You say you want a Revolution?

It’s a little disturbing that one of the most common web searches bringing people to this blog is, “Give me hope, please.”  But what really worries me is how many people are typing, “violence” and “revolution,” to end up here.

My fellow Americans, what are you thinking of? 

What is violence going to accomplish that your votes did not?  You got what you voted for.  You want something else?

What?!?

I have nothing to say to “centrists.”  These human dandelion seeds have no senses, apparently; and just float the prevailing wind.  I wish I did have words that’d shake them down.  But I’ve never had any luck with people who think it’s reasonable to split the difference between Hitler and Stalin. 

And true socialist/authoritarians are twisted, ruthless monsters who know that their violence and oppression is self-serving to the elite group to which they feel they belong.  They probably know what I’d like to say to them, but they’d happily have it tortured out of me anyway.

However, most people of the so-called “left” are not those socialists, and they’re not hopelessly foolish.  They don’t understand that politics/government is violence, so they simply don’t know that they are invoking, promoting and unleashing violence upon their fellows. 

The multiply-pierced, tattooed but still smiling Obama fan you see at Whole Foods really does want a peaceful society; he just hasn’t thought any more deeply about politics and market economics than he thought about that ring in his nose.  He doesn’t know that his free-love-and-world-peace dreams drag us all into Stalinist nightmares.  But so far, I’ve found it rewarding to talk to these people. 

Sadly, most of the so-called “right” are much more difficult to work with.  Perhaps they’re worse in hypocrisy and idolatry, and thus inoculated and steeled against reason.  So while many righties seem to pray to God, they put their hands on their hearts and promise to obey a symbol  instead (really; think about that). 

While the word “constitution” invokes wonderful, abstract imagery to them (Norman Rockwell paintings, Bob Hope, and of course, flags), they have no idea what the constitution is for, let alone what it really says.  Just like the lefties, they advocate bigger, costlier, more intrusive government – but they deny it!  They’re just as opposed to individual liberty – but they deny it!   They tear up the constitutions and stomp on them  – but they deny it!  

Frankly, I’d rather hang out at Whole Foods than listen to self-righteous ignorami spouting off about the “coming revolution,” or even secession.  Far-Righties are maybe not as bad as centrists, but their rising mood of undirected, goal-free violence is certainly not helpful. 

What do they suppose a revolution is going to do if they don’t even VOTE for what they say they want?  And what would secession accomplish if it creates only a self-deluded clone of our current mess?

After years of trying to find ten Republicans who know what it is that they want, I’m hard pressed to see any difference between the “right” and the “left” other than the aforementioned tattoos, piercings…and the type and degree of hypocrisy. 

Well, actually, I like Whole Foods.  The one near my work in Houston has a great selection of Belgian beers.  The GOP has nothing like it.

Of course, now that they’ve given up their catbird seat, and there’s no expectation of them actually doing anything substantial, the GOP talks (almost) like Ron Paul. 

But when they held the reins of power, they did only evil, and then chose John McCain to lead them into more of the same. 

They had a chance – a very good, record-breaking, youth-energizing chance – to set things right according to the words they speak from their mouths.  But their voting arms, inexcusably, chose otherwise.

And now they complain?  Inexcuseable.  Shameful. 

Even so, I think we’re seeing that even Republicans can come to their senses in sufficient numbers to shake the centrism tree.  The so-called “Tea Parties” may exemplify this.

We all know we have enemies and problems.  But the question in battle is never so much what to attack, as what to defend.

What do you want?  Please don’t say you want “American Exceptionalism” unless you can explain to even yourself what that really means.  

How do you want to live?  Please don’t tell me “with American Values.”  We’ve all seen plenty of American Values, and I think that’s why we’re all so hopeless, disgusted, and crying for revolution.

On these pages I’ve said that I want my rules written down, and that’s true.  I don’t think we can live in peace without some hard and fast rules.

Good fences make good neighbors.

But if I were to paint my picture of The Good Life, here’s what it’d look like:

  1. Citizens can do whatever they want to do as long as they don’t harm anybody else, or take what’s not theirs.
  2. We’d have no more government than necessary to maintain #1.
  3. We write this down in plain speech and call it law.
  4. We invite others around the world to emulate our success, but otherwise leave them the heck alone.

So caveat emptor would replace the FDA, FTC, FDIC, FCC and a zillion other F’agencies.  Common sense, competition, voluntary associations, charity and free market options galore replace union/corporate monstrosities, Medicare, Social Security, lobbyists, regulations, litigation and price controls.  And because of the preceding, you get to keep what you earn, buy what you like (smoke it if you’re fool enough – and as long as you don’t blow it in my face), and live however and with whomever you want…as long as you leave others, and their stuff, alone.

That’s all.

Is that really so bad?  Could you live with that?

Because you know that the alternative plan is not working, right?

An Iconoclastic Hoosier’s Flag Day Rumination

I wrote this in 2006.  Things have only worsened since then:

The USA flag is a powerful symbol. It’s in outer space, on T-shirts and bumper stickers. Coffins have been draped with it.  It even flies in other nations.  It’s been burned in protest and praised in song.

When we pledge our allegiance to it, we intend to (or at least are expected to) formally revere what that symbol represents to us, and what makes this nation special to us.

You can understand why we’ve had a national Flag Day, officially declared by the US Congress, since 1946.  The symbol is powerful to those who love the USA; and to even those who detest what this nation is all about.

It’s that Pledge of Allegiance I want to talk about…

Bellamy2

A few generations ago some promoted the idea that the author was a high school student named Frank E. Bellamy, born in Madison, Indiana. His pledge won a contest, got published and famous, while Frank became an injured war vet, a poor artist, and died young.

But in truth, a fired New York minister named Francis Bellamy, unrelated to Frank, but employed at The Youth’s Companion that published the pledge in 1892, claimed credit for it, and energetically promoted it.  An investigation in 1939 concluded that Francis really was the author.

This was not a happy conclusion for many at the time, because Francis Bellamy was, unlike the other Bellamy, a zealous global socialist who angrily opposed replacing his words “to my flag” with, “to the flag of the United States of America.” This apostate Bellamy would surely have opposed the addition of “under God” in 1953, had he still been alive.

The pledge’s origin matters.  I believe it explains why we have an oath to a symbol, and not to the constitution.

Until 1892, the only nationalistic oaths in America were oaths sworn by politicians and soldiers to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. Our nation’s founders knew what had happened to the Jews and early Christians who refused to make oaths to idols, or to “Lord Caesar.” They wanted no citizen oaths to a person or abstraction like those demanded by feudal lords, churches, or the King of England.

After all, no man is above the law, right?
That’s why the Oath of United States Citizenship clearly replaces oaths to people or abstractions with a dedication to the written contract that binds us as a nation:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

What a great oath. A person could read the constitution and understand exactly, literally, what this oath entails because, despite what politicians tell us about that leash on their power, the constitution is very clear.

But how does one obey a flag?  Who gets to tell us what the flag commands?  To what end and degree must we obey it?  Are there any rules at all that apply?

It certainly seems contrary to the spirit of 1776.  And for any Christian or Muslim, can an oath of allegiance to a symbol be anything other than forbidden idolatry?  Why pledge to what was officially, until 1923, only a military banner?

Let’s go back 67 years before that first Pledge.

Modern Socialism, including the coining of the word “socialism,” started a generation before Marx and Engels with the Owenites in New Harmony, Indiana. Robert Owen’s children later became very influential in Indiana government. A little later, Terre Haute, Indiana’s Eugene Debs very successfully promoted this socialism through the early 1900s.

distressMao, Stalin, Pol Pot, et al., slightly tarnished the gleam on this Brave New World Order, but our public schools and government are far more socialist than founding-fathers libertarian.  Even after repeated, inevitable failures of true socialism, it seems that North Korean-style socialism is the direction we’re headed.  We are, in other words, more 1984 than 1776.

Let’s be clear on this.  Socialism is the ideology responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths in the last century, and it’s not done yet.  Consider what you know of the words and symbols of socialism, and consider whether it bothers you that it was ardent supporters of this ideology that published and promoted our Pledge of Allegiance.

We should think hard about what we’re promising; and to whom. And the politicians we choose should keep their oaths of office.

Is it too much to ask that our words mean what they say, and that our actions fit our promises?

How about we dust off that old U.S.Constitution?

I could face the flag and pledge allegiance to that.