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On The Proper Role of Government

October 20, 2014

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather QuillLIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

The federal government is clearly out of control; which begs the question: how can we reign it in?

In her article, Eliminating Waste and Controlling Government Spending. the Heritage Foundation’s, Romina Boccia, presents a simple, penetrating, strike-at-the-roots solution:

“A definition of government waste based in economic principles encompasses a much broader spectrum of government activities and is helpful as a guide to evaluating existing and new spending programs from a principled vantage point. An economic perspective should by no means be the only guide to defining the proper role of government, as other considerations, first and foremost the consent of the governed, plays the most important role in the American constitutional form of government. The consent of the governed is substantively distinct from “the will of the majority.” As explained in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution:

Any political powers not derived from the consent of the governed are, by the laws of nature, illegitimate and hence unjust.… The “consent of the governed” describes a situation in which the people are self-governing in their communities, religions, and social institutions and into which the government may intrude only with the people’s consent.… In Europe, the “will of the majority” signals an idea that all decisions are ultimately political and are routed through the government. Thus, limited government is not just a desirable objective; it is the essential bedrock of the American polity.[5]

“By both standards of measure, the federal government has overextended itself into areas that fall outside its proper domain. Eliminating government waste and controlling spending is necessary to return America to its constitutional form of government.”

Read more…

Ambition, Self-Interest, & the Debauchment of Our Political Vocabulary

November 1, 2013

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

When seeking solutions to the great political and moral test of our time in that Magnificent and Timeless Storehouse known as the American Founding Formula, with but a few notable exceptions, it is best to explore sources contemporary to that era. If not, beware the Revisionists! – men and women who have – for over a century now – debunked the motives, morals, principles, and faith of our Founding Fathers and the free government they gave us.

Among the tactics common among these truth-tellers: a debauchment of the vocabulary of the Founders.

Consider the word “ambition.” The Revisionists have successfully sold the idea, for instance, that George Washington (The Father of Our Country and 1st President) and John Adams (The “Voice” of the Declaration of Independence and our 2nd President) were obsessively ambitious. The sleight of hand: a modification of the truth via one word: “obsessively.” The implication? Whatever victory, accomplishment, and political contribution can be attached to either man is now tainted, if not wholly discredited, by an inordinate self-serving lust for position, prestige and power – and if present in these two key Founders, what does that say about the rest of them?

Yes, both men described themselves as ambitious; but according to what definition? In a letter dated April 27, 1777, John Adams reveals the kind of details the revisionists selectively ignore. He writes:

“Ambition in a Republic, is a great Virtue, for it is nothing more than a Desire, to Serve the Public, to promote the Happiness of the People, to increase the Wealth, the Grandeur, and Prosperity of the Community. This, Ambition is but another Name for public Virtue, and public Spirit. But the Ambition which has Power for its object, which desires to increase the Wealth, the Grandeur, and the Glory of an Individual, at the Expense of the Community, is a very heinous Vice.”

The closely related term, “self-interest”, is another hot item in the Revisionist Anti-American/Anti-Capitalist circuit. According to such professional prevaricators “self-interest” is that Great and Evil Pursuit of the Founders, of the Constitution they wrote, of the American Free Enterprise System they devised, and of every rich, greedy, narrow, self-centered advocate of these things today – when the truth is the Founders had an entirely different definition in mind when they spoke of self-interest as compatible, even needful in a free state. They were talking about what Adam Smith called “Enlightened Self-Interest,” or what Alexis de Tocqueville, in his 1832 classic, “Democracy In America,” later called, “Interest Rightly Understood,” something he said was a “universal doctrine” known and praised among both “rich and poor” in America.

In 1788, John Dickinson writing in defense of the proposed American Constitution was thinking along this vein when he defined self-interest this way:

Humility and benevolence must take place of pride and overweening selfishness. Reason, rising above these mists, will then discover to us, that we cannot be true to ourselves, without being true to others – that to love our neighbors as ourselves, is to love ourselves in the best manner – that to give, is to gain – and, that we never consult our own happiness more effectually, than when we most endeavor to correspond with the divine designs, by communicating happiness, as much as we can, to our fellow creatures.

It was this sort of enlightened self-interest that inspired Benjamin Franklin, in a number of instances, not to pursue what might have been a profitable patent. In reference to his scientific article on lightening rods, Franklin reflects:

These thoughts …if I were merely ambitious of acquiring some reputation in philosophy I ought to keep them by me till corrected and improved by time and farther experience. But since even short hints and imperfect experiments in any new branch of science, being communicated, have oftentimes a good effect, in exciting the attention of the ingenious to the subject, and so become the occasion of more exact disquisition and more complete discoveries; you are at liberty to communicate this paper to whom you please; it being of more importance that knowledge should increase than that your friend should be thought an accurate philosopher.

It was also this sense of enlightened self-interest that explained Franklin’s conviction that science to be worthy of personal study ought to be of practical service to mankind.

Men of ambition, and a constitutional and economic system that claims as an Inalienable Right, freedom from government interference in the pursuit of one’s self-interest, are evil? Not when we go to the source, not when we put it in context.

And so I leave off where I began: when seeking solutions from the American Founding Philosophy, make sure it is truly the American Founding Philosophy that is being studied.


FarrellSteve Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2007), and the author of the highly praised inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


A Tax is a Tax

October 15, 2013
American Founder, John Dickinson

American Founder, John Dickinson

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

In John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, he invites his fellow citizens to beware of smokescreens found in the language of legislation. Cut through it, he advises, and get to the basic principle that lays beneath. If IT violates our rights and the constitution, oppose it.

In Letter 4, published in 1765, he writes: “‘There is,’ say these objectors, ‘a material difference between the Stamp Act and the late act for laying a duty on paper, etc. that justifies the conduct of those who opposed the former, and yet are willing to submit to the latter. The duties imposed by the Stamp Act were internal taxes; but the present are external, and therefore the parliament may have a right to impose them.’”

Smokescreen! But Dickinson sees through it: “A ‘tax’ means an imposition to raise money,” which this act does. “Whatever the name,” whether ‘aids, tallages, talks, taxes, subsidies, duties,’ and whether or not one deems it ‘external or internal,’ a tax is still a tax.

Can you picture the conniving strategists in Parliament: “These yokels overthrew our Stamp Tax; alright, let’s call it a “duty” and when they finally figure out what hit ‘em, it will be too late!”

Dickinson, no yokel, caught on early, and exposed it far and wide. “To this I answer, with a total denial of the power of parliament to lay upon these colonies any “tax” whatever.”

The results were electrifying and profound, and contributed much to the legal, moral, and philosophical justification for separation from England.

The congress in New York’s response was a set of resolves which Dickinson dubbed “the American ‘bill of rights.”

Here are four of them:

That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that NO TAX be imposed on them, except with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.

That the people of the colonies are not, and from their local circumstances, cannot be represented in the house of commons in Great Britain.

That the only representatives of the people of the colonies, are the persons chosen therein by themselves; and that NO TAXES ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures.

That all supplies to the crown, being free gifts of the people, it is unreasonable, and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution, for the people of Great Britain to grant to his Majesty the property of the colonies.

The congress at New York concluded that were they to permit this law to be enforced upon them it would be “destructive to the liberties of the people.” Indeed it would have been – but the British weren’t through yet were they?

Finally, in Letter 4, Dickinson warns of another destructive approach, that “Don’t worry about it!” advice some give, because they figure on coming up with some “creative workarounds”’ – or as we call it today, loopholes in the tax code, or even exemptions for the friends of the party in power! ‘No worry! No worry! Let the bill become law!’

Dickinson reminds us, THIS WE MUST NOT DO, because by accepting the precedent of an unconstitutional tax or law, the government will, with the legal precedent established by our acquiescence, by and by, go after the workarounds or loopholes as well, feeling FULLY JUSTIFIED TO DO SO, and then from there, go on to a great many other things, until last of all, as John Dickinson warned in Letter 2, “American liberty is finished.”

There is a lesson. We should have, but have not VIGOROUSLY opposed ALL infractions upon the Constitution and the inalienable rights of man, including and especially, the very first and slightest violations. Now, burdened by the weight of precedent, and the inevitability of political opportunists seizing the day, our government justifies the unjust, legalizes the illegal, and moves on from gross violation to gross violation of our inalienable rights, our Constitution, and the great and general principles of the moral Law, with an air of kingly arrogance and invincibility, that signals and end to our liberties.

That said, there’s no time like today, to call a fraud a fraud, an unconstitutional tax a tax, a sin a sin, and reverse the trend.

I believe we still can.


FarrellSteve Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of Self-Educated Man, the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Free Education: The Ploy That Captured Our Children’s Minds

October 11, 2013

FarrellLIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

It has been said that the most effective way to conquer a man is to capture his mind. There is no slave more devoted, no disciple more dedicated than one who has become completely obsessed with the vision of what he considers to be a great idea.

Thus, education has long been a proper object of concern among both freemen and Statist, among both the good and the evil. Most everyone senses that what a child is taught in his youth has an enormous prospect for good or ill in individuals and in civilizations.

In 386 BC, Plato laid out one of the most complete and oft studied handbooks on communist totalitarianism in his work Republic. A grand key of successfully implementing the plan was education.
Society, he taught, must be remade from a clean slate. But how?

“All above ten years of age in the city must be taken out into the country, and all the children among them (infants through age ten) must be taken charge of (by the state) and kept outside their present surroundings and the ways of life led by their parents, and the reformers must bring them up in their own ways and customs.”

One central teaching facility, with a curriculum designed by the omnipotent elitists of the state, bereft of parental influence (at least parents of the old school of moral, religious, economic & political values) has been the plan since the beginning for designing men.

Lenin bragged: “Give me a child for eight years and it will be a Bolshevist forever.”

Adolph Hitler declared: “In my great educative work, I am beginning with the young.”

And Khrushchev wrote: “Like every other form of state-directed activity in the Soviet Union, education is conceived as a weapon serving the interests of the Communist Party and dedicated to a single objective — the victory of the Soviet system.”

Karl Marx, setting the modern stage for men like Lenin, Hitler, and Khrushchev outlined a ten-point plan to be used against the most advanced capitalist nations. Plank ten: “Free education in public schools.” Marx knew the phrase “free education” was an easy sell of a false idea. His object: eradicate local – parent controlled – schools with national – bureaucrat controlled – school systems. The intermediate goal: effect an alteration in the perception of parents and educators as to the source of school funds.

How? Simply, via a federal income tax (unconstitutional until 1913 in the U.S.) send a slice of the tax monies paid by these same parents who previously paid directly or nearly directly into the local school, on a circuitous journey to Washington and back again to the local school, first with few if any strings attached, later with more and more, and finally, if unimpeded by awakened parents and educators, with chain and ball. By this means teachers and administrators get it in their heads that the state, not the parent is paymaster and, as such, their boss. While their old bosses (the ones who, in fact, still pay their salaries), now powerless, often withdraw from involvement (if only for fear of a lecture or an investigation into their ill-educated or ill-inspired parenting skills) – just as Marx dreamed!

In America, Communist Party USA Founder William Z. Foster, wrote in 1932:

“Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following; The schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education (then, not in existence) and its state and local branches.

“The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society. Present obsolete methods of teaching will be superceded by a scientific pedagogy.

“… Freedom will be established for anti-religious propaganda.”

Such is the aim of free and federal education – and here we are!

Sadly, conservatives who once promised to abolish the U.S. Department of Education now cheerfully advocate federal block grants as the method of choice to return control of our schools back to the states and the people. This ploy, as old as socialism itself, promises only to provide funding leaving all decision making to the locals. But propagandize it as one will, as night follows day, federal grants equal federal control. And just why is it that state, country, and city leaders fail to understand this simple economic truth: the federal government cannot give without first taking?

And so the grip tightens under Common Core – and we wonder why.

Steve Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of Self-Educated Man, the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.

All Immigration Plans are Not Equal

October 8, 2013
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

As America groans under a federal immigration policy that punishes states for enforcing federal law and rewards illegals for breaking it;  Ben Franklin comes to the rescue with a delightful plan he devised 162 years ago to address and solve the British policy of dumping felons on America.

To the Printers of the Gazette (9 May, 1751) Franklin (as Americanus) writes.

“By a Passage in one of your late Papers, I understand that the Government at home will not suffer our mistaken Assemblies to make any Law for preventing or discouraging the Importation of Convicts from Great Britain, for this kind Reason, `That such Laws are against the Publick Utility, as they tend to prevent the IMPROVEMENT and WELL PEOPLING of the Colonies.’

“Such a tender parental Concern in our Mother Country for the Welfare of her Children, calls aloud for the highest Returns of Gratitude and Duty. This every one must be sensible of: But ’tis said, that in our present Circumstances it is absolutely impossible for us to make such as are adequate to the Favour. I own it; but nevertheless let us do our Endeavour. ‘Tis something to show a grateful Disposition.

“In some of the uninhabited Parts of these Provinces, there are Numbers of these venomous Reptiles we call RATTLE-SNAKES; Felons-convict from the Beginning of the World: These, whenever we meet with them, we put to Death, by Virtue of an old Law, Thou shalt bruise his Head. But as this is a sanguinary Law, and may seem too cruel; and as however mischievous those Creatures are with us, they may possibly change their Natures, if they were to change the Climate; I would humbly propose, that this general Sentence of Death be changed for Transportation.

“In the Spring of the Year, when they first creep out of their Holes, they are feeble, heavy, slow, and easily taken; and if a small Bounty were allow’d per Head, some Thousands might be collected annually, and transported to Britain. There I would propose to have them carefully distributed in St. James‘s Park, in the Spring-Gardens and other Places of Pleasure about London; in the Gardens of all the Nobility and Gentry throughout the Nation; but particularly in the Gardens of the Prime Ministers, the Lords of Trade and Members of Parliament; for to them we are most particularly obliged.

“There is no human Scheme so perfect, but some Inconveniencies may be objected to it: Yet when the Conveniencies far exceed, the Scheme is judg’d rational, and fit to be executed. Thus Inconveniencies have been objected to that good and wise Act of Parliament, by virtue of which all the Newgates and Dungeons in Britain are emptied into the Colonies. It has been said, that these Thieves and Villains introduc’d among us, spoil the Morals of Youth in the Neighbourhoods that entertain them, and perpetrate many horrid Crimes: But let not private Interests obstruct publick Utility. Our Mother knows what is best for us. What is a little Housebreaking, Shoplifting, or Highway Robbing; what is a Son now and then corrupted and hang’d, a Daughter debauch’d and pox’d, a Wife stabb’d, a Husband’s Throat cut, or a Child’s Brains beat out with an Axe, compar’d with this `IMPROVEMENT and WELL PEOPLING of the Colonies!’

“Thus it may perhaps be objected to my Scheme, that the Rattle-Snake is a mischievous Creature, and that his changing his Nature with the Clime is a mere Supposition, not yet confirm’d by sufficient Facts. What then? Is not Example more prevalent than Precept? And may not the honest rough British Gentry, by a Familiarity with these Reptiles, learn to creep, and to insinuate, and to slaver, and to wriggle into Place (and perhaps to poison such as stand in their Way) Qualities of no small Advantage to Courtiers! In comparison of which Improvement and Publick Utility,’ what is a Child now and then kill’d by their venomous Bite, — or even a favourite Lap-Dog?

“I would only add, That this Exporting of Felons to the Colonies, may be consider’d as a Trade, as well as in the Light of a Favour. Now all Commerce implies Returns: Justice requires them: There can be no Trade without them. And Rattle-Snakes seem the most suitable Returns for the Human Serpents sent by our Mother Country. In this, however, as in every other branch of trade, she will have the Advantage of us. She will reap equal Benefits without equal Risque of the Inconveniencies and Dangers. For the Rattle-Snake gives Warning before he attempts his Mischief; which the Convict does not.

“I am, Americanus.”

Wit and wisdom? Yes – for all immigration plans, especially the sort that invite our neighbor’s worst to move in, feed off the fat of the land, and otherwise housebreak, shoplift, rob, rape, beat, corrupt, debauch, and pox (and hand us the bill), are not equal.


FarrellSteve Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of Self-Educated Man, the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Remembering the Justness and Inspiration of the American Cause

October 5, 2013

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

In these “times that try men’s souls” I have witnessed many a true American, many a true Christian, and many a true man or woman of intellectual and moral integrity stand up and stand by our beloved Constitution and the the Judeo-Christian moral law – or that rock upon which our laws and liberty were founded well over two hundred years ago. Of such men and such women, I feel to say as did Thomas Paine in his American Crisis, penned in 1776, “they deserve the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Hopefully, today’s heroes will stay the course, for “tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.”

Yet, Thomas Paine reminds us today as he did his fellows in 1776, “we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”

What our forefathers risked all for, and stood by, even unto death, was and is truly a celestial article. That thought ought to console us against the rising hardness of the conflict to never give up and never give in, to tenaciously stick to the cause of liberty through thick and thin, that when that triumph comes in our day, it too will be all the more glorious for the struggle.

Now let me ask you, was the American Revolution truly glorious? Let me present as one piece of evidence in the affirmative, the Spirit of Inspiration and Prophecy that came upon The Lord of Chatham, William Pitt, one of the greatest Orators in the history of England, as he rose from his sick bed, to warn the British Parliament as to their course against the American colonists. Said he:

“The spirit which now resists your taxation in America is the same which formerly opposed loans, benevolences, and ship-money in England; the same which, by the bill of rights, vindicated the English constitution; the same which established the essential maxim of your liberties, that no subject of England shall be taxed but by his own consent. This glorious spirit . . . animates three millions in America . . .

William Pitt the Elder (Lord Chatham)

William Pitt the Elder (Lord Chatham)

“Let this distinction then remain forever ascertained: taxation is theirs, commercial regulation is ours. They say you have no right to tax them without their consent; they say truly. I recognize to the Americans their supreme, unalienable right in their property, a right which they are justified in the defense of to the last extremity. To maintain this principle is the great common cause . . . ‘Tis liberty to liberty engaged;’ the alliance of God and nature, immutable and eternal …

“When your lordships look at the papers transmitted us from America, when you consider their decency, firmness, and wisdom, you cannot but respect their cause, and wish to make it your own.

“For myself, I must avow that in all my reading — and I have read Thucydides and have studied and admired the master-states of the world — for solidity of reason, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion under a complication of difficult circumstances, no body of men can stand in preference to the general congress at Philadelphia. The histories of Greece and Rome give us nothing equal to it, and all attempts to impose servitude upon such a mighty continental nation must be vain.

“We shall be forced ultimately to retract; let us retract while we can, not when we must. These violent acts must be repealed; you will repeal them; I stake my reputation on it, that you will in the end repeal them. Avoid, then, this humiliating necessity. . .

“. . .throw down the weapons in your hand. . .

“Every motive of justice and policy, of dignity and of prudence,urges you to allay the ferment in America . . .

“If the ministers persevere in thus misadvising and misleading the king, I will not say that the king is betrayed, but I will pronounce that the kingdom is undone; I will not say that they can alienate the affections of his subjects from his crown, but I will affirm that, the American jewel out of it, they will make the crown not worth his wearing.”

Yes, in my mind and my heart I have always believed, and do believe now, the events leading up to the Establishment of the United States of America were events ordered by the God of Heaven. It is part of the record. And if we expect to endure in this 21st Century battle for the souls of men, we will need to read and consider such words again and again, and then filled with the same spirit of inspiration that animated our forefathers, continue on in this holy cause against all odds.


FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Constitutional Checks on Spending and Debt

October 3, 2013
george mason 3

George Mason of Virginia

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

In the Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, George Mason of Virginia, suggested:

    the necessity of preventing the danger of perpetual revenue which must of necessity subvert the liberty of any Country. If it be objected to on the principle of Mr. Rutledge’s motion that public credit may require perpetual provisions, that case might be excepted: it being declared that in other cases, no taxes should be laid for a longer term than _____ years. He considered the caution observed in Great Britain on this point as the palladium of the public liberty. (1)

 

Mr. Mason was reflecting a common fear among America’s Founders that giving government the right to go into debt to fund any of its projects could destroy any free state. A permission was eventually granted in the Constitution for fear of its need in war time, as was the case in the War for Independence. That we use it today to fund big-government socialism seems to validate their fears. However, the question is, was it really a flaw in the Constitution or are we flawed? both our corrupt representative on the one hand and our ignorant and less than vigilant citizenry on the other?

Here’s the catch: It was discussed in the previous day’s debate (August 17, 1787) that the Constitution had several powerful checks against an abuse of this power. 1. The federal budget had to be re-approved annually. 2. In the case of the military, every two years. 3. The House, that is the representatives of a hoped-for vigilant citizenry, served only two year terms and could be voted out if ever they abused that power. 4. Since the powers delegated to the federal government were few and defined, the Constitution itself acted as a check on spending and debt, and could be appealed to to stop any funding inconsistent for purposes in excess of, or outside, the powers so delegated.

These checks served well for 126 years. Then during the days of Woodrow Wilson Administration the United States created the unconstitutional, pro-Marxian Federal Reserve Bank (an exclusive banking monopoly held in private hands), adopted the graduated income tax, and repealed the vital check on socialism that the election of U.S. Senators by their state legislatures was, in part, designed to perform. Next, in 1933, Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in violation of the Constitution (and without the required amendment for such a change), removed us from the gold standard. While in 1971 Republican President Richard Nixon finished the job ending the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold. Finally, came the era of entitlement programs, which remarkably, even tyrannically, are not permitted to come up for an annual vote (again in violation of the Constitution) but are now perpetual ‘rights’, like: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a host of other welfare programs.

Two of these changes, the income tax  and the election of U.S. Senators by popular vote, came by Amendment to the Constitution and thus required the support of the people after a considerable debate; nevertheless, the people were duped. The rest certainly could have been avoided or reversed by a vigilant citizenry; unfortunately, millions of our citizens clamored for the free handouts an increasingly socialistic state doled out and campaigned for and voted in politicians who would rob “rich” Peter to pay “poor” Paul — as serious a moral flaw in the public virtue as ever there was — and still do today. Enter Obamacare.

But again, was and is the document flawed, as some suggest, or is it more to the point that the governments abuse of its power to borrow coincided with a decline in our national morality, a decline in the education and eternal vigilance among the citizenry and the leaders they elect; and along with that, or because of that, our nation’s foolish left turn down the road of Marx and Keynes and Lenin gave a direction for that borrowed money to be turned on, a direction which would insure both perpetual debt and spending and slavish levels of taxation?

I prefer to believe the latter. For no constitution, no matter how good (and ours is the best of the best) will long survive an ill educated and morally corrupt people. It will take a moral, educated, and politically active people to turn things around.


Source of Quote:  George Mason, as quoted in Madison’s Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, August 18, 1787 (spelling modernized). George Mason (1725–1792) was an American patriot, statesman, and delegate from Virginia to the Constitutional Convention. Along with James Madison, he is called the “Father of the Bill of Rights.” He insisted on clear protections for state and individual rights in the Constitution. His efforts led to the insertion of a Bill of Rights as one of the first items of business in the new government. Back in 1776, he authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights.


FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


A Jefferson-Styled Education

September 30, 2013

jeffersonLIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

In my home state, and probably in yours, we often hear about the deplorable state of public education.

The cure always involves more money, either to shrink classroom size, to hike administrator’s salaries, to install a few extra computers, or to build shiny new buildings.

Some states even shovel some of that money back to the parents in order to force the public schools to “compete” for those same dollars.

But what if the real cure isn’t about money and gadgets and buildings?

In choosing a path for education and for life, Thomas Jefferson outlined a course of education for one Peter Carr over two centuries ago. His recommendations, by today’s standards, are remarkable.

In a letter from Paris dated August 19, 1785, he advised the young Peter to “begin a course of ancient history, reading everything in the original and not in translations.”

“First read Goldsmith’s history of Greece . [for] a digested view of that field . and then take up ancient history in the detail, reading the following books in the following order: Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophonti s Anabasis, Arrian, Quintus Curtius, Diodorus Siculus, Justin.”

“The next will be of Roman history”, says Jefferson [to include, Livy, Sallust, Cæsar, Cicero’s epistles, Suetonius, Tacitus, and Gibbon].

After laying that foundation, the youth should move on to a study modern history.

But this was not all. Greek and Latin poetry ought to be studied daily. “[Y]ou have read or will read at school, Virgil, Terence, Horace, Anacreon, Theocritus, Homer, Euripides, Sophocles”, Jefferson said. “Read also Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” Shakespeare, Ossian, Pope’s and Swift’s works, in order to form your style in your own language.”

A study of morality was part of the program, as well. “[Read] Epictetus, Xenophonti s Memorabilia; Plato’s Socratic dialogues, Cicero’s philosophies, Antoninus, and Seneca.”

And let’s not neglect the body.

“In order to assure a certain progress in this reading, consider what hours you have free from the school and the exercises of the school. Give about two of them, every day, to exercise; for health must not be sacrificed to learning. A strong body makes the mind strong.”

Early to bed, early to rise, was part of the above, as well as an additional half hour morning walk first thing in the morning to invigorate the mind and body for the day ahead.

From what we know about the Jeffersonian model of education, all of the above would be followed at the University level with a rigorous study of all useful sciences, the arts, attendance at religious seminaries (across the street from every campus), and after the university, a lifelong commitment to continuing education.

More importantly, was the purpose for all this learning.

One must apply knowledge to “the interests of . country . friends . and [self]-and in one way only;-that is, “with the purest integrity, [and] the most chaste honor.”

And listen to this:

“The defect of these virtues can never be made up by all the other acquirements of body and mind.”

“Make these, then, your first object. Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains, rather than do an immoral act.”

He wasn’t kidding. He continued.

“And never suppose, that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you.

“Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.”

If he did this, Jefferson promised the lad, no matter the perplexity, no matter the odds of success, the supposed Gordian knot would untie, and peace of mind would be “[his] in every moment of life, and in the moment of death.”

Could this be the cure to our modern educational crisis;-not gold, not gimmicks, not gadgets, but a need to return to the Jefferson styled classical education of old, an education in mind and in morals, that puts love of neighbor, country and personal integrity first? I suggest that it is.


Source: Thomas Jefferson. Letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785, written from Paris. Peter Carr was Jefferson’s nephew.


FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Party – The Last Degradation of a Free and Moral Agent

September 26, 2013

LIBERTY LETTERS WITH STEVE FARRELL

jefferson

Jefferson taught that ‘party spirit’ was degrading to man.

Years ago, a statesmen I revere, warned his fellow freedom fighters if they ever hoped to be truly effective in this battle, they “must be devoted to sound principles in word and deed”, and that means they must be men and women who put “principle above party”.

He was right.

A century and a half earlier, Thomas Jefferson, who, though not absolutely free of that spirit of which parties partake (he would disagree), yet made it a strong part of his lifelong character to steer clear of it. In response to a letter from Francis Hopkinson that asked Jefferson if he were a Federalist or anti-Federalist, Jefferson wrote:

“You say that I have been dished up to you as an anti-federalist, and ask me if it be just. My opinion was never worthy enough of notice to merit citing; but since you ask it, I will tell it to you. I am not a federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in polities or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself.

“Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” (1)

I like that. Party spirit is like a grasping, dulling drug that chips away at a man’s agency, and, for that matter, a nation’s liberties, because when people turn to ‘the party’ to do their thinking – people stop thinking. Yet, even for those whose minds and mouths remain in motion when under ‘the influence’ of party spirit, that motion rarely rises above the parroting of the vague, vulgar, venom party provides.

Man was meant for more than this. Jefferson, for his part, wanted to do his own thinking, not blindly rely upon party.

“Therefore, I am not of the party of federalists. But I am much farther from that of the anti-federalists. I approved, from the first moment, of the great mass of what is in the new Constitution; the consolidation of the government; the organization into executive, legislative, and judiciary; the subdivision of the legislative; the happy compromise of interests between the great and little States, by the different manner of voting in the different Houses; the voting by persons instead of States; the qualified negative on laws given to the executive, which, however, I should have liked better if associated with the judiciary also.

“What I disapproved from the first moment also, was the want of a bill of rights, to guard liberty against the legislative as well as the executive branches of the government; that is to say, to secure freedom in religion, freedom of the press, freedom from monopolies, freedom from unlawful imprisonment, freedom from a permanent military, and a trial by jury, in all cases determinable by the laws of the land. I disapproved, also, the perpetual re-eligibility of the President. To these points of disapprobation I adhere.” (2)

Jefferson concludes:

“These, my dear friend, are my sentiments, by which you will see I was right in saying I am neither federalist nor anti-federalist; that I am of neither party, nor yet a trimmer between parties.” (3)

This is the way things ought to be: principle first and principle last, and thus a people who do “a little reflection”, reflection that leads them to discover the moral and political principles involved, down to their roots, before they vote.

That Jefferson made a valiant effort to be true to his 1789 resolve is evidenced by his successful peacemaking between the warring parties as president, by his resolve (despite being big on state rights) to put union first and state rights second, and by his post-presidency repair of burned bridges between he and John Adams (a friendship wounded by ‘party’ people), so that he and Adams might join in their retirement, in a two decades long pursuit of true principles wherever they were found; which he and Adams in their retirements in their retirements did commit themselves to do together.

Were every citizen to follow this timeless advice, party spirit would fade, principle would reign, and we’d all have a whole lot less to ‘parrot’ about, and a whole lot more to think about, when confronting the issues of our day.


Footnotes 1, 2, & 3. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789.


FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Getting the ‘Story’ Right on the First Amendment

September 24, 2013

JOSEPH STORY 2LIBERTY LETTERS, JUSTICE JOSEPH STORY, 1833

What did the Founders mean by the protections in favor of religious liberty in the Bill of Rights? Was the object freedom of religion, or as is held by some today, freedom from religion?

In 1833, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, a man contemporary to the Founding Fathers, and who by now had been serving on the Supreme Court for 21 years, published his magisterial “Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States,” a text that became required reading in every law school in America for nearly a century. In that work, he gave great clarity as to the original intent of the First Amendment, what it still meant in 1833, and what it would continue to mean – almost without incident – for yet another century and a third.

How far any government has a right to interfere in matters touching religion has been a subject much discussed by writers upon public and political law. The right and the duty of the interference of government, in matters of religion, have been maintained by many distinguished authors, as well those, who were the warmest advocates of free governments, as those, who were attached to governments of a more arbitrary character.

Indeed, the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly; be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of; rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all, the personal, social, and benevolent virtues;– these never Can be a matter of indifference in any well ordered community.

It is, indeed difficult to conceive, how any civilized society can well exist without them. And at all events, it is impossible for; those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects.

This is a point wholly distinct from that of the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s conscience.

… At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it [meaning, the First Amendment], … the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.

Yes, you heard it right. The purpose of the freedom of religion clause was to encourage, not be indifferent to Christianity.

No, this is not about religious tests for office, not about civil punishments, exclusions, or favors for one faith over another. Not about establishing a state church. Nor about progressive programs that force, rather than encourage, men to love their neighbors as themselves or else.

Forget that. Justice Story is simply talking about letting men speak freely on the subjects of religion and morality in every forum, public or private, so that the morality of the people, the very conscience of the people, will be at a pitch high enough to sustain liberty, for a nation without scruples, call it free if you dare, is a nation already in bondage, or at least on its way.

How can there be respect for private property and every other right, how can there be men in office who restrain themselves from power grabbing and every other abuse, if there be no solid and enduring belief in right and wrong? Thus, religious conviction is vital to the health of the state.

And so, “The real difficulty” says Justice Story, “lies in ascertaining the limits, to which government may rightfully go, in fostering and encouraging religion.”

That’s the real test, the only test we ought to be debating.


FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Love, Duty, & the Power of Small Things

September 21, 2013

DickinsonLIBERTY LETTERS, JOHN DICKINSON, 1767

One of the marvels, if not miracles, of the American War for Independence is the purity of motive found among those Founders who led and fought it – a purity of motive linked to faith in God, to their conviction that God gave man moral agency with the intent that he live free, that so far as the cause of America goes, she had been divinely appointed as the refuge for the oppressed,  and so long as she was not the aggressor, He would intervene on her side.

We see these motives and beliefs evident in John Dickinson’s 1767 series “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania”, which he wrote in response to the first subtle and not so subtle steps toward tyranny by England.

Standing up to the Mother Country was risky business for individual and colony –as the New York Assembly recently learned by their dismissal for refusing to house and feed British troops in compliance with the Quartering Act of 1765! So why did Dickinson do it? He explains in Letter 1:

“From my infancy I was taught to love humanity and liberty. Enquiry and experience have since confirmed my reverence for the lessons than given me, by convincing me more fully of their truth and excellence. Benevolence toward mankind excites wishes for their welfare, and such wishes endear the means of fulfilling them. These can be found in liberty only, and therefore her sacred cause ought to be espoused by every man on every occasion, to the utmost of his power.”

One senses in Dickenson’s explanation his ‘love of God and of all men’ and a hint of that biblical doctrine, “perfect love casteth out fear.”

He could have chosen otherwise. In Letter 3 he observes:

 “I am no further concerned in anything affecting America, than any one of you; and when liberty leaves it, I can quit it much more conveniently than most of you: But while Divine Providence, that gave me existence in a land of freedom, permits my head to think, my lips to speak, and my hand to move, I shall so highly and gratefully value the blessing received as to take care that my silence and inactivity shall not give my implied assent to any act, degrading my brethren and myself from the birthright, wherewith heaven itself ‘hath made us free.’

Gratitude impels him on, while reason testifies ‘silence is consent’ and the moral sense witnesses ‘failure to act is unmanly.’

In Letter 3 Dickinson confronts yet another fear:

“Sorry I am to learn that there are some few persons who shake their heads with solemn motion, and pretend to wonder, what can be the meaning of these letters. ‘Great Britain,’ they say, ‘is too powerful to contend with; she is determined to oppress us; it is in vain to speak of right on one side, when there is power on the others; when we are strong enough to resist we shall attempt it; but now we are not strong enough, and therefore we had better be quiet; it signifies nothing to convince us that our rights are invaded when we cannot defend them … it will only draw down heavier displeasure upon us.”

His ready answer:

“As a charitable but poor person does not withhold his mite, because he cannot relieve all the distresses of the miserable, so should not any honest man suppress his sentiments concerning freedom, however small their influence is likely to be. Perhaps he ‘may touch some wheel,’ that will have an effect greater than he could reasonable expect.”

Besides, he adds, “Concordia res parvae crescent. Small things grow great by concord.”

Finally, in Letter 7, Dickinson inspires one more time:

“I hope you will undauntedly oppose; and that you will never suffer yourselves to be either cheated or frightened unto any unworthy obsequiousness. On such emergencies you may surely. without presumption, believe that ALMIGHTY GOD himself will look down upon your righteous contest with gracious approbation. You will be a ‘band of brothers,’ cemented to the dearest ties – and strengthened with inconceivable supplies of force and constancy, by that sympathetic ardor, which animates good men confederated in a good cause. Your honor and welfare will be, as they now are, most intimately concerned; and besides – you are assigned by Divine Providence, in the appointed order of things, the protectors of unborn ages, whose fate depends upon your virtue. Whether they shall arise the generous and indisputable heirs of the noblest patrimonies, or the dastardly and hereditary drudges of imperious task-masters, YOU MUST DETERMINE.”

Indeed.


Liberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Common Sense vs. Kings

September 13, 2013

Thomas PaineLIBERTY LETTERS, THOMAS PAINE, 1776

As the current President of the United States continues on a course that resembles the attitudes and actions of a king more than a president, or more specifically of a tyrant (one who rules arbitrarily) than a king (one, who thou powerful, nevertheless subjects himself and his administration to the law and its limits), one cannot help but recall that America’s founding was, in part, a firm, and the Founders had hoped final, rejection of both the idea of a king, and of the tyrannical abuses of power that go hand in hand with kings.

Of all the powerful arguments against a belief in kings, Thomas Paine’s 1776 work, “Common Sense,” was by far the most popular. In it Paine rejected kings and tyrannical prerogatives via an appeal to scripture, reason and history, but primarily scripture. He noted:

The Almighty hath here (in the Bible) entered his protest against monarchical government.

Near three thousand years passed away, from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. [Before] then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases) was a kind of republic, administered by a judge, and the elders of the tribes [who were freely elected, and a Seventy, who were the equivalent of a Senate]. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts.

“Government by kings,” said Paine, was not the invention of God – as skeptics contend today – but “was first introduced into the world by the heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry.”

Israel first dabbled with the idea of kings, he stated, when they solicited the great general Gideon for such a post. “Rule thou over us, thou and thy son, and thy son’s son.” But Gideon, a type and a shadow of another great general, Washington, rigorously refused this tempting offer; said he, “[Only] the Lord shall rule over you.” Gideon, not only “declined the offer,” but he “denied their right to give it, ” for absolute power in the hands of any man was an affront to God.

God must be the only King, and that was important. Paine continued:

“But where, say some, is the king of America? I’ll tell you, friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the royal brute of Great Britain.

“Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the Divine Law, the Word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute government the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

This belief that God and His law were Supreme, repudiated monarchy and inspired the colonists to believe that no man or group of men should ever be trusted with unchecked power. It taught the colonists a principle, every American ought to remember, that even good men are corrupted by untrammeled centralized power and the results of such blind trust are catastrophic!
After Paine laid out in considerable detail the story of Israel’s foolish embrace of Kings, and the attending results he gives a number of summary thoughts among which are these:

  1. “These portions of scripture are direct and positive. They admit of no equivocal construction. That the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchical government, is true, or the scripture is false. And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much of kingcraft, as priestcraft, in withholding the scripture from the public in [certain European] countries.”
  2. “It was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of Kings, he need not wonder, that the Almighty ever jealous of his honor, should disapprove of a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.”

FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.


Not License, Leveling, or Democracy

September 10, 2013
Jefferson and Madison opposed democracy.

Jefferson and Madison opposed democracy.

LIBERTY LETTERS, MADISON, JEFFERSON, TUCKER

It can never be taught too often, nor too loud and clear to family and friend, educator and politician: license is not true liberty, leveling of income not true equality, democracy never the intent of our Forefather’s republic.

2,500 plus years ago, we read in Plato’s “Republic” of that diabolical “democratic man”, or a man inordinately fixated on his beloved self interest, who, lo and behold! is tyrannized by his own lusts, and next up tyrannizes everyone else in an unending attempt to satisfy an ever growing list of personal lusts, lusts which can never be fully satisfied. His point? A society dominated by weak and undisciplined, brutish and unprincipled individuals is ripe for tyranny in that personal slavery and tyranny over neighbor are already their habit, if not constant ambition.

You see, when self-love and self-indulgence are ranked as the greatest of rights, and toleration for every sort of extreme as the highest of virtues, trouble follows. Morality, law, stability take a hit. Turbulence, anarchy, political opportunism come in their wake.

This is Common Sense About Human Nature 101 – which explains why the Founding Father of modern communism, Karl Marx, bellowed the Communist Manifesto battle cry, “We must win the battle of democracy!”

It is also why he who is dubbed “Father of the US Constitution,” James Madison, warned of democracy:

“[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” (1)

To which he added: “A republic opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.” (2)

Again, Communist Founder Marx wanted democracy; American Founder Madison did not, both for the same reasons: democracies are unstable, violent, short lived political systems whose chief aim is the overthrow of private property.

Democracies have other problems. They seek to “reduce mankind,” Madison warned, “[until they are] equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.” (3) That is, they preach and practice a false equality that, in the end, impoverishes and enslaves mankind economically, intellectually, and morally into one common miserable lot.

This is the exact opposite of the sort of equality the American Founders promoted. St. George Tucker, the author of the 1803, “View of the Constitution of the United States” explained what our founders meant by “all men are created equal”:

“By equality is to be understood, equality of civil rights and not of condition. Equality of rights necessarily produces inequality of possessions; because, by the laws of nature and of equality, every man has a right to use his faculties in an honest way, and the fruits of his labor, thus acquired, are his own. But some men have more strength than others; some more health; some more industry; and some more skill and ingenuity, than others; and according to these, and other circumstances the products of their labors must be various, and their property must become unequal. The rights of property are sacred, and must be protected; otherwise there would be no exertion of either ingenuity or industry, and consequently nothing but extreme poverty, misery, and brutal ignorance.” (4)

Yes, the American Founders firmly rejected the equal ends approach to equality because such an equality, the equality of a pure democracy, produces precisely what communism has always produced: “nothing but extreme poverty, misery, and brutal ignorance, ” even as it undermines private and civic virtue.

By contrast, the Republic our Founders gave us, embraced ‘equality before God and the law’, and ‘equality in the enjoyment of our God-given rights’, produced the most ingenious, industrious, prosperous, happy, and enlightened people in history.

The aim of our republic was something more solid, more permanent than – easy to get – majority votes, which in a fit of passion might overthrow our God-given Inalienable Rights, and the Higher Laws upon which they are founded, and the very system of government erected to forever protect these Rights. And how was that system to do it? By the use of chains. Not chains of cold steel, no. But the chains of Law. Thus Jefferson would write:

“In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” (5)

Footnotes:

1. Madison, James. Federalist 10

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Tucker, St. George. View of the Constitution of the United States: With Selected Writings, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 1999, pgs. 40-41.

5. Jefferson, Thomas. November 10, 1798, as found in Writings of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Andrew A. Lipscomb and Albert Ellery Bergh, Volume 17, pgs. 379-80, 385-91.

FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of Self-Educated Man, the former Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal (2009-2013), one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.

 

Thomas Paine on Just War

September 6, 2013

Thomas PaineLIBERTY LETTERS, THOMAS PAINE

In his 1776 bestseller “Common Sense”, Thomas Paine cautions his fellow Americans that “a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

Is the six decade old American policy of interventionism, or that policy which searches out and wages war upon nations which have not attacked our people, nor robbed our property, just such an example of something which has by habit acquired a superficial appearance of being right?

The American Founders had a ready answer for such a war policy. They termed it “offensive war.”

In that popular Revolutionary War series “The Crisis”, Thomas Paine says as to the justness of the American War for Independence:

My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder.

This was a common sense, biblically based, universally held moral conviction of the day. Simply, as the individual is only justified in killing in self-defense, so the nation is only justified in the strictly limited right to kill in self-defense, or more specifically, in defense of the lives, property, and rights of those people who by common agreement or election delegated this power to the state. Kept within these bounds the power to kill is legal and just. Beyond this is tyranny, or an unlawful arbitrary use of power not legitimately possessed, and in the specific case of offensive war, murder also, if not mass murder.

But then, in such a case, the guilt of the nation’s leaders deepens in that it involves our largely moral and patriotic young men and women of the military in the offensive war dirty work of misguided politicians, of sending bullets, bombs, and missiles into a nation that committed no crime against America, and for executing justice (if that is what our nation’s leaders wish to call it) upon a people for which America’s leaders possess no delegated authority, no, not over offenders or victims. And consider, some of these valiant soldiers become beset with psychological issues which may never resolve in this life. While morale, in general, often descends as the justness of the American Cause becomes more and more questionable.

By contrast, there is a power that has been with the American military in the past, and still is with her today, when our national leaders stay within the bounds of that moral law which has so long been attached to and vital to the proper exercise and defense of our liberties. God’s blessings attend. There stirs in the thoughts and hearts of the American soldier an uncommon inspiration; even while and an uncommon goodness and success seems to marks his every labor too. In this last quote from Thomas Paine’s “The Crisis,” one sees the effect upon words when our cause is just, and one can only imagine how wonderfully these words moved the troops for good as their beloved General George Washington, read them aloud. Wrote Paine:

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he.

Yes, Paine knew, Washington knew, his troops knew, and all of America knew, that God would be with and prosper our cause – and He did. The English, who were waging an offensive war upon their own brethren, could not feel the same. That their empire would not long thereafter come to ruin is of little surprise.

FarrellLiberty Letters are researched, compiled, edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell is the Founder and Editor In Chief of Self-Educated Man, the former Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal (2009-2013), one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2008), and the author of the inspirational novel, Dark Rose.

Providential Role of the People of this Country

July 2, 2012

Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, Alexander Hamilton

It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.

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