded, a confession will ensue revealing that they have never held or even been introduced to a firearm in their life.  This lack of knowledge and consequential fear continues to aid in the quest to make our society void of firearms and (theoretically) violence.  The fear of violence and of what we don’t understand becomes the tool that is used to control us.

The root of our overwhelming desire for “peace” and “safety” is self-preservation.  Self-preservation is part of our human nature; and in many times, becomes the overwhelming driving force in our actions.  For example, in the recent Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy, reports of the scramble for lifeboats revealed men shoving women aside and other disgraceful actions, including the ship’s captain abandoning ship leaving his passengers to struggle on their own. This self-preservation fear makes for a strong set of reigns if it can be harnessed by those with the power to do so.  If the previous examples of rights being degraded in the name of safety and peace do not invoke any surprise, then consider these more subtle invasions of personal liberties for the same reasons.

n what has brought outrage from some but also strong support from others, full-body scanners have virtually become the status-quo at any U.S. airport today.  As they virtually strip-search millions of Americans every day, many in the public justify this evasion of privacy as necessary to remain safe and protected, willing giving up their 4th Amendment rights for the luxury of feeling safe. A relatively vocal few have spoken out on the excessive and purely evasive nature of these searches; realizing that while safety is important, it cannot be allowed to take precedent over their individual rights.  Gradually the perceived safety and desire to feel safe in the air is leading to the willful conditioning of a society to accept government to act on their behalf and in their best interest.  If this seems like a stretch, the following two examples just occurred over the last few months.

According to multiple news sources, the NYPD is beginning to develop and deploy body scanners out on the streets of the city in hopes of detecting whether or not pedestrians are concealing a handgun.  Without discerning any probable cause or reasonable suspicion, the body scanners will virtually strip-search anyone who walks by.  Once again, the initial reaction of some will be to picture a perfect world; but, in reality, individual rights are being scraped away little by little.  As another example of this erosion, Fort Lauderdale PD has deployed two armored surveillance vehicles to the city’s streets.  The sole purpose of these armored surveillance trucks is to conspicuously park them in areas with high crime or in front of residences where illegal activity is suspected.  Once again, the initial thoughts are to justify this through the prism of safety and peace, but a deeper search should reveal concerns of blatant threats of police intimidation of “suspected” citizens of this nation.

Not all is lost in this battle against the manipulation of our inner fears. Fortunately, this year in United States V. Jones, the Supreme Court once again stepped in to prevent overreaches of government, ruling that GPS tracking of a citizen by any governmental agency without a warrant to be unconstitutional.  The idea that any part of government would need a court battle to determine if this is legal should only confirm that our fears and desire for safety is being exploited before our own eyes.

As these grabs for more power continue, and if they are not challenged, an entire nation once founded on individual liberty and privacy could suddenly find itself under the strict control of laws that it once supported, all in the name of safety and peace.  Without a doubt, this is part of the warning given by President Roosevelt almost one hundred years ago.