Saturday, July 31, 2021

Fighting the Hydra requires more than just fighting back - The Critical Insurrection

When fighting a Hydra, don't just fight back - The Critical Insurrection
Given the nature of the pro-regressive insurrection (see previous post) being waged against America - not the one being charged by Nancy Pelosi & the House Democrats, but the one they've been waging upon us through weaponized ideologies such as CRT (Critical Race Theory) - I urge a word of caution, that when fighting a Hydra, you have to do more than simply fight back. Because if you only cut off a head, like Common Core, while the other heads distract you into fighting them, each stump will grow two even more vicious heads, as with SEL & CRT. Most of all, the heads seek to distract you from discovering that as you cut one off, and cauterize its stump, it can't grow even one back, and continuing to do that, until you've severed the last head, and cauterized its' stump as well, then the immortal beast will actually die. All the distractions are there to keep us from realizing the actual target.

For instance, years ago when we were battling against Common Core, we began to be told that America needed to wage a campaign against bullies, because there were bullies, bullies everywhere around us, when in reality, other than those in Congress, bullying was no more of an issue then, than it ever had been before. But that distraction did enable SEL (Social Emotional Learning, an astonishingly flawed and ignorant concoction of 1990's educratic thinking), to grow into prominence through federal, state & local legislation, such as,
"...Federal policy has begun to incorporate social, emotional, and behavioral factors into education accountability metrics (e.g., ESSA: Every Student Succeeds Act), and school climate initiatives, antibullying work, positive behavior supports (e.g., PBIS), and discipline reform are increasingly influencing the day-to-day practice of schools and communities...."
, and as SEL became fully implemented as the central 'lens' of 'Critical Pedagogy', it helped CRT to grow into the very real threat which it has become today. So as you see the hydras writhing its several heads of 'Whiteness', 'diversity', and even 'Marxism' in our faces to distract us, remember that while those do need to be fought, we have to remember to finish the job, and that until we do that with each one, they will not only regrow, but multiply.

I'm going to keep these first few posts as short and to the point as my feeble powers of restraint can manage (I know, too late... sorry, best I can do), and as there are many excellent sources available either free online, or for minimal expense in books (I've added a page of links to books, online resources and videos, to the top of my blog 'Behind CRT'), I won't attempt to recreate the detail-wheel here, but I do want to highlight what I see so often being missed, because as important as those details are, the particular issues of the moment, aren't the revolution that's being waged against us, and missing that is why every apparent 'victory!' that the Right has celebrated over the last century, has resulted in its being replaced by at least two more fearsome heads in our culture and institutions, and as the creature now has us backed up to the edge of the cliff, if we fail to finish each fight, our 'victories' will end up flipping Reagan's dictum around to 'they win, we lose'.

I urge you - look beyond what is being waved around to distract us into still another fight. Focusing only on CRT is not enough. Focusing only on SEL, is not enough (do that, and you'll miss the Trauma-Informed Schools that are preparing to strike. H/T Marilee). Focusing on Marxism is not enough either, as any one thing which causes us to focus in too narrowly on only one particular or another, is keeping us from taking in the full nature of the beast, and without a good grasp of either the particular issue's nature, nor the full scope of its reach, those who're adept at using detailed definitions to evade and deny inconvenient facts, will find it exceedingly easy to dismiss the concerns we raise ('CRT?! That there's a college course, this is High School! We don't teach no college courses here! Ya'll need to git educated!').

We're like hunters walking along with our eyes on the ground following an unfamiliar set of tracks, thinking that the strange leathery tree trunks we keep bumping into, are isolated and random oddities, and it isn't until we begin looking upwards that we finally begin noticing that they're not as isolated as they seemed, and as we're looking up, and up, and up at what each one is tending towards, we finally begin to see them all as being legs of the gargantuan beast standing over us, with its multiple heads ready to strike at us, or perhaps just to flatten us under its weight.

The Hydra's wokery is not just in the schools, it's in the foundations and NGO's, it's in the 'Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer's that are popping up like weeds throughout the corporate world.. it's in the military, in the media, sports, entertainment, our churches, it's even in medicine now - can you name me a single institution or walk of life that it doesn't infest? Please? No, focusing on each issue as separate things is going to get us crushed. We need to see the bestial nature that's present in them all, we need to develop the ability to perceive that presence no matter what façade it's hiding behind, and then decisively confront it.

The good news is that there are telltale traits that help us to recognize and identify its presence and track its progress, whether the current head before us is CRT, SEL, Common Core, Marxism, or one of the many others. Someone that I've been fortunate enough to work with in the effort to halt this systemic madness, Dr. Mary Byrne, has been crisscrossing Missouri, speaking out against CRT - her presentation is full of substance, well presented, and I highly recommend your attending. There are three particular points which are actually in, or are at least implicit in her presentation, which I think are critically (ahem) important in recognizing, defending against, and combatting the 'tentacular monstrosity' we're facing:
  1. Every Politically Correct and Woke effort that shocks and outrages you, while leaving you feeling that you shouldn't or can't respond to it, is intended to demoralize you.
  2. Mis-identifying what America is and originally was, removes the restraints of Truth from those who seek to undermine your confidence and destroy it, which is their mission.
  3. “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” - IOW: Divide and Conquer
So let's look closer at these points.

1) Demoralizing - This first point is one which is served by all of the 'critical theories' and the various '[race, sexuality, etc.] Pride!' & 'Spirit Murder!' type campaigns associated with Critical Race Theories, and they are intended to instill a sense of guilt in everyone else. Shelby Steele identified that point here, in how to push back against those in power who're promoting it,
"...“I think they have to begin with the understanding that Critical Race Theory is a device designed to capture white guilt. It has no other meaning, no other purpose, no other function than that. It wants to capture, to once again accuse whites of racism,” Steele said.

Steele went on to explain that once CRT was used to convince everyone that structural racism had bled into every aspect of American life, the goal was to use the guilt it created to advance black Americans by creating entitlements for them. “It’s a structural systemic society-wide problem and to the extent of its breadth, it owes us as blacks entitlement,” he added.
“What bothers me most is that the whites — we have been doing this now for 70 years, and whites still don’t get the point,” Steele continued. “You are being had. You are being shaken down over a history that you had nothing to do with, and there has to be some standing up there.”
As those who brainwash captives know all too well, if you can get someone to repeatedly feel guilt for something they had no hand in, they become demoralized. Pay special attention to the point of that word, of the 'moral' being removed from you - there's far more to being demoralized than the superficial appearance of being depressed. Without the moral certainty of being aligned with what is right & wrong, a person is left with nothing more than the sensations of the moment to be guided by, the materialist and animalistic pleasure & pain, which leaves you with no sense of having anything that's worth aspiring to or defending. The notion that all values are of equal 'value', means that all of our values - that which we actively pursue or try to hold on to - are only of physical sensations and tastes with no higher element of truth or wisdom to raise them above what is false and foolhardy. That materialistic notion is not an 'ideal' of Tolerance, it is the viciously intolerant means of wiping out three thousand years of slow and painful progress in the West, so as to return us to the life and rule of brute force. When we even innocently accept that premise, and are repeatedly being hit with that 'ideal', the person who accepts that, cannot help but lose their respect for themselves and for others as they have already lost their respect for the nature of being Human. Not surprisingly, such a person as that is far more easily manipulated into doing whatever it is that 'those who know best', want them to do, for this or that shallow 'benefit' or reward.
Note: Anyone claiming to be an 'expert' who tells you that no value is of more value than any other value, has just told you that their expertise is of no value - treat them accordingly.
What Shelby Steele puts as "...You are being shaken down", a P.T. Barnum might've put more like this: 'You can't cheat a moral man, so... get him to feel immoral, and that sucker is all yours.' .

Don't accept the guilt that they're handing out - and don't make the mistake of thinking that it's easy to refuse it. Most decent people are inclined to politely defer to others - how often have you said "Oh, sorry, excuse me", over something such as reaching for the same item on a shelf, or having gotten to a door first? As you did nothing wrong, you don't actually sorry, it's simply a common means of demonstrating politeness and minding your manners. There's of course not only nothing wrong with that, but it's a vital habit which demonstrates your presumption that the other person is worthy of being treated respectfully, and such civility is exceedingly important as a societal norm. It's difficult for most decent people to practice what in normal situations would be seen as bad manners. The proponents of CRT and its like count on our reflexive use of manners, and as a polite response is extended to those who are truly unworthy of that respect, it will be maliciously twisted by them into a chokehold of obligatory guilt, and they know that they can count on your not withdrawing from it, out of fear of appearing rude.

You've seen that scenario playing out across the flaming summer of 2020, in something like this:
BLM: "Black Lives Matter!"
You: "Well of course they do, I certainly agree, and I'm very sorry that you've been treated so badly. Every life is valuable, and..."
BLM: "That's racist!"
You: "Oh! I'm so very sorry, I didn't mean..."
BLM: "You 're inherently racist and promoting 'whiteness' and..."
IOW, while empathy is laudable, and in some contexts, sympathy, if you permit yourself to be beaten up with it, as Shelby Steele put it, "You are being had. You are being shaken down..." Don't allow your decency to be flipped into a chokehold against you.

2) Mis-Identification -The second issue, is to get you to go along with misidentifying what America and Western Civilization are, which requires dividing, if not atomizing, the Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian nature of that which it developed through. I noted in a post way back in 2006, that although America didn't begin with the very religious minded Pilgrims, America absolutely was and still is the fruit of the Greco/Roman & Judeo/Christian marriage which joined those ideals into one flesh, so to speak; each complements the other, and it's through their union that the nature of Western Civilization emerges.

It is ludicrous to say that America was not founded on Judeo-Christian principles, as those principles were explicitly used, studied, and implemented by those who founded it; but neither is it possible to say that America is a Judeo-Christian nation while then trying to minimize or ignore its Greco/Roman nature. The Greco-Roman philosophers and political figures that I typically focus on, share more than a hyphenated relationship of historical happenstance with our Judeo/Christian half - the Bible contains numerous passages that echo the fundamental Roman dictums of law, such as 'hear the other side', and the Greek's love of wisdom ('Philosophy' is the love of wisdom), such as Proverbs 8-9, and much more that is central to the nature of our Western understanding of Natural Law and Justice. Western Civilization isn't simply a patchwork of parts awkwardly tacked together, but is the result of the union of its parental sources, and it is that one flesh that the forces arrayed against us are focused upon putting asunder.

Out of that union came what first became known as Liberalism (not what typically goes by that name today), which in part grew out of the ideas that Thomas Hooker used to form history's first written constitution from (Solon, the Spartans, Rome's tables, were of a different matter), in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, which was implemented around 1639:
"...the Connecticut founders did something different from their Puritan ancestors: the British monarch was not acknowledged as the authorizing agent of the document, as he was in the Mayflower Compact. There is no mention of the monarch anywhere in the agreement. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut lists a fundamental right – and one that was not an Englishman’s right – the right to create the form of government under which one shall live...."
, ideas which were later expanded upon in John Locke's 2nd Treatise on Civil Government, which amounted to efforts to translate the West's Judeo-Christian religious ideals of what is good and true - that every individual is of equal value before God, valuing even their power to choose to disobey God - into a framework of practical Greco-Roman political philosophy, which required subordinating power to rational systems of law, steadied by ethical and moral understanding, and anchored around Property as an objective result of our ideas in action.

That system, our system, requires the influence of both halves of the Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian traditions - their ideals inform the mechanics, and the mechanics lose their cohesion & purpose without the defining limits of those ideals - the whole cannot function properly without all of its parts.

These are critically important points for us to remember... which is why they are dismissed, ignored and/or ridiculed by those we've foolishly entrusted to teach them to us.

A prime example of what results from excluding one or more of those 'parts', is on display in the evil twin of that original Liberalism, which I collectively refer to as Pro-Regressivism, which is what our modern Left is the rotten fruit of. Through multiple waves of influence from Rousseauism, Utilitarianism, Positivism, Marxism, Pragmatism, Progressivism & Economics (and not a little bit of Libertarianism) they each seek to alter, exclude, or replace one or more parts of our whole, and the resulting mutation seeks to divide the West's ideals through a twisted reflection of them. That mutant is hell bent on rationalizing the use of power over others 'for their own good', or 'for the greater good'', which conveniently entails reducing property to a status of mere physical possessions, severed from those rights that are inherent in our nature, and which can then only be secured by the power of force alone, as directed by those experts 'who know best'.

It is also critically important to recognize the pivot of foundational ideals which CRT is a culmination of, that of turning away from the traditional Western pillar of Truth, to the modernist pillar of Power. If you look past their superficial virtue signaling, you'll see that power centric ideology in action - and always inciting action - which is behind every 'value' which they've been instilling into the minds of students, especially of college students, since at least the 1990's. That pivot is what you can see has just been performed in this, from Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, first edition (2001), by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic:
"... critical race theory calls into question the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and the neutral principles of constitutional law.” pg 3,
, and that
“...Crits [Critical Race Theorists] are highly suspicious of another liberal mainstay, namely, rights....”p. 23.
This is an attack on the heart and soul of America, and the West, and it is nothing short of a progressive insurrection. See:Critical Race Theory: A Two-page Overview

And finally,

3) The issue is never the issue - The third, and in some ways the most important point (at least as concerns fighting back), comes from what former Communist activist, David Horowitz, pointed out as being a central mindset and tactic of the Left, in relating this anecdote, that:
“Saul Alinsky, the radical organizer and mentor of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, used to ask his new followers why they wanted to become community organizers. They would respond with idealistic claims that they wanted to help the poor and oppressed. Then Alinsky would scream at them like a Marine Corps drill instructor, “No! You want to organize for power!” That’s the way the SDS radicals at the University of Texas approached the abortion issue—as a means to power, or, in Margaret Sanger’s words, to remake the world. As a writer in the 1960s radical SDS publication New Left Notes put it, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.
, and what 'the issue is never the issue' means, is that we need to be aware that when, for instance, we are told that men can identify as women, or that all whites are racist, neither transgenderism nor whites are the issue, but are only a tactic that's being used to sow division, and to prevent reasonable discussions between those who might recoil at those thoughts, and those others who might see some aspect of it that they'd like to discuss - and preventing that discussion, is the point of phrases such as 'Black Lives Matter!', 'Men can have periods!', 'Believe all Women!'. That is the revolution that is always the issue, and driving that forward, severing one person from another as bitterly as possible, is their preferred manner of employing that tactic which was already old when Caesar made it famous as:
"divide and conquer"
, and it's the tactic which Marx made central to his misosophy (the hatred of wisdom, as opposed to Philosophy, which is the love of wisdom), which in his hands was class conflict, and in the Critical Racist's is racial conflict, but in all of their hands, they seek division by fundamental conflict, so as to conquer.

As mentioned above, the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' was not chosen to support the lives of blacks. The founders of the group, 'trained Marxists' that they admittedly are, sought to sow division into our lives by choosing words that were sure to draw sympathy from most, while pitting them against those who'd rationally affirm that sentiment by extending it more broadly into all of our lives. The moment that happens, a tripwire is triggered and any attempt at having reasonable discussion, are framed as either 'All lives Matter' or 'Black Lives Matter', which they've spun into mutually exclusive & opposing positions which are deliberately insulting to the other, which at least one side of which will eagerly find great offense in. 

Through the expert fanning of those rhetorical flames over the last year, our divisions have been magnified beyond all measure to the point firestorms of destruction having flowed abundantly from. BLM and the other profa ('antifa' & BLM are Pro-Fascists) have exploited the misery that was certain to follow from the conflicts they so carefully arranged for, and that is who they are.

Summing up and taking aim
So to restate the three points from above into something to keep in mind, and to look for:
  1. Every outrageous PC & Woke statement of relativism & toleration, of 'diversity, equity & inclusion', demands your acceptance and 'allyship' of them in order to demoralize you.
  2. America is a nation of ideas that are rooted in the pursuit of Truth; its Pro-Regressive opponents (including many nominally on The Right), are rooted in & upon the pursuit of Power, and as such Lies are seen as useful tools for undermining your confidence, and ultimately bringing America and Western Civilization to an end.
  3. Always remember that this is active in every issue, and that: “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” - IOW: Divide and Conquer
It's not enough to only fight back against them, we have to strike it at its root and cauterize the stump to prevent it from re-growing, and that requires actual arguments, not just the returning of insults & smackdowns. To do that we need to know, and be able to have and hold, an ideal that we can look up towards, one which is worth fighting for, and anything which undermines that, furthers the Pro-Regressive revolution. Leftists are at their most effective when they hit upon a word or phrase of bait that everyone leaps at, and any and every repetition of it divides us into being for or against it, and the more effective bait are those which trumpet a virtue that they're designed to destroy.

In just one or two shallow words as those mentioned above, they seek to hit propagandistic gold of satisfying superficiality, that leaves most people either uninterested in, or fearful of, looking beneath the surface for any further argument or deeper meaning. As they deploy a phrase as "The issue", it distracts and diverts all opposition into one rhetorical dead-end alley after another, where having already spun the most likely objections to make dissenters sound foolish, the Left is able to keep all opponents boxed up and arguing on and on over their superficial labels, and as its opponents never quite grasp the nature of the issues that have been arrayed against them, the revolution continues to advance.

There's something about our modern way of thinking that has made us susceptible to this strategy, even to the point of most otherwise sensible people assisting the radical left in peddling their activism as if it were education, and that is what is enabling them to bury us under layers and layers of 'diversity, equity & inclusion'. 

There's more involved in holding onto our ideals while engaging with and fighting the hydra, and it needs to be identified in order to be able to secure America within American's minds, and that includes recognizing the means by which our minds are sometimes changed for the worst by the very methods that we've assumed will improve us for the best. We need to relearn how to reach into the depths, even as we're being urged to hurriedly skate across the surface of all that we're being told.

Over the next few posts we'll get into that, and how to start turning issues like CRT back against those who're baiting us with them.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Behind the Actual Insurrection - Critical Race Theory and Beyond

Despite obvious appearances and its heated denunciations of 'White' this & that, it's not Whites that the proponents of CRT (Critical Race Theory), SEL (Social Emotional Learning), & their associated EIEIO's are primarily targeting. That may be hard to swallow, especially for those who've personally taken arrows from the target they've painted on their backs, but as I'll get into below, the issue becomes less, well... black & white... as you take notice that you don't have to be white to be considered by them to be a white supremacist. Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter, Andy Ngo, and others of Black, Hispanic or Asian ancestry, are all condemned as being or furthering white supremacists - even MLK's 'will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character', is now frowned upon for enabling 'Whiteness'. 

If that seems odd to you, wait until you take a closer look at the sorts of thinking which proponents of CRT will tell you amounts to spreading 'White Culture':
Smithsonian Wokery
  • being on time
  • thinking linearly (you know, like insisting that 2+2=4)
  • valuing the nuclear family - Mom & Dad and kids living in one home
  • thinking that freedom of speech is valuable
  • thinking that race is and should be unimportant
  • thinking that a man does not actually become a women by choosing to identify as one, and that surgically altering their appearances doesn't transforms the substance of one gender into another. Ditto for a women identifying as a man.
  • thinking that Justice is not served by acting unjustly
  • ... and so on, etc., etc., etc.
Being guilty of thoughts such as these, is what the rabid leftists say are traits of 'Whiteness' and are therefore furthering the cause of White Supremacy. Obviously, these traits are not exclusive to 'whites', but are habits, observations & ideals (of what?) that are open to all - so where's the sense in labeling them as signs of 'Whiteness'? Yes, the notion is bigoted, and yes, most who say such things self-identify as being racists, but while racism is their means, it is not their ends. 'Whiteness' is just the latest euphemism for what they are targeting, and they use that because it is the simplest, most inflammatory, and divisive means available, for the Pro-Regressive left to sow dissension and division amongst us. What their actual ends are, is ending what 'Whiteness' & 'White Culture" refer to, which is Western Civilization in general, and America in particular, and they are deliberately targeting, subverting, and actively working to bring them down - and the only thing new about any of this, is how open they have recently become about it.

America was the first nation in history formed from and based upon ideas; ideas of limited government dedicated to upholding freedom of speech and our other essential individual rights, and the understanding that for all individuals to be treated equally before the law, Justice must be blind to their wealth, creed, race and status. Not surprisingly, America, having established the highest ideals ever set for a nation to live up to, hasn't succeeded in living up to them all, but if you can be honest and take your eyes off of our very human failures for a moment, it soon becomes apparent that because those have been our ideals, The West in general, and America in particular, have succeeded in lifting ourselves and the world up higher than ever before in history, and as long as we hold to these ideals, the sky's the limit... and yet every one of those ideals are under direct attack today.

Since the summer of 2020, supporters of CRT, and others of the Pro-Regressive Left have been cancelling and spewing hatred towards those who've either dared support or behave respectfully towards those ideals, or towards the American flag which represents them, or our Constitution which supports them, America itself which implements them, and the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian culture which preceded and enabled them. 

This week, the democrat party led by Nancy Pelosi in our House of Representatives, began bringing about formal proceedings to charge that a group of sightseers and confused cos-players with little more than a single stun-gun and a buffalo hat to share between them, began a riot that amounts to an insurrection:
By their own words,
the Left is insurrectionary
Insurrection: "A rising or rebellion of citizens against their government, usually manifested by acts of violence"
If that is the case, then what shall we call our political and academic leaders on the Left who openly led others in shouting that they wanted to 'burn it all down!'. These leaders, smiled and made condescending comments, encouraging their followers, so that when they weren't able to seize, occupy, or destroy private property, they'd burn it down in 'peaceful protests' with firebombs, and brutal assaults in riotous mobs armed with clubs and guns, even our monuments have been violently pulled down and torn up - is there no House Hearing on those incidents? If what a random group of demonstrators without a plan or clue between them can be charged with insurrection, and warrant a full House investigation into their lives, then what of what the leaders of the Democrat Left who have been engaged in doing that, and far worse, for well over a year?

That is infuriating, isn't it? Whether you're outraged by it, or outraged by my outrage over it, you're infuriated either way, right? Take note of that.

Because this too, in typical Pro-Regressive Leftist fashion, is a distraction, a mere sideshow in comparison to the real insurrection that they have been waging against America for well over a century, not in our streets, but in our schools, and within the minds of its teachers and our children.

Those who're aligned with what is now being identified as CRT, and the notions of Social Justice and its like which they grew out of, are waging a far more deadly, virtual insurrection, against the culture and history of America, and they are waging it on all fronts in our nation today, and in doing so they have come to occupy vast territories within our children's minds.

What's worse, far too often these insurrectionists are being given aid & comfort, enthusiastically so, by those who they are intentionally attacking.

To truly and effectively fight back, we've first got to realize that for a nation of ideas, the real battleground is not in the streets, but within the American mind, and to engage in that battle effectively, across occupied territory, we've not only got to identify and raise a standard for what is right and true, but we've also got to be able to see through their camouflage and flush them out of their hiding places, and we've got to stop making it easy for their falsehoods and lies to advance upon us, and our fellows.

That is, you might say, of critical importance.  And, hopefully not surprisingly, it's going to take several posts to sketch out.

We'll start looking at how to take away their cover and begin reclaiming our lost ground, in the next post.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Of School Board Meetings, CRT, Liars, Fools & Ideologues - AKA: 'Education'

I went to our Francis Howell School Board meeting last night, and like many others who didn't show up an hour and a half before opening, I did not get the opportunity to speak (what I intended to say is posted below). But of those who got there early enough to get their name in, was a lady who claimed that she was 'raised a good conservative', and was shocked, shocked I tell you, when she left the backwoods of Missouri and went away to college and discovered that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. We were also treated to a speech by a student currently in the 12th grade, who also claimed that she never knew that Thomas Jefferson had owned slaves until someone outside of school enlightened her. An even younger child made the same claim. A teacher also rose to inform the hall crowded with parents opposing CRT (Critical Race Theory) in FHSD's curriculum, that 'historical facts' such as these are not taught in school, and that, my dear Crackers, is why we need Critical Race Theory in our curriculum.

These people were either lying, or unintentionally condemning every teacher that they ever had, as well as their entire school system, for deliberately moving students through the grades when they should've been failed. Probably repeatedly. Find me the 'Social Studies' book that doesn't point out, and re-point out, that the author of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves. Or that many founders who fought for liberty, owned slaves? That 'Social Studies' book does not exist.

It is just unbelievable the moronic lengths that supporters of CRT will go to, to divert from the actual issue - the teaching of radical left wing ideology in our schools, as if its political and anti-American ideals are 'facts' that We The People just need to 'shut up and accept it'.

What I don't believe that I've seen in any 'Social Studies' book, is one that points out how Democrat President Woodrow Wilson was a seething racist, who deliberately imposed segregation on all federal civil services and the military, or that he told an assembly of high school teachers that:
"...We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks..."
History should be uncomfortable, and yet consistently rather than engage in what the actual issues being raised are - from individual rights, to liberty and justice - The Left instead pretends that "race and/or gender" are the *real* issues. No, they're not. The real issues are that programs such as these are fundamentally unprincipled, they deliberately sow division by treating some unjustly (which deprives all of justice), and ultimately are used to advance the worst of the Left's political agenda, and there is a growing swath of non-conservative America that is now waking up to that fact.

Real History IS and should be uncomfortable, and it is impossible to engage in without seeing the ideals and assumptions and errors made by those we otherwise admire, and yet who we share much with. The history of racism gains nothing by casting the founding of America in the cartoonish light of the '1619 Project' - such cardboard cutout 'bad guys' teach nothing useful to anyone at all, and nothing but misplaced resentment can or will be learned from it. Real value and understanding - and an awakened concern towards our own personal thoughts and assumptions - requires realizing what was involved at the time of our founding in opposing matters such as the institution of slavery, and realizing how difficult (or easy) it was to live amongst. Real History requires realizing that they attempted to end 'the peculiar institution' on many occasions, that one of the litanies of complaints in the draft of the Declaration of Independence had to do with the King George's persisting it upon the colonies despite repeated objections... and honestly dealing with the fact that there was also opposition to pointing that out, and that after debate others demanded it be removed... and shamefully it was. Real History requires inquiring into the fact that although some colonies ended slavery (before Britain, BTW) with their independence, others did not. Real History requires examining and addressing the real difficulties of history, so that our shared past is able to become a History that we can all learn from. But white-washing History in juvenile black & white of efforts such as the 1619 Project, is cowardly, and not a little bit repulsive.

What has people (Conservatives, Libertarians and many on the Left as well) in knots, is what the fundamental nature of CRT is, and is derived from, that being but the most recent and most explicit development of a line of thinking that is fundamentally incompatible with, and in opposition to, the philosophical ideals that America is derived from and founded upon (see anything by Ibram X. Kendi, but especially his proposed "anti-racist" amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for reference).

As such, CRT is but the latest means for facilitating the spread of an anti-American ideology, and The Left is seeking after truly systemic power through it by means dividing people through an obsessive focus upon a racially centric consciousness. Having redefined the meaning of 'racism' into an amorphous term, its adherents brandish their public 'J'accuse!', as an ever-present threat to the civic, business and social relationships of anyone they deem to have failed to demonstrate a sufficient regard for, compliance with, and fealty to, the various tropes of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

It is disingenuous to attempt to affix (and evade) what CRT is and conveys, by saying that '*Aackshually* CRT is only what any one particular person had once proposed.

It is especially heinous that promoters of CRT use people's general desire to be decent and fair to each other, as a conduit to destroy them.

These people don't want history taught, they are liars and fools who want history replaced with ideology. At any rate, here's the speech I would have given, which, if I managed to speak really fast, should have fit into the three minutes allotted (links of course, added):
I'm here to request FHSD drop its BH curriculum, remove it's Resolution of August of last year, and for all board members resign.
  1. The recently revealed zoom call between FHSD curriculum writers and the 'education' consultant LeGarret King, and their discussion of how to deceptively inject CRT (Critical Race Theory) ideology into lessons without parents knowledge;
  2. The several thousand dollars spent on hiring that consultant, could not have been approved by any competent person, without their knowing of his openly expressed Marxist ideals, which no responsible person would help inject into students minds;
  3. FHSD's Resolution of last August, is evidence - either of extreme negligence, or conscious awareness - that FHSD has committed to supporting the essentials of CRT indoctrination, no matter what technicalities might be cited in denial of that.
The first two points speak for themselves, the third may need some explanation. Had the Resolution stopped with the first line, that the Board
"... pledges to our learning community that we will speak firmly against any racism, discrimination, and senseless violence against people regardless of race...."
, the rest might have been overlooked. But these additional points move it beyond the pale:
  • "We will promote racial healing, especially for our Black and brown students and families" - Invokes racial division and preferential or exclusionary treatment based upon race - that is not the role of 'educators'
  • " creating an equitable and anti-racist system" - Is not a statement of educational ideals, but of ideologically extremist political positions, which at the very least are no more appropriate for FHSD to promote, than any Democrat, Republican or Libertarian party platforms.
  • " that honors and elevates all" - There is no honoring or 'elevating all', through concepts which, without cause or evidence, condemn some based upon their racial background, and teach all others that that is acceptable thought & behavior
  • "systemic racism
    • "Actual Racism not only deserves to be condemned, but has already been removed from the laws and policies of even the deepest blue Democrat states, and is already illegal in any form.
    • systemic racism, does not refer to objective evidence of racist actions, policies or laws, it is the stuff of subjective ideological assertions, accusations, and presumptions of guilt, based upon a person's race (or other indicators of 'whiteness'), which is both un-American and anti-American. You should all be removed for just that. But wait, there's more.
"the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion" - is pure SEL & CRT
  • Diversity - beyond the likes of a 'Greek Food Festival', celebration, *diversity* is a non-value, the American ideal towards diversity is expressed in our motto: e Pluribus Unum, Out of Many, One - to value *Diversity* in and of itself, is irrational, ideological, and contrary to the spirit of America.
  • Equity - is a Marxist value which demands that individual responsibility and merit be ignored and forcibly acted against, so as to take what belongs to one, while 'distributing' it to others in order to bring about 'equitable' outcomes (as judged by the few in power over the many).
  • Inclusion - Is a collectivist term which is not urging the use of good manners in welcoming and including everyone, it explicitly means recognizing only those traits that are approved of as being representative of a group (which is itself bigotted at best), and entails actively condemning any individual choices that vary from those 'inclusive' identities, and condemns other views and disagreement, as enabling 'whiteness', or worse.
, and finally,
  • "commitment to establishing, supporting, and sustaining a culture of anti- racism districtwide" - 'anti-racism' is an explicitly racist term, and racism, is something that an education should lead a student to understand to be a failure of thought and character, it is Not something that our schools should be indoctrinating them into believing and practicing.
If in their positions as members of the Francis Howell School District School Board, the members did not know this about the nature of the Resolution they posted on behalf of all those living in their district, they show an inexcusable negligence in their duties of overseeing the education of the students in their district. If they did know that, and signed off on it - presumably agreeing with its message - they are unworthy of the positions they hold.

But to borrow the phrase, we too see you, we also hear you, and we are most definitely listening to you and are learning exactly how deplorable your judgement and actions are, and it is my fervent hope that every parent in the FHSD will immediately withdraw their children from your schools, and that every taxpayer will move to see that FHSD is defunded in every manner possible, and will also do their damndest to end your tenure on this or any board.

Thank you.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Step back from the heat of the moment into 'The Valley of Yesterday'

So... my Mom wrote a book, and if you need a break from the heat of the moment today, step back with her into The Valley of Yesterday.

My Mom's Dad, Leo K. Kuter, was an Art director (mostly with Warner Bros, but other studios as well), and she's written a book about growing up in the San Fernando valley, at the time when Hollywood was just getting going. Grandpa, who was used to designing and building movie sets, designed and built his own house, which doubled as a working ranch. My brother & I got to spend a few years growing up in that house as well, and though the ranch portions had been sold off by then, it was a great place to be a kid.

Grandpa worked in the Art Dept, credited or not, on movies ranging from Errol Flynn's Captain Blood, to Humphrey Bogart's 'Key Largo', John Wayne's Rio Bravo & Jimmy Cagney's Yankee Doodle Dandy (that's Cagney that's on the book cover, looking out over the valley), and the JFK bio-pic PT-109.

Her brother, my Uncle Kay E. Kuter, was an actor, one of those guys whose face you recognize, from everything from the opening scene of Bogart & Audrey Hepburn's 'Sabrina', to the goofy Newt Kiley in Green Acres & Petticoat Junction, to Seinfeld, creepy parts on the X-Files, Star Trek The Next Generation, and the big foreheaded emperor in The Last Starfighter!
Kay E. Kuter
Mom, who's still quite a looker, spent a number of years singing in opera and in musical reviews, before meeting up with my Dad and then bringing my brother & me into the world.

If you like going behind the scenes of the way things were, I think you're really going to enjoy reading this book. And me? I think it's pretty damn cool. 😎

From the intro on Amazon:

"Before the freeways, smog, and congestion, there was a magical, undeveloped land called the San Fernando Valley of California. It became a fruitful place where oranges, ranches, and movie stars grew in abundance.

Jeane Harvey’s stories of growing up in a show-business family in this one-time Garden of Eden sweeps us back to those enchanted times. Her father, Leo “K” Kuter, was one of Hollywood’s most notable art directors. His dinner conversations were as likely to be about Errol Flynn or Humphrey Bogart as about the children’s grades. Jeane’s brother, Kay E. Kuter, best known for his role as Newt Kiley in Green Acres, was a lifelong working actor in both film and television.

As a child, Jeane fell under the spell of Jeanette MacDonald, and wanted nothing more than to grow up and sing—and so she did. She performed in opera, musical comedy and concert. Along the way, another performer caught her fancy, her Prince Charming, Al Harvey. With no regrets, she gave up the stage to marry and raise two handsome and caring sons, Mason and Van.

As Jeane remembers what life was like in such a realm, she sweeps us along to a place forever gone—but not forgotten."

Sunday, July 04, 2021

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

Before getting to my annual reposting of Calvin Coolidge's speech on the "Inspiration of our Declaration of Independence", and to the Declaration itself, I first want to make two points. The first, which I went into a little bit of detail yesterday, is that the Declaration of Independence is the vehicle through which we become one people, Americans, and that it's inheritance is not one of blood, but of ideals. To affirm:
'... these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...'
,is your ticket in to the American body-politic, it is your passport to recite the later phrases with the rest of us, so that 'We The People' are able to form a more perfect union because we do hold these truths to be self-evident. It is how we are made 'e Pluribus Unum - Out of many, One' people, and our diverse origins and differences are transformed into interesting footnotes to our lives, rather than defining - or dividing - features of them.

The second point, is that our independence wasn't begun on July 4th 1776, that was simply the end of the beginning. And in what seems more terrifyingly clear to me this year of 2021, more than any previous one in my memory, is how central to America that the Declaration of Independence is, and to there being Americans in it, and for either of those to continue on for long into the future.

I'm not talking about each person having a copy of it - the document itself is meaningless and useless without a people who understand it. The Declaration of Independence only came into being in the first place, because there was a people along the eastern seaboard who understood its meaning well before it was written. Thomas Jefferson later commented that he made no attempt to be innovative or 'revolutionary' when writing it, but only that he intended it "... to be an expression of the American mind..." - is it an expression of yours?

John Adams, in the first quotation below, recalled that in his opinion the American Revolution actually began in 1761, when James Otis spoke against the 'Writs of Assistance' to an assembled crowd, calling out a wealth of classical allusions and a sweeping summation of history and of legal gems, which roused all of his listeners through a torrent of eloquence so profound that Adams thought it had sparked the revolution 'then and there'. Otis too expressed only the common content and passions of "the American mind", and so I ask you, if a new James Otis were to speak to us like that today, how many people living here in America would recognize any of what he summarized or recognize why it was important? Would those modern listeners be more likely to be moved by his eloquence... or to shrug it away with a texted 'TLDR' ('Too Long Didn't Read')?

How likely is it that we can long have either America or Americans in it, without the Declaration of Independence being both known and understood by at least a majority of them? And how well can it be understood by a people who've been 'educated' out of any familiarity with that history, its important ideas, and a perspective that values profound truths eloquently expressed?

Don't bother muttering against our schools, they have dropped the ball, intentionally, and they cannot be looked to for help in picking it back up. It's you who needs to do this, beginning with yourself, and counting on no one else to fill the contents of your own mind with what it has until now lacked. The internet is open to you, and I've provide the links you need here to get started. You and no one else are responsible, for America continuing to be populated with Americans... or at least with one (who can then tell another).

July 4th 1776, was the end of the beginning of America's Independence, it's up to you to ensure that July 4th 2021 isn't the beginning of its end. And to ensure that... you need to start back at the beginning. And where our independence began, according to a fellow that was in attendance at both events, John Adams, was when James Otis spoke against King George's 'Writs of Assistance' back in 1761, which as Adams recalled it,
",,,But Otis was a flame of fire! With a promptitude of Classical Allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events & dates, a profusion of Legal Authorities, a prophetic glance of his eyes into futurity, and a rapid torrent of impetuous Eloquence he hurried away all before him. American Independence was then & there born. The seeds of Patriots & Heroes to defend the Non sine Diis Animosus Infans; to defend the Vigorous Youth were then & there sown. Every Man of an immense crouded Audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take Arms against Writs of Assistants. Then and there was the first scene of the first Act of opposition to the Arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the Child Independence was born. In fifteen years i.e. in 1776. he grew up to Manhood, & declared himself free.,,,"[emphasis mine]
I point that out, because it underlines the importance of what is perhaps most remarkable about what the Declaration of Independence's author, Thomas Jefferson, considered to be the least remarkable aspect of it - that he intended the Declaration as an expression of ideas that were familiar and commonly understood, by the majority of Americans, of that time, as Jefferson wrote to a friend in later years, about what it was meant to accomplish:
"Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
That is why we are unique in the annals of human history, as being a nation founded upon ideas (those twits mouthing on about 'inherent American anti-intellectualism' can kiss my patriotic ass). And those common ideas, and their influence, continued to serve as strong guides for the later creation of our Constitution, can be easily found in even a cursory reading, between the charges of the Declaration of Independence against King George, and their reflection in our Constitution and the amendments to it, and ...
"To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World."
"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
"HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries."
  • The first three articles of our Constitution, divides Govt into three branches, which prevent any one person or wing from attaining a monopoly of power over the others.
"HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance."
  • This is what our Constitution was expressly designed to forbid, which unfortunately is what the pro-regressive Administrative State, was erected upon it to encourage (as was our politically instituted educational system) - proof that Laws that do not live in the hearts and minds of the people, cannot protect them against themselves
"HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."
  • Congress has control of organizing and funding the military budget, and while the Executive has command of the military, he can not do much, for long, without the further consent of the people's representatives, and in all ways, the military is under civil control.
"FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us"
"FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States"
"FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World"
"FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
"FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury"
, and if you take the time to read both, you will find many, many, more points of harmony between the two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Independence Day America! **************************

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

North Carolina
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

South Carolina
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

John Hancock

Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross

Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

New York
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

New Jersey
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple

Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire
Matthew Thornton