Happy Dependence Day

 

const4In what may well become history’s greatest example of missing the forest for the trees, we Americans have been so busy arguing about current political events and issues — the Supreme Court’s decisions on Obamacare and same-sex marriage, the ongoing negotiations about global trade and Iran’s nuclear program, immigration, taxes, gun ownership, and the Confederate flag — we haven’t noticed that our country has just had a revolution.

If you’re reading this essay, it’s very likely that your side lost.

The key to understanding what’s happened to us lies in grasping that a revolution occurs when a country changes not merely its laws or its leaders, but its operating system.

Since we usually think of computers when we hear the phrase “operating system,” let me stick with this analogy to illuminate my point. Every computer has an operating system, and if you want to do something with your computer — send an email, for instance, or visit a website — you must go about it the way your computer’s operating system is designed to work. No operating system is perfect, which is why companies like Microsoft and Apple send updates to their customers from time to time. Every so often they launch new versions of their operating system that incorporate a lot of modifications at once.

Dual Operating Systems

Now, just as computers have operating systems, so do countries. In fact, countries have dual operating systems, one political and the other economic. Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of each: politically, you can be either a democracy or a dictatorship; economically you can have either a free market or a command economy. Each country develops its own versions of these operating systems, which is why no two are precisely the same. Our country’s political system is somewhat different from Canada’s, which isn’t quite the same as France’s, which is different than Japan’s. But the similarities among free-market economies are more striking than the differences. And while no two dictatorships are precisely the same — nor any two command economies — the differences among them are all less important than the similarities.

When you stand back from all these details and look at a country’s operating system, you see the relationship that country has established between the citizen and the State. When our country’s constitution went into effect in 1789, the US established a relationship that was unique in history: the citizen was in charge, the State would serve the citizen, and there would be an arm’s-length distance between the two. It was this unique operating system — not our continental size, nor our natural resources — that propelled the US into becoming the strongest, richest, freest, and most opportunity-oriented country the world has ever known.

Every time since 1789 that Congress has passed a new law — or whenever the Supreme Court has issued an opinion — that’s been the equivalent of an update to our operating system. (And, just as when Apple or Microsoft send out an update, sometimes you like the update and other times you wish they’d left well enough alone.) Every so often, these changes are so profound they amount to a new version of the operating system itself. Think of FDR’s New Deal as America Version 2.0, and LBJ’s Great Society as America Version 2.5.

Politics is the endless effort by candidates and parties to win support for whatever changes they believe would improve our operating system. And when the winners get Congress to pass new legislation, and the president signs that bill into law — that’s the political equivalent of “download and install.”

But when the objective isn’t to improve the operating system, but to replace it, that’s revolution.

Obama Meant What He Said

From the moment Barack Obama strode onto the national stage, he’s made clear that his objective is to fundamentally change the United States. He meant it, and he’s done it.

New laws such as the Affordable Care Act have made each of us more dependent than ever on our government, in this case for our healthcare. But it’s more than legislation: it’s an attitude of arrogance and sheer contempt from official Washington toward ordinary Americans the likes of which we’ve never seen before. The IRS targets conservative political groups in blatant violation of the law, and gets away with it. We cannot get to the bottom of whatever happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi; after three years we still don’t know what the US ambassador was doing in this city on such a dangerous night, or even where our president was during the attack on our consulate.

And it isn’t just the president and officials of his administration whose attitude toward we citizens that’s changed. In the Supreme Court’s recent Obamacare decision, the Chief Justice tells us that words in a piece of legislation don’t mean what they so obviously mean; they mean whatever he wants them to mean. The court’s same-sex marriage decision is another example of this ghastly new attitude toward citizens: whatever you and I think about this issue doesn’t matter; the court will decide it for us.

Simply put, the relationship between the citizen and the state today isn’t what it was when Obama was sworn into office in 2009. Instead of the citizen being in charge with an arm’s-length relationship to the state, we now have a state that treats its citizens like peasants at the end of the Roman Empire: We have no interest in your opinions. Your only purpose in life is to send more revenue. Any effort to rebel will be crushed mercilessly. And do not for one moment forget how lucky you are to be ruled by us.

Which Operating System Will We Get?

This brings us to the 2016 presidential campaigns. If a Democrat wins the election — Hillary or someone else — she or he will keep our country on its present course and lock in forever this new relationship between the citizen and the state. But if a Republican wins the 2016 election… well, we just don’t know what will happen. It’s early days, and not all the likely GOP candidates for president have yet officially announced. At least so far, the ones who have jumped into the race are talking about specific issues, such as Obamacare, taxes, and the federal budget. None of them has quite gone to the core of what really is the overriding issue of the 2016 presidential campaign: namely, what should be the relationship between the citizen and the State? What do the majority of Americans want it to be? And if the majority of us prefer the old relationship to the new one, will the man or woman we send to the White House be content to make the Obama operating system less repugnant to us? Or will he or she reach for greatness by doing what most of us have found to be impossible: getting rid of the new operating system that’s been installed and going back to the older one we liked better.

As I write these words, it is nearly the Fourth of July, Independence Day. In towns and cities across our country, Americans will celebrate the revolution of 1776 without even noticing that another revolution has just taken place. If we don’t wake up, fast, the Fourth of July will become just another day on the calendar. Or, worse, we’ll have a new national holiday called Dependence Day.

There are 24 comments.

  1. genferei Member

    Rick Perry, June 4, 2015, during his announcement speech:

    Yes, it’s time for a reset, time to reset the relationship between government and citizen.

    • #1
    • July 2, 2015, at 8:00 AM PDT
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  2. Casey Inactive

    Obama is a virus.

    • #2
    • July 2, 2015, at 8:03 AM PDT
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  3. Aaron Miller Member

    I don’t think any of the candidates are offering a return to version 2.5, much less 2.0.

    • #3
    • July 2, 2015, at 8:11 AM PDT
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  4. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    You are reading my mind. But you say it better.

    Thanks.

    I wonder how we fight back considering that:

    1. The Federal gov can bribe, both individuals and the states, with an endless supply of money, because they can just keep printing it. How will we ever get 3/5 of the states to rise up? (And all that money is stolen from us as the value drains out of our dollars.)

    2. The poisonous Media.

    3. 900 FBI files, then all the gov surveillance, now Chinese (and others?) hacking of gov databases and probably Hillary’s emails. How do we trust anything any public figure – and increasingly anyone else – says about anything from now on? I now reflexively think: Roberts’s bewildering rulings = someone has him by the short and curlies.

    4. Political Correctness and Multiculturalism have stripped us of any remaining identifiable “American Culture” that we can be proud enough of to finally go to the mats to defend. (Beside the fact that defending ourselves will possibly result in offending someone somewhere, and that will not be tolerated.)

    I honestly don’t know what to do. I would at least like to go down fighting, but I’m not even sure what that would look like. I am open to suggestions.

    • #4
    • July 2, 2015, at 8:13 AM PDT
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  5. Dave of Barsham Member

    Bruce Caward:You are reading my mind. But you say it better.

    Thanks.

    I wonder how we fight back considering that:

    1. The Federal gov can bribe, both individuals and the states, with an endless supply of money, because they can just keep printing it. How will we ever get 3/5 of the states to rise up? (And all that money is stolen from us as the value drains out of our dollars.)

    2. The poisonous Media.

    3. 900 FBI files, then all the gov surveillance, now Chinese (and others?) hacking of gov databases and probably Hillary’s emails. How do we trust anything any public figure – and increasingly anyone else – says about anything from now on? I now reflexively think: Roberts’s bewildering rulings = someone has him by the short and curlies.

    4. Political Correctness and Multiculturalism have stripped us of any remaining identifiable “American Culture” that we can be proud enough of to finally go to the mats to defend. (Beside the fact that defending ourselves will possibly result in offending someone somewhere, and that will not be tolerated.)

    I honestly don’t know what to do. I would at least like to go down fighting, but I’m not even sure what that would look like. I am open to suggestions.

    This is where I am. I see what’s going on and there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it.

    • #5
    • July 2, 2015, at 8:19 AM PDT
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  6. Aaron Miller Member

    I’d sooner vote for an unproven candidate who talks about eliminating agencies and programs than a proven candidate who talks of just nibbling around the edges.

    Perhaps I’m mistaken, but that seems to put Cruz and Perry in the lead.

    • #6
    • July 2, 2015, at 8:36 AM PDT
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  7. James Gawron Thatcher

    Herb,

    I like your analogy very much and have been using my own version of it for a long time. The Constitution is the Operatating System, Laws & Institutions are Software, and Natural Resources, our borders for instance, are the Hardware.

    Now let me present a little hope. It is much more difficult to create an Operating System then at first surmised. You must abstract everything, both the requirements of Hardware and the requirements of Software. If you can do this properly then tremendous productivity in a very free environment is the result. People are free to create & develop software and employ & engineer hardware to ever changing needs. If the Operating System is written well it is the most stable. Our Operating System, our Constitution, is the most stable & free system yet created by man. You are quite correct that it is under direct attack by Obama & Co.

    To successfully change the Operating System you would need to create something that was both more stable and more free. The current attacks have been by those of very inferior intellect. This is inept clumsy badly written code. Their Rhetoric is great but the code is a patchwork of conflicting band-aids. Over time what has been done will show itself to be a disaster.

    Our challenge is to short circuit this process. The sooner we can make people aware that there is a better way and most often that way is adhering to the principles of our Operating System. We must match them in Rhetoric not because that is all the matters, as those who think narrative is the end all, but rather because what we have to sell is superior in all ways and for want of another word, the truth.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
    • July 2, 2015, at 8:39 AM PDT
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  8. Herbert E. Meyer Contributor
    Herbert E. Meyer Post author

    Hi, Bruce and Jim,

    My thanks to you both for your kind words. Jim, I hope your comment is read by every GOP candidate for president…they would actually learn something…

    Herb

    • #8
    • July 2, 2015, at 9:22 AM PDT
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  9. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    Good posting. I agree 100%. But the key now it elect a President that the System Administrators in D.C. will follow. God knows they are gutless.

    I don’t want an old O/S, I want the new, smaller, 100% freeware version. It takes up less space, memory and money.

    • #9
    • July 2, 2015, at 9:34 AM PDT
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  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Yep.

    • #10
    • July 2, 2015, at 10:03 AM PDT
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  11. Z in MT Inactive

    I like the analogy.

    Of the candidates that have announced my feeling is that Rick Perry and Ted Cruz would understand what you are saying best. Rubio, Jeb, Christie, Kasich seem to be interested in making the best of the new operating system. Donald Trump is a grumpy XP user who doesn’t like Windows 8. Rand Paul wants to switch to Linux.

    • #11
    • July 2, 2015, at 10:08 AM PDT
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  12. Front Seat Cat Member

    What is also upsetting is that the conservatives won the mid-terms and did NOTHING to stop any of this – in fact they went to bat for Obama – can you please explain that? Is it possible to even do damage control after all that has happened? Can a new administration undo something as big as the Affordable Health Care Act or put any of the genies back in the bottle? Why are people not screaming from the roof tops? I feel like a puppet – there is no leadership leading in the right direction and we cannot wait for 18 more months of wait and see –

    Start flooding our state elected officials with calls and emails, letters attached to pigeons? Demand they resign for not standing up for the people who sent them there and are paying their salaries? We need to go to the archives of history and figure it out fast – Reagan – Thatcher? It may be down to each voice alone until we are heard again. This is one 4th of July that will feel much different. We are no longer the land of the free.

    • #12
    • July 2, 2015, at 12:38 PM PDT
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  13. carcat74 Member

    From everyone’s keyboards to God’s ears…..

    • #13
    • July 2, 2015, at 1:49 PM PDT
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  14. Trinity Waters Inactive

    Here in Oregon, the gloom is very deep. We have had unrelenting Progressive powers in control for years now, and even though Portland is a fairly small city, it is beginning to exhibit the same rot as Detroit, Chicago, etc. The rest of the state is deep red, and we are drawn to the idea of putting a fence around Portland in the interest of public safety.

    Nationally, we must elect not just any Republican who thinks their choices in yanking the levers of power will be superior to the flailing exertions of the Democrat machine, but one who will downsize the Federal government and issue an Executive Order rescinding all published since January 20th, 2009. If some of those were worthy, they can be reissued after careful consideration. Likewise, the new Prez must force, using leadership (what’s that?) the closing of most of the big spending, unconstitutional and useless administration agencies. All regulations published since 2009 should undergo the same fate as the Executive Orders.

    In order, here are the candidates who understand how and why this must be done, and who deeply love our traditional Judeo-Christion society:

    #1: Ted Cruz, who is the most trustworthy and smartest candidate.

    #2: Rick Perry, who is motivating and knows how to wrangle stupid cattle.

    #3: Scott Walker, who knows how to fight and how to communicate.

    Local and State elections are not in crisis, but the Federal one is, both for validity and crucial importance.

    Where’re my firecrackers?

    • #14
    • July 2, 2015, at 1:51 PM PDT
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  15. GirlWithAPearl Inactive

    So utterly clear and simple. This is like a perfect secular sermon that lays out our sin in universal terms (not personal; simply factual and we’re all guilty) then presents the solution which is obvious and within arm’s length, if we will only think about it for 30 seconds in these clear terms.

    This should be the EXACT template for the GOP campaign, without deviation. Every issue should be discussed within this citizen-state relationship. It soars above the petty and personal

    • #15
    • July 2, 2015, at 3:44 PM PDT
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  16. GirlWithAPearl Inactive

    (Continued)

    I also like the operating system as the analogy – again, it immediately resonates across the spectrum, and communicates without direct personal affront, what must be done. We cannot waste any moe time blaming & finger pointing.

    Well done, Herb Meyer. I am forwarding this around the world and intend to immediately adopt your language.

    • #16
    • July 2, 2015, at 3:53 PM PDT
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  17. Herbert E. Meyer Contributor
    Herbert E. Meyer Post author

    GirlWithAPearl,

    Thank you, very much.

    • #17
    • July 2, 2015, at 3:58 PM PDT
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  18. GirlWithAPearl Inactive

    Clarification: using this template will naturally lead people to affix blame where it belongs. But it’s a smarter and more effective way to do it, by letting people reach their own conclusions.

    And the argument teaches as it unfolds… How many Americans under 40 today have even considered the proper relationship between citizens and the state?

    • #18
    • July 2, 2015, at 4:05 PM PDT
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  19. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Front Seat Cat: Front Seat Cat What is also upsetting is that the conservatives won the mid-terms and did NOTHING to stop any of this – in fact they went to bat for Obama – can you please explain that? Is it possible to even do damage control after all that has happened? Can a new administration undo something as big as the Affordable Health Care Act or put any of the genies back in the bottle? Why are people not screaming from the roof tops? I feel like a puppet – there is no leadership leading in the right direction and we cannot wait for 18 more months of wait and see –

    Hurt the GOP. We do not have their attention, and we *cannot survive* their business as usual.

    • #19
    • July 2, 2015, at 5:52 PM PDT
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  20. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Tom Riehl: … downsize the Federal government and issue an Executive Order rescinding all published since January 20th, 2009. If some of those were worthy, they can be reissued after careful consideration. Likewise, the new Prez must force, using leadership (what’s that?) the closing of most of the big spending, unconstitutional and useless administration agencies. All regulations published since 2009 should undergo the same fate as the Executive Orders.

    “Oh but it can’t be done. Gotta have a glideslope. Gotta get a supermajority. Gotta build a majority on the Court. Will have to consult with the lawyers. Won’t play well in the media. Don’t wanna scare the independents. Gotta consult an astrologer. Unintended consequences. Shock to the system. Fortune cookie say not auspicious day. Gotta win some more elections. Then we can fight.”

    • #20
    • July 2, 2015, at 5:56 PM PDT
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  21. Trinity Waters Inactive

    Tom Riehl:

    In order, here are the candidates who understand how and why this must be done, and who deeply love our traditional Judeo-Christion society:

    #1: Ted Cruz, who is the most trustworthy and smartest candidate.

    #2: Rick Perry, who is motivating and knows how to wrangle stupid cattle.

    #3: Scott Walker, who knows how to fight and how to communicate.

    Local and State elections are not in crisis, but the Federal one is, both for validity and crucial importance.

    Where’re my firecrackers?

    Two “unlikes.” Really? Why?

    • #21
    • July 2, 2015, at 10:21 PM PDT
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  22. Trinity Waters Inactive

    This is my final post on this site that can’t abide truth or confront evil, but whose members prefers erudite commentary over all else. Stay comfortable. Adios.

    http://www.katu.com/news/local/Final-order-Oregon-Bureau-of-Labor-and-Industries-BOLI-Gresham-Sweet-Cakes-Melissa-bakery-must-pay-135000-to-lesbian-couple-311494301.html

    • #22
    • July 2, 2015, at 10:36 PM PDT
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  23. Profile Photo Member

    Tom,
    Those are likes, the button says unlike because you clicked it when it said like.

    • #23
    • July 3, 2015, at 7:52 AM PDT
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  24. Geoffrey Leach Member

    Casey:Obama is a virus.

    Well, at least he’s not the ‘blue screen of death’ …. yet.

    • #24
    • July 3, 2015, at 2:54 PM PDT
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