Some Understanding —Part One of Two
by Arthur R. Thompson, CEO
The Number One Priority
There is no solution to our country’s problems short of an informed electorate. Nothing else will work. Unless sufficient numbers of the American people are made aware not only of the problems but also of the solutions, the problems will remain and get worse.
Think about it: All politicians bow to public pressure because they want to be elected and then re-elected.
- Only an informed electorate will elect statesmen over politicians.
- Only an informed electorate will apply the necessary pressure on an elected official to ensure that they will abide by their solemn oath to the Constitution.
- All solutions offered to address our country’s problems won’t work without an informed electorate.
For instance, consider term limits. Replacing an old problem — an incumbent — with a new office holder for the sake of change doesn’t make sense. Voter ignorance can almost always be counted on to ensure that the type of change really needed won’t occur.
Limiting a president to two four-year terms, something required after 1951 by the 22nd Amendment, hasn’t improved the quality of presidents because voters remain unaware. Without an informed electorate, they will keep returning the same type of person to office even though he or she might be new, and have a different party affiliation from the person being replaced.
The Founders of our country thought term limits would work and placed this practice in the Articles of Confederation. When they found out they didn’t work, term limits were excluded in what became the U.S. Constitution. The reason they didn’t work was that, when many office holders knew they couldn’t be re-elected, they used their remaining time in office to aggrandize themselves.
There is not now and never has been any quick fix. Name any scheme offered to remedy America’s problems and be assured that it will fail in the long run if the electorate remains uninformed.
What do we mean by informed?
Being informed goes beyond understanding the issues, as important as that is. Being truly informed means understanding the principles on which our country was founded. It means understanding the Constitution and its original intent. And it means understanding what it will take for the American people to remain free and independent.
And, just as important, it means understanding why these principles are under attack, ―and by whom.
Understanding is the key word. If a citizen understands all of what we are pointing to, no amount of propaganda can sway him. Lies might, but only until the next election when the liar is discovered to be untruthful and is replaced.
Along with understanding, there is another paramount need: moral responsibility,―doing what is right simply because it is right.
Many will recognize that a solution to a problem exists. But, because of fear, or because of being locked into some comfort zone, they will be reluctant to actively turn to the solution. This is where moral responsibility plays the key role. Prime examples are retirement and medical care.
It is obvious to all that Social Security and government medical care programs have long been steering our nation into bankruptcy. Yet politicians promise voters more of these “entitlements” and they win reelection. They can count on this because not enough voters are willing to avert inevitable disaster by forcing their representatives to phase out these programs.
All they think about is the devil they know versus the greater fear of the devil they don’t know.
Too many Americans fear the unknown because they lack the necessary understanding to realize what can be done is so much better for them, their children, and all Americans.
Assessing these programs into the future means either phasing them out as humanely as possible with the least amount of hardship to the people, or facing economic collapse of the nation when all will suffer, and government dependency will be the solution of last resort for everyone.
In his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx was discussing such government programs as retirement and healthcare when he wrote the following statement just prior to listing the more well-known steps (planks) that would lead to a communist or socialist society. He knew that, once begun, government programs are hard to rescind because people become dependent on them. If the people deem them inadequate, they will demand more, not less, as they speed toward complete dependence, abandoning all personal responsibility. As a way to gain total government dominance, Marx wrote:
… in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads … by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order….
Marx was telling his revolutionary brethren that the programs needed to gain totalitarian control would “in the beginning” be “insufficient and untenable.” But, because they were known to be failing, and because the people were given a taste of government paternalism, the failures would “necessitate further inroads” and lead to total dominance. In other worlds, the people will be given a sampling of socialism/communism that would be deemed inadequate by the people who would then ignorantly clamor for much more domination.
The kind of understanding needed in our nation (and all nations) includes an education about the issues, the underlying principles, the people behind the problems, and why all of what is happening is indeed occurring. It also means having the intestinal fortitude to turn to a real solution and then have the moral responsibility to see it through.
Creating an informed electorate is considered too much like work for most people. But an organized, dedicated few can accomplish miracles.
As is obvious, advocating a real solution may involve a great deal of effort to educate our fellow citizens. Most are without the kind of knowledge needed — of the Constitution and classic liberal arts such as basic economics.
In addition, we may think fellow citizens understand the problem when they really do not. We may understand the principles involved, whereas they might look at the problem and think it results only from faulty administration.
Consider our nation’s involvement in the United Nations. If one thinks that the problems inherent in the UN result from faulty operation or flawed leadership, then the solution becomes reform or reorganization of the UN, not withdrawal.
If the problem at the UN is one involving the sovereignty of our nation and the freedom of the American people, then the solution is to get out of the UN because it erodes and will ultimately destroy both independence and freedom.
We could be talking to each other about the problem, in total agreement, but have two totally different solutions in mind. Solutions should always be part of the discussion of any problem for the above reason as well as to demonstrate that there is something that can be done, something positive, thereby instilling hope.
Let me give another example of the need for understanding.
I recently engaged in a conversation with a prominent staff member of a very prestigious conservative foundation. The conversation rapidly developed into a discussion about ObamaCare. The man had an extensive knowledge of the problems presented by this huge piece of legislation, but his awareness dwelled only on economics and the measure’s skewed and conflicting regulations.
It isn’t my intention to disparage the man or his work, but his analysis of ObamaCare will not correct the fundamental problem in the long run if he doesn’t understand that we are not just dealing with poor economics and onerous regulations.
It was when he described Obama that I saw his failure to understand the real problem. He said that Obama could be described with the Three I’s: Ideology, Ignorance, and Incompetence.
But when discussing what motivates Obama, it isn’t ignorance or incompetence, it’s design that is consistent with a totally un-American ideology. If people do not understand this, they will never understand people like Obama. In a court of law, the prosecution always seeks to demonstrate motive. Yet we see conservatives rarely discussing motive because it will lead them to conspiracy: a lust for power over all the people on the part of a few. Once one understands this, he will also understand that we face a conspiracy that has to work both sides of the aisle to be successful.
Why do they want to control healthcare? Why do they want any new law that completely circumvents the Constitution? It is because of this lust. And if you understand that, you will comprehend the law and you will educate people on the problem in that light, rather than simply dwelling how much it’s going to cost and what a rotten set of regulations it contains. These features are obvious to anyone who has a little common sense. The real agenda becomes obvious when it is understood that a lust for power drives the enemy.
If people believe that we are dealing just with increased taxes and unsound regulations, they will likely rationalize that they can live with all of it rather than fight like patriots to stop an immense power grab that will mean ending the American dream and all that it entails. This “economics” approach to fighting our enemy is one of the most dangerous hurdles impeding our attempts to rally Americans to get into the fight. Without the fear factor, fewer people get involved; however, the fear factor must be sold intelligently, particularly to opinion molders.
Several organizations have been started, some even by former friends of our Founder, Robert Welch, to fight bad economics, professing to take a kind of “high road” instead of what they consider the low road — combating conspiracy. These organizers or financiers have never really understood, or have deliberately put out of their minds, that we are not fighting bad economics. Instead, we are fighting evil men, people who ultimately seek to kill or enslave us. We get fleeting glimpses from time to time of the depth of intolerance and hatred of those on the Left whom we fight against. Let us not forget that some of these people have advocated population reduction, not simply population “control,” in their writings.
The mass murders that have already occurred in France, Germany, Russia, China, Rwanda, Cambodia, and other places, ad nauseam, can happen here. The economic aspect of the battle is simply a weapon wielded by clever Insiders and their dupes to place us in an accelerating position of not being able to fight them because we need to spend increasing amounts of time to make ends meet. Finally, if we are not successful, each of us will be forced to fall back on government just to survive.
There are times when the long-range consequences of ideas that appear to contain an immediate solution can, in reality, be harmful to the future freedom of the American people — when the supposed cure will actually turn out to be more of backward step instead of the solution it was intended to be.
There is a quip that goes something like this: The young are idealistic liberals until they receive their first paycheck and see how much of their wages are taken out in various taxes. Then, they become conservatives. But I add: I fear that they remain conservative only until they receive their first Social Security check. Then they become liberal again, voting for those who promise to maintain the system they are now dependent on.
The end result of all government programs is dependency on government.
These programs, some obvious such as the War on Poverty, some not so obvious such as the War on Drugs, all end up spawning more of what they were designed to cure because that was the end game all along. The number classified to be living in poverty today is higher than when the supposed war on poverty began. As for the war on drugs, we all know that drug usage isn’t down, it’s up. Again, government programs are designed to increase the number of people dependent on government, not to solve the ostensive problems they were created to solve. Most conservatives do not understand this.
At the risk of sounding redundant, let me say that only by understanding the basic principles on which the Constitution was based can any real solution be implemented. This takes an informed electorate.
No solution should be advocated that curtails the freedom of the American people, even in an emergency. Emergency legislation tends to become permanent.
Consider: Was Hadrian’s Wall built to keep the Picts out or the Britons in? Was the Great Wall of China built to keep the barbarians out or to isolate the Chinese citizenry? Was the Iron Curtain built to keep freedom out or communist-ruled citizens in? Didn’t these walls all succeed in curtailing the freedom of those they were ostensibly designed to protect?
The same would apply to a fence along our borders. The measure of a free people is one of being able to come and go freely across their border. A fence keeps people in as well as out. We have lived for over two centuries without a fence. What has changed to make the illegal immigrant situation a problem today are the conditions within our country that invite illegal border crossings. Change these conditions and illegal immigration will dwindle to a trickle. We are speaking of public assistance, free schooling, free medical care, and a host of other enticements.
More important in the illegal immigration picture is the desire on the part of our own leaders to allow entry to those who will create future violence among the people. We discussed this in a previous Bulletin. We would not have an immigration problem except for the deficiencies of our leaders: politicians, judges, journalists, clergymen, et al. It isn’t the Mexicans who constitute the problem, it is our own leaders who are at fault for creating the conditions that invite massive illegal immigration.
Also, the problem exists because of Mexican Insiders who push illegals north into the United States with their policies. It is time to get tough and treat the Mexican authorities realistically and let them know there are consequences to aiding and abetting the Aztlan movement for one, and encouraging illegal crossings into the United States for another.
Finally, when considering border fences, I ask: Why on Earth would we entrust the building of fences along our border to those in Washington who mean to enslave us?
Back to the Constitution
Our politicians pay scant attention to the Constitution, passing unconstitutional legislation and allowing the Executive Branch to create regulations with impunity. Changing the Constitution by amendment or through a Constitutional Convention will not change this. Ignoring the Constitution is not the problem; it is only a manifestation of the problem. The problem is that we face a deliberate plot on the part of those in power to change America. This is why they ignore the Constitution.
Changing something in the Constitution will not alter that fact. It’s not the Constitution that’s deficient and in need of repair. Nor are the problems we face the product of ignorance or stupidity. Call them what you will, our politicians are not stupid. What they are doing is following a plan established by a conspiratorial force.
The majority of politicians already ignore their oath to abide by the Constitution’s limitations. The Constitution is a very explicit document, defining what government may or may not do. What makes anyone believe that these office holders will do anything different by adding another clause or amendment? They already ignore the current and very explicit Supreme Law of the Land!
In addition, the entire process for a Constitutional Convention would be in the hands of the very people who are the problem to begin with. They will define the method of appointing or electing the delegates. If an informed electorate could elect sound Americanists to be delegates to such a convention, assuming there were a sufficient number of informed voters to do so, the problem could have already been solved by these same voters who could elect statesmen to serve in Congress. No convention would be needed.
Likewise, if the qualifications for election as delegates to a convention were to be set by the state legislatures, with each state’s legislators recognizing the need for forcing the federal officials to live up to the oath to the Constitution, then they could simply use the Tenth Amendment already present in the Constitution to handle the problems without a Con-Con.
Also, if legislatures appointed the delegates, then the appointments would be made in a political atmosphere. The delegations would contain a sizeable number of those who are the problem now. We do not have men of the caliber of Washington, Madison, Hamilton, and Jay. We have those who are the problem now trying to give advice and consent to everything done in the name of “conservatism” or of meeting the demands of people who would rather be dependent than free.
If the delegates to the Con-Con are elected by the same uninformed electorate that elects our current politicians, we will witness a Con-Con where nothing good will result.
As long as unconstitutional-thinking politicians are in power, nothing will change in the long run. Only an informed electorate can change who serves in elected office. Only an informed electorate can hold any newly elected officials responsible to the oath to the Constitution.
Concerted Action Organization
A real solution to our nation’s problems can be gained only by many more Americans joining in a concerted campaign to first inform and then to activate our fellow citizens. Without that as the necessary first step, nothing will change in the long run.
In addition, if everyone works independently, educating and activating per their own agenda, the efforts of many concerned citizens will be diffused to the point of ineffectiveness. Only by having enough people working in concert toward the same goal can that goal be achieved.
Many claim to be working on solutions but most only discuss the problem in an attempt to raise money. Few have true outreach programs aimed at reaching new people, particularly opinion molders. Too many reach out only to the opinion molders who agree with them but rarely reach out to new people. It is new people we need to reach and inform.
There are some media conservatives who reach out to the public and tell a good story, even attempt to organize their listeners or readers into some form of organization, or some sort of demonstration. But because they have little or no experience at organization, they simply duplicate the style of groups that do not have a central focus, do not have staff personnel to train and motivate volunteer leaders, and do not have a concerted action program with tools designed to reach many more who are not yet involved in anything.
The John Birch Society was designed to be, and remains today, the organization to accomplish what is so desperately needed. We are primarily an educational organization with action programs designed to enhance both the education of the people and the solution to problems.
Our JBS has been instrumental in keeping alive the basic principles of Americanism and an understanding of the American system. It has been a long-term effort by many to keep alive the simple fact that we are a republic and not a democracy, and what that means. This fundamental fact has spread increasingly among many newly awakened people and organizations.
An important aspect of our work has been our influence on other organizations to inspire them to promote sound principles. Through our members and publications (disseminating well over 100 million pieces of literature), we have influenced the formation of constitutional and morally-based groups from the 1960s to the present, some of which have developed far-reaching influence.
In just the past few years, our videos and DVDs have been viewed by many millions. If that was all we accomplished, we would be failures. We produce DVDs for educational and organizational purposes, asking members to organize newly aroused people into neighborhood chapters where they can heighten the effectiveness of their efforts.
It is safe to say that due to our educational/action programs, the communist/socialist agenda has been slowed by at least 40 years.
Educating and informing people works. Just like the ripples resulting when a rock is thrown into a pond, the cumulative effects of our efforts keep going and going, sometimes even unnoticeably. And at other times, some of the ripples we create have become waves.
As Robert Welch stated at the close of our Society’s founding meeting, “All we must find and build and use, to win, is sufficient understanding.” With it, and with the leadership we can provide, the people will turn to real solutions. Without it, there will be an unthinkable loss of our country and our freedom.
To create sufficient understanding, the need is for enough good people to get involved in an effective program. For an informed electorate is the ultimate solution to all of our problems.
If, by some miracle, there happened to be some “quick fix,” we would soon have the same problems back again if the voters lack understanding.
The number one priority, the primary solution, therefore, remains recruiting more members who will actively work to create an informed electorate.