Opportunity knocks, but maybe only once…

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”   Our founders knew that ordinary citizens, when allowed their own motivations and institutions, are more adaptable, innovative and productive than even our wisest politicians could imagine or improve.  So our constitutions, state and federal, weren’t written as documents of government empowerment.  They are contracts of limitation; a leash against governments’ historical tendency to get loose and hurt those that government is supposed to protect.

Governments are good at only a few, albeit formidable tasks; and then only if properly restrained.  If we ask more of government, we’ll get less.  What we’ve come to call, “government services,” or programs that rob Peter to pay Paul, can’t work as well as the infinite and dynamic range of citizen alternatives.

Every day, our merchants display a new and endless supply of things like espresso beans, hand-made bathroom tiles, leather-lined cars, -even things like energy saving light bulbs and recycled paper in aisle after aisle of stocked shelves.  When governments attempt such a cornucopia, people wait in line for bad shoes that don’t fit.

Governments can’t command bicycle mechanics to invent airplanes, or decree that college kids will invent a computer in a garage.  Government didn’t invent schools, soup kitchens or voluntary service clubs.  Government regulations didn’t make this nation great; free citizens did that.  The economist Ludwig von Mises wrote, “Progress is precisely that which the rules and regulations did not foresee.”

Not all government programs are as bad as slavery or the segregating Jim Crow laws, of course.  And the “progressive” programs that swept away the Indians and stole property from citizens for the benefit of railroad barons aren’t the finest examples either.  But even government’s best-intended schemes have driven medical costs skyward, and quality downward.  When government tries to stimulate one industry, it squeezes out others.  Some of our most kindly politicians have created social castes and hostile subcultures with their misguided good intentions.

I’ll just come out and say it: according to our government’s statistics, and as analyzed by groups as different as the Cato and Preservation Institutes, our Goose is Cooked.  Like it or not, we are swirling toward the drainpipes of history as our leaders point to the abyss and cry, “forward ho!”

American gross domestic product and expenditures per capita, adjusted for inflation, have doubled since 1960.  Yet for all our apparent wealth, we’re working harder and longer for less and less.  Healthcare spending has gone from about 5% of the GDP in 1960 to over 16% today, much more per capita than any other nation.  But despite better technology, our stratified life expectancies, infant and maternal mortality rates, and communicable disease controls are embarrassing.   In 1950, Americans averaged about $1700 per student/year in adjusted dollars, yet public education was excellent.  We spend over $7000 per student/year now, or over 50% more than other industrialized nations.  I need say no more about the quality of our government-run schools.

Certainly, our leaders didn’t mean to cause us harm any more than they meant to paint themselves into a financial corner.  But with all that’s obviously unraveling around us, I think it’s odd that so many Americans are squawking like Chicken Little now that our egg-faced leaders have confessed that government programs must be cut.  Many are even saying that tax increases, to prop up a few more government services, would be a good “compromise” as we get less and less for our money.  That’s nuts.

We have been presented with a great opportunity to prove our civic mettle.  We can still show the world that liberty still works.  Churches and other voluntary associations can fill the gaps in charity and building projects.  With as much as we pay for political campaigns, I know we can raise money for scholarships, arts programs and day camps.

For decades now, Libertarians, Jeffersonian Democrats and Barry Goldwater Republicans have advocated such simple, proven civic reforms.  Now’s the time.

In fact, it’s now…or never again.

Our government tapeworm has been eating away our civic awareness, industrious spirit and social organizations long enough.  Excising these government dysfunctions doesn’t mean doing without anything.  It means that perhaps at last our government will focus on its core business, and stay out of ours.  It means that now we’ll be free to assess our own priorities, pay for our own causes, and do what Americans were once known for around the world: doing things better.

Advertisements

Ma Hastim

I think that most of us, if we were to think about it and put it to words, would define “maturity” as a degree and kind of self-control, self-sufficiency, self-denial and self-sacrifice that just doesn’t exist among the immature.

Mature people don’t demand much from others, and rather contribute to their loved ones, their employers, and their world.  The most admirably mature people, no matter their status or circumstance, give more than they take.

Truly mature people not only do not need the involuntary-collectivist, nannied authoritarianism that now, unfortunately, exists everywhere on earth, but they also suffer in such a violent climate.

Mature people, I submit, do not exist in sufficient numbers to keep this nation alive.  We have devolved into a nation of prattling, squabbling, violent and ignorant children, and we are thereby almost surely doomed.  We’re blubbering, misbehaving, thoughtless, selfish children, practically begging for a good spanking, and we’re going to get it.

Have a nice day.

Oh, I dunno.  I suppose there is hope.  Immature people can grow up quickly after a good, hard, painful lesson.  And while you’d think we’ve had ample opportunity to wake up and smell pleurosis, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  We are about to get a real whuppin’.  …And from the worst sort of people.

It’s long been known that while the most stupid, inept criminals act alone, get caught and pay for their crimes, there exists a hierarchical law that determines what happens as a criminal learns his craft.

The somewhat better criminals form alliances and layers to both increase their takings, and shield themselves from getting caught.  Still more astute criminals organize into larger quasi government arrangements like the Mafia, Yakuza, Tong, Thugee and Medain.

I’m sure you can see where I’m heading with this.

Yes, the craftiest of the crafty crooks become politicians.  The worst crimes ever, like oppression, slavery, genocide and war, could only be perpetrated by the organized crime we call politics.

But let me be clear about something crucial.  By “politician,” I do not mean the people who win elections and get their affairs of state made gossip in daily papers.  You probably don’t know who’s really running the show here.  In all my years of examining politics from various and increasingly depressing angles, I believe I have met only one of the men who dwells (I did not say “lives” because the man is too evil to call living) behind the curtain.  And I’m sure he’s only a minor minion in our ever-ancient New World Order.

This corruption/theft/gambling/banking system, is, as Jefferson warned, worse than standing armies.  It’s taking us down hard very soon.  Maybe even as far as our oppression, slavery, genocide and war human default state will go.

I’ve tried to think of various schemes around this, and I’m not done trying.  My hope is fading, but it’s still there insomuch as I cannot let it die as long as I’m sending my children into my generation’s failures.

So, here’s my latest proposal:

I propose somebody (not me!) run for President of Texas.

Not Governor of Texas, not President of the USA…President of Texas.

I propose that the platform not be the amended-to-pointlessness Texas Constitution, but the Constitution for the United States of America.

The Texas Constitution provides all the grounds necessary.  Nullification and secession are the stated remedies for federal constitutional breach.  Yet the current Texas member-state Constitution becomes irrelevant in the event of this remedy.  So let’s bypass all the “constitutional convention” rot now circulating among the red herring patriots, since there are precious few in public office smart and/or wholesome enough to craft a sane constitution these days – and just use what’s proven to work better than anything else ever tried – the contract made by adults, for adults…the US Constitution.  This is still the shortest, tightest, best leash on governing power yet devised.

I believe that there are still a sufficient number of adults here that we can get this ball rolling.  We exist.  We need only a little chutzpa.

Let’s replace pride with humility and learn our lessons before the spanking.  Let’s grow past the child and into maturity to our mutual benefit.  Let’s grow up, OK?

The REAL “Free State Project?”

It seems to me that, increasingly these days, truth is not so much relative as it is democratic.  In other words, truth is exactly and only what the majority say it is.  Even in matters where the scientific method should cool judgments, “9 out of 10 doctors” or “most scientists agree” conclusively trumps the minority’s truth. 

This phenomenon goes double where right versus wrong, good versus bad is involved.

There are plenty of currently newsworthy examples, from “Climate Change” to the economy, in which wrong is somehow voted into truth, and people suffer as a result. 

But let us consider the Republic of Texas.  There is still a slim chance that, at least in a way, truth could prevail over majority madness.

Of course “everybody knows” that states have no right to secede.  The majority has concluded that the matter was settled conclusively with the Civil War – and States’ Rights lost.  Because the majority so strongly believes this, a sort of perverse “Tinker Bell Effect” makes it so. 

Legally, as far as written law goes, states do have the unambiguous right to secede.  Even after the Civil War, the federal constitution was never amended to prohibit it, and the Texas Constitution is both clear – and couldn’t be more up-front about it.  Here are the very first words of that contract:

(Article I, Sec. I)  Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.

Then consider Article I, Sec. 29:

To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this “Bill of Rights” is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.

While it’s the longest of all state constitutions, the Texas Constitution has no “commerce clause” or other vague wording like “necessary and proper” that could be “interpreted” to authorize anything outside the black-and-white written words.

So, right off the bat, we see that Texas’ subservience to the Constitution for the United States of America depends upon the federal government’s obedience to that contract.  If the federal government breaks its side of the contract, we technically no longer even have a federal government, and even the contract, as written, is wholly void as far as Texas is concerned.

It’d be their duty as both Texans, and as citizens loyal to the US Constitution, to oppose such a rogue power.

Could there be any doubt that the federal leash has snapped?  Do any states have anything like “self-government” anymore?  What law, what action can’t be overturned by federal courts, federal legislation, or federal action?  

The real argument is not whether Texas should secede, but whether the federal government has already seceded from the USA.

The words in the federal and state constitutions are in this case quite plain.

OK, so y’all could vote on whether any of this matters or not.  Anything is equivocal if you really want it to be.  But consider this:

If the words that guarantee states’ rights don’t mean what they say, then neither do the words that guarantee any of your rights.

If constitutions don’t mean what they say, then pick a favorite part of the Bill of Rights…and then consider it gone.

Without constitutions, you have no legal rights to property, pursuit of happiness, liberty …or life. 

Are you ready to wave those legal words away?