Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

The Government Problem

We have a massive problem with government ignoring the best interests of the people in these United States of America. Both the people and their elected representatives clearly have come to hold each other in disdain. One would think that in a democracy, the people could use the power of their vote to elect representatives who respected them and cared strongly for their welfare, which translates into believing that the principal requirement of the people is their freedom to choose their own values and to be able to act on them to manage their own lives. But, many of the people themselves are elitists who believe that many other people are incapable of choosing their own values and incapable of managing their own lives. Almost all of our politicians arise from this elitist group of the people and they are also of a group that lusts for personal power and influence.

Throughout history, democracies have been short-lived. They always have transitioned into tyranny. They fail because most of the people have their hands full managing their own lives and do not make the effort to understand what is going on in government. Even when some understand what is going on, they rarely take the necessary time to oppose it. Those who lust for power always have more incentive than those who wish to prevent its use. The Framers of the Constitution were fully aware of this lesson of history and they greatly feared democracy. They were confident that the people could manage their own lives, but they understood that the people were not very good managers of government. So, the Framers worked very hard to produce a government whose powers were limited to the minimum needed to protect the rights of the individual to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness from anarchy and from a transition into a tyranny.

They allowed the people to elect the members of the House of Representatives who had the sole power to originate bills to tax the people and had a short term of office of two years. They balanced this democratic arm of the legislature with a Senate, whose members were chosen by the legislatures of the states. This balanced the perceptions of the people with those of a group of people who were more select in abilities and who might be more likely to bear the interests of the states and local regions in mind. Democracy was not absent here, but it was a level removed. The six year term of office of the Senators was also a means to give them a longer range viewpoint of the needs of the people, which would be less subject to the fads and fashion that swept through the people from time to time. The President was not to be chosen by direct vote of the people, but was to be chosen by the Electoral College. The Electors in the Electoral College were in the position very briefly and would not have time to accrue interests contrary to those of the people common to those who hold power for some time. They were also to be selected by a process that included state interests and kept them removed somewhat from the whims and inattention of the people. Of course, they were expected to be intelligent and interested citizens.

Over time, we have removed many of the republican features of our government as designed by the Framers of the Constitution. We have replaced them with democratic features. We have put the government very directly in the hands of the people. Despite this, recent events and a long history have made it clear that the people do not really control the government. This result is just what the Framers of the Constitution understood would happen. For a very long time, polls of the people show that they have very little respect for Congress members. Meanwhile, contrary to the Framers belief that the people could manage their own lives, our democratically elected Congress members believe that they must micromanage the lives of the people, because the people are not capable of managing their own lives. So, we now have a system of government in which the people, who are thought to be incapable of managing their own lives, are given the responsibility to manage government by democratically selecting their rulers, who will really rule them with massive volumes of laws to regulate their every behavior and action.

On the face of it, this inversion of the wisdom of the Framers of the Constitution makes no sense. One simply would never turn over the management of the household to the children. Yet, we have a government that regards the people as children and yet all of whose officials, save the Supreme Court, are selected directly by the people, those very same children. Why would this be desired by the elitists? Because this was the cost of power and as the system evolved, it became very clear that the people were easily manipulated.

What would have prevented this even with the trend toward democracy? The only hope would have been that the people had a strong concept of the need for highly limited government so that the people, who were capable of managing their own lives, would be free to do so. Once upon a time, most Americans did understand this. However, the elitists who hungered for power found the means to prevent this principle from continuing to be strongly held by the people. In the 1800s they worked very hard to build up public school systems designed explicitly for the purpose of controlling the information that would inform our youth about America and its principles. They found that they could use a fear of immigrants and their different cultures and religions as a means to sell this idea of public schools to the American public, but the elitists who ran the school boards, ran the colleges of education, and wrote in the teaching journals, never lost sight of their real goal to use public schools to broadly indoctrinate our youth in the need for stronger and more controlling government. In addition, the public schools are very adamant that our society is full of victims and people who are incapable of managing their own lives. It is biased against industry and employers and belittles their accomplishments. To this day, men such as Weatherman Bill Ayers, are working tirelessly to further the cause of public school discrimination against all things of the private sector and all things pertaining to individual competance and rights.

One of the principal reasons that education is valuable to an individual is precisely because a knowledge of history and a study of government will cause many to understand the need for limited government and for a republican, not a democratic, government. It will also teach youth that they are capable of managing their own lives and to help them find moral principles by which they can manage their lives. Modern public schools are a creature of government and the teachers and curriculum are chosen to further the needs and interests of a power-seeking government, not the needs of the students and the people generally. There is an obvious conflict-of-interest here. Furthermore, public schools must at least pretend to respect religious freedom, so they long since abrogated the moral guidance that would conflict with religious freedoms very overtly. They do offer much moral guidance nonetheless, but it is carefully chosen to support a belief that people are commonly incapable of managing their own lives and need the extensive help of government in doing so.

Of course, the people are not in school anymore for most of their lives, so it is necessary to carefully control the information they get after they have left school. This is done by a very careful control and manipulation of the media. Of course, people who can write and who feel comfortable speaking for hours to the public, are generally elitists educated and indoctrinated in the public schools and universities. Even most of the private colleges and universities are now run by elitist socialists. They ignore the stories of how government power has abused the interests of the people and pretend that all problems are caused by the private sector. They favor the idea that any identifiable problem requires a solution by government, even if it was government that first caused the problem. Since the news is so dominated by stories of government, the reporters need to keep close to government officials to have early access to stories, so this is a further means of control. In addition, big government releases all stories with a spin favorable to big government, which takes in many reporters over time, even if they begin with some skepticism.

Americans are problem-solvers. They like the idea of identifying problems and solving them. This is done all the time in the private sector and it is generally done well, but we seldom hear about these problems being solved. Since we like the idea that we Americans are problem-solvers, it gives most Americans something of a thrill when the government announces that it has identified and solved a problem. We like it when action is taken to solve a problem, so government takes advantage of this and "solves" problems better left to the private sector all the time. The private sector too seldom toots its own horn to tell the public about the many problems it solves and solves well. Besides, the schools and the media are biased only to telling the people about government "solutions."

Back to where this has left us. The elected officials of the federal government have their own agenda, which interestingly enough, most of the people do not approve of. Polls of the people clearly show them to have a very low regard for Congress. Despite this, Congressmen are re-elected over and over. Apparently, the very vast majority of Congressmen are masters of the re-election game. Perhaps most voters are happy with their Congressman and only unhappy with all the other Congressmen. More likely, I think this unhappiness with Congressmen commonly does visit their own representative. But, the alternative choices on the ballot usually offer only slightly different principles of government, the media backs the government activists more often than not, and as the voter thinks about who to vote for his mis-education recall kicks in and he makes the wrong choice. Besides, as often as he is disgruntled by government actions that inconvenience him, he has only the most muddled sense of history and or moral principles, so how is he going to make a rational choice?

Let us examine a couple of specific issues that illustrate some of the problems. Let us start with the ethanol mandate passed more than a year ago. This bill mandated the expanded use of ethanol in gasoline mixtures because it was a means to increase energy independence and to decrease air pollution. Of course, it was also a means to add considerable income for corn farmers. Corn was already a heavily subsidized crop. It also produced income for ethanol refiners such as ADM. Of course, what was most important for our political Congressmen was that they could buy many corn state votes and the rest of the country would not complain too much because of the energy independence and pollution control rationales. About the time of passage, it was a bit inconvenient that a number of studies discovered that ethanol from corn took as much energy to produce as it provided when it was combusted. Also, it was found that it probably increased, rather than decreased, pollution. It also soon became apparent that food prices for grains went up, the value of farmland increased, and those meats produced by feeding livestock corn went up drastically. Rising food prices hurt our large food export market.

Did Congress revoke the bad law mandating the use of ethanol? Of course not. The special interests making more money had to be kept happy and the general public did not much seem to care that they were being bilked. If the states still had any power over the federal government, they might have brought pressure to bear, but the many states with minor corn production no longer have such power to watch over the interests of their citizens in our no longer representative government scheme. We are a democracy now!

How about the Waxman-Markey energy tax being called a cap and trade bill? Its rationale is that it will prevent the pollution of the globe by American CO2 emissions. More Americans now know this rationale makes no sense than those who believe it. This does not matter. The Congress hides morally behind their claim that man-made CO2 emissions are causing catastrophic global warming, even though the globe has been cooling for 11 years despite CO2 emissions increasing and despite the growing scientific evidence that sunspot inactivity is going to result in cooling for several more years. They are buying the votes and campaign contributions of all those many Americans who are opposed to business and industry and of those who are religious-type environmentalists who hate all things in man's best interest. They are also buying the campaign contributions of all the wind generator, solar power, biomass conversion, and electric smart-grid companies.

It bothers them little that they will cause large-scale unemployment in the coal industry, the oil refinery business, the oil pipeline business, for those railroads that haul large amounts of coal, and the coal-fired electric generator plants. They will badly hurt energy-intensive industry, including aluminum, steel, coke, bakery, paper, brewery, oil refinery, trucking, busing, and cab companies. Some industries have been bought off in the short term by free coupons for CO2 emissions, but these will not exist in a few years. Meanwhile many other companies will see their electric bills rise greatly. My $880 per month laboratory energy bill may well double. This is not a trivial expense item for us. This increased cost of energy use will hurt American exports. It is also going to hit all of us at home. Of course, in the early years the pain will be less and it will then be ratchetted up all the while the Earth will continue to cool! But our democratically elected Democrat Congress will not care. A huge phone call volume that overwhelmed the phone system in the House for three days did not prevent the Waxman-Markey bill from passing. To be sure, it was diluted in the early years to make it less of a pill to the coal-using states and plenty of earmarks were added to gain other votes, which changes required that 300 additional pages be added at 3 AM to a bill that was already 932 pages long. The House passed it that same day. No one read the bill before voting for it.

It will be very hard to get this reversed, once it passes the Senate. The Senate might once have been a stronger bastion of state interests and the coal-rich, coal-using states and the oil-refinery rich states might have brought this massively destructive bill to a stop. It is now likely to be a closely run affair, especially now that a selective recounting of votes in Minnesota has put Al Franken in the Senate producing the Democrat Party's 60-vote control against filabuster.

Let us consider the massive bailouts. Most of the people opposed these. The Congress did not listen. Now that companies receiving bailout money are finally being allowed to return it in some cases, the government wants to spend it elsewhere rather than to reduce the debt. The debt burden is huge and now there will have to be general tax increases. There have already been increased taxes on businesses, which will have to pass on the costs to consumers. There will be increased taxes on the sort-of-rich, but much of that will have to be passed on to the customers who made those people rich by buying their services. There will be increased energy taxes, even if Waxman-Markey does not pass the Senate, since they will simply go back to the drawing boards and come up with an energy tax that will pass.

Finally, the people have long thought that there are problems in the health care industry. There are. Most of those problems are caused by the government and some of the complaining people understand this. Some do not. But, most people are happy with their own health insurance plan. Obama said we could keep the plan we were happy with. But now, Congress is talking about taxing many people's company's contributions to their plan. Obama's administration is also saying that they will establish criteria for acceptable health insurance plans. You may not be a candidate for drug addiction, but you will have to have a plan that covers care for such people. This will raise your costs. You may not have any need for menal disability care, but you will have to pay for a plan to cover those who do. So, you may very well not be allowed to keep your present plan. If the company you work for does not offer a plan, in many cases it will have to. To do this, some companies will have to fire some employees. Some will also opt to pay the penalty fee and no longer offer a more expensive government-qualifying health insurance plan. One can only imagine how the government will spend that income. You will wind up buying the government health insurance plan then and it will come to be subsidized, thereby eliminating all private sector health insurance plans. The people are very clear in rejecting a government run health care industry, but this is exactly what Congress wants to force upon us. We are a democracy, but Congress does not listen to us. They do not have to, since they are masters at fooling us into re-electing them.

What is the bottom line? Our republic became a democracy. The people do not have a sufficient grasp of history, of the principles of good government, and they do not follow the shenanigans of our government well enough to actually control it. Our democracy has become exactly what the Framers of the Constitution knew democracies will always become. It has become a tyranny! To correct this situation, we must at least create a strong education competition by private schools with the public schools. In time we should eliminate the public schools. This is critical. Only when the people have a firm grasp of history, the critical need to greatly limit the scope of government, an understanding of our Constitution, and the conviction that most people are capable of managing their own lives, will they have the means to wrest back control of our out-of-control government. Only then can we end the tyranny which is now single-mindedly squashing the right of the sovereign individual American to choose his own values and to pursue them in the management of his own life!