philosophy

Silence of the Lambs

 

This drawing is in response to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. What a lovely title. It almost makes you feel like they’ve done something to make politicians less corrupt. What they’ve really done is tell you who you can support and how much you can give them. Don’t be fooled by the tripe about getting the money out of politics. The guys with big money on both sides can find ways around something as insignificant as a little law. They already have in most cases. All it really does is make it harder for the little guy who’s trying to follow the law to exercise his right to free speech and to vote.

Making politics more transparent and less driven by money is a load and we all know it. There’s not much else to say. We all know these guys are just trying to stay in office and keep anyone new off their turf. People who break the rules under one system will do so under any system. Legislation doesn’t change that, it just makes things harder for people who follow the law.

The imagery in this drawing illustrates the red tape of government regulation silencing the people. We do this to ourselves when we continue to vote the same people into office year after year because of party loyalty. This is just one more reason I support term limits and hope to see third party philosophies become more popular. Completed – 2007
Medium: Charcoal and ink on paper
Dimensions: 24w x 24h x 1d

Additional blogs regarding the First Amendment:

The Fairness Doctrine Looms on the Horizon

The Fairness Doctrine Looms on the Horizon, Pt.2

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

The Hold-Up Artist

Working Title: Give Me your Money, ‘cause I can’t sell my work otherwise

This painting was inspired by a conversation I had with a performance artist one day. The general idea was that we, as artists, have a right to ‘expose’ people to our art who would not seek it out themselves. Of course, that comes with the expectation of being paid for our work, although money is evil.
The entitlement mentality reigns supreme!

I think the imagery of the painting expresses my feelings on the subject pretty well. The world owes us nothing for our art. We are not special because of our creative abilities. As with anything else, if there’s a market for a piece of art, it will sell. No government intervention is needed or appropriate. I do not support the NEA.
This piece is a companion to the paintings titled: The Gaping Maw of Entitlement and Mr. Moral Superiority. Completed – 2008

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

How to Exorcise Conservative Thought in an Artist

This painting was inspired by several conversations I have had with other artists. The first reaction I face when describing my work and point of view is shock. Disdain or anger quickly follow. My impression is that I have no right to be conservative and that I am breaking some unspoken law by creating political work from my point of view. I suppose open-mindedness only applies to ideas that conform to the status quo. The next thing that typically happens is that I am quizzed on the minutia of American History facts and dates. Inevitably, I will not know a detail and then I am proven ignorant. This is the point at which I usually learn that the other artist used to be a professor and, therefore has an unfair advantage over me. So much for acceptance of opposing points of view. Or common civility.

I find these conversations inspirational, because they lead to all sorts of wonderful imagery. This painting was executed very quickly and I enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to doing more work in this style. – 2008

View more art in this series on the Art Community page.

Medium: acrylic and vine charcoal on wood panel

Dimensions: 14w x 26h x 4d

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

Art for Liberty: In Defense of Human Rights

*Detail photo of the painting I am currently working on for my donation to the 2015 Family Outdoor Expo*

ProgressDetail1

**The images below are my donations to the 2014 event**

Stand Up

Stand Up and Be Counted Among the Just

12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014

 

Moral Outrage

 

A Moral Outrage

12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014

A cultural approach to Human Rights issues

I am an artist. Until now, I have worked predominantly on patriotic and political themes. Some of you know me from Liberatchik, others from MachinePolitick; perhaps from both. You may be familiar with my monthly artist reviews of work by pro-American artists, or my occasional blog post about culture and propaganda. I will always work on these themes because I love my country deeply and hope to use my art to inspire love  and respect for our Republic.

More recently, though, I have felt compelled to start using my art to help people who cannot help themselves; who live under truly oppressive and subhuman circumstances. With all the talk of slavery in the public forum lately, comparably has been said about the human trafficking industry. This must change.

I understand the power of art to move men’s minds and impassion their hearts. I hope you understand this as well. I understand that we, as individuals, have a moral responsibility to help those in need on a personal level. I hope you understand this as well. There is already a strong current of resistance building, of abolitionists, to fight the atrocities of human trafficking. You probably have an organization in your area. There are certainly national and global groups you could join or support. Please consider doing so.

I understand that art has the ability to capture the imagination. One of the most affective ways to do this is to develop iconography. Make a visible connection that elicits an emotional connection to the viewer.
The issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery is so horrendous, that most people choose not to understand the magnitude of this international industry. It is more convenient to speak of slavery in terms of something that happened long ago, or is at least an issue in some third-world country, than to admit that it happens right here at home. When you admit that it is real, widespread, and local, you realize that there is a market for such an attrocity; and that is very unsettling, indeed.
It is easy to shut down a web link or turn off a newscast, but once you have seen a piece of art depicting the atrocity, it lives on in your mind indefinitely.

This is not a call for gruesome and graphic works of art. I do not approve of shock art for any purpose. It is a call for advancing understanding of the issue and offering support to the victims and organizations trying to help them piece their lives back together.

In my own limited work, I have attempted to convey the horror of the situation while simultaneously highlighting and upholding the very real solutions available. I have tried to humanize the victims and inspire an understanding of the solutions. Most importantly, I am appealing to you, the viewer, to get involved.

***Images of the work in progress for this painting can be found on the page for my booth at a local shop, Libertas Americana***

Pinterest for MachinePolitick Art

#TakeBackOurCulture
#IgnoreTheEstablishment
#SupportTheArtYouWant
#BeTheSolution

Frances Byrd is the National Director of  Liberatchik.com and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com and LibertasAmericana. She has written for the Big Dawg Music Radio Blog and Breitbart’s Big Hollywood. 

 

Contact: frances@machinepolitick.com

Libertas Americana Grand Opening

I have partnered with a local antique store to open a mini-gallery offering a new line of primitives, hand-painted signs and painted furniture, as well as my paintings. Who would have thought I was too political for the big-city art scene, but it appears I needed to move to the ‘middle of nowhere’ to generate support for my work.

I have been very encouraged and flattered by the level of curiosity and support I have been given since moving here and becoming established as a local artist. I have met people on the street who have heard of my work and been welcomed to the store by other shop owners on main street. It proves, yet again, that those nasty stereotypes we like to cling to are often quite misplaced – country folk aren’t simple or ignorant, and they do like art and welcome it in their community, as long as its purpose is not to offend them. I am looking forward to sharing more stories as I become established in the community.

Please check back for my interview with Katie Lynn Griffin of The Paper.

If you’re in the Athens area, take a 20 minute detour up to Commerce and stop in at the shop to see my new work and the wonderful collection of antiques, vintage items and folk art on display at Our Town Antiques.

I sold a painting!!

 

Wvane

Spinning with the Winds of Change

Completed: 2004

Medium: Oil on canvas.

Dimensions: 14w x 26h x 3d

Description:

This painting is a companion piece to Empty Behind the Mask(2005). Both were started at the same time, but this was my favorite of the two and was finished more quickly. This piece is also a dig at Kerry’s lack of integrity or consistency. The full rant can be found with the other painting. I have included a few more articles for background on this piece.

Libertarian themes abound in The Winter Soldier

I finally made it out to the theater over the Easter weekend to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I was suitably surprised and impressed by it’s predecessor, and the related Avengers films, to make an exception to my general distaste for viewing most things Hollywood. Add to that, my general enthusiasm for all things super-hero and the fact that I have a pre-teen aged son, and it was practically inevitable that I would carve some time out of my schedule to give it a go.

 

Happily, The Winter Soldier eschews the sappy patriotism one might expect from a film centered around a character from the Greatest Generation. Overall, it’s a good action film, and nothing else need be said. But, being a political artist myself, I tend to view art and entertainment through a lens of my own perspective – as do most when scrutinizing art, whether they like to admit it or not. For those of you who simply enjoy your films at face value, and couldn’t care less about the deeper meaning(or my take on it), here is where you would likely move on to the next review. However, having read several reviews that clearly took the opposing stand, I feel quite justified in a little deconstructionism, if you will. Feel free to jump into the comments with your own perspective, as I plan to watch the movie at least one more time before laying my opinions to rest.

 

Captain America’s character becomes a bit more complex in The Winter Soldier than it was in The First Avenger, though it stays true to character. A dichotomy develops as we get to know Romanov’s character better. Nick Fury is dead, then not dead; trusted, then suspect. The obvious bad guys are the politicians, mercenaries and pirates scattered throughout the movie. The less obvious villains occupy all sides of the struggle, swimming in a grey area of philosophy and morality, or lack thereof – perpetrated in the interest of the ‘greater good’. The fate of several million people hinges on the success of an impossible mission involving Captain America, Romanov and The Falcon. The heavy, staccato beat of the music punctuates the more intense action scenes, creating an appropriately tense mood.

 

Libertarian themes abound throughout the movie, though some would prefer to call them fundamentalist paranoia. The Winter Soldier is a victim of the machinations of a power-hungry elite, bent on the establishment of a New World Order, who will use any means necessary to achieve their ends. People become statistics; their lives subject to elimination if their actions or thoughts are deemed inappropriate by the powers that be. Both sides of the conventional power structures are culpable. It is no surprise, of course, with Joss Wedon playing a part in the revival of the Marvel/Avengers genre. Geeks like me have long been fans of Firefly, his cult classic depicting space cowboys as the underdogs to an oppressive Alliance.

 

Of course, the plot, like life and war, is not black and white. It is subtle, yet complex, and the messaging does not beat you over the head. In fact, many viewers might ask, what the heck am I talking about. They just enjoyed the film. And that is as it should be. That is, in fact, much to its credit.

 

Captain America is the quintessential conflicted soldier. He fights for his nation because he believes in her values and principles, but he has come to realize that the people giving the orders can’t always be trusted – even when you like them, or think you should. He has given up everything in service to his nation, only to realize that the lines have blurred and his mission is no longer clear – at least as it is presented by his superiors. Much of the underlying struggle centers around his efforts to understand how different this new century he was thrust into is from his own, and why he was brought here to fight a war he doesn’t know enough about to understand which side he should be on.

 

The Winter Soldier, on the other hand, is purely a tool – emblazoned with a bold red star on the mechanical arm which becomes, as the movie progresses, a symbol of his degradation by the elite who control him. I can’t help being reminded of a similar tool in the person of Che Guevara, but I digress. Unfortunately, The Winter Soldier also turns out to be Captain America’s childhood friend and combat partner, Bucky – long thought dead, but cruelly resurrected by the enemy as an assassin and catalyst for the implementation of their totalitarian utopia.

 

We are left, not unexpectedly, with questions unanswered and the promise of a sequel at the end. I am happily looking forward to the next episode in the story of Captain America and The Winter Soldier.

 

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 at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

Alinsky, Social Justice and a Cultural Revolution

#TheRevolutionaryHaloOfSocialJustice
The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice

 

… to the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

Alinsky’s dedication at the beginning of Rules for Radicals is telling of his personal morality and ultimate goals. Those who blindly follow the current purveyors of his philosophy, within our government, higher learning institutions and social organizations, would do well to examine his/their true motives and the consequences of following in the footsteps of a man who would pay homage to the ideological embodiment of evil.

 

Developing Iconography

 

There is no need to put words in Alinsky’s mouth or take his ideas out of context. There is no need to spin his philosophy like some two-bit mainstream journalist. Alinsky’s words speak clearly for him and his intent in all their wretched meaning. For this reason, several of his quotes were utilized in the under-painting for The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice.

This painting is part of an ongoing series based upon stylized American Crow iconography I am developing. Though the series started out as an illustration of the OWS movement, it quickly grew to encompass progressive thought in general as well as the societal and individual consequences of its implementation.

 

(Social)Justice is an allegorical portrait of Saul Alinsky, one of the most influential progressives in American history. In Rules for Radicals, he laid the groundwork and strategy for an all encompassing transformation of American thought and culture across institutional, economic and social boundaries. This painting attempts to capture the essence of those ideas.

 

The Progressive Tactic of Fomenting Despair

 

Early in the book, Alinsky quotes Dostoyevsky: “… Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future…”

 

Do you see a connection between these ideas and the current events sweeping America today? This quote by Dostoyevsky, as used by Alinsky, points to an agenda that encourages people to disregard the historic failures and precedents of statist ideology and its implementations across the globe. It encourages one to turn a blind eye to the deliberate destruction and loss of life at the hands of an elitist few. It then calls for a blind faith in the motives and power of that elite few rather than in individual responsibility and participatory self-governance.

 

The Common Good

 

The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people”.

 

With this quote, we start to see how the progressive movement started to change the people’s knowledge of America as a representational republic, to a belief in America as a democracy. This is based on an agenda of steering the populace toward support of mob rule, which devolves into tyranny and a dependence on the state for structure and support. The old saw goes: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to take it as truth”. Like the raucous caw of a crow, the populist mantra silences the voice of reason.

What is the goal of this redefinition of terms and intentional deception? First, it is anti-individual and purposefully vague in order to allow the elitist controlling class to redefine terms of duty and sacrifice as being for the common good. It softens the populace to the idea of redistribution of goods and services based on impact toward the common good. And, the very vagueness of the idea, gives those in control the ability to change course and redefine these very terms as needed.

 

People will rally behind the ideas of freedom and justice, even when they are denied these institutions themselves. The challenge and the power come in presenting an agenda in a way that appeals to the emotions first; to make people feel disenfranchised, victimized and entitled to compensation. Once this is achieved, it is a small step to organize them into an activist mob disinterested in the moral implications of their actions.

In fact, Alinsky goes so far as to consider moral concerns a bourgeois affectation; impracticable in the real world. His approach builds on Hobbes’ belief that men are essentially savages in a brutish world. But, rather than merely suggest that a leviathan state is the only method with which to control the vagaries of barbarism, he encourages his followers to take advantage of their collective barbarity at the expense of society.

Quotes in the Painting

I have incorporated some pop culture references and direct quotes from Rules for Radicals in the under-painting. Upon closer examination, the more relevant portions show through, inviting the viewer to step up and examine the painting closely. Of course, the crow stands alone as a piece of art, so it is not particularly relevant for you to know what it means. What it does is engage you directly as a means to open dialogue on the subject portrayed in the painting. The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice is intended to inspire a closer examination of Mr. Alinsky’s model for social destruction and reformation. I leave you, for now, with some quotes from the under-painting.

“Some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight 2008

“…if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise…” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

“To me, ethics is doing what is best for the most”. – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

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 at Big Hollywood. Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

 

Editorial Cartoonist Portrays Ted Cruz as a Clown

Using Art to Push an Agenda 101

While clipping news articles for some upcoming mixed media projects, I came across this cartoon:

CruzClown

You and I may find it absurd; but we are not the target audience.

This cartoon is from the Athens Banner Herald in Georgia (hometown to the University of Georgia). As one might guess, Athens is your average college town; primarily liberal in mindset. Athens is also closely surrounded by a smattering of small suburbs and low-income areas before reverting to its rural/agrarian heritage, where people think of Athens in terms of football and ag programs – and little else.

Ironically, it is know-it-all college kids on their high horses of progressive indoctrination who will be among those most surprised, and directly effected, by the gargantuan health care law’s implementation. The average estimate projects that young Americans will see a 260% increase in premiums under the ACA, even though those same young Americans voted for democrats and a president, in part, to push this law through on the rest of us.

To be fair, some of the low-income voters and farmers in the area may have thought the bill a good idea as well, before it was passed so they could see what was in it. Perhaps they were under the impression that some evil rich guy would be paying for their healthcare henceforth and all their worries would come to an end. What a nasty surprise all of these unintended consequences must be for them.

So, why then, do we have a local paper bothering to print a cartoon ridiculing Cruz for his opposition to the ACA? If the Herald is preaching to the choir, what’s the point?

The point is, many in the choir have changed their tune, and their song has become discordant. Some people, who were perfectly happy to ignore the consequences for the rest of us as long as they thought they would be exempt, have woken up. Unfortunately for them, they have awakened to the reality of government mandated healthcare.

 

Rules for Radicals, or Those Merely Pretending to Be

 

So, amidst all of the policy debates and emotional bickering, what is the significance of one cartoon? We must defer to the wisdom(evil) of Saul Alinsky for understanding on these points.

 

First, it is designed to ridicule a Senator for doing his job: defending the constitution, as well as, the rights and concerns of his constituents. As I have explained in several previous articles, progressives use derision and character assassination to destroy the credibility of their opposition. True or not, fair or not, this tactic works. Once you consider a Senator a clown, are you really going to listen to anything he has to say?

 

For Progressives, and some GOP establishment cronies, it is enough to call Cruz a clown and consider the discussion over. That’s fine if you’re exempt from the law you passed in the first place; but what about the rest of us? For those of us who are not receiving exemptions or subsidies, the ACA is a question of constitutionality and economic impact… whatever the Supreme Court may say to the contrary. (For a more lengthy explanation of these points, I refer you to the Federalist Papers and Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments).

 

Secondly, this cartoon is a perfect example of how progressives use culture, however insignificant, to push their agendas. You may pass a mere cartoon off as inconsequential if you even notice it at all. You may not consider it art and wonder the point I am making.

A cartoon may not be fine art, but it does have cultural significance – even more so based on its ability to reach a broader range of viewers through mass publication. Is it likely to change the minds of people like me who support Cruz? No. But it may plant a seed of doubt in the minds of people on the fence about the law. It will certainly bolster the resolve of the law’s supporters, justifying their subsequent reactions to and treatment of those in opposition.

 

Did you notice the Freudian slip and the irony contained within this cartoon? Uncle Sam is ill, but his cure won’t come from big government intrusion in the lives of its citizens. Besides, he’s old. It’s likely he’s not eligible for anything beyond end of life counseling and painkillers – while there’s still funding for such things.

 

Where’s the Conservative Alternative?

While some members of congress and the conservative media are taking a stand, where is the conservative art community on this issue? You wouldn’t know outside of Ramirez’s and Branco’scartoons because very few are giving a cultural approach a second thought on our side. Nobody with any mass influence, anyway. (That’s a subject for a future article of some length.)

Once again, our side is turning its back on one of the most influential and readily available means to effect policy debate in America. The results for our future are both disastrous and predictable.

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 at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice

 

**This article is a lead in to the piece I am currently writing. I finished the painting about a month ago, but as always, I am dreadfully behind on promoting myself. Here is a collection of thoughts as I was writing the piece. I will post the completed article soon.**

Rules for Radicals…

This painting is a conceptual portrait of Saul Alinsky’s political philosophy as described in Rules for Radicals. It is a glimpse into the motivations and strategies of one of the masterminds of the modern progressive movement. Those of you who are not yet familiar with the back story on my American Crow Series can learn more here.

 The American Crow…

Like other paintings in the series, it is a conceptual portrait of the subject as they are; drawing parallels to the less savory nature of the crow. In this series, I am developing iconography to represent the progressive movement, their goals, and their tactics. Their means to an end are often unpleasant and go so far as to infringe on the human rights and civil liberties of the very people they are purporting to help. Consider this a revelation, through cultural means, of the true intent of the progressive movement.

As noted, this particular piece focuses on the teachings of Saul Alinsky. I have incorporated some pop culture references and direct quotes from Rules for Radicals in the under-painting. Upon close examination, the more relevant portions show through, inviting the viewer to step up and examine the painting more closely. Of course, the crow stands alone as a piece of art, so it is not particularly relevant for you to know what it means.

Quotes…

I leave you, for now, with the quotes from the under-painting. The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice will appear in my next article as accompaniment to a closer examination of Mr. Alinsky’s model for social destruction and reformation.

 “Some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight 2008

 “…if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise…” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 “To me, ethics is doing what is best for the most”. – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

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 at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

What Is Wrong with Conservatism, and How Can We Make It Right? A Symposium

From the Intercollegiate Review:
…The stakes of these disputes are higher than simply satisfying a craving for self-definition or reaching young Americans. Conservatism is the only sane alternative to progressive liberalism, which eschews all tradition in the name of endless “progress” (though what we are progressing toward is never clear), guided by the all-too-visible hand of the omnipotent State. If conservatives cannot agree on their own premises, they will fail to mount a counteroffensive. Without a vision of the good—without the proper institutions of civil society that conservatism seeks to preserve—modern, individualistic, democratic man will succumb to the soft despotism of the omnicompetent State…

Read the full article here.

While acknowledging the need for a conservative vision, we must take seriously Russell Kirk’s understanding of what it means to be a conservative:

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries.

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. . . . The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects.

It is with this humility and understanding that we approach our questions.

Week 1: Politics, Ideas, and the West by Samuel Gregg

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.

 

 

Conservative Artists Should Stick It to the (Liberal) Man

What a nice surprise for Mother’s Day! My second submission to Big Hollywood went up two days after I submitted the draft to my editor. I took the day off, not expecting to be posted so quickly.

Here’s a sample:

It has become a popular mantra of progressives to claim that conservatives are unable to contribute in any meaningful way to art or entertainment in America.

Please read, share and comment here.

How to Exorcise Thought from a Conservative Artist
How to Exorcise Thought from a Conservative Artist
If you missed the first post, please take a look at it now:
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2013/04/28/artist-conservative-background

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, a contributing writer at Big Hollywood and BlogBytes. Her art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.