Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ron Paul's Farewell Address to Congress

It has been nearly eight months since I've posted here. I don't know if I'll start posting again or not, but today I'm posting a copy of Ron Paul's farewell speech to Congress. It's long, but it's very important. It provides a brief civics lesson that I think is extremely important for our children to learn. The last line of the speech says, "If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land." I am now doing just that, because it is a "worthwhile message."


Transcript of Farewell Address

by Matthew Hawes on NOVEMBER 14, 2012 in NATIONAL BLOG Below is the transcript of Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress:


Farewell to Congress

This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.

It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.

To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.

The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.


How Much Did I Accomplish?

In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.

All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.

The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.

The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”

Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.

I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.


Authoritarianism vs. Liberty

If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty. There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.

During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible. Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.

I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.

Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth. In our early history we were very much aware of this. But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax. The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.

They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.

Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.

But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady. It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.

The wealth that we enjoyed and seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected. As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.


The Age of Redistribution

This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to left alone. That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.

The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market. It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.

The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail. We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.

If this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time. Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.


We Need an Intellectual Awakening

Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law. A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.

If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties. Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.

This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled. Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy. Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely—that is until it too fails. There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option. The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.

The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism. And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future. The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse.

If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored. By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.

Everyone claims support for freedom. But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others. Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.

Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited. These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.


No More ‘isms’

The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.” The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less. Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.

Just this recognition—especially if we move in this direction—increases optimism which in itself is beneficial. The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.

But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.

Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the one that we have had for the last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers. We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.

It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself. Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer. The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.

After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders. In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed. Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome. The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.


Dependency on Government Largesse

Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need. Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:

Undeclared wars are commonplace.
Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.
The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.
Debt is growing exponentially.
The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.
Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”
Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.


Questions

Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:

Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York? Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
Why should there be mandatory sentences—even up to life for crimes without victims—as our drug laws require?
Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC?
Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
Why is it is claimed that if people won’t or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.
Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and foreign policy?
Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration? Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes. The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems. Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.


Trust Yourself, Not the Government

Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves. Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades. The blame is shared by both political parties. Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop. Without this first step, solutions are impossible.

Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity. The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.

We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.

Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced. Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats. This replaces the confidence in a free society. Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they, armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production. This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty. It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.

It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.


Economic Ignorance

Economic ignorance is commonplace. Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals. Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.

Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.

Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty. This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge. But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence. Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions. The results are always negative.

The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialize. The new problems created require even more government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.

This is the same fundamental reason our government uses force for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.

It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.

Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order. Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.


No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence

Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society. Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream. We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000. Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.

Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.

We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.


The Proliferation of Federal Crimes

The Constitution established four federal crimes. Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books—they number into the thousands. No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system—especially the tax code. Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China. I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws. Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.

The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year. When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.


Achieving Liberty

Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force. If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed. To achieve it, more than lip service is required.

Two choices are available.

A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective. The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty. Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations. Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer. This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages. Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible. It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously. Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that: “power corrupts.”
Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government. Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression. There’s no in-between. Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.

Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.

The results are not good. As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed. The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system. It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.


The Financial Crisis Is a Moral Crisis

Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis. It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power. Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.

Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2. There is no other choice. Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.” It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise. What we see today is a result of that type of thinking. And the results speak for themselves.


A Culture of Violence

American now suffers from a culture of violence. It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.

Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate. Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt. It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.” They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.” The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority. Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.

This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified. This is similar to what we were once told that: “destroying a village to save a village” was justified. It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people. And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.

Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms. The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.

First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government. Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority. If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.

When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority. It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs. As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase—as are already occurring— violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs. They will not wait for a government rescue program.

When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer just can’t be helped.

When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs. All moral standards become relative. Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth. Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.

Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.

Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government. It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.

To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected. Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.


Limiting Government Excesses vs. a Virtuous Moral People

Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed. The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.

Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government. The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty. The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt. The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.

If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.

If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.

It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time. This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due. This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.

But that illusion is now ending. Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.

Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.

The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.

Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.

I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.

Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek. Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.

If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.

Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement.

Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions. The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior. Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.


Conclusion

What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.

2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.

3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.

4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.

5. World government taking over local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking, a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.

Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.

What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression. The retort to such a suggestion is always: it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, na├»ve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.

The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.

What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.

No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior. Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny. This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.

The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried. The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war. The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time. It’s time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do.

Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There’s every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.

What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.

The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people. Just writing rules won’t work if the people choose to ignore them. Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington DC.

Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” John Adams concurred: “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.

A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society. All great religions endorse the Golden Rule. The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials. They cannot be exempt.

The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.

The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.

The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change.

It doesn’t mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.

Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it’s the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.

The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people’s attitudes aren’t changed.

To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.

The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism. Both views ought to be rejected.

I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.” The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.

If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mourning doves

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I was so happy to see these two mourning doves! We hadn't had any at all for months. I'm not sure if we didn't have the right feed out or if there were other reasons, but they came back shortly after we put out different feed.

Here is one other reason we may have not seen many mourning doves. Direct source link.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The ground hog

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I think he ate pretty well all winter.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The successful squirrel

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Looks like our very large squirrel was thinking about how to get up to the feeder.

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He chose to try for a different suet feeder.

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He made it. I let him stay for a while, but decided to shoo him off so he wouldn't break the feeder.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Many Faces of Winter

This is what a typical winter, daytime sky looks like.
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Here's what winter looked like Thursday afternoon.
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Here's what it looked like Friday morning.
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Friday afternoon for a brief moment.
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And finally the rarest of all.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip cookies (almond flour)

Here's the link where I found this recipe.

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Here's the recipe.
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tbs coconut oil
1/3 cup sucanat or rapadura
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
*Optional: 1/2 cup crispy walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter, oil, and sucanat. Add vanilla and egg. Mix well. Add baking soda and salt. Slowly add the almond flour 1/2 cup at a time. Blend well. Drop by tbs onto greased baking sheet. Bake 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Makes 2 dozen.

These cookies are yummy! They are better cooled rather than warm from the oven and they have a slightly soggy feel, so they are better baked fore the longer time.

*Crispy walnuts basic instructions. Combine 4 cups walnut halves, 2 tsp salt and water to cover. Let sit on your counter for 7 hours or overnight. Drain. Place in an 150 degree oven for 24 hours. Then they are ready.

"Nuts are an extremely nutritious food if properly prepared. Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess. Nuts are easier to digest, and their nutrients more readily available, if they are fist soaked in salt water overnight, then dried in a warm oven." Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, 2001, page 512.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I wish I said that!

Over the last few years I have come to appreciate Voddie Baucham.  I have read a couple of his books and heard him speak.  One of his recent blog posts is about a political candidate who I also appreciate.  Here's is that post.

I'll copy it here, but you'll need to go to his site to see the references.


Why Ron Paul?

Since posting a passing comment on my Facebook fan page about Ron Paul, I have been inundated with questions and concerns about my support of the Texas Congressman in the current Republican Primary race. In one of my many political posts (frequently, I post videos, news articles, etc., in an effort to show the importance and influence of worldview), I simply stated that I voted for Dr. Paul in the last election, and planned to vote for him again.

The result was hundreds of comments; more than any other post I’ve ever submitted. Most of the comments were positive. However, several were extremely negative. Some vowed never to follow, or support my ministry any further, while others simply communicated their dismay. Still others, like today's questioner, just asked honest questions. As a result, I’ve decided to explain my position, and this seemed like the best place to do it.

Let me say ahead of time that I do not believe that politics will save America. Nor do I believe there are any perfect candidates. There never have been, and there never will be. Moreover, it is not my goal to answer every objection to the Paul candidacy as I know that there are those who, for various reasons, will not be persuaded, and more importantly, that’s not my job. My goal here is to offer insight in to my own reasoning as I wade through another political season and make a personal choice.


I. Ron Paul is a Christian Conservative

While I am not looking for a “Pastor-in-Chief,” it is important to me that the man for whom I cast my vote be a Christian, if at all possible. And though I recognize that there is not always a clear Christian choice (i.e., the 2008 election), I agree with Chief Justice John Jay who wrote, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."[1] For indeed, “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe.”[2] John Witherspoon concurs: “Those, therefore, who pay no regard to religion and sobriety in the persons whom they send to [public office] are guilty of the greatest absurdity and will soon pay dear for their folly.”[3] I think we are seeing this on display right now.[4]

My desire is not to see a president who will usurp the authority, responsibilities, or privileges of the Church. However, I do not wish to see those things hindered either. I also want to know that the foundational ideology motivating a man’s decisions is biblical. I know it will not always mirror my own, but I trust God’s word, and appreciate those who look to it for aid in making decisions. To that end, I support Dr. Paul because he is not just a conservative, but a Christian Conservative.

Dr. Paul does not beat his Christian faith like a drum in his public/political life. Unfortunately, that is off-putting for the “Christian Right”. However, in a world full of ‘posturing’ in an effort to win over evangelicals, I find Paul’s public demeanor refreshing. And it is not as though he is a ‘closet Christian,’ either. “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate,” wrote Paul on his Web site.[5] I have also had the privilege of talking with both him, and one of his five children about his faith and how it influences his policy positions.

Nevertheless, the more important aspect is the fact that this Southern Baptist (raised Lutheran) is a regular church attender. What would motivate a man to attend church, but not beat a drum about it in an effort to win over evangelicals in an age when political figures play at Christianity (while living totally contradictory lives, and holding heterodox beliefs) in order to assuage the fears of the Christian Right? Having met and talked to Dr. Paul, I would say it is authenticity, and humility more than anything else. He wants “to avoid any appearance of exploiting [his faith] for political gain.”[6]

II. Ron Paul is a Constitutional Conservative

Not only is Ron Paul a Christian Conservative; he is also a Constitutional Conservative. He holds himself accountable to the Constitution of the United States, even when it means he has to vote against legislation that may be otherwise beneficial. This has cost him on numerous occasions as people use the “Ron Paul voted against so-and-so” tactic to paint a caricature of him and play “gotcha” politics.

This is actually an important quality in a President. I don’t want a man in the White House making decisions based on what “feels” right. I’m not looking for a conscientious King; I want a Chief Executive. I want a man whose decisions are predictable because of a long track record of constitutional conservatism. I may not always agree with a man like that, but I will always know why he did what he did, and I can live with that. Especially in several crucial areas facing our Republic, like money, war, States’ Rights, and foreign policy, for example.

Constitutional Money

I support Ron Paul because he has a constitutional view of money. He is the only candidate consistently to confront the Federal Reserve Bank (which is not federal, has no reserves, and is not a bank), and address the issue of fiat currency (a.k.a. unjust weights and measures; Lev 19:36; Prov 16:11), which debases the dollar, manipulates business cycles, creates inflation, and always benefits the rich at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised. And he talks about the issue in just those terms.

Congressman Paul is also the only candidate who has a budget that will cut a TRILLION DOLLARS in spending in year one.[7] He is the only candidate who has committed to defund and eliminate expensive, unconstitutional agencies. This is crucial for a country headed for an economic cliff. Our debt is larger than our GDP and we simply must address it NOW (Luke 14:28)! This is arguably the most important issue we face, and while others want to tinker with the status quo, Dr. Paul wants to do the hard thing; the right thing; the biblical thing; the constitutional thing.

Constitutional War

I support Ron Paul because he is a military veteran (yup... he refuses to beat that drum too, which is why you may not have known that little tidbit). And though I do not believe it is necessary for a man to have served in the military for him to serve as President, the fact that Congressman Paul knows and hates war lends credibility to his desire and commitment to ending the wars and bringing our troops home. Moreover, he has a constitutional understanding of war (only Congress can send us to war), and a Christian commitment to historic Just War Theory (rooted in the Sixth Commandment... HIS WORDS).[8] He, unlike other candidates, can be counted on not to commit to acts of war without congressional authority (i.e., unilaterally deciding to bomb a sovereign nation if they advance their weapons technology in a region several thousand miles away from the U.S., under the watchful eye of a nation with over 300 nukes who can stop them in a heartbeat... but I digress).

There is a reason Dr. Paul has received more support from members of the military than all other candidates (Republican and Democrat) COMBINED! The top three employers of Ron Paul’s donors are the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, respectively. Dr. Paul will not use our military to hunt down and overthrow heads of state without Congressional authority (i.e., Libya), kill American citizens without warrant,[9] detain citizens indefinitely without benefit of a trial,[10] or chase warlords in central Africa.[11] When it comes to war, Dr. Paul understands that, “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” (Proverbs 26:17)

Constitutional States’ Rights

I support Ron Paul because he not only understands, but believes in the Tenth Amendment. I know many Christians have been scared off by the “Ron Paul wants to legalize drugs, gay marriage, and abortion” rhetoric. However, looking beyond the rhetoric reveals Paul’s true constitutional conservatism (and biblical understanding of jurisdiction). He has personal convictions, but those will not be allowed to steer him away from his constitutional oath. The presidency, and the Federal Government have limits.

The President is not “Pastor in Chief.” It is not the President’s job (or the job of the Federal Government) to set such policies. The “War on Drugs,” for example, has been a monumental, unconstitutional, fiscal failure (to the tune of more than $3 BILLION)![12] The Federal Government must be held within the confines of its enumerated powers. This is important for Christians because we will not always have people in the White House with whom we agree (in fact, politicians will always let us down). What happens when we send a man to the White House with the express purpose of “changing the moral standards” of America in our favor, then, down the line we have a president who uses the same un-cheked powers to promote moral standards with which we disagree? How’s that workin’ for ya’?

But what about the moral issues to which we, as Christians, must speak? First, we must speak to them at the local level. I have no right to look to Washington, D.C. for remedies when I am not preaching on Mars Hill at every opportunity. The Roe v. Wade, for example, started in Texas; not D.C.. Furthermore, there is not a single institution more prolific in the spread of moral decay than the government education system, and Ron Paul is the only man who plans to get the federal government out of that business by ending the (unconstitutional) Department of Education IMMEDIATELY (Luke 6:40).

Beyond that, if there are issues we wish to address on a federal level, we have a federal remedy, and it is not the election of a President; it is the amendment process. This is less favorable to those who do not wish to do the hard work of changing hearts and minds in the marketplace of ideas. However, the alternative is a quasi-monarchy (or oligarchy) that changes with the wind, and a view of the presidency that is both unbiblical and unconstitutional.

Constitutional Foreign Policy

I support Ron Paul because he has a constitutional view of foreign policy. Ironically, our foreign policy has been so unconstitutional for so long that many people recoil at the idea of getting it back in line. Moreover, the semantic game Paul’s opponents play (using “isolationism” as opposed to “non-intervention” to define his position) doesn’t help. For most Christians, this is where they believe I’ve left the reservation. They may not say, “We have to be the world’s police force,” but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Do you know his position on Israel?” “Surely you can’t support a man who doesn’t support Israel!”

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Ron Paul does support Israel. It is our current foreign policy that does not support Israel! However, there is a deeper issue here. There is a sort of misplaced Dispensationalism that governs people’s sentimental attitude toward Israel. Let me state clearly that I do not believe the Bible demands that the U.S. support Israel. I do, however, believe that it is wise to do so for geopolitical reasons. To do so for theological reasons, I believe, is actually misguided, and quite dangerous. Nevertheless, Israel is our only true ally in the Middle East, and that is important.

But there’s a more important question: “What does it mean to “support” Israel?” Does it mean that Israel remains God’s “Chosen People,” and we must stand with them in anticipation of the coming Armageddon? Is the President to act as “Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces” and “Supreme Defender of Israel”? Or are we simply to make sure the foreign aid dollars don’t stop flowing? Here are a few things I took into to consideration in evaluating Congressman Paul’s foreign policy.

  1. Israel is the most powerful nation in the Middle East... BY A LONG SHOT! In fact, Israel could potentially defeat all the other military powers in the Middle East simultaneously if they had to.
  2. We not only give money to Israel; we give money to their enemies as well. That is not supporting Israel! That is using money to buy influence in a region thousands of miles away from us in the name of oil, when we happen to have the largest repository of oil on planet earth right here in the US, but refuse to go and get it (in the name of Earth-worshipping environmentalism)!
  3. Israel is a sovereign nation, and we have no right to treat her like a child. Our foreign aid has been a tool used to influence Israel’s domestic policy for far too long. If we are their friends, we should allow them to exercise their sovereignty without our interference, and certainly without our condemnation. Who do we think we are? No, I disagree with my Christian brothers and sisters who think a country who supports Israel’s enemies, interferes with Israel’s domestic policy, condemn’s Israel in efforts to keep ties with oil-rich countries in the region, and helps to destabilize and radicalize one of Israel’s historic foes lurking on her southern boarder is engaging in a foreign policy that supports Israel.

III. Ron Paul is a Consistent Conservative

Finally, I support Dr. Paul because he has been a consistent conservative. He has been married to the same woman for more than fifty years; delivered over 4,000 babies as an OB; never performed a single abortion; has never voted for an unbalanced budget, a tax increase, or a bailout; forecasted the economic debacle long before it happened;[13] and gave back $140,000 last year through his office to pay down the national debt (100,000 in 2010). This man is so principled that he refuses to claim his congressional pension!

Ron Paul is the real deal. He is not perfect. He needs a savior just like you and I do (as noted by his trust in Christ as his redeemer). But when it’s all said and done, he is a man with whom I agree in principle. I know where he’s coming from, and it’s not based on his “personal story,” or his sense of what’s going to get him elected. It’s the same thing he’s been running on (and governing from) for over three decades; the Constitution of the United States (viewed through the lens of a basic biblical world and life view). And I’m glad to support a man like that.