Memorial Days of our Possible Future

Memorial day 2016 has passed.  The picnics and barbecues are over.  The wreath laying ceremonies have been completed.    Many Americans, perhaps more in recent years keep Memorial Day sacred, and well they should.  Many, many American heroes left their homes for war and never returned.  They gave the ultimate sacrifice.  The loved ones they left behind morn their loss.  From that darkest day, and especially on Memorial Day, they are reminded that their loved ones gave their lives that we could be free. Our freedom, liberty, democracy are those ideals that they gave their lives for.  Their deaths are not considered in vain, we say, because of these gifts their sacrifice has secured for us.  In many ways, this is a distinction not shared by all fallen warriors throughout history, as not all of the fallen died for these things.  They fought for king and country, maybe to protect their families, but nothing more noble than that. Will they day ever come that Americans of some future era, in some future conflict fight for little more?

Victory in WWII

The NAZI’s did not fight for freedom, quite the opposite.  The Russians fought for Rodina, the motherland and their comrades.  Napoleon won scores of battles, his soldiers won victory after victory for the glory of France all across Europe, and freed nary a soul from oppression in the process.  Japan spent a century at war during the middle ages, the samurai fought for honor and for their lord, but never for liberty.  What of the next generation of Americans?  Will the era of fighting for real freedom have ended?

One by one our liberties have fallen or are in danger of falling by the wayside—our right to privacy traded for security, our right to free speech ceded to militant progressives at the college campus, the rights of the states to self-governance ground into nothingness by an overbearing federal government.  The courts now dictate which religious customs we are free to follow.  Likewise, the Supreme Court has determined that Americans don’t have the right to choose their own healthcare, or none at all.  Thanks to EPA regulations, farmers and ranchers are not free to manage their land as they see fit.  The examples go on and on.  If this is where we are now at this rate, imagine how little liberty there will be left for our brave service members serving in the not-so-distant future will actually to give their lives for.

What then will we tell the families of future fallen warriors?  Will they be told their loved ones died for freedom?  Perhaps, if the enemy they fought against has markedly less freedom even then us.  It certainly wouldn’t, couldn’t be said that they died for the same freedom our Revolutionary War, Civil War Union soldiers, or WWII heroes did.  The surviving family members might be consoled by the fact that their loved ones died for their county, for honor, even to protect them, but not freedom as once existed on this continent.  On that sad day, our fallen will make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of nationalism, the homeland, perhaps even Socialism.  On that day, may it never come, our war dead will have given their last breath for no more a cause than a piece of land, some natural resources, or a border on a map.  Memorial Day will be a much different day, a day to mourn more than the loss of American heroes, but of a free country that once existed that was worthy of their sacrifice.


Election strategy revisited.

Election Flag sm_edited-1Going back over my old posts, I found this one:  Quick thoughts on 2016 election strategy. Now that we have a presumptive nominee, it’s worth going back for a second look.  Here’s a couple of key passages from it:

President Reagan’s famous question to the American voter was:  “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

freedom qstn

Along those same lines, for this next election I suggest this question:  “Are you freer that you were eight years ago?”

As for the security plank in the platform; let it stand, but not alone.  It must stand along one for libertarian agenda.  Our security will come through our strength and our willingness to support our allies in the war on terror.  It will come when energy can no longer be used as a weapon against us, the Ukrainians, or any of our friends in Europe.  As Rick Perry recently put it:  “If energy is to be used as a weapon, America is going to have the largest arsenal.” Security is necessary, even critical, but only as a means to an end, that end being greater liberty for all Americans.

Everyone assumes that the campaign will go very negative, very quickly.  Really, it’s a forgone conclusion. Hopefully the Republican campaign machine will at least occasionally come up for air and relay a positive message, or at least a less-negative one.  Hillary’s myriad faults are well-known, and will be even more so during the course of the campaign.  We have to present a positive alternative. What if the public knew as well as Hillary’s faults, conservative virtues?

  • A smaller regulatory state will mean greater economic freedom and more jobs.
  • An end to “crony capitalism” will mean that businesses must be fiscally fit.  Those with poor ideas and bad products will not survive.  Those with good ideas and products that the public wants will thrive.
  • Those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder won’t have to worry about companies hiring  illegal aliens and dragging down wages.
  • Our military hardware will no longer be in a state of disrepair.  This will serve as a force multiplier and make us stronger.
  • Healthcare will work for the consumer, and the consumer will decide what coverage they will pay for.  The healthy young will be able to save for their future healthcare needs.
  • The politics of division will come to an end.  Americans will no longer be pitted against each other along social, racial, and other lines for the sake of gaining votes.
  • The nomination of conservative Supreme Court justices will ensure that our rights as Americans will be upheld for one more generation, and won’t be subject to the whims of politicians.

There will be no shortage negative of ads and personal attacks in the coming months. Conservatism has so much more to offer America than that.  Americans were meant to be free, not subject to the short-term needs of the powerful few, and not be made to trade liberty for an illusion of security. The statism, the control over our lives that the Democrats offer can and must be countered by the freedom that comes by returning to the principles that founded this country.  The party that stands for these things needs to spend some time and effort letting the rest of the country know.

Socialism in America: Just a President Away

Socialism: “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies”

-Merriam Webster Dictionary. 

Statist ControlBernie Sanders warns us up front, he calls himself a Democratic Socialist.  Hillary, not so much– she keeps her socialist leanings better hidden.  First things first, show me a Democratic Socialist and I’ll show you a socialist. And now that’s out of the way…

If Sanders were to become president, he would try to make America into a European-style socialist republic.  Could he really do it?  The answer unfortunately, is yes.  As a matter of fact, we’re already well on the way.  The fact is, most of the infrastructure needed to make the U.S. a socialist state is already in place and operational.  The rest would quickly be put in place.  What would it take?  Here then are the key components required to create to a Democratic Socialist Republic of America:

  • A compliant Supreme Court. Check– a Supreme Court that can rationalize forcing citizens to engage in commerce (Obamacare) can rationalize the legality of just about any socialist “reform”.  This has occurred with a strict Constitutionalist, Antonin Scalia, on the court.  Imagine what would be possible with three to four more liberal justices to legislate from the bench.
  • An Executive Branch virtually unchecked by Congress or the courts. Democrats have convinced Congressional Republicans deathly afraid of being blamed for a government shutdown not to use their power of the purse to defund several of the President’s unconstitutional executive orders.  The Supreme Court as already mentioned, would not much stand in the way of anything a President Sanders or President Clinton would want to do.
  • A huge regulatory state. This most critical piece necessary for creating and maintaining a socialist state already to a large extent exists.  When we picture a socialist country, we think of the hammer and sickle chiseled into the façade of every industrial headquarters.  A socialist America probably won’t have or require that.  All the buildings that need them already have an official state seal on them, and most of them are in Washington D.C.  The EPA, IRS, FDA and scores of other regulatory agencies already weld extraordinary power.  Through these agencies, the federal government can and would control in great detail all of this country’s major industries.  With that much control, the government would not actually need to own these industries for us to be effectively socialist.
  • Big national law enforcement. This already exists in the form of the FBI, the ATF, and various other agencies.  Of course, many of these agencies are required to enforce the law, socialist state or not.  They do a pretty good job keeping us safe in an ever more dangerous world.  Not needed in a free state, but helpful in a socialist one would be armed law enforcement wings of departments tasked not with fighting violent crime, but the restriction of commerce and business, agencies such as the FDA, Department of the Interior, as well as other departments not very likely at all to encounter armed opposition.

We consider ourselves to be free citizens of a capitalist country operating in a free-market economy.  How close we are to not being that much longer, to the extent we even still are, is enough to give one pause.  Most of the components of a socialist America are already in place.  Most of the rest can quickly be put in place.  Really the only thing standing in the way of American becoming a European-style socialist republic is an election later this year.

The Liberty Relearned Voting Guide: Super Tuesday Edition


Election 2016

Voting in the primaries?

The ConstitutionI won’t tell you who to vote for in the primaries, except to say that you should vote for a candidate that speaks of supporting the Constitution at least once in every stump speech.   If a candidate talks a lot about how much money they’ll get for you, and very little of how much of your freedom they’ll protect, you should think twice before you vote for them.  Just sayin’.

The Argument for a Conservative Direction

What is Am Cnsrvtsm a IconAmerica was founded as a constitutional republic, with the core values of personal liberty, limited government, and citizen rule.  The social-political movement concerned with maintaining those principals is Conservatism. We find ourselves at a time where it seems we are moving away from those principles.  Soon, if we do not reverse our course, we will have moved so far from those values America will no longer be the same country.  Racking up tremendous debt in the name of an ever-expanding entitlement state will eventually lead to economic ruin, as it has in parts of Europe.  Our military has been systematically weakened to pay for those programs.  Conservatism then, requires a strong national defense, lest we find ourselves at the mercy of forces alien to our shores.  Our culture, what we consider “American” is one of the freest, most naturally generous, and tolerant in all the world.  Preserving it then, is well worth the effort and sacrifice.

The whole idea of America is to be free of an overbearing, ever-present government.  To be sure, some government is necessary, it needs to keep us safe, maintain law and order, allow for commerce, and insure the individual rights of its citizens.  We have chosen to create a safety net for those who have contributed to our society, and those who cannot fend for themselves.  The tendency now has to expand and offer subsides to those who are members of special interest groups at the expense of the more productive for control over those who accept it.  Freedom though has a price, and any trade for it is not easily reversed.  Conservatives see that eventually the bill comes due, as is has in parts of Europe. Allowing citizens who work the hardest, have the best ideas, and doggedly pursue their dreams to keep as much of the fruits of their labors as is possible creates opportunity to do more.

The freedom to choose one’s own path free from outside forces is not just an American virtue at the individual level, it is also a virtue in a free nation.  If exposed to a threat from outside or from within, a country wishing to remain free most sometimes fight for that freedom.  It is a matter of history that weakness is provocative.  Russia and China, among others, actively seek out ways to take advantage of the militarily or economically weak.  Opportunism is also the way for non-nation actors and is expressed as terrorism.  Conservatism insists upon a level of military might that allows us not just to defend ourselves, but contributes the mutual support of us and our allies.

America is a country of immigrants.  The promise of greater freedom and liberty has always served as a beacon to people abroad. Persons with the fortitude and courage enough to leave their native lands for  the chance to make a better life and who choose to adopt our culture in exchange, usually make America the better for it.  If they come but choose not to make that social compact, they create a divide between themselves and other Americans that ultimately serves neither side.  The strength of any nation comes from unity of values and purpose among its citizens. American citizenship should not be offered cheaply, it should coveted enough that those seeking it are willing to earn it.

Our country is unique in the history of the world for its founding.  It was created in the name of freedom and liberty.  Those things were hard one, and bestowed upon most of us by those who gave their blood and treasure to have and keep it.  The value of liberty and the pursuit of it by successive generations has made us strong.  It is the equality of opportunity, not the equality of outcome that makes us great as a nation. Our strength and willingness to use it has served us well when used judiciously.  When used carelessly, or not at all, we have suffered.  When we are secure within our borders, and our trading partners can feel secure in theirs, prosperity is allowed to grow.  Some are of the mistaken belief that prosperity causes freedom, but conservatives know true freedom and prosperity are dependent upon each other. Our founding fathers knew this, but when we lose sight of this truth and deviate from this delicate formula, America and the rest of the world suffers.  Conservatism is the belief that our founding principles when held and applied, keep America strong and her people free.

2015 in Review: My favorite essay.


LR 2015 Backgrnd IconWay back in April, I wrote a two-part essay asking the question:  Is America really free?  I believe these two posts define one of the central themes of this blog.  Unfortunately, Liberty Relearned was but a fledgling wog of a blog, without many followers to read them at the time.  I really think they’re worth re-posting as sort of a “best of” look back at 2015.  Here are key excerpts from both.  Hope you enjoy!

Is America Free

From: “Is America Really a Free Country?”

“It’s a free country,” as the saying goes. We as Americans have been brought up to believe this. Our Founding Fathers even put it in writing. We say it without giving it much thought. It’s cliché. If we were forced to answer this question honestly, could we really answer in the affirmative? Even if we allow for some moral restrictions on our actions, can we with intellectual honesty say that America in the 21st century is a truly a free country?

In 2010, a law was passed requiring Americans to engage in commerce– whether they wanted to or not, whether they needed it or not. On top of that they product was product was made more expensive by requiring services that the buyers in some cases could not possibly use. The law of course is the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Worse than such a law even being passed is that the Supreme Court of the United States actually upheld it, or at least a key provision of the law known as the individual mandate. Their decision, apparently arrived through a lot of legal gymnastics, was that the individual mandate penalty is a tax and as such could be broadly regulated. At that point any pretense that America was a free country went up in smoke.

From: Is America Really a Free Country? Pt. 2: Phone and Pen vs. Pen and Parchment

Convinced that the phone and pen could defeat pen and parchment, President Obama continued his government by decree campaign in 2014.  Frustrated by Congress’ failure to pass immigration reform to his liking, he reverted to type and issued an Executive Order that he hopes will put some five million illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship.  This despite the fact that he himself previously claimed he had no such authority.  He was right:  Article I, section 8 of the Constitution gives the power and responsibility to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization” to Congress, not the President.

We Americans have been on a steady decent away from being the rulers of this country to being the ruled.  It has gotten to the point that I no longer use the expression, “it’s a free country,” anymore– it just rings hollow.   I pray one day, that “We the People” will be able to proudly proclaim our freedom again, but that day will not come until we decide no longer to barter our freedom for security or comfort.