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Reflections on my America, July 4, 2010
I was blessed to be an American technologist through the best years in the history of mankind, a time when human knowledge and American prosperity went ballistic. The 20th century will be known as the American Century. I lived it and was privileged to work on projects and products that changed the world. We loved our country and proudly said, “God Bless America.”
We’re told those years are behind us. Now we have a Government that passes bills they’ve not read, legislation is written behind closed doors, sometimes written by organizations (far) outside our government. Congress does it knowing we don’t want this, ignoring our protests and letters. Science is corrupted with Federal money to serve political ends; votes are bought with earmarks and coercion. Capitalism is demonized, major industries are nationalized, and the media is silent.
Is it surprising that Americans want to get our country back? To accomplish this, the best path is to remember what made us great. Our “Greatest Generation” knew, but neglected to teach us. Our schools turned politically correct and focused on other things. What was it that made America different from any other nation in the history of the world? What made America the bastion of freedom, the land of prosperity, and the world leader in science and innovation?
What made us proud? The correct answer is our history and form of government. We’ve forgotten who we are and how we got that way. Only if we can get that back can we return to greatness.
Where should we start? With our own Declaration of Independence and Constitution. By studying our own history and culture. The solution to our problems is found there, not in Washington.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The key points are simple truths:
• All citizens are created equal under the law. Not legislated to be equal, but created equal.
Americans are free to evolve and to fulfill their own dreams. The American Dream is one of freedom and opportunity, not a mandated equality of outcomes where some Government Czar or “Handicapper General” punishes those with talent, ability, education, common sense, and a work ethic so as to benefit those without. This God-given Liberty includes the freedom to fail.
Failure has proven a good teacher and capitalistic success a motivator. Americans are free to better our lot in life, and, until now, every generation has. “Obama jobs” (~ 95% are with the census) are socialism, not real, sustainable jobs. True capitalism lets failed firms to go bankrupt, because bailouts or Crony Capitalism punishes success and wastes tax dollars.
America is the exact opposite of Communism and its softer form, Socialism. That system preaches “social justice” under the guise of equality. Marx said, “To each according to their needs, from each according to their ability.” It sounds good, but has never worked anywhere. At best, there are bureaucrats, serfs, elites, crushing taxes, and rules. At worst, gulags, wars, and slaves.
"The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."
~ Margaret Thatcher ~
• Rights come from God, from our creator, not from the government. This is key, because “rights” granted by the government can be taken away. American rights are unalienable, and these are life, liberty and the pursuit of “Happiness.” (More in a minute on that.)
This is only possible under a Republic. Democracies are nice, but that’s not ever what America was. Nowhere in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence will you find the world “Democracy.” Our founders worked to craft a Republic with layers of checks and balances that would ensure that power stayed with the people as a God Granted Right. We move away from this only at great peril. When leaving the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin was asked, “What have you given us?” His answer: “A Republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.”
Democracies historically have the life span of fruit flies. They die young and end badly. (See this video clip for why.) Our founders crafted a Republic to survive morons and demagogues. Here in America, a Republic unlike any other in history, just power is by and for the people.
I had a rewarding career in science-based innovation. I worked hard and thought I knew why I was successful, but only in the past month have I learned what really allows Yankee ingenuity. It comes from one word in our Declaration of Independence, “Happiness.” I wasn’t taught that.
In the time of our Founders happiness meant being happy, but it also meant “happenstance,” a chance occurrence. The notion of writing this into the core foundations of our nation shook the world. Their idea was that if you gave citizens FREEDOM and motivation, they would learn to seize opportunity, better themselves, and this would serve both self-interest and society. It worked, but we’ve forgotten. Until we remember our true history, we are lost.
Thirty years ago, Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate Economist, said: “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” Almost as important he said, “Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority.”
In America we’ve been blessed, so far, with freedom: a Bill of Rights and system of government to preserve them. If we understand this, we can return to prosperity. But time is short. We have an Administration that overtly seeks to end this and “transform” us, one that prepares laws and rules to selectively restrict the freedom of speech. When you buy a copy of the Constitution today, it may come with a legal disclaimer or trivializing preface.
Action: American renewal. To keep our freedom and return to prosperity we need to study our history, our Founding Fathers, and our Constitution. We can replace Congress and Obama, but it will make no difference in the long run if we don’t regain this knowledge and understanding.
Books to Read: Manchurian President, by Klein and Elliott, # 1 in its category on Amazon, and # 10 on the NY Times best seller list, at present. George Washington’s Sacred Fire, by Lillback, currently # 1 on the NY Times list. The Road to Serfdom, by Hayek. And, of course, the Constitution itself. (Note: Avoid the versions with legal disclaimers or a preface by Obama’s Czar Cass Sunstein. Our Constitution is under attack and being torn apart.)
Videos to Watch: Glenn Beck’s “Founders Friday” episodes, now the # 1 show on Cable. Also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNUc8nuo7HI and http://www.wimp.com/thegovernment/
Things to help our American freedoms survive until November
The agenda is to attack citizens on all fronts to build more “big government” and strip more freedoms. After they lose in November, the Obama veto will prevent his onerous legislation from being rolled back. For now, like America after Pearl Harbor, we must focus on defense. One says:
“In the past I have heard of liberals collectively called ‘the hive’ because they all seem to be in sync with the same (hidden) agenda, seemingly turning this way and that simultaneously like schools of bait fish, without any apparent signaling. (Did you ever read Crichton's book Prey?) I have observed that they now seem to be operating on every front, apparently in hopes that we cannot counter all their initiatives. We are doing a decent job knocking out many of the big ones but they are starting more and more of them and doing so quietly, when the news won't pick them up. I think the new operative label is ‘the swarm.’”
Action: The First and Second Amendments, free speech and gun rights, must be defended.
• HR 5175 Selectively Silences American Opinion: Obama Moves to Silence Gun Groups, small business, Conservative Groups, and Other Political Opponents.” (NRA-ILA, so far, gets a Pelosi pass.) AmeriCorps quietly started a media division (The Obama Network?), and a “stimulus” for news media is proposed.
• As the editors of The Wall Street Journal put it: "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski did their dirty work ... he plans to reclassify broadband lines so his agency can regulate them under rules that were written for Ma Bell in the 1930s. This means subjecting the Internet to new political supervision from the federal government and 50 state public utility commissions. The goal is to put one more industry under Washington's political thumb.”
Action: We can roll back ObamaCare. Congress accidentally eliminated its own coverage.
Action: Cap and Trade, the rationing and taxation of Energy, justified by fear mongering, the UN, false science, propaganda, shakedowns, money, and government blunders, must be blocked.
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“Cap-and-trade can only work by raising energy prices. Consumers who are forced to pay higher prices for energy will have less money to spend on other things. While the individual companies that provide the (subsidized) higher-priced "green" energy may do well, the net economic effect will be (substantially) negative.
It is necessary to look at the bigger picture. Profits can be made when energy is rationed or subsidized, but only within an economy operating at lower, or even negative, growth rates. This means that over the longer term, everyone will be competing for a piece of a pie that is smaller than it would have been without energy rationing.”
Václav Klaus is President of the Czech Republic, and held the presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union until June 2009. He holds a PhD in Economics.
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