I am completely serious when I tell you this.

Gong_08_2008SpendingBased on the evolution of the United States government and our current standing in the world, it is likely that short of President of the United States, the most important office in the federal government and the least known federal government office is the Government Accountability Office. 

The person appointed as the director of this office is known as the Comptroller General of the United States. The GAO is a legislative agency and the Comptroller General is appointed by the President with consent of the Senate. This office has been a part of the federal government for almost 100 years (1921) and is limited to a 15-year term.

hqdefaultThe Comptroller General has the power of truth and facts. His only job is to provide the president and congress with the nation’s state of financial affairs and to make recommendations.

With the gravity of our financial picture today, you would think that the CG would be the most quoted man in Washington. But Mr. Eugene Louis Dodaro, the current CG has had little press exposure since his appointment in 2010.

Based on our ever deteriorating financial position as a nation and as individual citizens combined with the projected negative outcome of continuing such a course, you would think that the CG would use his position, like an ancient Old Testament prophet to shout warnings from the roof tops.

But while Mr. Dodaro is eerily quiet considering the role of his office, others are not so demure. One of the most outspoken Comptroller Generals was David Walker (1998 to 2008) who served under both Democratic and Republican presidents.

2026Mr. Walker resigned his office in 2008 as a form of protest after it became clear that neither the Republican President or the Democratic controlled House and Senate where taking his continued and constant reports seriously.

For nearly his entire 10 years in office, his counsel and factual data were received with a kind of economic apathy so common in the halls of government.

As the keynote speaker at the February 2, 2005 National Press Club Outlook Conference, CG Walker began his remarks with these words:

I’m sad to say that since I last spoke on this issue here at the National Press Club back in September of 2003, our nation’s long-range fiscal imbalance has deteriorated significantly. Furthermore, as you all know, most state and local governments also have their own fiscal challenges and are having to make increasingly difficult choices.


We now confront three large and interrelated national deficits. The first is a large federal budget deficit. The second is a growing balance-of-payments deficit. And the third is an alarming personal savings deficit. Frankly, it’s easy to dismiss government deficits and debt as someone else’s problem.


But in my view, every American has both a personal reason and a civic responsibility to become more informed and involved in the coming debate over our collective fiscal future.


2030These kinds of efforts to educate the government and the press were follow-up by using his office and influence as CG to kick-off the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour beginning in 2005 and expanding to 40 cities.

After 10 unproductive years warning everyone who was supposed to listen, you know…the president, congress, governors, the American people, Mr. Walker resigning his post.



In 2008, he elevated his personal crusade to educating the American people about the disaster that awaits us by joining forces with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

One of their most impactful projects was the I.O.U.S.A. documentary that outlined where we were fiscally in 2008. THIS IS A MUST WATCH! This rare peek into the past validates the present and gives us a clear picture of the future.

WARNING: This is a bit like knowing that a tornado is about to hit but being afraid to go outside to the storm shelter.



I said earlier that in my opinion–considering where we are today–that second ONLY to the president, the most important office in government is the Comptroller General and the GAO.

I say this because without a clear picture of where we are and a plan for a solid financial foundation, it matters little what laws Congress passes, if we do not have the money to execute them. It makes little difference what disasters happen in the world, we will not be able to help them if we can’t even help ourselves.

It won’t matter how much you have paid into Social Security or how much you deserve government funded medical services or disability assistance or a hundred other “entitlements,” none of these will be available if we do not make serious changes now.

America has had terrible debts in the past and we have pulled out of them.  What we had then that we don’t seem to have now is the WILL TO CONTROL OURSELVES.



The GAO has the information that we need to “Man Up” and face the music. If the CG would take a relentless course of action, even at the risk of being fired, it could make a real difference.

But even more important, if we as citizens and American families took the same information and adjusted our lives accordingly, that would have lasting impact.
Truthfully, neither the President nor the Comptroller General have the power that we do collectively–remember they both work for us.

crushing_burden_debtSo the real question is what are you personally going to do about it? If you don’t start making changes within the next 60 days…don’t bother. This problem is at OUR COLLECTIVE door step now and will not be ignored.

I hope one of two things happens right now:

1) I hope I am preaching to the choir and you are already engaged


2) I hope I offend you enough that you will try to prove me wrong (get ready for a surprise!)


Here are a few questions, suggestions, and recommended readings that you seriously need to consider:


How much of the information in the video did you actually know?

Are you a part of the problem?

What is your savings rate?

What do you do with your savings?

How could you “tighten the belt” and either save more or pay down debt?

Do you know what you total personal debt is?

What is the difference between consumer debt and business or legitimate debt?

How can you make more money (and save more)?

What is your investment plan?

Can you afford not to have an investment plan?



1. Creatively consider what you could live without to reduce your cost of living down to 60% or 70% of your income (this includes taxes). I challenge you to try an experiment: go through all of your possessions and sell everything you don’t need. You will be shocked at how much you can raise.  This becomes the beginning of your savings plan.

2. Decrease your mortgage payment even if it means down-sizing (I promise it will not kill you).

3. Start a savings plan TODAY. Savings are the life blood of any economy.

4. Stop paying for things that your kids can pay for themselves (yes, that means they will have to earn their own money).

5. Review all family and individual activities that require money.

a. Do you really need these items? Are they vital to life?

b. If yes, who and how should these things be paid for?

c. Who benefits the most by paying for them?

d. How does paying for things increase awareness and make a child responsible?


Richest Man In Babylon, Clason  (new $6/used $3)

America’s Great Depression, Rothbard (new $15)

Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed,

the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, Woods (new $18/used $4)

Redistributive Modeling, Karren ($5 contact me – sb@monticellocollege.org)





Strongbrook Mentoring Network It’s Free


If free is not enough, I don’t know what it will take to get you to check this out…seriously, if you have any desire for self improvement (boy, I do) I strongly encourage you to spend a few minutes to see just what this is.

Just opt-in at the upper right hand corner of this blog and follow the instructions.

NO credits cards!

NO commitments!

NO sales gimmicks!!

NO bait and switch!!!

Just an honest effort to share with you the most revolutionary concept in mentoring and personal or self development EVER!

These are some of the hottest mentors available. And outside of the network their  fees run from $200 to $50,000.





CoursesThere are currently over 50 mentors and over 100 courses available to choose from. While our freemium (free content) is not yet available, anyone can review the mentors and the courses.









And for those who opt-in, I have a special gift that will give you full access to the mentoring vault FOR FREE! Opt-in now in the upper right hand corner of this blog.

“It’s Like An App Store For Mentorship”


Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller

What do Buckminster Fuller, Peter J. Daniels, and Andrew Carnegie all have in common?

  • They each achieved huge fortunes.
  • All three greatly influenced the politics of their time.
  • Each made philanthropy or the giving away of millions of dollars a major focus.
  • And each started out poor, uneducated, with no special advantages of birth, pedigree, or station.
Peter J. Daniels

Peter J. Daniels

Within the biographies of each of these men can be found the secret to their vast fortunes and lasting influence:        PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT.

The life of each man tells a similar story of finding themselves in a place of extreme physical discomfort, no father figure to speak of, and a fervent search for a way to improve their situation.

Each had a defining moment when they realized they were of value and they worked very hard to improve their knowledge of the world, their language and communication skills, their business knowledge and skill set, their financial standing, and their relationships. And they did it through what we call Personal Development.

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

Most Americans spend way too much time (nearly 6 hours per day) engaged in entertainment and frivolous pursuits–and almost no time in personal development.

What would happen in our relationships, our careers, our community involvement, and our understanding of God and the cosmos if we took just 1 hour a day from our less lofty pursuits (mindless texting and Facebooking and gaming) and used it to improve ourselves?

Seriously…what would happen?

We all want to do better. We want to be better, feel better, have better relationships, provide more and help others more.

A person I respect once said, “the most dangerous information in this entire world is what we don’t know.”

And what we don’t know may just be the difference between an exciting passionate marriage and “just hanging in there.” What we don’t might be why we can’t seem to go to the next level in our business or in our relationships with our children.

I am not trying to add more to your plate, I know it’s already full. But I am suggesting that you take a minute and check out The Conscious Creator Mentoring Network and see if you can find something that might be worth trading for an hour of internet surfing or Facebook.

download (1)

If you want a more in-depth sneak peak into the “Vault,” reply to this email and I will be happy arrange that.


“It’s not that they can’t see the solution. They can’t see the problem.” – G.K. Chesterton

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese proverb

The Sentence That Knocked Down the Berlin Wall (But Almost Didn’t)

This post is a reprint of the November 5 ,2014 article from the Intercollegiate Review.


Twenty-five years ago last week, the Berlin Wall fell. 

Twenty-five years ago last week, the Berlin Wall fell.

In retrospect, what event fails to suggest a certain inevitability about itself, conveying the sense that because it happened it had to have happened?

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Berlin Wall finally fell.

Of course it did.

How could it have remained in place a day longer? For that matter, how could the Soviet Union itself have failed to fall?

How could the Cold War have ended any other way than in a victory for the West?

History preserves only the events that took place, permitting the alternatives—the contingencies and near misses—to fade, disappearing completely in the end.

Yet if you’d like proof that history isn’t predetermined—that history contains within itself a multitude of alternative realities, of near misses and might-have-beens—consider the address that President Ronald Reagan delivered at the Brandenburg Gate twenty-nine months before the Berlin Wall came down.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those words were very nearly dropped from the president’s text.

How do I know? I wrote the address.

The Angry Hausfrau

Über_den_Dächern_von_BerlinIn April 1987 the celebrations for the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin were under way.

Queen Elizabeth had already visited the city. Mikhail Gorbachev was due in a matter of days.

Although President Reagan hadn’t been planning to visit Berlin himself, he was going to be in Europe in early June, first visiting Rome, then spending several days in Venice for an economic summit.

At the request of the West German government his schedule was adjusted to permit him to stop in Berlin for a few hours on his way back to the United States from Italy.

I was then serving as a speechwriter to the president and was assigned to write the Berlin address. I was told only that the president would be speaking at the Berlin Wall, that he was likely to draw an audience of about ten thousand, and that, given the setting, he probably ought to talk about foreign policy.

In late April I spent a day and a half in Berlin with the White House advance team, the logistical experts, Secret Service agents, and press officials who went to the site of every presidential visit to make arrangements. All I had to do in Berlin was find material. When I met the ranking American diplomat in Berlin, I assumed he would give me some.

A stocky man with thick glasses, the diplomat projected an anxious, distracted air throughout our conversation, as if the very prospect of a visit from Ronald Reagan made him nervous. The diplomat gave me quite specific instructions. Almost all of it was in the negative. He was full of ideas about what the president shouldn’t say.

The most left-leaning of all West Germans, the diplomat informed me, West Berliners were intellectually and politically sophisticated. The president would therefore have to watch himself. No chest thumping. No Soviet bashing. And no inflammatory statements about the Berlin Wall. West Berliners, the diplomat explained, had long ago gotten used to the structure that encircled them.

After I left the diplomat, several members of the advance team and I were given a flight over the city in a U.S. Air Force helicopter. Although all that remains of the wall these days are paving stones that show where it stood, in 1987 the structure dominated Berlin. From the air, the wall seemed less to cut one city in two than to separate two different modes of existence.

On one side lay movement, color, modern architecture, crowded sidewalks, traffic. On the other lay a kind of void. Buildings still exhibited pockmarks from shelling during the war. Cars appeared few and decrepit, pedestrians badly dressed.

The wall itself, which from West Berlin had seemed a simple concrete structure, was revealed from the air as an intricate complex, the East Berlin side lined with guard posts, dog runs, and row upon row of barbed wire. The pilot drew our attention to pits of raked gravel. If an East German guard ever let anybody slip past him to escape to West Berlin, the pilot told us, the guard would find himself forced to explain the footprints to his commanding officer.

That evening, I broke away from the advance team to join a dozen Berliners for dinner. Our hosts were Dieter and Ingeborg Elz. Germans themselves, the Elzes had retired to Berlin after Dieter completed his career at the World Bank in Washington. Although we had never met, we had friends in common, and the Elzes offered to put on this dinner party to give me a feel for their city. They had invited Berliners of different walks of life and political outlooks—businessmen, academics, students, homemakers.

BerlinermauerWe chatted for a while about the weather, German wine, and the cost of housing in Berlin.

Then I related what the diplomat told me, explaining that after my flight over the city I found it difficult to believe.

“Is it true?” I asked. “Have you gotten used to the wall?”

The Elzes and their guests glanced at one another uneasily.

I thought I had proven myself just the sort of brash, tactless American the diplomat was afraid the president might seem.

Then one man raised an arm and pointed. “My sister lives twenty miles in that direction,” he said. “I haven’t seen her in more than two decades. Do you think I can get used to that?”

Another man spoke. Each morning on his way to work, he explained, he walked past a guard tower. Each morning, the same soldier gazed down at him through binoculars. “That soldier and I speak the same language. We share the same history. But one of us is a zookeeper and the other is an animal, and I am never certain which is which.”

Our hostess broke in. A gracious woman, she had suddenly grown angry. Her face was red. She made a fist with one hand and pounded it into the palm of the other. “If this man Gorbachev is serious with his talk ofglasnost and perestroika,” she said, “he can prove it. He can get rid of this wall.”

“That’s What I’d Like to Say”

Back at the White House I told Tony Dolan, then director of presidential speechwriting, that I intended to adapt Ingeborg Elz’s comment, making a call to tear down the Berlin Wall the central passage in the speech. Tony took me across the street from the Old Executive Office Building to the West Wing to sell the idea to the director of communications, Tom Griscom.

“The two of you thought you’d have to work real hard to keep me from saying no,” Griscom now says. “But when you told me about the trip, particularly this point of learning from some Germans just how much they hated the wall, I thought to myself, ‘You know, calling for the wall to be torn down—it might just work.’ ”

The following week I produced an acceptable draft. It needed work, but it set out the main elements of the address, including the challenge to tear down the wall. On Friday, May 15, the speeches for the president’s trip to Rome, Venice, and Berlin, including my draft, were forwarded to the president, and on Monday, May 18, the speechwriters joined him in the Oval Office. My speech was the last we discussed. Tom Griscom asked the president for his comments on my draft. The president replied simply that he liked it.

Now, you might suppose that after hearing the president say he liked his draft, a speechwriter would feel so delighted he’d leave it at that. Somehow, it didn’t work that way. As a speechwriter you spent your working life watching Reagan, talking about Reagan, reading about Reagan, attempting to inhabit the very mind of Reagan. When you joined him in the Oval Office, you didn’t want to hear him say simply that he liked your work. You wanted to get him talking, revealing himself. So you’d go into each meeting with a question or two you hoped would intrigue him.

at-desk“Mr. President,” I said, “I learned on the advance trip that your speech will be heard not only in West Berlin but throughout East Germany.”

Depending on weather conditions, I explained, radios would be able to pick up the speech as far east as Moscow itself.

“Is there anything you’d like to say to people on the other side of the Berlin Wall?”

The president cocked his head and thought. “Well,” he replied, “there’s that passage about tearing down the wall. That wall has to come down. That’s what I’d like to say to them.”


With three weeks to go before it was delivered, the speech was circulated to the State Department and the National Security Council (NSC). Both attempted to squelch it. The assistant secretary of state for Eastern European affairs challenged the speech by telephone.

A senior member of the NSC staff protested the speech in memoranda. The ranking American diplomat in Berlin objected to the speech by cable. The draft was naive. It would raise false hopes. It was clumsy. It was needlessly provocative. State and the NSC submitted their own alternate drafts—my journal records that there were no fewer than seven, including one written by the diplomat in Berlin. In each, the call to tear down the wall was missing.

Now, in principle, State and the NSC had no objection to a call for the destruction of the wall. The draft the diplomat in Berlin submitted, for example, contained the line, “One day, this ugly wall will disappear.” If the diplomat’s line was acceptable, I wondered at first, what was wrong with mine?

Then I looked at the diplomat’s line once again. “One day”? One day the lion would lie with the lamb, too, but you wouldn’t want to hold your breath. “This ugly wall will disappear”? What did that mean? That the wall would just get up and slink off of its own accord? The wall would disappear only when the Soviets knocked it down or let somebody else knock it down for them, but “this ugly wall will disappear” ignored the question of human agency altogether.

What State and the NSC were saying, in effect, was that the president could go right ahead and issue a call for the destruction of the wall—but only if he employed language so vague and euphemistic that everybody could see right away he didn’t mean it.

The week the president left for Europe, Tom Griscom began summoning me to his office each time State or the NSC submitted a new objection. Each time, Griscom had me tell him why I believed State and the NSC were wrong and the speech, as I’d written it, was right. When I reached Griscom’s office on one occasion, I found Colin Powell, then deputy national security adviser, waiting for me. I was a thirty-year-old who had never held a full-time job outside speechwriting.

Powell was a decorated general. After listening to Powell recite all the arguments against the speech in his accustomed forceful manner, however, I heard myself reciting all the arguments in favor of the speech in an equally forceful manner. I could scarcely believe my own tone of voice. Powell looked a little taken aback himself.

President Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate June 12, 1987

President Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate June 12, 1987

A few days before the president was to leave for Europe, Tom Griscom received a call from the White House chief of staff, Howard Baker, asking Griscom to step down the hall to his office.

“I walked in and it was Senator Baker [Baker had served in the Senate before becoming chief of staff] and the secretary of state—just the two of them.”

Secretary of State George Shultz now objected to the speech.

“He said, ‘I really think that line about tearing down the wall is going to be an affront to Mr. Gorbachev,’ ” Griscom recalls.

“I told him the speech would put a marker out there. ‘Mr. Secretary,’ I said, ‘the president has commented on this particular line and he’s comfortable with it. And I can promise you that this line will reverberate.’ The secretary of state clearly was not happy, but he accepted it. I think that closed the subject.”

It didn’t.

When the traveling party reached Italy (I remained in Washington), the secretary of state objected to the speech once again, this time to deputy chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein. “Shultz thought the line was too tough on Gorbachev,” Duberstein says.

On June 5, Duberstein sat the president down in the garden of the estate in which he was staying, briefed him on the objections to the speech, then handed him a copy of the speech, asking him to reread the central passage.

Reagan asked Duberstein’s advice. Duberstein replied that he thought the line about tearing down the wall sounded good. “But I told him, ‘You’re president, so you get to decide.’ And then,” Duberstein recalls, “he got that wonderful, knowing smile on his face, and he said, ‘Let’s leave it in.’ ”

The day the president arrived in Berlin, State and the NSC submitted yet another alternate draft. “They were still at it on the very morning of the speech,” says Tony Dolan. “I’ll never forget it.” Yet in the limousine on the way to the Berlin Wall, the president told Duberstein he was determined to deliver the controversial line. Reagan smiled. “The boys at State are going to kill me,” he said, “but it’s the right thing to do.”

The Lessons of History

No matter how it may seem in retrospect, there was nothing inevitable about the event that took place twenty-five years ago this week. The fall of the Berlin Wall took place because certain men and women—people including Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Ronald Reagan—took certain specific actions, demonstrating their capacity for reason and courage. And that, really, is why we study history: to remind ourselves that if those who went before us could do the right thing, then we can do no less ourselves.


Peter Robinson is editor in chief of Ricochet.com, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and host of the interview program Uncommon Knowledge. He is the author of several books, including How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, from which parts of this essay are adapted.

That Which is Seen and That Which is Not

Syria crisis: Obama 'has the right' to strike regardless of vote, says Kerry - The Guardian 9/2/13

Syria crisis: Obama ‘has the right’ to strike regardless of vote, says Kerry – The Guardian 9/2/13

The President of the United States believes that our role in the global community is to punish the Syrian government for military strikes on Syrian civilians resulting in hundreds of deaths and diminishing the Assad regime’s ability to deploy biological agents in the future.

Whether or not it is the duty of the U.S. to punish another sovereign nation against which we have not declared war is an important question.

Another pertinent question is, is it possible for the U.S. to retaliate on behalf of innocent victims without further civilian casualties?

War is armed conflict between nations.  It is unrealistic and dishonest to suggest that any act of war (or international violence) can be accomplished without civilian casualties or “collateral damage.”

Another questions is, is the U.S. bound by international law?  I have my own opinion, but what matters is, does the Obama administration adhere to international law or not?

Does the United Nations and the International Court of Justice have the force of law globally?  If they do have the full force of law, then how does Obama justify military action without the approval of the UN Security Council?

imagesThese questions and others to follow, came to mind as I was contemplating the advice that would have been given in this situation by the little remembered French economist and legislator Fredric Bastiat (1801-1850).

Bastiat is well-known by his readers for expounding the philosophy of “that which is seen and that which is not seen.”

In essence, he taught that every action taken based on what is seen or known in the moment would always be followed by a myriad of unaccounted for or unseen consequences.

He predicted that as we then attempted to deal with these unforeseen results of our initial rash actions, we would typically make more ill conceived decisions that simply complicate and make matters worse.

Bastiat’s solution was to think about the unseen for a long time before taking any kind of action, and like an expert chess player, think about the consequences of a single move many moves into the future before taking that first move.

Take Syria for instance.

images (2)WHAT IS SEEN? A totalitarian regime allegedly targeted civilians, hundreds were killed.

For this, the U.S. president and some members of Congress wish to respond with more military action.

WHAT IS NOT SEEN? This question leads us to ask more questions:

Were the targeted civilians viewed by the standing government to be actively engaged in the current rebellion against the Assad government?

Did the Assad government warn these civilians before the suggested attack?

Were known rebels using civilians as human shields and setting up their operations in civilian populations?

How will Syria and her allies react to U.S. military intervention?

How will U.S. intervention impact the region and consequently the U.S. economy?

How will the U.S. react if Syria or its allies retaliate?

How many U.S. soldiers will loose theirs lives in escalated U.S. intervention?

This thought process begs more questions:

What is the proper role of the U.S. government? Policing the world or protecting its soil and citizens?

Does the international community have the right to discipline the United States as it sees fit? If not, why not? And if not, why then do we have the right to take such offensive actions?

Are human rights and dignity best protected by military force?  What other options are there?

images (3)Does the U.S. government have the right to risk the lives of our soldiers— our fathers and mothers, our sons and daughters—simply to protect the rights of foreign civilians?

If yes, then why are we not intervening in the affairs of at least ten other troubled nations around the globe currently abusing the human rights and freedoms of their own citizens?

I don’t have all the answers but I do have many more questions that need to be asked and answered before I would be in favor of a strike on Syria.  I would ask lots of questions about our 12 years in Afghanistan and our more than 20 years in and out of Iraq.

Have we ultimately increased American freedoms and human rights through these military actions?  Was the cost worth the effort, or another way to ask the question, was the threat sufficient for the price we have paid both in lives and in dollars?

I encourage all of you to take some time to read the full essay “That Which Is Seen And That Which Is Not Seen.”

If It Saves Just One Life

images (4)I was shocked, dismayed, and like you I personally grieved for the families who lost children at the Newtown, Connecticut shooting just two month ago. What a severe act of violence.

Who can make sense of 27 senseless deaths? It will indeed be a black mark on American history.

And as much as I try to feel their loss and grieve with those parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, I still believe that citizens have a right and duty to maintain our constitutional second amendment rights according to the founding era original intent.

At the time of this tragedy, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with finding a solution in 30 days so this never happens again.  Vice President Biden has offered his recommendations and as a result we have or will have a slew of new executive orders limiting the inalienable right to bear arms for self-protection.

During this process, the vice president was explaining the attitude of the president concerning this issue and said, “And as the president said, if our actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking.”

Wow, if one were to take that logic serious, if it only saves one life, we should ban cars.

If it only saves one life, we should ban peanuts, sports, and fishing.*

If it saves only one life, we should ban electricity.

If it only saves one life, we should ban alcoholic beverages, hammers, and knives.

If it only saves one life, we should ban travel, mountains, and water.

If it only saves one life, we should consider banning everything but sitting around.

* Not my material.

But by that same logic, if it saves just one life we should arm every citizen.

If it only saves one life, we should encourage all citizens to take gun safety courses.

If it only saves one life, the government should encourage all fathers and mothers to stay married and love each other.

If it only saves one life, fathers should spend more time with and showing true affection to their sons and daughters.

If it only saves one life, families should start going back to church.

If it only saves one life, we should stop the spending and start living within our means.

The real question is not so much if it saves one life, but do we give up liberty for security?

The immortal words of Mill answer that question for us:

A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked, if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it, if by monetary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet, even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions, in all these cases, they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.

John Stuart Mill On Liberty (1859)  

English economist & philosopher (1806 – 1873)

imagesThe Problem Reaction Solution Paradigm 

It is part of human nature to press our advantage.  We do it in sports, we do it in business, and unfortunately we do it our personal relationships.

People who have government power also do it, frequently out of the best of intentions, but that power is often used to press the advantage in the moment, which leads to laws and policies that forever impact our lives.

To defeat such tactics, the population must develop the ability to keep a clear head, to not be reactionary, to remain calm in a crisis, to develop the habit of stopping and considering the results of any set of actions to their likely and long-term conclusions.

One of the long-standing strategies employed by many tyrannical powers over time to “press the advantage” has been the misuse of the Hegelian Dialectic (who I will talk about a little later) or what is known today as the Problem/Reaction/Solution Paradigm (PRSP).  The PRSP is a strategy employed to expand power, usually of the executive, and employs a three-step process:

1) Problem – The government or powerful entity creates or exploits a problem, blaming it on others.

2) Reaction – The people react by becoming very alarmed and demanding a solution immediately, often without thinking about long-term consequences.

3) Solution – The government offers a solution that was planned or desired long before the crisis.  The citizens are more than happy to accepting help from the government when offered and the citizens seem generally willing to give up their rights in the process.

The essence of such a strategy is to either create a crisis/tragedy or wait for one to occur (the scarier the better) that frightens the people enough to demand some immediate solution. The strategy requires that the people become very uncomfortable and even emotionally shaken, then to offer a solution that removes that fear.

Taking advantage of the emotional state of the populace is exemplified by former Gov. Ed Rendell in this news clip. The end result of such a strategy is never good for the people and almost always results in more power for the government.  Using this strategy to disarm civilian populations is one of the oldest games in the book.

In the case of restricting and discouraging armed citizens, in the 20th century alone there are at least 10 separately documented cases (Poland, France, Denmark, Finland, Burma, China, Russia, Hungary, Italy, and Romania) in Europe and Asia where a nation was invaded as a direct result of having an unarmed citizenry or a tyrannical government was able to maintain its control by having previously disarmed the population.

There are also 3 very obvious cases (United States, Switzerland, and Israel) where a country was not invaded specifically because there existed a privately well-armed citizenry.

There are some things that once sacrificed in exchange for security (real or imagined), can never be regained. The second amendment is not a hunting provision, it was not designed or intended to support sportsmen.  It was the result of 8 terrible years of war for independence followed by 4 years of civil strife. It represents a solution to tyranny and invasion—from outside or inside our borders. It is the final defense for human liberty, when all else has failed.

If we ban firearms, if we allow this to happen at the level that the president is demanding, we deserve whatever follows.

Now on to Hegel.

images (1)The Hegelian Dialectic

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was a 19th century German philosopher and theologist who wrote The Science of Logic in 1812.

In an effort to explain his understanding of historical change or the means of human progress, he developed what he called the Dialectic.

Hegel taught that as man struggles to overcome the division between reason/morality and selfish desire the following process ensues:


He said that the Geitst (mind and spirit – self/reality) comes to know itself as it is combined with influence from a supernatural force. The greater the development of mind, the greater the internal desire for freedom (increased awareness of the concept of freedom and increased knowledge of self).  This occurs in a revolving process of three steps.

  1. You see the world in your way (your reality)
  2. Outside influences challenge that perspective creating a conflict in perception. This leads to an internal struggle to reconcile the two
  3. The reconciliation creates a new perspective and a new reality

This new reality (new step 1) is again challenged which leads to a new step 2 and so forth.

The terms used by Hegel to express these steps are:

  1. Thesis (abstract)
  2. Antithesis (negative)
  3. Synthesis (concrete)

This process is in and of itself harmless and perhaps helpful for those searching to understand philosophy.  However, when understood and purposely used to twist reality and control people, it can be very bad.

images (2)Karl Heinrich Marx

Marx was a German philosopher and revolutionary socialist who died penniless in1883.

He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894).

He worked closely with his friend, fellow revolutionary socialist, and benefactor Friedrich Engels.

Marx took what was a benign theory of human development and hijacked it to suit his own purposes. He said that if the dialectic was accurate and people were already accustomed to the process naturally, why couldn’t he engineer the antithesis to lead to his desired synthesis (the Problem/Reaction/Solution Paradigm), thus having the power to direct the general actions of society of Socialist purposes.

Below are the very different perspectives of Hegel and Marx concerning the dialectic.

Hegel – Reality is a matter of mind and through the individual process of ideas and acting on those ideas we will eventually come to the perfect Synthesis (new thesis) that does not change after the fire of the Negative or is not abstract and needs no Negative.

Marx – Reality is a matter of means of production and by adjusting the means of production via revolution, man will become more equal and improve together in a very egalitarian/communitarian way.

Even Marx did not envision the global impact his ideas would have less than 75 years after his death. As a result of Marx’s misuse of Hegel’s Dialectic, the 20th century saw countless millions being denied basic human rights and more than 200 million human exterminations all as a result of the use of Marxist theories or what is called today the Problem/Reaction/Solution Paradigm.

This paradigm is being used in America as I write these words. It was used during the terrible 9/11 Crisis. It was used during the bursting of the Real Estate bubble and the subsequent “trillion-dollar” bail out.

It is being used as the government takes advantage of the deaths of 25 elementary school children.