civil liberties

The Liberty Amendments, A Summary

LibertyAmendments

 

 

 

 

Rather than inject personal opinion or support for the proposals outlined in Mr. Levin’s book, I offer a summary of its contents in the hope that you will read it and come to your own conclusions. I hope, very much, that you will then be compelled to take some form of action, for to do nothing at this point in our history, would be sheer folly.

Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments, a Review

An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Congress

…quotes Madison, from Federalist #48, “An elective despotism was not the government we fought for… but [one] in which the powers be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.

In its original formation, the US congress was split into two very distinct houses, which were intended as checks on one another as well as on the executive branch. Today, congress works together to maintain power rather than fulfilling their duties as representatives of the American people and do little or nothing to obstruct the machinations of an over-reaching executive.

The Senate, originally elected by the state legislatures, was intended to prevent the federal government encroaching on the rights of the states. The House of Representatives, conversely, was meant to directly represent the rights and concerns of the people. Neither was intended to be a lifelong appointment, with relatively high pay and benefits or exemptions above those available to the people they represented. Their offices were intended, rather, as a civic duty to their nation and their fellow man.

The negative impact of our modern, insider culture, is most apparent in the many and convoluted ways in which the congress shuts out all but the most persistent and popular of new-comers to the Capitol. To be fair, and this is discussed in the book as well, this culture is rampant at the state and local levels as well. The incumbents, regardless of party affiliation, work together to keep challengers to their virtual thrones at bay. Term limits would return the power of self-governance to the people by limiting the power of politicians and the incentive to focus on their own gains at the expense of their constituency.

The consent of the governed is the hallmark of a constitutional government.

 

An Amendment to Restore the Senate

As discussed briefly in the previous section, it is imperative that we repeal the 17th Amendment which allows for the popular election of senators. After generations of progressive efforts to re-define the governmental and societal structure of America, it has become commonplace for the people to refer to our nation as a democracy. In short, democracy is mob rule, and is in no way better than a dictatorship. Our government was set up with checks and balances in an effort to curtail all forms of tyranny, including that of the many over the few. The Reign of Terror is an historical example of the ‘unintended’ outcome of democratic governance that Americans would do well to investigate more closely.

Critics of a republican form of government will disingenuously equate it’s nature to the current manifestation of the Republican party, knowing full well that the term means something else entirely. The terms republic, republican, democracy, and democratic, as used here have vastly different meanings that are no longer common knowledge.

In addition to restoring the Senate to its intended status as a representative of the individual state governments, Levin’s proposed amendment allows the state legislatures to remove a senator by two thirds vote if they fail to uphold their duties as a representative of that state. This allows for a more direct balance of power between the state and federal governments and provides an additional curtail to the power and encroachment of the federal government.

 

An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for the Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override

This chapter sets forth the argument for establishing term limits on the Supreme Court. It also allows, in a similar way, for the over-ruling by congress of Supreme Court rulings that deviate into activism and judicial revisionism rather than adherence to the rule of law.

Because the Supreme Court has repeatedly shown an inclination toward societal restructuring and constitutional relativism, this amendment is among the most important proposed in the book. It allows for congress and the state legislatures to maintain checks and balances on the Court, thus curtailing future abuses of power.

The proposal of term limits for the Court, likewise puts checks on the accumulation of power and ability of the justices to legislate through judicial fiat. By indicating the inability of the President to veto a judicial override by the states and/or congress, this amendment eliminates the unhealthy relationship that has developed between the Judicial and Executive branches of our government.

 

Two Amendments to Limit Federal Spending and Taxing

This chapter is relatively straightforward and requires little explanation. It offers additional restrictions on the power of the federal government as well as solutions to the ills created by the current system of redistribution and subsidy that create the over-grown power structure in DC.

In short, this amendment demands that the federal government set a budget and live within its means. Rather than granting the government the power to declare a single industry too big to fail or to create incentives to favoritism, it scales back the system of lobbying for congressional favor.

Limiting the government’s ability to tax is a crucial step in this process. Whether one agrees with Mr. Levin’s proposal to cap income tax or prefers a national sales tax, it cannot be argued that nothing should be done in this regard. Conversely, the populist rhetoric of soaking the rich has been proven historically as false and detrimental to society as a whole – however much the progressive establishment may disagree.

Finally, rescheduling the deadline for filing income taxes to correspond with federal elections is a good solution to the myopic nature of the American voter. It is less likely that the antics of our celebrity culture or political distractions promoted by the media would obscure from the people who is directly responsible for their personal tax burden if elections directly followed the filing of taxes.

 

An Amendment to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy

This chapter sets limits on the establishment and longevity of federal departments and appointments, regulations, economic impact of said regulations and length of time allowed for actions setting such limits. It reminds us that the separation of powers doctrine contained with in the Constitution, not only sets limits on the power entrusted in each branch of the government, but also prevents any of those branches from delegating their powers to one another or to agencies or departments not elected directly by the people. This is particularly important in light of the modern expansion of cabinet appointments, government agencies and executive orders issued at the expense of the people without any method of recourse; including, but not limited to the passage of laws that members of government and select groups are themselves exempted from. This degradation of our Constitution illustrates …the necessity and urgency of restoring constitutional republicanism and preserving the civil society from the governing authoritarianism of a federal Leviathan…

 

An Amendment to Promote Free Enterprise

This Amendment clarifies the original intent behind the Commerce Clause, which has been repeatedly abused by the Legislative and Judicial branches of the government. In addition, it sets clear boundaries for its use and returns the majority of power to the states for defining commerce and regulating any issues that may arise on this subject.

With the Commerce Clause, more than any other, we have seen the greatest erosion of the Constitution through judicial activism and legislative abuses. In short, our own government has made a concerted effort to rewrite the Constitution for their own gain; thus proving the need for the Constitution, Bill of Rights and separation of powers outlined in our nation’s founding.

When the government can go so far as to penalize people for not spending money, under the guise of protecting the common good, we are well down the road to socialism. In other words, the nation has entered into an age of post-constitutional soft tyranny. In closing the chapter, Mr. Levin provides us this quote from Milton Friedman: “Freedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself… Economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom.”

 

An Amendment to Protect Private Property

This amendment more clearly defines individual property rights and sets clear restrictions on government infringement on those rights. In addition, it defines just compensation in the event that clearly defined public need necessitates transfer of property from an individual to the government. The chapter goes on to define the social compact of a civil society and warn against the evils of redistribution of wealth from one citizen to another by dictate or by direct seizure of property by the government.

 

An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution

This amendment returns state sovereignty to the forefront of our governing process and allows for the states to roll back and prevent further expansion of the federal government. It defends the individual’s rights, allows for the maintenance of a stable and just form of government that protects the rights of all of its citizens, thus preserving society as a whole.

 

An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Check Congress

This amendment allows the states to reign in the Congress’ power to grant favors and punish through regulation. In addition, it gives the states the power to end the habit of Congress to legislate social justice, punishing or rewarding certain groups at whim and against the wishes of the American people.

Through clearly defined procedure, this amendment sets forth rules for true transparency in government by establishing open posting of bills for public review in advance of congressional voting to establish new laws. No changes to the bill would be allowed between the time of posting and the final vote, increasing accountability and honesty in our legislative branch. In addition, this amendment sets forth guidelines for state overrule of laws, federal statutes and executive orders with clearly defined procedures and limitations on state, as well as federal power.

 

An Amendment to Protect the Vote

Simply put, this amendment requires proof of citizenship to vote. In addition, it makes provisions for those unable to afford the cost of acquiring the required documentation and puts strict limits on early voting procedures. These measures do nothing more or less than take measures to insure the sanctity and validity of every vote cast.

There is no point wasting time debating the probable success or failure of the measures defined in the Liberty Amendments. One cannot accomplish a task if one does not start it. There is no point bemoaning the likely difficulty of the task – we are past that. If we seek to restore our nation to its founding principles as a constitutional republic we must stop complaining and offer solutions. As Mr. Levin so succinctly illustrates in the naming of his final chapter, now is The Time for Action.

This review may be criticized as lacking any meaningful criticism or in-depth examination of the book – so be it. I did not write to tout my own historical knowledge or inject my personal opinion on the author’s personal motivations; as some critics may do. I wrote to highlight the importance of the call to action which it contains and the solutions offered to restore our republic. My review is so heavily footnoted, because this book speaks well enough of itself, in its succinctness and historic notation of the ills of the progressive usurpation of American law and governance.

In a world of media enamored of its own self-importance, it is time to focus on the real issues that affect our lives. It is time to offer solutions, not platitudes and petulant complaints. It is time to take action.

*All direct quotes from the book are indicated by italics*

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes. Her articles have also been published atBig Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

 

 

Artists Don’t Seem to Care About Freedom of Speech

Several weeks ago, I was sent an email by a friend Jimmy in California concerning the disappearance of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. There is very little information from China on the artist’s dissappearance or the reason why he is apparently being held by the Chinese government. In the weeks since Ai was spirited away, several of his peers have also been held for various reasons and lengths of time. Because Ai is an outspoken opponent of the Chinese government, there is an outcry in the Chinese art community; but very little is being said on the subject here in the United States.

I find it shameful that our art community has so little to say about an artist being arrested by his government for exposing human rights abuses. I know the Chinese government is claiming that Ai is behind on his taxes, but I think we all know better than that. Besides, from what I understand, a Chinese citizen is not to be held for more than 35 days without formal charges. Mr. Weiwei has been missing since April 3 – 64 days and counting.

Here in the U.S., with the exception of a few politicians and art elite, there isn’t much outrage on Mr. Weiwei’s behalf. The most elaborate protest I have heard of was by a Cuban artist who projected Ai’s image on the side of the Chinese consulate in NYC. It would be funny if it weren’t in response to such a serious issue. It makes me sad to think that most of the people walking by probably had no idea what the installation was about or that the Ai’s Zodiac Head sculptures are on display outside the Plaza Hotel until July 15, 2011.

Equally disappointing is the fact that I cannot get enough support for a show demanding his release to acquire a venue. I live just outside Atlanta, which is a fairly large metropolitan area, but no luck. In a country where we still enjoy freedom of speech and assembly, and even more telling – where artists can live off the government dole without censorship of their work – it makes me furious to think they can’t stand up as a whole and demand the release of someone who has been imprisoned for expressing his opinions. Given the anti-American leanings of most artists, you would expect Ai to surpass Che as their new poster child. You would be wrong.

Here in America, artists are free to ridicule, criticize and revile their government. In China, they are censored. Here in America, artists are bemoaning the suggestion that NPR, PBS and the NEA be cut back or eliminated altogether. At least one of these organizations has admitted they don’t even need the funding. In China, Ai Weiwei sits in prison.

Jimmy Arone’s silent protest at the Geffen Contemporary. Stencil by artist, THEFL.

More art by THEFL to raise awareness for Ai Weiwei’s disappearance.

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Jimmy Arone’s silent protest at the Geffen Contemporary. Stencil by artist, THEFL.

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More art by THEFL to raise awareness for Ai Weiwei’s disappearance.

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Detail of painting at the end of Mr. Arone’s driveway. He lives down the street from a high school outside of L.A. The work was installed with the hope that some of the teenagers would make an effort to learn more. Last time I spoke to Jimmy, he said he had had a few interesting conversations about Ai’s disappearance and the importance of human rights.

Additional Reading:

A Weekend of Protests for Incarcerated Artist Ai Weiwei

Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Arrested in Latest Government Crackdown

Argument Against China Just got Stronger

Weiwei’s Conversation at the Tate Modern

Various Updates at Courrielche.com

Ai Weiwei, Symbol of Desire for Freedom

Yahoo Search Page

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com. Frances will be representing Liberatchik at a booth at the Freedom Jamboree in Kansas City September 28 – October 2, 2011.

Follow up on Ai WeiWei Post


Mr. Trump – Your Argument Against China Just Got Stronger

By: Patrick Courrielche

NOTE: Also published at Big Government.

On April 3rd, Chinese artist and citizen investigator Ai Weiwei was taken into custody by his government while attempting to fly from Beijing to Hong Kong. Initially, Chinese law enforcement would not disclose the reason, but yesterday announced they were investigating him for “suspected economic crimes.” His whereabouts are still unknown.

With the Arab world’s civil unrest in the periphery, many China critics believe the arrest of Ai Weiwei (pronounced EYE-Way-Way) is part of a recent crackdown on Chinese dissidents to stop any climate of protest from migrating into their borders. For nearly two-months, China has been arresting well known writers, human rights lawyers, and activists – making some completely vanish within their penal system. With well over a billion people under their governance, China’s leaders should fear demonstrations given their abysmal free speech and human rights record.

But the arrest of Ai Weiwei is markedly significant for one simple reason – he is one of their most prolific artists. Ai Weiwei was the “creative consultant” for the country’s iconic Beijing National Stadium – or what many refer to as China’s Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium. With the arrest of such a prominent figure, the country has sent the message to their people that no one, no matter how internationally heralded, is safe if they openly critique the government. And Ai Weiwei has done his share of criticizing…

Please follow this link for the remainder of the article: http://www.courrielche.com/?p=685#more-685. I would like to thank my friend Jimmy Arone for bringing this article to my attention. I hope you will consider passing it on.

Frances is the Senior Editor of Liberatchik and manages the Liberatchik FaceBook Page. She is also a political artist and blogger. You can view her portfolio and additional articles at MachinePolitick. This article was written for Liberatchik.


It’s All a Matter of Perspective

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a political artist. There’s nothing inherently special about that statement, although being a conservative makes me a bit of a pariah in the art community. I rather enjoy the difference of opinion and the conflict it often inspires. The irony of a conservative leading the avant guard in the arts is a little amusing; not that I can claim credit for such a lofty accomplishment just yet.

Another thing I enjoy as an American is freedom of speech. It’s something we take for granted most of the time. Sure, artists gripe and moan about the system and the lack of public funding or understanding for the importance of their work. Many get their panties in a twist every time someone suggests that there should be no public funding of the arts. The truth is, they have no idea how bad it could be.

Take a moment to read this article about the things a Chinese artist can expect to endure at the hands of his government if he dares to create work critical of the powers that be.

Then read this one about the city government of St. Louis trying to silence a charitable organization that is using murals to speak out about eminent domain abuse. I love this quote by the St. Louis Alderman: “If this sign is allowed to remain, then anyone with property along any thoroughfare can paint signs indicating the opinion or current matter relevant to the owner to influence passersby with no control by any City agency. The precedent should not be allowed.”

Last, here is a video of Lindsey Graham justifying the re-evaluation of free speech. Perhaps we are not so far from learning what true oppression is like after all. I didn’t realize the Constitution was just a bunch of ideas to be dispensed with at some politician’s convenience.

Frances is the Senior Editor of Liberatchik and manages the Liberatchik FaceBook Page. She is also a political artist and blogger. You can view her portfolio and additional articles at MachinePolitick. This article was written for Liberatchik.


The Declaration of Independence

I have a couple copies in my purse to hand out, so I thought I’d post the text here for purposes of reference pamphleting, etc.

Thanks for the material go to USHistory.org

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Utilizing Conservative Principles of Propaganda


From the New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, Revised and Expanded Edition: ideas disseminated to support a doctrine
From the American Century Thesaurus: 1. agitprop, disinformation, newspeak, rumors, lies. 2. advertising, promotion, publicity, public relations, puff, fanfare.
From Wikipedia.com: 1. the systemic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause. 2. material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda. 3. propaganda Roman Catholic Church. A division of the Roman Curia that has authority in the matter of preaching the gospel, of establishing the Church in non-Christian countries, and of administering Church missions in territories where there is no properly organized hierarchy.
From Encyclopedia Farlex.com: Systemic spreading… of information or disinformation, … usually to promote a religious or political doctrine with the intention of instilling particular attitudes or responses. As a system of spreading information it was considered a legitimate instrument of government, but became notorious through the deliberate distortion of facts or the publication of falsehoods by totalitarian regimes, notably Nazi Germany.
The word comes from the activities of a special sacred congregation of the Roman Catholic Church…which sought to spread the faith and recruit members.
In the US in the 1980s, the term ‘public diplomacy’ was introduced. Government-sponsored reports and articles were presented to the media as independent sources…
…black propaganda (a pack of lies), grey propaganda (half-truths and distortions), white propaganda (the truth).
Propaganda has been practiced since the earliest times, but modern mass media has made it much easier to appeal to wide domestic and foreign audiences…
You might be wondering why I just put you through so many definitions of the same word – propaganda. It is because I am endeavoring to better understand the term, its use, and the affect it has had on our culture. From there, I want to examine how the government, media, and entertainment industries are using propaganda to influence our points of view. The answers to all of these issues are crucial to our understanding of the opposition and the formation of a reasoned and honest rebuttal. As a political artist, I well understand the power of a strong and succinct image, that, through repetition, becomes an influential icon. In this way, the arts have become one of the most powerful influences on the American people and culture, with few of us aware of how it happened.
Ask yourself a couple of questions. How did you form your personal philosophy? What influences led you to the formation of those beliefs? Did you verify facts, or merely accept ideas at face value? Are you even aware of where you got the information, or when you first formed your beliefs? If you cannot answer these questions satisfactorily, it is time for you to do some research. I am not here to change your mind, or convince you that I am right. You must make those decisions for yourself. What I am here to do is accumulate the information I need to better understand how to explain and promote the concept of Liberty, why it is preferable to the nanny state of big government, and how I intend to use my art to spread this message. Finally, I am encouraging all artists who share my views to step up and join the fight.
This is propaganda. I will not lie to you, and you are free to leave at any time. I hope, however, that you will verify my assertions and form your own opinions.
How Can Art Affect Public Perceptions, Opinions and Philosophy?
Art affects people on many levels. First and foremost, it affects the viewer by appealing to their individual aesthetic preferences. We may not know why we like a piece of art, only that it appeals to us. This visual connection may be a result of color, composition, shape, balance and a myriad of other elements, alone or in various combinations. Some work appeals to us merely because it is pretty. Other pieces illicit an emotional reaction. Our attractions vary with our beliefs and personalities, as much as with the merits of the work we are viewing.
The iconic nature of modern graphic design, and its influence on the fine arts, has become a useful and often subtle tool of the modern propagandist. We are so immersed in the realm of digital and printed media, that we are often exposed to ideas and marketing on a subconscious level. In the younger generations, the need to fit in and be considered cool makes their demographic particularly susceptible to an underlying idea or agenda. Good art, skillfully employed, can reduce a complex concept to a simple image that is easily understood and successfully promotes a particular concept or belief. Depending on the subtlety or brazenness of the image, the viewer may not even realize they are looking at anything more complicated than a cool graphic. Subtle works of art are often more successful because the message they are promoting goes unnoticed on a conscious level. In this way, ideas are perceived as truth without questioning motives, availability of facts, or opposing points of view. The success of this type of propaganda is increased by repetition which serves to reinforce the formation of the desired opinion. I am going to focus entirely on the cultural and political aspects of propaganda, particularly on the influence it has on the way people think and act. I believe the influence of ideas and philosophy has the most lasting and significant impact on our culture. Art is, quite possibly, the most affective tool for the dissemination of ideas.
When used by the individual artist, these expressions of philosophy and opinion fall firmly within the realm of free speech. When sponsored by the government, they become manipulative propaganda. Regardless of the intended use of the art in question, the intended outcome of its use, or the projected benefit, it is not an appropriate endeavor for government. There is too much room for abuse and factual inaccuracy or manipulation and insufficient objective scrutiny to maintain unbiased representation. More importantly, government funding of the arts is an inappropriate use of tax money, regardless of its intended use.
How has Art Been Used for Propaganda Purposes?
Prior to WWII, the word propaganda did not necessarily have negative connotations. With the enactment of Joseph Goebbels’ campaign of mass influence and indoctrination, the term became synonymous with State sponsored art. The Nazis used propaganda in many forms, but their use of posters may have had the most lasting effect on the German population. By creating iconographic imagery, easily understood, posted repeatedly in public places, the population of Germany was led to believe things that were often outright lies. This success has led to the subsequent proliferation of political art through modern times.
The reason propaganda came to be viewed as dishonest after WWII, is the way in which it was used by Goebbels. His principles for the use of propaganda advocated the manipulation and censorship of facts. He set very strict terms regarding creation and dissemination of propaganda, and actively limited the kind of information available for release to the public. According to these principles, repetition is vital to the success of a propaganda campaign. Propaganda was to be used to maintain a level of anxiety in the general population in order to make them more amenable to government influence. It appears as though our own government has learned a few things in this regard.
So, how does art come into play? Obviously, the use of graphics requires creative talent. Artists, being some of the more emotional members of society, might very well have a better understanding of how to manipulate others. A well placed graphic, the right splash of color or use of contrast, severe cropping or juxtaposition of opposing objects will easily lead the viewer to form a desired opinion. Some will agree because they already possess the same view, with the added bonus of feeling like part of something larger than themselves. Some will be swayed because they were on the fence about the issue, but now feel like an insider because they are clever enough to ‘get it’. Some will dismiss it as crap because they disagree. Others will be offended because they not only disagree, but see the potential for manipulation of those who don’t have all the facts and will readily accept what they perceive to be popular opinion.
In our current political climate, artists have found their voice and a market for works depicting their own political views. As an individual expression, this is a powerful tool for political activism. Whether or not you agree with the artist, you should be able to respect their right to free speech. When sponsored knowingly and, worse, encouraged by the NEA, it is comparable to the actions of Goebbels. There is no instance where it is appropriate for the government to fund art, particularly that which promotes a specific agenda. When the government or a tax funded agency in their employ embarks on a propaganda campaign, they seldom give voice to the opposition.
As artists, I believe we have a duty and responsibility to put forth an opposing points of view. We need to combat lies and misrepresentations with verifiable facts and expose the treachery of blindly following ‘approved’ ideas and agendas. Because the State has been engaged in this campaign for generations, with the willing participation of their supporters, it is time that those of us who still hold the individual supreme stand up and make our voices heard. We now face a turning point in the history of America, where we can succumb to the whims of the State and willingly accept bondage, or lead the way to a Liberty Revolution with the purpose of restoring America to a Constitutional Republic. Mrs. Pelosi says “Are you serious?”; I say Yes Ma’am, I Am.
As Conservatives, what should we be promoting through our art? Self-reliance, personal responsibility, a return to the principles of individual liberty and limited government. Freedom over tyranny. The challenge will be to create a successful propaganda campaign without compromising our principles to emotional reactions and misrepresentation of facts. We need to play the game as they say, but on our own terms. We must always remain honest and present all of the facts. We must define our principles clearly, then promote them effectively and repeatedly in ways that are quickly and easily understood. This is one of the reasons I am so concerned with getting more artists on board with the Liberatchik project. We have the ability to make a lasting and significant impact in this war of ideas, but our strength will be in our numbers.
Art, regardless of genre, has the ability to reduce complex concepts to easily grasped ideas, raise people and ideas to the status of icons, reach wide audiences through a variety of means; often with the added bonus of creating a spirit of belonging and the perception of empowerment. It is my goal, through my personal art and my efforts here at Liberatchik to promote the ideas of Liberty and individual integrity. I believe that America is a great country and patriotism is not a stigma. There is nothing selfish in taking pride in one’s accomplishments. I hope that America will one day return to a truly free nation, because it has not been so in my lifetime. I want to leave it better than I found it. My art is my tool for shaping that
Conservative Principles of Propaganda
I have already laid out the reasons why Conservatives need to engage in an active campaign to influence American culture. I have given the historical significance and impact of propaganda on the population at large, as well as the ways in which Liberals have subverted our culture and marginalized any opposition within the art and entertainment industries. Finally, I have given examples of the ways in which they have succeeded and the reasons for their success. Now, I am giving you the ammunition to fight back.
The following points are written from the perspective of a painter. However, they can be adapted to work for any genre of art. Musicians would apply the techniques to their lyrics, poets to their verse, filmmakers to their sets and imagery, etc…
Conservative Principles of Propaganda
1. a. Above all else – be honest
b. Back up your assertions with facts – always
2. Build up a positive message as well as shedding light on the tactics of the opposition. People need something positive to encourage them to stay the course, and constant complaining does nothing to change the situation
3. Create Iconography
a. Reduce complex ideas and philosophy to symbols
b. Make imagery memorable
c. Simplify icons for easy reproduction by everyone – they should be reduced to designs that anyone     can copy regardless of skill level and talent, while maintaining the integrity of the image
4. Recruit and Network
a. Use grassroots activism techniques to spread the message and promote your iconography – Anystreet is a good source of tactical information for activism and networking.
b. Involve as many like-minded people as possible, but don’t be pushy. If you approach someone who is not interested, respect their right to disagree.
c. Teach others how to reproduce the icons and use them effectively – this is also a great opportunity for networking and building our own art community.
5. Try to foresee ways in which the opposition will use propaganda techniques to discredit and marginalize our message – be proactive rather than reactive.
6. Do not engage in name calling, emotional exchanges or campaigns in which facts are ignored to boost the effectiveness of your message. This only gives ammo to our detractors.
7. Use verifiable statistics, correct representations of numbers and demographics, and concrete facts to improve general understanding of your message. Many people simply have no idea what we mean by promoting Liberty.
8. a. Repeat themes often, but not to the point over-saturation
b. Use subliminally influential methods to promote ideas through iconography, such as merchandising (posters, t-shirts, etc.)
Our main focus is the promotion of the following philosophy:
*Individuality and Liberty promote a more fair system than collectivism
*Individual judgment and reason is more productive than collective regulation
*We must revoke our sanction of a system that intends to destroy our Liberty and Individuality
Now get out there and raise some hell!
Additional sources of information and articles:

Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda

The Art of Propaganda

Some of the links provided inspiration for portions of this essay, others are direct sources of historic and philosophical references.
This essay will be cross posted at Liberatchik.com

Conservative Principles of Propaganda

This is the final installment in my series of articles pertaining to propaganda. I have already laid out the reasons why Conservatives need to engage in an active campaign to influence American culture. I have given the historical significance and impact of propaganda on the population at large, as well as the ways in which Liberals have subverted our culture and marginalized any opposition within the art and entertainment industries. Finally, I have given examples of the ways in which they have succeeded and the reasons for their success. Now, I am giving you the ammunition to fight back.

The following points are written from the perspective of a painter. However, they can be adapted to work for any genre of art. Musicians would apply the techniques to their lyrics, poets to their verse, filmmakers to their sets and imagery, etc…

Conservative Principles of Propaganda

1. a. Above all else – be honest.

b. Back up your assertions with facts – always.

2. Build up a positive message as well as shedding light on the tactics of the opposition. People need       something positive to encourage them to stay the course, and constant complaining does nothing to       change the situation.

3. Create Iconography

a. Reduce complex ideas and philosophy to symbols.

b. Make imagery memorable.

c. Simplify icons for easy reproduction by everyone – they should be reduced to designs that anyone           can copy regardless of skill level and talent, while maintaining the integrity of the image.

4. Recruit and Network

a. Use grassroots activism techniques to spread the message and promote your iconography – Anystreet is a good source of tactical information for activism and networking.

b. Involve as many like-minded people as possible, but don’t be pushy. If you approach someone who         is not interested, respect their right to disagree.

c. Teach others how to reproduce the icons and use them effectively – this is also a great opportunity           for networking and building our own art community.

5. Try to foresee ways in which the opposition will use propaganda techniques to discredit and                        marginalize our message – be proactive rather than reactive.

6. Do not engage in name calling, emotional exchanges or campaigns in which facts are ignored to            boost the effectiveness of your message. This only gives ammo to our detractors.

7. Use verifiable statistics, correct representations of numbers and demographics, and concrete facts to         improve general understanding of your message. Many people simply have no idea what we mean by     promoting Liberty.

8. a. Repeat themes often, but not to the point over-saturation

b. Use subliminally influential methods to promote ideas through iconography, such as merchandising         (posters, t-shirts, etc.)

Our main focus is the promotion of the following philosophy:

*Individuality and Liberty promote a more fair system than collectivism.

*Individual judgement and reason is more productive than collective regulation.

*We must revoke our sanction of a system that intends to destroy our Liberty and Individuality.

Now get out there and raise some hell!

This article is cross posted at Liberatchik

The Liberty Revolution Art Tour

Imagine. A liberty themed art show, touring America, spreading the message of freedom and individualism. It is in the works, from several different angles. Artists, who have previously worked in isolation, fearing they were the only ones with the strength and vision to create art stands apart from that of their peers. We have found one another, and are converging around a central theme, creating work with a single purpose – to spark a passion for the Liberty Revolution. It is our goal to converge in one location, before launching a tour of America.

The most recognizable of our group is Matthew Welter, a sculptor working outside Carson City,  Nevada. His contemporary rendering of the statue of Liberty is unique, striking, and epochal. He has ushered the concept of Liberty into the 21st Century with a beautifully rendered sculpture, titled The Hand of Order,  born of a huge cedar root. The loving craftmanship and monumental scale of the piece is awe inspiring to the viewer.

Because he is not only an artist, but a successful businessman, Matthew has a firm understanding of the value of his work. After much research and market analysis, he has this to say of his rendering of Liberty, “This symbol of triumph can now foster cultural values and accrue actual value, the more our economy and liberties are strained.”

Nicholas Forrest, art critic, market analyst, and creator of The Art market Blog has said: “…the recent stock market meltdown and poor performance of other investment markets has resulted in an increase in the desirability of art as an investment because art is a tangible asset and has proven to offer a relatively high level of insulation from the effects of economic financial market crises.” Matthew intends to caste his Liberty in bronze, a metal that rivals the wealth of gold as a wealth storage device for the following reasons: it is versatile, impervious, plentiful, durable and requires little maintenance in the form of sculpture. He seeks to create a stable icon to inspire Ameicans in these turbulent times. Matthew has made a commitment, through his art, to a cause far greater than his own self-interest, with lasting impact.

When caste in bronze, The Hand of Order will be shared in a limited productin of 20 castings to be rotated through public displays. These sculptures will create “humanitarian dividends wherever they stand for centuries and beyond..a wealth accrual device to empower the arts with liberty…”.

The privately funded project and tour is aimed at countering the publicly funded efforts of the NEA to shape art in America. To this end, Matthew has approached other artists to unite in the cause of liberty. I am honored to be a part of the project that we hope will culminate in a cross country tour including art by all participating members, to be donated to the Smithsonian at the end of the tour. This gift to humanity will raise awareness of the collapsing liberties and sagging economy we hope to buttress with the resilient value inherent in art, as a hedge against wealth and liberty erosion.

To date, mainstream media agencies have not seen fit to mention our efforts. I have written this article as a launching point for participation in and raising awareness of the Liberty Revolution. Please review all materials presented in links and pass them on. You need not be creative to participate, merely passionate about Liberty and art. Spread the word and help us light a fire to blaze across this land, spreading freedom as we go.

This article will be cross posted on Liberatchik.

The Fairness Doctrine Looms on the Horizon Part 2

I was recently asked to look into the Fairness Doctrine by a friend of mine on Digg. The result is the two posts I have written for my blog, this being the second. I will also include links at the end for all the articles I had time to read. Clearly, I have a bias against the Fairness Doctrine. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you stop reading now.
I have no doubt Obama considers The Fairness Doctrine a priority. I know he will pass it if it gets through Congress. All Americans should be concerned about this. As a Conservative* political artist and blogger, I have alot to worry about from the Fairness Doctrine. Some of the same people supporting this are also calling for regulation of the internet. It is looking pretty scary.
It takes alot of work on things like this before I even start a painting. Now that I am trying to get into the habit of blogging, I have even less time. If you’re interested in seeing my work, the site is:
http://www.machinepolitick.com/. You will understand pretty quickly how the Fairness Doctrine will affect me if it extends to the internet. More importantly, it is yet another attack on the Constitution and our civil liberties.
There are some people out there screaming about the Fairness Doctrine and its repercussions. I fear that there are not enough of us, and no one else is listening. We are just a bunch of bigoted wing nuts after all.
I’m glad some people understand that America was not founded on Socialist principles. I was starting to wonder. Now we have to figure out how to educate the masses before we are silenced. I used to think all this Orwellian Big-Brother talk was a bunch of conspiracy nonsense. Now I am not so sure. Clearly, our government no longer cares what we think.
McCain-Feingold was passed under the premise of making politics more transparent. We all know it really keeps the big guys in office and shuts up the rest of us. Then the bailout was passed with an overwhelming outcry against it by the people because government knows best and we’re supposed to think they’re looking out for our best interests.
Sorry, I tend to digress and address multiple subjects in a rant. Please bear with me.
I have a question concerning the Fairness Doctrine: Why is it that people who talk so much about freedom of expression and conservative war mongers always support use of government suppression? Things like the Fairness Doctrine are the first step of a repressive government to control the people. Our government has already betrayed us and the Constitution with McCain Feingold, the Patriot Act, the bailouts, etc. We need to take a stand now, while we still can. Make your voices heard people.
There are plenty of communist and socialist countries in the world. It’s time for these people to move there, and let the rest of us restore America to
the free country it used to be. But wait, Communism doesn’t work. Maybe their true objective is to be in charge so they can enjoy the spoils of our labor. We all know when the wealth gets spread around everyone ends up poor because the government sucks up most of the goodies.

* (Note: by Conservative, I do not mean Republican. If you must label me use Libertarian or Objectivist, they are better fits. I may decide to do a self-description at some point in the future. Clearly, I also need to write an article on the real meaning of the word Conservative.)

That’s it for now. Here are some articles you can read:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27566&page=4&viewID=668648
http://www.google.com/search?q=democrats+fairness+
http://www.thomas.gov/home/gpoxmlc109/h3302_ih.xml
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=110-h20071018-47&bill=h110-2905 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-2905 http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27566#continueA http://www.google.com/search?q=democrats+fairness+doctrine&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a