Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Price for Peace and Prosperity?

If there ever was a loaded question... this is it. I ask this question with one answer in mind, though I am sure there are other ways to look a this. My own answer is peace and prosperity is costly... very costly because when things are going well we tend to become complacent. Complacency opens the door for apathy and apathy is deadly. Allow me to use my own life experience as one example.

I grew up poor. Since we are talking the 60's and 70's, I do not mean depression-era dirt poor. We didn't starve. (I was an only child of a single mother) Mom had a job until she had to quit during my senior year of high school due to medical reasons. She never made more then ten cents above minimum wage. We had food, clothing and shelter. We had a telephone and cable television. Medical care? I don't remember going to the doctor much but I wore glasses since age eight. (Thank you Lions Club!) As I spent a lot of time on my own, I grew up to be reasonably self-sufficient. I learned to do things. I learned to figure stuff out. Needless to say, I wasn't given a car. I wasn't given a college education. I worked for whatever I could get and it was never much. Today, I have the best paying job I've ever had and it isn't much more than starting wages for a lot of younger folks. Please, I am not complaining. This is just how things are. The fact is, with my wife's income, I can safely say our own children grew up as solidly middle class. And here is where things get interesting.

My own children, as I said, grew up as middle class kids. While they were never lavished with expensive toys, they didn't want for all that much either. In many ways, I feel I failed them. As a father, I wasn't all that great. Yes I was “there”. But I did not pursue many activities with them. I didn't take them hunting (I haven't hunted much since my youth.) We didn't fish nearly often enough. We didn't camp. We did not pursue activities at home. I never showed them how to change the oil on a car. I always hated working on cars and gladly paid to have it done once I could afford it. My wife and I spent lots of time fixing up various houses we lived in. The boys helped with those chores but we did not insist they learn to do what we did. They always just helped. And now I see the fallacy of my approach. Don't get me wrong – I am very happy with the way they turned out but there are lots of things they simply do not know how to do.

So this is the contrast in my experience. Surely both households were peaceful, but there was a marked difference in prosperity between the household I grew up in compared to that of my children. To me, this is an extension of how our nation has grown. Look around you. For all of the marvels surrounding us, think about how things were a century ago. We had automobiles in 1916. Consider all the working parts and the workmanship that went into making them. My wife and I are friends with a couple a generation older than we are. They are farmers and always have been. The woman reminisced about how they used to grow wheat and take it to be milled into flour. Can you imagine doing that today? It's not technically difficult but who knows how to do such a thing? What if we had to grow the wheat, harvest it and then mill the flour without power? The prosperity we've enjoyed as a nation is not without a price. We no longer make what we can buy. We rarely “make do” with anything these days. If the stuff really did hit the fan, many would suffer or die from lack of simple survival skills.

So what about peace? This nation has barely been physically touched by war in over 200 years. We've experienced plenty of internal strife over the decades but we are comparatively peaceful. But this peace has not come cheap. We can and should thank thousands of military and police veterans, as well as those on active duty for their contributions and their sacrifices to this end. Let us not forget the families of those who paid with life and limb either. Indeed this counts as part of the cost of peace but not all.

Just as prosperity has robbed us of self-sufficiency, we've allowed peace to rob us of our liberties. In much the same way we “paid for” things we are no willing to do for ourselves – such as self-defense. When our nation was conceived it was not at all unusual for common citizens to go about their business armed. Carrying one or more weapons was as ubiquitous then as carrying a cell phone is today. Traveling a long distance? Better bring the long guns. Imagine walking through a TSA checkpoint today with a musket, much less an AR-15. We've hired out our self-defense and not just at airports. Often we hear of stories of law enforcement being called to confront someone simply appearing in a public place openly carrying a gun of some sort. Nearly all of these incidents occur in places where the citizen is acting well within his rights. At the 2016 Republican National Convention, controversy swelled as recent shootings of police officers garnered calls for citizens to refrain from openly carrying arms in the vicinity of the convention. The governor correctly stated he could not circumvent the law. I did not then nor do I now advocate open carrying of firearms in such situations. In contrast, I see this as foolishness because we, as a people, have conditioned ourselves to fear anyone who dares carry a weapon. Such is the price of peace.

While the above is a glaring example of what we face in modern times, it is not at all extreme. Extreme is forfeiting our rights to free speech by requiring permission from government agencies to demonstrate peacefully in public places. Extreme is ignoring the fact that our own government routinely collects and keeps personal information on each and every one of us. Extreme is allowing our liberties to be chipped away daily with barely a shrug. Lately the 1st amendment guarantee of freedom of the press has come under fire but this is just the tip of a massive iceburg. As mentioned before, freedom of speech enjoys mere lip service, our second amendment rights are severely compromised. In New York, legislation was recently introduced to limit purchase of ammo to those who own legally registered firearms and then they would only be “allowed” to purchase two times the capacity of said firearm every 90 days. Will it pass? It may eventually. Time will tell. Meanwhile, the rhetoric says forbidding citizens from defending themselves will somehow make society safer. The NDAA and the Patriot Act have decimated much of our constitutional guarantees. Notice I use the word “guarantee” NOT “right”. This is to point out our rights are “granted” by the constitution but God-given. The constitution meant to enumerate and define these rights so as to guarantee our government could never, ever ignore them. From what I can see, it was a good idea in theory but it ain't working so well in practice. The forth amendment is trashed, as is the fifth, the ninth and the tenth. What have we left? Actually mere scraps. We've allowed the entire document to be essentially set aside. Soon-to-be ex-President Obama stated in his “farewell” address that "Our Constitution is... really just a piece of parchment”. No, SIR, our Constitution is the LAW OF THE LAND!

While we have all paid dearly for peace and prosperity the cost thus far is only a down payment. The final bill promises to bring with it massive sticker shock. The ultimate price is the loss of our nation and our sovereignty. That won't happen, you say? Consider this: the last time the tide turned against the liberal left – the spearhead of the globalists – was when Ronald Reagan was elected as President. His presidency stands among the greatest this nation has ever seen. Reagan Republicans turned back the liberal horde, beating down taxation and regulation, claiming victory over the left and restoring our liberties. Does this sound accurate? It is not. Lofty at best. Fantasy is more like it. Yes, Ron Reagan made significant inroads but in the end, we lost. We lost to George H. W. Bush who didn't deserve to stand in Reagan's shadow. We lost to Bill Clinton who promptly turned our nation leftward again. We lost to George W. Bush who presided over the Patriot Act, among other atrocities. We lost to Barry Obama who drove our nation to the brink of collapse in every sense of the concept. And now we stand at the dawning of Trump. What will a Trump presidency bring?

As I stated long before the election, no matter how effective Donald Trump is. No matter how far to the right he can turn this nation, this fix will be, can be, only temporary. Just like with Reagan, once Trump is gone, our nation will again slide in decline. How did I come to this conclusion? I lived it. Or, at least, part of it. Only recently have I began to understand how deeply the corruption has eaten at our foundations. To regain our republic we would have to repeal the income tax amendment, dismantle the Federal Reserve, restore the state legislatures' right to select U.S. Senators, dump Social Security and Medicare, along with a hoard of federal legislation, agencies, and regulation. If this sounds insurmountable, it should. If some of these ideas seem repugnant, you are beginning to get my point. This mess we call a Federal government didn't come about during one presidency and it is not going away in one. Already there is consternation about doing away with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This was only enacted eight years ago, only came into full effect some four years ago and already is considered entrenched. And now for the bad news:

None of this is going to happen. Oh sure, the ACA will be repealed... AND replaced. This is part of the problem. The truth is the Federal government has no business in health care to begin with. But too many in our nation are willing to trade our liberty to make our own health care choices for some mysterious government “help”. Meanwhile, we will all go back to our jobs, turn on the television after work, and continue to idly watch as more and more of our liberties wash away. We've lost the will, if not the ability to say “no” to those who would take our rights away. We will soon forget how warm the water is becoming and settle in, waiting for it to boil. We may indeed have bought some time by electing Trump but his election will not, can not erase a century of globalist effort. It will take a great deal more resolve to accomplish returning our nation to a true constitutional republic.

One theory I've seen presented in one form or another is we've already been through the fire. The democrats and their agenda are defeated and we will now swing back towards a conservative America. Uh, no, it isn't going to work out that way. Have you seen the left's reaction? They are rabid. They will not be content with “protesting”. As they've already demonstrated, they will turn violent if they fail to get their way. Meanwhile efforts continue to disrupt, discredit and some say, even revoke the inauguration of President-elect Trump. Can it happen? Well, lets see, President Obama has stated numerous times that President-elect Trump is not qualified to be president. This from a man who's previous experience was as a freshman US Senator, an absentee state senator and a “community organizer” - whatever that is. His Homeland Security Chief has since federalized national elections. Several democrats stated this election was stolen. The intelligence community now essentially suggests it was the Russians, not the people, who elected Trump. I kid you not, I watched about 60 seconds of a hearing with the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper was questioned about Russian involvement. The questions were unreal... the question that struck me was asking Clapper whether the intelligence community believed Trump could have won the election without Russian interference. While I do not have the wording exact, this is the essence of the question as I remember it. Note, I have yet to find the exact exchange so my memory may be faulty. Moving on, since then this whole “dirty dossier” event came out with absolutely wild accusations about Trump. There is strong evidence this was leaked by none other than someone in the US intelligence community. And now there is speculation that the inauguration will not take place. While I see a lot of weirdness going on right now, I don't see this happening. More likely the rumors are further attempts to disrupt and discredit this presidency. If those who contend the globalists are setting Trump and all that is right in the world to fail miserably – a notion I find more and more acceptable each day – then it would fit that they would spread such fear and uncertainty. Consider the Republican National Convention. After similar huffing and puffing, the reality was little more than a foul breeze, if that. Expect more of the same for now. However I do expect things to fall apart at some point. When, I am not sure. It could be six months, it could be two years. A longer time frame makes a bit more sense – the better to distance the left from the fall. On the other hand, things are already past crazy. However, the collapse scenario is not within the scope of this article. The end of “peace and prosperity” is.

The coming crisis will present a unique opportunity to grow. The end of “peace and prosperity” ushers in strife and want. There will be no room for complacency. The globalists fully expect the people will turn to government for relief. After all this is what we've been trained to do. And they are mostly correct. During the Great Depression, many more people were significantly more self-sufficient than we are today. It is far more common to say “somebody needs to do something” than to roll up one's sleeves and get to work. In short, our nation is right where the globalists want us. This does not mean that we will hand over our sovereignty at the first glimpse of trouble. If this were true we'd be living under a world government today. People will go hungry. People will die. When death becomes pandemic, people will panic. Nor will everything happen at once. Even if we experience a cataclysmic event such as an EMP attack, it will take some time for things to fall apart. The amount of time depends on how catastrophic the even and how widespread. The closer one lives to a concentration of population the faster things will deteriorate. People will want food, shelter and safety. All three will be at a premium. Will some sort of FEMA camps be set up? Who knows? It is likely government will prefer to exert as much control as possible. So camps are not out of the question. No matter what people will be dazed and looking for answers. Some may even be ready to hear the truth.

This is the opportunity I see coming. At first glace this appears cold and calculating. To those of you who disdain me for looking a things this way let me ask you... who is listening now? Maybe you are. Maybe you are not. Many will read or more likely skim some of what I write and blow off the message. Why? Well surely nothing will happen to YOU. You have a good job. You are well-fed. You are comfortable. When things get uncomfortable my words may come to remembrance. Do not forget, I write now in a time of relative plenty. I've warned as many as I can reach about what will come. How many will take these words to heart today? If you still refuse to act. If you refuse to prepare. If you refuse to accept Jesus as Lord. If you refuse to show others what is going on right in front of you, I ask you to please tuck some of these words into your memory. There will come a time when you realize the truth of what I say now. When that time comes, please take the opportunity to embrace the truth and bring others to it. Not all will accept truth just as not all accept what they read here. But as many as possible should at least have the chance for today, for tomorrow, for eternity.

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