Archive for the ‘Limited Government’ Category
by Simon Black
August 27, 2013 Spoleto, Italy
Nearly 2,400 years ago, Aristotle wrote one of the defining works of political philosophy in a book entitled Politics.
It’s still incredibly relevant today, particularly what he writes about tyranny.
The ancient Greeks used the word ‘turannos’, which referred to an illegitimate ruler who governs without regard for the law or interests of the people, often through violent and coercive means.
Aristotle attacks tyrants mercilessly in his book, and clearly spells out the criteria which make a leader tyrannical. You may recognize a few of them:
1) Artistotle suggests that a tyrant rises to power by first demonstrating that he is a man of the people:
“He ought to show himself to his subjects in the light, not of a tyrant, but of a steward and a king.”
“He should be moderate, not extravagant in his way of life; he should win the notables by companionship, and the multitude by flattery. ”
2) But once in power, a tyrant uses all available means to hold on to power, including spying on his people:
“A tyrant should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies . . . and . . . eavesdroppers . . . [T]he fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out.”
3) Furthermore, Aristotle tells us that a tyrant thrives by creating division and conflict– “to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables [the rich]. . .”
4) Controlling the economy and stealing the citizens’ wealth is also another mark of a tyrant:
“Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes. . . [and] impoverish his subjects; he thus provides against the maintenance of a guard by the citizen and the people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring.”
5) And as Aristotle points out, a tyrant also attempts to disarm the people such that “his subjects shall be incapable of action” because “they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny, if they are powerless.”
6) Naturally, a tyrant “is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.”
7) Aristotle also tells us that tyrants hunt down those who oppose their power:
“It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike everyone who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but anyone who claims a like dignity or asserts his independence encroaches upon his perogative, and is hated by him as an enemy to his power.”
8) Ultimately, though, Aristotle concludes that “No freeman, if he can escape from [tyranny], will endure such a government.”
He’s right. And in the past, people had to rise up in the streets to defeat tyranny.
Fortunately, there are many tactics available to freedom-oriented people today that don’t involve violent revolution.
For rational, thinking people who find themselves living in a state that is rapidly sliding into tyranny, one of the most important steps to take is reducing exposure to that government.
If you live, work, bank, invest, own property, run a business, hold your precious metals, store your digital data (email), etc. all in the same place, you are running some serious ‘sovereign risk’.
In many cases, you can move precious metals overseas, set up a foreign bank account, or create an offshore, encrypted email account with a few mouse clicks.
Take a look back at Aristotle’s points. If the majority of them look familiar, it may be time that you look around the world for alternatives.
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com
ROMEO AREA TEA PARTY GOES TO WASHINGTON
Two members of the Romeo Area Tea Party attended “Audit The IRS” rally in Washington DC the past Wednesday, July 19th . Herb Kuhn and Jay Corey of the Issues and Research Committee signed up with the Blue Water Tea Party out of Port Huron, MI for the round trip bus ride and rally. The bus left Port Huron at 12 noon on Tuesday and returned at 5am Thursday morning. A quick survey revealed roughly 9 or 10 different Tea Party/9-12 organizations from southeast Michigan on the bus.
The travel event was very well organized. It was underwritten by an “anonymous” donor and only cost each participant $85. The motor coach was very comfortable with 110v power outlets, WIFI, restroom, and DVD player and monitor. There were about 40 people on a 55 person capacity bus. There were stops about every two hours for food and rest room breaks. We arrived at a beautiful Sheraton Hotel in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia at midnight Tuesday. The next morning a hot breakfast was included before we boarded the bus to a Metro station for the subway ride to the Capital.
We arrived at the Capital around 10am to attend a anti-Immigration bill rally sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, and members of Heritage Foundation on the south side of the Capital. After each speaker, they took questions from the media and the audience. Needless to say, the gathering voiced strong opposition to the Rubio sponsored Immigration bill.
At 12 noon on the north side of the capital, the “Audit the IRS” rally began exactly on time. The invocation was given by Dana Loesch. Tea Party Patriots founder Jenny Beth Martin conducted the master of ceremonies duties introducing each speaker. She kept each speaker, mostly members of congress, to 2 minute statements. Some of the featured speakers were, Rep. Dave Camp, Rep. Steve King, Rep. Michelle Bachman, Rep. Ted Cruz, Rep. Rand Paul, and the featured speaker was Glenn Beck who gave a passionate and stinging rebuke to the current administration for 40 minutes.
We then found our way to the Metro station for a ride out to Shady Grove, MD to board the bus for our return trip. Along the way, we watched the videos “Runaway Slave” by Pastor C.L. Bryant, “Hating Breitbart” (and excellent documentary), and the HBO miniseries “John Adams”. We rolled into Port Huron at 5am tired yet exhilarated as we said good bye to many new friends.
The purpose of attending one of these events is purely to show support for those who fight in the trenches on our behalf. It is all about numbers! There is no expectation of great oratory (even though Glenn Beck did not disappoint), ground-breaking news, or surprises of any kind. The purpose is simply to let those who need to know, from both sides of the isle, that there are thousands of folks who feel strongly enough to give up their time and comfort to travel across the country to be counted. Numbers are important. Whichever side can muster the greatest number of supporters should, in a fair and honest system, prevail. Whether the main stream media accurately reports on the event or not, those folks who fear our participation certainly know exactly how many of us care. It was not a physically comfortable event, but personal comfort was a small sacrifice for the greater purpose.
Tea Party people are awesome. They are friendly, polite, helpful, and passionate. As expected, the event started on time, the crowds were passionate and polite, and left the Capital lawn trash free. If you ever get a chance to participate in one of these rallies, I think you will be glad you did.
Romeo Area Tea Party- Issues and Research
NSA SURVEILLANCE: AMASH, CONYERS INTRODUCE MAJOR BILL
BIPARTISAN COALITION OF 34 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PROPOSE LIBERT-E ACT
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to address National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance.
H.R. 2399, the Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email Act (LIBERT-E Act), restricts the federal government’s ability under the Patriot Act to collect information on Americans who are not connected to an ongoing investigation. The bill also requires that secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court opinions be made available to Congress and summaries of the opinions be made available to the public.
A coalition of 32 Members of Congress joined Conyers and Amash in introducing the bill late Monday. After introduction, Conyers and Amash issued the following statement:
“The recent NSA leaks indicate that the federal government collects phone records and intercepts electronic communications on a scale previously unknown to most Americans.
“The LIBERT-E Act imposes reasonable limits on the federal government’s surveillance. The bill puts some teeth into the FISA court’s determination of whether records the government wants are actually relevant to an investigation. It also makes sure that innocent Americans’ information isn’t needlessly swept up into a government database. LIBERT-E prohibits the type of government dragnet that the leaked Verizon order revealed.
“We accept that free countries must engage in secret operations from time to time to protect their citizens. Free countries must not, however, operate under secret laws. Secret court opinions obscure the law. They prevent public debate on critical policy issues and they stop Congress from fulfilling its duty to enact sound laws and fix broken ones.
“LIBERT-E lets every congressman have access to FISA court opinions so that Congress can have a more informed debate about security and privacy. And the bill requires that unclassified summaries of the opinions be available to the public so that Americans can judge for themselves the merit of their government’s actions.
“We are proud to lead a broad, bipartisan coalition that’s working to protect privacy. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. Defending the Constitution and protecting Americans’ rights should be an effort we all can support.”
A list of cosponsors of H.R. 2399 is available here.
“Deficits Do Matter”
by Paul O’Neill
Sometime after the election — it must have been mid-November — there was a meeting of the Economic Policy Group, including the vice president. As we sat at the table in the Roosevelt Room, we talked about where we were and where we were going. If I remember right, Glenn Hubbard made a presentation that was displayed on the screen at the front of the Roosevelt Room and showed where we were going and what different tracks looked like and GDP growth and the rest, including the effects of the proposed third tax cut. I made the argument, which I had been making over and over again since maybe June or July, that it was not advisable to have another tax cut because of the need to fix Social Security and Medicare and to have some money to smooth the fundamental redesign of the tax system.
We needed to have in effect rainy-day money in the event that we had another Sept. 11 event — and at that point, it looked like maybe we were going to go to Iraq, and it was not going to be cheap to do that. So I argued that we should not have another tax cut, because the economy was going to be in positive territory and doing OK through the next couple of years anyway, and there were all these other compelling reasons not to risk a deficit and not to risk adding more to the national debt. And the vice president basically said, “When Ronald Reagan was here, he proved that deficits don’t really matter, so it’s not a consideration or a good reason not to have an additional tax cut.”
I was honestly stunned by the idea that anyone believed that Ronald Reagan proved in any fashion — certainly not in conclusive fashion — that deficits don’t matter. I think it is true on a temporary basis that a nation can have a deficit and have a good reason for having a deficit. I think during the Second World War there was no way we could avoid having a deficit. But when we came out of the Second World War we started running budget surpluses again and did that through the ’50s and into 1960. It’s interesting; it’s really only been in the last 40 years or so that we’ve accepted the notion that it’s a bipartisan thing that we don’t have to have fiscal discipline. A year ago, there was this signing ceremony in the Rose Garden for the new Medicare prescription drug entitlement, and it’s going to cost us trillions of dollars. This event was not unlike any of the others in the Rose Garden, on a nice sunny day, with the president sitting at the signing table with a bunch of grinning legislators behind him taking credit for this “great gift” they’re giving the American people. But none of their money was going to get given to make this happen, because the federal government doesn’t have any money that it doesn’t first take away from the taxpayers There was no mention of the fact that this, in effect, was a new tax on the American people, and we didn’t know how we were going to pay for it. It was only grinning presidents and legislators taking the credit for a gift, which strikes me as a ridiculous continuing characteristic of how we do political business in our country.
Photo ticketing bills presented in the Legislature
Michigan lawmakers have introduced bills that would legalize unmanned red light cameras in the state.
The bills, House Bill 4763 and 4762, were introduced May 22 by Reps. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, and Thomas Stallworth III, D-Detroit. The bills define running a red light that’s caught on camera as a civil offense. That differs from a 2007 opinion from then-Attorney General Mike Cox, who said Michigan law recognizes red light running as a criminal violation, and the law was not authorized for photo ticketing.
On Tuesday, the House Transportation Committee heard testimony on the matter. A representative from a safety group supported by a company that sells red light cameras, American Traffic Solutions, spoke in favor of the bills. Five people spoke against the bills.
Jim Walker of the National Motorists Association, said his organization has a number of studies on its website showing red light cameras cause more harm than good. The bills are expected to reach the full House before summer recess.
To see video of the hearing, click below: