Shifting paradigms: Challenger to Corker lives outside comfort zone

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee represents the interest of the federal financial and regulatory establishment, and will seek to overwhelm dissidents such as Dr. Shaun Crowell with an energetic ad blitz. (Photo from

The big story this week is the selection by former Mormon bishop and stake president Mitt Romney of a Roman Catholic running mate, Paul Ryan. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker terms Mr. Ryan a “bold, outstanding pick.”

“By choosing Paul Ryan,” Sen. Corker declared, “Gov. Romney has shown that he is absolutely committed to putting our nation’s fiscal issues in the rearview mirror, so we can ensure our country’s greatness for generations to come.”

Local federal Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says Rep. Ryan is “a leading voice on budget issues, and his willingness to put forth new conservatives ideas is just what we need.”

These encomiums make me laugh. They intend to inject interest in the Grand Old Party’s prospect as a governing entity. But rather than the “jolt” mentioned in a Wall Street Journal headline, the praises provoke a snicker — and a yawn.

The record indicates Rep. Ryan is just another big-government conservative, like Mr. Romney, a man whose view of the world starts with the paramountcy of commercial government, the glory of debt capitalism and the virtue of a global American imperium.

Mssrs. Ryan and Corker are very similar in their purposes. Early on in their careers as elected officials they came to realize they do not represent their district’s constituents to the government. Each is struck by just the opposite claim. Each represents the machinery of national power to the district and its people. He is Uncle’s face. He’s the middleman — the bagman, even.

The Romney-Ryan ticket offers little hope the body of the U.S. Code will be pared or that myriad offshoot agency rules and commitments trimmed. The Romney-Ryan ticket gives me no license to hope that the pending bankruptcy of the national government can be averted, that the elements that constitute national collapse can be withdrawn one by one to defuse the crisis.

What sort of man can be a reformer?

If friends of local economy and freedom are to see any rays of hope as regards federal elections, it might come by contrasting the typology of office seekers. The Romney-Ryan-Corker type are vertical in their orientation. They are national economy people representing big interests, but business, big labor, big bureaucracy. Their orientation is vertical. They thrive on power and its use, via taxes, laws, foreign wars and the like.

The American people need a new type of elected official. His orientation needs to be horizontal. He needs to have a vision in his heart and mind of the horizontal society whose background and worldview evince a distrust of power, a favor for the free market.

For one, such a candidate will have made an important break with American statism, that is, the free government school. He will have, perhaps, seceded from holy union with the modern state’s most ingenious contrivance.

A personal commitment to freedom in education speaks at least a 250-page volume about his view of liberty and his practice of Christianity. A homeschooling dad would tend favor self-determination and private solutions to national and local problems. He would have a strong bias in favor of local economy and local solutions, and a distrust of one jackboot-fits-all-sizes remedies.

Crowell family’s step to disestablish a monopoly

I am learning more about just such a candidate who is making an underfunded bid against Sen. Bob Corker in Tennessee. Dr. Shaun Crowell is a homeschooling father of three young children and operator of a small animal veterinary practice in Spring Hill, south of Nashville about a third of the way to the Alabama line.

Dr. Crowell has been helping farmers and pet owners for the past 13 years, and has been operating Agape clinic for the past three, in the very depths of the banking sector-induced meltdown.

“I’m a middle class guy, probably like many of you, and I struggle The economy is terrible. And I realize we’ve got to have a change.”

He told 25 Ron Paul activists last week that he had voted for George W. Bush, “but I began to realize he had expanded government at an amazing rate, really just to start waking up. I was horrified because he wanted us as taxpayers to give F$700 billion of our money to these failed big banks and big insurance companies like AIG. and I thought, wow. *** If I make bad business decisions, who is going to bail me out?”

Dr. Crowell is suspicious of the banking sector and its influence on the federal power. Former treasury secretary Henry Paulson, who crafted the bank bailout, worked at Goldman Sachs, a major if unstable banking player. So did Tim Geithner, President Obama’s treasury secretary.

That the controlling parties voted to bail out an industry that is created billions of dollars through the credit-creation process greatly disturbs Dr. Crowell. “I realized we have a failed system,” he said, “that at the very top Democrat and Republican parties are corrupt that they are bought out. By the way, how do you think Sen. Corker voted for the bill?”

A murmur arose from his listeners at the Ryan’s Steakhouse in Hixson. “Bailout Bob,” at least two listeners called out.

Uncorking fog generator in capital

Sen. Corker is on the Senate banking committee, Dr. Crowell said, and “one of his jobs is to bring transparency to the people of Tennessee of how the banks are running.”

Paul Ryan

That’s his duty, but he failed in it, Dr. Crowell says, by opposing an audit of the ostensibly government-run Federal Reserve System.

A year earlier Sen. Corker had said at a townhall meeting that he would support an audit, so his vote against the audit was a lie, Dr. Crowell asserts. “Now, according to him, he wanted to audit the Federal Reserve, but not do a full audit. That’s what they’ll tell you if you ask him. But the problem here is we need full transparency.”

Dr. Crowell recites a brief history of the century-old Fed. The bill creating it was sneaked through the Congress in a Dec. 23 vote in 1913. Opponents were out of town with their families, and “there weren’t airplanes to fly people” to Washington. Fiery critic Charles Lindbergh, who promised that the Fed would become a monster, is not on record against the bank because he was absent when its backers sprung into action.

(Old) news alert: Fed is a private bank

“We have a monster now that has never been audited in the 100 years of its existence,” Dr. Crowell warns. “The Federal Reserve is a private bank. It’s been said it’s as federal as Federal Express.  And so we have never audited it, and so we don’t know who are the private owners of the company. But this is a business. It’s not even a corporation. It’s a business. It’s a multi-trillion dollar business. How do I know that? Our national debt is F$15.9 trillion, about F$16 trillion. Who owns the majority of that debt? The Federal Reserve. If you watch the national media, what’s the propaganda? Who will they tell you? China. China owns us. *** China owns F$1.1 trillion of that, Japan owns F$1 [trillion], the United Kingdom owns F$800 billion. Between those three countries, they own F$3 trillion of the F$16 [trillion]. The Federal Reserve owns F$8 trillion of that.”

Dr. Crowell won’t stay quiet about a point most Americans assume is irrelevant to the day’s economic and political news.

“They are a multi-trillion dollar company. Their owners are trillionaires. Do you see them on the Forbes 500? You don’t. They don’t want you to see them on the Forbes 500. They don’t want you to know that. This is who’s is pulling the strings — not only in this nation, but in the world. These guys are the super elite. These guys are running the show. These guys are telling the Democrat presidents and the Republican presidents what to do. If you don’t go along with them, you’re in trouble.”

Corker backs terror law vs. Americans

A third beef Dr. Crowell has with Sen. Corker is his support of the National Defense Authorization Act. Sections 1021 and 1022 say an American who commits a “belligerent act” can be detained by the military without trial, lawyer or due process. A belligerent act, he says on his website, could include a tea party rally or an Occupy sit-in. “That’s dangerous. That destroys our bill of rights, our constitution. It attacks specifically our fourth and sixth amendments.”

“Sen.Corker has voted with Barack Obama 61 percent of the time these last four years. He has voted against the constitution 40 percent of the time the last six years he’s been in office. He’s not a conservative. He’s big government. **** I see his representation *** as horrible, and we’ve got to get him out.”

Dr. Crowell offers himself as a free market candidate who believes that the only way to get the country back on track is to start repealing Washington’s claims on giant sectors of the economy, starting with Obamacare and others such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, whose very name gives me a sense of warm reassurance I am being taken care of.

“Let’s start knocking these things back so we can stimulate the economy. That’s the only way to do it. You don’t go make new laws. You repeal the laws that are messed up. That’s how we’re going to get this country turned around. I’m the guy who can do that for you. I’ve got a plan. I’ve got a mission. I’ve got a focus and a passion.”

How shall we then vote?

Dr. Crowell will be on the ballot as an independent. A fellow challenger to Sen. Corker is Mark Clayton, a tea party activist who is on the ballot as a Democrat. Mr. Clayton is a conservative and has all sorts of the right kind of “evil” things said against him.

Christians should vote on principle and not for pragmatic reasons. They should look at a candidate’s background, his Christian convictions, the witness of his life and his commitments. I argue with my friends about their calculations in the voting booth — how they can say vote for Ron Paul, say, is really a vote for Barack Obama. Doug Phillips of Vision Forum describes the duty of a vote-enfranchised citizen as follows.

The fundamental question pertaining to voting ethics which Christians must ask at this presidential election is this: “What are the binding principles established by God in the Bible for selecting a civil magistrate?” All other questions are secondary or irrelevant. Once this standard is determined, it is our duty to wisely apply the principles and precepts to our American context and to obey. All attempts by Christians to obfuscate our duty to repair to “the standard” by sprinkling the debate with the theology of pragmatics and partisan politics is a loss to the Church because it means that we are more concerned with manipulating a political process then simply obeying the sovereign God. (Facebook post, Aug. 14, 2012)

It is not for a Christian to strategize results beyond his immediate control, as elections are always in God’s providential control even while every voter acts freely in light of his own means, character and interest. A Christian should vote for such a man as Dr. Crowell in hopes he might bring about reforms with long-term benefit. Dr. Crowell says on his website he believes in national repentance, evidently a sort of prostration he has experienced as a Christian. He’s made a strong commitment to Christian education to avoid gelding future generations in the Crowell family.

Dr. Crowell is not a Ron Paul devotee, as were some of the other people at the meeting. But Dr. Paul has opened a new line of argument for the first time in modern U.S. history, and Dr. Crowell is evidence of this important change.

The family of U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Shaun Crowell is involved in home education. (