An Exercise In Futility

An exercise in futility is described as being the pointless efforts to do something that has absolutely no chance of success. An example of an exercise in futility would be standing in front of a fire and telling it, “Okay, I’m gonna put my hand in you, but I don’t want you to burn me.” Sometimes, with increasing frequency I might add, I get the impression that what I’m attempting to do with these commentaries of mine is an exercise in futility.

I have never asked that you blindly accept what I’m telling you, my only goal is to get you to examine what I say and either accept it or reject it based upon the evidence I provide in support of my position. In short, I’m asking you to think. I’m beginning to wonder if that is not something that is beyond the ability of a great many people in this country.

A person, any person, can provide mountains of evidence in support of a position, but if the people for whom the evidence is provided refuse to consider it with an open mind, if their ideologies refuse to allow them to accept differing beliefs, then what good is the effort to collect and disseminate all that information?

It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, an avowed conservative or liberal, if you refuse to take facts for what they are, what good is the effort to provide you with facts if your mind is so closed that it refuses to give them any consideration? What good are facts which prove a person’s beliefs to be wrong when that person does not then change their beliefs to conform to what the facts prove?

This whole rant was sparked by something someone said on Facebook the other day. While this individual is not the first person to say this to me, it nonetheless was the catalyst for the things I am about to say. And before I go on, if you are the person who said this, do not take this personal; it could have been any of dozens of people besides you who said something similar that, at any other moment in time, evoked the comments I am about to make.

The other day someone posted something on their Facebook page, which then showed up on mine. What they posted was an article with the headline: On the brink of famine: Worst humanitarian crisis hits as Trump slashes foreign aid. In the comment box this person wrote, “The American way is to help those in need.”

The American people can be the most charitable and giving in the world; responding in times of crisis with donations and contributions to ease the suffering of those across the world. However, it is not the place, nor is it within the powers given government to be the conduit for such charitable contributions/donations, nor is it within their authority to arbitrarily use taxpayer money for such purposes.

I have tried, quite literally, hundreds of times to show the process by which our government came into existence and the specific powers given it. It seems those efforts have also been an exercise in futility. But I learned to swim by my father repeatedly throwing me into the deep end of a swimming pool until he was satisfied I could swim; therefore I am, if anything, pigheaded and stubborn. So I will try one more time to get this point across.

Whether you believe that God created man, if man evolved from the apes, or if we crawled out of the primordial ooze, in the beginning man came into existence as a totally free and independent creature. This is what our Founders, and men like John Locke, would call a State of Nature where men were free to do as they pleased without any restrictions. However, along with that absolute freedom came the absolute responsibility to accept the consequences for each and every decision they made.

Man then formed into civil societies, or communities to better protect themselves from other men and to combine their efforts for a common purpose. Governments arose when enough of these civil societies, or communities sprung up as to need some governing body to regulate and control the interactions between them.

These governments, even in their simplest forms, came about by one of two means, and are best explained by something Thomas Paine wrote in his book The Rights of Man, “All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must either be delegated or assumed. There are no other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.”

When America obtained its independence from England each State became a sovereign nation unto itself; each with a government established by the consent of the people to govern the internal affairs of the individual States. However, these States had also joined together in a Confederation with its own system of government which was designed to produce harmony between the individual nation/States.

At the time there were those who felt that this Confederated government was weak and ineffective and that a much stronger one was needed to govern over the States and the people. Therefore a constitution was written and submitted to the people for their consideration. Had the people rejected that constitution the government we have today would never have existed! It is only because the people agreed to the terms within that constitution; agreed to the shape which that government should take; and agreed to the powers given it within that document, that we have the government we now have which resides in Washington D.C.

Therefore our government is, using Paine’s description, one of granted powers. Any power which exceeds those specifically granted is then usurpation. In 1794 James Madison delivered a speech in the House of Representatives in which he said, “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specific objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative function.”

If that isn’t clear enough, there is this. From the 4th Annals of Congress, 1794, Madison is also quoted as saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

Those comments were in response to bills proposed by Congress which would have used taxpayer moneys to provide benefits for, or assistance to various areas within the United States. If our government was established to fill the needs of our country, and it was prohibited from spending one dime of tax dollars on charity, what gives anyone the right to say that the same Congress can authorize the sending of millions of tax dollars to other countries in the form of foreign aid?

Honestly, I’m asking a legitimate question. Find for me the Constitutional Amendment which altered the Constitution in such a way as to authorize the federal government to take my tax dollars and spend them on foreign aid or assistance.

A great many of those who believe the U.S. should be sending all this money to other countries to provide aid are also of the mindset that the government should be the provider for all the needs of the people within the United States as well.

That ideology is pure socialism; placing the fruit of the labors of the people in the hands of the government to be spent where the government, or a majority of the people decide it would be best spent. Our government was established to protect, among other things, property. And what is the money we earn from working if it is not our property? Our government was not instituted to play the role of Robin Hood; taking from the rich to give to the poor.

Socialism, no matter how good the intentions of those who believe in it, always takes from one group and redistributes what it has taken to another group. That is the complete opposite of what our system was designed to establish, the freedom to keep what is yours and do with it what you please.

What if I do not agree to having my tax dollars spent on providing aid to some other country, do I have no say in the matter? Isn’t that one of the reasons our Founders revolted against their government; Taxation without representation? Who represents those who wish to keep the money they earn and not have it spent by their government on charity?

Margaret Thatcher once said about socialism, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” I sometimes wonder if those who espouse all these socialist ideas believe that money grows on trees in the front yard of the White House, and that whenever the government needs more it just goes out and plucks it off those trees.

The money to fund our government; the money to fund all the programs it institutes, the money to pay for all this foreign aid comes out of the pockets of the taxpayers. And when that money isn’t enough, our government borrows it to meet whatever it, or a majority of the people, have decided are the programs government is supposed to provide funding for.

Right now our national debt is $19.8 trillion. Can you even conceptualize how astronomical that amount is? If you confiscated the entire wealth of the ten richest men in the world it would only amount to roughly $610 billion; which is $400 billion short of being $1 trillion. Yet our debt is 19 times that!

Our government’s budget deficit; which is the amount of money they intend to spend which is more than what they have collected in taxes and other forms of revenue, is $591 billion. The wealth of the ten richest men in the world would only cover one year’s budget deficit; what would happen then if we took all their money and gave it to the government to cover that shortfall? Where would we get the money for next year’s deficit?

We simply cannot continue to spend at the rate our government is spending and hope to survive as a nation. Yet people get upset when there is any talk of cutting back on things like foreign aid and other programs which help those in need.

Do you know what an unfunded liability is? It is something our government is obligated to pay at a later date, yet the funds to pay for it have not yet been collected. The unfunded liabilities our government holds, which are primarily Social Security and Medicare, currently stand at $105 trillion. Where in God’s name are we going to get the money to meet those obligations?

The Gross Domestic Product of a country is defined as, “the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year.” The current US Gross Domestic Product is $16.7 trillion. Our unfunded liabilities are almost ten times that much! Again, where is the money going to come from to pay for all that?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not singling out those on the left who espouse all these socialist beliefs; you conservatives are not without blame either.

On Friday September 21, 2001 George W. Bush addressed Congress and said, “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” Americans were angry then, and the nation, and I’ll be the first to admit that I was among those who applauded what Bush said. We wanted revenge for what we had been told was an act of terror upon our country, on our soil.

The fact that I have come to question the ‘official’ version of what transpired that day is not relevant. What is relevant is that 16 years later and we are still fighting terror. We may as well have declared war on old age; no matter if you got rid of every old person in the world, more would keep coming. We will never, and let me repeat that NEVER stop terrorism; there will always be those who, for one reason or another, resort to terrorist acts to achieve their goals. The best we can hope for it to make the consequences of doing that so costly that they tremble in their boots before they even think about messing with us.

But to fight a global war against terrorism is to hand the government a blank check for the continued expenditure of massive amounts of money to do what is, well, an exercise in futility. If radical Islam is the threat there are ways that we can make America safe from these supposed terrorists, but then again Trump has come under fire from the bleeding heart leftists for trying to do just that.

But this war on terror, what has it cost us in as it pertains to dollars and cents spent by our government? According to a report submitted by the Congressional Research Service, since Bush declared war on terrorism this country has shelled out $1.6 trillion. According to them, that comes to roughly $14 million per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Had war not been declared on terror we would not have the Department of Homeland Security, whose annual budget is around $40 billion; not to mention the massive growth of the intelligence community which routinely deprives each and every one of us of our right to privacy as protected by the 4th Amendment.

Again, where is the money coming from to fund this war on terror if it is not taken from the pay of every hard, and some not so hard working Americans? Who do you suppose is ultimately responsible for the debt accumulated by our government? Do you think the Congressmen and women are? Do you think current and past presidents are? No, YOU are; you and I that is. And I, for one, am tired of having that massive debt hanging over my head; while our government continues to add to it without regards to the limits the Constitution imposes upon what they can and cannot spend moneys upon.

In a 1792 article published in the National Gazette, James Madison declared, “… war should not only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits: but that each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expence of other generations.”

Where, if I might ask, is the declaration of war from those who represent the authority of the people? I have yet to hear Congress officially declare war against anyone in this war on terror. Yet our very first president, George Washington, declared, “The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” It does not say that they can delegate that authority to the President, it says BEFORE any offensive expedition can take place Congress must first declare war, stating who and what our enemy is.

How can you declare war against a tool used by people to achieve a goal? They do not declare war because there is no specific enemy, it is the actions taken by those who hate us, or are upset by our constant meddling into their countries; so they strike back at us using the only means at their disposal; random acts of terrorism. If they had an army to attack us we would annihilate them, so they resort to guerilla tactics; striking at us and causing terror.

But people refuse to accept that as quickly as we take out one al Qaeda leader, or one ISIS leader another springs up to replace them. This provides a constant string of enemies for our government to fight, and an endless justification for a war that is costing us $14 million per hour to fight.

While I am not a huge fan of Reagan, in 1986 he sent in airstrikes to Libya in response to a 1986 bombing in a Berlin discotheque where American servicemen frequently went for entertainment. Reagan did not invade Libya, he did not topple the Gaddafi regime, he sent them a message; “Screw with us and pay the price.”

Bush declared war on terror and what did he do? He sent in US troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. But according to the ‘official’ story, the nationality of those who carried out these supposed attacks were primarily Saudi and Egyptian; our allies.

Who are the terrorists and who aren’t? Who funds and provides a safe haven and training for them and who doesn’t? The enemy in this war is not clearly defined, and therefore anyone who practices Islam could conceivably be the enemy. Yet we want to allow hundreds of thousands of potential terrorists to immigrate to America? That is like inviting ten gang bangers to come live in a spare bedroom in your house; it’s insane!

But I’m drifting off topic. The point is that this war on terror has given our government a blank check in regards to how much is needed to keep us safe from terrorism; and that blank check not only applies to dollars and cents, but how much of our liberty we seem to be willing to give up to obtain that safety.

The fact that the spending of all this money was done in a manner which violates the Constitution seems to be of little concern to most Americans; as long as the money is spent for things that they support.

It’s as if the limits to the power given government by that document no longer exist, and all that is needed for government to spend more money is the approval of the American public.

I’ll bet most of you did not know that when the Constitution was submitted to the States for their approval, that many States wanted to make amendments to it before they accepted it. They were told that they had to accept it as is, and en toto, or in total, or reject it. Therefore, that same theory applies today; you cannot accept those portions of the Constitution that you agree with, and ignore those you disagree with. Either you accept it en toto, or it loses its validity. And if it loses its validity, then the government it establishes also loses its validity and I no longer have to obey any of the laws it enacts.

But like I said, all this has been an exercise in futility. People are going to go on believing whatever the hell they want to believe, regardless of how much evidence is provided to prove them wrong. I’ll gladly change my views on everything I have just said if anyone can provide sufficient evidence to prove that what I’ve said is not factual. I’ll even publicly admit that I’ve been wrong.

Do you have the courage to do the same?

About Br'er Rabbit

I'm just one person out of millions of others. The only thing different about me is that I don't walk around with my head up my ass.
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