February 18, 2012
War, Tragedy, and HopeBy Jim Mahoney
For the last twenty years, America has been in a near-continuous state of war. As the drums rumble for another attack on a foreign nation, would it be impertinent to ask what America gained for the sacrifice to date? Since we are expected to pay for this along with all the profligacy of our politicians, would it be disloyal to ask what benefit the average American has derived from the blood and treasure lost so far?
The best outcome of perpetual warfare could be suspicion. Although anyone with the temerity to look at official stories and notice gaping holes is immediately dismissed as a nut, there does seem to be a growing undercurrent of healthy Yankee skepticism despite the media mythmakers' scorn.
Among his many warnings, George Orwell cited perpetual warfare as a hallmark of dystopia. Another was the Thought Police, whose theoretical arm of political correctness today takes flesh in the depraved policies of the TSA. That's merely a logical progression, however. The insidious tentacles of thought-control have long gripped our legal system with concepts like "hate" crimes that focus on unknowable motives rather than objective facts.
Being more advanced than those in the 1940s when Orwell was writing, we no longer need worry about helicopters peering in our windows. Today we have drones. We can rest easy, of course; our Congress would never tolerate abuse of their capabilities. Right.
These are only the more visible signs of the growing boldness of the new dystopia. For years, isolated segments of our population suffered at the hands of a multitude of federal agencies. For example, ranchers and farmers have long been persecuted by the USDA and its Forest Service, the EPA, and the Corps of Engineers, as well as federal judges and swarms of others. Apparently anyone selling food products that a sniffing Beltway prince disapproves of is liable for a visit from the ninjas of the Federal Food Police.
Have we forgotten the image of the terrified 11-year-old Elian Gonzalez, discovered in a bedroom closet by a machine gun-toting federal agent? Are we also supposed to forget the eighty roasted souls of Waco? Have we been at war just with foreigners, or are we facing lawless plague?
All this is financed by a claim on our labor, that of our children and our unborn posterity. When someone is forced to work for another involuntarily, whether for half of his working life or 100%, doesn't that define something? Do we still have a word for that?
While it's difficult to see any tangible benefit from the years of warfare at the gas pump or anywhere else in America, the mythmakers are always sure to remind us that we've not suffered another attack since 9/11. While it's true, in the next breath they solemnly warn of the inevitable "next attack." Unfortunately, if one is bold enough to look at the trends, there is a suspicion that just as inevitably follows the warning.
When leaders exhaust the trust of the people, a nation heads into perilous times.
It seems our Constitution's three-branch government has been reduced to two: the theatrical and the functional. The theatrical branch has two duties: whipping the people into a partisan frenzy every few years, and surrendering their sovereign powers to the functional branch. The functional branch handles the dirty work.
It also appears that the process is coming to an end. There are ever fewer powers retained by the people and seemingly unlimited power held by a growing state. In 2008 the people watched helplessly as whatever equity they saved for their futures was liquidated by monumental fraud. It happened under the noses of functional branch agencies that purportedly exist to prevent fraud. Yet no one on Wall Street is held to account, and Main Street, deprived of its power and wealth, is ripe to become the absolute servant of the state and those who control it.
The outraged skepticism of the people is turned against them as we witness the incongruous spectacle of trust-fund babies crawling out of the tents of Occupy Wall Street while their parents smile from the shining towers around them.
The boldness and contempt of the political-economic elite is evident in their readiness to insult the public. Recently a serious contender for president declared that he would risk a trade war with China because China is responsible for the loss of American jobs. I don't remember the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading America and stealing our jobs.
It's one thing for theater to entertain and distract; it is another to pay to be insulted. This is a dismal picture. Yet there is still hope.
The energy and intensity of ordinary Americans focused and coordinated through the internet shook the elites to their core. While many are quick to declare the Tea Party dead, it just might be licking its wounds after discovering the magnitude of corruption and betrayal of the modern two-branch government.
Recovery requires studying America's founding and our Constitution. There are still peaceful, legitimate avenues for the people to reassert their sovereignty and that of their states. There is a candidate who, while unlikely to be elected, nonetheless fearlessly points the way. The threat he represents to the status quo can be gauged by the intensity of the insults hurled his way.
Even more significantly, there are sheriffs awakening to the true constitutional power they hold in contrast to the virtual powers usurped by the feds. They need our support; they are few, while we are many.
The bankrupt ideas and corruption that caused so much suffering in the last century are running out of steam. As the latter-day book-burners in the old media and their political lackeys desperately try to seize the internet, more Americans awaken to both their madness and their methods.
Many are beginning to realize that saving the republic involves much more than the ballot box. Renewing America means renewing ourselves and embracing the values of the republic our founders gave us. If all politics is local, it begins in our own heads and hearts.
There might be just enough of our republic left to save it. It's time for us to look at ourselves, at the tools our founders gave us, and to get to work.
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