Friday, October 5, 2012

Why Obama Lost the First Debate

Here are the top ten reasons why Obama lost the first debate:

10. Nobody who watched the debate owns a Chevy Volt.
9. Romney murdered all of the wives of laid off union workers.
8. An incandescent light bulb was found in Obama's hotel room.
7. Global warming caused an ice sheet the size of Texas to break off of Antarctica.
6. The Atlantic Gulf Stream inexplicably stopped.
5. Romney plans to raise 5 trillion dollars in taxes from the unemployed, foreclosed, and bankrupt middle class.

4. Air in the mile high city of Denver was so thin that Obama couldn't think.
3. The dog ate his homework.
2. A delay was announced in the introduction of the waterless, no flush toilet.
1. It was Bush's fault.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Obama Face of Fascism

Most Americans are entirely unaware of the nature of fascism.  Most commonly persons associate fascism with some variety of ethnic cleansing or persecution.   Fascism is much more than this.   Ethnic cleansing or persecution is normally only associated with fascism because the character of fascism is that it always requires some category of scapegoats.  So prevalent is this aspect that fascism might be called scape- goatism.

Beyond this aspect of scape-goatism,  fascism is most often some form of modified socialism.  Fascists are more often to accept control of private interests in lieu of actual ownership than is the case with Communists.
This is often true especially in the case of small business.   An individual might continue to own a private business, but a representative of the government appears on a regular basis to instruct the 'owner' what he must do.

Fascism is popular in modern America and often appears under the euphemisms of 'public-private partnerships'  or 'faith based programs.'  These are 'partnerships' in which the jack booted representatives of intrusive government show up at the private business or non-governmental organization with a lengthy list of mandates and instructions.

Another crucial aspect of fascism is the widespread tendency to use public money to support private interests.  A host of subsidies are made available for every conceivable purpose to further the ideological views imbedded in the fascist government and to support its primary advocates.

An excellent example of fascism in America is now in the daily news.   Unions have long negotiated with corporations and have succeeded in establishing in law the notion that when persons are about to be laid off they must be notified in advance of the loss of their jobs.  The current budgetary debacle in Washington makes sequestration of defense funds highly likely and the result would be the loss of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of jobs with defense contractors in battleground states.  The early notification requirement of law would put many of these corporations in the position of notifying employees of the imminent loss of their jobs prior to election day of 2012.

In order to deal with this crisis the Obama administration has twisted arms of defense contractors all over the United States not to comply with law and not to notify employees of the imminent loss of their jobs. The defense contractors balked at this because they would be civilly liable to union employees for failure to comply with this law.   The solution of the Obama administration to deal with this crisis has now been to indemnify the corporations against civil liability of  union employees.  In other words, the taxpayers by being forced to bear the costs of the violation of law of the corporations are compelled to essentially make an equal value contribution to the re-election of  President Obama. This is the Obama face of Fascism.  It has all of the appearance of the face of a horse's ass.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Obama Policy

     It has seemed strange in recent days that the Obama administration has taken such pains to lay the blame for the murder of an ambassador on an obscure internet posted video.   Why did the administration insist, contrary to all indications, that the attack in Libya was unplanned and spontaneous?
After all,  there is a substantial record of attacks:   the 1972 Olympic athletes murders,  the 1979 attack in Tehran, the bombing of the 1983 Beirut barracks, the Pan Am bombing over Scotland, the attack on Americans in the German night club,  the first world trade center bombing,  the attack on the Cole, the Second World trade center attack, the attacks in Spain, London, Bali, Mumbai, and at Ft. Hood.  There are of course many more examples which one might cite,  but all point to these events as premeditated and well planned.

     Additionally, many of us watched in disbelief and amazement as the young, idealist, ignorant, and immature president went about the world in 2009 apologizing on behalf of the people of the United States of America.  Indeed, the effort was carried so far that he eventually bowed to every dictator, despot, tyrant, 'President,' and Prime Minister from Saudi Arabia to Japan.

     What is the policy of the Obama Administration?   It is not (as so many have thought) to motivate the Islamo-fascists of the world to become more accepting and tolerant of Americans and our values.   It is rather to make Americans more accepting and tolerant of Islamo-fascist values.   And so,  there now begins a  national campaign to circumscribe the First Amendment rights of all Americans.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What is Religion?

The first amendment of the Constitution reads:

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”

When considering this statement it is important to examine the definition of 'religion.'   At issue is not what modern persons might consider religion to be, rather the issue is what this meant to the framers in the late 18th century.   The framers thought in terms of natural law and an empiricist epistemology.  They applied these ideas to their understanding of religion and also to their understanding of human governance. The framers would have understood all religions as addressing themselves in varying degrees to a few fundamental questions.

The first of these is the question of ultimate origin.   Succinctly put, ‘Why is there something and not nothing?’    This is not the same as later questions of evolution which are concerned with processes of how one gets from point A to point B.  Origin is more basic.  It is the question of creation or beginnings.  The framers believed in a Creator rather than an eternal material universe.  For the framers this was a matter of religious belief.

A steady state theory of the universe was proposed in 1948 by Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle, The steady-state theory was based on a perfect cosmological principle. This principle held that the universe on its largest scale looks essentially the same from every spot and at every time.

For the universe to look the same at all times, there could not have been a beginning, nor any end. This was a theory of the eternal creation of matter.  The steady state theory had many adherents in the 1950s and 1960s.  Supporters of this theory balanced the ever decreasing density of the universe that results from its expansion by suggesting that matter was continuously created out of nothing. Given the vastness of the universe the amount of newly created matter required in any amount of space was undetectably small. 

The steady state theory began to fall into disfavor among scientists in the 1960s.  First, astronomers discovered quasars, the highly luminous cores of very distant galaxies. The vast majority of quasars are very far away, and their existence proved that the perfect cosmological principle cannot be true.  The observable facts are that the distant and ancient universe is not the same as the nearby and younger universe.   The theory began to collapse when radio astronomers Penzias and Wilson discovered the cosmic microwave background, sometimes referred to as the echo of the theorized Big Bang. The steady state scientists had no reasonable way to explain this radiation.   The final end of the steady state theory came with the astonishing discovery in the 1990s that the universe is not merely expanding, but accelerating in its expansion.  This characteristic of stretching or exploding space is a further substantiation of the counter intuitive idea that space is not nothing, but space is actually something.

The framers believed in a Creator rather than an eternal material universe.  For the framers this was a matter of religious belief.  Today, one conclusion from modern science suggests that the universe is not eternal, but has a punctilliar beginning and an end.   The discussion of the modality or agency of the creation of the universe is thus a subject of religion among men now even as it was in ancient times. The framers accepted the religious belief of Hugo Grotius and Robert Boyle, i.e. that God is the only true and efficient cause of all things.

The second great question which religion addresses is that of man.   In its simplest form, who am I?  This is the first question of self awareness.  This is  a question of personal being.   Why am I me, and not someone else, or why am I at all?   Religion defines personal being in relationship to Divine being and imputes meaning and value to individuals that goes far beyond the observable data of the physical individual.  It suggests a presence beyond blood pressure, temperature, lung capacity,  height, weight,  age, and physical health.  It goes beyond the observations of firing neurons and examines the nature of the soul.                   

There is an universal form to this question of man.   If the first part of this question is about who I am, the second part of this question is about who we are.   None of mankind live in perfect isolation.   We are born to others, live in total dependency on others for a lengthy time,  and associate with others in many differing ways  throughout our brief lives.

Religion addresses questions of law.   It provides answers to questions of our mutual existence and explains our obligations to others, as well as their obligations to us.  Morals or ethics are answers to questions of personal law.   These are the ways in which we personally address the question, ‘what should I do?’  The motivations and values of personal law are widely varied with no two persons having precisely the same understanding, belief, or practice.

In the universal form of the question of law there exist the problems of political organization and life.   Forms of government chosen by mankind arise out of the religious disposition and the epistemological disposition of those who create it..     Those who rely on an understanding of natural law for their principles regard observed authority as superior to alleged authority. The nexus between religious belief and a political state of liberty occurs when the religious belief is that institutional reform is not a substitute for personal transformation. Liberty occurs when the state is not perceived as efficacious in imputing righteousness to the citizen.  When the state is seen as efficacious in producing a new and better man (or a redeemed earth) the inevitable result is some form of oppression.

A punctilliar origin or Creation implies a punctilliar ending.  In religion, endings deal with matters such as apocalyptic or eschatological events and the afterlife.  The theories of science suggest an universe that ultimately succumbs to entropy as it inevitably becomes entirely diffuse, disorganized, and cold.   That most religions have negative apocalyptic visions and that science also presents a negative end should not be ignored.  These negative visions all stand in stark contrast to statist visions which are Utopian.   This is because statists view government as salvic or redemptive.

With their focus on repeating cycles, eastern religions tend to de-emphasize or ignore origin and endings, but all four of these types of questions (Origin, Man, Law, and Endings)  are dealt with in differing degrees by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Finally, the area in which there is a connection between science and faith is in the area of epistemology.  How do we know the things which we claim to know?   What is the source of the knowledge of man?  How do we know what we should do?   And so the questions about origin, man, law, and endings represent a development of the question of knowledge.

The rationalist merely alleges what he believes and asserts it as true.  The empiricist weighs in with the evidence and makes a judgment of probability.  The rationalist rushes to his dogmatic view while the empiricist is cautious.   The rationalist has all the answers, while the empiricist is not so sure.    The empiricist’s caution is well founded.   It is a virtual certainty that what is regarded as established scientific fact today will be modified or overthrown in the future.  The rationalist alleges authority in himself, while the empiricist observes authority in the natural universe. The conclusions of the rationalist are final and must not be questioned.  The conclusions of the empiricist are tentative and represent only a temporary satisfaction in the sufficiency of the evidence.

The natural universe is the foundation of all knowledge.   Suppositions and extrapolations on the observable reality are important as they provide points of departure for further investigations.  Nevertheless, for all mankind, it is true that  to embrace anything more than the natural is to embrace the supernatural.  The values which we hold and espouse are religious to any extent in which they cannot be discovered in natural law.    The claims one makes for the supernatural are a matter of personal conviction and cannot be imposed by political power without creating despotism.

Religion then,  is that collection of answers to these deep and abiding existential questions:  what is our beginning, who am I, who are we, what should I do, what should we do, what is the end of all things,  and how do we know?

The sophistication of this answer stands in marked contrast to a typically ignorant Supreme Court ruling in which religion is defined as a posted copy of the ten commandments, or a prayer before a high school football game,  when the truth is that the entire government education system rests on alleged authority of some public ‘values’ unsubstantiated in natural law and has an unmistakable religious foundation.

The framers of the Constitution saw and knew the dangers of state established religion.   The first amendment on which they agreed was that the federal government would not venture into this hazardous arena.  It would not establish religion, nor would it prohibit it.  They resolved to build a federal state on a foundation of the observed authority of natural law rather than the alleged authority of princes or potentates, and left all issues of faith and virtue to the states.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Government, Republic, and Empire in Literature and Western Civilization

 
    History is the canvass on which the deeds of peoples and nations are portrayed.  It is the deeds of peoples and nations that will compose the picture, whether of the violence of the exercise of power apart from natural law, or the tragedy of capricious punishments, or the hopes of eventual redemption and liberty.

What can government actually do?

 
    1.   Governments can and do tax. Taxes create black markets.    A tax is nothing more than an ameliorated or mitigated prohibition. A tax is a fine for consuming a product or using a service or engaging in some economic activity adjudged for some reason to be in some measure iniquitous.  The only tax which does not imply the notion of the government promoting virtue and punishing iniquity is a flat capitation tax in which persons are taxed only for being and not for doing.   A small tax will produce a small black market, but a steep tax or  complete  prohibition will produce a robust black market.  When governments borrow money it is a tax on future generations.  When governments print money or create inflation it. is a tax on accumulated capital. When governments deliberately create a recession or depression, it is a tax on deployed capital. This is the way things are.


  
  2.   Governments can and do spend.  All government spending is a subsidy. Subsidies create bubbles and eventually destroy economic value on an astronomical scale.  A clear recent example of this is subsidized housing.  Subsidies increase costs and decrease quality.   Subsidies, once implemented,  must constantly be increased to produce the same effect.  In this respect subsidies are like narcotics.  A subsidy once received becomes an addiction, with a requirement of an ever increasing dosage.  This is the way things are.

          The nature of subsidies (and the bubbles that subsidies cause)  have not been understood, and even today subsidies continue to be thrown at the housing market, and it is like throwing gasoline on a fire.  Other bubbles forming today include bubbles in  education, medical care, child care, banking, securities, insurance, agriculture, automobile manufacturing, renewable energy(solar and wind), aerospace and many, many other industries. In modern America taxes and subsidies have become a way of life.    This is the way things are.

Prosperity in a nation is dependent upon a short list of environmental factors:

 
1. Prosperity in a nation is dependent upon the rule of law, i..e.  same set of rules for everybody and without exception 


2. Prosperity in a nation is dependent upon open markets in which there are very few or no barriers to entry

3. Prosperity in a nation is dependent upon abundant and inexpensive energy.  Energy is the most abundant resource in the universe and the notion of the scarcity of energy is a modern  hoax.  There is in the world today no shortage of nuclear power, hydroelectric power, wind power, geothermal power,  coal, natural gas, or oil. There is only a shortage of the willingness to exploit the available natural resources.


4.  Prosperity in a nation is dependent upon a general state of peace as opposed to a general state of war.   This is the way things are.


  
      Dependence, penury, and squalor of peoples is created whenever governments abandon the rule of law, and/or close markets and erect barriers to entry, and/or impose artificial energy scarcity, and/or pursue perpetual war.   Governments do these things for ideological reasons and to magnify their own power. This is the way things are.

What  about  Empires?

 
     Empires arise from the political desire to expand the powers of a state and its elite, and/or increase the number of taxpayers and revenue, and/or extend the geographical reach of its hegemony, and/or  impose the values of the few upon the many.   Empire is most often driven by hubris, self aggrandizement, social expedience, and Utopianism.  The first casualty of every empire is truth and the second casualty of every empire is the rule of law.  This is the way things are.
Empires rise and fall in a wide variety of different ways.  There are vast differences  between  the Roman Empire,  the Soviet Empire, the British Empire, and  the American empire.

What about the Roman Empire?

 
       The lengthy history of Rome breaks into three different phases, two hundred and fifty years of Monarchy, four hundred and fifty years of Republic, and four hundred and fifty years of Empire:
Monarchy 753 BC-509 BC, Republic  509BC-69 BC, and Empire  69BC-413 AD.
       War has long been considered the health of the state. This was certainly the case in the Roman Empire.   War was the health of the state.

What about the Soviet Empire?

 
        The Soviet empire is quite different from the Roman Empire.. It  began in 1917 largely with support from western governments and individuals  and international corporations.   It was supported by subsidies in the form of western technology transfers from the outset.  The Soviet empire was gifted all of eastern Europe by the United States after the close of World War II.  Eastern European civilians who fled before the advancing Red Army were rounded up in Operation Keelhaul after the war and forced to return to the countries from which they had fled.   They lived out the remainder of their lives in bondage never again experiencing personal liberty.


        The subsidies of the Soviet Empire from western governments, individuals, and  corporations grew steadily over the decades, but not as rapidly as the demand for the subsidies increased.  The gap between what was required in free value technology transfers was much greater than what was forthcoming, and the shortfall  was increased and accelerated by the Soviet misadventure in Afghanistan until the Soviet Empire collapsed of its own weight. 

        Why did western governments, individuals, and corporations aid the Soviet Empire?   They believed in the redemptive or salvic power of trade.  They believed that if you made trade agreements with the Soviets   that their economic condition would improve and they would automatically form a more civil and stable society characterized by the rule of law.  This same judgment has been made today with respect to China.    The data is still being collected on China, but the data is in on the Soviet Empire and can be reviewed in Anthony Sutton’s monumental work entitled Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development. The collapse of the Soviet Empire was not due  to the vastly increased military spending of the Reagan administration as we have been told.    It was due instead to insufficient free value technology transfers which were needed because the Soviet system was largely incapable of indigenous technological advances.    What was remarkable about the Soviet Empire was at once the vastness of its extent,  the brevity of its existence, and the speed of its collapse.   As a whole it was built and expanded largely on the acquisition of subsidies in the form of western technology transfers.


What about the British Empire?
 
      Historians sometimes list a number of phases of the British Empire:
    1583-1783   Age of Discovery to the Loss of American Colonies
    1783-1815   The Rise of British Hegemony on the Indian subcontinent
    1815-1914   The Imperial Century and the Role of Global Policeman
    1890-2000   The Dissipation, Disintegration, and Collapse of Empire


      Other historians will chart the British Empire beginning as early as 1100 and running to the present day, with only a very short period of republic in its interregnum 1649-1660.  Unlike the Soviet Empire, the British Empire arises over a very lengthy period of time, reaches its zenith over a lengthy period of time, and dissolves over a lengthy period of time. With a very short period of republic, it is also an entirely different model than the Roman model. 


 What can we learn about Empire From a Critique in Literature?
 
        Rudyard Kipling (1865-1935) wrote great poems at the close of 19th century which reflected on the hubris, futility, cost, and the death throes of the British Empire. I believe we have a great deal to learn from Kipling.  So many of his observations over the collapsing British Empire seem analogous to our own time and to our collapsing empire.  Modern scholarship has often and typically  accused Kipling of being an unrepentant apologist for Imperialism.  It  has tended to portray him as racist, bigoted, nativist.   But, this is an unfair characterization.   Kipling  repudiated all of the notions of moral equivalence, and at the same time he was actually an anti-imperialist.  He clearly believed in the superiority of western civilization, but did not see this superiority as based on race or as justifying imperialism.   He saw the superiority of western civilization as based on history, experience,  and knowledge.  If a single word might describe how Kipling viewed empire the word would be hubris.  He wrote many poems which illustrate this including: The Recessional, Tommy, The White Man’s Burden, and If.


        The poem The Recessional is quoted in whole or in part on almost every United States war memorial. It is on all of these war memorials that the meaning of the poem is misinterpreted.  The Recessional is in its  entirety in the form of a prayer.

                   
THE RECESSIONAL (1897)

                God of our Fathers, known of old,
                Lord of our far-flung battle line,
                Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
                Dominion over palm and pine-
                Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
                Lest we forget- lest we forget!

                The tumult and the shouting dies;
                The captains and the kings depart:
                Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,
                An humble and a contrite heart.
                Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
                Lest we forget- lest we forget!

           
    Far called our navies melt away;
                On dune and headland sinks the fire:
                Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
                Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
                Judge of the nations, spare us yet,
                Lest we forget- lest we forget!

                If drunk with the sight of power, we loose
                Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
                Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
                Or lesser breeds without the Law-
                Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
                Lest we forget- lest we forget!

                For heathen heart that puts her trust
                In reeking tube and iron shard,
                All valiant dust that builds on dust,
                And guarding,  calls not Thee to guard,
                For frantic boast and foolish word-
                Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

   
The refrain ‘lest we forget’ does not refer to the idea lest we forget those who sacrificed or died.  Rather, it refers to the notion lest we forget the sovereignty of God in the midst of collapsing empire. It is a deeply faith based/religious statement.   When the separation of church and state lobby gets around to reading a book or two and finally understands this, there will undoubtedly will be a movement to remove the lines of this poem from war memorials of all types, all across the United States.   The ‘captains and the kings’ is an allusion to Revelation 19 in which the angel of God invites the vultures of the air to feast on the dead bodies of the ‘kings and generals.’    The lesser breed without the law does not refer to Mosaic Law or English Law or to the idea of inferior races. The lesser breed without the law refers to anyone who does not recognize natural law.

      Another of Kipling’s poems is Tommy, which is a favorite of everyone who has ever served in the armed forces and read it. This poem is a reflection of empire.

                                      TOMMY 
(1892)

            I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
            The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
            The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
            I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
            O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
            But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
            The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
            O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

            I went into a theater as sober as could be,
            They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
            They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
            But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
            For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
            But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
            The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
            O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

            Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
            Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
            An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
            Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
            Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
            But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
            The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
            O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

            We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
            But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
            An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
            Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
            While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
            But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
            There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
            O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

            You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
            We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
            Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
            The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
            For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
            But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
            An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
            An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

      This poem is a sober reflection on the social and moral costs of empire as it induces a muscular  indifference of the public to the life and fate of  the soldier.

 
      The White Man's Burden is another poem by Kipling for which he is unjustly vilified.

                    THE WHITE MAN"S BURDEN  (1899)

                Take up the White man's burden --
                   Send forth the best ye breed --
                Go bind your sons to exile
                  To serve your captives' need;
                To wait in heavy harness
                  On fluttered folk and wild --
                Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
                   Half devil and half child.

                Take up the White Man's burden --
                  In patience to abide,
                To veil the threat of terror
                  And check the show of pride;
                By open speech and simple,
                  An hundred times made plain.
                To seek another's profit,
                  And work another's gain.

                Take up the White Man's burden --
                  The savage wars of peace --
                Fill full the mouth of Famine
                  And bid the sickness cease;
                And when your goal is nearest
                  The end for others sought,
                Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
                  Bring all your hope to nought.

                Take up the White Man's burden --
                  No tawdry rule of kings,
                But toil of serf and sweeper --
                  The tale of common things.
                The ports ye shall not enter,
                  The roads ye shall not tread,
                Go make them with your living,
                  And mark them with your dead!

                Take up the White man's burden --
                  And reap his old reward:
                The blame of those ye better,
                   The hate of those ye guard --
                The cry of hosts ye humour
                  (Ah, slowly!) toward the light: --
                "Why brought ye us from bondage,
                  "Our loved Egyptian night?"

                Take up the White Man's burden --
                  Ye dare not stoop to less --
                Nor call too loud on freedom
                  To cloak your weariness;
                By all ye cry or whisper,
                  By all ye leave or do,
                The silent, sullen peoples
                   Shall weigh your Gods and you.

                Take up the White Man's burden --
                   Have done with childish days --
                The lightly proffered laurel,
                  The easy, ungrudged praise.
                Comes now, to search your manhood
                  Through all the thankless years,
                Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
                  The judgment of your peers!

       The White Man’s Burden was an inflammatory, burning, sarcastic commentary on the 1898 Spanish-American war and the United States intervention in the Philippines.  There cannot be any doubt that Kipling regarded these events with utter contempt.  This poem is often cited by those who would claim that Kipling was a racist, nativist, and bigot.  Kipling is really criticized because he believed in the superiority of western civilization and rejected all notions of moral equivalence.   He saw the emergence of the superiority of western civilization not as a racial matter, but as the product of a long painful historical process.  For him, the notion that the world and life view of the west (weltenshauung) could be imparted to foreign lands in conquest is nothing short of a fool’s errand.  There is a total repudiation of messianic consciousness in Kipling and of the notion of the empire as redemptive.


         The organization which called itself the Anti-Imperialist league was founded in 1899, and it did not oppose Imperialism because of commercial, religious, constitutional, or humanitarian reasons, but because they thought that imperialism was contrary to the principles of the Declaration of Independence.   In short, imperialism involved a denial of the principle of the ‘consent of the governed,’ found in Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government.

                                      IF   (1910)


            If you can keep your head when all about you
            Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
            If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
            But make allowance for their doubting too:
            If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
            Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
            Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
            And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
            If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
            If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
            If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
            And treat those two impostors just the same:
            If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
            Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
            Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
            And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;
            If you can make one heap of all your winnings
            And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
            And lose, and start again at your beginnings
            And never breathe a word about your loss:
            If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
            To serve your turn long after they are gone,
            And so hold on when there is nothing in you
            Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
            If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
            Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
            If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
            If all men count with you, but none too much:
            If you can fill the unforgiving minute
            With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
            Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
            And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

       The last two lines of the poem contain its core message.   The empire to be taken is not external.  It is internal.  If one can do all of the specified things the earth and everything that is in it will be your possession.   The allusion to the New Testament is unmistakable: ‘The Kingdom of God is within you.”


       The New Testament text itself is profound not only in a theological, but also in a social and political sense.  Caesar claimed to be God and the Roman Empire was his kingdom.  Assorted messianic rebel groups,  Sicarrii, and the Zealots were agitating the population and wanted to remove the Romans by violence and establish a new kingdom in Jerusalem.   In the midst of that historical context Jesus brought the anti-imperial message ‘the Kingdom of God is within you.’  His message went unheeded and the struggle eventuated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by Titus the son of Vespasion (who was appointed by Nero to put down the Jewish Revolt). The wealth of the Temple in Jerusalem was taken away and used to build the Coliseum in Rome.    In Rudyard Kipling’s view every empire of man sows within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

Kipling after World War I

      World War I was a war that few can explain.  Why it started, how sides were chosen, and what it  was all about are shrouded in obscure complexities of international relations.  An archduke of Austria was assassinated by a Serb.  Germany supported Austria,  and Russia supported Serbia.....so Germany declared war on Russia,   and all of the  European nations  began lining up behind one of the two sides. The United States had no national security interest in the European  war. In 1916 Woodrow Wilson ran on the slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War.”  But after the election, the ‘progressive’ Woodrow Wilson whipped up patriotic support in the United States for entry into the war, which reached an insane and fevered pitch with George M. Cohan’s song, Over There. With the end of the war four European empires, the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire all ceased to exist.


       World war I marked a temporary end to  progressivism. Prior to the war the progressive gospel was widely believed.  In the wake of the industrial revolution and the technological developments of the late nineteenth century it was commonly thought that man was becoming better and better every day in every way, that man was about the business of redeeming himself.    But the war demonstrated that the advancements of man only allowed the butchery of war on an industrial scale.  The word ‘progressive’ fell into such disrepute after  the war that  progressives quit calling themselves progressive and began calling themselves liberal.  They did not resume using the term progressive until the 1970s.

 
        Kipling lost a son in the first world war.   His comments on the events presaged the anti-war sentiment which was to emerge in the wake of the Vietnam war.   Yet he is frequently plagiarized and seldom if ever credited for his written statement.    After his son's death in World War I, Kipling wrote,

 "If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied."
       The line is hardly the message of an unrepentant imperialist.  It  is reminiscent of the message of the prophet Ezekiel after the defeat of Jerusalem by the forces of Babylon. Thousands of Jews were exiled to Babylon, and there was great hardship.  The people went about lamenting the destruction of the Kingdom and laid the blame on their ancestors.   Ezekiel prophesied and said,   “Stop repeating  the proverb ‘the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge’”    Ezekiel  brought a  message of hope and redemption  in the promise,  “The days are coming when everyman will die for his own sin.”  For Ezekiel the coming day of hope and redemption is a day of personal  accountability, when one no longer lays blame on one’s ancestors, but steps up and accepts responsibility.   An analogy to this might be that in our day, hope and redemption come when you realize that it can no longer be said to be Bush’s fault.   There is a reprisal of the message of Ezekiel in that New Testament text as well: ‘The Kingdom of God is within you.”

The Weaknesses of Empire

 
    There are at least five major weaknesses of empire which may be identified as inherent within empires and which are substantially increased or aggravated over time by government policy. As empires collapse sometimes these things happen in a chronological order, and sometimes they occur simultaneously.

1. There is  Moral weakness in empire.   The government policy of supplanting acts of benevolence (the entitlement or welfare state) contributes to the Moral decline of Empires. Empires usually claim to stand in loco Deus (in place of God), a spurious claim at best.   The waging of perpetual war leads to the moral decline of Empires

.
2.  There is  Intellectual weakness in empire.   The governmental policy of requiring mandatory government indoctrination camps (we call them public schools) contributes to the Intellectual decline of Empires. The International Baccalaureate  program is emblematic of the element of intellectual decline.  The entire program is an educational hoax.  Empires reject the notions of the unity of man, the imperfectibility of man, and government as a creature of consent. 

  
3.  There is Social weakness in empire.   The governmental policy of unrestrained immigration and lack of enforcement of borders contributes to the Social decline of the Empires by destabilizing the  culture and  introducing a Balkanization of society characterized by social expedience.   This has been warned about in the past and has now come true.


4.  There is Economic weakness in empire.  The governmental policy of debased and fiat currency contributes to the Economic collapse of Empires.  If we look carefully at the inflation adjusted Gross Domestic Product  growth of the United States, we will discover that in the period 2000-present there have only be 2 quarters of inflation adjusted positive Gross Domestic Product  growth.  In fact, the United States economy adjusted for inflation has been shrinking for more than twelve years.


5. There is  Military weakness in empire.  Empires in their latest stages of disintegration undergo a significant weakening of  Military posture and are unable or unwilling to secure their own borders.  Future historians will undoubtedly cite the events of 9/11 as the beginning of the end of the American Empire analogous to the first sack of Rome by Alaric the Visigoth.

How can we  avoid the death throes of Empire?

 
       Avoiding the death throes of empire is a bit like slamming the barn door after the horse is gone,  but the way to avoid the death throes of Empire is primarily not to indulge the hubris of creating an empire in the first instance.  Much as in the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis, when a people designs to build a monument to themselves in the way of their own preconceived notions.....their designs are inevitably and invariably thrown down.
 
The American Empire

 
                 The distinctive character of Western Civilization in general and the United States in particular  rests on its Christian Heritage, its scientific/empiricist outlook,  its commitment to natural law, consent of the governed, and an acknowledgment of the imperfectibility of man.

         
            The approach of both the Declaration and the Constitution is praxeological as opposed to ideological.  The opening phrase of the Declaration makes clear this praxeological approach in the words, ‘When in the course of human events.’  Much of the Declaration is given over to the specifics of experience rather than to political theory.  All of the proposed theoretical ideas are related to observations of  natural law and human experience and in this respect tend to follow John Locke.

        Why are governments instituted?

 
             According to Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration governments are instituted to ‘secure rights.’   This idea appears to  follow Jean Jacques Rousseau,  hero of the far left Jacobins, and  one of the intellectual fathers of the French revolution,  which eventuated in  the Reign of  Terror of 1794.


            At the very least it is poorly stated in the Declaration ‘That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men."   Rousseau’s belief that governments are instituted to secure rights is rooted in his belief in the perfectibility of man.   An alternative view is that of  Samuel von Pufendorf 1632-1694.  I n his famous work, Two Books on the Universal Elements of Jurisprudence, published in 1660, governments are instituted to secure liberty not rights.   The work of Pufendorf  had a great influence on the prolific essayist  Montesquieu.

       
            John Locke in his Second Treatise followed the Pufendorf idea suggesting that everyman is born with two rights and that these are the rights to the liberty of his person, and the right to inherit with his siblings the property of his parents. For Locke, government is instituted to protect all equally from foreign predations (which we call war) and from domestic predations (which we call crime).  The Constitution as it is written is more circumspect in its language  than the Declaration,  and the original draft of the Constitution without the Bill of Rights follows Pufendorf rather than Rousseau. It describes a government of enumerated powers not a government of enumerated rights.

 
            The Constitutional compromise with slavery as well as other elements  and the later addition of the Bill of Rights had the effect of transforming the Constitution from a government of enumerated powers to a government of enumerated rights, and moved the United States in  the direction of the French revolution,  and unwittingly laid the foundation for both the formation and dissolution of the American Empire.

   
            These events were anticipated by the founders and they unsuccessfully sought to forestall these events and the transformation of the republic into an empire in the addition of the ninth and tenth amendments.  But those last two amendments of the Bill of Rights were ignored from the outset, and indeed were ignored almost from before the time the ink was dry on the parchment.

        ‘the pursuit of happiness’ 

 
            This idea comes from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.  The idea is that all men struggle, strive, and labor in their lives in pursuit of  happiness, and that in this manner some might achieve it.  This Aristotelean idea called eudaimonism. The Declaration of Independence is an eudaimonistic document.


            Hebrew  wisdom literature takes a different view of happiness.  For the ancient wisdom writers happiness is a gift of God which he gives to those who please him. As a matter of grace, the efforts which one might make in pursuing happiness are of no account.   Clearly the founders had the Aristotelean view rather than the Hebrew wisdom view in mind.


            A clear understanding of the difference between these two ideas may be achieved by considering Benjamin Franklin.   He was a man who was both  broadly accomplished and also knew how to pursue happiness, by which he may have understood  what moderns might call hedonism.  In a 1745 letter to a young man he discusses the relative merits of bedding an older woman as opposed to a younger woman.  Franklin was a complex character....a sort of combination of Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Steven Hawking, and Hugh Hefner all rolled into one.       


            Nevertheless, when Franklin dies he is in some sense a tragic figure in that he remains unreconciled to his royalist son whom he disinherits, commenting that had the royalists won the revolutionary war, he would not have had any wealth to leave his son anyway. One might ask, although Franklin undoubtedly pursued happiness, did he really achieve it?

        ‘the laws of Nature and Nature’s God’ What did Jefferson mean?

 
            Robert Boyle was an enlightenment scientist  He is credited with Boyle’s Law concerning  the inverse relationship between the volume and the pressure of a gas.  Robert  Boyle  wrote a book entitled A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature published in 1686.  In this work he presented the idea of  a mechanistic universe operating on the basis of observable rules and laws presided over by an infinite personal God who imparted to all aspects of the material universe the only true and efficient causes.    It was Boyle’s concern to repudiate the popular medieval notion which thought of nature as a wise, a benevolent and a purposeful Being.    The modern view of nature represents a return to this popular medieval view of nature as a wise, a benevolent, and a purposeful Being.   The ignorant medieval view is also reflected in the International Baccalaureate  program and moves philosophically in the direction of pantheism(the view that God is everything) or panentheism (the view that God is in everything).


            Robert Boyle’s  causation ideas followed Hugo Grotius who is considered the father of modern international law.  He wrote a work entitled The Free Sea published in 1609,  and On the Law of War and Peace published in 1625.  On the Law of War and Peace was a principle source for Pufendorf, Locke, Sidney, and Vattel.   Hugo Grotius also wrote a great work of theological apologetics entitled On the Truth of the Christian Religion, published in 1627.  Hugo Grotius followed Aristotle’s ideas of causation in his Metaphysics without the artificial  restriction of four levels of causation, and he made the causation argument for the existence of God. In his scientific work  Boyle employed the scientific method of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) who is regarded as the father of empiricism.


            The view of God as an independent Providence capable of transcending the immutable laws of nature came earlier in the first century from the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and theologian  Philo (20 BC-40AD). whose views came directly from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Torah)    Philo’s view of God differed from the  the Greek and Roman views which tended to see the gods as susceptible to the immutable laws of nature.


            The understanding of Jefferson when he writes, ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God’ is that of Boyle.  This is the idea that the universe is mechanistic in its nature following a certain set of established and discoverable rules and laws and that this universe is presided over by an infinite and personal Being who is the efficient cause of all things,  and that this infinite and personal Being is Himself an independent Providence capable of transcending the otherwise immutable laws of Nature, and that he stands in Judgment of all nations and peoples within history,   and that we call this Being, ‘God.’   For those who doubt this assertion one need only refer to the Declaration itself in which the appeal is made to the ‘Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions.’

 
             This was the understanding of the enlightenment scientists Boyle, Newton, Sydenham, Huygens, and Locke.  It was  the view of the  Jews,  the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestants, Calvinists, Armenians, Socinians, and Unitarians. This understanding was virtually universal in western civilization.


            To be sure some of the founders differed in their  theological doctrines, with most of them subscribing to both a general Providence of God, and a particular Providence of God.  Others (e.g. Paine) only subscribed to a general Providence of God.   The founders often differed in their Christology and in their soteriology, even as there are wide differences today between Protestants, Roman Catholics, Nestorians, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses etc.

 
            None of the founders were Deists even if they claimed to be Deist (as Franklin did), because the technical definition is that a true Deist denies both a general and a particular Providence of God.   


            Founders who held Christological views (usually of an Arian type) other than that of the Nicene Council sometimes did so because they could not in their own minds reconcile the theological idea of incarnation with their scientific presumed view of a plurality of worlds. Evidence of this is clearly seen in Thomas Paine's,  The Age of Reason. They drew a conclusion that if there were a number of planets around the sun, and at least one of them hosted life...there must be planets around other stars and some of them most probably would host life as well.    The founders universally believed in ET and some could not reconcile that notion with the idea of incarnation.   In 2008 the Roman Catholic church declared that a belief in ET was not incompatible with Christian belief and practice.....a declaration which in the earlier times  probably  would have eventuated in someone being burned at the stake.

            To be sure we have come a long way from the Newtonian universe.  However, we may not have come so far as we might imagine.  The theories of Einstein regarding the bending of space-time were not widely accepted until verified by observations of a solar eclipse.   And also today theories about the subatomic universe, the God particle (the Higgs Boson and so forth) or even whether there exists a multiverse as opposed to an universe will need to be verified by observations made at huge particle accelerators.  In our universe it is still true that observed authority trumps alleged authority, and that is what the enlightenment was all about.

        ‘all men are created equal’

 
            Thomas Paine (Common Sense) makes the case for the unity of man from the Creation account of the Bible.   John Locke (Second Treatise on Civil Government) arrives at  his idea on the equality all men on the basis of natural law that none are endowed with either a right of dominion or an obligation of servitude.  John Locke cites at length the late reformation Anglican theologian Thomas Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, published in 1593.  (Locke was widely trained in law, medicine, and theology, and even wrote an exegetical theological text entitled, On the Reasonableness of Christianity).  Hooker writes that natural law requires that all men love others no less than themselves.    The idea of Locke and Paine are essentially the same statement that there exists in nature an unity of degree of man, because it cannot be demonstrated in nature that there are two or more degrees of man.

            John Adams may have been the most ardent of the abolitionists among the founders.  In his Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, published in 1765, John Adams writes.

             “Let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear the danger   of thralldom to our consciences from ignorance, extreme poverty, and dependence, in short, from civil and political slavery. Let us see delineated before us the true map of man. Let us hear of the dignity of his nature, and of the noble rank he holds among the works of God, — that consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God as it is derogatory from our own honor or interest or happiness, — and that God Almighty has promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good-will to man!” 
        ‘the consent of the governed’
 
             The ‘consent of the governed’ is the notion of the derivative power of government.  This was vastly different from the Aristotelean view. In his work,  Politics, Aristotle saw government as a creature of nature.   The enlightenment view based on natural law was that government is a creature of consent.  The Progressive philosophy saw government as a creature of history.   The account of I Samuel 8 is a cautionary account of monarchy formed by consent. Thomas Paine in his Common Sense does a short  practical exegetical examination of I Samuel 8.  There are dangers in government formed by consent.   The text of Samuel suggests that the King will oppress them and Samuel says ‘in that day you will cry out because of the King whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’  But this text is equally applicable to any form of government.  The day will come when you cry out because of the government which you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.  It is one of the most sobering passages in all of the Bible.

  
        the imperfectibility of man


      Theologians call the imperfectiblity of man ‘original sin.’  This idea comes from the Bible, but for the enlightenment thinkers and the founders it is primarily praxeological. It is a matter of the observed actions and condition of man.  Locke subscribes to the idea of the imperfectibility of man in his Second Treatise. Even Thomas Paine had a profound sense of the imperfectibility of man which is forthrightly stated on the first page of his work Common Sense
 ‘The palaces of Kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of Paradise.” 
 When one surveys the history of man it is notable that many nations, kingdoms, and despots have sought to create a new or better man.  This is the driving force behind modern Progressivism.    In the five thousand years of recorded history none of these efforts to produce a new or better man have ever  been successful. No government will ever produce a new or better man because government is not redemptive.
"mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right  themselves by abolishing  the forms to which they are accustomed"
            Man is reticent to lay claim on his natural law right to the liberty of his person. This idea expressed in the Declaration comes from Chapter XIX, Section 223 of John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government.

        What about trade?

 
            Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations,  published in 1776,  is supposed to have left an impression of the idea that trade produces the comity of nations.   Others attribute this notion to Bastiat or that Bastiat inherited this idea from Smith.   But the founders understanding of the imperfectibility of man led them to the conclusion that trade is not redemptive and it  only changes the objects of war. (Federalist #6) They did not generally share the modern view of the salvic or redemptive power of free trade.

        the separation of powers

 
                       The more seriously one takes the imperfectibility of man, the more necessary are multiple divisions and separations in the exercise of governmental power.  The founders took their emphasis on the separation of powers from Montesquieu.   According to Barton’s Original Intent, the most frequently cited source of the founders was the Bible, but the second most cited source was Montesquieu.  This profound influence of Montesquieu demonstrates how deeply suspicious the founders were of any notion that man redeems himself in the structure of human institutions.  Montesquieu,  however, wandered away from a notion of the imperfectibility of man in that he saw the role of the state to impose virtue by forcibly distributing property

        the issue of virtue

 
            Aristotle in his Politics proposed that one of the functions of government was to promote virtue.   The enlightenment thinker Algernon Sydney in his Discourses Concerning Government published in 1698 followed Aristotle in this view.  Locke had already (1690)  repudiated the Aristotelean notion.  The function of Government for Locke did not include the promotion, enforcement, or requirement of virtue.  For Locke, government was strictly a matter of limited and enumerated powers that protected all persons equally from the predations of any other.   The founders followed Locke and left everything that today we would call a social issue to the states, and neither did they forbid the states from regulation of social issues   We can only conclude that they saw these kinds of debates as best resolved at lower and more local levels of government and this was also coincident with their views of separations and divisions of power.

            The central problem with a view that government has a legitimate function in the promotion of virtue resides in the substance of the question: whose virtue?  The modern left has a totally different view of virtue than more traditional views.   For some moderns on the left, abortion is a virtue.  They view abortion as a sort of sacrament, and take the view that everybody should have one.    Others on the right have a totally different view of virtue and both of these camps want to use the federal government to impose their view. In the imposition of virtue there is very little difference between the major parties. 

            When considering the widespread popularity of abortion today one should keep in mind the fact that the oldest religious ritual practice of man is infanticide.  It has a long and well established history, which might be examined by reviewing Old Testament references to the pagan god Molech.

            There is in the Constitution no prohibition of murder, fraud, theft,  bigamy, sodomy,  prostitution, gambling, alcohol, drugs, usury, bestiality, or abortion.  There is no definition of marriage. There is no Department of Agriculture,  Education, Energy, Health, Welfare, Housing, Transportation, or Labor. There is no AEC, ATF,  BLM, BLS,  DEA, EPA, FAA,  FBI, FCC,  FDA, FEC, FRB, GAO,  GSA, HUD, IRS, NIH,  NTSB. OSHA,   or TSA.  There is no WTO, CAFTA. NAFTA, SEATO,  NATO, or UN.  The founders simply never imagined a day in which the government of the United States of America would lead the states like  dogs on a leash to surrender their  own legislative sovereignty   All of the social issues are left to the states, and the constitutional resolution of the controversial issue of abortion was the status quo ante Roe v. Wade.  The absence of the promotion of virtue in the Constitution does not mean that the founders were moral reprobates.  It means only that they did not see this as a legitimate function of the federal government which was designed as a government of specific, circumscribed, and enumerated powers.       

             The near complete absence of the promotion of virtue in the United States Constitution follows the German Natural Law philosopher Christian Thomasius 1622–1684 who argued that the state may  interfere with legal or public duties only, and not with moral or private ones. Thomasius relied substantially on Hugo Grotius and Samuel von Pufendorf.    Thomasius' two greatest works were Institutes of Divine Jurisprudence published in 1688, and  Foundations of the Law of Nature and Nations published in 1705.

            Using federal government power in a manner to promote anyone’s notion of virtue  is a feature of tyranny because it accepts a notion of the perfectibility of man and  introduces an idea of positive law at the federal level.   The most notable modern advocate of the notion of positive law is Barak Obama.   The principal enlightenment advocates of the government promotion of virtue included  Rousseau, Robespierre,  Montesquieu, and Algernon Sidney.  The notion that government should engage in the promotion of any virtue implies a salvic or redemptive power of government which simply does not exist.    No act of a vile and ignominious Congress will ever make you virtuous.  The notion that it will is patently absurd.  It is simply stupid to believe that righteousness is imputed to any citizen by an act of Congress.

        limited and enumerated powers


            The discussion of limited and enumerated powers is first mentioned  in the Constitutional Convention on Saturday July 7,1787 and is resumed in the middle of August.

            On August 18, 1787 many suggestions of enumerated powers  in the Constitutional Convention were made by Madison and referred to the committee on detail (which included Randolph, Rutledge, Ellsworth, Wilson and Gorham).   Madison suggested that the enumerated  powers of the federal government might include:

            "To establish an University"
            "To encourage by premiums & provisions, the advancement of useful
            knowledge and discoveries"
            "To establish seminaries for the promotion of literature and the arts & sciences"
            "To establish public institutions, rewards and immunities for the promotion of                             agriculture, commerce, trades and manufactures"
          This proposed list of enumerated powers suggested by Madison is fascinating and instructive..   Today the general interpretation  is that the founders were a bunch of primitives, living in time before the industrial revolution, in the day and age of horse and buggy, before indoor plumbing, before  the technology revolution, and before the information age and they could not have possibly imagined the desperate need to subsidize, education, arts, sciences,  agriculture, commerce, trades, and manufacturers.   This notion of the primitive founders is the basic defense for pouring all of these ideas into the commerce clause.  This notion of the primitive founders is wrong.
   
            The suggestions of Madison show that all these things were considered for inclusion as  enumerated powers of the federal government, and rejected. They were rejected in the Committee on Detail and were not brought back to the floor of the Convention.  The founders understood that an expansive federal government of wide ranging powers would not be approved by the states and created therefore a federal government of narrow, enumerated,  and circumscribed powers.  The sole purpose of the commerce clause was to prevent the states from imposing tariffs on each other.

           
Madison was an advocate of a much more powerful central government and opposed to the idea of federalism at the Convention.    This is clear especially in his suggestions of these wide ranging and intrusive powers of the federal government.  It is also clear in his critical remarks about the speeches of Luther Martin.   Madison lost the battle for a strong national government in the convention.     It should also be noted that as he matured in later years he was instrumental in the development of  notions of the first amendment:  the free exercise of religion and the prohibition of established religion.   He worked tirelessly for these principles and against the idea of state established religion  in the governance of Virginia.  It is in these efforts of Madison that there appears to be within him over time a growing influence of the views of Christaan Thomasius.

            The wholesale attachment of so many of our modern ideas to the commerce clause demonstrates the total incompetence of attorneys and judges of our day to do real hermeneutics (interpretation).  The specifics of federal government subsidies and interference in every aspect of American society, culture, and business were considered in the Constitutional Convention and rejected.... after they had been recommended by Madison.

            When someone begins a real interpretive project on an old or ancient document, the least valuable commentary is generally the most recent.  This is the precise opposite of the notion of case law.   Lawyers, and often even historians use the phrase ‘original intent.’   No one who does real hermeneutics ever uses this terminology, because it is tautological.  A tautology is the opposite of an oxymoron.   ‘Noble savage’ is an oxymoron.  Which is it,  noble or savage?  ‘Original intent’ is a tautology.  If it is intended, it must be original, and if it is original it must be intended.  But the phrase ‘original intent’ is suggestive of the erroneous idea that there must be some legitimate intent which was not original, or something original which was not intended. This is a specious notion at best.
       
            It is clear from Madison’s notes that he distinguished between commerce, agriculture, trades, and manufactures. By making these distinctions, Madison demonstrates that he was smarter than whoever coined the term ‘original intent.’

            Madison made the suggestion in the Convention that an enumerated power of the new government might be:   "To establish public institutions, rewards and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, commerce, trades and manufactures" This suggestion itself shows that commerce had a different meaning than ‘agriculture, trades, and manufactures.’  Moreover, the indisputable purpose of the commerce clause was nothing more than to prevent the states from imposing tariffs on each other.

        The ‘Law of Nations’

 
            The ‘Law of Nations’ is the shortened title of the work by Emmerich de Vattel (1714-1767)   The Principles of Natural Law Applied to the Conduct and to the Affairs of Nations and of Sovereigns published in 1758.   There are at least two recognizable references to this work in the body of the Constitution.  One of these is the phrase ‘natural born citizen.’ (Article II Section I). The phrase is specifically defined by Vattel as a person whose both parents are citizens of the state.   Law of Nations, Book I, Chapter 29, Paragraph #212.  The phrase ‘natural born citizen’ is mentioned twice in Madison’s notes 9/04 and 9/12 in the Convention and is accepted (nem. con) .without objection and in neither case does it  become an occasion for the discussion of its precise meaning.  The founders knew the definition provided by Vattel and saw no need to define, debate, or discuss it.

            The second reference in the Constitution is actually the phrase ‘Law of Nations' (Article I, Section 8  which empowers Congress to ‘punish offences against the Law of Nations.’  This idea comes from Law of Nations, Preliminaries, Paragraph #22. 'Right of nations against the infractors of the law of nations.'  The language ‘law of nations’ was agreed to in the Constitutional Convention August 17, 1787.
      
            Further indication of the familiarity of the founders with Vattel is substantiated by the speech delivered by Luther Martin on June 27 and 28, 1787 at the constitutional convention in which he repeatedly and at length quoted Locke, Vattel, Lord John Somers, Dr. Joseph Priestly, and Samuel Rutherford.  According to Madison the thrust of Martin’s argument was....         

                ....that an equal vote in each State was essential to the federal idea, and was founded in justice & freedom, not merely in policy: that tho' the States may give up this right of sovereignty, yet they had not, and ought not: that the States like individuals were in a State of nature equally sovereign & free. In order to prove that individuals in a State of nature are equally free & independent he read passages from Locke, Vattel, Lord Summers – Priestly. To prove that the case is the same with States till they surrender their equal sovereignty, he read other passages in Locke & Vattel, and also Rutherford: that the States being equal cannot treat or confederate so as to give up an equality of votes without giving up their liberty”
             Martin was opposed to the whole idea of proportional representation and  left the convention early and never signed the final document.   The vehemence of his opposition is what prompted Franklin’s famous written statement which was a valiant attempt at a conciliatory approach:
            .......We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances....... In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. -- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
            Two days later on June 30, 1787  Franklin built on the Ellsworth idea of June 29th  of two bodies, one proportional representation, and one equal representation. Franklin  drew the analogy of the making of a broad table when  the planks which do not fit together each is modified slightly by the artist so that a good joint might be made.... and he proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the first body and equal representation in the second body.  This compromise was a response to the objections raised by Luther Martin’s speech in which he quoted at length both Locke and Vattel.

            Finally it is worth noting that a  copy of Vattels, Law of Nations may be found today in the Jefferson collection of the Library of Congress which formed the beginnings of the new Library after the destruction of the first Library during the War of 1812.
 
        Madison’s Notes on the Convention

              
            Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention are striking in the report of the many discussions of practical considerations.  The early speeches by Luther Martin are the most extensive direct presentations of political philosophy.  These speeches are critically received by Madison in his notes.  It is clear in the debate that the participants are well aware of philosophical notions, but are most constrained to form a Union in such a fashion as will produce as few objections from the separate states as possible.  The principle reason that there is such a short list of enumerated powers is because they wanted to get agreement from the states, and a very lengthy list of expansive powers would have only engendered more opposition.  The failures imbedded in the Constitution are acknowledged by Franklin on the closing day of the convention:

            “I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”
            Today, anyone observing that all governments have historically ended in the oppression of despotism would be considered a nay saying pessimist, but this was the considered  view of not just Franklin, but of all of the founding fathers.          

       
the Early English legal tradition
 
            The early English legal tradition is incorporated in specific acts and events which restrained the exercise of absolute monarchy and introduced the rule of law.  These represent separations of legislative and executive power.  Many of the particulars of the Constitution are taken over as a whole piece of cloth from the English legal tradition, e.g. freedom of religion, rule of law,  habeas corpus, process of impeachment, liberty as an inherent right, prohibition of deprivation of property without just compensation, spending originating in the commons, prohibition of quartering of soldiers, etc.  The Charter of Liberties 1100, Magna Carta 1215, Petition of Rights 1628, Grand Remonstrance 1641, and English Bill of Rights 1689 are their common heritage, and provide the founders with their basic working knowledge of the notion of separations of powers and limited government.

               the epistemology of the founders


          The epistemology of the founders must be understood as a function of the age in which they lived.  The natural emergence of this epistemology is best stated by John Horace Perry is his work, The Age of  Reconnaissance.
        Between the middle of the fifteenth century and the late seventeenth, Europeans learned to think of the world as a whole and of all seas as one.  Their lessons were those of experience and eyewitness report.  During those ....centuries European explorers .... visited most of the habitable regions of the globe.... accessible by sea.   They found vast territories.... and drew rough outlines of the world which we know.  (This was the) Age of Discovery.    Geographical exploration.... is only one of the many kinds of discovery.  The age saw not only the most rapid extension of geographical knowledge in the whole of European history; it also saw the first major victories of empirical inquiry over authority..... During this period....European scientists sketched the outline of the physical universe that is accepted by the ordinary educated man today.   They formulated the laws they deduced from the movements and interactions of parts of the observable universe All forms of discovery, all forms of original thought, are connected in some way.....  The seaman, exploring the uncharted seas, needed the help of learned men, especially men learned in mathematics., astronomy, and physical science.....and this was true also.... in medical science.  The student(s) of science saw the achievements of geographical exploration which is the most empirical of all forms of inquiry as the  most destructive of purely a priori reasoning.
        This is one of the most basic ideas behind western civilization in general and the United States in particular.  It is the triumph of observed authority over alleged authority. All forms of discovery and original thought are united by natural law.   One cannot overestimate the profound influence this had on the founders.    This triumph of observed authority over alleged authority  is noted in the twentieth century by Winston Churchill when he said, “In the end Americans always do the right thing, after they have tried everything else first.”

    From Republic to Empire

 
     Some of the milestones and historic events  that very early set the United States on the road  from Republic to Empire include the following:

         The Constitutional Compromise with Slavery 1787.....

 
            This compromise elevated the value of Union over the value of the Natural Law rights of some (slaves).  This placed the federal government, as John Locke might say,  in a state of enmity with its victims and indeed with all mankind.  It effectively endorsed slavery and contributed to its continuance long after it would have otherwise ended, and it made the civil war inevitable.

            The problem with this compromise was that it embraced a value (union) higher than the natural law rights of some (slaves). Whenever one embraces a faith, a belief, or a value not demonstrable in natural law, one embraces in effect  a new religion. This belief in Union constituted the beginning of American Civil Religion.   If one embraces a value not supported by, or demonstrable in, or antithetical to natural law, one embraces what we call the super-natural.  When one understands this principle, one will be smarter than a super majority of the Supreme Court.  The understanding of this will be complete when one realizes that the supernatural transcends the natural in a way analogous to the way a super majority transcends the majority.  It is not merely something more, in fact it is anything more.    Anything more than the natural is the super-natural.  Anything more than a majority is the super majority.   And when one embraces any value other than what may be observable or demonstrable in natural law, one creates a new religion. One of the most extreme examples in history of the elevation of a value of union or unity above natural law occurred in the 1934 Leni Riefenstahl film, Triumph of the Will, which was a filmed glorification of Nazi Germany.

        Patents and Copyrights 1787

 
                    The introduction in the body of the Constitution  of the notion of legislated financial Entitlement in the Constitutional provision for patents and copyrights led to the creation of vested financial factions emboldened to the attempted influence of mere legislation.   In fairness to the founders, one of the most difficult philosophical questions that can be raised  is whether there exists a property right interest in knowledge.  All of the answers to this question are bad.  But there is a better answer than the notion of  a legislated financial entitlement enshrined in the Constitution.  This provision is like having a provision for food stamps in the Constitution.   It is one of the low lights of the Constitution.

        Judiciary Act 1789

 
            The Judiciary Act of 1789 (Senate Bill No. 1 usually attributed to the efforts of Sen. Oliver Ellsworth) established a hierarchical framework among state and federal courts.  This bill gave the Supreme Court of the United States the power to overturn State Supreme Court rulings upholding state laws which SCOTUS found in violation of the constitution.  Madison’s proposal of Congressional Review of state law had been rejected by the Constitutional Convention, because it would have meant the Constitution would have never passed in State ratifying conventions.  The Judiciary Act of 1789 was essentially a legislative amendment to the Constitution, an amendment process not permitted in the text of the Constitution itself (see actual enumerated powers of SCOTUS Article III Section 2). The reach of the federal government into the affairs of the states is enumerated in Article IV which includes, full faith and credit between states, the same privileges and immunities among citizens of the several states, admission of new states, and a guarantee of a Republican form of government.  Of these,  the first three deal with relations between states, and only the guarantee of a Republican form of government intrudes into intrastate affairs.  And so the Judiciary Act of 1789 was essentially unconstitutional because it assigned an enumerated power to SCOTUS which cannot be found in the Constitution itself.

        Bill of Rights 1791

 
                    The addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution 1791....These were in the first instance written to limit only the reach of the federal government.  These rights tended to transform the Federal government from a government of enumerated powers to a government of enumerated rights, as the ninth and tenth were ignored from the outset, and this process was completed with the addition of the fourteenth amendment after the Civil War, in what has become known as ‘incorporation.’

        Distilled Spirits Act 1791

 
                    The Distilled Spirits Act of 1791.....This act violated the Constitutional prohibition of direct taxes and led to the Whiskey Rebellion suppressed when Washington called out the militia in1794.  Unlike tariffs paid on goods imported into the United States, the excise tax on distilled spirits was a direct tax on Americans who produced whiskey and other alcohol spirits. The 1791 excise law set a varying six to 18-cent per gallon tax rate, with smaller distillers often paying more than twice per gallon what larger producers paid.   This was also one of the earliest examples of the Federal government picking economic winners and losers. An examination of Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention leads to the inevitable conclusion that the founders understood an indirect tax to be a tariff and that all other taxes were direct.

      
  Alien and Sedition Acts 1798
 
                    The Alien Act (which invested the President with judicial power) and The Sedition Act (which violated the natural law liberty of speech) of 1798 signed by John Adams.

        Relief Act for sick and disabled seamen 1798

 
            An act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen 1798.  This was an act requiring private enterprises conducting trade on the high seas to provide insurance for seamen in their employment.  This was unconstitutional inasmuch as there is no enumerated power of the federal government in this regard.   Like the Judiciary Act it was a legislated amendment of the Constitution rather than an amendment following the specified amendment process.   The motivation of this act was to provide through the offices of the United States of America a subsidy for those engaged in international trade.  The act would permit those engaged in trade to fill their labor requirements at below market wages.

        Marbury v. Madison 1803

 
                    Marbury v. Madison 1803 This Supreme Court case which established the notion of judicial review and  marks the rise in the United States of judicial oligarchy.  The claim to the  power of judicial review from the bench  is equivalent to the power to amend the Constitution from the bench.   There is no such power enumerated in the Constitution.

       
War of 1812
 
            In the War of 1812 the issue of the impressment of U.S. sailors on the high seas was largely brought forward as an excuse to invade Canada reflecting the desire to expand the American Empire.

        Panic of 1819

 
            The Panic of 1819 was an economic crisis that featured price drops, bank failures, mortgage foreclosures, and mass unemployment. The culprit in the economic downturn of 1819 was the Second Bank of the United States (forerunner of today’s Federal Reserve System). The Bank offered bad and fraudulent loans, and printed paper money that fueled speculation and inflation.   President James Monroe ultimately adhered to the Constitution by limiting government intervention.   Salaries of government officials were cut, along with overall government spending. These measures  helped to end the depression within three years.


           
When we survey our long and storied history, it is commonly asked why nobody reads the Constitution any more.   The answer is quite simple.  The Constitution set forth an amendment process.  It takes two thirds of the House, two thirds of the Senate, and three quarters of the states.  But, from the very outset the Constitution has not been observed.  From the very beginning the Constitution has been amended by mere legislation and by judicial fiat.   In modern times it is also amended by Executive Order.  The Constitution has been amended not by the specified process but by social expedience.  As republics rise with a diffusion and separation of powers, empires rise with a reintegration of powers.  Empires eventually fall because of their inherent  weaknesses which are  moral, intellectual, social, economic, and military.

         
   According to John Locke, despotic power is not within natural law because no distinction exists between men. He who exercises despotic power has abandoned reason and places himself in a state of enmity or  war with others. In doing this he renders himself liable to destruction or capture and enslavement by those whom he has injured and indeed by the rest of mankind. Despotic power, absolute power, and slavery end as soon as compact or covenant enter.

          
   The usurpations of judicial power by the executive or legislative, or usurpations of executive power by the judiciary or legislative, or usurpations of legislative power by the executive or judiciary....all of these in  the view of John Locke constitute usurpations and effectively dissolve a government and throw the people into a state of nature in which they are all equally free and sovereign and from which they may form new government.

             It is the assembly, and reintegration, and accumulation of power contrary to its constitutionally defined limits agreed to by the supreme legislative of the people that effectively ends a government.  This was the view of John Locke in his Second Treatise


            It is the fundamental idea behind the claim of the Declaration  that ‘whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government.’   And this is the way things actually are.    We are governed today by usurpers and our inheritance is the right and even our duty to alter abolish our government and to institute new government.


           We could  say that the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin and Rudyard Kipling was probably correct.  Every empire of man sows within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Nevertheless,   the chief contribution of the founders  and the source of the greatness of the Western tradition as a whole, and the United States in particular,  is the triumph of observed authority of natural law over the alleged authority of preconceived notions. 


        The founders embraced the principles of scientific inquiry and an empiricist epistemology.  They embraced the enlightenment ideas of natural law and the reformation ideas which rejected all notions of alleged authority.   Their libertarian leaning views in the construction of the federal government were not ideological but praxeological.  They subscribed to three basic ideas: natural law (and its subordinate idea of the natural good).  They subscribed to the idea of the profound imperfectibility of man, and the consent of the governed. 


       
If one is apt to see a glass half full the Constitution of the founders is the last document of Republic.  If one is apt to see a glass half empty the Constitution of the founders is an exercise in social expedience and  the first document of empire.     From their efforts onward, the passage of time itself has continued to demonstrate through all of our subsequent history the moral superiority of liberty.
 
        John Adams wrote in 1765:
 
       “I mean the love of power, which has been so often the cause of slavery, — has, whenever freedom has existed, been also the cause of freedom. If it is this principle that has always prompted the princes and nobles of the earth, by every species of fraud and violence to shake off all the limitations of their power, it is the same that has always stimulated the common people to aspire at independency, and to endeavor at confining the power of the great within the limits of equity and reason.”  A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law 1765

            This observation of Adams is nothing more than a recognition that power is a zero sum game.  If anyone has more of it, someone must necessarily have less.  The desire for liberty is nothing more than a desire for personal empowerment.
   
                        Those who move  in the opposite direction, those who move in the direction of socialism, communism, fascism, tutelary fascism or  of statism of any variety,  do so only on the basis of the alleged authority of ideology unrelated to, and unchecked by, the data of the observable universe.  The driving force of empire is not natural law but expediency.


            History is the canvass on which the deeds of peoples and nations are portrayed.  It is the deeds of peoples and nations that will compose the picture, whether of the violence of the exercise of power apart from natural law, or the tragedy of capricious punishments, or the hopes of eventual redemption and liberty.


Another poem by Kipling is When Earth's Last Picture is Painted.

 WHEN EARTH'S LAST PICTURE IS PAINTED 1892

    When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
    When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,

    We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two,
    Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.
    And those that were good shall be happy; they shall sit in a golden chair;
    They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair.
    They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
    They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

    And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
    And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
    But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
    Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!


The fundamental existential truth of the universe is not the punishment of man into submission. The fundamental existential truth of the universe is the grace of God triumphant in the affairs of men.