When the Buck Stops with the President, People Lose

by Gary Wood


Pres. Harry Truman made the phrase, “the buck stops here” famous.  Pres. Obama has embraced a similar stance with his often used “the buck stops with me” line.  Every president between Truman and Obama have told the people the POTUS (President of the United States) is where the buck stops when it comes to many situations such as natural disasters, man created disasters, economic challenges, environmental concerns, and more.



According to the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum the phrase was embraced by Truman when he received a sign for his desk.  The library website shares the following story;

The sign “The Buck Stops Here” that was on President Truman’s desk in his White House office was made in the Federal Reformatory at El Reno, Oklahoma. Fred M. Canfil, then United States Marshal for the Western District of Missouri and a friend of Mr. Truman, saw a similar sign while visiting the Reformatory and asked the Warden if a sign like it could be made for President Truman. The sign was made and mailed to the President on October 2, 1945. (“The Buck Stops Here” Desk Sign)

Coming out of World War II Americans were ready to embrace this message.  From the time of Teddy Roosevelt’s Bully Pulpit we have been taught our POTUS is the center of government for the people.  “By the postwar era, Washington’s humble term “chief magistrate” could no longer adequately describe an office that in power and responsibility had expanded far beyond Hamiltonian hopes or Jeffersonian fears.” (Healy, The Cult of the Presidency, 2008, p. 79)


The Napolitano Revolution Hits Television

by Jacob G. Hornberger


In October 2009 in an article entitled “Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Libertarian Phenomenon,” I wrote:

If Fox News were to decide to put Napolitano on the air, his show would undoubtedly shake up the nice, little comfortable world of the statists. Both conservatives and liberals would undoubtedly be stunned, shell-shocked, and dumbfounded over how to deal with a television show filled with purist, hard-hitting libertarians challenging the fundamental premises of the welfare-warfare state that is so beloved to conservatives and liberals.

Well, I can’t say that the statists who appeared on the judge’s inaugural show this past weekend were stunned, shell-shocked, and dumbfounded, but I can say that for the first time in television history, they were challenged to address libertarian positions by a libertarian television talk-show host. For that reason alone, it was an absolutely incredible hour in the history of the libertarian movement.


After all, for years libertarians and the libertarian perspective have, by and large, been shut out of the television talk-show circuit. The debate has almost always been between liberals and conservatives. In other words, it’s always been a debate — if you can call it that — involving one form of statism versus another form of statism — that is, over which statist reform program should be adopted — the liberal one or the conservative one. The libertarian perspective — abolishing and dismantling statist welfare-warfare programs in favor of freedom, peace, and the free market simply has not been presented, much less discussed.


That all seems to be changing. Libertarianism is on the rise, as reflected most recently by the spate of articles attacking libertarianism, from both the left and the right. The statists are undoubtedly sensing the rising number of people who are now exploring libertarianism or even calling themselves libertarians. The statists are obviously getting nervous or even running scared.

Forcing Politicians to Listen: Dissent, Rebellion and All-Around Hell-Raising

by John W. Whitehead


The reception that Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democrat, received here one night last week as he faced a small group of constituents was far more pleasant than his encounters during a Congressional recess last summer. Then, he was hanged in effigy by protesters. This time, a round of applause was followed by a glass of chilled wine, a plate of crackers and crudités as he mingled with an invitation-only audience at the Point Breeze Credit Union, a vastly different scene than last year’s wide-open televised free-for-alls. The sentiment that fueled the rage during those Congressional forums is still alive in the electorate. But the opportunities for voters to openly express their displeasure, or angrily vent as video cameras roll, have been harder to come by in this election year.

~ "Democrats Skip Town Halls to Avoid Voter Rage," New York Times (June 6, 2010)


For all intents and purposes, democratic government is breaking down, and we are approaching a crisis point in American society as greater numbers of those on the left and right are beginning to recognize. They see a government that is not only malfunctioning; it is also a government that is spinning out of control. And a government out of control is one that won’t listen.


In such an environment, when government is resolutely deaf and blind to the will of the people, what is to be done? In the words of journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, "dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots." The question is: how does one go about raising hell and forcing politicians to listen?

Like Changing the Course of Aircraft Carriers

by Dr. Tibor Machan


In the effort to move the world toward human liberty – to induce countries around the globe to implement the regime of individual rights to life, liberty, etc. – the image of turn around an aircraft carrier, redirecting which way it will move in the middle of the ocean, easily comes to mind. Those of use who have focused intensely on the merits of a bona fide, fully free country are often exasperated about how slow the progress goes, indeed, on whether there is much progress at all. Just listen to typical politicians, especially those who champion greater scope of authority for governments to manage people's lives, and watch for how easily these people make use of the royal "we" as they discuss the affairs of the nation. They treat countries as their fiefdoms, realms they must manage, control, manipulate, direct, reform, clean up, etc. They look upon you and me as figures in a puppet show, to be moved around at their will.


A good case in point is the constant, incessant calls for government regulation whenever some problem arises in society. Such calls assume that (a) governments have the full authority to run everyone's affairs, (b) governments have the skill to do this, and (c) governments are far more virtuous and decent than the rest of us when it comes to running anything at all. None of these assumptions is true, not a single solitary one, yet the assumption is very rarely questioned by mainstream politicians, such as Nancy Pelosi, Barrack Obama, Harry Reed, et al. When these folks open their mouths about anything of concern to Americans or indeed people anywhere, they exhibit this tendency of look upon themselves as supreme commanders, as folks anointed to be in charge of us all, as if we were all still mere subjects in a monarchy, meaning subject to the will of the royal court.