About Me

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I'm a simple man, not a simpleton. The worst thing any of our leaders can do is to get those two things confused. I'm a warrior for those things I believe in. I stand up for my friends, family, God, and country. All I truly want is for the government to stay as far out of my life as I can get it. Oh and just in case you haven't guessed it; I'm conservative in my bones.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Me, A Reactionary?!? Duh!

I was commenting on another site shortly after the passage of the Health Care Reform Act. And I had some refer to me as a "reactionary".  Having not heard of this outside of a reference in a John Wayne movie, and some vague references I saw in a history book some 26 years ago, I decided that I'd better look it up. 

 "Reactionary", adj. 1840 : relating to, marked by, or favoring reaction; especially : ultraconservative in politics.  -Mirriam Webster Online Dictionary.
Or this one:
"Reactionary" -Characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative. - American Heritage Dictionary.

Yeah, that pretty much sums me up, in a nutshell.  It pisses me off when an effetist leftist snob, tries to look down on me because my arguments are base on my moral compass and not on which letters come after my name or what school of philosophy that I have or haven't attended.  Most of them, to paraphrase a favorite movie, have their moral compasses so f***ed up that it's a miracle they can find their way to the parking lot.

They refuse to look at historical lessons that show the end result of current and past attempts at socialist eutopias.  The history books are replete with countries that NO LONGER EXIST or whose governments have fallen and been replaced, because socialism is impossible to maintain.  The human condition will not allow for socialism to work.  There will always be those that produce, and always be those that consume, and if you force the former to give up the fruits of his labors to support the latter, than you remove the drive for the producer to expand and innovate.  Stagnation occurs and everyone suffers.  Better by far for those who refuse to produce to be allowed to fail and be culled out by natural law, than for the whole citizenry be reduced just to give the leech sustanance.

I have no patience for those that say that healthcare is a right.  It's not a right, its a "good".  Goods are bought and sold.  They are the product of someone's hard work, ie doctor's education, practice, and dedication.  How can anyone be "entitled" to the work and sweat of another.  You can't.  The same can be said of Social Security, Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Prescription Drug Coverage, Farm  subsidies, Business Subsidies, etc., etc..

Socialism, of any kind, is evil.  Because it reduces a person's desire to expand his knowlege and ability in favor of dependance on the benevolence of the government.  Anything that makes a person less, reduces the gifts that God gives each of us. 

If you look at other countries, they save more and are more thrifty than we have become in the last 50 years.  At one time, thrift was a virtue that was cultivated by our fore fathers.   Now, look at us.  We're gross consumers.  Always with our hands out waiting for our handouts from the All Powerful Oz....er... I mean Obama.  I've seen first hand what happens when a section of people that subsist on Government largesse.  I have been dealing extensively with the biodiesel industry in Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska.  In case there are some that don't understand, the biodiesel industry is a government set up and subsidized industry that is not now, nor will be in the foreseeable future, a viable industry in its own right.  When the subsidies dried up and the government didn't renew the funding bill, plants all across Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, and I believe Kansas have shut their doors. Hundreds, if not thousands of people are out of work.  Is it because the government didn't renew the funding?  NO.  It's because the plants themselves are unsustainable.  If you have to have the government prop up your business because you can't do business on your own and be profitable, then that busisess shouldn't exist.

This is a reality that all Americans are going to have to face.  I don't much like the fact that so many people are out of work because of this, but on the other hand, if we didn't have so many people standing out there with their hand out waiting on government funding, then the plants would never have been opened in the first place.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Truth Hurts

Found this at a site called "Do The Right Thing".  Good info.  Spot on.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

War Has Been Declared. Will You Fight?

As of today, March 22, 2010, the United States of America, born on July 4, 1776, was destroyed by traitors in our midst.  We were sabotaged and crippled by those that could not see the beauty of a free people, due to their own lust for power and hypocritical belief in their own superiority.

War has been declared by marxist traitors in D.C..  As for me and mine, I pledge my life, treasure, and sacred honor, to fight for a return to Liberty by any and all means necessary.  I hope that the actions taken by those that say they "serve" have at least woken you up to the thing I've been saying for the last year.  They will not be stopped peacefully.

I'd rather be dead than see another travesty like the one that was perpetrated today.  God help the faithful.  The rest can burn for all I care.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why The Military Will Side With Barry

If you've spent any time at my site, two things are pretty damn clear. First, I'm a patriot and a believer in both Christ and the Constitution. The second is that I believe with all of my heart that this once great nation is doomed to fall as a center of freedom. Because of this, I have become a true believer in secession as a means of survival for states that have not given over their belief in the sovereignty of each state. Part of me wants to puke when I think of what this nation has become. Part of me, truly, wishes that the federal government would take it's conflict with the American people to the next level and show their true colors so that Those few Americans that truly value freedom can at least go down swinging. As a result of what I see as inevitable, the armed conflict between statists in the government and patriots in the public, I believe in and am in the process of helping to build militia groups.

People ask me if I really believe that a militia can ever over throw the government and I respond in the negative every time. But then, overthrowing the government isn't the point. A true militia isn't planning on attacking the government, a true militia plans to help protect themselves and their community FROM the government. Usually, after I explain that to them, most respond with something like, do you really think that the Military would support such a move (consfiscating arms, martial law, suspension of habeas corpus, etc.) on the part of the government?

Of course I do. And here's why. During hurricane Katrina, the law enforcement agencies in New Orleans, supported by the state national guard, collected every LEGAL gun they could get a hold of inside the affected areas. IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT. The national guard helped. They aided and abetted the suspension of the citizens of Louisiana's civil rights. Why would they do that? I was a soldier at one time, and it comes down to training. Soldiers are not trained what the Constitution says, and we know that public school doesn't explain it, except maybe in terms that are favorable to statist agendas. They (military) are trained to obey. Simply that, obey with very little question and even less explanation. The questions of whether the action is justifiable under legal reasons very rarely if ever, enters the soldier, airman, marine, or sailor's mind.

Now, I found an article that explains it in more detail. Not the action specifically, but how people can be made to do things that they would otherwise be loath to do. A french experiment shows just what kind of sheep people truly are. Or rather the vast majority of them are. Read this and tell me what you think.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Man Must Know His Limitations.

At the end of the Clint Eastwood movie "Magnum Force", after watching the mastermind crooked civil servant blow up Callahan says "Mans got to know his limitations." I love that line. It's something that has stayed with me as a life lesson. I know that I am, for good or ill, a truck driver. It's pretty much the only other thing, other than writing and getting people worked up, that is, that I know how to do well. Oh, it's not that I'm not educated enough. I've been to college, although I admit that I had no stomach to put up with the liberal twits that run most universities, and dropped out after 2 years. It's not that I am not flexible enough to learn another skill set, I have been in the sales industry, tele-communications, and in the life and health insurance business. As a rule, stupid people do not pass the insurance exams to become an agent. No, my problem is simply that I do not play well with others. I have no tolerance for stupidity and cannot abide social justice programs like affirmative action, where people are given handouts based on their skin color or the fact that they pee sitting down, rather than on who is best qualified. I also, have no tolerance for union jobs and have given up opportunities that would have paid me a much better income than I now make, if I had just bent my stubborn neck and comprimised my principles a bit.

But here's the thing; the road to hell is paved with such small comprimises. People that are willing to give a little up on their core beliefs for the the prospect of getting some little tidbit in return are cowards. This is my problem with 99.99999% of all the worthless baby kissing, back-stabbing, soulless wretches that infect our nations capitol. It's also the main problem I have with nearly all of the media talking heads that we see on the cable and broadcast stations from coast to coast. No one is willing to take their beliefs to the mat. They want to "talk through" their differences. Seek to "understand" an enemies point of view, even when it is patently obvious that the enemy's views are without merit. The people that are willing to "reach across the isle" in such circumstances are pathetic and have no place in leadership roles.

I have joined with people here in my state to start a fledgling organization with a different point of focus than I have seen anywhere else on the web, or on TV. Perhaps there are sister and brother organizations but I've not seen them and so I hope to foster some in the future. The organization that I see arising, is one based on education or re-education, as the case may be. To systematically re-assert our Founding Fathers' vision for our nation by taking back our state government and populating it with people that believe in state sovereignty and are willing to take it to the mat.

To be sure, we will train in the skills that one might need in cases of emergency, such as self-defense/hand to hand combat, marksmanship, survival, hunting and fishing, escape and evasion. We will learn small unit tactics and if and when other groups come up, we will practice coordinated strategy as well.

But that is in the future. For now, we are interested in educating and recruiting people that are unafraid to speak their minds and to know the truth. Understand that no militia will be able to hold if they do not get their state to stand up to the federal government first. I have been reading reports of more and more states re-asserting their 10th amendment rights and some even putting the threat of prison time for offending federal agents to pen in the form of law. This is a beautiful thing to me. I have written before about how worthless I found the tenth amendment resolutions most states have used because they do not force the government to take them seriously. In fact, they are all ignored.

Oklahoma is making inroads to this point, but until we get rid of that bed-wetting sidesaddle Governor Henry, we are a bit stymied. However, tea party groups and 9/12 groups have sprung up throughout the state and have started bringing good candidates to the fight. But one way or another, we have to win. By pen or sword, I see no other outcome that is livable. I will not live to see America become Europe. That thought is so hateful to me that I want to vomit just thinking it.

I urge each person that reads this to think seriously about what our freedom and liberty are worth. Are they worth prison, death, homelessness, being branded a traitor or terrorist? Is the freedom of our children and their children worth being beaten and starved near to death? Having your money and property stolen and your family forced into hiding? Those are the very fates of the men who died and suffered to give you this nation.

If you are not willing to live up to what they gave before you, then you do not value your freedom and might as well go back to your life and forget that those that will fight for it even exist. Gone are the times when we could engage the statists with half measures. They have proven that the rule of law is only sufficient when it serves their purposes and is merely a minor obsticle when it doesn't. Our Constitution has been relegated to a floor mat that the statists wipe their feet with when starting a new round of socialist pushes. Stand up, and fight with everything you have, or give yourself over to going quietly into the night. For me, I'll rage and fight and if the leftists do beat me, I only pray that I have the courage to spit in the Devils eye when he takes me. (over the top, but heartfelt)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Founding Principles 101 (Repost)

This topic has been much debated by people on all sides for the last 80 years. For some reason it has become "common knowledge" that there is a constitutional wall of separation of church and state. Hmmm. I've been through the Constitution three times tonight and I've not found that anywhere. I found only the first Amendment which states that the government may not establish a religion or tell anyone how to worship. Well and good. But that doesn't touch the question of how did the founders see Religion, specifically the Christian religion, being a part of governance.

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, 2006Faith and the American Founding: Illustrating Religion's Influenceby 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.
Jefferson’s Sanction
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 LibertyWhen 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 FaithThe 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.[1]
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.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jon Stewart: The Equal Opportunity Pain In The Ass

I love this one... He may beat up conservatives from time to time, but let's give the devil his due. This crap is hillarious.

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