Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Table

By Nancy Thorner – 

While the vast majority of Americans say that their nation’s not headed in a good direction, there’s a minority that are optimistic about the future. Indeed, author Michael Lotus believes America’s greatest days are yet to come.

Mr. Lotus draws his optimistic attitude by reaching back into this nation’s history. Although a young nation, America has survived other dark periods and has emerged stronger for them. Examples stem from the Civil War and this nation’s confrontation with the 3rd Reich (Nazi regime in Germany). After these two momentous events in the life of this nation, the economy buzzed, Americans thrived as a people, and great advances were made. 

Paramount in sustaining Lotus’ hope is a cultural formula that has remained consistent over many centuries.  This cultural foundation is technically termed the “Absolute Nuclear Family.” Lotus explained that this nation has an individualistic society, with the weakest extended family of any country in the world, making her unlike any other nation in the world. For example: In Arab-Muslim countries, traditionally the young don’t pick their own spouses. Theirs is an extremely clan-like family network. 

Lotus and crowd

That important concept was just one introduced Saturday morning, January 9, to the Women’s Republican Club of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff — now it its 75th year since its founding. Club member Hillary Till introduced Lotus, her former classmate at the University of Chicago. 

Lotus and Till

Lotus is the co-author with James C. Bennett of America 3.0, Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century–Why American’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come.  The book has been endorsed or favorably reviewed by many, including National Review Editors-at-Large Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan; Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner; “InstapunditGlenn Reynolds; and hailed as an “intellectually ambitious and accessible work” by The Washington Times.

America 3.0: has two sub-title: “Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century and “Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come.” Mr. Lotus prefers the latter sub-title, believing that America’s greatest days are yet to come despite this nation’s high unemployment level, the existing low trust by the American people for established institutions, and how senior citizens have been impacted negatively because of low interest rates, etc.

Reasons to be Positive

The Absolute Nuclear Family foundation gave rise over the centuries to a political culture in England then in the USA. That political culture is expressed in three important American documents:

  • U.S. Constitution (described by Lotus as “a perfect code that doesn’t need to be edited”).
  • Declaration of Independence.
  • Northwest Ordinance – an achievement of Thomas Jefferson in 1787.  It established clear property rights, which were very important.  Without them nations remain poor.

English-speaking people have created wealth and innovation based on their practice of finding the most talented people they can find to build something, such as when starting a business, rather than relying on relatives.  At the same time it is not a utopia, and complaints that America can be a cold or lonesome society have some basis in fact. 

This nation has the ability to assimilate people unlike anywhere else in the world.  As such we shouldn’t panic at allowing a certain number of immigrants to come to America.  (The author took exception with Mr. Lotus on immigration. Lotus never clarified specifically whether he was speaking about illegal immigrants, those of refugee status, or those who wait for years to enter this nation legally.) 

Defining 1.0 and 2.0 America 

America 1.0 was described by Mr. Lotus as the society of our Founding Fathers, one of small scale, local government and based on agriculture.  People were free but poor.  It was based on muscle power, since machine power had not been invented.

The transition to an America 2.0 first began to be visible in the Northeast before the Civil War. The introduction of steam power began to change the entire economy and society. It was the Civil War, particularly the mobilization of men, war material, and money required that created the initial outline of America 2.0.  It was those of the Civil War generation (those who weren’t killed) who are credited as the true founders of 2.0.  The change was not without pain, as big cities grew and politics became corrupted.  Just as now, it was perceived by the American people that our nation’s Constitution had been undermined, and that America’s best days were behind her.  But America got through that transition successfully.

The railroads enabled people and goods to move more freely.  Factories sprung up and required lots of people doing things in a systematic way in order to achieve huge returns.  The automobile replaced the horse and carriage. With the development of transportation suburbs were built, offering the American people a quality of life which only the wealthy had enjoyed before.

From its onset America 2.0 required some centralization.  More rules and regulations were needed for the huge influx of people from farms into cities.  Change led to the development of a progressive political movement which took several generations to affect change.  The political framework for America 2.0 happened with the election of FDR and his “Great Society.”  Social Security came into being which led the American people to believe that government would take care of their retirement years.

In retrospect, mid-20th century America looks like a Golden Age.  Big Business thrived. WWII was won and prosperity returned to this nation.  The building of suburbs exploded where families could have their own homes and yards.  Our grandparents, and the World War II generation, built the America we grew up in, which was a very great country in its day.

Another important achievement of 2.0 were technological advances such as the Internet, which allows instant communication, and can be considered the beginning of America 3.0.  

Transitioning from 2.0 to 3.0

The transition from 2.0 to 3.0 is already underway.   The big government of today will eventually have to fail, for unable to keep its obligations, default is inevitable.  The American people will experience pain as the government sector shrinks, but hopefully the cuts demanded will be made as as painlessly as possible.  Mr. Lotus called for an open and transparent reduction of government, which he called “The Big Haircut.” 

We can only speculate what America 3.0 will bring. Lotus suggested the following things as likely:

  • Already self-employment is the growing sector. This trend will continue.
  • The factory floor will no longer require thousands of people showing up for work every day, but will exist everywhere.
  • The Internet will allow individual to work at gigs rather than at set jobs.
  • 3-D printers will create no waste. Everything manufactured will be made to exact dimensions.  
  • Driverless cars will especially help those who are no longer able to drive:  10 years when a typical woman can’t drive a car; for men it’s 6 years.  Commute time will become productive time.
  • Robotic technology will become common place.
  • Technology like BitCoin may replace money.
  • Education and healthcare, now dominated by the government, will crumble, and be replaced by competitive industries offering many choices.
  • Genetic engineering for body parts, etc.
  • DNA manipulation

As changes come and are integrated into society, the cost of living will go down.  

As with electronic devices whose technology is increasing at a rapid pace, to be fully accepted requires a generation who grew up with it and take it for granted before it become universal.

Mutineers needed with personal, moral courage

Although bad things will continue to happen during the transitional period, Mr. Lotus fervently believes that only when the situation becomes bad or oppressive enough will enough people rise up to demand change.  This seems to be happening now, as millions of Americans are saving NO to establishment presidential candidates from either party in favor of candidates who are considered outsiders. The change from 2.0 to 3.0 must allow the creative powers of the American people to be realized and developed, despite a government machine that doesn’t want this to happen.  It doesn’t help that we live in a “creepy state” where government has the capacity to spy on us.  It will require political will to rein in this threat and subject it to lawful control.

Lotus enjoined all present to act as mutineers, keeping in mind that the spirit of freedom still exists within the American people to resist and reject submission, and that the nuclear family is still the norm when the American people are given that choice.

The conservative inclination is to go back to something considered more pleasing, perhaps to the 1950’s?  Some conservative even try to romanticize America 1.0, but you can never go “back” to anything. Both political parties have become corrupted. It will take personal moral courage to fix something as bad as it is now.

George Washington and the Founding Father were willing to roll the dice and make change happen.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence risked their lives knowing they could be hung as traitors. 

Like those who risked death in Colonial America, as America 3.0 struggles to be born, activists and concerned citizens must take the lead, even if the personal risk is not so great. If they don’t others will do so in their absence, and the America of the future will not be as good as it should be and can be.  The conditions are in place for change, given the excesses and the flaunting of our Constitution by our government and by cronies who benefit from it.  We must be ready to seize the day.

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By Nancy Thorner –

America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century tells the story of our nation’s government as crushingly expensive, one that is failing at its basic functions and unable to keep its promises. Such an unworkable and out-of-control government cannot continue as the status quo.

America 3.0’s co-author Michael J. Lotus was featured at the final noontime Heartland Author Series event of the year was held on Thursday, December 12, at the Heartland Institute Headquarters in Chicago. Lotus, a practicing Chicago lawyer, has a BA in economic from the University of Chicago and a JD from Indiana University, Bloomington. Mr. Lotus writes as “Lexington Green” for the Chicago Boyz blog, on history, politics, and books.

Initially I had reservations about the book’s optimistic message for our nation, but little by little I began to understand the reasoning behind Mr. Lotus’ strong positive conviction that had been absent heretofore in me. For minus a crystal ball, conjectures made based on past happenings of the American people and how they reacted in times of crisis, can serve as sound criteria from which to predict future happenings.

America 1.0 was described by Mr. Lotus as the society of our Founding Fathers, one of small scale, local government and based on agriculture.   Around 1900 America moved from 1.0 to 2.0, ushered in by the Machine Age.

The transition to an America 2.0 represented a massive change for the American people.  It was accomplished, but not without pain, despite many who thought such a dramatic upheaval would destroy this nation.  Perceived by the American people at the time, as today, was that our nation’s Constitution had lost its intent and that America’s best days were behind her.

The unfolding of America 2.0:   From its onset America 2.0 required some centralization, as in the operation of the nation’s railroad system.  People crowded into cities.  With the development of transportation suburbs were built, offering the American people a better quality of life.  Factories sprung up and required lots of people doing things in a systematic way in order to achieve huge returns.

Change led to the development of a progressive political movement which took several generations to affect change.  The great U-turn happened with the election of FDR and his “Great Society.”  Social Security came into being which led the American people to believe that government would take care of their retirement years.

With the end of WW II, given this nation’s amazing feat in defeating the great evil of the Western world, many Americans came to believe that big government was capable of doing things well.  A dose of big government likewise happened when President Dwight Eisenhower took on the big project of creating the national highway system.  President Johnson advanced the progressive political agenda, now a fixture in the Democratic Party, by establishing Medicare and Medicaid.  Republicans were not given a free pass from their support of big government.  It was President George W. Bush who introduced prescription drug benefits under the mantel of “compassionate conservatism.”

Lastly, the development of amazing technology greatly influenced America 2.0.  Instant communication is now possible though computers and the Internet.

America 2.0 in its current state:  This nation exists in a crisis mode. Most people have no idea of the existing conditions which are tearing down the foundation on which this nation was conceived and by which it had prospered under a free market system.  The progressive movement has emerged as a powerful force by advancing policies that will destroy rather than revive this nation. There is an attempt through Obamacare to run 1/6 of the nation from Washington, D.C.; regulations have become burdensome and costly; unfunded federal financial obligations have soared to $130 trillion; and state, county and municipal governments find themselves on the edge of a financial cliff.

Mainstream Republicans are not helping to reverse this nation’s economic and social crisis.  Too many Republicans have become “me-too” Republicans after being convinced that progressive policies (i.e:  amnesty for illegals, big government policies, and failure to deal with this nation’s unsustainable debt) will enable them to win the Senate in November, 2014, and the White House in 2016.

Can we even depend on Republicans to meet crisis head on, with the exception of conservative Republicans whose principles are firmly rooted in smaller government and against out-of-control spending?  A pox exists on both political parties!

The transitional period:  As already expressed by Mr. Lotus, the big government of today will eventually have to fail, for  unable to keep its obligations default is inevitable.

The American people will experience pain through spending cuts, but hopefully the cuts demanded must be as painless as possible.  Mr. Lotus called what must happen to government, “The Big Haircut.”  Lotus also eluded to the possibility that one Constitutional amendment may be needed.

Although bad things will continue to happen during the transitional period, Mr. Lotus fervently believes that only when the situation becomes bad or oppressive enough will enough people rise up to demand change.  This happened before in history when during times of crisis mass political movements were formed to demand change.   During the period of the American Revolution, only three percent of the colonists were actively involved in throwing off the shackle of England so this nation could become independent and free.

Mr. Lotus cited the Tea Party as the beginning of a mass political movement of individuals willing to stand up and say, “Enough is enough,” with actions appropriate to their words.

It will take vigilant citizens to reclaim our government.  It might take a million such “mutineers.” The question remains how long it will take enough people to stand up to demand a change of course for this nation.

Hopeful signs for a positive transition:  The change from 2.0 to 3.0 must allow the creative powers of the American people to be realized and developed, despite a government machine that doesn’t want this to happen.  It doesn’t help that we live in a “creepy state” where government has the capacity to spy on us.

Why reason for hope?

  • This nation has already been through a major shift from an agriculture-based society to one based on machines.
  • Its foundation is based on documents relating to our English heritage:  the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Northwest Territory which stated that west of the Ohio River there could be no slavery.
  • This nation still leads in equality.
  • The spirit of freedom still exists within the American people to resist and reject submission.
  • The nuclear family, used to describe a family group consisting of a pair of adults and their children, is still the norm. The American people when given a chance want to live in single family
What will America 3.0 bring:   According to Mr. Lotus, it will be much like 1.0 but super-powered.
  • Already self-employment is the growing sector. This trend will continue.
  • The factory floor will no longer require thousands of people showing up for work every day, but will exist everywhere.
  • The Internet will allow individual to work at gigs rather than at set jobs.
  • 3-D printers will be able to grow new body parts.

In closing:  Detroit represents the ultimate result of the 2.0 model failure.  Chicago is likewise failing and is long overdue for a “revolt” by its inhabitants.

George Washington was willing to roll the dice and even risked his life in a time of crisis.  The Founding Father were willing to roll the dice and make change happen.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence risked their lives knowing they could be hung as traitors.

Unlike those who faced death in Colonial America, as America 3.0 struggles to be born, activists and concerned citizens must take the lead or others will do so in their absence.  The conditions are in place for change.  Might Obamacare will be the straw that broke the camel’s back?   We must be ready to seize the day. America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century — Why America’s Greatest Days are yet to Come.

Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

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