From His Mouth to Bibi’s Ears

POSTER-KING OF THE WORLDMy Dear Bibi,

When I met you some years ago, your passion for our beloved Jewish State burned, as it must remain. Do not be deterred, Bibi, from the Divine assignment you have been given – to carry the weight of a world upon your shoulders; for the world cannot wait for another leader to stay the course of Biblical commands. Israel, says the Bible, is Jew-Land and Holy Land.

Stay the course, Dear Bibi, stay the course that reaps Divine rewards and human revilement. Your shoulders can take it; otherwise you would not have been chosen by the Creator and elected by His People to lead us in the most perilous of periods. His path is clear and straight before you, and it is the course of victory.

The world will not love you or Jews any more or any less for making six ceasefires or 1600; for you are judged, as am I, as a Jew. The world loves a victor, even a Jew – not the vanquished. A ceasefire means loss, not gain, for the Jew. We lose time and lives when we do not stay on course. We can afford neither.

How many civilian lives are jeopardized more from the false impression of impending peace than from the realization that rockets hitting Israel are intolerable dangers to the innocents and the innocence of our Jewish Homeland, where Jews are wanted for their religion, not their income? Can you depend upon the goodwill of American authorities, without their allegiance to the One Authority? You can depend only upon Him and upon ourselves.

My Dear Bibi, the time is now. The way is straight and rough. The world awaits Jewish strength and faith to obtain real victory for the present and beyond our foresight. In the name of your beloved brother, Yoni, I call upon you to rescue your People from today’s Entebbe, Gaza, Judea, Samaria, and wherever our precious lives are laden with undeserved hatred and unrelenting aggression against us.

Your legacy is the fate of the Jewish People. Our legacy is the faith of the Jewish People.

POSTER-HIS PERMANENT ADDRESS (1)

POSTER-ROCKETS' RED GLARE

POSTER-CRYBABY2

POSTER NOT ONE MORE JEWISH CHILD (1)

POSTER MAKE PEACE OR SENSE (1)

Restore American Expectionalism: Nullify Obama

Upon seeing the size of the crowd, the trio of middle school students scheduled to perform the Star Spangled Banner became petrified. It was the monthly U.S. Immigration Naturalization Ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland. We were backstage. Every month the ceremony was ended with me performing my original song, “Celebrate America”. I felt honored that my song was the first heard by the new Americans.

Immigration

Immigration and Naturalization Ceremony.

The hall overflowed with a thousand or more people; applicants extremely excited about taking their oath of allegiance to the United States of America and their supportive families, there to witness the auspicious occasion.

The kids sounded great rehearsing backstage. However, halfway through their performance center stage in front of the audience, they panicked. They stopped singing and stood there shaking. I joined the kids on stage.

I told the audience that these brave kids were prime examples of what it means to be an American. Though terrified of venturing into the new frontier of singing for such a large audience, they pressed forward and gave it their best shot. The audience erupted in cheers and applause for the kids. We all sang the Star Spangled Banner. It was an awesome moment. An immigration official sent me a very nice letter of thanks.

That ceremony happened around 16 years ago. Back then, it truly meant something extraordinarily special to be an American. At every ceremony from my vantage point on stage, I saw many applicants reciting the oath with tears streaming down their cheeks. It choked me up every time.

At numerous ceremonies, I witnessed elderly applicants raised from their wheelchairs by family members; grandchildren holding up the frail applicant’s right hand as they tearfully took the oath.

With the glow of patriotism emanating from their faces, I knew these new Americans were not particularly interested in government handouts. Clearly, they captured our Founding Father’s vision of America and enthusiastically embraced the concept of American Exceptional-ism. Their body language radiated, give us the ball of freedom and we will run with it in pursuit of our American dreams. They were eager to assimilate; to be a part of something unique and wonderful.

Fast forward to the unprecedented insolence of president Obama. In essence, he is saying screw all the patriotic America the beautiful crap; expecting immigrants to assimilate and jump through loops to become citizens. America’s borders are hereby decreed open. Period. If you can get here, you can stay here. Thus, we are experiencing a literal invasion with no end in sight.

King Obama is also threatening to wave his royal scepter, unlawfully granting amnesty to 5-6 million illegals just because it pleases his fancy to create new welfare recipients and future Democrat voters.

Despite much wailing and gnashing of teeth, nobody has had the courage to confront our vengeful king regarding his international advertising and embrace of illegals.

Finally, the great Republican senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions said, enough! Sessions called for the House and Senate to stop Obama’s amnesty.

My fellow Americans, all pretense is over. With two years left of his presidency, Obama has taken off his gloves and mask. Due to his mentors, Obama disagrees with America as founded. He believes our role as “the” world leader was unjustly acquired. Can you believe this folks? Our president is hellbent on knocking America off the throne.

For this cause along with numerous high crimes and misdemeanors, Barack Hussein Obama is unworthy to lead our great nation. He must be politically nullified. We the People must rally behind Sen Jeff Sessions’ initiative.

I still remember a very old gentleman at a Naturalization ceremony. He was held up by a family member on both sides with tears of joy and a big smile on his face. He had just completed reciting his oath of allegiance.

He was happy. He was proud. He was an American!

Yes, Sue Our Lawless President!

“Today, however, President Obama has taken the concept of discretion and so distorted it, and has taken the obligation of faithful enforcement and so rejected it, that his job as chief law enforcer has become one of incompetent madness or chief lawbreaker. Time after time, in areas as disparate as civil liberties, immigration, foreign affairs and health care, the President has demonstrated a propensity for rejecting his oath and doing damage to our fabric of liberty that cannot easily be undone by a successor.”

That is Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, writing in the July 31 edition of The Washington Times.

Americans and many around the world are increasingly fearful of a President who has demonstrated no regard for the checks and balances of our incredible Constitution, the oldest in the world that still functions to protect individual rights and which sets forth the divisions between our legislative, judicial and executive departments of government.

Congress, however, will not impeach President Obama, but the House will sue him on the basis of just one of the many examples of his dictatorial use of executive orders to ignore the power of the legislative branch to pass laws he took an oath to enforce. He has unilaterally and illegally altered the Affordable Care Act 27 times, his signature legislation that former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said Congress had to pass “so we can find out what is in it.” No Republican member of Congress voted for this two-thousand-page-plus law, passed late in the evening of Christmas Eve, 2009.

The decision to impeach a President is essentially a political one and Republicans understand that the impeachment of President Obama would be interpreted by nearly half of the voters as an attack on a President they support. There have only been two impeachment actions in U.S. history and both have failed.

The nation is significantly divided regarding the President and Congress has been in gridlock as Democrats as the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, has refused to let more than 300 House bills sent to the Senate be debated and voted upon.

Suing the President has ample history. It is hardly “a stunt” as Democrats have labeled it. New York Democrat Louise Slaughter called it “preposterous”, but failed to mention that eight years earlier, in 2006, she was a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by congressional Democrats against George W. Bush!

In a 1939 case, Coleman v Miller, the Supreme Court granted standing to members of the legislature to sue. Two years ago, four Democratic members of the House filed a suit against Vice President Biden in his capacity as head of the Senate, challenging as unconstitutional the filibuster. Other Democratic legislators had filed lawsuits claiming standing in 2001, in 2002, in 2006, and in 2007. The judiciary concluded their cases had little merit.

In a July 30 Wall Street Journal commentary, David B. Rivken who served in the Reagan and Bush administration’s Justice Department and the White House Counsel’s Office, and Elizabeth Price Foley, a constitutional law professor at Florida International University, wrote:

“These barriers between the branches are not formalities—they were designed to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in one branch, As the Supreme Court explained in New York v. United States (1992), the ‘Constitution protects us from our own best intentions. It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.”

“Congress has the exclusive authority to make law because lawmaking requires pluralism, debate and compromise, the essence of representative government…Litigation in federal court is an indispensable way to protect all branches of government against encroachment on their authority,”

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” said President Obama. In April, a poll by PolitiFact of the Tampa Bay Times, revealed that 63%–nearly two thirds—of respondents agreed that President Obama lies at least some of the time on important issues and an additional 20% said he lies every now and then. Only 15% believed the President is completely truthful. Democrats were 39% of the 1,021 registered voters polled. Republicans were 38% and independents were 20%,

The President has lied so routinely that this character flaw is likely to play a role in the forthcoming midterm elections on November 4. When you add in his lawlessness and his leadership failures that have created a far more dangerous and divided world, Americans are likely to vote for change in Congress.

That’s how democracy works and how our Constitutional system works. Suing the President is just one part of it.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Joe Carr is the Real Deal

Mary and I made the trek from Florida to Chattanooga, TN for me to speak/sing at a rally for Joe Carr co-sponsored by “Beat Lamar” and Conservative Campaign Committee. Tennesseans have launched an enthusiastic grassroots effort to help Carr topple incumbent Obama sycophant Sen. Lamar Alexander in the Republican primary August 7th.

I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Carr the popular Tea Party conservative. Carr is down to earth, upbeat and friendly; a farmer. You can tell a lot about a leader by the way he treats those around him. Carr possesses that Ronald Reagan gift of making whomever he is speaking with feel important; giving them his full attention. A 21 year old black member of our CCC team commented about how much he liked and connected with Carr.

This is very important folks. We desperately need spokespersons to confidently present Conservatism in a positive and inspirational way to educate and attract the low-info masses.

My goal at the rally was to fire up Carr’s troops/volunteers. However, the Carr supporters and volunteers “are” fired up. Surprisingly and refreshingly, many of Carr’s volunteers are college aged. It was great to see youths who are thinkers rather than emotion-driven, MSM and liberal professor created walking dead Obama zombies.

I generally do not enter an environment and immediately start counting the numbers of minorities represented the way liberals do. However, with team Obama insidiously using race to polarize Americans along racial lines, I could not help noticing the diverse blend of Joe Carr, Beat Lamar volunteers. Voters of varying races and ages are excited about Joe Carr.

beat lamarJoe Carr truly is a conservative star who gets it. Carr knows what needs to be done and clearly has the conviction and backbone to follow through. Carr talked about the border crisis and vowed to fight the invasion. Tennessee Rep. Carr reminded the audience that his efforts helped Tennessee to enact the toughest illegal immigration laws in the country.

Joe also stated his respect for the sanctity of life. He touched on a variety of topics: lower taxes, less government regulations and restoring constitutional principles.

I got really excited when Carr expressed his eagerness to get to DC to help conservative senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and a list of others which he named off the top of his head.

Carr’s speech at the rally was unscripted folks. His bold and confident articulation of Conservatism appeared effortless as it flowed from his heart and soul without notes or a teleprompter.

Patriots, please join our Phone From Home initiative for Joe Carr at: PhoneFromHome@ConservativeCampaign.org

Mary and I are enjoying seeing a lot of the beautiful lush green state of Tennessee. On Monday, August 4th, we are driving to Maryville for me to speak and sing at another Joe Carr rally. Y’all come.

Joe Carr truly is the real deal.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of the Tennessee Report.

Israel at War with Hamas: Commentary on Operation Protective Edge

Operation Protective Edge began on 8 July 2014 in response to a barrage of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel, threatening the lives of two-thirds of Israel’s civilian population, following the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers by militants in the West Bank. The operation has uncovered Hamas’ extensive terrorist and military structure and capabilities, from a massive tunnel system used to infiltrate Israel, to well-trained militants penetrating Israel by sea, and an expansive supply of sophisticated weaponry from which close to 3,000 rockets have been fired during this conflict.

It has also revealed Hamas’s plans for future terrorist attacks including continued attempts to kidnap soldiers, a massacre of southern Israeli neighbourhoods and a professionally-trained paragliding attack. Equally disturbingly, it has exposed Hamas’ illegal guerrilla warfare tactics and cruel control of Gazans: firing from hospitals and schools; preventing citizens from evacuating areas designated as military targets; and threatening, beating and killing civilians and journalists alike in order to prevent them from speaking out.

Despite calls by the international community, Hamas has rejected and broken numerous international and humanitarian ceasefires endorsed by the United States, United Nations, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the Arab League. Despite hostile media coverage, support for Israel’s self-defence by world leaders and the international community has been unprecedented, with continued calls for the disarmament of Hamas, but their backing is waning. And on the streets of Europe and much of the rest of the world, violent, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic riots have erupted against the Jewish State.

Since the onset of Operation Protective Edge, The Henry Jackson Society has been out front-and-centre presenting the facts, the issues at-hand and the greater context of the ongoing conflict with Hamas in the media and to decision-makers. Below is a compilation of HJS’s coverage of Operation Protective Edge to date, which we present in order to broaden your understanding of activity on the frontline.

“Destroy Hamas” from Bar-Ilan to Boston!

In this episode of “Operation: Protective Edge – Destroy HAMAS,” we get the viewpoints from two world class experts on the HAMAS terrorist organization.

From Bar-Ilan University, ouside of Tel-Aviv, Dr. Mordechai Kedar offers his knowledge and understanding of the Arab world to formulate a proper strategy in dealing with the enemy. From outside of Boston, USA, Dr. Andrew Bostom, medical doctor and author of “The Legacy of Jihad” & “The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism” explains the root cause of this continual battle.

I tie together the doctrine of the Hamas, how that doctrine effects its’ followers beliefs, and how those beliefs manifest in the violent actions we see today.

Follow The United West on Twitter @TheUnitedWest

U.S. Congress Acts to Replenish Israel’s Iron Dome

Israel’s war on its 25th day saw a UN- brokered 72 hour humanitarian cease fire dissolve in less than 90 minutes after going into effect. An IDF team was ambushed  by Hamas commandos emerging  from a tunnel near the Rafah frontier.  Two IDF soldiers were killed in the suicide attack. The Hamas bomber killed himself and two other Hamas fighters were killed in the ensuing fire fight. Unfortunately, a young 23 year old IDF 2nd Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, was captured by the remaining Hamas fighters in the tunnel attack. His status and whereabouts are not known. The IDF retaliated with artillery and aerial bombardment on Rafah.  IDF forces in Rafah spread a search for the missing officer.  Hamas rockets returned with a vengeance to rain down on southern Israel.  An estimated 65 Palestinian civilians were killed in the Israeli retaliation.

The death toll to date in Operation Protective edge is 1,500 Palestinians,an estimated one third of whom are believed to be Hamas fighters, 63 IDF soldiers and three Israeli civilians.   At a White House Press conference President Obama condemned the kidnapping and Hamas’ violence requesting the immediate unconditional release of the kidnapped IDF officer.  Noting that this was the sixth breach of a truce by Hamas, Obama said that  made prospects “challenging”  for any possible cease fire and that both sides should restrain actions that might result in further civilian casualties.

Israel may have won a media battle for the moment because of Hamas’ duplicity.  Operation Protective Edge is turning out to be one of the toughest actions for Israel reminiscent of the October War of 1973.  During that War with Egypt, President Nixon ordered the replenishment of tank and aircraft parts flown directly from the US to Israel.  In Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Israel requested replenishment of the Tamir anti-rocket missiles and ammunition, the later from the US War Reserve Stock in Israel.  Secretary of Defense Hagel had requested $175 million for Iron Dome in an Emergency Supplemental Appropriation.  Subsequently, the request was increased to $225 million by US Senate Appropriations Committee led by Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland).

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor on July 30, 2014, Mikulski told of receiving a letter from a friend who had made aliyah to Israel, She and her husband, a Professor at Hebrew University, live in Ashkelon near the border of Gaza in southern Israel. Her friend told of the daily rain of rockets that sent her and her husband scampering to find shelter in less than two minutes with the sounding of a wailing red alert siren.  Her friend said that Iron Dome was their only protection from death from the skies sent from Gaza.  Senator Mikulski then noted that Hamas has launched over 2,700 rockets.  The nine Iron Dome Batteries had intercepted 515 of them aimed at Israeli population centers for an effective shoot down rate of 90 percent. She further noted that each Tamir anti-rocket missile in the Iron Dome System costs $50,000 to produce. Do the math; the 515 interceptions cost $25,750,000. Mikulski noted that Israel had developed Iron Dome at a cost of $1 billion. The US has provided previous funding of $900 million for this defensive anti-short range rocket system. Earlier this year Congress had appropriated $235 million for further Iron Dome research.

Watch this Senate Appropriations video of Sen. Mikulski’s floor speech:

But there was a catch, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill (S. 2648), besides funding replenishment of Iron Dome included other funds.  There were  funds for Emergency Humanitarian Crisis caused  deluge of unaccompanied minors flooding our Southern Borders and funding to combat wildfires out West.  That is known as “Christmas treeing” in the argot of Congressional legislative legerdemain.  That was objected to in a statement by the Zionist Organization of America, who urged Israel supporters to contact Senators and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to sever the legislation, in fear that the Republican minority would reject the packaged Supplemental Appropriations bill.

According to the Washington Jewish Week, that warning by the ZoA may have worked. On Thursday night, July 31st, the Republican minority  blocked the packaged legislation by a vote of 50 to 44.

On Friday morning, August 1st, the Supplemental Appropriations of $225 million for replenishment of the Iron Dome System was passed by unanimous consent by the Senate, virtually assuring passage by the House. The only addition was funding to combat wildfires in the US West.  The Times of Israel reported that Friday night, August 1st, the House passed the Iron Dome Emergency Supplemental by an overwhelming vote of 395 to eight, with four Republicans and Four democrats voting against it.  House Speaker John Boehner  was quoted saying:  “Israel is our friend and Israel’s enemies are our enemies.” The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Perhaps, a motivation for Congress to act quickly before the August recess was the Hamas violent rejection of the 72 hour truce.

The Iron Dome system, development arrangements and funding between Israel and the US are tied into the overall missile defense umbrella that includes Iron Dome, David’s Sling and the Arrow II and III anti-ICBM systems. See our NER article, The Iranian Missile Threat (August 2011).

The Israel  developer Rafael designed and built its existing “Iron Dome” defense system with funding from the US.  However, the critical need now is to replace the Tamir missiles already fired.  That led Israel to approach Massachusetts company Raytheon to help expand its missile defenses. According to a report in The Boston Globe, the venture would be likely to succeed because:

Raytheon’s contracts with Israel would indirectly help the US economy recoup some of the nearly $1 billion in US aid that enabled Israeli designers to develop the Iron Dome system in recent years. The Obama administration requested $175 million for Israel’s Iron Dome in the 2015 budget, and that amount has been doubled by congressional defense committees. The House measure required that much of that money be spent on US components, which is likely to be beneficial to Raytheon.

This is all related to the structure of US aid to Israel, comprised largely of loans and buy backs. This would contribute to the buy-back program.

The Iron Dome is not the entire missile shield – it is one layer of it. It is only intended to tackle missiles with ranges between 2.5 to 43 miles. The second layer is David’s Sling, or “Magic Wand,” which targets ballistic missiles and medium-range rockets, unmanned and manned aircraft, cruise missiles and guided weapons in the 43 to 155 mile range. This layer has been under development with Raytheon and has, from all accounts, been very successful in tests. It is slated for operation later this year. The third layer is the Arrow missile system which will be used to bring down long-range ballistic missiles. The Arrow system uses the two-stage Arrow 2 interceptor with a fragmentation warhead to destroy an incoming target. This is unlike the Tamir, which only knocks the missile out of the sky, but doesn’t destroy the warhead, according to an MIT Professor Ted Postol in a recent MIT Technology Review report. Its successor, Arrow 3, is also a two-stage interceptor and destroys an incoming threat with an exoatmospheric kill vehicle. This generation uses a “hit-to-kill” approach instead of a fragmenting warhead. It will expand the engagement range up to potentially four times.

There was one note of lunacy courtesy of the United Nations, Human Rights Council related to Iron Dome. FoxNews reported:

The United Nations slammed Israel for possibly committing war crimes in its fight against Hamas — and then backed that accusation by suggesting the Jewish nation ought to be sharing its Iron Dome defensive technology with the very terror group it’s fighting.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a Southern African Judge of Tamil Indian origin,  said to members of the media at an “emergency” meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council that Israel was falling short in its duty to protect citizens in the Gaza Strip from getting killed by its rockets.

Ms. Pillay also condemned the United States for helping to fund the Iron Dome for Israel, but not granting any such accommodations to those in Gaza.

Ms. Pillay is delusional that Israel would provide its protective missile shield to Hamas. That would completely seal the destruction of the Jewish state. Perhaps she ought to trying living in Ashkelon for a day to experience what Senator Mikulski’s friend has to live through, but for the protection of Iron Dome.  But this is the UN Human Rights Council presided dominated by Human Rights violators.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Israeli children looking at the Israeli military′s Iron Dome defense missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, deployed in Gush Dan, the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Roni Schutzer.

RELATED VIDEO: Shaping Tomorrow Together: Iron Dome

Spontaneous Overflow: Usury and the birth of money by Sarah Skwire

Ben Jonson: To Penshurst (1612)

Thomas Carew: To Saxham (1640)

Robert Herrick: A Panegyrick to Sir Lewis Pemberton (1613–1634)

Downton Abbey and its nonfictional counterpart Highclere Castle have inspired a new rush of interest in the elegance and beauty of the English manor house. These aristocratic country homes have been subjects of fascination from the first, and there is even an entire genre of poetry dedicated to describing them and the way of life that centers on them. It will come as no surprise to fans of Downton Abbey orManor House or any of Jane Austen’s novels that, alongside all the pastoral beauty, there are some interesting economic issues at play in these poems. When we read them we are taken right into a debate about charity, responsibility, and disparities in wealth.

When G. R. Hibbard defined the country house poem genre in his 1956 article, “The Country House Poem of the Seventeenth Century,” he argued that the idea of sponte sua was central to these poems. Sponte sua, as he put it, means that “The things of nature … find their proper end and pleasure in being put to use.” In the country house poems, this trope is evidenced by the (often literal) voluntary self-sacrifice of fish, birds, and beasts in order to serve as food for the residents of the country house. While the sponte sua trope is sometimes subtly portrayed with images of endlessly fruitful trees, ever-full roasting spits, or horns of plenty, it is never absent. And it is, I think, at its most economically interesting when it is at its most explicit, as it is in Ben Jonson’s “To Penshurst” and Thomas Carew’s “To Saxham.”

Jonson writes:

The painted partridge lies in ev’ry field,
And for thy mess is willing to be kill’d.
And if the high-swoln Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute fish,
Fat aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loth the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously at first themselves betray.
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land,
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
And Carew, emulating him, gives us:
The pheasant, partridge, and the lark
Flew to thy house, as to the Ark.
The willing ox of himself came
Home to the slaughter with the lamb,
And every beast did thither bring
Himself, to be an offering.
The scaly herd more pleasure took,
Bathed in thy dish than in the brook.

Many critics have seen the sponte sua trope as a way of preserving order. Nature is here to serve man. But I want to suggest another function for these passages. They give the country house poet yet another way to engage in the apparently endless early modern debate over Aristotle’s comments about money in thePolitics.

The most hated sort [of money-making], and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural use of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term usury [τ?κος], which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of making money this is the most unnatural.

Regardless of whether Aristotle is “right” about money, early modern poets seized on the vivid imagery of breeding and birth offered in the passage and replicated it throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Aristotle is speaking specifically of money and of the unnaturalness of increasing it, as it is not—like animals or plants—naturally given to increase itself. The natural things—birds, fish, plants, etc.—that are so productive and self-sacrificing in the country house poems should not be, speaking strictly logically, open to this Aristotelian charge of unnatural reproduction. But one of the most pressing concerns of the country house poem is finding ways to praise the wealthy in a time of great economic instability and inequality. In times such as those, possession of even the most “natural” forms of wealth can leave one open to severe critique, no matter how irrational.

Nervousness over this kind of critique of wealth certainly explains the country house poem’s focus on the comparative modesty of the country houses that are being praised. From Jonson’s “Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show,” to Carew’s “the architect/Did not with curious skill a pile erect/Of carved marble, touch, or porphyry/But built a house for hospitality,” the country house poem is laden with assertions that these houses, though large, are not grand or showy. They are built in the proper fashion and of the proper size to fulfill the duties of hospitality that their owners are obligated to perform.

Piled on top of these assertions about the appropriately modest use of wealth in the country house are reassurances that the constructing of these houses causes harm to no one.  Penshurst is reared with “no man’s ruin, no man’s groan/There’s none that dwell about them wish them down.” And when Herrick writes his Panegyrick to Sir Lewis Pemberton, he carefully notes, “No widow’s tenement was rack’d to gild/ or fret thy ceiling, or to build.…” This is wealth and beauty that is consciously separated by the poet from concerns about inequity.

But the country houses do much more than simply fail to cause distress. In an attempt to alleviate (not eliminate) the inequalities of wealth for which they are so explicitly not responsible, they actively nourish those around them through continual acts of charity. Penshurst is laden with “free provisions, far above/The need of such whose liberal board doth flow/With all that hospitality doth know!” Saxham, in winter, would have been surrounded by starving neighbors “If not by these preserved/Whose prayers have made thy table blest/With plenty, far above the rest.” Pemberton’s home welcomes “the lank stranger and the sour swain/Where both may feed and come again.”

All of this sounds really great. But there are problems.

These poetic statements about modest display of wealth, about labor-free and cost-free construction, about effortless and continual charity are made amid the context—nicely outlined by critics like Hugh Jenkins and Kari Boyd McBride—of great social and economic disruption as well as an increasing willingness and need for the landed gentry to engage in that most shocking of occupations, trade. This means that possessing the kind of superfluity detailed in these poems, the kind of superfluity necessary to engage in a near-continual outpouring of charity, is suspect. To have so much one must have been hoarding, or grinding the faces of the poor, or participating in shameful commerce. There has been—and here comes Aristotle again—simply too much increase, too much muchness, for everything to be quite natural and honest.

And it is here that we return to sponte sua. Because in this troubling context what sponte sua does is to make superfluity entirely natural. The fish, birds, game, and plants not only reproduce entirely of their own free will, they give themselves up to be used charitably in the same way. This means that, while the owners of the country houses can still retain spiritual and moral credit for acting charitably—they did not, after all, keep all this excess to themselves—they are simultaneously excused from any taint of work or trade or Aristotelian unnaturalness that might otherwise lurk behind the level of wealth required for this level of hospitality. If the fish leap into the net, the birds fly into the house, and the ox and lamb offer themselves for slaughter, the owners of these houses serve merely as a conduit for this natural outpouring. They have not undertaken to produce it.

What is going on here, I think, is a poetic attempt to address concerns about the unnaturalness of wealth, excess, and profit—and possibly even trade and commerce in general—by creating an aggressively natural image of them as a response. The irony is that the hypernatural images of sponte sua aren’t natural at all. It is entirely against nature for an animal to sacrifice itself willingly in order to provide humans with food. These are the contorted positions produced by valuing charity in a time when it could be seen as morally suspect to try to create the superfluity of money and goods that are necessary in order to perform charity.

20121127_sarahskwireABOUT SARAH SKWIRE

Sarah Skwire is a fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbookWriting with a Thesis.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Pot coming to Florida: Is this the end of “No Smoking Zones” in the Sunshine State?

Floridians are prohibited from smoking in most public places. Go to any restaurant, school, hospital or government building and you will see “No Smoking” or “Smoke Free Campus” signs prominently posted. Since 1984 there has been a national campaign against smoking. It does not matter what you smoke, it is prohibited, in many cases by city and county ordinances.

That may all change if the Florida marijuana Amendment 2 passes in November.

Citizens of the Sunshine state may be subjected to secondary smoke from “medical” pot users. How is this possible? I spoke with Dr. Robert McCann about this issue. He is concerned if Amendment 2 passes that smoking pot in public places will occur. Dr. McCann asks, “Who is going to deny any person from taking their medicine?” If pot is dispensed for “medical purposes” what prevents a person from lighting up in a hospital, on a bus or airplane, in a restaurant or at an elementary school?

The only thing that would stop that person from lighting up in a public place is their respect for their fellow citizens. Would someone high on pot even worry about their fellow citizens? Many think not. Should a business deny a person their right, under Amendment 2, to “take their medicine” then the specter of a lawsuit looms large.

There are three things Floridians need to understand about Amendment 2:

  1. The language of Amendment 2 is so vague that it will lead to the recreational use of pot.
  2. Anyone, regardless of age, may obtain a doctor’s recommendation for using pot. There is no “prescription.”
  3. Pot can be dispensed statewide by pot shops, not just pharmacies. The devil is in the details.
  4. Doctors may recommend the use of pot for a broad range of physical conditions including back pain and depression.

Dara Kam from The News Service of Florida reports, “The [Florida] Department of Health held a workshop Friday as it races to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to implement a new law that legalized strains of marijuana that purportedly do not get users high but can dramatically reduce or eliminate life-threatening seizures for children with a rare form of epilepsy. Patients who suffer from severe muscle spasms or cancer would also be eligible to get cannabis that is low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD, if their doctors order it.”

Kan notes, “Friday’s workshop — which started with a standing-room only crowd of lobbyists, lawyers and others — offered more evidence about how quickly a medical-marijuana industry has grown in the state. The department plans to hold another workshop after it publishes a proposed rule, though it is not clear when that meeting will occur.”

READ MORE ABOUT AMENDMENT 2 AND ITS IMPACT ON FLORIDA.

Diocese of Palm Beach rejects Common Core for Catholic Schools

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, the Diocese of Palm Beach, has decided to placed the defense of faith and the welfare of Catholic children first over government pressures and money handouts by rejecting Florida State Standards.  For the school year, 2014-2015, all of Palm Beach County Catholic schools will not be following the Florida (Common Core) State Standards.

Bishop Palm Beach

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito

Florida Catholics Against Common Core (FCACC) states in an email:

We thank you for sending the petition letters to the Florida Bishops and to the courageous families in the Palm Beach area for starting the removal of Common Core from our Catholic schools.  We thank Bishop Barbarito for being “Bold for his Faith” by standing up for our beloved school children and saying NO to the curse of Common Core!  Thank you and God Bless You, Bishop!

We still need more petitions, we have many other Bishops that need to be as courageous as Bishop Barbarito and put a stop to this takeover of the Federal government on the education of our children.

We are asking you to share our request for petitions with your family, friends and neighbors.  Remember that they do not have to have children in Catholic schools to send a petition to the Bishops.  A shared concern is sufficient.

In order to stop Common Core everywhere we need to start some place and the Florida Catholic schools have been a first-line defender for education and moral values being taught to our children.

We will be contacting the Bishops personally as soon as enough petitions are sent.

The more we learn about Common Core, the more concerned we become, and we know for sure that we need to stop Common Core everywhere.  Our children are our future,  We must protect them and give them every opportunity to succeed.

Those concerned citizens wishing to sign the FCACC petition my do so by clicking on this link.

BREAKING NEWS: Huge victory for pro-family citizens in deep blue Massachusetts

As deadline passes, ALL radical bills in Massachusetts Legislature stopped cold — after heavy lobbying by both sides. This is what hard-hitting pro-family activism looks like!

At the close of the day on Thursday, July 31, the Massachusetts Legislature –- arguably the “bluest” in the country –- finished its formal sessions. All week the House and Senate were meeting and passing bills to beat the deadline.

The Mass. Legislature met all week to pass bills before the Thursday night deadline.

Right up until the end, the homosexual/transgender movement and Planned Parenthood were lobbying hard to push their contentious, radical legislation still pending. Some bills were in a committee and could have been brought to the floor at any time; others were in a “study” but could have been lifted and brought to the floor if the leadership so decided.

MassResistance was fighting till the end to make sure all of those bills stayed off of the House floor. It’s been a rough week! A lot of people -– from all around the country-– got involved.

(We know what that “last-minute” fight to pass a bill is like! Back in 1995, despite the homosexual lobby’s efforts, we got our Parental Notification Law passed on the final day -– July 31 -– thanks to fierce lobbying from parents.)

We’re happy to say that we were 100% successful! All the radical bills got stopped.

Here are the top bills that (thankfully) didn’t make it:

(1) H3907 – Would have banned therapy for youth on homosexual issues

Result: Stopped in Ways and Means Committee

Passing this was the major goal of the homosexual movement in Massachusetts for this year.  MassResistance lobbied hard against it. This was a terrible bill that the national homosexual movement has been attempting to pass around the country.  It would have banned counseling for youth under 18 concerning sexual-orientation or sexual-identity issues. This could have caused horrific problems for innocent, vulnerable youth — many of whom were molested or experienced some sort of sexual trauma and who need professional help to heal and properly cope. Children and teenagers who desperately want and need counseling would have beed denied it if this had become law.

MassResistance had temporarily derailed the bill back in June. But last week the Ways and Means Committee announced the bill was back in play. So we immediately got back to work on it.

More about the bill and MassResistance’s effort to temporarily derail it.

Major “gay” figures converged at bill’s well-orchestrated public hearing.


Well organized. Homosexual and transgender activists filled the room at the public hearing last August. At right is Arline Isaacson, lesbian lobbyist and organizer of the testimony. Waiting to testify, at left is Dr. Norman Spack, who runs a “gender-change” clinic for children at Boston Children’s Hospital. [MassResistance photo]

(2) H3793 – Planned Parenthood’s bill that would have forced homosexuality and abortion “education” into schools

Result: Stopped in Ways and Means Committee

Getting this passed was Planned Parenthood’s major goal for the year. MassResistance lobbied hard against it. Planned Parenthood called it “An act relative to healthy youth.” It was just the opposite.

Planned Parenthood was determined to push this through and set up a special web page to help their people lobby for it.

This bill would have forced all schools to teach sexuality, birth control, abortion issues, homosexual and transgender issues, and similar subjects, in grades K-12, according to the “Massachusetts comprehensive health framework” – a document written by radical activists for the Department of Education.  Right now, using that document is only voluntary for schools. This law would have made it mandatory.

Even worse, this bill also re-wrote – and watered down — the current Parental Notification Law, which we worked so hard to pass back in 1995!


Planned Parenthood was VERY serious about this. They had a special
table at the Boston Gay Pride Parade Festival just to sign up volunteers to lobby for this bill. Their sign-up sheets were labeled “Sex Ed Matters.” [MassResistance photos]

(3) H1589 – Update to “transgender rights” bill to include public accommodations

Result: Stopped in Judiciary Committee – sent to “study”

This bill was the #1 goal of the transgender movement in Massachusetts this session. MassResistance lobbied hard against it. It would have extended the outrageous mandates and harsh punishments of the current “transgender rights and hate crimes” law to include restaurants, stores, health clubs, rest rooms, amusement centers, and all other places of “public accommodation.” For example, restaurants would have been forced to let men wearing dresses be “waitresses”, health clubs would have been forced to allow men to use the female locker rooms and showers, etc.

Big push for transgender bill at public hearing.

This man came to the public hearing for bill H1589 — to give his support to force the “transgender rights law” provisions to extend to public accommodations.
[MassResistance photo]

Other bills stopped:

 (4) H547 – Require all elder care workers to go through thorough homosexual and transgender diversity training

Result: Stopped in House Ways and Means Committee

Titled “An Act relative to LGBT awareness training for aging services providers”, it would have mandated that all elder care workers in the state to undergo diversity training in “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” as a requirement for state certification.

This was yet another part of the latest LGBT efforts across the country to force everyone to accept their behaviors or be denied employment.

(5) H135 – State funding for housing for (alleged) “homeless youth”

Result: Stopped in House Ways and Means Committee

Titled, “An Act providing housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth,” this bill sounded innocuous enough. But it was being heavily lobbied for by homosexual groups — because it was actually a front for something much more devious:

If a middle school or high school youth decided to “come out” as a homosexual (or transgender) and his parents didn’t approve, radical activists planned to place him in alternative housing (with other homosexuals) paid for by the state, and legally take him from his parents’ home.

(6) H1592 – Repeal of the so-called “sodomy laws” and laws regarding “lewd and lascivious acts”

Result: Stopped in Judiciary Committee – sent to “study”

Current Massachusetts law describes homosexuality as “the abominable and detestable crime against nature.” Of course, that really angers certain special interests.  But we don’t think it’s a conversation most legislators wanted to engage in, and we weren’t going to let it go without a fight. The activists will have to try again next year.

Pro-family citizens can make a difference!

All this shows that pro-family citizens can make a difference. As you can see, some of these bills would have been devastating if passed. But many legislators simply follow the lead of the radical lobbies, and others just don’t pay attention. It’s absolutely necessary that pro-family people (1) educate the politicians, and (2) pressure them relentlessly. It’s quite amazing what that combination can accomplish. And it’s often horrible what happens when we don’t do it.

We won’t always win in the State House, of course, especially if enormous amounts of money,  political power, and/or a flood of media pressure are brought to bear. Examples of that are the new buffer zone law and also the transgender rights law, which we had stopped for three sessions in a row until the homosexual lobby brought in overwhelming political force.

But we’re getting better at this. And with your help our movement is making more and more of a difference.

Looking Ahead to November

In an October 30, 2008 campaign rally on the campus of my beloved alma mater, the University of Missouri, Barack Obama uttered words that will define him for all time.  He said:

 “After decades of broken politics in Washington, and eight years of failed policies from George W. Bush, and 21 months of a campaign that’s taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.  In five days, you can turn the page on policies that put greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street.  In five days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, and create new jobs, and grow this economy, so that everyone has a chance to succeed, not just the CEO, but the secretary and janitor, not just the factory owner, but the men and women on the factory floor.  In five days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election, that tries to pit region against region, and city against town, and Republican against Democrat, that asks — asks us to fear at a time when we need to hope.”

It was all a big lie.  Since entering the White House on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama has done the exact opposite of everything he promised in that tirade.  And now, after five years, six months, and twelve days of his destructive leadership, the only hope the American people are left with is the hope that the next two years, five months, and nineteen days will pass quickly.

His idea of fundamentally transforming the United States was a clear miscalculation on his part.  What he clearly fails to understand is that the American people yearn not for transformation, but for fundamental improvement in the quality of our government and common sense solutions to a host of difficult and intractable problems.  They were not looking for someone to fundamentally transform what has been the greatest, most prosperous nation on Earth.

He leaves in his wake a longer list of failures than any president in history.  His most significant “contribution” to the nation is the all but certain reality that he will be forever remembered  as the worst president in American history.  No previous president, of either party, has been responsible for the kind of self-inflicted damage that Obama has done to his own party.

During his first two years in office his greatest accomplishment was passage of the Affordable Care Act, taking control of seventeen percent of the nation’s economy, while running up more national debt and creating more joblessness than all of his predecessors combined.  As a result, the 2010 general elections proved to be an unmitigated disaster for the Democrat Party.

In that election, Republicans reversed their losses of 2006 and 2008, gaining a net sixty-three seats in the House of Representatives.  It was the greatest loss of House seats experienced by either party in more than seventy years.  In the Senate, Republicans gained a net of six seats, expanding their minority from forty-one to forty-seven seats.  Republicans took control of twenty-nine of the fifty governorships, while gaining a total of 628 seats in the state legislatures.  The state legislative victories gave Republicans control of twenty-six state legislatures, making it possible for right-to-work legislation to be adopted in heavily unionized “rust belt” states such as Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

It was a whuppin’ of epic proportions, but it likely will pale in comparison to what awaits Democrats in November 2014.  With Obama’s job approval ratings bouncing around in the thirties and low forties and a long list of messy scandals that surpass the worst of the worst among “banana republic” dictators, there’s not much for Democrat candidates to run on.

In the 2014 Senate races, Democrats are forced to defend twenty-one seats to the Republicans fifteen.  Of the twenty-one Democrat seats, only eight can be seen as solidly Democratic, while fourteen of the fifteen Republican seats will almost certainly remain in Republican hands.  Most likely pickups of Democrat seats by Republicans are in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.  Those six seats alone would give Republicans a simple majority of fifty-one seats in the Senate.

However, of the remaining fifteen Democratic seats, Republicans are within striking distance of capturing seats in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Oregon.  Republicans are also looking forward to potential wins in Minnesota and Montana where incumbent Democrats Al Franken and John Walsh, respectively, have been devastated by charges of plagiarism.  The one seat currently held by Republicans that is in some doubt is the Georgia seat of Saxby Chambliss, where Republicans will face Michelle Nunn, daughter of the late senator Sam Nunn.

It is easy to see how Republicans could gain a total of ten seats, perhaps eleven or twelve if all of the “stars are in alignment” on Election Day.  But what is seldom mentioned by political prognosticators is the possible outcome of House races in the shadow of a highly unpopular president and a do-nothing Democrat-controlled Senate.

In the House of Representatives, Republicans now hold a thirty-three seat majority over Democrats, 234 to 201.  However, a cursory analysis of House races, using 2012 margins as a benchmark, it appears as if Republicans could pick up a total of nineteen Democratic seats in the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.  Those nineteen seats would give the GOP a comfortable 253 to 182 vote majority in the House.

Taken together, those gains in the House and Senate would represent Obama’s worst nightmare, making his last two years in office a living hell and giving minority leader Nancy Pelosi the ever-shrinking minority that she so richly deserves.  And while some observers may consider my predictions to be overly optimistic, I would remind them of the likely impact of major increases in healthcare premiums to be announced by insurers during the month of October, just days before Barack Obama’s Waterloo; the federal court’s ruling that the Department of Justice must turn over documents relating to the Fast & Furious scandal; and the beginning of televised hearings by the Benghazi Select Committee, chaired by tough former prosecutor, Trey Gowdy (R-SC).  These are issues that Democrat own, lock-stock-and-barrel, but wish they didn’t.

The importance of the 2014 mid-term elections cannot be overstated.  Although Democrats have taken the United States far down the road to a European-style socialist state, there is still time to reverse that trend so long as our electorate is composed of a majority of working men and women, tax payers, and property owners.  We simply cannot allow Democrats to import an additional ten or twelve million voters across our southern border… illegal aliens that Democrats will herd into the voting booths as they did in 1996, when they sent hundreds of thousands of letters, over Bill Clinton’s signature, to illegal aliens in California granting them the right to vote in the November General Election.

Of course, all of this depends on the ability of Republicans to recognize that, on all of the most important issues of the day, the American people agree with core Republican principles by large majorities.  One would think that the Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee would be able to develop a long list of talking points that would totally disarm Democrat candidates.  But that is far from a certainty.  For example, Barack Obama, his Kool-Ade drinkers in Congress, and their lapdogs in the mainstream media maintain a constant drumbeat on issues such as immigration reform, charging that Obama is unable to deal with the hordes illegally crossing our southern border because he is forced to deal with a do-nothing Congress.

To date, I have yet to hear a single congressional Republican pose the question: what good is it for Congress to pass “comprehensive” immigration reform when we are saddled with an outlaw president who cannot be trusted to enforce the law… not even statutes that he, himself, has signed… and a Democrat-controlled Senate that refuses to consider any Republican bill?

Nor have I heard a single congressional Republican challenge the Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as they turn the committee’s public hearings into IRS wrongdoing into a partisan political circus.  Not one Republican member has pointed out that most IRS employees are members of the 150,000-member National Treasury Employees Union… a union that gives nearly ninety-five percent of its PAC contributions to Democrats.  Is there really any doubt why Committee Democrats are so uncritical of their IRS benefactors?  The only person to make that connection publicly is Oklahoma attorney Cleeta Mitchell, who represents a number of conservative organizations targeted by the IRS.

It has become a cliché that congressional Republicans are so out of touch with Republican principles that they are often indistinguishable from Democrats.  It is exciting to contemplate what should happen in November, but given the poor quality of the Republican leadership and the meekness of the rank-and-file, the outcome is totally in doubt.  Left to their own devices, congressional Republicans can easily “screw up a one-car funeral.”

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of American Immigration Council and Shutterstock.

CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #16 – Ownership Must Be Tempered by Sharing by Lawrence W. Reed

Progressives have a problem with ownership, especially when it’s yours. The very notion seems to conjure up in their minds an anti-social acquisitiveness, selfishness, and greed. Far more quickly, they come to the defense of “sharing” because it suggests sacrificing ownership for the sake of others. Indeed, the most regressive Progressive is drawn to the idea of common ownership, in which no one owns anything because somehow we all will own and share it equally.

The Progressives’ hostility to ownership is neither well-founded nor consistent. While they have a visceral distaste for private ownership (and busy themselves taxing, regulating, seizing, and redistributing it), they have few problems with state ownership. It’s as if men are devilish with what’s theirs but angelic with what belongs to someone else. This is not a concept that explains life on any planet I am personally aware of.

The fact is, “ownership” as a general concept is never really at issue in any society. It is neither possible nor desirable to construct a society in which people or the material things they create are not “owned.” Either you will “own” yourself or someone else will own you. As far as material things are concerned, somebody must own them, too. Those “somebodies” will be those who either created them, received them as a gift, or traded freely for them, or they will be those who take them by force. There is no middle ground, no “third way” in which ownership is somehow avoided.

Indeed, ownership is both a virtue and a necessity. What is yours, you tend to husband. If it belongs to someone else, you have little incentive to care for it. If it belongs to “everyone”—the nebulous, collectivist approach—then you have every incentive to use and abuse it. That’s why over thousands of years of history, experience continually reinforces this essential axiom: the more the government owns and thereby controls, the less free and productive the people are.

Ownership is nothing less than the right to shape, use, and dispose. Even if you have legal title to something, you wouldn’t think you really owned it if the government told you what you could do with it, how, and when; in that instance, the government would be the de facto owner. In a real sense, ownership is control and the actual owner of anything is the controller.

For thoroughly trashing the resources of any society, no more surefire prescription exists than to take resources from those to whom they belong (the rightful owners) and give them to those who are convinced in the fantasyland of their own minds that they have a better idea of what to do with them. Think “Soviet.” Socialist regimes, which take from some and give to others at the point of a gun, have their cockamamie schemes for how to squander the loot, but they display an infantile ignorance of how to create wealth in the first place.

Much has been made in the past about alleged differences between fascism and communism. Sure, the Nazis invaded Stalinist Russia (after the two had made a deal to squash and divide Poland), but that was a dispute between thieves that proved the old adage that there’s no honor among them. On the question of ownership, the difference was a cosmetic one that ultimately mattered little to the ordinary citizen.

Communists didn’t let you own a factory, and if you did own one, when they came to power you were shot. Fascists often refrained from nationalizing a factory, but if you as the alleged owner didn’t do as you were told, you were shot. Under either system, real ownership was in the hands of the omnipotent State, regardless of what any scrap of legal title paper said.

The myth of “common ownership” only muddies the issue. Public parks are thought of as held in common (“the people’s property”), but that really means that the government owns them, the taxpayers pay the bill, and the public gets to use them according to the rules established and enforced by the government. Some have argued that the post office is another example of common ownership. That would mean that theoretically, each American owns about one-three-hundred-millionth of it, but show up at the counter and try to redeem your share and you might be surprised how fast the response can be.

From the remote but fascinating country of Mongolia comes an ownership story told to me by the country’s current president (as of 2014), Elbegdorj Tsakhia (known by his friends as “E. B.”). He earlier served as Prime Minister twice, and visited me in Michigan between those terms. I asked him during that visit what he was most proud of having accomplished as PM. He said, “I privatized Mongolia’s 25 million yaks.”

Yaks are large, furry cattle that wear their hair in bangs. For decades under communist rule, the poor creatures were owned by the government, which claimed they were “the people’s property.” Their total population hardly budged from the 1920s to the 1990s. E. B. decided that yaks were not a core function of government, so he worked up a formula whereby all of them would be sold to the individual herdsmen. Three years later he was Prime Minister the second time. I visited him in his office in the capital of Ulan Bator and asked him, “What’s the latest on the yaks?” Excitedly, he replied, “Remember when I told you we had 25 million for seven decades? Well, now we have 32 million!”

When it’s your yak, not “everybody’s” yak, wonderful things happen. You have a personal interest in the investment, in the capital value of the asset. You take care of the yak and make more yaks, which you then “share” with more and more people in an endless stream of peaceful, mutually beneficial trades of yak products.

Progressives yak a lot about sharing, but you can’t share it if you don’t produce it and take care of it in the first place. Private, personal ownership of material things we create and trade for is unsurpassed as a source of the wealth that Progressives want to share.

Moreover, we should ask ourselves, “Is it really ‘sharing’ if I have to do it at gunpoint?” I was always taught that sharing was an act of free will. When you give half your sandwich to a friend who forgot to pack his lunch, you’ve shared it. If he threatens to beat you up if you don’t give it to him, “sharing” is no longer the operative term.

So when it comes to this thing we call “ownership,” it’s either you or somebody else. Who should own your retirement savings—you or the government? Who should own your health-care dollars—you, the government, or some third-party payer you’d prefer to avoid? Who should decide where your child goes to school—you the parent or a handful of other parents different from you only by virtue of the fact that they work for the government? Who should decide what charitable activities you support—you or some congressman or bureaucrat who prefers the social welfare department over the Red Cross or your local church?

Those questions should not be answered solely on utilitarian grounds. In a free society, Person A might choose a better school or make a better investment than Person B—a fact that can’t be known for certain in advance. But in any event, that does not mystically grant Person B the right to make Person A’s choices for him. If freedom means anything, it means the right to make your own choices even if you make what others regard as mistakes. When someone argues that we cannot allow people more choices over their retirement, health care, or schools, we should demand they tell us, by what right do they make these decisions for us?

Make no mistake about it: The more someone else controls you or the important decisions that govern your life or the material things that sustain it, the more they own you. We used to call that slavery, and no gauzy, self-righteous calls to “share it” made it any less inhumane.

If you’re a principled and articulate defender of private ownership of property, be ready for some Progressive social engineer to lay a guilt trip on you if he thinks you’re not “sharing” enough. I suspect that the preponderance of Progressives will not be satisfied until their coercion-based policies effectively own the rest of us lock, stock, and barrel.

Own or be owned. Take your pick.

Lawrence W. Reed
President
Foundation for Economic Education

Summary

  • Progressives are two-faced when it comes to ownership. They are suspicious of it when it’s private and personal but supportive when it’s politicized and centrally directed.
  • Whether it’s people or property, it will be owned. It’s just a matter of whether it’s owned by those to whom it belongs or those who simply want to claim it for some alleged higher cause.
  • Private ownership of property is both a virtue and a necessity. Get rid of it and you flush civilization down with it.
  • “Common ownership” is largely impractical and meaningless, even destructive.

For further information, see:

“The Economics of Caring and Sharing” by Dwight R. Lee
“Experiments in Collectivism” by Melvin D. Barger
“Little Lessons in Larceny” by Russell Madden
“The Puritan Experiment in Common Ownership” by Gary North
Plus previous Clichés #6 and #9: http://fee.org/publications/page/cliches-of-progressivism

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this essay appeared in the July/August 2005 issue of The Freeman under the title, “To Own or Be Owned: That Is the Question.” The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: www.yaf.org and www.FEE.org until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

Gallop: Democrat minority women without a high school degree are pro-HAMAS

According to a Gallop poll minority women without a high school degree who are Democrats or Independents trend toward being pro-HAMAS. Gallop’s July 24, 2014 poll on America’s reaction to what is happening between Israel and HAMAS has some very interesting findings. Gallop’s Jeffrey M.  Jones writes, “Americans are divided in their views of whether Israel’s actions against the Palestinian group Hamas is ‘mostly justified’ or ‘mostly unjustified,’ but they widely view Hamas’ actions as mostly unjustified.”

This Gallop poll has three charts that make the strong case that low information minority women who are Democrats and did not complete high school are pro-HAMAS.

This chart shows more Democrats, and Independents, see Israels actions against HAMAS as unjustified.

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This chart shows that younger minority women with less than a high school diploma are pro-HAMAS.

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This chart shows that those who follow the conflict closely are anti-HAMAS. Those who do not are pro-HAMAS. This chart indicates that the pro-HAMAS media bias is not having an impact on those who follow the conflict.

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It appears from this poll that low information Democrat/Independent minority women without a high school degree are pro-HAMAS. Many speak about low information voters. This poll confirms this concern that too many Americans are disengaged from events both domestically and internationally. That is a dangerous and long term problem.

RELATED VIDEO: NewsMax TV has two political commentators debate the demographic shift of young Jewish voters who now are apparently more inclined to vote Republican. They also discuss who is more to blame on the conflict in Gaza — Israel or Hamas?

Israel, the TEA Party and the Media

I am probably not alone in noticing that the mainstream media’s deplorable and unfair treatment of Israel is strikingly similar to how it treats the TEA Party. In both cases, the MSM has chosen a side, spinning its reporting to brand the victims intolerant, racist and hate-filled aggressors.

Israel was minding its own business when it was attacked by Hamas, showering Israeli towns with thousands of rockets. Hamas seeks the total destruction of Israel. If it were not for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, millions of Israelis would be dead.

Now get this folks. It does not get more cold, calculating and satanically evil than this. Hamas stores and launches its rockets from civilian sites, schools, hospitals, mosques and more.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the situation perfectly when he said Israel is using its Iron Dome to defend its people from missiles launched by Hamas who use their people to shield their missiles. So when Palestinian civilian casualties obviously far exceeded those of the Israelis, the MSM went postal on Israel; machine-gunning Israel with negative stories.

The truth is Israel has shown remarkable compassion and restraint, going above and beyond to avoid harming civilians.

Before bombing a Hamas target, Israel texts, makes phone calls and even fires warning firecrackers to alert civilians, begging them to evacuate the premises. Who in the world fights a war in such a humane manner?

Still, the MSM flooded the worldwide airways with images of suffering and dying Palestinian women and children, purposely deleting crucial facts to misrepresent the truth to shape public opinion against Israel. This is exactly what the MSM has done to the TEA Party.

By the way, Israel’s lifesaving Iron Dome system is the same technology launched by Ronald Reagan (Strategic Defense Initiative) that was heavily mocked by liberals and the Democrats. Senator Ted Kennedy laughed at Reagan describing his initiative as a misleading Red-Scare tactic and reckless Star Wars scheme.

The TEA Party which consist of mostly middle-aged adults, seniors, parents and grandparents was birthed in response to Obama’s shock-and-awe attacks on our freedoms and unprecedented unlawful power grabs.

Obama’s desire to fundamentally transform America was hidden in plain sight before his historic election. The millions of white voters who put the first black man in the White House were blinded by MSM hype and their desire to make amends for America’s sin of slavery.

Because the MSM is in favor of Obama’s transformation of America, MSM fellow “transformers” demonized the millions of white former Obama supporters in the TEA Party.

The MSM’s goal is to brand all opposition to Obama’s socialist/progressive agenda hatred for a black president. Blatantly and shamelessly the MSM is shaping public opinion against the TEA Party, instilling division and racial hate.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

I pray that our TEA Party leaders will take a cue from Israel’s strong, brave and courageous Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Regardless of worldwide public opinion and slings and arrows launched by the MSM, Netanyahu will not be intimidated into not defending, protecting and making decisions in the best interest of his people.

We do have a hand full of character driven leaders who have consistently displayed the same backbone as Netanyahu. My list of TEA Party conservative all stars include Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ken Cuccinelli, Steve Lonegan, Mike Sullivan, Trey Gowdy and Joe Carr to name a few.

These people are human beings. They need our encouragement and support to remain strong; keeping their heads down to avoid the Left’s punches while landing right hooks to the head of our evil relentless Nemesis.

The MSM obviously seeks the destruction of Israel and the TEA Party. Like He is with Israel, God is on the side of the TEA Party. I thank God for giving Israel Netanyahu.

With great anticipation, I await the emergence of our charismatic conservative leader who will boldly articulate conservatism; someone who will lead the charge to restore our great nation to a new day of American Exceptional-ism.