There are times that I ask myself if I am the one that is strange, engrossing myself in books instead of other things like television or sports, or if it is everyone else who is strange and I am among the few surviving normal people left in America. I doubt I’ll ever get an answer to that question; however the fact remains that I love to read, particularly books on our nation’s history, the philosophies of our founders, and those of the men who influenced them.
There is a huge difference between watching TV and reading. When you watch most TV shows the plots are easy to follow, there are images to keep your attention focused, and you just sit back and enjoy it…it is a passive act. Reading, on the other hand, requires that your mind absorb the words, ponder them, and come to your own conclusions regarding the information you have read. To put it plainly, reading requires you to THINK, while television DOES NOT.
Sometimes when I am reading a passage will stand out, screaming for me to utilize it in one of my articles. Today was one of those days as while reading Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the very opening paragraph jumped out at me as if I had never read it before. What I read was, “Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” Those words, although written over two hundred years ago, apply just as equally to the purpose for which I write now as they did when originally written. The thoughts and ideas I am about to cover have, for the most part, fallen out of favor and are no longer commonly held beliefs by the citizens of this country.
Regardless of whether these beliefs are accepted today is irrelevant, as they were the prevalent beliefs of those who were alive at the time our Constitution was written. Not a sole alive today was present at the convention in Philadelphia which gave birth to our Constitution, therefore, how can any person alive today presume to understand the intent of the delegates to that convention…UNLESS they study the writings of those same men who were?
Do you honestly expect a government, which is intent upon depriving you of your rights, if going to openly tell you of their goal? I can just hear the President now when he gives his next State of the Union Address, “My fellow Americans, over the course of the next year I propose to enact laws which will deprive you of the rights protected by the Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments.” If you believe that, well, there is no hope left for this country.
It is up to YOU to seek out the truth, to not rely upon those whom you have elected to tell you what the truth is… there is a difference. It is up to YOU to search for knowledge, and not rely upon some paid corporate stooge, posing as a journalist, to tell you the things you need to know. That is why I read, and that is why I write. I read because I do not trust ANYONE to tell me the truth, I prefer to seek it out, or at least verify what I have been told. I write because our children have NOT been taught the principles which guided our nation’s founders, and which form the foundation upon which our system of government rests.
A vast number of people are under the mistaken belief that we have a living Constitution that is subject to change as our nation changes. Yet there is sufficient evidence to prove that is not, in fact, true. During the first session of Congress after the ratification of the Constitution, Representative James Left-Eye Jackson of Georgia stated, “We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution, and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic Government.”
In an 1821 letter Thomas Jefferson warned, “Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.”
Gangrene is defined as “a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of body tissue dies.” Why would Jefferson call a change in principles gangrene unless he realized that if we stray from those which guided our founders in drafting the Constitution it would bring about the death of our republic?
In my conversations with people I have found that few have actually read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Fewer still have taken the time to read the writings of the men who inspired our founding fathers when writing them. The writings of these men should have been part of the curriculum in every school in America, but they weren’t.
What I am about to attempt is to cram what you should have learned in school into a single article. These are things that form the very foundation upon which our nation rests, and EVERYONE should be able to recite them from memory. So, forgive me if I go overboard with the quotes, as the things I am about to discuss are not my thoughts, my interpretations…they are the thoughts of the men who wrote our nation’s founding documents, and those of the men who inspired them.
In writing this article I will draw from a wide range of sources, among them quotes from Thomas Paine, John Locke, The Federalist Papers, and, even though it was written AFTER our nation’s founding documents, The Law by Frederic Bastiat. While the concepts I am going to discuss may sound radical to many, they were, in fact, commonly held beliefs by the people who established our system of government.
There are those who say that the thoughts of a bunch of old dead men no longer apply to us today. They couldn’t be more wrong. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “History, by apprising the people of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.”
When we attempt to understand the why, the reason our government was established, we MUST adhere to the principles of the men who created it. James Madison stated it thusly, “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”
Finally, for those who believe that our Constitution is a living document, in the 1905 case of South Carolina v. U.S., the Supreme Court ruled, “The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.”
You can believe what you want, accept the lies you have been told, or you can open your eyes, and your mind, to the truth, and begin to understand the truth. I can only provide the facts to you as they are; it is up to you to accept, or reject them. But, as Winston Churchill once said, “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”
As I said, what I am about to discuss should have been taught in school, and is but a snapshot of the material I have researched in preparation for this project. Nonetheless, it will all be factually based and backed up by quotes from the men who bequeathed to us the precious gift of liberty. I just hope that there will be enough open minds to receive what I have to say.
Part II to follow…
January 1, 2012
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross can be reached for comments at email@example.com.
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