Thursday, March 24, 2011

on Leave a Comment


          “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an oath of loyalty to the national flag and the republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892. The Pledge has been modified four times since then, with the most recent change adding the words "under God" in 1954. Congressional sessions open with the swearing of the Pledge, as do government meetings at local levels, meetings held by the Knights of Columbus, Royal Rangers, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Freemasons, Toastmasters International and their concordant bodies, as well as other organizations.”[1]

          ‘United we stand, divided we fall’[2].  We were united under one banner as a republic that stands for the rights of man.  Why then “Can’t we all just get along”?[3]  Even from the beginning there has been bickering over the mostly minor points of our government; yet even from the beginning we were a united people as exemplified by our founding documents.  That’s why we are called the United States of America.  The country has veered from the original intent several times and has always returned to its foundations.  We have been in a phase like that for some time now.  The people are once again rising up to set the country back on the right course.  Political affiliation is not the concern, but rather the deviation from traditional values and laws.  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.[4] After reading many books about the founding and foundations of our country, I have come to the conclusion that we are designed to survive under a system of peaceful co-existence.  All of these books would excite the passions of the readers, throughout the spectrum of political leanings.  Not that one view is more important than another, but that compromise is the binding factor. 

          The ‘Natural Laws’; concepts of unalienable rights, inalienable duties, habeas corpus, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, self-preservation, right to contract, protection of marriage and family, justice by reparation, right to bear arms and no taxation without representation were established by Cicero[5] before the time of Jesus.  Although Cicero was unsure who the creator was (God of nature and natural law), he did know there was one being who set up the world as we know it.  The founders of our nation, by and large, believed that ‘supreme being’ was in fact understood to be the God of the Bible, and used synonymously the terms, ‘God’s law’ and the ‘laws of nature’.  It was believed that these laws would bind us together and deviation from them would tear us asunder. 

          “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.   It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[6] Religion, virtue, education and morality were viewed as the foundations of our nation.  “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…”[7]  There were five “fundamental Points” of religion that Franklin wanted taught in our schools: They are:  (1) A Creator exists who made all things and should be worshiped. (2) The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong. (3) The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other. (4) All mankind live beyond this life. (5) In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.  In reference to these points, Samuel Adams said these are the “religion of America and all mankind”.  John Adams said these are the “general principles” on which American principles had been founded.  Jefferson said these five basics are the principles “in which God has united us all”. 

          Our founders knew that our country would inevitably go through periods of swinging to the left (tyranny – being controlled by others) and the right (anarchy – no laws).  The balance between these two is what they, and we, strive for.  Monarchy would be on the far left and no restraints whatsoever would be on the far right.  Society needs restraints from both ends of the spectrum, to secure the unalienable rights of the people.  A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”[8]My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”[9]

          A study should be conducted of those politicians who have substantially increased their personal fortunes, while in service to their nation.  Political office, in our nation was intended to be looked on as a duty of honor; not as a means for one to feather his nest.  Many of our founders lost wealth in the service of the nation.  Thomas Jefferson, for example, paid all of the expenses for White House entertainment.  This put him in debt from his presidency.  The large landholders, such as Washington and Jefferson, neglected their holdings while serving and suffered severe loss.  Washington would not accept a salary for his service either as head of the Continental army or as president.  As mentioned, his net worth dwindled in service of his country.  “In America, salaries, where indispensable (for those who couldn’t afford to serve without a salary) are extremely low; but much of public business is done gratis.  The honor of serving the public ably and faithfully is deemed sufficient.”[10]  “Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men.  These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money.  Separately, each of these has great force of prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects.  Place before such eyes a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit and they will move Heaven and earth to obtain it.”[11]  Substantial numbers of patriots, during the revolution, lost everything they had and never recovered.  Some even died in poverty and debt.  “What is to become of an independent statesman, one who will bow the knee to no idol, who will worship nothing as a divinity but truth, virtue, and his country?  I will tell you; he will be regarded more by posterity than those who worship hounds and horses; and although he will not make his own fortune, he will make the fortune of his country.”[12]

          Suffice it to say, there has always been some form of hatred associated with politics, even from the beginning.  Washington and Jefferson hated the monarchists that had infiltrated the Federalists.  The Federalist hated the Republicans.  For the most part, they respected each other on a personnel basis.  The Lincoln/Douglas race was one of the most vitriolic in our history.  Jackson’s wife was called a whore during his campaign.  The personal attacks and imputations of untruth developed to a large extent in the Jefferson campaign (although personally directed nastiness was always around).  The lack of reconciliation seems to be lacking in today’s world.    Our founders once thought virtue and morality to be necessary.  Today both seem to be diminished in importance.

          An outside view was forthcoming from Alexis de Tocqueville,[13] a French jurist who visited our young country in 1831.  “in France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions, but in America I found they were intimately united.”  [The early American colonists], “brought with them into the New World a form of Christianity which I cannot better describe than by styling it a democratic and republican religion.  This contributed dramatically to the establishment of a republic and a democracy in public affairs; and from the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never dissolved”  “The sects [different denominations] that exist in the United States are innumerable.  They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man.  Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God…All the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same…..There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.” “In [the schools] in New England every citizen receives the elementary notions of human knowledge; he is taught, moreover, the doctrines and the evidences of his religion, the history of his country, and the leading features of its Constitution.  In the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts, it is extremely rare to find a man imperfectly acquainted with all these things, and a person wholly ignorant of them is a sort of phenomenon.” “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other…”.

          “In God we trust was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. It is also the motto of the U.S. state of Florida. The phrase has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. It was first used as a motto on coinage on the 1864 two-cent coin, followed in 1866 by the 5 cent nickel (1866–1883), quarter dollar, half dollar, silver dollar and gold dollars.  A 1865 law allowed the motto to be used on coins. The use of the motto was permitted, but not required, by an 1873 law. While several laws come into play, the act of May 18, 1908, is most often cited as requiring the motto (even though the cent and nickel were excluded from that law, and the nickel did not have the motto added until 1938). Since 1938, all coins have borne the motto.”[14] If we don’t base our trust in a higher power, what is the basis of our trust?

          All men are created equal.  Since we know that we are all different at birth, in areas such as intelligence, talent, physical ability and inheritance, we are truly only equal in three ways; (1) In the sight of God, (2) In the sight of the law and (3) In the protection of our rights.[15]    “What does it mean to have equal ‘rights’?  The goal of society is to provide ‘equal justice’ which means protecting the rights of the people equally:

At the bar of justice, to secure their rights.

At the ballot box, to vote for the candidate of their choice.

At the public school, to obtain their education.

At the employment office, to compete for a job.

At the real estate agency, to purchase or rent a home.

At the pulpit, to enjoy freedom of religion.

At the podium, to enjoy freedom of speech.

At the microphone or before the TV cameras, to present views on the issues of the day.

At the meeting hall, to peaceably assemble.

At the print shop, to enjoy freedom of the press.

At the store, to buy the essentials or desirable things of life.

At the bank, to save and prosper.

At the tax collectors office, to pay no more than their fair share.

At the probate court, to pass on to their heirs the fruits of life’s labors.”[16]

          Why is it that so many people, from all nations and walks of life, are clamoring to get into the United States?  It’s because they want what you have.  How many people do you know that want out?  No where else on earth do men enjoy the same rights, freedoms, and freedom of opportunity as we do.  Equal rights and equal justice under the law is the attraction.  We all came here from somewhere (yes, even the ‘native American’s originated somewhere else).  The amazing thing about our country is that everyone assimilated to the American culture.  It some times takes generations to accomplish this.  My great grandfather lived In German communities and preached only in German for many years before switching to English (that is the American version of English, which is the American language).  Socialism and Marxism have raised their ugly heads several times since the founding of our country.  Not fully understanding the American system seems to be the reason.  Even Eldridge Cleaver (former Marxist and leader of the Black Panthers in the 60’s) said “I would rather be in jail in America than free any place else”.  He and his wife had learned their lesson by living in several communist countries.

          Equal rights do not mean we are all entitled to the same outcome.  Due to our inherent talents and personal motivation, we make for ourselves the eventual outcome.  “He, who does not work, shall not eat” is stated in the Bible and by the early settlers in Jamestown, Virginia.  “But suppose a kind-hearted man saw that one of his neighbors had two cars while another neighbor had none.  What would happen if, in the spirit of benevolence, the kind man went over and took one of the cars from his prosperous neighbor and generously gave it to the neighbor in need?  Obviously, he would be arrested for car theft.  No matter how kind his intentions, he is guilty of flagrantly violating the natural rights of his prosperous neighbor who is entitled to be protected in his property.  Of course, the prosperous neighbor could donate a car to his poor neighbor, if he liked, but that is his decision and not the prerogative of the kind-hearted neighbor who wants to play Robin Hood.”[17]

          The right to our personal property is the most important right we have and the basis for our other rights.  If we possessed a great plantation or simply the clothes on our back; without the right to property, we have little or no use for our other rights.   Our other rights and freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of petition and freedom of the press can all be used in attempts to get back our property but would be an uphill battle.  Others, who had seized the property, would fight to retain it.  Many of our tax and redistribution laws are infringements of our constitutional rights.  I don’t know how governments could function without taxes, but, all forms of tax should be examined to determine their constitutionality.  Our governmental representatives are, in theory, our employees who will conform to our wishes.  If they do not, the election process can fix the problem.  If your elected officials represent your mindset, fine, if they don’t; it is your duty to do everything in your power to get someone into those positions that does.  Any politician who knowingly votes in opposition to his constituency should be removed from office.  Any politician who knowingly votes for something they know to be unconstitutional should be removed from office.  The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.[18] With freedom and liberty, comes responsibility. 

          Civility is the duty of each of us.  I have been told that I have, at times, overstepped these bounds.  If that is true, I apologize and am truly sorry.  I will, in future, recalculate the manner in which I express myself, knowing that the attributes of honey far outweigh those of vinegar.  I believe very strongly in the things that I write and depend on reason, God’s guidance and the aid of my wife to reign in my passions.

[1] Wikipedia
[2] Esop 620-564  BC
[3] Rodney King
[4] Proverbs 22:6
[5] 106-43 BC
[6] John Adams
[7] George Washington
[8] Gerald R. Ford
[9] Thomas Jefferson
[10] Ben Franklin
[11] Ben Franklin
[12] Ben Franklin
[13] Alexis de Tocqueville’s book “Democracy in America
[14] Wikipedia
[15] W. Cleon Skoucen  “The 5000 Year Leap”
[16] W. Cleon Skoucen  “The 5000 Year Leap”
[17] W. Cleon Skoucen  “The 5000 Year Leap”
[18] Patrick Henry


Post a Comment