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America's Greatness

Posted by j_IR1776wg 3 years, 9 months ago to Government
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America's greatness lies in those principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the first ten amendments of the Constitution. While the Constitution is not perfect, as Rand pointed out, the clear intent of the framers was to ensure that future generations of Americans would enjoy the benefits of the Rights affirmed viz. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. They did this by limiting the Government's power to inflict tyranny on the people. Every one of the first ten amendments is a chain link forged around the ankles of government employees elected or hired which prevents them from imposing such tyranny.

Principles are values. They suffer no defect from time or the unwise. They are, by definition, either true or not true. They cannot be parsed by regulation, are not applicable to one citizen but not another, and cannot be denied by the howling of the mob.

The sole reason the American form of government has persisted for two and a half centuries is that enough citizens understood the meaning of the DOI and the BOR. It should not come as a shock that there exist people who do not believe that Individuals should be free and independent beings and that government should have no limits placed on them to control the lives of Individuals down to minutest degree. In the recent election, H. Clinton was pressed to agree that Americans had the right to bear arms. After a short period of evasion she replied that yes people had a right to own guns but like all rights they were subject to "reasonable regulation."

So did America stop being great? And when? Did its decline stem from the original Commerce Clause? "The Commerce Clause describes an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.""

Or was the beginning of the end traceable to the advent of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887 as I suggested on this post?

https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

It is impossible to put a date and time on the decline and fall of America. But to trivialize and deny the loss of individual rights can only be the work of fools.


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  • Posted by Zenphamy 3 years, 9 months ago
    Although the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are generally recognized (and certainly should be) as major statements of the Natural Rights of Man in relation to the needs of government, the actuality of reliance of words written on paper leaves freedom and liberty of the individual subject to interpretation by others. Many have a desire to look for and find a flexion point or action that they can then blame for the cause or the beginning of the change from the ideals of the Founding.

    But the quotes below illustrate some of the thoughts of the Founders themselves indicating that by 20 or 30 years into the existence of the government, that those ideals were already lost. And some feared that it was never actually realized because of the realities of the level of commitment to individual liberty and the unwillngness of the citizenry to exercise their Rights to say No, or to require that all in government act in accordance with the common sense meanings of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    In my view, whenever the population has screamed for or a politician promised a law to control or restrict the liberty or freedom of any other individual or group, the ideal of the Founding was lost.

    "A free people cannot remain free by resting their hopes on any Constitution, system of checks and balances, laws or courts. Freedom and the love of it must live in the hearts of human beings, man, woman, and child, the minute that love dies, freedom dies. It is the nature of government to demand more power. And it is the people’s responsibility to refuse to give it. After all, the people are the ones who delegate power to the government. The government does not make us free, we are free by nature." Jefferson (?)

    ”Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on office, a rottenness begins in his conduct." Thomas Jefferson

    "I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on a steady advance." Thomas Jefferson September 12, 1821

    "If this spirit shall ever be so far debased, as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty." James Madison February 19, 1788
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    • Posted by 3 years, 9 months ago
      "Although the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are generally recognized (and certainly should be) as major statements of the Natural Rights of Man in relation to the needs of government, the actuality of reliance of words written on paper leaves freedom and liberty of the individual subject to interpretation by others. "

      Correct. Ayn Rand and many of us recognize that reducing concepts to mathematical specificity using ordinary language is incredibly difficult. The Collectivists have used this imprecision to cleverly invert the meanings of words to suit their evil intentions. I'm running out of ways (and time) to convince anyone that we are heading headlong into a dictatorship - if one hasn't already arrived.
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      • Posted by chad 3 years, 8 months ago
        I agree with you, we not approaching socialism, we are a democratic communist country where we have the right to vote for the leader that will continue to remove every last vestige of rights or protection from the governing use of violence to achieve their desired end.
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  • Posted by $ allosaur 3 years, 9 months ago
    Me dino thinks the Constitution of the United States is what is really great despite all the "Americans" who have tried their best to erode if not completely destroy it.
    We just had a close call in that regard with the election of a Supreme Court justice appointing flawed but well-meaning blowhard over a corrupt evil hag.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 3 years, 9 months ago
    I have to agree with CircuitGuy: Your claim is that America only worked for 100 years. That is false. Moreover, the so-called "loss" of individual rights was from the very beginning. You talk about the Bill of Rights. So-called "freedom of religion" did not apply to the states. Only Congress could not establish a religion. I suppose, in theory, the President or Courts could have... In fact, the States of Massachusetts and Virginia collected taxes for churches. (George Washington supported state taxes for religion. Baptists were persecuted in Virginia. See here: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion... )

    The "Black Laws" of the 1830s took away rights from free born Africans. During the colonial and revolutionary periods, free Africans were part of the social landscape. In fact, in some colonies, the concept of slavery did not apply to the children of slaves. The rulers had no clear conception of legal slavery. It was very weak. But they toughened that up, for sure. So, did America stop being great before it was born? No.

    American greatness is founded on American exceptionalism. We always perceived ourselves as special. For whatever flaws, the first colonists sought to build "a City on a Hill" a special place for special people -- not by class, not by race, but by choice.

    Despite the problems, women could vote in local elections in Kentucky in the 1830s. Anyone could open a bank, even in 1887, thanks to Salmon P. Chase's plan for a "national banking" system based on gold -- all it took was $25,000 on deposit with the Treasury. The first woman to be CEO of a bank was born a slave, Maggie L. Walker. That was in 1902, after the Interstate Commerce Commission supposedly destroyed American greatness.

    (Why blame the ICC? It only rested on the canals of the 1830s. On the eve of railroading, states were building canals with public money. Did that not harm American greatness? Why blame the government? It was corrupt business people who pushed for that to line their own pockets at public expense. Blame evil capitalists, if you want, to, but it would be false to do so. Adam Smith pointed out that seldom do tradesmen meet for dinner but that talk turns to ways to restrict trade for their own benefit. It is as common as religious prejudice. It is a minor flaw in the greater pattern of individualism, rights, and the consequential material progress.)

    From railroads to the Internet, America has been and remains great.

    Do we have flaws? Yes. Are there contradictions in the Constitution? Yes. Can we be better? Yes. And we will be. Because of people like us here, we will make things even better.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 9 months ago
      Further, as to slavery, bear in mind that the British Empire introduced slavery into the colonies. Yes it took 73 years to end this evil scourge in a bloody civil war but end it we did.
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      • Posted by $ Dobrien 3 years, 9 months ago
        The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 formally freed 800,000 Africans who were then the legal property of Britain’s slave owners. What is less well known is that the same act contained a provision for the financial compensation of the owners of those slaves, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their “property”. The compensation commission was the government body established to evaluate the claims of the slave owners and administer the distribution of the £20m the government had set aside to pay them off. That sum represented 40% of the total government expenditure for 1834. It is the modern equivalent of between £16bn and £17bn

        The compensation of Britain’s 46,000 slave owners was the largest bailout in British history until the bailout of the banks in 2009. Not only did the slaves receive nothing, under another clause of the act they were compelled to provide 45 hours of unpaid labour each week for their former masters, for a further four years after their supposed liberation. In effect, the enslaved paid part of the bill for their own manumission.

        The records of the Slave Compensation Commission are an unintended byproduct of the scheme. They represent a near complete census of British slavery as it was on 1 August, 1834, the day the system ended. For that one day we have a full list of Britain’s slave owners. All of them. The T71s tell us how many slaves each of them owned, where those slaves lived and toiled, and how much compensation the owners received for them. Although the existence of the T71s was never a secret, it was not until 2010 that a team from University College London began to systematically analyse them. The Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, which is still continuing, is led by Professor Catherine Hall and Dr Nick Draper, and the picture of slave ownership that has emerged from their work is not what anyone was expecting.

        The large slave owners, the men of the “West India interest”, who owned huge estates from which they drew vast fortunes, appear in the files of the commission. The man who received the most money from the state was John Gladstone, the father of Victorian prime minister William Ewart Gladstone. He was paid £106,769 in compensation for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations, the modern equivalent of about £80m. Given such an investment, it is perhaps not surprising that William Gladstone’s maiden speech in parliament was in defence of slavery.
        The records show that for the 218 men and women he regarded as his property, Charles Blair, the great-grandfather of George Orwell, was paid the more modest sum of £4,442 – the modern equivalent of about £3m. There are other famous names hidden within the records. Ancestors of the novelist Graham Greene, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott all received compensation for slaves. As did a distant ancestor of David Cameron. But what is interesting Is women numbered 40% of "owners".
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    • Posted by 3 years, 9 months ago
      " So-called "freedom of religion" did not apply to the states. "

      If the "freedom of religion" did not apply to the individual citizens, who did they apply to? Why did the framers put it into the Constitution? You are like all collectivists in that you only see society's entities and not individuals. You and Marx perfect together.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 3 years, 9 months ago
        Freedom of religion was added to the Constitution via the Bill of Rights. It is not in the original Constitution. Furthermore, if you read the Bill of Rights, you will see that it applies only to the Federal government: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" The states had that power. Massachusetts and Virginia collected taxes for their state churches. In other states the Church Tax was levied on all, but you could say which church got your tax money.
        Again, see here: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion...
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  • Posted by chad 3 years, 8 months ago
    I would say with the first president who charted the first fiat bank, ran the country into debt that had to be paid by placing unapportioned taxes on those who produced whiskey at a rate that favored his larger production, outlawed and prosecuted any who used the right of free speech to protest his action and when queried by the British after winning the Revolutionary Wary if he would free his slaves he replied; 'No, I intend to profit from them."
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  • Posted by DeanStriker 3 years, 9 months ago
    j_IR1776wg

    Sorry, I'm finding this website nearly impossible when trying to write to threads which became too narrow to work with.

    Thus I'll be trying to post here a 2007 article by Prof Peter T Leeson which was lost from my website. It's gonna be difficult because it is in .pdf format which I must somehow convert to usable text, then repost to noruler.net and finally link back to here. Seems here this is my only way of letting you know what's going on, as I don't care to pay membership fee for this website. You might try striker at noruler.net if you have the savvy.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 9 months ago
    I liked that liked comment because was very clear and objective.

    I think of America as amazingly great, despite its problems. You ask if the Commerce Clause might be a fatal flaw. I'm not remotely knowledgeable about that, but I do think any democratic republic has to have safeguards against people voting themselves money from the public treasury. That's our biggest problem right now, but I cannot call it a flaw or a bug because it's not like there are widespread examples of systems to avoid this.

    Placing the start of the supposed decline in 1887 would mean the country worked for less than 100 years, and during most of those slavery was legal and during none of them the country respected rights of women and non-Europeans.

    When it started, the concept of power flowing from the people to the gov't and gov't based on philosophers was a leap forward, even if it was still horribly flawed in not respecting everyone's rights. It's come so far that now even though we still don't have fully equal rights, most everyone agrees we should.

    We solved a lot of problems but not the problem of a ballooning gov't.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 9 months ago
      "We solved a lot of problems but not the problem of a ballooning gov't."

      Indeed! All forms of government tend toward dictatorship. The BOR was an attempt to constrain the government of America from becoming one. It has obviously failed to do so. The only two ways of getting it back on track
      seem to be at the ballot box or revolution. I keep hoping it can be done via the former.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 9 months ago
        "the ballot box or revolution"
        I'm generally an optimist, but I don't see how the ballot box solves this particular problem. The incentive to support good causes with money from the Treasury is still there, even if we get one set of politicians who resists the pressure to spend.

        I am not for revolution in general, and certainly not without a clear solution to this problem ready to implement, so I hope for a third way that I haven't thought of yet.

        I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but during the recession of 08-09 and its aftermath, we went borrowing more than a trillion a year. That settled down to 500 billion a year range. Now we have President Trump and a Congress supposedly completely opposed to President Obama. I predict the borrowing will continue and that gov't spending will continue to increase every year. The expansion of executive branch power will continue. The gov't intrusion into citizens' lives will continue. I predict a) supporters of Senator Sanders will merge will supporters of President Trump OR a Sanders-like figure will be elected president soon. I'm not happy about that, but it won't affect the trend of gov't metastasis. The gov't will slowly increase in size until a fiscal mini-crisis makes it difficult to borrow more.

        Obviously, I hope I'm wrong.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 9 months ago
          Sadly, I don't think you are wrong. Momentum as a concept is as valid in politics and culture as it is in physics. It would require an enormous number of citizens to demand an end to this spending and borrowing insanity.
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        • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 years, 9 months ago
          Trump has stated he wants to reduce Federal govt. staffing by 20%, and has his team studying the waste account books put together by former OK Senator Tom Coburn, now updated by OK Senator Lankford. Coburn's books simply took the recommendations of all the Federal agencies inspectors general, and determined eliminating duplication and outdated budgets would reduce spending by a trillion dollars a year. His first step in freezing govt. hiring except for the military aims to reduce the agencies through attrition, so his intent to reduce spending seems clear.

          Whether the President will succeed is uncertain, since much "waste" serves as a jobs program to prop up employment in congressional districts, and there are representatives and senators who will stiffly resist any effort to end them. In this, the resistance is bipartisan, with many Republican congresspersons just as much in favor of these wasteful programs as Democrats. Can the President engage in public shaming of these politicians via tweets when their reelection is on the line?
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 9 months ago
            "so his intent to reduce spending seems clear."
            How much do you think spending will decrease in FY2018 vs FY2017? Do you think deficits will be higher or lower?
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            • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 years, 9 months ago
              Hopefully, deficits will be lower. A balanced budget is the dream goal, but I'm skeptical we'll get there soon.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 9 months ago
                If we get there soon, I will say President Trump is amazing. I think he's a complete clown, so deficits, gov't spending, and gov't intrusiveness will all increase. Get ready for trillion dollar deficits like we had during President Obama's first term.

                I'm wasting space speculating. We'll know the answer when the budget passes.
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