Saturday, December 26, 2015

Denying Mosques and Allowing Sharia Law

The Sterling Heights, Michigan, city council recently voted 9-0 against granting a permit to build a large Mosque in a residential area. This was to the obvious relief of the many residents who literally cheered the decision.

Reactions were predictable. On the one side were those who groused that Sterling Heights had no respect for religious freedom or the first amendment. On the other end were those glad to see some government somewhere finally saying "no" to a religious group which quite frankly manages to make a nuisance or worse of itself wherever it is found alongside other faiths or cultures. They did not care if the Muslim Community was outraged, because their perception is that the Muslim Community always seems to find themselves outraged about one thing or another.

Meanwhile, nearby Dearborn Michigan is filled with Muslims and Mosques. Muslims are at least 30% of the population and I understand that minor disputes between them are often, by mutual agreement, arbitrated under Sharia law. As with the previous situation, this state of affairs has been praised in some quarters and indignantly condemned in others. These two cities are just a bit more than two hours away from each other.

When comparisons like these get made, our conditioning leads us to try and peg one of these cities as the one with the "right" policy, and assign the other city the label of the bad city making the wrong policy. A localist is free to escape such binary thinking. Neither city is necessarily bad. They are both just ordering their communities as the residents of those towns wish to live. It is not our place as outsiders to demand that either of them alter their policies to accommodate our ill-informed opinions of what life in their home towns ought to be like.

A localist can sleep well at night even though people they have never met living in a city they have never been in are doing things differently. Our culture's present rush for conformity and uniformity has many of us upset and demanding change if strangers in some distant city choose policies different than those we ourselves would wish for our own community. I frankly find this position to be extreme and if taken too far even bordering on mental illness.  If we want to be left alone to order our communities as we see fit then we should be willing to extend the same courtesy to other communities (short of them holding hostages or something really crazy).

The only other alternative to the call for tolerance outlined above is for all decisions on how all communities ought to live be decided by one central tribunal such as the Supreme Court. In that case, all Americans (in a nation of 320 million people) who want to live differently than the nine members of the court think we ought to are out of luck. I simply cannot call that state of affairs freedom. Only in a localist framework can true freedom prevail over time. In our current mentality freedom can only be lost over time. We must be free to have different rules, or fewer rules, for different places. The decision on whether to have a rule and what it might be must be made by people we have the power to see any day we wish to. Nothing less can honestly be called freedom or self-government.

Can cities co-exist near each other with such radically different views towards Islam? Sure, they are doing it. Can two cities with radically different views on other important cultural issues co-exist? Of course.  Let people decide what works for them where they are. After all, who knows what is best for them more than they do? If some dislike what comes of it and they find themselves living in a place where the rules don't suit them, let them work to change it locally or failing that, go to a nearby place where the rules (or lack thereof) suit them better. In time, everyone will wind up in a place more like they want to be in. Everyone can win. Localism is freedom. Centralization is slavery hiding behind a false name.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ryan Starts Early (Breaking His Word that He Would Decentralize Legislative Power)


New Speaker Paul Ryan breaks his word to Republican members and sticks with policies that will centralize the legislative process. He was elected in large part on promises to reverse the policies that put leadership in charge of every bill instead of letting committees do their job. The legislative branch of government has devolved into a mockery of what it was meant to be. The two-party system, and the American people's failure to make other arrangements to represent their interests long after it has become clear that they no longer do so, is responsible for it. Check this link for details.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Religious Right Does Not Know What to do Because they Stopped Being the Christian Right


I noticed that the New Republic has an article up entitled "The Religious Right has no idea what to do now" by Suzy Khimm. She is correct, they don't. The leaders of the "Religious Right" did not even know what to do in their heyday, much less now that they are viewed as a distasteful group of oddballs. They were easily seduced and co-opted into becoming shills for one of the corrupt D.C. run and globally funded political parties that have looted America. At first, the "leaders" of the Religious Right were flattered and given "access"- so long as they did not get too critical of the club. As the article points out, candidates are not even bothering to lie to them now. They simply make a few vague statements that don't translate into policy.

They know, and the article alludes to it, that those voters are so anxious for a Moses to deliver them to the promised land, or "another Reagan" that they will throw their support behind someone who gives them even the slimmest of rhetorical affirmation. They want to be misled. People who want to be misled will always get their wish.

Then I read another article which made the same point, the "Religious Right" is looking for a Moses, or a Political Messiah, to deliver them. What really brought it home to me is that this past Sunday I attended an adult Sunday School class and this was also the hope and view of many of the attendees.

The "leaders" of the religious right continue to mislead their flock. We don't need "another Reagan" for people to put their hopes in. As much as I loved the man, it was under his watch that the Republicans realized that they could borrow-and-spend. They abandoned their prior tradition of fiscal responsibility. We don't need another Moses either- that is going backward. Nor do we need a political Messiah- that is what the Jews thought they were supposed to get when Jesus came along. He went and hid rather than become that kind of Messiah.

If you are a Christian, you are a member of the Body of Christ. A "cell" if you will of His corporate body, to do the will of God in the earth. Christ is better than a Reagan, Christ is better than a Moses, and Christ is better than a political Messiah who people expect to fix everything for them. We have forgotten the first truths. As awful, and weak, and sinful and flawed as we are, we are the Body of Christ. It is more glory for God to do His work through us as we are than for some white knight to ride in and do it in His name.

Now you may be thinking "but I can't save America." That is true, but God cares about individual people first, and the corporate entity of a nation only secondarily. And that is the way we should approach our ministry. We want things to be fixed from the top down- that way we on the bottom need change nothing. But God wants to fix things from the bottom up. He wants to start with the individual. When enough of us get better- because we are connected to Him, the top gets better naturally. Not effortlessly maybe, but naturally and easily.

Trying to "save America" is a heavy burden and a difficult yoke. But if you are like most Christians God has put someone in your life who is in need of salvation, or someone just saved in need of mentoring and discipleship. You can't even save them of course, only Jesus can save anyone, but you can help manifest the salvation which He has already bought into their lives. Helping an individual near you who you already care about is (compared to "saving America') a burden that is both easy and a yoke which is light. That is how you know you are carrying the right burden. It is the one Jesus said He would give to His followers.

And if we serve to turn confused people, captured by their baser impulses, unable to discern truth from error, into people who grounded in the truth, free to refuse sin, discerning in their minds and virtuous in their conduct then we will have done our part to "take back the country." Not that we should do it for that reason, for then it becomes the same heavy burden to which the religious right has fallen captive. Even sympathy for the lost is a mere secondary consideration to sympathy for God who does not want a single soul to be lost to Him, or a single soul once gained to lose the blessings which can come with discipleship.

A nation of people like that has little need of government officials to oversee their lives for them- they can handle their own lives. Government needs people to need government to grow. This explains why so many governments continue policies which reward poor choices and enable dysfunction. Good government starts with self-government.

By becoming disciples ourselves and helping others to become disciples we can save "America" one soul at a time. But discipleship requires discipline, and we can fall into the trap of loving the concept of "America" while failing to show the same concern for the spiritual health of the actual Americans who are around us. It is much more fun in the short term to eschew all of that discipline stuff and go emotionally invest ourselves in cheerleading for whoever we want to be our "next Reagan", our "Political Messiah" for this election cycle.

Now when I say that good government is a by-product of virtuous citizens I don't mean that we should not mess with politics at all. I reject the so-called "Benedict Option" of withdrawal from the culture. I just mean that we have focused on the wrong end of things. Any of us have only a negligible impact on who the next president might be, yet that seems to be the race which has us all stirred up. But somewhere in your county is a decent person who ought to be the Sheriff, or the County Judge, or a State Representative.

They may not be a celebrated national figure who show up on all the newscasts, but they are a decent, real, flesh and blood person who you can minister to as you help them with their campaign. You can make a real difference in their life whether you win the election or lose it. This is much closer to the will of Christ than becoming so emotionally invested in a name on your computer screen. It is better to serve a real person near than cheer on the media image of a person that you don't really know who is running for President. And if enough of us did that, it would matter a lot less who the President was.

Look, Billy Graham went around preaching the gospel, now his son is preaching that people should vote. The gospel crusades of a generation ago have deteriorated into a "get out the vote" campaign for a Republican party that refuses to provide candidates that a typical Christian, or even just a virtuous person, would be motivated to vote for. So now they urge voting as some sort of Christian sacrament, something we should do as a religious duty regardless of how bad the candidates might be. I see it differently. If the system provides terrible candidates, we have a Christian duty to refuse to validate them with our vote. Refusing to vote for them despite social pressure to give our approval to a corrupt system by continuing to pretend its OK is a Christian duty.  Our duty would not stop there though. We then work to form a new party or new way to get candidates to the ballot that does not route them through a terminally corrupt two-party system that has destroyed our children's future with debt and insane policies. All of that though, is something that we do while we have no opportunity to preach the gospel, not something that is in place of it.

The Religious Right quit being the Christian Right. That's why they are losing. But we shouldn't change in order to start "winning".  If that's our motive, we will still lose. We should change because it is what Christ wants us to do. It rightly describes the yoke that He said that He wanted you to carry instead of the yoke that many who come in His name entice you to carry. It is what our neighbors need us to do. We should do it that way because that's how you Love God with all you have got and love your neighbor as yourself in this area of life.

For more thoughts on the subject, please see "Why traditionalists are losing and what they can do about it."

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Conversation America Needs to Have (and isn't) Regarding the Kim Davis Story


The Kim Davis story is one of those situations where the longer people listen to media reports about it, the more mis-informed they are.  This is because the establishment media does not exist to inform the public. The establishment media exists to protect the establishment. Their job on this story, as in so many, is to frame the debate in such a way that the important questions connected to the story don't even get asked, much less answered.

For example, most people following the story cannot even comprehend the true nature of the controversy. They think that Kim Davis is "stopping same sex couples from getting married". If they think that is what is happening, then they think the question ought to be "should Kim Davis be able to stop same sex couples from getting married?" But that is not the issue at hand, and therefore that is not the right question to ask.

My wife and I are married. We have a piece of paper from the Pulaski County Clerk which says we are married, but that is not what makes us married. That piece of paper just shows that the government, on behalf of the people of Arkansas, recognize our marriage as a valid one. What if they didn't recognize it? What would that mean? As regards to me and my wife, absolutely nothing. It would not change our lives one bit.

At this point the average libertarian will think I am going to argue that government should get out of the marriage-recognition business. That's not what I believe and its not where I am going with this. Read the red book above if you want more detail on why. For now I ask you to just bear with me as we begin the sometimes painful but rewarding task of thinking outside the box the establishment has put us in......

My wife and I would consider ourselves just as married without public recognition as we are with it. If we did not have the legal package which came with state recognition of our marriage, we would simply add those legal agreements one at a time as is possible for any two persons. I am talking about things like putting each other in our wills, signing power of attorney to make medical decisions and hospital visits, and things of that nature. We pay for our own health insurance, but if we opted to take the insurance from my workplace then it would be up to I and my employer to determine if I should be able to add my "domestic partner" to the plan, not the government. The "standard package" of legal connections which come with public recognition of a marriage as valid are available to people one component at a time even if they are not married.

My point is that the real issue is not that "Kim Davis won't let same sex couples get married". The real issue is that Kim Davis will not grant those relationships official state recognition as marriages. Here is the difference: If Kim Davis was out arresting homosexual couples for claiming they were married, she would be guilty of "not letting same sex couples get married." That is what they did in the old days with laws against mixed-race marriages. It was actually a crime to marry someone of another race. This is not that. What Kim Davis did was simply refuse to grant public recognition of a relationship as a valid marriage. In so doing, she claimed she was acting in accordance with the laws of the state of Kentucky, not just her own opinion.

State recognition of a thing is not the thing itself.  With-holding state recognition of a thing is not the same as criminalizing that thing. That most of us have failed to grasp that difference is a testimony to the power of mass-media to truncate thought, and of the over-arching role of the state in our daily lives. So much are we used to government getting in our business and directing our paths that we can not even distinguish between state recognition of something and the thing itself!

Now one may argue that her action was still wrong, and that homosexuals ought to have public legal recognition for their relationships as marriage. You may even feel it is a civil right that such recognition be given. If you do, we can at least argue the right question. My point is, after watching and sometimes participating in this debate for quite a while now, is that people have been arguing over the wrong question.They can't even see what the real issue is. If we argue over the wrong question, how can we ever expect to find the right answer?

I personally do not think that any two people have a "right" to my approval, or the public's recognition, of their relationship as "valid". There are reasons why the state should not legitimize homosexual relationships as marriage whether one is an atheist or a fundamentalist Christian. But I don't even want to argue that point here, because in the white-noise and heat of this debate we have missed the even more fundamental conversation we should have. It is not whether government recognition of homosexual relationships as "marriage" is a civil right, but even more basic - how does something become recognized as a civil "right" in America in the first place?

That we all easily know the answer to that question is vital because of the very nature of what it is to be a "right". A "right" is some area of life where the individual is supposed to be sovereign against the state, and even against the public. Rights, once acknowledged, are not subject to majority vote. They are areas of life that, by agreement, the citizens of a Republic declare are not subject to our approval. If freedom of political speech is a right, it does not matter if my neighbors or my government objects to my political speech. I have a right to say it. Enumerated rights are legal restrictions on the power of the state, and therefore on the formal power of the public, to regulate behavior. This is the traditional view of rights, again expounded on in the red book above.

The post-modern state despises the very thought that its citizens could possess such rights, or indeed any limitations on its power or scope whatsoever. Because of this the traditional view of rights as expressed above is not taught in their schools, nor discussed in their media. The preference of the government is that "rights" are simply the means by which the elites separate the people from self-government. FEDGOV may check the behavior of individuals or lessor governments, but rarely checks its own behavior. A large part of that lack of restraint is that the courts no longer feel bound at all by the Rule of Law in the methods by which it asserts newly discovered "rights". This is how for example, the courts can busy themselves re-defining marriage even while the Surveillance State commits massive injury against the 4th amendment, Habeus Corpus, and Due Process.

Once something becomes a "right", it becomes beyond the vote of the people. It is the removal of that thing from the realm of self-government. And because of that, the power to declare something a "right" is the power of dictatorship. And this at last brings me to the real conversation that America needs to have regarding the Kim Davis story, and many like it. The question is simply this- is the Supreme Court of the United States the sole determiner of what civil rights are in this nation? Is the process they followed in declaring this newly discovered right legal? On what legal basis did they remove the question of what sort of relationships we wish to recognize as marriage outside of our judgement and subject only to theirs?

Those who wish the matter to be closed declare that same-sex marriage is "the law of the land." But that is not true. Courts don't make laws, they make rulings about how the law should be interpreted. In this case, as in many others, the courts went to their old-standby- the 14th amendment. The amendment says that there shall be "equal protection under the law" and "due process" for all persons.The courts constantly go back to the 14th amendment to throw out any state law, or federal law, that they don't care for.

But is this what Congress and the States meant to do when they sent out and ratified the 14th amendment? Did they really mean for all further decisions about what the rules were to be taken out of their hands and turned over to whatever five of nine lawyers on the Supreme Court think the rules ought to be today? Did Congress and the states mean to turn over the power to define new rights, that is to say the very power of dictatorship, over to the courts?

Of course not. The courts are illegally exercising extra-constitutional power as can be shown simply by reading the last sentence of the 14th amendment. Since the legislative branch no longer represents the People, they have done nothing to stop them. In the first one hundred and fifty years of our republic, Congress initiated impeachment proceedings against members of the judicial branch on over 50 occasions. Have you heard of them doing so in your lifetime? They no longer even attempt to reign in the other branches of government. Both the Executive and the Judiciary have made the legislature the weakest of the branches of government. They don't even try to defend their turf anymore, so long as the money keeps flowing to the special interests who fund their parties. If you want to know how to get the People's Branch to represent the people again, well, its in the blue book above, along with a lot of other things.

The last section of the 14th amendment reads:

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

So we see that it is not the Courts which have the power to enforce the 14th amendment.  It is supposed to be the Congress, and that by legislation. Congress did not give all of its power over to the courts when it passed the 14th. Its intent was to give power to itself. We now have the courts using the 14th amendment to throw out laws passed by Congress, even though the 14th says that it is Congress itself which must give teeth to the enforcement of the provisions of that amendment.

In the Kim Davis case, since there was no legislation from Congress saying that a state's failure to recognize homosexual relationships as marriage was a violation of the 14th, then the courts had no business bench-legislating that finding out of the ether. In fact, the law from Congress on the subject was nearly the total opposite of the court's ruling.  Congress had passed the "Defense of Marriage Act" (D.O.M.A.) which said that for federal purposes marriage was defined as one man an one woman. The courts recently threw the D.O.M.A. out on the grounds that it violated the- you guessed it- 14th amendment.

Even if you think recognizing homosexual relationships as marriage is something which ought to be done, it is clear that the way it was done was a violation of section five of the 14th amendment. It was done illegally. The key principle of "The Rule of Law" has been violated. The Rule of Law is simply that the government has to abide by its own rules. When it does not do so, as in this case, the legitimacy of the government itself is suspect.

This is the long overdue conversation we need to have: how do we decide what are legitimate rights vs. something the elites pull out of thin air and attempt to impose on the populace in violation of the Rule of Law? And if that is a conversation the other side refuses to have, then why exactly should the people who see things differently view the imposition of these "rights" as legitimate?

This is not the first time the courts have used the 14th amendment to make a ruling without reference to a law passed by congress, as is required under a legitimate use of the 14th.  How long have the courts been misusing the 14th amendment like this? That is an interesting history lesson.

In 1954 the Supreme Court was faced with the case of "Brown vs. the Board of Education." Up until that time, schools in the South were segregated by race under the doctrine of "separate but equal" education. The times were changing though, and some justices wanted to hop out in front of the bandwagon. Some in the court wanted to ruled that "separate but equal" was a violation of the 14th amendment's "Equal Protection" clause. One problem: Congress had not passed any legislation authorizing the Courts to declare "separate but equal" was a violation of the "Equal Protection" clause, as the 14th itself required.

Chief Justice Fred Vinson was the clearest to point out that Congress had passed no law enforcing such a ruling. When he died, the interventionist Earl Warren was appointed in his place. President Dwight Eisenhower found segregation to be morally troubling and also an impediment to foreign relations. The Cold War was in full swing and the Soviet Union was using America's shameful treatment of blacks as a propaganda tool. The Executive branch lobbied the courts, almost surely in an inappropriate matter.  Despite their legal misgivings, the members of the court were swayed by political considerations to vote unanimously to rule in favor of the plaintiffs in Brown.

Morally, the courts made the right call. Politically, it let congress off the hook from having to make a tough vote. It let the Executive Branch score a point in foreign affairs. The price though, was that the precedent had been set that the courts did not have to wait for a law from Congress before they applied the 14th. Obviously by 1964 the tide had turned and the Civil Rights act passed. Perhaps Congress would have passed into law the heart of the Brown ruling sooner if the courts had handled Brown differently.

The legislative branch will tend to be a trailing indicator of social trends. It is large. It is diverse. An Executive Branch headed by one man, or a tribunal of nine, will be more nimble at jumping out in front of changing social mores. But that's not self-government, that's not how our Constitution is written, and in the long run the legitimacy of such a government is open to question. This is especially so if the changing social tides shift back, or the courts and executive either misread those tides or move so early that their actions prompt blow back of such magnitude that it actually becomes counter-productive.

We need to have a conversation, a serious conversation, on just how "rights" are awarded and what their scope is allowed to be under the 14th. If we don't, our future is division, unrest, and perhaps even violence. That is what happens when government officials don't follow the Rule of Law.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Funny Definition of Winning on AP American History Standards


The Wall Street Journal posted an article recently entitled "Hey Conservatives, You Won." The article discussed recent changes made to the Advanced Placement U.S. History standards used by High Schools across the nation. The article made the point that the College Board, who writes the standards, recently moved the standards far to the left but backed off due to widespread backlash against the changes. Their latest revision to the standards include many changes that should be lauded by conservatives.

In the Localist view, the WSJ article misses the whole point. It obsesses on the battle for the Left-Right political spectrum, but completely ignores the just-as-important Up-Down spectrum. The real problem is not what particular standards the College Board picks. Its not even that the hard-left College Board is the entity which picks the standards. The real problem is the national standards themselves. National standards are the antithesis of educational freedom. Parents and citizens feel like they have no control over the standards - because they don't. The decisions are all made by people too far away from the individual for them to have an impact. The only way they can even pretend to have a say in the outcome is to join some collective which lobbies the national rule-makers. Centralization of power therefore makes operational collectivists of us all, even if we dislike collectivism as a philosophy.

My analysis of the left-right battle on these standards is simple. Conservatives are putting themselves in position to lose simply by accepting the template that dickering over national standards run by the College Board is the place to fight. The fight should be on whether we even have national standards for AP history, not on what particular standards by the College Board (or any other single entity) are chosen for all AP students in a nation of 320 million people. The unknown (to most Americans), un-elected and unaccountable persons on this board should not have more say over what the AP History Standards are in Pea Ridge, Arkansas than do the parents and school board of the Pea Ridge school district. As it is, the former has all control, and the latter none. That is the real problem, not what is or is not on the national list.

The College Board is hard left. They got some heat for pushing their view of things too far, so they backed off some. But they still write the standards for the whole nation. It is not like there are competing ideas of what standards should be that have a near-equal market share. They may have been pushed right for now, but when there is less attention on them they will more slowly push leftward. When one side wins by advancing their objective and the other side is strictly reactionary- defining "victory" as sometimes reversing the advances that the other side invariably initiates, then the ultimate outcome is not in doubt. This process is very similar to what I wrote on the Hegelian Dialectic. It is used all the time to slowly push a population one way or the other.

But maybe the people who really run our nation will one day decide that right-fascism is better for business than left-fascism. At that point the left will lose and the right will win. Either way, in the best case scenario almost half the nation will be unhappy. The localist solution is to reject the idea of top-down imposed national standards. Let the market pick the standards in each state, or even each school district. Many standards will be shared in common just because they are good standards, not because they are imposed.

Under localist ideas about education standards, parents in left-leaning areas will be happy, and so will those in right-leaning areas. Not only will they be happy, but they will have some say over what happens in that particular area of their lives. That's what we need more of. Right now individual people, left, right, or whatever, feel powerless. They feel like all decisions are made for them by "deciders" too far away for them to influence. They feel this way because it is this way, and becoming more so everyday. This is exactly what Localism seeks to change. The media only pays attention to the left-right axis. The up-down axis is at least as important.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why Traditionalists are Losing


There are three main reasons that traditionalists are losing the battle for the culture, the government, and losing the Great Experiment in human liberty that was America itself. By definition, traditionalists tend to be resistant to change. But things have changed around them, and if they refuse to adjust to that fact with changes of their own they (we) are finished. Specifically, there are three things which they must be willing to change in order to reverse our national slide into ruin and depravity. If these were easy changes, we would have done them already and we would not be in this mess. Alas, the World is designed to test us and shape our character by the choices we make- the easy thing and the right thing are seldom the same. I will list the changes and what to do about it below.

1) The Church in America largely refuses to emphasize the Gospel.

In the long term, without the Gospel there will be tyranny. This was the norm for humanity before the Gospel arrived, it is still the norm in places where the Gospel never took wide root, and it is reverting to the norm in societies where the influence of the Gospel has waned. We are increasingly without the Gospel, so we are increasingly under tyranny. 

Christianity has been quietly usurped by what has been termed "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism" in our churches. Sermons have degraded into a series of tips about what you can do to have a better life. Passages of scripture are wrenched out of context to turn them into some kind of analogy about the parishioner and what sort of "to do list" will make them a better person. Somehow, the scriptures are not about God and His finished Work on the Cross anymore, they are about us and what we ought to do going forward. I am not saying there are not places for such lists, this article for example. I am just saying that when church becomes about that then, to paraphrase Jesus, it loses its saltiness and becomes fit for nothing other than what we see- being trampled underfoot by men.

Much of what poses as the Church has rejected the Gospel once delivered in favor of a neo-salvation by works. This is because much of our population prefers justification by "works" in the form of synthetic moral outrage over whatever the mass-media labels as the villain of the day. They would rather have a to-do list, so long as it is not too burdensome and changes to suit the tastes of the day, than accept they are not righteous in themselves and will never be "righteous" unless that righteousness is imputed to them via Christ. They have been programmed to look within for their moral compass. Scripture teaches "what is within" only consistently points in the right direction after it has been informed by what comes from Above.

America was not founded as a "Christian Nation", but it was founded as "A Nation of Christians".   Yet today the "Good News" that God has paid the price for our sins and offers forgiveness and justification by Faith is a "stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense" to a culture which is put off by the idea that they have done anything which needs forgiving and recoils at the thought they should have faith in anything beyond their own feelings. "Sin" and "Repentance" are not words we hear often from most pulpits yet they are necessary pre-conditions to forgiveness and the righteousness which can only come from above. 

This sickness has profound implications for society and government. Only a soul which has been set free by the knowledge that we do not have to earn our righteousness is able to consistently do what is necessary in order to have a free society- the right things for the right reasons, even when no one is looking and even when it means admitting that we have been wrong beforehand. Trying to do the right thing for religious "points" or to impress some institutional authority has a terrible track record of producing freedom and good government in the civil sphere. One trying to earn their salvation by works will be loathe to admit mistakes, for this would set them further back in their goal. One who knows their salvation is not based on their works can admit error and change course more readily, for they were never counting on their works anyway. 

Cultures immersed in the Gospel, though still far from Heaven, have the best track record of producing liberty in all of human history. This is because 1) citizens in such nations perform right works for the right reason even when no religious figure is giving them points for it, and 2) because humility and willingness to change when one sees that they have been wrong is built into the gospel and kneaded into the psyche of those who accept it, and 3) looking outside oneself to time tested guidance to determine what is right and wrong is far superior in producing productive behavior than being what the Old Testament calls "the self-confident fool" who looks only to their own feelings or the changing fads of their own day for moral direction.

What to do about it: We may not have much say about what goes on in our culture these days, but we have all the say in what type of church we support. Even if it did not matter for civil society, Christians should emphasize the Gospel for God's sake. Insist that your church stress the centrality of the Gospel. If they don't, leave them and support one which does. That Christians have stayed, for whatever reason, in "Churches" whose pulpits have forsaken the gospel is the number one reason our nation is in the condition that it is in.

2) Traditionalists have refused to seek out an over-riding philosophy of government by which they can evaluate all candidates and public policy proposals. 

Traditionalists have been reactionary. They tend to see public policy in bits and pieces. In cases where they put things together, it is often a situation where they have discovered a plan with wide-ranging implications that they are against, without developing an over-riding philosophy of what they are for. Knowing only what you are against without understanding why in a larger philosophical context is a guaranteed path to defeat.

For one thing, it means you are "always playing defense". You can't win in a situation where when something terrible is proposed you get roused and try to stop it. That is what I mean by "reactionary." If you lose, you lose. If you "win" it just means  you were back where you were before. The bad guys just wait for a chance to try it again.

Another consequence of failing to adopt an over-all philosophy of government to which you can compare all proposed policies is that traditionalists fail to recognize changes which set them up for defeat later. They don't notice when something is done which shifts the battlefield so that conditions will be against them when the actual battle is fought. Because of this, by the time they react and the battle takes place, it is already lost. 

This is connected to yet another consequence of a refusal to adopt an overall philosophy of government to which one can compare any proposal is that traditionalists are much more easily fooled by politicians who exploit them for support but betray them when its crunch time. This is easy to do to people who only have a few hot button issues: "if you are pro-life and pro-gun and say you support traditional marriage then I support you." 

It is all too easy for a politician to mimic the right answer on those few issues while voting against your interests on every other issue and even doing subtle things which will lead to defeat on your pet issues down the line. They will refuse to take a stand against judges who will "bench legislate" those issues so they don't have to, they will support structural changes in education and corporate law so that the cultural field of battle is shifted further away from you years down the road, and when the time for the battle comes they will offer weaker and less eloquent support than you assumed they would when your side goes crashing down to defeat. 

The truth is, they always voted against your interests except for the three issues you were watching, because they were never with you. And when its crunch time, they will do the minimum possible to retain credibility as your side goes down to defeat, or if necessary even change their position. 

What to do about it: Connect the dots. Adopt a comprehensive philosophy of government. At the very least adopt a connected set of principles to which you can compare all policy proposals and the record of anyone who is nominated for a position of authority. Naturally, as someone who has written two books about philosophy of government, I hope that you choose a philosophy which is similar to that which I hold. "Localism, A Philosophy of Government" and "Localism Defended" are those two books by the way. But even if you choose some other comprehensive philosophy of government, choose something. One further note: This retreat from connected thought in government philosophy is paralleled by what has happened in theology which has contributed to the church going off the rails.

3) Traditionalists have out-sourced the job of protecting our liberties and looking out for our interests to one of two private political clubs run by people in D.C. who don't know us and are funded by global, not even American, corporations and interests.

The two party system is not in the Constitution. Quite the opposite. George Washington and other founding fathers warned us against the dangers of parties. I have often made the case that not only is it not working for us, but that in the long run it cannot work for us. The intent of the Founders to set up a government of checks and balances is necessarily undermined by a unitary party system- that is, a party system in which the same institution puts forth candidates for both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch.....for both the State Governments and the Central Government. 

Large institutions are subject to "capture", that is, being co-opted by an agenda which is at odds with the agenda for which the institution was ostensibly created to advance. Indeed once an institution gets big enough to be supported by a large bureaucracy that bureaucracy will put its own well-being ahead of whatever interests the institution was originally designed to advance. Therefore there is an inherent struggle between the will of the individuals who form a collective entity for some purpose and the will of the "conglomerate being" that is the bureaucracy which runs that collective entity. National political parties are not exempt from this tendency, and may be among the most susceptible to it.

As a rule the larger collective that one must join in order to have a say in things, the more diluted that voice will be. With institutions as large as a national party, the "conglomerate being" can become larger than the individuals which make it up. Our national party system forces us all to be operational collectivists, even if we are joining a party to express our opposition to collectivism! 

We have invested 100% of whatever political capital we have in supporting a national party hoping they would take care of us. They have not taken care of us, they have taken care of themselves by looting our children while either doing nothing to stop or even helping those who are despoiling our culture by taking the laws of the state further and further from the moral order of heaven. 

Thomas Jefferson said "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."  We have either bought into the con-job that Jefferson was wrong, that we can trust strangers in DC to perform our due diligence. 

What to do about it: You start locally and don't entrust a large institution with the job of defending your liberty. If you are only choosing among the candidates which they select for you, you have no choice at all. Get some of your friends together and pick an office where you think the incumbent is doing a poor job, then recruit some respected person to run against them as an Independent. Don't pick a state-wide office, but start with the state legislature or a County Office. Independents are starting to win a few places now, and with a little help it could turn into an avalanche.

If people in other places do the same, a spontaneous network that can't be bought our or captured because it is not a hierarchy will emerge.  The existing parties will either lose it it as the network gets better and  better or the parties will start listening to the people again to keep from losing. It will probably be a combination of both. If you live in my home state, Neighbors of Arkansas supports this model and has information about how to get on the ballot as an independent. Or start something like it where you live.

The one thing you should not do is go join one of the existing parties and get stuck serving chicken dinners at their fund raisers for ten years while other people pick their candidates. They have well-thought out ways to divert the energy of citizens who decide they need to get involved. It is all about candidate selection, and the people that run those parties now will be in your way every step of the process.


For your children's sake and mine, I wish blessings on your journey back to your heritage and birthright as an American - the right to govern ourselves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Author Bill Kauffman Talks About Localism


Part two.

Part three.

His view on the subject seems to be less comprehensive on the details of how it might be protected, but he certainly waxes eloquent on the why.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Coming War on Cash is Checkmate on Human Freedom


When I was born the common coin of my country was made of silver, and dollars held by the other nations of the world could be exchanged for gold - one ounce of gold for thirty-five dollars. Real wealth was embedded into the money because it was made of something which would have been considered valuable even if it were not used as money. Now, in my lifetime, the silver is gone from our hands and the gold is gone. It has been replaced by debt, that they say that we owe to them.

It astounds me that year after year people all over the world trade their real goods and services for little slips of paper that a privileged few in Washington can just spit out of a printing press.  Is it any wonder that over time more and more wealth and power has been sapped from the people in the heartland and been gathered by those in Washington and the banks closely associated with them who are nearest this Magic Money Machine? If one will think about it, in the long run no other outcome is possible. This is why fiat currency, not just debt-based but any fiat currency, is so detested by Localists and others.

Our fraudulent fiat dollar system really collapsed in 2008, and was only temporarily reanimated via the open lawlessness of "Quantitative Easing" - the conjuring of $11 trillion dollars out of thin air by the pressmasters. That newly created money to save "the financial system" (read the giant fraud created to strip the American middle class of its wealth) was covered by the corresponding creation of public debt. Americans were loaded with trillions more debt in order to save the very system which is slowly stealing all of their wealth.

The protest movements created by this desperation move, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, should have been supported by almost all Americans who were not in on the looting. It should have resulted in the total destruction of the two captured political parties and the emergence of new (hopefully decentralized) political structures to replace them. Instead, both movements have been mostly marginalized and co-opted by the existing terminally corrupt political clubs. It is as if citizens in Sicily had gotten enough of the Mafia and formed a protest movement or two against it, only to have them seduced into thinking that the best way to stop the Gambinos from looting your country is to join the Mafia and "reform it from within."

Americans lost their chance to start a much needed Second American Revolution, and as a result have been backed further into a corner. The elites know that the financial system they have created has defrauded over a hundred million people of their wealth and is failing all but those most connected to it. That is why they are doubling down on the police state, and collecting data on the communications of all Americans. They are preparing for the crackdown once people realize what has been done to them.

They are literally waging a war on freedom, because with freedom comes the power to change one's circumstances and resist/change one's government. They know that once Americans figure out what has been done to them, they will want to change ruling classes. Their solution is to make freedom impossible so as to make change impossible.

That is why it is not enough that they can buy up the real goods of the whole earth with little bits of paper which only have value because they say so. Taking away actual money- gold and silver, was not enough. Making us debt slaves to bits of paper is not enough.  You see even paper money offers some measure of freedom, and some escape from scrutiny. The guilty often have a fear about what those they have wronged might be doing. That is why they have restricted the use of cash for transaction. Even former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert faces years in prison for the "crime" of making bank with drawls of his own money in a manner designed to evade the bank's mandatory reporting requirements of cash with-drawls over $10,000, and lying to the FBI about the reason.

That's right. We now live in a nation where our banks are required by law to spy on us and report us if we withdraw more than $10,000 in cash at once. And we can be imprisoned for the "crime" of withdrawing our own money in a way that avoids triggering this limit. They want all of our money in the banking system, where they can monitor it or confiscate it. They can't have the people they are cheating making a bunch of transaction that they don't know about, why that's "terrorism." They don't even want you taking it out and sitting on it. That is a way of expressing "no confidence" in the system. They want to force you to put that money back in the system. Either in the rigged financial markets, or a bank where they can hyper-leverage it to keep the illusion of solvency up a little longer.

There is a war on physical cash coming because it is a vital part of the war on human freedom. The elites want all of our business monitored, and all of our transactions approved. The independence of actual physical cash, even cash issued by them, is still considered by our ruling class (driven insane with power and guilt) to be too much freedom for them to be comfortable with. We are going to be driven to a cash-free society, where all "currency" is in the system in the form of digits. Once there is no means to conduct transactions without their knowledge, there is no ability to act without their approval.  Resist, while you still can.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The One Party with Two Faces in Operation: GOP Senate Gives Obama More Authority on TPP


Breitbart and others report that the Republican controlled senate voted to give Democrat President Barack Obama more authority to negotiate America into the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is nice to know that the Democrat Administration and the Republican senate can put aside their differences long enough to further destroy America's middle class and trade our national sovereignty off to the global corporations which fund both of their private political clubs.

The Breitbart article noted that all of the amendments meant to cushion the blow of giving this authority to Obama were defeated, including the one Senator Ted Cruz said was necessary to avoid using the TPP as an end-run around U.S. immigration law. Cruz (who is obviously not eligible for the Presidency) went ahead and voted to give Obama the extra power anyway. Almost all of them did. On issues of globalism vs. national sovereignty, the American people have no political choice and if they favor national sovereignty over globalism, no political representation.

Localism opposes in principle all multi-party trade agreements since they cannot help but transfer national authority to a supra-national body unaccountable to national citizens. Trade agreements should be bilateral only. Localism also has specific measures designed to prevent global corporations from taking over a national economy and by extension a nation's political system. But I digress. The point of this article is to provide yet more overwhelming evidence that when it really matters, our current political "choice" is a fraud designed to placate us into believing we are self-governing while in fact all important decisions are taken out of our hands.

If we want representation, we are going to have to quit out-sourcing the job of looking out for our interests to these fake D.C.-based and globally funded political "parties" and revert to self-government. An example of how that might be done is discussed in the Third Pillar of Localism, and the first tentative steps to put it into practice can be found by example in groups like this.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Localism Defended; The Narrow Path Between Anarchy and the Central State

"Localism Defended" has gone to press. Link to Kindle E-book is here. The print edition should be available from that link in a few days.

The title says “Localism Defended” but the book is really a defense of all forms of what might be called “Limited Government Conservatism”, or even “Classical Liberalism.” These philosophies need defending because they are under attack, not only by proponents of a leviathan state on one side, but by a rising tide of anarchists and the more absolutist shades of libertarianism on the other. 

If you believe in limited government, but not so limited as anarchists or many libertarians advocate, then this book is for you. It presents a rational defense of the classic Western view of government. It also makes a compelling case as to why the foundations of anarchist and libertarian thought are, if not certainly wrong, at least not necessarily correct. This provides those with a classical view of government the tools to forge alliances based on mutual respect with Libertarian-leaning persons who are willing to work for common goals even if we have some ideological disagreements. This book also lays out the intellectual case needed to defeat the aggressive assertions of the more extreme elements of the libertarian movement as to what government should and should not be allowed to do. 

This is done in two main ways, one part in showing why such ideas are not necessary intellectually and the other in giving specific examples of why they won’t work practically. On the other extreme, the book also lays out a stinging analysis of the categories of supporters of the current leviathan state. 

In the preceding book, “Localism, a Philosophy of Government”, author Mark Moore offered a blueprint by which limited government might be kept limited rather than repeating the dreary pattern of each generation finding itself under a government larger and more centralized than the one preceding it. Localism is the means of keeping government within reach of the individual citizen structurally, “Localism Defended” provides the arguments needed to advance ideas about such government intellectually.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Global Corporations Now Weigh In On All Laws in All Jurisdictions

"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains." - Thomas Jefferson

Why does a global corporation headquartered in New York state bother to weigh in on what the laws on religious freedom in Louisiana ought to be? It used to be that giant corporations would only lobby for laws which gave them a potential marketplace advantage. They would push for regulations which they could handle put which would push out smaller competitors. They would ask for laws which mandated the use of their products. They were so successful at this that many of us rightfully began to wonder who was making the rules, real natural persons or artificial (state created) entities called "corporations?" The latter now seem to have more access to government rule makers than the real live citizens that government was ostensibly created to serve. (Localism talked about this problem, and what to do about it, in some depth).

Now we see that corporate governance is expanding to a new level. Commercial corporations are no longer limiting themselves to laws which directly affect their industry or advance their commercial interests. They now presume an unlimited degree of latitude in informing states as to what state law might be on any subject, whether it is in their commercial area or not, even in states outside of the ones in which the parent company is incorporated. If citizens do not act to stop it, this is the dawning of a new era of unlimited corporate governance.

I refer to the recent "warning" that IBM issued to the state of Louisiana about a proposed bill which purports to be a "religious freedom" bill. I am skeptical about it because my own home state of Arkansans sought to pass a similar measure which I considered mostly political grandstanding. The one possible bit of change that the bill in question would have allowed was rejected by Wal-Mart. Oh technically it was rejected by Governor Asa Hutchinson, but he had announced he was ready to sign the thing until Wal-Mart called him and told him to take out the one bit of change. Both he and the legislature went to embarrassing lengths to comply. 

But as sorry as that is, at least Wal-Mart has its world headquarters in Arkansas. I am not sure who is more embarrassed about that, them or me. I don't shop there because I reject their corporate philosophy of cheapness ahead of quality, plus their stores are getting rather nasty and unpleasant places to shop.  I wish my state was known for some of the many positive things we have going for us instead of what that chain has now become, but I digress.

 IBM might counter that although their headquarters are in New York, they are building a $55 million software development center in Baton Rouge which "could create 800 jobs". Yes, that New York corporation is indeed a guest doing business in that state. But it is extremely poor form for guests to come into one's home and start admonishing the host family about how they ought to conduct the business of their household. In addition, IBM will be extremely well compensated for their decision to locate in Louisiana. The state economic development commission combined with local governments has agreed to give them almost thirty million hard-earned taxpayer dollars to build this facility. In addition, the state has pledged to spend an addition $14 million on higher education in a way which will provide logistical help and support to IBM. 

So thank to the people of Lousianna, IBM is getting a $55 million facility for about eleven million dollars. And no sooner do they move in than they start lecturing the locals about how they ought to run their state. Were I a resident, I would be tempted to tell IBM to go do something to themselves that I would have a religious objection to baking a cake for! 

Note: it was the case in Washington State where a bakery was forced out of business, and the owners face fines and possibly imprisonment, for refusing to bake a cake celebrating a homosexual "wedding" which has people around the nation asking some hard questions about how much freedom they actually have to use their own property as they see fit. No matter where you stand on the particular issue involved, if you believe in private property, not just religious freedom, but freedom of association and are against involuntary servitude, then this campaign to force people to do things they don't wish to do should rub you the wrong way. 

More broadly speaking, Localism supports the idea that people in different places can have different ideas about what the rules ought to be, and so long as people stay under some authority of their own free will maybe we ought to be able to sleep at night even though people we have never met in a city that we have never been in are doing things differently.  We ought to respect that people can have different ideas about where the lines ought to be drawn instead of some central authority making the decision for all of us. Global corporations oppose this view- they tend to aggress against local self-determination because they are run by an upper echelon which naturally tends to an elitist view of the world.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Of Course Not (Is Ted Cruz a "Natural Born Citizen?")

Our Founders did not want a "citizen of the world" serving as America's President. They wanted someone whose perspective was American. In modern parlance, they were "America Firsters" rather than "Globalists." Today's ruling class is just the opposite. They favor one-world government and the foreign entanglements which George Washington wisely advised we avoid.

Before I really get going let me say that I wish people cared a lot less who the President of the United States is, because I wish it mattered a lot less who the President of the United States is. Too much power has been placed in that one office. We should work to strengthen other institutions, such as the legislatures and state governments, so that who the President is matters less. With that being said...

Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen for reasons outlined here. Bristol Palin got more media scrutiny than Barack Obama got from the mainstream media over his eligibility. Most of their "coverage" of the issue consisted of savagely attacking or dismissing as a crank anyone who seriously investigated the issue. Not only would they not do their job, they savaged anyone else who tried to do it for them. Scratch that. The Establishment Media's job is not to inform the public, its to protect the establishment. In that sense they are doing their job. Same with the courts, which went to outrageous lengths to keep the real issues surrounding Obama's eligibility out of a court of law. This includes, I am not kidding, using the legal "reasoning" of an actor playing a judge in the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" as their "precedent" for dismissing a case!

But then of course Obama's opponent the first time was Senator John McCain, and there were also doubts about his eligibility, since he was born on the soil of what amounts to a foreign protectorate while our founders never envisioned us as an imperial power.  To show how rigged this system is though, the DEMOCRATS rushed to sponsor a Senate Resolution declaring that McCain was eligible. This was back when Hillary was the front runner and she supported the resolution too. On some issues, the two-party cabal will not attack each other. They are both globalist in outlook (and why not, they are funded largely by global corporations) and so there is no push back one to the other on this issue. Notice despite the invective they have hurled toward Ted Cruz, they are not calling him on this.

You would think that in a nation of over 300,000,000 people we could find a couple of good candidates who were indisputably natural born citizens- born on U.S. soil to parents who were U.S. citizens. The vast majority of people we live around and work with meet this simple qualification. That we can't seem to translate that into decent presidential candidates which meet this standard, and that the system seems to put forward candidates who do not, should alarm you. When Hillary Clinton is in a hurry to declare John McCain eligible, and made no issue of Obama's status, it should cause alarm bells to go off. Why are even our "outsider" choices of questionable American roots? That does not even include that the Senator's wife, a former Goldman Sacs banker, was a contributor to this Council On Foreign Relations paper advocating a North American Union.

My view is that no candidate for president is so indispensable that they are worth my being a hypocrite. Either one believes in the rule of law, or one does not. Either the constitution should be respected, or it should not. If there is no good candidate for president because we have a broken system, then the manful thing to do is to face that fact and get about the hard work of building alternatives, not sacrifice one's principles on the alter of expediency. Here is an example of how one might go about building an alternative.

 Is Senator Ted Cruz a "natural born" citizen of the United States and thus constitutionally eligible to serve as President? Of course not. There are two ways to become a citizen. One can be born a citizen, or one can be naturalized. The original definition of what a natural born citizen is may be unclear to us, but the 14th amendment's definition of a "born" citizen is crystal clear. It reads "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Senator Howard Jacob, who authored this clause, said "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" meant "full and complete" jurisdiction. But the main thing to notice here is the way to be "born" a citizen is to be born IN the United States and be "subject to the jurisdiction thereof".  Cruz was not born IN the United States, therefore he cannot be a "born" citizen, natural or otherwise. Ergo he must be a "naturalized" citizen. That is, made a citizen via a law from congress.

Here is the relevant section of US Code which made Cruz a citizen. Notice that "A" on the list reads like the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause. That is, if one is born in the US and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, one is a citizen. It then lists several other ways one can be declared a citizen at birth, including item "H" on the list which applies to Ted Cruz. The US Code does not make clear who on the list is a born citizen or who on the list is naturalized at birth. It just lists all of those who get citizenship at birth. But it does not matter if the US Code is unclear, because the 14th amendment's citizenship clause is very clear on what it takes to be a "born" citizen- one must be born in the United States. Anyone else who is a citizen is a citizen because they have been "naturalized" by Congress. While Congress has the power to naturalize people as citizens at birth they do NOT have the power to change the Constitution's definition of a "born" citizen.

Ted Cruz was naturalized at birth by the US Code. He was not a "born" citizen because the 14th amendment specifically says that "born" citizens are born "in the United States". If he is not a "born" citizen it is impossible for him to be a "natural born" citizen, an additional qualifier. He therefore must be a naturalized citizen. Raging at me for saying so does not alter the text of the constitution, nor address the fundamental problem of a "one party with two faces" candidate selection system which selects in favor of "citizens of the world" over those with specifically American roots.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Constitution Doesn't Need to Change, We Need to Change the Way We Select Candidates

This was from a debate sponsored by the Washington County Tea Party. The subject is whether or not now is the time for an article V amendments convention. Here I argue that the constitution does not need to change so much as the way we select candidates needs to change. We should dump the Unitary Party System where the same private political club elects candidates for state as well as federal office, for the Legislative branch as well as the Executive branch. This unitary party system serves to undermine the system of checks and balances the Founders put in place to protect us from an over-reaching government.

This position is in accord with the Third Pillar of Localism, that politics should move from national labels to local or state labels to decentralize political power. It is what we are trying to do at 

I am not saying that we could not benefit from some changes to the constitution - Localism, a philosophy of government suggests several possible changes. Rather I am saying that until we change the way those ruling us are selected we can't trust them to meddle with the constitution.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ruling Class Buys Time by Throwing Middle Class into Debt-fueled Shredder

For every debtor with a liability there is a creditor with an "asset" which consists of the likely income stream from the payment of that debt.  Much of the wealth of our richest individuals and largest institutions consists of claims that others owe them money. Creditors who have such assets, rather than simply waiting for the debts to be repaid, tend to use them for collateral to get money to purchase other assets.   Such collateral is often treated as an "asset" by the lender to acquire the cash to obtain even more assets (this is called rehypothecation). This process can go on and on.

One can see from the above example that when one link in the chain goes bad, one investment does not work out, that it causes tremors for everyone else along the chain.  When people's wealth consists of a chain of debtors repaying their debts, when one does not pay it can affect the ability of the others to repay, leading to a series of cascading defaults.  Of course, if relative small fry default on their debts, the creditor can absorb the loss and move on.  It is only when a big player fails that a catastrophic system-wide failure is induced.  This is what was about to happen in 2008.  It is what is meant by the phrase "too big to fail."

No politician wants a catastrophic system failure on their watch, especially one which takes down their party's top donors.  So the political system, Republicans and Democrats alike, bailed out the "too big to fail" banks, foreign and domestic. As Thomas Jefferson noted, "Merchants have no country".   

Nor it appears, do the politicians they purchase. If the super-rich had taken the hit and had to write off their bad debts, maybe we would be out of our economic malaise by now, perhaps with a different set of people in the "super-rich" category.  But the present super-rich were not about to give up that status just because they made poor decisions.  They own the government now, and they have used their pull, plus the threat of Mutual Destruction for the present Political Class, to do whatever it takes to sustain an unsustainable system built on ever increasing debt and centralization of wealth (and therefore political power).

When the "too big to fail" banks made poor investments, the government bought them or accepted them as collateral for loans so that the banks could purchase sound investments instead.  The Big Banks keep all of their winning bets, their bad bets are transferred to the taxpayer's books.  Not so when a little or medium sized person or company fails.  They go under and their assets are acquired at bargain basement prices, usually these days by the same Big Players who got bailed out when they made poor investments.  It is easy to see that in a game where when the Big Players trip the government helps pick them up at our expense but when we trip we go bankrupt, that over time the Big Players are going to own virtually everything.

The ruling class has one goal, staying the ruling class.  They don't want to hyper-inflate the dollar, because that would cause the basis of much of their wealth (claims to the debt payments of others) to vanish.  They want the dollar strong and dear, but they also want to issue lots of money to bail themselves out, form the basis of much of their wealth and buy off the lower classes with welfare. With heavy debt loads, debtors groan under a strong dollar. When there was dollar inflation debtors could pay loans back in cheaper dollars.  Now that the dollar is (artificially) stronger debtors are having to repay in dollars which are more expensive and it is pushing many into default.  If enough of them default, the system of wealth based on ownership of others' debts collapses, so they don't want that either.

The solution they seem to have hit upon is to bail out the Big Players when they make poor decisions, but let the little guys descend into the lower class when they slip up.  They have found a way to keep the money circulating tightly between Washington and Wall Street, with little of it trickling down to Main Street.  If a Big Player gets caught in a situation where their investments go south and so they can't pay their debts, bail them out. When a little guy has investments that go south, they are liquidated and lose middle-class or upper middle-class status and become members of the lower class.  As debt-fueled deflation takes hold, this is happening to more and more people. To keep the swelling lower classes from rioting against the government whose corrupt policies helped make them lower class, the government has "bought off" this group with welfare programs, paid for with more debt.

The only end of this course of action is the utter destruction of the Middle Class.  The ruling class makes money off of the debt used to pay for the welfare programs and servicing government contracts so they "get back" the share of the bill which goes to them.  Only the middle class in the private sector does not and that is why they are being squeezed.  It ends with the population divided into "people connected to the system" and "poor people" subsisting on welfare.  

Actually, that is not quite the end. At that point, once the last of the middle class whose hard work and wealth have been used to fuel the economy have been thrown into the debt-shredder, this thing implodes anyway.  The system failed in 2008.  Ever since the ruling class has been buying time with policies hastening the destruction of the middle class, making their losses our losses.

The good news in this rather depressing story is that there are ways to organize society so that our posterity is never again subjected to the deprevations which we now face. There are ways to engage the political system more effectively than we have been doing it. We did not get into this mess overnight and it won't be fixed overnight, but it can be fixed.  That is what Localism, a philosophy of government is about.