REPUBLICANISM V SOCIALISM – Knowing the Difference Makes a Difference (2 in a 5-part series)

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“Until rulers have the nature of philosophers or philosophers become the rulers, there can be no civic peace or happiness.

In a recent debate with someone who suggested that certain public services were Socialist programs: fire departments, law enforcement, public schools, and Medicare…I felt inclined to clarify that such services are designed to perform a basic function in society. Regardless of employment prosperity, or lack thereof, and even if no one was in danger of being homeless or starved; there would always remain a need for these services for the sake of maintaining order and safety.

Socialism, as history has determined, has been more about consolidating resources and redistributing them to certain groups of people for the sake of quality of life.

For example: In Ancient Mesopotamia… Lagash, a metropolis with a rich history was the first to enact the idea of redistribution of goods by way of taxing the wealthy to give to the poor.
Urukagina was the Patesi (elected king, if you will), who came from a wealthy family, but renounced his wealth for the sake of helping the poor is recognized as the first reformer and who enacted policies similar to modern day Liberal-thinking.

Some called him the first Jimmy Carter.

It won him great favor among the masses, at first.

Most of the wealthy class, and even the priests, however, despised him for this because it took money out of their pockets.

Mind you, he did this during a time when Lagash was still frequently at war with the rival city-state of Umma over water rights and land.

Eventually, Urukagina’s push to tax the wealthy more than the poor, and then to redistribute that wealth among the poor led the wealthy to leave to surrounding city-states, and some even found refuge in Umma.

The thing historians discovered was that without a wealthy class to contribute to the “bank” for the redistribution of funds there remained no one to provide the poor with a means to buy food or pay for services/goods.

It proved to be an early study, in retrospect, of human behavior, because without the incentive to earn more income the ambition of the poor was basically extinguished by the good intentions of their leader.

(Human nature has repeatedly shown us that when you take away a person’s incentive to earn their own keep…they won’t bother to find a way to earn on their own. This isn’t the case with everyone, but consider how Illinois’ system has hindered progress compared to welfare systems in other states, like Wisconsin that require a tier system of progress to essentially ease someone off of the assistance program.)

Back to history:

Eventually the merchants fled the city too, because again…there was no one to PAY for services and goods.

Who is left to tax, if the poor aren’t paying enough in taxes to contribute to military for defenses? After-all, the military (soldiers) were the guard and the police of the city-state during that time.
Eventually, Lagash had no fiscal means to defend itself and Umma FINALLY… after hundreds of years being defeated by their nemesis, overtook Lagash.

They destroyed the city…and it was basically lost to the sands of time.

This led to the emergence of Lugal-Zagesi, king of Umma who sought to build the world’s first empire, but who eventually fell to Sargon the Great.

Socialism was not seen again until after the Middle Ages.

In more recent times, Socialist Russia proved how dangerous a Socialist government can be to the poor.

Another individual criticized my reference to Russia, and suggested that countries like Sweden, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and France “have far better systems” established in lieu of the corruption, lobbying and wage income gap that perpetuates a separation of Classes in the United States.

Understandable.

And though I am aware of how other nations have utilized Socialism, I contended that it’s not always as cut-and-dry as one might think. There’s a myriad of intricacies to how it functions…and in many cases other factors of governing must be compromised, which American’s are seldom willing to do.

With regard to Russia…

I referenced Russia as an example of how dangerous a Socialist government can be because there is documentation of how resources were pooled from the vast farmland throughout the countryside to provide food for the masses in the more densely populated cities/regions of the country.

The consequence led many farmers’ families to starve. To the point where mothers had to kill off an infant in order to have enough food to feed her older children who helped out on the farm.

That’s not propaganda…that’s history.

Though this individual takes umbrage with overlooking the thriving Democratic countries where Capitalism does not exist, he proposed a conversation about what works for those free and Democratic countries.

I had to remind him that the United States is a Republic, a Republic that has thrived on Capitalism.

For a successful paradigm shift from one form of government to another, there must be a change in the core philosophy of governing; otherwise the conflict will merely be exacerbated.

He argued that “Capitalism is not in the constitution,” and I was glad he did, because I asked him to elaborate on where it states in the Constitution that Socialism not only equates to a better way of life, but also substantiates it as a necessary form of government to that end.

He was unable, or unwilling to do so, but to be fair I argued that one couldn’t postulate, “Capitalism is not in the Constitution without substantiating said claim.”

I made that statement because such a supposition seemed to be predicated more on merely making a reference to the Constitution (given that it seems to be the “word of the day,”) than actually having an understanding of how the Constitution correlates to government.

Case in point: the Guarantee Clause of the US Constitution Article 4, Section 4, Clause 1:
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.”

Not to be confused with the Republican Party.

The Republicanism as written by our Founding Fathers in the Federalist Papers, and a myriad of other writings, refers to a political philosophy and not merely an unsubstantiated notion.

For, in truth, a Republic requires strong and healthy private and civil sectors in which citizens pursue their own ambitions backed by a public sphere limited to enumerated powers.
Enumerated powers, as listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to exercise powers granted by the Constitution.

Whereas a Socialist government, akin to monarchism, relies on a strong and healthy sovereign public sphere that oversees a small portion of the private and civil sectors in which the PEOPLE have LIMITED scope of action.

In short, consider this…

In a Republic, education should be what the people make it. Perhaps that means we should let professionals who best understand how to teach and how to create curriculums to maximize a student’s potential do their job without government interference.

Does this remind anyone of how vehemently we have argued against the recent appointment of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education?

Instead, however we turned education into a state indoctrination in the public sector with disastrous results, in that children aren’t free to practice their civil liberties and freedoms. Think of the controversial decision to cease the daily practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the school day. Primarily because a group of Individuals expressed discontent with the words, “one nation, under God…”

This is a simple form of how the public’s freedom and power is shifted away from the citizens and into the hands of government. Basically, this is reflective of how things unfold when the paradigm shift goes from Republicanism to Socialism.

The Constitution clearly supports the former, not the ladder.

REPUBLIC V DEMOCRACY – Knowing the Difference Makes a Difference (1 in a 5-part series)

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“Anyone who holds a true opinion without understanding is like a blind man on the right road.” ~Socrates

Though he left no writings of his own, his legacy reaches us across centuries through his student, Plato, teacher of Aristotle, and the Academy of Athens. Legend holds that within the confines of the Academy there stood a sacred grove of olive trees that even the ruthless Spartans would not ravage when they invaded Attica.

If only the Romans had displayed that sense of respect and restraint, perhaps the trees might reach us across the grove and across time.

Which begs the question, “How will history remember us?”

What will history remember us for accomplishing, creating, and destroying?

We remember our Founding Fathers for daring to not only abscond from the yoke of an oppressive monarchy, but to venture across oceans to establish a new form of government in an unfamiliar land.

This was not an undertaking for us to presume, in hindsight, as achieved expediently and without obstacle, for in truth it was anything but either.

Though most of us clearly recall history lessons that recounted specific moments of that era: Plymouth Rock, the Boston Tea Party, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary war…we remain mostly ignorant of the intricacies of building a nation.

Republic or Democracy.

Which did we choose, and why?

Let’s recall a few words from the daily ritual most of us remember as the Pledge of Allegiance, “and to the Republic for which it stands.”

REPUBLIC! REPUBLIC!

Among the most significant events in the history of the United States was the Constitutional Convention, where records prove that framers of the Constitution denounced the “excesses of democracy.”

What does that mean, exactly?

First, let us review the true definition of a Democracy. A rule by Omnipotent Majority. To be more precise, in a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of The Majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man.

Consider the consequences of such a form of government. The power of the Majority remains absolute and unlimited; where the decisions cannot be appealed under the established legal system, which creates the conundrum of Tyranny by Majority and permits abuses under any Democracy of the unalienable rights of The Individual.

The importance of these truths was not lost on our Founding Fathers given the royal tyranny they were familiar with of previous generations.

The Constitution provided early Americans with a fundamental law under the Republic which it created to protect, for the first time, the security of their liberties against abuse by all possible violators, including The Majority momentarily in control of government.

They chose a Republic as the proper form of government because they knew, in light of history, that nothing but a Republic can provide the most efficient defense—for the long term—when perpetuated in practice for the liberties of the people, which are inescapably victimized by Democracy’s form and system of unlimited Government-over-Man.

It serves to note that in any form of Democracy, be it a Direct or a Representative form of government, there can be no legal system which protects The Individual or The Minority (any or all minorities) against unlimited tyranny by The Majority.

Though we may be inclined to hope that men are capable of exercising a sense of self-restraint when unlimited power is placed in their hands, human nature has proven this to be untenable in the light of governmental realities.

Thus, we arrive at the conclusion that Democracy, as a form of government, is counter-intuitive to the preservation and protection of an Individual—and all groups of Individuals—unalienable rights. Whereas the underlying philosophy of America’s traditional system of government, a Republic, grants us only limited powers to make and keep secure our rights.

Yet, here we are a society, a generation, a collective aware of our county’s woes…expressing our discontent via social media about the idiocy of our leaders, but what are we really saying? More importantly, what are we doing about it?

We regurgitate quotes from men and women who provided us insight into the human condition with their works and deeds, but have we bothered to formulate ideas of our own?

We have criticized the missteps of public figures, but have we dared to step out of the shadows of the masses to contribute to the greater good?

Seems to me the majority likes to sit back and watch others pioneer a path, and then re-tweet and/or re-post an article, or clip about the mistakes made during said endeavor.

Freedom of speech?

Perhaps.

What about the freedom of action?

Or do we prefer to talk the talk, but not actually walk the walk?

We are fortunate to live in a Republic where our Individual rights are protected, where the Individual may speak out against the tide of mass destruction. Given the recent string of events that threaten to undermine social justice and equality, it is imperative that we recognize the call to action.

We must know where we stand, and understand our position, for if we are to remedy a wrong then we must take that first step in the right direction. Otherwise, the march to freedom our Founding Fathers embarked on with their ideas and understanding of the intricacies of governing people will have been in vain.

We will be nothing in the end, but mindless sheep being led by wolves.

Live. Love. Always

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In my line of work, even from behind a desk, I’ve seen the reality that life is short.

I’ve seen a 21-year-old die in a car accident that knew people I knew.

I’ve seen children die at the hands of their parents.

I’ve seen a man, my age; take his own life for reasons only known to him and his God.

I’ve learned of Police Officers, who in the routine of their daily duties, suffered a gunshot to the face, unable to kiss their children, or spouse again…unable to say, “goodbye.”

I’ve taken a call about a woman found lifeless just before Christmas, and another who awakened a day later to find her husband had died in his sleep beside her.

I’m exposed to such circumstances on the heels of facing my own mortality, and I am fortunate to be able to live my life to the fullest.

I realize, in a way I did not prior to doing what I do for a living, that at any moment, our existence could be snatched from us.

These truths grant me perspective. I dare say we should all take a moment to recognize the reality that at any moment it could all end. A reminder that “living life to the fullest” is more than just a punch line.

So rejoice in the blessings that linger into your life, remember to say: “I love you,” “I need you,” “I thank you,” “I apologize,” and mean it!

Don’t harbor anger or resentment for too long, because it eats away at you … believe me, I know.

Allow yourself to heal and to move on from the past that caused you pain. Don’t dwell on your mistakes and don’t fret over what you “should have done in the first place,” because every decision you made has shaped the person you have become.

I am here now, vulnerable, exposed, hopeful, and imperfect…but I’m also aware that life is too short to wait for my life to happen the way others believe it should, because truth is, none of us has any control over the potential outcome of finality.

I may sit behind a desk, as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher and as a writer; with ambitions and determination to be as great a father as Dad was for us, as great a brother as my sister has been to me, as complete a man as any man should seek to be… and yes, even as legendary as immortal names of authors-past. Though I confess I haven’t accomplished anything worthy of praise, there are others who hold that distinction, because they have earned it (Soldiers, Officers, Firemen, fathers, mothers…lovers).

In any case, I have resolved to be happy, to accept what life and God have offered me. To make the most of these blessings (my family, my children, my true friends), because they didn’t have to be mine, and I didn’t have to be permitted to live long enough to know them.

So make the most of each day. Wake up early and watch the Love of your life sleep beside you—or listen to them snore, if you must—and kiss her or him as they dream of you.

They’re dreaming of you. Trust me.

Stay up late—even if you must be up early—to make the most of your time with true friends, loved ones, or even yourself.

Reflect.

Be open to change, to expanding your inner circle. Handle your responsibilities, because “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough,” ~Mae West. You’ll find that time passes too quickly, and life is too short to be anything but happy.

Fall in love.

If you’ve already done so, then do it all over again!

Yes, even with the same person you have already devoted your life to because there’s no rule that forbids it.

Dance in each other’s eyes, swim in each other’s smile, drown in each other’s tears. Isn’t that what love is supposed to be? You know, the highest peak and the deepest valley.

Think about that momentarily.

The. Deepest. Valley.

The realm in someone’s soul where few have dared venture into for fear of what they may, or may not find. But if you’re the only one who’s been there then you experience something no one else has, and that is truly special.

After all, the purest treasures of the world are always hidden. Diamonds, pearls and gold must be found in the depths of the earth, because nothing worth having is easily accessed, or obtained.

Experience each other in tiny droplets of time. Be it through a lingering glance, a gentle caress, a moment of silence, a stolen moment, or meaningful kiss. Treat each instance as if it is the first, and as if it shall be your last. The only thing you have to lose is the moment. Better to live long enough to lose the memory of it than to spend eternity regretting never having lived it.

“Never waste a moment, it may be the last with someone you love.” ~Unknown