« 2002 March | Main | 2002 January »

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Why I'm now sure that Bush's "Axis of Evil" is an Accurate Statement
I read in the news today about Jimmy Carter's opinion of George Bush's comparison of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an Axis of Evil. I had been in agreement that these are very bad nations, among the worst, but I had been wondering whether it was good to call them an Axis of Evil as public policy. But now that Carter has come out against Bush's statement there is no longer any doubt that Bush is right.

It seems that the man whose policies made the United States a laughing stock around the world doesn't agree with Bush's characterization of these three nations. You see, Jimmy thinks that good foreign policy consists of convincing your enemies that you love them, no matter what they do. His "hold hands and sing kumbaya" policy led to the humiliation of watching the Shah of Iran getting toppled from power and our cowering in fear of the Ayatollah Khomeini while he held hundreds of Americans hostage. Jimmy Carter is the type of man that would try to reason with a man to stop raping his little sister.
His opponents love to think that Reagan worked some kind of deal to secure the release of the hostages on his inauguration day, but I doubt that any such conspiracy existed. I think Reagan simply made it clear that he would do whatever it took to get them back no matter how many Shi'ites got killed in the process. No need for conspiracy, they knew what would happen when a man with a backbone was in power. They were about to die, and they knew it, if they didn't return the hostages immediately.

One of my biggest goals when I joined the Marine Corps in 1982 (when I enrolled in NROTC) was to join an expedition to Iran and topple their theocracy and install a government that recognized the freedoms we take for granted. That didn't happen, to my disappointment, but to be fair to Reagan we did have the cold war to tend to at the time.

It should be clear to everyone that the current war on terrorism has been made necessary by the failure of Jimmy Carter to subjugate the Iranians when they first started to attack us. (It was worsened by George H. W. Bush's failure to oust Saddam Hussein from power and install a pro-freedom regime there.) Had Carter stood up to them, and destroyed their theocracy, the other fundamentalist Islamic cults would likely not have gained so much support. By not removing these fanatical religious despots from power, they grew in power and exported their methods (even to Sunni Muslims) to other Islamic states. Terrorist cells sprung up throughout the Middle East mostly from Iranian influence.

If Jimmy Carter had acted after the first attacks on our embassy in Tehran, or even better if he had acted when the Shah was ousted, to ensure that a good government were emplaced we wouldn't have any of these troubles now. There are many even today who would balk at "nation building" and claim that we have no business interfering in other cultures. But the truth is that freedom is universally good. Rights are universal and independent of culture. All men on Earth deserve the freedom to speak without fear, the freedom to write their ideas, the freedom to believe (or not) in whatever god they choose and worship as they see fit, the freedom to own property and to protect it. These freedoms belong to all men. We haven't the ability to ensure that all people have their rights recognized, but where we have vital interests we have a moral obligation to ensure that others live in freedom.

Had Jimmy Carter ousted Khomeini and fostered a good government, the potential prosperity of Iran would have been achieved. A prosperous people are a peaceful people, generally. Iran has an educated population and plentiful resources to propel it into prosperity if capitalism and the rule of law were established to foster freedom.

But Jimmy is a craven coward who whimpers in his urine-soaked slippers at the thought of doing what is right. He is a man without a good understanding of morality. He is a man who thinks that people who force others to worship Allah in the manner they dictate, who subjugate their population and degrade and enslave their women, who murder and mutilate those that resist their oppression, that these are not bad people, they are simply people with a different culture.

New York City and the city of Arlington, Virginia have been raped by another Islamic theocracy, and Jimmy Carter wants us to reason with them to stop. George Bush is going to stop the rapist and he's going to stop the gang waiting outside to take their turn as well. If you were the younger sister about to be raped, whom would you want for a big brother?

Jimmy, go back to building houses and stop spewing your immorality disguised as compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

How the Federal Government Finally Conquered the States, or How the War Between the States Really Ended
The history of our nation can be described as a continuous fall from grace starting in 1789 when the US Constitution was ratified, although it might be better to say the unauthorized convening of the Constitutional Convention was the real beginning of the decline. The War Between the States was the biggest challenge to state power, with the final nail in the coffin of states rights being driven in 1913 with the ratification of the seventeenth amendment which negated the effect of the Great Compromise and destroyed all state power within the federal government. That year can be said to be the real end of that war, with the federalists finally vanquishing forever any semblance of state power.
Okay, that was a bold, and some might say, blasphemous statement. But I don't hate the Constitution, I just think that it came about because a contingent of politicians wished to increase the power of the federal government. The brilliance of the Constitution is that great men like George Mason and John Randolph were able to stymie these federalists by forcing the attachment of the Bill of Rights, and by insisting on protecting state power with the result of the adoption of the Great Compromise. Their move succeeded in stemming the growth of federal power for seventy-some years before Lincoln was elected to power and invaded the Southern states. (It's offensive to some anymore to even suggest that the Southern states had a legitimate cause apart from their vile support of slavery, but the entire tragedy of that war was that the repugnance of slavery was juxtaposed with states rights. I am not down-playing the seriousness of slavery, but it has little directly to do with other political issues. That the two issues were linked was a disaster.)

Perhaps this background will offend many people who have been poorly taught in the subject of US history or who happen to have different view points, but I want to show how the drive to increase federal power is not simply a result of Franklin Roosevelt, as is often claimed, but a tendency throughout our nation's history, and it can be claimed is a natural human tendency. I also wanted to remind everyone of the nature of politicians, and that with rare exceptions, they were just as partisan and power-hungry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as they are now.

Okay, I've rambled a bit, but here's the gist of my point: The Great Compromise, as you'll recall from your high school civics classes, was the reason we have a bi-cameral legislature - - that is we have a House of Representatives and a Senate. There were two agendas, one for a legislature that represented the states, and one for a legislature that represented the people. Unable to decide which was better, they brilliantly made both.

But we no longer have the same bicameral legislature. The original version of the Constitution had the Senators chosen by the state legislatures, making the Senators the representatives of the States. The Senator was expected to look out for the interests of the states over the interests of the federal government. In 1913 the seventeenth amendment stripped this power from the state legislatures and provided for the direct election of Senators by the population of the state. Thus, there is no longer any difference between a US Representative and a Senator, except for the term of office. It is popular to pretend that the Senate is a more "deliberative" body, but in truth they are even more reactionary because the Senators have four years each to hide before anyone cares about looking at them for re-election.

How did this happen? Well, in the corruption that was rife during Reconstruction, the people were led by power hungry federalists to fear the power of state governments, and rather than elect new state governments, they enacted the seventeenth amendment and let the federal government take charge of all government power.

The result of this abrogation of power? It's been obvious, hasn't it? There is no longer any check on the reach of federal power. When the feds wanted to meddle in welfare, the states couldn't stop them. When the feds wanted to curry favor with voters by creating social security, the states were powerless to prevent it. Now the federal government is itching to have total control over the minds of our children by controlling all education, and there is nothing the states can do to stop it except to feebly protest. There is no longer ANY limit on the reach of federal power, nor do the people even seem to imagine that there ever was. Now the feds want to rescue us from every snowstorm with FEMA , control our health care, and they've already been controlling cable television content and prices.

The federal government has increased its reach for the simple reason that it can. There is nothing to stop them, they are immune to any attempt at restraining them. The checks and balances set up in the Constitution between the branches of the federal government are important, but without any restraint on the three branches, they have ganged up on the states and robbed them, and ultimately us, of their sovreignty and freedom.

No attempt to limit the growth of federal power can succeed until the seventeenth amendment is repealed and power returned to the states. Almost any other attempt at reform would be meaningless.