Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ron Paul; The Candidate That Understands Reality

This article was originally published at on Feb. 13th, 2008

I know a bit about fantasy. I write Fantasy novels. In them, there is a clear cut good versus evil theme. The evil is always supreme, bent on the total destruction of life and beauty, and the good is always striving to save the world and a culture of decency. Real life is quite a bit different. In this world, good and evil aren´t always clear cut. They intermix and entwine, wrapping around each other like ethereal lovers who may despise each other but want to get to know one another better nonetheless. Often times evil is born of good intentions, those trying to better mankind causing unintended consequences. The same can be said of the good that comes from evil. I´ve heard it said that everything happens for a reason, and there are often positives born of negative situations. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I´ve recently had to face reality. The government has found me and wants their money. You see, I borrowed a whole bunch of it from them so I could earn a Master´s degree. Even though I earned the degree, I have so far been unable to find a better paying job. Now I have to pay back a lot of money, and I´m not making any more than I was before I started school. So the reality is that I´m going to have to cut back on my expenses. I won´t be able to live the life I´ve come accustomed to. I won´t be able to afford certain luxuries. I can give up cable. I´ll have to live in a smaller place, in a cheaper neighborhood. I´ll have to find cheaper food, shop better. I´ll have to turn down the thermostat a little. But that´s the reality of the situation and I´m going to have to face up to it and buckle down, because if I don´t then it will just get worse. Right now the important thing is to dig my way out of debt.

There is a reality most people in the United States of America are ignoring. That reality is that the national debt is unmanageable. Ron Paul is the only candidate for president that is facing up to this reality. The other remaining presidential candidates want to sell the American public a fantasy. They want to make believe that everything is fine with the economy. They want to pretend that they can keep printing money and accruing debt without consequence. They want to promise the populace entitlements such as health care and pretend they can do it without pain, just to get votes. If anyone knows about the reality of the state of health care in this country today, it´s Dr. Ron Paul, yet I hardly ever hear any news organizations ask him about that issue. The reality folks, is that our government simply cannot continue to spend at the rate they´re spending and remain solvent. Ron Paul is straight forward on this point not only because he understands this reality, but because he feels we the people can handle this reality. The other candidates, living in never never land where they wish the rest of us to join them, simply have no respect for us "little people." They must believe we are like children unable to handle the reality of the cold, harsh world.

Ron Paul understands the reality of war. He understands not only the cost in human life and treasure, but the cost in moral standing. He served as a flight surgeon in the Vietnam war and saw first hand war´s ravages. The reality is that these wars we are involved in, these exercises in empire building, are breaking the country. They are sapping funds which would be better spent on right here, at home, on stabilizing our economy, balancing the budget, and paying off debt. They are wasting our youth, more than simply killing our young men and women, but returning thousands of them broken in both body and spirit. They are wasting innocent lives, lives of men, women and children who harmed no one in this country, had nothing to do with any crimes committed against our nation, and perhaps even liked the United States of America and at one time may have dreamt of living here.

These wars are wasting the collective spiritual karma of the nation, if such a thing exists. They are not justified, as has been shown by the admissions and proofs of lies that have been told to us to justify going to war. They have laid waste to our constitutional protections against tyrannical government as the wars have been used to shred the Bill of Rights. The reality is that these wars have enabled those in power to use torture, dispense with common law, ignore habeas corpus, and defile and ignore long standing international treaties to further their political agendas and grow their personal fortunes. We have already lost the moral high ground and any respect we may have had in the international community, except for maybe the respect that fear brings. The reality is that Ron Paul is still the only candidate who has called for the immediate withdraw of all troops and an end to these unconstitutional wars. More frightening still, all the other candidates have refused to take an attack on Iran off the table and intimate that they would get us into another costlier, bloodier, more dangerous war that will most certainly shake this country to its foundations. The reality is that these wars divide us, they force some who cannot believe their country is anything but perfect to live in denial and others to make excuses rather than ask pertinent questions. Either Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who understands this reality, or the other candidates have less than good intentions in mind.

Ron Paul understands the realities of maintaining an empire. He knows that it costs money to do so. He understands the reality that we can no longer afford an empire. He understands the reality that all empires eventually fail and we are most likely watching one in its death throes. It would be best to let it do so gracefully by bringing our military men and women home to protect our borders. We would leave the diplomats, but let other countries step up and provide protection for themselves. We have come to a point in human history where a world policeman, a world empire, a superpower, is no longer necessary. Certainly most countries would be able to think of better solutions to their squabbles than wars that could possibly lead to their mutual annihilation. Our troops no longer need be based in foreign countries. It is time to bring them home, worry about our own defense, and let the rest of the world do the same. It´s time to let the rest of the world go, and for those of you worried about this, it´ll be ok, really. Ron Paul understands the importance of trade and the realities of the world economy and we will continue to keep in touch with friendly nations and do business with them in a fair and even handed manner.

Ron Paul understands the reality of the world today. He understands the realities of politics. And so do I. I realize his bid for the white house has floundered drastically. I realize his chances are slim to nil. I also understand this tidbit of wisdom. It ain´t over until it´s over. Ron Paul will keep going to the end, be it sweet or bitter. He will keep going despite the media blackout. He will keep going in spite of the nay-sayers and pundits who still don´t understand this movement isn´t about putting a certain man in the white house, it is about preserving the freedoms and liberties that so many in power would like to cast aside and violate. He will keep going because of his frugality and the fortitude of his supporters. He will keep going because there is a message here that needs to be broadcast to the world, the message that there are still some of us who understand what it means to be free, to be truly free, and we will stand and be heard. Ron Paul supporters are not going away that easily. They will stick with their man right up to the Republican convention and they will let everyone know that there is a heavy contingent of the population who are still truly conservative, who still believe in small government, who still believe in the spirit of the constitution and its mandate to limit government power, and who still believe that the president should be a person of honesty and integrity. We will not go away and we will be heard, and we may prove to be a greater influence than anyone has yet to imagine.

Fairness and Life, Collectivism and Freedom

This article was originally published at on Feb 10th, 2008

Has anyone ever told you that life´s not fair? I remember hearing that many times when I was a child. Life isn´t fair. We can see it all around. Nature provides many examples. Life certainly doesn´t seem fair to the poor little antelope when he´s caught by a vicious lion. Yet the lion has to eat. Besides, it probably doesn´t seem fair to the lion that the antelope can run so fast. So lions, being clever, will use their brethren and set up traps for their prey. Perhaps to our sensibilities it seems more fair for the lion to attack the water buffalo. They are bigger and can defend themselves better with their horns. Still, the lions have a distinct advantage over these creatures with their long sharp claws and teeth. It hardly seems fair. Yet I´ve seen footage where a herd of buffalo come together to fend off a pack of lions attacking a baby buffalo. This has to seem grossly unfair to the lions, they being so hungry and there being so many water buffalo. No sense in taking a chance at getting hurt. I´ve never seen footage of a lion attacking an elephant. This must seem very unfair to a lion, so much meat in such a package and yet it´s too dangerous for them to try to obtain. But these things are just the way nature is, and so we as humans observe it, shrug it off, and say "that´s life." There´s really not much we can do about it.

It´s quite different when it comes to human constructs. We have a tendency to believe in fairness when it comes to human activity. We try to make everything we do as fair as possible. Of course, that doesn´t always work. Let´s face it, life´s not fair. There are many tales of unfairness I could tell from my own life, more than I could fit in an online article, so many, in fact, that I can fill an entire book, and so I am. That´s life. Still, we humans seem to believe that we can somehow make things better, that we can somehow make life fair for all, or at least fair for the majority of mankind. Perhaps it´s possible, perhaps not, but it seems to me to be a worthwhile endeavor. So, if we are to try to make life fair, the question becomes "how do we do it?"

I remember as a boy in school there would be occasions where someone, usually another boy, in class would do something devious such as shooting a spitball or making some obnoxious noise. The teacher would not know who it was and would dutifully ask the question "who did it?" Inevitably she would not get a confession and would appeal to the class to snitch out the perpetrator. Of course in those days there was an unwritten law amongst us kids that one did not rat out one´s classmates. That was perhaps the cardinal sin back then, and doing so would quickly subject the tattletale to peer condemnation. Despite knowing this, the teacher would threaten collective punishment. I doubt she ever expected anyone to tell, and so we were inevitably all punished in some minor way, less recess time, more homework, sitting quietly doing nothing, or some such thing, perhaps with the hope that we children would end up taking matters into our own hands and chastising the little classroom lawbreaker. Sometimes we did and sometimes we didn´t, but that´s inconsequential. The point is that collective punishment hardly seemed fair to us. This was the first time in our young lives that we experienced the exercise of authoritarian power over the masses.

Collective punishment is always going to be unfair to someone. If some person or group of people commit a crime, only those directly involved in the crime, those who knew what was happening and/or intended harm, should be punished. If everyone associated with them, no matter how innocuously, is punished, then innocent people end up being punished. In the real world, the results of this punishment can be devastating and tragic. Bombs, even smart ones, have no conscience. The shrapnel they produce will strike and kill a nearby innocent child as easily as a nearby soldier. The indiscriminant nature and inherent unfairness of group punishment, a concept stemming from a collectivist mentality, is destined to cause resentment and unintended consequences.

There are many who will contend that collectivism is the fairest type of social system. These social engineers will argue that it is everyone´s duty to help out those in greatest need. While these arguments are well intentioned and have a tendency to make a sort of moral sense, fallacies abound within them. There are always lines drawn and individual situations that make socialism unfair, sometimes to a few and sometimes to many. Wealth redistribution has a history of failure, many times resulting in the fall of great civilizations. Freedom and individual responsibility, on the other hand, have historically brought prosperity to the general population. We would do well to remember that.

The big problem becomes how to go about cutting the economic pie so that everyone has their "fair" share. Unfortunately the way societies around the world have always chosen is to do it by force. They use the arms of government. Equally unfortunate is the corruption that comes with this. Those put in charge of redistributing seem to have a tendency of making sure they and their friends receive far more than their fair share. Perhaps they catch a bit of the "one for you, twenty for me" syndrome. Whatever the case, I´ve noticed at least that those making our laws seem to be incredibly rich while those in the middle are constantly asked to sacrifice. It sure seems to me that the current system we have is anything but fair. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class are becoming extinct.

It seems a fairer approach would be to let those earning money keep the money they earn and spend it in the manner they see fit. In this way, while it may be true that some will earn more than others for their efforts, it is also true that earners will not have their money stolen from them by bureaucrats and politicians that end up stuffing their own coffers and justifying their own existence before trickling down anything left over to those who really need it. Individuals are far more in tune with their own lives, far more able to handle their finances than government. While it may not seem fair that some in society end up unemployed, even those that want to work, and while charitable organizations and other forms of financial help for the destitute may not be perfect, certainly they are preferable to government agencies forcing everyone to "give" their "fair" share. While it is true that some people at times may need a hand up, it is also true that some take advantage of the system. If the state believes itself to be so great at determining who is truly in need, then let them become a voluntary organization competing with other private voluntary organizations claiming the same thing and we´ll see which organizations thrive and which fold.

Collectivism comes in many shapes and sizes. When it is practiced, the individual who is doing his best to get along in this world could very well find himself on the losing end of an injustice. Groups are afforded protections while individuals are left hanging. It hardly seems fair that someone who has harmed no one can end up jailed. It hardly seems fair that the individual should lose his freedom so that a group can be protected from perceived wrong, but no actual, physical harm. Collectivism allows for the injustice and unfairness of victimless crimes. Collectivism allows for the persecution of those who think differently or have different points of view. Collectivism allows for the state to become all powerful while the individual struggles to find justice against such persecution. Collectivism allows for the protection of one group at the expense of another. It makes for an "us versus them" mentality that does no one in society any good. Even those gaining the perceived benefits of this system lose at a fundamental moral level, and they may one day find the opposing group in power and therefore lose their benefits. One only has as much freedom as he is willing to grant another. It is time for the idea of freedom to come home to roost. We as a society can no longer afford to quietly allow our freedoms to fade into obscurity while the state turns us into a collection of groups. It is time we reclaim our individuality and independent spirit or this great experiment known as America may well fade into the annuls of history as just another failed attempt to free man from the scourge of collectivism.

An Open Letter to the Citizens of the United States of America

This article was originally published at on Jan. 29th, 2008.

There are many times in every nation´s history when that nation reaches a crossroads. The decisions made at those times help to define that nation´s character for many years, perhaps decades to come. It is my humble opinion that this great nation known as the United State of America has come to such a time. There are many decisions that will be made in the next few months, important decisions that will define the character of this nation and perhaps the character of the world we all live upon.
In the past few years, in fact, in the past few decades, our nation has diverted itself from the path the founding fathers set it upon. Slowly the rights of the individual have been eroded in an attempt to build the security state. Slowly life´s decisions have been removed from the individual and put into the hands of the state. Slowly the concepts which helped build this great nation and bring us prosperity have been mutated, twisted into nothing more than buzz words with no intrinsic meaning. At best, this republic with its checks and balances on power is on life support, and if it hasn´t already truly died, then the simple pulling of a plug will kill it. The laws are in place. The constitution has been subverted. The word just needs to be spoken and the protections it affords the people of this nation need no longer apply. In our attempt at security, in our fear of the outside world, the apparatus was built which could end up taking from us not only our freedoms, but any security we might have hoped to purchase at such cost.
Freedom means more than the ability to choose whether to go to McDonald´s or Burger King. Liberty means so much more than having a choice of television stations to watch. These concepts are an expression of our desires to take control of our own lives with as little interference as possible from outside forces. It is this ability that has led this nation down the road of prosperity. It is the ability of the individual to be able to make the best life possible for himself that has led to so many great achievements credited to our fellow countrymen. This is the bravery of our nation, the willingness to take on personal responsibility and fearlessly face life without safety nets. Such is the courage of our citizenry, to be able to declare "Keep your tyrant and his promise of security, for we prefer standing tall as freemen to kneeling in subservience to the state." This is true freedom, when one challenges the rights of the individual over the force and coercion of that group entity known as the state.
Liberty is a legacy handed down to us by the founders of this great nation. It was codified in the Constitution and is known as the Bill of Rights. This is a great legacy and one we should cherish deeply. It was meant to put chains upon those who would govern us and to make certain that abuses of power did not occur. But, alas, it seems to have failed us. Slick politicians and callous leaders have subverted the very document they vowed to uphold. A fearful populace and a complicit media have failed to demand adherence to the vital law of the land. And so we now find ourselves facing the prospects of never ending war, a failing currency, and the presence of a brutal police state which can be unleashed against anyone who dares speak out in dissent or protest against state policy.
And so I wonder, what kind of legacy will we leave for our children, or their children, or their children? Will they learn of freedom and independence, or will they be forbidden by decree to know of such things? Will they realize the joy of personal responsibility and the pride that comes from achieving self reliance, or will they be taught subjection to the rule of the political elite? Will they be corrupted by entitlements and privileges that can be taken away on a whim? Will our progeny know liberty and respect individual rights, or will they know only collectivism and the tyranny of the majority? Will they be able to own private property and know the American dream, or will those that rule be able to confiscate whatever they want whenever they want for the "good of the public commons?" The America I knew as a child no longer exists. Or perhaps it was already gone when I was young and I only learned of what it was meant to be. But the pendulum appears to be swinging back. America is not yet completely broken. There is still hope.
This is where one would expect to find an explanation for a simple solution to put this nation back on track. The fact is, there is no simple solution. There is no one man that can deliver us from the trap we have fallen into. Unfortunately, we cannot elect any single individual into any office and expect our liberty to be restored. Yes, I would like to see Ron Paul or any man with a libertarian mindset elected president, that would be a huge step in the right direction, but that is not the end all, be all. It will take a massive effort involving many to bring back the freedom and prosperity we once knew. Like an overweight middle aged man looking to regain a healthy physique after years of neglect, it will take a lot of hard work before we can look in the mirror and be proud of our accomplishments. There will be many aspects we must consider as we move forward with this great undertaking.
There are many steps that we as a people should consider in order to regain what we have lost. The first is to be certain that honest and fair elections are taking place. With recent events in New Hampshire and other primary states, the electoral process is in shambles. How are we to survive as a representative republic when we can´t even be certain we can hold our representatives accountable for their actions through the ballot box? An end to electronic voting and a demand for verifiable, traceable, transparent methods where votes are counted at the precinct level in front of representatives of all parties involved would do much to alleviate the doubt and uncertainty in our electoral process. If we know our elections are fair, then at least we know we´ll be able to vote a representative who does something reprehensible out of office.
Citizens should also consider turning off their televisions, especially TV news. They should consider dropping any subscriptions they may have to newspapers or news magazines. These are filled with collectivist propaganda. They no longer report the news so much as they try to tell you what to think about it. There are other avenues to take to become informed, other sources less compromised and more willing to deliver unbiased information, sources that have little to gain by lying and much to lose should they be caught doing so. Those who realize the folly of the news organizations and the entities they represent should fight back by boycotting their advertisers. A huge swath of the American public not buying advertised merchandise and looking to other sources of competition will make any advertiser think twice about paying to have his product demonized. The loss of revenue should cause the news organizations to think twice about the news they present to the American public. In this manner, we can begin to affect the old media and perhaps a fair coverage of people and events that affect our world will begin to change some of the hearts and minds the new media has yet to reach.
Citizens should endeavor to learn about money. It all seems to come down to money. Politicians can´t campaign without it. Corporations fight and scrap for it. People work hard to earn it. But what is money? Is it true that the Federal Reserve creates money from nothing? According to more than a few reliable sources, it is. But while these notes are printed, real treasure is being stolen. Those who create this instrument of debt also have first dibs on it. They can use it to buy gold or other precious metals, or real property, or to buy out entire corporations if they so desire. They can even use these notes to leverage lawmakers to create laws to protect their activities. Money as it stands now represents only debt, maybe not yours, but it represents somebody´s debt. If we know this is the true nature of money, then it is up to us to demand a change in our monetary system. Should we demand that congress dutifully respect its obligation under the constitution to supply the people of this country with honest money backed by gold, then what would that money represent? Since that money isn´t just created from nothing, and since fractional reserves would no longer be allowed, then money would no longer be possessed unless it was earned in one way or another. Money would no longer represent someone´s debt, it would represent someone´s labor, and it could only be acquired through hard work or a good reputation. A private monopoly on money was something the founding fathers warned us against. It would behoove us to listen to them. This nation should never have allowed it.
We the people should demand restoration of the constitution. We should demand of our representatives an end to the politics of fear. Some of our representatives are already hearing these demands and beginning to act on them. Others are sticking by their guns and digging in for a fight, and it will be a fight against the citizenry of this country. We should let it be known in no uncertain terms that we will settle for nothing less than the true liberty and freedom that is ours by birthright. We should let it be known that any unconstitutional law is repugnant to the concepts the founders and our ancestors fought and died for and that these laws need to be repealed. There are many organizations that have sprung up in the last few years that will help us achieve these goals. If enough people make a clamor on the street, those in the tower will eventually have to listen.
Involvement is essential. There are many who are waking up to this fact today. There are many young people who are coming to understand the message of freedom and what it means to each and every individual in this country. They understand that these concepts are worth fighting for and worth the vigilance necessary to preserve them. The best thing that could happen is for people to become involved. People who believe in freedom, who believe in less government, should themselves run for local office. Others who understand the message should vote for those who agree to smaller government and more individual freedom on every issue, every time. In that way, we can slowly take back the instrument of government and relieve the people of its burden.
As a nation, we have just begun to understand ourselves and the real meanings of the concepts it was built upon, or perhaps we are rediscovering them. There is a revolution taking place in this country, a peaceful one, a revolution to win the hearts and minds of the populace. There are those who believe in the credo of the collectivist. They believe it is okay for the state to steal from some and give to others. There are those who believe there is nothing wrong with the state denying the right of the individual for the security of the many, without realizing that when the individual loses his rights, we all lose our rights. Many of these people are filled with good intentions, but that does not make them right. Then there are those who believe the individual knows best how to run his own life, that stealing from those who have earned their money in an honest fashion is wrong, and that using force and coercion on people is not a proper approach to issues. There are those who understand that power corrupts and those who obtain it will use it against those who disagree with them. These are the individualists and they, like those who founded this country, can see the danger that lurks in collectivist systems of government.
We can take this country back with a bit of hard work and perseverance. After all, isn´t that what this country was founded upon? We can expose the collectivist mentality for what it truly is, an unjust system that runs on mob mentality and turns those who rule into nothing more than criminals and mob enforcers. We can once again make this country a place respected and looked up to by the rest of the world. We can make it a place of principle once again and a shining example for others to emulate. We can regain the moral high ground. In fact, this movement is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. With luck, one day the entire world will enjoy freedom and liberty. With luck, we can find ourselves living in a world where tyrannical governments and those who seek to exercise power over others will be just a bad memory, a nightmare forgotten in the light of a new morning.