I am typing this in Miami, where I have had the privilege of sharing ideas of liberty with some new Americans who know more of its antithesis than almost anyone on this Continent -- Cuban exiles of Castro's regime. One of them, Normando, has spent seven years in prison for the crime of criticizing the quality of government-manufactured Cuban bread.
A conversation with Normando over breakfast on the day of my second lecture caused me to throw out the lecture I was going to give and replace it with one entitled, "Why Changing Minds (and Hearts) Is Difficult," which is full of empirical psychology, epistemology and neurology. It attempts to explain why it is hard not only to interpret reality accurately but even to see reality when it conflicts with what we already "know" -- regardless of whether our knowledge is right or wrong. (Its opening quote is from Goethe: "We see only what we know".) I am referring not so much to the changing of others' minds as to the changing of our own.
At the end of my lecture, I asked my audience who among them had read 1984. Some of them had -- although more of them had lived it than had read it.
I suggested that the book is, from its opening page, set in a near-complete tyranny. In the political sense, the world of 1984 is as hopeless as any dystopia that has been imagined in literature. You read it without much sense of hope for anything. Isn't it strange, then, that there would be any palpable sinking of the heart when you get to the end, when Winston, taken to Room 101 is finally broken by the destruction of his ability to believe for himself; to think for himself, even to perceive for himself? Why does your heart sink? Because at that point, all hope truly is lost. The ability to see his world as it is has gone, and with it, the possibility that he could ever experience his true self.
Revitalization of the State Militias
A Review of Edwin Vieira’s The Sword and Sovereignty
by Nelson Hultberg
On April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord on the outskirts of Boston ignited the conflict that led to the most momentous political event of man’s history – the Declaration of Independence and the birth of America. In the early morning hours of that day, a command of British troops was dispatched from Boston to search out and confiscate stores of militia weapons and supplies at Concord. On the way they confronted a small and unimposing band of armed American militia at Lexington. The British Major John Pitcairn shouted out, “Ye villains, ye Rebels, disperse; damn you, disperse! Lay down your arms!”
The American militia were under the command of Captain, John Parker; and their orders were to remain non-antagonistic to the British. They were outnumbered by almost ten to one. So why didn’t they lay down their arms when ordered to do so? “Because,” says constitutional scholar Edwin Vieira, “free men with a duty to keep and bear arms never willingly lay down their arms. And at Lexington, none of them did.” The heroic militia Captain John Parker warned his men, “if they mean to have a war let it begin here.” And begin it did.
Importance of the State Militias
With his newest book, The Sword and Sovereignty, Edwin Vieira, Jr., has given us a magisterial work that meticulously documents the history of the early American militias and why similar units must be revitalized today if we are to adequately confront our disintegration as a society and restore the republic that the Founders gave us. It is a book that will profoundly shock 98 percent of Americans. It is so overpowering in its legal logic and constitutional veracity that the intellectuality of Cicero and Plutarch comes to mind as one reads the prose. It is not a book that can be read lightly; it demands a tolerance for legal thought and abstract conceptualization. But for those “men of the mind” who understand the importance of ideas in the unfolding of history, the effort will be most rewarding. You will be shown an entirely new way of seeing things regarding guns, militia, the Second Amendment, homeland security, how they intertwine, and how they have been grossly misrepresented by quisling, pseudo-experts of the establishment.
This is (finally) and update to the January 26 post, "Who's the Commander?"
The Commander is none other than George Washington, Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
Below is a diorama in the lobby of the Commander Hotel in titled "Washington Takes Command - July 3, 1775, Cambridge Massachusetts." The diorama depicts
Across the street in the Cambridge Common, where Washington took command, is this memorial:
Here is a South Carolina 6 year old kicked out of school for bringing a toy gun to school (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/s-student-6-expelle...).
How about this Philadelphia story of a paper gun resulting in the same punishment(http://bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-paper-gun-gets...)?
Another child was kicked out for "threatening" to use her "Hello Kitty" gun - but she didn't even have it at school... she is 5 years old (http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics/Kindergartner-B...).
A pair of 6 year old boys in Maryland were playing "cops and robbers" and were suspended. Obviously, they are a serious threat (http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/01/15/parents-furious-aft...).
Have you had enough of this idiotic behavior? These administrators are completely out of control - and they are everywhere. These stories are all from the last few weeks - all in January 2013. There are plenty more, and there will be more in the future. The goal is to demonize the very idea of guns, instead of bad behaviors with weapons, or bad behavior in general.
Objects are not good or evil, people are.
Most Americans are not involved in politics. According to the U.S. Census (which is only current through 2010), about 35% of the population votes in non-presidential election years, and about 50-55% vote in presidential election years. So only half the public bothers to vote for President. Every other election a little more than a third picks the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate. Most people think that voting is enough. It is NOT. I would call it a minimum standard for being a citizen. This is really only half of the way someone can influence how our nation is governed.
The other half of the equation – political parties – is a murky world that we are told is difficult to understand, expensive to participate in, and boring with no reward. There is a reason we are told this lie. Those who control the political parties have a vested interest in maintaining control of them. With a larger number of people involved, it becomes more difficult to control who runs for office, who receives campaign support including both financial support and volunteer help, and what agenda is served. Let me be clear:
Political parties are a tool to win elections.
On the night of April 18, 1775, 700 British soldiers marched through the night and into the morning of the 19th, on their way to confiscate and destroy American guns and military supplies in Concord, Massachusetts.
The Patriots were prepared.
The Colonists had known of the planned confiscation for weeks in advance, and were alerted by Paul Revere that the hour was nigh. Having waited through the night at the Buckman Tavern, just across from the Lexington Green, the soldiers were prepared when the British arrived at the break of dawn.
Speaking of Paul Revere, there is a lovely statue in Boston's North End of Revere on his horse. In the background, you can see the Old North Church, where the lanterns were hung -- 'One if by land, two if by sea' -- to warn the colonists of the impending British invasion:
Hey guys, I started a new little fun blog/slideshow at Postcards from the Revolution.
Boston, where I live, was a pivotal place in America's first revolution, and everywhere are markers of that historic period. I have a feeling my days here in the Northeast are numbered, and so I wanted to document what have been my stomping grounds for the past 7 years, as much for myself as anything. All of the pictures on the blog are within a short walk or drive from my home. As such, I see them daily, and they have become as much a part of me as anything. When I see these monuments and reminders, I am touched with a profound feeling of what has happened here long before me, and made my way of life possible.
Without further ado, here is a picture I snapped yesterday, and short post I wrote about it this morning:
What happens when you're too old to run? You stand your ground and keep shooting.
The memorial pictured below at 181 Washington Street in Somerville MA, just down the hill from America's First Flag, serves as a reminder of the great courage that built this country:
Here is the reason, on page 152 of this book, The Willpower Instinct. My wife got it for me for Christmas. When I read this, it made me laugh out loud, so I thought I would share it with you:
Vowing to change fills us with hope. We love to imagine how making the change will transform our lives, and we fantasize about the person we will become. Research shows that deciding to start a diet makes people feel stronger, and planning to exercise makes people feel taller. (Nobody said these fantasies were realistic.) People will treat us differently, we tell ourselves. Everything will be different. The bigger the goal, the bigger the burst of hope. And so when we decide to change, it's tempting to give ourselves some very large assignments. Why set a modest goal when setting a gigantic goal will make us feel even better? Why start small when you can dream big?
Unfortunately, the promise of change -- like the promise of reward and the promise of relief -- rarely delivers what we're expecting. Unrealistic optimism may make us feel good in the moment, but it sets us up to feel much worse later on. The decision to change is the ultimate in instant gratification -- you get all the good feelings before anything's been done. (That's the part that got me to laugh out loud.)
The only British political party that describes itself as libertarian is the United Kingdom Independence Party, or "UKIP". Twenty years ago, it did not exist. Today, it has the support of anywhere between 7 percent and 14 percent of the British electorate. This rise from non-existence to a force in British politics so powerful that even the mainstream media have begun to identify it as the biggest threat to the governing Conservative party is all the more remarkable because the majority of the British electorate doesn't actually know what the word "libertarian" means.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. - 2nd paragraph, Declaration of Independence
All legislative Powers herein vested shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, - Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the United States (and similar language with Article 2, Section 1 on the Executive and Article 3, Section 1 on the Judicial powers)
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain Rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Amendment IX, Bill of Rights
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or the people. Amendment X, Bill of Rights
A grave injustice has been done, and a failure needs to be addressed. The heavily Republican Oklahoma Congressional Delegation is positioned nicely to make a huge impact. They can advance the cause of conservative government - which is something they all ran for office claiming they would do. Now is the time to act, and stand, and be counted. First, the injustice:
Four Congressmen have been removed from positions because of their conservative positions. This was something the GOP leadership apparently had a problem with. Representatives Justin Amash (R-Michigan) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) were removed from the Budget Committee. Representatives Walter Jones and (R-North Carolina) and David Schweikert (R-Arizona) were removed from the Financial Services Committee. Here is an article from Red State about this purge, and the records of these men. Fortunately, Oklahoma has some influence on the committee that makes these decisions.
Newly elected to the Chair of the House Policy Committee is Oklahoma's 5th District Representative James Lankford (McCarville Report story on that here). By virtue of this position he is on the Steering Committee for the GOP House Conference. Former Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee Tom Cole, representing Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District, is also on the Steering Committee. Representative Frank Lucas - from Oklahoma's 3rd Congressional District - has been renamed Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, a position of great influence (there are only 19 spots such as the one he holds). These three men in particular have major influence on their colleagues. Representatives Lankford and Cole, in particular, are on the actual committee (the Steering Committee) responsible for this attack on conservatives, and should do all in their power to reverse this and future purges of those who would uphold our Republican Platform.
My mother is someone I frequently describe as “June Cleaver”. She has led a truly charmed life, and as a result has a very happy and rosy outlook. This last year has been difficult for our relationship. We have had increasingly difficult discussions about politics, raising children, and life in general. I have made sincere efforts to get through to her, and she to me, but we disintegrate into heated discussions almost every time we see each other. This forced me to evaluate both my own perspective and hers. An epiphany struck me when I did so:
I have been asking the wrong questions.
A quote has been attributed to both Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling. It goes “To be born and Englishman is to win first prize in the lottery of life.” You could say this lottery-winner status shifted to the United States after World War II, and that the peak of the last century was the era from 1950 to just before President Kennedy was shot. It was certainly a great time to be an American. My mother graduated from high school in 1958. This should give you a clear picture of who she was, and who she is today is a direct result. With this in mind, I began to look for what defined her beliefs in a general way. I came up with a stunning divergence with my own perspective: she has faith in the institutions of society.
This is the core disagreement we have. Her faith is in direct opposition to my lack of it.
How to Take the Ron Paul Revolution to the Next Level
Nelson Hultberg | AFR
In the aftermath of the sickening travesty that Obama's reelection represents, pundits on the right are building up their strategic juices to project how conservatives and libertarians can "take over the Republican Party" and begin taking the country back.
My answer to them is: It will never happen! Oh, we can take the country back, all right, but not through control of the GOP. The ideological sycophants that comprise the GOP couldn't take back a sack of sunflowers from spinsters in a rest home.
Far too many pundits on the right have ceased to think. Irrationality saturates their minds regarding how to confront the political leprosy that Obama represents. This is because they believe we must, now and forever, work within the statist establishment. This is grievously in error. The present political insanity in America mandates a new direction, a dramatic new strategy. Dare I say it? We need a THIRD-PARTY to provide an escape from the GOP's debilitating lack of chutzpah.
Conservatives desperately need to purge the me-too welfarists from their command centers. But tragically all we hear today from “respectable” voices on the right is the same me-too welfarism we've heard for over four decades about how the GOP must "become more inclusive" and "build a bigger tent." Translated, this means we need to shelve our principles in favor of more compromises with the leprosy of the liberals.
by Nelson Hultberg | AFR.org
Karl Marx was asked once how he could justify advocating a political system of slavery for the individual, which is what socialism is. He replied that, socialism is not slavery; it is a "new kind of freedom." As all perceptive students of history know, the intellectuals of Europe bought into such Alice in Wonderland sophistry and plunged into the twentieth century nightmare of collectivist tyranny. But unfortunately so did American intellectuals about 30 years later when the Progressives of Woodrow Wilson's era established the Creature from Jekyl Island to usher in centralized government banking and the progressive income tax to "spread the wealth around."
Socialism is not really so bad, reasoned the American intellectual community. If we think about it, it actually is a "new kind of freedom." We just have to do what the Red Queen and the Mad Hatter advocated. We have to change the meaning of the words that define the fundamental values of our lives. After all, there is no objective reality; words can mean whatever we want them to mean. All we have to do is teach Marx's new definition of freedom to the young at an early enough age, and when they grow into adulthood they will not think of a government-dominated society as slavery at all. It will be a "new kind of freedom" to them.
Americans never bought into Lenin's violent revolutionary socialism, but they did buy into the Fabians' democratic evolutionary socialism. Fabian ideas in Britain were readily picked up by the American progressives and liberals of the twentieth century. This redefinition of values has been consuming us now for 100 years ever since the Creature from Jekyl Island and the tax revenuers took over Washington. The progressives and liberals have even redefined their redefinitions. Fascism, being basically the same as socialism, is now acceptable in the mix.