Economics

Ideology: Waging War on Personal Prerogative

IDEOLOGY: WAGING WAR ON PERSONAL PREROGATIVE

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress…

Out of the Heart, the Mouth speaks…

Ideology Abhors Belief Systems

As stated in a previous blog, “contrary to contemporary folklore, many New World settlers were more inspired by potential economic gain than religious conviction”. However, the decision of those seeking religious relief, stemmed from the confiscation of an interdependent (monarch-politicians-clergy) process by Ideological forces.

Their concerns were codified when Queen Elizabeth I sanctioned the 1559 Act of Uniformity that imposed the Book of Commons on all belief systems. It passed through the House of Lords by only three votes, and all the clergy except those imprisoned by the Queen, voted against it. Many Pilgrims and Puritans, Protestants to a differing degree, headed for the New World along with those seeking fame and fortune – and the embarrassingly poor who were forcibly evicted from the streets of London.

In 2018 there still remains but a remnant of difference between freely adhering to ones chosen moral convictions – and the legislative imposition of moral uniformity. Recently the voters of both the City and County of Los Angeles passed legislation directing billions of dollars to mitigate regional homelessness, now at epic proportions. The humanity and heartfelt empathy of the regions voters cannot be debated. While these propositions were gracious and generous, would the standards embraced by the regions elected representatives be any less ideological than was the 1559 Act of Uniformity?

In 2017 one of the largest and most comprehensive emergency services providers in the US served over one million meals and provided a half million shelter nights – and did not turn away a single woman or child, no matter the stress on staff and resources. While this provider has maintained a religious affiliation for the past one hundred and twenty-five years, it has never once differentiated in the level of services or resources provided to those in need – nor does it require guests to embrace or acknowledgment its beliefs.

The organization’s laudable performance is well established and its exemplary financial management well documented, e.g. it posts its audited financial statement for public review. Nevertheless, this organization was advised by regional government counsel, that unless it provided written repudiation of its religious affiliation – as are others – it would not be awarded any of the new funding. With no New World which to banish the homeless or those in need of emergency services, the City and County of Los Angeles have nevertheless imposed their own ideology inspired 2018 Act of Uniformity.

Ideology provides cover for the Tyrannical assault on the Belief Systems of Others

Ideology Abhors Self Expression

Thoughts have the potential to defy convention, challenge expectations, repudiate traditional beliefs – to encourage and to dissuade, to affirm and forbid, and to support and suppress. Thoughts cannot be mediated by referendum or confined by the strictures of science. Thoughts may enjoy long and short-term tenure. Thoughts may inspire comfort or disquiet conflicted by current reality. Thoughts are the personal jurisdiction where ethical, relational, civil, and social comportment gestate. Thoughts and speech are intractably entangled – the former revealed by the later. Because out of the heart the mouth speaks – to know others requires a willingness to hear others.

Words released from the confines of thought have their own capacity for engagement. Some words can be countermanded by other words, but not all words can be annulled. Leaders, parents, colleagues, and friends, have on occasion released irretrievably harmful words. However, it is the genesis of the thoughts behind the words that warrant examination to discern the presence of deception and aberrant intent.

No act more effectively empowers deception than silencing the thoughts of those with whom we might not agree – just as no act more effectively plunders deception than exposing it to virtue and truth. Such authenticity is more accessible than most realize, however, ideology is a narcotic that subverts appetites for other than its points of view.

While many nefarious and noble thoughts never rise to the level of engagement, thoughts inhabit words, and words are often a harbinger of incontrovertible actions. Control of actions and outcomes are intractably related to formation and dissemination of words. The United States of America (US) was so dedicated to preserving the rights of citizens to cultivate and express thoughts via words, it made freedom of expression a cardinal tenant of its canon of rights – not subject to government interdiction.

Thoughts in the form of speech undergirded the most powerful of social transformations – e.g. Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Immigration and Education Reform – in the most powerful country in the world. Yet ideology brazenly conscripts those who’ve benefited the most from freedom of expression in its quest to move up the stream-of-personal-consciousness to subvert thought. The title of a recent best-seller about Russia reveals ideology’s vaporous attraction – “Nothing is True but Every Thing is Possible”.

Ideology’s quest to capture the transforming power of words is intended to banish thoughts – not speech – it disapproves of from the public square. Ideology exploits a not so obvious but highly effective strategy; it contends that the battles that matter are economic, racial, and gender based e.g. intersectional – as opposed to those attendant to preservation of thoughts, words, and actions, informed by truth and morality. Deception, the patron saint of Ideology, requires a steady diet of conflict and discord.

Ideology can only foment Deception – whereas – Truth can transform thoughts

Ideology Abhors Cultural Inclination

Culture is both a means of communication and compression. It broadly communicates group perceptions and preferences, and compresses past experiences and decisions into inclinations expressed in the now. Even though it is often referred to in dissected terminology – e.g. me, them, and theyculture is foremost about we.

There is no such oasis as solo-culture; culture exhibits inclinations that reflect the hierarchical and linear integration of nationalism, ethnicity, economics, politics, religion, customs, and passions. American culture derives from a powerful multi-articulated social mechanism, where the who-you-are derives from both transient and static inclinations – the unique you is free to influence many different assemblies.

Besides belief systems, thoughts, and speech – ideology has also planted its flag in the hierarchical and linearly integrated American culture. While its constitutional blueprint suggest America is dynamically and inherently resistant to cultural hegemony, ideology has found a highly receptive and near perfect host for its deceptive and divisive intent. Social elixirs that inspire appetites for ideology over morality and truth have diminished American immunity to cultural subversion. Ideology like cancer relies on its difficulty to be detected, as it subverts healthy potentiality to foment disaster.

How did such a vibrant virtual culture, like that pervasive in America for over two hundred years, lose its vitality? It didn’t. Its vitality was expunged when the voices of truth abandoned their posts. Absent true moral reference, those nominally addicted to ideology maintain a frame of mind that insists, “If I’m dancing with deception, just keep the music playing”. Be aware, Ideology only mixes tacks to its own beat, not yours.

When fully formed, Ideology aggressively resists the Patrons of Truth

Believing ideology possesses authentic and sustainable power – the unsuspecting and addicted hordes surrender their personal prerogative (free will) to its self proclaimed counterfeit authority. Ideology proffers Cadillac promises designed to attract and imprison the human will, and to evade accountability to the truth. Ideology infects party orthodoxy, converting its members into Red and Blue tricks. Many are unaware that the ideology they serve has diabolically different objectives than their orthodoxy espouses.

Truth can never reach an armistice with ideology – as they are the progeny of two wholly different jurisdictions that predestine opposition. Truth transpires from transcendental spiritual agency, whereas ideology is dependent on division, deception and exploitation of cultural agency. Because ideology presumes itself as sovereign, right and wrong, good and evil, and you and me, are subject to its sole adjudication. Ideology does not abide questions or debate – only full and immediate compliance will be tolerated.

Absent the Superior (Truth) Culture will be subsumed by the Inferior (Ideology)

No Sides Just Eyes Wide Open

NO SIDES JUST EYES WIDE OPEN

 It was neither the Best nor Worst of times; the People were confident, Leadership floundered

Despite legions of evidence and experience to the contrary, many in Washington believe higher taxes drive economic efficiency more so than good old-fashioned best in class American productivity. These seeing-eye economists presume two points; higher taxes will inspire investment and productivity, and higher taxes can actually be collected. In reality the genuinely rich remain the least likely to be affected by higher taxes.

Numerous studies, to include one published by the Hoover Institute, chronicle what happens when governments attempt to levy higher taxes on the rich. The article revealed that on one hand US tax rates were increased, but the rich still got their way. More than eighty percent of the income earned by those eligible to pay at the new higher tax rates vanished into thin air, as did the revenues the government had hoped to collect. Not surprisingly, vast amounts of money that might have been invested in the economy were instead invested in tax-exempt securities.

Corporations and individuals behave similarly with regard to taxes on their profits and incomes; no matter, the US Corporate tax rate remains the highest in the industrialized world. Today corporations and the rich have many legal options to shelter their earnings beyond the reach of carnivorous tax collectors, and individual tax exiles are younger than ever before.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a study which analyzed the public filings of the top 100 U.S. publicly trade companies, reported these firms have parked nearly 1.2 trillion dollars of profits in low tax jurisdictions abroad. Many G20 nations back a plan to overhaul international tax rules that today allow companies to shift their profits to lower-tax jurisdictions, regardless of where those profits were earned. The French having recently considered markedly raising taxes saw hundreds simply relocate into the welcoming arms of Belgium, even when required to pay an exit tax.

Washington remains committed to higher tax rates that don’t assure higher revenues, and a lack of clarity regarding fiscal policy, particularly spending. While both weigh heavily on business confidence and planning, spending controls are unlikely to prove potent absent meaningful economic expansion. Certain legislatively mandated spending increases have merely been delayed until a time when they might be less visible. No significant bankable spending reductions are in process other than dramatic reductions in overall military budgets – announced on the eve of Russia’s second armed invasion of an independent former Soviet state.

Fact Check projects U.S. total debt to double between 2009 and 2016, debt substantially driven by entitlement spending and interest payments on prior debt. Washington is addicted to printing and borrowing trillions to meet needs current productivity hasn’t. While the challenges are substantial, printing and borrowing in conjunction with phantom spending reductions can’t be described as leadership. Coupled with self-inflicted forfeitures of global influence and collaterally diminished national security, a radically altered vision of American greatness is emerging.

Leadership that embraced a cogent vision of historical American resilience and resolve would advance a plan that supports: reductions in debt, comprehensive entitlement reform, private sector managed initiatives to expand GDP, long term capital investment, increased fundamental R&D, incentives to promote study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and maintenance of a preeminent but restrained military.

In a season where the challenges are many, serious, and varied, the American people are increasingly uninformed about domestic and global politics and events. This predilection for not knowing, dependence on entitlements, and addiction to conjecture about government-controlled redistribution of wealth, greatly expands the power of oracle Washington. Americans no longer have a shared faith, nor is acknowledgement or embrace of faith welcome in the public space.

A leaderless, uninformed, dependent, addicted, and faithless America, can still find it’s way anew, but this will require an immediate and urgent change of course consistent with past coordinates of greatness.

Is Now Ever Another Time

IS NOW EVER ANOTHER TIME

 Principles and Practices ultimately reveal People and true Priorities

The United States (US) occupies an extraordinarily fortuitous swath of geography, large oceans port and starboard, and accommodating neighbors fore and aft with whom it shares productively entangled economic interest and relatively unforced cultural civility. The US has no military competitors of consequence anywhere in the western hemisphere. It’s nuclear arsenal and delivery systems provide global deterrence against all sober would-be aggressors. The US is one of only four countries in the world with sufficient agricultural capacity to exercise food power, a power it has never exercised.

These conditions substantially shape the worldview of many Americans, more so than positions espoused by government or journalist. This worldview is also influenced by the fairly recent and important achievement of net US energy independence. To many these conditions make the notion of an America that minds its own business seem both plausible and compelling. However, today security depends on more than territorial sovereignty, and controlled access to food, clothing, shelter, and energy.

A recent Economist magazine article concluded, “the US economy is slowly clawing its way back”. While many other noted publications agree, huge economic challenges nevertheless abound (national debt, stagnant GDP, unemployment, entitlement reform). It is critical that American’s understand the primacy of America’s military and global influence is determined first by the underlying strength of the American economy.

Americans struggle to understand the connection between security and global economic stability. This derives from the perception of self-sufficiency, a truly noble respect for the rights and wishes of others, intervention fatigue, and fear. However, leadership that perceives inflexible isolation to be inviolately in America’s national interest, actually assaults and insults Americans. Sober moral courageous leadership provides more abiding security than economics, geography, force, and transient self-sufficiency.

Circumstances and despots change, but principled responses to narcissistic vision and actions had better remain the same. An enduring facet of such challenges is the tumultuous debate they precipitate within free democratic societies, such as that beginning in 1939 between United Kingdom conservatives Chamberlin (conciliation) and Churchill (pre-emptive confrontation). Fear and fatigue are human conditions not political persuasions.

Contemporary posture, sentiment, and rhetoric suggests the following casting: the European Union as Chamberlin and Churchill, Congress as Joseph Kennedy and Cordell Hull, Russia as Germany, Gazprom as Poland, China as Japan in black face, fracking as the Manhattan Project, and Iranian nuclear misdirection as death camp plagiarism.

Many would argue, as a gifted playwright, novelist, and journalist once declared; now is another time. Perhaps. Are the details of now actually sufficiently different from then to justify reprising demonstrable impotent embrace of conciliation and accommodation over effectual renouncement? Not surprisingly, just as jazz musicians utilize chords changes and rhythm as templates to construct interpretive solos, the Left and the Right only know how to exploit volatility, no matter how dangerous, for self-promotion.

It would appear Americans and Western Europeans have the same opinion regarding next steps to tame the initiative of a by gone Empire that lost both its territorial girth and global influence, words but no sticks or stones. The last time around tactical-clemency eventually turned the gas on. This time around strategic-clemency is likely to first turn the gas off.