Dick Hagen

Rarely can one look back upon ancient 'words of wisdom' and find those very same words fit almost perfectly the political tempest likely to soon be unraveling across America. Here's my message from a Land Minds I wrote on Nov. 3, 2014.  You be the judge.

With U.S. 2014 elections now behind us, perhaps it’s time to reflect on a lesson from history. I’m not suggesting the decline of democracy is inevitable. But continuing trends across our American landscape raise serious questions about how do we patch the many potholes. Liberals contend the growing gap between the ‘haves and the have not’s is the root problem of America.  Excuse my bias but to me the basic issue of our country is the simple fact that people who vote for a living now outnumber those who work for a living.  We too rapidly are developing an ‘entitlement society’ which in plain terms is socialism.

Perhaps Winston Churchill put it better when he said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings.  The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of the misery.” Or the great sage Mark Twain who commented, “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”  From President Ronald Reagan, “The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.”

When half the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them; and when the other half gets the idea that if does not good to work because somebody is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!  Perhaps what this country needs are more unemployed politicians.

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:  “A democracy is always temporary in nature: it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  A democracy will continue to exist up until the time voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a Dictatorship.”

Tyler continued, “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been about 200 years.  During those 200 years, these nations progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;

From spiritual faith to great courage;

From courage to liberty;

From liberty to abundance;

From abundance to complacency’

From complacency to apathy;

From apathy to dependence;

From dependence back into bondage.”

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St Paul, believes the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy and with some forty percent of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency’ phase.”  He contends that if Congress grants amnesty and voting rights to 20 million immigrant aliens then we can say “Goodbye to the USA’” in fewer than five years.  Pending the 2016 presidential election, Olson suggests the USA Tombstone could read: Born 1776; Died 2016.

Professor Olson points out some interesting facts concerning the last Presidential election: Number of states won by Obama: 19; Romney: 29. Square miles of land won by Obama: 580,000; Romney: 2,427,000. Population of counties won by Obama: 127 million; Romney: 143 million. Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by Obama: 13.2; Romney: 2.1.

Professor Olson adds, “In aggregate, the map of the territory Romney won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country … Obama territory most encompassed those living in low income tenements and living off various forms of government welfare.”

Wrapping up, it seems the ‘buck passing’ of this Congress will continue. The truth of the matter is that our U.S. Congress has become an insult to us taxpayers and a source of embarrassment to our friends and allies in other parts of the world.  Shades of socialism started disrupting our vision some time ago and each additional entitlement provision further clouds our future.

Farmers, 2020 provided extreme challenges of volatile weather, volatile crop prices and volatile operational costs which was my exact wording six years ago. Still fits today.  Most of you experienced surprisingly good yields and a mostly perfect fall harvest and tillage season.  However, even with positive commodity markets and healthier livestock outlooks, your cash flow for 2021 will be most challenging. Why?  Because your costs have been doing some ramping up too.

Your success primes the pump for the rest of us.  So stay Covid-free; be cautious but cagey as circumstances dictate; stay in touch with the Lord; and come Fall 2021, let's all enjoy the richness of this great treasure … America — Land of the free, home of the brave.

Dick Hagen is the staff writer emeritus of The Land. He may be reached at rdhagen35@gmail.com.

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