Monday, November 21, 2011

And now for a few words from one of our Sponsors...

Hey, when the opportunity comes along to match up Jon Stewart, and John Adams... who can resist? First enjoy a moment of honest & highly humorous insight from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show about the class warfare within 'Occupy Wall Street' at Zuccotti Park:

And then a couple words from one of our Republic's sponsors, John Adams; see if you can find some parallels between yesterday and today, in what he says in his Letters to John Taylor... ring any bells for ya?

"...Take the first hundred men you meet in the streets of a city, or on a turnpike road in the country, and constitute them a democratical republic. In my next, you may have some conjectures of what will appear in your new democracy.

When your new democratical republic meets, you will find half a dozen men of independent fortunes; half a dozen, of more eloquence; half a dozen, with more learning; half a dozen, with eloquence, learning, and fortune.
Let me see. We have now four-and-twenty; to these we may add six more, who will have more art, cunning, and intrigue, than learning, eloquence, or fortune. These will infallibly soon unite with the twenty-four. Thus we make thirty. The remaining seventy are composed of farmers, shopkeepers, merchants, tradesmen, and laborers. Now, if each of these thirty can, by any means, influence one vote besides his own, the whole thirty can carry sixty votes,—a decided and uncontrolled majority of the hundred. These thirty I mean by aristocrats; and they will instantly convert your democracy of one hundred into an aristocracy of thirty.
Take at random, or select with your utmost prudence, one hundred of your most faithful and capable domestics from your own numerous plantations, and make them a democratical republic. You will immediately perceive the same inequalities, and the same democratical republic, in a very few of the first sessions, transformed into an aristocratical republic; as complete and perfect an aristocracy as the senate of Rome, and much more so. Some will be beloved and followed, others hated and avoided by their fellows.
It would be easy to quote Greek and Latin, to produce a hundred authorities to show the original signification of the word aristocracy and its infinite variations and application in the history of ages. But this would be all waste water. Once for all, I give you notice, that whenever I use the word aristocrat, I mean a citizen who can command or govern two votes or more in society, whether by his virtues, his talents, his learning, his loquacity, his taciturnity, his frankness, his reserve, his face, figure, eloquence, grace, air, attitude, movements, wealth, birth, art, address, intrigue, good fellowship, drunkenness, debauchery, fraud, perjury, violence, treachery, pyrrhonism, deism, or atheism; for by every one of these instruments have votes been obtained and will be obtained. You seem to think aristocracy consists altogether in artificial titles, tinsel decorations of stars, garters, ribbons, golden eagles and golden fleeces, crosses and roses and lilies, exclusive privileges, hereditary descents, established by kings or by positive laws of society. No such thing! Aristocracy was, from the beginning, now is, and ever will be, world without end, independent of all these artificial regulations, as really and as efficaciously as with them!
Let me say a word more. Your democratical republic picked in the streets, and your democratical African republic, or your domestic republic, call it which you will, in its first session, will become an aristocratical republic. In the second session it will become an oligarchical republic; because the seventy-four democrats and the twenty-six aristocrats will, by this time, discover that thirteen of the aristocrats can command four votes each; these thirteen will now command the majority, and, consequently, will be sovereign. The thirteen will then be an oligarchy. In the third session, it will be found that among these thirteen oligarchs there are seven, each of whom can command eight votes, equal in all to fifty-six, a decided majority. In the fourth session, it will be found that there are among these seven oligarchs four who can command thirteen votes apiece. The republic then becomes an oligarchy, whose sovereignty is in four individuals. In the fifth session, it will be discovered that two of the four can command six-and-twenty votes each. Then two will have the command of the sovereign oligarchy. In the sixth session, there will be a sharp contention between the two which shall have the command of the fifty-two votes. Here will commence the squabble of Danton and Robespierre, of Julius and Pompey, of Anthony and Augustus, of the white rose and the red rose, of Jefferson and Adams, of Burr and Jefferson, of Clinton and Madison, or, if you will, of Napoleon and Alexander.
This, my dear sir, is the history of mankind, past, present, and to come.

And one more summary, a bit more concise, particularly for Bill Gerling, a consultant for Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who sees no problem creating 'Social Studies Standards for Missouri' which are teaching our children that we are a Democracy, or a “constitutional democracy” or a 'democratical republic' rather than what we are, a Constitutional, Representative Republic; perhaps he'll find a few moments of concern and caution from another of Adam's letters,Who, btw, can be reached at:
Bill Gerling

Social Studies Consultant\Assistant Director of Assessment
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

573-526-0812 Fax

"...No simple Form of Government, can possibly secure Men against the Violences of Power. Simple Monarchy will soon mould itself into Despotism, Aristocracy will soon commence an Oligarchy, and Democracy, will soon degenerate into an Anarchy, such an Anarchy that every Man will do what is right in his own Eyes, and no Mans life or Property or Reputation or Liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral Virtues, and Intellectual Abilities, all the Powers of Wealth, Beauty, Wit, and Science, to the wanton Pleasures, the capricious Will, and the execrable Cruelty of one or a very few."
And finally for some incredibly correct words on politics, rather than political correctness, this from John Adams' Discourses on Davila,, for those who are oh so very impressed with our 'knowledge' and technology,

"First follow nature; and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the same."
Alexander Pope
The world grows more enlightened. Knowledge is more equally diffused. Newspapers, magazines, and circulating libraries have made mankind wiser. Titles and distinctions, ranks and orders, parade and ceremony, are all going out of fashion. This is roundly and frequently asserted in the streets, and sometimes on theatres of higher rank.* Some truth there is in it; and if the opportunity were temperately improved, to the reformation of abuses, the rectification of errors, and the dissipation of pernicious prejudices, a great advantage it might be. But, on the other hand, false inferences may be drawn from it, which may make mankind wish for the age of dragons, giants, and fairies. If all decorum, discipline, and subordination are to be destroyed, and universal Pyrrhonism, anarchy, and insecurity of property are to be introduced, nations will soon wish their books in ashes, seek for darkness and ignorance, superstition and fanaticism, as blessings, and follow the standard of the first mad despot, who, with the enthusiasm of another Mahomet, will endeavor to obtain them.
Are riches, honors, and beauty going out of fashion? Is not the rage for them, on the contrary, increased faster than improvement in knowledge? As long as either of these are in vogue, will there not be emulations and rivalries? Does not the increase of knowledge in any man increase his emulation; and the diffusion of knowledge among men multiply rivalries? Has the progress of science, arts, and letters yet discovered that there are no passions in human nature? no ambition, avarice, or desire of fame? Are these passions cooled, diminished, or extinguished? Is the rage for admiration less ardent in men or women? Have these propensities less a tendency to divisions, controversies, seditions, mutinies, and civil wars than formerly? On the contrary, the more knowledge is diffused, the more the passions are extended, and the more furious they grow. Had Cicero less vanity, or Cæsar less ambition, for their vast erudition? Had the King of Prussia less of one than the other? There is no connection in the mind between science and passion, by which the former can extinguish or diminish the latter. It, on the contrary, sometimes increases them, by giving them exercise. Were the passions of the Romans less vivid in the age of Pompey than in the time of Mummius. Are those of the Britons more moderate at this hour than in the reigns of the Tudors? Are the passions of monks the weaker for all their learning? Are not jealousy, envy, hatred, malice, and revenge, as well as emulation and ambition, as rancorous in the cells of Carmelites as in the courts of princes? Go to the Royal Society of London. Is there less emulation for the chair of Sir Isaac Newton than there was, and commonly will be, for all elective presidencies? Is there less animosity and rancor, arising from mutual emulations in that region of science, than there is among the most ignorant of mankind? Go to Paris. How do you find the men of letters? united, friendly, harmonious, meek, humble, modest, charitable? prompt to mutual forbearance? unassuming? ready to acknowledge superior merit? zealous to encourage the first symptoms of genius? Ask Voltaire and Rousseau, Marmontel and De Mably.
The increase and dissemination of knowledge, instead of rendering unnecessary the checks of emulation and the balances of rivalry in the orders of society and constitution of government, augment the necessity of both. It becomes the more indispensable that every man should know his place, and be made to keep it. Bad men increase in knowledge as fast as good men; and science, arts, taste, sense, and letters, are employed for the purposes of injustice and tyranny, as well as those of law and liberty; for corruption, as well as for virtue.
Frenchmen! Act and think like yourselves! confessing human nature, be magnanimous and wise. Acknowledging and boasting yourselves to be men, avow the feelings of men. The affectation of being exempted from passions is inhuman. The grave pretension to such singularity is solemn hypocrisy. Both are unworthy of your frank and generous natures. Consider that government is intended to set bounds to passions which nature has not limited; and to assist reason, conscience, justice, and truth, in controlling interests, which, without it, would be as unjust as uncontrollable.*
Americans! Rejoice, that from experience you have learned wisdom; and instead of whimsical and fantastical projects, you have adopted a promising essay towards a well-ordered government. Instead of following any foreign example, to return to the legislation of confusion, contemplate the means of restoring decency, honesty, and order in society, by preserving and completing, if any thing should be found necessary to complete the balance of your government. In a well-balanced government, reason, conscience, truth, and virtue, must be respected by all parties, and exerted for the public good.* Advert to the principles on which you commenced that glorious self-defence, which, if you behave with steadiness and consistency, may ultimately loosen the chains of all mankind. If you will take the trouble to read over the memorable proceedings of the town of Boston, on the twenty-eighth day of October, 1772, when the Committee of Correspondence of twenty-one persons was appointed to state the rights of the colonists as men, as Christians, and as subjects, and to publish them to the world, with the infringements and violations of them, you will find the great principles of civil and religious liberty for which you have contended so successfully, and which the world is contending for after your example. I could transcribe with pleasure the whole of this immortal pamphlet, which is a real picture of the sun of liberty rising on the human race; but shall select only a few words more directly to the present purpose.

“The first fundamental, positive law of all commonwealths or states is the establishment of the legislative power.” Page 9.
“It is absolutely necessary in a mixed government like that of this province, that a due proportion or balance of power should be established among the several branches of the legislative. Our ancestors received from King William and Queen Mary a charter, by which it was understood by both parties in the contract, that such a proportion or balance was fixed; and, therefore, every thing which renders any one branch of the legislative more independent of the other two than it was originally designed, is an alteration of the constitution.”

Americans! in your Congress at Philadelphia, on Friday, the fourteenth day of October, 1774, you laid down the fundamental principles for which you were about to contend, and from which it is to be hoped you will never depart. For asserting and vindicating your rights and liberties, you declared, “That, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution and your several charters or compacts, you were entitled to life, liberty, and property; that your ancestors were entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural born subjects in England; that you, their descendants, were entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them as your local and other circumstances enabled you to exercise and enjoy. That the foundation of English liberty and of all free governments, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council. That you were entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by your peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law. That it is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other.”* These among others you then claimed, demanded, and insisted on, as your indubitable rights and liberties. These are the principles on which you first united and associated, and if you steadily and consistently maintain them, they will not only secure freedom and happiness to yourselves and your posterity, but your example will be imitated by all Europe, and in time, perhaps, by all mankind. The nations are in travail, and great events must have birth.
But... I'm sure that's all just 'old' stuff, outdated, and not relevant to our world today, right? I mean, obviously, having an iPod in your pocket is tantamount to the evolving of an entirely new species... right? Hey, do you suppose that means that new predators have evolved as well?

No need to worry though, really, there's nothing new under the sun, and so whatever the case, I'm sure that the old predators will suffice; and also true is that what was rare then, remains rare still, the race ultimately goes to those who seek after not what is new, but what is true.

Which are you? Where do you stand? Not fully clear on the question? Look at it this way, will you have the courage to live your own life? Or does allowing others to make your decisions for you, replacing the active part of you, within your own life, sound not all that bad? Does being a zombie sound just fine to you?


Do you really think that you can get by without making a choice?


Unknown said...

"Corporations are may lesser commonwealths in the bowels of a greater, like worms in the entrails of a natural man. (Hobbes, Leviathan)"

My choice is to restrict trade of any sort with China.

Van Harvey said...

Lance said "My choice is to restrict trade of any sort with China."

I'm afraid I'm missing the tie in between Hobbes, China and this post... but as with most things Hobbes, it sounds interesting, but has no real meaning, no connection with any reality beyond his own fears.

As for trade with China... it's a communist country, it neither recognizes property rights nor any other individual rights (which I suppose is a tie in with OWS) - why would anyone want to risk doing business with China? Which is a question worth asking.

It isn’t China that’s our problem - left to fend for itself, it would collapse, rapidly; China has the power it has only because we've chased our businesses from our own shores, to its shores (by those of us in our govt here who also do not recognize property rights or any other individual rights), through massively restrictive and expensive regulation and punitive taxation.

What should be alarming, especially for someone on the left such as yourself, is that our businesses see doing business in Communist Red China as a haven from the onerous prospect of doing business in America!

If you’d really like to see China collapse, businesses return to our shores, and peoples wealth increase to the point where they can again choose to contribute to those less fortunate, then work to eliminate the regulatory state, and return us to the rule of law and the system of free trade.

John Lien said...

Nice post Van. That John Stewart video is hilarious. Adams was more readable than I was expecting. Nothing new under the sun. Makes me wonder if the collapse of our system is inevitable. Birth, death, rebirth. It is the way of world, no?

Van Harvey said...

John said "Makes me wonder if the collapse of our system is inevitable. Birth, death, rebirth. It is the way of world, no?"

Common, but I don't think inevitable... we can redirect things, if we choose to... if we don't, then the defaults kick in.

It's up to us.