Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Nihilist of the Day
I found this and had a good laugh. Then, the more I thought about it, the less laughable it became. I'm a Conservative. Far enough to the right to make Rush look like a Democrat. I say this to let you know that I don't follow lock-step in behind El-Rushbo. I do listen to him on occasion and personally I believe that he goes overboard on some issues. Mostly, this is for entertainment and shock value, so it is dismissible. On his comments on Pres. Obama and his plans for America, though, I believe that he was being as honest and serious as Rush has ever been.
I agree with everything that he said. Every word. I too, hope that Obama fails miserably and goes down in history as THE most ineffectual President to ever hold office. Because if he doesn't, then this place, this "Shining City on a Hill" will disappear forever. Replaced by a hazy, dim, fun house mirror image that will for all time remember it's greatness and wonder why it can't re-attain it.
Now, the deeper point of the subject of this post, is that members of the Government are going after a private individual, personally, because of his views of another man. Yes, he's the President, but that title doesn't make him sacrosanct. Indeed, it holds him to the light for detailed inspection, just as you would a chic in an egg to see if it's viable. The left is starting to put the choke hold on ideas into play and I wonder how far they will get with it. Will America wake up and slap down the idea sensors or will they just roll over and take it up the poop chute with a sickly smile, like we have every 4 years since the new deal. (for those with a sensitivity to vulgar plays on words, my sincere apologies)
I am of a mind to put up my own site, with a petition against socialist agendas like the privatisation of private business, or tax and spend and spend some more policies that will wreck this nation, or any of a plethora of issues that Barry has shown an unhealthy (for America) interest in. I do know that the fairness doctrine is starting to gain steam thanks to this latest brouhaha. I wonder how it will be worded to address blogs like this one.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
In this post, I will look at both what was said, and what was common practice in Government as a way to infer or ascertain their governing beliefs. I will try to annotate everything with relevant references so that anyone that wishes to can fact check. Nothing I post will be without corroboration. And in nearly every case, emphasis is mine.
The first four colonies in America were founded in the hopes of religious freedoms. First off the Separatists founded the Plymouth colony which later joined into the Massachusetts colony. The Massachusetts colony then spawned the Connecticut colony and the Rhode Island Colony. Later the Quaker's would found the Pennsylvania Colony. All of these were theocratic governments insofar as they ruled by edict of their respective denominational beliefs. This information was taken from Part 2: The Thirteen Colonies written on about.com by historian and teacher Martin Kelly.
From here we will skip forward a few years until the revolution. Now, with the understanding that original beliefs in the colonies were almost entirely Christian with the exception of one Jewish Synagogue built in 1763 in New Port, Rhode Island (The first Muslim mosque wasn't built until 1915.), we'll look at some of the founding documents. Notes and empahsis is mine, of course.
"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to
dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...
(last paragraph)...We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of
America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
No less than four times, the Founders referenced God as the author to our rights and the justice they were seeking. Given that the Founders did not ascribe to the current philosophy of Christian on Sunday and secular every other day, their belief in Christ as the "Supreme Judge of the world" makes it clear to whom they were referring to.
I found this essay, Faith and the American Founding: Illustrating Religion's Influence. while researching for this post, and as it does an admirable job of detailing some of my points, both pre and post revolution, I thought I'd add it. However, having found in it most if not all the points that I would like to hit, and most of those from a point of view that is broader and harder to assault than mine I will just post it here in it's entirety.
November 6, 2006
Faith and the American Founding: Illustrating Religion's Influence
by Michael Novak
First Principles #7
How long are we going to keep this experiment, this America? We are “testing whether this nation can long endure,” Lincoln said at Gettysburg. We’re still testing. Is America a meteor that blazed across the heavens and is now exhausted? Or rather is our present moral fog a transient time of trial, those hours cold and dark before the ramparts’ new gleaming? Are we near our end or at a beginning?
In answer to these questions, I want to tell six brief stories to illustrate the religious principles of the American founding. For a hundred years scholars have stressed the principles that come from the Enlightenment and from John Locke in particular. But there are also first principles that come to us from Judaism and Christianity, especially from Judaism. Indeed, it is important to recognize that most of what our Founders talked about (when they talked politically) came from the Jewish Testament, not the Christian. The Protestant Christians who led the way in establishing the principles of this country were uncommonly attached to the Jewish Testament.
Scholars often mistakenly refer to the god of the Founders as a deist god. But the Founders talked about God in terms that are radically Jewish: Creator, Lawgiver, Governor, Judge, and Providence. These were the names they most commonly used for Him, notably in the Declaration of Independence. For the most part, these are not names that could have come from the Greeks or Romans, but only from the Jewish Testament. Perhaps the Founders avoided Christian language because they didn’t want to divide one another, since different colonies were founded under different Christian inspirations. In any case, all found common language in the language of the Jewish Testament. It is important for citizens today whose main inspiration is the Enlightenment and Reason to grasp the religious elements in the founding, which have been understated for a hundred years.
For these principles are important to many fellow citizens, and they are probably indispensable to the moral health of the Republic, as Washington taught us in his Farewell Address:“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
Reason and faith are the two wings by which the American eagle took flight.
If I stress the second wing, the Jewish especially, it is because scholars have paid too much attention to Jefferson in these matters and ignored the other one hundred top Founders. For instance, we’ve ignored John Witherspoon, the president of Princeton, “the most influential professor in the history of America,” who taught one President (Madison stayed an extra year at Princeton to study with him), a Vice President, three Supreme Court justices including the chief justice, 12 members of the Continental Congress, five delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 14 members of the State Conventions (that ratified the Constitution). During the revolution, many of his pupils were in positions of command in the American forces. We’ve ignored Dr. Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania, John Wilson of Pennsylvania, and a host of others.
I want to quote from some of the Founders to give you a taste of the religious energy behind the founding.
Here is my first little story, an anecdote recorded by a minister of the time:
President Jefferson was on his way to church on a Sunday morning with his large red prayer book under his arm when a friend querying him after their mutual good morning said which way are you walking Mr. Jefferson. To which he replied to Church Sir. You going to church Mr. J. You do not believe a word in it. Sir said Mr. J. No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man and I as chief Magistrate of this nation am bound to give it the sanction of my example.Good morning Sir.
Note what Jefferson is saying. He didn’t say he believed in the Christian God; he evaded that point. But Jefferson did agree with what all his colleagues in the founding thought, that a people cannot maintain liberty without religion. Here is John Adams in 1776:
I sometimes tremble to think that although we are engaged in the best cause that ever employed the human heart, yet the prospect of success is doubtful, not for want of power or of wisdom but of virtue.
The founding generation had no munitions factory this side of the ocean, and yet they were facing the most powerful army and the largest navy in the world. Besides, their unity was fragile. The people of Virginia did not like the people of Massachusetts. The people of Massachusetts did not think highly of the people of Georgia. Reflecting on this point, President Witherspoon, who had just arrived from Scotland in 1768 and was not at first in favor of it, gave a famous sermon in April 1776 supporting independence two months before July 4. His text was read in all 500 Presbyterian churches in the colonies and widely reproduced. Witherspoon argued that although hostilities had been going on for two years, the king still did not understand that he could easily have divided the colonies and ended the hostilities. That the king didn’t do so showed that he was not close enough to know how to govern the Americans.
If they were to stick together with people they didn’t particularly like, the Americans needed virtues of tolerance, civic spirit, and a love of the common good. Further, because the new nation couldn’t compete in armed power, the colonists depended on high moral qualities in their leaders and on devotion in the people. In order to win, for instance, Washington had to avoid frontal combat, and to rely on the moral endurance of his countrymen year after year. To this end, Washington issued an order that any soldier who used profane language would be drummed out of the army. He impressed upon his men that they were fighting for a cause that demanded a special moral appeal, and he wanted no citizen to be shocked by the language and behavior of his troops. The men must show day-by-day that they fought under a special moral covenant.
Now think of our predicament today. How many people in America today understand the four key words that once formed a great mosaic over the American Republic? Truth, we “hold these truths”; Liberty, “conceived in liberty”; Law, “liberty under law”; and Judge, “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions.” On the face of things, our Founders were committing treason. In the eyes of the world, they were seditious. They appealed to an objective world, and beyond the eyes of an objective world, they appealed to the Supreme Judge for the rectitude of their intentions. That great mosaic, which used to form the beautiful, colorful apse over the American Republic, in this nonjudgmental age has fallen to the dust. It is disassembled in a thousand pieces. Fewer every year remember how it used to look.
Congress in Prayer
In the first days of September 1774, from every region, members of the First Continental Congress were riding dustily toward Philadelphia, where they hoped to remind King George III of the rights due to them as Englishmen. That’s all they were claiming: the rights of Englishmen. And they wanted to remind King George that they were wards of the king. They weren’t founded by the Parliament, they were founded by the king, and they resented the Parliament taxing them. The Parliament had nothing to do with their relationship to the king, they thought. Yet, as these delegates were gathering, news arrived that the king’s troops were shelling Charlestown and Boston, and rumors flew that the city was being sacked, and robbery and murder were being committed. Those rumors turned out not to be true, but that’s the news they heard. Thus, as they gathered, the delegates were confronted with impending war. Their first act as a Continental Congress was to request a session of prayer.
Mr. Jay of New York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina immediately spoke against this motion. They said that Americans are so divided in religious sentiments, some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterians, and some Congregationalists, all could not join in the same act of prayer. Sam Adams rose to say he’s no bigot, and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue as long as he is a patriot. “I’ve heard of a certain Reverend Duché,” he said, speaking of the rector of Christ Church down the street from where they were meeting. “People say he’s earned that character.” Adams moved that the same be asked to read prayers before Congress on the next morning. And the motion carried.
Thus it happened that the first act of the Congress on September 7, 1774, was a prayer, pronounced by an Episcopalian clergyman dressed in his pontificals. And what did he read? He read a Jewish prayer, Psalm 35 in the Book of Common Prayer. Now imagine the king’s troops moving against the homes of some of the people gathered there. Imagine the delegates from South Carolina and New York thinking that the fleet might be shelling their homes soon.
Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me. Fight against them that fight against me.
Take hold of buckler and shield, and rise up for my help.
…Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life. Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
Before the Reverend Duché knelt Washington, Henry, Randolph, Rutledge, Lee, and Jay; and by their side, with heads bowed, the Puritan patriots who could imagine at that moment their own homes being bombarded and overrun. Over these bowed heads the Reverend Duché uttered what all testified was an eloquent prayer for America, for Congress, for the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially for the town of Boston. The emotion in the room was palpable, and John Adams wrote to Abigail that night that he had never heard a better prayer or one so well pronounced. “I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that that Psalm be read on that morning. It was enough to melt a stone. I saw tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave pacific Quakers of Philadelphia. I must beg you, Abigail, to read that Psalm.”
In this fashion, right at its beginning, this nation formed a covenant with God which is repeated in the Declaration: “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.” The Founders pledged their fidelity to the will of God, and asked God to protect their liberty. They further enacted this covenant in many later acts of Congress regarding Days of Fasting. Within the first six months, for instance, Congress put out a proclamation that every American state set aside a day of prayer and fasting:
December 11, 1776: Resolved that it be recommended to all the United States as soon as possible to appoint a day of solemn fasting and humiliation to implore the Almighty God to forgiveness of the many sins prevailing among all ranks and to beg the countenance and the assistance of his Providence in the prosecution of the present just and necessary war.
And then, within another year, an act of Congress instituted a Day of Thanksgiving to commemorate the signal successes of that year, and again the next year. Years later, in The Federalist No. 38, Publius marveled at the improbable unanimity achieved among fragmented delegates, from free states and slave, from small states and large, from rich states and poor. “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of the Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” Three times The Federalist notes the blessings of Providence upon this country.
An Act of Providence
On the night before the battle of Long Island, the Americans received intelligence that the British were attacking the next morning, and Washington was trapped with his whole army. Washington saw that there was only one way out—by boat. During the night, the Americans gathered as many boats as they could. There weren’t enough. Morning came, and more than half the army was still on shore. A huge fog rolled in and covered them till noon. They escaped, and when the British closed the trap, there was no one there. The Americans interpreted that fog as an act of Providence.
In the preaching of the time, Americans learned as follows: Providence does not mean that God works magically; rather, from all time every detail of the tapestry is known to the one who weaves it. To the Eternal God, there is neither time nor sequence, but every detail of the tapestry is visible to Him as if in one simultaneous moment, each thing acting independently and freely, but cohering as a whole, like characters in a well-wrought novel. Thus, the rival general, on the morning of the great battle comes down with dysentery and can’t concentrate. Nothing more common in the affairs of human beings than circumstance and chance, which only those who lived through them in time and sequence found to be surprising. The very sermon Witherspoon preached on behalf of independence in April 1776 was a sermon on how Providence acts by contingent and indirect actions—not foreseen, because God doesn’t “foresee” anything. He’s present to everything, in the Jewish and Christian understanding. He’s not before or after, He’s present to all things at one time. And like a great novelist, He sees the details of what He does, and how they all hook together, without forcing anybody’s liberty, without manipulating anything.
The Author of Liberty
When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he mentioned God twice. Before the Congress would sign it, members insisted on two more references to God. Thus, the four names already mentioned: the Author of nature and nature’s laws; the Creator who endowed in us our rights; the Judge to whom we appeal in witness that our motives spring not out of seditiousness, but from a dear love of liberty, and a deep sense of our own proper dignity; and a trust in Divine Providence.
The fundamental meaning of the Jewish, and later the Christian, Bible is that the axis of the universe is what happens in the interior of the human being. Every story in the Bible is a story of what happens in the arena of the human will. In one chapter King David is faithful to his Lord and in the next, not. And the suspense of every chapter is, What will humans choose next? Liberty is the reason God made the universe. He wanted somewhere one creature capable of recognizing that He had made all things, that the creation is good, and that He had extended his hand in friendship. He wanted at least one creature to be able, not as a slave but as a free woman or a free man, to reciprocate his proffered friendship. That, in a nutshell, is what Judaism is, and what Christianity is. (Christianity, of course, played an historical role in making the God of Judaism known universally.)
The members of Congress on July 2, 1776, were about to make themselves liable to the charge of treason and to humiliate their children into the nth generation for being the descendants of traitors. They needed that reference to their Judge in the Declaration. And they wanted that reference to Providence, to declare that God is on the side of Liberty, and those who trust in liberty will therefore prevail. Whatever the odds, Providence will see to it that they prevail.
Let me recall, from one of the old American hymns, words that reflect exactly this biblical vision. This world didn’t just “happen,” it was created. It was created for a purpose, and that purpose is liberty:
Our fathers God! To Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our king.
A typical sentiment of the American people then, and even now.
I’ve mentioned that though some historians say they were deists, the early Americans who believed that the lifting of the fog on Long Island was an act of God, were not deists. Their god was not a “watchmaker God,” who winds the universe up and lets it go. Their god was a God who cares about contingent affairs, loves particular nations, is interested in particular peoples and particular circumstances. Their god was the God of Judaism, the God of Providence. Not a swallow falls in the field but this God knows of it. His action is in the details.
The Logic of Faith
The Third Article of the Constitution of Massachusetts:
As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, To promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.
When this article was attacked as an infringement on religious liberty, John Adams replied, in effect, “Not at all, you don’t have to believe it. But if you want the good order that comes from instruction in religion, particularly the Jewish and Christian religion, then you have to pay for it.” That’s not the way we think today, I hastily add, but this is the sort of logic our Founders used. Let us walk through the three crucial steps of this logic, one by one.
Right at the beginning of The Federalist, in the second paragraph, the author says this generation of Americans is called upon to decide for all time whether governments can be formed “through reflection and choice” or must “forever be formed through accident and force.” That’s what the Americans were called upon to decide: whether a government may be formed through reflection and choice.
They then faced the question: How do you institutionalize such a decision? By calling a Constitutional Convention and then having the agreed-upon text ratified in a manner that permits the whole people to participate in the decision. Can there be enough votes for something like that? Can people put aside their regional prejudices? Can they put aside their personal ambitions? Can they think about what’s good for the long run? For posterity? That’s what The Federalist tries to elicit—a long-range view, not what people feel at the moment.
Remember the ambitions of that moment. Many New Yorkers wanted New York to be a separate nation. (The early maps of New York go all the way out to the Pacific Ocean–it’s not called “the Empire State” for nothing.) If New York becomes a separate state, it will have its own secretary of state, its own commander in chief, its own secretary of the treasury; distinguished families in New York will become ambassadors to the Court of St. James and to Paris and so forth. Such a dream might seem very attractive to some leading families, but would it be good for the country? If New York were to vote to become an independent nation, there could be no union between New England and the South. Reflection and choice were, then, the hinges of liberty. What Americans meant by liberty are those acts that are made from reflection and choice. The acts that we commit ourselves to when we have reflected on the alternatives and when we understand the consequences. That’s freedom.
What you do by impulse, by contrast, is not freedom; that’s slavery to your impulses. Such slavery is what the animals live under. They’re hungry; they need to eat. That’s not freedom; it’s animal instinct.
Freedom is not doing what you want to do; freedom is doing what, after reflection, you know you ought to do. That’s what freedom is, and that’s why early American thought has been summed up thus: “Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.” Freedom springs from self-government, after reflection and calm deliberate choice.
The second step in the argument is this: To have reflection and choice, you need people with enough virtue to have command of their passions. You need people, that is, with the habits that allow them to reflect, to take time to be dispassionate, to see consequences clearly, and then to make a choice based upon commitment. None of us act that way all the time. But we do aspire to have at least sufficient virtue to live responsibly. For how can a people unable to govern their passions in their private lives possibly be able to practice self-government in their public lives? It doesn’t compute. In short, freedom in a republic is not feasible without virtue in a republic.
Next, the third step. George Washington said in his Farewell Address that most people are not going to have virtue or good habits in the long run without religion. And what he meant by that can be recited very simply. As Jews and Christians understand it, religion is not just a cold law; it is a relationship with a person. A person who knows even your secret thoughts. So religion adds a personal motive to the idea of virtue. In addition to that, this Judge sees you even when you’re alone, even when you’re in secret, even when the doors are closed. This is a Judge who knows whether or not you paint the bottom of the chair. Republics depend on virtue that holds up under such tests. The founding generation used the example of the well-known doctor in Massachusetts who, having been involved in an adultery, turned out also to be a British spy. This was a lesson they often referred to. A man who thinks he can get away with things in secret is not reliable for a republic. A republic cannot be made up of people who think they can do in secret what they wouldn’t do in public. Jefferson wrote a very touching letter to this effect.
This is why the Founders thought that whatever may be said of persons of “peculiar character,” as Washington said (some scholars think he’s referring to Jefferson), we must not believe that virtue can be maintained in the long run without religion. Our sons are going to forget about the Revolution, the Founders expected; they’re going to forget the suffering we went through. They’re going to forget the frozen feet at Valley Forge and the gangrene and the hunger, the lack of pay and the despair. They’re going to forget all that, and their grandchildren are going to be tired of hearing it. There’s a moral entropy in human affairs, such that even if one generation succeeds in reaching a very high moral level, it’s almost impossible for the next generation and the one after that to maintain it. A republic, therefore, has to fight moral entropy. That’s why there will have to be a series of moral awakenings. The Founders didn’t see how that would happen without religious inspiration, beyond a merely utilitarian impulse.
So there are three principles in this fundamental logic: No republic without liberty; no liberty without virtue; no virtue without religion. Now, doesn’t that sound old-fashioned? In these days, doesn’t it sound hardly tenable? Yet our Founders were right. Is not our present circumstance dangerous to the Republic?
The Choice of Liberty
I first heard this story alluded to in Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Address. Dr. Joseph Warren, the family doctor of Abigail and John Adams in Boston, was among the first to join the Sons of Liberty and to stand with the men at Lexington. In fact, he was an officer, and he took a bullet through his hair right above his ear, where it left a crease, but he stood his ground. Two months later, Dr. Warren was commissioned as a major general of the Continental Army. It was a great title, but there wasn’t much of an army for the defense of Boston, toward which the British fleet was bringing reinforcements. Dr. Warren learned just four days after he was commissioned that that night the Americans had sent 1,500 men up Bunker Hill. It was one of those still nights when hardly a sound traveled out over the water, where the British fleet was anchored. In the stillness, the troops dug, muffling their shovels, and constructed wooden fortifications, being careful not to strike anything with an axe.
In the morning, the British on board ship awakened to find that Bunker Hill was fortified, and began a five-hour bombardment. Warren heard the bombardment as he was on horseback riding toward Boston, and arrived at Bunker Hill by a back route and managed to climb up into the ranks. He didn’t try to take command; he just went into the ranks, in the front rows.
After the bombardment, some of the British soldiers came on land and put Charlestown to the torch, and tongues of flame from 500 homes, businesses, and churches leapt into the sky. Everything in Charlestown burned. Breathless, Abigail Adams watched from a hilltop to the south. She heard the cannons from the warships bombarding Bunker Hill for five long hours as Joseph Warren rode to his position. The American irregulars proved their discipline that day and the accuracy of huntsmen firing in concentrated bursts. They had only four or five rounds apiece. Twice they broke the forward march of thirty-five hundred British troops with fire so withering they blew away as many as 70 to 90 percent of the foremost companies of Redcoats, who lost that day more than a thousand dead.
Then the ammunition of the Americans ran out. While the bulk of the Continental Army retreated, the last units stayed in their trenches to hold off the British hand-to-hand. That is where Major General Joseph Warren was last seen fighting until a close-range bullet felled him. The British officers had him decapitated and bore his head aloft to General Gage.
Freedom is always the most precarious regime. Even a single generation can throw it all away. Every generation must reflect and must choose. Joseph Warren had earlier told the men of Massachusetts at Lexington:
Our country is in danger now, but not to be despaired of. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important questions upon which rest the happiness and the liberty of millions not yet born. Act worthy of yourselves.
Michael Novak is George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute. This essay appeared in Matthew Spalding, ed., The Enduring Principles of the American Founding (The Heritage Foundation, 2001).
I think for now I'll stop. I have explored this before in other posts, to be found in my archives. Feel free to read them and comment here or there. I invite anyone that would debate facts. I will not allow a "shouting" match or irrelevant attacks. Any such will not even make it into the comments section.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today is also a day in which Humanists and Secularists and Post modernists will be shouting from the rooftops. Their candidate has won and has survived to be sworn into the oval office. Today, they will believe that their past efforts to revise the history of the nation from its Christian based origin to purely secular will come to supremacy, with the help of The One.
The amazing thing is the fact that, and this is a little off topic, but in the light of recent news I believe it to be worth saying, he is trying to make himself another President Lincoln. It's totally absurd.
Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing
the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God, in all the
affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the president to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation.And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.-U.S. Senate declaration, signed by President Lincoln,
March 30th, 1863
Would Obama sign such a statement, if offered, by today's Senate? Not likely. In his speech delivered in Philadelphia at the start of his whistle-stop ride to the national capital, Mr. Obama indicated that he denies some of the clearest directions of Almighty God that are embedded in that book to guide leaders of government in how to establish a nation so as to guarantee the freedom and the moral strength of its peoples.
Not only that, in his Philadelphia speech the man who will become the latest U.S. president made it clear that he impugns the very constitution upon which the greatest single nation in history was founded.
By these two acts, President-elect Obama demonstrated that, unlike President Lincoln, he simply does not understand the reasons for American greatness, nor does he begin to understand the reasons for the continuing, and rapidly progressing, fall of the nation over which he will preside.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I made this statement on the previous blog post, "What is the single largest drain on our economy? Illegal immigration. Illegals drive the cost of all social services including, but not limited to, education, medical care, and the legal and penal system." I then, recanted the placement in the comments postings and now I find that I may want to go back to putting this either 1st or at least 2nd in financial drains on our society.
This cross post explains the info that I have seen in other places, but didn't have at my fingertips at the time of the original posts. (Mahndisa, there are some eye opening figures where California is concerned.)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Immigrants ravage U.S. infrastructure
By Chelsea Schilling
The United States will need $1.6 trillion to repair damage to its infrastructure from a massive influx of immigrants, a new report reveals.
In his report titled, "The Twin Crises: Immigration and Infrastructure," prominent researcher Edwin S. Rubenstein examines 15 categories of infrastructure: airports, border security, bridges, dams and levees, electricity (the power grids), hazardous waste removal, hospitals, mass transit, parks and recreation facilities, ports and navigable waterways, public schools, railroads, roads and highways, solid waste and trash, and water and sewer systems. Rubenstein, a financial analyst and former contributing editor of Forbes and economics editor of National Review, claims the nation is facing a crisis – with immigration responsible for at least 80 percent of spending needed to expand the U.S. infrastructure before the middle of this century. "If the infrastructure crisis could be fixed by spending money, there would be no crisis," Mr. Rubenstein explained in a statement. "Since 1987, capital spending on transportation infrastructure has increased by 2.1 percent per year above the inflation rate. At $233 billion (2004 dollars), infrastructure is already one of the largest categories of government spending. Our infrastructure is 'crumbling' because population growth has overwhelmed the ability of even these vast sums to expand capacity." While immigration policy has been hotly debated for a number of years, Rubenstein writes that its impact on infrastructure is rarely discussed.
Immigrants make up 21 percent of the school-age population in the U.S. "In California, a whopping 47 percent of the school-age population consists of immigrants or the children of immigrants," the report states. "Some Los Angeles schools are so crowded that they have lengthened the time between classes to give students time to make their way through crowded halls. Los Angeles' school construction program is so massive that the Army Corps of Engineers was called in to manage it." According to the U.S. Department of Education, 18 percent of all schools are considered overcrowded, and 37 percent use trailers and portable structures to accommodate growing student bodies. Public facilities are an average of 40 years old. Cities with high populations of illegal aliens are spending large amounts of their budgets on constructing new schools. "Our anticipated gains in the number of foreign-born students alone will require us to build one elementary school a month to keep up," Miami-Dade, Fla., school Superintendent Roger Cuevas said.
Rubenstein cites a recent construction boom among the nation's hospitals. As many as 60 percent of America's hospitals are either under construction or have plans for new facilities. "But we have a two-tier hospital system in the U.S. Hospitals in poor areas – that serve primarily uninsured immigrants and Medicaid patients – cannot afford their facilities," he writes. "The uncompensated costs are killing them. In California, 60 emergency departments (EDs) have closed to avoid the uncompensated costs of their largely illegal alien caseloads." Illegal aliens use emergency rooms more than twice as often as U.S. citizens, and providing their uncompensated care has been the death of many emergency departments. In 2006, more than 46 percent of illegals did not have medical insurance. Although illegal aliens are not supposed to be eligible for Medicaid, they receive Emergency Medicaid and their children are entitled to all benefits that legal immigrants receive. Because hospitals are forced to care for Medicaid recipients, the government program never covers full costs of service. It underpaid hospitals by $11.3 billion in 2006, he wrote.
Water and electricity
Rubenstein referenced immigration trends revealing that aliens often choose to live in cities with strained water supplies – especially near the border – and their sheer numbers have made conservation efforts nearly impossible. "Cities like San Antonio, El Paso, and Phoenix could run out of water in 10 to 20 years," he writes. San Diego's water company has resorted to a once-unthinkable option: recycling toilet water for drinking." Due to immigration, demand for water exceeds the California State Water Project's capacity. Now Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed building a $6 billion reservoir. Approximately one-fifth of the state's electricity is tied up in collection, storage and transportation of the water. Electric utilities are expected to require an additional $142 billion to keep generator capacity at recommended levels before 2050 due to the increasing population.
America's national parks are also bearing the brunt of immigration. Illegals wear roads and paths through parks. "Their fires, trash, and vandalism have despoiled thousands of acres of pristine parkland," he writes.
According to Rubenstein, illegals leave beer, water and milk bottles, personal hygiene items and medications, clothing and shoes, food and food cans, jewelry, paper trash, sanitary pads, disposable diapers, backpacks, blankets, towels, plastic bags, homemade weapons, disintegrating toilet paper and human feces on U.S. property while they journey into the country.
They damage vegetation, leave abandoned vehicles and bicycles, spray paint trees and boulders and create campfires that turn into wildfires.
Border security costs
Costs for securing the nation's borders are expected to increase 20.6 percent in fiscal year 2009. These include expenses for border patrol, electronic surveillance, the border fence and other security needs. President Bush allocated $44.3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security – a 4.5 percent increase from last year's budget of $42.4 billion."While the U.S. builds a fence across much of the border, many illegals are taking a different route. Underground," Rubenstein reveals. "Authorities have discovered dozens of illegal tunnels across the international border in recent years. Smuggling of drugs, weapons, and immigrants takes place daily through these underground passageways." Illegal aliens also use drainage systems to travel across the U.S.-Mexico border – from El Paso to San Diego. "One tunnel, actually a system of two half-mile passages connecting Tijuana with San Diego, is by comparison a superhighway," he wrote. While the Border Patrol attempts to stop these underground incursions with steel doors, cameras and sensors, harsh weather conditions and human smugglers destroy the equipment and barriers. These costs, and the expenses of providing "enhanced driver's licenses" as alternative passports for citizens, RFID chips, government databases and watch lists are expected to soar.
In his research, Rubenstein finds that the average immigrant household generates a fiscal debt of $3,408 after federal benefits and taxes are considered. At the state and local level, the fiscal debt amounts to $4.398 per immigrant household. "There are currently about 36 million immigrants living in about 9 million households, so the aggregate deficit attributable to immigrants comes to $70.3 billion," he writes. "… Immigrants could deplete the amount of funds available for infrastructure by as much as $70 billion per year." Rubenstein cites figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, projecting that the U.S. population will reach 433 million by 2050 – increasing 44 percent, or 135 million, from today's numbers. A full 82 percent of this increase will be directly attributable to new immigrants and their U.S.-born children. "The brutal reality is that no conceivable infrastructure program can keep pace with that kind of population growth," he wrote. "The traditional 'supply-side' response to America's infrastructure shortage – build, build, build – is dead, dead, dead. Demand reduction is the only viable way to close the gap between the supply and demand of public infrastructure." He concludes, "Immigration reduction must play a role."
Edwin Rubenstein's complete report, "The Twin Crises: Immigration and Infrastructure," released Jan. 13, is available here.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
U.S. Military: Mexico Collapsing Under Drug Violence, Corruption. What is the single largest drain on our economy? Illegal immigration. Illegals drive the cost of all social services including, but not limited to, education, medical care, and the legal and penal system. Now let's look at the fallout from Mexico's society taking a header. Where are ALL those people gonna go? Yeah, you guessed it, right here. Meanwhile the Mexican drug cartels are becoming more and more aggressive on our border, with I might add, in some cases, the help of corrupt units of the Mexican Army.
When is our government going to take the job of securing our borders seriously. There are those that don't think that uncontrolled illegal immigration can become a serious problem. Well, I am willing to bet that the American Indian could explain the ramifications pretty clearly.
You know, I'd sure like to be proven wrong on this stuff.
If Israel does attack Iran and take out the nuclear facilities, you can lay money on the fact that Iran will use it as a reason to stop acting through proxies and attack Israel directly. Add into that, Obama's reticence in confronting Iran and his questionable stand on solidarity with Israel, and I can see all of the other nations that hate and fear Israel deciding that a dog pile is in the offing.
You can expect a six month to one year delay between the attack on Iran and any true retaliatory attacks from Iran and it's allies on Israel. What state will our economy be in in six months to a year? We aren't showing any signs of progress out of this quagmire and our government is doing all in it's power to bring the dollar from it's knees to flat on it's face. We likely will not be fiscally able to field any more military forces than we have already. And just maintaining that will be a horrendous strain. The long and the short of it is this: We will not be in any shape to come to Israel's aid in any way that will be meaningful.
As for the loss of bravery in America... Well, all I can say is that when the super bowl has more viewers than people who vote in local, state, and federal elections, and at the same time, polls show that the nation is a center-right nation that believes in the greatness of our founders and the Constitution, I can only say that either we, as a nation, believe we can't win so we don't fight, or we are just plain lazy and willing to let someone else do our fighting. Either way, to me, it's a form of cowardice.
Liberals will say that with the power shift of the last 2 election cycles prove that they are the majority. No that only proves that the silent majority is remaining home and silent. So I ask you, how can we re-instill bravery and self-sacrifice into our national soul? How can we take back our country and make this once again a land of the free and home of the brave?
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Jesus Christ on a crutch!!! Don't these people realize that every time they do this kind of thing they further devalue the dollar? Are they so blind that they don't know they are killing our economy with kindness? Or, if you will permit me to put on my government conspiracy theorist hat, is it a scheme to do exactly that? It's no secret that the libs don't like the fact that we are (or were) so strong as to be the sole superpower in the world. Could this be a way to a: knock us down a peg. and b: to usher in the fabled "North American Union". Makes you wonder.
On the other hand, if you have read some of my recent posts on my opinions of what is happening in reference to scripture, you might start nodding your head and think this is destined to happen. Well, no matter what side of the pan we fall out of, we'll still be in the fire.
Here's my opinion on how to survive this: Convert all that you can safely to gold, buy a really good rifle and ammunition. A good pistol is a great idea too. buy yourself a tiller and prepare to provide and protect yourself. A couple of good books on survival tactics wouldn't go too far amiss either.
Happy New Year! Yay! (pukes in the corner)