The Civil War of 2010
The Civil War of 2010 is over. While not a true "war," the battle has been just as divisive as the one that ended April 9, 1865. Instead of bullets, barbs have been fired from side-to-side in the form of nasty comments, caustic debates, and negative ads.
In both cases, freedom is the issue. Both left America emotionally divided and financially devastated—making recovery a challenge. Following the Civil War, however, America did recover, it grew and became great. Today, we’ve forgotten how we did it.
There are lessons from history that can be applied today to rebuild a wounded and divided country.
First, we can recover. A successful country will bring together a divided country. The election results tell us that Americans are once again looking for American exceptionalism and might. The electorate sent a clear signal that they want freedom, not the enslavement of the current policies of oppressive federal regulation, federal government intrusion, and excessive spending.
Additionally, we can learn from the "how" of America’s rebuilding—and that connects right back to freedom! Government set people free to be successful through the Homestead and Mining Acts. The massive Federal lands were opened up to opportunity. Farming communities were created. Mining claims were staked and developed. Whole towns sprung up where there was nothing before. Instead of locking up lands and resources as we do today, people were encouraged to go, explore, and seek their fortune—and thus rebuild the country and its wealth.
As our new lawmakers come together in victory, just like the Civil War, they will be joining others who lost their friends in the battle, and those who barely survived. And like the Civil War, the 2010 midterms made clear that America is ready for a big change. That change needs to create jobs and fix the economy.
They can do this by opening up Federal lands, for multiple use, not closing them up only for animals as the Endangered Species Act has done. Despite efforts on behalf of the animals, species have still gone extinct and new species are found. Nature continues on.
Rather than blocking resource extraction because of possible impacts, Americans need to support the development of our natural resources. Within our soil we have oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earths, tungsten, and copper—and many other minerals and elements that are essential to the global economy. Rather than paying someone else for raw materials from overseas, let’s maximize our resources, use what we need, and export the rest to bring new money into our borders.
Lawmakers can end the spending that goes to bureaucrats who theorize about "wilderness", "road-less areas", and "wildlife." And they can stop the funding for investigations instigated by environmental lawsuits aimed at stopping development. These legal actions not only demand the time of government employees; they block the income that could go to state and federal coffers through rents and royalties.
Next, permits should be expedited for those who want to create jobs and build wealth. Following the Civil War, people were helped—today potential success is hindered. The months (and years) of fruitless waiting and responding to "make-work" requests for more and more justifying documentation, legal costs, and political hurdles of the permitting process hold back new discovery and development. Only corporations with dedicated departments and big budgets can make the investment in time and money required—and even then they are demonized. For example, it takes more time to permit an exploration project than it does to discover if the resource is there. And, if the operation should be so lucky as to be successful, new layers of permitting are needed to move into the extraction and completion phase. Getting a permit for a new refinery is so difficult that rather than building a new state-of-the-art facility, old ones are expanded to increase capacity. It takes longer to get a nuclear power plant permitted than it does to build one. There is a need for permits and regulation, but they are currently used as an obstacle to development that provides endless, non-productive government work.
Our newly-elected representatives cannot do everything. But, these are some simple things that can be done right away through a change in attitude from the top, if they truly want to help people and make America successful once again.
If our lawmakers—both incumbent and freshmen—can learn from the past and rebuild America, they will truly make history as they lead a great nation. And, they just might get re-elected.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.