One Idea, One Word, and One Republic

If these people cannot be bothered to reclaim something as simple as a word, how do they fool themselves into believing that they can ever hope to reclaim their nation?

Among the intricate threads of history, the tapestry of Western Civilization has ever been woven in blood and conquest, as imperial expansionism endlessly drove one group of people into ever fractious contact with other groups of people. If the crown jewel of ancient Western Civilization, the Roman Empire, itself the bloody progeny of the Roman Republic, can be considered the political, philosophical, and technological zenith of the ancient Europeans, then the person of Marcus Aurelius can be considered its highest achievement.

The Emperor who died twice, Marcus Aurelius was the last of the “Five Good Emperors” of Rome, leaving behind a legacy of imperial expansion, military stability, and the height of Greco-Roman philosophy, Stoicism. His life was quintessentially Roman, and his life story remains one of the lasting examples of the very “best” of the Western Civilization that would inform the Renaissance over a thousand years later.

“Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand
years. Death hangs over you. 
While you live,
while it is in your power, 
be good.”
-Marcus Aurelius-

Marcus was always known as a thinker, a product and avid student of both Greek and Latin traditions. His “Meditations” are rightfully considered the equal to the likes of Socrates and Aristotle. He was both a conscientious and judicious ruler, and, above all, a product of the civilization from which he came. Though, in reality, it may be his own personal experience, as much as the society that bore him, that informed the man and Emperor that he would become.

Ever since he was a young man, Marcus Aurelius struggled with a chronic ailment that left him weak and in physical pain his entire life. Where such continuous illness may have left some bitter and angry, Marcus approached his constant physical discomfort philosophically. Over the course of his life, he continued to develop and expand this personal philosophy to all adversity in his life, both personal and political.

The great tragedy of Marcus Aurelius’s life, however, came at its end. After dedicating most of his adult life to pacifying the powerful and savage tribes of “Germania“, it was Marcus’s great hope to, once and for all, end the threat to Roman civilization posed by these fierce and uncivilized cultures that had been battling the Roman legions for centuries. These wild and comparatively brutish societies had carved out large territories in the dense European forests at the edges of the Roman Empire.

With the end of these centuries long conflicts in sight, Marcus entrusted his son, Commodus, with the task of securing lasting security for Rome. Upon Marcus Aurelius’s death, however, the seventeen year old Commodus walked away from cold and death of Germania and devoted himself instead to the pleasures and distractions of Rome that his father had largely denied himself. Where Marcus Aurelius had dedicated himself to philosophy and the security of Rome, Commodus dedicated himself to lavish living and bloated egotism, going so far as renaming Rome, her holdings and even the Legions after himself.

After just thirteen years as Emperor, Commodus, the heir of Marcus Aurelius, was strangled to death in his bath, and centuries later, the heirs of the same savage tribes of Germania that Marcus Aurelius had dedicated his life to fighting, sacked Rome, plunging Europe into over a thousand years of darkness.

“How much time he gains who does not look to
see what his neighbor says or does or thinks,
but only at what he does himself,
to make it just and holy.”

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations-

While the parallels of the last “Good Emperor” of Rome, his misbegotten heir, and the agonizing slow and bloody decline of Rome to the events and characters of our present national crisis should be painfully clear, there is a cultural and philosophical context that must not be missed. History does not necessarily have to repeat itself, and those that wish to defend Western Civilization must do what Commodus, in his time, and our present political leaders, in our time, have failed to do.

At over two centuries old, our Republic is no longer young, but it isn’t old when compared to the over eight centuries of the Roman Republic and later Roman Empire. Though we have clearly lost our way culturally and politically from the ideals of the Founding, by learning from the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius and ignorance of Commodus, we can yet avert and, with luck, reverse the decline of our own civilization. Domestically, the Culture War has, especially for the last century, gone increasingly in favor of those who grand stand politically for their own benefit.

While social equality and political justice have vastly improved for many who have been denied both for so long, the government has in the meantime increasingly encroached upon the very principles of individual liberty that not only gave birth to our nation, but provided the very bedrock upon which the celebrated advancement of justice and equality was built. The great tragedy of our time is that, over the course of just a single century, the ideology of our Founding Fathers has become demonized by the people who claim to love the Founders most and defiled by those who claim to love the Founders least.

“The object of life is not to be on the side
of 
the majority, but to escape finding
oneself 
in the ranks of the insane.”
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations-

Few other words in the American vernacular provokes such visceral responses from both sides of the political divide as does the word “Liberal“. American Collectivists long ago claimed the term for themselves, contorting the social, political, and philosophical values of the ideology to fit their government centered ideology, while purging the values of individual liberty and sovereign property rights from the term. This usurpation of not just a word, but the Founding ethic of our Republic, would have been impossible, except for the unwitting ignorance of their opposition.

Americans who think themselves the political progeny of the Founding Fathers, as well as the political opposition of Collectivists who have come to dominate our politics, have capitulated the usage of “Liberal” to the Left. Now when these self described “patriots” use the word “Liberal“, it’s usually as a short hand for the very Leftism, Communism, and Collectivism they oppose. These people inject the word with all the partisan venom they can muster, casting the word from their mouth like a rotten morsel of meat.

Even when these people are shown the truth, these people still cling to their prejudices and habits, spitting the word like a curse from their lips, and just like that, the ideology the word represents remains cut off from them. If these people cannot be bothered to reclaim something as simple as a word, how do they fool themselves into believing that they can ever hope to reclaim their nation?

#TakeBackOurWord

george-washington

Liberty is For The Win!


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Marxist America

In a country once founded upon Locke’s “Life. Liberty. Property.”, we’ve become a nation shockingly comfortable with policy that is rooted in “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Among the dying embers of absolute monarchism arose two new political ideologies, both, in their own ways, a response to the autocracy that had been the dominant form of government since the dawn of human civilization. Philosophically, at least, both rejected the idea of privileged political classes that is the hallmark of absolute monarchism and, more or less, sought to level the moral and political playing field between the “common man” and his government.

It is how each ideology addresses the problem of moral and political station of the “common man” that defines them. The first ideology, Individualism, was born from the western classical Liberal tradition of Adam Smith and John Locke. Individualism took the sovereign rights long denied the “common man” by tyrannical monarchs and granted them to the everyone. Rights to their lives, to freedom of action and expression, as well as to property and acquisition of wealth, once reserved entirely to a tiny political class, was granted to everyone.

The second ideology, Collectivism, was born of societies still largely under the thumb of diffuse but deeply entrenched political and religious controls. Beginning with thinkers like Charles Fourier and culminating with Karl Marx, Collectivism saw the sovereign rights possessed by the tyrannical monarchs as the main moral defect of monarchism. In their utopian theory, sovereignty itself is eliminated. The individual’s value is inherent not in himself but comes from the community of which he is a part. Thus ownership is greed. Freedom is hubris. Life is expendable.

These differences between Individualism and Collectivism have been at the heart of the Culture War (as well as numerous actual wars) around the world since the late 19th Century. In America, a country founded unambiguously upon Individualism, it has been tension between these two ideologies that has driven political debate since Theodore Roosevelt through Franklin Roosevelt and beyond. The Culture War in America is ultimately still the same old philosophical battle.

That war, however, is largely over, and Collectivism, not Individualism, has won.

“…Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
-Thomas Jefferson-

That Collectivism has won the Culture War will shock many who believe themselves “right of center“, but the fact of the matter should be obvious. Many of these “right of center” people support government regulating every employment contract, no matter how minor, throughout the United States. They believe government has a role in protecting domestic industries from a global market place. Worst of all, they defend the morally reprehensible systematic confiscation of private property from every worker.

In a country once founded upon Locke’s “Life. Liberty. Property.“, we’ve become a nation shockingly comfortable with policy that is rooted in “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” These people can’t comprehend of a nation without the government injecting itself into the commercial and private contracts of the people, because, wait for it, “what about the needs of society“? On a fundamental but unconscious level, their only question is how much of our “unalienable rights” is really alienable.

Do we, as a nation, believe that two parties have an unalienable right to decide for themselves what a fair and proper contract is without the involvement of “collective society“? Clearly not. Do we, as a nation, believe that it is morally wrong to impose upon our countrymen the cost government that outstrips its revenues every year enough to stop imposing upon our countrymen? Unequivocally not. Do we, as a nation, “prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery” enough to forgo intrusive government regulation and taxation to support agencies that are bankrupting us? Demonstrably, this is no longer the case.

“There are two distinct classes of men –
those who pay taxes and those who
receive and live upon taxes.”
-Thomas Paine-

So Collectivism has won, and positions espoused by voices such as this one you are reading now are accused of being “fringe” and “extremist“, even as we quote directly from the writings of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Paine, John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, and all of the other Founding Fathers. Is it that vocal voices of Individualism really are “fringe” or is it that Collectivism has crept, inch by inch into the national psyche and finally burrowed deep enough to become the accepted norm in America?

Call me an anarchist, because I believe taxation is theft? Call me an extremist, because I believe the government is always an enemy of the people? Call me a radical, because I believe that I am endowed by my Creator with unalienable rights and demand that my “countrymen” stop alienating them? Call me unrealistic because I retain the Spirit of Resistance necessary to fight for the Individualism of America’s founding? So be it. I’m in good company.

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil;
in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
-Thomas Paine-

Liberty is For The Win!


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The Measure of a Man

Our society depends on objective measures, whether physical or moral, and there exists one set of standards against which we can justly judge the words and deeds of men and women.

Since the waning years of the 19th Century, deep within the vaults of a French mansion turned into an bureaucratic building on the outskirts of Paris, there has sat a cylinder of platinum and iridium small enough to rest comfortably in an adult’s hands. In all of the years since 1889, it has been removed from storage all of three times and handled otherwise only to carefully wash it. What is so special about this hunk of metal, so peculiar that is is the subject of international treaties over a century old? “Big K“, as this singular piece of metal is known, is the standard by which “kilogram” is defined.

It’s hard to understand the significance of such an obscure artifact, especially in the United States, but even the slightest changes in weight have so alarmed the scientific community that it has set the world of science into motion seeking for a more perfect solution to the problem of an objective physical standard. One of the coolest solutions, at least to a layman outside of the scientific community, is that of a gleaming, near perfect sphere, made up of within a fraction of a billion of silicon-28 atoms. The alternative to this sphere is a scale that can measure a fundamental physical constant of the universe (the Planck Constant).

These efforts captivate the scientific community, because the kilogram is the standard of measure for science being performed around the world. It is only with an objective standard of what a kilogram is that scientists can be certain that their measurements are the same in Brazil as they are in Belgium. While the changes in the “Big K” are not large enough to put the certainty of scientific measure in any serious danger yet, the reality is, should a meteor fall onto the Pavillon de Breteuil tomorrow, scientists of various disciplines around the world would have serious and legitimate concerns about the viability of their observations.

“Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the
aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate
and encourage us to great and noble Actions…”
-George Washington-

Objective standards are how we define and interpret our reality, without which the concepts of value and fair exchange break down and consistently comparing one thing to another becomes simply impossible. When we change our point of view from physical studies and turn them to the moral or philosophical, this is no less the case. Just like in the physical sciences, conservatives accept that there exist objective moral values and duties by which all human activity can be measured against. Those actions that conform with these necessary and time honored guideposts can be deemed good. Those that do not, cannot.

If a man gains wealth and influence over the course of his lifetime through just effort, so that he can provide a comfortable life for his family while he remains a man of honor and dignity in the community, then by any objective measure, he is a good and decent man. If a man gains wealth and influence through deceit and political connections, however, while depriving other men of their just compensation, slandering the good name of competitors, and creating an empire for nothing more than his own sake, devoid of honor and dignity, then can he be judged in any way a good and decent man?

If a man takes a lawfully wedded wife, sires children with her while treating her with respect and dignity for all of her days, then he is rightly regarded as a good husband, by any objective measure. If he takes a lawfully wedded wife, sires children with her, then takes a series of mistresses, then divorces his wife, then remarries one of his mistresses, sires a child with her, then takes another series of mistresses, divorces his second wife, marrying yet another of his mistresses with whom he sires a child with her, can he be said to be rightly regarded as a good husband, by any objective measure?

If a man can be taken to say what he means in all things, when he speaks to the public, while friends, allies, and supporters know that they can count on his word remaining the same from one day into the next, by any objective measure, he can be said to be a man of his word. If a man rarely answers a question directly, being evasive in all things, whenever he speaks to the public, while even friends, allies, and supporters have no idea whether his word will be same from one hour into the next, can he truly, by any objective measure, be said to be a man of his word?

“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.”
-Declaration of Independence-

Our society depends on objective measures, whether physical or moral, and there exists one set of standards against which we can justly judge the words and deeds of men and women. If one man is justly deemed unworthy of praise and honor for his inability to honorably acquire wealth, remain faithful to his wife, or be honest in his speech, it follows that any other man must justly be deemed unworthy of praise and honor for their inability to honorably acquire their wealth, remain faithful to their wives, or be honest in their speech as well. We cannot play favorites with objective measures, because objective measures do not have favorites.

Political allegiance does not excuse behavior that is obviously unworthy of honorable men and women, especially when that political allegiance changes by the year, changing with the winds of political convenience. We cannot build our house of political philosophy on the shifting sands of expedience or personal preference. That is moral relativism. Instead, we must seek bedrocks of principle and virtue, and only there build our philosophical fortresses against tyranny and corruption. The necessity of holding ourselves and our allies to the same moral standards was and remains at the very heart of the American experiment.

Without sacred honor, absolutely nothing matters. In the years to come, either America relearns this hard lesson and is restored to her place of honor, or she does not and peddles herself to tyrants and thieves for cheap until she is finally no more. It is up to each of us to decide which.

Liberty is For The Win!


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The Vilest Lie and Darkest Deceit

Only “country” is evoked almost as often as god among the smoldering rubble of mankind’s bloodshed and mayhem.

There is no greater threat to the conservative movement or the American Republic than this pernicious belief that Conservatism and Nationalism are at all similar or even necessarily compatible. After decades of socialist propaganda, the stupefication of the American populace has reached the point that otherwise well meaning people have been convinced intolerance of dissent is somehow an American virtue. It is not and must never be.

If America has become a nation where political dissent is intolerable, then we will have lost utterly what it means to be American. This, more so than any other reason, is why Nationalism is such a poisonous, self deluding ideology, luring those born by chance within the established boundaries of one nation or another into a illusion of unearned superiority. It is this ideology, a near cousin to Fascism, that is every bit as unAmerican as the vile ideologies of socialism, communism, feudalism, and even monarchism.

Unfortunately, Nationalism has become the political vogue of a vulgar, uneducated, self congratulating white male demographic who sees superiority as a birthright, rather than a quest. Their vision of American “exceptionalism” has become inexplicably tied to other largely uneducated, lightly pigmented human beings around the world, whose fading political influence and economic superiority has been and continues to be eclipsed by foreign competition. Until these entitled, regressive, socialist, ethnocentric elitists abandon these tribal impulses, the Republic is doomed to fall.

“But freedom is never more than one generation away from
extinction. 
We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.”
-Ronald Reagan-

The difference between Nationalism and Conservatism is easily demonstrated through a very simple analogy. If forced to choose either the flag of the Republic or the principles upon which the Republic was founded, the Nationalist will always choose the flag and ditch the principles, because the flag, in his mind, is synonymous with the nation. Faced with the very same dilemma, the Conservative will choose the principles and ditch the flag, because history has proven time and again that nations are replaceable.

What is good for the nation, believes the Nationalist, is what is good for all. If any conflict arises against interests of the nation, then the interests of the nation must always prevail. Superficially this seems like a fairly benign position, but what happens when the interests of the nation come into conflict with the interests of the individual? After all, wasn’t this the very conflict that sparked the American Revolution?

Only here, in the United States, did the Enlightenment ideas that spent over two centuries simmering in a cauldron of philosophical and political theory fully blossom into a nation. These precious Enlightenment ideas of Life, Liberty, and Property are the beating heart of Conservatism. The United States was born of the truly revolutionary idea that nations were not important, but the lives, hopes, and dreams of the People were. Without kings and titled elites, the People could at long last be free to pursue happiness.

“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all,
continual fear, and danger of violent death: and
the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
-Thomas Hobbes-

Compared to this Enlightenment ideal, the Nationalist is a regressive, grunting, violent thug, forever trying to drag America back into the abyss of the Dark Ages, where a man’s place was in service to his nation, whether that nation served his interests rarely in the barest fashion or not at all. The Nationalist’s fascination with the past is fueled by a loathsome hunger for the blood of men and women that are not like him, because of ten thousand imagined slights for which almost no one living is even remotely complicit to, let alone guilty of.

These Nationalists mistake their obsession with the superficiality of national identity and willingness to fight for blood and soil as a proof of their “superior” cultivation and culture, but it is only proof of their diseased and deeply perturbed minds, because in no way are these urges innovative or unusual in the annals of history. Practically every dictator on earth, for thousands of years, has appealed to this base human impulse to barbarism. Only “country” is evoked almost as often as god among the smoldering rubble of mankind’s bloodshed and mayhem.

There is nothing new or noble about Nationalism. It’s just the same old justification of those that hunger for power over those that yearn to be free. Both the Tsars of Russia and the premiers of the Soviet Union used Nationalism to spur millions of Russians to their deaths in the conflagrations of First and Second World Wars, both started in large part by the Kaiser and then the Führer of Germany. There is nothing “conservative” about these vile ideals, and to find them suddenly in our midsts is a betrayal of everything that America has represented for centuries.

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.
As nations become  
more corrupt and vicious,
they have more need of masters.”

-Benjamin Franklin-

The Nationalist is a traitor and an enemy of Liberty, because he would put country before the Natural Rights of the People. He carries with him the chains of bondage to the state as he peddles promises of political, military, and economic security. They, just like their vile second cousins, the socialist revolutionaries, make their vicious appeal to the worker and the uneducated, while universally demonizing the “educated elite“.

Only in the American Revolution were intellectuals embraced, not murdered by the tens of thousands. In both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, the first to be culled were always the scholars and the educators, because they dared voice appeals to ethics and reason. Nationalist leaders always seek to destroy anyone smarter than they are, because only then can they foist their insane stupidity upon a gullible public, without anyone to remind the People that they are meant to be free.

By the way, you are meant to be free!

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW

 

Liberty 101: Life.

Without the Right to Life, no other right or liberty even exists.

As it has become increasingly obvious that many self identifying “conservatives” do not understand what “conservatism” is trying to conserve, we have no choice but to go back to school on fundamental conservative ideology. Even if it sounds dogmatic, these core liberal values of Life, Liberty, and Property, as well as the Rule of Law, are absolutely nonnegotiable, and anyone that does not hold these core principles simply cannot be considered a “conservative“.

Consider this: if not the liberal values of the Enlightenment Era and founding of our nation, then what exactly are you trying to conserve? The anti-liberal pro-Slavery values of the Antebellum South? The anti-liberal Segregationist values of the Jim Crow Era? The anti-liberal Progressive values of the late 19th Century? The anti-liberal crony corporatism of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries? The anti-liberal socialist values of the early 20th Century? The anti-liberal collectivist radicalism of the mid-20th Century?

Clearly, only the Enlightenment Era values of liberality and individual freedom are worthy to be the cornerstone of “conservatism“. Having inspired both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of our Republic, these values are the bedrock of our national cultural identity. Where the political power rests in the aggregate authority of the People, being a nation of equals, all entitled to Natural Rights and subject only to the Rule of Law.

The next few essays will be dedicated to each of the core liberal virtues that undergird conservative ideology: the Natural Rights (Life, Liberty, and Property) and the Rule of Law. Each of the Natural Rights will be discussed on its own, with connections to modern applications and conservative political positions.

Whoever sheds human blood,
    by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
    has God made mankind.

Genesis 9:6

Life is the first of the Enlightenment liberal principles core to conservative thought, and it is the most important as it is the foundation for all of the principles. Put simply, the Right to Life is the principle that an individual has a Natural Right to life, health, and livelihood to his or her own maximum potential. The Right to Life also implies that the individual owns both his physical body and his labor and is entitled to act as is necessary to secure his life, health, and livelihood to his fullest potential.

Because everyone is entitled to the same rights of life, health, and livelihood, the Right to Life imposes a duty (via the social contract) upon the individual to respect the Right to Life of others, and vice versa. The individual is expected to avoid behaviors that endanger the life, health, and livelihoods of others.

This concept of reciprocal rights is the basis for everything from criminal laws prohibiting murder, physical assault, and reckless endangerment to civil tort law penalizing negligent behavior that results in the accidental death or injury of others. It is why liberal societies avoid killing the innocent even in the conduct of war, and why capital punishment is reserved only for those proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of heinous murder who also pose a significant risk to others.

Life is precious and is the fundamental value upon which all other liberal rights and liberties are based, because the Right to Life necessitates the other rights and liberties. If an individual is not given rights to speak or to arm themselves, their Right to Life depends entirely on the good behavior of others. Should a dictator rise to power or even so much as a criminal gang form in the individual’s neighborhood, the individual soon finds himself at the mercy of these bad actors.

If an individual is denied rights to own property or retain ownership of the profit of their labors, then they are denied the ability to secure their livelihood to their maximum potential. It would reduce them back to a meager state of subsistence living, where the future cannot be invested in with any certainty, as any external force, either the state or a criminal actor with state power, can seize their property and profit without recourse. Even if the individual is compensated for the “fair market value” of their property and even the financial expense of moving, the loss of community and emotional disruption the individual may suffer can be beyond compensation.

These arguments are self evident, only because the principle of Right to Life. If an individual lives only at the pleasure of the King (or the State), then no other rights apply.

A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
Attributed to Joseph Stalin

The Right to Life exists because of the Judaeo-Christian culture of western civilization, only from which could the Enlightenment have been possible. From the moment the tradition that bore Socrates, Plato, and Sophocles found its answer in the Biblical tradition, society began to bubble in a cauldron of faith and wisdom that resulted in the natural conclusion that all Life has value because it “is endowed by its Creator“. Without the endowment of supernatural worth, we become no different than the beasts of the field. Like the beasts of the field, our individual value is wholly subsumed within the collective herd.

Should it become necessary to sacrifice a few of the weak or the old for the collective good, then that is what will happen. There is no difference whether these deaths are decided by predators or by government officials imposing their benevolent tyranny from above. This is why only in the collectivist state utopias was systematic barbarism able to murder millions of souls. In these illiberal societies, human life was only valuable as long as the collective state authority deemed it so.

Without the Right to Life, the other Natural Rights become meaningless, and the conservative position becomes nothing more than a quaint diversion opposing the monolith of state utilitarianism of the collectivists. Embracing the Right to Life, the conservative position becomes an absolute against which no other ideological stance can find purchase, because they require transgression against these Natural Rights.

Conservatism is not merely an opinion or a quaint diversion. It is a moral and ideological imperative that the Founding Fathers were willing to lay their lives on the line for. Are you?

Next Article: Right to Liberty.

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW