Showing posts with label Constitution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Constitution. Show all posts

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Orwellian Police State

Is it just me, or is our society getting closer and closer to a book written by George Orwell.  Whether it's Obama's Newspeak about "Spending in the tax code" or my home state's obsession with downloading information from cell phones.  It seems like our government has forgotten what their purpose is, to PROTECT rights not to CONFISCATE them.  An issue that has been popping up all over the country is the issue with red light cameras.  In the city of New Orleans, the city has profited $18 million in fees and tickets from having red light cameras that can detect speed along with catching drivers who run red lights.  Now I'm all for up holding the law, but then idea of cameras at every traffic stop and big brother watching you wherever you go, that I have a problem with.  Currently 13 states have cameras with both red light and speed capabilites, plus 12 more with only red light capablities.  Just this week, the Ohio Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit claiming that Columbus' red-light camera fines violate the constitution.  I guess the judge forgot about reading the constitution.

Map of hand-held cellphone bans

Map of texting bans

The red light camera problem isn't the only one of it's kind.  States are also banning cell phone use in the car and smoking in public areas like restaurants and bars.  Policies like these assume that the state must take care of the citizens and tell them what is and what isn't good for them.  The police-state infection is also at the federal level with Supreme Court Justices saying they would require people to vegetables three time a day.

Now some reading this blog may be saying, "So whats the big deal?  Its only cigarettes, cameras and veggies, why should I worry?  Thomas Jefferson had the right idea when he said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."  This thought in government that the people need to be taken care of is an extremely dangerous one that always leads down the path to tyranny.  So while it is now just the little things like smoking, it very well could lead to the real world version of Orwell's 1984.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why People are Dumb and a Remedy for it

A while back, one of my friends wrote a blog post on his blog titled “Are People Dumb?.”  In this post, my friend quoted both John Stuart Mill from his very well known work Utilitarianism, which supports my argument and then he quoted Thomas Sowell from his work Intellectuals and Society, which supports his.  It is important to say, that I believe individuals are smart and rational people that make good decisions most of the time, however people (as in “the masses”) are, most of the time, irrational and generally, for the sake of the name of this article, dumb.  Now, before you get your pitchfork and run me out of town, let me explain my logic and what the remedy is to fix it.  

The reason I think people are dumb surrounds us, just look at what people watch on television, shows like Jersey Shore kind of proves my point.  But if you’re still not convinced (although watching Jersey Shore once should be enough) let’s examine what the founding fathers thought about the masses.

The founding fathers set up an entire government that would keep important decisions away from the people at large and put those decisions into the hands of a selected few (while also leaving most governmental powers to the states not the federal government).  That’s why the founders put the election of the Senate, the most important branch of the legislative branch, into the hands of the legislative bodies of each state and not into the hands of the people.  The reasoning for this is that the founding fathers were aware of the tragedy of history, that history tends to repeat itself.  Time and time again, democratic societies have given way to tyranny.  The example the founding fathers referred to most was the example of the Roman Empire which slowly gave it’s democratic process to the bureaucrats, the last one being Julius Caesar.  This is why the Founders were afraid of the people and how easy it is for them to be deceived by demagogues.  Just look at the modern example of Hitler and Nazi Germany and you will understand.  In fact in this country, all of the federal encroachments on liberties have been with the people’s consent and approval.  For instance the passage of the 17th amendment came from a populist movement of the people who thought the direct election of Senators would be in their best interest, when in fact it would be the exact opposite.  Thanks to the 17th amendment, the states did not have a say in any of the entitlement programs that bribed the people into voting for the re-election of the senators elected by the people directly.

Now that you’re good and depressed about how dumb people are and how they will vote for hope and change and then have only lint left in their pockets, there is actual hope.  It’s called the Constitution.  A return to the constitution and it’s principles of limited government will cure the ills of big government. 

Our current system has introduced moral hazard into society where people don’t have to take responsibility for their actions and can instead live on government handouts and the backs of the productive members of society.  It is also important to note that I have great faith in individuals and their ability to make rational choices and make decisions that are beneficial to society and the free market; this is why I believe in personal liberty and not government tyranny.  With a return to a constitutional government, we can take out the problems of our current system which depends too much on handouts for all and not on individuals making rational choices for their own betterment.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Neo-Con Disease

In today’s conservative movement, one particular sect of the movement is plaguing the entire movement, neo-conservatism.  While many think this “new” ideology is just a foreign policy, I am sad to say that it is much more than that.  Neo-conservatism has become a complete ideology that pushes conservative ideals through big government.  Many believe that this movement of conservatism started with Irving Kristol and then spread to Richard Nixon where it became viral and spread throughout the conservative movement.  The problem with this analogy is that neo-conservatism has a much longer history; it in fact began with the policies of Theodore Roosevelt and the progressive movement.

President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, a man who many neo-cons idolize (including William and Irving Kristol) was not a conservative that some say he was.  Roosevelt dramatically changed America’s foreign policy from what the founders had envisioned.  Roosevelt advocated for an imperialist America that would no longer continue the policy of commercial relations with all nations and entangling alliances with none.  Roosevelt also had a profound impact on economic policy by “trust-busting,” in other words; Roosevelt intervened into a high-functioning free-market economy to break up companies that provided needed competition.  Roosevelt imposed price controls on the railroads, supported hyper-protectionist tariff policies, and drummed up a fake food crisis to create new regulations that only protected the large food corporations and not the consumers.  Roosevelt was also seen by neo-cons and liberals alike (hmm . . . could there be a similarity between the two) as the first “green” politician and conversationalist.  He was in fact, very much not.  Roosevelt’s “green” policies included wasting massive amounts of tax dollars on damns that flooded canyons and rivers, national foresting policies contributing to overgrazing and massive forest fires and a his policies to oppose the privatization of government land.  But perhaps Roosevelt’s worst policy implication was his revival the income tax, an idea he advocated for strongly and was passed under Roosevelt’s progressive successors.

Although Roosevelt did not start the neo-conservative movement, he was the father of the movement.  The neo-conservative ideology wouldn’t be official until Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger took office in the late sixties.  Nixon fully developed the neo-conservative foreign policy with the Vietnam War and his D├ętente strategy that called for more government and a beginning of the neo-conservative nation building policies.  Nixon also tried Keynesian economic policies that included price controls on oil among other goods and also ended the link between the dollar and gold which permanently took the U.S. off any reminisce of the gold standard it once held.  Nixon is also the president responsible for the EPA, OSHA, federal affirmative action, national drug laws, and piles of graft and federal interventions in every direction.  These are policies that Richard Nixon handed down to his new breed of statist conservatives (wait a minute, can those two words exist in the same sentence?).

Neo-conservatism would continue to grow under men like Bill and William Kristol of the Weekly Standard (the neo-conservative powerhouse magazine), Democratic New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, ‘Conservative’ talk show host Sean Hannity and the culmination of the neo-conservative ideology – George W. Bush. 

Bush completed the link between the neo-conservative foreign policy and domestic policy.  Bush’s foreign policy (The Bush Doctrine) consisted of high defense spending along with spreading democracy across the globe came together with “big government conservatism” such as Medicare part B, the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, No Child Left Behind, and Faith-Based initiatives.  All of these policies push conservative causes through the expansion of federal powers and more government spending.  What made it worse was Bush’s continual talk of himself as a constitutional conservative; all the while he uses the constitution as toilet paper.  Acts such as the PATRIOT Act, quite possibly the most unconstitutional act ever passed by Congress, highlight Bush’s (and neo-conservatives) disregard for both the constitution and the conservative ideology. 

Perhaps the worst policy of the neo-conservative ideology is that of nation building.  The policy is to build democracies in areas where there wasn’t one before.  Although some traditional conservatives may think this is a good idea, it is actually a deeply flawed one both in the terms of the conservative agenda and in the terms of government spending.  The basis for nation building is to free the people in totalitarian states.  The problem with it is that people must choose on their own to form a free society.  They must set up a social contract with each other and choose freedom, something that must be chosen by a free people or it simply isn’t freedom.  Freedom without a choice is not freedom at all, but just another form of enslavement.  Nation building also created an enormous amount of government spending, spending that has to be paid for in one form or another.  The current form of paying for this policy is that printing fake money.  The simple truth is not only is nation building a bad policy for conservatives, and it’s a bad policy for America.  The Iraq/Afghanistan war has cost a minimum of $1.5 trillion with some estimations in the $3 trillion range.

Nation Building is only one consequence of neo-conservatism, but so far it is the most costly effect.  Other neo-conservative policies such as the EPA and No Child Left Behind have also been costly, although nowhere in the range of the Iraq War.  Now the question is what to do about this plague.  Fortunately for conservatives there is a cure; it comes in the form of a document that was written over 200 years ago, the Constitution.  Conservatives must educate not only society, but members of its own movement (especially those who follow the neo-conservative ideology) what the Constitution stands for: a truly limited government, a non-interventionalist foreign policy, spending within its means, individual liberty and enforcing the rights of states.  If the conservative movement is to survive, we must return to true conservatism. What I am calling for is an alliance of Libertarians, Economic Conservatives, Social Conservatives and Traditional Conservatives to take back the conservative movement.  We must look back at our heritage and remember the polices of men like Thomas Jefferson, Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan and condemn the polices of Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.  This last election showed us that the American people are ready to embrace true conservative ideals.  The time to act is now, for liberty, for the constitution, for America.