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Can we keep this republic?

Terry Garlock's picture

As mid-term elections draw near, the chatter of TV news escalates in points and counter-points of the political tug-of-war. Whether you are on the left or right in the arguments, if you can set aside pre-conceived notions long enough to read this column, please consider that much of the noise completely misses the larger point.

For example, much was made of a mid-September televised town hall meeting arranged for President Obama to talk to citizens on camera. Whether you believe this CNBC event was fair in its presentation or that it was staged with a pre-selected friendly audience, you may remember how Velma Hart told the president she was exhausted in her defense of him.

Ms. Hart, a black woman, said in part to the president, “I’m a mother. I’m a wife. I’m an American veteran, and I’m one of your middle-class Americans. And quite frankly I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are.”

She said, “The financial recession has taken an enormous toll on my family.” She said, “My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot-dogs-and-beans era of our lives. But, quite frankly, it is starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we are headed.”

The talking heads chattered for weeks about this and other examples of unhappy citizens pleading to the president their case of personal and family travails, lost jobs and worries about paying for healthcare. While they asked each other how the president can repair the damage to public confidence in his ability to make our lives better, I wondered how the pundits could miss the larger point.

The president is not, and should not be, responsible for our individual well-being. His job is to provide for national security, see that our laws are enforced, conduct foreign policy, appoint major government functionaries and influence a legislative agenda, including policies to promote the general economic well-being.

The president does not create jobs – business does that by taking risks in hopes of making a handsome profit. Pleading an individual family case of woe to the president is just downright silly.

Of course, TV news loves the personal drama of citizens publicly heaping their suffering on a president trying to strike a patrician pose, and they keep the camera focused on him to capture every twitch of empathy so the pundits can debate whether he was sufficiently contrite and reassuring.

This recurring American farce should have a spot on Broadway.

I don’t know how long presidents have been conducting the charade of promising to make our lives better, but in 1928 Herbert Hoover’s campaign slogan was, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” In 1980 Ronald Reagan struck a nerve when he asked in his televised debate with President Jimmy Carter, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

A rich irony closer to home is that President Obama made “hope” a major campaign promise, and now the faithful are losing theirs. I can understand children or the mentally weak falling for a politician’s offer of hope, but any thinking adult who looks to a politician, whether Republican or Democrat, as their source of hope is in serious need of spiritual counseling or a head examination.

Two major disappointments are elements of my meandering point.

First, the news media fails to remind the public that the president’s job has limitations, that the policies he enacts to nudge economic results in one direction or another sometimes take years to show their effect, and that we citizens are responsible for pursuing our own happiness without any government guarantees.

Second, we seem to be raising generations of citizens well-educated on rights, self-esteem, gender equality and tolerance of sexual preference but wholly ignorant of our country’s history and the capitalist system that has made America the envy of the world.

And so we have earned an electorate that foolishly looks to the federal government to take care of them and solve their problems.

These are the voters who elect administrations like the present one, an administration that doesn’t understand or appreciate our own capitalist system and has become downright anti-business in its rhetoric and policy.

I have heard much about the strength and resilience of America, but our system can be broken and I worry about the dangerous combination of an ignorant electorate and irresponsible media.

In 1787, as Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall in Philadelphia after the final day of deliberation at the close of the Constitutional Convention, he was met by a gathered crowd. There was much controversy over what shape the new government should take, and the deliberations were held in secrecy.

A lady asked Mr. Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?”

Franklin replied, “A republic, ma’am, if you can keep it!”

The founding fathers knew very well the difference between a democracy and a republic, something I will save for a future column, and with great care they established a republic. Thomas Jefferson observed, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.”

As you watch TV news and see more examples of citizens expecting the president to take care of them, ask yourself whether our citizenry is sufficiently enlightened on our form of government. Maybe you will join me in wondering, “Can we keep this republic?”

[Terry Garlock is a Certified Financial Planner. He lives in Peachtree City and writes columns occasionally for The Citizen. His email is]


PTC Observer's picture

Do you have no shame?

You are advocating theft of people's property because they are successful.

What must your children be like if you are teaching this philosophy?

If you really believe what you say here, you are evil.

Maybe your post was not serious and you were just provoking me for fun.

But in case you were serious....

I advocate taxing the rich more because they are the ones with the money. I don't care if they were lucky and earned it, inherited it, or married the boss's daughter. The well off have prospered under the freedoms and benefits available to them in our great country and should be required to contribute to the public good accordingly.

I have taught my my children that liberalism is a proud American tradition and they should be glad to be part of it. They are good, upstanding citizens as I hoped they would be.

I really believe what I say. If you want to call me evil, that is your right. But to consider those that believe in the progressive income tax to be "evil", is a very extreme way to look at the world.


PTC Observer's picture

If you believe that taking people's property by force of law in the name of "public good" is right, then you are in fact evil.

It simply doesn't matter how a person derives their honest wealth and the idea that you have a right to it because of "public good" is a socialist doctrine.

To claim that government policies and programs have a higher ethical principle is at best naive and at worst corrupt. To claim government policies that benefit small but powerful special interests at the expense of the rest of society are really "in the public interest" is an ancient political tactic. To claim that any policy is in "the public interest" unless it benefits every member of the public is logically and ethically dishonest.

The fact that we have a democracy and not a republic is the root of our problems.

All democracies evolve into a state where the net beneficiaries of government (those that receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes), outnumber and dominate the net taxpayers (those who pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits).

We are quickly approaching this point and your philosophy is "winning". The only problem Lion is that you won't have a country if you carry your philosophy to its logical conclusion. But of course that doesn’t matter to you as long as you get your "fair share" of someone else’s property.

In the end, dishonesty and theft never prevail. Unfortunately, you and your kind will pull us all down with you.

carbonunit52's picture

[quote]If you believe that taking people's property by force of law in the name of "public good" is right, then you are in fact evil.[/quote]

Several bloggers on here would agree, if you are talking about the misuse of eminent domain by local loyal Republicans. And then there is the perspective of the Native Americans.

Well we did finally out number the Indian Savages!
But mainly we took advantage of their tribalism as opposed to united.

We also had more guns.

Don't forget the Spanish in all this Indian stuff! And the Catholic Church.

Spanish Land Grants were very important and bribed many into genocide.

But they were conservatives!

PTC Observer's picture

Let me try and follow your logic here. Since the Republicans use eminent domain and in the past Navtive Americans were "abused", then being evil is OK.

Does that capture your logic? If not, what is your point? That stealing has been going on for centuries, I don't think anyone would be surprised at that but it doesn't justify it.

It is Marxism and yes, it is Evil. Basically what I hear you say is: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Your categories of how rich obtain their money are luck, inherited, or married the bosses daughter. What about people who started with nothing, worked hard long hours, took chances by investing in their ideas, etc? Would you take their money too? Marxism destroys the human spirit and will always fail. May God Bless America and give us strength. -GP

GP, your attempt to conflate progressive taxation and estate taxation with Marxism and evil shows at best a shallow understanding of various economic theories.

Founding Father Thomas Paine wrote an impassioned plea for both progressive taxation and a permanent estate tax in America in 1782...36 years before Karl Marx was born. The title of his treatise was <em>The Necessity of Taxation</em>.

You're certainly welcome to disagree with an economic theory, but to label something as "evil" simply because you disagree with it shows a marked lack of maturity on your part.

I am of the opinion that you owe Lion an apology for your churlish remarks.

Marxism is EVIL. Theft by any person or government is EVIL. No apology forthcoming, I stand by my comments. The truth can sometimes hurt but can not be churlish. Educate yourself: -GP

PTC Observer's picture

The idea of taking through force of law in the name “public good” goes back millennium to at least the Rome Empire or earlier. However the idea of theft through any means is wrong and immoral. Let’s see if we can put into concepts that even you can understand Crispy.

I assume you believe that it is wrong and immoral to steal someone’s purse by point of gun? Does it matter that through your theft you attempt to justify it by saying I am doing this for someone else? If you don’t have the right to steal directly from someone then how can you transfer this non-right by electing representatives to do it for you? It is morally wrong to steal another’s property through force no matter the means.

Quoting one or two of our Founding Fathers concerning Progressive Taxes does not make the act of taking and redistributing someone else's property morally or ethically right. The greatest proponent of government largess was Hamilton the father of our current nanny state and the philosophical pillar on which the Federal Reserve System stands.

The problem with your ideas Crispy and Lion is that they are formed on a dishonest and elitist premise. That the government has a higher moral authority than the teachings of God, “Thou shall not steal”. This is the same old song under different names, fascism, socialism, liberalism, progressivism, communism, and statist. All devised with the vision of having a world of equality through force of government, and the moment it is achieved we automatically become unequal, for men are not equal.

You and your kind are simply full of the sin of envy.

I smile at economic "purists" such as Petey C. Observer and Georgia Pseudopatriot whose simplistic mindset cannot seem to move beyond "Taxes BAD!".

Taxes are a part of life in America, the whiny protests of the above two notwithstanding.

If you truly wish to live in an environment free from any and all taxation, may I suggest emigrating to that Libertarian Paradise, the country of Somalia.

Sure, the infrastructure is non-existent there, and chaos and "survival of the fittest" appear to be the twin principles upon which the country is built, but I am sure you'll fit right in there.

PTC Observer's picture

For the in-depth defense of your position. I would expect nothing more than this.

I would consider Somalia and the Pirates myself if I were able to travel that far.
Just think; if your money ever got scarce or you were robbed, you could simply take an oil tanker or two, get your share of the ransom and then rest from taxation and those pesky land grabbers, the State, as long as the money lasted.

Since I would alread have my M4 and my long sniper cartridges, my Thompson and several pistols and bags of cartridges, and can handle a small craft, I would be in demand.

If one needs a doctor, you simply go get one with a gun and force him to treat you free----thus, no forced federal insurance to pay!

There are no police to pay taxes for and since everyone is a criminal, it is the norm!

There is no power, water and sewer to pay for; one just steals what they need. No property is owned so the millage rate can't go up.

Welfare payments are unheard of, so some simply starve and are thrown into the sea on the next trip!
Some of the richer pirates do have slaves that they do not pay, but do feed somewhat adequately providing you like plain rice with small chunks of the meat found on the last oil ship locker.

Of course there is no Mayor or Congressman to fuss about or pay, and no one is about to invade your country and then support you better than you have ever had it!

They do have a TEA party Express, but it doesn't vote, just owns the most and biggest guns and bombs---hard to get into that club however.

I don't know if any of these dudes are married and have kids and go to church or not, but they aren't pestered with religious nuts and televangelists ever!

There are no laws so one wouldn't have to void any of those.
Sounds very suitable for some of us!

I'm throwing in with Bacon and Courthouse on this one. Seems some of our fellow bloggers just finished Atlas Shrugged and are enamored with that philosophy. Marxism? Wasn't that system swept into the trash bin of history about 20 years ago? Come on, can't we use this scared forum to debate much more important matters--like Windows versus Mac? When you've put in more than about 35 years meaningful years, note 'meaningful', on planet earth, you come to notice that most of us human beings need some rules and means of enforcement. Sorry, to skip off so quick, but I need to satisfy my libertarian cravings my watching some Chinese prisoner beheadings live on the internet. After that, its on to baby chick stomping in Romania.

is a great book! Have you read it? I read it in high scdhool in the 60's. Over 40 years ago. Have a Blessed day. -GP

Yes, I have read it and lots more of Rand's work. Nathaniel Brandon's stuff, too. As well as FA Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, David Friedman, Lew Rockwell, and Theodor Geisel. Yes, Rand's books are great reads, but way too long. You read that long bit about smoking? Come on now, 1100+ pages is way too long. Could have been done in about 350 or so.

PTC Observer's picture

And what did you learn from reading these thinkers works? How would you counter even one argument they make?

Good in theory, bad in practice.

PTC Observer's picture

Specifically what experience with Libertarian practice?

I can't think any specific Libertarin concepts that have been put into public practice.

Unfortunately for all of us, I can think of many collectivists concepts that have been put in practice.

PTC Observer's picture

You're wasting your time, they will never read this gem.

Rand buddied with some doozies, didn't she?

If you'd like to see a libertarian pack in action, check out this clip: <a href="">LINK</a>

Libertarians were outraged that a supporter had shown up for the Rand Paul debate, so being brave white men that they are, they tackled her to the ground and stomped her head.

in every facet of life. Anyone who thinks otherwise, well, they are thinking very well. On the other hand, anyone who thinks all these videos of extreme actions on all sides are truthful and in full context, well, they're nuts.

There are extremists in all groups!
However ALL TEAS and Libertarians are extremists or else they wouldn't be there!

Some are just dumb looking for recognition, or in hopes of making money from it.

[quote=CHRS]<em>However <strong>ALL TEAS and Libertarians are extremists</strong> or else they wouldn't be there!</em>[/quote]

You can say what you will -- "extremists?" - -INDEED

I wonder if you have ever been in a real face-to-face discussion with any of our local TEA folks...
--NAAAHHH!!!! .. sorry I asked.

Do you have any real conversations on the issues with our Libertarian friends??
--I seriously doubt it.

If you want to be heard -- think first -- then make sense when you contribute.

If you want to merely trade broadside insults--all bets are off.

Dont forget...
There are BLATHERING IDIOTS in every political demographic, as well.

They tend to self-disclose... more often than not.

I said in one comment above that I HAD heard these people talk! And I have!

I find it hard to understand how you know that I didn't!

The biggest detriment to democracy is supporting fringe parties using only the most radical planks! These folks all vote republican anyway unless they are on the ballot as a third party.

Ross Perot destroyed them in one election!

That is why I am an Independent. I will not vote for anyone whom I think is unsuitable, no matter the party.

Just because republicans are teed-off with Bush and company, they try to cover that up with a third or fourth party who has a Chinaman's chance in Korea of winning!

Some of our best Presidents have been Democrats. Some Independents (IKE), (Truman),who pretended to be Republicans or Democrats.

Lincoln was no Republican!

Stop the "all or none stuff!"

I am glad there is some comic relief on this forum.

Tell us again please..??

Who made the <strong>"all or none"</strong> comments...??
Please clarify.... FYI - then you should apologize.

[quote=CHRS]<em>However <strong>ALL TEAS and Libertarians are extremists</strong> or else they wouldn't be there!</em>[/quote]

As earlier stated...

[quote=scribbler]<em> They tend to self disclose..."</em>[/quote]

I rest my case....

Have a nice day.

Yes, I saw it and thought about posting the link here, but then decided it too low of a blow even for our esteemed forum. But, glad you did. I was going to comment on how it reminded me of the Brown Shirts.

Yes I saw the "head stomping" and pummeling of the woman by overweight thugs who hate ferriners! I have heard some of the TEAS and Libertarians talk when they are in a group---it is astonishing!
These people are real mericans and christeens!

We need 100 Rand Pauls' in Washington, badly.

I wouldn't call it a "stomping"--that's for shock & effect. And it appears to me as if they were "tussling" and both fell to the ground. Regardless, it's uncivil and uncalled for. I'm guessing charges will be filed and Paul should un-invite the perpetrators from his campaign.

Gym, I am honestly bewildered by your remarks above.

The thugs saw someone carrying a sign they disapproved of.

The three 50-something men wrestled a 23 year old woman to the ground.

They pinned her arms behind her back so her head was exposed and defenseless.

The one thug then proceeded to <strong>step on her head</strong> with such force that her head <strong>bounced off the goddamned sidewalk</strong> and sent her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a <strong>concussion</strong>.

Gym, you and I have gone toe-to-toe before. I respect you as a man, even though I rarely agree with your opinions.

In this instance, though, I ask you to please reconsider your opinion: <strong>if this incident does not meet the textbook definition of "stomping", then what, in your opinion, DOES?</strong>

p.s. food for thought: if the roles were reversed, i.e. the assailants were black men and the victim was a tea party supporter, I'd still consider this a "stomping".

My comments were based on what I saw in the video. I can't find anything about a concussion anywhere, in fact I read where she refused medical help and shortly after the incident was up walking and talking to the press. Soreness was all she reported the next day. Still, no excuse for that sort of action and the person responsible has been dismissed from the campaign. No one in their right mind wouod say that Paul supports such activity.

PTC Observer's picture

"nobody in their right mind" is correct.

hutch866's picture

The Pope, Republican and Democrat
The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains of Alaska for some sight-seeing. He was cruising along the campground
in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods.

A helpless Democrat, wearing sandals, shorts, a 'Save the Whales' hat, and a 'To Hell with Bush' T-shirt, was screaming while struggling frantically, thrashing around trying to free himself from the grasp of a 10 foot grizzly bear.

As the Pope watched horrified, a group of Republican loggers came racing up. One quickly fired a .44 magnum into the bear's chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding, semiconscious Democrat from the bear's grasp, then using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of them threw it onto the bed of their truck, while the third tenderly placed the injured Democrat in the back seat.

As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions!", he told them. "I heard there was a bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic Environmental Activists, but now I've seen with my own eyes that this is not true."

As the Pope drove off, one of the loggers asked his buddies, "Who was that guy?"

"It was the Pope," another replied. "He's in direct contact with heaven and has access to all wisdom."

"Well," the logger said, "he may have access to all wisdom, but he sure don't know nothin' about bear huntin! Is the bait holding up, or do we need to go back to Massachusetts
and get another one?"

I yam what I yam

Observerofu's picture

times. This is not new she has accosted many "Conservative" candidates and she said she represented “Republicorp,” a fictitious company which is the brainchild of She claimed that Republicorp was the merger between the Republican Party and corporate America.

She is a paid operative of George Soros. Sorry to disabuse you of the notion this was them danged teaparty extremist attacking a dissenter. If I lunged at say Pelosi I would think I too would be "assaulted".

Just a regular political dissenter? No I think not. She was stalking Paul and when he exited the vehicle she lunged at him.

"Lauren protested oil companies in Louisiana during the BP oil spill. (Telegraph)

Luaren Valle was charged with the felony charges of Unauthorized Entry of a Critical Infrastructure and Unauthorized Entry of an Inhabited Dwelling in May.

Lauren vandalized a ship in May."

...."Harbor police talk to Greenpeace activists Scott Cardiff (R) and Lauren Valle (L) who are hanging from the bridge painting with their messages on the ship Harvey Explorer at an industrial port at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, May 24, 2010. The activists used oil from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico spill to paint the message “Arctic Next?” on the bridge of the ship, which is scheduled to depart for Alaska to support drilling operations in July. (REUTERS/Greenpeace)""

Goodness knows the left are not without their sins.

SEIU thugs beat black teaparty member for handing out the Constitution.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

PTC Observer's picture

you have no idea what a stomping is, I've been stomped and that's no stomping.

Either way it was wrong to use force like this, they should have restrained her and called the police.

You know its 2010 in America. Only white, middle aged men are allowed to be stomped upon!

This MoveOn activist would cry Sexism right up until it suits her cause to be a woman; much like our Prez will talk about 'post-racial' America until he needs to shake up his base (move to the back of the bus, repubs).

But, to her credit I never heard her say, 'But I'm a girl.'

You wanna play in the big boy's games, sometimes it gets rough.

You folks need to lighten up or take to the streets. This armchair whining is kind of weak.

PTC Observer's picture


No, not simpletons at all. What I, and I think Crispy and others, am saying is that human interaction is way too complex to allow it to be governed by libertarianism. As for taxes, they seem to be needed as we keep electing folks that don't repeal them, and even raise them a lot of the time. We've had about 70+ years to repeal the income tax amendment to the constitution, just as we repealed prohibition. You would think that if 50.1% of the population believed as you do, that taxes = theft, we would have already elected enough congress people to repeal them darn taxes. Isn't happening at the federal level, the state level, or the municipal level, so most of the voting public must not believe as you--simple as that.

I try to keep my responses to you short and to the point. I know how much complex ideas and words with more than two syllables frustrate you.

cpb, for openly placing your ideas in print. Everyone in America should read your posts and make a choice. You keep trying to insult me by making the claim that I am somehow simple-minded by my short answers. But you know what, it is simple. Good versus Evil. God's Law's or man's ideas. Your longwinded responses can not justify your wrong ideas. Bloviation and obfuscation are not how to win an argument. You win an argument with ideas, priciples, and common sense. America needs to make some hard choices, thank you once again for making them clearer! -GP

GP, you lose on common sense, unless you are 16, then I will cut you some slack and just send you to your room without your ipod.

I want to try and stay away from commenting to you and justifying it with religion. You seem to be stuck on everything that happens is to be measured by an interpretation in the Bible.

"Taking through force," that you mention is the only way one group of nuts can take something from another as far as land is concerned.
Europeans took all of the now called USA away from several tribes of Indians who came here from Africa through China some time ago.
I expect those various Indian tribes fought one another repeatedly for living and hunting land.

LT. George Washington, when he worked for the British, apparently saw an opportunity to form another country with a government in order to take advantage of the vast resources America had---he had explored and mapped much of the Appalachians and realized the vast potential.

So the end result was "taking by force" what we now have from England, Spain, France and others. This place was just too far from home for those countries to defend this "jungle."

There are other areas, such as The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoan Islands, Guantanamo, etc., that we "took by force!"

But you see Observer, we weren't "stealing," as defined by the Bible. My goodness the Bible is full of "stealing" lands in God's name!

More Bible people stole and killed more than we ever have since!

As to the distributing money to the poor I assume that is OK as long as it is voluntary? Actually, taxes are voluntary! You do not have to pay them.
There are various consequences if caught, but you do not have to pay them.

I take it that your premise that a government doesn't have a right to govern as Alexander Hamilton propounded since it is not Biblical?

Well, I for one think elected leaders with term limits governing us is somewhat more successful than was King Solomon, The Crusaders (twice), the Muslims (three or four times), The early Popes, and numerous other little thinkers who thought that ordinary people should have no say in what their government entails!

We should not elect a Huckabee, a Robertson, a Graham, a Long, a Haggard, a Swaggard, a Church, a Lady Church, an Elmer Gantry, a McPherson, a Bishop, a Cardinal, A Father, an Imam, a Faith Healer, an Atheist, an Agnostic, any irreligious person, a Mexican, someone from Africa, a speeder, a drunk, a wife beater, a divorcee, a non-payer of tithes (10% of it all), a person who does not pray to Mecca 5-6 times a day on a rug, anyone who doesn't constantly spin prayer wheels, anyone who doesn't use the KJV Bible (doesn't have to be in Greek), a bum, one with no substantial job, one who is not a lawyer or a businessman, preferably no women, who didn't attend Ivy League or war schools, and on and on.....

If ten people could select who should not be allowed to govern, I'm afraid the ten would be the only ones eligible to run!

It appears that some only respond in depth to a 'receptive listener' in these discussions. Some confuse a discussion with a 'debate' - and there always must be a 'winner' and/or a 'loser'. Oh well - we'll see where we stand on November 2.

No we won't see where we stand at the election!

People said the same thing just before President Obama was elected!
What with the deep recession, no one now is satisfied.

Once whomever wins this election as a majority in congress fails to solve the current problems immediately, we will be in the soup again. And they won't be able to do so.

We need 8-9 million jobs----they can not be generated in any fashion in a few years!

Now some are satisfied with speeches saying what they want to hear irregardless of our situation (Reagan)(Bush) but that is polarization, not success.

Uh oh, now you've given her the opening to tell you how "irregardless" is not to be used--use "irrespective" or just "regardless". You asked for it!

PTC Observer's picture

2010 and 2012

Cyclist's picture

Those I know that are "well off" busted their butts, took big risks and some even created ventures that employee others. I don't call that lucky. The idea here is that those individuals are rewarded for their efforts.

If you want to talk about those on “easy street” read up on Senator Kerry and his yacht or Congressman Rangel with his unreported properties.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.


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