Sunday, June 28, 2015

Freedom of Worship vs. Freedom of Religion

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Notice the word used in First Amendment - religion. The government is barred from establishing an official religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.  The amendment protects Freedom of Religion.This is very different - a much broader and Higher concept - than mere freedom of worship.

Freedom of Religion is the right to worship (or not) as you please, AND it is the right to live your life according to the dictates of your religion. Freedom of Religion means you have the right to pray and worship in any style you wish. It also means that you have the right to live your entire life according to the beliefs, principles, and teachings of your religion.

Freedom of Worship is a much watered-down concept, applying to only your worship and not to any other aspect of your life. It is limited to acts of worship only, and even then is further limited to the four corners of the church building and maybe the privacy of your home.

Let's make this simple: Freedom of Religion guarantees that government cannot force a Christian baker to make a cake for a gay wedding. On the other hand, forcing a Christian baker to make a cake for a gay wedding does not violate the baker's freedom of worship, so the government is free to force the baker to do so.

Under Freedom of Religion, Christian parents (or Jewish, or Hindu, or whoever) are guaranteed the freedom to teach their religion, including its values and beliefs, to their children. This is not guaranteed under freedom of worship, because the act of teaching those values and beliefs is not considered an actual act of worship by the State. Under the concept of freedom of worship, the State is permitted to dictate what can or cannot be taught to your children.

Given the recent SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, this difference between freedom of worship and Freedom of Religion looms very large. Under freedom of worship, the State may dictate to parents that you are no longer allowed to teach your children that homosexuality is a sin. Such a dictate would be a violation of the much broader and Higher concept of Freedom of Religion, but does not violate freedom of worship because the State does not consider the act of teaching to be a protected act of worship.

Needless to say, this difference has ramifications in many areas of life, not just the teaching of your children. 

You might be thinking that this is all theory, that the government will not try to water-down Freedom of Religion into freedom of worship. Actually, it already has literally replaced the concept of Freedom of Religion with freedom of worship. On example is on the US Citizenship test, where the phrase "freedom of worship" is now used instead of "Freedom of Religion" (see the articles New U.S. Citizenship Exam Shreds 1st Amendment and Watering Down Religious Freedom to ‘Freedom to Worship’).

It should also be noted that the First Amendment does not GIVE us Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion is a Natural Right that is given to us from the Creator of All (you may know Him as God). Therefore, Freedom of Religion is a Higher Law (higher than any man-made law, including the US Constitution) and thereby cannot be either given or taken away by any form or law of government. The First Amendment only guarantees, in writing, the intentions of our Founders for the new federal government to respect and obey the Higher Law of Freedom of Religion.

Freedom of Religion is greater than freedom of worship. To hear anyone, especially a politician or bureaucrats, speak of freedom of worship instead of Freedom of Religion should send chills down the back of any religious person. Freedom of worship is a direct assault on our Freedom of Religion. Insist that our government and its politicians respect the Higher Law of Freedom of Religion. Do not let them water it down to mere freedom of worship.

Please help teach others about this incredibly important topic. Talk to you priest, pastor, or rabbi about Freedom of Religion vs. freedom of worship and make sure they are fully aware of why it is important. If you are part of a bible study or prayer group, bring up this topic for discussion. Likewise, make sure your children are fully aware of this topic (they are likely being taught only freedom of worship in school). Lastly, make sure your elected officials understand the difference and respect the importance of Freedom of Religion.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tool Tip: Magnetic Wristband

My Magnetic Wristband
That awkward moment where you are holding a hammer in one hand, while bracing the object to be nailed with the other, hanging onto a ladder with your third hand, all the while trying to hold several nails between your lips...

Unfortunately we don't actually have three hands, and it is quite difficult to get only one nail out from between our lips without letting them all fall out. Besides, nails taste bad. But we have all had those awkward moments. For those moments, a magnetic wristband comes in very handy. I've had mine for a couple of years, and it works very well to hold loose nails, screws, bolts, nuts, tacks or other small metal objects, while leaving your hands, and lips, free to do other things.

Its a simple idea really: a band, containing really strong magnets, that wraps around your wrist, closing with Velcro, thus giving you somewhere more convenient than your mouth for holding your nails and screws. 

I own the MagnoGrip 311-090 Magnetic Wristband (click the link to order from Amazon). The magnets firmly hold metal nails and screws of any size, since they are the very strong rare-Earth metal magnets, not the cheap and weak  refrigerator type of magnet. The wristband material itself is a very durable ballistic polyester. This is a high-quality item, and one that I use often.  

 I believe there are a few other brands available, but I have no experience with them and cannot vouch for their quality.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Steps to prepare for high inflation and economic chaos

How can you prepare for an extended period of high inflation, economic chaos, and shortages of various commodities and consumer goods?

1- Get your finances in order. Reduce your living expenses as much as possible. If you are in debt, try to pay it off. Refinance larger debt (such as mortgages) into low fixed rate loans if possible. Look for ways to increase your income.


2- Stock up on canned & dry foods, water, medicine, soap, toothpaste, first aid supplies, matches, firewood, shoes, clothing, and any other necessities you might need that will store for at least a year without spoiling. Consider buying your next set of tires now.


3- Raise a portion of your own food by planting a garden. Consider planting fruit & nut trees and berry bushes if you have the room. If you live in an apartment or condo, consider participating in a nearby community garden (or starting one).




4- Make improvements to your home’s energy efficiency
to reduce the impact of high energy inflation.

More Details: Saving Energy

5- Take steps to improve your vehicle’s mileage to reduce the impact of rising gasoline prices. Consider trading to a more fuel efficient vehicle.


6- Take care of your health so that you are less likely to need expensive medical treatment.


7- Consider becoming a farmer. There is a lack of farmers in our country and agriculture is likely to be the hot industry over the next few decades. Even if you don't become a farmer, try to grow/raise at least some of your own food (see # 3 above).


8- Think about your and your family’s personal security. Crime and even civil unrest are likely to increase. Take steps now to protect yourself and your family. Pay close attention to preventing identity theft.



9- Investing in gold, silver and other commodities could be quite profitable during a period of very high inflation. Gold & silver investing should be on your “to do” list, but it should be near the bottom after you’ve taken care of other fundamental areas first. Remember, wealth is not wealth if you owe it to someone else.


10- Take steps to protect your current job, and to prepare to quickly find your next job.



The single most important thing you can do now to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life.


I own and recommend "Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook" by Peggy Layton. I have previously written a book review, which you can read by clicking here.
 






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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address (1801)


Friends and Fellow-Citizens:

Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye--when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue, and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly, indeed, should I despair did not the presence of many whom I here see remind me that in the other high authorities provided by our Constitution I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal on which to rely under all difficulties. To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter--with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens--a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people--a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

I repair, then, fellow-citizens, to the post you have assigned me. With experience enough in subordinate offices to have seen the difficulties of this the greatest of all, I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it. Without pretensions to that high confidence you reposed in our first and greatest revolutionary character, whose preeminent services had entitled him to the first place in his country's love and destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence only as may give firmness and effect to the legal administration of your affairs. I shall often go wrong through defect of judgment. When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional, and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts. The approbation implied by your suffrage is a great consolation to me for the past, and my future solicitude will be to retain the good opinion of those who have bestowed it in advance, to conciliate that of others by doing them all the good in my power, and to be instrumental to the happiness and freedom of all.

Relying, then, on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible how much better choice it is in your power to make. And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity. 


Return to the main page of the #HistoryHub.

John Adams - Inaugural address of 1797

When it was first perceived, in early times, that no middle course for America remained between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and a total independence of its claims, men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable power of fleets and armies they must determine to resist than from those contests and dissensions which would certainly arise concerning the forms of government to be instituted over the whole and over the parts of this extensive country. Relying, however, on the purity of their intentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelligence of the people, under an overruling Providence which had so signally protected this country from the first, the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present number, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging and the rod of iron that was lifted up, but frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.

The zeal and ardor of the people during the Revolutionary war, supplying the place of government, commanded a degree of order sufficient at least for the temporary preservation of society. The Confederation which was early felt to be necessary was prepared from the models of the Batavian and Helvetic confederacies, the only examples which remain with any detail and precision in history, and certainly the only ones which the people at large had ever considered. But reflecting on the striking difference in so many particulars between this country and those where a courier may go from the seat of government to the frontier in a single day, it was then certainly foreseen by some who assisted in Congress at the formation of it that it could not be durable.

Negligence of its regulations, inattention to its recommendations, if not disobedience to its authority, not only in individuals but in States, soon appeared with their melancholy consequences--universal languor, jealousies and rivalries of States, decline of navigation and commerce, discouragement of necessary manufactures, universal fall in the value of lands and their produce, contempt of public and private faith, loss of consideration and credit with foreign nations, and at length in discontents, animosities, combinations, partial conventions, and insurrection, threatening some great national calamity.

In this dangerous crisis the people of America were not abandoned by their usual good sense, presence of mind, resolution, or integrity. Measures were pursued to concert a plan to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. The public disquisitions, discussions, and deliberations issued in the present happy Constitution of Government.

Employed in the service of my country abroad during the whole course of these transactions, I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads prompted by good hearts, as an experiment better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations of this nation and country than any which had ever been proposed or suggested. In its general principles and great outlines it was conformable to such a system of government as I had ever most esteemed, and in some States, my own native State in particular, had contributed to establish. Claiming a right of suffrage, in common with my fellow-citizens, in the adoption or rejection of a constitution which was to rule me and my posterity, as well as them and theirs, I did not hesitate to express my approbation of it on all occasions, in public and in private. It was not then, nor has been since, any objection to it in my mind that the Executive and Senate were not more permanent. Nor have I ever entertained a thought of promoting any alteration in it but such as the people themselves, in the course of their experience, should see and feel to be necessary or expedient, and by their representatives in Congress and the State legislatures, according to the Constitution itself, adopt and ordain.

Returning to the bosom of my country after a painful separation from it for ten years, I had the honor to be elected to a station under the new order of things, and I have repeatedly laid myself under the most serious obligations to support the Constitution. The operation of it has equaled the most sanguine expectations of its friends, and from an habitual attention to it, satisfaction in its administration, and delight in its effects upon the peace, order, prosperity, and happiness of the nation I have acquired an habitual attachment to it and veneration for it.

What other form of government, indeed, can so well deserve our esteem and love?

There may be little solidity in an ancient idea that congregations of men into cities and nations are the most pleasing objects in the sight of superior intelligences, but this is very certain, that to a benevolent human mind there can be no spectacle presented by any nation more pleasing, more noble, majestic, or august, than an assembly like that which has so often been seen in this and the other Chamber of Congress, of a Government in which the Executive authority, as well as that of all the branches of the Legislature, are exercised by citizens selected at regular periods by their neighbors to make and execute laws for the general good. Can anything essential, anything more than mere ornament and decoration, be added to this by robes and diamonds? Can authority be more amiable and respectable when it descends from accidents or institutions established in remote antiquity than when it springs fresh from the hearts and judgments of an honest and enlightened people? For it is the people only that are represented. It is their power and majesty that is reflected, and only for their good, in every legitimate government, under whatever form it may appear. The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object or consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.

In the midst of these pleasing ideas we should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections. If an election is to be determined by a majority of a single vote, and that can be procured by a party through artifice or corruption, the Government may be the choice of a party for its own ends, not of the nation for the national good. If that solitary suffrage can be obtained by foreign nations by flattery or menaces, by fraud or violence, by terror, intrigue, or venality, the Government may not be the choice of the American people, but of foreign nations. It may be foreign nations who govern us, and not we, the people, who govern ourselves; and candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.

Such is the amiable and interesting system of government (and such are some of the abuses to which it may be exposed) which the people of America have exhibited to the admiration and anxiety of the wise and virtuous of all nations for eight years under the administration of a citizen who, by a long course of great actions, regulated by prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, conducting a people inspired with the same virtues and animated with the same ardent patriotism and love of liberty to independence and peace, to increasing wealth and unexampled prosperity, has merited the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, commanded the highest praises of foreign nations, and secured immortal glory with posterity.

In that retirement which is his voluntary choice may he long live to enjoy the delicious recollection of his services, the gratitude of mankind, the happy fruits of them to himself and the world, which are daily increasing, and that splendid prospect of the future fortunes of this country which is opening from year to year. His name may be still a rampart, and the knowledge that he lives a bulwark, against all open or secret enemies of his country's peace. This example has been recommended to the imitation of his successors by both Houses of Congress and by the voice of the legislatures and the people throughout the nation.

On this subject it might become me better to be silent or to speak with diffidence; but as something may be expected, the occasion, I hope, will be admitted as an apology if I venture to say that if a preference, upon principle, of a free republican government, formed upon long and serious reflection, after a diligent and impartial inquiry after truth; if an attachment to the Constitution of the United States, and a conscientious determination to support it until it shall be altered by the judgments and wishes of the people, expressed in the mode prescribed in it; if a respectful attention to the constitutions of the individual States and a constant caution and delicacy toward the State governments; if an equal and impartial regard to the rights, interest, honor, and happiness of all the States in the Union, without preference or regard to a northern or southern, an eastern or western, position, their various political opinions on unessential points or their personal attachments; if a love of virtuous men of all parties and denominations; if a love of science and letters and a wish to patronize every rational effort to encourage schools, colleges, universities, academies, and every institution for propagating knowledge, virtue, and religion among all classes of the people, not only for their benign influence on the happiness of life in all its stages and classes, and of society in all its forms, but as the only means of preserving our Constitution from its natural enemies, the spirit of sophistry, the spirit of party, the spirit of intrigue, the profligacy of corruption, and the pestilence of foreign influence, which is the angel of destruction to elective governments; if a love of equal laws, of justice, and humanity in the interior administration; if an inclination to improve agriculture, commerce, and manufacturers for necessity, convenience, and defense; if a spirit of equity and humanity toward the aboriginal nations of America, and a disposition to meliorate their condition by inclining them to be more friendly to us, and our citizens to be more friendly to them; if an inflexible determination to maintain peace and inviolable faith with all nations, and that system of neutrality and impartiality among the belligerent powers of Europe which has been adopted by this Government and so solemnly sanctioned by both Houses of Congress and applauded by the legislatures of the States and the public opinion, until it shall be otherwise ordained by Congress; if a personal esteem for the French nation, formed in a residence of seven years chiefly among them, and a sincere desire to preserve the friendship which has been so much for the honor and interest of both nations; if, while the conscious honor and integrity of the people of America and the internal sentiment of their own power and energies must be preserved, an earnest endeavor to investigate every just cause and remove every colorable pretense of complaint; if an intention to pursue by amicable negotiation a reparation for the injuries that have been committed on the commerce of our fellow-citizens by whatever nation, and if success can not be obtained, to lay the facts before the Legislature, that they may consider what further measures the honor and interest of the Government and its constituents demand; if a resolution to do justice as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world; if an unshaken confidence in the honor, spirit, and resources of the American people, on which I have so often hazarded my all and never been deceived; if elevated ideas of the high destinies of this country and of my own duties toward it, founded on a knowledge of the moral principles and intellectual improvements of the people deeply engraven on my mind in early life, and not obscured but exalted by experience and age; and, with humble reverence, I feel it to be my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.

With this great example before me, with the sense and spirit, the faith and honor, the duty and interest, of the same American people pledged to support the Constitution of the United States, I entertain no doubt of its continuance in all its energy, and my mind is prepared without hesitation to lay myself under the most solemn obligations to support it to the utmost of my power.

And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence. 


Return to the main page of #HistoryHub.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Six-point Plan for Taking Back America


This article isn't about bemoaning the current state of affairs, or trying to explain how the Fall of America came about. Instead, it is a six-point plan for taking America back, restoring the freedoms and opportunities for which our Founders fought so hard.

Six-point Plan for Taking Back America

1-  Provide a Positive and Compelling Vision.

The first thing that we must do is to provide a positive and compelling vision for the America we wish to restore.  This step is needed because progressives have been very successful in convincing the masses that America is a land of oppression, that capitalism is corrupt and unfair, that private property equals greed, that freedom leads to injustice, and that traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs, values, and ethics are outdated, dangerous, and hateful. We must counter this false vision.

We have to explain to people the greatness of America, the brilliance of our Founding Documents, the superiority (yes, I said superiority) of traditional Western civilization, the need for Judeo-Christian ethics and traditional values. We must also defend free-market Capitalism, not just as the most effective economic system, but also as the ONLY moral economic system.

In America: Imagine a World without Her Dinesh D'Souza offers a passionate and sharply reasoned defense of America, knocking down every important accusation made by Progressives against our country.

In Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy Father Robert Sirico shows that a free economy actually promotes charity, selflessness, and kindness. He shows why free-market capitalism is not only the best way to ensure individual success and national prosperity, but is also the surest route to a moral and socially–just society. Additionally, he explains why we can’t have freedom without a free economy, and why charity works and welfare doesn't.


2 - Promote Self-Reliance

The more self-reliant we are as individuals, families, and communities, the less need we will have for government, and the less power the Elites will have over our lives. This is obvious to the progressives, which is why they have focused so much effort on attacking the concept of self-reliance (labeling it too hard, unrealistic, unfair, and selfish). They want us as dependent on government, and them, as possible. This is why the prepper community and the preparedness mindset is so important.

Want more information on self-reliance? Check out these articles of mine:





3 - Learn/Teach Real History, Real Economics, Real Civics...

Public education has been built for decades around twisted history, economics, and civics. Our Founders are largely ignored, except to point out their racism. The Constitution is presented as an outdated document, that must be reinterpreted for modern times. Capitalism is bashed as unfair and unjust, while communism, socialism, and Maoism are openly admired. Political correctness is in full control, as free speech is limited to a few small zones, if it is allowed at all.

We are not taught real history, economics, and civics. Therefore, we must teach it to ourselves, our families, and communities. Regaining this knowledge will better enable us to understand current events, Here are some resources to get you started:

#HistoryHub - A collection of the texts of various historical documents, speeches, and other primary resources, as well as additional history articles, history book reviews, etc.

Hillsdale College - A private, independent college (send your kids!) that is known for strongly promoting Constitutional-literacy and traditional Western heritage. It also offers a variety of free online courses for the public on the Constitution, history, economics, and Western Heritage. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter, Imprimis, which contains highly informative interviews each month.

Constituting America - A wonderful organization who "mission is to utilize the culture and multi-media outreach such as music, film, internet, and social media to reach, educate and inform America's adults and students about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the foundation it sets forth regarding our freedoms and rights." 

Economic Literacy Resources - A list of books and websites that provide a pro-Capitalism perspective. 


4- Pay Attention To the News and Speak Out

The progressives are firmly in control of the main stream media. At best, they play up news stories that fit their ideology, and they ignore stories that don't fit their ideology. At worst, they distort and even lie to push an agenda. Add to that sorry state of affairs the fact that most Americans today lack the mental framework (see point 3, above) to understand what is going on in the world today, even if they wanted to (in reality, most folks are too distracted to care about staying informed).

Pay close attention to the news. Follow a number of news sources, both mainstream and alternative, domestic and international. Don't just follow those news sources you find comfortable, but rather follow a large variety. Use common sense and reason in analyzing current events. Develop a mental framework (learn Real History, Economics, and Civics) to put the news into context.

Next, speak out. Tell your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and fellow church-members what is really going on, and why it is important. Don't be afraid to speak out to our elected officials and let them you know what is really going on...


5- Get Out of the System

Don't participate in the Fall of America. Get out of Babylon! Get out of the system. Don't feed the Beast. Go Galt! Be in the world, but not of the world.

You need to do this to protect yourself and your family, so that you can survive the coming collapse (make no mistake - the new system that is being established by the Elites and progressives is unsustainable and will ultimately collapse). By getting out of the system, you also will be denying them resources, opportunities, and influences they need. But how can you get out of the system? Here are some ideas to choose from:
  • Get prepared for the worst that may happen (see my article A quick, no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End).
  • Set up an off-grid homestead (or at least as off-grid as possible) in an out-of-the-way location.
  • Get you finances in order (see my article Prepping 101: Finances - Get Back to Basics).
  • Stop using credit cards and get out of debt. Separate yourself from the doomed financial system).
  • Simply your lifestyle and reduce your spending. Separate yourself from the system of rabid consummerism.
  • Cancel your cable or satellite TV. Separate yourself from our corrupt pop culture.
  • Homeschool your children, or at least send them to a good private or parochial school. Separate your family from the failed public school system.
  • Take care of your health. Learn about herbal and alternative medicine. Separate yourself from the failing healthcare system.     

6- Return to God/ Judeo-Christian Worldview

America was founded on Judeo-Christian ethics, values, and beliefs. A strong work ethic, the dignity of human life, traditional families, honesty, and common decency are absolutely necessary for a free society to truly function and survive.       

"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time: They therefore who are decrying the Christian religion... are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." --Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence 

"The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved Independence were the general principles of Christianity... Those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God." --John Adams, Founding Father and Second President

How do we do this? How do we get America to return to God?  First, start with yourself. Pray. Read the Bible. Start attending Church on a regular basis. Put God first in your life. Live life according to the Scriptures.  Be the man or woman that God wants you to be.

Next, lead your family and friends to God by your example and your words. Teach your kids to pray. Pray with your spouse. Have a weekly Bible study with your best friend. Invite your neighbors, friends, and co-workers to Church.

Finally, stand up for God. Don't be afraid of being publicly known as a Christian. Learn how to answer the questions non-believers have.  Learn how to answer the accusations of atheists.


Exposing Myths About Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends, by Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell, exposes and rebuts many of the misconceptions, distortions, and outright lies about Christianity told by atheists and others.






In What's So Great about Christianity, Dinesh D'Souza answers the anti-God arguments of prominent atheists and defeats them on their own terms. He provides believers with a tool kit for meeting the challenge from modern atheism and secularism; and for nonbelievers, he offers a compelling apologetic that will challenge their assumptions and affirm that there really is something great about Christianity.




Final Thoughts

It took a century for the progressives to destroy America. Don't expect to take back America in a few months, or even a few years. This will be a mufti-generational effort. 

I think a collapse of the current system that the progressives have established will - must - collapse under its own weight. It is simply unsustainable in the long run. When will it collapse? I don't know. Soon, I think. Months. Maybe a few years at most. Definitely within my lifetime. We need to be ready to survive the collapse, so that we can help rebuild a new America on the blueprint our Founders gave us. If we do this, America will be restored to its former greatness. If we don't, our freedom will be lost forever.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tool Tip: 4-Way Sillcock Key


Here is a quick tool tip. Get yourself one or two 4-Way Sillcock Keys (they are only about $6 or so). Put one in your bug-out or survival bag and toss the other into the glove box of your vehicle. These  could prove invaluable

Most preppers may already know about sillcock keys, but many of those new to preparedness may not. Sillcock keys are used to open outside water spigots on commercial buildings, at golf courses, and some farms. These outside faucets don't have handles in order to prevent vandals from causing mischief by turning on and wasting the water. Having a sillcock key will give you access to these water sources.

Please note that the design of these spigots prevents using adjustable wrenches or needle-nose pliers to open them. You MUST have a sillcock key to access the water. Here is the Amazon link to the one I own (good quality):  http://amzn.to/1QsJ7uB 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Brown Rice Experiment

How long does brown rice really keep? 

It is common knowledge among folks in the preparedness community that brown rice doesn't store as long as white rice, due to small amounts of oils in the bran layer. Stored properly, white rice can last up to 30 or longer, making it a wonderful food for long-term storage. But, how long does down rice store before it goes bad?

Turns out, that is not an easy answer to get. The "best by" dates on the bags I checked at the store were all about one year out. Looking at a variety of other sources, I found suggestions of as little as three months, to as long as "2+ years if properly stored." So, how long does brown rice store before going bad? I recently had a chance to do a brown rice experiment...

The Brown Rice Experiment

A few weeks ago, I found in my kitchen cabinet a two-pound bag of brown rice that had fallen behind some can goods and was forgotten. Since I always mark my groceries with the month & year purchased (so I can keep my food rotated), I could tell that I bought the bag two years and four months ago. It was time for an experiment.

The brown rice was still in the same bag in which it was originally packaged. I had done nothing special to preserve it, other than sticking it unopened in a kitchen cabinet. When I took it out of the cabinet 2 years and 4 months later, it looked okay - no mold, no insects, no noticeable discoloration. Upon opening the bag, there was no unusual odor. A closer examination of the brown rice grains again showed no signs of mold or insects, and the rice seemed to have the same texture and "feel" as fresh brown rice (in other words, it was not unusually oily).

After that examination, I decided to cook the brown rice for supper. It looked and smelled okay as I was cooking it, and it tasted okay as I was eating it. Two other people also ate full servings of the brown rice. All three of us agreed it tasted just like regular brown rice, and none of us died, got sick, or suffered any ill effects. Two of us even had the left over rice for lunch the next day - again, without any ill effect.

Based on my Brown Rice Experiment, I think that brown rice may be stored safely for longer than those estimates of only a few months. I seriously doubt it could last as long as white rice does, but since the experiment revealed no ill effects after 2 years, 4 months, I think a estimate of 2½ years is reasonable.

How To Know When Rice Has Gone Bad

Rice Weevils - image by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org
Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org
Signs of mold or insects is an obvious give away that the rice (brown or white) should not be consumed. A very small, reddish-brown beetle called the Rice Weevil, is a major rice pest to watch out for.

Other signs that brown rice may have gone bad can be found by examining its texture and odor. Brown rice that has gone bad will be very oily to the touch, and have a strong, rancid odor.

There are legitimate safety concerns with long term food storage. You do not want to eat spoiled food. The real answer to "How long will brown rice (or any food) store?" is "until it goes bad." Do not eat spoiled food, even if it has not yet reached its expected storage life span. How can you tell if food has gone bad? Here are some clues:
  • The can, bag, or container is leaking, cracked, or bulging.
  • The can has a considerable amount of rust (may have small holes allowing germs to enter).
  • There are signs of insects or mold.
  • The food is badly discolored or "smells funny".
  • The texture of the food is wrong.
  • The food tastes bad, wrong, or odd.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tool Tip: Mini Sledge Hammer


Here is a quick tip for preppers, homesteaders, and other folks striving for self-reliance: Get yourself a 2.5 lb mini sledge hammer. For me, as a prepper and suburban homesteader, the mini sledge hammer has proven a number of times to be an extremely useful tool.

I was reminded this past weekend about the usefulness of this particular tool, as I used it to quickly and easily drive 18 tomato stakes and 24 pepper stakes into my garden. The mini sledge hammer was heavy and solid enough to do the job, while being small enough and light enough to be wielded with some agility and without too much effort. In the past I've used both regular hammers (too light to do the job well) and full-sized sledge hammers (so heavy and big as to be difficult to use and very tiring) to drive stakes into my gardens. The mini sledge hammer is perfect for the job.

I've also used my mini sledge hammer for tearing apart pallets and wood boxes, with lots of success. I suppose it could also be pressed into use as an improvised weapon if needed!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Prepping 101: Finances - Get Back to Basics

One of the foundations of self-reliance is sound financial management. It is an area of self-reliance often overlooked. It can be a complex issue. It requires discipline. Some people find the topic of money to be uncomfortable, even crass. Regardless of the excuses, anyone seeking self-reliance will have to deal with their personal finances at some point. This article provides a starting point to help folks take control of their personal finances.
 
During times of change, uncertainty, and chaos, one of the safest and most effective financial strategies is to simply "get back to basics" - to do all those things we probably know we should be doing anyway, but which are so easy to get away from during the good times. But, what exactly are the basics? And how do we get back to them?

Ponder this: Your family's income is suddenly cut in half, permanently. What changes in lifestyle will your family have to make to adapt to your new reality?  

Get back to the financial basics.   What are the financial basics?
  1. Spend considerably less than you make, and make savings a regular part of your life. 
  2. Have a well-funded emergency account in a safe, well-established credit union or small bank.
  3. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place.
  4. Get out of debt, and avoid getting into new debt.
  5. Learn to be entertained without having to spend a lot of money.
  6. Avoid participating in fads and joining in fashionable trends.
  7. Avoid impulse purchases.
  8. Be very careful investing in the stock market. If you do invest, make sure you have an emergency fund and no consumer debt first. Then, be a value investor, only investing in well-established companies for the long-term. Read Benjamin Grahams' The Intelligent Investor to learn about value investing. 
  9. Do put some savings into precious metals, but not all your savings. 
  10. Avoid financial gimmicks and get-rich-quick schemes.
  11. Learn accounting to really understand the language of business.
  12. A homestead and land can be a great investment. 
  13. Insurance is a good thing. Make sure your insurance company is sound by checking with rating services, reading their financial statements (one reason you should learn accounting), and paying attention to the news.
  14. Understand economics. I suggest starting with Richard Maybury's Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? for a quick, easy, and accurate read on economics.
Eliminate debt and build savings.  Bad economic times are especially difficult for folks who live paycheck to paycheck (which is most of the middle class in America today), in debt up to their eyeballs and with little or no savings. Debt – whether personal, business or government – is bad. It creates stress and makes one much more vulnerable to economic downturns.

In your personal life, work quickly towards eliminating consumer debt – credit cards, car loans, payday loans, personal loans, and installment plans. This will mean you have to put yourself on a budget and stick with it. It will mean putting off major purchases, avoiding impulse purchases, and *gasp* denying yourself luxury items. It may mean taking bag lunches to work. Or selling your car to get out of the loan, buying an older model with cash, or perhaps making do with only one. Consider having a major yard sale to raise some money, or try to find a second job. It will take time and sacrifice to eliminate debt in your life, but the benefits will be more than worth it.

Building some emergency savings will have to be done at the same time. Yard sales are a great way to bring in extra cash to do this. So is a second job in the evenings or on the weekends. Put the money somewhere safe, such as an insured CD or money market account in a stable bank or credit union (do your own homework, or check with one of several companies that offer ratings on the soundness and safety of various financial institutions). Don't worry about getting the best possible interest rate. Safety and liquidity is the goal for your emergency savings, not growth.

Pro Tip: Check out Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps and read his newest book Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money.

Once your debt is paid off and you have accumulated some emergency savings, you can then turn your attention to saving for long-range goals. Use common sense, avoid overly-risky investments, and, if needed, seek professional advice of someone you can trust.

No investment is perfectly safe. Cash savings are subject to losing value to inflation. Stocks and mutual funds are subject to the ups and downs of the market. Land is subject to property taxes and eminent domain. Converting all your money to gold & silver and burying it in the backyard is subject to thieves. There are no guarantees in life. The best you can do is use reason and common sense, to remain vigilant, and to take responsibility for ensuring your own future.

Why pay off debt if we are headed towards high inflation?  It may be true that by waiting to pay off debt, you will be paying it off with cheaper dollars. However, there are other considerations. For one, debt puts you, your family, and your assets at risk. Pay off your debts now while you are employed and you run less risk of losing your home or other assets if you become unemployed later.

Debt can be very stressful, especially in difficult times, which can be a real detriment to your health and your ability to make calm decisions at a time when you most need both.

Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." (NKJ)

Another reason is that debt can shackle you to your current job and circumstances, when what is really needed at a time like this is freedom and flexibility.

Finally, people tend not to realize how fast interest, late fees, and other penalties can add up. You may be paying off your debt later with cheaper dollars, but still end up paying more in real terms because of all the added interest and penalties.

Small purchases add up to big money.  Money spent on little things - sodas, snacks, and impulse items of all sorts - can add up really quickly. A great example is a guy I used to work with who constantly complained about not having any money. Every afternoon he would head down to the break room and buy a Pepsi and a Snickers bar from the vending machine. It was only a $1.75, but he spent that money five days a week. Over the course of a year, that adds up to almost $450.

Take Bag Lunches (Eat Out Less).
Taking a bag lunch of leftovers to work with you instead of buying lunch at the local fast food eatery will save you big bucks over the course of a year. How much? If you spend five dollars a day for lunch, that is $1,250 a year (I am assuming you take two weeks off). Eating out is a huge piece of most people budget. A piece that can be easily reduced. 


Rethink your telecommunications expenses.  When I was a young child (the 1970s) the only telecommunications expense my family, most families, had was the telephone and that was a land line, of course. TV was over-the-air and free. There were no cell phones. And no one had a computer, much less an Internet connection.

Today, many (most?) families pay for multiple cell phones, special ring tones, texting privileges, unlimited data plans, cable or satellite TV, extra movie channels, Internet connections, subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, or other content providers, satellite radio subscriptions, and, in some cases, still pay for a land line. All this can easily add up to hundreds of dollars a month for many families - thousands of dollars a year. Huge savings can be found in this bloated budget category.

Mostly, these things are used as distractions, and often are a major contributing factor to obesity and a lack of physical fitness. Replace these distractions with learning, reading, exercise (gardening, hiking, tennis, golf, swimming, etc.), and shared activities such as a family game night.

When I mention cutting back this category, I occasionally hear people whine that they really need a cell phone or Internet connection. Fine. You must decide for yourself what you really need and don't need. But even if you do need a cell phone for emergencies and such, you don't really need a smart phone, special ring tones, unlimited text and data, or the largest minutes package available. I have a cell phone myself, but it is the basic model that I got for free when I signed up. I can text and make phone calls as easily on my cheap phone as you can on your smart phone. A cell phone may be a necessity for many today, but all the expensive bells and whistles are luxuries you probably can do without.

The same thing goes for cable or satellite TV. Do you really need to have all the movie channels? Do you really need all the HD channels? Do you really need the expanded package with all the sports channels and all the music channels? Or can you get by just fine with the much less expensive basic package?

Or better yet, do away with TV altogether. Radical idea, but somehow humanity survived for thousands of years before TV, so technically it is possible.

Reduce your entertainment expenses. Modern folks really hate denying ourselves, but entertainment is a purely optional budget expense. Eliminate it. Learn (or re-learn) how to have a good time for free or nearly free. Talk a walk with your spouse or with a friend. Start a family game night. Play with your kids in the backyard. Invite friends over for a weekend cook-out, or a movie night (with the DVD checked out from your local library for free). Next week they can invite you over.

Read a book (checked out from the library for free, of course) instead of going to a movie. Libraries are a wonderful source of free entertainment. In addition to books and magazines, many libraries today also offer audio books, movies on DVD, music CDs, and even board games that you can check out. Many have story times for young children and lecture series for adults you can attend for free.

Give up the vacation away from home.  Staycations are a hot new trend. Instead of heading for the beach, or Disneyland, or wherever, stay home. Spend a week visiting local museums, zoos, botanical gardens, historical sites, parks, or wildlife refuges. Go on a picnic or nature hike. Go fishing at a local lake. Play frisbee with your kids in the backyard. Or just relax at home, thinking of all the money you are saving.

Reduce you home energy use.  Turn off lights, TVs and electronics whenever you leave a room. Set your thermostat to conserve energy. Replace old appliances with new, energy-efficient models. Super-insulate your house. Consider installing energy efficient windows. Simply filling in gaps where pipes & wires come into the house (especially check your kitchen, bathrooms, utility/laundry room, and basement) with a can of spray foam insulation can save you a surprising amount on the cost of heating and cooling your home.

Many power companies offer free or low-cost home energy audits for their customers, which can identify weak points in your home's insulation and other energy wasters, along with advice to reduce your energy use.

This is one area where spending money now to greatly reduce your energy use can actually save you a lot of money in the long run.

Reduce the amount of fuel you use. Make sure your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated and the engine is well-maintained in order to maximize mileage. Drive less by walking, car pooling and using public transportation, as well as planning & combining trips. Consider replacing your old vehicle with a newer one that gets much better mileage. Check out my essay Three Changes to Save Big on Gas.

Avoid Impulse Purchases.  Manufacturers and retailers spend huge sums of money to get people to buy their products, no matter if they actually need them or not. Advertising is just one way they influence people. Everything from the color of the packaging to the placement of the product in the store is carefully planned to get you to buy. Here are several ideas on how to fight back and avoid buying stuff you don't really need:
  • Don't to pay attention to TV, radio, or print ads. Hit the mute button. or simply don't watch or read the ads.
  • Don't watch infomercials or home shopping channels.
  • Leave junk mail unopened. Recycle catalogs, flyers, and leaflets unread.
  • Don't use shopping as a form of entertainment or a means to relax.
  • Shop only with lists, and stick to them.
  • Don't browse Amazon, eBay, or other Internet sites. Shop them the same way you would a physical store - with a list.
  • Shop with cash only. Spending cash feels more real than using checks or credit cards, so you are apt to spend less.
  • If you do find an item you think you can't do without, wait at least 24 hours before buying it. Chances are the impulse will pass.
Precious Metals.  Silver and gold are very unlikely to help you survive in the midst of a disaster of any sort. Bottled water, food, and warm, dry clothes, shoes, & blankets will likely be much more important, and a “currency” in much greater demand, in the midst of a disaster than gold or silver. Look at the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – people were desperate for clean water and dry clothes, not cash, gold or silver.

However, silver and gold may make a good hedge against inflation in a mostly “business as usual” atmosphere. And in the long-term aftermath of a major disaster that includes an economic and political collapse, gold and silver will likely prove to be extremely important as a currency, but only as society begins to reorganize and looks to stores of wealth other than devalued and worthless currencies, and collapsed credit markets.

Another thought: In the aftermath of an economic collapse, it will be virtually impossible to enforce any certificates or other paperwork that say you own gold or silver that is being held for you by a broker, financial intuition, or anyone else. Any gold or silver you own that is not in your physical possession will most likely not be recovered by you if a complete economic and political collapse occurs. If you believe an economic collapse is likely, take physical possession of your gold and silver before the collapse occurs. Naturally, keep your gold and silver in a safe and secure place, and make sure as few people as possible know you have it.

So, how much should you invest in precious metals? It depends on your situation. First, make sure your other basics are covered - especially paying off your consumer debt and setting aside an emergency fund. Once that is done, many financial experts recommend folks keep about 10% of their money in precious metals. I personally would recommend at least 20%, given the state of world affairs. Again, this is only after you have covered your other financial basics. Decide for yourself what is best for you.

 Ways to Raise Money.  Prepping can be expensive. I wish I had a magic solution to the problem of how to raise money to buy supplies, take courses, and make preparations, but I don't. No one, not even Uncle Sam, is giving out free money for people to become more self-reliant. The only ways to raise money that I know of entail sacrifice of time, talent, effort, or property. Here is my list of ways to raise money:
  • Get a raise, or more hours, at your primary job. Tough to do during bad economic times, I know, but a great way to raise extra money if you can pull it off.
  • Get a second, or third, job. I worked a second job for years at a B. Dalton Booksellers, mostly on weekends. It only netted me about $60/week (this was 20 years ago), but over the course of a year that is more than $3,000. A second job will pay off a lot of debt or buy a lot of supplies.
  • Do odd jobs. Can you sew, tutor, mow lawns, bake, babysit, or do "handyman" jobs? Post or handout fliers around your community. If you have a pick-up truck or van, you can rent it & yourself out for a lot of odd jobs involving hauling.
  • Collect money owed to you. If you loaned money to a friend or relative, it is time to collect. Asking a friend or family member to pay back money you've lent them is uncomfortable, and may lead to some icy Sunday dinners at Grandma's, but it is your money after all. And you need it.
  • Cancel your subscriptions. Most newspapers and magazines will refund the unused portion of your subscription when you cancel. It might not be much, but every little bit helps.
  • Hold a yard or garage sale. Get rid of your junk and un-clutter your life while making a few bucks. If you live in an apartment, maybe there is a nearby flea market you can sale your stuff at? Or ask a friend if you can hold the yard sale at their place.
  • Sell your stuff online. Half.com is a great place to sell your books, DVDs and CDs. I have had much success selling my stuff there. Of course, eBay is also a great place to sell your stuff.
  • Sell big-ticket items in your local classified ads. This is a great way to sell individual items such as ATVs, exercise equipment, furniture, electronics, and so forth.
  •  Rent out a room. If you have a spare bedroom, consider renting it out. If you rent an apartment, consider taking a roommate. Be careful who you are renting to, of course, checking references and so forth. And be sure to use a written contract!

Remember: The single most important thing you can do to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now.

See Also:

18 Easy Ways to Save Money

Top Ten Ways to Save Big Money

 Prepper's Guide to Junk Silver

Friday, June 5, 2015

Geopolitical Model: Chaostan

Chaostan is the geopolitical theory by economist Richard J. Maybury which postulates that a large portion of the world is "the land of Chaos."  This land is made up of regions and countries with a long history of political & economic instability, little personal or economic freedom, and no experience with common (natural) law. These areas are often tribal, with people more loyal to ancient ethnic lines and religious sects than to their modern nation-states.

Chaostan consists of about 91 nations, including most of the nations of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Maps and a full list of the nations considered by Maybury to make up Chaostan can be found on the Chaostan website.

Chaostan covers about one-third of the world’s land surface. It contains a disproportionate amount of the world’s natural resources, including at least 80% of the world’s oil supply and 50 % of the world’s coal supplies. It also has huge amounts of natural gas, gold, silver, platinum, copper, tin, iron, zinc, timber and grain. These are the basic raw materials upon which industrialized civilization rests, giving Chaostan an inordinate amount of influence over Western economies.

It would be thought that a part of the world with such abundance of natural resources would be very wealthy. This is not the case. Although the ruling classes in these regions often have immense wealth, the common folks tend to be among the poorest in the world. In part, this is due to a lack of education, but mostly it has to do with the lack of concepts such as economic liberty and personal property rights.

In contrast to Chaostan, Maybury lists what he considers the “Lands of Liberty.” These are nations where a tradition of liberty has been established – the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, the UK, Ireland and most of Western Europe. In these areas, economic liberty and personal property rights are well-established & the citizens are more loyal to their nation-states than to tribal, ethnic or religious groups. Peace and prosperity (at least domestically), rather than chaos, are the hallmarks of these countries.

Some areas, such as Central & South America and much of southern Africa, exist somewhere between Chaostan and the Lands of Liberty. Only time will tell what direction these regions take.

What Can We Learn From the Chaostan Model? A Roadmap to Peace

I think we can learn a lot from the Chaostan model. The following is a partial list of my takeaways:

1- The war, violence and poverty in Chaostan is mostly due to the lack of personal & economic liberty, including the lack of private property rights, as well as tribal & sectarian divisions. These issues cannot be fixed by military intervention. "Nation building" cannot work in Chaostan, at least not as something imposed on it by the West.

2- The way to create long-term stability and peace to Chaostan is for Chaostan to develop strong concepts of personal & economic liberty, including strong concepts of private property rights and religious freedom. Only then will tribal and sectarian divisions be overcome, as the people of Chaostan begin to put their personal self-interest for peace and stability above old influences.

3- Freedom and values cannot be imposed militarily. Instead, needed concepts (personal & economic liberty, private property rights, religious freedom, etc.) must arise naturally from within Chaostan. This process is best encouraged through an exchange of ideas through trade, tourism, education, and other forms of cultural interaction.

4- There is a vast difference between the worldviews & value systems of the Lands of Liberty and Chaostan that often make it difficult fot the two civilizations to understand and interact with each other. Likewise, the disparity of wealth between the Lands of Liberty and Chaostan cause a certain amount of misunderstanding and mistrust between the two. The people of Chaostan often have negative feelings towards the West, including jealousy and anger. The people of the Lands of Liberty often look down on those of Chaostan as being backwards and even dangerous.

5- It is a mistake for the West to act like or pretend that these differences don't exist, or worse, that the two civilizations are morally equal. They are not. Western civilization, though not perfect, is demonstrably the superior civilization. The domestic peace and economic success of the West, along with its far superior record regarding basic human rights, relative to the lack of these in Chaostan is proof of the better system.

6- The West needs to encourage, not force, Chaostan to slowly adopt the better aspects of the Western tradition (again, through trade, tourism, education, and other forms of cultural interaction). At the same time, the West has the right and duty to protect itself from real threats posed by Chaostan. This includes insisting that immigrants, as well as students and temporary workers, from Choastan adapt to the Western system while in the West. This means zero-tolerance for Sharia law and other forms of religious and cultural "accommodation" that are contrary to the Western system.

7- There is common ground on which to build. The industrialised nations of the West need access to the immense natural resources of Chaostan. Chaostan needs customers for those resources. Chaostan also needs access to Western technology and education. Trade is the way for the West to exert a positive influence on Chaostan.

The West does have the superior civilization, but does not of the right to impose its system on Chaostan through force. However, it does have the right and duty to exert peaceful influence on Chaostan to encourage the concepts of personal and economic liberty to grow naturally within Chaostan.

One Last Lesson

Chaostan, with its war, violence and poverty, stands as a warning to the Lands of Liberty should we ever reject the concepts of personal and economic liberty. Chaostan is our future should we continue down the path of collectivism, rejecting free markets and private property rights in favor of socialism, and rejecting personal and religious freedom in favor of imposing political correctness.

*****I want to give Richard J. Maybury full credit for his concept of Chaostan. The first part of this article is my summary of Mr. Maybury's geopolitical theory, as best as I understand it. For more details, visit his website. The second part of the article is what I learn when I apply the Chaostan model to current events.

Mr. Maybury is also the author of a great set of educational books on economics, law, history, and personal finance called the "Uncle Eric Books." I strongly recommend these easy-to-read highly informative books. Here are two of my favorites:

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?  A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments

Whatever Happened to Justice?  Explains what's gone wrong with America's legal system and economy and how to fix it.