“… of the people, by the people, for the people…”

jeff_davis_union_constitution

Notwithstanding Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” did not “perish from the earth” when the Southern States withdrew from a Union they had voluntarily entered into. It perished when they were driven back into it at the point of the bayonet.

— H.V. “Bo” Traywick, Jr.

 

Just sayin’…….

 

 

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What has changed?

xmas-guns-brighter-giving

This came across my Facebook news-feed:

Prior to 1968, anyone could walk into a hardware store with cash and walk out with a gun, no questions asked. Yet, massacres were exceedingly rare. So, instead of “the easy availability of guns” being shrieked about, we need to ask ourselves: What has changed since then?

Firearms could also be ordered from catalogs, such as in the ad pictured above. Background checks were not even a gleam in “liberal” politicians’ eyes. And most people kept their guns propped in the corner, in the closet, or hanging over the mantle. Yet, again, mass shootings were incredibly rare.

The quote above asks precisely the right question, but truly and constructively engaging it would require many people to lay aside a lot of their preconceptions, assumptions, and (dare I say it?) societal conditioning, and most folks are loathe to do that.

The Just Third Way: The Significance of the Frontier

“So long as free land exists, the opportunity for a competency exists, and economic power secures political power.”

— Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1894)

Source: The Just Third Way: The Significance of the Frontier

My “Cogent Quotes” are generally intended to be either positive and inspiring, or else warnings; this counts as more of a lament for something which has already been lost, perhaps irretrievably.

I think Turner was absolutely right. The problem is, with the closing of the frontier, the vast increase of population, both here at home and globally (when I was born in 1965, there were 2 billion people on the planet, now there are a staggering 7.6 billion; the population of the US was just over 194 million, now it is almost 327 million), and the fact that all existing land is either in private or governmental hands, there is no longer such a thing as “free land.”

And that fact has a sadly limiting effect on both individual prospects, and freedom and democracy in our society. We here in the United States are, it seems to me, sadly becoming the Europe our ancestors fled from: “huddled masses, yearning to be free.”

Nor do I have a solution for this problem, short or war or pestilence so horrific that it reduces the global population by two-thirds or more – and that is something no one should wish for, however greatly it might increase the prospects of those remaining.

Evola: “Capitalism just as subversive as Marxism…”

Capitalism just as subversive as marxism

I have not read much Evola – just a few quotes here and there – but I agree with this. Economics, while important for survival (the word means, literally, “household management” – Greek oikos + nomos), is a means to an end: one which is too-often treated as if it were an end in itself.

The high and ultimate things – religion, e.g., the proper relationship between God and Man, and philosophy, including ethics and morality, e.g., the quest for a right relationship between and among humans, as well as something like Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” – must come first, and serve as the basis for the practical, instrumental considerations which follow, including economics.

By placing economics at the forefront and letting our values flow from there, I believe, we as a society are currently putting the cart before the horse!

You will note that these “high and ultimate things” are closely interrelated, not separate and distinct: I have spoken and written elsewhere about the importance of re-weaving the connections between and among God, Nature, and Humankind – that is to say, adopting a truly holistic view of the world (cosmos) and our place within it.

Economics has a role in this process, and it is an essential one. But it is or should be a supporting role, not a lead role. An analogy might be architecture, in which support structures such as pillars, arches, etc., are absolutely essential to the construction and support of a building – and which ones are chosen is far from irrelevant! – but they are not the purpose of the building.

This is where we have gone wrong in our treatment of economics, in my opinion, whether capitalist or Marxist in orientation. And this is, I think, the point of the Evola quote, above.

George Washington’s wisdom

Just created this a little bit ago. It seemed apt, in light of the Las Vegas massacre, among many other things…

George Washington - Believe me now?

The words are from then-President George Washington’s “Farewell Address” (1796). By “religion and morality” is meant Christian religion and morality, or at any rate the Judeo-Christian religious and moral tradition which has formed one of the major underpinnings of Western civilization for the last 1500+ years.

We have, as a culture (if one can use the term, currently…) and society, been abandoning this “great pillar of human happiness” – along with other pillars of our civilization, such as the Greco-Roman political and philosophical tradition, and the courage, passion, and physical prowess of our Celtic and Germanic forebears – at an alarming rate over the last 50 to 75 years, and I think it is not coincidental that we have also seen our civilization in steep and accelerating decline over the same period.

A tree cut off from its roots does not grow, blossom, and bear fruit: it withers. The same is also true of a culture.

Chesterton and Belloc on the nature of democracy

Chesterton and Belloc - nature of democracy

Source: The Wrath of Gnon – Twitter feed

The author of the “Wrath of Gnon” blog quotes G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc on the nature of democracy. Some interesting concepts, and worth considering, in my opinion! Reminds me of hagiographer James Kiefer’s reflection on the English King Charles I, who for his defense of the historic episcopate and the Book of Common Prayer is accounted by many Anglicans a martyr:

“On the scaffold, he said (I quote from memory and may not have the exact words):

“No man in England is a better friend to liberty than myself, But I must tell you plainly that the liberty of subjects consists not in having a hand in the government, but in having that government, and those laws, whereby their lives and their goods may be most their own.”

“That is to say, one may reasonably ask of a government that it establish justice in the land; so that judges do not take bribes, so that innocent men are not convicted of crimes, while the guilty are convicted and punished, so that honest men need fear neither robbers nor the sheriff. One may further ask that taxes be not excessive, and that punishments be not disproportionate to the crime. Charles would have said, ‘Do not ask whether the laws were made by men whom you elected. Ask whether they are reasonable and good laws, upholding justice and the public weal.’

“He would have invited comparison of his record in this respect with that of the Long Parliament (which sat for twenty years without an election, and whose members came to think of themselves as rulers for life, accountable to no one) and Cromwell (who eventually dissolved Parliament and ruled as a military dictator, under whose rule the ordinary Englishman had far less liberty than under Charles).”

There is much truth in the above. Both the ancients and our own Founders knew that democracy is inherently unstable, since it depends upon popular sentiment that can be easily swayed by a demagogue, and the closer it is to “pure” democracy, the thinner the line dividing it from demagoguery and dictatorship.

While I am not sure I would be entirely happy under the sort of absolute monarchy Charles I favoured, I do tend to agree both with King Charles I, as quoted above, and with the “Wrath of Gnon” author – who writes, referring to Chesterton and Belloc’s comments on democracy,

“Give me a Council of Elders to govern me, and a King to protect me.”