Here’s What Money Can Buy American Society

What the Beatles, Alexander Hamilton and Lyndon B. Johnson tell us about happiness

Say you don’t need no diamond rings

And I’ll be satisfied

Tell me that you want the kind of things

That money just can’t buy

I don’t care too much for money

Money can’t buy me love

As pop culture legend has it, the British reinvaded American soil fifty years ago this week. But instead of propelling modern-day Paul Reveres to sound the alarm throughout the American countryside, the British invaders, the Beatles, were met with teenage female screams and a television audience of Super Bowl proportions on The Ed Sullivan Show. The outpouring of love for the band led many to suggest that they were the perfect remedy for a nation mourning the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Beatlemania grew through the Spring of 1964 with their release of  “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which jumped to the top of the charts in record fashion, leaving the band with the top five Billboard singles (a first in music history). The Beatles’ song on the things money can and cannot buy was a mainstay on American radio waves as President Lyndon B. Johnson charted a new course for the country in speeches at Ohio University (May 4, 1964) and the University of Michigan (May 22, 1964)–putting money and power in the service of national greatness:

For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people. The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization. Your imagination and your initiative and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.

For LBJ and progressive elites, the next chapter in the American story amounted to employing national wealth and political might in the service of greatness that could only be achieved if all Americans partook in the American dream. National efforts would not so much amount to producing more wealth and power as checking “unbridled” growth, presumably induced more by a spirit of “indignation” than “imagination” or “initiative.” American power and wealth would take the nation only so far;  a moral reckoning of who gets what, when, and how was what the country needed in its next half-century. But one wonders whether employing the nation’s wealth and power as envisioned in LBJ’s speech spread more love or indignance moving forward.

President Johnson sought to “begin to build the Great Society in our cities, in our countryside, and in our classrooms.” But these are perhaps the last places we would look for national encouragement today.

The centerpiece of Johnson’s urban program was the Economic Opportunity Act, meant to aid the poor through programs they helped design and manage. The result, however, as Charles Murray’s landmark study, Losing Ground, demonstrated, was anything but empowerment for the urban poor. A second key feature of the law allowed the federal government to bypass state governments and give funds directly to local municipalities, setting in motion the cycle of debt and dependency that has placed many an American city on the road to Detroit-style bankruptcy. Just last week, the Chicago City Council authorized increasing the debt load of the city by $1.9 billion–even after multiple debt rating downgrades last year left Chicago paying more in interest on its general obligation debt than it does in principal. According to one report, Boston’s situation is even worse and Baltimore, Houston, and New York’s no better.

President Johnson’s primary concern about the countryside was environmental degradation, but three months after his speech he signed into law a bill creating the program that is now the cornerstone of our “farm” policy: food stamps (47 million recipients strong today). Just last week, President Obama signed the latest “farm” bill. The 10-year spending breakdown: $756 billion (79%) for food stamps, $56 billion for conservation (6%), and plenty of Big Agriculture corporate welfare.

Many Americans in 1964 hadn’t completed high school much less a college education. To address this, Johnson proposed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the beginning of the end of more than three centuries of local control in American public education. In the years since, the combination of financial carrots and regulatory sticks has given the federal government de facto control over most public schools. Just last week, Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey introduced a bill to amend Johnson’s original law to prohibit the Education Department from using financial incentives to entice states to adopt federal curriculum standards–but, in the meantime, while more Americans graduate from high school and college than ever before, they enter a workforce more in need of remedial education and debt relief than ever before.

In every area of Johnson’s extraordinary federal action, the results weren’t merely disappointing; they were all but perverse. Citing Aristotle’s claim that the city ultimately exists not merely for living, but for living well, he called Americans to build a “society where the demands of morality, and the needs of the spirit, can be realized in the life of the Nation.” This enterprise reached its farcical conclusion last week, as Democrats spun a disastrous CBO report on Obamacare’s impact on labor force participation (already at a 35-year low) into a celebration of Americans’ graduation from “job lock” to “government lock.”

Johnson, like many 20th century Progressive public servants, hoped that by spending monies to make the race of life more fair, he could encourage participants from all walks of life to come together for the public good. The Haves who had been given much would feel better for giving back what was required of them. And the Have Nots would forgive nature and circumstance for its trespasses against them. But leveling the playing field has not leveled the award stand of life. Fifty years after Johnson hoped harnessing the nation’s wealth and power could buy us greatness, we’re still left with the inequality that for many is the defining challenge of our day; albeit with the heightened reality that we don’t have as much power or money as we once thought, and perhaps with an increased sensitivity that the problem we’re trying to solve involves many more factors than simply money and power.

In Federalist 30, Alexander Hamilton introduces the subject of granting the general government direct powers of taxation upon the American people by emphasizing the role that money plays in governance:

Money is, with propriety, considered as the vital principle of the body politic; as that which sustains its life and motion, and enables it to perform its most essential functions. A complete power, therefore, to procure a regular and adequate supply of it, as far as the resources of the community will permit, may be regarded as an indispensable ingredient in every constitution.

For Hamilton, a government borders on annihilation when it lacks the necessary financial resources to accomplish the tasks it has been assigned. Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow writes of Hamilton’s experience attempting to collect taxes for the Congress from the State of New York:

The few months that Hamilton spent trying to gather taxes demonstrated anew the perils of the Articles of Confederation. States regarded their payments to Congress, in effect, as voluntary and often siphoned off funds for local purposes before making any transfers. This situation, combined with a lack of independent federal revenues, had forced the patriots to finance the Revolution by either borrowing or printing paper money.

In Hamilton’s America the general government lacked the means to accomplish its necessary ends, beginning with national defense. Hence his sharpest rebuke for his opponents in Federalist 30 is to those who “hope to see realized in America the halcyon scenes of the poetic or fabulous age” as opposed “to those who believe we are likely to experience a common portion of the vicissitudes and calamities which have fallen to the lot of other nations….”

The dreamers of the founders’ day imagined Americans living a charmed life uninterrupted by foreign enemies or domestic disturbances. The dreamers of the 1960s imagined Americans living a charmed life uninterrupted by material scarcity or spiritual deformity–and their successors in the present Administration have taken up this dream too from their fathers.

Hamilton’s sober response is the counterpart of the Beatles’s more lively refrain: money can help secure a political environment in which citizens pursue love and happiness, but it can’t buy us love and happiness in a fallen world.

(Reprinted with Permission, TheFederalist.com)

 

David Corbin is a Professor of Politics and Matthew Parks an Assistant Professor of Politics at The King’s College, New York City. They are co-authors of “Keeping Our Republic: Principles for a Political Reformation” (2011). You can follow their work on Twitter orFacebook.

Advertisements

The Bad Samaritan

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

We are commanded by God to help the poor. It is our duty to feed and clothe them, and even to house them. The Good Samaritan described in the Bible exemplified obedience to this command.

We, as Americans, are not helping the poor. We are turning them into an underclass, a class of the permanently destitute, a class of dependent vote-slaves who are deprived of the dignity of self-sufficiency.

The Good Samaritan in the Bible took money out of his own pocket, and developed a personal, continuing interest in the welfare of the man whom he had rescued from death after a beating and robbery by thieves. He paid an innkeeper, not a bartender, to look after the man for as long as he needed help.

The Good Samaritan did not run to the government, nor did he demand that a tax be levied to insulate himself from interaction with the man who, through no fault of his own, was impoverished after suffering terrible misfortune. By the way, if the victim had been depending on the police to protect him, well, they were nowhere nearby.

Today in America, to be on government welfare is a blessing to some, but a curse to many. Not only are too many welfare recipients condemned to a life in which they have little incentive to improve their own lot, but also cursed are the many members of society who are taxed to subsidize indolence, and even, to pay the terrible price of being victimized by violent criminals who are in large part nurtured by the welfare system.

Liberals are quick to accuse our military of producing more terrorists by fighting terrorism, but they are loathe to accuse the welfare system of encouraging out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and fatherless homes in which young men turn to crime, while their sisters turn to pregnancy as a means of getting taxpayer dollars.

The welfare system has created resentful donors and ungrateful recipients. Too many of those on welfare do not acknowledge that the money in their pockets is provided by hardworking taxpayers. They claim that the money comes from “the government,” not from you. While purporting to need money to feed their families, there is no shortage of welfare recipients who spend large sums of money on tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs – all paid for by you – as you struggle to afford the bare essentials for your own family.

Those who criticize this counterproductive system are accused of being selfish, heartless, and even racist. Those whose political careers are enhanced by perpetuating dysfunction among the poor are praised as being compassionate and caring.

It is long past time to implement major reforms in the welfare system. Those reforms must be harsh. The truly needy must be separated from those whose behavior is the cause of their poverty. The truly needy should be cared for at the local level, where those who pay the freight can readily see the results of their good work.

The rest must be ejected from the system, either to make their own way, or to bear themselves the cost of their indolence, rather than to foist that cost upon others.

Unfortunately, this reform will never come about while politicians run the welfare plantation. It is up to you to vote them out of office.

Snowden Controversy: Elites Vs The People – Whose Side Are You On?

by Don Hank

I sent out an inquiry to my email list this morning to see what conservatives think about Ed Snowden. As it turns out, most conservatives were forgiving of or in agreement with Ed Snowden. And while there have been opinion polls, the national discussion on this is managed by people with an agenda, right, left or libertarian. Other problems include normalcy bias. We have not caught up to the uncomfortable fact that our government may not have our best interests at heart.

The main argument against Snowden seems to be that he has “hurt the info community.” That argument presupposes that the info community is focused on helping root out terror and protecting us. While I am certain that many in that community presume that their activities are aimed at protecting Americans, that presumption raises questions:

If the NSA and other info gathering agencies are truly focused on finding anti-American activities, why don’t they focus on suspects rather than massively gather data on everyone? Focusing on groups that can be reasonable expected to account for higher percentages of perpetrators is precisely why Israeli airport security is so successful. It is called profiling, and once law enforcement can no longer profile, their behavior becomes increasingly inefficient and absurd because everyone is treated as a suspect. This policy has caused enormous disruptions of air travel and costs us untold millions to implement.

The NSA, for its part, has taken its activities to the absurd by gathering data on everyone on the planet who uses electronic communications.

The bottom line is this: If “security” agencies were truly focused on keeping us safe, then the Tsarnaev Brothers could not have bombed the Boston Marathon because Russia had already warned these agencies about these men and they did nothing.

Further, if our government were concerned for our safety, they would only allow vetted immigrants to cross our border.

Therefore, despite the good will of lower ranking security personnel, the highest ranks are clearly interested in an agenda other than our safety. That being the case, Snowden is a valuable whistle blower.

Judging by the responses to my inquiry, that is how conservatives see him as well.

This response says it best:

Don:

… fighting against tyranny is not–if ever–true treason. It is, instead, demanded. When my ancestors fought against the British King prior to establishing the USA, they were considered “traitors to the Crown.” Technically, they were. But, as Jefferson wrote in our founding document [the] Declaration of Independence “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…” 

Today someone sent me an article that attempts to portray Snowden as a traitor, but it ignores the points outlined above:

Quote:

… if Martial Law is declared in the US or if any elections are canceled for any reason, all the government employee info goes out [Ed Snowden says he will do this–Don]. If an economic collapse takes place, all the Banker/Stock Broker/Commodities Trader information goes out. If Corporations start hyper-inflating prices, all the information about them, their officers and Board of Directors will go out. Snowden literally has the most powerful people in the United States in an inescapable stranglehold. [my emphasis]

Most of the people I correspond with are middle class. Some have told me they are living below poverty level.

The most powerful people in the US are keeping us poor with inflationary policies in government and in the Fed, by devaluing the dollar and giving your sustenance to people who do not work while implementing policies that kill industry and invite hordes of illegal aliens to work. Their policies ensure that these unemployed will never work and that you will always support them until your job is also destroyed.

If you do work, you are a slave of the State because a substantial amount of your income is used to pay for policies that will ensure your eventual demise.

Yet the author of the above linked article seems to want readers to identify and sympathize with the “most powerful people in America” and to think of Snowden as a traitor for threatening to tell the truth about these people who cavalierly dismiss our concerns in every policy decision.

They see truth as a threat. But it is a threat not to us but to the elites and their cronies.

Worse, the above quote suggests that no one should be allowed to fight back if martial law is declared or elections are suspended in the US!

Are you concerned about the reputations of these “most powerful people”?

Please post your comments below.

How about martial law, suspended elections (dictatorship) and the economy? Are you outraged to know that these most powerful people in America might be thwarted in their efforts to declare martial law on you and cause your economy to collapse?

In other words, are you in favor of an oligarchy or would you like the People to be restored to their rightful place in our Republic?

Do you agree with Rep. Buck McKeon of CA that Snowden is a “traitor” for revealing secrets of the rich and powerful, for warning the People of their loss of privacy and the threat to their rights?

As for the economic collapse, this is clearly being engineered by the elites whose comfort and privilege the above-cited author is fretting about.

If the people of the United States are so eager and willing to wear their chains that they would side with their slave masters, then this is no longer my country.

But I happen to believe Americans still yearn to be free.

Your comments will tell the story.

Thank you.

 

Don Hank is a Guest Contributor to The Bold Pursuit

Another Disappointing Jobs Report

by Joseph Beverly, Guest Contributor

Obama’s 2014 Is Off To A Bad Economic Start: JANUARY’S JOBS REPORT IS THE SECOND STRAIGHT MONTH OF WEAK HIRING

Wall Street Journal Headline: “U.S. Adds 113,000 Jobs, In Latest Worrying Sign On Growth.” (Eric Morath and Josh Mitchell, “U.S. Adds 113,000 Jobs, In Latest Worrying Sign On Growth,” Wall Street Journal, 2/7/14)

“The Labor Market In January Registered Weak Gains For The Second Straight Month, A Slowdown That Could Heighten Fears About The Economic Recovery.” “The labor market in January registered weak gains for the second straight month, a slowdown that could heighten fears about the economic recovery and may lead some to call on the Federal Reserve to reconsider its easy-money strategy.” (Eric Morath and Josh Mitchell, “U.S. Adds 113,000 Jobs, In Latest Worrying Sign On Growth,” Wall Street Journal, 2/7/14)

JANUARY’S JOBS NUMBERS WERE “DISAPPOINTING,” “SHORT OF EXPECTATIONS,” AND SHOW “LOSS OF MOMENTUM”

The New York Times : “A Disappointing Showing…” “The American economy added 113,000 jobs in January, a disappointing showing that is likely to spur fears that the labor market is poised for yet another slowdown. Before the report from the Labor Department on Friday morning, economists had been looking for the economy to gain 180,000 positions last month. But after an extraordinarily weak showing for hiring in December, some experts are concerned that weakness is carrying into 2014 and signaling a broader loss of momentum in the economy.” (Nelson D. Schwartz, “Weakness Continues As 113,000 Jobs Are Added In January,” The New York Times , 2/7/14)

CNN: Jobs Report “Far Weaker Than Hoped.” “The U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs last month, according to the government. That’s an improvement from December, but was far weaker than hoped. Economists had been expecting an addition of 178,000 jobs.” (Annalyn Kurtz, “Job Growth Remains Weak,” CNN, 2/7/14)

Politico : “The Number Of Jobs Added Fell Short Of Expectations.” “The number of jobs added fell short of expectations – analysts had predicted job growth of around 181,000, according to a Bloomberg survey.” (MJ Lee, “The Number Of Jobs Added Fell Short Of Expectations,” Politico, 2/7/14)

Politico Headline: “Another Disappointing Jobs Report.” (M.J. Lee, “Another Disappointing Jobs Report,” Politico, 2/7/14)

Financial Times Headline: “U.S. Employment Growth Disappoints In January.” (James Politi, “U.S. Employment Growth Disappoints In January,” Financial Times, 2/7/14)

CNBC’s Brian Sullivan: The Headline Number Was “A Big Miss.” THOMAS ROBERTS: “All right, so we got the first Friday of the new month, which means that the January jobs numbers have just come out, and CNBC’s Brian Sullivan joins us now with the breakdown on the economic news. And Brian, if we get meta on it, we see that the unemployment rate has dropped. So, explain where we see the best results.” SULLIVAN: “Well, the headline number, Thomas, was a big miss. We expected 180,000 jobs to be created in January. Unfortunately, that number was lower than expected at 113,000.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 2/7/14)

Sullivan: “Certainly Not The Kind Of Number That Wall Street’s Going To Want To See.” SULLIVAN: “Overall, though, a headline miss, trying to dig out a few of the brighter spots HERE, so it’s not 100 percent negative. Certainly not the kind of number that Wall Street’s going to want to see, necessarily. But it does put the federal reserve back into play with the very dovish Janet Yellen as the fed chair.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 2/7/14)

CNBC’s Steve Liesman: “It’s A Weak Report, No Doubt About It. I Think There’s A Disappointment In The Lack Of Revisions To December.” (CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” 2/7/14)

Bloomberg’s Peter Cook: “This Number, 113,00 Jobs Created Last Month Not The Kind Of Number The Fed Wants To See, Not The Kind Of Number Unemployed Americans Want To Be Seeing, Certainly Not The Number White House Wants To See.” (Bloomberg, “In The Loop,” 2/7/14)

The Associated Press : “Hiring Was Surprisingly Weak In January For The Second Straight Month, Likely Renewing Concern That The U.S. Economy Might Be Slowing After A Strong Finish Last Year.” (“US Employers Add 113K Jobs,” The Associated Press , 2/7/14)

“This Follows December’s Tepid Increase Of Just 75,000.” “This follows December’s tepid increase of just 75,000. Job gains have averaged only 154,000 the past three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three months.” (“US Employers Add 113K Jobs,” The Associated Press , 2/7/14)
“Sluggish Job Growth For A Second Straight Month May Reflect What Investors And Economists Have Begun To Fear: That The U.S. Job Market Is Weakening Again, Along With Sectors Like Manufacturing And Retail Sales In The United States And Abroad.” (“US Employers Add 113K Jobs,” The Associated Press , 2/7/14)

JANUARY’S JOBS REPORT RAISES FEARS THAT THE RECOVERY IS STALLING

“December’s Weak Payroll Figure, And Signs Of Weakness In The Housing Sector And Emerging Markets, Sparked Fears That 2014 Could Get Off To A Disappointing Start. January’s Report May Heighten The Concerns.” (Eric Morath and Josh Mitchell, “U.S. Adds 113,000 Jobs, In Latest Worrying Sign On Growth,” Wall Street Journal, 2/7/14)

“Compared With Previous Economic Downturns, Of Course, The Recovery That Followed The 2008 Financial Crisis Is Still Crawling.” “Compared with previous economic downturns, of course, the recovery that followed the 2008 financial crisis is still crawling. In the 10 recessions the U.S. has faced since the end of World War II, until 1980 it took an average of nine months for the labor market to fully heal, according to the Economic Policy Institute.” (Alain Sherter “Another Month Of Weak Job Growth,” CBS News, 2/7/14)

CBS News Headline: “Another Month Of Weak Job Growth Raises Slowdown Fears.” (Alain Sherter “Another Month Of Weak Job Growth,” CBS News, 2/7/14)

“The Year-End Plunge In Job-Creation Has Raised Fears That The Economic Recovery Was Losing Steam.” (Alain Sherter “Another Month Of Weak Job Growth,” CBS News, 2/7/14)

The New York Times : The Jobs Report “Is Likely To Spur Fears That The Labor Market Is Poised For Yet Another Slowdown.” “The American economy added 113,000 jobs in January, a disappointing showing that is likely to spur fears that the labor market is poised for yet another slowdown.” (Nelson Schwartz, “U.S. Adds 113,000 Jobs In January,” The New York Times, 2/7/14)

“Some Experts Are Concerned That Weakness Is Carrying Into 2014 And Signaling A Broader Loss Of Momentum In The Economy.” “But after an extraordinarily weak showing for hiring in December, some experts are concerned that weakness is carrying into 2014 and signaling a broader loss of momentum in the economy.” (Nelson Schwartz, “U.S. Adds 113,000 Jobs In January,” The New York Times , 2/7/14)

Los Angeles Times : Job Growth Was “Sluggish,” And Is “Likely To Heighten Concerns That The Economy And Labor Market Recovery May Be Faltering Again.” “Job growth was sluggish in January for the second straight month, the government said Friday in a report likely to heighten concerns that the economy and labor market recovery may be faltering again.” (Don Lee, “Job Growth Remains Weak In January,” Los Angeles Times, 2/7/14)

“A Second Straight Month Of Weak Job Growth Raised Concerns That The Economic Recovery…Is Stalling Out.” “A second straight month of weak job growth raises concerns that the economic recovery, which had seemed to be gaining speed, is stalling out. Employers added a disappointing 113,000 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s latest employment report, short of consensus forecasts. Unemployment ticked down to 6.6 percent, from 6.7 percent. Most economists had forecast payroll growth in January of around 185,000.” (Alain Sherter “Another Month Of Weak Job Growth,” CBS News, 2/7/14)

“It Has Been 55 Months Since The Recession Officially Ended In June 2009, And Employment Levels Remain A Long Way From Their Pre-Bust Highs.” “Since then, however, the economy has taken longer and longer to snap back into shape. It took nearly two years after the 1990-91 recession for job growth to hit its previous peak; following the dot-com crash in 2001, the economy need 39 months to recover. By comparison, it has been 55 months since the recession officially ended in June 2009, and employment levels remain a long way from their pre-bust highs. The economy would need to add an average of 285,000 jobs per month for the next three years for the labor market to return to where it was just before the recession, according to EPI, a liberal-leaning think-tank.” (Alain Sherter “Another Month Of Weak Job Growth,” CBS News, 2/7/14)

14 Things That I Wonder About …

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

1. When Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty went into disgusting detail about homosexual practices, why was he the one accused of being disgusting?

2. When discussing racism, why do we get the feeling that one wrong word will bring accusations of racism?

3. Why aren’t we supposed to call illegal aliens illegal aliens?

4. What, exactly, is a smidgen? (It must be more than “massive.”)

5. Just how many people are offended by the football term, “Redskins?” Who are they? How offended are they?

6. When is it our turn to be offended?

7. Why is it okay to mock Jesus, but not Mohammed?

8. If government spending is an investment, where can I sell my stock?

9. When I call a phone number and am asked to press one for English, o dos para Espanol, what number do I press for Korean ( 한국말)?

10. If we are supposed to trust the NSA to keep secrets, how did Snowden steal them? Who got fired for that oversight?

11. If Lois Lerner did nothing criminal, then how on earth could her testimony possibly incriminate her?

12. What amendment to the US Constitution allows federal, state and local governments to infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms?

13. When man-hating feminists vote, do they ever wonder who voted them the right to vote?

14. If communist countries are atheistic, why do they conduct funerals?

Just wondering …

Real v Fake Headlines: Obamacare Site Snafus

Real Headline:

Obamacare network vulnerable to cyber attack. The software for Obama-Care was written, in part, by a state-controlled agency of Belarus, a pro-Russian, anti-American government. US Intelligence agencies are warning HHS that the software may contain malicious programs that will enhance the ability of Russia to infiltrate US government computers and put our enemies in possession of vital, sensitive information. One might well ask, who thought hiring Belarussian programmers was a good idea?

Fake Headline:

Obama promises to get to the bottom of this, and hold accountable those responsible
. “Effective immediately,” he said, “I have ordered the KGB to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation.”

Robert Arvay, Contributibg Writer

 

War and Peace, Freedom and Tyranny

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

When I was a child, I asked a childish question. Why do people obey the government? After all, the people outside of government outnumber those inside the government. How can so few people force so many people to obey them?

Just as soon as I began to understand the rudiments of representative government, I became aware of something called a dictatorship. I learned that there was a place called the USSR (now Russia) where one man could command the entire nation. I also learned that there had been a man named Hitler who commanded all of Germany, and led it to utter ruin and desolation, after which its starving people survived only at the mercy of the families of those whom German armies had killed in war.

While the question changed, it never really went away. How is it possible that, in a nation of millions of people, one man can become the all powerful leader?

We’re all aware of the basic principles involved. That sole man is able to surround himself with a few ruthless accomplices, and then through deceit, treachery and violence, he slowly increases his cohort until he can place selected individuals into certain key places of power: banks, schools, the military, police, news media and so forth.

Eventually, a tipping point is reached, after which any dissent can be quickly and brutally crushed. Word gets out, that if you oppose the leader, you die, after which terrible things happen to your family. Fear sets in, until there is no longer any significant opposition to the leader’s commands.

One irony of this is that the people who feared to die in the name of righteous opposition, now die in the furtherance of the leader’s power. Instead of being killed by the leader for opposing him, the people are killed by the leader’s policies for following him. The families also suffer, often horribly. Either way, it’s death.

This forces the question, why not oppose tyranny from the very outset, before it can achieve such dreadful power? Why be afraid to die in the cause of righteous opposition, when the alternative is death in the cause of the very tyranny that will kill us all anyway?

Part of the answer is that dying defiantly is done today, while dying obediently is done tomorrow. It seems better to live that one extra day, in the faint hope that tomorrow will somehow bring the end of the tyranny, in which case, death and suffering can be put off until old age.

American men died at the very outset of the Revolutionary War. At Lexington, Concord and on Breed’s Hill, men died on the very first day of those lost battles, battles which would, however, lead to a victorious war. Somewhere, some American warrior was the first one killed in the long and painful conflict that would bring liberty to the new nation.

He need not have done so. He could instead, had he so chosen, remained at home with his wife and children, tending the farm or shop which put food on the family table. He could have chosen to live a long and prosperous life, while others suffered and died in his place.

Had he chosen the easy path, then the next man in line would have faced the same choice, and he too could have chosen to live instead of to risk his life. And one by one, so could all twenty-five thousand of the American soldiers who perished in the coming few years. They could all have lived, not in freedom, but under tyranny, they and their children.

Instead, they fought. They suffered terribly. Many died, not only of bullets and bayonettes, but more often of disease, and from bitterly cold weather.

Because of the choice those men made, we live in freedom today. And yet, we also face the same choice. Our freedom has never been free. It has always demanded a very high price.

Today, our freedom is once again at risk, both from abroad and at home.

Over the years, those in power have accumulated ever vaster numbers of accomplices to aid them in expanding their power. Eventually, a tipping point will be reached, the point at which, to dissent is to die.

On that day, I will choose to resist, by peaceful means if possible, but otherwise, by whatever means are necessary to the preservation of liberty. It’s easy for me, for I am old. I weep for the children, for the young men, and for the women to be widowed during those terrible days, and for the children to be orphaned and enslaved.

If we are to avoid such horror, we have but little time to return Constitutional power to the people. We have little time, for we no longer govern ourselves, but are ruled by overlords who find it too much trouble to read the laws which they vote upon, laws which they must pass to find out what is in them. They take care only to exempt themselves from the onerous burdens which they place on us. The tipping point will soon be reached, and on that day, to dissent will be to die.

If the Republic is not yet dead, it is on its deathbed, unless we rescue it, and reclaim the powers that the Constitution says are ours. It will not be easy to do so. It will be agonizingly difficult and painful.

The consequences of not doing it will be unimaginably worse.