Posts Tagged ‘ big government ’

America’s Bread And Circus Society

This post is an article from Chuck Baldwin.

The Roman poet Juvenal (circa 100 A.D.) wrote regarding the way latter-day Roman emperors retained power and control over the masses that were seemingly more than happy to obsess themselves with trivialities and self-indulgences while their once-great-and-powerful empire collapsed before their very eyes. He wrote:

“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions–everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”

I submit that a good many in America are, like Rome of old, carelessly frittering away their God-given liberties, foolishly clamoring for nothing more than government handouts and never-ending entertainment. Millions and millions of Americans (especially males) are literally intoxicated with sports. Sports are no longer a great American pastime; they are now a great American obsession.

Mind you, this writer has been a sports fan all of his life. I began playing organized basketball in the fifth grade; I was on the high school wrestling team; I played football in high school and college; and I ran track. Still today, I enjoy watching a good NFL game (yes, I’m still a Green Bay Packers fan), a good college game when the Gators are playing, a good NCAA men’s basketball game (especially during the tournament–even more so when the Hoosiers are in it), and any NBA championship series between the Celtics and Lakers (I root for Boston). And I even like to watch a round of professional golf once in a while (it helps me go to sleep when I’m trying to take a nap). But none of the above will interfere with anything that is important, and I am not going to plan my whole universe around any of it. If it is convenient, I will watch. If it’s not, I will read about it in the sports section of the newspaper. And I’m certainly not going to spend my hard-earned money following any sports team (even those I like) all over the country like some rock band groupie.

I am not talking about sports in general; I am talking about the way many American men have allowed sports to control and dominate their lives. With many, sports are not just a hobby; they are a religion. I cannot count the number of conversations between men that I overhear in restaurants, airplanes, boardrooms, and, yes, even church houses, in which every man in the circle is literally consumed with all sorts of sports facts, information, and opinions. In many such discussions, these men will talk about nothing else. To these men, there is absolutely nothing in the world more important than the latest sports score, announcement, or trade. NOTHING!

And there is also a very real psychological pitfall associated with a man’s intoxication with sports. I submit that an obsession with sports gives men a false sense of masculinity and actually serves to steal true manhood from them.

For example, it used to be when men stripped their shirts off and painted their faces, they were heading to the battlefield to kill the tyrant’s troops. Now they are headed off to the sports coliseum to watch a football game. A man’s ego and machismo was once used to protect his family and freedom; now it’s used to tout batting averages and box scores. The fact is, if we could get the average American male to get as exercised and energized about defending the historic principles upon which liberty and Western Civilization are built as he is in defending his favorite quarterback or NASCAR driver, our country would not be in the shape it is in today.

The sad reality is that much of today’s masculinity is experienced only vicariously through a variety of sports teams and personalities. Instead of personally flexing our muscles for God and country, freedom and liberty, or home and hearth, we punch the air and beat our chests over touchdowns and home runs (even though we had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with them ourselves). Instead of getting in the face of these would-be tyrants in Washington, D.C., who are doing everything they can to steal the American dream, we get in the face of the poor umpire who makes a bad call or the Little League coach who doesn’t play my son enough. Our happiness, well-being, and mood are not determined by anything personally achieved (or lost), but by what others accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) at the ball park. Whether our children inherit a land of liberty and freedom does not seem nearly as important as whether they make the starting lineup on the football team.

Add to an epidemic obsession with sports the demand for more and more handouts from Big Brother and the outlook for liberty is not good. Everywhere we turn, we seem to hear people clamoring for government to give them more and more. They expect government to supply their every need and meet their every demand. They then have the gall to turn around and say, “God bless America: land of the free”?

Ladies and gentlemen, one cannot have it both ways. If we expect government to be our supplier, we cannot expect that it will not become our master. Always remember this: government has nothing to give except that it first takes it from someone else. Every dollar and every job that government gives is first taken from someone else. Furthermore, every job given to government is another freedom–and another dollar–taken from the citizenry. Every government job brings with it a restriction, a prohibition, a regulation, an inspection, a fee, a tax, an assessment, etc. As government grows, freedom shrinks. As government spends, wealth shrinks. And as government hires, opportunity shrinks.

Most historians agree with Juvenal that the mighty Roman Empire collapsed from within due to a morally reckless, selfish, pleasure-crazed, sports-obsessed, bread and circus society that willingly surrendered the principles of self-government to an insatiable central government that, through perpetual wars and incessant handouts, destroyed a once-great republic.

By all appearances, the bread and circus society has reared its ugly head in America. And make no mistake about it: if the people of the United States do not quickly repent of this madness, the consequences will be just as destructive for our once-great republic as it was for Rome.

Excellent Primer on the Constitution

Judge Andrew Napolitano is a great teacher when it comes to the Constitution. Last week he did a series on the Constitution and Freedom. It’s definitely a must see.


Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Obama gives international police more Power than any domestic agency

President Obama, in an Executive Order on Wednesday, December 17, 2009, gave INTERPOL, an international police force immunity beyond any other government agency including the FBI and CIA.

From the Washington Examiner:

No presidential statement or White House press briefing was held on it. In fact, all that can be found about it on the official White House Web site is the Dec. 17 announcement and one-paragraph text of President Obama’s Executive Order 12425, with this innocuous headline: “Amending Executive Order 12425 Designating Interpol as a public international organization entitled to enjoy certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities.”In fact, this new directive from Obama may be the most destructive blow ever struck against American constitutional civil liberties. No wonder the White House said as little as possible about it. Read more…

The piece goes on:

There are multiple reasons why this Obama decision is so deeply disturbing. First, the Obama order reverses a 1983 Reagan administration decision in order to grant Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, two key privileges. First, Obama has granted Interpol the ability to operate within the territorial limits of the United States without being subject to the same constitutional restraints that apply to all domestic law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. Second, Obama has exempted Interpol’s domestic facilities — including its office within the U.S. Department of Justice — from search and seizure by U.S. authorities and from disclosure of archived documents in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by U.S. citizens.

Yes, that is what it says. Continue:

Think very carefully about what you just read: Obama has given an international law enforcement organization that is accountable to no other national authority the ability to operate as it pleases within our own borders, and he has freed it from the most basic measure of official transparency and accountability, the FOIA.

…and the New York Times simply sweeps it under the rug.

Imagine what could happen in the future.

Losing the Bill of Rights

With the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York and Guantanamo moving to Illinois, the Bill of Rights are being locked away again. It’s a shame how many people don’t see the Pandora’s box being opened when we allow our government to disregard the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. With many (mainly Conservatives) blasting the decision to try Mohammed on American soil and close down the unConstitutional Guantanamo Bay detention facility, one has to wonder what we are thinking. “Terrorism” is still a federal crime in the U.S. code.

Given that federal officials now wield the power to treat one federal criminal offense—terrorism—as either a crime or an act of war, there is no inherent reason why such power cannot be expanded to encompass other federal crimes, such as drug offenses. In fact, given the interrelationship between drug dealing and terrorism, one can easily imagine that federal officials will eventually expand their war on terrorism powers to the war on drugs. All that’s needed is the right crisis. It’s a matter of time before the president and Defense Department find ever more uses for this alternate system of justice that conveniently sidesteps the Bill of Rights.

Read an excellent article here, Losing the Bill of Rights.

The Economic Lessons of Bethlehem

At the heart of the Christmas story rests some important lessons concerning free enterprise, government, and the role of wealth in society.

Let’s begin with one of the most famous phrases: “There’s no room at the inn.” This phrase is often invoked as if it were a cruel and heartless dismissal of the tired travelers Joseph and Mary. Many renditions of the story conjure up images of the couple going from inn to inn only to have the owner barking at them to go away and slamming the door.

In fact, the inns were full to overflowing in the entire Holy Land because of the Roman emperor’s decree that everyone be counted and taxed. Inns are private businesses, and customers are their lifeblood. There would have been no reason to turn away this man of aristocratic lineage and his beautiful, expecting bride.

In any case, the second chapter of St. Luke doesn’t say that they were continually rejected at place after place. It tells of the charity of a single inn owner, perhaps the first person they encountered, who, after all, was a businessman. His inn was full, but he offered them what he had: the stable. There is no mention that the innkeeper charged the couple even one copper coin, though given his rights as a property owner, he certainly could have.

It’s remarkable, then, to think that when the Word was made flesh with the birth of Jesus, it was through the intercessory work of a private businessman. Without his assistance, the story would have been very different indeed. People complain about the “commercialization” of Christmas, but clearly commerce was there from the beginning, playing an essential and laudable role.

And yet we don’t even know the innkeeper’s name. In two thousand years of celebrating Christmas, tributes today to the owner of the inn are absent. Such is the fate of the merchant throughout all history: doing well, doing good, and forgotten for his service to humanity.

Clearly, if there was a room shortage, it was an unusual event and brought about through some sort of market distortion. After all, if there had been frequent shortages of rooms in Bethlehem, entrepreneurs would have noticed that there were profits to be made by addressing this systematic problem, and built more inns.

It was because of a government decree that Mary and Joseph, and so many others like them, were traveling in the first place. They had to be uprooted for fear of the emperor’s census workers and tax collectors. And consider the costs of slogging all the way “from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David,” not to speak of the opportunity costs Joseph endured having to leave his own business. Thus we have another lesson: government’s use of coercive dictates distort the market.

Moving on in the story, we come to Three Kings, also called Wise Men. Talk about a historical anomaly for both to go together! Most Kings behaved like the Roman Emperor’s local enforcer, Herod. Not only did he order people to leave their homes and foot the bill for travel so that they could be taxed. Herod was also a liar: he told the Wise Men that he wanted to find Jesus so that he could “come and adore Him.” In fact, Herod wanted to kill Him. Hence, another lesson: you can’t trust a political hack to tell the truth.

Once having found the Holy Family, what gifts did the Wise Men bring? Not soup and sandwiches, but “gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” These were the most rare items obtainable in that world in those times, and they must have commanded a very high market price.

Far from rejecting them as extravagant, the Holy Family accepted them as gifts worthy of the Divine Messiah. Neither is there a record that suggests that the Holy Family paid any capital gains tax on them, though such gifts vastly increased their net wealth. Hence, another lesson: there is nothing immoral about wealth; wealth is something to be valued, owned privately, given and exchanged.

When the Wise Men and the Holy Family got word of Herod’s plans to kill the newborn Son of God, did they submit? Not at all. The Wise Men, being wise, snubbed Herod and “went back another way” — taking their lives in their hands (Herod conducted a furious search for them later). As for Mary and Joseph, an angel advised Joseph to “take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt.” In short, they resisted. Lesson number four: the angels are on the side of those who resist government.

In the Gospel narratives, the role of private enterprise, and the evil of government power, only begin there. Jesus used commercial examples in his parables (e.g., laborers in the vineyard, the parable of the talents) and made it clear that he had come to save even such reviled sinners as tax collectors.

And just as His birth was facilitated by the owner of an “inn,” the same Greek word “kataluma” is employed to describe the location of the Last Supper before Jesus was crucified by the government. Thus, private enterprise was there from birth, through life, and to death, providing a refuge of safety and productivity, just as it has in ours.

Written by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. and taken from Campaign4Liberty.com.

Copyright © 2001 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Inflation Videos

The National Inflation Association has three great videos two being about inflation.

Part 2, Part 3

The Death of Privacy

Most Americans are unaware that there is a technological explosion taking place that will enable the government to intrude in the lives of every citizen at an unprecedented level.  Surveillance technologies have been around for a long time, but it is only recently that storage of and rapid access to vast amounts of information has become possible.  Government can now monitor many activities that most Americans would regard as private and protected by the constitution without any real oversight process involved.  American telecommunications companies already retain detailed records of customer activities.  If you use the internet, some internet providers record every single action taken, to include individual keystrokes.

In Britain this process of corporate and government intrusion is far advanced even though it is bitterly opposed by a large part of the public.  A new law is about to go into effect with the wonderful euphemism name of the Intercept Modernization Program, part of the equally splendidly dubbed Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.  It will require telecommunications providers to collect and retain all information on subscribers’ activities for a period of six months.  Employees of 653 public agencies, most of which have no law enforcement or intelligence function, will have access to the information with no judicial oversight whatsoever.  At each agency all that is needed is a supervisor to sign off on the request for information.

In the United States, such records are maintained in a haphazard fashion by the various service providers and can be accessed by the Justice Department through the issuance of a national security letter.  The security letter is particularly dangerous from a civil liberties perspective because it does not have any judicial review and it has legal penalties for anyone who even discloses that he has received one.  The number of security letters issued each year has been growing dramatically because it is an easy way to obtain information without going through any real due process. More than 35,000 were issued last year.   In a recent case in Philadelphia, an internet service provider was asked for detailed information relating to all internet traffic on a certain date, to include IP addresses, times, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers.  There is no sign that the Obama Justice Department and FBI will behave any differently than their counterparts under George W. Bush, quite the contrary. – Phil Giraldi, American Conservative Defense Alliance

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