Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's More Important: Liberty Or The Entity That Protects It? by Chuck Baldwin,

Posted on Oct 28, 2010

What’s More Important: Liberty Or The Entity That Protects It?

Let me ask readers a question. What’s more important: freedom and its undergirding principles, or the entity meant to protect it? A word of caution: be careful how you answer that question, because the way you answer marks your understanding (or lack thereof) of both freedom and the purpose of government.
Thomas Jefferson–and the rest of America’s founders–believed that freedom was the principal possession, because liberty is a divine–not human–gift. Listen to Jefferson:
“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.” (Declaration of Independence)
Jefferson could not be clearer: America’s founders desired a land in which men might live in liberty. By declaring independence from the government of Great Britain (and instituting new government), Jefferson, et al., did not intend to erect an idol (government) that men would worship. They created a mechanism designed to protect that which they considered to be their most precious possession: liberty. In other words, the government they created by the Constitution of 1787 was not the object; freedom’s protection was the object.
Again, listen to Jefferson: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” In other words, government is not the end; it is the means. Government is not the goal; it is the vehicle used to reach the goal. Nowhere did Jefferson (and the rest of America’s founders) express the sentiment that government, itself, was the objective. Listen to Jefferson once more:
“That whenever ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (Declaration) (Emphasis added.)
Jefferson is clear: people have a right to alter or abolish ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT that becomes destructive to liberty. To America’s founders, there was no such thing as a sacred cow when it came to government. Government had but one purpose: “to secure these rights.” When ANY FORM of government stops protecting sacred, God-given liberties, it is the right and duty of people to do whatever they deem appropriate to secure their liberties–even to abolishing the government.
To America’s founders, patriotism had everything to do with the love of liberty, not the love of government!
Today’s brand of patriotism (at least as expressed by many) is totally foreign to the fundamental principles of liberty upon which America was built. I’m talking about the idea that government is an end and aim in itself; the idea that government must be protected from the people; the idea that bigger government equals better government; the idea that criticism of the government makes one unpatriotic; the idea that government is a panacea for all our ills; and the idea that loyalty to the nation equals loyalty to the government. All of this is a bunch of bull manure!
When government–ANY GOVERNMENT–stops protecting the liberties of its citizens, and especially when it begins trampling those liberties, it has become a “destructive” power, and needs to be altered or abolished. Period.
Can any honest, objective citizen not readily recognize that the current central government in Washington, D.C., long ago stopped protecting the God-given rights of free men, and has become a usurper of those rights? Is there the slightest doubt in the heart of any lover of liberty that the biggest threat to our liberties is not to be found in any foreign capital, but in that putrid province by the Potomac?
Therefore, we must cast off this phony idea that we owe some kind of devotion to the “system.” Away with the notion that vowing to protect and prolong the “powers that be” makes us “good” Americans. The truth is, there is very little in Washington, D.C., that is worthy of protecting or prolonging. The “system” is a ravenous BEAST that is gorging itself on our liberties!
Patriotism has nothing to do with supporting a President, or being loyal to a political party, or anything of the sort.
Is it patriotic to support our country (which almost always means our government), “right or wrong”? This is one of the most misquoted clichés in American history, by the way. Big Government zealots (on both the right and the left) use this phrase often to try to stifle opposition by making people who would fight for smaller government appear “unpatriotic.”
The cliché, “My country, right or wrong,” comes from a short address delivered on the floor of the US Senate by Missouri Senator Carl Schurz. Taking a strong anti-imperialist position and having his patriotism questioned because of it (what’s new, right?), Schurz, on February 29, 1872, said, “The senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, ‘My country, right or wrong.’ In one sense I say so, too. My country–and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” (Source: The Congressional Globe, vol. 45, p. 1287)
Schurz then later expanded on this short statement in a speech delivered at the Anti-Imperialistic Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on October 17, 1899. He said, “I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves . . . too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: ‘Our country, right or wrong!’ They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of TRUE patriotism: ‘Our country–when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’” (Source: Speeches, Correspondence and Political Papers of Carl Schurz, vol. 6, 1913, p. 119) (Emphasis in original.)
Amen! In a free society, genuine patriotism demands that our country be RIGHT, as our nation’s policies and practices reflect the values and principles of its citizens. To feign some kind of robotic devotion to a nation without regard to sacred principle or constitutional fidelity is to become a mindless creature: at best, to be manipulated by any and every Machiavellian that comes along, or, at worst, to be a willing participant in tyranny.
As to loyalty to a President merely because he is President, Theodore Roosevelt may have said it best:
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth–whether about the President or anyone else.”
Hence, freedom-loving Americans cannot afford to become infatuated with Washington, D.C. We cannot allow these propagandists on network television to distort the meaning of true patriotism in our hearts.
Patriotism means we love freedom. It means we understand that freedom is a gift of God. It means we understand that government has only one legitimate function: to protect freedom. It means that our love of liberty demands that we oppose, alter, or even abolish ANY FORM of government that becomes destructive to these ends. And it means that we will never allow government to steal liberty from our hearts.
As I asked at the beginning of this column, What’s more important: freedom and its undergirding principles, or the entity meant to protect it? The right answer is, freedom and its undergirding principles. If you understand that, then you rightly understand that the current government we find ourselves under is in desperate need of replacement. And whatever, however, and whenever that replacement reveals itself is not nearly as important as that liberty is preserved.
On the other hand, if you mistakenly believe that government (the entity meant to protect liberty) is more important than liberty, you are both tragically deceived and pathetically impotent to preserving freedom. You may also have identified yourself as an enemy of freedom.
As for me and my house, we will stand with Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence–in whatever form it may present itself in a modern world bent on dismantling our liberties. In other words, I pledge no loyalty to any government that seeks to destroy our freedom–including the current one!
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(c) Chuck Baldwin

Friday, October 8, 2010

Is The Day Of Great Leaders Past?

Posted on Oct 7, 2010

Is The Day Of Great Leaders Past?

A column co-authored by John Eidsmoe and Ben DuPré struck me. They titled their column, “What makes a ‘great’ president?”

See it at:

The basic thrust of the column was to examine the qualities that make one a “great” President. They start by examining the Presidency of our 11th President, James K. Polk. They note that Polk is commonly regarded as being one of America’s top 12 greatest Presidents. To use their words, “between eighth and 12th among our greatest presidents.”

Eidsmoe and Dupré note that Polk was undoubtedly a man of outstanding Christian character and faith. They say that Polk was “the only president who kept and fulfilled every one of his campaign promises.” They observe him to be a man “with a Puritan work ethic, [who] literally worked himself to death as president, retired from office in broken health and died 103 days later.”
But Polk also greatly expanded the power of the Presidency. “In 1846, President Polk sent American troops into disputed territory where they were almost certain to become embroiled in hostilities, and then demanded that Congress recognize that a state of war already existed. Increasingly with Polk’s presidency and thereafter, the president set national policy and the Congress rubber-stamped the president’s decisions.”

Eidsmoe and Dupré note that the people who are charged with rating our Presidents are commonly academicians, “and as such they tend to be left of center. They believe in centralized power, and they therefore admire presidents who increased federal power and concentrated it in the presidency.”

In this regard, Eidsmoe and Dupré are 100% correct. Look at the heroes of liberal historians and who do you find? Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. Not by accident, these same historians will extol the virtues of Hammurabi, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon. All these men have one thing in common: they were responsible for expanding (either by force or fraud) a centralized government.
Eidsmoe and Dupré correctly challenge the standard by which greatness is determined and offer alternatives to the avant-garde, politically correct formula. They proffer that “the truly great men of history are those who have defended and preserved individual liberty by resisting the increase and centralization of government power.”

To that I say a hearty “AMEN.”

Eidsmoe and Dupré then offer their own list of great men, which includes Judas Maccabeus, Cato and Cicero, Hermann the Liberator, Archbishop Stephen Langton of Canterbury, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and George Washington and Patrick Henry.

This brought to mind the fact that, several months ago, I had asked my friend, Howard Phillips, to rate his favorite US Presidents. This was his response:

1) George Washington: for the standard he established during his Presidency.
2) Thomas Jefferson: for his commitment to religious liberty and for recognizing the role of the states as he spelled out in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.
3) Andrew Jackson: for his opposition to the second bank of the United States.
4) John Tyler: for his role in the admission of Texas to the Union.
5) James Polk: for advancing America’s “manifest destiny.”
6) Grover Cleveland: for his fidelity for the Constitution of the United States.
7) Calvin Coolidge: for his commitment to low taxes and limits on Federal spending as well as for his good character.
As for my personal list of greatest Presidents, it would largely mirror Howard’s list, with one deviation. I would suggest:
1) George Washington: America’s greatest President, without whom this republic would not exist. His “Farewell Address” is the greatest political speech ever delivered on American soil and should be regarded as “must-reading” for every American citizen.
2) Thomas Jefferson: America’s greatest defender of individual liberty and states’ rights.
3) James Monroe: for his leadership in establishing America’s strategically important “Monroe Doctrine.”
4) Andrew Jackson: for standing up against the bankers.
5) John Tyler: for defying his own party (Whigs) and twice vetoing the incorporation of the US Bank. And also for supporting the Southern cause for secession.
6) Grover Cleveland: for his honesty and devotion to the US Constitution.
7) Calvin Coolidge: for his dogged determination to limit taxes and federal spending.

One will notice that there are hardly any modern-day heroes mentioned on my list. I also observed that there were no modern-day heroes mentioned by John Eidsmoe and Ben Dupré in their column. Indeed. Where are the real heroes in national public office today?

Our national leaders (from both parties) seem to be shortsighted opportunists, possessing little regard for their oaths to the US Constitution, the principles of decency, or even plain, old-fashioned common sense. Both major parties in Washington, D.C., offer the American people varying degrees of socialism. Neither party demonstrates even tacit devotion to constitutional government. Federalism and limited government have all but disappeared under the oversight of both Republican and Democratic leaders. These disastrous Presidents (from Johnson, Nixon, and Carter to Clinton and Bush I & II) calmly leave office with no regret or remorse for the devastation, death, and deception that they inflicted upon the country. They live in the lap of luxury and comfort without the slightest tinge of conscience as to the massive destruction done to our Constitution, not to mention our economy, security, and way of life. Beyond that, our congressmen and senators are mostly miscreants in the similitude of Nancy Pelosi and Lindsey Graham.

It’s hard to imagine there was a time when giants once lived among us. It’s hard to recall a day when the word “hero” really meant something. Today, everyone is called a hero. Well, as one Marine Corps veteran recently said, “If everyone is a hero, no one is a hero.” Amen!

Perhaps more than anything, America needs great leaders once again: men who are not enamored with power and wealth; men who are more concerned with honoring their word and preserving the Constitution than they are being reelected and receiving a government pension; men who really do respect the people that elected them; men who are willing to be unpopular, if that is the cost of honesty and integrity; men who know the difference between the eternal and the temporal; and, yes, men who know the meaning of the word AMERICAN.

Is the day of great leaders past? With few exceptions, it would appear so. And that–more than anything else–is why we are in the mess we are in today.

So, while you are saying your prayers tonight, don’t forget to ask God to give us some men like Washington and Jefferson. We could sure use them about now.

*If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may now be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link:

(c) Chuck Baldwin