Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Sad History of Current Events

Victor Davis Hanson has the take of current events bereft of history. 

Few people today like to bother with studying History, it does after all, involve capital 'R' Reading - that reading that is done with capital 'R' Reason employed, and if you've been edumacated to little 'r''s, that can seem difficult. And it tends to tell you unpleasant things, like nations that are ruled by tyrants, behave like criminals and bullies, and criminals and bullies don't behave by rules, at best they refrain from their natural inclinations out of fear... but even that is only for a while - if you doubt me, see if you can find any empty prisons.

From Histories headlines 2,500 years ago, Thucydides saw the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, sparked by the actions of pen upon a treaty The History of the Peloponnesian War, from end of Chp. 1 - every bit as new as today's NEWS, and far more relevant:
"To the question why they broke the treaty, I answer by placing first an account of their grounds of complaint and points of difference, that no one may ever have to ask the immediate cause which plunged the Hellenes into a war of such magnitude. The real cause I consider to be the one which was formally most kept out of sight. The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable. Still it is well to give the grounds alleged by either side which led to the dissolution of the treaty and the breaking out of the war."
So how about we just stick to our current events? That is, after all, what those committed to Action! pay attention to, since those are the only events they can take advantage of. Here's the take of the gang of current events, "... an account of their grounds of complaint and points of difference"

Chorus of Current Events - 911 led to the invasion and toppling of Afghanistan & Iraq... hmmm... yeah... but still, the lasting effects have been at best... mixed. Yeah, Libya caved, some troubles with Syria and Lebanon... but they soon caved too, the oh so pious West seemed to think thy could cover that caving with 'civil talk', politics, 'free elections', oh, and 'democracy' (tee-hee!), as if 'r'ight might overrule 'M'ight. They say they're against terrorists... lets see, what happened when Hamas 'won' an 'election' in Palestine? HA! They let it stand! al-Sadr in Iraq? Ha! They let him negotiate out! Ok, one last check, Iran... they've been caught selling, donating and delivering weapons for IED's killing U.S. Troops... anything? Ha! No Way!

Uh-oh... Israel blew the hell out of Syria's reactor... crap... North Korea's caught red handed (go figure)... ok, lets watch... talks or no talks? Ha! Talking again! Ok, on with the show.

What, after all, does a tyrant like Putin see when looking at what they know they hold together by might alone, by emotion and the fist keeping the pieces knocked together, there's no inner cohesion of integrated truth to rely upon, no rights or laws people can trust in and with you, only emotion for mother russia overcoming the shame of defeat, and the might to enforce it. With that perspective, what is the status of the Republic of Georgia on it's borders? No matter the corruption present, they stand for Republicanism, for Freedom... that dear friends, is a poisonous threat! Poland? Latvia? Lithuania? Estonia? Threats! How can Putin possibly use his fists from the outside, to hold together what is pulling apart from the inside? And as the KGB knows only too well, such thoughts spread across borders sooo fast.

Russia - Ukraine's trying freedom and independence? Risk it, poison the sob! Crap, caught & failed! Reactions? Ha! 'Condemned'! What the hell do we who condemn ourselves three times a minute, care for the condemnation of a pious world? Takeover the oil companies...more 'condemnation'! Hey, when you write the laws, what you want is lawful, gotta love it. Georgia... push 'em, push 'em, let a jet strafe and bomb... reactions? Na, more 'Russia must be a good world citizen' (Heh... must is for those who do, not those who talk). Push 'em... goad 'em... come on, they'll react... a little more... There! GO! GO! GO!

Ok... hold on... pause (crap we hate this part)... any jets in the air? Anything redirecting towards us from Iraq or Afghanistan? NO!... uh-oh... wait a minute... Rice is going to see Shakisvilli... OH MAN! You've got to be kidding me! After his speech, she practically kow-towed to the godz of diplomacy! Look at Shakisvilli's face! He knows he's screwed! Ha! Ok now, do the North Korean table dance, agree and swear not to, and do it anyway... deny it while you're doing it... it's working 'Be a good world citizen' talk! Amazing! Grab the rest, wreck it all! Threaten the damn Polish... they've got to be getting the picture about the West now. Damn'd if we're gonna let them get anywhere nearer our borders or interests, they've had us on the run for too damn long, threatening us with their damn democrazies and republics. They're soft and we know it, and won't give another inch to the damn metrosexual banter!

Crazy little Kim Jong il - You see how the big bad eagle reacted to the bear? Eagle?! Pah! Canary! Stop that nuke plant dismantling, gear it back up, tell Syria the shops open for business again! 

China - hmmm... 'reunificaiton' is looking closer and closer.... 

West - what we in the west see is that 'we aren't interested in threatening anybody, hell, we don't even want to defend anybody, why should anybody fear us? Lets be friends!' 

Tyrants are threatened by opposition. Period. They know, better than we, that it is their people who they fear the most, and any notions of 'freedom', any idea of limits upon their power... THATS a threat! Defensive actions? Treaties? Leagues? Such things are sources of fear for them, nothing less, and anybody that transmits fear, without the willingness and ability to back it up, there's only one thing to do, can do, push them back! Now!

Any response to Russia that didn't involve immediate military response, was nothing but displaying that we could be pushed back from their borders.

What does my oh so wise opinion say should have happened?

Bush should have said 'Vlad, here's the deal. No F'ing way this stands. You have 8 hours to remove your people & eqpt from every square inch of Georgia, 8 hrs to do it without the world knowing of our talk here. After that, we publicly state you have 8hrs to leave, totally and completely. Anything remaining on Georgian soil 1 second after, will soon cease to exist, just like sadams highway of death, you will be humiliated worldwide in living color on every international network news channel. Any moves towards any other country, ally of ours or not, and whatever you make the move with will soon cease to exist. Mobilize any missiles towards us, and Russia will soon cease to exist. Period. Nice talkin' to ya Vlad, Goodnight'


If we can't or aren't willing to say and DO THAT, then we should get the F off the world stage, and stop giving our friends a false sense of safety, let them know they live with bullies ready, willing and able to pummel them without fear of retribution from any of their friends... which is perhaps their actual situation.

Let us live out a few more years or decades within our current borders, before they're eaten away from without and within... at least Mt. Rushmore ought to remain for future ages to marvel at what once was.

Unless the Taliban has a say... but that's a concern for the future, not for current events.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Liberal Fascism: The Spiral of Knowledge and the Flattened Worldview of the Left pt. 3

Spirals, Slinky’s and KnowledgeBefore getting to the point of this post, I think it fitting to take a trip around it first (and around, and around, and…), taking a look at what the chronically leftist commonly attempts to think without.


With a capital ‘R’.

I’ve illustrated Reason before with the three legged stool of experience, goal and imagination – this is what the raw nature of Reason is, it is discoverable in the finest of Western Thought, as well as in the most base of stone age New Guinea tribal life. Central to further developing an understanding of Reason, of making Reason and your corresponding actions effective enough to lift you above that of New Guinea tribal life, is the recognition, explicitly or implicitly, that it rests upon three root Philosophical Axioms: that of recognizing that:
  1. )Existence exists,
  2. )anything that exists, exists as some particular thing – it has Identity, and that
  3. )our consciousness is the faculty which recognizes this.
What Reason is for, and why these axioms are important to it, is to acquire data about the world and your position in it, to integrate that data into knowledge, knowledge of the world and yourself, so that you can better operate within the world, and within yourself and within your society. Absent those supporting axioms, the reality your reason reasons with, will be rooted in error and fantasy (one of the points of this post).

The nature of acquiring and learning, of transforming data into knowledge, can be illustrated as traversing a spiral. Picture a Slinky set at an angle, with one side higher than the other. If you were climbing along the track of that slinky, you’d find yourself climbing upwards, then down, continually coming around and around to the same ‘position’ upon it, but with each successive circuit, a little bit higher than before… and then downwards again, though never quite as far down as before, and always coming back up just a little bit higher than the previous time.

Gathering knowledge, involves navigating just such a spiral. A good Teacher ideally states their destination, then begins to move towards it with examples of particular instances, concrete examples of their higher conceptual destination being related to the student (“‘Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em, Tell ‘em, Tell ‘em what cha told ‘em”, repeat and rinse as needed); such as to learn about what Individual Rights are and how to protect them, let’s look at instances of people being robbed, forced to keep their mouths shut, kept unable from defending themselves and various other horrors, and then how these instances unite together under the concept at an elevated point of the spiral, such as Rights, and then you proceed down and around the spiral, learning more particulars about different aspects and properties of Rights, then rising back up to the higher conceptual level they'll say that it is improper for Gov’t to prevent you from engaging in activities protected by Rights.

Then downwards again as you learn particular types of Rights, free speech, property, press, gun ownership, etc. Typically the student or tenured will then naturally comment from their lower point on the spiral 'Well, prisoners are having their rights violated by being imprisoned', and the Teacher will say 'Actually, the prisoner, by violating the rights of others through the criminal actions he perpetrated, forfeits his rights for a period of punishment, usually boundaried by his imprisonment'- this lifts the student upwards on the spiral as they learn that Rights are not something bestowed, but revealed and at the same time, earned.

Up and down and around and around they go as each level is learned, and then another loop is traversed, as they learn that Rights are part of our nature, but only if we live up to our nature, and the ins and outs of earning the Right to have Rights will take the student through a dizzying trip up and down the spiral, up through the hierarchy of concepts and down through their particulars, and from integrating those particulars and their concepts, to a better understanding of the concepts and more particulars which seem to challenge the concept, which leads to related concepts, etc, etc, etc, in a never ending, yet ever strengthening, spiral of Reasoning up and down and all around the slinky of knowledge.

If you haven’t yet guessed, that’s where we’re going in this post, in order to get a clearer look at not only what Fascism is, but more importantly what Liberalism is and was and how it once upon a time to claim to be a Liberal, was to affirm the inseparability of Free Will, Property Rights and Liberty. We’ll loop around this more than a few times, in an effort to get closer, deeper and higher towards the top of the spiral.

Talking About Those Talking About Liberal Fascism – the first loop of the spiral

The first I heard about Liberal Fascism, was when I was told about a book that seemed to be saying what I’ve been saying for years, about fascism being a product of the left side of the political scale, and heavily influenced by Pragmatism and the philosophical schools descending (in more ways than one) from Descartes, Rousseau, Kant and Hegel, so I went to check it out on Sure enough, it seemed to be saying just that, I liked the cheeky editorial cartoon on the front – a smiley face with a Hitler mustache sketched upon it; it was written by a conservative columnist named Jonah Goldberg, and though it looked like it would cite lots of historical examples, it didn’t look too promising for digging into the underlying philosophical reasoning, and so I was about to move along, when I noticed these discussion threads below it, one of which was ‘Is this the worst book ever written?” and I thought, wait a minute, it hasn’t been published yet, what’s this about? And I looked in.

What I found was disturbing, not for what they were saying – which was mostly juvenile at best, but for what they weren’t saying, weren’t discussing, weren’t even affirming.

They didn’t attack the ideas of the book, but the book itself… as a ‘thing’, the cover, the title, the author, the ignorant conservatives who didn’t ‘just know’ that fascism was a phenomenon of the Right – they reduced a book about the transmission of fundamental ideas, to a material thing which they could then verbally kick and otherwise abuse. But they never once met the ideas of the book with ideas of their own – only a pretence, an unobserved prejudice posturing about in the garb of thought, but from which thought is absent. There was an utter lack of thought on the part of the posters deriding the book, and I mean that literally, not just as a dig, what is most disturbingly on display in the threads, is their utter lack of thought, and it has been this experience, more so than the book, that has brought me to a clearer and more alarming understanding of the true nature of the left..

Now, I’m one who enjoys engaging in occasional recreational slamming and mocking, but not without first establishing the ground from which I’m shooting from; I don’t attack someone else’s foolishness without having first established the ideas against which, theirs appear foolish. That was not the case with them, not there. Not once. The nearest thing to an argument was put forth by a post-modernist who argued that reason couldn’t tell you anything about reality, but it was fun to play with, and some off topic back and forth with another about economic policy.

What chiefly distinguishes the nature of Western reasoning is its systematic nature, its methods of self correction and verification, and its centrality to our concepts of self worth and Virtue. All of which rests upon a regard and reverence for Truth, for how things are, and that that Truth trumps our desires for how we might wish things were. Western Culture, its Art, Poetry, Literature, History and Science are all infused with this ideal – even where in obvious error, it nevertheless espouses these essentials, and forms both our grasp of knowledge, and our method for acquiring it into a hierarchy, which we spiral up and downwards through, coming back to ideas at different levels of understanding and perspective.

This is the essence of knowledge, and it is this, in its true essence, which the modern left attacks at its very root, that all of the loops of the spiral are connected and exist in a distinct hierarchy, the left is perpetually seeking to separate every circle of that spiral, and spread them out flat, none higher than another, nor in anyway dependent upon another.

It attacks it because it fears it, fears it as a Vampire fears holy water, mirrors and wooden stakes. Identity, Truth and Beauty – these are what you will always find the Leftist’s seeking to evade, bury and, though it can’t succeed in destroying them, it will seek to destroy people’s ability to recognize them.

If you read those discussion threads, what you’ll see again and again, is their wild gyrations and snarling venom at any attempt to identify what it is that they actually believe, assert and do. They especially twist in the wind of their own hot air, when trying to distance themselves from any possible association between Nazism and Socialism, a single mention of facts pointing to their related descent or similarity, and they go bananas. While the two ideologies are different, the two ism’s do have common sources, I mean come on, Nazi stands for National Socialist German Workers Party – the second word there should be at least a tipoff, and really, in and of itself, it isn’t particularly damning, socialism isn’t itself the equivalent of nazi style fascism; but the mere fact of pointing out what the name stood for was enough, in their minds, to qualify as hateful accusations of being blood thirsty genocidal maniacs – the appearance, in their minds, of a relation, was as good as the accusation, even the existence of guilty thoughts and deeds.

I saw this over and again, that in any 'argument', when there is a mere incidental datum, and there is an idea, they will pass the idea blindly by, and seize upon the datum... that or given no easy options, they will reduce the idea to a datum, and then seize upon it. For instance, they’ll rivet their focus on silly incidentals (it is a key, persistent, and telling strategy), for example, this one in reply to a pull quote of Goldbergs,

“The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper;
it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or

To which they reply:

“This featured quote tells you all you need about the quality of the 'research' that went into this book. Here in the real world, neither Brown nor Swarthmore offers an education degree. ” and others who would wail ‘How can he call teachers Nazi’s!!! What an idiot! And not only is that idiotic but Brown & Swarthmore don’t offer Educational degree’s! This is the level of pure lie and idiocy that typifies this book! Lies! Don’t bother reading it, I certainly won’t!"
, now Goldberg obviously wasn’t calling teachers Nazi’s, and the fact is that Brown does offer educational courses ( though it does not offer an actual education degree), and Swarthmore does offer a course track towards getting your certification (though not an actual Education degree) , is of no importance to them – now any intelligent person should be able to read from that, that the intended meaning of Goldberg’s sentence, was:

  • Jackbooted thugs aren’t a realistic worry in America
  • the modern fascist danger comes from graduates of highly leftist colleges
  • Brown and Swarthmore are two high profile and notoriously leftist colleges
  • The teaching courses they offer, contain and convey fascistic ideas,
  • Those teacher candidates who received training in these courses, are teaching the young students of America their ‘fascistic ideas’
Now it’s certainly fair game to point out that he slipped up on a little fact checking there, but the fact is that in the context of that statement, the fact that they do offer Education Courses which are meant to prepare teaching students for attaining an educational degree, though not themselves offering the actual degree itself, is a very small and incidental factoid. Any intelligent person should be able to see that the intent of Goldberg’s sentence, was that the modern fascist danger comes from graduates of highly leftist colleges such as Brown and Swarthmore, two high profile and notoriously leftist colleges, who are teaching the young the ‘fascistic ideas’, which they learned in those colleges; that was his point, not any technicalities of which highly leftist colleges they received their educational degrees from. Attempting to conflate that into a major conceptual error and accusation of all teachers as Nazi’s, is just dishonest, and a debating tactic unworthy of junior high school.

This all turned out to be especially amusing, when it later came out that my long time opponent there, reino, turned out to be a teacher who had taken the main of his educational courses at Brown!

But more to the point than merely an unworthy tactic, consider the nature of it, what it deliberately tries to do, is to blatantly put forth a charge and position that is stupid on the face of it – deliberately so – an obvious 'error' which they are willing to sustain, because it is seen to advance their position (the ends justify the means), and so IS of equal importance and worth.

Their necessary strategy is to always reduce the opposing ideas, to physical instances, anecdotal references preferably tied to someone or something easily demonized, and then use that as a substitute for textual attacks on the now deflated ideas, and an assumption of victory – without a single idea comprehended within it, confronted, or put forward in its place.

That, to me, is frightening.
There’s a sense about them that they see their ideas are all of a kind, and are easily interchangeable in regards to what will satisfy an emotional need and desire. They have notions, leanings and convictions, but without understanding. Which is to elevate the issue, the instance, the Material, up and over the higher principles of Human understanding - it is not only a flattening, but an inversion of the human conceptual structure, the higher thought is placed in the service of the immediate moment and concern, instead of the immediate concerns deferring to the purposes of the higher ideals – like redrawing the map because you don’t want to walk so far to school.

Western thought has travelled down to us from across three thousand years and more – how is this in any way part of its destination? These threads have no resemblance to those of Ariadne (links to a fairly flat retelling of the myth, but… I like the pictures), they glitter with no luminescence of truth, they don’t lead you out of the labyrinth, but deeper into it. They use outwardly glittering threads of pyrite to weave the cloth needed to clothe themselves in mockery of their targets; mockery, retort, insult, juvenile putdowns and mutual cackles with their likeminded fellows… but not once do they engage in an argument of ideas, not once did they make a case for their beliefs – not once did they even show that they understood their beliefs, or where they came from.

Which gets me closer to my central question, how did the movement of Liberalism, once the center of intellectual life and reasoned debate, become so unaware of, and even contemptuous of, Ideas – especially ideas of liberty and freedom and equality before an objective and impartial law? That IS Liberalism!?

These fools claiming to be modern liberals, were, are, as opposed to Liberalism, the culmination of Western political thought, as it gets – it seems - and is in fact more similar to the darkened conflicts which gave rise to Liberalism in the first place some four or five centuries ago. Are we to be lead full circle, from night, to dawn, to bright sunlight of day … and back to night again?

We will, if we quietly follow them.

But we have a choice, we have the light of ideas and understanding to dispel the dark of techno-barbaric ignorance… but we must turn these lights on – not just metaphorically - we must allow ourselves to see what they show us, think upon them to fuel them, but also we must act and stand for our convictions in order to shed their light and push back the night once again.

And make no mistake, the night is pressing in… we’ve given it an opening, and it is pressing its advantage, that of using our greatest weapon against us.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom – Talking About…
Courting the Night ... and Day
I enjoyed Liberal Fascism, and will get into it more in a later post, but the more important point I see, is Not the similarities between the modern left and fascism, but the dissimilarities between the original Liberals, and the modern left which claims the title of ‘liberal’; the question is not that the Liberal movement has a tendency to spawn political movements and revolutions of Power - fascistic or otherwise – it always has (1776 & 1793 for instance), but that their ideals are not only not similar to the original Liberal ideals; but that they are actively against those ideas, deriding those ideas, abusing those ideas and dismissing those formative ideas – while all the while pointedly never engaging those ideas with ideas of their own.

Why is the new Leftist so different from the original Liberal? It is so easy to see this as a simple left vs right issue, but more fundamentally, they approach the issue from the same source, but diverge at a key point of principle, a point upon which Reason itself hinges.

It’s easy to say that our age has fallen from the heights of the Founders… easy to say it, but is it fully true? What is jarring to our golden time tinted glasses of nostalgia, is to ask, has this current crop of leftist assertionists, statists and mindless cacklers really fallen from the heights of 1776 and 1787, or have they always been with us – even in that golden time of our Founders? Have we fallen or just shifted? Despite our initial temptations to defend the higher standards of our exalted ancestors, a closer look will show that our modern leftists are but the latest incarnations of what existed then, even among those we revere (Thomas Paine comes to mind) just as they do now; what we experience now are just the logical results of what was set in motion then, on the other side of the liberal coin; at one point it was difficult to tell onc side from the other, but the coin has stopped spinning and the demarcations visibly grow upon one or the other of the branches, rarely will you find them on both, and the time is fast approaching were we will all have to choose either Heads or Tails.

Development of Classical liberalism – the What that it’s all about
The Heights Which Conservatism Should Be Seeking To Conserve
A proper conservative, not necessarily a republican, seeks to conserve, to keep alive and undamaged, something of great value and importance to them… what is it? That most rare bird these days, the true conservative, is seeking to conserve the ideals of the Founders of America, Classical Liberalism. Any reference to these founding ideals though, gets a response from the modern leftist such as this one,

“What is this mythical principles?! The founders didn’t agree on everything, there is no source to return to!”.

In the narrow sense he is correct, they did disagree on much – the slightest of glances at Hamilton and Madison shows that to be so – but looking deeper, Hamilton and Madison who were two of the founts of the constitutional convention, and afterwards teamed up to help write the Federalist Papers in support of the constitution in the ratification debates, long before being in opposition to each other on policy issues. Adams and Jefferson were friends, then bitter political enemies through their differing views on the application of their ideas to actual policies, and then after the incidental skirmishing was over, they became friends again via a correspondence of fascinating intellectual depth.

This was only possible, because there were real and true fundamental principles upon which not only those we identify as the Founding Fathers, but also the general public who supported them, which they actually agreed upon, even though they had strong disagreements on how those principles should be implemented. Even between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists whom they contended with during the ratification debates, even there they did not disagree on principles, only the effectiveness of strategies of implementing them and their priorities. As Jefferson said,

"But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have been called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists."
What were these common ideals and principles, what do and should they mean to us, and how do they bear upon our world today?

As good a place as any to call the beginning, is about (+ or -) 500 years ago in England, a time not far removed from when Henry VIII had killed Thomas Moore and of course his several wives, and died of his excesses. The same times that saw Francis Bacon put forth the proposition (proper as far as it goes) that we should render unto religion that which is religious, respecting it and the rhetorical arts – but not to confuse them with giving actual knowledge of the world and how it works; that such proper knowledge could only be gained through Induction - by careful observations and conclusions systematically arrived at and supported through those observations, the essence of proper science (and the germ of its present undoing – not because of induction, but the implied disintegration between the religio/poetic and the scientific).

On the death of Henry VIII, his daughter, Elizabeth, managed to overcome her sister’s consumption in the old ways, she secured the throne of England and steered a course by the lights of her own thoughts, and policies, which on the whole, and in comparison to the rest of the world, Spain in particular, were the veritable light of learning and enlightenment. It was her rule over and leadership of, English shopkeepers and sailors, map and instrument makers, explorers that gave rise to people like Shakespeare, and of course– as it was Elizabeth who began the settlement of New England – to America itself.

This was a time and place of real and substantial change.

Following her reign there were of course setbacks galore (as is the norm in human history), but they were setbacks which allowed the colonists to taste an unheard of degree of independent political self rule and free thinking, and those setbacks in England, with the Stewarts, Charles and Cromwell the Lord Protector (who has the unusual distinction of having been hanged and beheaded three years after his actual death. Gotta love English history) and William and Mary and the Glorious Revolution, these were all equal parts fire and fuel to the intellectual awakening among the English, Scottish and Irish peoples, leading to and being led by, Francis Bacon, Sir Edward Coke, Isaac Newton, Alexander Pope, John Locke, all contributing to give rise to that particular English, or perhaps I should say British, way of thinking, of hard headed empiricists with an interest, respect and even reverence for, reality and the need to demonstrate that your thoughts were anchored in it. There is a significant contrast here, to the French strain of the Enlightenment that was beginning, with Descartes and Spinoza, to go wholly over to “The Clouds” of rationalism (marked by starting from a “Great Idea” and working down to the particulars that can be found to give credence to them) ; a division which in many ways holds true to this day in the separation between our Conservatives and Leftists.

During this period of setbacks and collisions along the spiral, they saw the old dogmatic religiously bound political power hit its dead end, just as the ‘new’ power of Reason was ascending, fueled by sources such as Bacon’s scientific investigations and essays, the Royal Society, etc, it was a time where it was becoming not only acceptable to think on your own (Galileo notwithstanding), but fashionable to do so. Interestingly, there’s also an indication in the literacy rates between colonies and mother country (at some points estimated by some with highs 80+%’s in the colonies, vs 60%’s in England), that the colonies enormously benefited from the best among England, who so demanded to think for themselves, voting with their feet by valuing that even over the comfort of remaining in their ancient homeland.

What the English discovered in their freedom and their long fight for that freedom on down the long line from the beginnings of Magna Carta (1215) to the Glorious Revolution and Locke's Two Treatises of Gov’t and the English Bill of Rights, was that they, the shopkeepers, mapmakers, instrument designers, explorers, botanists, playwrights, lawyers and philosophers who gathered together and discussed observations of the world they discovered, that through their discussions upon those experiences, slowly with facts and speculation and verification, they inexorably built them into low level truths, and which continued discussion checked and integrate those facts, until they at last arrived at a more solid understanding of incomparably Larger Truths which seemingly revealed themselves, once the small analysis work was properly done. See Shakespeare, Milton, Newton, Hazlitt. They also discovered that if you fought for them, and if your own character was built up in a similar fashion – demonstrating from experience habits of diligence, honesty, persistence, you had a fighting chance of actually succeeding. See Sydney, Locke, Thomas Reid, Burke.

This way of looking at the world which they developed from the wary lessons learned from of the middle ages and the Renaissance, came together relatively quickly following its emergence roughly from the period of the first Spanish Armada and reaching full bloom with the reign of William and Mary. This was a relatively short stretch of years, historically speaking, separating an era that saw a thriving course of witch burnings in Scotland to that era being brought to a close with something like the first liberal cause célèbre, Locke’s defense of Aikenhead’s blasphemy (a teenage school boy was accused by another student of ridiculing the idea of God) that

“religious views are a matter of private conscience and no public authority has a right to interfere in how it is exercised"
in his “Letter concerning toleration” of 1689. Although despite Locke's considerable efforts, in 1697 a young, nineteen year old, Thomas Aikenhead, swung by the neck for blasphemy, it brought to a close the dark ages and the birth of the Enlightenment proper, and thenceforth that Reason, relying upon fact and principle and guided by a desire towards transcendent Truth and opposition to inappropriate uses of power, was to rule in the affairs of men.

That understanding and realization, and the conviction that it could not not be true, led into the Greatest period of Civilization in Mankind’s history – for good and for ill. For the first time Man was going to rely upon religious ideals only in his private conscience and affairs, and trust the governance and ordering of society, which though rooted in his private sensibility, it was publicly going to be based upon objective discourse and law, whose meaning and application could be referred to and justified before their fellows.

The Un-Breached Breach – The Why looping up
Those who would like to take this apparent opening as indicating an intentional ACLU’ish breach between Religion and the public affairs of men; the exclusion of men’s religious sensibilities from any association or reference in Gov’t, law, education, etc, misread the times oh so shallowly, as well as the meaning of the Enlightenment, down to the very word itself. Francis Bacon, in his essay on Atheism (1607) said,

"OF ATHEISM It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity."
Religious sensibilities were not only NOT being ostracized, they were very much noted by virtually all involved to be a vital requirement not only to the life of a proper Gentlemen, but as an indispensible foundation for society.

This was because they saw a religious core as being vital, and that they understood the importance of reverence for the highest good as the pole star for exercising volitional choice in all matters ethical, what they sought to forbid religious matters and questions from being mandated, forced upon and enforced, by the state. It was understood to be a matter that must be contemplated upon and chosen freely by each and every person in society. In the very depths of the Enlightenment, was the very Christian conception of the importance of the Individual Soul, and its choices – and responsibility for those choices – as being primary to all that followed. The only way to ensure peoples being able to freely make those choices, was for Reason to be employed and resorted to, in the governance and affairs of men, and in those affairs, force MUST in every feasible way, yield to, the dictates of Reason.

This was the motivating principle of how society should and must be ordered, and the conviction of which was what lay behind the emigration of thousands from England’s shores, by those who felt that England was not living up to their understanding of those very principles, and which eventually led to the Glorious Revolution, and the subsequent development of the English Bill of Rights – a major inspiration for the later American revolutionary actions and the U.S. Constitution’s saving Bill of Rights.

It’s interesting to examine the English Bill of Rights which the Founders generation felt they were being excluded from, by George III’s taxation, tariffs and generally beastly behavior (summarized in wiki), here are a few of them… which should ring a bell to any American:

  • freedom from royal interference with the law (the Sovereign was forbidden to establish his own courts or to act as a judge himself)
  • freedom from taxation by royal prerogative, without agreement by Parliament
  • freedom to petition the Monarch
  • freedom from a peace-time standing army, without agreement by Parliament
  • freedom [for Protestants] to have arms for their defence, suitable to their class status and as
  • allowed by law
  • freedom to elect members of Parliament without interference from the Sovereign
  • the freedom of speech in Parliament, in that proceedings in Parliament were not to be questioned in the courts or in any body outside Parliament itself (the basis of modern parliamentary privilege)
  • freedom from cruel and unusual punishments, and excessive bail
  • freedom from fines and forfeitures without trial
These were seen as the basic requirements for living a liberated life, of being a Liberal, and the later United States Constitution would not have been passed without our Bill of Rights, strongly influenced by the English Bill of Rights, being amended to it. What you should note in examining either, is that they don't give you a right TO something, but they give you a Right to be free FROM interference and coercion, from the Gov't in those areas you seek to practice. It should be noted that that didn’t mean Gov’t actions were bad if they interfered in your affairs, after all, this was still almost two centuries before Adam Smith and his “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, but it did mean that it was understood to be improper for such actions to be taken without first having given the people a voice in the process of designing and enacting laws that might interfere and coerce them – the phrase ‘No Taxation without Representation!’ should come to mind. It wasn’t that Taxation was the ultimate evil, it was that it being levied without representation, without the people having a say, effectively denying them their proper input of Volitional Choice, Free Will, from the process. The only thing these rights could be said to ensure a right TO, would be the right to have a voice, real or delegated, in the affairs which affected your Property, Rights and Life. With that, they would have had a say, and if on the losing side, still would not be excluded from the decision making process as if they were slaves (the amount of true change that this view represented, is almost impossible to overstate).

These were revolutionary ideas… but they were not new. They weren’t even new when Locke wrote his Two Treatises on Gov't, they were already thick in the English air for half a century… and where some English Kings, James, tried to blow them away, the wind sent those who understood these ideas best, to America. It was after deposing James, that the English Bill of Rights were enacted, in 1689… but proud as the English were and should be of that… they were late to the party. Those who understood what Charles I & II and James were about, and refused to suffer such tyranny, beat them to those declarations by a full half century. In America.

Take a look into the origins of Connecticut, and you’ll see an example of this. A minister Thomas Hooker, the Original Connecticut Compact, lived the story, would no longer tolerate the Kings heavy hand, and left for America, and soon after departed the company of the more heavy handed Puritans, for the wilds of Connecticut, in order to establish a community more firmly rooted in that freedom necessary for true religious belief.

More info on Thomas Hooker:

"Before the General Court, on May 3 1, 1638, eight months before the Fundamental Orders were adopted, Hooker preached a remarkable sermon on popular sovereignty. Taking for his text Deut. 1:13 - the passage on which John Eliot later erected his fantastic Utopia-he elaborated the thesis that "the foundation of authority is laid, firstly, in the free consent of the people," and therefore that "the choice of public magistrates belongs unto he people by God's own allowance," and "they who have the power to appoint officers and magistrates, it is in their power also, to set the bounds and limitations of the power and place unto which they call them." 8 This was Hooker's reply to the oligarchic policy of the Bay in limiting the number of freemen in order to maintain the supremacy of the magistrates; and it throws light on the comment written out of England in the spring of 1636, to John Wilson, that "there is great division of judgment in matters of religion amongst good ministers & people which moved Mr. Hoker to remove"; and that "you are so strict in admission of members to your church, that more than halfe are out of your church in all your congregations, & that Mr.Hoker before he went away preached against yt (as one reports who hard him)."9 In the new commonwealth there was neither a property qualification nor a religious test limiting the right of franchise; the admission of freemen was reckoned a political matter and left to the several township democracies. The reaction against the oligarchic policy of Massachusetts Bay carried far. "
They understood the necessity and importance, the absolute requirement of having a voice, a choice, in decisions of fundamental Rights as a Man. That to allow them to be abridged, was to make you less than this new standing in the world – that of a Man secure in his Rights, and by virtue of them and their observance by him, Free and in Liberty. If you take a look at the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, you’ll see the idea of Gov’t being a societal contract defining limits upon the Govt, setting out the structure of the Magistrates, elections, limits upon their terms, and manner of taxation.

Fifty years later, Locke put the matter into clearer and more detailed intellectual relief, in his reasoning’s were displayed the basic requirement of Proper law, that A Man’s house was His Castle, that is that it must protect your Individual rights to your life, liberty and ability to pursue what you deem to be your Happiness and those rights utter reliance upon the citizens having a right to their Property, without which no other rights could be expected.

Lockean thought wasn’t just that you had a right to things as property, but that your rights were themselves property which you had ownership of. In his “Second Treatise of Government”, Locke says

“united for the general preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name – property.”, and also “… by property I must be understood here as in other places to mean that property which men have in their persons as well as goods.”
This was what the Founders in general and Madison in particular understood by the term Property.

Madison, in his essay on property, described what he called the

“larger and juster meaning” of the term Property. It embraces… every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right…. A man has property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practices dictated by them. He has property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person. He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.”
They didn’t espouse those rights to property just in order to gain and keep ‘things’, but because for the first time in Human History, they understood that your ability to live Your life, to have an unbreached soul, depended upon your ability to make the choices necessary for a worthy and virtuous life, and those choices depended upon these rights being recognized and upheld.

The Founders did not think of property as simple things, but as extensions of the soul into the world, and to interfere between owner and property, to interfere with the owners choice to do with his property as he would, was to perpetrate something akin to an unholy act, certainly unjust, and in no wise lawful. Locke also argued that if a ruler violates any of his subjects’ property rights he is “at war” with them, and therefore the ruler may be disobeyed. From CHAPTER XIX of The Two Treatises on Gov’t:

“…for since it can never be supposed to be the will of the society that the legislative should have a power to destroy that which every one designs to secure by entering into society, and for which the people submitted themselves to legislators of their own making; whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence…”
While they recognized the needs of Gov't sometimes to choose between bad and worse, ideally if you did nothing to endanger or infringe upon the rights or the property of another, you shouldn’t brush up against the law, or the law with you. The reach of some codes, regulations and local laws, are sometimes debatable on whether or not they infringe on citizens rights – but they are debatable, there, in their local city halls. What is not (should not be) debatable, are your key rights as an individual across communities, and these were largely referenced in the original Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

There were flaws and contradictions, as there are with most new knowledge (Locke’s idea of ‘Surplus Property’ for instance. I would argue also that Rights are less like ‘Property’ in the sense of something owned, than as ‘Properties’ in the sense of descriptions of actual features or consequences of the nature of Man, or the soul, and which for most of human history have been plucked out, as a child plucks the wings from a bug – but that’s for another post), but that is no excuse for us to be unaware of, or dismissive of them. Take another look at the preceding quote from Locke, one so fundamental to the ideas which this Nation was formed from, do you begin to see a clue as to the real reason why Locke, and even the Declaration of Independence, which amounts to a Poetic summation of his thought, are rarely taught in our schools, or if taught, mis-taught, today? The very existence of our ‘public schools’ are in opposition to it.

Those opposed to ‘Property’ rights are opposed to far more than your right to some ‘things’, they are opposed to your right to your life and your choice in the living of it. That English shop keepers mentality of desiring experience and clarity over lofty thoughts with no clear connection to daily life, is essential to Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And here, in choice and property and soul, we approach the real issue. The attempted separation, imaginary, incorrect and flawed though it may be, of the three axioms, form a philosophical assault upon Western Reason. Delete or discount any one or all of those three, and you are no longer, on a higher level, fully human or conscious... no more so than any other clever ape.

Our Constitutional Rights acknowledge your Right to live in Liberty, not your Right to have others live their lives for your benefit. They also assume that you are not using or abusing your rights to the level of infringing on the right of others to enjoy and exercise their rights.

The proper Liberal understanding of Gov't is (was) that it should provide for securing and defending the Peoples ability to exercise their Rights as Men. But what was a Man?

The pitchfork in the tree – another loop
“The proper study of Mankind – is man” Alexander Pope
Well… yes, but from what perspective, and to what purpose? As Man the whole, or as particularized quantifiable examinations of reactions, psychological traits and sociological situations? Aristotle and Plato both, when looking at what was the basis for Gov’t and citizens behavior, justice, etc, both deferred their answers to looking at the larger picture from which they felt it would be ‘easier to see in the operation of the polis, then abstract to man’

In defense of Aristotle, the perspective of looking at Individuals as not having worth apart from their state, overlooking the concept of Individual Rights as we think of them today, that was an idea that did not yet exist, and could not exist prior to the Enlightenment; not taking solid shape at all, before Locke (I’m not excluding the insights of Sydney, Milton and a host of others, only to say that its form in political science, was mostly only a foreshadowing, prior to Locke). And always there’s the spiral nature of knowledge, that until there is established order, there is no possibility for the Individual to Reason, know, and desire liberty.

However that perspective has gone mostly unquestioned even into our age where we no longer have Aristotle’s excuse of not knowing of the idea, and the distorted misperceptions which, I think flow from that neglect, are evident everywhere. It seems to me that the perspective from which you approach the question of governing (society or men, which?) is extremely important; is society something which exists as an entity which must see to it that individuals behave in such a way as not to disrupt it; from which comes the leftist (and not a few republicans) view that the state can then be expected to bestow well being upon the individuals who serve it? Should Society maintain itself by keeping the people in line by force? Or, is the society something which arises only out of the interaction of individuals, for the purposes of and the benefit of, and due to natural and necessary interactions of, individuals, whence comes the Classical Liberal’s view that society should be directed and kept within those purposes, in order to enable the people to best act as they themselves judge worthwhile?

Again, how is the society to be directed, what is the proper study of mankind… from below at the level of the real flesh and blood individuals who make it up, or from above… where it doesn’t really exist, except in their imagination? But then again, people exist only in society with the other… it is a ‘chicken or the egg’ question that has puzzled man from the same source.

The proper resolution, in my mind, is to first acknowledge that Society isn’t – People are, and that it is only through people, that society… becomes. The attempt to better understand a principle by examining what only results from its application, is to deal with a secondary as if it is a primary, a fictional construct which only operates as a result of those principles, and can only result in distortions which impair a clear view of the matter, inevitably producing an extended series of errors. However, so does ignoring the fact that the fictional construct is in fact constructed and referenced – the imaginary vision is real – by virtue of those who imagine it, and what they are imagining to be worthwhile - what the society becomes and the types of individuals it encourages , is due to how individuals behave and expect others to behave. It is that imagination, its use and oversight of (or lack of), that is key to the nature of the puzzle, and the solution. .. round and round the spiral we go again.

Perspective – the return loop on the spiral
As mentioned, I’ve illustrated Reason with the three legged stool, experience, goal and imagination – this is the raw nature of Reason, discoverable in the finest of Western Thought, as well as the most base of stone age New Guinea tribal life. Reason orchestrates the material of experience to guide our actions towards a goal, propelled by our Imagination. While Reason can produce many imaginative results (see Descartes Physics), they are not necessarily going to be ones that will help us accomplish our goals or anything else if they don’t also comport with reality (also see Descartes Physics).

It is this process of braiding imagination, experience and goals, that results in that Spiral Nature of Knowledge, and the oft noted difficulty of telling which came first, the abstraction, or the particular. The perpetual chicken or the egg nature of particulars and universals, quantities and qualities, which dictates that we should be doing both, cross checking all along the way to see that the upper and lower edges of knowledge merge smoothly into each other, but that too wasn’t apparent until just recently. Refusing to do so, or even attempting to force together those which don’t actually fit together, has resulted in so many of the misalignments, outright misses, or collisions modernity has experienced, from attempting to force the two opposing paths to merge, at the expense of deforming the people locked within them.

You have to begin somewhere though, and I believe it must begin with the least abstract, from which abstractions form, so first must be looked at what is proper and necessary to a human life, then what is proper and necessary for humans to live in proximity with other humans, as humans, all the while referencing upwards to see if there are any conflicts developing as we go. Looked at from this perspective, we will, I think, arrive at greatly differing conclusions than those first advanced by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli & Hobbes, and not so far from where Locke wound up.

Existence exists, it exists as something, and you are that which is aware of it.
As allegedly rational creatures, one of Homo Sapiens, a creature distinguished from other creatures by its extended capacity for Reason, a miraculous capability which enables our venturing into the past, present and future, imaginatively, to see how things might have, or may yet be, accomplished better or worse; but before that faculty can be properly used towards worthwhile results, there must be an ordering of Values, rooted in reality and that supposed value measured in relation to the ultimate value, a person’s life - that is a precondition in order to engage in Reason to begin with. This is because, in a creature who must act to live, Human life, yours and theirs, is the ultimate value (not mere breathing, but Life - there is always the very real possibility that in order to maintain that value, that which makes it possible to be of value, might require risking, or even knowingly doing what will almost certainly result in your own death), and that Value can only be sustained by the use of the Human's distinguishing characteristic capacity for Reason, in order to choose what actions to take to sustain and further it.

It is only this process of Reasoning which can elevate Man to the status of Civilized Man, and Reality is the impartial judge and arbiter of any propositions or perceived conflicts between Men – and that is only possible if they recognize an objective reality in their interactions – in other words, demonstrating in a manner verifiable to all parties in a conflict, that a proposition agrees with Reality, upon which all of their best interests rest.

How do you settle on ‘objective reality’ in your interactions? This is where, to my mind, Aristotle is more than absolved from his ‘errors’ of not understanding what was not yet known, Individual Rights, etc, by the fact that he essentially created the mental tool needed to get us within reach of it and anything and everything else the West takes for granted.

Imagination is important, but it is only, or at least most, useful when it operates faithfully within the boundaries of reality, which we can and do know through our experience in it, in order to accomplish our goals. We have a method for determining whether or not the imaginative produce of Reason complements or contradicts Reality as we experience it, or are likely to experience it, and that tool developed by Aristotle 3,000 years ago, is called Logic, a systematic formula for verifying the relation ( or lack of one) between a proposition, and reality.

It is also only in such a society that you will find the intellectual development of the Good, the Beautiful and the True. Outside the progeny of Greece and Rome, where will you find the likes of the Parthenon, the Venus de Milo or the Mona Lisa? Not the mystic power and intimidation of the ‘art’ and structures of Egypt, not Sumer, not the bullying of islam, not the gaudy fancy and phantasmic images of India, perhaps the closest you will come will be China and Japan, but there it will be developed not in the perceptions of Man, but in nature poetry, porcelain, floral and landscape arrangements, etc. That which Matthew Arnold called Sweetness and Light, is the rarest of rarities.

Being a rational creature, capable of Reasoning, or not, you must recognize the necessity for others to Reason for themselves and also take the actions they see as being necessary to further and sustain their lives. This fact, and the need to avoid conflict between peoples actions, is the origin of the concept of Individual Rights, rooted in the very nature and deisign of who and what we are.

If the person you are facing, negotiating with, doesn't recognize that you also have a claim to life and the actions proper to sustaining it, then they are such that only power and fear can govern in their disagreements. These people are, in any fundamental conflict, to be accorded no right to the life they fail to extend to others. If they don’t even conform their Reasoning to complement Reality, merely use it in flights of fancy to bolster their urges, desires and claims upon others, then they, by their own choice, are opposed to civilized Reason, and are the sub-human debris, which if civilized people encounter and are threatened by, are to be wiped out.

Wiped out, without regret or guilt. Period, end of statement.

Savages and other tenured professors might ask by what right do you have to say that your culture and values are better than the savages? But that begs the question they attempt to avoid, of Value, to whom and for what? A Value can only be of value to a mind faced with the alternative of life and death, all values being measured and manipulated in terms of that, and it can only have actual value with a rational evaluation. That is only possible, in a world that can be evaluated. And recognizing the need to evaluate and act in reality, to gain or keep the value in question, brings you back to Bacon’s aphorism,

“Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule.”
There must be a commonality, between all that exists, any alleged ‘value’ must be in and of Reality, and we must be able to recognize the nature of its involvement in Existence and for Human Life... enter Truth... and why its mis-identification results in error, and progressively deeper and more unstable layers of falsehood, lies, etc.

To look at a conflict between those who Reason in reality, and those who reason towards ends which conflict with it, there needs to be an understanding of the principles, if any, involved. If there are critical principles in your disagreement, and the other party either refuses or is unable to recognize it or pose a reasonable alternative, then your disagreement is not a mere matter of valuation - it cannot be - without the implicitly mutually recognized understanding of the Right of each party to their life, and the right to take the actions necessary to sustain and further their lives, while respecting the others Right to do the same; without that, not even a 'negotiation' over trading baseball cards for apples is possible, not without the distinct possibility of the 'negotiation' ending with one of the negotiators death while trying to cling to what the other takes from him by force.

If you don't have recourse to a universal principle of value, let alone an objective idea of Truth to judge it by, you are cemented into a barbaric confrontation between muscles and desires. And until you recognize that universal understanding, the existence of Truth and our unique ability to partake of it, then any discussion of Right and Wrong, Truth and Falsehood, Beautiful and Ugly, Good and Evil, will be infinitely above and beyond your capacity to grasp and engage in it.

To recap, at root, logic is a key tool in the process of identifying the particulars of what IS, the Poetic is how we attempt to grasp the whole of it. That process of identification can't happen separately from our experiencing what exists, or by somehow grasping what exists without our experiencing it - they are inextricable. Existence exists, it exists as something, and IT is what we are conscious of. We don't learn by rules of logic separately from experience, or by experience separate from logic, but by applying logic to experience, and our grasp of what is True, comes from our logically identifying that which exists, and within which we exist - the deeper the correct identification of integrations, the deeper our understanding and experiencing of Truth. Conversely, as that recognition and grasp of external reality develops, so does an internal sense of self, which with introspection can reveal structures as well, though which can only be viewed, can only be inspected and appreciated from within, creating a transition point between Reasoned discourse and introspective contemplation – the evidence you find is persuasive, but personal, it cannot be exchanged or reviewed and verified first hand, only by approximate second hand reports – publicly circumstantial, proved only internally. No one, and no one’s assertions, can stand in for you and your perceptions and your choices.

When we attempt to misidentify either reality or our place in it, our grasp is weakened, in both the particular and in the wider poetic formulation of it.

Existence pre-exists our thoughts, and our thoughts arise from our experience of it, logic is as much a part of reality as gravity, whether or not you follow its rules you can't ask a single question or make a single statement without invoking logic, or a single step upon the earth outside the influence of gravity, and Aristotle didn't invent it anymore than Newton did Gravity - they only noticed, observed and codified the facts of reality. As Ayn Rand put it "Logic is the Art of non-contradictory identification", and I think that captures it well.

Logic is 2D – it can check focused sections of our thought – but it can’t check, evaluate or even realize – the full perspective of a full 3D thought. Try logic checking Frost’s “Whose Woods these are”, and tell me you’ve verified anything more worthwhile than carriage driving tips and an out of date weather report. Our conceptual minds enable us to build and operate in (what we currently represent now as) neural net patterns, in 3D depth (at the minimum), Aristotle's rules of logic is the linear tool we have developed to test the structure and soundness of our thought... its application however is somewhat like rolling a spherical thought out over a logical yardstick, or measuring the sides of a triangle, or the squareness of a joint... though it is true that our thought isn't confined to the linear, our way of checking its conclusions, is. Hence the importance of doing your best to ensure that your most basic assumptions comport with reality. If at your most basic premises, that which guides all of your other thoughts, your determine that ‘reality is unknowable, and the causes of things cannot ever be known, then the thoughts you construct upon those shifting sands, will be unstable at best, and most likely death traps in their ends.

This is where the disastrously disconnected and uncoordinated thoughts of rationalists and skeptics (the Union or Pacific transcerebral railroads) such as Descartes and Hume, have either passed each other in a self perpetuating night, or collided in the derailing train wreck of modern ‘philosophy’. Because they misconceived or missed reality, doesn’t mean that reality will take note of them as a gimmee, as Hume confessed (Section XII of his “Concerning the Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals”)

“These principles may flourish and triumph in the schools; where it is, indeed, difficult, if not impossible, to refute them. But as soon as they leave the shade, and by the presence of the real objects, which actuate our passions and sentiments, are put in opposition to the more powerful principles of our nature, they vanish like smoke, and leave the most determined sceptic in the same condition as other mortals”
But you have a choice - you can recognize that, or not, you can adhere to the requirements of reality, or not, but you can't escape either its rules, or what those rules are rules of. Not understanding how A is A, is not a severe problem in itself, it is enough that our minds do, even if not consciously; however, not understanding that and therefore declaring that it is untrue simply because you do not grasp the nature and details… there is a problem most severe.

Not recognizing that, pretending to grasp more of the thought than you in fact are able, will result in sloppy building, with little or no correspondence between your thoughts and reality as it is; or you can be deliberate and aware, trusting to our ability to synthesize your focused sections into a hole with the 3d depth perception of your intuitive and poetic sensibilities. The more soundly it checks out, the higher and deeper and steadier the structures of thought we can build, and through that we experience Truth, by factually identifying things as they are, within a given context, we bring our thoughts into resonance with what IS... and whatever it is that WE ARE, which motivates and inhabits these minds of conceptual cathedrals we build... it begins to thrum like a tuning fork at that sympathetic resonance.

The religious and poetic is how we hold the whole together, it is how we maintain perspective within the spherical depth, by means of the archetypal imagery, as if on grabbing a basketball, your fingers extended through to the core of the ball, not just the surface. Strict logic can keep a disintegrated set of walls straight and true, but will tell us nothing about the buildings beauty or lack of it – that is where we need to set the tool down, and engage our full Reasoning Intellect.

When you deny that grasp, and the structure which requires it, you'll find that something else is misidentified as well. When you deny the grasp of the all, you also narrow or shorten and clip the grasp of the particular, your understanding is stunted from deeply grasping A is A, to gripping A is a. Technically the same, but so much less. And if you can’t grasp reality, if you can’t say that what you see is real, and make judgments about it, then neither can you possibly have an ordered conception of your internal grasp of reality. Your sense of self will crumble even faster than your cultures grasp of civility – the Good, the Beautiful and the True

Five Hundred years ago, the Baconists managed a separation between Vertical and Horizontal ideas, seeking as they were to better understand the horizontal, but that didn’t exclude the Vertical. In Bacon’s The New Organon (1620), he put it as,

"Let there be therefore (and may it be for the benefit of both) two streams and two dispensations of knowledge, and in like manner two tribes or kindreds of students in philosophy — tribes not hostile or alien to each other, but bound together by mutual services; let there in short be one method for the cultivation, another for the invention, of knowledge."
They were interested in knowledge about Things, after all. Rationalists however, were focused upon their rarified conception of the metaphysical, that unsullied with any relation to reality, the ultimate source of all knowledge, and so with their separation, necessitated by trying to apply the tools of the horizontal, of logical verification upon that which necessarily comes prior to either logic or the ability to verify (as exemplified by Descartes and Hume), they were forced to not only separate or compartmentalize their 'knowledge', but to destroy the very idea of the Metaphysical and of knowledge itself.

When Hume conceived that we couldn't know the causes of anything, when Kant declared we couldn't really know reality at all, when Godwin persuaded us that whatever we may claim to know or choose to do is irrelevant since any 'choice' you make is in essence no different than the way one billiard ball bounces off of another and just as dependent upon you, when under all of that Rousseau said that only the uncivilized savage, those who had never tried to know anything, could be said to be in any way 'good' or 'noble'... well... what was the point of any attempt to achieve anything of worth (worth!? TO who? for what? based upon what!? Whyyy so serious!?)? Man’s mind cannot sustain a vacuum (Paris Hilton to the contrary), and into the space vacated by integrated knowledge, was forced communal assertion, unsupported or validated by anything but the sensed desire of the masses for their assertions to be ‘true’.

This is a very important loop of the spiral, circle about it a few times – loop…
If you can’t know reality, you can’t make choices about it, so it must shape everything you thought you were thinking and doing, and without any conceit of volitional choice, Free Will, your only recourse is to feelings, urges and the foggy contentment of the approval (how? Approval, from approve, ""to attest (something) with authority,"... "to assent to as good, regard as good," from ad- "to" + probare "to try, test something (to find if it is good)," from probus "honest, genuine" (see prove)...'Prove'? oh... Never mind) of others. The world fades and your Self crumbles.

– loop…
Knowledge (not the mere retention of fact clusters, but integrated Knowledge) involves choice, is inseparable from it, it is a process of integrating and interweaving our perceptions, conceptions and judgments about the nature of some aspect of reality. The interior of us, that which separates us from the machine, that for which we do not mistake a talking doll for a human being (hint: it’s not flesh vs plastic (fleshism?)) the living soul that enables recognition of Truth, MUST be non-automatic, non-mechanical, non-deterministic, or it can be nothing at all but a thing, let alone of any worth or value.

– loop…
Free Will is the basis of all our knowledge, and the hindrance of which stops our learning and our ability to fully live, one of the unintended consequences of Hume’s skepticism, the idea that we cannot really know anything, is that it shuts down a portion of your involvement in your life, if you can't know... you also can't choose... choose what? You don't know what you do or don't know... know? Knowledge is not only the result of your freedom to re-cognize the Truth about reality, but it is an ever dynamic process, an expression and affirmation of your involvement in life - no freedom, no knowledge, no life.

– loop…
You cannot deny our ability to Know, without also denying our ability to Choose, and the existence of Truth, Beauty and the Good. It's a package deal, and the notion that any part of it can be denied without disrupting your ability to recognize and realize the rest, is folly. See the conceptions of 'knowledge, beauty, art, ethics, religion' in the modernity built from Hume, Rousseau, Kant, and the denial of Free Will all together which has followed from it - there is a reason why socialism results in a stagnant, grey, lifeless society.

– loop…
Soon after Kant came upon the scene, with his indecipherable and never ending sentences and mind numbing ly detailed examples which promise to lead up to supportable conclusions, but somehow never lead to anything but assertions and restatements and evasions of what Hume originally said (and Kant makes a big show of opposing, although in essence, he whole heartedly agrees with him), (this sentence would be merely the beginning of one of Kant’s), people gave up trying to grasp reality, epistemology or metaphysics – “too damn complicated, and doesn’t tell us anything about reality anyway!” is precisely what a few Americans, led by Charles Peirce, and later Thomas Dewey and William James, said, and developed (drum roll) Pragmatism. Forget about Principle, forget even about reality or what is really true (nothing is and we couldn’t know it if it were), just do what is effective, what works, forget trying to understand and doing what is right (!Deluded old Foggie!), just take Action!

– loop…
This dissolution of our ability to grasp reality and the consequent inability to know ourselves, was soon reflected in the destruction of Art. The first signs were a passionate desire to return to more authentic, back to nature drives in Painting, Poetry and Literature in the Romantic movement. Sturm und Drang, anxiety and despair were the new keywords which replaced dignity and nobility… did such art elevate? Examine Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, about a sensitive, angst ridden artist ‘in love’ with someone else’s girl, who eventually after there was no more room to wallow in, commits suicide. The results of this runaway best seller, was an epidemic of suicides that swept Europe. Art always gets and conveys the message of its theme, even when we sophistically seek to evade it, but nevertheless the message was all is hopeless, you are unable to know anything, give up and die. Within the century, Art would go from the Heights of William Bougerreau, down through an inevitable chain from one obvious conclusion to an even more obvious conclusion, that if we can know nothing, things are not what they appear, why bother trying to represent them? Brush work is unnecessary, representation is unnecessary, form and recognition are uneccessary, nothing depends upon no-thing else, just capture the ‘essence’ (of…? SHHH!) of them… how? Well… passionately, with angst undefined edges to cramped and densly slashed lines on down to the 2-Dimensionaly thin shallows of picasso (summed up perfectly in the link “…You had to be taught to love Picasso, because nobody would love him otherwise. But people don't need to be taught to love Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Bouguereau, or for that matter Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, or Tom Sawyer...”, the splattered filth of Jackson Pollock, and novels that have no plot or point to make, but just express the authors authentic feelings….

The result was that soon after the onset of the Romantic movement, Art reduced itself to art, and no longer does anything to inspire and restore, but inflame anger, depress, and tear down. Contemplation and Reason are out, Action and Powerlust are in. Sigh. The nausea builds… back to the structure of society,

Social Contracts and agreements – loop…
When Locke refer’s to a ‘Social Compact’, to

“222. The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property; and the end why they choose and authorize a legislative is, that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the members of the society: to limit the power, and moderate the dominion, of every part and member of the society:”
He wasn’t referring to any historical action, he was not unaware that most countries and kingdoms, were formed through the brute force of thugs and tyrants, he was referring to that form of society which we, as civilized, enlightened, Reasoning individuals, would properly enter into, given the choice to – as they should and must be. To Locke’s mind, and to those of spanning his time through our Founders time, property was far more than mere ‘stuff’, it was bound up with your mind and soul, and no one should attempt to take it from another, just as no one would forgo their rights to it – either situation would have been unthinkable to them.

But we do of course have people, quite a lot of people, ready and willing to not only forgo their property rights, but to deny you yours too, who will look at this undeniable fact of “a right to”’s, and excuse it by saying, "well... it's everyone’s duty, especially those with more, to sacrifice for the community" - which of course does nothing to change the fact that they are forcing their fellow men, and those having what they want, to live at their beck and call.

How and what makes this possible? How did the understanding of the Founders generation begin to fade in the popular imagination? How did America begin to fade in the popular imagination? There is a brutality of the soul that is inherent in this disregard of, callousness towards, other people’s Rights – and it exposes another foundational fact of the left – they feel that by ignoring Principle, that they can escape it and its consequences, and Law and even the constraints of Life itself.

Tell me, somebody, how a A right TO a minimum wage, means anything less than compelling businessmen to provide it to you, against their better judgment; how a right TO Health Care, means anything other than, in principle, compelling the medical profession to serve you, and enslaving the rest of the nation (yourself included) to provide it for you? Those who are so quick to look down upon Jefferson for owning slaves, would do well to consider the implications of their own political wish lists.

These were ideas which were in the air for more than a hundred years, prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution; they were nearly a-priori assumptions of the Founders generation, which was part of the reason why they felt that writing them into the Constitution wasn’t necessary. Everyone knew they were the basis of enlightened society.

The politics of the matter are convoluted, but the principle of the matter is simple. They gave up their own souls, and sought to rip the souls from their fellow man, so that they might have the benefit of more miserable company - that being what misery 'loves'... well craves, anyway.

When you have denied reality, denied yourself, denied responsibility for what you do, and for what you lack... there is no longer any room for wonder. Is that too harsh an assessment? I don’t think so.

With Rousseau, the jewel of Man, his Reason, was injected with this disintegrating poison, of sectioning the spiral and attempting to lay it out flat, either disintegrated, or connected in simple line of site spans. Hume, adhering to the rising path only, sees and recognizes the flat quantities only, Rousseau, adhering to the descending abstractions only, gave it stylish form without substance, mockeries of Quality, Godwin drew out his implications in a seemingly ‘sensible’ fashion, propping it up with arbitrary claims of disjointed quantifications of how he wished all to be, and Kant duct taped all together, giving it ‘intellectual’ standing (cover), from which every other ism has drawn from and relied upon, even in their apparent opposition to them.

Though the shortsighted Left (and right, for that matter) have been with us in the Demos of Athens, in the Populares of Caesar’s Rome, in the Tories of Queen Anne’s wars, at all times prior to modernity, their errors had previously been born of greed and shortsighted, naïve or mistaken judgment, but not from an opposition towards Judgment itself, towards Reason itself and towards Reality itself – That is new, and That is what they stand in opposition to in this day, make no mistake about it.

Modernity, growing from and upon the treacherous sands of Descartes, Hume, Rousseau, Godwin and Kant, is not only unable to coordinate the connection of the Union and Pacific into an integrated pathway between horizontal and vertical approaches in the Spiral of knowledge, but they have made the Wise into hobo’s upon its track, and all who ride it either continue on like flying Dutchmen of thought, or perish in collisions of the two tracks of ‘thought’.

Truth and Wisdom Do Not Loiter
Another caution, a review of the early colleges of America, Harvard, Yale, William & Mary, Princeton, looking at the theses which students were required to “manfully defend” were ideas such as what led to the revolution itself – something which the English failed to pay close enough attention to. Here’s an excerpt from “Education of the Founding Fathers of the Republic” by James J. Walsh, 1933,

“At the time of his graduation from William and Mary, Jefferson was eighteen. Durin the two preceding impressionable years he had been under the tutelage of Professor Small and had been well grounded in the ethics, commonly taught at the colleges in those days. We have no theses from William and Mary because of the fire but the ethical theses that are available from the four colleges, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Brown, are all sufficiently alike to make it clear that they represent the moral philosophy teaching of the time. Under ethics or politics at most of the colleges they defended the proposition that authority for government devolved originally on the people, and was by them transferred to the ruler. If he did not rule for the benefit of his people they had a right to remove him and substitute another. This is the teaching that was in many minds at that time as the result of their college theses and it was this that was incorporated in the Declaration of Independence, the source of whose theory of government must be found in this ethical philosophy that was the common teaching of all the colonial colleges, and had for centuries been the teaching of the universities generally unless they were under royal influence.”
What George III can perhaps be forgiven for not recognizing he was a leader of, was a Liberal Government of a Liberal People and what that meant. What George didn’t realize, was that in a Liberal setting, power grew out of the colleges and the Popular Press and Inn’s and Coffee houses, the Salon’s of the English and American’s of the Founders time (Virtual Blogs (!)). What we have still missed, is that in a power system based upon ideas, as the Liberal society by definition is,, it is the Ideas that are the most powerful ammunition and ordinance. George III lost the Colonies long before the first shot was heard around the world. Even before the point where John Adams located it as having begun with James Otis’s speech against the Writs of Assistance, though that was where it became tangible, the Colonies were lost through several generations of its people being educated with the Liberal thought which John Locke crystallized.

George III can be excused for his oversight, but we have no such excuse. The idea that the foolish and pernicious ideas taught in our colleges today will not lead to tyranny tomorrow, is a fools wish. If we don’t fight those faux ideas with True Ideas, they will win by default, and no parchment, newspaper or Supreme Court ruling will stop them.

Truth and Wisdom do not loiter, they will not linger long where they are not deeply grasped.
Those who think that laws, regulations, or even force themselves can keep a population orderly and civilized, are deeply and dangerously deluded – especially in a Liberal society. Paper does Nothing! Peoples understanding and belief does all! Lose that, and lose all.

I think you can also see that that vision of England, Englishmen and the Enlightenment itself, coming to a close, with similar speed as they were discovered and established between Locke and 1776, following the musings of David Hume. How did the application of the typical English form of enquiry, bring to an end the Vision of themselves, which had begun it? (hint it has to do with the Visions perspective).

Where Bacon had begun with the proper proposition that we should render unto religion that which is religious, and unto science that which is scientific… it has been transformed into we should rend that which is religions from the heart of that which is man so that he should know only that which is scientific – quantifiable, measureable, reviewable and repeatable by all, and anything which cannot be quantified, measured, reviewed and repeated by anyone else, is invalid and merely imaginary. The problem with that, is that it attempts to invalidate YOU, that which exists within you, what you yourself can see and consider in your own private counsel, is decried at the outset.

Pay attention not only to what they say, but to what what they say means. Beware.

The last loop through, I mentioned Pragmatism. What Pragmatism stands for, is the rejection of Principle on principle. It says to forget about Principle, forget even about reality or what is really true (nothing is and we couldn’t know it if it were), just do what is effective, what works, forget trying to understand and doing what is right (! Old Foggie!), just take Action!

From Wiki:

The epistemology of early pragmatism was heavily influenced by Darwinian thinking. Pragmatism was not the first to see the relevance of evolution for theories of knowledge: the same rationale had for example convinced Schopenhauer we should adopt biological idealism because what's useful to an organism to believe might differ wildly from what is actually true. Pragmatism differs from this idealist account because it challenges the assumption knowledge and action are two separate spheres, and there exists an absolute or transcendental truth above and beyond the sort of inquiry organisms use to cope with life. Pragmatism, in short, provides what might be termed an ecological account of knowledge: inquiry is construed as a means by which organisms can get a grip on their environment. 'Real' and 'true' are labels that have a function in inquiry and cannot be understood outside of that context.
Though James and Dewey and probably Peirce would disagree with my summation of Pragmatism, any detailed reading of their ‘thought’, carefully retaining the assertions they make along the way, and integrating them with the development of their ideas, will bear my (and I’m very late to the party in saying it) simple summary of it as:

Forget about Principle, forget even about reality or what is really true (nothing is and we couldn’t know it if it were), just do what is effective, what works, forget trying to understand and doing what is right (! Deluded old Foggie!), just take Action!
Pragmatism was the final philosophical cut that severed Reason from reality, and reduced all to assertions and struggles for power, and power alone, for the sake of power. Blow upon the skin of any leftist position, and you will find hidden beneath the cultivated layer of dust, no principle but bare assertion, no desire for Teaching, but only for indoctrinating. The Pragmatist is the most anti-human ‘thinker’ upon the world stage, he makes the savage seem civilized, it was the much praised pragmatism of the Progressives which gave us eugenics, sterilization policies, the destruction of property rights, the ‘third way’ fusion of Gov’t and Industry, the welfare state, and the destruction of our schools, the raising of the collective above the individual, and any whim and desire that is taken as a primary, a desire for “a living wage”, “leibensraum”, “healthcare”, none are seen to be subservient to any aspect of reality or dependent upon the exercise of others rights, none of that matters because WE WANT IT! That is justification enough in and of itself for taking Action to deliver it Now!, eventually spawning Fascism and then Nazism.

Do I overstate it? Take a look at another fellow traveler with Dewey & Co., James Cattle, father of American Illiteracy, a follower of the father of experimental psychology, Wilhelm Wundt, a Hegelian determinist whom I have vilified elsewhere, who gives a fine illustration of pragmatism in action, in what he felt passed for both an idea and a discovery (from the “Graves of Academe”, by Richard Mitchell, who always says it better):

One of them was a certain James Cattell, who, while playing with some of Wundt's apparatus, made a remarkable and portentous discovery. Here, in brief, is the story, as told by Lance J. Klass in The Leipzig Connection (The Delphian Press, 1978), a useful little book on the influence of Wundt in the history of American educationism:

One series of experiments Cattell performed while at Leipzig examined the manner in which a person sees the words he is reading. By testing adults who knew how to read, Cattell "discovered" that individuals can recognize words without having to sound out the letters. From this, he reasoned that words are not read by compounding the letters, but are perceived as "total word pictures." He determined that little is gained by teaching the child his sounds and letters as the first step to being able to read. Since individuals could recognize words very rapidly, the way to teach children how to read was to show them words, and tell them what the words were. The result was the dropping of the phonic or alphabetic method of teaching reading, and its replacement by the sight-reading method in use throughout America.
The consequences of Cattell's "discovery" have surely been enormous, for they include not only the stupefaction of almost the whole of American culture but even the birth and colossal growth of a lucrative industry devoted first to assuring that children won't be able to read and then to selling an endless succession of "remedies" for that inability; but Wundt in fact brought us much worse. He brought us the very atmosphere in which such silliness can thrive. Out of the internal exigencies of his "science," he was led to consider "education" a human phenomenon similar to other human psychic conditions, a conditioned response to stimuli. "Teaching" had to be seen as the application of stimuli that will elicit whatever response we choose to call "learning." Contrariwise, anyone who has learned something, to read or cipher, for instance, must obviously have done so as a result of being exposed not simply to the substance of his learning, the reading or ciphering, but to some stimulus that probably, but by no means certainly, was visited upon him somewhere in the vicinity of reading and ciphering.
In that mindless stimulus-response theory, you will find the roots of all that is mindless rot in the classrooms of the world today, and has sealed the demise of Education in the meaning that it held, and held high, in the time of our Founders. It also perfectly sums up Hume, Rousseau & Kant, take a look at this line again,

“He determined that little is gained by teaching the child his sounds and letters as the first step to being able to read. Since individuals could recognize words very rapidly, the way to teach children how to read was to show them words, and tell them what the words were.”
Teach the sounds of letters? As if anyone could say what the Cause of words could be! Pshaw! When people can recognize words whole and complete (how do they get that way? SHH!), no one need be bothered with arranging letters, you frickin’ elitest! Besides WE will show them what the words are and what they mean, no need for them to bother with learning them themselves, ‘learn’ what an outmoded patriarchal word, we will show you the response to make when your eyes see the word, we will tell you all you need to know.

Do you notice the resemblance between Cattell’s ‘discover’ about how words are read, and about how the Romantic Movement transformed the High Art of created by skilled Artists creating beautiful and epic themes, into the low art of paint splatterers of unclear image and unfocused malevolence? There are ideas, stunted though they may be, which follow from such thoughts, and the darkening and fragmented world around us is their product.

The meaning of the split
The Real Problem Looping back around to where we started, but several layers up and in
The real issue isn’t that Liberalism is the source of fascism, but that liberalism is the source of both classical liberalism, conservatism, progressivism, leftism, communism and fascism. What goes on here? This is the place of mystery that must be attended to; here is the key to modernity. The problem is that what Liberalism is, is a form of Government based upon the most dangerous power of all – ideas. What is considered to be the nature of those ideas, is that which will determine the nature of the liberal government and governance that flows from them, and that means that Plato’s ideal has come true – the Philosophers are King.

Even if the kings are homeless bums.

What I noticed in reading about the development of Liberalism into all of it’s modern ‘Ism’s, is that Fascism is, extending my previous comment, that point where all the competing ism’s: Progressivism, Marxism, communism, socialism, are gathered too tightly together in proximity, packed together, and are unable to advance any further, their ‘philosophical’ differences locking elbows and jabbing roughly into each other, and in the midst of that building tension of ‘something’s got to happen!’, in comes someone who puts forth and embodies the gist of their urges, an urge for a collective, looting, togetherness, which in the name of unity, discards their cumbersome philosophies in favor of unrestricted pragmatic Action!

Self reflective thought is shed, and the conclusions of another, The Leader, are accepted as gospel, a faux-religion of appearances, but devoid of poetics, no Truth, only relinquished and gathered up Power. The implicit unstated and self defaulted question-answer that occurs within them all is “How do we know what to do if we don’t have any ‘ism to guide us…? Ah! He knows! Follow Him!”, and from that arises the focused intent to implement their primal urges through the uniting vision of a charismatic vital man of Action! See Marat & Robespierre in the French Revolution – you’ll find that Rousseau, the first ‘philosopher’ to begin dismembering principles, animated every step of it (one of Rousseau’s books was in fact under the pillow of Robespierre throughout it, imagining himself an ‘intellectual’ Alexander). The raw attack upon principle, disintegrating them ever more thoroughly has marked the de-progress of his likeminded misophers (haters of wisdom – HT Gagdad Bob) ever since, culminating among us in the persons of Hitler, Stalin & Mao.

In the lead up to fascism, general concerns form into a pressure at the societal center, as a Leader echoes those concerns in vivid speech, the Leader becomes the movement’s focal point as he takes up the themes ‘on behalf of the people!’, HE becomes its center of gravity, and the themes form into calls for general action, and then a manful refusal to be sidetracked by ‘more talk’ and the Juggernaut begins to swirl into motion, actions are taken but others are hindered by recalcitrant and members of the society, others who think themselves cleverer and better – they must be dealt with, for Changes to be made, for Action to be taken and Progress to be had! More ‘hindrances’ – laws, rules, Rights… lives – are swept aside in order to Change! Act! Deliver Us!

What goes unnoticed (none having the vertical depth to perceive time in the distance – a convenient side effect of pragmatism – only Principles can build lookout towers into the future or get bearings from the past), is that what they interpret as progress, is in fact the drain beginning to open up and with swirling speed, it begins sucking them into the negative spiral down the drain towards hell on earth. A progress of sorts, especially from their flatland point of view from which they perceive only that they are in fact moving! They are indubitably taking Action!… but…HE is putting into practice, what Hume and the rest merely theorized about… he IS the embodiment of the unbalanced left side of Liberalism, the denial of reality in favor of pretence, replacement of Principles for assertions, Rights for things, and the withering of its ideas advance (are you seeing it?).

Fascism is a phenomenon of political and ethical ideals having been discarded in favor of hyper-pragmatic action, united into a communal action movement, behind and in the name of a charismatic leader whom the people see as embodying their values and desires, in tune with and fueling their emotions and convincingly assuring them that they are right in their uniting within him, in him, through him…together! Fascism, though born of Liberalism, is the ultimate funeral pyre of Liberalism – it is the ism that changes the nature of Gov't from the Liberal Rule of Ideas, to the expulsion of Ideas in the rule of Action, which is just Power in the hands of a Tyrant. That in essence, plays out Socrates description of the cycle of the forms of Gov't 2,500 years ago.

Fascism – a political policy of action for actions sake, as opposed to principled policy - is the beneficiary of the belief that we cannot know anything more than what is before our face and on our plates. It is a direct result of doubting that we can know the cause or nature of anything, of raising flattened facts above vertical knowledge – quantity over quality - which inevitably leads into a denial of the existence of the faculty of Volitional Choice, or Free Will, and is traceable back down to our belief in what IS, what we can know about it, and how we know it. The philosophical erosion we’ve suffered since Hume’s time, where we’ve lost trust and faith in what we can know, and how little we can know of it, the distrust in our knowledge of the world, ourselves and the metaphysical principles which unite them, has meant a miserly fixation upon ‘facts’ and the discarding of our philosophic principles that establish the broad references for our religious and imaginative values and our poetic Visions.

The Romantic Movement of the 19th century was fueled by this, the (mis)perception that something vital had been lost with the rise of Reason in the Enlightenment, the resulting urge to return to a purer time, to emulate ‘noble savages’ and take passionate idealistic action – but this reaction only furthers the true problem, the true breach; the cause isn’t and wasn’t the Enlightenment of Reason – that brought us and our understanding of Ourselves and Nature and Spirit to unprecedented integration – the actual schism was brought about by skepticism which looked at and failed to detect the nature and causes in and of reality, and its full blown false pride in its estimation of own abilities, and considered its own failure to understand Reality and Causation to mean that they could not be understood, and perhaps even did not exist! Post Enlightenment misophy ridiculed and denounced knowledge (Kant, the misopher who set out to end the Enlightenment, and succeeded, but that doesn’t stop him from forever being referred to as an Enlightenment Philosopher, said : “I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith”(from paragraph 29 of preface to his Critique of Pure Reason – (extra hint: “Pure Reason” means Reason considered separately from reality, which means - lunacy)) – and so destroyed both) in general and Vision as such, and without that Vision – without that encompassing sense of ourselves and our world, of what we revere, our aspirations - without that integrating Vision, the people can, will and do - perish.

America, in its founding principles, is rooted in Vision (“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…”), is absolutely opposed to the denial of Vision, opposed to putting instances ahead of Principles, opposed to discounting or denigrating the Vertical – the United States of America is the first Nation ever created not based upon rival claims to land, family or power, but upon Principled Ideas - but as noted already, those founding principles have for several generations been de-educated out of large quantities of our population. Personally, I don’t think there’s been enough bred to yet reach that critical mass necessary to force the drain open… yet… but… Intellectual and dis-Intellectual momentum is an interesting, alarming and gathering force.

And so, to be worrying about ‘Fascism’ itself, is, I think, to be missing the point by a long shot. Fascism is just one more form, more concentrated perhaps than most, but still it is just another form of pure evil, that of believing that it is not only OK to, but your sacred mission to reorder the lives and choices of another human being; that you can and should improve their lives and that their lives are so insignificant and interchangeable as to enable your wisdom to be capable of being enforced upon all of their lives and that your ideas and conclusions should force any they might have …out, and that you are such as to encourage them to emulate your life as an example of how to live their lives, again working to insert you and your views between their choices and reality – to play god with complete conviction.
Now that is evil. And it is Rousseauian through and through; see his description of ‘The Legislators’.

“…He who dares to undertake the making of a people's institutions ought to feel himself capable, so to speak, of changing human nature, of transforming each individual, who is by himself a complete and solitary whole, into part of a greater whole from which he in a manner receives his life and being; of altering man's constitution for the purpose of strengthening it; and of substituting a partial and moral existence for the physical and independent existence nature has conferred on us all. He must, in a word, take away from man his own resources and give him instead new ones alien to him, and incapable of being made use of without the help of other men. The more completely these natural resources are annihilated, the greater and the more lasting are those which he acquires, and the more stable and perfect the new institutions; so that if each citizen is nothing and can do nothing without the rest, and the resources acquired by the whole are equal or superior to the aggregate of the resources of all the individuals, it may be said that legislation is at the highest possible point of perfection.
The legislator occupies in every respect an extraordinary position in the State…”
This is the code of the Leftist and the lives and choices of mere individuals, are the sacrificial sacrament of the Leftist, and all who agitate for and participate in promoting its policies, share in its unholy and dehumanizing communion (See also August Comte, who coined the term ‘altruism’ and attempted to devise a State Religion of humanity… highly influential on proregressives… but there’s only so much spiraling I can do in one post).

And it is a Siren song whose lure liberalism as such, Classical or otherwise, is most susceptible to, because Liberalism seeks understanding and answers, it is enticing and pleasurable to convince yourself that you have done both; that of self important intelligence and shallow or false pride. The faux-pride and arrogance that those who are lesser than you would be better off with You living their lives for them, it is pure hubris, and it is for the intelligent person the most self-flattering and irresistible enticement of them all.

Intentionally or unintentionally, that is what has been done. In the beginning it may even be done innocently (Descartes, Hume), thinking that they'll be better able to see the working parts by pulling it open and having a look at the essentials… getting the useless spare parts out of the way, until finally at some point the knowledge that there ever was a link between the two in the first place, is lost, denied and ensured. Rousseau had no illusions about what he was bringing about. From his first political statement, that the Enlightenment, that Reason, had done nothing to improve the Virtue and lot of humanity, he knew what he was about, and Godwin, unknowingly it seems, crystallized the mode of transmission for this, in his doctrine of Neccessaritarianism, which I’ll get to further up the spiral.

Which branch of Liberalism does the leaf of liberty grow from?
The Classical Liberals arose from a period which saw the ending of religion as the political basis for the rules and authority, of the state. Coming out of the Puritans rule and then persecution in England, and on up through to the thirty years war and the wars of Spanish Succession, which saw an end to Louis the Sun King’s attempt to have France dominate all of Europe, the English Crown stood as the first modern Super Power and owed its very existence to freedom and liberty, and the nascent Liberalism which enabled and expressed it.

Liberalism, from its very roots, has been about taking power from the hands of muscle and tradition – warlords & monarchies & councils - and putting it into the hands of the Intellect – of course whether or not that intellect is oriented around Reason or rationalizing – that is the question that is often eithered assumed or ignored, but one that always needs to be asked, for not asking it risks delivering Power back to those it originally took it from.

The Rotting Root – the necessarily evil section of the spiral – back to the beginning
It is my observation, that the modern left as it 'lives' in the minds of its adherents is devoid of ideas (see the Amazon discussion lists for Liberal Fascism), take note of just how much there is of copying and pasting quotes by others, accompanied by a smarmy or snide comment – as if that were an argument in itself. Think about that a moment, pasting in other peoples quotes like a magician pulling a rabbit from his hat, not as support for, or clarification of thoughts being put forth, but as a substitute for their own absent thoughts, obviously thinking that they had just made and won an argument, as if the famed quotes would work like a talisman to ward off evil spirits - that is the more significant point.

Their arguments aren’t missing by choice, but by… well… necessity. In those discussion threads, frustrated by their lack of substance, I tried to point out a passage from William Godwin, which is fundamental to their notions, towards an argument for their side, his summation of Rousseau in the doctrine of Necessitarianism, and its opposition to the ideas of Volitional Choice (or Free Will, as it’s become known (Locke would shudder at that)) and Virtue. No takers. Not any arguments or opinions attempting to demonstrate that it was flawed, or that that wasn’t in fact the root of leftism, just ‘Not!’. No ideas of their own, no thought of their own.

What is truly amiss with this, is that it becomes increasingly obvious that it is actually they who are missing from their own thoughts! In a very real and zombie like sense, they don’t think, not in a principled fashion, they reproduce the sounds of statements they’ve been told are relevant, and believe that that is that. Like someone who doesn’t speak the language, mouthing words that somewhat fit.

They can’t seem to grasp that something may be in some way related, without actually being the same thing, and I think this is because, as I've noted elsewhere, of their rejection of Hierarchy in thought and metaphysics; they have no wider perspective, and are unable to rise above the shallow view in order to gain a larger perspective in their thinking, and they can’t, because they’ve excised the possibility of Choice, of individual judgment, of Free Will, from their philosophical world view – they just don’t see it as being possible or Necessary (goes without saying that the irony is missed).

Wiki does a good job of summing it up in this way:

Necessitarianism is a metaphysical principle that denies all mere possibility; there is exactly one way for the world to be. It is the strongest member of a family of principles, including hard determinism, each of which deny free choice, reasoning that human actions are predetermined by external antecedents. Necessitarianism is stronger than hard determinism, because even the hard determinist would grant that the causal chain constituting the world might have been different as a whole, even though each member of that series could not have been different, given its antecedent causes.
Here we come to the location of the split between Classical and modern liberalism. That IS the split, and this was where and when it came into liberalism, mainlined through Rousseau and Godwin, formally separating the branch of the Classical Liberalism of the Founding Fathers from that which would become polluted through Kant, Hegel, the Pragmatists, Marx, the Progressives and finally the Fascists themselves. You’ll also find, by the way, that it and its implications, are nowhere near confined to the Left – there are many a supposed follower of ‘classical liberalism’, from J.S. Mill on down to the present day, who buy into those fundamental tenets, from either the ‘religious right’ wishing to impose ‘moral values’, to the ‘economic right’ wishing to impose trade, financial or other forms of protectionism; with the aid of Pragmatism, perhaps dressed up in Utilitarianism, but they all follow from this rotted root.

It’s with the ‘ideals’ of Godwin, though his name may be largely forgotten today, which have persisted through and into the thoughts of succeeding generations, he said,

“To the right understanding of any arguments that may be adduced under this head, it is requisite that we should have a clear idea of the meaning of the term necessity. He who affirms that all actions are necessary, means, that, if we form a just and complete view of all the circumstances in which a living or intelligent being is placed, we shall find that he could not in any moment of his existence have acted otherwise than he has acted. According to this assertion there is in the transactions of mind nothing loose, precarious and uncertain. Upon this question the advocate of liberty in the philosophical sense must join issue. He must, if he mean any thing, deny this certainty of conjunction between moral antecedents and consequents. Where all is constant and invariable, and the events that arise uniformly flow from the circumstances in which they originate, there can be no liberty.”
Godwin considers the person who imagines the existence of Free Will to be a ‘vulgar’ fool, and the extent to which he depends upon Hume’s skepticism against our ability to determine Causation, becomes evident here, as he rif’s off of Hume’s thought experiment of two billiard balls (Ibid),

“...It has appeared that the idea of necessary connexion between events of any sort is the lesson of experience, and the vulgar never arrive at the universal application of this principle even to the phenomena of the material universe. In the easiest and most familiar instances, such as the impinging of one ball of matter upon another and its consequences, they willingly admit the interference of chance, or an event uncaused. In this instance however, as both the impulse and its effects are subjects of observation to the senses, they readily imagine that they perceive the absolute principle which causes motion to be communicated from the first ball to the second. Now the very same prejudice and precipitate conclusion, which induce them to believe that they discover the principle of motion in objects of sense, act in an opposite direction with respect to such objects as cannot be subjected to the examination of sense. The manner in which an idea or proposition suggested to the mind of a percipient being produces animal motion they never see; and therefore readily conclude that there is no necessary connexion between these events.”
The equivocation here on ‘connection’ and ‘necessary’, is to paint thought as every bit as mechanical as a teeter-totter, which he goes to great lengths to accomplish, for without that, nothing else whatsoever follows.

“But, if the vulgar will universally be found to be the advocates of free will, they are not less strongly, however inconsistently, impressed with the belief of the doctrine of necessity. It is a well known and a just observation, that, were it not for the existence of general laws to which the events of the material universe always conform, man could never have been either a reasoning or a moral being.”
And here again, upon the word 'necessity', that there is one and only one possible and thoroughly mechanical result that must follow from any one cause (no such thing as causation though... shhhh!)

His intent and strategy throughout is that which all variants of leftism rely upon, equivocation and non-sequitors; in Godwin’s case, he equivocates upon all to do with actions, reactions and choice, and having asserts his conclusions which in no way follow from his premises (Key to Kan’ts mess as well), concludes,

It must be unnecessary to add any thing farther on this head, unless it be a momentary recollection of the sort of benefit that freedom of the will would confer upon us, supposing it to be possible. Man being, as we have now found him to be, a simple substance, governed by the apprehensions of his understanding, nothing farther is requisite but the improvement of his reasoning faculty, to make him virtuous and happy. But, did he possess a faculty independent of the understanding, and capable of resisting from mere caprice the most powerful arguments, the best education and the most sedulous instruction might be of no use to him. This freedom we shall easily perceive to be his bane and his curse; and the only hope of lasting benefit to the species would be, by drawing closer the connexion between the external motions and the understanding, wholly to extirpate it. The virtuous man, in proportion to his improvement, will be under the constant influence of fixed and invariable principles; and such a being as we conceive God to be, can never in any one instance have exercised this liberty, that is, can never of no service to morality have acted in a foolish and tyrannical manner. Freedom of the will is absurdly represented as necessary to render the mind susceptible of moral principles; but in reality, so far as we act with liberty, so far as we are independent of motives, our conduct is as independent of morality as it is of reason, nor is it possible that we should deserve either praise or blame for a proceeding thus capricious and indisciplinable.”
The sheer gall necessary for this one, boggles my mind,

“But, did he possess a faculty independent of the understanding, and capable of resisting from mere caprice the most powerful arguments, the best education and the most sedulous instruction might be of no use to him.”
Do you follow that? If he possesses a faculty independent of the understanding (couldn’t be part of it), and ‘capable of resisting from mere caprice!caprice’… that is the leftist opinion of your reasoning abilities (not of their abilities, mind you, they after all are capable of understanding… never forget their explanations are explanations of you, the vulgar, not them). And because you are as capable of wisdom as a billiard ball bouncing off the side cushion, education will benefit you. He’s also going Socrates one better, and saying not only that someone who is Educated would do no wrong, but that given a proper dosage of ‘education’, he could not do wrong. The fix would be in (this is the general notion behind the educationistas, by the way). Ponder what that bit of equivocation does to the term ‘Education’. No longer a process of leading you out from bondage to your urges through understanding, character and choice, once the very root of Liberalism, to lead you out, no, now it is merely a matter of knowing where to tap with a hammer to produce an ‘outcome based education’. This is real folks. He, and they, believe this.

And with the comment

“Man being, as we have now found him to be, a simple substance, governed by the apprehensions of his understanding, nothing farther is requisite but the improvement of his reasoning faculty, to make him virtuous and happy.”
, we find his mystical faith in the ability of education, no longer meant as informing a man as to the virtue of his choices, but instead it is now a system of indoctrinating into him a sequence of programming steps to presto change-O him into a miniscule little ‘v’ & ‘h’ conception of “virtuous and happy”. Here you can find the entire form and format of all following variants of political correctness, and together with the building avalanche from Bacon to Descartes to Hume of demanding measurable quantities in order for there to be the necessary validation and substantiation for any thought, you can find the tendency towards the childish atheism of ‘if God made disease, he is no god, and there is no god’, upon which follows that Parents should never discipline their children, and be their buddies at all times.

The Exiling of “I” to the wastes of “we”
With causation conveniently unknowable to us, but operational nonetheless, we can assume that our thoughts, lives and decisions, are no different than the collisions of billiard balls, and of no more import or moral gravity than a game of Eight Ball. Indeed, it is a good (Good? Ignore that…) idea to induce as many collisions as may be deemed necessary to sink the different balls in order to put the 8 ball into the corner pocket.

Because the leftists assume that all lives and ‘choices’ are necessarily determined by outside events, the environment, the culture, they can’t and won’t grasp that something may be in some way related, without actually being the same thing, because in their mind, one thing MUST follow from another. Without choice, there is no depth, only determination, it naturally and necessarily rejects Hierarchy in thought and metaphysics; they have no wider perspective, and are unable to rise above their shallow view in order to gain a larger perspective in their thinking. Things are all that exist for them, endless concrete examples of what someone said or did, and an unseeing rejection of thought, concept and principle, and that is the descending and flattened road that leads directly to an affinity for communism, Marxism, totalitarianism, anarchism and fascism.

And the final benefit of all forms of determinism, of ‘the people’ necessarily being the products of their environments, is the necessity for their betters, formed from different circumstances, to change the circumstances of ‘the people’, by force if need be, and forcing them is morally praiseworthy – such a Totalitarian system is justified by and for the ‘Greater Good’. They are necessarily anti-I, sacrificing it to the pro-We(enie). In short, Determinism makes Totalitarianism Okey-Dokey.

I have difficulty in taking any proposition that any shade of those ‘I’ excluding ‘ism’s could in any way shape or form, result in a proper form of governing, or a proper form of life for those they govern. I, and you (hopefully) find it difficult, because we evaluate, judge and choose, and recoil at that which intends to prevent us from doing so. It completely misses what is required for an individual to live a life they have chosen and can be responsible for, within the context of their lives in their city, state & culture.

Any of these ism's results in some form or another of forcefully substituting what one person decides is good, and forcing that decision into the life and decisions of the citizens, in ways that not only overrides but eliminates the option for them to even consider one or more facets of their own lives. It makes them not only unfree, but unable to fully live their life – without that, You Are Not Living Your Life!

And it all ultimately rests upon your conceptions of Reality, your ability to grasp it, your capacity for doing so through your Free Will, and what those proper and necessary Individual Rights are which result from that, and which must be defended against assault by thugs, bullies and Governmental friends - in short Classical Liberalism. That form of Gov't and its glorious conception of man as a free, responsible soul, willing and able to live in Freedom.

The Political Toll
What would have been the Butcher’s Bill, without the Bill of Rights?
The founders in their zeal to establish a properly functioning and representative Gov't, almost forgot the most important political requirement of a Liberal Gov’t, that being that it first ensure that it is not and will not become an oppressive burden upon its citizens. There was an outcry when the Constitution first became public, and did not include a Bill of Rights. People like Patrick Henry and George Mason and many more argued with the Federalists, until a Bill of Rights was promised to be amended to it (A task Madison promised to do, though he at first considered it a ‘nauseous undertaking’).

Here, in summary (s-u-m-m-a-r-y), is what they provided for:

  1. The right to freely express your political views, either in speaking or by publication in the press - free speech.
  2. The right to assemble with others, peaceably, and approach the gov't with grievances against laws, etc.
  3. The right to worship your own religion, free from a Gov’t sponsored competitor, as you see fit to or not to.
  4. The right to defend yourself against assault, and own & bear arms for that purpose, individually or as part of well a regulated militia.
  5. The right to be secure in your possessions from gov't intrusions or other actions, except as provided for by law and with specificity.
  6. The right to not incriminate yourself.
  7. The right to a SPEEDY and Public trial, by law and in good order and the right to provide defense against any charges.
  8. The right to be free from unreasonable bail if you are arrested, as well as unreasonable fines or punishments.
  9. The right to not have the Gov't seeking to intrude itself into any part of your life it's not specifically forbidden to.
Our greatest error may have been not incorporating the Declaration of Independence into the Constitution, for that meant that once the Poetry of the event, that which fires and unites our thoughts, faded from the common men’s minds, as it inevitably would, it was the simplest of tasks to deny it ever was an important part of it to begin with. Of all the Supreme Court Justices of the last century, those charged with the legislative defense of the Constitution, Clarence Thomas is one of the few, if not only one, that has argued the importance of keeping the Declaration in mind when considering constitutional issues.

That’s a Wrap
At root, logic is a key tool in the process of identifying the particulars of what IS, the Poetic is how we attempt to grasp the whole of it. That process of identification can't happen separately from our experiencing what exists, or by somehow grasping what exists without our experiencing it - they are inextricable. Existence exists, it exists as something, and IT is what we are conscious of. We don't learn by rules of logic separately from experience, or by experience separate form logic, but by applying logic to experience, and our grasp of what is True, comes from our logically identifying that which exists, and within which we exist - the deeper the correct identification of integrations, the deeper our understanding and experiencing of Truth.

When we attempt to misidentify either reality or our place in it, our grasp is weakened, in the particular and in the wider poetic sense.

Existence pre-exists our thoughts, and our thoughts arise from our experience of it, logic is as much a part of reality as gravity, whether or not you follow its rules you can't ask a single question or make a single statement without invoking logic, or a single step upon the earth outside the influence of gravity, and Aristotle didn't invent Logic anymore than Newton did Gravity - they ‘only’ noticed, observed and codified the facts of reality. As Ayn Rand put it "Logic is the Art of non-contradictory identification", and I think that captures it well.

Our conceptual minds enable us to build and operate in neural net patterns, in 3D depth (at the minimum), and Aristotle's rules of logic are the linear tool we have to test the structure and soundness of our thought... like rolling a ball out on a yardstick, or the sides of a triangle, or the squareness of a joint... and though our thought isn't confined to the linear, our way of checking it is.

And you have a choice - you can recognize that, or not, you can adhere to the requirements of that, or not, but you can't escape either its rules, or what those rules are rules of.

You can be sloppy, building little or no correspondence between your thoughts and reality as it is, or you can be deliberate and aware. The more soundly it checks out, the higher and deeper and steadier the structures of thought we can build, and through that we experience Truth, by factually identifying things as they are within a context, we bring our thoughts into resonance with what IS... and whatever it is that WE ARE, which motivates and inhabits these minds we build... it begins to thrum like a tuning fork at some unseen sympathetic resonance.

The religious and poetic are how we hold the whole together, it is how we maintain perspective within the spherical depth, by means of the archetypal imagery, as if on grabbing a basketball, your fingers extended through to the core of the ball, not just the surface.

When you deny that grasp, and the structure which requires it, you'll find that something else is misidentified as well. When you deny the grasp of the all, you also narrow or shorten and clip the grasp of the particular, your understanding is stunted from deeply grasping A is A, to gripping A is a. Technically the same, but so much less.

But we do of course have people, quite a lot of them, who will look at this undeniable fact, and excuse it by saying, "well... it's everyone’s duty, especially those with more, to sacrifice for the community" - which of course changes the fact that they are forcing their fellow men, and those having what they want, to live at their beck and call.

How and what makes this possible? How did the Founders begin to fade in the popular imagination?

How did America itself begin to fade in the popular imagination? The politics of the matter are involved, but the principle of the matter is simple. Those charged with being our intellectual leaders, with the sacred trust of Educating the next generation and guiding their own, the Intellectuals, they gave up their own souls, and have ever since sought to rip the souls, that which recognizes Quality above quantity, from their fellow man, so that they might have the benefit of more miserable company - that being what misery 'loves'... well, craves, anyway.

When you have denied reality, denied yourself, denied responsibility for what you do, and for what you lack... there is no longer any room for wonder. Existence exists, it exists as something, and you are that which is aware of it. Delete any one or all of those three, and you are no longer human or conscious... no more so than any other clever ape.

Walt pointed out a quote in “On Awakening and Remembering: To Know is to Be”:

"By thinking on the Real, through discernment between the permanent and the illusory, the mental substance of consciousness -- though unstable and forever shifting -- can be converted into a profound and undisturbed awareness of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. And as the consciousness of these grows in the soul, then their reality absorbs the substance of consciousness, transforming it, and redeeming it."
That is so... well... TRUE! That is also the path towards putting ourselves back together again. The disjointed and random are realigned, reoriented, and integrated into One, via Contemplating upon, Reasoning towards, Reverencing, that which is The Good, The Beautiful and The True. It IS and I AM flow into and from it, and True Freedom and Liberty are the gifts which they bring, and which can be found, if you but seek them.

I’ll do my part to remedy that here. From the Declaration of Independence:

  • When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
  • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 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….

  • First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • Second Amendment – Right to keep and bear arms.
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
  • Third Amendment – Protection from quartering of troops.
    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
  • Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • Fifth Amendment – due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.
    No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
  • Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
  • Seventh Amendment – Civil trial by jury.
  • In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
  • Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.
    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  • Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people.
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.