Sunday, February 28, 2010

If only Democrats listened to Jefferson

That some Democrats actually attempt to claim Thomas Jefferson as theirs. Really? Now, it is true that the politcal Party of Jefferson, and Monroe, Madison and others was the Democratic Republicans, which later, became the Democratic Party.

The principles of Jefferson, however, are far from those of modern day Democrats. Yankee Phil has done a great job of listing some of Jefferson's quotes. I certainly wish the Democrats would accept Jeffersonian principles.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. -Thomas Jefferson
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. - Thomas Jefferson

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. - Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.- Thomas Jefferson

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.- Thomas Jefferson

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. - Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. - Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. - Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802

'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered..'

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Mount Vernon Statement, A Poor Man’s Manifesto… VERY Poor

-By Warner Todd Huston

A group made up of some of the biggest names in contemporary conservatism got together a few days ago and crafted what they are calling the “Mount Vernon Statement,” a manifesto of sorts meant to give direction to today’s conservative movement. Put succinctly, it fails to fill the bill.

Taken as a whole this statement is fine as a short history lesson. It explains pretty clearly what the founders had wrought when their basic work was done with the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. But as a statement of principles that might guide today’s discussion I do not think the letter works.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that this effort is harmful. In fact, I think every young person should read it for its explication of our historically conservative American principles. The problem is that this thing doesn’t seem to speak directly to what we are facing today like a statement that perhaps aims to become boilerplate should.

Some of those involved with the statement said that the 1960 “Sharon Statement” served as their inspiration. The Sharon Statement, intended to give some ideological umph to Goldwater conservatives, is an effort that works much better as a rallying cry to action. Sadly, the Mount Vernon Statement falls a little flat in this respect.

Historically I have two minor qualms about the newest effort. First of all its name doesn’t resonate. Yes, George Washington was the indispensable man of our early republic. Without him the warring factions facing off in political battle during our early republic just might have strangled this baby in its crib. But, as steadying a force as he was, Washington was not really the ideological or intellectual father of our nation. He was the father that kept the kids from beating each other up, the father we looked up to as a model of comportment, the man we looked to as the solid rock of the family, certainly, but he wasn’t the idea man. For that we looked to men like Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams among many others.

So, naming this letter after George Washington’s estate seems a bit odd. Better that these folks should have met in Independence Hall, Philadelphia and called this the Philadelphia Statement, the Independence Statement, or some such thing. The words “Mount Vernon” are obviously meant to lend historical heft to the document but they just don’t succeed as a meaningful ideological association. In fact, it’s sort of hollow. Are we naming our bedrock ideological principles for the man that didn’t craft them? That seems a bit odd to me.

Secondly, I find fault with this paragraph (my bold):

The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature’s God. It defends life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It traces authority to the consent of the governed. It recognizes man’s self-interest but also his capacity for virtue.

The word “recognizes” is not the correct word to use for what the founders thought about the word “virtue.” They didn’t merely “recognize” virtue existed. They built their entire political edifice on the insistence that our political leaders practice virtue and that they base their every move on the need to be seen as civically virtuous. This is an idea about which few of our political leaders today have the slightest clue, not to mention that the public is generally ignorant of what the founders meant when they discussed public virtue. Sadly, this letter doesn’t help us regain a proper perspective on the founder’s idea of public virtue.

The Mount Vernon Statement missed an opportunity to better explain what virtue in government could mean as a rallying cry for today’s conservative movement.

The Mount Vernon Statement is a fine little history lesson but compared to the Sharon Statement, it just doesn’t seem to as immediately take on the issues that we face. Where is the discussion of the destruction of our educational system, where is the warning against our worst foreign threat, where is the assertion that our system of jurisprudence has been undermined? All these things are broadly implied by the Mount Vernon Statement, granted, but one wishes that today’s problems were more directly addressed.

While we don’t want a statement that names names or attacks specific policies directly -- that would detract from the essential universality of such a statement of principles -- still to my mind the Mount Vernon Statement is a bit too broad. I feel that we need something a tad more direct. The Sharon Statement was perfect for its mixture of what were then current issues and timeless conservatives principles.

Should you have signed onto the Mount Vernon Statement, or should you feel that you’d like to do so, I can find no harsh words for you. As I said, there is no great harm done by this effort. Unfortunately, there is also correspondingly little succor that this effort can lend to our cause. It seems like a nice history lesson but as a manifesto to rally around it is more like a staid assertion than a battle cry. It is eminently forgettable.

Part Two

Yes, it’s easy to criticize. Surely it will occur to the minds of many readers of my criticism here that I should offer solutions along with my criticisms. So I offer the following basic idea of what I’d consider a better “statement” than what resulted from the efforts at Mount Vernon, Virginia. I’ll call it the “Huston Statement” for lack of a better title and since, well, I’m the one writing the thing.

Remembering that I am one man, not a committee of 80 some high-powered conservative operatives, here are the ideas I thought of while reading the Mount Vernon Statement, humbly offered as a basis upon which to further the discussion:

The Huston Statement

Since our political climate has long since drifted from the first principles of our founding and since we now face a crisis threatening to tear down our American moral center we commit ourselves to re-establishing our American character.

We believe that our Constitution and the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence form the best guide by which to nurture our American character and provides a firm bedrock upon which to build a government.

We as Americans believe:

That as individuals we have the right of self-determination, to be free of overweening involvement in our lives by government at all levels from local, to state, to federal.

That as free men we must strongly assert that we are responsible for ourselves, our family, and our property and that others owe us nothing but to observe our rights as we observe theirs.

That our liberties depend on our civic virtue and that it is up to each of us to become informed citizens.

With these God-given liberties in mind, that our representatives must strive to keep government out of the lives of the people to the greatest extent practicable and that they should honor the principles of limited government as handed down to us from our founders.

And we assert that adherence to these principles will act as a beacon of freedom to the world, that we should actively promote them abroad giving succor to all those that would follow in our footsteps, and that we should not lend legitimacy to foreign bodies or nations that retreat from them.

We affirm that:

Private property is sacrosanct

The market-based economy free of government meddling must be preserved

Employees must be free of compulsory associations

Governments must be accountable to the voters not to judges and unions

Communities have the right to draft standards without federal approval

Education is a local responsibility solely under local and state control

It is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion

And that our Second Amendment rights are God-given and cannot be infringed

Additionally, we as Americans also reaffirm that legislation is the rightful duty of our constituted bodies of representatives and not the venue of capricious judges. Ruling from the bench is no better than the ill-considered tyrannies from the throne from which we so long ago rebelled.

Finally, let us understand these principles to be an affirmation of our American character one that has made our nation the richest and strongest nation in human history. Any force, whether domestic or foreign, that wishes to materially alter this character is an enemy to our nation and one that should not be treated lightly but faced squarely and with resolution.

Well, this is how I see a statement of principles that are geared to today’s issues but are still the sort that attest to our timeless conservative ideals.

I hope this can serve to continue the discussion that the Mount Vernon Statement started.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lincoln's Birthday: The Lincoln We Need

-By Warner Todd Huston

Of course, Lincoln isn't a founder but for Lincoln's birthday, I post this because he was certainly a seminal American figure.

These last 20 or so years has seen a bifurcated treatment of Abraham Lincoln. There are the enthusiasts and hagiographers that still revere him as the best that America has to offer -- the proverbial great emancipator, Father Abraham. Then there is a second stream, enthusiasts of another sort, viewing the Civil War president in the opposite manner. That second group are the Lincoln haters. Those such as Thomas DiLorenzo, the sort that calls Lincoln a criminal and despot, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the sort that castigates Honest Abe as an unremitting racist, have been joined by a small group of Lincoln detractors trying to convince America that Lincoln is to be discounted, even hated by history.

So, which Lincoln is the Lincoln? Is he the Lincoln of "the great emancipator" or the Lincoln of the "great despot" and which Lincoln is the one we as Americans should know?

In truth he is all and neither of the two views in current, popular memory. He is neither the vision of the Constitution destroying, negro hating man the detractors wish to foster, nor the spotless demi-god that the hagiographers want to claim as theirs. Yes he did single things that pulled out of context to the whole of the man are both racist and despotic. He was a man, flawed and imperfect to be sure, but he was also one so singularly radical and ahead of his time that I believe we should lean towards reverence as opposed to despising the 16th president.

In fact, Abraham Lincoln, warts and all, is the sort of man we truly need to study in detail in this time of ours. His example, his reverence for the law and human dignity, above all his nuance and scholarship, is something that we need to emulate today.

Gates, for his part, would have you believe that Lincoln was a racist that had little interest in the negro. Gates focuses on Lincoln's dalliance with deporting (or exporting as the case may be) all blacks from America's shores as the solution to the race problem in America. Lincoln floated this idea to Congress, expressing the hope that Congress could fund such an effort. Lincoln also posited that the U.S. government might refund the value of slaves to southern slaveholders so these blacks could then be shipped off to some colony in Africa. Congress flatly refused the plan.

Gates would point to the many times that Lincoln called blacks "nigger" in his public speeches and the Lincoln-Douglas debates and Gates would present this as proof of Lincoln's latent "racism." Gates would also recount the many times that Lincoln said that he didn't think black people were the physical or mental equal to whites. All this, Gates would say, proves Lincoln's racist sentiment toward the black man.

All this is true. In the glaring lights of today's sentiment on what constitutes racism, Lincoln could easily be dismissed as no better than the worst member of the KKK. Some detractors even go so far as to say that Lincoln "didn't care" about slavery. But this is simply an outright lie. In his papers, Lincoln used the words slave or slavery some 14,000 times. During his Cooper Union speech, the one that arguably made him a national figure, Lincoln attacked slavery and he was well known as an anti-slave man.

So there's that nuance I mentioned. In fact, when measured by the sentiment of his day Lincoln proves to be a radical in his views of the black man, a radical that would make of him the exact opposite of a "racist."

During the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates Lincoln said the following:

This declared indifference, but, as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world-enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites-causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty-criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

But it wasn't just slavery he was against. He was also against the idea that blacks were chattel and had no human rights. He also said the following in this passage recorded during the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates:

"... I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas, he is not my equal in many respects -- certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowments. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas and the equal of every living man."

Here Lincoln acknowledges to his white audience that perhaps the black man is not his equal in "intellectual endowments" and the white should be "superior" -- in his day this was a strange equivocation, the "perhaps" a dangerous idea. To us, though, it is an outrageously racist sentiment. But one must remember that in 1858 even science did not dispute that the white man was the superior of the black. Today we claim science to be the supreme judge of what "is." Well, in 1858 "is" meant that blacks were less than whites. Lincoln was bowing to both public sentiment and the accepted scientific facts of his day. We should judge him on that, not on today's sentiment.

Still, the rest of this quote from the debates shows Lincoln to be far more radical, even in his day, in how he viewed the black man. To claim that a black man deserves the freedom to enjoy the fruits of his own labor was a radical departure from the sentiment of his day. Even science seemed to oppose it.

Further, we also must realize that this is early, pre-war Lincoln. As the war years dragged on, Abraham Lincoln's views on blacks had grown toward an even more radical form. He had met with and was impressed by famed black leader Frederick Douglas during the war. He had also moved to put blacks in the U.S. military and was surprised and pleased by the conduct of those troops.

In his last open air speech just prior to his assassination he even declared that blacks might be afforded the right to vote, at least the soldiers who earned that right with their service and the "the very intelligent Negroes" that could be found. This was such a radical idea that John Wilkes Booth, one of those in the audience listening to what would be Lincoln's last speech, would end the life of the 16th president only a few days later.

So, it simply cannot be said that Abraham Lincoln was a blatant racist uncaring about the negro in America.

But what of the other charge, that of being the destroyer of the Republic, the "great despot" and his evisceration of the Constitution? Didn't he imprison many hundreds of American citizens for "disloyalty"? Didn't he suspend habeas corpus? Didn't he do all sorts of unconstitutional things during the war?

Without question, he did.

But, again we come to nuance. One of Lincoln's most excoriated actions was his order suspending the writ of habeas corpus (the right of the citizen not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest but to be afforded due process of the law). It is claimed the suspension was unconstitutional and evidence of his despotic temperament. Of Lincoln's most famous quotes on this subject, though, we can see nuance even as he evinced anguished frustration. (found in Lincoln's message to Congress in Special Session, July 4, 1861)

Are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces, lest that one be violated?

Nearly every war time president we've had found the need to take some emergency liberties with the comfort of long deliberations of the law. The nature of our Republic has seen the pendulum swing back to rights in most cases. Lincoln did it. Wilson did it. FDR did it. LBJ did it. Even George W. Bush did it. Were they each to have allowed the country to fall because of a single law to be observed? There is a saying that holds that the Constitution is not a suicide pact and this should be a seminal consideration in times of emergency. This does not excuse any and all actions of a president based merely on his claim of "emergency." But to remove all flexibility from the chief executive, on the other hand, is just as dangerous to the safety of this nation.

We should also focus here on the fact that the Constitution does provide for the suspension of habeas. Unfortunately, that great document neglects to spell out in detail exactly how that process might play out. While the notation is in Article I, it could be assumed that the power belongs to Congress, not the president. Still, it should also be remembered that Congress retroactively approved Lincoln's move.

At length, Lincoln's detractors point to his suspension of habeas as proof of his despotism. They claim that the law meant nothing to him. Yet, on the other hand, these same people point to Lincoln's initial refusal to abolish slavery as proof of his "racism" when, in truth, it was Lincoln's observance of the same Constitution detractors claim he hated that kept Lincoln form ending slavery by fiat. Lincoln haters try to have it both ways.

In 1862 Lincoln famously wrote to newspaper man Horace Greeley (later presidential candidate of the Democratic Party) that he would leave slaves in chains if it helped save the Union.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

Lincoln knew he did not have the Constitutional power to free the slaves merely because he said so. He knew he was limited in his powers. Yet, he also issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves in rebelling sections of the country. This was the first foot in the door that allayed to the federal government the power to control slavery. It was but a first step to eradicating slavery completely. In all his focus was on the Constitution, what it meant, what the founders meant when they wrote it, how it should guide our actions.

In fact, he based his entire stand against slavery on what the founders "meant" when they wrote the Constitution. Lincoln began his Cooper Union speech quoting Senator Douglas who said, "Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now."

Lincoln then went on to predicate his ideas on what could be done about slavery in 1860 on what the founders did in 1787.

I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed starting point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the inquiry: "What was the understanding those fathers had of the question mentioned?"

He carried this ideal through to his every move basing all his actions on the pretext of Constitutional thought. In fact, Lincoln's papers reveal a president that considered his actions against the back drop of Constitutional originalism more than just about any other president ever.

At Gettysburg in 1863, Lincoln reminded us of our national charge to keep. "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," he began. He finished renewing that sacred charge: "...we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Lincoln was guided by that national birthright. So should we be.

Lincoln was no angel by any means. He liked a low joke. He called people names. He was often morose and moody. He had marital difficulties. But we cannot view Lincoln under a microscope of any particular failing without remembering the whole of the man measured against his own time, based on his actions and those of his contemporaries.

If we do that, we'll find a man that does, indeed, rise above his countrymen. We'll find a man that can be a shining example for the ages. We'll find the Lincoln that we need. And on this 200th anniversary of his birthday, it is something that befits us to do.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Anti-Gun Government Tyranny in Canada And Our Founders

-By Warner Todd Huston

Unlike the U.S., Canada does not have the right of self-protection enshrined in its laws. Where we Americans have the coverage of the Second Amendment to protect our God-given right to self-protection, the Canadians have to rely on the occasional good nature of their overlords in government to determine how their right to own a firearm is treated. Sadly, their ownership of firearms is usually mistreated rather than upheld.

A writer for the Toronto Star wrote an article recently that showed the capriciousness of government thugs where it concerns privately owned firearms in Canada. Joe Fiorito had a retinue of Toronto's finest stormtroopers come beating on his door one day this month to confiscate his old rifle because the columnist had the temerity of forgetting to re-up his registration of a disassembled, 30-year-old, small caliber bird gun.

Involved were multiple police cars, half a dozen officers, judge's warrants. All sorts of iron, jack-booted automatons of the state came down on Mr. Fioritto. It was as if he were public enemy no. 1. All of this over a beat up old rifle that was disassembled, locked in a basement, and stored in a house in which no ammunition existed.

You might laugh at this absurd overreach. It might amuse you that all these thousands of Canadian dollars in state funded policing assets were wasted for this practically useless old rifle in the possession of an obviously unassuming and powerless citizen. You might utter a guffaw at the Canadian's follies.

But be forewarned: Canada is but one step ahead the U.S.A. if the American left has by hook or crook gotten its way and outlawed our Constitutional rights.

Mr. Fiorito calls himself a "social democrat who wears his bleeding heart on his sleeve," and one that agrees with the Toronto gun registry... or at least used to. He says he agrees that no one but cops should be allowed to have handguns or "military-style weapons." But what threat, he wonders, did his little bird gun present to society?

I am and have been a supporter of the gun registry but now I'm not so sure, not when ownership of a two-bit little bird gun – legally acquired, lawfully used and stored in pieces in a trunk for the past 30 years – is sufficient reason for three cops to come to my door and snatch it, after threatening me with a search warrant.

Look, I registered the damn thing. I simply neglected to renew. A sin of omission?

Send in the troops.

Fiorito then reported that even days afterward the Toronto police were seen in cars idling in front of his house. What a waste of government resources not to mention an outrage against this man's god-given rights.

This incident shows the idiocy of government, the penchant for stormtrooper tactics by its police/military arm, and government's outright inability to consider a citizen as anything other than a dangerous threat. And these facts, the way that an all powerful government that doesn't have to fear its citizens treats those same citizens, is precisely why America's Founders enshrined our rights to self protection in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States. The founders weren't nearly as worried about thieves and marauders as they were of an out of control government.

The founders did not invent this right out of their over-ripe imagination, either. There was an awful lot of precedent for it. A book called Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws (1765) was a huge influence on the founders and this is what it said on arms ownership: "The right of the citizens that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense." And " This is the natural right of resistance and self-preservation when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain violence of oppression" and again "To vindicate these rights when actually violated or attacked, the citizens are entitled ... to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense." This warning by Blackstone was born of thousands of years of government abuse of citizens.

With our founder's heavy use of Blackstone's Commentaries, it is clear that what the founders had in mind was that self-preservation and defense was a natural right to be protected by the laws and the Constitution. And historically what did people have to fear at least as much as criminals? Government.

James Wilson was one of only 6 founders who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, he was a great Jurist, and was one of the first members of the Supreme Court appointed to that body by George Washington. He spoke on the floor of the Constitutional Convention 168 times and was one of the most active politicians of his day.

Mr. Wilson taught his laws students that the rights secured by the Constitution did not create new rights, but simply reaffirmed old ones. He said that our own documents were made, "to aquire a new security for the possession or the recovery of those rights to... which we were previously entitled by the immediate gift or by the unerring law of our all-wise and all-beneficent Creator." Thomas Jefferson similarly viewed our Constitution and principles, saying: "Government is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties and to take none of them from us." For his part John Adams stated that, "Rights are antecedent to all earthly government; Rights ... cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; Rights are derived from the great Legislator of the universe."

As far as our founders were concerned, the right to protect one's self was God given. What God bestows let no man tear asunder.

Here are some other quotes about firearms uttered by our founders specifically now that we have the principles of self-preservation established:

  • "The right ... of bearing arms... is declared to be inherent in the people." Fisher Ames, one of the framers of the 2nd Amendment in the first congress

  • "The great object is that every man be armed ... Every one who is able may have a gun. But have we not learned by experience that, necessary as it is to have arms, ... it is still far from being the case?" Patrick Henry

  • "And what country can preserve its liberties if its rules are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." Thomas Jefferson

  • "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them" Richard Henry Lee

  • "The advantage of being armed is an advantage which the Americans posses over the people of almost every other nation ... the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." James Madison

  • "A free people ought ... to be armed." George Washington
    And now, what is the militia? Try these quotes:

  • "The militia are the people at large." Tench Coxe Atty Gen. of Penn. and Asst. Sec of Treasury under Washington

  • "Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people." George Mason

  • "The militia is composed of free citizens." Samuel Adams

  • "A militia... are in fact the people themselves." Richard Henry Lee

And who is this militia? The first federal law passed concerning just who a militia member might be, the Militia Act of 1792, states that the "militia of the United States" consists of every adult male in the country. Under that act each adult male was required by the law to possess a firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition. In fact, the current law still states, "The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 and under 45 years of age." -United States code, title 10 par., 311(a)

Lastly you can check most of the early states and see that they went even further in delineating that firearms should be owned by individual citizens of the states. But that is another, longer, discussion.

So, what the heck does this all mean? Well, to be blunt, the founders would surely have agreed that American citizens should be expected to defend themselves against the sort of government thugs that pounded on columnist Fiorito's door. Yes, you read that right. There is no gentle way to put it, no softer way to massage the essential truth that the founders would themselves have been up in arms if some government official had imagined he had the power to confiscate their firearms. In fact, they did. We now call it the Battle of Lexington and Concord, one of the earliest engagements of our Revolutionary War. The colonists, our founders, took up arms to prevent British authorities from confiscating their firearms and gunpowder.

The final conclusion is that no patriotic American citizen should meekly hand over his firearm to the government (unless he's abdicated his rights by becoming a criminal). Unfortunately, if the anti-American left has its way the United States of America will emulate Canada and become meek, powerless, subjects of an all powerful, uncaring, illicit government.

Don't let it happen. Be vigilant.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

America, a nation founded on Individualism, not Collectivism

There is no greater difference between the Left and Right than on the issue of human rights. The Left talks incessantly of human rights, equality, social justice, free elections, and so on. Wondferful stuff, really inspiring, until you look at what the Left REALLY means. In the mind of a Leftist, rights are collective, not individual. Take a peek at the "right" to health care, one of the pillars of Marxism, which, of course Leftism is a direct descendant of.

The Left will tell us that having access to health care is a right, as much as the right to speak, or worship, or assemble peacefully. But, in every nation where the ideal of universal health care is in practice, the "right" is managed, rationed, and ultimately controlled by the government. The "right" is often dependent on the patients age, or health condition, or the cost of treatment. What type of "right" is this? I have asked this question before, and ask it again. If the Left truly believes health care to be a right, and yet approve of that right being rationed, then what other rights would they allow the government to ration?

Would they allow the government to ration speech? Certainly many on the Left desire the return of the Fairness Doctrine, which would require radio stations to "balance" their political talk shows. This could, and certainly would be expanded to blogs, and all other forms of speech.

What type of right is that?

We know that the Left is no friend of the right to keep and bear arms. There is no real belief in that right among the Leftists is there? No there is not, unless you consider the government dictating when and where you may carry your gun. Not unless you are OK with the government dictating what type of gun you may own, whether or not you may keep it loaded, or must keep it locked away.

What type of right is that?

The Left does not seem to take freedom of religion as much of a right either. Again, unless you consider judges dictating that pretty much any public display of faith is forbidden.

Again, what type of right iks that?

In short, all of these rights are seen as "collective" by the Left. And as such these rights are to be controlled, rationed, restricted by the government to fit the common good. The idea of common good is straight from Marx. The individual is only valuable under Marxist doctrine if that individual is deemed beneficial to the collective. If not, then those rights the Left speaks of are taken away from the individual, for the common good of course.

Collectivist thinking celebrates "rights" like the right to have your income and wealth, and eventually you property redistributed to benefit the common good. They love the "right" to have your children educated as the government sees fit. Parental rights? The Left love those, as long as the parenting fits their model. In short, the Left loves "rights" that cede personal liberty to the State. The Bill of Rights? No, the Left much prefers the Bill of Needs, where of course they decide what you need.

The individual is a dangerous animal to the Collectivists. Individuals think, and seek things that the Collectivists loathe. The individual seeks less government, less regulation, greater liberties, and believe, as the Founders did, that rights are not collective, or dependent upon the common good. The individual sees our rights as natural rights, coming from either a Creator, or as simply the natural state of men. The individual sees our rights as unalienable, as untouchable by other men, or by government.

In 1789 Albert Gallatin wrote a letter to Alexander Hamilton which sums up how the Individualists see liberty.
The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals...[I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.
There, in those few words, lies the definition of American liberty. Such words are distasteful to the Collectivist's mind, who see rights as conditional rather than unalienable. Conditional, as in, the government, not God, will give and take away your rights. Conditional, as in the government will be your master, your doctor, your teacher, your parents, your employer.............

Thursday, February 4, 2010

When the State grows, the indiviudual becomes smaller

The Washington Rebel, one of my favorite blogs, has a great post on the direction our country has taken. Read it all, I especially liked this quote from Dennis Prager
That is what happens when the state gets bigger — you become smaller. The dream of America was that the individual was to be a giant. The state stays small so as to enable each of us to be as big as we can be. We are each created in God’s image
That IS the essence of the diiference between the Left (Collectivists) and the Right (Indivdualists). The Left's ideal of collectivism, if left unchecked allows, even celebrates such atrocities such as Stalin, Mao, Castro, Lennin, Pol Pot and others committed. To the Left, the individual is always less important than the "collective". And, though the Left speaks of "social justice" and is fond of proclaiming "power to the people" it sees the rights it speaks of as collective, never individual.

Justice Clarence Thomas explains free speech

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is my personal favorite of the justices who serve on our highest court. I heard him say, years ago, that he always refes back to the Founders, and of course to the Constitution when deciding cases. In this video via Yankee Phil he explains, in very clear terms why he has always felt that McCain Feingold was indeed unconstitutional.

In short, Thomas believes that the Constitution actually means what it says. Imagine that! No wonder the Left loathes Thomas and ridicules him. They prefer to see the Constitition as some flexible document that can mean whatever they wish it to mean.

Cross Posted at The DaleyGator

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Your Founding quote of the Day

Comes from Jefferson, who had the directly opposite view of taxation that Karl Marx held.

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it
Now, as we know, Liberals try to claim Jefferson as the Father of the Democratic Party, but, this can hardly be true, given Jeffeson's views on guns, taxes, religious freedom, and limited government. In fact, if Jefferson lived today, the Left would castigate him as an extremist Tea Bagger.

The truth about the Democratic Party is that the Democratic Republicans, was a political party, and Jeffeson, James Madisdon, James Monroe, were among its members. And yes, that party did, in fact, eventually become the Democratic Party. But ANY resemblance between the ideals Jefferson/Madison/Monroe ideals and those of Pelosi/Reid/Obama is non existent!

There could be no greater divide than between the ideals of the Founders and the ideals of the modern day Democratic Party, and anyone arguying that Jefferson is, in any practical manner, the Father of the Democratic Party of today is either a liar, a fool, or demented!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Robert Gibbs says something the Founders would agree with

Ya think maybe that Hell froze over just a bit when Robert Gibbs said this?

Of course his words are pretty much hollow, considering how much this administration has spent already. It sounds a lot like an alcoholic telling you that you have to drink moderately.