Into the Twenty-First Century
“As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.”
In 1990, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, festering disagreements between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait were becoming increasingly heated. The American ally and homicidal thug, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (1937-2006), essentially requested the permission of President Bush the First to invade Kuwait. That permission was conveyed privately by Ambassadress April Glaspie (b. 1942) but never reported publicly.
The immediate consequence? An Iraqi invasion followed by, despite having given prior permission, an American counter-invasion . . . once again without a congressional declaration of war.
Mr. Bush’s actions catapulted the USA onto a careening and costly course with little to show for the expenditures. What were the factors controlling those actions? No one knows with certainty. Some say, “Oil!”. . . unlikely given the expected course of events leaving Mr. Hussein in power. Some US naval personnel on the scene claim that it was gaining access by the infidel Americans to Mohammedan soil in the Middle East for military bases, especially naval. (See Foreign Relations: “Did Bush Burn the Koran?”)
Whatever be the case, a concurrent, immediate consequence was Arabic anxiety coupled with concessions allowing the establishment of those coveted bases. In turn, a consequence of those concessions was the eliciting of organized Mohammedan ire; the strengthening of al-Qaeda; then violent attacks against American installations, culminating in the attacks of 11 September 2001.
The consequences to Americans of the attacks of 11 September have been severe. In retaliation, President Bush the Second initiated two invasions on Mohammedan soil, neither with a congressional declaration of war. To assume expanded extra-constitutional powers, he caused to have passed an erroneously-named Patriot Act even further curtailing American civil liberties and recalling Samuel Johnson’s (1709-1784) time-honored quip, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” In concert with the Organization for Economic Coöperation and Development (OECD), an organization perhaps best described as a group of international tax-bandits representing the plundering interests of their respective governments, he intensified American extra-territorial demands. Eventually, countries targeted all surrendered albeit reluctantly.
Despite the historically-documented risk of financing military action with money borrowed from foreigners, undaunted he launched a new domestic spending program of social welfare known as “Medicare D” also financed with money borrowed from foreigners. The federal government would buy medications via intermediaries . . . thereby, delighting Big Pharma and Big Insurance as well as the elderly. He wisely refrained, however, from echoing LBJ’s earlier use of the phrase, “guns and butter” to reassure Americans that deficits and debt did not matter. Contrary to their earlier campaigning promises, the Republicans became the biggest deficit-spenders in peacetime-history . . . only to be exceeded subsequently by the Democrats.
In 2006, angry at President Bush the Second for not winning the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, voters switched the political players, once again substituting congressional Democrats for Republicans. In 2008, they elected as President a Mulatto of Mohammedan birth but otherwise indeterminate origins whose close associates had been anti-American, left-wing terrorists and a Negroid, anti-American, anti-Semitic preacher. Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, a lawyer by training, never had held a job in the private sector nor owned a business but had been a “community-organizer” and a far-left-wing politician. He promised “hope and change” by bringing America together via spreading the wealth, never mind the American tradition of individual responsibility. Whereas more than 60% of all voting Caucasians and more than 70% of voting, older, male Caucasians opposed him, 95% of voting Negroes supported him. Mr. Obama seemed an unlikely agent to bring America together. The consequence of his assuming office? An increasingly divided America symbolized by a newly-spawned, verbally rebellious “Tea Party”.
Admittedly, by the time of his inauguration, the American structure had become shaky . . . her four cornerstones increasingly in need of repair. What have been some of the consequences of this president’s actions? Passage of “healthcare-reform” that alone will bankrupt the country while unleashing sixteen thousand, additional tax-agents to terrorize productive Americans. Diminished civil liberties. Dozens of “czars” to regulate every aspect of American commerce, without congressional approval even requested let alone received. Loss of the sanctity of contract. Further reduction of “moral hazard”, thereby favoring Big Business and Big Labor. Increased barriers against growth of Small Business. A concomitant, third, military invasion on Mohammedan soil against a country officially deemed no threat to American interests, once again without a congressional declaration of war. Further transformation of the American military into an anti-Christian, social experiment. A geometric increase in the national debt for the indefinite future while promising “debt-reduction” in ten or twenty years.
Who are the main creditors financing these adventures in bad government? Our erstwhile ally now current adversary, China, and our erstwhile ally then erstwhile enemy now current ally, Japan.
Most recently, in a farce worthy of old-time vaudeville, the Republicans, having regained control of the House in 2010 via the usual power-swap, argued with the Democrats about trimming a trivial amount from the budget for the remainder of 2011. In an outrageous dereliction of duty, the Democrats intentionally had failed to pass a budget for the full fiscal year. Adding irrelevant riders to the now-required budgetary legislation, the Republicans only compounded the fiasco. Worse, the Republican strategy failed to represent a real change in fiscal direction . . . the federal budget for 2011 increases as Democrats and Republicans “compromise”. What they compromise is the future of America. Never have so many quibbled so loudly about so little for so long.
Topping this act, the Republicans now have proposed fiscal changes for the future that will begin to take effect five years hence and require twenty years to achieve full effect. In federal politics, two years are an eternity, let alone five to twenty. Worse, even after achieving full effect, the debt will continue increasing. As any driver knows, slowing of acceleration does not constitute deceleration.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama has announced his candidacy for 2012. Campaigning budgets will exceed one billion dollars. Such extravagance effectively will exclude any chance of a new political party getting itself noticed, never mind heard.
For a country the culture of which provided a context for Christianity with religious freedom, republican democracy, rights of private property, protection of civil liberties, limited government, sound money, detachment from foreign entanglements not directly affecting the national interest, and individual responsibility, America has gone a long way in the opposite direction. Recently, a significant number of Americans are claiming to have seen the cultural light. They are demanding fundamental changes in the right direction . . . provided, of course, that such changes deprive everyone but them of their respective governmental “entitlements”.
The late authoress, Ayn Rand (1905-1982), predicted that the disastrous cultural trend leading towards American self-destruction would not reverse until the lights go out in New York City. More optimistically, Otto von Bismark (1815-1898) had said that a special Providence protects fools, drunkards, small children, and the United States of America. In keeping with Bismark, Winston Churchill (1874-1965) remarked that Americans always can be counted on to do the right thing . . . after they have exhausted all other possibilities.
Must we Americans wait until the lights go out in New York City? Will Providence continue protecting America despite the folly of her citizens? Can we Americans still do the right thing?
What exactly is the “right thing”? It is repairing the four cornerstones of our country. How? Cognitively, by changing our cultural mentality from communal irresponsibility to individual responsibility. Emotionally, by summoning the required courage to overcome the adversity that we have brought upon ourselves. Behaviorally, by designing then putting into play programs and policies scientifically-based and scientifically-directed not politically-motivated and politically-manipulated.
Doing the right thing undoubtedly will entail losses by the many with profits for a few. Typical of such situations, there will be a few winners among many losers. For some, the losses will be unjust. For others, the profits. Unfair? Yes. Avoidable? No. As the late author, Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), put it, “So it goes.” In the end, let our actions be judged by their consequences (Jeremiah 17:10). To paraphrase William Shakespeare (1564-1616), let us screw our courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail.
Given the injustice and unfairness, there will be a temptation to lay blame. Onto whom? Wilson? FDR? LBJ? Bush I? Bush II? Obama? Democrats? Republicans? Jews? Negroes? Illegal aliens? Fate?
Again to paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare, the fault is neither in our stars nor even in our politicians but in ourselves. We, the citizens, have created the context and chosen the consequences. We have become a culture of takers more than makers. We have chosen self-serving political representatives who create a chimera by telling us what we want to hear then buying our votes with our own money. We have undermined our Constitution and destroyed our American Tradition. Moreover, we have ignored the benefits and discipline that modern behavioral science from the rapidly developing biobehavioral orientation could have bestowed and still can . . . benefits unavailable to our Founding Fathers (www.inescapableconsequences.com).
The inescapable consequences of our prior and continuing misdeeds are the social, political, and economic challenges that face us now. Repairing the four cornerstones of America will require The Who, The What, and The How.
The Who is an ingenuous, courageous leader who will bring his behavior not under the control of expediency but of principles consistent with the Constitution and American Tradition. The What are the programs and policies that he and his like-minded advisors design then put into play. The How begins with remembering Thorndike’s Law of Effect (1911) . . . behavior is a function of its consequences in a given context. It continues by adhering to the scientific guidelines of specificity, objectivity, and accountability . . . and by employing procedures scientifically-based and scientifically-driven.
Can we do it? Only if culturally we are willing to see and to listen from a new orientation . . . a scientific orientation . . . a biobehavioral orientation. From that orientation, we can reform our culture and the consequences therein consistent with the Constitution as written, with American Tradition at its best, and with the demands of a new millennium.
Will we do it? If not, we should remember one, everlasting truth. In the end, reality always wins.