Please, Mr. Government, May I Mind My Own Business?

Everywhere we turn, the government is there, helping to make the world a better place.

We’re better off now that government does so much to help us, the folks in Washington tell us. There’s no reason for all the furor, they have our best interests in mind…and they know better than us, anyway. Don’t we trust them?

In a word, no; and in two words, certainly not.

Government overreach, rebooted for your viewing enjoyment (for the progressives), or apoplectic rants (for everyone else).

Another attack on sir, you may NOT plant those tomatoes there....
Another attack on freedom…no sir, you may NOT plant those tomatoes there….

(photo credit)

The article is here.

You have got to be kidding me.

Yes, I know that’s colloquial. No, I do not care.

This is ridiculous. These bureaucrats are trifling. This is as lame as a horse with five broken legs.

Yes, I know that doesn’t exist. No, I do not care.

At what point do we stand and say, “Give me liberty, or give me death”? Sounds a bit extreme, probably, and I can hear the detractors now:

That’s a ridiculous overreaction of a bitter partisan believer in massive conspiracy theories.

Not hardly.

Food is an integral and vital part of every person’s life. Without sustenance of some sort, you will die. If you eat the wrong type of food long enough, it will affect your health. Changing their diet has helped many people lose weight, gain confidence, build muscle mass and overall endurance, and feel better and more emotionally stable…..all without any other form of medicine!

Well, you might ask, what if “food-only medicine” people are wrong? If they are wrong, there’s nothing to lose. But, I ask you, what if they are right? If they are right, there’s much at stake!

What if, you query, you are wrong about the government overreaching its bounds here? If I’m wrong, there’s nothing about which to worry. But, again, what if I’m right? If I am, there’s much at stake here!

Including, it seems, one’s freedom to grow radishes, beets, turnips, kale, collards, carrots, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, and corn in the front yard in place of junipers, Japanese maples, clover, boxwood hedges, and other ornamental plants that really don’t have any practical use.


Obama: “Newtown…Deserves a Vote!”

The following is not based on a real conversation….it’s what I’d like to say to President Obama, based on his executive order to “establish a meaningful national dialogue on the subject of gun control” or however he worded the item on his Imperial To-Do List. Picture if you will the President listening–actually listening–to what I have to say. Unfortunately, that probably never will happen; but, I can dream, can’t I?

Kudos to Jeff Rutherford for the photo edit!
Kudos to Jeff Rutherford for the photo edit!

Mr. President, we need to talk. No, really….please hear me out. Using your State of the Union Address as a platform for demagoguery, you declared that the families of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, Tuscon, and etc. deserve a vote. You also mentioned former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford, stating that she too, deserves a vote.

Don’t quite recall that? It’s on camera, you saying all this in front of God and everybody:

Mr. President, let’s look at this for a moment.

Former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford is a US citizen. So, too, are the parents of the children from Newtown. That means that they HAVE a vote, which they are free to exercise in this nation. Did they vote? Did they exercise their right to elect a representative that stands for the things in which they believe? Or are they waiting for you to use the bully pulpit of the White House to ram some monster, unconstitutional bill through Congress and down the throats of those who disagree? This isn’t an accusation or projection…I’m just inferring what will probably happen, based on past experience and observation.

The families of those killed in the shootings in Oak Creek, Tuscon, Aurora, etc., are US citizens, and they HAVE a vote. Have they exercised their right to vote? If not, why are they complaining? Yes, it’s tragic that this happened, but let’s not make the mistake of letting emotion interfere with meaningful action. As it stands, your attitude toward guns, your visceral despisement of these vicious assault weapons are setting this nation up for some very foolish choices.

Your policies, darling bosom friends that they are to you, are the reason that these shootings are happening. Yes, even a cursory examination of the objective studies on this issue will reveal that gun-free zones–and stand by for this….don’t prevent gun crimes. In fact, they dramatically enhance the possibility of those within this “safe zone” becoming victims to the next homicidal maniac with a firearm.

To add to that objective fact, the citizens of Newtown have ratified new legislation that makes provision for two school resource officers, one armed and one unarmed, to be on the campus of every school in town. This new legislation simply extends the protection that was already in place at the local high schools to include all schools. This, then, indicates the will of the people of this jurisdiction, and should not be overturned in your usual imperious manner.

Do some disagree with this approach? Fine….it’s still a free country, Mr. President. They are more than welcome to “vote with their feet,” in the popular phrase of the day. Let them move to your old neighborhood, which features both gun laws among the strictest in the nation, and an unparalleled homicide rate. Incidentally, do you suppose that one factor there does not affect the other? Surely you’re smarter than to think that….

Across the nation, communities, cities, counties are not waiting for your top-down edict on how to handle the current “gun crisis (falsely so-called, I add).” They are quietly, efficiently taking action at the local level to implement laws and regulations that they believe will best serve the interests of the community in which they live, and protect the ones they love. They have voted, used the legislative process, and decently and in order instituted new legislation to further their desired end. It would be unwise (and extremely petty) for you to overturn this by top-down, gangster-style government overreach. This isn’t Chicago, after all.

In short, Newtown doesn’t deserve a vote anymore. Your speech’s tendentious argument on this point indicates the premise is founded on dated information. You really should talk to those folks in WHCA, Mr. President….they’re not keeping you current.

You should have listened during that meeting, Mr. President. Newtown has already TAKEN a vote.

Myths About Lincoln: Interesting Page

Myths About Lincoln: Interesting Page

Here’s an interesting page, originally shared by one of my friends on Facebook. Think you know Lincoln? Think again….most of what Americans think they know about Lincoln is based on one of these six myths. Was Lincoln a great man of integrity? No doubt….but he wasn’t everything the current textbook writers make him out to be. Don’t believe me? Check this page out for yourself! I invite you to reconsider your thoughts and conclusions on this issue.

Abraham Lincoln: Possessed of the greatest mythical reputation of perhaps any President.
Abraham Lincoln: Possessed of the greatest mythical reputation of perhaps any President.

Gun Owners Not Progressives, Refuse to Be Cowed By Psychological Campaign

[Owning] A smoking gun could be as bad for your social image as a smoking cigarette, if liberals have their way.

The Christian Science Monitor, the far-out publication of the Christian Scientists, has muddled the facts once again on an important cultural issue. The magazine, which recently classed Palestinian-funded terrorist attacks against Israel as “military action,” now insists that the way to curb gun violence is a public perception campaign designed to stigmatize gun ownership, much akin to the campaign that successfully stigmatized smoking.

Cogitating Duck’s Profile Graphic

(Visit Stigmatize gun ownership like smoking? on Cogitating Duck to read another interesting article on this subject.)

Recent surveys, however, may indicate that such attempts are doomed to dismal failure. According to Dr. Rob Spurgeon, holder of the chair of Aristotelian Professor of Logic and Co-chair of the Department of Farming (yes, really) at Real Life University in Western North Carolina, gun owners belong to the group of people who still evaluate any line of reasoning according to the logical merits of its arguments, rather than its emotional impact. “Those who advocate this line of reasoning aren’t thinking clearly,” Dr. Spurgeon explains. “The gun owners the progressives seek to embarrass about their guns are much more emotionally robust than their liberal counterparts. What the stigmatizers fail to admit is that many of those same gun owners are employed in professions that bring them face to face with the harsh realities of real life and the real world.

“Not every animal that is born on the farm lives to see the next spring,” Spurgeon continues. “There are many factors that contribute to a high mortality rate among the animal population of the average agrarian establishment: storm, disease, fire, predators, and yes, some of them are slated to give up their lives to feed the humans that maintain the grange.” But what does this have to do with the argument he posits against a “public shaming” campaign targeting gun owners? He explains:

“Because of the high investment in the animals in terms of time, an unavoidable emotional attachment will form as a result. Furthermore, a farmer’s great compassion for animals–despite the stereotype to the contrary–gives him a desire to see all prosper under his care. He is not overly concerned with his animals’ comfort, but neither does he neglect them. Instead, he looks most solicitously after them, for their well-being is directly tied to his own success. Thus the death of a six-week-old lamb due to complications of pneumonia is not an event which takes place in a vacuum. Unlike city-dwellers, whose primary concern is that the animals from whom the meat they purchase derives did not suffer during the ‘manufacturing’ process, these folks have deep ties to their animals. When one dies, it’s a very real and significant event in the lives of its caretakers. However, the real world dictates that the farmer–after an appropriate interval–must dry his tears, bury the dead, and get back to work.”

Nor is farming the only profession which requires a realistic, grin-and-go-on mentality. Dr. David Crain, Sr., Vice Chancellor of Real-Life University, explains:

Our student body is unique. It’s diverse. There are many different backgrounds and origins represented. Many of our students are preparing for careers in business. Some spend their time volunteering in various non-profit organizations. Others feel the call to full-time vocational ministry. Whatever the course of study in which a student is enrolled, the core curriculum is the same…

We don’t discriminate, but we don’t worry about active recruiting (affirmative action) procedures either. We believe that the students who desire to study here will come of their own volition. If they don’t want to be here, telling them how great our campus is won’t change their mind, and neither will our curriculum. Does this mean that we don’t promote the University when people ask? Certainly not! That’s half of the mission of RLU…to engage with the culture and convince others of the truth of our beliefs and practices.

Basic Economics, Politics 101, Public Speaking, English Grammar, Critical Thinking, Logic, and The Fine Art of Growing Thick Skin are courses that are non-negotiable. Here at RLU, we believe that if our graduates are to succeed, then they must learn and apply to their everyday lives the principles imparted by the dedicated staff in these departments. Our purpose is not to educate people into uselessness, but to educate them in useful disciplines that will make them profitable citizens, informed voters, critical thinkers, rational parents, and stable adults…

Dr. Crain founded Real Life University in early 1997, at the time that his oldest son, David Crain, Jr. was in the 7th grade. “I knew,” he later reminisced, “that I didn’t want my boys going out into the world without understanding where the progressive professors in the state-run education system got their ideas, and how patently false the assumptions behind accepted modern thought really are.”

Operating on a shoe-string budget, and in spite of overwhelming disapproval from his peers, Dr. Crain hand-selected his own textbooks, supplemental reading, and spent countless hours writing and re-writing tests, quizzes, and course notes, many of which are still used today in the core classes at RLU. “Despite the many hours of sleep I lost,” he said in a recent interview, “the ultimate reward was in seeing my boys grow up to be clear-eyed, level-headed thinkers who, actively refusing to imbibe the pleasant (but mind-numbing) wine of progressive socialism, entered into debate with those who espoused the progressive worldview. Above all, it was a joy to see them do so–not arrogantly–but fearlessly, regardless of the academic or political stature of their opponent.”

On hunting down one of these boys, we found young Mr. Crain, a lanky six-footer with a ready grin and a shock of curly brown hair, to be as ready a commentator as his father. He took a full two hours in the middle of mowing a pasture to answer our questions and talk politics. Wearing faded Wranglers that were dark stonewashed when new, a Ford ball cap,  and a plaid flannel shirt, he jumps off the tractor and grips the author’s hand like a steel trap gripping a coyote’s paw.

“I grew up on the farm, and it’s easy to forget that not everybody shakes hands with country folk everyday,” he offers apologetically as Scribens rubs his tingling digits. A clear speaker, his voice is nevertheless tinged with an authentic Southern burr that softens the pronunciation of some words. His years of public speaking experience are evidenced by the overemphasis of certain syllables when he’s making a point, however.

“I loved living out in the country…still do,” he continued in our January 24th interview. “There’s an atmosphere of peace and safety that’s refreshing and comforting, and I’ve yet to be in a city where that same sense of security prevails. Of course, there are things that happen out here from time to time in the way of crime, but nothing like the big cities where people are stacked up in cracker-box penthouses and apartments. Out here, there’s a little more space between houses, and people are more relaxed.”

Broach the subject of politics as it relates to logical thought, and you’ll get a glimpse of what makes this young man tick. He sits up a little straighter, his voice grows a little stronger, and his eyes gleam, not with the wild light of the lunatic but the passion of an to informed man eager to guide others on the road to truth.

“Eisenhower said it, and he said it well: ‘Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.’ Granted, he was talking specifically about the military-industrial complex, but America has ignored the deeper and broader implications to her own peril.

“We live in a nation today that is convinced that truth is something that can only be obtained by a renunciation of all that has gone before, and a disinterested search through the uncharted wilds of the relativistic ether for an equally elusive concept of relevant truth for this postmodern world,” he elucidates. “The classic interpretation of truth as objective and relevant to all ages is a concept that is no longer embraced by the culturally enlightened. Objective truth has gone the way of the dinosaur, and they hope it stays there. But only by a return to this paradigm, now a pariah in the very society that gave it its greatest expression, can we hope to turn this country back to its founding principles and documents.”

At this point I mentioned the Christian Science Monitor article, and asked him what he thought of the suggested “public perception” campaign to “stigmatize gun ownership.”

He laughed. “You’re kidding, right?” Then his grin disappeared and he looked thoughtful. “It’s going to take a lot more than that, quite honestly. I mean, they compare it to smoking, but that’s just foolish. Do I agree with the stigmatization of smoking and smokers? No. I believe there’s enough evidence to convince people of the harmful effects of smoking. I have personal reasons for abstaining that include (but are not limited to) the health concerns, but I don’t believe that the government should tell anyone: ‘Thou shalt not smoke,’ or, ‘Thou shalt smoke only here, and only under these circumstances.'”

“Before you stone me as being anti-health, stop and think about it for a moment. How consistent would it be for me to lobby for the government to restrict the choice of some folks to engage in activities that I don’t like, but don’t necessarily harm others, and then scream when those same people use that same government to take away certain of my rights with which they do not agree?”

“Now, I’m not equating smoking to bearing arms as a right; I’m just drawing a parallel. A much more equal comparison would be between free speech and bearing arms; or between right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure and bearing arms. These are all rights as granted by the Constitution and the Amendments thereof, and they are not, as the Second Amendment states, to be infringed.”

“So do I think the progressives will be successful in their campaign to stigmatize guns? No, I don’t. The people they seek to bully into cowering submission are largely well-educated, familiar with real life, accustomed to hardship, and are pretty set in their convictions on these matters. They’re not doing something that is harmful to their health, something that they took up years ago because everybody thought it was cool…that’s what smoking is for many people. But gun ownership is different, and ingrained in the DNA of every conservative father is the drive to pass on the safe use of, and love for, guns.”

“Despite any attempts to stigmatize the owners, guns are part of the American way of life. Their ownership is protected by our Constitution, their safe and responsible use is encouraged by countless thousands of conservative parents, and their presence–in the hands of well-trained civilians who know where and how to use them–is part of the reason my home town has a relatively low crime rate. Yes, evil men use them to commit evil deeds…but good men use them just as often to prevent evil deeds. In a gun-crime situation, the problem isn’t the gun…it’s the man behind the gun.”

“That’s the central message behind our stance on weapons and the Second Amendment.”

Text for this article is taken from interviews with the gentlemen listed and is the  proprietary intellectual property of Excogitatoris Scribens™.

Excog Profile Pic

(graphic credit)

© 2013, all rights reserved according to the copyright policy of The Southern Voice.

Friedman: Greed, the Free Market, and the Constitution

Having recently finished the excellent book, Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman (and at the further urging of a good friend), I was spurred by my insatiable curiosity to hunt up more of what Friedman had to say. In the course of obeying this impulsion, I found this video on YouTube of the late Dr. Milton Friedman answering the three-part question of an espousee of the progressive mindset. Very informative, and I thoroughly agree with the title: Friedman does indeed crush this man’s doubtful disputation with the facts.

Incidentally, near the end–where he speaks about using the Constitution to control the government–is particularly telling.

And this video, though brief, demonstrates Friedman’s ability to totally disarm an opponent’s entire method of attack by addressing, in a series of questions, the inconsistencies in the underlying ideology. Also notice how he turns the very same questions the host asked around and requires him to answer them (or try to do so). This is from an interview on Phil Donahue’s show, from 1979. Fascinating!

“Nothing New Under the Sun”

Many people who reference the title statement of this post may not realize that it is actually an almost-perfect quote from the Scriptures. Nearly 3,000 years old, this statement appears in the book of Ecclesiastes, and was written by King Solomon of Israel, around 977 B.C. It is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:9. The context surrounding this verse runs as follows:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after [emphasis mine].” — Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

In our modern day, technology and a decaying education system have meshed to create a generation with no attention span, and increasingly, no memory. Even in this author’s lifetime, the attitude toward feats of memory–and what defines such feats–has changed radically. People quoting extensive passages of Shakespeare or other writers to illustrate a point was once commonplace; today, people regard someone possessed of such knowledge with something bordering on awestruck disbelief. Increasingly, too, people scoff at the idea that someone who wrote hundreds of years ago could have anything to say that is “relevant” to the world today, and the situations in which we now find ourselves.

However, this Scripture passage flies in the face of the belief that all truth is relative, and that there are no overarching–universal–truths and principles that apply to every man in every age.

Today, as I was browsing some articles relating to current events in America, I chanced upon an author’s personal website, which had a “quote for the day” displayed in a side-bar much like the one that appears to the right of this post. The quote ran as follows:

The oligarch and the tyrant both distrust the people, and thus deprive them of their arms.


(Interested in seeing this page for yourself? Go here to see the quote, and let me recommend reading the articles Paul Jacob has written on this subject–after you finish reading my article.) 😉

Since I’ve now ignited your curiosity to go and see what Paul Jacob is writing about, I’ll carry on for another forty-two paragraphs.

Just kidding! I’m nearly finished.

I’ve written for weeks now about the importance of pausing to think about things we see, hear and read; now, I’d like to ask you to begin to apply those principles to the information above, as well as to the conclusions Mr. Jacob reaches in his columns listed on his website. What are some of the thoughts these things prompt in your mind? Is there any correlation between the principle in Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 and the quote from Aristotle? If so, what application might these quotes have to current events?

Here’s your chance to contribute to this blog!

Kintergarden Revisited: The ABC’s of My Political Education

Recently, Jeff Rutherford–a follower of my blog and manager of Necessary and Proper Government–asked me from whence I’d gained my political and economic knowledge. After a moment’s thought, I realized it was a question I’ve never answered. So, how did I come to the place where I am now, politically and economically?

I could say “On my own,” but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate.

I was born into a conservative home; furthermore, both my parents were devout  Christians. From my earliest recollection and before, I was in church each time the doors were open. Even though TV had been around for decades by the time the early ’90s rolled around, I spent the first ten years of my life with almost no time in front of a television screen. There wasn’t one in the house, so what little exposure I had was at friends’ houses, and then it was usually a movie that my friend’s mother had cleared with my mother.

I mentioned in my post, Cliffs, Fences, and Ambulances that the poem was a great jumping-off point for this explanatory post of where I am today. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to use the above link and read the poem in its entirety. It probably won’t take you more than five minutes.

Are you back? Great! Let’s continue.

The crux of the matter in the above-referenced poem is the question of whether we should build a fence round the top of the cliff (pre-crisis intervention), or place an ambulance down below to clean up the mess (post-crisis intervention). From the moment I was born, my parents agreed to set up certain boundaries in my life that would prevent me from going in a direction that would inhibit their desire to see me grow in the knowledge of the truth. They did their best to protect me from the “one-off” mistakes; you know, the ones where you make a mistake once, and they kill you. In other areas, they allowed me to make mistakes, waited for me to pick myself up and dust myself off, and then used that real-life experience to illustrate a principle that carried over into countless other areas of life. By allowing me to suffer the consequences of small mistakes in a controlled environment, they were educating me on the principles of reaping what you sow, without allowing me to invest so much that I’d destroy myself in the downfall.

Contrary to popular philosophical and psychological counsel, my parents understood that leaving someone free to choose does not mean allowing them to have their own way from birth.

At the young age of four, in the church I had attended since birth, God used a very special Book to change my life. On a Sunday evening in October of 1993, I realized that being in church with my Christian parents wasn’t enough. I needed a personal relationship with Christ. I met Him that night, and I’ve never been the same since.

As I continued to grow and mature, my parents used their influence to guide me into the way of analyzing every philosophy against the framework of real life. Contrary to the common method of “If it sounds good, it is good,” my parents invited me to critically examine and weigh the evidence from both sides of the issue.

When I was about sixteen years old, my dad brought home another book that changed my life. Somehow, somewhere, he’d heard of the writings of one Thomas Sowell, a prominent conservative black economist. After reading a few of his columns online, my dad had purchased his book White Liberals and Black Rednecks.

As I read the book, it struck me how much Dr. Sowell’s message backed up what my dad had told me for years. Although my understanding was imperfect at the time, and I was mainly rejoicing in the fact that someone was willing to attack the liberals so forcefully in print, I was also absorbing and storing information and principles that would stick with me for years to come.

As I grew still older and entered the workplace, I began to see the message behind the message in Dr. Sowell’s books. By this time, my dad owned three or four, and I’d purchased four or five with some of the money I was earning from my first real job. I’d also bought several books by Dr. Sowell’s contemporary, Dr. Walter Williams.

By the time I was twenty years of age, I’d spent three years in the workforce, and nearly as long digesting the books by these two preeminent economists. Though I never would have been able to phrase it so at the time, I was amazed at the difference between their words and the words of my fellow workers of African-American heritage. In the back of my mind, tension was growing. Who was right? The fellows I worked with spouted words that sounded so good…they made people feel good about themselves, they removed a lot of the responsibility for bad choices from the individual and placed it on the collective shoulders of society, etc., etc. Where had I heard this before?

The answer came to me, not in a single, blinding epiphany, but over the course of years of reading news articles and editorials, observing current events, spending hours contemplating the inconsistencies between people’s words and reality, and prayerfully searching the Scriptures.

Gradually, it began to dawn on me that the philosophy espoused by my coworkers–appeal to the emotions notwithstanding–was the faulty one that left countless nuances of reality unexplained. It’s difficult to put into words the hundreds of events and factors that came into play as I wrestled with this complicated issue.

Although I was now at the point where my parents had set me free to draw my own conclusions, I had by no means completely discounted their opinions. Other adults at church who shared my father’s views on many issues solidified the growing regard in which I held those same views. And for nearly a year, my father printed off hundreds of articles by conservatives from across the nation, brought them home, and just left them lying where I’d be sure to see them.

I mentioned earlier the fact that for ten years of my life, we had no television in the house. Thus, I was from an early age completely engaged with books. I learned to read at the age of five, and developed early a love for reading that has never departed. Nearly twenty years later, I’d still rather read a book than watch a film, and even radio is preferable to television in my eyes. Because of this love for reading, I devoured every printout my dad brought home, and the constant exposure to factual, logical analysis of the current events and policies in Washington took root in my mind.

All of these things have contributed to my current position. I stand behind statements I’ve previously made: reading is the single most important element in teaching a child to think critically, logically, and linearly. A good reader is a good thinker. Reading properly promotes memory, because it forces the reader to remember and track arguments and trains of thought across pages of printed matter, and to gather up the loose ends and tie them all together at the close. True, a well-written book or article will aid the reader in this process; but, without memory, reading is a pointless and frustrating endeavor.

So, the answer is that my knowledge of politics and economics is largely from self-education. I know more about politics now than I did three years ago, and it is my desire to continue to learn more about politics and economics for the rest of my life. Although I don’t feel led to pursue a career in either field presently, I know that everything I learn will have value in enabling me to make sense of the world at large. It will also make me a better-informed and more productive participant in the political process, which I firmly believe was what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

I realize this explanation isn’t complete, but it’s a start. As you’ve read it, I hope some of your questions have been answered. Perhaps some have not. Perhaps other inquiries have come to mind. If so, please share them with me. What else would you like to know about the way my education shaped my thinking?

Cliffs, Fences, and Ambulances

In a country that is metaphorical, yet more real than you’d like to think, is a valley. At one end stands a precipitous cliff. A small town nestles near its foot, and its residents often walk along the top of said cliff. The question is: which is the wiser choice? Should they fence the cliff? Or put an ambulance in the valley?

I found this old gem of a poem in a book of poems entitled Best Loved Poems of the American People. Although at first glance it may seem like just a humorous poem about a fictional valley and the cliff above it, I think of it as a metaphor from which we can glean very real and practical truths.

Incidentally (shout out to Jeff Rutherford of Necessary and Proper Government), this is a great jumping-off point to an explanation of how I got where I am, politically speaking. 🙂

So enjoy, if you will, the poem entitled A Fence or an Ambulance, by Joseph Malins. (Written in 1895.)


‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,

Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;

But over its terrible edge there had slipped

A duke and full many a peasant.

So the people said something would have to be done,

But their projects did not at all tally;

Some said, “Put a fence around the edge of the cliff,”

Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,

For it spread through the neighboring city;

A fence may be useful or not, it is true,

But each heart became brimful of pity

For those who had slipped over that dangerous cliff;

And the dwellers in highway and alley

Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,

But an ambulance down in the valley.

“For the cliff is all right, if you’re careful,” they said,

“And, if folks even slip and are dropping,

It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much,

As the shock down beloww when they’re stopping.”

So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,

Quick forth would these rescuers sally

To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,

With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: “It’s a marvel to me

That people give far more attention

To repairing results that to stopping the cause,

When they’d much better aim at prevention.

Let us stop at its source all this mischief,” cried he,

“Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;

If the cliff we will fence we might also dispense

With the ambulance down in the valley.”

“Oh, he’s a fanatic,” the others rejoined,

“Dispense with the ambulance? Never!

He’d dispense with all charities, too, if he could;

No! No! We’ll support them forever.

Aren’t we picking up folks  just as fast as they fall?

And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?

Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,

While the ambulance works in the valley?”

But a sensible few, who are practical too,

Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;

They believe that prevention is better than cure,

And their party will soon be the stronger.

Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,

And while other philanthropists dally,

They will scorn all pretense and put up a stout fence

On the cliff than hangs over the valley.

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,

For the voice of true wisdom is calling,

“To rescue the fallen is good, but ‘tis best

To prevent other people from falling.”

Better close up the source of temptation and crime

Than deliver from dungeon or galley;

Better put a strong fence round the top of the cliff

Than an ambulance down in the valley.

Although this is not part of my ongoing series on meditation, it is indeed something to think about.

A Real Problem, A Real Solution

Shootings are a real problem in America. I’ve never denied it, and I don’t want to risk alienating readers–current and potential–by acting as though there isn’t a problem.

However, when it comes to solutions, men and women who are out of touch with reality are everywhere to be seen.

For starters, the men and women the President has tapped to provide answers to the knotty problem of how to solve this dilemma are firmly rooted in the prevailing vision of government as savior, solution, and supreme. They refuse to admit that the federal government could be the problem.

Also, the “solutions” these people loudly acclaim and proclaim are not solutions. They are non-solutions.

Stricter gun-control laws. Universal background checks. Tighter restrictions on handgun and ammo sales. More numerous gun-free zones.

None of these measures, enacted in cities across the country, has reduced gun-related crimes in those jurisdictions. In fact, almost universally, crime has gone up in the wake of these measures.

In keeping with my recent decision to speak my mind, to add my voice to the debate surrounding current issues, I have come to the table today with an alternative solution to this very real problem. A very real, workable solution. A very simple solution.

Let’s bring guns back into schools.

We’ve seen conclusively over the past several years that the only thing removing guns from schools does is ensure that criminals like Adam Lanza are capable of maximum damage when the shooting begins.

So, how would guns in schools prevent another tragedy like Sandy Hook?

Well, they wouldn’t. Before we go any further in this discussion, we need to establish once and for all that guns do not kill people. People kill people, and they use many things to do it: guns, knives, hammers, baseball bats, letter openers, tire irons, and a host of other objects that have other purposes, but become lethal weapons in the wrong hands.

Another truth you won’t hear from those lusting after absolute power is that criminals don’t always use guns to kill large amounts of people.

Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer, gasoline, and box trucks. The terrorists who created the major disaster of 9-11-2001 used airplanes.

Yet no one is screaming for fertilizer to be banned. No one is suggesting that gasoline be eliminated because it can be used as a weapon. No one is decrying the widespread distribution of airplanes throughout our nation.

Furthermore, in the great debate surrounding guns and their availability to criminals, what many people fail to admit is that often, “…the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”

Wayne LaPierre, the president of the NRA, had it right.

So, let’s put guns back in the hands of those who are closest to the children: the teachers.

Teachers already have to pass a pretty stringent string of tests before they can begin their career in a classroom. They have to have a degree in education from a qualified institution. They have to pass a criminal background check and drug screening. In many states, a person convicted of a felony cannot receive a teacher’s license.

When looking at the above requirements for a teacher, something should be pretty clear.

The people who qualify to teach also qualify to acquire a concealed carry permit.

My thoughts on the concealed carry issue will be forthcoming in a subsequent post, but for now, let’s go with the above line of reasoning.

Licensed teachers qualify to be licensed concealed carriers. Let them carry their firearms to school. But don’t stop there: let’s start a program that offers training in counter-terrorism tactics, similar to that which police and SWAT team forces receive. There’s no reason to expect these people to be as highly-trained as those in the military special forces. Then again, there’s no reason to expect them to go to work unarmed every day, bound hand and foot by government regulations that leaves them as defenseless as sheep before a butcher.

We’ve seen the result of that sort of legislation. It’s time for some [healthy] change.

If a person contemplating a shooting of the type that happened in Newtown knows that he is likely to be met with a hail of well-placed bullets from armed teachers instructed in the proper use of deadly force, it’s almost a guarantee he’ll call off the operation. If he further knows that these same teachers have been instructed in unarmed combat techniques that enable a person to use his or her own hands as a lethal weapon, the probability of his abandoning the scheme increases exponentially.

I would not be so naive to expect schools across the nation to universally adopt this type of policy overnight. However, as more and more schools implement a plan similar to the one outlined above, criminals will adapt. It is possible that school shootings will continue, but only in those places where the retrogressive system remains in force. Before long, however, people will catch on to the simple truth:

If we put guns back into the hands of trained personnel in school zones, criminals will stop targeting these zones. The ease of access and guarantee of a successful massacre will be significantly reduced.

Do I think this will work? Yes, I do, but not simply because I came up with the solution. The truth is, criminals prefer unarmed victims. That’s why all of the mass shootings we’ve experienced over the last year have occurred in places where federal regulations stipulate that no one–not even a concealed carry permit holder–is to have a gun.

Criminals are dangerous. Not all criminals, however, are stupid. Taking guns from the hands of those who obey the laws is a non-solution, because we all know that criminals are considered criminals because they do not obey the laws of the land. Continue to take guns away from law-abiding citizens in certain jurisdictions and situations, and you may be certain that gun-related crime rates will not go down in those places.

As we’ve seen already, the rates will only go in one direction: up.

New Ideas? Not hardly…

“We need more gun control.”

No one has said this sentence in so few words, so concisely. That’s because politicians make a living by pretending to speak clearly when they’re really using the words they utter to obfuscate and confuse their listeners. But the above sentence has been screamed by bloggers. Tearfully promised by our President. Slavered by news anchor-men and -women, driven berserk by their insatiable lust for the blood of that most hated of all enemies of the retrogressive vision that fuels the raging fire in their souls:

The conservative, law-abiding, independently-minded, self-educated gun owners of this country.

But the slavering, eye-rolling, arm-flailing diatribe in which they specialize is filled to the brim with specious hatred, personal attacks on the character of those who dare to disagree, and flagrant appeals to the emotions of the uninformed masses, who view these delusional guttersnipes as their political saviors. Demagoguery has risen to the level where people from both sides of the political divide look to the chosen few to explain the 200-year-old documents that no common man can read properly. Those who promulgate this preposterous nonsense fail to point out to the constituents they patronize that these documents were written by common men, not “experienced politicians” such as themselves.

Then again, the era in which these documents were written was a different time, as they are quick to point out. This point is conceded: the common man in the 18th century would be highly uncommon in today’s world. The reasons for this are as multitudinous as the symptoms that our country is suffering from a terrible disease; indeed, they are the symptoms of this horrible disease.

Americans are running headlong into the arms of those who would snatch their liberties in order to promote their idea of a better world.

Huge bills, too long to read before they are brought to a vote, are rammed through Congress, and political death threats–though left unspoken–are bathed unmistakably in the light of inferential speeches, should any of those not in the circle of the anointed consider himself intelligent enough to breathe the barest monosyllable of dissent.

To anyone who has read Orwell’s 1984, the similarities are astounding.

Yet, Orwell did not cover the whole spectrum of events now unfolding in America.

Not all Americans have not been forced to surrender these liberties, per se. One who would claim to be able to document these reasons in a few short paragraphs would do so at the risk of becoming a reductionist, so two that intertwine as one example will suffice.

Education has gone to the dogs in this country.

Nearly 47% of Americans survive without rendering any productive service. While this author does not subscribe to the notion of “social responsibility,” only one who totally ignores our national history would be unable to see that this country was not built by those who rely on handouts from the government to provide incentive for life. That’s because handouts don’t provide incentive to succeed.

This country was built by those who worked their fingers to the bone to succeed. It was built by those who scrimped, saved, and–often–educated themselves with the necessary skills to become a productive member of society. It was built, not by those who demanded the respect of their fellow-men because of an imagined intellectual superiority, but by those who earned the respect of their fellow-men by working hard.

Millions of people, besotted by the pleasure of receiving something for nothing, fearing nothing but an unsafe situation, and “educated” in a system that is a shameless front for indoctrination into the new cult of socialistic humanism, quiver with a blind, all-consuming rage when any dare challenge the methods of the plutocrats who have taken charge of the reins of government, snatching them away from the ignorant plebeian wretches who fancy themselves intelligent enough to get involved in the governmental process.

If you don’t believe that the government should control the every breath and moment of John Q. Public’s life, then this means you. If you dare to dissent, even verbally, with the prevailing vision of the elitists in Washington, this means you. If you dare to retain for yourself the power of autonomous decision-making and–ultimately–the power to form your own opinions, this means you. And you are a domestic terrorist.

This, in bold-faced terms, is the self-anointed intelligentsia’s view of you. And me.

No, they wouldn’t dare say that. Not today; such words in today’s political climate would be tantamount to political suicide. But it is what is behind every piece of legislation that takes away the final word from the people. It is the mindset that drives our political leaders in today’s America.

And it is why America is changing. Rapidly. Fundamentally. Perhaps…irrevocably.

As I’ve said, today’s politicians wouldn’t dare say that. But tomorrow?

If only the people who agree with these pueristocrats (men and women in positions of authority who consider themselves vaunted sources of all wisdom and knowledge, and yet behave like spoiled children in office) have the guns, your head will spin to see the rate at which they change their tune. If only those who agree with the government’s “progressive” view, those who wholeheartedly embrace the socialistic gospel of envy, those who drink deeply at the fountain of knowledge and yield themselves completely to the cult of the leader have a voice, this country will die.

And for the past one hundred years, the strategy of the leftist elite has been the same.

Do–or say–whatever necessary to discredit your opponent’s character. No matter what the cost in broken lives, shattered reputations, or sunken careers, do–or say–whatever necessary to stay in power. Coupled with the purposeful emasculation of the education infrastructure of this country, this approach has succeeded beyond the elitists’ wildest hopes.

The reason for the retrogressives’ desperate lust for maintaining the stasis of power among those who subscribe to the vision of the elite is two-fold.

First, power always corrupts. And absolute power still corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton’s words from so long ago still hold true, and cannot be improved upon.

The second reason is as simple as the first. If, by a chance so remote as to border on the mythological, the reins of power ever fell to true conservatives, the high-sounding, pleasant rhetoric of the leftist autocrats would be shown for what it is.

Empty castles in the air. A world that sounds good, and where costs are unimportant, but is impossible to achieve. A fleeting mirage. A non-existent Utopia.

In fact, such a shift in power would not be necessary to illustrate this point. Countless times–throughout human history–these “new ideas” preached by the statists have been tried. Countless times, the policies the self-anointed gods of the Potomac now seek to put in place have been implemented.

Each and every time, these policies have led to the destruction of the most powerful nation on earth.

Communal sharing of privately produced resources, “need-based” distribution of government assistance, price controls, and forcible disarming of civilians have all been previously implemented. With disastrous results. In times as far back as ancient Babylon. In times as recent as Nazi Germany under Hitler in the late 1930’s.

This proves two other old, trite-sounding phrases that have been around for centuries. The first is the Biblical statement, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The second is the old adage, “The only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”

What does all this have to do with gun control? In this present age in which we live, government cannot be considered part of the solution to the problem. It must be established, firmly, clearly, and unequivocally, that government is the problem. President Reagan’s words are still true today, and again, cannot be improved upon.

I realize that this is a free country, and that there are people in this country who do not like guns. That is their right. But again, in the words of another old aphorism, “My right to swing my fist ends where your chin begins.” In other words, I am only free to exercise my rights to the extent that they don’t interfere with yours. What are these rights? The Declaration of Independence states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Pursuit of happiness was framed after a far more common phrase of the day, “pursuit of property.”) The Bill of Rights states others: freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms.

I lump all these together for two good reasons. First, they are contained in subsequent amendments in the Constitution. The second is, if one of these rights is compromised or taken, or declared to be null and void, all may be declared null and void. They are of equal importance.

Those who do not like guns are free to refrain from purchasing them. They should not try to use the government, however, to tell me that just because they don’t like guns, I may not own them.

Many men–and more recently, women as well–have fought and died so that I have the right to exercise my freedom of speech by criticizing those in public office. Soldiers in our Armed Forces, countless thousands in World War I and II particularly, paid the ultimate price to protect the world from the machinations of a man who embraced many of the same ideological principles preached by those who consider themselves the “progressive” element of American society and government. Yet conservatives sit wringing their hands, afraid to exercise their right to speak their mind because the left has them convinced that no one agrees with them, anyway.

I agree with far more of the points on the conservatives’ side of many issues than the liberals’. And I, for one, intend to speak out while I still can.

Who am I? I’m just an average citizen, smart enough to understand the documents upon which this country was founded, but not smart enough to question the Founders’ intent the way many of the self-aggrandizing elitists do. Smart enough to know that, no matter how long and how loudly the retrogressives preach their gospel of disarming the populace, it will never be true. Smart enough to know that, if I speak my mind, others may be emboldened to do the same. And smart enough to know that, unless the average voter reengages in the governmental process as the Founders originally intended, this country will never be the same.

In fact, this country may not survive.