Mathew Spalding in a National Review article (Dec. 31, 2011) reminds us that 100 years before Barack Obama arrived in Osawatomie, Kansas this year to proclaim “the rise of a new governing class” to enforce political and economic “fairness,” Theodore Roosevelt declared war on “predatory wealth” there in his “New Nationalism” speech in 1910.
What do we call these people that promote intrusive activist government to stamp out individual American freedom with “experts” to administer and regulate our lives?
Various descriptors identify them. They occupy the left on the continuum of political activism. Some of their kind prefers the word Progressive to the term Liberal. Apparently, it has a more positive ring. Ironically, a Progressive Party was organized by Republicans in 1911. Teddy Roosevelt ran as its candidate after he left the Republican Party.
Good riddance. With Republicans like him, who needs enemies? But, thankfully the Roosevelts’ are in the ash-can of history. Unfortunately, their predecessors have become just as threatening and increasingly dangerous to our formerly free society.
In my opinion, so-called Progressives, act regressively (regress: return to a worse state) and actually hinder progress. They support retrogression: the process of deteriorating or declining; applied to our economy and lifestyles. Of course, in some sense they do support progress—toward a socialist goal. They continue steadily by increments (progressively) toward it.
Some of us think of ourselves as “Conservatives.” Mark Levin in his book “Liberty and Tyranny” attempts to define Conservatism, as influenced by great British thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Locke and Edmund Burke (“the father of modern conservatism”). We believe the Founders of our form of government got it right—on the premise of individual God-given rights guaranteed by our Constitution. We accept the truth that private property and liberty are “inseparable.” We want a civil society based on “just, known and predictable” rule of law.
Regressives want a supreme state— authoritarian; ultimately totalitarian, that enforces their visions of “social justice.” Most Americans have resisted the evils of Fascism, Nazi National-Socialism and Communism. These oppressive populist theories begin with a “soft tyranny” by corrupting capitalism with government interference and arbitrarily distributing personal wealth. Supporters create an all-powerful federal system to carry out their goals to control our lives.
Mr. Levin writes that the federal government has “become a massive, unaccountable conglomerate…the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor,
grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider and pension guarantor.” He refers to people who feed this Leviathan as Statists. Regressives may also be descriptive.
Former North Carolina Rep. Sue Myrick’s article debunking myths about voter fraud published in Civitas CAPITOL CONNECTION (www.ncciviats.org) and the Wilmington StarNews (link) brought some frantic responses from usual suspects. Yet, a huge majority of Americans from across the political spectrum agree with her. Some people choose to divert attention from the issue using wildly unfounded claims: “(T)here is no voter fraud in the state of North Carolina”— and personal attacks on the messengers: Civitas and Ms. Myrick. (link)
Many state legislatures have passed laws to help prevent fraud from impersonation; voting in the names of dead people and voters who have moved; and submitting fraudulent voter registration forms (leftist community activist ACORN employees have been convicted for the later deception). In addition, the Supreme Court has upheld Indiana’s and Georgia’s strict photo identification laws. Even liberal Justice John Paul Stevens didn’t buy the lie that voter fraud “doesn’t occur” in the U.S. He wrote the Indiana decision on a 6-3 vote. (link)
Who would oppose the common sense requirement that all voters properly identify themselves at polling places as real, live citizens in the public interest of fair elections? The answer: Those who want to stack the deck in their political favor against an honest election process—supporters in the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People come to mind. They hope to counter the political views of largely conservative Americans by deceit because most of us don’t believe the shams they use to promote many of their spurious “social justice” causes.
A laughably bogus argument that some people might not be able to identify themselves doesn’t hold water. The ACLU and the NAACP lost this joke in Alabama and Indiana court cases. The same silly claims have been made in North Carolina. Everyone in America at times must show identification for many other regular transactions, such as traveling, banking; even buying beer. Further, states can, and do, set up free access to photo ID.
Why shouldn’t we have some assurance that only legitimate citizens be authorized to vote in American elections? There’s good reason to suspect that fraudulent tactics remain a vital part of leftist political strategy, based on the recent chorus of near hysterical attacks on state attempts to prevent voting fraud.Read full article » No Comments »
Looks like the NY Times might be “divesting” itself of the StarNews:
The New York Times Co. said Monday that it is in advanced discussions to sell its Regional Media Group, consisting of the StarNews and 15 other regional newspapers, other print publications and related businesses, to Halifax Media Holdings LLC.
Competition should be brisk with the addition of Wilmington Hometown News, soon to be offered online by Davis Media who are now managing The Bone, The Penguin and The BigTalkerFM radio stations.Read full article » 1 Comment »
Brunswick and New Hanover counties have an interesting set of conundrums on their hands. In Brunswick, county commissioner Charles Warren has drawn the ire of his fellow commissioners by attempting to remove a duly appointed member of their DSS board (Pat Sykes) and removed the press from a meeting in violation of the open meetings law.
In New Hanover, county commissioners have attempted to remove commissioner Brian Berger from the all of his boards including the DSS board. Berger remains defiant on that board vowing to stay and fight.
Tomorrow morning could be interesting and the law is ambiguous at best. The NC School of Government says that a judge will have to determine if commissioners have the authority to remove, until then. . . it’s going to be a wild ride!
Brunswick DSS board breaks the law, video included. (Brunswick Beacon)Read full article » No Comments »
More evidence of the foolish, wasteful and dangerous spending by our public officials on government planners, who presumably know more about how we should live our lives than the rest of us, can be found in a recent interview by Alison Lee Satake in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. Kaye Graybeal, former Wilmington planning director, is movin’ on up to the east side—of Tennessee, that is. (link)
Not only does central planning directly cost taxpayers (in Wilmington a“43-member staff in the Development Services department”), but it actually inhibits land development projects. Worse, it’s a threat to a free economy. According to the article, some people considered Ms. Graybeal to be “anti-growth and anti-development.”
In his classic book “The Road to Serfdom,” economist F. A. Hayek argues that planning is good if done properly. It’s a rational framework where different individuals conduct human activities according to their individual plans. Foresight and systematic thinking benefits us all when carried out by people free from the coercive power of government. Socialist planning is bad when it’s used to “satisfy particular views about who should have what,” writes Hayek.
Signs of this lurk in the GWBJ interview. Ms. Graybeal’s tenure shows no constructive accomplishment, but her own testimony indicates that her activities had self-serving goals, 2and negative results for the general economy.
First, she presided over a government-neglected sewer system that resulted in spills and a state moratorium on building in Wilmington. That irresponsibility dearly cost our local economy. Why did this happen? It was no accident. “We didn’t realize how important (infrastructure) is…,” said Graybeal. An all-knowing planner “didn’t realize” something so fundamental? Meanwhile, the know-nothings in city government were focusing on the Riverwalk, a convention center and other downtown-interest projects. Planners meddled with decisions about how tall and dense buildings on Front Street should be.
Although Graybeal continued to get promotions—eventually being elevated to planning director—she admits that administration wasn’t her cup of tea; “urban design” was her forte and first love. But, that was OK. She “learned a lot”—while interfering with the constructive work of other people.
Graybeal was asked about “successes you’ve seen while working for the city?”—rather than: Who has benefited from your work and how?—she responded, “I reviewed” riverfront condos. She seemed to take credit for work done by developer Gene Merritt and others: “I think we were starting to roll….” Another “accomplishment” she cited was “re-addressing the height and density issue downtown”—apparently, an “issue” created by planners. They were advised not to “open up the can of worms.” “But we did,” says Graybeal.
Even some of the more alert city council members criticized planners who “keep changing the rules.” In fact, they typically update them every five years. Graybeal defends this “dynamic” process. “If we had a code that was hindering quality development downtown,” she said,” then it needed to be changed….”
That begs the question: If government planners presume wisdom and vision that others don’t have, why do their codes need regular changes so as not to hinder progress?
It’s puzzling that our officials persist in supporting this counterproductive activity. Clueless planners continue to ask: “(W)here are we going with this? What do we want this to look like? How do we want this to happen?” Promoting the addition of an architect to the planning staff, Graybeal said, “It’d be great to have somebody who is actually an expert to…” review projects; design guidelines; and interpret, apply and enforce them throughout the city.
Dr. Thomas Sowell in his book, “A Conflict of Visions,” calls people who think that they can make better decisions than those actually engaged in transacting business, “surrogate decision-makers.” These people have an “unconstrained vision” of their knowledge, yet it’s so “grossly inadequate compared to the knowledge mobilized systematically through economic markets,” writes Dr. Sowell.
Sowell suggests that “experts” should be severely limited in “drawing up rules defining the boundaries of others’ discretion” and not allowed to second-guess their better marketing decisions.
In my opinion, the obvious ignorance and arrogance of government planners should alert our elected officials to question why they spend the public’s money on central planning bureaucrats who have little know-how compared to the vast coordinated knowledge and millions of legal transactions between land owners, developers, builders and customers.Read full article » No Comments »
USAToday has a piece about the soaring costs of electricity over the past five years. It documents the cost per kilowatt hour by state. Cheap, abundant energy is always key to an improving and growing economy. Nationally our energy policies are bereft of common sense, to the point of stopping a pipeline from providing oil and thousands of jobs to a nation that needs it.
At the state level, Gov. Perdue has been reluctant to have any semblance of clarity on offshore natural gas drilling or even fracking in central NC. All signs indicate an abundant supply of natural gas here in our state.
But more tragic than not being able to use our own resources, is the waste of our money to pursue alternative energy as ratified by NC Senate Bill 3 (Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard) which the Republicans have also been reluctant to remove. This causes our electricity to be 10% higher for political rather than costs reasons. It also directly correlates to the difference between Tennessee and NC power rates. It is discriminatory, costly and contributes NOTHING to help North Carolinians get back to work. Worse, it’s costing us jobs. Please repeal Senate Bill 3!
The John Locke Foundation has studied the costs and benefits of Senate Bill 3, leaders should take note.Read full article » No Comments »
Folks in Wake County filed a lawsuit against NCDOT not long ago as referenced by WWAY here about the erosion of their property rights along a proposed roadway:
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Property owners whose land and homes lie in the path of the long-planned Southern Wake Expressway have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state, alleging their property rights are being violated.
The project has languished for 20 years as the NC Department of Transportation was unable to secure funding. The lawsuit says the state is taking private property without paying just compensation, as required by the US Constitution. The lawsuit names five plaintiffs, but says up to 125 property owners could eventually be included.
That means property owners have been forced to pay taxes, not allowed to sell (who would buy their land) and been held hostage by the government to their property. Lest you think that can’t happen here, it kinda has:
Also, the land, called Bryan Farm by some, also sits in an area planned for a road connecting with the future Cape Fear Skyway high-rise bridge, which is proposed to connect Wilmington with Brunswick County. . . plans for the Skyway showed a road cutting the property in two pieces.
“When that became known there really was no longer any interest at all in anyone purchasing the property,” Huffman said.
Good point and this story doesn’t even mention the hundreds of acres and dozens of owners who are stuck in property rights hell created by supporters of this multi-billion dollar unneeded bridge.
Read full article » No Comments »
In the spirit of Christmas; good will toward men and all that, I find myself agreeing with the Wilmington StarNews editorial: “Bogus bonuses”—at least some of it. (link)
The Editorial Board wrote that Brunswick County Commissioners “helped themselves to a little of their own largesse”: $5000 from the $147 million county budget.
Usually, the liberal Board supports (or ignores) government official’s efforts to distribute other people’s money to their personal projects, programs and charities—beyond basic and limited public services—at excessive and wasteful expense to all taxpayers. This time editors suggest that “officials might want to rethink the practice of handing out bonuses….”
The Board recognizes that many of us “frown on bonuses to public workers.” And, get this; bonuses are “perks awarded to the private sector in response to better-than-average profits or performance. Government isn’t supposed to be a for-profit business.”
Yes, and yes.
Those distinctions are critical to understanding what government is, and is not—something most of our local politicians do not recognize. Editors might have elaborated on those points. Let me:
(A) Government functions as a monopoly—it has no competition.
(B) Government operates by coercion and force.
(C) Thus, employees have no incentives for superior performance serving the public, or for cutting costs to improve efficiency.
(D) Government employees have job security and benefits that exceed those of private workers.
So, let me raise a glass of good cheer to toast the Editorial Board (or the one who wrote this editorial): To more enlightened and enlightening editorials.Read full article » No Comments »
The recent lawsuit filed by Wilmington and four other North Carolina cities challenges a state law allowing property owners to petition against forced annexation. This legal action is said to be filed to protest the “constitutionality” of the state law. On that basis, in my opinion, this lawsuit has no chance.
Of course, clever lawyers may be able to find some judge who will agree to side with them against the people. It’s happened before. But it would be unconstitutional.
Maybe states can (and do, in some cases) violate our personal Bill of Rights, but it’s clear that “Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (Amendment I to the Constitution of the United States of America).
According to the North Carolina Constitution: “Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the (U. S.) Constitution” (Article I, Section 5). Also the “people of this State shall not be taxed…without the consent of themselves or their representatives in the General Assembly” (Article I, Section 8). Further, we have a right “to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances” (Article I, Section 12). We did that last year when the GA passed the law to allow us to petition against arbitrary annexation. (link)
In the case of forced annexation by Wilmington, the aggrieved people here in the Monkey Junction area expect redress—they don’t want city government to impose higher taxes and fees on them without their consent or that of their representatives. Under the new improved law they can petition to prevent the taking of their property; if 60 percent or more of the offended owners petition to stop the wanton taking—by the deadline 75 percent had signed.
According to a Wilmington StarNews article the lawsuit charges that the petition process “robs city residents and non-property owners who live in the annexation areas of the ‘fundamental right to vote.’” (link)
But this is not about voting. Under previous forced annexation law citizens, aggrieved or otherwise, were denied a vote against the taking of their property—bureaucrats arbitrarily, enforced by their police-powers, violated the rights of non-city residents who had no recourse under that egregious authority (“No person shall be…deprived of… property, without due process of law”—Amendment V). And the idea that city residents and renters should be able to “vote” is a phony, unfair issue.
Obviously, some city residents would want to have their taxes subsidized by others—“Well, if we have to pay higher taxes, everyone nearby should pay.” These people fool themselves if they think their taxes will be reduced with a larger pool. Officials will continue to greedily seek more revenue to prop up their special downtown interests. Further, renters may be inclined to “vote” for annexation, but they will pay higher rent when landlord taxes double and new fees are imposed on owners.
Then, there’s the “costs that annexation area residents place on city infrastructure,” but don’t “contribute to its upkeep” straw man. We all pay high state gasoline taxes that support roads (city streets are in chronic disrepair because officials divert funds to unnecessary projects). We pay more for purchases in the city because of higher property taxes. We pay direct taxes on food, drink and lodging. We pay parking fees. We pay county, state and federal taxes that help subsidize many wasteful city projects (e.g. WAVE buses). The list goes on.
Instead of trying to impose more tax burden on non-city people, city residents should petition for grievances against the excessive taxes they must pay for living behind the signs that read “Welcome to Wilmington.”Read full article » 2 Comments »
John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation (www.johnlocke.org), recently sent a letter to supporters of the organization. Mr. Hood recounted cases of personal attacks on him, Foundation employees and supporters. During the past 20 years, wrote Hood, he’s accustomed to liberal critics in North Carolina, but it’s taken some getting used to the idea that “left-wing activists and liberal journalists outside of our state have made it their mission” to also launch attacks.
Though disconcerting, these are clear signs that the JLF has been effective and feared by the statists. “What the Left is afraid of,” writes Hood, “is that North Carolina will become a model for restoring fiscal sanity, rebuilding constitutional government, and renewing conservative governance across America.” Leftists oppose these tried and true principles and “seek bigger government, more regulation, higher taxes, and government monopoly control over the education of our children and the financing of our health care”—the opposite of conservative beliefs. And the radical liberals use negative and vicious tactics to achieve their ends.
For example, Keith Obermann of MSNBC labeled John Hood the “worst person in the world” for daring to criticize President Obama’s performance; other leftists had bigger and more destructive plans.
In 2010 a statist network launched a campaign to discredit JLF founder Art Pope and boycott his family-run retail stores in North Carolina. International socialist George Soros and the Winston-Salem based Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation provide major funding for statewide liberal groups. Hood counts 40 left-wing public-policy organizations in the state funded with about $22 million. They greatly outnumber and spend almost three times more than the dozen conservative groups in North Carolina. Despite greater spending, and numerous attacks on Mr. Pope, the Foundation and other conservatives in the state just prior to the 2010 elections, the boycott failed and a conservative majority swept into the General Assembly.
Liberalism remains unpopular in North Carolina. Its ideas are unworkable. Hood writes, “… liberals continue to support many government programs that don’t deliver on their promises.”
Yet, they persist on a pathetic path to utopian dreams. That quest doesn’t square with reality. Thus, leftists can’t make a reasonable case in debates. So, they resort to personal attacks on us, who they see as enemies. “They want to destroy us,” writes Hood.
He cites an “attack journalism” article against Art Pope, the JLF, and the conservative movement in North Carolina by Jane Mayer at The New Yorker. She developed a conspiracy theory that conservatives had “bought” North Carolina elections and forced their “extreme” views on an “unwitting public by spending gobs of cash,” writes Hood. That doesn’t make sense if one believes that money can sell unpopular political views. Liberal groups spent more money on campaigning than the conservatives did.
It’s laughable, but sadly pathetic; those bereft of intellect and reason label “extreme” we who promote John Locke principles of free enterprise, individual liberty, personal responsibility and limited constitutional government. Leftists arouse scornful pity, but they are dangerous to American freedom and culture.Read full article » 1 Comment »