Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why people lose faith in the process

Today's lead story in the Columbus Dispatch online has this headline: "Clinton faces new GOP attacks ahead of her speech." Hillary Clinton's campaign is over. The Republicans should be trying to persuade Americans to vote for John McCain, instead of beating a dead campaign. Of course, this cancerous negativity not only afflicts the Presidential campaign, it affects almost all campaigns that can afford mass media advertising.

This kind of recrimination alienates many Americans from voting at all. We have difficult issues, as I mentioned yesterday. We need solutions. Decentralism offers some clear alternatives, as do the minor parties.

But I suppose any hope of constructive campaigning will have to be deferred until after independence... (*sigh*).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why we should not vote for the major party candidates

Carolyn Baker at Vermont Commons sees no real choice in this election. In fact she finds it downright immoral to participate. Her analysis is harsh, but correct.

A virtual buckeye to Carolyn Baker.

What is decentralism?

Longtime readers of this space may recall that I make occasional references to the philosophy of decentralism. Until now, however, I had difficulty finding a succinct statement of principles. This difficulty was resolved with the help of Rob Williams at Vermont Commons when he linked another Vermont site that republished the statement shown below.
Decentralist League of Vermont
Statement of Principles, March 1977

"In a free and just society all men and women will have the fullest opportunity to enjoy liberty, achieve self-reliance, and participate effectively in the political and economic decisions affecting their lives. Wealth and power will be widely distributed. Basic human rights will be protected.
"The principle of equal rights for all, special privileges for none, will prevail.

"When economic and political power is centralized in the hands of a few, self-government is replaced by rigid and remote bureaucracies, the independence of each citizen is threatened, and the processes of freedom and justice are subverted. Centralized power is the enemy of individual liberty, self-reliance, and voluntary cooperation. It tends to corrupt those who wield it and to debase its victims.

"The trend toward centralization in our social, economic, and political systems has given rise to a deep sense of powerlessness among the people, a growing alienation throughout society, the depersonalization of vital services, excessive reliance on the techniques of management and control, and a loss of great traditions.

"Decentralists share with 'conservatives' repugnance for unwarranted governmental interference in private life and community affairs. We share with 'liberals' an aversion to the exploitation of human beings. We deplore, however, conventional 'liberal' and 'conservative' policies which have concentrated power, ignored the importance of the human scale, and removed decision making from those most directly affected.

"Decentralists thus favor a reversal of the trend toward all forms of centralized power, privileged status, and arbitrary barriers to individual growth and community self-determination. We oppose political and economic systems which demand obedience to the dictates of elite groups, while ignoring abuses by those who operate the controls. We believe that only by decentralization will we preserve that diversity in society which provides the best guarantee that among the available choices, each individual will find those conditions which satisfy his or her human needs.

"Decentralists believe in the progressive dismantling of bureaucratic structures which stifle creativity and spontaneity, and of economic and political institutions which diminish individual and community power.

"We support a strengthening of family, neighborhood and community life, and favor new forms of association to meet social and economic needs.

"We propose and support:
-- Removal of governmental barriers which discourage initiative and cooperative self-help
-- Growth of local citizen alliances which strengthen self-government and broaden participation in economic and political decisions
-- Widespread ownership of productive industry by Vermonters and employees
-- Protection of the right to acquire, possess and enjoy private property, where the owner is personally responsible for its use and when this use does not invade the equal rights of others
-- Rebuilding a viable and diverse agricultural base for the Vermont economy, with
emphasis on homesteading
-- A decent level of income for all, through their productive effort whenever possible, or through compassionate help which enhances their dignity and self-respect
-- Reshaping of education to promote self-reliance, creativity, and a unity of learning and work
-- A revival of craftsmanship in surroundings where workers can obtain personal satisfaction from their efforts
-- The use of technologies appropriate to local enterprise, and which increase our energy self-sufficiency
-- Mediation of disputes rather than reliance on regulations and adversary proceedings
"This decentralist program implies a de-emphasis of status, luxury, and pretense, and a new emphasis on justice, virtue, equality, spiritual values, and peace of mind.
"Decentralism will mean a rebirth of diversity and mutual aid, a new era of voluntary action, a full appreciation of our heritage, an affirmation of meaningful liberty, and a critical awareness of Vermont’s relationship to the rest of the nation and to the world."
The desire for decentralism drives many, if not most, of the secessionist movements in North America today. It drives my desire for Ohio independence. Decentralism reflects more than mere political separation from the Empire; it speaks of a desire to reclaim our basic humanity.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lesser of the two evils?

Like many other Americans, I have through most of my adult life subscribed to the notion that it is our responsibility to cast a vote for a candidate, even if we find both (or all) of the choices distasteful. In other words, we needed to decide who was the lesser of the two evils.

I have been giving this more thought, however. Doesn't a vote for the lesser of the evils still count as a vote for the system that keeps the evils coming? Shouldn't we be working for candidates who will back our principles, even if they are from a third party whose chances aren't rated as very good by the corporate ("mainstream") media?

This thought came as many Libertarians and Constitution Party supporters are thinking about the advantages of having Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin (their Presidential candidates) run on the same ticket. Unfortunately, because of doctrinaire elements in both parties, this is unlikely to happen; but we need to keep in mind that they are choices in the States (including Ohio) that will put them on the ballot.

Look at the two Senators. If you do not genuinely feel that either of them will "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution," or that either of them will pursue policies that are beneficial for the nation, you have two choices: You can leave the President box blank, or you can cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate. And if, in discussing this, anyone questions you, just ask the question PerryJ did in the Ohio Freedom Alliance forum:

"America, how is the lesser of two evils working out for you now?"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Here's why we need a consistent foreign policy

Serbia's B92, reporting on Polish reaction to the crisis in South Ossetia, backs up what I said yesterday about the need for a consistent U.S. foreign policy:

"The current armed conflict in the breakaway Georgian region is seen as the Russian answer to the western recognition of Kosovo Albanians' unilateral declaration of independence, the Polish media are saying. 'This is the Russian answer to the recognition of Kosovo. That recognition was in fact a gift to Russia,' Polish People's Party European MP Janusz Wojciechowski told TVN24. Wojciechowski ... warned that the case of Kosovo, where a part of the international community accepted the declaration of secession, 'shows that it cannot be counted on [for] double standards to pass'"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Breaking up may not be so hard to do

Here is a little secessionist fantasy by William Buppert in Lew Rockwell's site that may not be so far off the mark as to how the United States will break up. It is really not so very different from the way the member republics split up the Soviet Union in 1991.

It would require a coordiated effort among several neighboring States, and a level of political courage not yet seen among their officials*, but the scenario is plausible and possible.

Stay tuned...

* Except Montana (secession resolution here).

South Ossetia: the price of U.S. hypocrisy

I know -- so what else is new?

After bucking the Russians to secure the independence of Kosova, the United States now finds itself in an awkward position: defend the rights of the South Ossetians against Georgia, its close ally in Iraq, or do the right thing by the South Ossetians even though it promotes Russian foreign policy?

We could avoid this kind of problem if we pursued a morally consistent foreign policy. With respect to secession, the only stand a nation that is itself the product of secession can take is to promote the self-determination of all peoples. As the Liberty or Death article linked above explains, Ossetia is an area that has been divided between Russia and Georgia. The South Ossetians simply want to reunite with their North Ossetian brethren. The Russians have given them a high degree of autonomy, which seems to satisfy them.

If the American government were morally credible, the United States might offer its good offices as a neutral mediator between the three parties to this dispute to work out a settlement most satisfactory to the South Ossetians.

However, the American government is not morally credible, and isn't likely to get any more so...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gov. Strickland: so close and yet so far...

Here is a YouTube video of Gov. Strickland discussing his reasons for supporting Sen. Barack Obama for President:

Gov. Strickland is correct in his diagnosis: Ohio has been struggling economically; and no, the Feds haven't been much help. The economic recovery package that the Governor and the General Assembly passed last spring is a major, major step in the right direction.

Now, Gov. Strickland says he wants is "a break with the past, someone who will reject what we now have, who will say no to the status quo, who will embrace the hope, enthusiasm, and vision that Barack Obama has that will move Ohio and America forward."

Sen. Obama cannot bring greatness to Ohio! If the Feds help us at all (and I doubt the Feds will give us much, regardless of who is elected President), it will surely come at a price to our State sovereignty and the liberties of our people.

The better solution is for Gov. Strickland to continue to provide leadership for Ohioans to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps. This way, the economic benefits will be real and lasting. In other words, we need to start thinking like an independent nation! Now!

A virtual buckeye to Plunderbund for the YouTube video.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ain't it the truth?

A virtual buckeye to The Virginia Rebel for reproducing this Lew Rockwell cartoon on the effects of governmental regulation on business.

But then the best satire is always based on the truth.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Live not by lies

Tuesday marked the death of one of the world's most courageous freedom fighters: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, at the age of 89. He had survived the Stalinist death camps and documented his experiences in The Gulag Archipelago, a very long (and by most accounts difficult to read) document.

On February 12, 1974, he was exiled from Russia by Leonid Brezhnev. Just before he left, he wrote a piece that inspired and encouraged me, which I would like to share with you, "Live Not by Lies," published in the Washington Post soon after, and republished there yesterday. I strongly encourage you to read it.