Robert George Explains How We Are Losing Our Liberty

Tuesday, September 8, AD 2015

Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.

Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton

 

The story is told of the elderly judge who, looking back over a long career, observes with satisfaction that, when I was young, I probably let stand some convictions that should have been overturned, and when I was old I probably set aside some that should have stood; so overall, justice was done. I sometimes think that is an appropriate analogy to this Court’s constitutional jurisprudence, which alternately creates rights that the Constitution does not contain and denies rights that it does. Compare Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) (right to abortion does exist) with Maryland v. Craig, 497 U.S. 836 (1990) (right to be confronted with witnesses, U.S. Const., Amdt. 6, does not).

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Robert George Explains How We Are Losing Our Liberty

  • The Supreme Court has redefined the sovereign person who constitutes the government and invents its existence. When the Court acts against the truth in the constitution, the Court impeaches itself. This is true also of a president who acts against the constitution. The president who acts against the constitution and we, the people, all of our ancestors, this generation and our constitutional posterity, without another person, but his own Justice, impeaches himself, and, in the same way, that a condemned murderer is visited by his rejected Justice on the gallows.

  • Thank you Donald McClarey for Dr. Robert George.

Liberty and Justice

Wednesday, July 16, AD 2014

Barry Goldwater long ago ceased to be a hero of mine after the revelation that back in the fifties he had paid for an abortion for one of his daughters and his open embrace of abortion after his retirement.  However, he was certainly a hero of mine as I watched the Republican convention in 1964 on television at the age of seven.  I do not recall his speech, but I do recall watching every minute of the convention with rapt attention.  Goldwater’s acceptance speech was not a great speech, Goldwater admitting himself that he was no great orator.  It will always be remembered for two phrases:  extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Harry Jaffa, perhaps the foremost expert on the political thought of Abraham Lincoln, wrote the phrases for Goldwater, although Goldwater, bizarrely, claimed that the phrases were written by Cicero when the lines came under attack.  Jaffa recalls helping to write the speech:

I wrote that statement, in part, as a repudiation of the critique of extremism that was made by Rockefeller and Scranton witnesses before the [platform] committee. Sometimes these things get out of hand.  They are like letters you do not intend to send.  But they blow out the window and somebody picks them up and they are delivered.  And this one was delivered to the Senator, who fell in love with it and ordered that it be incorporated in his Acceptance Speech, and it led to my becoming the principal drafter of the speech.  And, there it was.  It was not my political judgment that the thing be used in the speech at all, although I must say that I was flattered at the time and didn’t think too much of what the consequences would be. . .  The Senator liked it because he had been goaded by mean-spirited attacks through the long months of the primaries.  Nothing in the political history of the country surpasses in fundamental indecency the kind of attacks that were made on Goldwater by Nelson Rockefeller and his followers. . .  But I was not asked for the extremism statement; I had written it as an in-house memorandum, and it was appropriated.  I’m not making an excuse for myself in saying I wasn’t responsible for it.  I was certainly enthusiastically in favor of it at the time.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Liberty and Justice

  • THAT…was the Barry we needed!

    Not this jamoco.

  • I was in high svchoool then. A teacher once stated that the root causes to all contemporary issues could be found in two historical “items”: the Industrial Revolution and E = MC squared.

    Just saying. I think moderation in the pursuit of virtue is a vice.

    Anyhow, I was fourteen. The Vietnam War was small news. I remember from the typically dishonest LBJ dem campaign the clip of the little girl with the flowers and the nuke.

    Then, LBJ et al (for nothing based on the defeat in May 1975) killed 58,000 of the flower of American youth and over a million Vietnamese . . .

    The concept of “Justice” has been co-opted and subverted by collectivists, progressives and statists and it is serially emplyed to gull the envious, ignorant and wrathful along with a never-ending series fabricated crises.

    John Stuart Mill. On Liberty, “The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”

    The so-called income redistribution crisis keeps making the rounds. Until the 1970’s, economists would think in terms of economic growth and development. Now, they’fve defaulted to the dull and illogical. Raise taxes on the rich: te liberal answer to every question.

  • The only thing your high school teacher left off that list was evolution/natural selection. But, two out of three ain’t bad, as they say.

Fortnight For Freedom: Stamped With the Divine Image

Wednesday, July 2, AD 2014

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light. They’re right here; you just have to see them again!

Senator Jefferson Smith, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

In our struggles for liberty today, we are part of a long and proud American tradition, something that Abraham Lincoln reminded the country of almost 156 years ago:

 

These communities, by their representatives in old  Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “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.” This was their majestic  interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their  lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of  the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to  all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their  enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and  likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded,  and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole  race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized  upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide  their children and their children’s children, and the countless  myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise  statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity  to breed tyrants, and so they established these great  self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man,  some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that  none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look  up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to  renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth,  and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues  might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would  hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles  on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

On September 30, 1859 Lincoln made another speech which I think is very apropos to our time:

Continue reading...

Fortnight For Freedom: Lincoln on Liberty of Conscience

Thursday, June 27, AD 2013

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have proclaimed a second Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th, and, as last year, The American Catholic will participate with special blog posts each day.

In our current struggle for liberty we have the finest of American history on our side.  Americans, at their best, have been dedicated to liberty and opposed to attempts by government to take away the freedom that all Americans should enjoy.  One of the champions of freedom who would clearly be against the policies of the current administration in its squalid war against the Catholic Church is Abraham Lincoln.

 

 

In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8 in 1844. These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

 

Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844.  At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

“Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.”

Lincoln remained true to this belief.  At the height of the political success of the Know-Nothing movement 11 years later, Mr. Lincoln in a letter to his friend Joshua Speed wrote:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].”

Continue reading...

16 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Lincoln on Liberty of Conscience

  • The problem, Donald, is that the sodomites and lesbians and their supporters will use the following sentences said by Lincoln to claim that we, in supporting the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, are declaring that sodomites and lesbians are NOT created equal to the rest. Never mind that that clearly isn’t the case, or that they (being evolutionists who think man is an animal descended from apes) don’t even believe in creation. They will and do cry foul, declaring we are being as discriminatory to the sodomite and lesbian (whose behavior they sanitized with the phrases homosexual or gay) as the Know-Nothings were to blacks and Catholics so long again.

    “As a nation, we begin by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.'”

  • You will oblige me please Paul not to use terms like sodomites in future on this blog. It does nothing except play into a stereotype of those of us who should love the sinner while hating the sin. I find it as useless as the appropriation of the term gay by those who wish to turn a sin into a way of life. It also plays into the hands of those who have turned this into a matter of identity politics. All of us are much more than our sins, and the idea that those afflicted with this particular sin are defined by it to the exclusion of all else about them is not our position but rather the position of those who seek political capital by turning a sin into a civil right, which was actually also the position of the slaveholders of Lincoln’s time, in regard to the right to own other people as chattel.

  • I shall comply, Donald.

    There is a difference between a homosexual who is trying to remain celibate and deal with this cross, and the militant variety who is trying to force the rest of society to approve as laudable what he does. The former is like an alcoholic who goes to 12 step meetings, but may relapse on occasion because recovery isn’t always a smooth road. The latter is despiteful and intolerant, committed to the disease that has overtaken him and desirous of forcing it on the rest of society. It is of him that St. Paul uses the even less flattering terms μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 (see the Douay-Rheims or KJV for an unsanitized translation).

    And yes, St. Paul puts adulterers (μοιχός), fornicators (πόρνος), drunkards (μέθυσος) and many others in the same category. And he reminds us in verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

    I agree: love the sinner (because we are all sinners), but hate the sin (which so easily besets any of us).

  • Thank you Paul. I am afraid that I am afflicted with the deadliest of sins, the sin of pride, and therefore I have sympathy for those who struggle with lesser sins.

  • You and me, both, Donald. I look at the laundry list of sins that St. Paul provides in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10. I am not guilty of three in the list (μοιχός, μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης). Sadly, I cannot say the same of the rest.

    🙁

  • Pingback: Pope Francis Says Do Not Masquerade as a Christian - BigPulpit.com
  • Can someone explain to me what this new Fortnight for Freedom is supposed to accomplish? The bishops have shown themselves to be unwilling to put any real pressure on the government, especially supposedly Catholic politicians, so all this is doing is reminding Obama and company that they have nothing to fear from the bishops. The way things stand now, the bishops are just making themselves, and us by extension, look foolish.

  • Actually Cardinal Dolan recently helped spearhead the defeat in the New York Senate of Governor Cuomo’s radical pro-abort bill. That is not chopped liver.
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cuomos-abortion-expansion-act-dies-in-ny-state-senate/

    My Bishop, Daniel Jenky of Peoria, is continually speaking out, and taking a lot of heat for doing so.

    Although I am quite willing to criticize Bishops and Cardinals in this country, and there is much to criticize and I do so frequently, the problem is not primarily them. The problem is that too many Catholics in this country, to be very blunt, do not give a damn about their religion, and are quite content to vote for pro-abort candidates and candidates who are in effect at war with the Church. I would like to see all pro-abort politicians excommunicated, but I think the political impact would be close to nil. Infidelity in the clergy is a problem, but the much greater problem is a laity that is, in far too many cases, ignorant of their Faith or actively opposed to it.

    The only solution to this problem is to tirelessly preach the truth whether people wish to accept it or not. The Fortnight For Freedom is part of that process. It isn’t a magic wand, but it is a start.

  • Hear! Hear!

    “The problem is that too many Catholics in this country, to be very blunt, do not give a damn about their religion, and are quite content to vote for pro-abort candidates and candidates who are in effect at war with the Church….the much greater problem is a laity that is, in far too many cases, ignorant of their Faith or actively opposed to it.”

    There is a woman – very nice and kind and hard-working and goes to Mass regularly – who some time ago asked for my opinion about the Bishops’ public stance against same-sex marriage and abortion. She wanted more than just an off-the-cuff response. So I gave her a six page write up, quoting appropriate parts of the Catechism and the Bible, using what limited knowledge I have of the Greek to point out certain specific things St. Paul wrote in his epistles. I gave it to her and waited two weeks. Not having received a response, I asked her if she had read what I had provided. She said she got to the third page and stopped reading, and that she has a different opinion. I asked her if she had talked with her priest about these things. She said no, and repeated that she had a different opinion. In other words, when the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Sacred Scripture were presented to her, she rejected what they said and held to a different opinion. I suspect that this feeling is widespread among Roman Catholics. As for Protestants, I give them the straight Scripture and often they too have a different opinion. So it isn’t just Romans who have this problem.

  • “The problem is that too many Catholics in this country, to be very blunt, do not give a damn about their religion, and are quite content to vote for pro-abort candidates and candidates who are in effect at war with the Church. I would like to see all pro-abort politicians excommunicated, but I think the political impact would be close to nil.”

    But the excommunications themselves would shake things up, and maybe make those sleepwalking Catholics wake up. Even if they found the excommunications offensive and decided to leave the Church, that would actually be a positive. At the very least, we would no longer have to suffer through Pelosi asserting what a devout Catholic she is.

    “The Fortnight For Freedom is part of that process. It isn’t a magic wand, but it is a start.”

    A start towards what? What did the first Fortnight accomplish?

  • It accomplished quite a bit judging from the decrease in Obama’s Catholic vote at the polls in November. His support among white Catholics dropped by seven percent to forty percent. He barely won the Catholic vote by capturing 76% of Hispanic Catholics. It increased awareness of the contempt that this administration has for American liberties. No one will follow the truth if they never hear of it. The Fortnight for Freedom conveyed effectively I think the message of the persecution that faithful Catholics are beginning to be subject to. Would you have the Church stand mute in the face of these outrages?

    As for excommunication you make the unwarranted assumption that Catholics who routinely vote for pro-aborts would care. They would not. I would be all in favor of mass excommunications of pro-abort politicians, but without a sustained education effort by the Church, like the Fortnight for Freedom, it is merely a useless gesture as far as its practical utility. Too many conservative Catholics think of it as a panacea. Forty years ago excommunicating Catholic pro-abort politicians would have had a major impact on many Catholics, but not today. I might also note that if the Catholic Church in America started to excommunicate pro-abort Catholic politicians, it would stand alone, since I do not believe that is happening anywhere else. As I said, I would be all for it, but I think the real need is sustained education and political involvement. Too many Catholics aren’t very good at either, at least those who attempt to defend the sanctity of human life and the freedom of the Church.

  • “It accomplished quite a bit judging from the decrease in Obama’s Catholic vote at the polls in November. His support among white Catholics dropped by seven percent to forty percent.”

    That is certainly a good thing, but it did nothing to alter the government’s behavior. If these Fortnights for Freedom are meant to protect our freedoms, I see no evidence they have helped, or will help.

    “He barely won the Catholic vote by capturing 76% of Hispanic Catholics.”

    You mean the demographic the bishops are feverishly working to dramatically increase in numbers? More genius strategizing at work.

    “Would you have the Church stand mute in the face of these outrages?”

    Completely to the contrary, I think the Church needs to be far more militant. Cardinal Dolan and most of the rest of the bishops appear to operate under the delusion that if they are nice and conciliatory towards politicians, the politicians will be nice and conciliatory to the Church. In reality, the politicians see weakness and feel they can get away with trampling the Church’s rights.

  • “If these Fortnights for Freedom are meant to protect our freedoms, I see no evidence they have helped, or will help.”

    I just gave you the evidence. The problem last year was too many conservatives who stayed home and a Mitt Romney campaign so confident of victory that they went into defense mode after the first debate.

    “You mean the demographic the bishops are feverishly working to dramatically increase in numbers? More genius strategizing at work.”

    Now we get to the nub of the matter. Since you disagree with the Bishops on immigration, as do I, that means that the Fortnight to Freedom is worthless. That simply is not logical. Additionally it betrays a hopelessness in regard to the Hispanic vote that long term is not warranted:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/06/28/the_gop_and_hispanics_what_the_future_holds_119011.html

    We have been down this road before. Italian Americans were supposed to be a bastion for the Democrats and for a while they were. With increasing prosperity more of them voted Republican. Since 1968 the two parties have divided the Italian-American vote. I suspect Hispanics are following a similar trajectory.

    “Cardinal Dolan”

    The same Cardinal Dolan who led the successful fight against Cuomo’s abortion bill in the New York State Senate? Confusing affability with ineffectiveness is a common error, but still an error. At any rate I would think you would be calling for more efforts like the Fortnight For Freedom rather than lamenting it.

  • “I just gave you the evidence.”

    No, you told me that the white Catholic vote for Obama dropped (which is a good thing), but the government’s confrontational position with regard to the Church was not changed at all.

    “Now we get to the nub of the matter. Since you disagree with the Bishops on immigration, as do I, that means that the Fortnight to Freedom is worthless.”

    No, the Fortnight for Freedom is worthless because it had no effect upon the politicians who are attempting to take away our freedoms. The bishops’ self-immolation act on immigration is really a separate issue, but since you supplied the statistic I couldn’t resist commenting on it.

    “We have been down this road before. Italian Americans were supposed to be a bastion for the Democrats and for a while they were. With increasing prosperity more of them voted Republican. Since 1968 the two parties have divided the Italian-American vote. I suspect Hispanics are following a similar trajectory.”

    A different America and a different Church.

    “The same Cardinal Dolan who led the successful fight against Cuomo’s abortion bill in the New York State Senate? Confusing affability with ineffectiveness is a common error, but still an error.”

    All right, I guess I have to concede that NY’s hideous abortion laws did not become even more hideous largely through the efforts of Cardinal Dolan. However, I think the Cardinal has to develop a more confrontational approach on some issues. I have visions of him yucking it up with Hillary at the Al Smith Dinner three years from now, and that kind of thing can’t happen anymore. It would send a powerful message if Bobby Jindal, or Paul Ryan or Scott Walker was invited to the Dinner, and Hillary was not, but I can’t imagine Dolan doing that.

    “At any rate I would think you would be calling for more efforts like the Fortnight For Freedom rather than lamenting it.”

    We need to do a lot more than the Fortnight, so I see this as more of a nice gesture than an actual effort to defend the Church.

  • The US Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, including the public office of citizenship. The HHS Mandate and its violation of conscience is demanding that citizens prove their religioius piety, holiness and in the public domain their worship of God to be allowed exemption. Being an American citizen is insufficient and no longer reason to be free.

  • @Donald Mc Clarey: ” Forty years ago excommunicating Catholic pro-abort politicians would have had a major impact on many Catholics, but not today.”

    Let us try it. What have we got to lose? Our infant children might notice. Little old ladies might come out more often knowing that the Catholic Church will be there to sustain them in their will to live. Excommunicating sinners may even enlighten their journey back to God.

IRS Scandal: When You Have Lost Piers Morgan…

Saturday, May 18, AD 2013

 

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Let’s see, it was only back in January that Piers Morgan, Brit and obnoxious CNN talking head, pooh-poohed the idea that America could ever have a tyrannical government.  Go here to read my comment at that time.  In the above video, in which he is talking to my favorite atheist, go here to see why I give Penn Jillette that title, he confesses that what was done with the IRS “borders” on tyranny.

Of course the IRS Scandal would not have surprised the Founding Fathers.  They realized that govenment is necessary among men.  As James Madison noted in Federalist 51:  But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  However, the Founding Fathers also realized that government was no abstraction, but also an institution made up of men and not angels.  That is why Madison in Federalist 51 went on to write:  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.  And so the Founding Fathers framed a Constitution designed to minimize the possibility of government tyranny They built wisely, but they did not delude themselves.  The ultimate safeguard for American liberty had to rest in the American people.

That is why Benjamin Franklin, after a lady asked him as he left Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention what form of government the country was to have, told her, “A Republic madam, if you can keep it.”, placing the responsibility for the preservation of the Republic on each individual American.

Continue reading...

8 Responses to IRS Scandal: When You Have Lost Piers Morgan…

  • One has to be concerned when one has the likes of Piers Morgan and Charlie Rangel on one’s side. Their outrage seems too manufactured, too studied to be sincere. (No one likes the IRS; it’s an easy target.) It’s as if they instinctively know the IRS scandal will lead nowhere higher than perhaps the Commissioner, but Benghazi truly has the chance to do damage to the President.

  • If it weren’t for TAC and facebook I wouldn’t know that this useless Saxon POS is stealing American oxygen.

  • “It’s as if they instinctively know the IRS scandal will lead nowhere higher than perhaps the Commissioner, but Benghazi truly has the chance to do damage to the President.”

    We can pursue both J. Christian. I have absolutely no doubt that the IRS scandal is much the bigger issue with the American public. This week I have had ten people, most fairly apolitical, bring up the IRS scandal. I have never had anyone bring up Benghazi unless I have raised it first. This is an immense scandal and it will do permanent damage to the Obama administration.

  • In the 2012 presidential election, Obama’s IRS shut down various conservative campaign initiatives, i.e., free speech. The gutless GOP candidate, legislators, et al were either too cowardly or too stupid or too contemptuous of the TEA party to rise up on their hind legs and bray something.

    This is no longer a free republic.

    And, the American (outside hugely profitable Wall Street, GM, Buffett and Soros; and borrow-and-spend Washington, DC) people will not recover because Obama and his gangster regime are running them off a cliff.

  • These Obama administration scandals though very serious only began to get traction once a few democrats and THE MEDIA came on board. So we again have been reminded that it is the media politicians right and left fear and controls what goes and comes in Washington.

  • First you have tax cheat Charles Rangel going after the head of the IRS. Now you have Pers Morgan, anti gun nut extraordinaire, going into full lock and load mode over governmental tyranny. Justice tinged with irony is a sweet thing to savor, especially since this is probably the only real justice we will see. Because I thinkwhen the congressional dog and pony show is over, nothing is gonna come of this. Ditto for Benghazi.

    I don’t normally like to be proven wrong, but these are instances where I hope I am.

  • Mr T Shaw
    FYI Mr Morgan is ethnically Irish ! His real name is O Meara. He was born in the UK . Perhaps the name Morgan is more accepted as being British whereas an Irish name may have caused him more bigotry. He s Catholic as well, I don t know how faithful but I haven t heard that he s renounced the Faith.

  • These scandals are interesting theater, but will amount to little. Not because the issues are small; the people are. Their are interests and focus are on events of less significance.

    The right does not have the ability to stoke a fire to get the attention of the general public like the left. Compare the hate for Bush the left successfully attached to him for lesser events. Imagine if these scandals happened when George W Bush was president.

    This is a drama where the pundits on the established left and right know their parts without needing formal direction. Keeping up the noise, feign a desire for justice and collect your commentary or legislative paychecks.

The Mask Drops

Thursday, February 21, AD 2013

.

All we have of freedom, all we use or know—

This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—

Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing

Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years,

How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom—not at little cost

Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost,

Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue

 

 

Give an A to Sarah Conly for boldly proclaiming what many of our liberal elites believe but are too wise to state openly:

Continue reading...

10 Responses to The Mask Drops

  • aren’t conservatism and liberalism both visions of society that don’t place personal liberty as the end all? (Russell Kirk wrote a good denunciation of libertarianism on this point) the difference is that conservatism is more concerned with a central morality people should follow, where liberalism places emphasis on general “self-fulfillment” but then thinks it can have the government pick up the pieces from any downsides

    a good example is that very occasionally you’ll get liberals to admit that family breakdown is an issue, however they’re so concerned about “turning back the clock” that they always propose economic solutions for it, on the assumption that wherever we’re at now must represent Progress and we shouldn’t be judgmental

  • Conservatives usually put God at the end of all. American conservatism has normally followed the Founding Fathers in their innate distrust of government, and the concern for the threat to liberty it always poses. Contemporary liberals, almost all of them, have rejected this precious inheritance root and branch and believe that all the wonderful things, in their eyes, that government can do, more than makes up for limitations on liberty.

  • I just heard this quote on the radio today, from Monroe’s First Inaugural Address:

    Had the people of the United States been educated in different principles, had they been less intelligent, less independent, or less virtuous, can it be believed that we should have maintained the same steady and consistent career or been blessed with the same success? While, then, the constituent body retains its present sound and healthful state everything will be safe. They will choose competent and faithful representatives for every department. It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found.

  • @ Pinky

    And Adams said the Constitution was only for a moral and just people. If not, it would yield to “avarice, ambition, lust, and licentiousness.” Tocqueville also observed the moderating role religion played on the inherent emphasis on individualism within the liberal political ethos. He noted that the American people were “better than their philosophy.” The problem is, and I think Patrick Deneen does a good job of illustrating just why, liberal (the Enlightenment kind) political philosophy eventually neuters religion as nothing more than a private decision, eviscerating it and its restraining influence from the public square. We see the fruits of such a development, two centuries in the making, before our very eyes.

  • Amazon’s reviews are composed of a self-selected crew who bought the book and so are commonly quite laudatory. This particular book received eight reviews. Five were negative, two were ironic, and one was penned by this fellow here.

    http://mitchellfreedman.blogspot.com/

    My favorite line from the reviews was this one:

    … like dropping almost **** $100 **** on her book. Presumably the reader os the book live in a world where that’s a “smart” choice.

  • Bob Zubrin quoted at Instapundit, “The use of fictitious necessity to rationalize human oppression is not new.”

    Camus, “The common good is the alibi of all tyrants.”

    “She can’t run her own life, I’ll be damned if she’ll run mine.” I don’t remember the rock/R&B musician.

    Ms. Conley is walking, talking evidence that Ayn Rand is always right about everything.

  • “that Ayn Rand is always right about everything.”

    I think Ayn Rand was just as dictatorial T.Shaw as Ms. Conley could ever hope to be, judging from the bitter memoirs of some of her former cultists. Rand was a poor philosopher who made a name for herself by combining her jejune paean to selfishness in pot boilers with plenty of sex at a time when such novels were still considered “shocking” and “cutting edge”.

    Whittaker Chambers had Rand’s number long ago:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2705853/posts

  • Bill Buckley’s obit on Rand:

    “Ayn Rand, RIP
    New York, March 10, 1982

    Rand is dead. So, incidentally, is the philosophy she sought to launch dead; it was in fact stillborn. The great public crisis in Ayn Rand’s career came, in my judgment, when Whittaker Chambers took her on—in December of 1957, when her book Atlas Shrugged best-seller list, lecturers were beginning to teach something called Randism, and students started using such terms as “mysticism of the mind” (religion), and “mysticism of the muscle” (statism). Whittaker Chambers, whose authority with American conservatives was as high as that of any man then living, wrote in NATIONAL REVIEW, after a lengthy analysis of the essential aridity of Miss Rand’s philosophy, “Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.”

    I had met Miss Rand three years before that review was published. Her very first words to me (I do not exaggerate) were: “You ahrr too intelligent to believe in Gott.” The critic Wilfrid Sheed once remarked, when I told him the story, “Well, that certainly is an icebreaker.” It was; and we conversed, and did so for two or three years. I used to send her postcards in liturgical Latin: but levity with Miss Rand was not an effective weapon. And when I published Whittaker Chambers’ review, her resentment was so comprehensive that she regularly inquired of all hosts or toastmasters whether she was being invited to a function at which I was also scheduled to appear, because if that was the case, either she would not come; or, if so, only after I had left; or before I arrived. I fear that I put the lady through a great deal of choreographical pain.

    Miss Rand’s most memorable personal claim (if you don’t count the one about her being the next greatest philosopher after Aristotle) was that since formulating her philosophy of “objectivism,” she had never experienced any emotion for which she could not fully account. And then one day, a dozen years ago, she was at a small dinner, the host of which was Henry Hazlitt, the libertarian economist, the other guest being Ludwig von Mises, the grand master of the Austrian school of anti-statist economics. Miss Rand was going on about something or other, at which point Mises told her to be quiet, that she was being very foolish. The lady who could account for all her emotions at that point burst out into tears, and complained: “You are treating me like a poor ignorant little Jewish girl!” Mr. Hazlitt, attempting to bring serenity to his table, leaned over and said, “There there, Ayn, that isn’t at all what Ludwig was suggesting.” But this attempt at conciliation was ruined when Mises jumped up and said: “That iss eggsactly what you ahrr!” Since both participants were Jewish, this was not a racist slur. This story was mortal to her reputation as the lady of total self-control.

    THERE WERE other unpleasantnesses of professional interest, such as her alienation from her principal apostle, Nathaniel Branden—who was so ungallant as to suggest, in retaliation against her charge that he was trying to swindle her, that the breakup was the result of his rejection of an, er, amatory advance by Miss Rand. Oh goodness, it got ugly.

    There were a few who, like Chambers, caught on early. Atlas Shrugged was published back before the law of the Obligatory Sex Scene was passed by both Houses of Congress and all fifty state legislatures, so that the volume was considered rather risque, in its day. Russell Kirk, challenged to account for Miss Rand’s success if indeed she was merely an exiguous philosophic figure, replied, “Oh, they read her books for the fornicating bits.” Unkind. And only partly true.

    The Fountainhead, read in a certain way, is a profound assertion of the integrity of art. What did Miss Rand in was her anxiety to theologize her beliefs. She was an eloquent and persuasive anti-statist, and if only she had left it at that—but no, she had to declare that God did not exist, that altruism was despicable, that only self-interest is good and noble. She risked, in fact, giving to capitalism that bad name that its enemies have done so well in giving it; and that is a pity. Miss Rand was a talented woman, devoted to her ideals. She came as a refugee from Communism to this country as a young woman, and carved out a substantial career. May she rest in peace, and may she experience the demystification of her mind possessed.”

  • Mac,

    I apologize.

Piers Morgan on Domestic Thermonuclear War

Monday, January 14, AD 2013

 

 

Hattip to Jim Treacher.  CNN talking head Piers Morgan, desperately trying to hold on to any shreds of credibility after his shellacking by Ben Shapiro, emitted this email:

America has over 5000 nuclear warheads. Quite hard to defend against a ‘tyrannical U.S. government’ with that kind of firepower.

 

Where to begin?

First, it is unlikely that even the most mad US President would decide to use nukes to put down a rebellion in these United States.  Too many of his own supporters would be killed and the overall reaction would likely be for the rebellion to grow as a result of his action.

Second, a wide spread rebellion in the United States would likely have the sympathy of factions within the US military, if not their active support.  The order to nuke Americans might lead to an active revolt by the military.

Third, in the event of a widespread rebellion, the rebels would probably quickly have nukes of their own.  In the case of Obama, most ICBMs and tactical nukes are located on bases in Red states.

Continue reading...

22 Responses to Piers Morgan on Domestic Thermonuclear War

  • Seems like Morgan is pretty persuasive to me. I mean, when you look at situations in Iraq and Afghanistan where our military had significant problems with obstruction from insurgents using small arms and homemade explosives, we solved the problem by using nuclear weapons, right? And since using nuclear weapons on US soil would be even more popular than using them in the Middle East, it’s obvious that the government would not hesitate to use nukes against any domestic rebels in some imagined future scenario. Heck, the only reason why Russia hasn’t used nukes is Chechnya is that they’re way, way more soft hearted than the US is.

    Oh wait…

  • He’s become the Bill Donohue of gun control–only less measured and introspective.

  • Suppose you were an idiot. And, suppose you were Piers Morgan. But, I repeat myself. (See Mark Twain on members of Congress.)

  • Donald’s reply brings to mind a couple of points. In the case of Ruby Ridge and Waco, both factions were armed to the teeth, and yet the government was able to ‘subdue’ them (a less euphemistic term might well be more apt). However, it did so only after an aggressive PR/smear campaign that portrayed them as white supremacists and/or child molesters, thereby making a case to the wider populace that both groups were fringe elements beyond caring much about.

    Even so, there was a kind of military (or at least ex-military) blowback that Donald also mentions, in the sense that Ruby Ridge helped provoke homegrown terrorist Timothy McVeigh, though he was able to murder his victims without guns or nuclear devices.

  • When Morgan is the spokesman for your movement, you clearly have some serious problems.

  • America’s first (known) and most “prolific” serial killer did not use any high- magazine capacity clips, or an assault weapon.

    He ran up a “body count” of over 200.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._H._Holmes

    The most dangerous weapon known to man is man’s evil mind.

  • Mr. Shaw, the case of H. H. Holmes seems hardly relevant to the current discussion. No one’s for banning extended mags because they’re afraid of some psycho killing 200 hundred people one at a time over the course of several years.

  • “No one’s for banning extended mags because they’re afraid of some psycho killing 200 hundred people one at a time over the course of several years.”

    Considering that approximately 312 people out of a total population of 330,000,000 were killed by rifles of all type last year, I think there would be more logic in attempting to ban evil thoughts than in banning any sort of rifle. Twice as many homicides were committed by people using nothing but their bare hands. The vast majority of gun homicides are committed with pistols which no one is seeking to ban, although decades ago there was an attempt to ban cheap pistols known by their critics as “Saturday Night Specials”. Politics is the explanation rather than logic since multiple slayings and their aftermath is the only time when the lost gun control crusade has any traction.

  • JL:

    There you go again, bless your heart.

    Just the facts, man.

    Here are animate and inanimate objects that are far more dangerous to children and other living beings.

    3,900,0000 Americans died in 2010.

    1,500,000 were killed by abortions.

    600,000 died from eating Whoppers and twinkies (heart disease)

    198,000 killed in preventable medical mishaps

    54,000 Killed by cars

    26,000 Killed by gravity (falls)*

    17,000 killed by drunk drivers

    1,694 killed by knives

    726 killed by unarmed assailants

    496 killed with hammers/clubs

    323 killed by long-barreled weapons (assault rifles, shotguns).

    * In NYC there is an expanding outbreak of suicide jumpers, largely attributable to the horrid economy – thank you Obama and liberals!

    And, since NOvember 2008, free Americans purchased 68,000,000 firearms.

    In 18 days, NRA added 100,000 new paid members.

    You are better than the gullible imbeciles those evil people are “playing” with this umpty-umphth gun control PR stunt.

    You are too intelligent to let them distract you the gathering American tragedy.

    Anyhow, I’m praying for you.

  • “No one’s for banning extended mags because they’re afraid of some psycho killing 200 hundred people one at a time over the course of several years.”

    “1,694 killed by knives”

    Let’s ban knives too! Oh wait. They’re trying to do that.

    http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/british-doctors-want-a-ban-on-kitchen-knives-to-prevent-stabbings/

  • Instapundit: Harry Reid: “Don’t expect an assault weapon ban.”

    “The Second Amendment is something that was adhered to by Hubert Humphrey, John Kennedy,” Reid said. “So I don’t think anyone wants to diminish the Second Amendment, but I think everyone should just take a deep breath and realize where we are and where we need to go.

    “We have too much violence in our society, and it’s not just from guns. It’s from a lot of stuff. and i think we should take a look at TV, movies, video games and weapons. And I hope that everyone will just be careful and cautious.”

    January 19 is Gun Appreciation Day. Make it a point to communicate with your politician that you unconditionally support the right to keep and bear arms, and if that pol does not, you unconditionally oppose him/her.

  • Harry Reid making sense? The apocalypse is truly upon us!

    As usual, our intellectual betters look for a technological quick-fix for what is at root a sociological problem.

  • Pingback: TUESDAY GOD & CAESAR EXTRA | Big Pulpit
  • Thanks for the prayers Mr. Shaw, but I think you again misunderstand me. I am in no way necessarily advocating for any type of new legislation with regards to firearms, ammo, etc. I mean simply what I said: H. H. Holmes seems hardly relevant to this discussion.

    On a more general note, to no one in particular, a quote from my new favorite book:

    “Sincere—that was the hell of it. From a distance, one’s adversaries seemed fiends, but with a closer view, one saw the sincerity and it was as great as one’s own. Perhaps Satan was the sincerest of the lot.”

    I think the temptation is to overemphasize the last sentence, but clearly that is merely a rhetorical flourish. We know the King of Lies is anything but sincere. Thus, the takeaway is this: your opponents on this issue are just as sincere and well-intentioned as you are. To think they are the height of evil and self-interest while simaltaneously holding that the NRA is some bastion of nobility and virtue strikes me as detached from reality. Quit vilifying your opponents as satan’s complicit minions. It’s uncharitable, absurd, and makes you sound deranged. People can be wrong and still be decent people. Yes, even re: gun control!

  • Thus, the takeaway is this: your opponents on this issue are just as sincere and well-intentioned as you are.

    Some yes, some no. You realize that this issue implicates matters of constitutional interpretation. Something Robert Bork said is relevant here: constitutional law has been destroyed as an authentic intellectual subdiscipline. Characters like Saul Cornell and Ronald Dworkin are many things. Sincere is not one of them.

  • The last time Americans had to use military weapons against their own government was not 1776…

    It was 1946…Battle of Athens Tennessee(returing veterns of WWII took up arms to get their votes counted correctly.

    Pulitzer prize winning writer Theodore White said “the F.B.I. didn’t investigate the local corruption because it went all the way up to the Speaker of the House of the U.S.” (paraphrase)
    check it out on wikipedia…The Battle of Athens (1946)

  • Fascinating David. I pride myself on my knowledge of American history but I had never heard of this incident before. I will make certain however that more people hear about it in the future.

  • @Art

    “Some yes, some no.”

    Well put. But the same applies for those on the other side of the issue.

  • Well put. But the same applies for those on the other side of the issue.

    Depends on the time period. The problem in starboard discourse today is more self-deception than the deception of others. Also, see Jonathan Heidt’s work. The left in this country in our time differs from the remainder of the spectrum in their ability to summarize the opposition’s viewpoint without caricaturing it. See also Robert Bork’s remarks on official Washington. He identifies a large culture shift in that social set occurring around 1981 (“liberals turned vicious”). I think you can identify another one around 2001 (just who are the starboard equivalents of Bradford deLong and Paul Krugman?). Look at our Presidential candidates over the period running from 1968 to 1988 and then look at the one’s since. There is a large change in the balance of integrity, agreeableness, and personal accomplishment between the two parties.

  • Piers Morgan was the editor of the left-wing tabloid the Daily Mirror who was sacked for publishing photographs allegedly showing British soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners but which turned out to have been faked in England. Unfortunately he was not down for long; indeed he keeps popping up to everyone’s annoyance. His recent television series saw him interviewing ‘celebrities’, asking prurient questions about their sex lives in order to titillate the less discriminating viewers. Well, he was a tabloid journalist, after all. I’m glad we’re getting a rest from him and it’s gratifying to see him making a fool of himself on the other side of the pond. Don’t deport him just yet.

    Forget the Second Amendment for a minute; the right to bear arms was part of English Common Law, which applied to the colonies, and later to the United States. It also applied to England; although firearms licences were introduced in the 1870s they were a revenue-raising exercise and were purchased at the post office for a few shillings. The first gun controls came in the 1920s; the government was worried about civil unrest, and a lot of weapons had been brought back from the Great War. In the 1950s there were a lot of unlicensed guns in circulation, but very little gun crime. Criminals tended not to carry them, since murderers who used firearms were unlikely to be reprieved, so the consequence of using them would be an 8 a.m. appointment with Albert Pierrepoint three weeks after conviction.

    The situation in Britain now is that the only people who are armed are black gangsters and crack-dealers on inner-city sink estates, and the police, who have taken to swaggering about looking like Robocop and usually end up shooting the wrong people.

  • We all need to remember these words of Kipling John before “too long” becomes “too late”.

    “Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw– Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law–

    Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing, Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

    Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years, How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

    So they bought us freedom–not at little cost– Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.”

  • JL:

    I pray for quite a few living, including several others on this page, and dead. At my age, I have many dear departed for whom I pray. Each loved me better than I loved him/her. I need to work each day on rectifying that deficiency.

    I am not as well read as you. I’m pretty sure your favorite book quote is not from Paradise Lost.

The Urgently Relevant Pope Leo XIII

Sunday, February 12, AD 2012

 

 

By the patrons of liberalism, however, who make the State absolute and omnipotent, and proclaim that man should live altogether independently of God, the liberty of which We speak, which goes hand in hand with virtue and religion, is not admitted; and whatever is done for its preservation is accounted an injury and an offense against the State. Indeed, if what they say were really true, there would be no tyranny, no matter how monstrous, which we should not be bound to endure and submit to.

                                             Pope Leo XIII, Libertas

In his great encyclical Libertas (1888), examining the nature of liberty, Pope Leo XIII gives present day American Catholics much food for thought.   A few selections:

 

 

13. Moreover, the highest duty is to respect authority, and obediently to submit to just law; and by this the members of a community are effectually protected from the wrong-doing of evil men. Lawful power is from God, “and whosoever resisteth authority resisteth the ordinance of God’ ;(6) wherefore, obedience is greatly ennobled when subjected to an authority which is the most just and supreme of all. But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God. Thus, an effectual barrier being opposed to tyranny, the authority in the State will not have all its own way, but the interests and rights of all will be safeguarded – the rights of individuals, of domestic society, and of all the members of the commonwealth; all being free to live according to law and right reason; and in this, as We have shown, true liberty really consists.

29. From all this may be understood the nature and character of that liberty which the followers of liberalism so eagerly advocate and proclaim. On the one hand, they demand for themselves and for the State a license which opens the way to every perversity of opinion; and on the other, they hamper the Church in divers ways, restricting her liberty within narrowest limits, although from her teaching not only is there nothing to be feared, but in every respect very much to be gained.

Continue reading...

13 Responses to The Urgently Relevant Pope Leo XIII

  • Hey, Donald, please change “Leo XII” in the title to “Leo XIII”. Thanks. Am sharing on facebook and at my blog.

  • Leo’s observations were accurate and in light of subsequent events seem prophetic. In the mid-nineteenth century a liberal believed in free trade and laissez-faire economics. At the time of the Irish potato famine Peel’s Conservative ministry was prepared to countenance direct government interference to alleviate what was becoming apparent as a vast human tragedy; the incoming Liberal ministry (1846) was unwilling to go against the free market and insisted that relief be dependent on public works. As a result too little was done, and too late.

    At least classic liberals believed in free speech and (at least in theory) feedom of conscience. Their present-day counterparts seem to have little time for either. In fact the definition of a liberal is someone who will fight to the death for your right to agree with him.

  • Is it wrong for some to accept what is extorted from others? The issue of fairness is being brought into Obamacare. Possession of stolen property is against the law.

  • I always thought Pope Leo’s vision was of the coming wars of the 20th century but maybe he also saw the spread of contraception and abortion and the way the faith has been watered down. I think Bishop Jenky’s addition of the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel during the intentions is very appropriate.

  • “Hey, Donald, please change “Leo XII” in the title to “Leo XIII”. Thanks. Am sharing on facebook and at my blog.”

    Oops! Done! That is what happens when I am racing to complete a blog post just before heading off to Mass with the family!

  • John, I believe the Pope’s comments were more directed at Continental liberalism, and that of South America, than they were at liberalism in the Anglosphere. In the United States and the British Empire liberalism evoked little of the hostility to religion that was often a hallmark of liberalism in other areas. Popes grew fond of the “hands off” policy towards religion in the United States. One 19th century pope, his name eludes me, was no fan of liberalism in general, but noted that no where else was he more Pope than in the United States where the Catholic Church was not interfered with. Would to God that this was still true! Modern liberalism in the US fully embraces the anti-clericalism of Continental and South American liberalism of the time when Pope Leo wrote Libertas. In addition it goes much farther in exalting the power of the State over the individual than most of those liberals would have.

  • John Nolan’s right. The autocratic czar of the Russias closed to export of foodstuffs the ports of Poland to alleviate famine in Poland. See Paddy’s Lament.

    For the Brits it was more than laissez faire economics. Some saw starvation as a solution to the Irish problem.

    Pharaoh’s next diktat will be that Catholic priests must celebrate Nuptial Masses for gay couples.

    Mark Steyn makes a point.

    “The president of the United States has decided to go Henry VIII on the Church’s medieval ass. Whatever religious institutions might profess to believe in the matter of ‘women’s health,’ their pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities and immunities are now subordinate to a one-and-only supreme head on earth determined to repress, redress, restrain and amend their heresies. . . . But where’d all the pandering get them?”

    O, Say,
    Does that star spangled banner still wave,
    O’er the land of the spree
    And, the home of the slave?

  • “One 19th century pope, his name eludes me, was no fan of liberalism in general, but noted that no where else was he more Pope than in the United States where the Catholic Church was not interfered wit.”

    Don, I think that was Pope Gregory XVI.

  • It should also be remembered that what is called liberalism in the US is called in Europe socialism. Referring to T Shaw’s comment, no-one has properly explained the extraordinary population growth in Ireland in the century preceding the Famine, so that in 1845 its population was 8m, compared with 16m in the rest of the UK. (It’s now 4m compared with over 60m in the rest of the British Isles). To see famine as a solution to demographic/political problems might have a utilitarian logic to it, but the prevailing Christian ethic in Victorian times would never have allowed it to become policy. It took a 20th century Stalin to do this.

  • It is noteworthy that Pope Gregroy XVI is often cited (his encyclical Mirari Vos in particular) by the more anti-American element within the “traditionalist” movement as “proof” that American principles are inherently anti-Catholic, although nothing coould be further from the truth.

  • Pingback: MONDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • George Weigel gave the annual Simon Lecture for the Ethics and Public Policy Center in D.C. just last week. The topic was the relevance of Leo XIII for our time. I imagine the lecture will be published soon in an upcoming issue of First Things.

    Dean

Patrick Henry, Liberty and Slavery

Thursday, April 14, AD 2011

In his day Patrick Henry was considered the finest orator in America.  Contemporary accounts often state that the cold words of the text of his speeches can give no true assessment of the impact of the words on his listeners as he spoke them.  I have always regarded his speech of March 23, 1775, prophetic in its prediction of the start of the Revolutionary War, to the Virginia Convention to be his finest, both for its fiery style, and for the timeless truths it conveys:

MR. PRESIDENT: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Patrick Henry, Liberty and Slavery

  • Good post, Don. St. John’s, in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, still functions as an Episcopal parish, and they do a wonderful reenactment every year of Henry’s “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech, and some of the actual debate before and after the speech. Period costumes, real actors, in the actual setting, it’s very neat to watch.

    It’s an interesting point that many southerners even among the aristocracy, such as Jefferson and later, Lee, were not morally comfortable with slavery (obviously, many had no such compunctions). But De Tocqueville observed that “race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known.”

    While slavery was an undeniable moral evil, the racism that undergirded it ironically (?) perdured even more strongly in the North it seems.

  • I would disagree that racism Tom was stronger in the North than in the South, although I would concede that it was virulent enough everywhere in the US, and around the globe for that matter, except, perhaps, among the most extreme abolitionist circles. ( Interesting that Frederick Douglass indicated that of the white men he had known only two treated him with indifference to his color: John Brown and Abraham Lincoln, reflecting the two conflicting wings of anti-slavery sentiment.) In regard to considering slavery an evil, I think most of the Southern Founding Fathers would have agreed with that sentiment. Lee held to that sentiment, although in that, as in most things, he was an honorable throwback to the time of the Founding Fathers and did not reflect the views of his white Southern contemporaries most of whom, at least publicly, regarded slavery as a positive good. In this, as in most things when Americans diverge from the Founding Fathers, tragedy resulted.

  • McK: “Perdured”: good word!

    Sadly, the country still suffers from the curse of slavery.

Lincoln and Liberty Too

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

I live in the Land of Lincoln.  I sometimes joke that we call ourselves that because Lincoln was the only honest politician ever to come from Illinois.  Each summer the family and I go down to Springfield.  We see the Lincoln museum and go over to the Lincoln tomb.  We say a few prayers for the soul of the Great Emancipator.  “It is all together fitting and proper that we do” that, but why do we do it?

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Lincoln and Liberty Too