The Real Meanings of Two Important Words

The Real Meanings of Two Important Words
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

An increasing number of Americans have found themselves confused during discussions only to find out that the cause of the problem stems from distortions in the meaning of key words.

Image from Pixabay, CCO License.

We live in an era when correct definitions have been almost universally lost. Two prime examples come to mind: the words “democracy” and  “inflation.” I contend that getting back to the true meaning of each is long overdue and very much needed. Venal politicians and dull or deceitful economists are deceiving the public and that has to stop.

The word “democracy” entered our language from Greece. It means “the people to rule.” If the people force adoption of something truly beneficial to their nation and its people, consider it a bit of luck. But democracy customarily invites what James Madison, our nation’s fourth president, abhorred. He and other Founders made their feelings known while creating the U.S. Constitution where they chose a republic, the rule of law, to be our nation’s governmental system.

Madison explained his detestation of democracies when he wrote that they “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.” Instead, he and his colleagues at the 1787 convention established a “rule of law” as the standard for deliberation and action. Its main premise was to have our infant country prosper, not because of what government would do, but because of what government would be prevented from doing by the Constitution.

Today, the Constitution is given lip service and government has greatly ignored the bonds erected to insure that it would not exceed its powers. Consequently, we are victims of democracy in action, a bowing to the demands of the mob, ignoring constitutional restraints and leading the nation toward total government. Politicians are converting our republic into a democracy that will inevitably lead to tyranny. There is great need for understanding the wisdom contained in the slogan, “This is a republic, not a democracy; let’s keep it that way.”

Regarding inflation, the misuse of its correct definition has largely been hidden. Inflation is an increase in the quantity of currency, not the condition of rising prices which is the widely known, but wrong, definition. What appears to be a rise in prices for goods and services is proof that money has become less valuable. Wet streets don’t cause rain. And rising prices are the consequence of putting more money into circulation. What is inflated is the quantity of currency. When money becomes less valuable because of increasing its amount (a common practice engineered by the Federal Reserve), the rising prices for goods and services are simply a refection of the loss in value of existing money.

Early in his career, British economist John Maynard Keynes pointed his finger at would-be rulers and described the process correctly. He wrote: “By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens…. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose.” What Keynes was saying is that filling your car’s gasoline tank may have cost $5 dollars in the early and middle years of the past century. But filling your tank now costs $40 or more. The price of gasoline didn’t change; the value of a dollar changed.

A great deal more can be said about how faulty definitions inevitably lead to more power in government. Combating the harm being done to the American dream has to include correcting the widespread misinformation about democracy and inflation.

Help is needed. If you’re interested in joining the cause, contact your local JBS field coordinator today!

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.

The NFL’s Disregard and Disrespect of the Flag

The NFL’s Disregard and Disrespect of the Flag
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Even though many National Football League players, plus some coaches and owners, have championed Colin Kaepernick’s insult to the nation’s flag, he is no hero. As of this writing, he’s also no longer an NFL player.

Image from Wikimedia Commons by Crash Underride, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Kaepernick is the self-serving individual whose refusal last year to stand during the playing of the National Anthem and the simultaneous honoring of the American flag has spawned similar demonstrations throughout the NFL. Kaepernick sought to draw attention to himself by claiming his action constituted a response to cops killing black Americans. He offered himself as a symbol for what he contends is a form of deadly racism. He has become a hero to the Black Lives Matter movement.

We know of no complaint this man has ever registered about black babies being slaughtered via abortion. Approximately 15 million have been butchered since the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for murder in the womb in 1973. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a supporter of such carnage, noted in 2017 that pregnant black women are five times more likely to kill their unborn child than white women. has pointed to an older Howard University study noting that black women over 50 who have had an abortion are five times more likely to develop breast cancer than those who have never submitted to the grisly practice. If Kaepernick is completely unaware of such facts, he has been victimized by the news media that now supplies him with inordinate amounts of attention.

Kaepernick is the son of a white woman and a black man. His biological father took off immediately after finding out that he had fathered a child. Kaepernick’s mother, realizing her inability to care for her baby, carried him to term, and immediately placed him up for adoption. A white couple answered the call, raised him, gave him the Kaepernick name, and provided care for close to 20 years. Kaepernick is surely not a victim of racism.

Having attracted huge amounts of attention through his initial refusal to honor the flag and the anthem, Kaepernick upped the ante by later wearing socks carrying a portrayal of policemen characterized as pigs. He never mentioned the five Dallas policemen who were deliberately sought out and murdered by a black sniper. Nor did he speak out about the black murders of scores of fellow blacks that have become routine in Chicago.

To date, the NFL’s officials have refused to condemn the actions of players, coaches, and owners who have chosen to follow the Kaepernick lead. The league has stiff rules against wearing ads on their uniforms or demonstrating “excessive” joy after scoring a touchdown. There are even penalties for not having one’s shirt properly tucked in. Should not loyalty to country be expected of millionaire players, owners, and coaches?

Claiming that the entire matter should be judged, not by a racial test but by the answer to a single question, columnist Pat Buchanan asks: “Do players, before games, have a right, as a form of protest, to dishonor and disrespect the flag of the United States and the republic for which it stands?” If so, he and others contend, then the NFL should start preparing for plenty of fans who will find something else to do with their dollars and their time when the NFL takes the field.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against former high school football coach Joe Kennedy who made it a practice to gather the players for silent prayer before a game. Kennedy was fired, appealed to get his job back, but was rebuffed by the federal court. Still, Kaepernick is a hero to many.

Patriotic and religious expressions are under attack. Ultimately, the values that made our nation the envy of the world are the targets. Resistance to such a campaign is needed. It is Kaepernick and those who honor him who should be shunned, not the flag and the national anthem.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.

A Return to the Republic: A Game Plan for Donald Trump

A Return to the Republic: A Game Plan for Donald Trump
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The following statement was solicited and then aired, along with the thoughts of others, via the nationwide “Connecting the Dots” radio program on November 22, 2016. We were asked what advice would we give to incoming President of the United States Donald Trump.

Donald Trump speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona (photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr, some rights reserved).

Mr. Trump, I suggest that you add to your goal of making America great again the following statement: “America became great, not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the U.S. Constitution.”

You should consider that, were the Constitution fully adhered to, the federal government would shrink to 20 percent its size and 20 percent its cost.

To questions asking what you intend to do after your inauguration, you should say, “I am not going to do as much as people might expect. Instead I shall use all the proper powers of the presidency to undo much of what government now does. And what I intend to undo, to abolish, are all agencies, departments, and bureaucratic monstrosities that are not authorized by the Constitution.”

Among the federal agencies that should be abolished are the Departments of Education, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and many of those issuing handouts of various kinds. You should arrange to have the U.S. military and the U.S. Border Patrol take on whatever responsibilities have been assumed by the Department of Homeland Security.

One by one, all agencies of the federal government that have been created and empowered by presidential Executive Orders should be abolished. The most egregious of these is the federal Environmental Protection Agency, a monster created via an Executive Order written by President Nixon in 1970. The EPA was never voted into existence by Congress.

America has not won a war since 1945 when victory was achieved in World War II. No victory in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Why? Because our nation submits to rules and regulations mandated by the United Nations and its controlled stepchild NATO. For this reason and many more, the United States should withdraw from the United Nations at the earliest possible time. A measure to accomplish this goal, H.R. 1205, has been introduced in the House of Representatives and it should receive presidential support.

Proper attention should be given to the very first sentence in the Constitution that states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….” That means no law making is proper if made by presidential Executive Order or by a Supreme Court decision. Any law enacted outside of the legislative branch must be declared null. One good example needing termination is the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that has legalized the taking of 60 million lives since 1973.

Presidential power must be employed to have a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve, something that hasn’t been done in the Fed’s more than 100 years of existence. Congress would welcome the help of the President to get this done. Once audited honestly and thoroughly, moves should be undertaken toward abolishing this unconstitutional engine of inflation. The path toward creating precious metal backed currency should be laid out and followed.

Various job-destroying entanglements in which our government has placed the nation should be terminated. This means exiting NAFTA, CAFTA, the World Trade Organization, and others.

Let me say again: “America became great not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the Constitution.”

Mr. Trump, I will continue to pray that you accomplish all your legitimate goals, only some of which I have listed in this brief statement.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.

States Show Signs of Recognizing Their Sovereignty

States Show Signs of Recognizing Their Sovereignty
by JBS President John F. McManus

A largely forgotten or ignored feature of the political construction of the United States consists of the undeniable fact that the states created the federal government, not the other way around. The states, of course, existed before the Constitution was even written. The Constitution wouldn’t even exist if it hadn’t been ratified by the required 3/4s of the states. The purpose of this state-created Constitution is very clear: There shall be a national government with strictly limited powers and all other powers shall remain with the states or the people (10th Amendment).

If the states are sovereign and the federal (national) government oversteps its constitutionally limited role, what is a state (or all of the states) to do? One answer is nullification, a little-used procedure that shows signs of becoming strongly prominent.

On March 19th, the state of Idaho demonstrated its understanding that the federal government isn’t all-powerful. A measure known as SB 1332 won passage without any “No” votes in both houses of the state’s legislature. It was then signed into law by the governor. SB 1332 says that there shall be no confiscation of firearms by Idaho law enforcement officers when directed to do so by the federal government. The measure was prompted by the enactment of various measures by the federal government that do indeed threaten a citizen’s right to be armed.

In Georgia, the state legislature came within a whisker of nullifying ObamaCare when the state senate declined to follow the Georgia house’s approval of a measure to nullify that widely unpopular federal measure. Proponents say they will try again. Other states, looking at what has happened in these two states (and others where nullification measures are being considered), are beginning to realize that they are not mere subordinate jurisdictions required to accept robotically and carry out all federal mandates.

Opponents of nullification will cite a portion of the Constitution’s Article VI: “This Constitution and the laws of the United States … shall be the law of the land.” Sounds good but they leave out something. Proponents point to the part of Article VI omitted by the above ellipsis which states “which shall be made in pursuance thereof.” In other words, the federal government cannot create any law whose legitimacy does not follow the provisions of the Constitution itself.

Perhaps some states will begin to take a hard look at such federal mandates regarding education, housing, medical care, energy, and more. There is clearly no authority given in the Constitution for meddling in these and numerous other areas.

State recognition of the power to nullify when the federal government exceeds its constitutionally authorized power could become the nation’s way out of virtually uncontrolled federal domination. To join the movement in your area to do just this, join The John Birch Society today.

24 Constitutional Questions Every American Should be Able to Answer

September 17 is designated Constitution Day in recognition of the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. How many of these quiz questions can you answer?

  1. Q: Has the Constitution always guided the country?
    A: No, originally the nation functioned under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation.  But after 11 years under the Articles, the U.S. Constitution was written, agreed to, and ratified by nine states (all eventually ratified but only nine were needed to have it take effect).  On September 13, 1788, the Continental Congress proclaimed that the Constitution had been properly ratified and it ordered the new government to convene on March 4, 1789.
  2. Q: Does the Constitution allow the Supreme Court to make law?
    A: No. The beginning of Article I states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.”  Any Supreme Court decision is the law of the case and it binds only the plaintiff and the defendant. The meaning of the word “all” has not been changed.
  3. Q: Does the Constitution allow the President to make law?
    A: No. Executive Orders issued by the President that bind the entire nation are illicit because, as noted above, “All legislative powers” reside in Congress. An Executive Order that binds only the employees of the federal government is proper because the President should be considered to hold power much like the CEO of a corporation who can issue rules to his employees. But the entire nation is not in the employ of the President. The President does have a role in lawmaking with his possession of a veto. He can veto a measure produced by Congress (which can still be overturned), sign a law produced by Congress, or simply allow a measure to become law by doing nothing within ten days “Sundays excepted.”
  4. Q: Does the Constitution give the federal government any power in the field of education?
    A: No, none.
  5. Q: Where in the Constitution is there authorization for foreign aid?
    A: Nowhere is there such authorization.
  6. Q: What are the three branches of government named in the Constitution?
    A: Legislative, Executive and Judicial.
  7. Q: Does the Constitution require a minimum age requirement for a Senator?
    A:  Yes. One must be 30 years old.
  8. Q: What are the Constitutional requirements for a person to be President?
    A: A President must be a natural born citizen (not an immigrant who became a citizen), must be 35 years of age, and must have lived in the U.S. at least 14 years.
  9. Q: Did the Constitution give the federal government power to create a bank?
    A: No. It was given power to “coin money,” meaning the power to establish a mint where precious metal could be shaped into coinage of a fixed size, weight and purity.
  10. Q: Can treaty law supersede the Constitution?
    A: No.
  11. Q: Does the Constitution allow a President alone to take the nation to war?
    A: Absolutely not. The Constitution states very clearly that only Congress has power to take the nation into war.
  12. Q: Are there any specific crimes mentioned in the Constitution?
    A: Yes: treason, bribery, counterfeiting, and piracy.
  13. Q: Are the Bill of Rights considered part of the original Constitution?
    A: Many do hold that view because if the promise to add the Bill of Rights had not been made, some of the states would not have ratified the Constitution and it might not have become the “Supreme Law of the Land.”
  14. Q: According to the Constitution, how can a President and other national officials be removed from office?
    A: They can be impeached by a majority in the House and tried by the Senate. Impeachment is not removal; it should be considered only as an indictment to be followed by a trial.  Two-thirds of the senators “present” must approve removal at a subsequent trial or the person who has been impeached by the House shall not be removed.
  15. Q: What authority does the Constitution give the Vice President?
    A: The Vice President stands ready to take office if a President dies or becomes incapacitated.  He is also President of the Senate and has the power to break a tie if one comes before it.
  16. Q: How many amendments to the Constitution are there?
    A: There are 27.  The first ten can be considered part of the original Constitution.  And Amendment 18 was repealed by Amendment 21, which means that in 220 years, there have been only 15 amendments. Amending the Constitution is a difficult process, made so by the Founders to keep anything silly or dangerous from being added in the heat of passion.
  17. Q: Does the Constitution say anything about illegal immigration?
    A: Not directly.  But Article IV, Section 4 assigns to the federal government the duty to “protect each of them [the states] against invasion.”  Note that it does not stipulate that an invasion be done militarily.
  18. Q: Does the Constitution tell us how new states are added to the union?
    A: Yes, Congress has the power to do so with a majority vote in each of its houses. It used its power, most recently, to welcome Alaska and Hawaii as the 49th and 50th states.
  19. Q: How is an amendment to the Constitution added?
    A: Congress can propose an amendment when two-thirds of both Houses vote to do so.  It must then be ratified by either the legislature or convention in three-quarters of the states. Amendments can also be proposed by a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of the states. Any amendment arising from a constitutional convention must also be ratified by either the legislatures or conventions in three-quarters of the states.
  20. Q: Is the term of a President limited by the Constitution?
    A: Yes.  In 1951, the Constitution was amended (Amendment 22) to limit anyone to two terms as President.  The only President who served longer was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who served into a fourth term, but died in April 1945 shortly after the beginning his 13th year in office.
  21. Q: Which part of Congress is designated by the Constitution as having the “power of the purse?”
    A: Article I, Section 7 states: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…” If a majority in the House (218 is a majority of its 435 members) refuses to originate a bill to raise revenue for any purpose, no funds can be raised, until it passes.
  22. Q: How does the Constitution explain expelling an elected member of the House or Senate?
    A: Two-thirds of either the House or the Senate can expel one of its members for cause even though he or she has been elected by voters.
  23. Q: What does the Constitution say about financing a military arm?
    A: Article I, Section 8 says that the Congress can raise an army but “no appropriation of money” to fund it shall be for longer than two years.  The same Article says Congress can provide for a navy without that same restriction regarding funding.  Why?  The men who wrote the Constitution feared the possibility that a standing army housed within the territory of the nation might arise and seek to take power.  But they did not fear that a navy would try to do that because a navy and its weaponry did not reside within the nation, only at sea or coastal seaports.
  24. Q: How many times is the word democracy mentioned in the Constitution?
    A: None.  America is a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy.  A Democracy ruled by the majority can be persuaded to take away freedoms and property.  Under a Constitutional Republic, such power does not exist.

How did you do? For a refresher, read the Constitution and watch Overview of America.

(Image from Max Pixel, CC0 Public Domain).


When the Argument of a Republic Versus a Democracy is in Play

When bickering as to whether The United States of America is a republic or a democracy, we are discussing nothing more than liberty versus tyranny.  However, stressing the difference between a republic and a democracy does not portray the motivations behind the conversion of our republic into a democracy.  It is no coincidence that our system of government, initially founded as a republic, is now transforming into the depths of a democratic abyss.

Essentially, our republic is able to maintain itself as a rule of law and not of men by means of a system of checks and balances.  Separated into three branches, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial, our government is arranged according to the U.S. Constitution so that each branch has its own assigned powers.  Examples of these powers are: to make laws (Legislative); to carry out the laws (Executive); and to interpret the laws (Judicial).  The Constitution also provides each branch of the government with several checks over the other two.  For example, the president can veto a law passed by Congress; however, Congress can override a veto with a two-thirds vote.  As another example, the president is given the power to appoint Supreme Court and other federal judges; however, the Supreme Court can judge presidential actions to be unconstitutional.  While our republic has built-in checks on government power, a democracy is based on majority rule with no such built-in checks.  This defect of democracies is often referred to as “the tyranny of the majority,” because the rights of minorities and individual citizens are not protected in a democracy.

Democracy, as the average citizen believes it to be, is a form of government by which all eligible citizens may have an equal say by vote to elect those who pass the laws that affect them.  This is a reassuring definition from which a person could wrongfully believe that their individual rights will be protected in a democracy.  However, democracy is far more than as defined above.

“…democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”-James Madison, father of the Constitution.

Furthermore, Karl Marx stated in The Communist Manifesto:

“We have seen … that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.”

While democracy may seem to give people more say in their individual lives, it actually gives the government more control over the people.  When a government may confer rights at any time, they can also take those rights away at any time.  It is extraordinarily difficult to decipher exactly which rights we take for granted in our everyday lives that have an alternative intention.  In alliance with the greater agenda of the elites as well as the shift towards a democracy, many beneficial laws and ideologies are being abandoned.  The destruction of morality, banishment of private property, and abolishment of family are just a few of the major alterations.

The destruction of morality should be viewed as being a great threat to our republic.  Whether discussing homosexuality, abortion, or marriage, each and every campaign for equality rights, gay rights, and even women’s rights is cleverly disguised.  The true intention of these campaigns is not to grant personal freedom or rights, it is to completely destroy man’s consciousness.

Again, as Karl Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto:

“But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.”

Furthering our destruction of society, the banishment of private property is another mandatory aspect of doing away with freedom.

As Karl Marx says in The Communist Manifesto:

“In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property.  Precisely so; that  is just what we intend to do.  From the moment when labor can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolized i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.  You must, therefore, confess that by ‘individual’ you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property.  This person must, indeed be swept out of the way, and made impossible.”

Finally, the abolishment of family is along the same lines as destruction of morality.  It is of the utmost importance to those who intend to rule us to control the household and the education of children in today’s society.  By restricting homeschooling or allowing a child to have two mothers or fathers rather than a mother and father respectively, the traditional family is being deemphasized.  Rather than our educational system teaching kids how to think critically, our children are now attending school and being taught what to think.  Programming our children in inappropriate ways, our educational system has gone astray.

It may appear that we have gone astray from the given subject; however, in a republic like our nation was founded to be, the government cannot take rights away from the people that only God can give. In other words, if our nation is converted to a democracy, then all rights will be subject to the whims of the government, and the people will have no basis for preserving their rights.  That is to say, if our rights are something the government is able to grant, then they can be taken away at any point in time.  So when the argument of a republic versus a democracy is in play, it would be in your best interests to realize what the fundamental principles are of each form of government as well as their consequences.  In Robert Welch’s “Republics and Democracies” he quoted a speech Benjamin Disraeli made to the British House of Commons in 1859 in which he said:

If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy.  You will in due season have great impatience of public burdens, combined in due season with great increase of public expenditure.  You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason; and you will in due season submit to peace ignominiously sought and ignominiously obtained, which will diminish your authority and perhaps endanger your independence.  You will in due season find your property is less valuable, and your freedom less complete.Image

One of the greatest assets of The John Birch Society is the archive housed at headquarters in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Rows and rows of file cabinets and shelves filled with books, magazines, literature, and much more span many hundreds of square feet in the lower level of both buildings.  JBS Founder Robert Welch was a prolific writer, and much of his work can be found in the archives.

In October 1961, he wrote what is arguably the best description ever of the fundamental differences between a government based upon law and one based upon men.  Published in American Opinion, his classic ‘Republics and Democracies,’ was first delivered as a speech on September 17 (Constitution Day), 1961.” The next month he published it in American Opinion.

His conclusion was that “America was founded as a Republic, not a democracy.  Let’s keep it that way.