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Archive for March, 2010

Here is my second post for the Virginia Tenth Amendment Center, which is basically a follow-up to the post below.

Also, visit the “Sons Of Liberty Radio” page for a link to archived podcasts of my BlogTalkRadio shows, which have featured Josh Eboch (from the VA Tenth Center) and Michael Boldin (founder of The Tenth Amendment Center, based in Los Angeles, California).

Unnecessary Swamp-Dwelling

In Virginia’s Fifth District (where I live), as well as across the nation, people are beginning to ask the fundamental questions. What remains to be seen is this: whether enough sets of lips will give voice to them before it becomes too late.

In my last post, I compared our political landscape to a forest. However, a more apt analogy may be a swamp (appropriately enough, considering the original terrain of our nation’s capital).

The reason I say this is simple: We seem to have gotten bogged down in partisanship and stuck waist-deep in certain issues that, ultimately, bear little consequence in our current economic climate.

“Social” conservatives and “social justice” liberals will both strap on the hip-waders of morality to justify their ends, yet both equally miss the mark when trying to square their respective positions with the Founders’ vision of liberty and, moreover, Federalism.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to open the door for a debate on whether the Founders envisioned a moral society. Their own writings leave no wiggle room between door and jamb, on that score.

But, in the far right’s refusal to acknowledge the significance of the 9th Amendment, and the far left’s misguided interpretation of the 10th (due mostly to a blatant misreading of Article 1, Section 8), both tend to forget other important elements of our Founding documents.

More importantly, they misinterpret (or simply disregard) the frame of mind of those who wrote them. We know the Founders were intensely aware of the severe danger posed by a monarchy or similarly dictatorial style of governance.

What some of us too often neglect is that they had just as much, if not more, fear of a theocratic State. But, in reality, are they that dissimilar?

Theocratic rule in England was made that much more powerful by the complementary system of hereditary Monarchy. But, in the absence of that particular style of government, would a theocracy be any less brutal? Would it be any less a danger to the rights and liberty of the under-class?

The Founders knew, from both experience and intellectual honesty, that the answer to both preceding questions is a resounding “No!”

Again, it is clearly understood that the Founders were moral men, and many of them were deeply religious, holding their God, and the principles He inspired, as their moral code for dealing with their fellow man.

Indeed, Jefferson wrote into the Declaration and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions their commonly held belief that man’s natural rights are derived from God.

Yet, you will notice that the Bill of Rights is NOT a recitation of the Ten Commandments. In fact, many of the principal tenets of traditional Judeo-Christian faith are not even hinted at in any of our founding documents.

The Founders’ stipulation that we should strive to maintain a moral society can be summed up thusly:

That, as free men, we are endowed with certain rights which confer NO obligation on our fellow man, save one: that they refrain from violating them. And we likewise refrain from violating their rights, whether through force or fraud.

The former was the basis for Ayn Rand’s great anti-statist novel, Atlas Shrugged, and was the underpinning of her Objectivist philosophy.

Yet, it should be noted here, she was an avowed atheist. The concept of man’s rights being derived from our Creator did not hold any weight with her. She argued that, simply by virtue of being human, these rights belong to us.

The point is, we can find broad agreement on these simple points, across typical dividing lines of race, religion, and even political loyalty.

Why, then, must we sink into the swamp of arguing over moral issues which are typically the product of religious ideology?

The Founders would be ashamed and saddened to see their writings, and the system of governance they debated over, lost sleep to put into writing, and even bled for, being reduced to the heap of rubble it will surely become.

And all because we refused to rise from the mire of social issues and face our Republic’s true threat: the loss of liberty. This liberty is being taken away from all of us, from pro-life to pro-choice, from recreational drug user to ardent drug prohibitionist, from quiet heterosexual to flamboyant Gay Pride parade organizer.

And it is happening much more rapidly now than ever before.

It had been said, “It’s hard to remember you’re there to drain the swamp when you’re armpit deep in alligators.”

I would submit to you, dear reader, that the alligators are above the shoreline, gnawing away at this great Republic.

Can we commence with draining the Social Issues Swamp? I think you will find that, once we do, those who have been in the swamp with us, mud wrestling over these issues, will pick up shovels and join us in marching as one united force to beat back the alligators.

Once the Republic is secure, maybe we can get back to the Founders’ words, in the Federalist papers and Amendments 9 and 10, and find that we had no reason to be in that swamp in the first place.

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In early March, I was invited to join the Tenth Amendment Center as a blogger on their Virginia Chapter site. So far, I haven’t been very prolific there, but I’m hoping to devote more time to it, as I can.

I’ve decided to begin cross-posting here, and may soon undertake similar efforts at the 912 Project fan site.

Without further ado, then, here is the first of many posts for other sites:

By Way Of Introduction

In today’s political landscape, with its constantly-changing dynamics and rhetorically-charged issues, we sometimes narrowly avoid the oak tree right in front of us in our mad dash through the forest, staring only at its canopy. It’s so vast!,we exclaim to ourselves and to anyone within earshot.

Other times, we hurtle right into the broad trunk of that massive oak. Some shake it off and continue dashing around, again only seeing the forest and its canopy that seems precariously close to caving in on them. Perhaps they, like Chicken Little, never realize there even was a tree, instead believing perhaps a chunk of that vast canopy somehow fell down, knocking them flat.

But some of us, as we recover from the impact and pick ourselves up, brushing leaves and debris from our clothing, actually take a step back, stunned, and begin to see the individual trees.

I am neither placing blame on the latter, nor heaping accolades on the former. It’s just how we’re wired. Some can be more effective educating others in generalities, glossing over the finer points to make the expansive ones more accessible. Others tend to focus in on the details, treating each individual issue to its own modicum of respect and pondering its nuances, like a Rubik’s Cube, until a solution presents itself.

It is increasingly rare, these days, to find people who have a firm grasp on both of these techniques. But they are the ones who are most needed now.

The epic battle we are engaged in is not merely a political one. It goes far beyond that. Ayn Rand makes my point eloquently in this quote from her 1974 essay entitled “What Can One Do?”

– “A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets; a philosophical battle is a nuclear war.” –

Make no mistake- the struggle we have joined is primarily a philosophical one. Yes, we need to understand the overall distinctions between these warring philosophies, and there are many sources for this information. But, more importantly (at least in my mind), is seeing the distinctions between the individual trees in this philosophical and political forest.

The latter is what I will be seeking to point out in subsequent posts here. I’m happy to join the Tenth Amendment Center, and you, faithful readers and activists. I hope you will remain active here, and elsewhere, and help others realize the true struggle we face.

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