Archive for April, 2010

As We Bid a Generation Adieu, We Must Replace Them

April 26, 2010

Why is it that the left is so far kooky in this country today? Or rather, when did the kooks get power over the agenda?

I like to think of it this way. The World War II generation understood the power of government. They worked far harder than their predecessors and their ancestors to make government work for them rather than against them. That’s why when the kooks found their voice in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, they were sidelined. That was the age that those who grew up into World War II had reached adulthood and had the power to control government.

Something happened to the intervening generation. Those raised during World War II or right after never really had to worry about government. See, mom and dad had them covered. They could go about their business without worrying too much about the future because the World War II generation was in charge and they were, for the most part, pretty reliable.

Now that the World War II generation is retiring and dying off, their children have the power to take control of government. However, the conservatives among that generation learned to sit idly by, while the kooks had learned how to organize and campaign. You don’t have to look very far to find someone who has never been involved in politics in that generation.

The point of this exercise is to realize a few things.

Number one, you must be involved in government. Not to save the rainforests or end global warming or campaign for social justice, but to provide a moderating tone against the kooks who are going to be more active than you at all times.

Number two, you have the power within yourselves to take control of government for yourself, just like the Greatest Generation did for themselves. Do you think they relied on their parents and grandparents to see them through that war, or did they decide that the war wasn’t going to be fought without them?

We must not be idle, and we can’t make excuses. If anyone had a good excuse for dropping out of politics, it was the World War II generation. If they didn’t use their economic circumstances as an excuse, then we have no excuse because we have far greater economic opportunity than they ever imagined.

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On the Establishment Clause

April 16, 2010

As you’ve no doubt heard, a federal judge ruled that the “National Day of Prayer” was unconstitutional because it violates the Establishment Clause of the first amendment.

Let’s review. You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand what I’m going to say, but you do need to be a lawyer to see how this is perverted to mean what it is not.

The first amendment reads, in full, with the most relevant part in bold:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now, let’s work at the wording. It says “Congress shall make no law…” This means that Congress cannot make a law that does what follows. Since Congress, and Congress only, can make laws, that means that the federal government cannot have a law that does any of the following things.

The first thing on the list is “respecting an establishment of religion.” This is the “Establishment Clause”. It’s really simple.

What is an “establishment of religion”? Why, that is a church. It is something like the Baptist Church, or the Catholic Church, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What about “respect”? Well, you can take that literally, meaning Congress cannot write a law that says, “we respect The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. Or you can take it to mean “regarding”, such that Congress can’t write a law targeting a specific establishment of religion. For instance, it cannot write a law taxing the Baptist Church at one rate and the Presbyterian Church at another. I like to interpret it as “regarding”.

Note what it does not say. It doesn’t say “respecting a religion”. That means, Congress can make a law respecting Christianity or Buddhism or any other one of the world religions, outside of their specific establishments. If Congress wrote a law tomorrow demanding everyone who is not of the Christian faith shall not be naturalized, then that would be constitutional. Whether such a law is wise is another matter entirely.

When Congress writes a law declaring a certain day to be a National Day of Prayer, and recommending that the people of this country pray on behalf of things that our nation needs, would this violate the Establishment Clause? Of course not. It doesn’t respect any particular establishment of religion, nor does it even respect any particular religion. After all, almost all religions have some element of prayer within them.

What if Congress went further and wrote that a certain day is a National Day of Prayer to our Heavenly Father in the Name of Jesus Christ? Would this violate the establishment clause? Again, no it won’t since this is a prayer pattern adopted by countless thousands of establishments of religions, even though only a few particular religions believe in a Heavenly Father and prayer in the name of Christ.

Today, people scream “Separation of Church and State!” as if that were part of the first amendment or the Declaration of Independence of something. That phrase does not exist in our founding documents. However, even this phrase doesn’t address the topic of religion. A church is not a religion—it is an establishment of religion. Congress could mix a particular religion and the state without violating this phrase.

A bit of historical context should help you understand why the Establishment Clause is written the way it is. First, understand that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious. No, they did not agree on all particulars of their faith, but they all believed in a Creator, in natural, God-given laws, and prayer. The vast majority believed in Jesus Christ. Second, understand that at that time in the world, almost every country, without exception, had a state church. That is, you would pay your tithes to the tax collector, and the leader of your local church was a government official teaching government-sanctioned doctrines. In fact, at the time of the constitution, several of our American states still had state churches, and some compelled membership in those churches.

However, our Founding Fathers understood the importance of public virtue, and wrote laws that compelled such. That is, you couldn’t do things in public not because they were immediately harmful to those around you, but because they degraded the virtue of society, which would harm society in the long run.

Of course, we know that having government run religion is an absurd idea. Instead, government should compel freedom of religion, that is, allowing people to worship how, where, or what they may, and preventing any influence from prohibiting the same. We still believe today that government should compel public virtue. This is why we have laws that force people to treat others equally (a religious idea) and to prevent theft, murder, and other crimes (which are religiously based).

Olympia Tea Party, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010

The Capitol Building

Until Monday, I hadn’t planned on attending the Tea Party this year. I hadn’t attended last year. My excuse is my five little children at home and my job. On Tuesday, I vowed to go to the Tea Party in Olympia no matter what. I would bring the whole family and we would have fun being a part of history.

My wife wasn’t feeling well this morning, so I took only my two daughters. The drive was short—much shorter than I remembered the last time I visited Olympia when I was still in Brigadoon Elementary School. Parking wasn’t too difficult to find, and the paid parking was extremely reasonably priced.

The Fountain in front of the Capitol Building

Coming out of the parking lot and into the Capitol Building, we saw the fountain and the memorial to our military men and women who gave us our freedom. There were a few people with signs, eager to get to the main rally.

Memorial Statue for our Military

I stopped and chatted with a nice young mother of 7 little children. They allowed me to take their picture. Growing up in a big family, and by today’s standards, having a big family of my own, I appreciate the effort people who put family first put in for their children’s and society’s sake.

Crossing the street into the lawn between the Temple of Justice and the Capitol Building just as the national anthem was sung stopped me in my tracks. Drivers were confused by the big guy in green standing at the edge of the crosswalk with two little girls, his hand on his heart. I couldn’t move even if I tried.

Tea Party at Olympia

Once the anthem ended, I stepped across the street and caught my first full glimpse of our Capitol Building covered with the Tea Party and their signs. I bawled my eyes out. I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t face the people who likely saw me tear up. My little girl ran into the crowd, as happy as she could be. I can’t deny that there was a spirit there, not a spirit of fear or of hate or of complaint, but a spirit of love. Love of country, love of mankind, and especially the Love of God.

The people there were kinder than the people I meet in church. I’m not disparaging the people who attend church with me—no one can ask for a better group of Saints—but I’m pointing out how far backwards everyone bent to be kind and respectful of everyone.

I can’t say that I found any counter-protestors. I spent some time looking for them. No one else seemed to know where they were, although one of my friends thought she saw some on the steps of the Temple of Justice. There were, of course, the LaRouche nutcases with their Obama-Hitler posters, but they were at the edge and readily ignored or politely asked to take their inappropriate signs and message elsewhere.

Just a Sampling of the Signs

The signs! I can’t do justice to the signs! All of them were creative, all of them inspired, and all of them filled with the true love of a patriot for his country.

The people! They came from all walks of life, some rich, some poor, men, women, children, the elderly, bikers and businessmen, politicians and middle-grounders.

The children—let me say a few words about the children.They were everywhere, having a fun time running around. Some held signs, and quite a few knew why they were there. No one seemed to mind them, and those with dogs went out of their way to let the children play with them. At first my daughters were worried this was another boring political rally, but I had to drag them home at the end. They had made many new friends from all across our wonderful state.

The weather was a bit rainy as I drove down, but it quickly cleared at noon and got quite warm, warmer than the predicted 60. The sunlight made things very nice. All our prayers were answered that day. I guess that makes God a Tea Party Patriot as well! ;-)

The speakers got the loudest cheers when they spoke in favor of our founding principles. They got a tepid response when they attacked politicians who worked against those principles. And they got a deafening silence whenever they said something that could be construed as in any way mean. We were a tolerant bunch, but we were there to celebrate the American ideal—limited government, liberated people.

You can see all of the pictures I have at my SmugMug.com account.

(Technical note: This is the first time I have posted photos from my SmugMug account, so let me know if things don’t work.)

Samuel Adams on Majorities

April 14, 2010

“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” –Samuel Adams

Discuss.

Tomorrow at the State Capitol, Noon-3, that is.

Constitutional Convention

April 5, 2010

I really think we are at a breaking point. The more I read about the events that preceded the Civil War, the more I realize we are heading down the wrong path.

On the one hand, we have a group of power-crazed individuals who use government to provide for their lifestyle. I really wish the problem were only on one side of the aisle, but it’s on both sides and it’s infected perhaps a majority of America itself. The evil of this kind of thinking can only be explained by comparing it to slavery. While slaves of times past were of a different skin color, ethnicity, and national origin, and while all the slaves were extremely poor, the new modern slaves are the hardworking Americans who actually provides for themselves and sacrifice to serve the country as a whole. These slaves wear the uniform or work the ten hour shifts. These slaves pay their own way through college and build companies with raw effort and sacrifice. These slaves know the value of a dollar, because they paid for every dollar they have with their blood, sweat, tears and time. The slave owners in this modern system are the rest of America who leech whatever they can off these productive members and, in distributing it to other leeches who feed at the public trough, keep a little for their pet projects or their personal use. Anyone who accepts a check from the government, or who benefits from government action at the expense of others, is a member of this class of slave owner.

On the other hand, we have the patriots. These are people who love America for being America, meaning, the land of the free and the home of the brave. These are people who have read the constitution and understand it. They have read the Declaration of Independence and have that second paragraph burned into their hearts. They know what freedom is about, that man is elevated above all other creatures by God’s divine gift, and that we, as men, are to stand up and live life without taking from anyone else what is rightfully theirs.

The country is at a tipping point because neither of the sides is backing down. As the patriots rise up in open rebellion, the slave owners get more vicious. It is obvious that the patriots are out-gunned and out-manned. The patriots are under-funded and under-represented.

However, there was a group of people who, before the Civil War, had strong feelings about slavery. They felt that as long as the country was trending towards abolition, everything was going to be okay. Even if the country as a whole stalled for a few decades, that would be acceptable. Heck, if the country took a few steps in the wrong direction, that wouldn’t be so upsetting since it could easily be turned around the other direction.

I think this represents the views of the vast majority of the patriots. They don’t like the socialist and progressive programs the governments throughout the land administer. But as long as we tend towards eliminating these programs, or at least marginalizing them, then that’s ok. Take, for instance, Social Security. The 401k and Roth IRAs are a javelin through the heart of Social Security. See, as tools become available to people to actually accumulate wealth for their own retirement, they will understand the great disservice that the Social Security program actually is. The new generation of people would want out, and a negotiation between the old and new generations could be hammered out that would spell the end of Social Security without cutting grandma off the teat.

What happened before the Civil War was a series of appalling defeats for the anti-slavery people. Little by little, it became apparent that slavery was not going to be gradually abolished. Rather, slavery was going to be expanded. Not just in the Northern States, but in the West as well. This was, obviously, not what they wanted. And if things continued, there was the possibility that slavery would be an eternal institution in our culture. Of course, the anti-slavery people attempted political solutions to these problems. However, the slavery industry was so powerful and so pervasive that there was no hope of grabbing control of the federal government. Slavery had penetrated both parties to such an extent that the anti-slavery people had no place to turn.

What happened next was a matter for the history books. The anti-slavery people rose up in rebellion against the government, society, and culture of slavery. They built the underground railroad. They had raids and armed revolts. They turned their guns on federal agents and otherwise did things that today we would be appalled by. As the response by the pro-slavery government grew more and more menacing, the popularity of the anti-slavery group became more apparent. One thing lead to another, and a new, third party was born out of a desire to abolish slavery once and for all. This was, of course, the Republican Party.

Today, the patriots realize that they are not only losing ground, but losing it in such a way that makes any reversal all but impossible. This means they are going to grow increasingly desperate and begin outright rebellion against the government. Will America flock to the movement of individual rights and freedom, or will they protect the institutionalization of socialism?

We have, of course, a way to head off all these things at the pass. It is something we should have tried before the first Civil War. That is, we get a bunch of delegates into a room, and they renegotiate the very structure of our country altogether. The states, independent of the federal government, have the power to completely alter or abolish the current system of government.

I propose that we create a new federal government, one vastly smaller than the existing one. It would look somewhat similar to the one we have, except with razor wire and automatic gun turrets installed in the locations the people have deemed off-limits to the federal government.

Such a framework will allow individual states to experiment with socialism to their heart’s desire. It will also allow other states to experiment with individual liberty. This means that the right and the left will no longer duke it out in the national arena. Rather, local elections and politics will be the new battleground. Any loss, no matter how significant, will never mean the end of the game to anyone. Those who grow truly disgusted with one state’s policies can leave to another state, rather than being trapped under an over-reaching and all-powerful federal entity.