So many brave Americans have fought and died for our freedom. What would they think of the country we’ve become? Would they lament what some have done with that freedom? Would they still think it was worth their last breath or drop of blood, or would they shed tears for the liberties we gave away without even a shot having to have been fired to take them? Would they weep at the sight of groups like Antifa rioting and destroying property seeking to deny people their freedom of speech? Would those who died in the American Revolution shudder at how many people would forfeit their rights to keep and bear arms, to be free from unwarranted search and seizure for the illusion of safety and security? Would all those hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers cut down in battle throw their hands up dismay at how racially divided we’ve become? What would those who died on foreign soil in WWII think of a Europe, the continent they freed of one form of malignant socialism opt for a more palatable one? How would those who died in the War of 1812 react to football players not honoring the Star Spangled Banner, a song written about the flag some of them literally died to defend? Remember this Memorial Day, those heroes died for more than a piece of land, they died for an idea, an idea that freedom is worth fighting and dying for. They died so that those they left behind could be safe from tyranny and oppression. Let’s not surrender easily what they paid the ultimate price for, that idea of that “shining city on a hill”, of American Exceptionalism.
Dinesh D’Souza Talks About America’s Changing Morality
Wednesday night, I got to meet one of my heroes of conservative thought, author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. As soon as I saw his picture on a New Jersey Family Policy Council mailer, I knew I just had to go. Luckily I was able to manage a ticket. I’ve been a fan of his since he put out his movie Obama’s America in 2012. Earlier this year he published The Big Lie, his current bestseller book about how the left has cleverly tied Nazi-ism and fascism to conservatism, instead of where they rightly belong, in the Left column as both were socialist entities.
His speech at the event though was more tailored to the crowd of right to life supporters. It was a little more broad than some of his more recent speeches given in support of his new book. It focused on how the Left has attempted, and largely succeeded, to realign America’s moral code away from values that come from outside, i.e. God and religion, to ones that comes from man, about witch D’Souza says: “The self becomes the adjudicator of morality.” The reason he gives for the Left being able create such a shift in American’s conception of morality was that progressives had three big “megaphones”: the news media, Hollywood, and academia. He came to the conclusion that in order to counter that message he had to create his own megaphone, so he decided to write books and go into filmmaking. He cited uber-progressive filmmaker Michael Moore as inspiration, not because he was so good, rather that if he (Moore) could do it, how hard could it be?
He also went on to talk about how Lincoln used a similar argument against slavery in the Lincoln/Douglass debates that the right to life community uses today against abortion. Democrat candidate Stephen Douglass’ pro-slavery stance according to D’Souza, was similar to the pro-choice argument being used by supporters of abortion today. Lincoln framed the slavery issue as a moral one, and as a moral issue there really is no choice– either slavery is moral nowhere or it is moral everywhere, be it in the north, the south, or one of the western territories. Douglass suggested that each state or territory should be allowed to choose whether or not slavery should be legal. It’s widely agreed now that Lincoln won that argument.
Another point D’Souza made to his audience of pro life activists is that the had more power as a group that they think they have. He recounted a story is professor told him about how a small, effete lion tamer could control a bigger, more powerful lion. The answer is that the lion tamer was able to convince the lion that he was the more powerful. The lion, believing this, could be made to do what the lion tamer wanted. Dinesh suggested to the members of the audience, that they were like the lion, and that they were really the ones with the power.
After the diner I got to meet Mr. D’Souza, that is to say I got him to autograph my copy of
The Big Lie, and thank him for the work his has done. His movies are good, and very informative. I consider them weapons to use in the ongoing Right vs. Left culture war. His book: The Big Lie Exposing the NAZI Roots of the American Left, especially for me has been a great resource for me and this Liberty Relearned blog. If you follow this site on Facebook, you’ve seen already several references and/or facts pulled from this book. Count on seeing more. The progressives have engaged in a decades-long campaign to create a false association of conservatism and the Republican Party with Nazi-ism and fascism. This is intellectual territory that the political and cultural right has lost and needs to regain from the left. Dinesh Sousa’s new book is a great resource that provides conservatives with the factual ammo they need to combat the fallacies being pushed by the other side. If you want to engage in this Cold Civil War, and want powerful facts to back up your argument, you should read his book.
On this day in 1787, the Founding Fathers signed one of the most important documents in all human history, the U.S. Constitution.
As we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, here are some reflections on its key concepts:
Life: Life is the basic right of every human being. All good laws should contribute to its protection and edification. What life should be protected? All of it, as much as can be. Civilized humans avoid needless violence and killing. Killing animals for food and other resources is the way of life, killing purely for sport, or out of cruelty is the way of death. The unborn? We’ll if it’s a life, then yes. The old and the sick? Death is also part of life, but again, it should not be brought about wantonly or casually. People talk about dying with dignity, especially as a rationale for euthanasia. I prefer the idea of living with dignity. How is it beneath anybody’s dignity to fight until their very last breath? Being in a pitiful physical state does not equal being pitiful in a spiritual state, on the contrary, it is often the opposite.
Liberty: Liberty is the chance to use our gift of life to its fullest advantage. Without basic liberties, mankind is held back from reaching its fullest potential. That is why liberty curtailing forms of government like Communism and Socialism are immoral, or at best, amoral. Liberty comes with the freedom to fail, and learn from our mistakes. Liberty, the Founders knew, is a fragile thing, easily destroyed. We must protect our liberties jealously because once lost they are very difficult to regain. Of all the laws that have ever been passed, how many have increased liberty? Very few compared to the number of those that limit it.
Our American government has done well extending liberty to classes of people that once lacked it. That is government at its best. The problem is that government rarely expands the freedoms of its citizens at large. Upon gaining the rights of the majority those same formerly oppressed groups find themselves at the lifetime high water mark of their freedom, only to have other liberties gradually taken away and suppressed by mountains of regulation. It’s like a castaway that washes up on the beach of an island to safety, only to find the beach is eroding into the sea. Our freedoms are like those grains of sand, being eroded one by one until someone decides to fight it.
The Pursuit of Happiness. “The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” –Benjamin Franklin. The Declaration of Independence only suggests that humans have that right to pursue happiness, but the achievement of it can only be done by ourselves. The biggest mistake is to confuse happiness with pleasure. Drugs can produce pleasure, but never happiness. Pleasure is fleeting, true happiness can be maintained over much longer periods of time. The other mistake we humans make is to think that happiness will just happen. Sometimes it does, but most of the time it must be earned. Members of the Armed Forces often forgo the happiness of home and family for long periods of time so that they and others can have it to a fuller degree when they return. The miracle of happiness is that giving it produces more of it.
In a world where the words “offend, offended, and offensive” are so overused, I have to say that I’m properly offended by the casual anti-Catholic bigotry on the left and particularly that of current senior members of the Clinton campaign staff. You’ve probably heard now of the leaked emails of Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta. (For a good synopsis, check out: WikiLeaks: Podesta and Left-Wing Activist Plot ‘Catholic Spring’ by Edmund Kozak) The leaked emails from talk about subverting Catholic doctrine with the idea of bringing about a “Catholic spring”. Let me rephrase that: Leaders of the Democratic party because so much of Catholic doctrine specifically when it comes to issues of pro-life and marriage, goes against their liberal agenda, decided to subvert the Church in America and replace its core doctrines with ones more in line with their political goals.
“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church,” wrote left-wing activist Sandy Newman to Podesta.
How does one democratize a religion? Would the members get to vote on Church doctrine? Cardinals get to vote for the Pope, should they act like delegates as if the conclave of cardinals were some sort of political convention? Here my message for Podesta and friends: Catholic doctrine was created by Christ. It was codified a long time ago by Emperor Constantine I in the fourth century. That is the basis of the Catholic Church, now and forever, unless the Big Man Upstairs orders a change. If He does, you can bet it won’t be the purposes of facilitating your political gain, your pro-abortion, anti-life agenda.
The leaked emails show utter contempt for Catholics, suggesting them backwards in their beliefs. The writers of these emails show a complete lack of understanding about the Vatican and the Church at large. The fact is, progressives such as those quoted in the emails see the Church as a hindrance advancing their social agenda. The words of St. John Paul II hint at why the teachings of Catholic Church might prove problematic to Progressives:
“True freedom is not advanced in the permissive society, which confuses freedom with license to do anything whatever and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality. It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize their lives with no reference to moral values, and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection and advancement of ethical values. Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace.”
― Pope John Paul II
Progressive Democrats can’t have an entire voting bloc that thinks like that.
Every American has the right to ‘vote’ to be Catholic or not, to be religious or not, but the essence of what it means to be Catholic is not up for a vote. The Church’s essential teachings are not up for negotiation like planks in some political party’s platform. The best way to teach and practice those fundamental doctrines of faith and life can and will be debated, but what those core doctrines themselves are will not and cannot be determined by the democratic process.
Saturday marked the 229th anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It established the United States as the world’s first constitutional republic. We may be mere months from the end of America’s existence as such. 2017 could be the first year of a new, post-Constitutional era. If Hillary Clinton is elected president her choices of Supreme Court justices will tip the balance in favor of a Court that sees the Constitution as a “living document”, one that can be interpreted to mean whatever they need it to mean. On that day, the Constitution, already in exile, will cease to function as a constraint on government.
“A Bill of Rights that means what the majority wants it to mean is worthless.” -Antonin Scalia
The Bill of Rights in particular will be eroded to such an extent as to become meaningless. Rights favored by the new majority will be created out of whole cloth, while rights not favored, such as the right to bear arms, will be made virtually impossible to exercise. Consider this: The subject of marriage does not come up anywhere in the Constitution, but the tenth amendment says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” So anything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, such as marriage, would seemingly be governed by that amendment. It establishes what is often referred to as “state’s rights”. When some states wanted to outlaw same-sex marriage, and some states wanted to legalize it, the Supreme Court stepped in with the Obergefell v. Hodges and legalized ‘gay marriage’ nationally. Many social conservatives objected to the decision on moral and religious grounds, setting those objections aside the decision created a number of problematic consequences for the Constitution. Many, including Justice Roberts, believe the majority in that ruling used arguments with no constitutional basis:
“Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be”
Ruling based on what the majority thought the law should be seems to be exactly what happened. The Court invented an individual right at the expense of the rights of the states. The tenth amendment seems to exist only at the whim of the majority. Impatient with the legislative process that requires consensus building, activists used the Court to do what they could not wait for the state legislatures to do. Now they have the law but necessarily a consensus. Because the ruling was based on emotional arguments more than constitutional ones, there is now no constitutional argument to place any limits on marriage between adults, not based on the sex of the participants, not based on the number, nor kinship nor likely even age. Polygamy laws could be struck down tomorrow, were the cause popular enough. What would be the argument against?
What other amendments are as disposable as the tenth? What if the courts because of some public pressure due to security decided to give similar treatment to the fourth amendment? Our right to privacy would be gone. Proponents of so-called common sense gun control have already called for legislation (no fly no buy) that would simultaneously abridge our second, fifth, and fourteenth amendment rights. What if the Court decided to do what a powerful voting bloc such as the anti-gun lobby demanded?
“As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.” – Antonin Scalia
Another example of how SCOTUS justices chose to use extremely contorted logic to arrive at the decision they wanted was National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the ruling that effectively legalized the Affordable Care Act, A.K.A. Obamacare. This allowed the government to compel its citizens to engage in commerce, whether they chose to or not, whether they felt like they needed the product or not. If you remember your grade school history, the American revolution was fought to end this sort of thing. A government that can compel its citizens to spend money, determine how much, and on what does not serve the populace, it rules it.
The Constitution was meant to act as the guardrails of our government. It was meant to act as a constraint to the federal government while protecting the rights of the states and individuals. The idea of the Constitution as a ‘living document’ then makes about as much sense as playing football on a field with no sidelines, with no objective means of determining what is in or out of bounds. Liberal justices, believing that the Constitution must adapt to the present society have little compunction against following only those parts of it that are convenient to their objectives while ignoring others. When the Constitution gets to the point where it can mean anything the justices need it to mean, it will at once come to mean nothing. We will be living in a post-constitutional America. The three Supreme Court justices that our next president is expected to appoint, if they are liberal, activist judges, will be more than enough to effectively end the era of the United States as a constitutional republic.
For another week, Colin Keapernick and his misguided friends have continued their protest by taking a knee during the national anthem during this week’s NFL games. It is a protest they say against oppression, police brutality, and a suite of other social justice grievances. There’s no question that any police brutality is too much. There is no argument that if police cross that line that they should be held to account. Oppression? Oppression is in the eye of the beholder, but perhaps Kaepernick and the others might like to compare notes with women, Christians, or gays from any number of Muslim countries. They might want to talk to some of the very few people who have escaped persecution from places like China or North Korea. The question is whether or not their chosen protest is disrespectful. If you deliberately withhold a sign of respect, that is by definition disrespectful.
There are all sorts of things that occur within this country’s borders that we don’t approve of. The simple ceremony of standing for the national anthem has nothing to do with approval, it has to do with honor and respect, not just for the flag, but for the country it represents. If approval for everything that a country does were the measure, then no one in any country ought to stand for their national anthem. No country is spotless and free of any civil strife. No place in the world if totally free of injustice. Some counties though, are worthy of respect from all of its citizens.
The United States more than most deserves respect. Not blind respect, but the kind of respect that comes with the recognition of what it has done throughout its history to further certain ideals. The kind of respect that comes from seeing not the bad, but the good of a country and its decided preference for the latter. It also genuine respect for the great, even astounding achievements of its citizens. Here are but a few: We freed a continent not our own from brutal oppression. We defeated another oppressive regime that dominated Eastern Europe for well over a half a century without firing a shot. We sent men to the moon and returned them safely back to earth. That was us, we did that, not some other country, we did. Because of America, diseases that once plagues mankind have been made extinct. We gave the world the electric light, the telephone, the computer. The list of America’s achievements is long, longer arguably than many other countries centuries older than us. Every single citizen of this country has more freedom that every single citizen in most of the countries in the world. Every single person in this country has more freedom of religion than every single person living in China, Iran, and numerous other countries. Such a country, despite its many faults deserves respect.
Are there issues facing this country that Kaepernick, his fellow athletes, and the rest of America should rightly speak out about? Of course. Protesting by taking a knee during the national anthem is their unquestioned right. The irony is the country that offers them that right ought to be respected for it. A further irony is that these professional athletes are rewarded for work in their chosen professions at a level that is far disproportionate to that of those who protect their rights. Their chosen form of protest does not show respect; it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of why Americans honor their country by standing for the Star Spangled Banner. The object is not to show total approval for their country, but to honor what it has been at its best, the great accomplishments of its people, and what it strives to be.