Dylann Roof: The Startling Truth About His Gun

thThe actions of the disturbed Dylann Roof on June 17th set off a chain reaction of sorts, the components of which are driven by political agendas. American history is being washed of anything that might be considered offensive, especially if it has to do with the southern states and their failed attempt to exercise what was then recognized as a constitutional right to secede from the Union.

To those who support such measures and more, it all makes perfect sense. Dylann Roof was a typical southern racist who wore his hatred–and his Confederate Battle Flag–on his sleeve, or his jacket, or his hat. He gained access to a weapon because of America’s inordinate love of guns. If we had reasonable laws it would never have happened.

Simple, except for one thing that came to light last Friday.

We now know Roof secured his .45-caliber pistol because of procedural errors committed at the FBI. On April 11th this dangerous young man walked into a shop to make a gun purchase. He completed the necessary form for a background check and this was referred to the feds. Mistakes were made. Dictates of the law were not properly fulfilled. And when the seller of the weapon had allowed the legal time limit to pass, he completed the sale of the firearm to Roof.  All of this has been confirmed by FBI director James Comey who says on behalf of the entire agency: “We are sick that this has happened. We wish we could turn back time.”

As constitutionalists like me have argued for a long time, we don’t need more laws about guns. We don’t need to limit the access of law-abiding citizens to the tools of self-defense in this world that seems to be constantly on the brink of collapse. We need to ensure that existing laws are respected and wisely acted upon. In this case it didn’t happen. Nine innocent souls in Charleston paid the price for this oversight. All over the country there are others paying a lesser but still emotional price as the truth of our national past is revised and painted in the emotional terminology that always serves as a tool for radical community organizing.

For those who worship at the altar of Federal Government, the horrendous act of Dylann Roof has become an opportunity to finally nail the lid on the coffin of States’ Rights. The reversal of American history is nearly complete. Those who would speak up to correct this mistake are finally being silenced. Their flags are being lowered. They are being ridiculed as nothing more than symbols of racism. Some even propose that the display or sale of them on private property should be forbidden. Even the dead are being driven from their tombs.

In New Orleans and in other locales, wrongly-informed citizens have arisen to speak against the traitorous southerners who rebelled against their nation. They are described as being unworthy of respect. They had no reason for their acts except the pure motive of racial hatred. Their rebellion was against the laws of nation and humanity. The memory of their actions must be obliterated from our national memory. Confederate soldiers may be buried at national parks commemorating our past, but the flags under which they died may soon no longer fly above their remains.

The problem with all of this is that so much of it is revisionist claptrap. The founders of the United States of America did not establish a national government. They explicitly refused to do so. Instead, they established a federated form of government. The nation to which the first Americans owed their allegiance was not the federal government but the particular state where each resided. Virginians owed primary allegiance to Virginia and Marylanders to Maryland.

So insistent were the founders on this point that they decreed in the Constitution that all rights, powers, and privileges not explicitly granted to the federal government remained the preserve of the states and the people who reside there.

Have you heard Barack Obama and others deride the Constitution because of the manner in which it limits federal action? That’s intentional. The founders did it that way for a reason. They knew that despots who have agendas can always raise an army, or send in the police, or agitate a crowd so that the rights of others are disposed of. This realization on the part of our founders caused them to seriously limit the powers of the federal government.

It was understood from the beginning that the Union was a voluntary association. Secession from that voluntary association was often debated and threatened. The states of the southern rebellion were not the first to threaten secession. They were simply the first to follow through with their threat. Even the textbooks at West Point taught that secession was a right belonging to the states.

Some say that the War of 1861-65 was not a rebellion. I heartily disagree. It was a rebellion. It was a rebellion against the growing power of the central state, a power that was not constitutional. The southern states rebelled, but they were not traitors. They were patriots demanding recognition of the original creed of constitutional government.

We they wrong to have slaves? Yes, of course. Let us all agree that slavery is a tremendous evil. But that particular problem was not only in the south. It was a problem that existed prior to the establishment of the United States and prior to the War of Southern Rebellion. Slavery in the US could have been ended peacefully as it was in other nations. Many southern leaders knew that the days of slavery were limited. That is why the Constitution of the Confederate States of America outlawed the importation of further slaves from outside its territory (in other words, there were to be no more slave ships).

th (1)Here’s a lesson from history. Take note of the Seal of the Confederate government. The man on the horse is not Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, or any other Confederate leader. It’s George Washington, first president of the United States of America. That should tell you something.

The director of the FBI wishes he could turn back time. So do I. The deaths of nine innocent people are on the consciences of everyone at his agency. But there won’t be much backlash. Far too many in the country have already found the scapegoat for this tragedy.

A Parable of Equality Misunderstood

thA reading from the Progressive Bible, First Book of Feel-Good Governance, chapter one.

There once was a chef who had a friend, an architect friend. Each was a man of talent who created amazing things in different ways. Each used the tools of his craft, tools granted unto them by the Creator. One day the architect friend came unto the chef, demanding that he be known not only as an architect, but also as a chef. “My friend,” said the chef, “you are a valued architect and I a valued chef. Let us each apply our craft as the Creator has decided, and as the Book of Diversity explains.”

“But this cannot be,” said the architect, “for lo, people are delighted by your tender meats and delectable sauces. And they do salivate eagerly unto your breads and cakes. This is greatly unfair.” In reply, the kind-hearted chef said “Truly the people do enjoy the foods I put unto them, but they remark greatly upon the beautiful things also that you create, though they differ from mine.”

This did not please the architect, who put continued demands upon his friend. “I will be recognized as a chef,” he insisted, though he had no training in the field and desired none. In his heart he cared not for his own gifts but he did covet the talents of the chef. And so he plotted with the other architects, a very small tribe with loud voices, and they did shame others into agreeing with them about the lack of chef equality in the world. Then the architects did fall into idolatry, for they worshiped at the temple of a mystical rainbow.

Wherever there did gather the tribe of chefs, the architects went unto their locale. There they did wail and gnash their teeth. “Give unto us the accolades of the chefs,” they demanded, “for we would love to have your accolades as well as our own.” And they did fashion banners and flags proclaiming “love will win,” protesting not once, or twice, but many times. And lo, there arose a terrible din, a loud commotion in the land as a strange vexing did accumulate among all the people, for the architects sought to accrue unto themselves the honors and badges of chefs, despite their own honors and badges as architects.

So great became the noise that the matter was referred unto the mighty board of Nine Deciders, a tribe unlike all others, a tribe of dour faces and black robes, known by some as the high priests of the Governing Document. These high priests did gather unto themselves, entering the sanctuary of the temple of the Governing Document. They did cry aloud unto heaven for an answer, and that answer was clear: neither chefs nor architects are mentioned in the holy writ of the Governing Document. And some among the Deciders did tremble at this, for they were bold to give unto the architects that which they unreasonably demanded.

Behold! It was then that five of the Deciders were enveloped in the invisible fog of the Dream State, a land of fantasy where all things are possible and where reason is scarce while feelings and happy thoughts reign. Verily, though the Governing Document said not a word about chefs and architects, it was revealed to the five progressive Deciders that invisible words do exist and that they alone, among all others, can discern the presence of these magic words. Alas, this fabulous five did overrule the other four among the tribe of Deciders, for lo, the other four could discern not the invisible words of happiness, and their decision was announced.

“Behold the law of the land,” they proclaimed. “For we have discovered what never existed, and we will promulgate what cannot be. For we five are able to read what none else have discerned. We do not read only with the eyes of the body, but also with the marvelous eyes of the Dream State.” And so there was great rejoicing among the tribe of architects, who accrued unto themselves the badges and honors of chefs though they wished not to be chefs. And they did wave with great enthusiasm their rainbow flags and they proclaimed, “This day love has won.”

And the chef, who himself was a man of love, was left to ask: “If love has won, then who has lost?” And some who once praised rainbows now put them away, perhaps forever.

Politics Gets in the Way

10009830_10206373929203035_7507572490564070816_nThis blog post is in memory of the nine people who died in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last week. While we fume and fuss about flags and statues, and while we debate about statues and plaques, the families of these innocent people are in the throes of mourning.

Allow me to honor the dead by listing their names. They were our fellow citizens, fellow human beings, Christians gathered in their own house of worship to study scripture. They were praying. They were the kind of people we need more of in this country, and their killer snuffed out their lights in an instant. They were the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, Daniel Simmons, Ethel Lance, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton.

I wish we could grieve for them without all the debate and argumentation. I wish there were some self-imposed moratorium on the political wrangling so that the extinguishing of their lives could fully be recognized as the evil that it is. These, our fellow citizens, were worth more than any flag on any poll, and the immediate turn from their deaths to debate about the past and the symbols of the past seems disrespectful to me. It’s disrespectful to them and to their memories. As they lie among the dead, I feel unclean and lousy using this time to engage in political debate.

Yet this is where we find ourselves. I regret it because I believe it detracts from the honor we should give to the dead. This debate over symbols will divide us just when we should be united in grief and in a commitment to teach our children why racism and violence are wrong. What political pressures are being exerted? What social agendas are at work? What parts of history are being overlooked? Who is being demonized and painted as an outcast? Who will die next?

Go back to the list. Look at their names. Read them aloud and remember that each was a person with plans, dreams, and hopes. Read those names again. Honor the dead. Debate the politics of the day if you must, but remember what is most important.

“What does the Lord require? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Every Bubble Bursts


Paper money (“fiat money”) endorsed by John Law. Photograph is in the public domain.

I grew up in south Mississippi as a twelve-year student of the Ocean Springs School District. I’m grateful for the excellent education given to me there. As early as third grade I was required to study a foreign language (I chose Spanish); at some point I was also introduced to the formal study of Mississippi history, which fascinated me. There I learned one of my earliest lessons in economics–in addition to those being taught to me at home by my father who was a banker. I remember to this day the lessons learned in history class while studying an event known as “the Mississippi Bubble.”

With the arrival in “Biloxey” (now spelled “Biloxi“) of the explorer Pierre LeMoyne d’Iberville in 1699, the French laid claim to a massive amount of land in what would one day be called the United States of America. It stretched from Louisiana to Newfoundland and included territory on both sides of the Mississippi River. You don’t need much creativity to imagine the financial steam that this discovery brought to France. Powerful people with connections to the French monarchy were quick to line up for a piece of the economic pie. You see, some things in history are fairly constant. One of those constants is the sycophancy of influential people who make a better-than-average living from their relations with powerful people in government.

It’s an incredible tale that includes many of the same elements being debated today: fiat paper money, greed, monopolies, Keynesian economics, powerful government, and little benefit to most citizens. If you want to read all the interesting details for yourself (and I certainly recommend that you do so), read the 2012 article by Forbes economist Jesse Colombo, located HERE.

To keep the story to essentials, let me give you a quick review. It seems that a powerful Frenchman of the early 18th century was in dire need of cash. To remedy the situation he turned to a Scottish financier then visiting France, a man named John Law, who introduced the French to a new concept. Rather than trading with precious metals like gold and silver, he suggested to them that a bank should be established by royal decree and that this bank should issue money made of paper. The paper, of course, was of no value except for the promise it carried to its bearer. We now know such money by the name of “fiat” currency, from the Latin word fiat, meaning “let it be done” (the “it” in this case is the assignment of monetary value to something that has no such value except by way of promise and expectation).

A tremendous rush of money began as people sought to capitalize on land in the New World. Law became amazingly wealthy, in cash and in power. He had the power to mint coinage and collect taxes. He had the trust of some of Europe’s most powerful people. He purchased an ailing institution known as the Mississippi Company, gave it a new name and sold shares that expanded in price at an unsustainable rate. The French crown pumped money into his scheme and so many people profited that the French term millionnaire came into vogue.

Eventually, cooler minds began to wonder about the wisdom of investments that skyrocket at such impressive levels while fueled by government-approved fiat money. Confidence faded. Investors demanded gold rather than paper and the entire scheme began to collapse. Company shares were drastically reduced and the millions earned became millions lost. The so-called “bubble” (Colombo says it’s better described as a series of “failed monetary policies“) was a product of excessive monetary growth. In other words, there was an explosion of money but not necessarily of value. In the end, the value of the money declined and inflation set it.

I’ll leave it to my dear readers to discover parallels to today’s world. In the last few months there has been an increase of voices reminding us that all bubbles eventually burst. And economic bubbles always rise higher and faster when inflated with easy government money. Time will tell.

The Liberty Professor Returns

ID-100325327The Liberty Professor has decided to return from more than a year of self-imposed exile from writing.  Stay tuned for more of the honest political and social analysis that you have come to expect from this blog. It all comes with a new, fresh look for the blog website.

As Memorial Day approaches, remember those who have given the highest of all sacrifices. When you see a service member in public, please don’t be shy about offering a word of thanks.

Many of my regular readers have inquired of the reasons for my recent silence. It came from a misguided attempt to avoid causing offense to those whom I feel called to serve in ministry and education. But, as I say, that was misguided. The fact is that we humans are meaning-makers (“hermeneuts” as theologians and philosophers prefer to call us). In our task of making meaning of life we often find ourselves in disagreement. Perhaps this is as it should be, given the heavy responsibility we bear as people driven to find life’s purpose.

As we each find our way we are bound to disagree! Why must we shy from disagreement since it is such an obvious part of human life? I have decided not to retreat from it any further, but to return to passionate and respectful debate of the political and social issues of our time. Please join me. Let us be positive role models to our society of just what it can mean when mature adults argue their convictions with passion, but with respect as well.

Avoiding argumentation is futile of one realizes that the goal of arguing is to discover the truth. As I have pointed out before, the root of our word “argue” is the Latin word arguere, meaning “to make clear.” We owe it to one another to be able to argue respectfully. Staying silent cannot bring us closer to that goal.

With so much at stake in the current political climate, I have decided that silence is deadly. Join me in the debate!

Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Liberty Professor Endorses Chris McDaniel for US Senate

McDanielPerhaps there is nothing more wonderful, more perplexing, or more troublesome than the challenge of discovering where we belong in life. As a Christian and theologian, I believe that life is God’s greatest gift to each of us. It is a gift that must be unwrapped daily, little by little. It can forever surprise and delight us.

The poet e. e. cummings was a unique person. To be oneself, he argued, is the toughest challenge of all. “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

Yet discovering yourself is the first challenge.

I have come to realize that I am simply not called to the political arena. God has opened new possibilities for the fulfillment of my life’s genuine vocation. We academic types are used to argumentation. In some ways we even thrive on it. Others are not used to it and find it not only baffling, but confrontational as well. I do not wish my political commitments to be a barrier to those to whom I may be called to minister.

My political commitments have certainly not changed. But I will no longer be a public spokesman for those commitments. This will be the final post for The Liberty Professor.

These are unsettling times for constitutionalists. We are under fire from both sides of the political aisle. We are labelled with the cruelest of names and accused of the most vile of attitudes–for no other reason than the fact that we have asked important questions. Has government become too unwieldy? Is it too powerful? Are both major parties responsible for growing the size and scope of government for the sake of their respective agendas?

I believe the proper response to each of these questions is assuredly “yes.”

As we approach the 2014 midterm elections, Mississippi has an opportunity to make history. In my opinion, Sen. Thad Cochran has not done enough to support the Constitution. He is a big-government Republican whose time in DC should come to an end. With this post I thank him publicly for his service and I humbly ask him to return home as a private citizen.

In addition, I happily and vigorously endorse Chris McDaniel, whom I believe will bring a new voice to Washington politics on behalf of the good people of Mississippi. I have met Chris. I have heard him speak. I believe he is a genuine constitutionalist.

It goes without saying that I don’t always agree with Chris McDaniel. No one with a brain should agree with any politician all the time. There are things I would say differently than McDaniel. There are ways I would emphasize the message differently. But one thing is absolutely certain to me: Chris McDaniel is a person of profound integrity and soul-searching honesty.

I believe Chris McDaniel will join political forces with other elected officials in DC who are “fighting the good fight” to bring back to the national debate a full appreciation of the power of limited government as laid out in our Constitution. For that reason I support him without reservation.

Humbly, I ask you to give Chris your consideration. Think of the future and the burden being placed upon your children and your grandchildren. Think of the unbridled power and expense being accumulated in the halls of the federal government. Then take note of the growing clamor of false accusations and mud being slung toward McDaniel and his campaign. It speaks louder than words. It tells you that some powerful people are very afraid of the McDaniel campaign message.

Ideas are dangerous. McDaniel has a good idea: let’s be faithful to the Constitution.

Please mark your calendar. The Republican primary is set for June 3rd. I urge you to cast your vote for Chris McDaniel, and to vote for him a second time in the general election on November 4th. I have already contacted my neighbors and asked them to consider Chris. I hope you will do likewise.

It is a great honor to offer this endorsement, and it serves as a fitting way to bring this blog to a close.  May God bless America, and may God preserve the Constitution.

Obama’s Audacity: Using the Shutdown to Punish Some, Reward Others

immigration_rally_national_mall_APBarack Obama is nothing if not audacious. The title of his now-famous book seems to confirm it–The Audacity of Hope. His style of political campaigning confirms it, and although he did his best to hide the most extreme portions of his agenda, hints of it emerged during his original presidential campaign. He and Michelle want to leave a vastly different America in their wake when they leave the White House. “We’re going to have to move into a new place as a nation,” Michelle Obama promised. “We’re going to have to change our history, our traditions.”

When your agenda is that audacious, you have to destroy anyone who gets in the way. What better way is there for an community organizer to do that than to agitate all those who agree with him so that his political opponents are demonized? Let’s look at how community organizers do their work. Three methods are particularly effective: they inform their constituents of the government assistance to which they are entitled, they get them fired up and energetic about securing those entitlements while clamoring for more, and then they scapegoat any politician or political group that stands in their way.

This is exactly what Barack Obama and the Democrat party are doing at this moment with the government shutdown. Of course, “shutdown” is too strong a word. About 17% of the government has been turned off, and in some cases even furloughed workers are having to put in extra time to put up signs and ticket those brave citizens who dare trespass upon federal lands during a shutdown. It’s a selective shutdown.

The Obama administration is engaged in a calculated effort to punish some while rewarding others. As long as the political payoff is estimated to help the Democrat cause, it doesn’t matter who is harmed or what victims are made to suffer. Exemptions are gladly given, however, to those groups that support the cause.

Families of our military who have died in war since the shutdown began have been denied the death and burial benefits promised them. Chaplains have been threated with punitive action if they offer religious services to their congregations. Cancer trials for children have been halted. Parks, turnarounds, and scenic vistas–some of them nothing more than a patch of grass or concrete–have unnecessarily been blocked in order to make a point. In one case, a jogger was ticketed for being on federal land while it was declared to be closed. Private businesses that receive no federal funds are forced to close needlessly, simply because they are on federally-controlled land.

Is the average citizen so dangerous that he or she cannot even be present on federal property without supervision? Supposedly, the federal government maintains these lands on our behalf. Then why do we cower in fear when we imagine taking a stroll on “our” property?

Disgusted by the charade, a park ranger in DC explained the end game: “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can.”

Yet it is not so for all. Just two days ago a massive immigration rally was held on the National Mall in Washington, DC. That mall is officially closed due to the shutdown. The reason is simple enough. The rally was sponsored by the AFL-CIO and SEIU, two important unions serving as intimate allies to the Obama agenda.

To put it bluntly, while blaming the Republicans for the shutdown, the Democrats are refusing to budge on the issue of funding Obamacare. As long as they believe they have the upper hand they will not blink. They will cause inconvenience and even suffering–perhaps to the point of death from cancer–just to stand their ideological ground.

Harry Reid has exposed this nasty agenda on at least two occasions. He recently refused to consider a continuing resolution to fund NIH cancer trials for kids, as covered in my blog post from earlier this week. In addition, when publicly harassed by the mayor of Washington, DC for refusing to vote for funds needed by that city, Reid was inadvertently caught by cameras as telling him to quiet down. “I’m on your side,” he warned Mayor Vincent Gray, “don’t screw it up.”

As a political gamble this strategy may work. But there are hints that it may backfire. Obama’s approval rating is down to 37%, the lowest yet of his presidency. His pals in the media won’t talk much about it–and when they do, they’ll hide it someplace innocuous. A recent article from the Associated Press was headed by the announcement that the GOP is getting the blame for the shutdown, while hiding Obama’s low approval rating in the body of the article. There’s not much objectivity to be found there, as you can see. For an interesting Canadian analysis, click HERE.

This is the same government that kills American citizens overseas without benefit of arrest and trial. It is the same government that illegally passes personal data from IRS to White House. It’s the same government that places a harmful tax on medical equipment, refuses to enforce immigration law, and told us that Obamacare penalties aren’t a tax–until it argued before the Supreme Court and said that they are a tax. This audacious government will say almost anything, blame almost anyone, and give breaks and benefits to its friends and cronies. While blaming capitalism for our nation’s economic woes it engages in the worst form of crony capitalism and favoritism. We who recognize it are labeled as angry extremists.

It’s time to be angry. It’s past time. Audacity is a two-way street.