Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bureaucrats and Beggars


“No tyrant hand shall smite,
While with encircling might
All here are taught the Right
With Truth allied.”
               - Samuel F. Smith, 1832
                 My country, ’tis of Thee

There was a time when America had principles, although we may have fallen short many times and sometimes by a great distance, those principles served as tangible goal posts; as beacons in stormy seas. Those who laid down these principles did so as they laid down their comfortable station, their fortunes, and often their lives to enshrine those principles for their posterity and ours. These brave, selfless men and women set these principles as the bedrock of our civilization in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. These documents are the primary sources from which we, our parents, and their parents before them learned, and we teach our children what it means to be American.

We place our hands over our hearts and recite the pledge of allegiance or sing the national anthem. We rise to our feet, stand at attention, and snap a salute towards the flag at reveille and taps, but rarely do we ask, 

"Are we living up to the principles for which we stand? Are we even trying or are they repeated as an act of muscle memory rather than credo? Has our patriotism become vain ritual rather than sacred rite? Do we value our values so little that we think little before sending our children to lay down their lives for nothing at all? Have we abandoned what the Founders and Framers handed down to us at so great a cost?"

A cursory review of current events would imply that we are doing what is politically expedient and immediately financially gratifying for a handful at the cost of the many. Pursuing blind, momentary self-interests rather than living in the light of self-evident, eternal truths. We flounder in increasingly perilous and unfamiliar waters far from the anchor of our sacred principles. We drift towards that place on the chart from which no one has ever returned with eyes blindfolded or simply blind. We brazenly act in ways diametrically opposed to how we teach our children to behave. We have become principally spiritually bankrupt in principle.

If we have changed course, then what is our new destination and what principles shall be our guides? How can we make our way into the future with certainty and purpose while avoiding the chaos of management by mood?

In the following work, I lay out my views, as simple and perhaps naive as they may be, on how America has changed from a proud people and thriving beacon of freedom into a paranoid and self-seeking pack of mercenaries for merchants.

I love my country and the American people, and I write this as an act of love, with compassion for a nation that is still good but straying dangerously from its original intent. Please accept the following in this light.

With Truth allied,

Bureaucrats and Beggars

With the birth of the American Republic, THE PEOPLE prospered and from the seeds of thirteen former colonies huddled against the Atlantic coast a new nation blossomed and grew from sea to shining sea.

Each successive generation expected to do better than their parents had, and they generally did. Each generation came to play their part in the American Dream as visionaries and builders of the dream who gave the visions substance and form. I don't wish to paint a picture of a perfect society or a revised and idealized history. This would not reflect the truth. Nascent America had its share of problems. Between America’s birth and now, there were many struggles. One such struggle was so catastrophic as to cost the lives of more than 600,000 Americans on both sides of a conflict which turned to a national conflagration. A struggle we know today as the American Civil War consumed those lives over the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal," a principle which both sides of the battle line claimed to uphold.

Often, our principles become tainted by how we define the words in which they are expressed. Does “Free” mean?

(1)  “Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or do as one wishes" 


(2)  “Available for another purpose”

The choice of definition is the difference between liberty and slavery and life and death. One hundred and fifty years after the bodies of Civil War were buried; there are still bones of contention to pick. 

There is more than military victories and the casualties of war in our history; there are economic booms and the inevitable busts which follow, and many other challenges met and overcome; epidemics, revolts, panics, genocides, scandals, massacres, and corruption. Even so, throughout all these trials, with each successive generation, the wealth, health, and prosperity of THE PEOPLE grew at a phenomenal rate.

There was something unique, special, and ever so precious about this land and THE PEOPLE that fueled its wondrous success. 
  • It wasn't the vast resources, although they were and still are plentiful.
  • It wasn't THE PEOPLE themselves; a mix of immigrants and indigenous with no notable difference from anywhere else in the milieu of humanity. 
  • It wasn't their educational levels or civility, in comparison with long established European nations, America was a continental container of ignorant bumpkins and unwashed malcontents, not to mention fierce, half-naked savages whooping and scurrying about the wilderness in the most unseemly manner. That opinion still holds true in many of Europe's elites today, the difference is we are currently afforded considerably more deference due to our military's lethality.
  • It wasn't our financial wherewithal. We had little or none. Often, Americans had to resort to script, IOU's, or barter to make ends meet or get them just close enough together to survive on the personal estate, individual State, and Federal levels. We're doing the same today in a more grand, reckless, and suicidal fashion.
  • It wasn't our government's sweeping active leadership in the lives of THE PEOPLE and their affairs, it was rightly chained down by the principle limits of authority specified in the Constitution from acting by fiat, meddling in personal dealings, or intrusion in the lives of THE PEOPLE without due process of law. One must keep in mind that there was a time when "Due Process" meant considerably more than “a wink and a nod, as it does today.
The one exception which made us exceptional, and I firmly believe in American Exceptionalism, was our Liberty: the freedom to dream and pursue those dreams wherever they may lead. The freedom of speech, of worship, to hold property, to engage in contracts or abstain, to be born without encumbrance or in servitude to a liege lord; forever a vassal or serf to greater men and women above your station. The idea that all mankind was born equal before the law and before law was “necessary” to ensure equality by mandating inequality based on race, gender, ethnicity, or other "oppressed" demographic designation.

The recognition of this Divinely acquired Liberty, endowed to us by our Creator enabled us to embark down the road of the American Dream. The journey may have begun with an idea, personal savings, and a lot of hard work. American industry would put the product into production, innovative marketers introduced the product into a relatively unfettered market, and THE PEOPLE weighed its merit by voting with their hard-earned dollars. Winners and losers were determined by 
THE PEOPLE, not their connections to powerful bureaucrats who issue "no-bid" contracts to their cronies or write regulations which exclude all but a chosen few from commerce and industry. 

Sadly, today, this supply chain has changed drastically, and not for the better. A new product must negotiate a labyrinth of government regulations and standards, many of which were written ostensibly for safety, are intended to prevent or hobble competition for “favored” cronies of the legislators who introduce and pass those competitive cataracts into law. The road of the American Dream is still straight but increasingly artificially narrowed.

The Dream was accessible not only to innovators, inventors, marketers, and manufacturers, but to those who worked the land or tended livestock. The “salt of the earth” who earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow had right of way, as well. They invested in the land, risked their labor and seed, tended to their tender sprouts, nurtured them to maturity, and reaped their harvest accordingly by their skill, diligence, and Providence.

Today, the road of the American Dream by the path of agriculture is fraught with roadblocks, checkpoints, and sentries who prevent or deter passage. Agricultural subsidies and USDA policies favor agribusiness over agriculture. One need only look to Monsanto's Roundup Ready® soybeans, USDA raids on farmers and ranchers to understand how those who have the high priced but exponentially better-compensated position of government insider have pruned competition away. Monsanto has 
29 lobbyist (including 20 “Revolving Door” staffers and a former Congressman working “the system” (our government) for its corporate interests every day. THE PEOPLE have zero lobbyists, except for the special (self)interest groups, all of whom are clamoring for more private investment from the public coffers.

As America turned one-hundred years old, waves of immigrants by the millions from the furthest reaches of the Earth sold all they had to reach our shores in the hope of one day being one of THE PEOPLE. America flourished because the reality of the American dream was the combined results of THE PEOPLE’S individual dreams. The sum of the parts being greater than the whole. America and the principles it once claimed and acted upon were the product of THE PEOPLE who placed those principles above expedience, who dared to take risks rather than seek refuge in illusions of safety or promises of security. THE PEOPLE who were free to dare, free to roll the dice, and free to dream rather than trying to prevent or mitigate their fall at someone else’s expense. THE PEOPLE who chose and fought to live honest lives of hard work and modest means in freedom rather than the lives of nobles kneeling before a King.

The Founders risked their fortunes, families, and lives for the very principles we treat with no regard. We take these precious, nigh sacred things for granted or trade them as tokens for promises and entitlements. Those transient things come from the mouths of men over our Rights from the Hand of the Creator. One is intrinsic, inherent, and as much a human attribute as speech, the other lives at the mercy of a scribbling pen on a scrap of paper. The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance, and we have grown indifferent.

Something has changed over the last century slowly, almost imperceptibly; a silent coup has altered America and THE PEOPLE. Where once they interacted freely and the economy was their product, now almost every aspect of our lives are regulated, administered, overseen, permitted, licensed, allotted by quota, monopolized by fiat, owned, or managed by the government and its massive bureaucracy of unaccountable, unelected agencies, departments, and administrations.

Many today believe the system no longer serves THE PEOPLE. Power politics managed by manipulating magnates invest millions in manufacturing public opinion to reap billions in return for the campaign contributions they selectivity placed in the hands of corrupted and corruptible candidates running for the Offices of State. Meanwhile, THE PEOPLE have been carved up and divided against one another by every demographic imagined or concocted, served up like dinner on a plate.

Distracted by internal turmoil and fabricated external threats designed and distributed with the aid of digital technology, THE PEOPLE are unaware of the list of their sinking ship, America. Social stability and common courtesy are at their worst when the call for the women and children is drowned out by a chorus of “Me first! Me first!”

Many new laws are introduced from without by foreign treaties, others laws come from within by way of administrative edicts, and the Legislature produces volumes upon volumes of indecipherable acts encoded in an arcane language only a select few can interpret with “accuracy”. The legal system has become more like divining omens from the gods rather than codified justice. All restricting, restraining, and reducing the liberty of THE PEOPLE, while indenturing their children's children's children with the expense of that which we cannot afford but want and wish never to pay for in full. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too. The government now sets national goals, but nearly always falls short. The government incompetently mandates how we are to conduct our professional and personal lives, often to enrich the well connected. Cronyism redefined as “Capitalism.” God given Rights are diluted with man-made privileges until no one can discern the difference, nor do they care. The government has become a ubiquitous institution of high-minded rhetoric with low budget performance. Free trade is enshrined in a three-thousand-page document which contains the verbiage and implements of highly managed trade with the direct intent of enriching the few at the expense of the many.

The American Dream has been co-opted into a Globalist Nightmare. When once we were the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, we have been reduced to a Nation of Bureaucrats and Beggars seeking the consent of those who rule over us, our children, our fortunes, our hearths, and our homes.

Soon, all we may have to pass on to our posterity will be apologies and the tattered fragments of what our grandparents told us about the myth of the American Dream. Like all dreams, it ended when the dreamer awakens to a new reality.

The choice is ours, not the politicians.
The answers must come from us.
THE PEOPLE must lead or be servants once more.
We must lose our illusion to regain the Dream.