Thursday, July 18, 2019

Trump's Tweets - De-ranting Washington's Rules of Civili-Tweeting.

Ok, so... as my Monday rant on the furor over Trump's Tweets has faded from my blood pressure, some questions have surfaced about it - sorry, but rants being what they are, it may not have been too clear on who or what my rant was directed at in the wake of Trump's tweets.

No, I was not ranting against Trump... directly. I was more ranting over how the ludicrous offendocrats (Left, Right & Center), have dutifully ignored ALL of the instances of truly anti-American, racist, mendacious, tyrannical and ideological norms that've run amuck in our Politically Correct world today (I'd hoped that the many links in the rant would point ya'll's attention that-a-way). Outrages which they've  so easily and entirely ignored for decades, and yet these same flustered pearl-clutchers come wide awake and fully aroused, when Trump tactlessly points out some harsh opinions, flawed facts and obvious truths, causing themselves, the media, and the various 'spheres (Twitter, Blogger, etc) to spaz out with an:
"Egads! The Orange Man has failed to be a shining example of George Washington's Rules of Civility! Burn him! And everyone who agrees with him!"
They vent their outrage over Trump's Tweets, while ignoring the fact that they themselves not only utterly fail to live up to that ideal (in everything from Pink Pussy Hats & Slut Walks, to violently silencing Free Speech & fascist antifa terrorism and thuggery, etc), but it's a standard that they've been actively ridiculing for decades (again, see my rant's links).

To give the short answer first, before getting into the details of why, no, Trump's Tweets were not racist, and what is most upsetting about the the outrage over Trump's Tweets, is that there's nothing, nothing, to be upset about in them - the outrage you find there, is your own. And by focusing on these four, the outrages of thousands of others, are ignored. But if racist is what you're looking for, I'll be happy to direct you to a select few of the many comments of Omar, Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and more, that are racist, and biggoted, and anti-Semitic and anti-American. That being said though, Trump's Tweets were worded in such a way as to guarantee an uproar, and as bad as that is, what's worse is that it's very likely the only way that We The People of today would take notice of what desperately needs being taken notice of, and now. Sad.

To be clear about what direction I'm coming at this from, as I've said too many times before, I'm not a Trump Supporter (though I most definitely used Trump's name on my ballot to counter the greater threat to the nation in the Pro-Regressive Hillary presidency posed), but I'm also not a Trump Hater, I'm simply not a fan, and haven't been since the 1980's (even in his "Art of the Deal", he showed a willingness to use govt to aid his own ends, which I'm opposed to, and his personal style in doing so, doesn't appeal to me), but I've never had reason to think him to be a fool, or a racist, or a fascist, or a [insert idiotic blank here], and while I've been unsurprised at the number of his missteps, loose comments, self-inflicted tweets, etc., that's he's made, I've also been pleasantly surprised, and pleased by the majority of his actual actions in office, especially those which involve reducing regulations, making generally good use of the military, and the judiciary - mostly in the lower courts, as Kavanaugh is about what I expected of him, yet Gorsuch was a very pleasant surprise.

What I do support politically, is our Constitutional form of representative, limited govt, where Govt's powers are limited to upholding and defending Individual Rights and (and that last 'and' is only needed because of the public misperception that they are entirely separate concepts) Property Rights. I could support a candidate in agreement with that, and be familiar and knowledgeable with the history and concepts which our Declaration of Independence and Constitution are derived from, and show himself capable of explaining and implementing them. But I doubt that even the most ardent supporter of President Trump would say
 "That's the Orange Man to a "T"!"
, and sadly, I know of no one today that does fit that bill. No, not Rand Paul, or even Ted Cruz, for as close they come, I expect that they're no more suited to this fight today, than a boxer trained in the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, would be of use in a street gang fight. Sad. Regretfully, Trump seems to be about the best we can do at this point in time. And please, no comments about the deficit, etc. - until We The People relearn why and how to limit Govt's powers, no one (I should probably repeat that) NO ONE! is going to fix the budget, the deficit, spending, etc., etc., etc. and anyone who thinks that that's the current, or even the previous few presidents' fault, or something that any president could fix, is gilding their own damn lily ... or maybe dunging the turd would be better...?, either way it's something you really shouldn't do in public.

Looking into Trump's Tweets
There's only so much 'analysis' that tweets deserve, and none that elevates the tweeter to genius 3D Chess player status. But. We've sunk to the level of communication that Tweets are representative of, and he's proven a master of utilizing them to his ends, which should be neither surprising nor unduly impressive. Trump's a smart, capable administrator, who's shown a creative and practical mind in business, entertainment and politics, and has managed to stay in the public consciousness for nearly 40 years, in business, society, media and Reality TV. Anyone who doesn't think that that person has a notion or two about how a few well chosen words (jarring or otherwise) are likely to affect and direct the public mood... is someone who hasn't given the matter much thought. I do have a nagging suspicion that he had a very good idea that EVERYONE would seize upon his words and read into them the bigoted phrase 'go back to where you came from!' - he didn't say it, he just nudged you into hearing it. It doesn't take a 3D chess guru to see that Nancy Pelosi & Joe Biden were starting to succeed in distancing themselves from the vile 'squad', and Trump realized that a few well placed Tweets would throw them back into an unsightly and awkwardly close embrace, with them. And sure enough, Nancy & Joe are again aligning themselves with them, dutifully singing their praises, and wondering what in the hell happened to the power they thought they had.

Some friends of mine agreed with this,
"In an interview with MSNBC, Joe Biden argued the four lawmakers don’t represent “the majority of Democrats” who won back the House of Representatives last year."
, saying that ' Pelosi 'knows what she’s doing', which I very much disagree with. The 'Squad' may not represent the “majority of Democrats”, but they most definitely do represent what is politically correct to say, and what people feel obligated to admit to (and afraid to dissent with), and what Joe Biden & Nancy Pelosi are finally starting to realize, I think, is that in their decades of helping to twist the narrative, and build a base that will swallow it whole, what they've succeeded in doing is to put 'the narrative' in power, and out of reach, of Joe Biden & Nancy Pelosi - those two no longer control it. It's not even close. That power, which is gaining real power now, is a creature of wacademia, entertainment, media, and the lowest common denominators of anti-Western thought. The likes of Pelosi & Biden are not in charge anymore, the Politically Correct Narrative is, and if there's anyone who's got a handle on that, it's the four 'powerless' freshmen congresswomen of the 'squad'.

Trump's Tweets
Which brings us back to Trump's Tweets. First, let's do what CNN did not bother to do, and before pronouncing them 'racist!', let's actually look at the first three tweets, put together, in full:
"So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!"
Sorry, there is no racism there, no bigotry, no overly zealous thing said - but I'll grant you this - with the 'flaws' of his phrasing (tweets people, good lord, we're analyzing tweets!) he invites you to read certain well known tropes into his tweets, from out of the dark corners of your own mind, and man oh man did most of you do just that!

Ok, now to go point by point... through his tweets,

"So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen..." What he doesn't say here, is which women they are (it's not much of a stretch to include Hillary in that... no more a stretch), or  how many they are, or what colors & ethnicities they are or are not - but virtually everyone assumed that he meant those four congresswomen (perhaps the shoe fits...?) - did you assume he meant them too? Then you too volunteered to be a pawn in his social media offensive. Congratulations on that. Well done.

" who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all),..." This of course only applies to one of the Squad, and he doesn't say which country's government, but he does say plural, and whether skillfully calculated or simply unconsciously artful,  that sort of 'somewhat true/somewhat false' statement is a slick salesman's stock in trade - but as the best of that field know, you don't sell the 'customer', they sell themselves. If you led yourself to condemn him, or excuse him, on the basis of what is at best only partially right or wrong, again, you've volunteered to be his pawn. Congratulations. And for those who've been revolted over the comments of the squad, you will certainly grasp that, one of them IS from Somalia, one of them continually speaks AS IF she's from Palestine, and all four of them speak as if they wish that they had nothing at all to do with America, and those who does love America (either its image or reality), dislikes them for it.

"... now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run...." The Squad, Pelosi, Biden, the entire Democrat slate of POTUS wannabees, most of wacademia & media are all guilty of doing the same. He's snagged the entire lineup with this, and yet those four stand up for it. Brilliant. Pelosi & Biden can't claim it's theirs and puff out their chests anymore, they need the 'squad' for that!

Now here's the most effective bit in the tweets, IMHO, where he both evokes, and contradicts the 'why don't you go back where you came from!' spiel:

"Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done."
, yes, he says "Why don’t they go back...", but it's you, oh offended one, who are the ones who are filling in the blank on that vile ditty. Trump himself, stops midway through, and in the next sentence he makes a perfectly reasonable comment of the sort that nearly every adult has said to a child many times over, to the effect of 'if you think you're so smart, why don't you do it, and then show me how?'; However Trump goes that one better, by inviting them to go fix these foreign shores that they're always praising, and once they've succeeded at that, please, come back (I should probably repeat that) COME BACK and show us how to... dare I say it... (yes, I do), come back and help 'Make America Great Again. Friggin'. Brilliant. Again, I think it's more a skilled art, like an accomplished guitarist who just does it in the moment, mostly without thinking, than what a skilled wordsmith would do by skillful construction, but Trump wins either way.

This line isn't half bad either:
"These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!", which is the bit that shoved Nancy & Joe back into the arms of the waiting 'squad', just when she and Joe Biden were finally beginning to get a bit of distance from them. As Trump himself pointed out in his followup tweet:
"The Democrat Congresswomen have been spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate, & yet they get a free pass and a big embrace from the Democrat Party. Horrible anti-Israel, anti-USA, pro-terrorist & public.....
.....shouting of the F...word, among many other terrible things, and the petrified Dems run for the hills. Why isn’t the House voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said? Because they are the Radical Left, and the Democrats are afraid to take them on. Sad!"
I don't know how this will play out in the long run, but if Trump's successful, it'll lead to their massive defeat. If he's not, it'll lead to our nation's destruction. But then... We The People have been running headlong towards that anyway.

Let's pray that Trump's Tweets work.

I could go on and go deeper, but this is already much too much to spend on cleaning up after a rant - if you disagree, good news: 'Anonymous Commenting' has been turned back on, on my blog (I've no idea how it got turned off... I suspect when Google dropped it's Google+ fiasco a few months ago).

Monday, July 15, 2019

Trump's Tweets and the Serious Consequences of We The People (a rant)

rant: Look, you might as well go read the very sensible comments upon Trump's Tweets, which Charles C. W. Cooke had to say (H/T Dana), or go to Lindsay Graham to hear what will please the Right half of you, or go to CNN to hear what will please the Left half of you, because all I have to say is what none of you want to hear.

Don't believe me? Ok, here ya go: So... lemme guess... you're all stirred up because Trump tweeted, or by those he tweeted at. Again. Huh.

And you're shocked about that? Seriously? And you expect me to be shocked? Please. I really don't care whether you support Trump, tolerate or oppose him, or are a NeverTrump'r, I'm sorry/not-sorry, but your shock and outrage at him, or at his critics, or at those he was critical of, is disingenuous, pathetic, and deplorable.

What's that? There are anti-American representatives in Congress? Ya know what it means if there are anti-American representatives in Congress? It means that there are a hell of a lot of Anti-American Americans in America, that they represent!

CLUE!

Listen up buttercup: We The People (that's all o' y'all) have been making some consequential choices for a very long time - and with those choices, habits, and educational standards, in Art and entertainment preferences, et-friggin'-cettera, we've chosen to move on from:

  • Plato, Aristotle & Aquinas, to Descartes, Rousseau & Kant;
  • Homer, Shakespeare &The Federalist Papers, to textbooks, modernistic drivel, and the Green New Deal;
  • Adam Smith, Jean Baptiste Say & Frédéric Bastiat, to Marx, Keynes & Paul Krugman(!);
  • Civility, manners & polite regard, to hostility, sarcasm & rudeness;
  • Ward Cleaver to Al Bundy;
  • Wally Cleaver to Bart Simpson;
  • Annette Funicello to Miley Cyrus;
And no matter how fair it isn't, what all of those choices mean, is that we've mandated that presidents such as Silent Cal Coolidge, are no longer an option in America, they're now a thing of the past, because we've 'progressed' - and guess what: What that 'progress' looks like is Donald Trump Tweeting, and those he's tweeting at.

And you want me to get all upset over the pitiful handful of a few whoevers that you think are our 'real problems' today, while all o' y'all busily ignore the rest? Please. Maybe tomorrow. But for now, have a chair.

And don't give me no Left, Right, or Libertarian finger-pointing B.S. - We The People, and that's all o' y'all, have gotten into the habit of making the choices that we've been making, and the consequences of those choices (and the ideas that drive them - or fail to), are what have brought us to where we are today.

Choices have consequences. Don't tell me you haven't made those choices yourself, that's a lie, and whether you're lying to me or to yourself, lying by commission or omission, I really don't give a damn - you either knew that the choices you've made, or not objected to, were wrong, or you suspected they were and didn't bother to find out why, or if you understood why you didn't do all of what you needed to do about them. Same difference. And no, I don't excuse myself from that, although I've renounced (most) of them, and have done (some) of what I could about them, at one time I too explicitly made them, or enabled them by default. By choice.

Those choices have consequences. Those consequences are not optional. The world we find ourselves in today, is one that we've all chosen to bring about.

If you want to change the world, if you want to make the world great again, start with yourself, and change what you think and why, change how you treat others, and change what examples you teach others by.

In the meantime...as the consequences of what all o' y'all have chosen are continuing to come home to roost upon our faces, just shut-up about it already. Go do something to create better consequences, and get the hell off of my lawn.
/rant

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Jefferson, James Otis, and remembering how dependent our Constitution is, upon our understanding of our Declaration of Independence!

Once again, before getting to my annual reposting of Calvin Coolidge's speech on the Inspiration of our Declaration of Independence, I want to point out, first, that our independence wasn't begun on July 4th 1776, that was simply the end of the beginning. Where our independence began, according to a fellow that was in attendance at both events, John Adams, was when James Otis spoke against King George's 'Writs of Assistance' back in 1761, which as Adams recalled it,
",,,But Otis was a flame of fire! With a promptitude of Classical Allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events & dates, a profusion of Legal Authorities, a prophetic glance of his eyes into futurity, and a rapid torrent of impetuous Eloquence he hurried away all before him. American Independence was then & there born. The seeds of Patriots & Heroes to defend the Non sine Diis Animosus Infans; to defend the Vigorous Youth were then & there sown. Every Man of an immense crouded Audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take Arms against Writs of Assistants. Then and there was the first scene of the first Act of opposition to the Arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the Child Independence was born. In fifteen years i.e. in 1776. he grew up to Manhood, & declared himself free.,,,"[emphasis mine]
I point that out, because it underlines the importance of what is perhaps most remarkable about what the Declaration of Independence's author, Thomas Jefferson, considered to be the least remarkable aspect of it - that he intended the Declaration as an expression of ideas that were familiar and commonly understood, by the majority of Americans, of that time, as Jefferson wrote to a friend in later years, about what it was meant to accomplish:
"Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
That is why we are unique in the annals of human history, as being a nation founded upon ideas (those twits mouthing on about 'inherent American anti-intellectualism' can kiss my patriotic ass). And those common ideas, and their influence, continued to serve as strong guides for the later creation of our Constitution, can be easily found in even a cursory reading, between the charges of the Declaration of Independence against King George, and their reflection in our Constitution and the amendments to it, and ...
"To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World."
"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
"HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries."
  • The first three articles of our Constitution, divides Govt into three branches, which prevent any one person or wing from attaining a monopoly of power over the others.
"HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance."
  • This is what our Constitution was expressly designed to forbid, which unfortunately is what the pro-regressive Administrative State, was erected upon it to encourage (as was our politically instituted educational system) - proof that Laws that do not live in the hearts and minds of the people, cannot protect them against themselves
"HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."
  • Congress has control of organizing and funding the military budget, and while the Executive has command of the military, he can not do much, for long, without the further consent of the people's representatives, and in all ways, the military is under civil control.
"FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us"
"FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States"
"FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World"
"FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
"FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury"
, and if you take the time to read both, you will find many, many, more points of harmony between the two.

But enough, onto Calvin Coolidge's speech, and a happy Independence Day to you all!

The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence
Given in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 5, 1926:

President Calvin Coolidge
We meet to celebrate the birthday of America. The coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it the more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation. It is to pay our tribute of reverence and respect to those who participated in such a mighty event that we annually observe the fourth day of July. Whatever may have been the impression created by the news which went out from this city on that summer day in 1776, there can be no doubt as to the estimate which is now placed upon it. At the end of 150 years the four corners of the earth unite in coming to Philadelphia as to a holy shrine in grateful acknowledgment of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world.

Although a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human
experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period. Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. They have been in existence long enough to become very well seasoned. They have met, and met successfully, the test of experience.

It is not so much then for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection.

It is little wonder that people at home and abroad consider Independence Hall as hallowed ground and revere the Liberty Bell as a sacred relic. That pile of bricks and mortar, that mass of metal, might appear to the uninstructed as only the outgrown meeting place and the shattered bell of a former time, useless now because of more modern conveniences, but to those who know they have become consecrated by the use which men have made of them. They have long been identified with a great cause. They are the framework of a spiritual event. The world looks upon them, because of their associations of one hundred and fifty years ago, as it looks upon the Holy Land because of what took place there nineteen hundred years ago. Through use for a righteous purpose they have become sanctified.

It is not here necessary to examine in detail the causes which led to the American Revolution. In their immediate occasion they were largely economic. The colonists objected to the navigation laws which interfered with their trade, they denied the power of Parliament to impose taxes which they were obliged to pay, and they therefore resisted the royal governors and the royal forces which were sent to secure obedience to these laws. But the conviction is inescapable that a new civilization had come, a new spirit had arisen on this side of the Atlantic more advanced and more developed in its regard for the rights of the individual than that which characterized the Old World. Life in a new and open country had aspirations which could not be realized in any subordinate position. A separate establishment was ultimately inevitable. It had been decreed by the very laws of human nature. Man everywhere has an unconquerable desire to be the master of his own destiny.

We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not without the support of many of the most respectable people in the Colonies, who were entitled to all the consideration that is given to breeding, education, and possessions. It had the support of another element of great significance and importance to which I shall later refer. But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility. It was in no sense a rising of the oppressed and downtrodden. It brought no scum to the surface, for the reason that colonial society had developed no scum. The great body of the people were accustomed to privations, but they were free from depravity. If they had poverty, it was not of the hopeless kind that afflicts great cities, but the inspiring kind that marks the spirit of the pioneer. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them. The Continental Congress was not only composed of great men, but it represented a great people. While its members did not fail to exercise a remarkable leadership, they were equally observant of their representative capacity. They were industrious in encouraging their constituents to instruct them to support independence. But until such instructions were given they were inclined to withhold action.

While North Carolina has the honor of first authorizing its delegates to concur with other Colonies in declaring independence, it was quickly followed by South Carolina and Georgia, which also gave general instructions broad enough to include such action. But the first instructions which unconditionally directed its delegates to declare for independence came from the great Commonwealth of Virginia. These were immediately followed by Rhode Island and Massachusetts, while the other Colonies, with the exception of New York, soon adopted a like course.

This obedience of the delegates to the wishes of their constituents, which in some cases caused them to modify their previous positions, is a matter of great significance. It reveals an orderly process of government in the first place; but more than that, it demonstrates that the Declaration of Independence was the result of the seasoned and deliberate thought of the dominant portion of the people of the Colonies. Adopted after long discussion and as the result of the duly authorized expression of the preponderance of public opinion, it did not partake of dark intrigue or hidden conspiracy. It was well advised. It had about it nothing of the lawless and disordered nature of a riotous insurrection. It was maintained on a plane which rises above the ordinary conception of rebellion. It was in no sense a radical movement but took on the dignity of a resistance to illegal usurpations. It was conservative and represented the action of the colonists to maintain their constitutional rights which from time immemorial had been guaranteed to them under the law of the land.

When we come to examine the action of the Continental Congress in adopting the Declaration of Independence in the light of what was set out in that great document and in the light of succeeding events, we can not escape the conclusion that it had a much broader and deeper significance than a mere secession of territory and the establishment of a new nation. Events of that nature have been taking place since the dawn of history. One empire after another has arisen, only to crumble away as its constituent parts separated from each other and set up independent governments of their own. Such actions long ago became commonplace. They have occurred too often to hold the attention of the world and command the admiration and reverence of humanity. There is something beyond the establishment of a new nation, great as that event would be, in the Declaration of Independence which has ever since caused it to be regarded as one of the great charters that not only was to liberate America but was everywhere to ennoble humanity.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. The importance of political speculation is not to be under-estimated, as I shall presently disclose. Until the idea is developed and the plan made there can be no action.

It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world. It was not only the principles declared, but the fact that therewith a new nation was born which was to be founded upon those principles and which from that time forth in its development has actually maintained those principles, that makes this pronouncement an incomparable event in the history of government. It was an assertion that a people had arisen determined to make every necessary sacrifice for the support of these truths and by their practical application bring the War of Independence to a successful conclusion and adopt the Constitution of the United States with all that it has meant to civilization.

The idea that the people have a right to choose their own rulers was not new in political history. It was the foundation of every popular attempt to depose an undesirable king. This right was set out with a good deal of detail by the Dutch when as early as July 26, 1581, they declared their independence of Philip of Spain. In their long struggle with the Stuarts the British people asserted the same principles, which finally culminated in the Bill of Rights deposing the last of that house and placing William and Mary on the throne. In each of these cases sovereignty through divine right was displaced by sovereignty through the consent of the people. Running through the same documents, though expressed in different terms, is the clear inference of inalienable rights. But we should search these charters in vain for an assertion of the doctrine of equality. This principle had not before appeared as an official political declaration of any nation. It was profoundly revolutionary. It is one of the corner stones of American institutions.

But if these truths to which the declaration refers have not before been adopted in their combined entirety by national authority, it is a fact that they had been long pondered and often expressed in political speculation. It is generally assumed that French thought had some effect upon our public mind during Revolutionary days. This may have been true. But the principles of our declaration had been under discussion in the Colonies for nearly two generations before the advent of the French political philosophy that characterized the middle of the eighteenth century. In fact, they come from an earlier date. A very positive echo of what the Dutch had done in 1581, and what the English were preparing to do, appears in the assertion of the Rev. Thomas Hooker of Connecticut as early as 1638, when he said in a sermon before the General Court that:
The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people

The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God's own allowance.

This doctrine found wide acceptance among the nonconformist clergy who later made up the Congregational Church. The great apostle of this movement was the Rev. John Wise, of Massachusetts. He was one of the leaders of the revolt against the royal governor Andros in 1687, for which he suffered imprisonment. He was a liberal in ecclesiastical controversies. He appears to have been familiar with the writings of the political scientist, Samuel Pufendorf, who was born in Saxony in 1632. Wise published a treatise, entitled "The Church's Quarrel Espoused," in 1710 which was amplified in another publication in 1717. In it he dealt with the principles of civil government. His works were reprinted in 1772 and have been declared to have been nothing less than a textbook of liberty for our Revolutionary fathers.

While the written word was the foundation, it is apparent that the spoken word was the vehicle for convincing the people. This came with great force and wide range from the successors of Hooker and Wise, It was carried on with a missionary spirit which did not fail to reach the Scotch Irish of North Carolina, showing its influence by significantly making that Colony the first to give instructions to its delegates looking to independence. This preaching reached the neighborhood of Thomas Jefferson, who acknowledged that his "best ideas of democracy" had been secured at church meetings.

That these ideas were prevalent in Virginia is further revealed by the Declaration of Rights, which was prepared by George Mason and presented to the general assembly on May 27, 1776. This document asserted popular sovereignty and inherent natural rights, but confined the doctrine of equality to the assertion that "All men are created equally free and independent". It can scarcely be imagined that Jefferson was unacquainted with what had been done in his own Commonwealth of Virginia when he took up the task of drafting the Declaration of Independence. But these thoughts can very largely be traced back to what John Wise was writing in 1710. He said, "Every man must be acknowledged equal to every man". Again, "The end of all good government is to cultivate humanity and promote the happiness of all and the good of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, honor, and so forth . . . ." And again, "For as they have a power every man in his natural state, so upon combination they can and do bequeath this power to others and settle it according as their united discretion shall determine". And still again, "Democracy is Christ's government in church and state". Here was the doctrine of equality, popular sovereignty, and the substance of the theory of inalienable rights clearly asserted by Wise at the opening of the eighteenth century, just as we have the principle of the consent of the governed stated by Hooker as early as 1638.

When we take all these circumstances into consideration, it is but natural that the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence should open with a reference to Nature's God and should close in the final paragraphs with an appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world and an assertion of a firm reliance on Divine Providence. Coming from these sources, having as it did this background, it is no wonder that Samuel Adams could say "The people seem to recognize this resolution as though it were a decree promulgated from heaven."

No one can examine this record and escape the conclusion that in the great outline of its principles the Declaration was the result of the religious teachings of the preceding period. The profound philosophy which Jonathan Edwards applied to theology, the popular preaching of George Whitefield, had aroused the thought and stirred the people of the Colonies in preparation for this great event. No doubt the speculations which had been going on in England, and especially on the Continent, lent their influence to the general sentiment of the times. Of course, the world is always influenced by all the experience and all the thought of the past. But when we come to a contemplation of the immediate conception of the principles of human relationship which went into the Declaration of Independence we are not required to extend our search beyond our own shores. They are found in the texts, the sermons, and the writings of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image, all partakers of the divine spirit.

Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government. This was their theory of democracy. In those days such doctrines would scarcely have been permitted to flourish and spread in any other country. This was the purpose which the fathers cherished. In order that they might have freedom to express these thoughts and opportunity to put them into action, whole congregations with their pastors had migrated to the colonies. These great truths were in the air that our people breathed. Whatever else we may say of it, the Declaration of Independence was profoundly American.

If this apprehension of the facts be correct, and the documentary evidence would appear to verify it, then certain conclusions are bound to follow. A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

We are too prone to overlook another conclusion. Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

In the development of its institutions America can fairly claim that it has remained true to the principles which were declared 150 years ago. In all the essentials we have achieved an equality which was never possessed by any other people. Even in the less important matter of material possessions we have secured a wider and wider distribution of wealth. The rights of the individual are held sacred and protected by constitutional guaranties, which even the Government itself is bound not to violate. If there is any one thing among us that is established beyond question, it is self government; the right of the people to rule. If there is any failure in respect to any of these principles, it is because there is a failure on the part of individuals to observe them. We hold that the duly authorized expression of the will of the people has a divine sanction. But even in that we come back to the theory of John Wise that "Democracy is Christ's government". The ultimate sanction of law rests on the righteous authority of the Almighty.

On an occasion like this a great temptation exists to present evidence of the practical success of our form of democratic republic at home and the ever broadening acceptance it is securing abroad. Although these things are well known, their frequent consideration is an encouragement and an inspiration. But it is not results and effects so much as sources and causes that I believe it is even more necessary constantly to contemplate. Ours is a government of the people. It represents their will. Its officers may sometimes go astray, but that is not a reason for criticizing the principles of our institutions. The real heart of the American Government depends upon the heart of the people. It is from that source that we must look for all genuine reform. It is to that cause that we must ascribe all our results.

It was in the contemplation of these truths that the fathers made their declaration and adopted their Constitution. It was to establish a free government, which must not be permitted to degenerate into the unrestrained authority of a mere majority or the unbridled weight of a mere influential few. They undertook the balance these interests against each other and provide the three separate independent branches, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial departments of the Government, with checks against each other in order that neither one might encroach upon the other. These are our guaranties of liberty. As a result of these methods enterprise has been duly protected from confiscation, the people have been free from oppression, and there has been an ever broadening and deepening of the humanities of life.

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general. Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meeting-house. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.

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Happy Independence Day America!