The 2nd Amendment Explained

This post should be married to my other post regarding the 2nd Amendment,

The 2nd Amendment Was Only For Muskets.”

Here is the amendment as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State:

  • A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

As Founder, Tench Coxe, of Pennsylvania — noted:

“As the military forces which must occasionally be raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article (of amendment) in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” — Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789

In other words, the comma in that Amendment  separates the clause… there are TWO part to this Amendment, and so it should read (The RPT version):

  • Since an organized force of volunteer citizens is necessary to defend our freedoms from tyranny within [a. federal vs. state | b. one’s own domicile] or (c.) foreign attack, the government shall in no way limit the People’s right to own and carry weapons for collective (a,c) or for sportsmanship or sustenance reasons as well as personal defense of private property guaranteed as a Natural Right (b).

In other words at the split in the sentence, what is reasonable to protect a state (tanks, bazookas, planes). And what is reasonable to protect a home and hunt with (pistols, semi-auto rifles/shotguns [like the AR], etc).

Here, Mark Levin explains these concepts to a caller to his radio show:

David French discusses some of the issues in his article in NATIONAL REVIEW discussing the original text of this Amendment:

…As Justice Scalia noted in his Heller decision, the amendment contains both a prefatory clause and an operative clause. The prefatory clause, a common feature at the time of drafting, does not limit the operative clause; rather, it explains its purpose.

The operative clause is, of course, clear: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” As Scalia correctly observed, every other time the original, un-amended Constitution or the Bill of Rights uses the phrase “right of the people,” the text “unambiguously refer[s] to individual rights.” Further, the language clearly indicates that the amendment wasn’t creating a new right but recognizing a pre-existing individual liberty — one that is referenced in the 1689 English Bill of Rights. The language “shall not be infringed” indicates recognition, not creation.

But what about the prefatory clause? What does the a “well regulated militia” have to do with an individual right? Scalia explained well in Heller:

The Second Amendment’s prefatory clause announces the purpose for which the right was codified: to prevent elimination of the militia. The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting. But the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms was the reason that right — unlike some other English rights — was codified in a written Constitution.

To believe that the Second Amendment is a collective right, Scalia concluded, is to believe that the authors of the Bill of Rights employed individualist language in order to protect the people’s right to take part in militia organizations over which the national government enjoys plenary power…

[….]

It is critical to remember that the Founding Fathers were Englishmen before they were Americans. When they began to sow the seeds of revolt against the British crown, they sought not to destroy all that had gone before but to protect rights that they believed they already possessed. Thus, when George III responded to unrest by attempting to disarm rebellious colonists, he “provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep arms,” Scalia wrote. (“Arms,” incidentally, did not mean only “muskets” but included any personal weapon that could be wielded by an individual, including but not limited to “musket and bayonet,” “side arms,” and “sabre, holster pistols, and carbine.”)

Justice Scalia understood this well:

By the time of the founding, the right to have arms had become fundamental for English subjects. Blackstone, whose works, we have said, “constituted the preeminent authority on English law for the founding generation,” cited the arms provision of the Bill of Rights as one of the fundamental rights of Englishmen. His description of it cannot possibly be thought to tie it to militia or military service. It was, he said, “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation,” and “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” Other contemporary authorities concurred. Thus, the right secured in 1689 as a result of the Stuarts’ abuses was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.

Writing in 1803, after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, St. George Tucker updated Blackstone’s Commentaries. In America, Tucker wrote, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed . . . and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government.” The United States, he boasted, “may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty.”

[….]

One cannot analyze the Second Amendment without understanding its moral and philosophical underpinnings. Colonial America was a land populated by people who were both highly literate biblically and steeped in Lockean philosophy.

The biblical record sanctioning self-defense is clear. In Exodus 22, the Law of Moses permits a homeowner to kill even a mere thief who entered his home at night, and the books of Esther and Nehemiah celebrate the self-defense of the Jews against their lawless attackers. Nehemiah exhorted the Israelites to defend themselves: “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” The oft-forgotten climax of the book of Esther is an act of bloody self-defense against a genocidal foe.

Nor did Jesus require his followers to surrender their lives — or the lives of spouses, children, or neighbors — in the face of armed attack. His disciples carried swords, and in one memorable passage in Luke 22, he declared there were circumstances in which the unarmed should arm themselves: “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Christ’s famous admonition in his Sermon the Mount to “turn the other cheek” in the face of a physical blow is not a command to surrender to deadly violence, and it certainly isn’t a command to surrender family members or neighbors to deadly violence.

In his Second Treatise of Civil Government, Locke described the right of self-defense as a “fundamental law of nature”:

Sec. 16. The state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man’s life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the commonlaw of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power. (Emphasis added.)

Moreover, Locke argues, these laws of nature were inseparable from the will of God:

The rules that they make for other men’s actions, must, as well as their own and other men’s actions, be conformable to the law of nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and the fundamental law of nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good, or valid against it.

This right is so fundamental that it’s difficult to find even leftist writers who would deny a citizen the right to protect her own life….

(READ IT ALL!)

Here are a couple quotes by the men who knew the details of what they wrote:

  • Thomas Jefferson said, “No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.”
  • Patrick Henry said, “The great object is, that every man be armed.”
  • Richard Henry Lee wrote that, “to preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.”
  • Thomas Paine noted, “[A]rms . . . discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.”
  • Samuel Adams warned that: “The said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.”

(NRA)

More quotes from the Founding Fathers DEFINING the 2nd Amendment can be found at THE FEDERALIST PAPERS

Christopher Columbus – The Left’s Public Enemy #1

Michael Knowles explains the difference between leftist lies and reality, and why Christopher Columbus is the Left’s public enemy #1

To analogize the main point, it would be like taking the political attacks in politics as who a person really is. Here is a great example:

Jefferson called Adams “a blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

The Federalists attacked the fifty-seven-year-old Jefferson as a godless Jacobin who would unleash the forces of bloody terror upon the land. With Jefferson as President, so warned Adams (actually the Connecticut Courant), “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.” Reportedly New Englanders hid their Bibles for fear that the infidel Jefferson would declare them illegal if elected. In 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams called Andrew Jackson a murderer and a cannibal.

The General Welfare | Righting Constitutional Misconceptions

From My “Concepts” Series

It was the author of the U.S. Constitution James Madison, who proclaimed:

  • “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

(click to enlarge)

In this latest example (originally posted Sept of 2012) of John Van Huzuim’s conflating terms and ideas, we see a prime  example of how liberals will argue. First, let us deal with how the framers of the Constitution understood “General Welfare,” and not what John says it means or how he thinks conservative Republicans understand it. Here is some input from two of the authors of the Constitution, professor Williams explains:

On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine men signed the U.S. Constitution. Each year since 2004, we have celebrated Constitution Day as a result of legislation fathered by Senator Robert Byrd that requires federal agencies, and every school that receives federal funds, including universities, to have some kind of program on the Constitution. I cannot think of a more deceitful piece of legislation or a more constitutionally odious person to father it – a person who is known as, and proudly wears the label, “King of Pork.” The only reason that Constitution Day is not greeted with contempt is because most Americans are totally ignorant about the framer’s vision in writing our constitution. Let’s examine that vision to see how much faith and allegiance today’s Americans give to the U.S. Constitution.

James Madison is the acknowledged father of the constitution. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia. James Madison wrote disapprovingly, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Today, at least two-thirds of a $2.5 trillion federal budget is spent on the “objects of benevolence.” That includes Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, aid to higher education, farm and business subsidies, welfare, ad nauseam.

A few years later, James Madison’s vision was expressed by Representative William Giles of Virginia, who condemned a relief measure for fire victims. Giles insisted that it was neither the purpose nor a right of Congress to “attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require.”

In 1827, Davy Crockett was elected to the House of Representatives. During his term of office a $10,000 relief measure was proposed to assist the widow of a naval officer. Davy Crockett eloquently opposed the measure saying, “Mr. Speaker: I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”

In 1854, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a popular measure to help the mentally ill saying, “I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity.” To approve the measure “would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.” During President Grover Cleveland’s two terms in office, he vetoed many congressional appropriations, often saying there was no constitutional authority for such an appropriation. Vetoing a bill for relief charity, President Cleveland said, “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.”

Compared to today, yesteryear’s vision vastly differs in what congressional actions are constitutionally permissible. How might today’s congress, president and courts square their behavior with that of their predecessors? The most generous interpretation of their behavior I can give is their misunderstanding of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that reads, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” Misuse of the “general welfare” clause serves as warrant for Congress to do just about anything upon which it can secure a majority vote.

The framers addressed the misinterpretation of the “general welfare clause. James Madison said, in a letter to James Robertson, “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare’, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” James Madison also said, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison laid out what he saw as constitutional limits on federal power in Federalist Paper Number 45 where he explained, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.”

Thomas Jefferson explained in a letter to Albert Gallatin, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

What accounts for today’s acceptance of a massive departure from the framer’s clear vision of what federal activities were constitutionally permissible? It is tempting to blame politicians and yes we can blame them some but most of the blame lies with the American people who are either ignorant of the constitutional limits the framers imposed on the federal government or they have contempt for those limits….

…read more…

POLITISTICK notes the difference when they write: “Progressives and their communist cousins — even RINOs (Republicans in name only) will argue the ‘General Welfare’ clause is somehow being authorization for the federal government to spend on anything members of Congress dreams up.” Continuing Madison is again quoted from:

James Madison, in his brilliance, anticipated this argument, of course, and shot it down on several different occasions:

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.”

In other words, if the words “general welfare” meant going outside of the enumerated powers, there would have been no reason to even write the enumerated powers in the first place!

Madison further imagined where Congress might stretch the General Welfare clause if it were misinterpreted to be open-ended:

If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads. 

In short, everything, from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.

[….]

For all of the reasons above, with the Democrat Party all but merging with the Communist Party USA and the Republicans, led by big government RINO’s Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, only wanting slightly smaller and just barely less unconstitutional than the Democrats, I strongly support both the Convention of States and the Federalist Party. Both parties are arguing which can bastardize the U.S. Constitution the most. We know that the Democrats will always be the most aggressive in this venture but the Republicans are not far behind.

The Sage from South-Central

Larry Elder  on his radio program takes a call in regards to this exact same understanding of the General Welfare Clause.

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Ben Franklin Money Quote

  • I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. (Ben Franklin)

In another ARTICLE Professor Williams ends with this, and I think it is suitable for this discussion:

You might say, “If our Constitution provides no authority for programs near and dear to the hearts of so many Americans, the heck with the Constitution.” If that’s your perspective, you’re in good company. The Courts, Congress and the White House beat you to it. Long ago they said, “The heck with the Constitution.”

This is what John is saying, the heck with the constitution! Take note as well that not only does he miss-defines what conservative think, he also argues for police and fire personnel, and then from there jumps to welfare programs (the war on poverty, so-called). (Remember what I always point out with John? Non-sequiturs… he is full of them.) Now, Obama-Care is placed under this umbrella the writers of the clause rejected. I will end here with Professor Williams in regards to Obama-Care:

Here is the second part to POLITISTICK’s post on the matter… love me some Madison!

…Only certain, specifically identified powers, called “enumerated powers,” were delegated to the federal government from the states — powers that the Founding Fathers believed were best performed on a national basis, duties like “provide for the common defense,” to coin money, establish uniform immigration laws, “Post Offices,” treaties with foreign nations, to regulate (which does not mean restrict) interstate commerce, and a few others. These powers were clearly listed in Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution.

James Madison, considered the main author and father of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist #45, regarding the Alleged Danger from the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered, the following two sentences that summarize this principle of state sovereignty and a limited federal government:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

Madison further described the proper role for the soon-to-be federal government versus the unique roles of the individual states:

“The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

So (let’s forget the politicized decision by the tyrants in black robes who declared Obamacare constitutional — it is not) what does this mean? Would a full single-payer healthcare system like the one proposed in California (which would have more than doubled the entire state budget) be allowed by the U.S. Constitution?

You bet it would — on the state level — but NOT on the national level. If people in California want to more than double their already exorbitant taxes in order to pay for such a system, they are allowed to under the Tenth Amendment, which states, referring to Article I, Section 8:

“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.”

Nowhere in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution among the enumerated powers are the words, medicine, health care, doctor visits, surgery, healthcare insurance (yes, people got sick in the late 1700’s and there were doctors and medicine), or anything like this even remotely mentioned as a power being transferred by the states to the federal government…..

Were the Founders Religious? (Joshua Charles)

Very happy for my “cyber friend” to be in the Prager-U mix!

What did the Founding Fathers believe about religion? Were they Christians, or just deists? Did they believe in secularism, or did they want Americans to be religious? Joshua Charles, New York Times bestselling author and researcher at the Museum of the Bible, explains.

Another Jefferson Misquote

I kept getting this quote in conversation thrown at me proving Jefferson’s “anti-war” stance on Twitter. Here is one such use of it followed by an ultimatum:

  • “I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.” ~Thomas Jefferson. Now you still want to argue your thinking?

The quote comes from a letter to Elbridge Gerry, and can be read here. Here is a larger section where this comes from… I will italicize the quote used already, and after the larger quote emphasize what follows that gives the sentence context:

I have been happy, however, in believing, from the stifling of this effort, that that dose was found too strong, & excited as much repugnance there as it did horror in other parts of our country, & that whatever follies we may be led into as to foreign nations, we shall never give up our Union, the last anchor of our hope, & that alone which is to prevent this heavenly country from becoming an arena of gladiators. Much as I abhor war, and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind, and anxiously as I wish to keep out of the broils of Europe, I would yet go with my brethren into these, rather than separate from them. But I hope we may still keep clear of them, notwithstanding our present thraldom, & that time may be given us to reflect on the awful crisis we have passed through, and to find some means of shielding ourselves in future from foreign influence, political, commercial, or in whatever other form it may be attempted. I can scarcely withhold myself from joining in the wish of Silas Deane, that there were an ocean of fire between us & the old world.

Here is the sentence in whole — again:

  • Much as I abhor war, and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind, and anxiously as I wish to keep out of the broils of Europe, I would yet go with my brethren into these, rather than separate from them.

There is a lot of qualifying that the sentence ripped from it’s context does not allows a reader to better understand Jefferson’s position. Also note that the letter included the history and knowledge of the Silas Deane affair as well as what is missing from the letter… which we know because we have the rough draft:

“I shall never forget the prediction of the count de Vergennes that we shall exhibit the singular phenomenon of a fruit rotten before it is ripe, nor cease to join in the wish of Silas Deane that there were an ocean of fire between us & the old world. Indeed my dear friend I am so disgusted with this entire subjection to a foreign power that if it were in the end to appear to be the wish of the body of my countrymen to remain in that vassalege I should feel my unfitness to be an agent in their affairs, and seek in retirement that personal independence without which this world has nothing I value. I am confident you set the same store by it which I do: but perhaps your situation may not give you the same conviction of its existence.”

(read more)

As an aside… Jefferson would have liked to see the French Revolution be more bloody if it succeeded in it’s aims:

My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause [the French Revolution], but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.

  • Thomas Jefferson, Letter of January 3, 1793, The Portable Thomas Jefferson, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (New York: Penguin Books, 1975), p. 465; from, Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 29.

Obama Gets Qur’anic History Wrong ~ Updated

This was to be the first of many times that an American president would plot to overthrow a foreign government–a dangerous game but one that the Jefferson administration found as hard to pass up as many of its successors would. Wrote Madison:

  • “Although it does not accord with the general sentiments or views of the United States to intermiddle in the domestic contests of other countries, it cannot be unfair, in the prosecution of a just war, or the accomplishment of a reasonable peace, to turn to their advantage, the enmity and pretensions of others against a common foe.”

Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2002), 23-24.

Again, Ron Paul “type” take on history is woefully wrong… something his son understands. Between 1800 and 1934, U.S. Marines staged 180 landings abroad.

Liberty’s Secret ~ Excerpt

I have already been challenged on this topic, to wit, the challenge and my response will follow the excerpt.

This following excerpt from Liberty’s Secrets is one that squarely displaces the typical secular attack on Jefferson being a man of faith to some degree. In this excerpt Thomas Paine’s position on Christianity and God is dealt with as an extra bonus, as well as some of the Founders predictions of the then young French Revolution. This is a really good read, and I highly recommend the book.

Before the excerpt, I want to share a favorite sentence that I think best defines the Founders accomplishments in the Constitution. Here it is:

  • The Constitution is the integration of ideals with reality, the ideal being human liberty, the reality being human nature. (p. 69)

If that isn’t the best definition in one sentence of the Constitution, I don’t know what is!

GOD AND THE HUMAN SOUL: THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE AND MORALITY

Belief in God and the immortality of the human soul was universal among the Founders, which is incontrovertibly evident from the most cursory review of their writings. While not all of them were orthodox Christians, their thoughts on atheism ranged from extreme caution to outright disdain. For them, belief in God was natural to man because it was in accordance with his nature, and they agreed with Tocqueville when he noted (while describing the virtual absence of atheism in America) that “men cannot detach themselves from religious beliefs except by some wrong-headed thinking, and by a sort of moral violence inflicted upon their true nature . . . Unbelief is an accident; faith is the only permanent state of mankind.”

They saw the fingerprints of God everywhere they looked, and their conclusion that He existed was not even necessarily dependent on the Bible or any specific set of religious dogma but on the very nature of the cosmos. Writing to his friend John Adams toward the end of his life, Jefferson explained his views:Josh Charles Liberty Secret Book 300

I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consum­mate skill, and the indefinite power in every atom of its composition… We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the Universe in its course and order… So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed through all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of a few in the other hypothesis Even Thomas Paine, who in the second half of his life was an ardent opponent of orthodox Christianity (mostly Catholicism) and the clergy and did not believe the Bible was divinely inspired, wrote at the same time, “All the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make or invent or contrive principles. He can only discover them, and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.”

Paine criticized any teaching of “natural philosophy” (i.e., science) that asserted that the universe was simply “an accomplishment” (i.e., self-existent). He also criticized those teachers who “labor with studied ingenuity to ascribe everything they behold to innate properties of matter and jump over all the rest by saying that matter is eternal” and thereby encouraged the “evil” of atheism. “Instead of looking through the works of creation to the Creator Himself, they stop short and employ the knowl­edge they acquire to create doubts of His existence,” he lamented. “When we examine an extraordinary piece of machinery, an astonishing pile of architecture, a well-executed statue, or a highly-finished painting… our ideas are naturally led to think of the extensive genius and talent of the artist. When we study the elements of geometry, we think of Euclid. When we speak of gravitation, we think of Newton. How, then, is it that when we study the works of God in creation, we stop short and do not think of God?”

For these reasons, among others, Jefferson rejected being an atheist, “which,” as he put it, “I can never be.” His friend John Adams noted, “I never heard of an irreligious character in Greek or Roman history, nor in any other history, nor have I known one in life who was not a rascal. Name one if you can, living or dead.”” Nor did the Founders see sci­ence and religion as opposed to one another, as is all too common today. Rather, as President Adams asserted in a letter to university students, they were not only mutually compatible, but mutually necessary for one another: “When you look up to me with confidence as the patron of science, liberty, and religion, you melt my heart. These are the choicest blessings of humanity; they have an inseparable union. Without their joint influence no society can be great, flourishing, or happy.”

Just as much as the existence of God was essential to their under­standing of the physical constitution of the universe, its combination with their belief in the immortality of the soul was crucial to their understanding of the moral constitution of the world, as it was the means by which God judged the good and evil acts committed in this life, whether noticed by man or not. Tocqueville ascribed a great deal of the accomplishments of the Puritans/Pilgrims and their progeny (the Founders) to this belief, which he described as so “indispensable to man’s greatness that its effects are striking,” for it kept him morally anchored, never able to escape ultimate justice. It was for this reason that the Founders considered belief in God as the cornerstone of all morality, but not because man could do no good apart from God commanding him to do so. Quite the contrary: part of their conception of the “law of nature and nature’s God” was the idea that all men had at least portions of this law inscribed into their very being, and that most men knew the basics of right and wrong because God had given them a conscience. The problem was that, because of their fallen nature, they did not obey their consciences as they should. Adams elaborated:

The law of nature would be sufficient for the government of men if they would consult their reason and obey their consciences. It is not the fault of the law of nature, but of themselves, that it is not obeyed; it is not the fault of the law of nature that men are obliged to have recourse to civil government at all, but of themselves; it is not the fault of the ten commandments, but of themselves, that Jews or Christians are ever known to steal, murder, covet, or blaspheme. But the legislator who should say the law of nature is enough, if you do not obey it, it will be your own fault, therefore no other government is necessary, would be thought to trifle.

This brings us to a very important fact that we must remember when it comes to the Founders: they did not believe that religion made men good, but rather that it provided the best encouragement and incentive to be good, for it taught them that their choices had consequences in eternity, not just in the moment. Even if consequences could be avoided in the now, God would exact justice in the hereafter.

This had been a Judeo-Christian teaching from time immemorial and was well known to the Founders. The problem was not that man had no knowledge of good and evil and therefore needed a religious commandment to tell him, but rather that human nature commonly bowed to the dictates of the passions, rather than reason, and thereby abandoned conscience and committed evil anyway. The Founders realized that our human nature could, and often did, pervert the plain dictates of conscience, allowing us to convince ourselves that right is wrong and wrong is right if it suits our own desires. As Adams noted, “Human reason and human conscience, though I believe there are such things, are not a match for human passions, human imaginations, and human enthusiasm.” Our passions would corrupt our minds, our minds would justify our passions, and in turn our passions would become even more corrupt, a deadly cycle with horrific consequences for indi­viduals and society. “Our passions, ambition, avarice, love, resentment, etc. possess so much metaphysical subtlety and so much overpowering eloquence that they insinuate themselves into the understanding and the conscience and convert both to their party,” Adams wrote. “And I may be deceived as much as any of them when I say that power must never be trusted without a check.”

That “check,” at least as far as voluntary self-restraint was concerned, was religion. The Founders understood that mankind’s capacity for self-delusion was boundless; therefore, moral obligations must be placed on a divine rather than a humanistic footing if anyone could assert any truth or notion of right and wrong at all. It was for this reason that religious commandments such as “do not murder,” “do not steal,” and “do not commit adultery” were necessary, not because man was completely incapable of avoiding these sins without God commanding him to, but because, since He had commanded them, man had no intellectual excuse for ever allowing his passions or personal desires to blind his judg­ment and excuse him of his moral obligations. Religion thus anchored the definition of morality on God and asserted its obligations on man by acting as a powerful regulator of the inherently negative aspects of human nature. James Madison explained the importance of this truth: “The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it.”

Adams asserted the same thing and specifically acknowledged that Judaism, through the Bible, had bequeathed to the world what he con­sidered the most essential ingredient of human civilization:

I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.

For the Founders, the most effective catalyst of virtue was religion, for it reminded man that he is not God and he therefore cannot shape morality according to his own selfish desires. It was the subversion of this principle that they identified as the cause behind the American and French Revolutions taking such radically different courses: it was ultimately a difference of theology.

GOD AND THE AMERICAN AND FRENCH REVOLUTIONS

The Founders believed in the existence of a God, which they deemed the most rational basis for the existence of the universe, morality, and reason itself. The French Revolution was predicated on almost the exact opposite idea.

While many today assume that the notion of blind chance being the operative force in the universe’s creation and development arrived on the scene with Charles Darwin, this is not the case. In fact, it was a notion quite popular among many of the continental European intellectuals of the time, most of whom were French, and most of whom tended to be atheists and/or materialists (which were practically the same). They contended that the universe had not been created but had either existed eternally or was the result of inherent properties in matter itself. But among the French intelligentsia, the one who had the most profound effect on the Founders, Montesquieu, directly contradicted this position in his famous work, The Spirit of the Laws: “Those who have said that a blind fate has produced all the effects that we see in the world have said a great absurdity,” he wrote, “for what greater absurdity is there than a blind fate that could have produced intelligent beings?”

For Montesquieu and the Founders, the universe was simply too full of information, order, and harmony to ascribe it to blind chance. “What is chance?” asked Adams. “It is motion; it is action; it is event; it is phenomenon without cause. Chance is no cause at all; it is nothing.”

In addition to their denial, or at least extreme doubt of the exis­tence of a Creator, many of the French intellectuals in like manner either doubted or denied the existence and immortality of the human soul. They therefore denied the two theological pillars upon which the Founders based their ideas of virtue, and as such, it was no surprise that the French Revolution, which claimed to be the heir of the American Revolution, devolved into a bloodbath of violence and oppression unrestrained by any religious principle.

While both revolutions were similar in their assertion of human rights, they offered fundamentally different explanations of the origin of such rights. The American Revolution was premised on men being “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” while the French Revolution asserted man’s rights were based purely on reason, apart from any notions of divinity or religion. A statue of a deified “Reason” was erected in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and the revolution was predicated upon principles that were explicitly and directly opposed to religion, Christianity in particular. Adams noted the differences between the two revolutions when he wrote to his friend Richard Price that “Diderot and D’Alembert, Voltaire and Rousseau,” all French atheists and materialists, “have contributed to this great event more than Sidney, Locke, or Hoadly,” English political philosophers who explicitly asserted that the “laws of nature and nature’s God” were the foundation of man’s rights and moral obligations, and who had a profound impact on the American Revolution. The French, on the other hand, based man’s rights on the consensus of “the nation.” The rights of man were what man, through the nation, had decided they would be. For this reason, Adams admitted to Price as early as 1790, “I own to you, I know not what to make of a republic of thirty million atheists,” and he predicted there would be rampant violence and bloodshed.

But that was not all. Several of the Founders, Adams in particular, believed that the principles of the French Revolution not only directly undermined the basis of human rights and obligations but also destroyed the very idea of human liberty. If man was simply matter in motion, then his entire destiny had already been determined by physical laws and constants (today known as “determinism”), making liberty a mean­ingless idea. And yet, this was the view of many of the leading French intellectuals. “And what was their philosophy?” Adams inquired:

Atheism—pure, unadulterated atheism…. The universe was matter only, and eternal. Spirit was a word without a meaning. Liberty was a word without a meaning. There was no liberty in the universe; liberty was a word void of sense. Every thought, word, passion, sentiment, feeling, all motion and action was necessary [determinism]. All beings and attributes were of eternal necessity; conscience, morality, were all nothing but fate. This was their creed, and this was to perfect human nature, and convert the earth into a paradise of pleasure… Why, then, should we abhor the word “God,” and fall in love with the word “fate”? We know there exists energy and intellect enough to produce such a world as this, which is a sublime and beautiful one, and a very benevolent one, notwithstanding all our snarling; and a happy one, if it is not made otherwise by our own fault.

Alexander Hamilton, who described the French Revolution as “the most cruel, sanguinary, and violent that ever stained the annals of mankind,” also predicted its failure due to the fact that it was explicitly

opposed to Christianity, “a state of things which annihilates the foun­dations of social order and true liberty, confounds all moral distinc­tions and substitutes to the mild and beneficent religion of the Gospel a gloomy, persecuting, and desolating atheism:’

It was precisely because the French Revolution rejected the Judeo-Christian notion of the fallen nature of man in exchange for the idea that he could be perfected by reason that they engaged in the wanton violence and cruelty of the guillotine: it was all worth it because they were creating a new, ideal world that had to be purged of its impure elements.

The French Revolution was thereby founded on principles that fun­damentally contradicted the divine basis of the existence of the universe, man’s rights, his moral obligations, and his very liberty, upon which the Founders, partaking of both the classical and Judeo-Christian tradition, asserted them. With God removed, several of the Founders, Adams in particular, predicted the French Revolution would operate according to the bloody principles of “might makes right.” “A nation of atheists,” he had warned, would likely lead to “the destruction of a million of human beings.” Adams explained his prophecy of a forthcoming deluge of blood in biblical terms and ascribed it to the utter rejection of religion by the leaders of the French Revolution:

The temper and principles prevailing at present in that quarter of the world have a tendency to as general and total a destruction as ever befell Tyre and Sidon[,] Sodom and Gomorrah. If all religion and governments, all arts and sciences are destroyed, the trees will grow up, cities will molder into common earth, and a few human beings may be left naked to chase the wild beasts with bows and arrows…. I hope in all events that religion and learning will find an asylum in America.

In this, he disagreed (at the time) with Jefferson. But even Jefferson was forced to admit decades later, after the Reign of Terror, the Napoleonic Wars, and the other violent outbursts that came out of the French Revolution, that Adams had been completely right in his assessment, acknowledging, “Your prophecies… proved truer than mine.” When Jefferson asked Adams why he had predicted what he did, Adams explained that the power of God had been replaced by the arrogant, usurping power of man, and conscience was thereby discon­nected from its transcendent anchors. Thus, those in power believed whatever they did was moral: “Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de tres bon foi [“in very good faith”], believes itself right. Power always thinks it has a great soul, and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak, and that it is doing God’s service, when it is violating all his laws.” It was for this reason that, as much as religion had been abused for centuries in European history, Adams argued it could not compare with the atrocities committed in the name of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” during the French Revolution: “It is a serious problem to resolve whether all the abuses of Christianity, even in the darkest ages when the Pope deposed princes and laid nations under his interdict, were ever so bloody and cruel, ever bore down the independence of the human mind with such terror and intolerance, or taught doctrines which required such implicit credulity to believe, as the present reign of pretended philosophy in France.”

As president, Adams had to deal directly with the revolutionary French government and easily noted the difference between an American society that assented to general religious principles and a French society that rejected them:

You may find the moral principles, sanctified and sanctioned by reli­gion, are the only bond of union, the only ground of confidence of the people in one another, of the people in the government, and the government in the people. Avarice, ambition, and pleasure, can never be the foundations of reformations or revolutions for the better. These passions have dictated the aim at universal domination, trampled on the rights of neutrality, despised the faith of solemn contracts, insulted ambassadors, and rejected offers of friendship.

For the Founders, the purpose of reason—which Adams referred to as “a revelation from its maker” and Jefferson as an “oracle given you by heaven”-was to better align human actions with the “law of nature and nature’s God” by the taming of human passions and the application of knowledge. The leaders of the French Revolution believed precisely the opposite, that God didn’t really exist (and if He did, He was largely irrelevant), and that reason was man’s alone, and thus his to utilize toward whatever ends he himself determined. Though the Founders knew perfection “falls not to the share of mortals,” the French believed that man could be perfected through reason, and therefore any bar­riers to creating the world of their dreams needed to be destroyed, for this was tantamount to obstructing man’s perfection. The differences between the two revolutions thus turned out to be theological at root, and for this reason, while on the surface they were superficially similar, they were in fact fundamentally different, as Adams prophesied, other Founders criticized, and the facts of history verified.

Joshua Charles, Liberty’s Secrets: The Lost Wisdom of America’s Founders (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2015), 82-91.

Dennis Prager interviews Ann Coulter in regards to her new book, Demonic.” Ann points out a fact I wasn’t aware of in regards to the mob mentality that set the standard for the French Revolution. Much like the misunderstanding in regards to the Crusades, the witch trials, and the like, numbers are not the forte of the left. Nor is putting into context meaning behind them.

For more clear thinking like this from Dennis Prager… I invite you to join Pragertopia: dennisprager.com/

Challenges

I posted a link to this at a friends “counter-atheist” page on FaceBook. I posted the following that included a link back to this page:

For those interested, before I head out to drink wine in Cambria, I posted an excerpt from a book I am reading… and it deals with both Jefferson’s, Madison’s, Hamilton’s, Paine’s, view of faith and/or atheists and creation vs. evolutionary thinking (the basis of which reaches back to Greece)

Almost immediately after this was posted this was posted.

  • Fascinating!! I never knew Jefferson died before The Origin of Species was written!!

I believe Tim, the author of the above challenge, meant to say “died after” Darwin’s seminal work, not before.

Per the modi operandi of the atheists on this site, they do not read and inculcate what was said. Forgive me as I take time with a though. After reading four books on marijuana addiction and the latest studies (one that followed over a thousand people for 25-years) showing the deleterious affects of this drug (a 8% decrease of the amygdala, and 12% reduction in size of the hippocampus). During this time of reading, a story came out about what amounts to brain damage in a controlled setting by “targeted magnetism” — making more people unable to “believe” in God… by about thirty-percent.

One commentator said it must be embarrassing to the atheist because “the specific part of the brain they frazzled was the posterior medial frontal cortex—the part associated with detecting and solving problems, i.e., reasoning and logic.”

I often wonder aloud to my wife if these guys smoke weed! But I digress… continuing.

I respond:

I am sorry Tim, evolutionary thinking pre-dates Darwin. Take Cicero countering his rivals of the day (as an example). If you read this… what is the opposing viewpoint? [Nothing?]

…suppose that after darkness had prevailed from the beginning of time, it similarly happened to ourselves suddenly to behold the light of day, what should we think of the splendour of the heavens? But daily recurrence and habit familiarize our minds with the sight, and we feel no surprise or curiosity as to the reasons for things that we see always; just as if it were the novelty and not rather the importance of phenomena that ought to arouse us to inquire into their causes.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Cicero Nature of the Gods Academics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Translated by H. Rackam, 2005), 217.

OR,

But if the structure of the world in all its parts is such that it could not have been better whether in point of utility or beauty, let us consider whether this is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary the parts of the world are in such a condition that they could not possibly have cohered together if they were not controlled by intelligence and by divine providence. If then the products of nature are better than those of art, and if art produces nothing without reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be without reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you recognize the exercise of art; when you observe from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesitate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and by art; when you look at a sun-dial or a water-clock, you infer that it tells the time by art and not by chance; how then can it be consistent to suppose that the world, which includes both the works of art in question, the craftsmen who made them, and everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and of reason? Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Posidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the heavens every twenty-four hours, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being? These thinkers however raise doubts about the world itself from which all things arise and have their being, and debate whether it is the product of chance or necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelligence;

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Cicero Nature of the Gods Academics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Translated by H. Rackam, 2005), 207-209.

And the opening sentence to a Berkeley.EDU paper is this:

✦ Evolutionary theory begins with the Ionian philosopher Anaximander (ca. 611 – 546 B. C. E.). Very little is known about his life, but it is known that he wrote a long poem, On Nature, summarizing his researches. This poem is now lost, and has survived only in extracts quoted in other works. Enough survives, however, that Anaximander’s thought can be reconstructed with some confidence. For Anaximander, the world had arisen from an undifferentiated, indeterminate substance, the apeiron. The Earth, which had coalesced out of the apeiron, had been covered in water at one stage, with plants and animals arising from mud. Humans were not present at the earliest stages; they arose from fish. This poem was quite influential on later thinkers, including Aristotle. ~ Berkeley.edu

Tim responds:

  • What’s your point?

This is one of those “bang your head on the keyboard” moments. You see, Tim challenged my statement. I corrected his challenge. He then feigns like I just waded in, off topic. Like I started talking about MPG for city buses where I live. You will notice this is Paley’s watchmaker argument almost 1800-years before Paley lived! Paley pre-dated Darwin. Were there no naturalistic origins hypothesis of his day either? Paley was just “preaching to the quire”? Dumb. Here is my response:

OMG…. sigh….

You said: “Fascinating!! I never knew Jefferson died [after] The Origin of Species was written!!”

I corrected your viewpoint that “evolution” is something Charles Darwin “founded.” He merely reformulated the general idea that “man has evolved,” into, the General Theory of Evolution (GTE).

For more context on defining “evolution,” see my debate with some atheists about the General Theory of Evolution.

Enjoy the Show as the Left Eats Itself (Jefferson & Jackson Out)

I have said for quite some time that the Left eats itself. From Hillary and O’Malley having to backtrack for statements that “all lives matter,” to the same activist group interrupting Bernie Sanders (I guess he is not left enough?), to this new occurrence via CT-Post.com:

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are history in Connecticut.

Under pressure from the NAACP, the state Democratic Party will scrub the names of the two presidents from its annual fundraising dinner because of their ties to slavery.

Party leaders voted unanimously Wednesday night in Hartford to rename the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner in the aftermath of last month’s fatal shooting of nine worshipers at the historic black church in Charleston, S.C….

Maybe this will get Democrats to see their history fully?

Ball State Would Censor Thomas Jefferson ~ OBEY!

CBN News via ACF:

The president of Ball State University is forbidding faculty to endorse intelligent design, the belief that the universe is too complex to have evolved by chance.

President Jo Ann Gora has sent a letter to faculty and staff saying intelligent design is not appropriate material for science courses.

Gora said only humanities or social science courses may discuss topics like intelligent design, as long as professors do not openly support it.

That letter comes after an atheist group complained that the school hired a science professor who wrote a book on intelligent design and another professor was accused of teaching creationism….

 

A bit more from Evolution News and Views:

Next time someone tells you intelligent design is “based on religion,” you might point him to American Founder Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. As I explain in a special July 4th edition of ID the Future, Jefferson not only believed in intelligent design, he insisted it was based on the plain evidence of nature, not religion.

Ironically, the critics of intelligent design often think they are defending the principles of Jefferson. The National Council for the Social Studies, for example, claims that intelligent design is religion and then cites Jefferson’s famous Letter to the Danbury Baptists calling for a “wall of separation” between church and state. The clear implication is that Thomas Jefferson would agree with them that intelligent design is religion. A writer for Irregular Times goes even further, insisting that “the case of Thomas Jefferson makes it quite clear that there was not a consensus of support among the authors of the Constitution to allow for the mixing of religion and government to support theological doctrines such as intelligent design.”

In reality, Jefferson did not believe that intelligent design was a religious doctrine. In a letter to John Adams on April 11, 1823, he declared:

I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition. (emphasis added)

By insisting that his defense of intelligent design was made “without appeal to revelation,” Jefferson clearly was arguing that the idea had a basis other than religion. What was that basis? He went on to explain:

The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organised as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms.

In sum, Jefferson believed that empirical data from nature itself proved intelligent design by showing the natural world’s intricate organization from the level of plants and insects all the way up to the revolution of the planets.

…read more…

Intelligent Design pre-dates even Jesus! [Earthly visit]

“When you see a sundial or a water-clock, you see that it tells time by design and not by chance. How then can you imagine that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence when it embraces everything, including these artifacts themselves and their artificers? Our friend Posidonius as you know has recently made a globe which in its revolution shows the movements of the sun and stars and planets, by day and night, just as they appear in the sky. Now if someone were to take this globe and show it to the people of Britain or Scythia [barbarians at this time] would a single one of those barbarians fail to see that it was the product of a conscious intelligence.” 

[….]

But if the structure of the world in all its parts is such that it could not have been better whether in point of utility or beauty, let us consider whether this is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary the parts of the world are in such a condition that they could not possibly have cohered together if they were not controlled by intelligence and by divine providence. If then the products of nature are better than those of art, and if art produces nothing without reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be without reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you recognize the exercise of art; when you observe from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesitate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and by art; when you look at a sun-dial or a water-clock, you infer that it tells the time by art and not by chance ; how then can it be consistent to suppose that the world, which includes both the works of art in question, the craftsmen who made them, and everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and of reason? Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Posidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the heavens every twenty-four hours, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being? These thinkers however raise doubts about the world itself from which all things arise and have their being, and debate whether it is the product of chance or necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelligence…

Cicero, Nature of the Gods, Translated by H. Rackam, p. 207-209.

Via Russell Grigg, A Brief History of Design:

Cicero (106–43 BC), used this concept in his book De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods) to challenge the evolutionary ideas of the philosophers of his day.

The two main schools of philosophy then were Epicureanism and Stoicism. The Epicureans sought happiness through bodily pleasures and freedom from pain and anxiety. The two chief causes of anxiety were fear of the gods and fear of death, so Epicurus sought to nullify both of these by teaching an evolutionary atomic theory.

He denied that there was any purpose in nature, because everything was composed of particles (atoma: atoms), all falling downwards. He said that these sometimes spontaneously “swerved” to coalesce and form bodies — non-living, living, human, and divine. The gods were made of finer atoms than humankind. They did not create the world or have any control over it, so they were not concerned with human affairs, and there was therefore no need for man to fear them. At death, the soul disintegrated and became non-existent, so there was no need to fear death or the prospect of judgment after death.

Cicero used the Stoic character in his book to refute these ideas with arguments from design, aimed to show that the universe is governed by an intelligent designer. He argued that a conscious purpose was needed to express art (e.g. to make a picture or a statue) and so, because nature was more perfect than art, nature showed purpose also. He reasoned that the movement of a ship was guided by skilled intelligence, and a sundial or water clock told the time by design rather than by chance. He said that even the barbarians of Britain or Scythia could not fail to see that a model which showed the movements of the sun, stars and planets was the product of conscious intelligence.

Cicero continued his challenge to the evolutionism of Epicurus by marvelling that anyone could persuade himself that chance collisions of particles could form anything as beautiful as the world. He said that this was on a par with believing that if the letters of the alphabet were thrown on the ground often enough they would spell out the Annals of Ennius.

And he asked: if chance collisions of particles could make a world, why then cannot they build much less difficult objects, like a colonnade, a temple, a house, or a city?

 

Concepts: “Playing Softball or Hardball” ~ Political Grit

(Click article to enlarge) This installation of Concepts is pretty ambiguous and I agree with most parts of it. The connection of sports with politics is a bit for me, but to each their own. I really only take issue with John Van Huizum’s view of history. And really it isn’t just John’s lack of applying our past to our current situation, but many American’s lack this knowledge of our political past. So this isn’t an issue I bring up merely to debate with John about, but to edify all me readers knowledge about.

The first is that money has always played a part in our political structure, always. Almost all of its people that have run for president have been very well-to-do, i.e., the one-percent. This disparity in Congress of millionaires and the creation of Super-Pacs has recently become more lopsided due to campaign finance laws which had caused nearly half of Congress’ members to be millionaires, including about two thirds of Senators. Ironically, the much heralded campaign finance reform that was supposed to level the playing field in a populist direction has only served to increase the likelihood of more millionaire candidates, even though millionaires constitute about 1 percent of the American population. But these are discussions for another day. I wanted to focus in on this idea that our political landscape is “less and less friendly,” as if we have reached some apex of name calling and “meanness” in politics and partisanship. This just isn’t the case, as the video included herein points out.

Jefferson called Adams “a blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

The Federalists attacked the fifty-seven-year-old Jefferson as a godless Jacobin who would unleash the forces of bloody terror upon the land. With Jefferson as President, so warned Adams (actually the Connecticut Courant), “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.” Reportedly New Englanders hid their Bibles for fear that the infidel Jefferson would declare them illegal if elected. In 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams called Andrew Jackson a murderer and a cannibal.

Cronkite, A Liberals-Liberal

“I know liberalism isn’t dead in this country. It simply has, temporarily we hope, lost its voice….We know that unilateral action in Grenada and Tripoli was wrong. We know that ‘Star Wars’ means uncontrollable escalation of the arms race. We know that the real threat to democracy is the half of the nation in poverty. We know that no one should tell a woman she has to bear an unwanted child….Gawd Almighty, we’ve got to shout these truths in which we believe from the housetops. Like that scene in the movie ‘Network,’ we’ve got to throw open our windows and shout these truths to the streets and the heavens. And I bet we’ll find more windows are thrown open to join the chorus than we’d ever dreamed possible.” (link in pic)

One small point to add, as I am apt to do in my rants. John Huizum mentions implicitly Walter Cronkite as some pinnacle of fairness. My deep study of the Vietnam ground war in the larger Cold War (some would say WWIII) and Walter Cronkite’s liberal slant (and all the networks of the time leaning that way) is an example of the monopoly one viewpoint had on the news people took in as a whole. Cronkite, while very liberal, did however control it much better than many CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and FOX hosts today do — not to mention he was an all-around good guy who had many friends on both sides of the isle. That being said, this “non-control” isn’t a bad thing. To be clear, Cronkite was more left leaning than many have previously allocated to him… but choice in what bias one prefers was not present during those days like it is in ours. This freedom of choice is what many liberals do not like. Unfortunately for John, Mr. Cronkite was a very leftist person, and his leftism crept out into his reporting during the Vietnam War, and he ended up NOT being “the most trusted man in America.” Granted, Cronkite was not as publicly left as, say, Rachel Maddow [who stated she is to the left of Mao], but Douglas Brinkley’s new book makes his leftism very clear.

Key to this debate is that Democrats hate competition, but once-in-a-while a liberal comes out on the side of fairness and competition of ideas, one such person is Camille Paglia. She is certainly no conservative, she had a lot to say to fellow progressives and Democrats in regards to the “Fairness Doctrine” and makes some fine points:

Speaking of talk radio (which I listen to constantly), I remain incredulous that any Democrat who professes liberal values would give a moment’s thought to supporting a return of the Fairness Doctrine to muzzle conservative shows. (My latest manifesto on this subject appeared in my last column.) The failure of liberals to master the vibrant medium of talk radio remains puzzling. To reach the radio audience (whether the topic is sports, politics or car repair), a host must have populist instincts and use the robust common voice. Too many Democrats have become arrogant elitists, speaking down in snide, condescending tones toward tradition-minded middle Americans whom they stereotype as rubes and buffoons. But the bottom line is that government surveillance of the ideological content of talk radio is a shocking first step toward totalitarianism. One of the nuggets I’ve gleaned from several radio sources is that Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who has been in the aggressive forefront of the campaign to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, is married to Tom Athans, who works extensively with left-wing radio organizations and was once the executive vice-president of Air America, the liberal radio syndicate that, despite massive publicity from major media, has failed miserably to win a national audience. Stabenow’s outrageous conflict of interest has of course been largely ignored by the prestige press, which should have been demanding that she recuse herself from all political involvement with this issue. (Capitalist Fanboys)

We should all be for fairness and friendliness in interactions with each-other, of course, who wouldn’t be for this. But Cronkite’s Republican friends were thick skinned, which is why Nixon (a thin skinned Republican) hated him. We all have to all play hard ball, and part of doing so in our Republic is by incorporating and knowing our history and to limit the “limits” we want to place on each others freedoms.