Liberty or Tyranny?

For my conservative and Tea Party brethren, there must now be an acknowledgment that the immediate future looks quite grim.  We have a country in some stage of collapse, though I contend that like a free-falling elevator, the rate at which it’s falling may not be entirely apparent to its occupants until it hits the ground.  As this situation worsens, we must consider what’s ahead, how we’ll stop it if we can, and salvage it if we’re able.  For the country to be restored, we’ll be compelled to adopt a more proactive stance, because it’s probably going to get messy.  We face the greater war for our culture and our country, but before we can wage that one to a successful conclusion, we will need to win the opening skirmish.

The Presidential nomination cannot be allowed to go to a useless, tepid, weak candidate who will not pursue the restoration of the country with full vigor. We should consider this primary like an instructive field training exercise, whereby we will polish our skills and extend our endurance, because the other engagements will demand it. As I detailed yesterday, there can really be one candidate among all those under consideration who is able to take on this difficult duty and hope to prevail.

One of the problems in this political season is with us.  We’ve largely failed to understand the larger trends and the clear signals of impending danger those trends are transmitting.  People have compared this coming season to 1980, noting its significance  is greater than all the election years from them until now.  This is an error.  A few have even remarked, myself one or twice, that his is more like 1932, but this is also wrong.  It’s much more substantial than that, and I need your undivided attention in considering it fully.  The coming election year is most like 1860, and we’re facing a different sort of war to stop a different sort of slavery, and to restore the freedom that had prevailed in most of the years since.  I am going to say it more bluntly, because it needs to be said: We are near the tipping point into some sort of civil war.

You may now pause, and wish to ask if I might have blown a gasket, but ladies and gentlemen, we must admit what is true.  We now have a government that issues more money to citizens(and some non-citizens) in some form of direct payment than it annually collects in revenues.  Those same people are dissatisfied with the amount, and demand still more.  Roughly 65% of the Federal government’s expenditures go to some sort of redistributive or entitlement program.  That includes agricultural subsidies, and most corporate welfare, but does not include the amount we’ve handed out in bail-outs on a one-time basis due to some supposed crisis or other.  At the same time, we know that government is borrowing roughly 40% of what it spends. This means only 60% of its expenditures are covered by revenues.  Let me ask once more: Do you not see a problem with this?  Again, you are confronted with a stark reality: We now expend more on entitlements to individuals than we now collect.  These same beneficiaries now scream that it isn’t enough, and are beginning to threaten civil unrest in thinly veiled words.

Whether violence erupts before or after the elections, there will be at least some domestic strife.  Leftist groups now openly agitate for “Days of Rage.”  Consider what message this is meant to deliver.  You don’t pay enough, they argue , and whether through threats or violence, they intend to have whatever they want and demand.  Need I clarify this further? You say, “but Mark, surely they can see you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.”  I’m telling you that they’re willing to settle for turnip soup.  You can try to rationalize it in any manner you wish, and try to comfort yourself with the notion that these people wouldn’t eat the goose that lays the golden egg.  I’m telling you flatly that they’ll happily pluck and roast the engine of capitalism because they have been convinced that they’re entitled to do so.  Who convinced them?  You did.

You convinced them because in every previous challenge, in the name of “getting along,” or “being compassionate,” you have wavered and relented in the face of their demands.  With the creation of each additional program over the last century or so, you’ve said to them that their unlimited wishes will be met.  Has it never bothered you that people who claim to seek help due to a desperate need now make their requests in the form of a demand?  Finally, and perhaps a bit too late, you’re onto them.  That’s what the Tea Party really is: It’s born of the recognition that it’s time to begin saying “No.”  Your problem is that they’re no longer accustomed to being told “No.”  Why would they be otherwise?  You have acceded to all previous demands.  We have arrived fully in the age of moral cannibalism, and what now threatens our future is the real thing in all its terrifying forms.

This civil war will not be defined so much by geography as by ethical orientation, but in truth, if we examine the last civil war, the lines merely happened to coincide with geography, but it too was about legal and moral considerations.  What defined the last war was a notion about the right of states as sovereigns, irrespective the underlying issues, and the object was the ultimate power of the Federal government.  Everything that has happened since is an outgrowth of the resolved issue of Federal supremacy over the states, but as was inevitable, once the states were almost fully subdued, all that remained was to then control local governments and ultimately, individuals. Rather than having a tiered system, wherein most citizens seldom deal directly with the federal or even state establishments, we have grown all levels of government in such a thoroughly entangled manner, with power over individual citizens being routinely exercised at all levels that rather than resembling the orderly layered cake our founders conceived, our governments now resemble a stew.  It is now nearly impossible to discern the individual parts without some effort to separate them.  If we are to repair our country, we’ll be forced to begin rebuilding our layer cake, each layer with its own distinctive flavor and function.  As it is, we now have federal authorities wishing to impose Commercial Drivers’ Licenses on farmers on their own property. We have local officials intervening in other matters, like the right to keep and bear arms, where their authority to restrict rights guaranteed under the federal constitution ought to be negligible.  The more you turn this over in your head, and the more thoroughly you grasp what has been done, it becomes clear that whatever layer of government you ought to be engaging in a particular matter, if at all, they are becoming one uniform mass from top to bottom.  We are becoming the Soviet Union.

If this all seems a bit too overly dramatic to you, consider the increasingly frequent instances of local governments gone berserk  with power, with such things as requiring business licenses of children who wish to set up lemonade stands.  There shouldn’t be an American alive who doesn’t get a sick feeling in the pit of the stomach at the mere thought.  That some sort of ridiculously power-hungry government officials who would even think to enforce such a thing should cause you no shortage of concern.  No, we mustn’t allow our children to experiment in capitalism.  No, we mustn’t let them experience a capitalism limited only by the extent of their own dedication and imagination.  Do you see what this does to our culture, at is simplest, most innocent root? It corrupts it with cynicism about an honest day’s work or entrepreneurship and instills submission to the arbitrary demands of government officials, no matter how unreasonable.  I now ask you: Isn’t this what we have permitted ourselves to become?

I can already imagine the critiques of my leftist counterparts, who will in shrill tones denounce and dismiss what I have said, in the main because they know it to be true.  Somehow, like every vanguard of statist “intellectuals” in history, the current crop also believes they will somehow be held harmless and immune, but in truth, once those of us who stand for liberty are displaced, what these self-defrauding useful idiots will discover is that we had been the only thing protecting them, too.

Now, considering this as your actual situation, and armed with this knowledge, what are you to do?  Will you flee?  Submit?  What will be your course?   For my part, I will fight.  For now, we may expect to fight as we are, in politics, and words, but there may yet come a time when more will be required.  To defend this Republic, I will give all if need be.  My oath didn’t end with my term of service, and I don’t know of any statute of limitation upon it.  I know most of you feel likewise.  Let us work now with extra fervor within the political process in the sincere effort to avert the worst of it.

Part of our problem, nationally, but particularly as conservatives and Republicans, exists in the realm of what we called “enemy identification” when I was in the Army.  If you don’t know who to fight, it’s damned-well difficult to prevail.  The simplest answer must be that we must oppose any who wish to further trample our constitution, or otherwise negate its guarantees.  We must also demand a stoppage to the inclusion of false guarantees it never contained, but have been increasingly discovered there nonetheless.

We must arise for the task before us, and it is a solemn and difficult chore in the best of times.  We must restore our governments, all of them, to their proper limited roles.  Some number of our fellow Americans are going to resist a restoration because it means that so much of what they’ve come to demand by right will no longer be, and this is the first point of conflict, and the threat of that moment will be the probable impetus to a change in the terms of this struggle from the political to the violent.  The question is again laid before us: What sort of nation shall we be?  What sort of freedom do you seek?  What is a right?

We’ve been building to this for a very long time.  The resolution will likely be as sudden in a historical sense as it is likely to be final.  Will we continue as a Republic, restoring our liberties, or will we be fundamentally transformed into something even worse than we’ve already become?  Ayn Rand once admonished us through the fictional character of John Galt in the book Atlas Shrugged that no nation could continue indefinitely as half property and half loot.  Look around you.  What have we become?  As we live out the worst of that novel, and seem poised to go to a still more ignominious end, I’m asking you to consider arresting its decline while there’s still time.  It may be that I’m no different from those in the book who thought it could be saved when it couldn’t, but I suspect we’ve still enough people who know the lessons of history well enough to avoid repeating them.

If that’s so, then let us embark on this first campaign, not to wrest control yet from our statist adversaries of the left, but of their complicit collaborators who would claim our friendship on our side.  We must settle on a candidate who will be able to bring them back into the fold, without making further compromise to them.  Then we can begin to gear ourselves up for the larger struggle.  Mark Levin had it right when he titled his book Liberty and Tyranny.  Those are now the distinct choices.  There has been only one individual of national prominence who has stated this basic thesis consistently, in many contexts and forms for the last three years or more.  None have said it more succinctly or plainly.  In 2012, we will have Barack Obama on their side of this argument, and we will have Sarah Palin on ours, if we’re wise.  There turns the conflict.  There will be determined the course of our nation.  Will we restore our nation, or slide over the precipice into historical insignificance?  Will we emerge as a nation aimed back in the direction of liberty, or will we follow the path of tyranny?  The choice is yours, and the time to make it is running out.

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