Confusocracy— Government by Confusion

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

When a baker refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, she can be sued if she is a Christian, or ignored if she is a Muslim. When a court clerk refuses to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, because of her Christian faith, she is jailed. When a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription for abortifacients, because of his Christian faith, he can be fired, and his license revoked. When a Muslim flight attendant refuses to serve alcoholic drinks to passengers, her refusal is at first allowed, but then afterward she is suspended by the airline, and then she appeals. Who can keep up with all this confusion?

Reporters who are biased one way or the other, draw distinctions between these cases, saying that this person should be sanctioned, but not that one.

There surely are distinctions between these cases, but the basic principles involved are essentially the same – when must we surrender our religious convictions? What is Caesar’s, and what is God’s?

One cannot untie the Gordian knot. It must be cut. So it is with the increasingly convoluted knot of government rules and rulings. The eventual result, unless the knot is cut, will be the sort of social paralysis that historically results in the seizure of power by dictators.

We got into this mess by not recognizing that the United Statesis governed by two Constitutions, one written, and one cultural. Both are critical, and are inseparably intertwined. The United States Constitution was put into written form in 1787, but it is the product of thousands of years of the underlying cultural principles of Western Civilization, a synthesis of the complementary Hebrew and Greek traditions.

When immigrants come to the United States, we expect them to follow our written laws – but no written law can long be imposed upon those who have never internalized the values that produced those laws. The problem is compounded when those who arrive on our shores have no intention of becoming Americans. They reject our values, and insist that we adopt their values instead.

Dissent is important and often productive. Traditionally, Americans have always vehemently disagreed with each other concerning important moral principles. We even fought a bloody Civil War on this account. Afterward, it seemed that the matter had been settled once and for all, but new crises are arising that strike at the very definition of who we are.

The Civil War should be warning enough; there is a level beyond which mere dissent becomes destructive. You know the adage about those who ignore the lessons of history. We are approaching the brink, not only of civil war, but of national disintegration. If we do not anticipate the coming conflict and resolve it now, then destruction will follow.

Somehow, we must find a way to screen out those immigrants who bring to America not a desire to support our values, but a determination to undermine them.

We already use that screening in other ways. For example, when I was inducted into the United States Armed Forces in August of 1968, I was required to take a loyalty oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. Perhaps that oath should be amended, to include both the written Constitution and the cultural one.

Perhaps it should be required of all immigrants, and enforced by expulsion of violators. Firm and decisive action must be taken now. Otherwise, somewhere in the shadows, a lurking would-be dictator will take advantage of the confusion and seize his opportunity.

A Jury of Our Peers

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

From the beginning of recorded history, until the first heavier-than-air flight by the Wright brothers, there elapsed about five thousand years. In the same lifetime as that event, men landed on the moon.

It is not just that technology is advancing, it is advancing faster every year than the year before. It is very likely that children born today will never drive a car, because self-driving cars are already being developed.

Arthur C. Clarke famously said that, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” A simple, battery-powered flashlight would have been considered magical only a bit more than a hundred years ago. Modern televisions would have been considered to have been the work of witchcraft not much more than 200 years ago.

Young children today have been born into a world of technological miracles, heedless that cell phones and so-called “mobile devices” have not always existed. Watching old movies from the 1930s, what stands out most in my view is that all items of living room (parlor) furniture were facing toward the center of the room, not (of course) toward a wall mounted flat screen TV. A large console radio in one corner of the parlor provided entertainment and news from the outside world.

An excellent short story that powerfully impresses its era upon the modern sense is, “A Jury of her Peers,” by Susan Glaspell. [1]

Published in 1917, its author apparently had no premonition of twenty-first century technology, so the reader is forced to accept that wood-burning stoves are the normal way to cook. Nothing beyond that existed in anyone’s home. Glaspell was, however, keenly aware that there was something wrong with the low social status so casually (and callously) imposed upon women during the 1910’s, and the short story is saturated with her understated, but powerfully implied, views on the matter.

The near future will leave behind anyone who is not continuously updating his knowledge of technology and social issues. I will surely be one of those left in the dust, as I struggle to perform anything beyond the most basic functions of my laptop and cell phone, both of which have features that, because I have never used them, remain mysterious to me. My views on the so-called sexual revolution are already considered Neanderthal, even unjust.

The danger in all this advancement, is that much that is valuable will have been abandoned, and society will suffer because of that. Our knowledge has outpaced our abilities to apply it responsibly.

Preserving and conserving moral and ethical values will be increasingly difficult in the coming years. A generation fed on self-esteem, personal entitlements, and the motto, “If it feels good, do it,” will soon find itself wandering in a desert, worshipping golden calves, and wondering why social decay and upheaval are ruining their lives.

This is why the present generation of young people needs you. It takes courage to tell them the truth. Many of them will laugh at you, sneer at your counsel, and deride your wisdom as foolishness.

Many of them will, but not all of them. Despite their being saturated in a culture of vulgarity, even of depravity, I am sometimes pleasantly surprised to discover (once again) that human beings of any age are at least dimly aware of the spiritual component of their lives, and hungry for the spiritual nourishment they need to develop that component.

However little you can do, do it. Plant a seed. You may never see the final result, but you can be confident that even the smallest seed can grow into the mightiest tree, or into a flower of splendid beauty.

As the Scotsman would say in a commercial, “Feed your lawn. Feed it.”

[1] “A Jury of her Peers,” by Susan Glaspell, is available free online, full text file, at

The “Evils” of Capitalism

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

I am a free market capitalist through and through, make no mistake about it. More specifically, I am a proponent of the kind of capitalism described by the late economist, Dr. Milton Friedman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. So then, why would I write about the evils of capitalism?

I do this to contrast them with the far worse evils of socialism. Most conservatives are well aware that socialism involves imposing the will of those in government upon those in the rest of society. It is small wonder, then, that in socialist France, a huge percentage of young people state that their greatest ambition is to work for the government, with the word, “work,” being a misnomer.

Even though capitalism is the best form of economic policy, it is vulnerable to abuses. It is these abuses which draw the ire of liberals, and help them to remain distracted from the evils of socialism.

To be fair, the abuses of capitalism are actually departures from capitalism. They occur when so-called capitalists deign to impose socialist policies on everyone except themselves. Sarah Palin has popularized the term, “crony capitalism,” to describe this distortion. George W Bush revealed his ignorance of the dangers of crony capitalism when he infamously declared, near the end of his presidency, “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

That blunder gave us TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the massive, multi-trillion dollar bailout of financial institutions which were thereby shielded from the consequences of their own corporate incompetence. Worse, it opened the door for Obama-style socialism, which for more than six years has crushed the once-great American economy.

One of the results of capitalism is that when it is practiced, money tends to move toward the most productive activities, and away from the least productive. This happens because private citizens have a personal stake in their decisions, and therefore, they are much more careful with their own money than the government is with yours.

I have worked both in government and for private companies, and both for big companies and small ones. One thing I learned was that big companies are much like small governments, and the bigger they get, the more like big government they become.

It is because of this negative economy of large scale that formerly small, upstart companies like Apple, were able to challenge giant established companies like IBM. IBM, the standard of the computer industry, had eventually become (like government) an inefficient bureaucratic maze of rules and pointless procedures. This resulted in IBM losing vast amounts of money to the smaller upstart companies. Because of that competition, IBM was forced to streamline its management, and implement commonsense reforms that kept it in business.

That kind of reform does not happen in socialist economies, where the government bails out the giant corporations, while imposing barriers that prevent small upstart companies from competing— or even getting started.

Crony capitalism allows big companies to lobby for rules that pretend to “protect the public,” but in fact harm the public by preventing would-be competitors from producing better, less expensive products.

The proper role of government is to enforce capitalist principles, not to violate them. Government should preserve access to the marketplace for all who come to it, both sellers and buyers, both large and small. This means enforcement of contract law, punishment of fraud, and regulation that stimulates competition instead of stifling it.

When big businesses fail, the small guy gets hurt. He loses his job. He suffers. Then he may vote for the anti-capitalist politician who only multiplies the problem and makes it long term.

If instead the big business is allowed to collapse, there is short term suffering, followed by long term benefit to the fellow who lost his job. During that short term, capitalism seems to have failed, but in fact it has created more prosperity for more people than before.

The Great Depression is considered by many to have been the clearest indication of the failure of capitalism. It is said to have demonstrated that big government is the friend of the suffering worker. History shows us, however, that the Great Depression was only one in a long line of short-term depressions that were called “panics,” prior to 1929. Each one was followed quickly by a recovery. The Great Depression was different; it was worse, because government intervention made it deeper and longer than any of the panics which had preceded it.

No doubt there are capitalists who have defrauded the system, who have lied and cheated their way to riches, and done so at the expense of ordinary workers. In past years, these problems were more difficult to detect and remedy. Modern technology, however, gives us the opportunity to prevent such problems, and to correct them quickly when they occur.

That technology can benefit the worker, but only when government promotes free market capitalism. When big government promotes big government, it turns that technology against us.

Yes, capitalism has many flaws, but to adapt a phrase from Winston Churchill, it is the worst form of economics, except for all the others.

Has The 9/11 Moment Passed?

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

At the time, we compared it to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. That was the moment that aroused the sleeping giant, and filled the people of the United States with “a terrible resolve.” The days that followed were not pleasant. Unprepared for war, Americans died by the thousands in defeat after defeat on distant shores. Only after several months of bad news did we finally turn the tide of the war, and eventually defeated our enemies.

On September 11, 2001, many of us thought that the slumbering nation had once again been awakened, and that we would with firm resolve, defeat those who had killed more of us in one day than died at Pearl Harbor.

Alas, it was not to be. War is bloody, and the lamentations of its widows and orphans remind us of its terrible, terrible cost. Something on the order of three thousand of our best men died in Iraq and Afghanistan and we could not bear the pain. Never mind that about a third of a million of us died in World War Two. Never mind that only when the war went nuclear did we win, avoiding a final battle which would have killed more than double the number already dead.

Our resolve has fizzled, and we are once again where we were on September 10, where we were on December 6.

Do we believe that we will not be soon awakened once again? We will. The only question is, how many of us must die before we finally resolve to defeat the modern day Barbary pirates once and for all?

If 9/11 was not sufficient, will Iranian nukes do the job? Why are we sleeping?