The Fat Lady Begins To Sing

And so it begins…

jc505be0bdThe most recent national election declared the passion of the American people for the Nanny State.

Of the almost 127 million voters, a majority preferred a governing system that favors high taxes, a saturated welfare system, forced health care, and an abundance of government dependent workers.

Apparently we have learned nothing from the real-time occurrences in Europe, most recently in Greece.

splatSo here we go on the carnival ride of our lives. As Congress very predictably followed the president down the rabbit hole, we are in for the spending spree of the century.

As Oliver DeMille put it in a recent article, “Make no mistake. Whatever the pundits say, we fell off the fiscal cliff on January 1, 2013.

‘Until House Republicans stand up and simply say “no” to the Obama super-spending agenda, the Spendocracy will grow and a depression is looming.

Indeed, conspiracy theories aside, those who want government to grow are actually benefited by recession and depression because they gain even more demand for increased government involvement.”

There is no turning back; in fact, according to a recent Forbes article titled “Do You Live In A Death Spiral State?”,this government growth and spending frenzy is not just a national government phenomena; the state and municipal governments are joining the party as fast as they can.

Face it, with more than 20% of the states already upside down, this is our new reality; and the sooner we warm up to it and adjust our thinking, the better for us in the long term.

Quoting from the Forbes article:

Don’t buy a house in a state where private sector workers are outnumbered by folks dependent on government.

Thinking about buying a house? Or a municipal bond? Be careful where you put your capital. Don’t put it in a state at high risk of a fiscal tailspin.

DeathEleven states make our list of danger spots for investors.

They can look forward to a rising tax burden, deteriorating state finances and an exodus of employers.

If your career takes you to Los Angeles or Chicago, don’t buy a house. Rent.

If you have money in municipal bonds, clean up the portfolio.

Sell holdings from the sick states and reinvest where you’re less likely to get clipped. Nebraska and Virginia are unlikely to give their bondholders a Greek haircut.

California and New York are comparatively risky.

Two factors determine whether a state makes this elite list of fiscal hellholes. The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector.

Let us give those takers the benefit of our sympathy and assume that every single one of them is a deserving soul. This person is either genuinely needy or a dedicated public servant or the recipient of a well-­earned pension.

tmBut what happens when these needy types outnumber the providers?

Taxes get too high.

Prosperous citizens decamp. Employers decamp. That just makes matters worse for the taxpayers left behind.

Let’s say you are a software entrepreneur with 100 on your payroll.

If you stay in San Francisco, your crew will support 139 takers. In Texas, they would support only 82. Austin looks very attractive.

Ranked on the taker/maker ratio, our 11 death spiral states range from New Mexico, with 1.53 takers for every maker, down to Ohio, with a 1­to­1 ratio.

The taker count is the number of state and local government workers plus the number of people on Medicaid plus 1 for each $100,000 of unfunded pension liabilities.

(Sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and a study of state worker pensions done in 2009 by two academics, Joshua Rauh and Rovert Novy­Marx. Professor Rauh estimates that the shortage in pension funding is on average a third higher today.)

bankruptThe second element in the death spiral list is a scorecard of state credit­ worthiness done by Conning & Co., a money manager known for its measures of risk in insurance company portfolios.

Conning’s analysis focuses more on dollars than body counts. Its formula downgrades states for large debts, an uncompetitive business climate, weak home prices and bad trends in employment.

Conning rates North Dakota the safest state to lend money to, Connecticut the most hazardous. A state qualifies for the Forbes death spiral list if its taker/maker ratio exceeds 1.0 and it resides in the bottom half of Conning’s ranking.

A final word.

Ideas have consequences, and the consequences of the ideas that are shaping our fast approaching fiscal reality could not be any more obvious. Sure, go ahead, hope and pray that a miracle will occur or that government will come to its senses and stop all new spending and cut deeply into current spending (yes, that means real budget cuts such as reducing or stopping all non-vital services, no new construction projects, and pay raises).

And while you are waiting for that miracle or change of heart, you might consider entertaining the same steps that we have been suggesting for at least two years:

1. Read at least one of the depression books listed below within the next 30 days (no really, just do it).

2. Re-evaluate your current economic and family situation and make hard choices to re-position with a better strategy (down-size, more family time, grow a family or community garden, food storage instead of family vacation).

3. Get as liquid as possible and out of debt as soon as possible.  Fire sale opportunities will be on the rise over the next 5-10 years.

4. Start a mini-factory (develop multiple streams of income – home-based business, a cottage industry, enhanced education to shift to more flexible income, parallel incomes, CSA, Network marketing business, etc.) and be as creative and optimistic as possible.  These sentiments will soon be in short supply.

5. Create a culture and community of service

6. Create a family legacy. This means lay the groundwork for a multi-generational organization that unifies and protects your family — come what may (true happiness can only be found in family).

Take a look at this list of books to help adjust your thinking and position yourself to succeed during economic hard times at a level we have not experienced in our lifetime:

The Great Depression Ahead – Dent

America’s Great Depression – Rothbard

The Fourth Turning – Howe and Straus

The Third Wave  – Toffler

5,000 Year Leap – Skousen

The Cube and the Cathedral – Wiegel

The Servile State – Belloc

A Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens – DeMille/Brooks

 

P.S. Please be sure to do your own research.  I am ok if you don’t believe me, but for heaven’s sake, do not believe those who are saying “don’t worry, things are just fine.”  Get your own sense of truth by doing your own investigation.

 

American Lands Council

A state has the right to control the land within its borders. No brainer, right?

Maybe.

I wrote about this topic eight months ago while I was working at the Utah Legislature. It was important then and it is just as important today.

This post is targeted to any state west of Colorado.  Way back when states began to form beyond the original thirteen, the framers decided upon a method of state creation that would be fair to all new states and old states alike.

This has come to be known as the “Equal Footing” doctrine.  In essence, all new states must be created and given the same rights and access to land as the old states.

For all states west of Colorado, this has not happened.  Many of these western states have serious financial concerns that could be rectified if they had the power to tax “all” of the land within their borders, but they don’t.

If you live in one of the western states discussed above, I strongly encourage you to visit the websites below (click on the icons) and invest 30 minutes to become more educated about this fundamental state right.

We owe it to Ken Ivory and his team who are working hard to protect the fundamental rights the framers envisioned for the states.

 

 

 

 

Why the Federalist Papers are a Primary Text at Monticello College

The May 7th issue of the Wall Street Journal printed an article with this title :

 

 

OPINION

May 6, 2012, 7:03 p.m. ET

Peter Berkowitz: Why Colleges Don’t Teach the Federalist Papers

At America’s top schools, graduates leave without reading our most basic writings on the purpose of constitutional self-government.

Berkowitz begins his article:

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of The Federalist for understanding the principles of American government and the challenges that liberal democracies confront early in the second decade of the 21st century.

 

Yet despite the lip service they pay to liberal education, our leading universities can’t be bothered to require students to study The Federalist—or, worse, they oppose such requirements on moral, political or pedagogical grounds. Small wonder it took so long for progressives to realize that arguments about the constitutionality of ObamaCare are indeed serious.

 

He then lays out the origin of this forgotten road map to freedom,

 

The masterpiece of American political thought originated as a series of newspaper articles published under the pseudonym Publius in New York between October 1787 and August 1788 by framers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.

 

The aim was to make the case for ratification of the new constitution, which had been agreed to in September 1787 by delegates to the federal convention meeting in Philadelphia over four months of remarkable discussion, debate and deliberation about self-government.

 

By the end of 1788, a total of 85 essays had been gathered in two volumes under the title The Federalist. Written at a brisk clip and with the crucial vote in New York hanging in the balance, the essays formed a treatise on constitutional self-government for the ages.

 

The Federalist deals with the reasons for preserving the union, the inefficacy of the existing federal government under the Articles of Confederation, and the conformity of the new constitution to the principles of liberty and consent. It covers war and peace, foreign affairs, commerce, taxation, federalism and the separation of powers. It provides a detailed examination of the chief features of the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

 

It advances its case by restatement and refutation of the leading criticisms of the new constitution. It displays a level of learning, political acumen and public-spiritedness to which contemporary scholars, journalists and politicians can but aspire. And to this day it stands as an unsurpassed source of insight into the Constitution’s text, structure and purposes.

Berkowitz continues with a list of Ivy League and similarly rated undergraduate and graduate schools that lightly touch on or completely skip the reading of the Federalist.

Touching on the treatment of the Federalist by progressive ideology and the corruption of political science in general, he ends by pointing out the forgotten value and common sense of reading the Federalist Papers,

And thus so many of our leading opinion formers and policy makers seem to come unhinged when they encounter constitutional arguments apparently foreign to them but well-rooted in constitutional text, structure and history.

 

These include arguments about, say, the unitary executive; or the priority of protecting political speech of all sorts; or the imperative to articulate a principle that keeps the Constitution’s commerce clause from becoming the vehicle by which a federal government—whose powers, as Madison put it in Federalist 45, are “few and defined”—is remade into one of limitless unenumerated powers.

 

By robbing students of the chance to acquire a truly liberal education, our universities also deprive the nation of a citizenry well-acquainted with our Constitution’s enduring principles.

Why are the Federalist Papers a primary text at Monticello College?

If you have to ask, we need to talk.

 

 

Full Berkowitz article below:

Peter Berkowitz: Why Colleges Don’t Teach the Federalist Papers

At America’s top schools, graduates leave without reading our most basic writings on the purpose of constitutional self-government.

By PETER BERKOWITZ

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of The Federalist for understanding the principles of American government and the challenges that liberal democracies confront early in the second decade of the 21st century. Yet despite the lip service they pay to liberal education, our leading universities can’t be bothered to require students to study The Federalist—or, worse, they oppose such requirements on moral, political or pedagogical grounds. Small wonder it took so long for progressives to realize that arguments about the constitutionality of ObamaCare are indeed serious.

The masterpiece of American political thought originated as a series of newspaper articles published under the pseudonym Publius in New York between October 1787 and August 1788 by framers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. The aim was to make the case for ratification of the new constitution, which had been agreed to in September 1787 by delegates to the federal convention meeting in Philadelphia over four months of remarkable discussion, debate and deliberation about self-government.

By the end of 1788, a total of 85 essays had been gathered in two volumes under the title The Federalist. Written at a brisk clip and with the crucial vote in New York hanging in the balance, the essays formed a treatise on constitutional self-government for the ages.

The Federalist deals with the reasons for preserving the union, the inefficacy of the existing federal government under the Articles of Confederation, and the conformity of the new constitution to the principles of liberty and consent. It covers war and peace, foreign affairs, commerce, taxation, federalism and the separation of powers. It provides a detailed examination of the chief features of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. It advances its case by restatement and refutation of the leading criticisms of the new constitution. It displays a level of learning, political acumen and public-spiritedness to which contemporary scholars, journalists and politicians can but aspire. And to this day it stands as an unsurpassed source of insight into the Constitution’s text, structure and purposes.

At Harvard, at least, all undergraduate political-science majors will receive perfunctory exposure to a few Federalist essays in a mandatory course their sophomore year. But at Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley, political-science majors can receive their degrees without encountering the single surest analysis of the problems that the Constitution was intended to solve and the manner in which it was intended to operate.

Most astonishing and most revealing is the neglect of The Federalist by graduate schools and law schools. The political science departments at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley—which set the tone for higher education throughout the nation and train many of the next generation’s professors—do not require candidates for the Ph.D. to study The Federalist. And these universities’ law schools (Princeton has no law school), which produce many of the nation’s leading members of the bar and bench, do not require their students to read, let alone master, The Federalist’s major ideas and main lines of thought.

Of course, The Federalist is not prohibited reading, so graduates of our leading universities might be reading it on their own. The bigger problem is that the progressive ideology that dominates our universities teaches that The Federalist, like all books written before the day before yesterday, is antiquated and irrelevant.

Particularly in the aftermath of the New Deal, according to the progressive conceit, understanding America’s founding and the framing of the Constitution are as useful to dealing with contemporary challenges of government as understanding the horse-and-buggy is to dealing with contemporary challenges of transportation. Instead, meeting today’s needs requires recognizing that ours is a living constitution that grows and develops with society’s evolving norms and exigencies.

Then there’s scientism, or enthrallment to method, which collaborates with progressive ideology to marginalize The Federalist, along with much of the best that has been thought and said in the West. Political science has corrupted a laudable commitment to the systematic study of politics by transforming it into a crusading devotion to the refinement of method for method’s sake. In the misguided quest to mold political science to the shape of the natural sciences, many scholars disdainfully dismiss The Federalist—indeed, all works of ideas—as mere journalism or literary studies which, lacking scientific rigor, can’t yield genuine knowledge.

And thus so many of our leading opinion formers and policy makers seem to come unhinged when they encounter constitutional arguments apparently foreign to them but well-rooted in constitutional text, structure and history. These include arguments about, say, the unitary executive; or the priority of protecting political speech of all sorts; or the imperative to articulate a principle that keeps the Constitution’s commerce clause from becoming the vehicle by which a federal government—whose powers, as Madison put it in Federalist 45, are “few and defined”—is remade into one of limitless unenumerated powers.

By robbing students of the chance to acquire a truly liberal education, our universities also deprive the nation of a citizenry well-acquainted with our Constitution’s enduring principles.

Mr. Berkowitz is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His latest book is “Israel and the Struggle over the International Laws of War” (Hoover Press, 2012).

A version of this article appeared May 7, 2012, on page A17 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Why Colleges Don’t Teach the Federalist Papers.

 


A Life Changing Experience: Foundations of Liberty (FOL)

From a recent CNY912 newsletter article, a 9/12 group in Upstate New York.

Tina Giblin is devoted wife, mother, grandmother and concerned citizen.  She is an extension student of Monticello College and is active in local politics. She resides in Syracuse, New York.

For the past year and a half, many members of our CNY912 group and other 912 groups across this state and others have been taking a class titled Foundations of Liberty.

The class is as it is titled, a study of the foundations that started this great country and the liberties that the founding Fathers intended. It has been a life changing experience in so many ways!

The problem in writing this article was not in coming up with the ways that this class has changed my life but in limiting how many of those experiences I could fit into one article and of figuring out which one was the most life altering.

In order to attend this class, we had to do a lot of reading outside of the physical classes, which were daylong classes that took place very other month. Our CNY912 group decided to start a weekly book club to discuss the readings.

When starting this class, little did I know how important those weekly book club meetings would become to me.

For our classes, we have read the initial Charters of each of the original thirteen states and studied the reasons behind the writing of the Declaration.

In studying the biographies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, we learned of the personal sacrifices each man made in order to serve their country.

We have read the original writings of the founders leading up to the Constitution and also the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, which debated whether or not a stronger ‘national’ government or remaining independent was best for the States.

We have studied, discussed and debated the original rules governing who could vote and whether or not allowing almost everyone to vote, is a better. Now that was a lively debate!

One of the greatest gifts that I have received from this class, is a better understanding of my own religion (Catholicism) and a much stronger conviction in what I believe and why; I now know the history behind my Church – why it was founded, how it was founded, where it went wrong and where it stands today.

Yes, even religion was on the table in these classes and I am so glad that it was!

Lastly and most importantly I learned about the necessity of building relationships with ‘like minded’ people.

A year-and-a-half ago, I had really good friends within this group; today, I have family within our group.

One of the unexpected side effects to all this spending time together studying, sharing, debating and working together (or quite possibly it was intended by Dr. Brooks) is the trust and caring you come to have for people you have shared so much with.

In our study group and classes, you lay your heart on the table to reveal what you believe in, what it is that really makes you tick… and somewhere along the way, if you are lucky, as I was, you find yourself.

You find your vocation, what you were called for, and then the world opens up in a whole new way to you. For me, this has been the greatest gift of all. It has changed my life!

I know I can go out on a limb to try to change things, to try to make a difference, and I know I am not alone. If I need support, I have only to turn around and see my friends…. my family… and I know they will support me in whatever I do.

I cannot end this article without saying a little about the founder of this class, Dr. Shanon Brooks. Dr. Brooks is a co-founder and president of Monticello College, in Utah. He is the kind of teacher/mentor that we all strive to be.

His is not one to simply stand in front of the classroom and ‘lecture’ you. He makes you think, extracting thoughts and opinions from your comments.

He insists on you backing your statements with facts. He strives to make you aware of the motives behind your statements and, in doing so, makes you more aware of yourself.

He makes you want to do better, to be better. Early on, he stated that one of the goals of this class was to raise-up leaders.

Dr. Brooks leads you by example, until you can lead others by your example. He is a man of distinction and I have been truly blessed in getting to know him.

Attention Span: Our National Education Crisis, Part Three

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Fallacy Number 1: Learning should be fun.

Indeed, the lesson seems to be that everything should be fun.

The worst criticism of our time is that something is boring, as if that made it less true or less important or less right.

There is nothing wrong with fun, but there is everything wrong with a society whose primary purpose is to seek fun.

In American society, particularly among those under 40, the love of fun is the root of all evil. This is the legacy of the sixties—seeking fun has become a national pastime.

With respect to the education of an adult, fun is simply not a legitimate measurement of value.

Things should be judged by whether or not they are good, true, wholesome, important or right. Commercialistic society judges things by whether they are profitable, and even socialism judges whether something is fair or equitable.

But what kind of a society makes “fun” the major criteria for its actions and choices?
Consider how this lesson impacts the education of youth and adults. Learning occurs when students study. Period.

No fancy buildings or curricula or assemblies or higher teacher salaries change this core principle.

Learning occurs when students study, and any educational system is only as good as the student’s attention span and the quality of the materials.

Now, study can be fun, but it is mostly just plain old-fashioned hard work, and nearly all of the fun of studying comes after the work is completed.

In essence, there are really two kinds of fun—the kind we earn (which used to be called “leisure”), and the kind that we just sit through as it happens to us (entertainment). There are very few things in life as fun as real learning, but we must earn it. And this kind of fun always comes after the hard work is completed.

No nation that believes that learning should be fun, in the unearned sense, is likely to do much hard studying, so not much learning will occur.

And without that learning the nation will not remain free. Nor will people stay moral, since righteousness is hard work and just doesn’t seem nearly as fun as some of the alternatives.

No nation focused on unearned fun will pay the price to fight a revolutionary war for their freedoms, or cross the plains and build a new nation, or sacrifice to free the slaves or rescue Europe from Hitler, or put a man on the moon. We got where we are because we did a lot of things that weren’t fun.

Americans today believe that it is their right to have fun. Every day they expect to do something fun, and they expect nearly everything they do to be fun. Most adults eventually figure out that fun isn’t the goal, but many of today’s students firmly believe that learning must be fun; if not, they put down the books and go find something else to do.

Fallacy Number 2: Good teaching is entertaining.
Since fun is the goal, teachers must be entertaining or they aren’t good teachers. “He is boring,” is the worst criticism of a teacher these days.

The problem with this false lesson, besides the fact that some of the best teachers aren’t a bit entertaining, is that it assumes that teachers are responsible for education in the first place.

Now remember, I’m speaking of the role of adult and youth students to own their responsibility for their education.

This is not intended as license for parents and educators to abdicate the responsibility to be all that they can be as mentors.

But think of it: if we, as students, are waiting around for our teachers to get it right or else we’re not gonna study, who really loses?

Whose job is education anyway?

All of us have watched a movie with a bad ending, and since our goal in watching was to be entertained, we are upset that the movie ended that way. We blame it on whoever made the movie; it was their fault.

Our culture approaches teachers the same way—if we weren’t entertained or didn’t learn, it is their fault. “What kind of a teacher is he, anyway; I didn’t learn anything in his class.”

But if I don’t learn something in a class, it is my own fault, no matter how good or bad the teacher is.

Good teaching is a wonderful and extremely important commodity, but that is another essay, and it is not responsible for a student’s success. Students are. To tell them otherwise is to leave them victims who are forever at the mercy of the system.

And history is full of examples of students who owned their role and achieved greatness because they recognized that it was their job to supply the motivation and the effort to gain a great education.

Our society likes to blame its educational shallowness on its teachers because it is just plain easier to blame than to study.

And it is easier for parents and politicians to join the blaming game than to set an example of studying that will inspire their youth to action.

The impact on education is clear: We blame teachers and our schools for the problems, while we do everything except the hard work of gaining an education for ourselves, thus inspiring and facilitating our children to do the same.

The impact on freedom is equally direct: Students who have been raised to blame educational failure on someone else usually become adults who expect outside experts to take care of our freedom for us.

Even those who become activists tend to spend a lot of time exposing the actions of others, “waking people up” to what “they” are doing.

And whether “they” refers to conspirators, liberals, or the religious right, the activists seldom do anything about the situation except talk—in more shallow 30-second sound bite opinions.

A corollary of this false lesson is that students need a commercial every 8.2 minutes. We are conditioned to short attention spans, and therefore to shallow educations and nominal freedoms.

The reality is that unless you spend at least two hours on something, chances are you didn’t learn much. Without attention span, little is learned.

Fallacy Number 3: Books, texts and materials should be simple and understandable.

Now, mind you–I’m not suggesting that authors should be purposely obscure or irrelevant. I’m just returning to the idea that we, as students, must step up to whatever obstacles may be in our way.

It’s our job to do whatever it takes to get an education, no matter the quality or interest level of our materials.

But even beyond that obvious point, the problem with this error is that the complex stuff is actually the best, the most interesting, ironically the most fun, and certainly the most likely to produce individual thinkers and a free nation.

The classics, the scriptures, Shakespeare, Newton—works really worth tackling are the best and most enjoyable.

Consider the impact of simple materials on education.

For example, what kind of nation would the founders have framed had they been taught a diet of easy textbooks, easier workbooks, more quickly understood concepts and curricula?

A free people is a thinking people, and thinking is hard work—it is, in fact, the hardest work, which is why so little of it takes place in a society which avoids pressure and takes the easy path.

The only reason to choose easier curriculum is that it is easier, but the result is weaker graduates, flimsier characters, vaguer convictions and impotent wills.

Thucydides said it bluntly: “The ones who come out on top are the ones who have been trained in the hardest school.”

This is true of individuals and of nations.

I am not saying that everything that is hard has value, but I am saying that most things of value are hard. If your studies weren’t hard, really hard, chances are you didn’t learn much.

 

To be continued…..

My Experience At The Utah State Legislature: Part 6, Can We Improve Utah Government?

 Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Read Part Three Here

Read Part Four Here

Read Part Five Here

There is a story about the late Congressman Bill Orton who was nick-named “No bill, Bill” for his tendency of presenting very few bills in Congress.

I think we could use more of that “No bill” approach here at the Utah State Capitol.

I learned a lot here but not about form or methods.  Being already quite familiar with the system, what I really learned was the philosophy of government of many of our representatives and what appears to be the standard for being a good representative of the people.

Don’t get me wrong; I have great respect for every member of the Legislature.

In spite of what people may say, I saw first hand the sacrifice and energy that these people put into the process.

I believe that they are all serving for honorable purposes.

But what happens if there is a dysfunctional understanding of the proper role of government to begin with? With bad information, even the most honorable member of a legislature can make serious mistakes.

I believe that the core responsibility of a disinterested (meaning self-less and others oriented) public servant is to first, do no harm; to protect and enhance if possible the rights and free exercise of the liberties of the people.

I believe that the statesmen’s job is to ensure that government operates at the most local levels first, and to minimize government whenever possible while still protecting rights.

Government has no right or responsibility to provide and nurture.  Government is force.  It should only be employed to protect.

Since government has no means of production, it can only provide by first taking. Often the process involves taking from the producers and giving to the non-producers.

There are a number of current members of the Utah House of Representatives who through the bills they presented and their engagement in debates exhibited a clear understanding of the governmental philosophy to which I adhere.

But there are many who presented bills and debated and voted in a manner that suggested they saw the role of government as providing and nurturing. I also witnessed voting that defies all logic. A Representative would vote on principle for one bill and then vote with an apparent loss of faculties on the next.  Unfortunately, those voting consistently on principle were in the minority.

One thing that really bothered me was the pervasive mentality that being a good representative means passing a lot of bills.

I personally heard members of the House say that they just really wanted to get some bills passed.  Wow, I thought the role of government was to protect rights, and since we already have a constitution in place to protect those rights, this would mean the passage of very few bills, and those that were passed would simply shore-up the liberties already guaranteed by the State and Federal Constitutions.

This concept of “we have to get something done” has got to go.  Here are my criteria for the passage of law:

1)   Does it increase or at least not decrease liberty?

2)   Does it decrease or at least not increase government?

3)   Is it constitutional?

In my opinion, no law should be passed that is out of step with these criteria. Only when the government moves away from providing and nurturing can individuals, families, churches, and communities step in and fill the void. Statesmen protect rights, defend independence and promote personal liberty.  So where are the statesmen?

I was also saddened by the lack of citizen involvement.  The definition of a republic is two-fold; representatives who act on behalf of their constituents and citizens who keep a keen eye on those actions.  As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “trust but verify.”  Outside of a few non-commercial/non-industrial lobbying groups such as Eagle Forum and a woman named Kristine who was at the Capitol representing herself (good for you), I saw virtually no citizen involvement.  The gallery was consistently empty of long-term vigilant citizens, but very busy with momentary visitors.

I want to thank Representative Brad Galvez for hosting me. His mentorship was kind, direct, and inspirational. He is one of the good guys.

In the final analysis, the old maxim “we the people get the government we deserve” rings true.  There is nothing that I saw at the Legislature that could not be resolved or improved with an infusion of citizen involvement.

Individual Legislators may disagree with this but that is only because they have grown accustomed to holding all of the responsibility and responding to our insatiable appetite for more and more oversight in the form of new laws. The best place to start is on the local level.

Here in Utah we have the Caucus system (more on this in a later post).  If we the people engage more at the local level and then consistently follow-up with our elected officials, holding them accountable as we hold ourselves responsible, I can see a huge improvement for future Utah government.