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  1. #1
    Percy's Avatar
    Percy is online now Knackered old Knight
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    Celebrate 4th of July

    I rather hoped for, and looked forward to one of our American members to post this piece, lauding the virtues of the US System and its inception. But it is left to me, a denounced Anti-American, to do it and to show just how important the American Ethic is to the cause of Peace and Justice and Humanity in the world.

    So, despite my historical misgivings and regrets that our colonials in the New World parted the Anglo Family, I nevertheless hold the boldness of the Ethic in the highest regard and am pleased to post this short essay here.

    God Bless America.

    Monday, July 04, 2011
    Philosophy, faith, and the Fourth of July


    by Jeff Jacoby



    THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE announced to the world the birth of a new nation and every birth "excites our interest," President Calvin Coolidge said on the Declaration's 150th anniversary. But that is not why July 4, 1776, "has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history."



    Since ancient times there had been many revolutions, after all; new nations had broken away from old empires before. What makes America's founding extraordinary, observed the 30th president -- the last, incidentally, who wrote his own speeches -- is that it was the first to be based not on blood or soil but on a set of philosophical ideas about "the nature of mankind and therefore of government." Other nations have their deepest roots in ethnicity, tribal loyalty, or military conquest. America, uniquely, was dedicated to a proposition -- to the fundamental, self-evident truth "that all men are created equal" and the political ideas that flow from that truth.



    The doctrine that human beings are by nature equal is one that Americans of the Founders' era had learned from both philosophy and religion.



    In 1690, in his influential Second Treatise of Government, the English philosopher John Locke had written that the "state all men are naturally in" is one of "perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions as they see fit," as well as one "of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal without subordination or subjection." Even older, and no less influential, was the biblical teaching that because all human beings are made in the image of God, all are born with the same God-given right to equality and freedom.



    So when delegates to the Continental Congress declared unanimously in 1776 "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," their words accurately reflected what Americans (the British Colonists) had believed for generations. They invoked "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God" in the Declaration's opening line not as a throat-clearing flourish, but because those laws and that God validated the independence they were about to assert. "Coming from these sources, having as it did this background," remarked Coolidge, "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.'"



    If Nature and Nature's God intended human beings to be free and equal, then the only legitimate government must be self-government. For if none of us is naturally subordinate or superior to anyone else, no one has the right to rule us without first obtaining our approval. Political power, Locke had written, stems "only from compact and agreement, and the mutual consent of those who make up the community."



    The Declaration of Independence emphasized the point. Not only are all persons endowed by nature with the unalienable rights of equality and freedom, it avowed, but "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."



    No lawful government without consent and self-rule: It was an extraordinary doctrine for its time. It had never been the springboard from which a new nation was launched. Yet to pursue this "theory of democracy," as Coolidge called it, "whole congregations with their pastors" had pulled up stakes in Europe and migrated to America.



    Steeped in the imagery of the Hebrew Bible, the colonists believed that God had led them, as He had led ancient Israel, from a land of bondage to a blessed Promised Land. Thomas Jefferson suggested in 1776 that the seal of the United States should depict the "Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by Day, and a Pillar of Fire by night." In that wilderness, Americans knew, God did not simply impose his rule on Israel. First the Hebrews had to give their consent: "And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do." Only then was there the revelation at Sinai, the Ten Commandments, and the Law. If God Himself would not govern without the consent of the governed, surely King George had no right to do so!



    July 4th marks more than American independence. It commemorates the great political ideals, rooted in faith and philosophy, that vindicated that independence -- and thereby transformed the world.
    Last edited by Percy; 5th-July-2011 at 09:02 AM.
    When in need of a drink to Refresh the soul
    Drop into the Knight & Drummer Free House.
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    Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum
    Love the Sinner but not the Sin.
    (St. Augustine)

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities, against Powers,
    against the Rulers of the Darkness of this world, against Spiritual Wickedness in high places.
    (and within ourselves)


    A Feminist is a human being who has lost her way and turned vicious. If you meet one on the road as you
    Go your Own Way, offer kindness but keep your sword drawn.





  2. #2
    Percy's Avatar
    Percy is online now Knackered old Knight
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    Re: Celebrate 4th of July

    Am I alone in this praise of America?
    When in need of a drink to Refresh the soul
    Drop into the Knight & Drummer Free House.
    http://parzivalshorse.blogspot.com.au/
    Always leave a Comment as a tip.


    Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum
    Love the Sinner but not the Sin.
    (St. Augustine)

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities, against Powers,
    against the Rulers of the Darkness of this world, against Spiritual Wickedness in high places.
    (and within ourselves)


    A Feminist is a human being who has lost her way and turned vicious. If you meet one on the road as you
    Go your Own Way, offer kindness but keep your sword drawn.





  3. #3
    James Huff's Avatar
    James Huff is offline Established Member
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    Re: Celebrate 4th of July

    No Percy, you are not.

    Thank you for the piece (peace). My celebration yesterday was rather muted, though. The U.S. is changing into something that makes me cry for the dearth of the ideals our founding fathers built this nation on. I still celebrate, but every year I do, I feel like I celebrate for what it was or what it could have been, rather than what it is. I recognize the dying of the light, and fight against it, but more and more I do so with the grim determination of a soldier simply fighting for survival in a hailstorm of fire.
    Last edited by James Huff; 5th-July-2011 at 06:44 PM.
    The Four Standards of Excellence are here:
    The Steps to War Part III


  4. #4
    Yan Yan's Avatar
    Yan Yan is offline Silver Supporter
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    Re: Celebrate 4th of July

    Well said Percy!

    A great experiment was set in motion in motion in 1776.

    It promised to surpass the simple beheading of kings, and introduce some sanity into the way we govern ourselves.
    This young land was an alloy of old cultures and innovative ideas. It had the best of both worlds. For a couple of centuries it prospered. Great advances were made and the human condition generally improved.

    It imported old wisdom and exported the products of new technology. Any man (ok, 99% men) that could usefully contribute to this noble endeavor was honored and celebrated.

    Since James is an American, he is better equipped to explain what went wrong.

    Incidentally Percy, I just have to give him rep for quoting Dylan Thomas, - what could be more admirable than a drunkard Welshman?

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    Dylan Thomas wrote the poem for his dying father. James evokes it for his fatherland.
    Whatever I say, write, think, do or even imagine.... some woman somewhere made me do it.
    It's her responsibility and not mine.

  5. #5
    Percy's Avatar
    Percy is online now Knackered old Knight
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    Re: Celebrate 4th of July

    Oh good Yan, what a great poem from a great Welshman.

    It could be a sound Banner for the MRM. Or at least the knackered old shytes in it.

    I take the gentle reprimand to heart.
    When in need of a drink to Refresh the soul
    Drop into the Knight & Drummer Free House.
    http://parzivalshorse.blogspot.com.au/
    Always leave a Comment as a tip.


    Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum
    Love the Sinner but not the Sin.
    (St. Augustine)

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities, against Powers,
    against the Rulers of the Darkness of this world, against Spiritual Wickedness in high places.
    (and within ourselves)


    A Feminist is a human being who has lost her way and turned vicious. If you meet one on the road as you
    Go your Own Way, offer kindness but keep your sword drawn.






 

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