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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

3/25/2010

Sunset at Concord Bridge
R.I.P. America
1776 - 2010


I spent last Sunday at a party at a friend’s house, so I missed the health care vote. Good thing too. I wasn’t in much of a mood for a funeral.

It was a Pearl Harbor moment, the healthcare vote. You know, one of those times when the world forever divides into what came before and what comes after. I doubt anybody noticed. Most of us partied on, myself included. It was as good a way as any to wring down the curtain on the great experiment in democracy. I much prefer an Irish wake to a grief-stricken funeral.

A great country, long ailing, finally expired on Sunday. And just as it has been for three generations now, the people hardly noticed. Some sat mesmerized before the collective TV, watching the inevitable collapse of a way of life without truly realizing it, wondering what comes next. How appropriate. We’ve long been a generation of watchers. What better way to celebrate the demise of a dream? Then some of us, like me, went through the chow line for seconds. Opportunity ambition, hard work, all hallmarks of a nation steeped in the nobler elements of the human spirit were snuffed out for all time by the expedient leadership of a corrupt Congress, and the stroke of a pen by an unscrupulous president. And not a shot was fired.

Then there’s freedom, let’s not forget that. With all its hazards and pitfalls, freedom also took a mortal blow on Sunday, sacrificed on the altar of self-indulgence for cradle to grave care at the hands of a benevolent dictatorship.
Here’s a clue – a benevolent dictatorship is still a dictatorship.

But . . . but . . . what’s the big deal. The Republicans are coming in November. They’ll repeal it.

Is that so? Let’s take a look at some of the recent, and not so recent, major pieces of societal-altering legislation.

Social Security was instituted to provide a baseline safety net for the indigent during the Great Depression. Of course it accomplished nothing of the sort. And Democratic lawmakers, including FDR assured conservative opponents in Congress that the administration would revisit the policy as soon as the economic emergency had passed. That worked out really well as we all know. Oh, and the payroll taxes that were never supposed to go higher than 1%, read ‘em and weep, folks. If you think those taxes have maxed out, hang on to your wallet. Then again, don’t bother. What good would it do now?

Then there’s Medicare. A comprehensive system of care for senior citizens designed to be cheap, efficient and all encompassing. Get a load of how well it accomplished those lofty goals. It’s still with us, but unlike the Eveready bunny, it’s bankrupt, restrictive and running on empty, just in time for that huge glut of baby boomers to start hitting the rolls. What fitting irony. The ultimate entitlement generation with a terminal case of Gimme-Get-Me-I-want” gets nothing when they need it most.

And, of course, there’s the law conservatives love to hate. Roe v. Wade. We were so certain the Supreme Court would strike down this abomination on moral grounds alone when it was signed into law in 1973. Thirty-seven years and 52 million butchered babies later, how’s that working out for us? And now we’ve got ObamaCare©, which will supplement the government-sanctioned practice of the wholesale murder of innocents by subsidizing it as well. So don’t kid yourself that this recent monstrosity isn’t the law of the land. It is. And it’s here to stay.

What’s the payoff for the radical left, you may wonder? There are a couple of things.

Chief among them, it puts a knife in the heart of the sputtering economy. Oh, that’s just hysterical hyperbole, you say. Someone who’s been listening to a little too much Glenn Beck. Excuse me, Herbert Hoover accomplished the exact same thing in 1931. Only he did it by accident rather than design. Hoover concluded that the solution to what then was a severe recession was to balance the federal budget. He attempted to do so by raising taxes. He pushed the economy off a cliff. What was a significant downturn became the Great Depression and it took another ten years and Japanese bombs falling on Pearl Harbor to put an end to it.

Sound familiar? It should. Because, if you think your taxes are through the roof now, just wait. Someone’s going to have to underwrite the greatest entitlement program in history, and it’s not the down and out indigent this abomination purports to assist. It’s you, Sylvester. So pay up. What better way to reduce an entire population to the status of paupers and place them right in the middle of dependency on government largesse?

Why would this be a good thing, you ask? Simple. Socialism requires a dependent population. And we’re well on our way to it with a multi-generational history of government reliance since 1965. It already is a way of life. Healthcare is the last nail in the coffin, simply because it’s the one service that everyone, everywhere ultimately needs. It is an inelastic service. We depend on the government for welfare, unemployment, child care, education. Now we’ll extend that dependence to our very survival. There will be no area of life in what passes for America that will not be government-influenced, if not controlled outright. And any entrepreneurs out there, who have the audacity, courage, ambition and vision to build something better . . . well, they can empty their wallets, because this latest form of tyranny is going to be built on the back of their necks.

And then there’s immigration reform. Anyone wonder why, all of a sudden, the scepter of border control rears its ugly head as the healthcare debate rages? It’s because the two are joined at the hip. If the current leadership is going to encourage hordes of uneducated laborers to once again come flooding across the border, they’ve got to offer them something to make it worth their while. Universal healthcare is just the ticket. And since American business isn’t going to be making much, considering the confiscatory tax rates soon to be imposed on them, they’ve got to keep the slaves healthy. After all, they have sixty years of cheap labor in front of them. And we’ve all got to invest in this little nugget of subjugation. Future generations of indentured servants demand it, insuring the cycle of tyranny continues in perpetuity.

Student loans come under a similar banner. With government control of all such loans – except banks in whose jurisdictions elected representatives have sold their soul to the devil – do you think higher education just might be restricted to the culturally and politically correct? Considering that practice has been going on for twenty years or so, I’d call it a lead pipe cinch.

And then there’s those pesky baby boomers now entering their golden years with the same sense of entitlement and self-absorption with which they’ve gone through their entire life. The biggest demographic bulge in American history now enters the most expensive season of life with its hand still out. How fitting this group of self-indulgent narcissists gets kicked to the curb at the very moment they’re convinced they’ve earned their season of rest.

There’s a certain symmetry to it. The group that tore down everything their WWII father built – the home, the church, the workplace, the university – gets tossed in the dumpster of history at their moment of maximum arrogance. They demand a level of respect they never offered to anyone let alone earned in their own right, insist upon values they never lived by, and get tossed aside like yesterday’s leftover garbage.

But they’re senior citizens, you say. We’ve always taken care of our senior citizens.

Is that so? Since when? In pre-WWII America, most seniors lived with extended family when they became too infirm to work. But then, that was during the days of the nuclear family. You remember? Mom, Dad, kids at home, and Grandma and Grandpa when they became too sick to take care of themselves. But then, that was during an age of respect, long before the baby boomers threw that practice on the cultural grenade with the supercilious conceit that marked their lives.

Well, here’s a news bulletin, Mr. and Mrs. Boomer – and I count myself among you, to my everlasting shame – a nation that has no respect for life in the womb will have no respect for you when you’ve outlived your usefulness. A group that had contempt for everyone and everything they encountered on the way up with get it in spades when they’re old, decrepit and dependent. And folks, that time has arrived. You’re dispensable, Derek. Get lost. Because you’re a lot more expensive than you’re worth.

Any questions? Just read Peter Singer, or check out the body count racked up under Roe v. Wade. The groundwork has been laid by you, just in time for you to reap the whirlwind. Who said there’s no reckoning for the wicked?

    “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” – Matthew 19:30.
As my friend’s party wore on into the evening last Sunday, I thought of where the great experiment began, with the shot heard round the world at Concord Bridge. Those men had a sense of what was at stake. They knew the long odds stacked against them. And they knew the cost. Long years of privation, hunger, disease, defeat and death lay before them. But in every revolution there is a hard core cadre of believers, with the singular vision of what awaits them if they succeed – a country. So it was with the American experiment. Their vision was simple, but sweet. A life of their own. The opportunity to make their mark based on their own effort. And yes, the possibility of failure. But beyond that lay the precious and priceless treasure to stand up, regroup, and rejoin the struggle of free people to start over, free from the oppression of an tyrannical government whose real intent is not to soften the inevitable hammer blows of life, but to dominate, discourage and destroy.

The singular zeal of the American revolutionaries defied their lack of numbers. The revolt was far from universally supported. But there was the underlying assumption that all freedom comes due in blood. And to their everlasting credit, they were willing to pay that price. It could explain why the spark lit at Concord Bridge set a match to the cultural keg of dynamite that fueled the engine which tamed a continent. And why, as John Kennedy so eloquently put it in his 1960 inaugural, “the glow of that fire can truly light the world.”

But the candle went out on Sunday. It was a noble experiment, but it’s over. Such is the fate of empires, particularly those who do not hold the lonely vigil of keeping their identity alive. So don’t look for such men again. They’ve long since disappeared in the fluffy folds of the nanny state. And now, what remains of a once great nation nestles comfortably in the arms of a system of pseudo-healthcare that is anything but. The time when respect for each and every individual American citizen is over. And the right for them to pursue their dreams is gone.

It’s a sea change moment, the day the last vestige of light went out of the country.

Remember where you were when it happened, who you were with, what you were doing. You lived to see your country disappear. And above all remember one thing.

Remember how nice it was while it lasted.

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

Euro-American Scum can be reached at euro_american_scum@yahoo.com.

3/20/2010

Evil By Any Other Name is Still Evil


Since I am in the process of moving from what we term 'adulthood' into my 'senior' years, I am finding that, while my responsibilities are shifting, they are in many ways increasing -- and yet stamina, and the desire to 'make a difference' in the world, are not increasing concurrently. :) These days, I would much prefer taking a long fresh-air walk with Rick and Bert to writing political commentary. I suppose it's a resignation to the idea that I want to enjoy what is left of life rather than devote precious time and energy to an uphill battle whose 'hill' becomes higher and more precarious with each passing day.

For many weeks (maybe even months) I have been contemplating writing something of a 'swan song' here on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed, and yet the desire to cover everything that I would want to say, in specific, about the current state of our beloved republic, and the future that this weekend in particular portends, has become a task upon which I no longer want to embark. It's just too energy- and time-consuming, and its purpose is nebulous and undefined, at best.

So I've settled on authoring a 'swan song disconnect’, and will simply list a set of concerns and observations with which I would like to bow out of the fray. I leave it to the wonderful readers who have frequented this blog for nearly four years to pick up the slack. You ... especially the young adults on fire for liberty ... represent the hope of America ... the hope of mankind.

America is now infected with an apathy, self-indulgence and sloth that represent the core reason for our impending fall. Yes, there are courageous and vigilant pockets of citizens ... 'tea party' organizers and faithfuls among them ... who remember the vision and sacrifice of, and stern and heartfelt warnings issued by, our Founders ... and who revere the American Constitution as the most magnificent blueprint for governance ever conceived by the mind of man.

But such patriots find themselves in an ever-decreasing minority. America's 'leadership' in Washington, the mainstream media, institutions of 'higher learning', and the ever more powerful 'entertainment industry' now hold the reins of public opinion with an iron-fisted grip. All four of those powerful opinion-makers for more than six decades have been systematically infiltrated by left-leaning ideologues bent on 'transforming' our Founders' vision into something frighteningly grotesque and diabolical: the implementation of an ideology that considers individual human liberty ... and all of the belief in 'right' and 'wrong', progress, productivity and sense of personal responsibility that that precious commodity engenders ... to be its most threatening enemy.

It is a mass ignorance of our noble roots, combined with a laziness and unwillingness to consider them at all, that has allowed evil men to gain, and scheme to retain in perpetuity, the upper hand. And the U.S. Constitution, and the concept (and reality) of individual liberty, have found themselves premeditatedly murdered in the process.

The pockets of citizens who actually see the emperor without his clothes have now begun to feel a kinship with that courageous young Chinese student who attempted to face-down a military tank in Tiananmen Square. The tanks are indeed mobilizing. They have become arrogant with power and will no longer be denied the completion of their assignment ... and the majority of the citizenry is too busy watching reality TV to recognize and acknowledge their movement. President Obama's popularity remains consistently in the neighborhood of 50%, in spite of mountains of liberty-loathing, criminally unconstitutional pronouncements and policymaking.

For the first time in America's history, the mass 'ignorance is bliss' philosophy embraced by the American populace, as well as the massive, historically unprecedented unconstitutional power grab being perpetrated by Washington, can no longer be turned back. Educational indoctrination is irreversible; election results will increasingly find themselves dictated by groups such as ACORN and SEIU; as taxes and bureaucratic regulations on small businesses increase, more and more American jobs will be government jobs and fewer and fewer will be in the private sector; and as an increasing number of Americans find themselves standing in unemployment lines for much more than a year (while our 'altruistic leadership' increases the unemployment compensation timeline), America will become an entirely socialist state, with the citizenry completely dependent on government 'largesse' and bureaucratic dictate for their very existence. Not only has our current 'leaderhip' amassed massive unconstitutional power, but they intend to stack the deck so that that power is now omnipotent and irreversible.

I received an e-mail from a dear friend this morning stating, in part, regarding ‘healthcare reform’:
_____________________

I have read many of the parts from the bill, which are so obviously punitive, intending to force people who are already insured to either pay double what they pay now or quit their insurer and submit to the government plan, if their insurer does not pre-emptively dump them because their statistical coverage pool dried up from an inability to pay.

I think that inability to pay is what the government planners are attempting to take advantage of -- not the inability to pay by those who have a record of being unable to pay premiums, but the inability to pay by the people who have been paying.

The government plan -- the ‘healthcare bill’ -- intends to make Unable Payers out of Able Payers -- and it will use the power of law enforcement to force you to not be able to pay or go to jail.

The bill does not say ‘let us insure the people who cannot get insurance, and pay for that with increased taxes’.

The bill does say ‘let us force into ‘cannot pay’ status, a large portion of existing payers, so that the pool of the then un-insured is great, and great with desperation, such that the new pool submits to government control over their situation.’

... If the aim of the bill were to provide health care for the uninsured, by insuring them and socializing the cost -- taxing the citizens in order to fund the insurance -- then the aim, honestly stated, and the insurance coverage, and its funding could be written on one page.

Instead of that simple act, the bulk of the bill is a stepping stone path of discovering what patients and doctors may freely choose to do, and then using the coercion of federal law enforcement in order to stop the freedom to choose. It is possibly the most horrible and despicable act of Congress, other than pre-Civil War acts that kept some Americans in slavery.
_____________________

My friend is well-read and entirely capable of thinking outside the box. Not so with the majority of Americans these days.

Had the bone-deep government duplicity regarding 'healthcare reform' occurred decades ago, it would have caused mass outrage, and would have resulted in citizen outcries to hold back the leftist tide. Yet, because we have been 'educated' by both the American 'public education' system, the biased media's lack of interest in such topics, and the entertainment industry's insistent maligning of the conservative viewpoint, massively unconstitutional government actions have caused but a soon-to-be dispersed ripple.

Congress and the President continue to depict the 'healthcare reform' bill as an altruistic program aimed at increasing the quality of American healthcare and bringing healthcare insurance to those who cannot afford it ... and all of this altruism will be accomplished at a substantial savings over the current system.

Not one word of the above premise is true. In fact, the truth lies 180-degrees from the words our ‘leaders’ speak.

America's healthcare system, though flawed, is the most moral and successful system of caring for the sick, needy and dying in the history of mankind. And, although not all, the majority of the 'flaws' in that system can be traced back to long-term government interference in the system. Burdensome bureaucratic regulation of the entire healthcare, HMO and insurance industries has made a major contribution to skyrocketing costs. And the fact that trial lawyers represent one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington has led to a 'hands off' philosophy in response to any rational call for tort reform. Frivolous medical malpractice suits contribute mightily to healthcare costs in America, and they also contribute to the growing dearth of available doctors, especially in the field of obstetrics. Doctors are leaving many specialties in droves simply because they can no longer afford to pay the skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums.

Yet our 'leadership' in Washington, desperately in need of the hundreds of millions in campaign donations that the trial lawyer lobby provides, remains mute ... while at the same time crucifying the health insurance industry's 'blood-sucking, exorbitant' 5% annual profits as 'ungodly' and 'un-American'.

You see, the demonizing of that industry, as well as the maligning of the medical profession (the President himself has repeatedly accused American surgeons of performing unnecessary operations, simply to improve their bottom line) is a necessary tactic in the march toward government solutions to 'capitalist evils' ... and the full-fledged embracing of government-run universal, socialist healthcare.

The majority of the citizenry is at least informed enough to recognize that any such plan is not in their best interest, but two factors are working in our leadership's favor in their soon-to-be-successful effort to impose this abomination on America:

(1) The fact that, no matter what atrocity they commit this weekend, the outrage among the populace will not be sufficient to force them to roll back the egregious unconstitutional legislation.

(2) Two-thirds of the hundreds of billions in recently-approved 'stimulus money' has not yet been spent. That money will be spent as we near the November elections, resulting in a mirage 'improving economy' and 'improving jobs prospects'. The result will be that the average American voter, whose attention span can now be measured in nanoseconds, will forget whatever outrage he may have felt in March and will opt to re-elect the incumbents, simply because he believes that a healthy economy (even if that 'health' is dangerous, phony and fleeting) represents hope for America, and upsetting the apple cart would be unthinkable.

I have recently attempted to debate on an internet forum the merits of 'healthcare reform' with people who consider themselves intelligent and well-informed. I have alluded to the actual wording in the senate bill when making my points and observations. When asserting that rationing, under this bill, is all but inevitable, I have pointed to the fact that three independent amendments were proposed -- amendments that would simply make rationing illegal -- nothing more, nothing less … and yet all three amendments were voted down on party lines. I have asked those who claim that this bill will not result in rationing, 'How then can you explain congress' unwillingness to pass even one such amendment?' One response I received was, 'This is nothing but Glenn Beck drivel,' and most of the other responses were along the same vein.

Such closed-minded thought processes would not upset me, were it not for the fact that I believe that half or more of our countrymen are similarly afflicted. It is simply too much trouble to consider facts. After all, the swallowing of sound-bites, and the pleasures of bread-and-circus diversions, are far less demanding on our grey matter.

Who among us has read the entire 2,000+ page bill?

Who among our ‘leadership’ has read the entire 2,000+ page bill?

Will our President read the entire 2,000+ page bill before signing it into law?

Who authored the entire 2,000+ page bill?

Answer to (1): Very few

Answer to (2): None of them

Answer to (3): No

Answer to (4) A myriad of left-leaning special interest groups, over a period of several decades worth of social engineering ideology perfection

For specifics regarding a few of the abominations included within the 2,000+ pages, please read Dare We Hope That Massachusetts Will Inspire Us Again? and scroll to the list at the bottom of the essay (the list is taken from the original HR3200 bill, but the current senate bill is a fraternal twin).

What is more evil than men conspiring, in smoke-filled rooms, to serve as mini-gods, and couching in pious, altruistic words a gargantuan crusade to seat themselves as a ruling elite and render their countrymen subservient to their rulings?

Answer: A populace whose heritage and forebears were noble beyond anything ever before experienced by mankind, and yet who have chosen to passively allow the success of the above.

God bless all American patriots! Receive your peace of mind from the knowledge that there will indeed be a final judgment, and the Judge who sits in that seat of authority knows the real content of every man’s heart.

~ joanie

2/21/2010

Where is John Galt?


Not “Who is John Galt?” I think we all know the answer to that question. At least for those of us for whom Atlas Shrugged has become the conservative Holy of Holies. We all know who he is. But just where he has disappeared to in this age of commerce by government fiat is the more pertinent issue. The operative question then becomes “Where is John Galt?”

We all know the story. John Galt – Ayn Rand’s Olympian Übermensch of American business and industry – stops the engine of the world in her apocryphal novel, now more than half a century old. He does so by various means at his disposal – from friendly (or not so friendly) persuasion, to kidnapping, to outright sabotage. Galt is everywhere and nowhere, ethereal and concrete, mystical and empirical. He is all things to all people, truly a man for all seasons.

It is a tribute to Rand’s skill as a novelist that the lion’s share of the book takes place without his presence in any concrete fashion. It is only in the story’s final stages that we get a clear picture of this visionary leader, whose ruthlessness in his singular destruction of the threads that hold civilization together speaks powerfully of his single-mindedness and commitment. He is a man without flaws, devoid of the petty failings that plague mortal men. He is the god of Ayn Rand’s fictional utopia.

So what are we to make of the absence of such men, now, in the 21st century? In the age of business by government takeover, he is conspicuously missing in action at a time when just such a man could be most effectively utilized. What does his absence indicate? And what does that say about the time in which we live, and ultimately about ourselves?

Unlike many of my conservative brethren, I don’t wield my rubber stamp when it comes to Rand’s objectivist philosophy or her fictional masterpiece by which she makes it known. Not long ago, one of my USC lawyer friends sent me a quote – whose origins I do not know, which encapsulates at least his area of interest when it comes to this compelling novel:

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves Orcs."
O.K. You’re either grinning, chuckling, consumed with laughter, or red faced with hysteria. And while I’m not sure where I fall in the continuum of criticism of the story, I do recognize there’s no middle ground when it comes to a position. People either love this book or hate it. But nobody comes away from this compelling tale of doom and regeneration without an opinion.

It begins with Eddie Willers – that eternal, ever-present everyman. Faithful, loyal, and reliable as a loaf of white bread, he chances upon a street derelict in some not-too-distant-future America suffering from a contemporary economic cataclysm. Recession? Depression? We don’t know. And in truth, it does not matter. Something has gone seriously off the rails. Eddie greets the bum in the vernacular of the day. Not “Hello, how are you,” but “Who is John Galt?” It isn’t so much a question as an acknowledgment. Things are bad, and there is no end in sight, all rosy claims to the contrary.

Eddie labors for Dagny Taggart – Vice President of Operations for Taggart Transcontinental Railroad – with whom, at least in this reader’s estimation, he is more than a little smitten. Give it up, Eddie. She’s out of your league. Any woman capable of running a national transportation company, carrying the dead weight of her deadbeat brother, slipping and dodging the strangulation of government edicts, is going to yearn for more than the likes of you. She’ll dream of Hank Rearden, the steel magnate, Francisco d’Anconia, the international playboy and mining executive, Ragnar Danneskjöld, the menacing privateer, or perhaps the predictably efficient Owen Kellogg. She will appreciate the operatic genius of Richard Halley. But she secretly yearns for her perpetual ideal, her unattainable dream – John Galt himself.

Forget it, Eddie. She’s not your type.

Note to anyone who doubts this little tidbit of truth and consequence: A woman of Dagny’s stripe – dynamic, multi-talented, striking in appearance and ability – will always look for a man who exceeds her own accomplishments. Time-card punching working stiffs need not apply for the favors of this gossamer goddess of American commerce.

It would appear that Hank Rearden fits the bill, and this certainly appears so in the early stages of the story. But Dagny quickly becomes enthralled by the overwhelming dynamism, vision, dare I say masculinity, of the driving force of a burgeoning underground society of entrepreneurs – John Galt himself.

Except he’s missing in action for the bulk of the novel. Ah, but his presence is felt everywhere. For all across the country, men like him – visionary men of power, talent, ambition and ability – are destroying what they’ve built by their own hand, and disappearing from the landscape. In the wake of government strangulation, confiscation, retribution, the men who built the modern industrial state are tearing it down. And Galt – elusive, ethereal, but ever-present – is the driving force behind this demolition.

John Galt stops the motor of the world, as the author so aptly puts it. As first among equals of that select group of farsighted men of superior ability, he recognizes that the country now plays a new game with a stacked deck of cards, and rather than play by the new rules, he overturns the card table and walks away, taking the bulk of similar men with him.

And so the bleak landscape of post-America America takes shape in Ayn Rand’s prophetic novel about the downfall of greatness in the country that nurtured it for so long. One by one, thriving enterprises are strangled by encroaching socialist policies of a tyrannical government. Incrementally, innovation and novelty are trampled underfoot by government bureaucrats. And when it’s over, we are faced with a country burdened by a dependent population, with a huge sense of entitlement, and no group of super-achievers left to support this modality of dependence.

Kind of like now.

This is not a review of the novel. If you are among the handful of conservatives who has not read it, I urge you to do so. Trust me, it will be worth the effort to wade through the 1100-or-so pages, whether you’re inspired at the end of it or horrified.

So where is he? Where is John Galt in the America of 2010? Could be he’s comfortably ensconced in Galt’s Gulch waiting for the end to come. Only in the real America he doesn’t have to go to great lengths to bring everything crashing down around his ears. All he has to do is sit back and wait.

At first glance, it would appear there’s no great cause for concern. In fact, what message does the current administration send to the titans of business and industry? Let’s see … We’ve had the Detroit bailout, the Wall Street bailout, the banking bailout, the (currently) abortive attempt to nationalize 1/6 of the nation’s GDP in the healthcare takeover. Gosh, and it all worked out so well. If you were a business executive, what would you conclude?

    “Hmmm … I really don’t have to make savvy, hard-hitting, well-conceived business decisions. If my company is big enough, and my mistakes are sufficiently bad, I can make whatever stupid move I want. Big Daddy in Washington will bail me out every time.”
I ask you, who needs John Galt to stop the motor of the world? All he has to do is sit back with his feet up on the coffee table and watch it all collapse on the Fox Business Network. Because such policies – profligate spending, confiscatory taxes, punitive measures against the best and brightest among us – will guarantee a collapse of catastrophic proportions. It might not happen tomorrow. And we might not be able to wrap our intellect around it, considering the level of cognitive dissonance loose in the land – but rest assured, what cannot be maintained will not be maintained.

No, we don’t need John Galt to tear down the infrastructure of the world. That’s being done. What we need him for is to rebuild the ruins like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. And alas, Ayn Rand doesn’t take us there. It is at this point that the story ends.

Yes, conservatives love Atlas Shrugged. It means more to us than the Holy Bible. For many of us, perhaps even most of us, it is the Holy Bible of conservative ideology. Objectivism is our new religion, John Galt, the knight templar of our new evangel. And what’s not to like? A multi-talented, powerful, uncompromising man of means and ambition, single-handedly destroys a world dominated by chair-bound paper-pushers – personified by Wesley Mouch (aptly named, if I do say so myself) – the consummate government bureaucrat. Galt does so out of a driving force of enlightened (or maybe expedient) self-interest. He cares nothing for anything or anyone beyond his own pulsing, powerful ambition, fueled by his talents and abilities.

We love this kind of stuff. We internalize it. We live it, where feasible. Problem is, most of us are not industrial Übermenschen. We’re forty-hour-a-week working stiffs. That is, those of us who are still in a position that commands forty hours of activity. The further problem is, there’s a dark undercurrent to the Olympian utopia of Ayn Rand’s vision of men of capital and accomplishment.

“What’s that, you say? I thought you liked Atlas Shrugged?” I do, but only up to a point.

Ayn Rand was prescient in her view of the vapidity of business by government control. She correctly saw the petty jealousies, the arbitrary mediocrity, the trivial meanness that comes when massive government intervention intrudes in an area it has no business going. She identified the evil inherent in a system of controls for which arbitrary spitefulness was the order of the day. What she failed to recognize was the same characteristics were alive and well in her objectivist ideal – John Galt.

There is a very apt passage of the Bible that points a troubling figure at Rand’s idyllic hero –

    10 As it is written ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’” – Romans 3:10-12
You think she was bothered by this? Not a bit. Ayn Rand was an avowed atheist. She was quick to see the corruption of massive government intervention because she lived through the Russian revolution and the earliest days of the communist regime. She suffered through the Soviet-sponsored famine of the early 1920s. She knew full well the evil that lived in the hearts of men drunk with government power and accountable to no one. Too bad that vision didn’t extend to John Galt.

It’s an all too common tale, this tunnel vision of the intellect. We do it all the time.

I worship with the prime movers of the local community, devout Christians all. And many of them have illegals in their employ (still). They pay them under the table, and throw them away like yesterday’s leftover garbage when they have no further need for them. And they’ve got more coming in every day, despite the hard times.

I have a good friend with whom I’ve shared season tickets to USC football for the past ten years. He’s a staunch conservative, voting exclusively for Republican candidates since he’s been eligible to. But he’s not giving up the union job that guarantees him $125,000 a year for working on an assembly line at an ice cream factory. And you can bet his union isn’t giving any wage concessions to management to keep the company afloat.

One of my dearest friends is a middle-aged woman who is a passionate supporter of the troops fighting overseas. She’s always quick to defend the cause for which they fight, and the men (and women) who do the fighting. But she’s never gone to the local airport to welcome them home, and never attended a Memorial Day service in her life.

So there’s plenty of inconsistency to go around out there. It’s no surprise that Bible-believing conservative Christians also worship on the altar of Ayn Rand’s objectivist model of perfection. Oh yes, and then there’s this troubling passage ...
    13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous GOD)” – Exodus 34:13-14
... well, that gets kicked to the curb in the process of deluding ourselves that we, too, have the Dionysian abilities of John Galt as well. We don’t. We just live vicariously through him.

It’s intoxicating when you think about it. To be above the fray is one of the most seductive fantasies of people caught in the maelstrom. To be possessed of such monumental abilities as to be held, not to a higher standard, but no standard at all, is exhilarating. We see it in John Galt’s now world-famous objectivist monologue.

On the surface, there’s nothing to take issue with. Indeed, it is, and should be, a way of life for all of us. We should pursue our dreams and rise as far as talent and ambition can take us. Except people (of all stripes, not just government bureaucrats) are weak, envious, hateful and cruel. And the most enlightened pursuit of prosperity for whatever motivation, ultimately descends into an amoral lust for power for its own sake. There’s no avoiding it. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Tell the truth. We loved Ken Lay (of Enron notoriety). Our only disappointment was that he got caught. And we admired Bernie Madoff. His only sin was he wasn’t slick, savvy or fast enough. Only we don’t have that savvy. Most of us, anyway. And we certainly don’t possess the requisite ruthlessness to grab all we can and throw the people we are purported to serve on the grenade.

So what would be the role of John Galt be in the America of 2010, precariously balanced on the precipice of falling into a global abyss? He’s essential. For all his flaws – and he did possess them, regardless of the author’s characterization of him – the country will need him when things fall apart, and the center does not hold. Only men of such talent have the requisite steel in their spine to rebuild a nation.

But what will that nation look like when the talents of John Galt have come to full fruition? To answer that question, let’s fast forward to the point at which Ayn Rand’s yellow brick road came to a screeching halt.

There stood John Galt overlooking a darkened, desolate landscape, tracing the dollar sign in the air, poised and ready to rebuild a nation in his own image. Dagny Taggart nestled in the crook of his arm, gazing up at his chiseled features in adoring admiration, eagerly willing to sacrifice her sweet, young body without a moment’s hesitation.

Galt Enterprises will contract Hank Rearden to produce unlimited supplies of Rearden Metal© underwritten by a loan from Midas Mulligan to rebuild the nation. Rearden will do this at cost, with the clear understanding that he will receive royalties from Galt Enterprises when the country gets on its feet. Galt will breach that contract and, due to the new tort reform laws, Rearden will be driven into bankruptcy, his company to be taken over by none other than the man in which he held such blind faith, John Galt himself.

Dagney Taggart will rise to CEO of Taggart Transcontinental, all the while carrying on a torrid affair with John Galt. Unknown to her, Galt owns the exclusive rights to all air transportion services throughout the country. He undercuts Dagny’s shipping rates, driving her out of business. But she is so consumed with the constant stream of hot, steamy sex she enjoys with the god she worships that she realizes, too late, that her only future will be as Galt’s love slave, and to perform domestic chores around Galt’s Gulch.

Wesley Mouch will be executed by firing squad . . . without a trial.

And Eddie Willers, the ever-eternal everyman, the forty-hour-per-week loyal servant for whom dependability is the watchword of his faith, will be sent packing. His job will be offshored to India, thereby increasing Taggart Transcontinental’s bottom line without any actual increase in business efficiency. And Eddie will be consigned to die alone in the gutter, penniless and without hope. So much for a lifetime of faithful service, not to mention creating jobs in an era of double-digit unemployment. Not part of JG’s mantra.

Any future innovation will come from entrepreneurs in China, India and Russia, all under contract to John Galt. And the rest of us will be the slaves who serve him, worship him, and ultimately discarded upon the garbage dump of history by him. Because Galt is not an American. He owes no loyalty to this country. His loyalty is to his own bottom line, his own wealth. And he is a citizen of the world.

And the question ...

    26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:26
... will be answered quite simply – It’s hugely profitable. And we’ll give everything toward its end.

Everything we have.

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

1/31/2010

Maybe Cliff Does Know a Thing or Two After All ...


This isn’t the Democratic party of our fathers and grandfathers. This is the party of Woodstock hippies. I was at Woodstock – I built the stage. And when everything fell apart, and people were fighting for peanut-butter sandwiches, it was the National Guard who came in and saved the same people who were protesting them. So when Hillary Clinton a few years ago wanted to build a Woodstock memorial, I said it should be a statue of a National Guardsman feeding a crying hippie ... actor John Ratzenberger

1/25/2010

Never Waste a Good Crisis


The devious tenets contained in Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals' have once again made an appearance in the strategies of the Obama administration. The administration has sunk to a new low -- a depth to which even I had not envisioned them capable of falling.

Early last week, after seeing the First Lady on television asking us all to donate to Haiti relief, I logged onto the White House website to investigate how the administration is handling fundraising for the earthquake victims.

In the upper righthand portion of the site is a big red-and-white 'Help for Haiti -- Learn What You Can Do' icon. You can't miss it. I followed the link and decided to make a small donation, not because I wanted to do so through the White House (we already made an early donation through the Salvation Army), but because I wanted to see whether there would be 'political (e-mail) ramifications' as a result of doing so. Would even this administration really be so crass as to take political advantage of the unprecedented tragedy in Haiti?

I received my answer this morning, less than a week after I made my donation to Haiti relief.
___________________________


Rick and Joan --

On Wednesday evening, President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address. It comes at a critical moment.

We must regroup, refocus, and re-engage on the vital work ahead. So let's watch it together at a State of the Union Watch Party in your neighborhood.


We've hit some serious bumps in the road recently in our march toward change. We always knew it would be difficult, but this past week has definitely been a hard one, for all of us.

But this movement didn't come so far without making it through some challenging times. It's at moments like these when we need you most. People are hurting. Our country is at a crossroads, and in communities like yours all across America we must all fight for the progress our families and businesses need to thrive.

The President's resolve has never been stronger to keep fighting for health insurance reform, for lasting job creation, and to rein in the big banks and fight the undue influence of lobbyists. Wednesday's speech will be a pivotal moment for us all to get on the same page and continue the fight together.

In just two days, OFA supporters like you will be gathering at State of the Union Watch Parties in living rooms and community centers across the country. You can share ideas and experiences -- and I'll be joining on the phone for a special strategy huddle before the speech.

Find and RSVP for a State of the Union Watch Party near you:

http://my.barackobama.com/AttendSOTU

I hope you can join us,

David Plouffe

P.S. -- Volunteers have set up hundreds of Watch Parties over the last few days. But if there isn't one yet near you, just sign up to host one yourself. It's easy and fun, local OFA organizers will help you with any questions you have, and it's an incredibly important way to let supporters near you be part of the action:

http://my.barackobama.com/HostSOTUM

~ joanie

1/19/2010

Dare We Hope That Massachusetts
Will Inspire Us Again?


Today, January 19, 2010, has the potential to be a watershed event in the history of our republic. The Massachusetts senate seat that has been occupied, with an iron-fisted grip, by ultra-leftist Ted Kennedy for nearly a half century is now presenting the very real possibility of being occupied by a Republican. And the government-controlled healthcare system for which Ted Kennedy crusaded for decades is in real danger of extinction as a result.

Don’t allow the mainstream media pundits to tell you that this election is anything short of a national referendum, in mocrocosm, on the first 365 days of the Obama administration – and the concept of nationalized healthcare, in particular.

Despite the voter fraud and corruption surely being perpetrated in the Bay State today by the likes of ACORN et al, if Scott Brown succeeds in winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, we all need to prepare for unconstitutional machinations the likes of which we have not yet witnessed. And, considering the recent manner in which the Consitution has been declared increasingly irrelevant (even a nuisance), that’s saying a lot.

Perhaps Brown’s certification of election will be delayed until a vote on ‘healthcare reform’ can be streamrolled through the Senate. Perhaps his swearing in will be delayed on a technicality. Perhaps a bill in which the House and Senate versions of the bill are successfully merged will be deemed unnecessary, and a vote on one or the other will be declared urgent and of immediate importance. Whatever the corrupt machinations involved, the push for immediate government healthcare will not die.

Should Brown lose this election, we all need to ask ourselves whether voter fraud was the cause of his loss. Should he win, we need to buckle our seat belts. The Marxists who are seeking to exercise tyrannical power over 1/6 of our nation’s GDP, and who want to declare meaningless the most personal individual liberites guaranteed us by our Founders -- choices regarding how we determine our health and wellness, and life and death -- will not allow Scott Brown’s crucial vote to make a difference in their evil march toward the destruction of the finest healthcare system in the history of mankind.

They have not finished villifying American physicans and healthcare/insurance providers. They have not finished demonizing the free market nature of America’s healthcare system. They have not finished their attempts to pit one American against another. They have not finished pandering to the special interest groups that promise to keep them in power until the next millennium. They have not finished portraying themselves as super-human humanitarians whose agenda seeks only to make life better for us all, and whose intellect and altruism destines them to make our decisions for us, for our own betterment. They have not finished designing the gargantuan, irrevocable bureaucracy that will render all of our freedoms null and void. And they will not rest until they do. Roadblocks will not be tolerated.

Below is a brief synopsis of the most egregious portions of the original House healthcare bill (HR 3200). It is all but impossible to analyze the House and Senate bills that have emerged since, because they have been both authored and ‘debated’ (loose use of the term) behind closed doors. But rest assured: Most of what was in HR 3200 is either still intact, or there exists sufficient wiggle room in the more recent bills to allow the re-insertion of what may have been (temporarily) deleted.

If you believe that some or most of the conclusions drawn below, in the excerpts from HR 3200, are a stretch, then simply consider this:

Our Founders spent an enormous amount of their precious time drafting the most magnificent blueprint for governance ever devised by the mind of man. They sought, above all else, to dot every i and cross every t, and to envision any future circumstance that would misinterpret, or mis-use, their words in order to erode their original intent – the most crucial of which was to limit the power of government, and thus maximize the individual freedom of every American citizen to live life as he sees fit.

Yet, despite our Founders’ unprecedented brilliance and foresight, the U.S. Constitution has been blatantly violated, time and again, over the past 365 days (not to mention during previous administrations, although to a lesser concentrated degree), through the government takeover of the auto industry, the banking industry, etc. ... and generalized government intrusion into American business, the free-market system, and virtually every individual liberty that the American citizen has been ensured by our founding documents.

When original-intent aspects of the Constitution (such as the much-maligned and deformed general welfare and commerce clauses) can be re-shaped so as to use them as an unwitting tool in a blatantly corrupt effort to increase government power, how much more will this ‘healthcare reform’ legislation open the door to such unconstitutional abuse of power? The contents of the most recent House and Senate bills have been kept under wraps. And the wording of the original bill (summarized in part below) is so vague as to allow for countless interpretations. To call the passage of anything resembling what now passes for a ‘healthcare reform’ bill a Pandora’s box would be the understatement of the century.

Below is a brief re-visit to some of the contents of HR 3200 (thanks to our friend, 'Barry Up The Road', for the steer to the video). Should Congress succeed in passing any form of ‘healthcare reform’, we can count on most, or all, of this eventually becoming law. The left will settle for nothing less.

Government will audit the books of all employers who self insure. (p.22)

We can only receive so much ‘care’ per year: $5,000 per individual, $10,000 per family. (p. 29, lines 4-16)

A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits we receive. (p. 30, sec. 123)

The Healthcare Commissioner will choose our healthcare benefits for us. (p. 42)

Healthcare will be provided to all non-U.S. citizens, illegal or otherwise. (p.50, sec. 152)

Government will have real-time access to our finances, and a National Health I.D. card will be issued. (p. 58)

Government will have direct access to our bank accounts for elective funds transfers. (p. 59, lines 21-24)

There is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in unions and community organizations such as ACORN. (p. 65, sec. 164)

Government will create a healthcare exchange to bring private healthcare plans under government control. (p. 72, lines 8-14)

Government will mandate all benefits packages for private healthcare plans in the exchange. (p. 84, sec. 203)

Government will mandate linguistic appropriate services – translations for illegal aliens. (p. 91, lines 4-7)

Government will use groups, such as ACORN and Americorps, to sign up individuals for government healthcare plan. (p. 95, lines 8-18)

Medicaid eligible individuals will automatically be enrolled in Medicaid. We will have no choice. (p. 102, lines 12-18)

No company will be able to sue the government for price fixing, and there will be no judicial review against a government healthcare monopoly. (p. 124, lines 24-25)

Employers must pay for healthcare for part time employees and their families. (p. 126, lines 22-25)

Government will tell doctors and the AMA how much money physicians can make. (p. 127, lines 1-16)

All employers must automatically enroll all new employees into the government plan. (p. 145, lines 15-17)

An employer with a payroll of $400,000 and above who does not provide the government option will pay an 8% tax on all payroll. (p. 149, lines 16-24)

An employer with a payroll of $250,000 to $400,000 who does not provide the government option will pay a 2% to 6% tax on all payroll. (p. 150, lines 9-13)

Any individual who does not have acceptable healthcare coverage, as defined by the government, will be taxed 2.5%. (p. 167)

The abovementioned tax will not be levied on non-resident aliens. (p. 170, lines 1-3)

Officers and employees of the Government Healthcare Administration will have access to all Americans’ personal and financial records. (p. 195)

This section reads ‘The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as a tax.’ (p. 203, lines 14-15)

Government will reduce physician services for Medicaid. (p. 239, lines 14-24)

All doctors, no matter what specialty, will be paid the same. (p. 241, lines 6-8)

Government will set the value of doctors’ time and professional judgments. (p. 253, lines 10-18)

Government will mandate and control productivity for private healthcare industries. (p. 265, sec 1131)

Government will regulate rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs. (p. 268, sec 1141)

This section regards treatment of certain cancer hospitals, and would result in cancer treatment rationing. (p. 272, sec. 1145)

Government will penalize hospitals for what it deems ‘preventable re-admissions’. (p. 280, sec. 1151)

Government will tell doctors what and how much they can own. (p. 317, lines 13-20)

Government will mandate whether hospitals can or cannot expand. (p. 317-318, lines 21-25, 1-3)

Hospitals will have the opportunity to apply for an exception to the above, but community input is required. (p. 321, lines 2-13)

Government will mandate establishment of ‘outcome-based’ measures. (p. 335, lines 15-25; and p. 336-339)

Government will have the authority to disqualify medical plans, HMOs, etc., forcing all into the government plan. (p. 341, lines 3-9)

Government will restrict enrollment of ‘special needs’ individuals. (p. 354, sec. 1177)

Mandates the creation of a government Tele-Health Advisory Committee. (p. 379, sec. 1191)

Government will mandate ‘advanced care planning consultation’. Seniors will be interviewed every year and decisions will be made as to what care they can and cannot receive. (p. 425, lines 4-12)

Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills and durable powers of attorney. This instruction and consultation will be mandatory. (p. 425, lines 17-19)

Government will provide an approved list of ‘end-of-life resources’. (p. 425, lines 22-25; and p. 426, lines 1-3)

Government will mandate orders for end of life, giving the government a say in how your life ends. (p. 427, lines 15-24)

An ‘advanced care planning consultation’ will be used frequently as a patient’s health deteriorates. (p. 429, lines 1-9)

‘Advanced care consultation’ may include an order for end-of-life plans. (p. 429, lines 10-12)

Government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order. (p. 429, lines 13-25)

Government will decide what level of treatment we will have at end-of-life. (p. 430, lines 11-15)

There will be community-based home medical services, run by organizations such as ACORN. (p. 469)

There will be one monthly payment to such community-based organizations. (p. 472, lines 14-17)

Government will cover marriage and family therapy. (p. 489, section 1308)

Government will cover mental health services including defining, creating and rationing those services. (p. 494-498)

God bless Scott Brown. May he win a decisive victory in today's Massachusetts senate race. And may the days that lie ahead prove to be a turning point in America’s sad journey toward complete government tyranny, and her inevitable tragic devolution into a third-world status. Should Scott Brown not be victorious, may his defeat have occurred fairly, and may his opponent's victory be a genuine reflection of the will of the voters of Massachusetts.

~ joanie