Defend the Paper Tiger

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Economic Illiteracy: the state of blissful ignorance where rational, fact-based decision making stands secondary to hypocritical public policy, emotional outrage and social justice.

Cure historical ills by raising tax rates to levels prohibiting economic growth?!

Want an equally diverse share of every race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, animal, vegetable and mineral in each college and workplace in America, regardless of ambition or aptitude??!!

How about diminishing the global position of the “imperialistic” United States, viewed by social justice activists as the actual evil empire, while the tyrannically oppressed nations of the third world ostensibly suffer because we have air conditioning and drive on pavement???!!!

An economically illiterate citizenry consistently manipulated by demagogues and a complicit mass media make it all possible!  We can live in a world of free lunches where our cake remains on the plate while simultaneously melting in our mouths.  No trade offs.  No opportunity costs.  No consequences for the years of expansive entitlements and the prioritization of fairness in the name of the greater good while handicapping business and stifling success.  Just keep working, slogging through the oppressive regulatory red tape that permits the state to endlessly take… and take.

Well classy constituents, it seems that the bill for our “free” lunch with eight layer cake for dessert has finally come due.  As Margaret Thatcher keenly observed, the problem with socialist governments is “that they always run out of other people’s money.”

The entirely foreseeable, and almost entirely overlooked news is that the International Monetary Fund has recently released the production status of world economies.  And …DRUMROLL… the United States is no longer the strongest, biggest economy in the world.  According to Market Watch, “when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.  As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.”  Sadly, according to the objective standards of the international community, the progressive vision to “take us down a peg” is a measurable success.

This is the declination of a nation set to thunderous, deafening silence.  The concerted, manipulative, misdirection of distractions, meant to provoke petty infighting has weakened the attention span of the majority of Americans.  (The voter turnout in the most recent election was the lowest it has been in over 60 years.)  This complacency, coupled with the victimization of different groups by race hustlers in preacher’s robes, and the promise of wealth redistribution by duplicitous demagogues, makes learning basic economic principles an inconvenient practice filled with too many facts.  The drive of the social justiciars rages onward like Sherman’s March to the Sea while the constantly capitulating, compassionately compromising, crony capitalist faux free market RINO (Republican In Name Only) “conservatives” stand limp, defending the economic system that bolsters all classes and encourages success, with all the efficacy of the Maginot Line.

But nations need not decline.

There is no historical imperative mandating that the society in power must give way to the next.  The flawed civilizations of the past placed power in the arbitrary hands of men.  The Divine Right of Kings, the deification of Caesar and Pharaoh, the military might of the Emperor.  The practices of these societies depended on the subjective whim of an elite ruler.

With the formation of the United States, the founders changed this course of history.  This nation was founded as a democratic republic with its bedrock foundation being the Constitution.  This basis of governance specifies the duties of elected officials and provides for methods to amend established rules and redress any grievances.  We are a nation of laws, not a nation of men.  These laws, the foundation of our founding, provide a guiding light for national salvation.

But the United States needs defenders.

Too often free-markets and democracy only find support in terms that reaffirm a negative.  “Not perfect, but the best we can do.”  “The least bad of all possible systems.”  These statements defend nothing.  They are in fact pleas for a replacement and the statist powers are just too happy to oblige.  The promises of socialism are of greater appeal to the uninformed than the “risks” posed by capitalism  (however, a history of misery demonstrates the tragic ends of collectivist nations) and over the past century, because of such promises, the United States has been systematically adopting progressive policies in direct contradiction to constitutional standards.  It now finds itself falling behind a Chinese economic system that has been slowly shedding socialist economics and adopting free-market policies.  Now that’s irony!

Capitalism and the Constitution need and deserve ardent protectors who can articulate the measurable along with the intangible benefits of such systems.  Therefore, devoted citizens must learn the principles and values that this nation reflects.  In so doing we can see where past leaders have strayed and what lessons must be learned from such mistakes.  The United States deserves a vigilant defense because of its status as a nation of laws based upon enlightened principles.  The freedom to think and respect for the rights of the individual.  Truth and justice.  These are objective values that can be defended regardless of the people or party in power.  The law is the law regardless of ideology.

There are prescribed methods to amend our government.  That is an amazing concept in and of itself; but such changes are meant to be challenging (despite the mightiness of the pen and phone) because of the significance of such changes.  The magnificence of the Constitution is that it creates a pathway to govern while admitting that it doesn’t know everything.  Try and find a despot with such a disposition.

The freedom to achieve based upon ability not birth status, the right to question and criticize the powers that be without fear of recrimination and the compassionate culture that cares to investigate whether or not a policeman acts in accordance with the law; these are all revolutionary ideals when compared to past societies (and, sadly, many modern ones).  With proactive defenders, these ideals can live.  As long as the United States exists as a nation of laws, the world will have a place where the good and the possible have a home and room to thrive.

**In his A Time for Choosing speech (which can be found here) Ronald Reagan told a story of a man from Cuba:

“Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, “We don’t know how lucky we are.” And the Cuban stopped and said, “How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.” And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.”