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 the its highest achievement.

The Emperor who died twice, Marcus Aurelius’s rule 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!


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

Identity Crisis in the Culture War

While most terms the leftists have used to describe themselves have had their time, “liberal” has stuck around. Why?

Words have power and are the guns and ammunition of a culture war, and America is in the middle of a culture war, between those on the left, who champion “equality” imposed by the full and unlimited authority of the government, and those on the right, who champion “liberty” governed with only so much power as to ensure the liberties of the People. It’s clear that the culture war has not been going well for us on the right.

From the late 1800’s through the 1940’s, both of the major political parties in the United States (Republican and Democrats) subscribed to a “progressive” western political ideology. The word “progressive” was embraced by all, it meant “forward thinking” and “advanced“. Words and ideas that appealed to the “collective” identity of Americans. Soon these words became the prevailing wisdom, and it was just accepted that “advanced nations” should use their political and economic advantage to the benefit of their citizens. Words like “liberty“, “enumerated powers” and “limited government” were tossed aside as things from a bygone era, quaint in its ideology.

By the 100th anniversary of James Madison’s death, the last surviving Founding Father, a long line of “progressive” presidents had already pushed through drastic political and cultural changes, expanding the executive power with a complicit Congress. Exactly the sort of changes that would have James Madison spinning in his grave. By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented his “New Deal“, the fabric of the American liberty and individual “Natural Rights” were already in tatters. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when the shadow of the Soviet Union and their socialist tyranny threatened the free world that the Republican Party finally realized the importance of those “quaint values from that bygone era” and began to “conserve them” from being lost forever.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

– Benjamin Franklin – 

The wisest of all men once warned his followers to be wary of those who come in the likeness of a sheep but are inwardly ravenous wolves. In this we see the power of words, with clear visual metaphors and the stark implications of failing to heed the warning. That is the power of words, as well as the problem that we face. The wolves are among the sheep, and the sheep have been complicit in pulling the wool over their own eyes.

Consider for a moment all of the words that the left have employed in describing themselves: “progressive“, “socialist“, “leftist“, “democratic socialist“, and finally “liberal“. While most terms the leftists have used to describe themselves have had their time, “liberal” has stuck around. Why? The other words were often too honest and quickly had too much philosophical baggage to continue on, but “liberal“?  It offers the leftist something that they could never get on their own: “credibility“.

Take just a moment to research what “liberalism” means and, more importantly, its significance to the history of the American Revolution. The principles of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of property, freedom of commerce, security of privacy, secular government, and open diplomacy with foreign nations are core values to “liberalism“. They are the values for which the Founding Fathers put at risk their lives and sacred honor. They are the values Jefferson expounded upon in the Declaration of Independence. They are the values enumerated and protected by the Bill of Rights. They are the core cultural values that conservatives seek to “conserve“.

And yet conservatives, even prominent conservatives, will use the term “liberal” as though it were an insult, even as the leftists vigorously embrace the term. Why is it that the left continues to embrace the word? Because when conservatives hurl the word “liberal” as though it were an insult, it puts us on the wrong side of the values of “liberalism“.

george-washington

We are in the middle of a culture war that we are losing, and we are handing out our uniforms and ammunition to our opposition, and we are surprised that things have gone so poorly? The principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at the core of our cultural values, yet so many conservatives continuously and willingly hand the power of that word to leftists when there is nothing “liberal” about “leftism“.

Criticize Barack Obama, and you aren’t exercising your freedom to demand redress of grievances, you are “racist“. Criticize Hillary Clinton, and you aren’t exercising your freedom of political speech in an election, you are part of the “War on Women“. Speak out against gay marriage, and you aren’t for freedom of religion, you are a “homophobe“. Disagree with ObamaCare, and you aren’t arguing for freedom of the market, you are “heartless” and “don’t care about the sick poor“. Want to abolish taxation of personal livelihoods, and you aren’t for freedom of property, you are “selfish” and “only care about the rich“. Protest against gun control, and you aren’t for protecting your Second Amendment rights, you are “promoting gun violence“.

The left doesn’t make “liberal” arguments. They make authoritarian collectivist arguments. They don’t care about the rights of the individual, they only care about the hegemony of the “collective“. Not only are the leftists not “liberal“, they are totally hostile to the principles of “liberalism” espoused by Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, and the Founding Fathers of the United States.

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you
can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
” – Sun Tzu

Cultures have values at their cores, which differentiate them from other cultures, and, traditionally, national borders have been drawn between people with different cultures. This idea of cultural identity is very important to nations, as it ties all members of the nation together with common values. Without these shared core values, a schism appears in society, which naturally creates cultural strife. This schism, unless dealt with, will eventually lead to the downfall of the culture and the nation.

In the United States, there has been just such a schism forming over the past century, that finds its roots in the first question of civilization: “Where does the line exist between the security of the nation and the rights of the individual, and how much, if at all, should it encroach on the basic liberties of men and women?”

This question precipitated the American Revolutionary War, and the very founding of the United States was an answer. It was the position of the Founding Fathers that the power of the state should be pushed to the far fringes of “Natural Rights“: right to life, right to liberty, and the right to property. Thomas Jefferson, among others, believed that government should exist only in so much and only as long as it protected those rights.

Thomas Jefferson was a liberal, and so are we as conservatives. Take back our word and we take back our identity. Take back our identity, and we take back our culture. Take back our culture, and we take back our nation.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And just for the curious, the antonym of “conservative” isn’t “liberal“. It’s “radical“. Words matter. Use them carefully.

takebackourword

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