The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Month: September 2008

America vs. Congress et al.

If one wants to understand why Congress and the White House wish to sneak in “corporate” socialism in the guise of a “bailout” of Wall Street and the American economy, the following ought to serve as a good starting point, and provide some context of why the government thinks it ought to take action:

“The accounts of the receipts and expenditures during the year ending on the 30th day of September last, being not yet made up, a correct statement will hereafter be transmitted from the Treasury. In the meantime, it is ascertained that the receipts have amounted to near eighteen millions of dollars, which, with the eight millions and a half in the treasury at the beginning of the year, have enabled us, after meeting the current demands and interest incurred, to pay two millions three hundred thousand dollars of the principal of our funded debt, and left us in the treasury, on that day, near fourteen millions of dollars….The probable accumulation of the surpluses of revenue beyond what can be applied to the payment of the public debt, whenever the safety and freedom of our commerce shall be restored, merits the consideration of Congress. Shall it lie unproductive in the public vaults? Shall the revenue be reduced? Or shall it rather be appropriated to the improvements of roads, canals, rivers, education, and other great foundations of prosperity and union, under the powers which Congress may already possess, or such amendment of the constitution as may be approved of by the States? While uncertain of the course of things, the time may be advantageously employed in obtaining the powers necessary for a system of improvement, should that be thought best.”* (Italics mine)

So wrote President Thomas Jefferson in his last message to Congress in November, 1808. In past addresses and messages to Congress he reported revenue surpluses, and often recommended the reduction or abolition of taxes. The last time the federal government reported an actual surplus that did not reflect bookkeeping legerdemain and an appropriations shell game was during Calvin Coolidge’s administration. In Jefferson’s and Coolidge’s instances the surpluses were in gold and silver currency and metal-based promissory notes, not in the baseless fiat paper and clad-zinc coinage of today. Gold and silver cannot be created by the snap of one’s fingers or by an order from the Federal Reserve to cover deficits and debts, as fiat money is now. Gold and silver served as restraints on government spending and intervention, which is why FDR took the U.S. off the gold standard, and why silver coinage vanished by government order after 1965.

Without going into detail about past, pre-Federal Reserve Bank episodes of financial panics – such as the one Alexander Hamilton managed in 1792, the two Bank of the United States experiments, and the Panic of 1907 – it should be stressed that neither the participants nor the institutions involved sought to take over the entire American economy – that is, attempt to “socialize” or “nationalize” it – as the White House, Congress, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the U.S. Treasury are proposing to do now. It should also be pointed out that in none of those instances was the U.S. government the chief instigator or culprit, as it is today.

Another interesting facet of the government-made financial crisis is that two of the entities that needed to be “rescued” by the government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are government-founded mortgage companies created to sell and invest in cheap credit and cheap mortgages. There was no other purpose to their existence. They were created to “serve the public.” Treasury chief Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve chief Bernard Bernanke have nothing over Scottish banker John Law, author of the Mississippi Bubble in early 18th century France. Their fiscal policies and economic philosophy are so similar to Law’s that one would think Law was their mentor, but they have blanked out the ruinous consequences of the same schemes.

Nevertheless, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been portrayed by Congress and the news media as independent of the government, when in fact they are taxpayer-subsidized. In a genuinely free market, an organization that behaved as recklessly as they did would have gone bankrupt and vanished from the scene. But because they were tax-subsidized, risk was no object, American taxpayers being seen by them and Congress as an inexhaustible cash cow. This was also the operating philosophy of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG, four of their biggest “customers.” They are government entities that hire their own lobbyists to shill for special favors and treatment from – the government.

Financial skullduggery is not the only offense that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have committed. Their employees, whose salaries are paid by taxpayers, have also “invested” in the perpetuation of their jobs by sending money to the campaigns and pet pork barrels of Senators Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and many other politicians.

But both political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, must share responsibility for the debacle. To wit:

“In 1971, Richard Nixon rescued Lockheed by providing $250 million in loan guarantees. When the Penn Central Railroad failed in 1971, Nixon created Amtrak. Jimmy Carter gave $1.5 billion loan guarantees to Chrysler in 1979. Under Ronald Reagan, the FDIC in 1984 spent $4.5 billion to rescue Continental Illinois, which still holds the record as the largest U.S. bank failure. Then, during the S&L crisis of the 1980’s, George H.W. Bush approved the bailout of 747 savings and loans at a cost to taxpayers of $124.6 billion. In 1998, under Bill Clinton, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York bailed out Long Term Capital Management at a cost of $3.6 billion. During the Mexican Peso Crisis, Clinton arranged for loans and guarantees to Mexico totaling almost $50 billion. Then, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, George W. Bush approved $15 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees to aid the faltering airline industry. This year, the Federal Reserve approved a $30 billion credit line to help JP Morgan Chase acquire Bear Stearns, and engineered takeovers of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and AIG.”

Topping all that is the $1.8 trillion the federal government will have shelled out to “save” the economy if Congress approves the proposed “bailout.” All “guaranteed” by the American taxpayer. Only one senator has been reported as calling the Paulson/Bernanke/Bush/Pelosi/Frank plan “socialism,” Jim Bunning of Kentucky. That was accidentally, and it is likely the news media will not let that kind of remark slip through the cracks again.

But, to return to the subject at hand, and to the italicized portion of Jefferson’s message to Congress in 1808, the Founders could not imagine that “improvements of roads, canals, rivers, education, and other great foundations” could be financed by other than government intervention and government money. One may forgive Jefferson and his contemporaries for not being politically omniscient or infallible. Capitalism was in its infancy and the Industrial Revolution lay a generation ahead beyond his last administration. Not even the worst of his contemporaries could imagine that the premise of government responsibility for infrastructure and education could lead to anything but to the “prosperity and happiness” of the nation. There was nothing in the original Constitution that gave the government the power to “improve” the economy, either, except, implicitly, to let it alone.

Instead, that premise has repeatedly led to scandal, corruption, the destruction of wealth, and the looting of the productive sector – with the private, productive sector blamed and punished. It is time to begin challenging that premise, and get the government out of the economy, and especially out of education. Jefferson’s benevolent but erroneous support of public education has ultimately, by necessity, over the course of generations, created a dumbed-down, docile public, one that expects the government to take care of it and solve all problems, real or imagined.

In my original commentary on this subject, I wrote that Congress, the White House, and the other “rescuers” were acting to stave off the pressure-cooked justice of the wrongdoing and fallacious policies of decades. Perhaps the only thing that will educate the American public now is the failure of the system which they were told, and which they believed, was justice-proof.

Then Americans may rise up, as the polls seem to show them doing now in demonstrations and calls to their Congressmen, to proclaim, “Account overdrawn!”

*Thomas Jefferson: Writings, Library of America, 1984, pp. 548-549.

Staring into the Bailout Abyss

I sent this letter to The Wall Street Journal yesterday.

21 September 2008

To the Editor

The Wall Street Journal

New York, NY

(wsj.ltrs@wsj.com)

Editor:

A Kentucky politician remarked, in response to the Federal government’s proposed nationalization of the American economy, that “the free market is dead.” A WSJ front-page headline read, “In Turmoil, Capitalism in U.S. Sets New Course” (Sept. 20-21). The question no one seems to be asking is: Since when has the U.S. ever had a free market, one free of government intervention, or laissez-faire capitalism, one free of government “capital”? Historically, never.

And why is no one asking that question? Because virtually everyone, from the secretary of the Treasury, to the head of the Federal Reserve, to both presidential candidates, to Congress, to the news media, to Wall Street fund managers, to too many denizens of “Main Street,” believes that the government ought to be the bullying gorilla in the marketplace to ensure social or financial equity and justice. Why do so many economic “experts” and politicians believe that? Because they all cling to the idea that the best route to political power and popularity is to offer something for nothing, or for very little, necessarily at someone else’s expense, someone who has no say in the matter. That someone has always been the productive, wealth-accumulating private individual.

Now we have the news media laughably but blithely informing the public that it now owns billions of dollars in bad debt. No, gentlemen and ladies of the anchor desk, the public owns nothing. The government owns the public and will expect it to work hard to erase that “private” debt. This is called fascism, or national socialism.

The recent actions of the Federal government amount to nothing more than panicked regulators and controllers and politicians rushing to stave off, as a friend put it, “reality catching up with unreality,” the unreality of free lunches and low-cost mortgages (which comprise a welfare state within the general welfare state) which must be paid somehow, by someone, at some time. Their actions are also taken to deflect, defer, deny, and postpone justice, whose connection with reality was best dramatized by Ayn Rand in her novel, Atlas Shrugged. And the longer justice is denied, a justice denied ever since the 1960’s, when the welfare state ballooned under Lyndon Johnson, the worse its vengeance will be when reality comes calling.

Don’t blame capitalism for the current crisis. Lay the blame where it belongs: at the feet of the government. Capitalism never promised a free lunch. Our government always has.

Sincerely,

Edward Cline

Yorktown, VA

Of course, I could have gone on for pages – mentioning the Social Security, Medicare, Homeland Security, and other financial scams – or even further back in time beyond the 1960’s to the 19th century, but I was afraid I would overload the mind of the letters editor or readers of the WSJ and cause a power-outage. What other things are our political leaders, the news media, the Left and Right not mentioning?

That the scale of the proposed “bailout” is unconstitutional, but the Constitution, limping along as it was long before the current “crisis,” is now, for all practical intents and purposes, a dead letter.

That the proposed “bailout” would mean nothing less than the socialist conquest of the American economy, something yearned for by a long line of Democrats, ending most recently with the likes of Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, et al.

That, regardless of how soothing and cooperative members of Congress might feel after pushing this conquest through both houses, and how reassured they might feel that they’ve “done the right thing,” the “bailout” will break the spine of the American economy, and precipitate a future and certain collapse.

On another matter, readers will note just how feverish the Democrats are to punish CEOs for their lavish paychecks and severance packages (whether or not these CEO’s are overpaid or over-compensated, is a separate issue). You can bet, however, that no Congressman or Senator considers himself overpaid and over-compensated with all his taxpayer-funded medical and other benefits and other perks. I’m waiting to see Matt Lauer or Brian Williams or Charlie Gibson or Bill O’Reilly to throw that hot potato into Obama’s or McCain’s lap. That is just a rhetorical comment, of course. Neither of them will bring up that subject. Staring into the abyss.

Long Live Lady Liberty!

Palin, Down’s Syndrome, and Trolls

The tone and content of most of the dissenting remarks in response to Nick’s Palin/Down’s syndrome article to date together verge on the hysterical madness of a lynch mob, sharing with Christian and Muslim fundamentalism the same unreasoning, teeth-clenched emotionalism and the urge to convert or kill. The anti-abortionists are about as “pro-life” as the Muslims who bury a woman up to her neck and then stone her to death for having broken one of their irrational, tribalist rules. Especially appalling was the sneering attack on Judy, who spoke in her remarks of her first-hand experiences as the mother of a “special needs” child with as much authority as Nick spoke on the issue.

I’m glad that Nick has not removed these malicious posts, as he has every right to, for they reveal that the enemies of reason and individual rights are not only Republicans and Democrats, but also libertarians and other cretins in various states of intellectual arrest. Having read every one of the remarks, over one hundred and twenty-five to date, I got the impression that when a libertarian or Christian or Rockwellian read Nick’s article and gasped at his “blasphemy,” he alerted his ilk to descend on Rule of Reason with the cry, “Let’s get ‘im! How dare he contradict the consensus of the scientific community!!” (Like the scientific “consensus” on global warming, or on smoking, or on any other government-friendly scientific chicanery that costs individuals their freedom and money?) Also, I think it is nearly flattering that so many trolls visit Rule of Reason. They must consider the blog a major threat to their premises and peace of mind.

And it was nearly amusing to read another Anonymous’s religious quotation: “Do what thou will shall be the whole of the Law.” Excuse my ignorance, but is that from Kant or from the Bible? This categorical imperative is also evident in the yahoo-ish, anti-intellectual rhetoric of both presidential candidates and their running mates. How could anyone sincerely defend Sarah Palin, whose political record is being whitewashed, suppressed and retrofitted with the same dishonesty and fervor as has been Obama’s?

Lastly, it was interesting to see Nick’s critics play by the Rulebook of Argumentative Irrelevancy and latch onto an incidental remark in his article that “a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all)…” and beat it to death as though it was his primary point and premise. His major premise is that a woman owns her body; his minor premise is that a fetus in her body, defective or not, is an appendage until it can sustain its own life upon birth, whether as a billionaire wastrel or as a productive individual. His critics couldn’t deny with any credibility the validity of his major premise, and so resorted to skewing and misrepresenting his minor one, consequently losing all credibility as defenders and valuers of any kind of freedom.

The Trade-Off

The rational among us are anxiously debating whom to vote for in November. From one perspective on the current race for the White House, we are faced with a choice of which devil to cut cards with (to paraphrase Wellington at Waterloo).

Do we vote for John McCain, who may or may not be better than George W. Bush in foreign policy and in adopting a semi-rational attitude toward America’s dedicated enemies, but who is “pro-American” in the same sense that Mussolini was “pro-Italian” and Hitler was “pro-German,” that is, in an un-American, nationalistic, service-to-your-country-in-a-higher-cause-than-yourself way, which implies the partial or wholesale regimentation of the American population to combat the bogeyman of the moment?

Do we vote for Barack Obama, whose anti-American, anti-military, anti-freedom, serve-your-country-until-you’re-flat-broke-and-living-in-penury-for-a-cause-higher-than-yourself solution to all problems, foreign and domestic, might mellow once he is in office and is handed on morning one the intelligence reports from the various security agencies on what our enemies (including Russia and China, not just the Islamists) are up to vis-à-vis tightening the noose around America’s neck? Or would he just grimace and think: We brought it upon ourselves.

Do we vote for McCain, whose “patriotism” would compel Americans to “give back” what they were never given, and who may or may not give the rational among us half a fighting chance to spread the word of reason? Would the Ayn Rand Institute and other pro-freedom organizations be safely sidelined by his domestic policies? Would conservative talk-show hosts be any more secure against censorship or persecution than under an Obama administration? Both candidates are preeminently anti-conceptual mentalities, but this does not mean they would not be aware of the peril of freely expressed ideas or organized opposition, and search for some means to squelch, silence, punish or harass the recalcitrant.

Do we vote for McCain, whose election might stave off another attack on America, because our Islamic enemies (Ahmadinejad of Iran, the Saudis, et al.) just might possibly believe that he would bomb Iran’s nuclear power facilities, or give the Israelis the go-ahead to do it themselves (Israeli intelligence on Mideast matters being vastly more informed than the CIA’s or the NSA’s)? Would McCain’s election give the Islamists pause? Or would they strike before Cindy McCain had time to redecorate the Oval Office?

Do we vote for Obama, whose election most assuredly would guarantee another attack on this country soon after his inauguration, just to test his professed “love” of America? Or would our enemies be ferally intelligent enough to realize that he would destroy it for them, stay their hand, and settle for ramping up their cultural jihad, knowing that Obama would applaud it in the name of multicultural diversity? It is not for nothing that the Muslim world approves of his candidacy and more or less has remained mum about his alleged apostasy.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia, of course, macho dictator that he is, would have Mr. Change that Matters for lunch, and use Senator Joe Biden as a serviette. Would Obama be a diplomatic match for the heavyweight thug of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, or Snake Eyes Ahmadinejad? It is indicative of the world’s hostility for America that every dictator, sheik and “social democrat” is hoping for an Obama presidency and the chance to stick it to this country even more, knowing that Obama would contritely claim that America deserved it, as a kind of reparations for what the U.S. has done to the world. Like save it twice at great cost in lives and treasure, and after that act as the world’s selfless policeman and “democracy” builder, also at great cost in lives and treasure.

McCain may or may not choose to go head to head with America’s enemies. Obama is not likely to want to butt heads with anyone. McCain’s brand of patriotism is similar to Teddy Roosevelt’s, whose political shenanigans gave us the father of all servitude, Woodrow Wilson.

When one studies side-by-side photos of McCain and Putin, one sees a similar, power-hungry glint in their eyes. One may legitimately suspect that the “reform” McCain promises is not so much of government, but of the American people. No, he does not believe in compulsory national service, but one may be sure of penalties if one does not “volunteer” for it. His vision of Americans united in a single cause differs in no fundamental from Obama’s, except in the path on which each wishes to lead them, “reformed” or “changed”: socialism with fascist overtones, or socialism for the sake of gutting the country of the remnants of its individualism and liberty.

So, the question is: Between the two candidates, where is the trade-off? What smidgen of the benefit of one’s doubts should one grant McCain and hope against hope that his administration would not be as disastrous and destructive as Bush’s? On what evidence can one hope against hope that Obama would “grow up” in the Oval Office and see the error of his ways?

The answer may depend in one’s estimation of how much one can bear the consequences of either candidate reaching the White House – coupled with how well one can second-guess. This much is certain, however: Politically speaking, whichever candidate is sworn into office next January, America is in for times rougher than those of the Great Depression.

1776 vs. 9/11

Actions have consequences.

Non-actions also have consequences.

Inspired by Patrick Henry’s Stamp Act Resolves in 1765, the American colonies rallied together in a common cause to oppose the British Parliament’s authority to impose taxes, and to retain their right of self-governance. The Stamp Act was repealed exactly a year later, triggering a political form of the law of diminishing returns: As the Crown enacted more and more controls and regulations on the colonies, the colonies’ opposition stiffened and grew more intransigent in direct proportion to the severity of Crown actions.

The result was the American Revolution, the Crown’s loss of all control, and the founding of the freest country in history, a country proud of its origins and of its existence. The epochal event demonstrated the power of ideas. It was the triumph of reason over force.

Fast-forward two hundred and twenty-five years to 9/11. When America was attacked by Islamists, nothing so radical as a retaliatory declaration of war against them ensued. Instead, the U.S. dragged its feet for a year before taking action against the messengers of the states that sponsored the attacks.

Seeing that the U.S. is a paper tiger, a giant reluctant to extinguish its enemies because it was sensitive to “world opinion,” the Islamists have only continued their physical assaults. Seeing also that especially the U.S. has little confidence in its own value, they have initiated an accelerated cultural jihad within its borders, resulting in concessions and capitulations to the primitivism of Islamic law and custom in all walks of American life, from Wall Street to the classroom to the editorial offices of newspapers and book publishers.

The Islamists thought: “If the infidels doubt the value of their vaunted institutions of liberty, freedom of speech, and secular government, if they no longer believe in them, then they should and will submit to an all-encompassing Islam, which requires unquestioning belief and permits no doubts.”

This agonizing, exhausting, drawn-out state of affairs demonstrates the impotence of abandoning ideas in favor of value-negating pragmatism, which in turn makes possible the triumph of evil and force over reason.

When men reduce their virtues to the approximate, then evil acquires the force of an absolute, when loyalty to an unyielding purpose is dropped by the virtuous, it’s picked up by scoundrels – and you get the indecent spectacle of a cringing, bargaining, traitorous good and a self-righteously uncompromising evil.

So wrote Ayn Rand in Galt’s speech in her novel, Atlas Shrugged. Is this not a precise description of our situation today? Do not the Islamists seem to have the force of an absolute, loyal to an unyielding purpose – which is the conquest, subservience, and dhimmitude of the West – and is not our political leadership cringing, bargaining and traitorous in the face of the unmitigated, murderous evil their cowardice and pragmatism have unleashed on us and exposed us to indefinitely? Our political leadership cannot be said to have any virtues worth mentioning, and it no longer even deals in the fuzzy realm of the approximate.

Some readers of my Sparrowhawk novels have claimed that the heroes in the series are incredible or unbelievable. My answer is that they are more credible and believable than what I have seen pass for political heroes today, which is one reason why I created them. Many, many more readers concur with my estimate of them. The Founders existed, they acted, and blessed us with their ideas, convictions, and the courage to stand by them. To them, nothing less than victory was practical or moral.

In literature they had never been depicted with any kind of justice. That was another reason I wrote the series. So, I repeat here what I wrote in the acknowledgments in Book One: Jack Frake: “I owe a debt of thanks to the Founders for having given me something worth writing about, and a country in which to write it.”

In Selflessness and Democracy They Trust

The World Forum on the Future of Democracy at Colonial Williamsburg and the College of William and Mary, the subject of extensive commentary by this site’s host (“Colonial Williamsburg’s Summit of Scrambled Egg-Heads,” September 5), ended on September 18 [2007] on a flat note. Only one session of the three-day event was open to the public. The other sessions were “private” events at Colonial Williamsburg’s Williamsburg Lodge, so it cannot be determined if these secret deliberations ended on a high note. Perhaps The New York Times columnist David Brooks, one of the Forum participants, will wax poetic on those private sessions in the near future and let the world know what transpired in them.

That is what I wrote a year ago when flocks of One-Worlders, Global-Governmentalists, do-gooders and altruists of all shades of pinkish stripes, racial, gender, cultural and differently challenged egalitarians, humanity managers, and charter members of Club Clueless descended on Williamsburg to discuss “democracy.” Williamsburg, they all believed, was the cradle of democracy.

Of course, the untruth of that notion has never been questioned. It is propagated and repeated with utter disregard for the truth, from either ignorance or ulterior motives. Indeed, Colonial Williamsburg itself, in its various educational and visitor programs, harps constantly on “democracy.” The Founders, one hears, created a “democracy.” This is not the only way the Foundation has dispensed with facts and adulterated history at the behest of political correctness and craven pragmatism (and for a few federal grants), but it is a significant departure from its mantra that the “future may learn from the past.”

I discovered a Foundation site, Jeffersonblog.history.org, that raises questions about “democracy,” and I have posted a pair of commentaries whose purpose is to disabuse other contributors of the fallacy, danger, and futility of democracy. I stress that what the Founders created was a republic. These men abhorred democracies of any size, for they were astute students of history and saw that always and inevitably, democracy sired tyranny. The members of the Constitutional Convention went to great lengths to ensure that it did not happen in the United States.

The Foundation site poses a series of questions about democracy, but does not question the validity of the premiss that “democracy” is what it is all about, and presumes that no one who visits the site will disagree with or dispute the premiss. Most visitors to the site do not disagree with or dispute it, and so in their own remarks add confusion to a discussion that has already been diverted in the wrong direction. It is like watching a dog chasing its own tail.

The most recent question – “Do party divisions hurt democracy?” – employs a quotation from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to John Dickinson in 1801:

“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.”

With some editing, here is my first contribution to the discussion, in which I define the terms by which I would engage in this Socratic dialogue:

What astonishes me about this and other discussions in answer to the questions about “democracy,” is that no one has questioned the use of the term “democracy.” When Benjamin Franklin, after the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, was asked what kind of government the convention had created, he did not answer, “A democracy, if you can keep it,” but rather, “A republic, if you can keep it.” The most fundamental distinction between a democracy and a republican form of government is that the former means mob rule – catering to the mob’s or majority’s prejudices or appetites, at the expense of a minority – while a republic, as the Founders conceived of one, would protect an individual’s right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. “Party divisions,” under the first form of government, simply means struggles between warring factions for power and the growth of government over the lives of the citizens; under a republican form of government, party divisions would be defined by non-essentials and not propound wholesale violations of individual rights or encroach on the sanctity of the Bill of Rights.

Shortly after posting that, a visitor asked me to clarify “party divisions defined by non-essentials.” I answered:

By “party divisions defined by non-essentials,” I meant that two political parties, such as the Republicans and Democrats, would agree on the fundamental sanctity of individual rights, but differ on how to implement legitimate government functions without suborning constitutional principles. For example, two or more parties in Congress might disagree on term limits, or on the correct amount of compensation that senators and representatives might have a right to claim from the general budget, or on purely administrative details concerning the legislative or judicial branches of government.

In short, the parties would be Jefferson’s “one people,” in agreement on fundamentals, such as the inviolate right of an individual to his own life – that is, the core fact that he owns his own life and that it is not for disposal by the government or a majority, not even for “Country First” – but at odds over how to ensure that right and perpetuate it in the political process. Briefly, nothing that would be grounds for a civil war or the usurpation of individual rights or the reign of political anarchy. It was the non-specificity of the Constitution on limitations of power that moved anti-Federalists like Patrick Henry to insist that a Bill of Rights be appended to the Constitution delimiting government powers and establishing their boundaries.

I added:

From another standpoint, a staunchly principled party devoted to the strict adherence to the Bill of Rights and other Constitutional assertions, would always be in opposition to any party advocating socialism, fascism, or any other collectivist form of government. Such an opposition, then, would certainly be defined and governed by essentials and the fundamentals of Constitutional law.

Of course, a party that advocated the slavery and theft (such as “duty,” selflessness, and “giving back”) necessary under socialism, fascism, and other collectivist, individual rights-negating theories or policies would not gain enough popular support to win seats in Congress. Such a party would never become a danger or a peril. Ideally, such an American populace would be educated and smart enough to know that these theories or policies entailed enslavement of themselves or others, and selfish enough to deny their advocates any place in government. No “healing of party divisions” would be imperative or required, because no injury would have ever occurred.

Again, of course, this is not the situation today. The two major parties, as can be plainly seen in the run-up to the November elections this year, do not occupy the same political or moral universe that the Founders inhabited. The Republicans and Democrats differ only over the aims of policies geared to create “one people”: the Republicans want to lasso everyone into a kind of nationalism fueled by a willingness to “serve” and “sacrifice”; the Democrats want to draft everyone to “serve” and “sacrifice” on the road to full-scale, America-destroying socialism. And both candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, have touted the virtue of selflessness as a principal means to accomplish their end of creating “one people.”

I must add here that neither Jefferson, Washington, Henry, Madison, nor John Adams, nor any of the other Founders could imagine or foretell the puerile, anti-conceptual state of political dialogue today. To a man, they would warn: Unless you grasp fundamentals, you are doomed to downfall and even extinction.

John McCain’s acceptance speech of September 4th in Minneapolis was themed on selflessness. Obama’s acceptance speech in Denver was themed on selflessness. Selflessness, they both claim, is the “greatest good” that can create jobs, national security, a workable health care system, and a clean environment.

McCain’s political philosophy is a variation of John Donne’s “no man is an island,” coupled with the warning that if you think you are an island, he will guarantee that your life is made miserable. Obama’s political philosophy can be seen in his statement during his appearance with McCain at an evangelical church in California in August:

“He sought to atone for youthful indiscretions, saying he had been guilty of ‘fundamental selfishness’ at times, notably in his experimentation with drugs….”

A person who experiments with drugs is someone on a quest for selflessness, to escape from a self he does not much respect or care for. Which makes Obama just as much an enemy of individual rights and American freedom as McCain. As with McCain, selflessness is his password to virtue. The one wishes you to sacrifice and serve for the people, while the other wishes you to sacrifice and serve for God. ‘Stand up and fight!” proclaimed McCain last Thursday night with clenched fists and glassy eyes and to a cheering chapter of Club Clueless. “Stand up and fight!” – for a cause greater than yourself.

And God help you if you are not “one with the people.” God help you if you reply that without a self, there is no cause.

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