Rights and Duties on a Divine Scale- Principle 9

Introduction W. Cleon Skousen’s ” The 5000 Year Leap” is a wonderful book that provides 28 principles related to the rights,freedoms and responsibilities of the individual and that individual’s government as expounded by our ( American) Founding Fathers. This treatise will explore Principle 9 ( Skousen, W. Cleon. ” The 5000 Year Leap,” pp. 131- 139). The Principle under discussion The Ninth Principle explores the safeguarding of our rights.  God has revealed to us certain principles of Law through the agency of the Ten Commandments ( pp.131-2). In a nutshell, these commandments include serving and worshipping God alone, honoring our neighbor, respecting our neighbors’ situation, honoring our parents and setting aside a day of rest, worship and recommitment to the observance of the Divine Law ( pp. 132-33). Our rights and responsibilities The rights we enjoy are safeguarded by the duties that God has enjoined on each one of us to follow, both public duties and private ones. Public duties are enforceable by the State and the States’ law enforcement. When these duties are ignored, these entities are empowered to impose penalties on the transgressor to both deter future transgressions and to discourage the general public from ignoring their own responsibilities ( 133-4). Private duties are ” principles of private morality” that exist between an individual and his or her Creator. They would bolster and encourage their performance of their public duties and yet only the individual may meet those duties through self- discipline ( 133). Anglo- Saxon and Israelite precedents The Israelites and the Anglo- Saxons both personalized public transgressions through the possibility of repayment ( the Anglo- Saxons would have called this ” wergild,” or financial compensation for the harm done by one person to another). For the Anglo- Saxons, a fixed financial penalty would be incurred for an injury or death. The Israelites would impose repayment in kind for  financial loss ( deliberate murder would be punished in Israel by execution of the offender). The Israelites and Anglo- Saxons both held God’s Law to be immutable.  Any kinds of laws that they would pass would be in accordance either with the ancient body of ancestral laws ( also held as unchangeable) or the Law as revealed in the Ten Commandments. Reparations, of course, were a legal and private matter between the offended, the offender and law- enforcement. Reparations by the state ( tax- payers paying compensation for the crimes of others) would be an encouragement rather than a deterrence to crime, as a thief could blithely tell his or her target that the government would restore the stolen property in terms of cash value anyway ( 136-37). These are basic, simple Laws of Nature and Nature’s God that are rewarded in their simple observance. All laws that are valid are laws that are built upon the basic cornerstones of revealed Law and reason. When people look to their own duties, they find their rights being reinforced as well as protected through the observance of those duties. Safeguards for individual freedoms On the final page of this particular chapter, we see how the State can abuse the freedom of the individual by passing oppressive laws to enrich the few and to keep the many in want. Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to see that sovereign authority needed to be taken out of the hands of the oligarchs and into the hands of the people. Only then are we assured that our ancient rights would be protected by those who could easily be in be a position to abuse their power ( 138). We surely do have rights that are  tempered by responsibilities to ourselves, our neighbors and our God. We must not have an unbalanced view that will put rights over responsibilities ( that leads to a breakdown in social institutions and restraints on unlawful behavior), or responsibilities over rights ( that will lead to State tyranny and public persecution). Our view ought to be a balanced one that sees our rights and responsibilities supporting each other. In this way, perhaps we can return to working on realizing our Founders’ vision of this land as a ” city on a hill” and a ” light to the nations.”

The French Revolution

Revolution If history has taught us anything, it is to be smart and unwavering, and take heed of the vital events that are occurring. This is, of course, with great regard to who is behind the events, who is involved in participating in the events, and who will be directing the events in the future. In this respect and many more, the French Revolution was truly transformative. Not only was the French Revolution an amazing time in our historical makeup, but it actually changed the way that the world has moved forward, and weirdly, it is not spoken about very often in modern times. And, the question remains, why not? The French Revolution included an immense amount of bloodshed, death, and destruction, but also led to change and tremendous progress. It was the monarchy v. the populace exploding in unlimited discourse, and the result was nothing short of horrible and extreme, as well as mind-blowing and transformative. In a lot of ways, studying the French Revolution can tell us a lot about what is happening today, why they are happening, and what the probable result will be. This is especially true in the case of politics, when it comes Democrats versus Republicans. Two sides of the very same coin that keep arguing and fighting, over and over and over again, and with no clear resolution in sight. The French Revolution is not only one of the most important periods of our history, but it is something to take note of in regards to how things will potentially turn out in the future, and how our behaviors and attitudes will direct that flow to a necessary and, perhaps, frightening degree. What Exactly Happened During the French Revolution? In France, starting in the year 1789, there was an incredible political and social upheaval that lasted for ten years, until the year 1799. During this span of time, the people of France, who were taking part in the revolution, essentially overthrew the monarchy. Of course, it was a lack of food and rampant poverty that was the catalyst. Along with the resulting injustices, some wondered how long they wanted to watch one of those nice, well-guarded, carriages go by. Marie Antoinette, a Belgian beauty, who was the symbol of opulence, seemed oblivious to any peasant concerns whatsoever, along with her King, who could barely manage his own affairs. But, nobility was a forceful and well-maintained leader of European affairs. It had the final say, good or bad, in all affairs of state. With such power, how could these wretched poor hope for any kind of change? Unfortunately, for people, change comes about as a matter of last resort. A taxing system was put in place to help France with its empty coffers. But, there was already two decades of massive debt sitting on the table, much of it was from helping America in its own revolution, as a way of stopping Britain from spreading its wealth and power. Anyway, this feudal tax had the extraordinary ability to turn people on one another. It led to price gauging and hording among many of the businesses. And-that led to violence. Business owners who were accused of such things had their businesses raided and their money and goods stolen and parceled out. The nobility, the well-to-do from inheritance and previous monarchies or religious orders, exercised authority over the individual states and communities, but they were losing control. Oddly enough, around the same time, a system introduced as “fair,” a system known as “laissez faire,” was also destroying the economy. It was known as a “free market economy.” It was a system which said businesses will handle their own affairs and governments shall stay out of it. It is still lauded today by many on the conservative side, even though it led to even worse conditions. Why? Obviously, the businesses that already had considerable wealth, used it to put smaller businesses out of business. It was a deal agreed to by Britain, and France and Spain, a way of maintaining peace between their warring countries. Perhaps France didn’t know, though it should have, that England was a very rich country. Spain should have known as well. The English Navy was vastly superior to either of their navies and their colonial conquests yielded much to British businesses. As a result, many relatively strong businesses in France were put out of business. (Side note: laissez fair is also blamed for the potato famine in Ireland.) There was utter turmoil throughout the country. It all eventually trickled up to the monarchy. Unbelievable though it was, they were oblivious to all this. As more and more control was lost, there were reorganizations of communities, with lofty speeches and plans to overthrow the monarchy and put a republic in place. Loyalties and friendships were tested. Fearful families and farmers didn’t know who to side with and, Austria and Prussia threatened war if the Royals were harmed in any way. To shorten this lengthy, varied, convoluted, and ever-turning affair, I shall summarize, though a full reading is encouraged. The castle had been taken, and the King, (Louis XVI), and Queen, (Marie Antoinette), were made prisoner in their home along with their children. The Royals snuck out one night, in a carriage and tried to make their escape. They were re-captured right at the border with Austria. Of course, this greatly angered Austria and Prussia. The Revolution called on all citizens to bear arms for this war and armies were formed. However, there were many whose loyalties resided elsewhere. Accusations flew and swift justice (?) was dispensed to many via guillotine, a bloody invention and tool of the Revolution. It still was not enough to break the will of those who turned on the Revolution. Lo and Behold! Their method of breaking that resistance? (Which was also copied in Russia); they executed the King and Queen by the guillotine and masqueraded their heads, and spread the news throughout the country. They also just started murdering people not in with the resistance. They had a choice to make. Even in a synopsis, this is a lengthy subject, because so many actions and facts are critical to explaining how it relates to today. So many events, characters and countries make up this epic piece of history. Is this taught at all? It could be the subject of an entire course. So! Another piece is on the way. Thanks for reading! ..stay tuned.

Thomas Jefferson and Liberty

Thomas Jefferson, together with George Washington and Robert Edward Lee, is regarded as a hero by patriotic Virginians everywhere. Jefferson is well known for his populist and progressive stance regarding politics, although he definitely had some solid thoughts concerning ” natural aristocracy” BigEye Aristocracy Jefferson was very much in favor of the idea that the government should be held accountable by the people ( even to the point of armed rebellion by the latter, should the need arise). Jefferson also felt that religion should have no say in the running of the government and as Revolutionary Governor of Virginia, he was able to achieve complete separation of church and state. Separation of Church & State/. Thomas Jefferson was also quite adamant on the importance of universal public education, supporting the idea that the poverty stricken should be educated for free, while those who could afford to pay tuition should do so. He felt that power should be distributed among all levels of government, whether local, statewide or Federal and that this power should be squarely placed in the hands of an educated populaceNational Need of Educated Populace.t-1. Jefferson wrote prolifically on the matter of natural rights, endemic to every man and in fact, much of the text of the Declaration of Independence addressed these rights to which Jefferson was so fiercely devoted The National Document. Like everything else, Jefferson’s ideals had precedents that this Virginian simply developed. He was influenced by the ideals of the British Enlightenment that were current among the elite of the American Colonies. John Locke was a major influence, as were the sentiments expressed in the English Declaration of Rights as written after the Glorious Revolution of 1689 http://www.crf-usa.org/foundations-of-our-constitution/natural-rights.html. Thomas was alive at a time of exciting scientific discovery and that certainly influenced his views regarding religion. A Unitarian at heart, Jefferson rejected the ideas of the Divinity of Christ and the miraculous. He regarded religion as a private matter that existed between a man and his God This is between man and God.. In conclusion, the ideals of Thomas Jefferson were remarkable indeed, although hardly original to the man himself. He did, however, take those ideas and seek to give them a practical application, the echoes of which we can see even today, in such a period of historical turmoil that we are experiencing. Perhaps, by delving a little more into the ideals of our Founding Fathers, we can develop a new appreciation for their ideas and find new ways of implementing them.

Religion-An Important Element of Freedom

Principle 4:  A free society cannot be maintained without religion.   How can that be?   Just some laws will do.   Not quite.  It seems we have a huge presence of Atheists coming out to proclaim their status.  Some of them even have channels on YouTube.   To be fair, not a lot of their material seems to be about religion.  I’d even say that they seem to be principled, which is good but, you’re not about to espouse the immorality of a heathen unless you want to scare away an audience.    It would appear that a lot of people today who talk of the Constitution, don’t really know the original writers placed a very important emphasis on religion.   It goes back to the 2nd Congress close to the birth of the nation, 1787, when the Constitution was written and approved.  They saw how important religion was in their day and how important it would be in our own.  In another famous document, ‘The Northwest Ordinance,’  they gave a clear indication of that in Article 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to  good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education, shall forever be encouraged.  Another solid article of the Ordinance was the prohibition of slavery and servitude in any new lands established under the government.  Of course, the Founders were also slaveholders, but knew they were wrong, as putting together a document that put forth arguments for all peoples’ freedom taught them.    However, no one of them wanted to impose  their, or any, religion over others and other denominations, but instead realized that they all hold some universal fundamentals. Ben Franklin’s proclamation as put to Yale’s president, Ezra Stiles sounds as though it could applicable as such; I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe.  That he governs it by his providence.  That he ought to be worshiped.   That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good for his other children.  That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. It does not seem to be too far out for even the most atheistic, and religious critics.  Let’s take a look up.  See all the blackness out there in that night sky?  Show me the life.  There’s nothing out there.  You believe in aliens??  Well, I’ve heard a few astronomers and scientists say that it took hundreds of billions of things to all happen at once in perfect sync for this planet to come about and start to produce life.  That is the single most important fact to drill into these industrialists’ and elitists’ heads.  When it’s gone, it’s gone.  When it can no longer heal itself, it’s gone.  Most of the wealth in this country, and indeed the world, came from oil.   They are not well.  If they can’t bath in the finest spring waters coming out of a one-hundred percent pure gold statue so it’s fit enough to wash their teeny tiny penile, at all their mansions all over the world, they might die.  (Sorry, got tired of being nice.)  As good citizens, we need to help them live like the rest of us, or they will, ever more quickly, kill us all.    Or, you can let them kill you, what should I care?  Well, if I take Ben Franklin’s creed seriously, I should care very much.  Nothing wrong with religion now, is there? Working at more places in my life than I care to mention, I have witnessed even much, much more acts of the lowly than I care to recall.  For years, I wondered how can these people be so devious against other people whom they hardly know?  How can they do nasty things to people who have never done anything to them?  All the nasty stuff, the spreading of rumors and lies, the misguidance, the setups, the scapegoating, on and on.  But, everyone grows up different.   What I see today is a sea of narcissism, an endless cadre of the self-righteous.  I see those who much more readily recognize the sins of others than their own.  I thought it was just me but, perhaps I’m not so wrong.  I saw an interview with a few scholars who believe that narcissism is, in fact, an alarming problem today.  A professor from the University of Georgia wrote a book on it.   Most likely, neither gained traction.  A lot of what may pass our eyes on the great spindle of life, we would care not to acknowledge, just hope that we get away with our misgivings and others do not.  But, somehow I know the piper will be paid-one way or the other. The Founders believed if we had religion and morality as a course of education and life knowledge that we, could instead, be all happy.  I think I have come full circle in this.  I believe they were right.    

Martin Luther: A Review of a Reformer

A review of the book, “Martin Luther: Renegrade and Prophet,” by Lyndal Roper Background. Dr. Martin Luther was a great Reformer, but as Lyndal Roper pointed out in her book, ” Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet,” he was very much a human being, with all the virtues and vices that go with that. Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Saxony, on St. Martin’s Day ( the tenth of November), 1483. His father, Hans Luder, ran a mining business and his mother, Margarethe Lindemann, was a daughter of  minor nobility. Hans Luder had his fair share of labor troubles with his workers and he intended for his son to study law. Martin Luder was duly schooled with that aim in mind. He grew up in the town of Mansfeld, not far from Eisleben. Ms. Roper spends some time describing Luther’s schooling and put some detail in how he was educated and his eventual disenchantment with the Law. Martin’s father, of course, was furious at the thought of his son’s not getting a law degree, after all the money he spent with that objective in mind. Author’s Approach. Ms. Roper spends quite some time in describing the psychological states that the Reformer and his acquaintances found themselves in and how those states dictated their responses to each other. Martin Luder changed his name to Eleutherius ( the Liberated One) and later condensed that name to Luther as a nod to the Classical fashion popular among the literati in the Holy Roman Empire at that time. Ms. Roper spoke of the stormy passions that assailed Luther, his loathing of his enemies and his love for his friends. He was utterly determined that the Roman Catholic Church root out the corruptions that had infiltrated it, especially on the issue of indulgences. She also wrote of Martin’s compulsion to spend hours in Confession ( along with his Confessor’s desire for him to shift his focus from himself and work). Martin’s Confessor, Johann Staupitz, and he were fast friends for years. Martin earned his master’s at Erfurt and following Staupitz’s advice, pursued an academic career as a doctor of theology at the nascent University of Wittenberg. Staupitz followed Martin’s subsequent career as a churchman quite closely and the two finally parted ways when Staupitz refused to renounce Rome, despite Luther’s insistence. Friends and Enemies. Martin was not able to have Pope Leo X call for a General Church Council to discuss the concerns that Luther and others had over ecclesiastical corruption and he was excommunicated a couple of years after he posted his Ninety- Five Theses. Ms. Roper spoke of Martin Luther’s relationships with Karlstadt, Zwingli, Eck and others. She also spoke of the vitriol with which Luther wrote about these men who differed with him on key points of theology. She also noted some of the things these men wrote about Luther himself.  Martin tended to go overboard when one of his fellow academics publicly disagreed with him. Roper records the time Luther gave Karlstadt a bent gold coin, for him a declaration of enmity and for Karlstadt permission to write his opinions about Luther and his theology as he saw fit. Roper wrote of the vengeful response of Luther when he heard of Zwingli’s death on the battlefield at Kappel. She also describes Zwingli’s death in brisk detail.   M.L. wrote just as vengefully against Thomas Muntzer and the peasants during the Peasants’ Revolt. As Luther was fond of writing, his father was a peasant, but what he omitted was that his peasant father did well enough for himself to own a mining operation and to marry someone of minor aristocratic descent. Luther was solidly on the side of the princes and dukes these peasants revolted against. They were, in fact, inspired to a great degree by Luther’s own preaching. His defiance of the powers of the day served as a catalyst for them. Danger. At M.L.’s encouragement, this rebellion was put down by the nobles with fire and sword. Muntzer himself was captured and executed. On the subject of execution, Roper pointed out that Martins’s life was very dependent on the goodwill of his protectors who lived in the Saxon Elector’s court, as well as his most powerful protector, the Elector himself. Luther’s life was endangered for most of his life and his contributions to the Reformation were largely literary. Justus Jonas, Johannes Bugenhagen and Phillip Melanchthon implemented the Lutheran Reformation in those towns and cities who were in sympathy with it. M.L.’s Family.  Luther married an ex- nun, Katharina von Bora, who was determined to marry him. She was a formidable Reformer in her own right, supporting her husband and managing the household almost single- handedly. Luther lived and worked at Wittenberg for most of his life, fathering three children and preaching about various books of the Bible, all of which he translated into German and published. Martin’s German Bible, in fact, provided the Saxon base for the High German language used today. He also wrote the Small and Large Catechisms as well as the Articles of Schmalkald, which are three vital Confessions used by the Lutheran Church today. Grade for Ms. Roper. Roper’s book is an excellent analysis of the life and times of Martin Luther. She wrote of his frequent ailments, his stresses, his friends won and lost and his desperate attempts to bring the Gospel back to the Church. Martin died very peacefully, in Eisleben, in 1546, after unsuccessfully trying to resolve a dispute between businessmen. Roper’s book is a very engaging one and almost impossible to put down. Anyone interested in the life and times of this most remarkable Doctor of the Church, Martin Luther, would be well- advised to read it.

Thomas Paine, Man of Liberty and Deist Philosopher

Thomas Paine, ( 1737- 1809), was born in the town of Thetford, Norfolk, England, the son of a Quaker farmer, Joseph Pain and an Anglican housewife, Frances Cocke. He was something of a drifter in his youth, he joined the Methodist Church and was a preacher himself for awhile, he served as an exciseman, corset- maker, tried his hand at privateering with no luck and took a job as an English teacher for awhile. He loved taking part in philosophical conversations and during these talks, he developed his republican political ideals and his passion for free and independent thinking https://fee.org/articles/thomas-paine-passionate-pamphleteer-for-liberty/. He arrived in the American Colonies in 1774 and quickly set up shop in Philadelphia, publishing pamphlets denouncing slavery and declared his side with the American Revolutionaries after the Battle of Lexington in 1775. In his view, the Colonies were perfectly entitled to revolt against a government that they had no representation in. The three books that Thomas Paine is best known for are ” Common Sense,” ” The Rights of Man” and ” The Age of Reason.” ” Common Sense,” published in 1776, stated that the Colonies’ independence from Britain must come, that monarchy was inherently self- serving and that a representative government was the best kind. This book was popular in both the Colonies and in France. It changed the course of the Revolution in that all further hope of reconciliation with the British crown was abandoned in favor of complete independence http://www.ushistory.org/us/10f.asp. Thomas Paine served in the Continental Army during the course of the War and he published sixteen pamphlets that became entitled ” The American Crisis Papers,” published between 1776 and 1783 http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/biographies/thomas-paine/. These pamphlets supported the Patriot cause and argued for the justice of American independence from the government of Great Britain. In 1791, two years after the French revolution broke out, Thomas Paine published ” The Rights of Man,” both in response to an English politician, Edmund Burke and in support of the ideals of the French Revolution. Edmund Burke had published a work denouncing the goals of the Revolution, which Thomas Paine just as ardently defended. Paine denounced the concept of hereditary power and spoke of the despotisms in society that spring up from the ” hereditary despotism” of the monarch, hence wearying the population and sparking political change. Thomas Paine spoke of Civil Rights springing from the natural rights all people have by right of birth and that no body in the world had the right to circumvent or ignore those rights http://www.constitution.org/tp/rightsman1.htm.   Thomas Paine’s theological beliefs were laid out and published in his ” The Age of Reason,” which was published in three parts.. the first part was published in 1794, the second in 1795 and the third part was published in 1807, a couple of years before this great ( but impoverished) man’s death. Paine was a Deist who actively rejected the Bible as a book of unfounded superstitions that were founded on earlier superstitions, as he lays out in his book. He believed that “revelation” was irrelevant to anyone except the person that the ” revelation” was made and that the true Word of God was found in Nature http://www.ushistory.org/paine/reason/. Thomas died in poverty despite his popularity as a writer and his ideas were roundly rejected by the Christian clergy and the vast majority of the American population. He was refused burial in a Quaker cemetery and was interred elsewhere.