What Are Unalienable Rights?

October 30, 2011

by Russell D. Longcore
Owner and Editor, DumpDC.com

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an expansive article about unalienable rights. We all seem to just refer to the Declaration of Independence and what Jefferson wrote, and then defer to it. But natural law and unalienable rights are where it all starts.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain Unalienable Rights… Self-Evident. Obvious. Perhaps it was self-evident to the 18th Century common man, but I submit to you that the common 21st Century mind is not equally equipped. Much of the wisdom of the ages has been withheld from the modern man by the government schools. And why not? If you were a government, both tasked by The People to educate them and controlled by the same People, why teach generation after generation how to control you? Why not teach those generations how to be controlled? Self-evident truths bow to governmental self-preservation when The People aren’t watching vigilantly.

Building a tower requires building a firm foundation FIRST…or your tower goes over when the winds blow hard. Gentle readers, we’re in a CAT 5 hurricane right now that’s going to take down our American tower. If you do not have a working understanding of unalienable rights, you’ll likely fall for the next iteration of oppressive, tyrannical government foisted upon an uneducated populace who move their lips when they read. And if you don’t truly understand this philosophy, you cannot possibly teach it to your young.

Unalienable rights are also known as Natural Law or Absolute Rights. In this article these terms will be interchangeable. Also, the use of a male pronoun or the word “man” means all humans.

We begin with a definition of “Unalienable:”

“Unalienable: incapable of being alienated, that is, sold and transferred.” Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1523. One cannot sell, transfer or surrender unalienable rights. The Creator bestowed them on every individual. All human beings possess unalienable rights. Unalienable rights cannot be taken nor surrendered but they can be simply ignored. This is a little like the story Jesus told about the prodigal son. A recalcitrant son learns through tough lessons that he cannot escape his father’s love nor his rights as his father’s son.

But can we find natural human rights without a recognition of a Creator? Yes, without a doubt. What you’ll learn here about Natural Law dwells in the heart of every human being simply because he exists. The concept of Unalienable Rights is life-affirming whether or not you believe in a Higher Power, since the concept showcases the uniqueness of the human being in this world. Unalienable Rights are the highest form of humanness while at the same time the most elementary of man’s characteristics.

Unalienable or Inalienable?

There is a very serious error made throughout America as related to Unalienable Rights. That is, that many people use the term “Inalienable Rights” and think that the terms are interchangeable. But they are as different as night and day.

Inalienable Rights: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights. Morrison v. State, Mo. App., 252 S.W.2d 97, 101.

Inalienable rights can be transferred, sold or surrendered if you give your consent. Inalienable rights are not bestowed by the Creator or inherent in humans. ”Persons” have inalienable rights, and the word “Person” is a legal term¹. Inalienable rights can be bestowed to persons by government, and can be likewise removed from persons by government. At times, government itself can be considered a “Person” in a legal sense. Most state constitutions recognize only inalienable rights.

Therefore, because we possess Unalienable Rights, endowed by our Creator, to secure these rights(not grant or create them), “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”² And the rights we bestow upon government are the Inalienable Rights that we all possess that can be transferred to other persons.

We’re going to build this like a pyramid, much like the Hierarchy of Needs developed by Professor Abraham Maslow, Ph.D. He placed the bedrock human needs as the base of the pyramid, these being the most fundamental needs upon which all others are built. Physiological needs are first, simple survival of the human body. Next up comes Safety, then Love, Esteem, then Self-actualization as the headstone.

Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

I don’t have a cool graphic for Unalienable Rights, so you’ll just have to look at Maslow’s pyramid and use your imagination. It won’t be all that hard.

The Right of Life

When Thomas Jefferson wrote of “certain Unalienable Rights,” he placed them in the proper order, with Life being the first and most basic of all. This is the right to simply exist as a sentient being…one able to perceive sensations, a consciousness. Unalienable rights come into being at the moment that a human becomes a human. I do not mean when the individual becomes a viable human, capable of life outside the womb. Both sides of the abortion issue agree that a zygote…a human female egg fertilized by a male sperm…is human, and that every day after it becomes an embryo for about 270 days it is human. Our right to life means our right to express our humanness and to simply be alive. The opposite is the death of a human being. The right to life gets very complicated, since none of us were able to leave the womb and live without assistance, sustenance and support. An argument about embryonic viability here entirely misses the point, since even post-birth humans need daily care until at least age 5 (or 10) or they will likely die. So along with our own innate right to life, we acknowledge our responsibility to assist other human life to exist and express itself. Maslow pointed to the need of breathing, food, water, sleep, sex, homeostasis and excretion…all part of maintaining life, and without any one of those needs, life would eventually stop. Note here that the right of life is seldom exercised individually, but is inextricably tied to the lives of others.

Right of Personal Security

The next step up the Unalienable Rights pyramid is the right to protect one’s very life and bodily existence. And by acknowledging the duties we have to others to whom we give life…our progeny…we extend the right to protect their lives also. Personal security first means that our bodies are safe from harm. That security encompasses both protection by others while we are unable to secure our own safety and protecting ourselves and our loved ones after we become capable of assuring our own safety. Note here that the right of personal security is seldom exercised individually, but is inextricably tied to the safety of others. The Second Amendment has its foundation in this unalienable human right, relying upon it to secure a free state through the use of a militia. The Second Amendment is not the “right” to keep and bear arms. It is the restriction on Congress to violate the Unalienable Right of Personal Security. Both the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments were supposed to secure this Right.

The Right of Labor

The first manifestation of the greater Right of Property is found in the Right of Labor. Every human being owns the work of his own mind and hands, and any hindrance to his employing his mental and physical ability in whatever method he thinks proper, without causing injury to another individual, would be a violation of the Right of Labor. This right will be found in Maslow’s Safety block.

Right to Acquire and Enjoy Property

“Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product is a slave.” Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness

This Right touches all of the other Unalienable Rights. First, a human fully possesses his own body, and may do with it what he pleases, as long as his choices do not violate the property rights of another human. Next, man owns his labor and may use his labor for his own subsistence. He may use his labor as an expression of value or a medium of exchange, and may freely exchange that value to acquire property. Then he may have quiet enjoyment of his property according to any manner that best reflects his happiness. Property may take the form of physical assets, but may also be less tangible assets like intellectual property. Property rights mean ownership and control, which includes the right to use an asset as well as the right to prohibit others from using the asset. Property rights also allow the owner to determine the value of an asset, and to even destroy an asset if he so chooses. The only restriction on the Unalienable Right of Property is that it does not infringe upon the Unalienable Rights of others.

As John Locke stated in The Second Treatise on Government (1690) “The great and chief end therefore of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of property.” What man would willingly join a society that did not protect his enjoyment of the fruits of his own labor?

In The Wealth of Nations (1776), Adam Smith states that “private property created a role for government in defending property (rights), and the existence of government created the security to stimulate the creation of new property.” Many today wonder why the economies of the nations are in such dreadful shape. But most governments around the world are undermining property rights, the very reason for their existence. When there is no predictability in the marketplace, and individuals are preyed upon by governments, the incentive for creating new property is diminished or altogether extinguished. Those still seeking to create new property will migrate to the governments that best protect property rights. That’s why capital is leaving America for foreign locations and will continue to do so.

Right to Contract

This Unalienable Right gives all individuals the liberty to voluntarily enter into contract with any other individual or group of individuals, so long as there is agreement as to the terms of the contract by all parties involved, and so long as the contractual agreement does not violate another individual’s Unalienable Rights. Therefore, in light of property rights, individuals may sell their labor to an employer at mutually agreeable terms. Individuals may profit from the disposition of other property by mutual agreement.

All Unalienable Rights preceded the establishment of governments. However, governments chafe mightily under this Right. In America, the years 1897 to 1937 were a 40-year period in which the US Supreme Court vigorously protected the Right to Contract. This period of time is called the “Lochner years,” referring to Lochner v. New York (1905). In Lochner, the High Court struck down a New York statute that set maximum working hours. Justice Rufus Peckham, writing for the majority, stated that the Due Process Clauses found in the 5th and 14th Amendments were stout enough to protect the Unalienable Right to Contract, and that the State of New York had no business restricting the hours that an employee and employer may agree to. After 1937, the Court has relentlessly attacked the Right to Contract, supporting laws like the minimum wage and child labor statutes. Most of the burdensome Federal regulations are attacks on the Right to Contract, since they require parties to contracts to perform acts that they would likely not agree to if given a choice.

Right of Free Speech

This is the freedom to speak freely, provided that your speech does not violate the free speech of other individuals. The Right of Free Speech is an absolute right, subject to no other restrictions than another individual’s Unalienable Rights. Naturally, your liberty to speak does not allow for libel, slander, fraud or falsehood. This is another Unalienable Right which governments despise, and most governments do not allow untrammeled free speech. And free speech may take many forms, such as spoken, written, printed and performed.

Right of Beliefs or Conscience

Individuals have an Unalienable Right to believe what they wish, to worship as their conscience dictates, or as a negative right, to not believe or not worship as their conscience dictates.

Right of Personal Liberty

The classical liberal (the good kind) concept of personal liberty is as a moral principle in which an individual is free to govern himself, his life and his property without outside compulsion, force or fraud, provided that his personal governance does not intrude upon or violate the liberty of another individual.

Right to the Pursuit of Happiness

“Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man.” ~ Dr. Viktor Frankl, 1992

The Pursuit of Happiness provides the vehicle through which man can find life’s meaning.

The Pursuit of Happiness would be found on Maslow’s pyramid at the very top as a Self-Actualization need. But this Right encapsulates all the other Rights and cannot be accomplished until the other Unalienable Rights are in place and utilized. Your pursuit of happiness would be short-circuited if you do not enjoy the Rights to Life, Labor, Property, Contract, Belief and Liberty.

To understand how this phrase “the pursuit of happiness” found its way into the Declaration of Independence, you must know some background about Thomas Jefferson. He was strongly influenced by the Greek philosopher Epicurus, even referring to himself as an Epicurean. The teacher’s philosophy was simple: if you cultivated close personal relationships, limited your desires to the necessities of life, and found joy in the moment, you would find happiness. Everything in moderation.

Conclusion

Think about a Being that creates humans, then endows them with Unalienable Rights simply because they are human, and the pinnacle of their Rights being the Right to the Pursuit of Happiness! Not its attainment, but the pursuit. The Creator is no cosmic Joker, playing a cynical game by creating a desire in the breast of each human being for happiness, but having no available tools to meet the desire. We are endowed with the desire, the ability and the Unalienable Rights necessary to live a life of purpose and meaning, and to pass on those purposes and those meanings to subsequent generations, all seeking the same outcomes.

Share this article with those you love. Then discuss it. Teach your children these lessons so they understand how the Creator meant for them to live. Understanding your Unalienable Rights will give you a reason to live, a gratefulness to your Creator, and true self-esteem based in reality.

* * * * * * * * * *

¹The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

²PERSON. This word is applied to men, women and children, who are called natural persons. In law, man and person are not exactly synonymous terms. Any human being is a man, whether he be a member of society or not, whatever may be the rank he holds, or whatever may be his age, sex, &c. A person is a man considered according to the rank he holds in society, with all the rights to which the place he holds entitles him, and the duties which it imposes. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 137.
2. It is also used to denote a corporation which is an artificial person. 1 Bl. Com. 123; 4 Bing. 669; C. 33 Eng. C. L R. 488; Woodes. Lect. 116; Bac. Us. 57; 1 Mod. 164.
3. But when the word “Persons” is spoken of in legislative acts, natural persons will be intended, unless something appear in the context to show that it applies to artificial persons. 1 Scam. R. 178.
4. Natural persons are divided into males, or men; and females or women. Men are capable of all kinds of engagements and functions, unless by reasons applying to particular individuals. Women cannot be appointed to any public office, nor perform any civil functions, except those which the law specially declares them capable of exercising. Civ. Code of Louis. art. 25.
5. They are also sometimes divided into free persons and slaves. Freemen are those who have preserved their natural liberty, that is to say, who have the right of doing what is not forbidden by the law. A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. Slaves are sometimes ranked not with persons but things. But sometimes they are considered as persons for example, a negro is in contemplation of law a person, so as to be capable of committing a riot in conjunction with white men. 1 Bay, 358. Vide Man.
6. Persons are also divided into citizens, (q.v.) and aliens, (q.v.) when viewed with regard to their political rights. When they are considered in relation to their civil rights, they are living or civilly dead; vide Civil Death; outlaws; and infamous persons.
7. Persons are divided into legitimates and bastards, when examined as to their rights by birth.
8. When viewed in their domestic relations, they are divided into parents and children; husbands and wives; guardians and wards; and masters and servants son, as it is understood in law, see 1 Toull. n. 168; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 1890, note.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2011, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Flash Editorials October 29, 2011

October 29, 2011

By Russell D. Longcore

International: Blowback…also known as “unintended consequences”…sucks. The provisional government leaders of Libya announced that going forward, they will be forming a new government based upon Islamic Sharia law. The Obama Administration has been crowing like a rooster about how they look forward to democratic government in the new Libya. NATO forces…which is Washington wearing a mask…plotted the overthrow of Libya and lit up Gaddafi military troops as support for the overthrow. But Libya is all about tribes, and tribalism and democracy never mix. Libya wants the kind of sharia state that Saudi Arabia has, not what Washington is offering. While Libya’s choice may be questionable, their complete rejection of DC and Western “civilization” is not.

International II: Holders of Greek sovereign debt will see 50% of it evaporate into thin air in the most recent European Union bailout plan. That Germany agreed to this tells the rest of the EU that they can go bust at will. There is a lot of this story we’re not seeing.

The Nation: Obama announced the Iraq troop withdrawal last week. Stunningly, the Republican candidates Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Santorum and Cain ALL criticized Barry, saying that we should maintain a military force in Iraq indefinitely. Bachmann suggested that Iraq reimburse us for the invasion and occupation. Let’s see. A local gang breaks into your house, throws you out, kills some of your children, and then presents you with a bill for their trouble. Listen, all of you asshole candidates. There is no way to positively spin a nine-year undeclared war that cost over $800 BILLION, over 4,400 American lives, over 32,000 wounded and millions of dead Iraqis. You have absolutely no morals nor conscience. Ron Paul is cheerfully excluded from this rant.

The Nation II: Jim Dick Perry, the Guvna of Texas, has gone on record in support of a flat tax as his presidential candidate economic platform. The flat tax is a stupid idea, even though it is a better idea than what America has now in the income tax. All it basically does is lower the nominal rate for individuals, maintaining most of the present deductions. The act of taxing a population is supposed to be neutral, not rewarding or penalizing any particular behavior, but simply raising money for government to do its work. The most equitable tax of all is the simple sales tax. With a sales tax, everybody pays. No deductions of any kind. No subsidies for low income earners. No tax on investments. Everybody from little Tommy buying his watermelon-flavored bubble gum to the wealthiest persons pays the sales tax and pays the same rate. And the rate should not be designed to be revenue-neutral to the present level of taxation, since the present tax abomination and government spending is so wildly whacked. I’m thinking that the Federal sales tax rate should start at about 8%, with a maximum of 10% if needed. And that’s all they should get. Of course, this will never be enacted on a 50-state scale. But it will work just dandy in a seceded state.

The Nation III: I have good news and bad news. Republican House Whip Eric Cantor announced the working schedule for the Republican Congress for 2012. They will be on the floor of the House of Representatives a total of 112 days next year. Last time I checked, there were 52 weeks with five business days, totaling 260 possible work days, not deducting Federal holidays. House members will only work TWO five-day weeks that YEAR, one in September and one in October. Most of the remaining weeks that year, it’s a couple days, or three, or four…some weeks none at all. So the bad news is that your Congressional representative will be mostly focused on getting re-elected in 2012 and will spend little time passing laws. The good news is that your Congressional representative will be mostly focused on getting re-elected in 2012 and will spend little time passing laws.

Religion: Magician Penn Gillette of Penn & Teller has come up with the Ten Commandments for Atheists. CLICK HERE TO READ THE LIST.

Business: Radio giant Clear Channel Communications (owns 850 radio stations) axed bunches of on-air and off-air employees nationwide this week in another effort to slash costs and find profitability. Shrugging under $20 billion in debt, they keep looking for that mix of local programs and syndication that will get them profitable again. No way in hell they’ll ever qualify for a bailout, since they have been huge Republican donors over the years. “Too big to fail” might mean the breakup of Clear Channel, and it couldn’t happen to a more ruthless and deserving company.

Economy: 402,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week. I can’t leave this alone. You do realize that every 2 ½ weeks, one million people file new claims? This has been occurring steadily now for SIX MONTHS!!!

Sports: The St. Louis Cardinals are the World Champion baseball team for 2012. I hear that game six was a real barn-burner. Congrats,Cardinals!!

Entertainment: In the Landing on your Feet Department, bad boy Charlie Sheen will be back in a sitcom soon. The FX Channel has acquired the rights to the movie “Anger Management” and will turn it into a new vehicle for Sheen to shine. But will it “win?”

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2011, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Evangelicals, Politics, and the Kingdom of God

October 27, 2011

by William L. Anderson

Because the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks fell upon a Sunday, it hardly was surprising that the incident was recognized in many churches in the United States. Americans are not alone in commemorating anniversaries of important events, but from what I saw the 9/11 services in many evangelical churches went beyond simple commemoration, moving into the infusion of Christianity with the American State, something the ancients once called syncretism.

Before going further regarding the relationship of American evangelicals with the U.S. State, I will point out that evangelicals hardly are the only churchgoers in this country that mix the Kingdom of God with the Kingdom of Mammon. As one who receives the regular emails from Sojourners, which tends to represent the thinking of the “liberal” American churches, I can see how millions of people who are part of those religious circles are taught that the American Welfare State IS the Kingdom of God, and that the so-called intention of any law intended to further that State equates with directives from the Bible.

(One has to remember, however, that liberal American churches, while giving the Bible some sort of mystical authority without really believing what it says, hold to very different standards of beliefs than do evangelicals. Theological liberals tend to speak in religious languages that manage to say a lot of things that reveal little actual belief, with language used not to describe something, but rather to hide what liberals do not believe. For the most part, a vision of a socialist and welfarist America – the original vision of American Progressives of more than a century ago – has captivated the pulpits and the seminaries of their denominations. If they believe their reading of Scripture can be mixed into that vision, then Scripture is acceptable, and anything else is ignored or described in such vague terms as to make it meaningless.)

The focus of this commentary, then, is not upon the theological liberals who long ago abandoned historical Christianity for Progressive Statism. Instead, I am looking at the evangelicals who have abandoned historical Christianity for their own version of Progressive Statism, embracing the religion of “American Exceptionalism,” as though it were the essence of the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, I realize that what I am writing will make me very unpopular with people who claim to be following Christ, but Christianity is not a popularity contest and I believe that evangelicals have so lost their way when it comes to matters of Church and State that they are in danger of going the way of the theological liberals, who have become religiously irrelevant.

I recently spent nearly a month in Latvia, a small, Baltic independent country that was swallowed by the former Soviet Union for half a century. Although less than 10 percent of Latvians even attend church (apparently, communism did have its influences over time), those that do go tend to be quite active, and my wife, the girl we are adopting, and I went to a relatively new church while we were in that country.

One thing I noticed was the lack of political influences in that church. There was no Latvian flag outside or inside the building, even though there were church flags on the flagpoles, even though Latvians, like many from the Baltic countries, tend to be quite nationalistic. (They threw off an oppressor, the U.S.S.R., only two decades ago, and with very little bloodshed.) There was no mixing of Christianity and “Latvianism” during the services, which I cannot say is always the situation in the USA. (My church does not have flags of any country flying outside or displayed in the sanctuary or elsewhere in the building, so I must make sure not to make blanket statements.)

Why is that so? One reason, I believe, involves the religious roots of the United States. We are fond of saying things like “America was founded on religious freedom” and the like, although it is clear from even a cursory reading of U.S. History that while some people did seek to be able to practice their religion here after being persecuted in Europe, nonetheless religious freedom on these shores was a spotty thing.

We also hear that the USA was founded “as a Christian country,” and I remember hearing a talk from someone who believed that had the authors of the U.S. Constitution made it clear that this country was “Christian,” that somehow things would be different today. That really is nonsense; for that matter, a number of European countries at one time officially were “Christian” nations, and today none of those things matter, as no place in the world is as secular as Europe today.

However, the connection between historical Christianity and the effect it should have upon the actions of those that govern us was changed permanently in the United States during the 19th Century, first with Unitarianism and then with Progressivism. The political actions of both liberal and conservative “evangelicals” today are reflective of the secular, state-embracing political philosophies that rose during the 1800s and early 1900s, not the Christianity that was practiced by the Early Church, and certainly not of the Bible.

I cannot emphasize that point enough. When American evangelicals launch campaigns to deal with attempts to outlaw the “under God” portion of the Pledge of Allegiance, they are not preserving religious freedom, nor are not paying homage to the ideals of liberty that inspired many of the founders of this nation. Instead, they are endorsing a pledge created by a socialist who despised the founders of this country and who hated the views that the framers of the U.S. Constitution had on law and the state. Indeed, the Pledge of Allegiance is the antithesis of all of those ideals upon which conservative evangelicals claim to be supporting and it is collectivist and Progressivist to the core. Yet, because it has the phrase “under God,” Christians are willing to engage in what only can be idolatry and pledge their troth to another god.

Having grown up in the conservative evangelical subculture and still being part of it, I have picked up some insights as to why people who believe in God and who hold to the inerrancy of the Bible have sold out to the State. The answers are more complicated and nuanced than one might expect to read in a publication like the New York Times, which treats evangelicals as though they were alien invaders who have no right even to exist in our society.

Because I am dealing with the modern evangelicals, I will not cover the influence of the Unitarians of the 19th Century, except to say that they were part of nearly every major advancement of State power, including the public school movement in Massachusetts, and the Civil War. Certainly, by the end of the 1800s, the Unitarian influence began to wane, as theological liberalism took hold in the major Protestant denominations.

It is not hard to understand why theological liberals embraced the Progressive agenda of expansion of State power and the undermining of doctrines such as natural rights, as well as the viewpoint that law should be a “positive” force in making people engage in specified public duties. (This is as opposed to law being a check on those in power; Progressives wanted the law to advance government power, not restrain it.)

Liberals by 1900 had given up on the historical doctrines of Christianity, including Creation, the Fall, and Redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead, liberals decided that while they did not believe the Biblical events actually happened, the purpose of Christianity should be to create a “Heaven on earth” through social legislation. The “purpose” in life would be the implementation of “good works,” but good works done through the actions of the State and the “experts” employed in government bureaucracies.

The liberals have changed neither their message nor their mission. They have embraced nearly every totalitarian movement that promised “free healthcare,” including the notorious and murderous regime of Pol Pot at the height of its terror. Today, they champion environmentalism, welfarism, and every government program that has been created in the name of “helping the poor.” No matter how many times government fails and no matter how many times socialist dictatorships are exposed, the liberals will continue to draw their water from the same polluted well, and nothing ever will change.

The evangelicals, however, have taken a different path but have ended at the doorstep of Statism as have their liberal counterparts. Although evangelicals did not openly become involved in the modern scourge of partisan politics until about 1980, they did embrace Progressivism as tightly as did the liberals, and there are many reasons why that happened.

First, Progressives promoted Prohibition, and that was the cause that allowed the theological liberals and conservatives to break bread together, although they did not follow exactly the same paths to Prohibition. The liberals tended to be tied to the wealthy Progressives, such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (Rockefeller contributed much of the money for the construction of the Riverside Church in Manhattan, which even today is a center of theological liberalism and leftism. He also was a major supporter of Union Theological Seminary, which was one of the early seminaries to promote the “Social Gospel.”)

Theological conservatives, on the other hand, were concentrated among the middle and lower-income groups on the economic ladder, and they could see the destructive effects of alcoholism upon individuals and families. Indeed, the leading evangelist of the day, Billy Sunday, was a major promoter of Prohibition, although he hardly had the same influence as did the wealthy Progressives, who believed that making alcohol illegal would help create a class of people that could be better directed by the “experts” of the State.

Second, because the evangelicals (at that time, called “Fundamentalists”) tended to be less-wealthy than theological liberals, the Populist-Progressive message had a lot of appeal to them, and Progressive politicians such as Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman and Theo Bilbo were able to take advantage of their resentment. These men also pitched their Progressivism in a virulent racism that created a syncretistic Christianity that built a racially-based foundation of belief. In that set of beliefs, one could resent people of another race, blame them for one’s own ills, and have it blessed by both the church and the authorities. (Fundamentalists held onto their racial separatism and were the last of the Christian groups to admit blacks into their churches and schools. Many of them cited the non-existent “Curse of Ham” in the book of Genesis as the basis of their beliefs and this is not the only time that Fundamentalists have misused passages of Holy Scripture to push viewpoints that are not Biblical.)

I emphasize the Progressive Era because this was the time that the modern dichotomy was set between the Fundamentalists and the Theological Liberals, and it was the time when the patterns for both groups were determined. It also is the time when many of the hymns that appear in Fundamentalist hymnals were written, a time when churches cheered on America’s military ventures in Cuba and the Philippines and in Europe.

Since that time, both Liberals and Fundamentalists (now under the overall umbrella of evangelicals, although the term also includes people who would disclaim any Fundamentalist ties) continue to embrace Progressivism and outright statism. For the liberals, the State itself functions as God, or at least it is the main conduit through which God acts. Evangelicals, on the other hand, have a more complex relationship with the American State.

As Laurence Vance has noted in numerous articles, the evangelicals (or conservatives in that camp) tend to have a near-worshipful view of the U.S. Armed Forces. They also are near-united in having views that abortion-on-demand not only is evil, but should be outlawed, and most of them who are active in anti-abortion movements believe the outlawing should be done via an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Ron Paul’s belief that an amendment is not the right thing to do, given the constitution’s separation of powers doctrines, tends to be marginalized by the evangelical conservatives, but more on Dr. Paul later.)

From the Progressive Era well into the 1970s, the conservative evangelicals tended to support whatever was “American,” although they really were not tied to either major political party. Southern evangelical conservatives tended to vote for Democrats (as did liberals), and evangelicals from the rest of the country were somewhat split. If there is a ground zero for modern evangelical political involvement, it came not (as some might think) with the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court forced all states to legalize abortion on demand, but rather the 1976 election of Jimmy Carter as president.

Carter was the first president in my memory to lay claim to the “born again” criteria that is essential to the evangelical experience. Because evangelicals really are a minority in this country, they tend to grasp onto celebrities, sports figures, and other public people who say they are Christians. For example, when Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation, Christianity Today ran an article asking of there was “A Christian in the White House” because it was rumored that Ford was a practicing believer.

Evangelicals in droves voted for Carter, but they soon were disappointed in him. For one, the Democratic Party that Carter represented was not the party that many evangelicals had supported post-World War II. This was the party of Ted Kennedy and George McGovern. It was the party of militant support for abortion on demand, and it was the party of the very intellectuals and Theological Liberals that absolutely despised evangelicals. While the Democrats did not mind having evangelical votes for Carter, they let it be known that they did not want these “religious fanatics” in their party. Thus, whatever evangelical support Carter might have had, the Democrats deliberately drove out the conservatives.

Second, the Carter presidency was a time of high unemployment and high inflation, and his legacy was one of failure. (I wrote a revisionist piece on the Carter presidency several years ago and noted that he did a number of good things during his stay in office, but that neither he nor the Democrats have wanted to take credit for them because they involved creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs, which meant that some people might have become rich in the process.)

Ronald Reagan was the first candidate of either party to gain the overt endorsements of groups openly tied to evangelicals. The late Jerry Falwell, then the president of Liberty University, started a group called Moral Majority that laid out much of what would be the governing principles for both Republican and (ironically) Democratic administrations since that time.

The Religious Right, as the MM and other such groups were called, wanted to see more people in prison, a ramped up war against drugs, more overseas U.S. military ventures, and more powers granted to the police. While supporting limited individual gun rights and cuts in tax rates, the Religious Right gave some lip service to limited government, but in the end the expansion of the Warfare State, the refusal to cut back on the Welfare State, and the growing moves to support militarization of the police ultimately resulted in what we have in this country: the Warfare-Welfare-Police State.

The U.S. prison population, which stood at about 300,000 when Reagan was elected, has mushroomed to more than 2.1 million, a quarter of the incarcerated people on the globe and by far the highest number for a single nation. Never in the history of the USA has it been easier for someone to be arrested and charged with a “crime” that not long ago would not have been considered a legal transgression. Furthermore, with their slavish desire for state-sponsored executions, and their view that police and prosecutors should have a “free hand” to “do their jobs,” we have seen an explosion of police and prosecutorial misconduct for which there is little or no legal accountability, much less moral accountability.

There are many reasons for this, but I firmly hold that one of the main reasons has been the renewed vigor of direct involvement in politics by conservative American evangelicals. With their rules-based religious beliefs and their religious devotion to “American Exceptionalism,” American religious conservatives have managed to create the Police State that slowly but surely is being turned against them.

I hardly believe that only conservative evangelicals are to blame. After all, Paul Krugman and Ben Bernanke are not Christian conservatives, nor is Barack Obama and certainly not the Democratic Party. Nonetheless, the Progressive style of governance that is so destructive has been enhanced by the Religious Right, which looks for a “law enforcement” solution to nearly everything and operates upon the mistaken belief that the police always will do the right thing.

The current political season does not offer any change. Ron Paul still is reviled among Religious conservatives, even though he is pro-life and wants to preserve religious freedom. However, Dr. Paul is not an adherent to a belief in a magical “American Exceptionalism” and has strongly criticized American military adventures abroad, something that never will endear him to the Christian Right.

American liberty is rapidly disappearing and the Religious Right has played an important role in empowering the worst among us. This was not supposed to be the case, but whenever people seek to impose the Kingdom of God through politically-sponsored violence, the sad results are inevitable. The United States of America is not the Kingdom of God, nor is it the “Shining City on a Hill.” It is simply a country whose political leaders decided long ago that individual liberty should be replaced by collectivism, and the Christian conservatives were there to answer the call.

William L. Anderson, Ph.D., teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com.


Confessions of an Actual Man

October 25, 2011

Very Sincere Too

(Editor’s note: Y’all need to smile more!)

by Fred Reed

Like a wolverine digging at a rabbit’s hole, this column seeks truth, wherever it lies. (Of course, if truth lies, how can you trust it? These are deep waters.) To this end, I have been reading feminists about what slugs men are, and bandits, and slaves of vanity, and cause loose fillings and sunspots and roach infestations. In the past I dismissed these tiresome viragos as mere creatures of bile and ill-breeding. This time, I thought, maybe I should listen to them. After all, ugly short-haired unmarried women are people too. Pretty close anyway.

As I pondered, I was overcome by the consciousness of sin. Yes, I thought, it is true. We men are the slaves of vanity. I wanted to deny it, but I could not. The facts cannot be evaded: We, sorry male malfeasors all, are hopelessly vain.

Confess it, fellows: Men spend millions on boob jobs, on moisturizing lipstick that gives us the freshness of the roses of morn, on perky push-up bras that divide and lift at the same time. Yes, we do. Television groans under ads for new, new shampoos that make our thinning hair swirl like corn silk in gentle zephyrs. Whole generations of Africans have died in the diamond mines of Kimberly so that we men could have gaudis and baubles and dingly-dangles to put in our ears. Oh, the shame of it.

Women, far more sensible, are happy with scuba gear, a big-bore Kawasaki, and two-for-one Coors. Maybe a Ruger Redhawk.

It is not just vanity that corrupts men and makes us a burden on a suffering world. No. There is worse. We do not play well with others. No one can doubt it.

I have often read that women cooperate, quietly working together to get the job done, while men are aggressive and need to butt heads, trying to be the alpha male. This must be true, I reflected. Sociologists say so. There can be no greater fountain of truth than pigeon-chested academic worms in psuedo-universities. That’s what I think, anyway.

Sure enough, the evidence is there. If you peer into the sordid sprawl of history, you find that you can hardly swing a pool cue without hitting a civilization founded by cooperating women. Sumeria, Rome, the Tang Dynasty, the Raj — all built by women working quietly and maturely together, while men fussed and fumed and did their nails. The NFL, the space program, Microsoft and Google, all products of cooperating women.

There is yet more. Men need to bear up, be brave and mature, and face truth: Women are more practical than men. Someone said that men are romantics pretending to be realists, and women, realists pretending to be romantic. Yes. Honesty compels us to grant it. Men are like little boys, always wanting to go higher and faster, to explore jungles and invent exotic aircraft. Always childlike, we love to race alone across the late-afternoon deserts of Arizona on a Harley, with the air furnace-hot and sunset burning out from incandescent reds to rolling waves of oranges on celestial beaches, the night rising from behind distant mountains. Women want granite counter-tops. These last, and are easy to clean.

This practicality of the distaff wing of our race of nuclear-armed primates is pervasive, profound, and probably of remote evolutionary origin. For example, women are attracted to money, than which there is nothing more practical. In fact, money is the only aphrodisiac that gets the job done. Ask any sailor who has spent shore leave in the Philippines.

It works like a charm blessed by the Seventh Orisha. I am an ugly man of sixty-five years with thick glasses that make me look like a poorly-designed frog. But give me a Ferrari Testarossa, a flashy suit with an Italian name like Giovanni or Armani, and a roll of hundred-dollar bills to tip for beers at pricey restautrants. Gorgeous groupies of twenty-five will crawl in their hundreds through my windows. Practical, they are. Very.

Men are ever impractical. In countries where I have lived, such as Vietnam, Mexico, and Thailand, the difference is unmistakable. If an American man encounters a Thai lass who is cute, smart, kind, funny, and a hell of a lot of fun, he will marry her, support her without the least resentment, and think he has prospered mightily. He is a man, and thus a romantic. No practicality. If an American woman has ever married a Thai below her social class in the expectation of maintaining him, this has not been recorded. It just isn’t a paying proposition.

An evil misogynist or anyone rational would call this racism. It would be terribly unfair. I’m just not sure why.

The sexes approach problems differently. A friend once worked at a computer help-desk for a large association of realtors, who apparently are not any brighter than they need to be. She said that about twelve people, evenly divided between men and women, worked in this pit of reparative cybernicity. She further said that she had noticed that the women worked from a list of possible answers. Is it plugged in? Is the power on? And so on. Some of the questions were technical, and the women were not stupid, but they worked from a list and, if nothing applied, they threw up their hands. The guys by contrast regarded computers as really neat puzzles, controllable complexity of the sort that fascinates men, and liked to solve crazy new problems.

This difference is why a female bureaucrat will just say, “Nope, can’t do it. Sez so here,” while a man will think, “How can we get around this sumbitch rule?” It’s much more practical and efficient just to say, “Nope. No can do.”

Male immaturity. Always fiddling with high-by-pass turbofans or III-V semiconductors instead of working quietly from lists.

Like a six-year-old, a man has to know how everything works. This defect of the male psyche is close to universal. A woman wants her refrigerator to cool her yogurt, her stereo to play the BeeGees, her car to run and not make funny noises. Ever practical, she isn’t interested in thingy-whichies, in the compression-cooling-expansion cycle, or source-gate-drain of transistors, or what a valve train is. It isn’t that she couldn’t learn these things easily enough, but that she has no practical reason for learning them.

I reckon women are just more complicated than men can understand. It could drive us to drink, if we needed driving. Their is a subtlety that we men, with our blunt-trauma minds, can’t get our fingers around. Women want to get married, but they don’t want to get married, and they are furious at men but want to be loved, which presents technical problems. It’s too many for us. The Iraqis say “Women want roasted ice.” Maybe we underestimate Moslem civilizations.

Now, from experience, I know that feminists will be madder than wet hornets, this being their only condition, because I have spread this repast of understanding on the tablecloth of the internet. If I weren’t so charitable, I might suggest that they dish it out much better than they take it, that they feel entitled in perpetuity to distemper —but I am the soul of charity, and won’t even hint at it, though it’s God’s truth.

All original material©Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
www.FredOnEverything.net


The Evil 1%

October 24, 2011

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The “occupy” protest movement is thriving off the claim that the 99% are being exploited by the 1%, and there is truth in what they say. But they have the identities of the groups wrong. They imagine that it is the 1% of highest wealth holders who are the problem. In fact, that 1% includes some of the smartest, most innovative people in the country – the people who invent, market, and distribute material blessings to the whole population. They also own the capital that sustains productivity and growth.

But there is another 1% out there, those who do live parasitically off the population and exploit the 99%. Moreover, there is a long intellectual tradition, dating back to the late middle ages that draws attention to the strange reality that a tiny minority lives off the productive labor of the overwhelming majority.

I’m speaking of the State, which even today is made up of a tiny sliver of the population, but is the direct cause of all the impoverishing wars, inflation, taxes, regimentation, and social conflict. This 1% is the direct cause of the violence, the censorship, the unemployment, and vast amounts of poverty, too.

Look at the numbers, rounding from latest data. The U.S. population is 307 million. There are about 20 million government employees at all levels, which makes 6.5%. But 6.2 million of these people are public school teachers, whom I think we can say are not really the ruling elite. That takes us down to 4.4%.

We can knock of another half million who work for the post office, and probably the same who work for various service department bureaus. Probably another million do not work in any enforcement arm of the State, and there’s also the amazing labor-pool fluff that comes with any government work. Local governments do not cause nation-wide problems (usually), and the same might be said of the 50 states. The real problem is at the federal level (8.5 million), from which we can subtract fluff, drones, and service workers.

In the end, we end up with about 3 million people who constitute what is commonly called the State. For short, we can just call these people the 1%.

The 1% do not generate any wealth of their own. Everything they have they get by taking from others under the cover of law. They live at our expense. Without us, the State as an institution would die.

Here we come to the core of the issue. What is the State and what does it do? There is vast confusion about this issue, insofar as it is talked about at all. For hundreds of years, people have imagined that the State might be an organic institution that develops naturally out of some social contract. Or perhaps the State is our benefactor because it provides services we could not otherwise provide for ourselves.

In classrooms and in political discussions, there is very little if any honest talk about what the State is and what it does. But in the libertarian tradition, matters are much clearer. From Bastiat to Rothbard, the answer has been before our eyes. The State is the only institution in society that is permitted by law to use aggressive force against person and property.

Let’s understand through a simple example. Let’s say you go into a restaurant and hate the wallpaper. You can complain and try to persuade the owner to change it. If he doesn’t change it, you can decide not to go back. But if you break in, take money out of the cash register, buy paint, and cover the wallpaper yourself, you will be charged with criminal wrongdoing and perhaps go to jail. Everyone in society agrees that you did the wrong thing.

But the State is different. If it doesn’t like the wallpaper, it can pass a law (or maybe even not that) and send a memo. It can mandate a change. It doesn’t have to do the repainting. The State can make you repaint the place. If you refuse, you are guilty of criminal wrongdoing.

Same goals, different means, two very different sets of criminals. The State is the institution that essentially redefines criminal wrongdoing to make itself exempt from the law that governs everyone else.

It is the same with every tax, every regulation, every mandate, and every single word of the federal code. It all represents coercion. Even in the area of money and banking, it is the State that created and sustains the Fed and the dollar because it forcibly limits competition in money and banking, preventing people from making gold or silver money, or innovating in other ways. And in some ways, this is the most dreadful intervention of all, because it allows the State to destroy our money on a whim.

The State is everybody’s enemy. Why don’t the protesters get this? Because they are victims of propaganda by the State, doled out in public school, that attempts to blame all human suffering on private parties and free enterprise. They do not comprehend that the real enemy is the institution that brainwashes them to think the way they do.

They are right that society is rife with conflicts, and that the contest is wildly lopsided. It is indeed the 99% vs. the 1%. They’re just wrong about the identity of the enemy.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com.


Flash Editorials October 22, 2011

October 22, 2011

By Russell D. Longcore

International: On October 14, 2011, Barack Obama sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, informing the House that he has deployed combat troops to Central Africa. Quoting CNN: “Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Once again, a president violates the US Constitution with impunity. This is an impeachable offense, dear readers. Every president since Truman went into Korea that has committed troops without a Congressional declaration of war has committed an impeachable offense. There is no justice in America.

International II: Here is a list of the nations in which Washington is presently involved in hostilities. And when I use the word “hostilities,” it’s a euphemism for undeclared war, murder of those who resist American invasion, as well as innocent lives snuffed out by American military efforts.

• Iraq
• Afghanistan
• Pakistan
• South Korea (a 60-year-old cease fire in place)
• Libya
• Yemen
• Somalia
• Central African Republic
• South Sudan
• Uganda
• Democratic Republic of the Congo

And these are just the ones we know about. There are military assets…like Seals or Marine Scout Recon teams…inside other countries collecting intel.

International III: Moammar Gadhafi got himself shot to death on Thursday. On The CBS Evening News Friday they showed video of the creepy dead bastard lying in a meat locker with Libyans taking photos of his corpse with their cellphones. How the mighty have fallen. Curious, though. Three years ago he was considered a Washington ally. Sucks to be Washington’s friend. Ask Saddam and Osama. Oh, wait…

The Nation: CNN sponsored yet another Republican presidential candidate’s “debate” Wednesday night. The most comical part was the introductions. Jim Dick Perry came out to the middle of the stage and struck what could only be described as a gunslinger pose. You’ve all seen a western movie where a guy takes a wide stance with both hands extended like he had a six shooter on each hip and he was ready to draw. Well, that was the Perry pose. It looked entirely ridiculous. Then the candidates took turns beating up on Herman Cain for the laughable 9-9-9 program, and then everybody else jumped Mitt Romney for a while. The winner of this debate? Barack Obama. This bunch of dictator wannabes is a traveling circus act, with at least 17 more appearances over the next year, coming to a town near you.

The Nation II: The Obama Administration is killing a part of its own Health Care plan. The comically-named “Class Act” was the long-term care section of the legislation. After two years, they can’t figure out a way to make it work financially. So Obama’s pulling it by executive order. When government can’t make a program work when they can print money, it must have been bad. You don’t think there’s more in that law that won’t work, do you?

The Nation III: On Friday, Barack Obama announced that all military personnel in Iraq would leave Iraq by the end of 2011. Really? The largest embassy on the planet is in Iraq. Over 1,000 people work there. Who will be guarding it? Iraqi troops? Yet another bald-faced lie from Barry. Oh…by the way. Last week, the Iraq government refused to issue immunity from prosecution to US military personnel. Now, what would soldiers need immunity for? I heard a disabled soldier interviewed on Friday on a local talk radio station about the troop withdrawal. He said that the loss of his legs and the death and casualties the military sustained was all for nothing. Now you’re catching on, Son.

Religion: Harold Camping, the Oakland, California preacher, predicted that Jesus would return to earth last May 21st. No show. His latest prediction is October 21st…yesterday. Another no show. So Camping’s batting 1,000…all wrong. Millions of Christians and Catholics believe that Jesus is coming back to gather the faithful in the sky. So Harold, while a little kooky, is right in the mainstream of Christianity. That should be the most scary takeaway from this story.

Business: China is making strategic inroads in the Canadian energy industry. The China Investment Corporation, a $300 Billion sovereign wealth fund, recently chose Canada for its only overseas office. They are focusing their efforts on the Athabasca shale oil fields in Alberta…only a few hundred miles north of the American border. But they have also inked deals with Russia, Iraq, Australia, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Venezuela. China will soon be the second largest economy on the planet, and they are making sure they have the energy resources to grow. Meanwhile, America restricts or outright prohibits domestic energy production and screws up the entire Middle East oil producing region.

Economy: Another 403,000 new unemployment claims this week, dear readers. That’s equivalent to all the people in Milwaukee, or Stuttgart, or Boston, or Oklahoma City (not including their metro areas) losing their jobs in A WEEK. The number has barely fluctuated week to week for over SIX MONTHS. What does that tell you about what’s happening in America? No predictability means no growth.

Sports: World Series. Ho Hum.

Sports II: Last Sunday, Indy racecar driver Dan Weldon was killed in a 15-car pileup at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. On the same day, driver Danica Patrick quit Indy racing to spend more time driving in NASCAR races. No matter what you say, race fans watch high-speed races for the wrecks, just like hockey fans like the fistfights.

Entertainment: Lindsey Lohan appeared once again before a judge this week after violating her probation conditions yet again, as she had not showed up for community service 9 times. Judge Stephanie Sautner did not remand her to jail, but ordered to report to the Los Angeles Morgue for 16 hours of community service before her next court hearing November 2nd. When Lohan arrived Friday morning, the first dead thing she encountered was her career.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2011, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


AWA: Americans With Attitude

October 19, 2011

by Bob Moriarty

(Editor’s note: The penultimate paragraph is one of the most sobering I’ve read in many months. And it’s nearly impossible to argue with the author’s conclusions. Blood will likely be spilled, and that may just be the beginning of the end.)

It doesn’t take long to overthrow a government. Algeria took a couple of months, Egypt took only three weeks. As of now, the Occupy Wall Street event is in its fourth week. It took three weeks of total silence for the news media before they even began to pay attention.

The Revolution probably started on September 24th as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna of the New York Police Department casually took out a pepper spray canister and blasts some young women already in the custody of the police. It was all caught on camera as he slithered away.

The mainstream media has yet to really come to grips with the protest. Neither Wall Street nor Washington DC has yet to come to terms with the protests that have now spread all over the country.

It’s true there is no coherent and single message coming from the protestors. All revolutions begin as an unorganized mob of people each with their own agenda. What neither Washington, nor Wall Street get is that Americans are finally waking up. Sure, lots of people were talking about the dangers of derivatives years ago and the stealing going on in Wall Street. But Americans had it pretty good and as long as the paychecks came in, everything was just fine.

Paychecks have stopped for 23.1% of Americans now unemployed; many will never again hold a well-paid job. Those jobs have been shipped overseas and today some 46 million Americans are on food stamps. You can take your pick as to what has caused this attitude adjustment on the part of Americans. An incredible 22.5% of mortgages are underwater. Do the owners of those houses really believe prices will recover or are they hanging on like a cat trying to climb a chalkboard?

Americans have an attitude. It’s going to get worse until we have a massive revolution in the way this country is run. Objectively speaking, it is a no win situation. The government has made promises they cannot possibly honor. Many jobs have been lost forever and Americans are going to go through a long and painful process of adjusting to living with less, in many cases, a lot less.

The 1% doesn’t get it and every time a Rove or Bloomberg or Cantor open their mouths, it becomes more obvious. Americans are pissed and they will continue to multiply on the streets until we have a change of government and attitude.

We can count on the government and police to overreact. They always do and it always makes the change far more violent. The police will start shooting protestors with no reason. Protestors will go home, pick up some of the 194 million guns in the United States and come back and start shooting cops.

This is all very predictible and the outcome is predestined. $195 trillion dollars worth of debt exists in the world and only $150 trillion dollars worth of assets exist. We have to write down the debt and start over with an honest financial system. You cannot have honesty in government without honesty in money.

Bob Moriarty is president of www.321Gold.com.

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