Tag Archives: republic

Doug Smith: Government, money, work and a wisdom deficit.

30 Jun

DOUG FOR FSP

Doug Smith is an opinion columnist, historian and associate editor for Free State Patriot.

June 30, 2020


Capitol-at-Dusk

Has the very entity instituted to protect our Republic become an obstacle to its efficacy?

Remember the big Government shutdown? And how you couldn’t find toilet paper or hamburger because Congress was not in session while several hundred people who had become millionaires in Congress argued about how much of your money they were going to take and how they were going to waste? uh… I mean spend it.

Of course, you don’t. When Government shuts down, little happens. Government produces nothing but more government. Government does not grow food, make cars, or toilet paper. It is rather refreshing at times when Government shuts down and Congress becomes more useless than usual, because they aren’t finding ways to put their hands in your pocket.

Government has no money. They have no food, medicine, PPE, vehicles, cell phones. They are broke. They only spend money or make pronouncements that force others to spend money.

Government is awfully expensive.

Indeed, one of our earliest meetings of congress voted for General Washington to raise an Army to fight for independence but provided little in the way of funding. It would be very illustrative for our current Congress to study the history of the 1st Continental Congress. Adams, Hancock, and Franklin could not pass bills into law and look to shopkeepers, farmers, and merchants to send them silver, at the threat of a gun, to pay for their desires. They must, of necessity, persuade a bunch of ornery, independent minded colonists, who were ready to break off from the rule of England, to pay a new Government to fight for that point of view. Franklin is credited, in the musical “1776” with asking “Why should I change one Tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants, one mile away?”. Whether he said it or not, it is an excellent point.

Those 56 men, met in congress, (We tend to capitalize that word and make it almost mystical, yet one of its meanings, and that most apropos to those 56 men, is “ met together in agreement”) pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors to the Declaration they signed. They persuaded other men who believed in their cause to finance it, and in many cases, the 56 paid exactly what they had pledged.

Our Congress has evolved to men and women who arrive penniless, stay forever, leave as millionaires, and depend on our powerlessness to back up whatever enriches them. Far from plead their case to us, they often ignore our expressed desires and instead coerce us into paying for their desires.

I should note, at this point, that another meeting of congress is coitus, which considering how our current Congress behaves, may be exactly apropos.

So then, from whence cometh money?

Businesses and people who work and produce have money, and produce food, medicine, PPE, etc. Government gets these things by taking money from business and people who work and purchasing it.  When they print money for it, they are taking out a loan, with nothing to back it up except the promise that business and employees, taxpayers, in short, YOU, will pay it back.

Eventually.

Or not. They will be retired and wealthy by the time the bill comes due – for your grandchildren.

If Government spends 5 Trillion dollars that they don’t have to address a crisis, they are committing you to pay it back.

Implied is that you will work. If the economy is shut down, then we consume all we have stored or saved, and when no one is working to produce food and medicine, people begin to starve, and no one is treated for disease.

Picture a refugee camp, with people sitting with nothing, waiting, and hoping for help. That help must, ultimately, come from people working. So, it is simplistic and wrong to say we must choose work or life. There is a reason we refer to working as “Making a living “.

Ever since we left Eden, we must work to survive. Even in the face of danger, we adapt and keep as safe as possible, and we work.

During the Blitz, Londoners went to work. They crowded into shelters when the Germans flew over, but they worked.

Art, music, philosophy, writing; all are things that we enjoy and enrich our lives. But we live, and have shelter, and clothes, and food, and medicine because people work. Work is how we live. Work is life. We cannot huddle for fear of death and not work. For if we do not work, in large numbers, we will not live as a people or as a civilization.

In the Middle Ages, as economies failed, life was, for millions, (as Thomas Hobbes said) nasty, brutish, and short. It is true that plagues kill people. It is just as true that poverty does, as well.

During the New Deal, FDR s administration came up with the National Recovery Administration. Its stated goal was to “eliminate cutthroat competition.” In practice, the NRA was in the business of picking winners and losers by setting prices and issuing a few regulations. Ten Million pages of them. In 1935, 2 years after it was enacted, SCOTUS  ruled it unconstitutional, because it attempted to regulate commerce that was not interstate in character, that the  industrial “codes of fair competition” which the NIRA enabled the President to issue violated the separation of powers, as an impermissible delegation of legislative power to the executive branch, and that the NIRA provisions were in excess of congressional power under the Commerce Clause.

Some of our current Governors, who, in the name of safety, have determined that citizens may purchase whiskey, but not vegetable seeds, lottery tickets, but not towels, may shop at Lowes but not at Uncle Joe’s hardware, and who have already been taken to task by State Supreme Courts, might take a lesson.

Neither economies, nor people, nor civilizations, exist in a vacuum.

One choice affects another. Government may make choices for the defense of its citizens that you may not start a campfire in the lobby of a theater. (Remember those?) It may not determine what color shirt you must wear today. There are, quite intentionally, limits on what government may do. Our founders, in their wisdom, and having lived under tyranny, made it difficult to govern us, believing the maxim that a government governs best which governs least.

Walking that tightrope of good governance is a challenge, requiring wisdom, humility, common sense, and restraint.

Clearly, the Governors of Michigan, California, and New York have failed that test dismally. Let us pray they learn from wiser and more humble counterparts.  Hubris and pettiness are poor standards of leadership.

If the primary function of government, as noted above, is to spend money and forbid people to produce the very money it desires and must spend, it is on a path which cannot end well.

It is the current state of our representation that’s opened the door for socio-political malfeasants to re-employ the misstated value of socialism as the solution.

But such is the wisdom of government.  And such is the folly of our leaders.

The only way our Republic thrives is through an effectual, fervent prayer – and a vote.

In that order!

 

 

 

Mark Caserta: Each of us has a role in defending our republic

24 Mar

me

Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor

Mar 23, 2018

america

 

 

Following the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a citizen, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” It is said, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

So, how have we done, as citizens, to “keep” our republic? Have we guarded it in a manner befitting our forefathers’ vision?

At the Battle of Gettysburg, 50,000 brave men died in three days. Shortly afterward, President Abraham Lincoln consecrated the ground in a speech famously known as The Gettysburg Address. Lincoln’s remarks, while short, were meant to resonate forever in the hearts of men and women across this great land.

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

But has the flame in Lincoln’s oratory dimmed over time? Nearly 150 years later, are our hearts resolved “that these dead shall not have died in vain,” and this nation under God shall be swaddled in the freedoms provided by their sacrifice?

Frankly, the number of people in our country who aren’t engaged with its governing is troubling. Many with whom I’ve spoken simply say it doesn’t interest them.

But our elected officials were hired to frame, within the Constitution, the very environment in which we live and raise our families! Not only should you be interested, you should be helping facilitate their representation!

Our freedoms are envied around the world, and there are entities, both foreign and domestic, that would render them void or transform them into something unrecognizable. And I submit, we’ve entrusted those freedoms to our elected representatives and they should be held accountable for protecting them.

A classic film directed by Frank Capra nearly eight decades ago always reminds me of the vulnerability of freedom within our own government.

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is the story of Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart), leader of the Boy Rangers, who is appointed by the governor of his state to the Senate, where he is teamed with his state’s senator and childhood hero, Sen. Joseph Paine.

As with many “junior” politicians who have “visions of grandeur” for their constituents, Sen. Smith discovers the multiple deficiencies of politics, including his hero, Paine. He falls prey to the “so-called” political machine, which after failing to corrupt him, attempts to destroy him with a “fake news” scandal.

But, Smith, with some coaching from a savvy political assistant, learns just enough of the Senate’s parliamentary procedure to filibuster the chamber until his message of truth emerged.

Where are the Jefferson Smiths today? Is it possible they’ve become so mired in the swamp they can’t or won’t be heard above the fray?

If so, it’s because we’ve permitted it.

We witnessed in the 2016 presidential election how engaged voters can bring the political machine to a grinding halt. Subsequently, we’re witnessing government being returned to the people in an unprecedented timeline. Together, we helped return our nation on the path to greatness.

Our representatives weren’t hired to do our thinking. America is only as strong as your knowledge and engagement.

Your voice is crucial. Your vote is non-negotiable. Your duty is clear.

You are “We the People,” defender of the Republic. Will you help keep it?

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

 

Mark Caserta: Americans begin a new journey with President Trump!

14 Nov

me

Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot editor

WE THE PEOPLE 1

The word “Republic” is a special word and quite different from a “Democracy.”

A Republic is a form of government in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in and exercised by the people, either directly or through representatives chosen by the people. Democracy is simply “majority rule.”

Our founding fathers had a vision for a republic, one in which every individual controlled their own destiny without interference from government or any oppressive entity.

The first time I ever heard the word and gained a real grasp of its meaning was from the 1960 epic war film “The Alamo,” starring screen giants like John Wayne as Davy Crockett, Richard Boone as Sam Houston and Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie.

The film depicts the “Battle of the Alamo” and the events leading up to it. Facing the insurmountable odds of defeating the Mexican forces, led by General Santa Anna, Sam Houston challenges Col. William B. Travis, played by Laurence Harvey, to buy him time by holding a position at the Alamo mission while he prepared an army capable of fighting for Texas’ independence.

In an early scene, Travis attempts a conversation with Crockett to convince him of the nobility of the fight and to persuade his Tennesseans to join the battle in pursuit of a Republic.

In the movie, Crockett quickly sets aside his “country-bumpkin” demeanor and speaks eloquently about the term “republic.”

“Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat – the same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step or his first baby shaves and makes his first sound as a man,” Crockett said. “Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words.”

While Travis, Crockett and Bowie were badly defeated at the Alamo in 1836, Houston’s army won against the Mexican forces and gained independence for Texas. The phrase “Remember the Alamo” aptly immortalizes this brave sacrifice as well as our nation’s fervor for freedom.

Following the founding of our U.S. Constitution at convention in 1787, it’s recorded that a bystander inquired of Ben Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Since then, there have been a total of 27 constitutional amendments designed to further the premise of having three distinct branches of government, along with a system of checks and balances, to ensure no single branch would have too much power and that voters have the final word.

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, Americans once again had the final word. Americans once again arose above the fray and persevered against tyranny and oppression.

I submit, Donald Trump’s decisive victory is best described by a posthumous response to Dr. Franklin’s challenge he posed following that immortal day in Philadelphia over 200 years ago.

“We shall, Mr. Franklin. We shall protect our Republic.”

May God bless America as we begin this new journey.  And may God bless Donald Trump as he takes the helm during tumultuous seas in the U.S.

 

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

 

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