Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL, Washington, DC July 7, 2013— Thinking Outside the Boxe, an independent and nonpartisan think tank, is pleased to release the transcript of founder Robert M. Clinger III’s speech at the 10th Anniversary celebration in Orlando, Florida on July 4, 2013.
Thank you all. Thank you very much for being here. Thank you for that most kind welcome and thank you for your support of our great cause. Today we celebrate a milestone in the history of Thinking Outside the Boxe. A decade ago our dearly departed friend and inspiration, Sebastian, and I set out to create a forum where we and others could share their thoughts and craft creative solutions to the world’s and society’s problems. We were tired of the same old rhetoric and stale thinking from the politically motivated and biased think tanks. We were tired of the antiquated and elitist thinking that only the major think tanks, Washington politicians and bureaucrats, or the mainstream media were intellectually capable of studying problems and devising potential solutions that were implementable. We knew and still know that everyday Americans have thoughts and solutions to our most pressing problems here in America and throughout the world, and we committed ourselves to providing common sense solutions and analysis in a manner that everyone can relate to. We wanted to provide logical, fact-based reasoning and apply practical knowledge to crafting recommendations. And if all this meant that we were controversial or uncommon or provocative, then so be it. We weren’t going to shy away from analyzing a topic or proposing a solution simply because it was politically unpopular or not politically correct or so far outside the mainstream propaganda that we risked being label crazy or detached from reality by the closed-minded thinkers of the day.
Over the years, we have researched, analyzed and commented on many topics.
We crafted a Social Security Reform Proposal that included private accounts, an increase in the retirement age, tax increases, and a national Social Security lottery much like the Powerball to fund the shift for those who chose to participate in private accounts. We sent this proposal to senators and congressmen and bureaucrats and the Vice President and the President. All of this was to no avail, and today the Social Security problems remain unaddressed with the solvency of the programme worsening each year.
When Saddam Hussein was captured in Iraq. We said he should be put back in power to control the country and keep a check on other regional powers that threatened stability in the Middle East. We were laughed at until the peace in Iraq disintegrated and the stability there became more precarious and Iran became more aggressive in its pursuit of nuclear weapons and dominance of the Middle East.
We predicted the collapse of the housing market well before it actually happened, but our dire warnings went unheeded because no one was willing to admit that the laws of economics suggested a disappointing end to a boom that created jobs, money, and falsely stimulated the economy. We were told that everything was different now and that our reasoning and analysis were just pessimistic and flawed by an old-school approach to economics. We got the last laugh on this matter albeit at the expense of millions of Americans who lost their homes and credit.
We warned of dangers to the economy as a result of the credit crunch and housing market collapse, but no one wanted to admit that our economy could fall so far and so fast. We offered solutions for stimulating economic growth and incentives for brining manufacturing back to America. No one wanted to listen to proposals that made sense but that required sacrifice and adjustments.
We warned of the dangers of a rapid rise in federal deficit spending and an explosion of the national debt. We offered solutions for managing the government’s finances in a responsible way. We criticized Republicans and Democrats alike for the profligate and uncontrolled spending of the taxpayers’ hard earned money. We examined ways to cut spending by eliminating fraud and waste and a reduction in certain departments that Americans of all walks of life and of all political views could support without any damage to our national security or the economy. Our suggestions were those that were largely shared by everyday, hardworking American taxpayers throughout the land. But the politicians in Washington were deaf then and remain deaf now.
We were vilified for our immigration stance, much of which was satirical, and the suggestion that immigrants work for their citizenship either by serving in the military or helping quickly build infrastructure projects. We were called names and demonized, yet today we have the Congress working on an immigration bill supported by both parties and the President that loosely incorporates some of our less controversial proposals.
We’ve been more fair and impartial than many would give us credit. We’ve criticized both parties when criticism was due, and we’ve lauded the efforts of both parties when their work was deserving of praise. Though we’ve been critical of the Congress, the federal government, the Administrations and the bureaucrats over the last ten years, we’ve never wavered from our commitment and support of the American ideals set forth in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution that make our nation great. No matter the level of dysfunction and no matter the level of disappointment in our elected officials and institutions of government, we have always stood by America, our freedoms, our democracy, and our American spirit.
The free exchange of ideas and thoughts, regardless of how our opinions may differ, has always been what makes America great and sets us apart from most other nations of the world. But while we have promoted a civilized discussion of ideas that seek to promote the betterment of the American taxpayers and a unification of our people to create a better country not just for the here and now but for the vast future, others have engaged in divisive rhetoric and partisan politics aimed at dividing our nation and conquering free speech and ideas with thinking that is directly contrary to the aspirations and visions of our founding fathers.
The common thread that has unified all of us at Thinking Outside the Boxe, starting with Sebastian and me, has been a commitment to the ideals espoused by our founding fathers—limited federal government, democracy, personal responsibility, and liberty for the American people. Our commitment has been to fostering ideas and solutions that respect those long-standing ideals of our constitutional republic while keeping the best interests of the American citizens and taxpayers in mind.
Our founding fathers established our constitutional republic not so that the government could rule men but so that free men could participate in a political process aimed at ensuring freedom throughout the land and an advancement of the American spirit and common good of our nation’s citizens. Today, we find the American taxpayers being rule by a political elite and their “politically purchased” allies who live off the teat of the federal government without contributing to the greater good for the American taxpayers and citizens. We find the American taxpayers victims to a rapidly expanding federal government that poses a threat to the very freedoms and liberties that our founding fathers risked all to establish and preserve. As one of our greatest president’s assured us decades ago, as the federal government expands, our liberties and freedoms contract. History shows this to have been the case in many countries and civilizations throughout the world. But more disturbingly, we find the American taxpayers a victim of efforts to penalize success and reward dependence, an effort by the federal government to redistribute wealth from those who contribute to those who do not contribute.
For a decade, we have promoted the ideal a limited federal government and warned against the destabilizing expansion of all levels of federal government and the threat it poses to our freedoms. The American people have been silent while the federal government has slowly eroded our rights and liberties under the guise of protecting us against terrorism. Our privacy is compromised with each increase in authorization to spy on Americans. The American people have been silent while the federal government has taken over our healthcare system, the implications of which have yet to manifest themselves—and the implications will manifest and will be felt by millions of Americans throughout this nation in the near future. The American people have been silent while the federal government has stockpiled massive amounts of ammunition and given FEMA massive powers to control the people—perhaps against their will. We are seeing a subtle shift away from government of the people, by the people, and for the people toward a government for the government, by the elite, for the elite, and a shift away from liberty and limited government toward one reminiscent of Weimar and Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and fascist Italy.
The move from democracy to a system of bigger government that controls the people and every facet of the lives takes America down a dark path towards failed political philosophies and ideals that are directly counter to democracy. Our founding fathers feared an all-powerful federal government. So should we. For once we start down the path of government being the solution, we are destined to be ruled by tyrants and not governed by the people. It is altogether fitting and proper that we put this in perspective on this Independence Day, and we remain as committed today to educating and expanding awareness of domestic threats to our freedom as ever before. If we let our guard down against those who seek to enslave the American people to an all-powerful federal government, we will meet our fate.
Over the last decade our discussions have expanded from Sebastian and me to include a variety of colleagues from all over the world at one time or another with various perspectives and suggestions that have all focused on enhancing our contributions to the political and economic discourse of the day. We have promoted the principles to which we are committed without supporting any particular political agenda. We have always been and always will be committed to preserving and protecting liberty and our constitutional republic, and we welcome input from people from all walks of life and all political parties to help with our cause. We have expanded our limited discussion and research to include an annual symposium and a series of champagne summits, the only purpose of which is to further our discussions in a round table, open, and non-partisan manner. We believe that the best solutions result from the combined efforts of various thinkers, stakeholders, business people and people of different political persuasions. As we mark this tenth anniversary of Thinking Outside the Boxe, we also mark two years since the unexpected death of our friend, Sebastian, on July 8, 2011. He was an inspiration to many, including me, and his wisdom, thoughts, and insight were instrumental in developing Thinking Outside the Boxe in those early days. In those weeks and months after his death two years ago, I wondered if we would continue or if we should continue without our esteemed colleague. His voice was in each and every paper we wrote, and he and I personally reviewed each submission from our writers to ensure a consistent quality and tone that was befitting of our forum. And as I contemplated the future of Thinking Outside the Boxe, I realized that just because Sebastian was gone didn’t mean our work was done. The ideals to which we had been committed for so long are larger than any one person. The work of defending our liberty and our freedom is never done, and that work must be carried on by others when we are gone. So, as a lasting tribute to Sebastian’s contributions and a commitment to the ideals in which we believed when we started this organization and to which we remain committed to this day, we have carried on the work of Thinking Outside the Boxe. And though he’s gone, I can hear some of Sebastian’s words and thoughts in each and every piece that we write here, and I hope that we never lose sight of that as we go forward. I hope that we will continue to do Sebastian proud.
To honor his memory and his lasting impact here and on others, we established the Sebastian G. Peréy Endowed Memorial Scholarship at Coastal Carolina University to help deserving economics students in their studies. I hope you will all consider a contribution to this worthwhile scholarship that honors Sebastian and that advances the studies of economics. Sebastian was a huge supporter of education, and I feel it’s a fitting tribute to him. The more we educate the American people, the more we provide a counterbalance to the political elitists seeking to weaken our democracy.
These last ten years have been rewarding for all of us here. We are not a money-making enterprise that is supported by political parties or special interest groups. We have never compromised our ideals or our impartiality or our belief in the free exchange of ideas for the greater good of the American people. We have never been at the beck and call of special interest groups, and we have never done the work of any political party or candidates.
As we look forward to the future of Thinking Outside the Boxe, I am confident that we are well positioned to continue our fight to find creative solutions to the problems facing our country. We are in dire straits as a nation, now more so than ever before. The challenges facing our country are perhaps the greatest we have faced in generations. The threat on our democracy and our liberties is very real, and we must all be vigilant in ensuring an over-reaching federal government hears from the American taxpayers that our rights are guaranteed us by the Constitution, that we will not subrogate our rights to a political elite under the guise that it is for our own good, that every dollar the federal government spends has been earned by a hardworking American and belongs to the American people, and that corruption and political enrichment have no place in our constitutional republic.
In the coming months, we will be establishing our own Super PAC to expand an awareness among the American taxpayers of the threats to our democracy, the wasteful spending in Washington DC, and the corruption that threatens the very foundation of our nation. We are not a political party or an organization of a political party or an advocate of any certain candidate. We remain committed to a solutions-based approach to our political system. We remain committed to vetting candidates and ensuring that qualified and competent candidates, whether they be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent, have a fair shake in the political process. In short, we remain committed to America, the American people and the American spirit that our founding fathers espoused two hundred thirty-seven years ago. We remain committed to the ideals of our founding fathers and the ideals of inclusive, fair, honest, intellectual, impartial, and common sense thinking, analysis, and solutions for the problems of today and tomorrow. We look forward to another ten years of working together to make America a better place for all of us.
Thank you all, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Happy Independence Day, my friends!
About Thinking Outside the Boxe—Thinking Outside the Boxe is a private, nonpartisan think tank that is dedicated to providing a wide variety of perspectives on issues that are of interest to the general public. The views that are expressed in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s commentaries and research are often times uncommon, provocative, and controversial. Thinking Outside the Boxe’s mission is to formulate and promote positions and to provide research, independently, that would otherwise be deprived of an outlet in the mainstream media. Thinking Outside the Boxe’s commentators and researchers seek to broaden the parameters of public knowledge by addressing issues in such a fashion as to provoke thought and debate on some of the most pressing issues of our day.
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