November 1, 2014

Philosophy

DNA, Nature’s God, and America’s Political Freedom

 Share on TumblrOn the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News & Views weblog, Stephen C. Meyer unites science, religion, and politics: Is [Thomas] Jefferson’s belief ["asserting the inalienable rights of human beings derived from 'the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God'"] still credible in light of current science? The decades following Darwin’s publication of Origin of Species saw the rise of “social” Darwinism and eugenics, which suggested that the Jeffersonian principle of intrinsic dignity had been overturned. Taken to heart, Darwin’s view of man does undermine the vision of the Founders. As evolutionary biologist George Gaylord Simpson explained, Darwinism denies evidence …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (10)

 Share on TumblrFrom John Hancock (after signing the Declaration of Independence): There, I guess King George will be able to read that. From George Bernard Shaw: Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. From Edward Abbey: A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an “equalizer.” Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed—but do not …continue reading

The World of ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’—George Orwell’s Unhappy School Days Writ Large

 Share on Tumblr In a recent article (also available as a podcast), “The Brilliant but Confused Radicalism of George Orwell,” Jeff Riggenbach at the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute alerts us to the early childhood experiences of Orwell (real name: Eric Blair) in an English prep school, St. Cyprian’s—events which Riggenbach and other commentators maintain ultimately led to the grim, blighted, and sadistic world of his magnum opus, Nineteen Eighty-four:      But worse than the pedagogical limitations of the place — in Orwell’s memory, at least — were the cruelties and brutalities it employed and encouraged among its students. Orwell remembered …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (9)

 Share on TumblrFrom Ralph Waldo Emerson: America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine providence on behalf of the human race. The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops—no, but the kind of man the country turns out. From Aesop: Better to starve free than be a fat slave. From Marilyn vos Savant: What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom ‘to’ and freedom ‘from.’ From Calvin Coolidge: Patriotism is easy to understand in America; …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (8)

 Share on TumblrFrom John Adams: I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth. Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers. I am …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (7)

 Share on TumblrFrom Benjamin Franklin: Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote! They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Where liberty dwells, there is my country. Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. All Wars are Follies, very expensive, and very mischievous ones. When will Mankind be convinced of this, and agree to settle their Differences by Arbitration? Were they to do it, even by the Cast of a Dye, it would be …continue reading

Interesting Culture War Skirmish in NC

 Share on TumblrA coalition of atheists and secularists in North Carolina claims they want to “unite America” by emphasizing our common bonds and have paid for several billboards, at least one of which, significantly, stands beside the Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte: But some vandal decided to correct their text: —Mike Gray

Thoughts for Independence Day (6)

 Share on TumblrFrom Thomas Paine: Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Man is not the enemy of man but through the medium of a false system of government. Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they …continue reading

“Innocent Blood”—An Account of The Battle of Lexington by One Who Was There

 Share on TumblrThe Battle of Lexington: A Sermon and Eyewitness Narrative (Originally titled: The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors, and God’s Tender Care of His Distressed People, April 19, 1776) by Rev. Jonas Clark (1755-1805), Pastor, Church of Lexington Nordskog Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 978-09796736-3-4 December 2007 89 pages (including illustrations) Trade paperback: $9.95 at Amazon.com And this is the place where the fatal scene begins! They approach with the morning light; and, more like murderers and cut-throats than the troops of a Christian king, without provocation, without warning, when no war was proclaimed, they drew the sword of violence upon the …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (4)

 Share on TumblrFrom Patrick Henry: Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (5)

 Share on TumblrFrom Thomas Jefferson: The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave. No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will. My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (3)

 Share on TumblrFrom Andrew Jackson: The brave man inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country, than the coward who deserts her in the hour of danger. One man with courage makes a majority. It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (2)

 Share on TumblrFrom George Washington: To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving the peace. The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and …continue reading

John Adams—A Witty Founding Father

 Share on TumblrThe Quotable John Adams Edited by Randy Howe The Lyons Press ISBN-13: 978-1-59921-409-2 February 2008 274 pages Trade paperback: $10.71 at Amazon.com Wit was highly esteemed in the eighteenth century, and the nascent United States of America was providentially blessed with a group of Founders who were well-endowed with it. One unfairly neglected Founding Father who brimmed over with wit was John Adams—politician, political philosopher, Vice President (twice!), the 2nd President of the United States, and shy and retiring family man. (His distaste for rough and tumble political intrigue may explain why he’s not as well known as …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (1)

 Share on TumblrFrom Daniel Webster: God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard it and defend it. Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint. Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens. Philosophic argument, especially that drawn from the vastness of the universe, in comparison with the apparent insignificance of this globe, has sometimes shaken my reason for the faith that is in me; but my heart has always assured and reassured me that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be Divine Reality. The Sermon on the Mount cannot be a mere …continue reading

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