Thursday, July 21, 2016

Really America? Are you seriously Cruz'n for a Bruisin'?

So Ted Cruz came and spoke to the RNC Convention in Cleveland. The speech he gave drew cheers throughout.

He said,
"I want to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night. And, like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November."
More cheers. He continued on with some heartfelt comments and received even more cheers.

He closed his speech out with this:
"The case we have to make to the American people, the case each person in this room has to make to the American people is to commit to each of them that we will defend freedom, and be faithful to the Constitution.

We will unite the party; we will unite the country by standing together for shared values by standing for liberty. God bless each and every one of you, and God bless the United States of America."
He waved to the crowd and then the cheers started to turn into boos - I couldn't it figure out.

Boos? Why the crowd was booing?
Ladies & Gentlemen (or reasonable facsimiles thereof (manic NeverTrumpr's and frothing UberTrumpr's are of course excused)), Ted Cruz just congratulated Trump for winning the nomination, he called for all Republicans to not stay home in November, he called for unity, and he called for them to Vote their consciences... and that upsets you?!

Are you seriously saying that a person's conscience would prevent them from voting for Trump?

Have you even considered what you are saying?!

I am personally going to oppose Hillary being elected as POTUS with the biggest electoral rocket blast that I can lay my hands on, and that rocket is Trump. I will do that with a serenely clear conscience. Are you saying to me that that is not possible?

Are you really saying, shouting, that asking for Republicans to vote their consciences, means not voting for Trump? Are you thinking about the words that are leaving your mouths?

Apparently not, not last night anyway. Heidi Cruz had to be protected from the crowd and escorted from the hall. Ted Cruz had to be protected from assault from wealthy donors.

I was, and am, truly, stunned.

Does anyone recall any of the details of the Primary? Trump not only called Cruz a liar, he branded him as one. He called his wife ugly, and a crook. He more than insinuated that Ted Cruz's father was involved with JFK's assassination. And much, much more.

Did you really expect Ted Cruz to behave as if none of that had happened? If he had walked out on that stage and said:
"I wholeheartedly support my good friend Donald Trump, and endorse him for President of the United States of America!"
, would you have believed that?

No. Freaking. Way. You wouldn't have bought it for a moment.

But you still wanted to hear that?

Have you asked yourself: Why?

Ted Cruz called for party unity and for voting your conscience, both UP and down the ticket. But the crowd, they, (you?) didn't want his endorsement, they wanted his Submission. They wanted his total and complete submission.  Isn't there an ideology that we're currently battling in the world that is all about demanding complete submission from people?

When the Truth no longer matters, only Power does. That is something that should scare the hell out of each and everyone of you, because if it doesn't, that will mean that you've accepted, and embraced it.

As a friend of mind said: "Submission. It isn't just for Islam anymore."

That's pretty much it.

You'd better get your heads together people. Fast... because you are most definitely Cruzing for a bruising.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Friction Continues - further questions about Eric Greitens campaign

Following my recent post recapping my dissatisfaction with Eric Greitens campaign's lack of information, Bill Hennessy responded with a post restating his support for Greitens. Bill made a number of comments that I want to address, including a few of which I assume were at least partially directed towards me, while also noting that:
"Some of my friends attack Mr. Greitens, even on the St. Louis Tea Party blog, which I operate and fund. I let their attacks go out, under my name, not because I agree, but because I trust the people.

We have a simple policy for the contributors to that blog: write what you believe. If other contributors disagree, they can write what they believe. The people will sort it out. So, now, it’s my turn."
, which was good to hear and much appreciated. With that in mind, I'll respond to the points he made in his post, and clarify why they don't inspire the same confidence in me, that they do for him.

The difficulty I have with Eric Greitens has less to do with what he once had believed or done, than with what he hasn't done: He still has yet to explain his understanding of the Conservative ideas he says he now believes, he hasn't said when he came to believe them or, to any depth, why, or how these new ideas compelled him to turn away from what he had believed and spent years working towards - and being a 'Tea Party' blogger in spirit, I think that's worth blogging about.

As I said in one of the early posts on Greitens:
">>>The first time I heard about Eric Greitens was as he was announcing his intention to consider running for governor earlier this year. I read Bill's post on it, and the articles it linked to, and I too was much impressed, but unfortunately before that inspiration could take root, my next thoughts were:
"I wonder what his thoughts and positions on Individual Rights, Law & Govt policy are?"
, and the inspiration faltered in me as I tried hunting around on the web for specifics about his ideas on such things, and it withered away as I found nothing of the sort, only more and more instances of 'Happy Talk' about how really impressive a guy he is. He is impressive, that much is a given, no argument there at all, but that doesn't make the argument for electing him to office. Despite how impressive he is as a person, as a candidate, if your political positions, and your demonstrated understanding and commitment to the principles behind them, aren't impressive in themselves, then neither will you be, as a candidate for high office.<<<"
This lack of information is especially relevant, as he apparently made this political about-face within just the last five years - how deeply can a person come to understand a political philosophy that is diametrically opposed to what they had believed all their lives, in five years or less? Yes, it can be done, but as he's running for the highest office in the state, I think that deserves substantially more attention than what he essentially said in his 'coming out' column, that 'I saw that Democrat policies didn't work, so I became a Republican'. Not only has he not significantly elaborated on that in the last year, he has in fact made more of an effort to avoid, or even prevent, those questions from being asked of him.

I find it very concerning that he doesn't seem to think that the differences between the Left and the Right are big enough to warrant providing voters with more information to evaluate him by. After all, Eric Greitens is no laconic 'man of few words' - he's read and studied the philosophy and history that I'm always going on about, he was a Rhodes Scholar, he went to Oxford, he's written several books, and yet he is unable to explain what he believes and why? Something doesn't add up there.

And, as I pointed out in the previous post, his campaign website has devoted less than 800 words to describing his policies and reasoning for them, which for any politician who has recently changed parties, and specially one who was a Rhodes Scholar, that, IMHO, is bizarre.

Bill not only has no problem with that, but he has become if anything, even more enthusiastic in his support. which is something that I not only do not share, but I find his reasoning difficult to understand. For instance, in explaining why he is voting for Eric Greitens, Bill says,
"I believe the greatest threat to human freedom and thriving is the political class."
Is this not the same sort of spin that's used to tell us that the greatest threat to our inner cities is "gun violence"? But just as guns aren't the problem with 'gun violence', thugs and murders are; our problem is not with the political class itself - a political class could just as easily be filled with Thomas Jeffersons' as Hillary Clintons' - but with those politicians which We The People vote into that political class - why the distraction? The reality is that what makes the political class a problem, is the people who enable, support and vote politicians into it, without understanding their character, their convictions, and their willingness and ability to stand up for, argue for, and apply them, in our government.

IMHO, the greatest threat to human freedom and thriving, are in fact those people of all classes who support and vote for politicians based upon their personal appeal, while knowing little or nothing about the ideas behind that politicians smiling face - they are the ones who are responsible for bringing such a plague of two-faced politicians upon us, and that is what is progressively transforming our precious liberty into servility.

Bottom line: If you don't like the class of people in the 'political class', while you as a voter are not demanding more than a smile and a promise from those you vote into that class, the fault is yours.

"...That smirking political class infects both Washington, DC, and Jefferson City, Missouri. And I believe only one candidate has the courage, the brains, and the commitment to destroy that political class in Missouri. That candidate is Eric Greitens."
Why does he believe that Greitens is that candidate? Why should anyone? Based upon what? Because he's done admirable things in his life? Many people have done admirable things, but those deeds don't necessarily provide them with the knowledge and relevant experience to suit them for the office of Governor of a state - especially my state. If Eric Greitens really is different from the two-faced 'political class', then Show Me!

And I'm sorry to say, but when I think of Eric Greitens, I find myself thinking of the only thing that he's provided me to think about him with - a picture of his toothy smile or a sly smirk, a slogan, and a politicians appeal to 'trust me!'. For instance, he claims his NRA endorsement of 'AQ' is the highest rating the NRA gives to candidates - it is not. The 'AQ' merely indicates that a candidate has provided good answers to questions on an NRA questionnaire.
AQ is Not the highest NRA rating

The NRA's highest rating for a candidate is 'A+',
which, BTW, the NRA gave to Peter Kinder (which is who I'm most likely going to vote for), and is for candidates who not only answer questions well, but who also have a proven track record of consistently supporting the 2nd Amendment.

Eric Greitens' claim about his NRA rating is not true, while it is the highest rating that he can receive, as he has no track record, it is not the highest rating that the NRA gives, and yet he is continuing to make that claim. Eric Greitens seems to be comfortable with quite a bit of ambiguity, which is not a quality that I'm comfortable in giving political power to.

What makes a candidate different is the ideas they hold and their ability to stand up and argue for them, and if they won't demonstrate that, then I'm not going to pretend that I see this emperors clothes as having any more substance than that emperors clothes. If you dodge and avoid answering questions, if you avoid volunteering basic information for voters to make sound judgments upon, if you conduct your campaigns with catchy video clips, trite slogans and minimal information - just as the Political Class does - then I'm forced to assume that those slogans being shouted out about being a 'Different kind of Candidate!", represent a distinction without a difference.

Bill asks,
"Do you want to live as a slave to that smirking political class? Or do you want to live free and thrive?"
My answer is that I don't think a person can escape slavery without understanding what liberty is, means and depends upon, and what's more, I don't think they can be given power and avoid becoming tyrannical 'for a good cause!' without having that understanding either. Do you? It is of course for that very reason, that I don't recommend giving political power over our lives to someone who will not explain what their political principles are, who will not explain what they believe the limits of their powers are and should be, and who will not explain how those supposedly shared principles will guide their use of executive power in the highest office in the state. Until I hear Eric Greitens give some semblance of an explanation of his new understanding in that regards (again, we don't know how new), then I'm not going to just assume that he's found the answers that I'm looking for.

Bill says,
"Three Republican candidates for governor have crawled to the political class for help. One has not. That one is Eric Greitens."
Bill is a promo guy, he believes in moving people by triggering their emotions. Unfortunately the emotions which empty smears such as that triggers in me, are less than pleasant.

Bill continues:
"Many Tea Partiers want to remain political remnants. Political martyrs. Slaves to a self-imposed conformity. Self-righteous worshippers at the altar of the smirking political class. I know their feelings because I was a remnant for most of my life."
Speaking of smears. Is it just me, or is the key point buried in that slime fest, a recommendation that selling out your principles for political power, is a smart strategy that we should all get behind? Speaking for myself, I think that is... unwise.

Personally, I have no desire to be or to support political martyrs, and I don't conform to meaningless slogans. And there's nothing in that which excludes political leaders from making sensible compromises for legitimate political agreements - that is a necessity in governing people with differing views - so long as they are principled compromises. But, of course, if you don't know what a candidates principles are... then... you see the problem there for supporting Eric Greitens, yes? If I don't know what his political principles are, and the depth of his understanding of them, or his ability to argue for them, to bargain through them, then I don't see how I can count upon him making acceptable 'conservative' political agreements, as governor of our state. Do you?

Bill backs up that lovely sentiment above, with a quote from this source:
"The president of the American Enterprise Institute, Dr. Arthur C. Brooks, explained the phenomenon in his book The Conservative Heart":
"...Or can the Tea Party become something bigger— a transformational, majoritarian force in American politics that does not simply rebel against American decline, but reverses it? ..."
Excuse me, but I've had quite enough of people attempting to transform America, thank you very much. IMHO Arthur 'Compassionate Conservative' Brooks represents a significant portion of what is wrong with the modern conservative movement, both in his enthusiastic support for the worst of William F. Buckley's ideas (which are very much in line with Bill Hennessy's thinking), and very few of his better ones. The contrived attempt to fashion a popular 'Message!', to 'win over key demographics' of the country via cheap PR gimmicks and platforms, are a significant reason behind the Right failing to expand its base. Despite the best efforts of many, myself included, the necessary ideas for a conservative take-over have not yet fully sunk in. We've made progress, but you can't short cut History through Marketing. Sorry, way it is.

If we want Conservative ideals to become a "...majoritarian force in American politics...", then we need those who understand those ideas, principles and history that America is formed from, to discuss them, live them, promote and spread them, without trying to pretend to be something they're not. Our ideas are the message, they apply to every person, every group, every ethnicity and every age group - don't throw them under the bus in a short sighted bid for winning over the latest demographic! The attempt to appear to be part of the 'In Crowd!' is doomed to failure.

Bill claims that,
"A vote for anyone other than Eric Greitens is a vote for permanent remnant status."
Which, especially in a Primary election, is an especially empty, meaningless statement to make, as in a Primary Election, you are supposed to be casting your vote for who you have the most confidence in, and who you believe in most; to vote otherwise is to be nothing but a pawn of cheap political gamesmenship. And as to the idea that having been a SEAL should seal the deal, I'm sorry, but if other members of the Navy SEAL's don't think that that's enough to qualify you as Governor, I'm not buying it either.

Bill again makes the pitch that the fact that Eric Greitens had been a Democrat, is no reaon for him to be rejected. And I agree. For the very examples and reasons he states - the fact that he once was a Democrat shouldn't change your mind, provided that the person in question has clearly explained and demonstrated why they were once a Democrat, and are no more:
"Yes, Eric Greitens began life as a Democrat, just like Ronald Reagan did. Yes, Eric Greitens applauded Democrats’ speeches, just like Ronald Reagan did. Yes, Eric Greitens wrote in support of big government programs, just like Ronald Reagan did."

I have zero problem with a democrat converting to the Right - Fantastic! But I do want to know WHY they converted, and especially in the case of a recent conversion (how recent? Eric's not saying), I want some proof that he understands what the difference is between the Left and the Right. Did he switch simply because of a pragmatic calculation of political numbers, or to make govt programs more effective and efficient, or from an understanding of the ideas which the Right is (supposed to be) rooted it?
Adam Sharp (who does not work for Peter Kinder) is kicked out before asking a single question
I and others have asked that question of Eric Greitens, his people and his campaign, but aside from receiving mostly smirking political snarkasm in response, and an occasionally a shove or an escort out the door, we've learned nothing more than Bill's next point:
"But Eric Greitens has seen fit to move to the right because he’s seen the damage done by the policies he once endorsed."
John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, all make similar statements day in and day out, about how the policies of the left are damaging to America, but I don't believe that they understand why the democrat's policies fail. It's nice that they want to fix them, but wanting to help, without understanding how to help, isn't going to help! If you want me, to help you, to help us, you've first got to show me that you understand what the problem is, its causes, and how to fix them. If you cannot or will not explain that, then you aren't the one to help fix the problem - you'll just worsen the bad situation we've already got. We don't need any more help of that kind - we're drowning in it already.

Bill says that we should put away our concerns and rest assured that,
"Sensible people would help him make those corrections. Eric Greitens is fully equipped and prepared to fix Missouri."
Bill, and Eric's campaign, say that a lot. Words have meaning - how about sharing his understanding of them? Try explaining the what, how and why of the issues. Then I'll decide if he's worth supporting. Unfortunately he's not only not done that, but he's purposefully, and belligerently, avoided doing that. That isn't someone I'm going to support in a Primary Election that is supposed to be all about why I should vote for you.
"The more Eric sees government in action, the more he seeks to restrain government."
What has he said that shows how seriously he wants to restrain govt? I haven't seen it. The more I've seen of Eric's ideas, the more I've seen nothing more than sentiments ('we've got to reach out...we've got to provide support... we've got to do better...') that are sure to expand government powers and reach. I'm sorry, but I'll need to hear his explanations for what, how and why I should think that he understands the importance of restraining govt's power over us, rather than expanding it in another direction for a 'good cause'. And Bill goes again for the warm fuzzy association:
"Just like Ronald Reagan."
The problem with that, is that unlike Eric Greitens, Ronald Reagan spent years and years explaining exactly why he joined the Republican Party, he explained exactly what he thought the problem was with Democrat policies, and why he thought they were wrong, and he explained the ideas he meant to campaign on and execute. Eric Greitens has smirked. And snarled. And repeated key events from his books in Townhall's (limited to three questions from the audience), but he has not explained what he will do, why he will do it, and how he will carry it out. Unfortunately, on the basis of Greitens statements and actions, I can find zero basis for comparing him with Ronald Reagan.
"And Greitens is the only Republican likely to beat the Democrat in November."
Coming from the man who supported Ed Martin in every election he lost - I must decline to put all that much stock in predictions such as that.
"As long as that smirking political class holds sway in Jefferson City, our limited-government movement will remain a remnant, a faction, of frustrated grassroots activists waving signs that no one else reads or understands.
That’s why I believe Americans have a duty to blow up the political class first."
Hint: The political class is currently made up of people who smirk, spout slogans, make promises and demand support, while providing little or no substance for anyone to understand or support them on, and assiduously avoid having to demonstrate that they can and will walk their talk. That's Eric Greitens' campaign to a "T". I'll leave it to the reader to decide the best response to that.

As to "... waving signs that no one else reads or understands...", if no one understands the signs people are waving, then as I see it, we have two options:

  1. Demonstrate, communicate and teach what those signs mean.
  2. Deceive, trick or otherwise sucker people into supporting you so you can get into office and double-cross them later with what you think is best for them.
One of those options I endorse, and one of those options I oppose. How about you?
"The smirking political class is a sucking chest wound on this country. It’s bleeding us dry. Until we stop that bleeding, nothing else helps."
Exactly. We need to stop accepting crisp suits stuffed with empty slogans which have no substance, and until we stop accepting such false solutions, there will be no progress made. I repeat: Stop Accepting A Smirking Slogan With Zero Substance.

Bill then makes a statement which has much appeal and little understanding:
"Crony capitalism sits on the chest of the American economy, suffocating growth. Until will corral crony capitalism, our solutions will fail."
The sad fact is that organizations such as The Aspen Institute, and its The Franklin Institute, and various unaccountable NGO's, etc., are the marketing arms of crony capitalism - they are the means of connecting the politically powerful to corporate interests - and Eric Greitens has been an enthusiastic supporter of them for years and years, effectively undermining everything that the conservative and Tea Party movements have been working for. If you want me to believe that he no longer is a member of the cronies - then please ask him to explain to Missouri Voters what he now believes, and how and why he came to believe it. If he can't start with that obvious first step, then I can't trust that he'll take the next step at all.
"If your priority is anything but blowing up that smirking political class, then you’re going to kill the patient. He’ll bleed to death."
If you attempt to replace the smirking political class, with another class of political smirkers, guess what: Nothing will change.
"Without reservation or purpose of evasion, I wholeheartedly and proudly repeat my endorsement of Eric Greitens for governor of Missouri. And I ask you to join me in saving our country."
Without reservation or purpose of evasion, I sadly can find no reasons whatsoever, despite searching and asking, for believing that Eric Greitens believes, or will do, anything differently from the political class he seeks to be elected the leader of. That doesn't win over my support.

This is Missouri - If he truly understands and believes and can argue for Conservative ideals: Show Me.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Why does Eric Greitens identify as a Conservative? Unfortunately we don't really know.

Why does Eric Greitens identify as a Conservative? Unfortunately we don't really know. Perhaps Eric Greitens figures that in an age where 'men' can identify as 'women', as one of his donors, Obama supporter and military-transgender activist James Pritzker identifies as Jennifer Pritzker, then surely he should be able to 'identify' as a 'Conservative'...? Well, what he does in the privacy of his own home is his business, but in public restrooms and Governor's Mansions, I'd prefer to have such serious identifications be made with a bit more credibility than just a guy's say-so - ya know what I mean?

But that's where Eric Greitens won't man-up.

Oh, he's more than happy to come out and identify as being a Conservative Republican, but will he reveal what his reasons for that massive change of heart were? Nope. Will he reveal when that transformation occurred? Nope. He simply expects us all to accept that he identifies that way.

Unfortunately, he doesn't have such a great history of having his words match up with actual facts.

For instance, he repeatedly declares "I'm not a politician - I'm an outsider!", and we're to take his word that he doesn't identify that way, but... tell me, how many non-politicians do you know who register a presidential campaign website in their names? And that was 8 years ago. Personally, when a person first begins to seriously consider a future political, to my mind, that's when he became an actual politician. What do you think?

And when one of the original Tea Party video bloggers, my friend Adam Sharp, tried to ask Eric Greitens what his reasons were for becoming a conservative, his staff blocked and shoved Adam aside for daring to ask Mr. Non-Politician questions about his positions - apparently he thinks that info is just a bit too personal for people in the Show Me state to be shown.

When Greitens first announced his intention to run for Missouri Governor, there were many rumors about his past Democrat leanings, but some, like Bill Hennessy, chose to get carried away in the wonder of his personal greatness, as others like myself were somewhat intrigued but still asking "What's so good about Great?"
"...With all the 'Great' candidates we have running for high office around the nation today, we seem to be forgetting an important rule for a self governing people:
'Greatness' doesn't make you fit for office; demonstrating an understanding of the nature and purpose of the office you're seeking to be elected to, does.
To advance someone for high office because of their great qualities alone, and in spite of knowing little or nothing about how well, if at all, they understand the purpose of, and the restraints upon the power of, that office which they are campaigning for, and without knowing how they intend to use its power, is dangerous to everyone that that elected office has power over. ..."
Bill Hennessey didn't appreciate such questioning of his 'transformational leader' and tried to write off such concerns about Greitens' conserva-cred as 'dirty tricks!' and 'whisper campaigns!'. So sure (on what basis?) that the rumors weren't true, he made the unfortunate statement about those less sold on him than he was, that:
"...If none of that works, they’ll just lie and claim he’s a Democrat."
Sadly for Bill, the concerns which many were having about Greitens, were not only worth whispering about, but even worth raising voices over, because, as it turned out, Greitens soon after disclosed that he was, in fact, until very recently (how recently, he won't say), a Democrat!

Hey Show Me State! What kind of leader do you think it is, that knowingly lets his supporters stick their necks out for him while knowing that they'll be sandbagged after a month or more of their denying what he knows to be true?. IMHO, Eric Greitens should have begun his campaign with that revelation right out of the box, and that looks to me like poor leadership on Greitens part, and extremely poor judgment on Bill's part, who's unfortunately developed a habit of putting his trust/mistrust with the wrong political operatives.

Greitens was not only a Democrat, and had been in discussions about running for office as a democrat, and supported democrats for office, went to the DNC Nomination of Obama, supported his Education plans, has supported the UN and using the United States Military for world Social Programs, radical transformative NGO's, and The Franklin Institutes "A 21st Century National Service System" for our youth... and then... all of a sudden... for some unknown reasons, he had a change of heart. When? We don't know.

But we should accept that he now identifies as a Conservative Republican? Seriously?

1 year later: What's changed?
Do we have anything more than Eric Greiten's word for being a 'conservative', than he let on a year ago? No. We don't. Not directly from him, at any rate. The sum total of Eric Greitens "I Believe" positions provided for Missourians to make up their minds about his actual political identify, by MS Word's count, is 789 words. Mr. Articulate book writing transformational leader, has managed to put fewer than 800 words together to help the voters of Missouri to make up their minds about electing him to the highest position of power in the state.

I think that sums up his style of 'leadership, his respect for the voter, and just how much more 'politics as usual' we might have in store for us, if he were to be elected.

Peter Kinder, on his "Statements" page alone, has 1,844, three times that. John Brunner's "Issues" page has 1,663 words. Catherine Hanaway packs in 3,612 words and action plans on her "Issues" page. But more than that, both Kinder, Hanaway and Brunner, especially Kinder, have years and years of statements, actions, and measurable performance that match their words to their actions and histories.

Greitens? He simply 'identifies' as 'conservative'. IMHO simply 'identifying' as being one thing or another, is not going to work any better in our Governor's office, than it does in Target changing-rooms.

It seems to me that the reasonable questions that should be pursued now, still, a year later, are how grounded and credible are Eric Greitens' claims to actually being a conservative Republican? Ironically, the only material we have to make that judgment from, is that same article that Greitens wrote to announce that he actually had, until recently (how recently he doesn't say), been a Democrat. And for me at least, his admission and conversion, although welcome, does very little to assure me of what his political principles are.

Recapping Greitens Identity
So with that being said, with nothing new about his personal ideas and thoughts on why he became a conservative, lets look again at the one definitive statement he has made about his beliefs, and I'll explain why it is that I personally find it to be far less than satisfying for me, as to what his Identity actually is.

Take especial note, that he begins his article with this statement:
"I am a conservative Republican, but I didn’t start out that way. "
While his article could lay a credible claim to his being a Republican, he didn't stop with claiming to be a Republican only, he claims to be a Conservative Republican, and that qualifier 'conservative' requires a bit more information from him than simply having announced that he'd joined the GOP. After all - Lindsay Graham is a Republican too, but you're not going to find a whole lot of Conservatives or Tea Party members that are going to be too impressed by that, right? To make a credible claim as to being a Conservative, he needs to show a solid level of understanding of the principles behind the constitution (U.S. and MO), as well as a regard for, and commitment to, the U.S. Constitution itself. What has he said to place himself squarely on the Conservative and Tea Party Right, as opposed to being in the middle of the road, or even over there on the side of the road with the RINOs?

The only way to find out, is to begin taking a look at what he himself has said:
"I am a conservative Republican, but I didn’t start out that way.

I was raised as a Democrat. I was taught that Harry Truman was the greatest president ever because he was strong, stood up to the communists, and most important, he was from Missouri. I was taught to stand up for the little guy, and that bigger government was the best way to do that. I registered to vote as a Democrat, and several years ago some Democrats even tried to recruit me to run for Congress.

There was one rather large problem. As I got older, I no longer believed in their ideas. Even worse, I had concluded that liberals aren’t just wrong. All too often they are world-class hypocrites. They talk a great game about helping the most vulnerable, with ideas that feel good and fashionable. The problem is their ideas don’t work, and often hurt the exact people they claim to help."
Which is all very welcome, well and good. I personally have no problem in welcoming someone who's realized their political errors and corrected them, or with believing in the depth of their conversion, but I do need to see evidence of their understanding the principles they claim to have converted to.

Some obvious examples of others who have given ample evidence of just that sort of thing, would be Ronald Reagan, who didn't just switch parties because one 'worked better' than the other, he solidly expressed his grasp of the principles which separated the philosophies of the Left from the Right, in his Goldwater announcement speech, "A Time for Choosing", and he spent years acting consistently with his words. David Horowitz is another excellent that comes to mind, as someone who was once a deeply entrenched and radical leftist, and he not only switched parties, but has gone to great lengths demonstrating very effectively his understanding of why leftist ideas are faulty and corrupt. A little closer to home in time and place would be Dana Loesch, who began as a democrat operative but soon realized her error, left the Left, and has since demonstrated very well, through actions with the Tea Party, on radio, TV and in print, her solid understanding of, and commitment to, the principles which our Individual Rights rest upon and require.

But being as I'm not, as Bill put it, 'lazy' enough to accept someone's assertions alone, I need evidence that such a person didn't simply change party affiliations to find a snazzier party. And I feel zero guilt whatsoever in having questions about their status, especially when I see that the reasons which they've given for their conversion, are far short of being deep enough reasons to explain the error they claim to have corrected.

For instance, it's good that he realized that the leftist approach was hypocritical, that it hurt those it claimed to want to help and simply didn't work. But while that may be enough to explain his becoming a Republican, it isn't enough to assure people, especially me, that he now has a conservative understanding and approach to political issues. After all, again, Lindsay Graham will tell you the very same thing about the democrats and their policies, but you'd have an easier time selling space heaters in hell, than convincing conservatives that Lindsay Graham was one of them.

So what else has Mr. Greitens given us to go on? What deeds or reasoned insights, rather than simply assertions and labels, has he given us? After reciting a valid list of leftist policies that don't work, he says:
"I became a conservative because I believe that caring for people means more than just spending taxpayer money; it means delivering results. It means respecting and challenging our citizens, telling them what they need to hear, not simply what they want to hear. "
The first sentence, especially it's ending, reminds me of earlier statements of 'smarter', kinder, gentler, government social programs, which is a big red flag to me, of a republican not being a Tea Party compatible, Free Market Conservative, dedicated to upholding Individual Rights through the Rule of Law under constitutionally limited government.

I don't think very much of the 'compassionate conservative' shtick. I found it appallingly bad when William F. Buckley Jr. pushed it back in the 1990's (we'll go into detail why in later posts), it was the reason why I didn't vote for George W. Bush in the 2000 primary, and I think it pretty much wore its welcome out with the rest of the nation with W's administration. Demonstrating that you understand the principles that conservatism is derived from requires much more than delivering 'results' and telling people what you think they need to hear, we need to hear you demonstrate a desire for the kind of results that are consistent with conservatism, worthwhile and proper to achieve. So far, I haven't seen that.
"So what would I do? I believe in limited but effective government."
I'm sorry, but that 'but' makes his But look really big to me. When he says 'but effective', he's saying that as a qualifier on 'limited government', which makes it seem to me that his goal is less about ensuring that government remains properly 'limited', than about making its ability to deliver 'results' more efficiently, to be more important than its being limited. Believing in limited government is highly desirable, but Why should it be limited? I'm not seeing any indication from him as to why government should be limited, and that, for me, has to come before anything else. His words indicate to me that he thinks that there are lots of limitations to those limits on government, especially if they might deliver 'effective government'. That sends a shudder down my spine.
"I believe in replacing ObamaCare with something that actually works."
I most emphatically do not. I do not believe that ObamaCare is bad because Obama and the Democrats proposed it, but because govt CANNOT provide any solutions that will not impair the quality and liberty of everyone involved in the area of health care, and so any GovtCare is doomed to failure, and as such we should not attempt to 'fix' it, or replace it, but to remove it. I don't want to replace the devil I know with one I don't know, I want to exorcise the damn thing, bell, book and candle! I believe in repealing ObamaCare, as well as repealing all the other operational healthcare and insurance industry regulations/corporate favors, and I believe in exterminating every other interference into the free market. That means eliminating all intrusive government 'solutions' that prevent people from making intelligent decisions and acting on them for their own reasons. Only by doing that, can a Free Market, which gave us modern health in the first place, be restored.

I'm unable and emphatically unwilling to see anything less than that as a 'conservative' solution, though I've no doubt you could get Lindsay Graham to go along with it.
"I believe in putting working families and job creation ahead of special interests."
That sounds, at best, like re-calibrating your spin cycle so as to swap one set of special interests for another, for political gain. Switching special big biz interests, for special little guy interests, ultimately means retaining one set of special interests to be doled out as privileges to some, at everyone else's expense. If you are a Free Market Conservative, dedicated to Individual Rights and the Rule of Law, then you will not seek or accept the swapping of one form of favoritism for another, but will instead desire to eliminate all such special privileges so that all are equal before the law. That would be acceptable. Anything less, and you might as well go talk to Lindsay Graham - I'm sure he's ready to listen.
"I believe that in a free society we have to defend religious liberties and the 2nd Amendment, and protect innocent life, so everyone has the freedom to pursue happiness."
This isn't too bad... but I'd be more comfortable hearing something like "Liberty requires that everyone's individual rights be respected, and those rights that are singled out in our Bill of Rights must be held like daggers in the faces of those who'd like to use power to help and improve our lives for us.", anything less, is... less.
"I believe in reforming welfare, so every person can have a chance at a life of dignity, purpose, and meaning."
I do not. I believe in eliminating it. Only then, can every person have a chance at living their own lives.
"And I believe America’s public schools should be the best in the world."
Yeah, well, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Barrack Obama and Lindsay Graham all say the same things as well, but if you mean to use the centralized powers of the state or federal governments to accomplish that, then you will be saying nothing different than they would, which is nothing that I'd agree with or be willing to go along with.
"As Americans, we deserve much better than what we’re getting from our government. We don’t need more rhetoric. We want results."
Which of course is just more rhetoric. I don't want better results from our government, I want less of my government in my life so that I can get the results I deserve. As an American, I deserve to have my govt respect my right to live my own life, and anything more than that is, IMHO, significantly less.
"And that means changing politics as usual, which won’t be easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is. You have to fight for what you believe in, and I, for one, have never backed down from that kind of fight."
There are few things that sound more to me like politics as usual, than a politician saying 'that means changing politics as usual'; it's an easy thing to say, and it's a meaningless thing to say. Tell me something more meaningful, apply it to something more difficult, explain your principles and how you'd apply them to particular issues facing our state. Anything less than that is nothing more than politics as usual.

I've read his book "Heart and Fist", Eric Greitens has an impressive, record, and I wish that I could believe that he was on our side, but I see no reason to believe that that is the case. I've seen no effort on his part to demonstrate the depth of his principled understanding of what our side is. I've seen no credible assurances or answers from the candidate himself - and he is a writer! - that gives me reason to believe that the political principles that will drive his use of power in office, will be ones that'd make me comfortable with entrusting him with the power of that office.

Still, a year later and now nearly at the Primary, his comments have been shallow, trite, directed towards vague issues and gimmicks, with no substance to enable us to recognize what his principles are, and I'm not yet convinced that he even understands what our side is, let alone how to lead or fight for it.

The only effort he's made to connect with voters, where he might have been able to communicate how he will make political decisions, have been those Gubernatorial Debates he showed up for, and of course his great Missouri Listening Tour. I don't want to have a candidate listening to me when they're running for office - the only sound they need to hear from me would be my support or my vote - and the only way he's going to get that is by telling me what his ideas and beliefs and principles are, so that I can make up my mind about whether or not I want to entrust him with my vote. A candidate needs to speak, debate, publish and otherwise let We The People know what it is that he thinks, feels and is driven by. That's how you show the Show Me state that you're worthy to hold power as Governor of our state.

When I hear of his support for NGO's, his words that express little more than shallow associations with politically easy 'hot button' issues, I'm not learning anything about the political principles that he, particularly in a moment of crisis, or with a simply tough and unpopular decision, is going to be guided by in making his decision.

I know what he's thought to be right in the recent past, and that included supporting:
"President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, allocating almost $6 billion to new and existing service programs. Eric Greitens, a University of Missouri public affairs expert, says the bill is a call to service for all Americans."
, which means that I don't know what he thinks Right is, but I've got a lot of clues about the far left positions that he very recently supported as being right!

That's a problem for me, and to secure my vote I require his explanations, and demonstrations, of understanding those issues, and NOT simply the assurances of a flak who thinks he can peddle PR messages in lieu of a glaring lack of substance.

I have a huge problem with his entering this race without bothering to begin from the beginning. He, as a candidate, has a responsibility to demonstrate his having at least a fundamental understanding of the nature and purpose of the office he's seeking to be elected to, and of what he will bring to that. It didn't need to be a detailed set of position papers (though that wouldn't hurt), but just some general statements of principle and intent; but for him to enter the race without even a general formulation of that, particularly with his knowing how his own political history would unavoidably raise questions and concerns amongst those he's aiming to have as supporters, is, to me, a major lapse of judgment. The failure to do that would almost certainly leave those who would support him, who would be inspired by him, in the position of having to substitute their own personal sense of inspiration for his 'great qualities', for that relevant substance which he failed to provide, to carry them through any attempts at supporting and defending him.

That, to me, is an egregious failure of leadership on a philosophical and political level, and it was a failure of leadership on a personal level, to put his potential supporters in such a position on his behalf, over basic info that should have been a no-brainer to provide. Without that substance and proof from him, in his own words, and his visible ability to defend them, there is in terms of his political judgment, nothing there for me to support, only 'inspired substitute substance' that is worth less than the HTML it's written on.

In short: Eric Greitens 'identifies' as a 'conservative', in much the same way that this fellow 'identified' as a women in Target's changing room. To my fellow residents of the Show Me state: Demand something more of the candidate you vote for, than their having simply 'identified' as a Conservative - demand proof - Show Me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The Rule of Law's long "Weekend at Bernie's" finally comes to a close - long live the Rule of Law!

No, the Rule of Law did not just die with the FBI's recommendation of no prosecution for Hillary, it's just that the nearly century long "Weekend at Bernie's" has finally come to a close - it is dead, but it happened long before today, and although dead, it's only mostly dead.

If you haven't seen the movie "Weekend at Bernie's",
"Two losers try to pretend that their murdered employer is really alive, leading the hitman to attempt to track him down to finish him off."
, give me a moment, and it's plot will become familiar to you.

Keep that narrative in mind as we review the facts, which begin way back in 1837, when the Rule of Law had contracted a lethal disease in the Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren Bridge case, so much so that one of the deans of American Jurisprudence, Chancellor Kent, wrote in The New York Review, that
"A gathering gloom is cast over the future. We seem to have sunk suddenly below the horizon, to have lost the light of the sun."
, and when famed lawyer Daniel Webster desperately fought to save it, on losing the case, he simply, and he remorsefully stated, that it meant
"That's the death of property rights."
Sadly, those who might have cured its disease, the colleges, had themselves been infected, and soon after wards took to their deathbeds as well, dooming the entire Educational System to a similar fate, and so no relief was ever able to come.

By 1913 the disease had metastasized and spread to the patient's Constitutional System through the 16th, 17th & 18th Amendments, and from them to its political system, and for those paying attention, it was clear that the end was near. And so, sadly, in 1938, at the close of the Gold Clause Cases, Justice McReynolds pronounced that:
"this is Nero at his worst. The Constitution is gone."
, and so, tragically, nearly eighty years ago, our dear Constitution, together with its close companion, the Rule of Law, had officially died of its Progressive infection.

How did you not know of this?

Well, the news of their demise, if made known, as in the movie, it would have made matters very uncomfortable for two rather opportunistic and deeply desperate characters, an Elephant and a Donkey, who contrived a bold plan to take turns moving the body about admidst the crowd of drunken party goers, as often as necessary in order to make it seem to still be alive. So they'd move an arm here, shake its head there, and amazingly, everyone was fooled! Naturally though, as their interests conflicted, they sometimes battled over the body, leading to awkward moments where the eyeglasses would fly off here and there, but remarkably, in deep, dark comedic fashion, they pulled their ruse off.

Until today.

Today, following shortly after former President Bill Clinton's secret (almost) meeting with Attorney General Lynch, and on the day after the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the long "Weekend at Bernies" finally came to a close, as it was no longer possible for anyone to pretend, with a straight face, that the body was still alive, no longer possible to mask its death with only a pair of dark glasses and clever repositioning of the corpse, as the fumes of bodily corruption and decay seeped out in the FBI director Comey's presser announcing that Hillary Clinton had broken numerous laws, but would not be charged because, seriously, she's Hillary Clinton, "no reasonable prosecutor..." is going to take that case.

Not even CNN could swallow that one whole.

But I've forgotten to mention the third character in the "Weekend at Bernie's" plot, haven't I, the hitman - who is that? That'd be modern philosophy, and it goes under many aliases: Misosophy, Marxism, Pragmatism, Pro-Regressivism; but whatever name it goes by, what it depends upon is your accepting that what IS, isn't. Reality is deniable, unidentifiable, that reality 'in itself' is something beyond our ability to know... which ultimately means that reality is whatever you want it to be. How else do you think we got to the point of men 'identifying' as women? That Truth and Justice are meaningless because there is no truth, only what 'works' (for the moment). But what it all comes down to, is if your words have no meaning, there can be no Rule of Law, only its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules.

Can you guess who it is that is served by the Rule of Rules? That's right, those with the power to make the rules, transforming "Justice" into, as one Meme wag put it:"Just us!"

So yes my friends, the Rule of Law has died, but that death occurred long, long ago. What is important now, however, today, is that people not attempt to remember it by the grotesque positions that the body has been placed in over the last eight decades, or even to focus on those later judgments that were given during the advanced moments of its deep illness. Instead, We The People should do our part to remember the Rule of Law when it was in fine health and good condition, fully alive and in control of its faculties, when its sole purpose was to uphold and defend our Individual Rights and Property under the understanding of Natural Law. Never forget, that the Rule of Law, Natural Law, Individual Rights and Property, are ideas, integrated concepts that enable men to know what is, and as such, they can't truly die, it only requires a people to attend to them, learn and understand them (as I'm attempting to help with in these posts), for them to live in that people's heart once again.

The Rule of Law is dead - long live the Rule of Law!

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Naturally Unnatural Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence

Recognizing those Natural Laws behind the Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence
Bit of a wet weekend here for celebrating Independence Day, July 4th, 2016, but dry enough to grill up a few Rib-eye steaks and condense a few points plucked from a previous post, before reposting the entirety of Calvin Coolidge's 'The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence', from his celebration of Independence Day in 1926.

Behind all the fireworks on this day today, and that day 240 years ago, is a simple realization, that the seedling of all of our Individual Rights is to be found in a simple truth of our Human Nature: that we have awareness of our surroundings and the ability to make reasonable choices within it, enabling us, with reasonable imagination, to transform facts into knowledge, and to choose the actions that will put us in command of our surroundings - and our need to be free to do so. Our Rights are those actions which our existence naturally requires us to be able to take, and without which, we could not live a fully human life. They also entail the responsibility of individuals recognizing that their own Rights depend upon not forcibly treading upon the rights of another in the free exercise of their Rights. In short, Rights are the logical consequence of creatures employing their Free Will in a rational respect for reality, where truth and understanding are recognized as our most vital tools of survival.

That little paragraph of obviousness, took thousands of years of history for mankind to begin to recognize, and then to stand behind it and to risk their lives for it, and the process of getting to that point is the hard work that true progress is made of.

And it is the most unnatural of things for men to recognize, let alone to fight for.

But what are the alternatives? Naturally, if you cannot take those actions necessary to your survival, you cannot live. If you cannot retain the materials which your thoughts and actions produce - your property - you will not live, not fully. And if you do not extend the same understanding to those you associate with, you will have no one to live with... willingly, and while those associating with you unwillingly are but slaves... a man alone is but a meal for the animal kingdom.

We cannot live well, without living in association with others, and maintaining that association, Society, without being either a slave or a slave master, requires a means of resolving those disputes which naturally arise amongst us - but what of those who are stronger, and able to force others to do as they will? They are not so quick to give up their privileges and positions - mere force is powerless to subdue the powerful to the judgments of those with less power than they. That requires something more powerful than mere power, it requires understanding, respect and reverence for the truth, knowledge of how to discover it, a morality worthy of the name - and the understanding that those are not separate issues at all, but one and the same.

Figuring that out, is where all of those thousands of years of history have mostly been spent in pursuit of, by painful trial and error, trying to recognize what reasonable rules would be for getting at the truth of the matter, and what needs to be understood to get there. And how to do that while respecting the nature and requirements of each person in that society, and each person trusting that they will be administered by a respected few who can be trusted to treat all comers fairly, strong or weak, rich or poor, popular or despised.

For all of that to be possible, the individuals of your society have to agree that the process of making those rules will be reasonable, and worth submitting themselves to be governed by them, even with the certainty that some of the laws passed and judgments rendered, will be ones that they won't agree with. Maybe toughest of all, without giving up their ability to defend themselves, they must relinquish the use of aggressive force to get what they want from another, and still be resolved to abide by the judgments of trustworthy members of their society.

That is the basis for Natural Law and the Rule of Law, and your Individual Rights find their support and defense, in and through it.

But how unnatural is that? It is of course the easiest of things to expect to take those actions that you deem necessary for your life, but it takes an unnatural act of reasoning and self awareness, and a regard for truth and integrity, to recognize that your ability to take those actions, depends upon your not infringing upon another's right to do the same. That is where what were once mere urges and actions that people needed to take in order to live, become recognized and elevated to an understanding of Individual Rights, that each person has a right to freedom of speech, to liberty of action and association, and a right to the results those actions - their property -  and to defend them all. It is their protection in society that enables lives to be lived in liberty and in the pursuit of happiness.

And yet every natural inclination of men goes against it! Unless and until a people have raised themselves up into being a knowledgeable, moral society, committed to ideas of truth and understanding, they cannot achieve it - or long retain it, if they are fortunate enough to have such liberty passed to them.

Simple as that all may seem to be, it took thousands of years of bloody trial and error for mankind to progress to the point of declaring and instituting a society based upon them. Your presence in this society, as opposed to living secluded in a cave, is your private assent and implied signature to that societal contract, it is the default, if you are going to live amongst others it is 'self-evident' that you must do so reasonably and peacefully. The maintenance of that contract, as the long pitiable history of man has shown, had better be carefully tended to by those entrusted with societies power, the government, and by those members of society who entrust government with their power - or that power will be abused. Individuals have Rights and Powers, States have Powers to defend them, and it is only through carefully written, clear laws, can their balance can be maintained, and if that balance slips, then Power will seek to serve itself at the people's expense.

The nature of Power is violence. The nature of those possessing Power, is the urge to use it, for 'good reasons'. As the apocryphal saying goes,
'Power, like fire, is a useful servant, but a fearful master."
We are not given our Rights by legislators, philosophers or prophets, they are written by the author of Man into our very nature as human beings. Man, by nature, has free will, he must choose in order to live and his reason enables and requires him to do so. For his choices to be effective, they must be in accordance with what is in reality, true - when that is understood, then certain truths do become self-evident.

It would be as offensive to the laws of 'natures God' to pluck the wings from birds, as to forcibly deprive a man of his choice to act, speak, associate, produce and preserve what his very nature requires of him, what "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them", to be able to do in order to live a fully human life.

It doesn't get much more God given than that, and not believing in God is no escape from realizing it; it is just as clearly spelled out for the scientist & Darwinist to see in the empirical nature of man, as can be grasped by the philosopher's concepts and principles, or through the words of the Bible.

To choose to breathe water is to choose to die, and though its impact isn't as immediately visible, to choose to live a life that denies or mocks morality, whether it comes from the Ten Commandments or the finer philosophers Ethics, is to make the very same choice - they aren't true because they were written, they were written because they were true - to turn away from that... even in a secular world, the wages of sin is slavery and death.

What Americans faced then, and we are facing again today, are those in power making claims on what was never theirs to give. Legislators, philosophers and prophets have been doing their very best to take away from us, attempting to transform our Rights into simple entitlements, materializing them into mere benefits and privileges, which is exactly what modernism does. The first casualty of modernity was Free Will , then Private Property, then Knowledge, and then Virtue and  Morality - next on their agenda, are our Rights - all of them. They will claim that violence to Human Nature to be Progress, but it is nothing of the sort, it is only a rampant regress to the natural barbarity of men who've discarded their minds and morality.

The best President of the 20th Century, and the last one to recognizably employ the office in a constitutional manner, was Calvin Coolidge, and not coincidentally, he did an admirable job of summing up those ideals in his speech "The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence", from 1926, which I've been reposting every Independence Day (though it is always available on my "Presidential Messages" page), and this passage more than any other conveys the essentials of our Founding American Ideals:
"...About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers...."
Those are ideals worthy of patriotic enthusiasm. Perhaps more to the point for our Millennials, in the absence of these ideals, true patriotic feelings will have no choice but to fade away. The solution is not to criticize Millennials, but to help them rediscover what America really is, was, and that will not be accomplished by waving either pictures of the Founding Fathers or of the Flag at them, but will result from their acquainting themselves, probably for the first time, with the ideals that America resulted from. Accomplish that, and naturally now, as then, the reaction will be revolutionary.

And without further ado, take it away Calvin:

The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence - Calvin Coolidge (cleaning up after Wilson, July 5, 1926)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people
The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God's own allowance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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