27 November 2007

Those other 'libertarians' that just aren't defined by libertarianism

As someone who routinely called myself a libertarian prior to 9/11, here’s how I would square the circle: Absolute freedom within our borders, for our own citizens; eternal vigilance and (when necessary) ruthlessness abroad. For libertarian ideals to survive, they must be relentlessly defended against the likes of Islamic extremists. Take a look at Andrew Sullivan’s writing right after 9/11 to see this ideal in its purest form; far from a religious crusade, ours was a war for secularism, tolerance, and free societies where gays don’t get stoned to death.

The key principle is one of reciprocity. If you behave peacefully and embrace the norms of a libertarian society, we leave you alone. If you seek to destroy a free society, we will destroy you.

If they’re serious about defending their ideals and seeing to it that libertarianism survives more than a generation in actual practice, I don’t see any reason why libertarians couldn’t embrace a more conservative positioning on national security.

- Patrick Ruffini, Hugh Hewitt's blog, 26 NOV 2007, speaking of Ron Paul's influence on Republican politics.

And just who are these folks? Very much for personal liberty but pro-defense, and an active stance that America actually represents something good for the world? Actually, if Mr. Ruffini had read some of the works by one of Hugh's recent guests, he would *know* their name.

His political movement—or, more accurately, the community of political feeling that he wielded into an instrument of power—remains in many ways the most important in American politics. Solidly Democratic through the Truman administration (a tradition commemorated in the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners that are still the high points on Democratic Party calendars in many cities and states), Jacksonian America shifted toward the Republican Party under Richard Nixon—the most important political change in American life since the Second World War. The future of Jacksonian political allegiance will be one of the keys to the politics of the twenty-first century.

Suspicious of untrammeled federal power (Waco), skeptical about the prospects for domestic and foreign do-gooding (welfare at home, foreign aid abroad), opposed to federal taxes but obstinately fond of federal programs seen as primarily helping the middle class (Social Security and Medicare, mortgage interest subsidies), Jacksonians constitute a large political interest.

In some ways Jacksonians resemble the Jeffersonians, with whom their political fortunes were linked for so many decades. Like Jeffersonians, Jacksonians are profoundly suspicious of elites. They generally prefer a loose federal structure with as much power as possible retained by states and local governments. But the differences between the two movements run very deep—so deep that during the Cold War they were on dead opposite sides of most important foreign policy questions. To use the language of the Vietnam era, a time when Jeffersonians and Jacksonians were fighting in the streets over foreign policy, the former were the most dovish current in mainstream political thought during the Cold War, while the latter were the most consistently hawkish.

One way to grasp the difference between the two schools is to see that both Jeffersonians and Jacksonians are civil libertarians, passionately attached to the Constitution and especially to the Bill of Rights, and deeply concerned to preserve the liberties of ordinary Americans. But while the Jeffersonians are most profoundly devoted to the First Amendment, protecting the freedom of speech and prohibiting a federal establishment of religion, Jacksonians see the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, as the citadel of liberty. Jeffersonians join the American Civil Liberties Union; Jacksonians join the National Rifle Association. In so doing, both are convinced that they are standing at the barricades of freedom.

- From Walter Russell Mead, The Jacksonian Tradition, The National Interest, Winter, 1999, (via FindArticles).
Dear me!

And then from one of the Four Horsemen of the Blogaclypse:
Jacksonians don't have any interest in spreading their philosophy around the world. It isn't evangelistic; indeed, the entire concept of trying to actively spread that or any other philosophy around the world is deeply repugnant to pure Jacksonians. Jacksonians are anti-imperialistic.

The whole point of Jacksonianism is "You leave me alone and I'll leave you alone. You play fair with me and I'll play fair with you. But if you fuck with me, I'll kill you."

To Jacksonians, it is entirely possible to create an adequate world framework of consistent and fair behavior, sufficient to support trade, through vigilance and the threat of reprisal (military or otherwise). Going beyond that to a world government as such is neither necessary, desirable nor even possible, and the best case is where there is as little international framework and governance as can be: only the bare minimum required but no more. Anything beyond that will eventually be abused by someone, so it's better to do without it.

Wilsonians want a world government. Jacksonians think that's a fool's quest. And contrary to your supposition that world government is required for successful international trade, the reality is that the last fifty years of international trade were managed under Jacksonian principles, and quite successfully too.

Free trade inside the US works because of the threat of force implicit in the police and the courts. Free trade works internationally because we are strong, alert and willing to retaliate against those who cross us. To Jacksonians, that is sufficient. Nothing else is needed, and nothing else can work.

- Steven den Beste, USS Clueless,
11 AUG 2002.
There you go, the type of reciprocity that Jacksonians like and where the 'libertarian' view comes in. You will get the idea that Jacksonians let families tend to church and religion, while supporting the right of each individual to have whatever religious belief that suits them.

You would be correct in that.

Social conservatism has been seen as an attempt to legislate morality and that has, plainly, not worked without some overarching National religion that agrees on all the main points of what morality actually *is*. Common laws of agreed-upon restrictions and the punishments to fit the crime are cross-religion: they are good things for individuals of all religions in a common culture where it is that culture that is put in the role of upholding the Nation. While Andrew Jackson would indeed state:
The Bible is the rock on which this Republic rests.
- Andrew Jackson
notice that he is not talking about law, here. Where does he go to look for law and government? That is something missed by most, and is more than telling:
Our government is founded upon the intelligence of the people. I for one do not despair of the republic. I have great confidence in the virtue of the great majority of the people, and I cannot fear the result.
- Andrew Jackson
That is in keeping with the founding of the Nation. Our ability to craft intelligent decisions based on firm backing also means that interpretation of the Word of God is left up to each and every one of us. Personally, being of no known religious type, use the Bible as a founding concept, but find much in it that has been passed over by time regarding slavery, the rights of women, and such simple things as usuary and consumption of alcohol... wait a second, Jesus turned water into wine! Scratch that last, he was the perfect party guest, able to keep a party going at a wave of a hand towards some jars of water. I do wish the religious folks of the late 19th and early 20th century would have remembered that, which points out to the strange idea that religion remains static in its interpretation over time. It does not, but acts, instead, as guideposts to us and when differing views happen we are to solve them in the neutral ground of the common society based on reason.

This view would be given by Nicholas Collin in A Foreign Spectator I, 06 AUG 1787, (and even moreso in XXVIII on 28 SEP 1787) also in Atticus I, 09 AUG 1787, in shearing the law from royalty so as to bring in to the common fold, by Noah Webster in A Citizen of America, 17 OCT 1787, amongst many, many others. While christians were founders in America, there was an overarching view to keep the Peace of Westphalia and found a Nation that would adhere to the Law of Nations as grown up from the thoughts of Grotius and Vattel amongst many, and that view was also supported in the English common law. Unless folks missed some reading of their history books, the concept of religious outcasts finding a new life in peace amongst each other because they WERE different and differed on their views of christ, divinity and morality. What would happen is the boiling away of differences to get to things held in common, and there were some handfuls of those.

When one considers bedrock for supporting a structure, be it a house of the tallest of skyscrapers, the #1 thing you do not want to do with it is start to *mine* it for a nice facade to the building. In no time at all the footing of the building is gone and you have a pile of rubble. Bedrock is supportive and foundational and allows things to be built *on it*. The Bible was a book amongst the sects of christianity but it was and *is* not the only book OF christianity. The respect that christians gave to other sects as the Peace of Westphalia spread was still not well enforced by the time of the Puritans, Quakers and other sects that were excluded socially and, often, economically, from public life in European nations. They came here to END that by creating their own communities and those would grow together. It is telling that those ethnically based religious factions would grow together even *before* the Revolution, which is what Tomas Paine would see in writing Common Sense (via The Gutenberg Project):
Not one third of the inhabitants, even of this province, are of English descent.
Wherefore I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother country applied
to England only, as being false, selfish, narrow and ungenerous.
Americans were already become tolerant, and highly so, of other religious views and traditions because there were quite a few of them. Within a few decades after the Constitution in the Antebellum era, we would get the first great explosion of new christian religions that would found America as a leading place to come and found religions. The Bible is still there as bedrock, joined with such fine things as The Black Book of the Admiralty, Law of Nations, views on the English Common Law given by Blackstone (amongst others), and such trivial things as the Peace of Westphalia. While the Bible does intertwine with these views, especially Westphalia and the *limits* of religion inside Nations, there were other traditions represented by these works. The Black Book grew out of Roman Imperial trade law and was modified by European nations but would represent an understanding of trade that not only pre-existed christianity but remained unchanged by it. The Law of Nations would grow out of the views after Westphalia on how Nations operated internally and externally, and Vattel would point out that the operational parameters are called into being by the Nation State as a concept and that the work of Nations grows out of that framework. He would point out that the Ancients had not well defined Nation States, but that they still operated in the framework of them even without knowing it as the rules become ones that develop from that type of relationship. That reference to the Ancients means it pre-dates Judaism, also, and goes far back to the first City States to show how these parameters would come into being and work. The English common law would grow out of not only indigenous tribal views, but Nordic ones in which the King is accountable to the People, and that common men deserved local justice administered by those they knew. No one was above the law, not even royalty.

These are not 'optional' parts of looking at America: they are a whole. The Bible gives moral and ethical preceptual ideas, but those can only be instantiated via the understanding of the Peace of Westphalia so as to not infringe on other practices and it existed after the concept of Nations and trade law, while growing up simultaneously, but geographically far from, the common law. The strength of these things coming together is something that Jacksonians identify with and dearly: they set a way to operate amongst ourselves that is honorable and scalable from the individual to the Nation State. While the 'Golden Rule' is not only a good idea, it is represented in how Jacksonians see Nations operate as well as interpersonal relationships. Beyond that, coming from the Scots-Irish traditions of supporting society via martial means, Jacksonians fully realize that the objects of government need to be defended and that government, itself, is accountable to society. Individuals get the greatest leeway in operating so long as they do not degrade the common society nor government to their own ends.

This makes them different from the Republican Party on some few areas, that Ron Paul only touches on here and there. Jacksonians are tradesmen, tinkerers, creators of things that support life and family, and give support to local charities that do good so that society can do well. Jacksonians recognize the military tradecraft *as* a tradecraft, and give it special honor in upholding the Nation and protecting her people. You do not go to war lightly and when you do go to war, you go to *win it*. Whatever great thinkers purport, Jacksonians try out and if it is found wanting they say so... which is why the bending of the political parties to pure ideology turns off Jacksonians in droves: the theories of both parties have proven to be unworkable in many instances and it is those instances they keep on pushing while ignoring the facts before their eyes.

Being nice to terrorists has just gotten Americans killed and we should stop being nice to them. They have come to America and killed us and declared personal and private war upon us, and so we should reciprocate with open and public announcement of who they are, civil justice for those that will repudiate past works and hold themselves accountable and a 'no holds barred' fight to remove the rest of these barbarians from the planet until they are convinced that society is a good thing to uphold OPENLY and that when it disagrees with you, you are not to make private war upon ANYONE. Steven den Beste put it best with this:
Will we forgive the Islamic nations, and work to remove the source of their anger? Will the United States begin to address "root causes" and work to remove them? You betcha, but only after the war has been won. Jacksonians remove the danger first, and only then work to make sure the danger never arises again. But a Jacksonian never rewards an enemy, never ever appeases one. Until the war has been won, "root causes" are a distraction. This is the reason why "if you kill Americans, you're dead meat."
Jacksonians understand that view because 'root causes' as purported by the Left are not the source of the problem: those seeking to destroy civil society ARE the problem, and that attack isn't just upon the US but upon civilization in the form it has taken. Even as the Cold War was dragging on, we saw not only Americans but our Friends and Allies being blown up, shot, assassinated, kidnapped and 'disappeared' by terror groups and for over 30 years and well going on 40 years the government would say NOTHING about that. Police work obviously didn't work as 9/11 would tell us explicitly and in large, black letters written in the dust of our fellow Americans in the NYC air and the fire and smoke of our soldiers attacked by these barbarians.

Also note that the 'root cause' of lacking free trade or, indeed, hearty trade with America, was not a factor here: America since the time of Woodrow Wilson implemented a 'trade to change society' concept in the Middle East. Looking at that 90 years later, it doesn't appear to have worked out too well. This upsets the digestion of Republicans and many, many libertarians, that 'free trade' is predicated on the strength to back it up, and when that strength and will is lacking it tends to empower our enemies and give them cheaper weapons to kill us. Mind you the Leftist version of trade is worse, but that does not mean that 'free trade' is a great and winning concept without societal control. It is that which Jacksonians look at, and trade is a part of helping the Nation to defend itself and is fully accountable to society not only by tariffs and taxation, but to actually interdicting trade with uncivilized, non-Nation State killers who are outlaw.

While this has, in the past, led to military views, which are supported by Jacksonians, it also means the entire and full panoply of National power can be deployed against it. Ron Paul actually is quite attractive on that front while being not so attractive on his isolationist conception of the world. Because Jacksonians see tradecraft as a good thing, and selling things as a good thing, the view of a global market is something that is understood, meaning that the full concept of how a Nation operates amongst Nations comes into play. For us to understand what is allowable and what is not, we look to the Constitution and the bedrock documents under it, and understand that the Nation can and *should* empower citizens with the right to operate in that terrorism venue but fully accountable to the rules of war by having requirements for uniform and accountability to military justice. That is easy to understand as societal backing is paramount to keeping the Nation whole and its governing institutions are reflective of that greater will. That does not obviate the need for the regular armed forces, but is an asymmetrical tool that is deployed as an adjunct to the regular armed forces. The over-reliance upon National military as the *only* way to go after foes is misguided and there are many that are not fit enough for the military but well nigh fit enough for private military ventures with Congressional imprimatur.

These areas of social conservatism, free trade, foreign policy and military policy, that the Republican Party holds that are at variance with Jacksonians means that Jacksonians do not see a home there for them. By seeing government as a restriction on our wickedness, to give it Tom Paine's view, it must be *limited* as it is not a promoter of the good which is the function of society. Jacksonians see no *good* in pushing morals, unaccountable trade, foreign policy that supports tyrants and dictators, and a military policy only to support trade and not invest in liberty and freedom for those who were under dictators and despots of all stripes. National Security is an area of common agreement and lower taxes are good only if it comes with much, much smaller government. There is commonality amongst many Republicans and Libertarians with Jacksonians on that.

By not following through on the promises of President Reagan, the Republican Party is seen as 'not serious' on those issues and, in fact, counter-productive to them as 'compassionate conservatism' has meant bigger government that is more intrusive in private affairs. In featuring abortion as a semi-'litmus test', and locking that 'debate' into glacial stillness for decades, the view that the common society is to make its best adjustment and then seek better ways forward is NOT being achieved. That is not an either/or decision process, but one that is open to other views of the public and society upon it, but that has been locked out by the loud and well funded 'sides' that have removed all middle ground on that issue. The concept of 'States Rights' plays its role there, as well as defining who, when born in a State, is a 'citizen'. Notice that you get your birth certificate from the State not the federal government, which indicates the role the States play. Getting the federal government *out* of the 'debate' is paramount to unlocking the glaciers, and stepping back we can ask: just what can we do on the State level?

Libertarians and their semi-cohort of Liberaltarians and Libertines have hard and fast problems with putting society in the driver's seat. And yet that is exactly what the founding of the Nation points to, requiring each member of society to come together to 'form a more perfect Union' and settle differences amongst ourselves in civil fasion. That means there are needs for safeguards not only against government, but against private individuals who do such things as take up weapons of war without accountability. Liberty must actually be DEFENDED and not just verbally or in the courts, but on the bloody battlefields of mankind so that those wishing to bring it to an end are brought to heel and made to understand that attack free people comes with a nasty price tag to it.

As one cartoon had it, with survivors of a shipwreck floating in the open ocean: "Watch out for hungry sharks!" And then: "Watch out for sharks." That is a lesson of history not lost on Jacksonians and we take it to heart, so that when we make agreements they are backed to the hilt and when they are transgressed we say so and end them. Cease-fires are a case in point and when Saddam would not adhere to his, and two Presidents did NOTHING, it was wondered when the man would be held accountable to his word for his Nation. This also goes for treaties, in general, so that with something like NAFTA, where Mexico agreed not to export its unemployed northwards, and they have DONE SO, they must be seen as not upholding their part of the treaty. That will, indeed, make Republican hearts flutter, as well as pointing out all this lovely trade with China has gotten us toxic goods in return and exploitation of our political system so that they can become more of a military threat.

Perhaps free trade should be withheld to Friends and Allies?

Just a thought.

Basically, when something doesn't work a Jacksonian wants to know *why* and then see if it can be fixed. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

When it does need to be fixed, especially in the areas of Nations, stepping back and looking to some of the fundamental things Nations do is required, and then casting our own aspirations against that and seeing what is left that can be done. This requires holding other Nations accountable, and that is how treaties work. And keep the damned things to a minimum so that we are not tripping over them every which way, to the point where more bureaucrats are needed. If it needs more bureaucrats, it will have a hard time working. Some things are necessary, but others are not and Washington's view on entangling alliances is well heeded to this day. Note that the UN is put together by treaty and has a huge staff with little to show for it, and epitomizes what *not* to do.

Walter Russell Mead would describe Jacksonianism as the 'crab grass' of American Politics, and it is: the hardy weed that keeps on breaking up the concrete of set ideologies because those ideologies do not shift with society over time. You can't get rid of it, can't fix it, can't eliminate it forever, save by paving over everything. It is sad that the latter course has been taken, which means Jacksonians see no reason to vote for parties looking to invest more in government and remove liberty and freedom from the People. The terrorists hit hard on that concrete and, suddenly, the crab grass re-appears as Jacksonians volunteer for the armed forces so that it has met every quota since 9/11. And we push hard to victory and justice afterwards so that we are never attacked again.

That will take some doing.

It would be handy if there was a political will to do it in either of the two parties. Since there isn't, I expect the crab grass to keep on growing and shifting the internal structures of both further apart. Something will give, but Jacksonians love their Nation and we will not see it fall due to a mere break-up of ideologies... because it is in the holding of liberty and freedom and using them that one helps their neighbors and society to be free. Not just individuals, but everyone. And that really isn't pushed hard by anyone, these days, those concepts of the Revolution.

I guess they are still Revolutionary, then.


The Griper said...

ok enough of what we spoke of in last posted comments, let's get down to business. lolol

"The Bible is the rock on which this Republic rests."

"Our government is founded upon the intelligence of the people. I for one do not despair of the republic. I have great confidence in the virtue of the great majority of the people, and I cannot fear the result."

define intelligence in such a way so as to eliminate the ideas in the bible as an influence necessary for the laws we have. or do so in regards to the bible.

the two passages can be interpreted as being connected. and it can be said that the first passage gives greater meaning to the second passage if seen as being connected.

A Jacksonian said...

The Bible is an inspirational source for reasoning: a source of morals and ethical outlook with delimiting factors to it given by time of writing and what it described. While christianity would be founed upon a willful coming to the faith, as seen by Pope Benedict XVI at his address at Regensberg, 12 SEP 2006, that caused so much of a ruckus. In that one of the prime passages, to me at least, was not the problem causing one (and the greek letters are not supported in western typefaces):

"At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the λόγος". This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, σὺν λόγω, with logos. Logos means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" (cf. Acts 16:6-10) - this vision can be interpreted as a "distillation" of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry."

Intelligence is an ability to reason: it has self-awareness, awareness of intent to action and awareness there is outcome to action. My cats do have intelligence on that basis, although not human level nor multi-level deep analytical type, it is of a form recognizable by humans. When the form of thing we call Nation State is brought into being, it is an act of intelligence to allow individuals to self-organize on a larger scale, propose ways of acting and what the consequences are of not acting that way. As this pre-exists The Bible (although the early books may describe leaving a garden of plenty, when you do leave there is apparent societal form existing separately from it, thus creating dichotomy from the text on where that societal support structure originates), it is an outcome of the intelligence inherent in individuals. As Ben Franklin would correct Thomas Jefferson: if it is self-evident, say so.

To have rights one must have intelligence and reasoning. Those coming from the background of the Book and the single spoken word to bring the universe into being must recognize that as an act of reasoning to create. That being could have remained silent and nothing would exist save that being. The word, itself, must have intent behind it, else the formless chaos can bring forth universes on its own (and there are those that also adhere to *that* conception also, which is fascinating of itself, but self-evident facts are just that regardless of originating structure). A repudiation of 'intelligence' and the ability to reason is a repudiation of the wilful view of the Book speaking with intent, self-knowledge and knowing that there would be outcomes. Other formulations of Nation took place outside of those of the balmy Med, however, and includes a group using their self-evident reasoning to form up a different sort of Nation concept. Their sources were multi-fold, and dealt with the self-evident as just that: it is here, we recognize it and it must be understood and dealt with. Their higher societal view put forth that there is divine inspiration (from many sources) per person, but that the National ruler is a man accountable to other men. This concept was not delimited to the Ancient Greeks, also operating outside the sphere of the Book and its import, although in different formulation than the Northern view.

As religion meets up with Nation, the encompassing whole of monotheism puts forth a need for Divinity or Divinely inspired leadership. In the traditions of the West this would come up, and hard, against the accountable ruler who has normal laws applied to him and that individuals hold religion unto themselves without pressure from any ruling group. Mind you by the time of the final clash of the 30 Years War those societies would hold a similarity of views, but the personal allowance for variation is one that Europe left 15-20% of its population dead over... not counting in plagues of the era.

Christianity would internally adjust in the West (the Eastern, Syriac and other churches had differing views on this) via the Treaty of Westphalia. That was an act of reasoning of Faith and State that separated the two so as to allow States to have a religion, but to remove enforcement of it so that the peoples in a State could practice their own religious beliefs. That is an act of intelligence and self-evidently so: it was self-conscious of the leaders of the Church and Nations that they were not acting in accordance with any moral or ethical precepts laid out for them via religious belief and had erred in their views. They knew this by the battle tolls of the dead, and it had stained them and their religious views for centuries. The ability to hold rulers of Nations accountable not only to each other but to their internal society would grow out of that Treaty, and those that examined this issue in the following century would solidify the reasoning of what wars were, why they could be conducted, how to remove religion from warfare, how the State could practice warfare, and the reciprocity system of the State and how it acted.

That is a form of measured reasoning.

That is intelligence at its basis.

When we hear the song to step away from the Nation State as put together by that, and formulate it on some nebulous idea of 'equality' driven by emotional 'fairness', we are hearing the voice of unreason and chaos asking us to step away from our works. In making all cultures equal there is no distinction between good works and evil ones, between those that build for the good of all and those that destroy to the benefit of the few. When any propose that the works of man should be cast free from society, be it judgement of Nations upon each other or trade amongst peoples, we listen to the sound of chaos encroaching. Society has control over Nations, that is what our reasoning and intelligence give us guided by the hard knowledge that we cannot act perfectly in this world in accordance to the morals and ethics handed us (either from Divine inspiration or 'common sense'): we are imperfect and must create things to deal with that so we may survive. The Bible gives us basis for outlook, but that must be reasoned through and given framework... just as those that adhere to the idea of The Word will put forth that reasoning forms framework in which the word has meaning.

That was and is the tradition of those that founded the Nation: reading their works, those of Vattel, Grotius, Blackstone and others clearly demonstrates it, along with the Federalist and Anti-Federalist documents. The Bible is part of that bedrock of the Nation, but it does not exist alone as the works of reason by others that arrive to just ends stand next to it and around it. They were fused together after Westphalia and into those documents of the founding of the Nation. And that formulation put the individual as part of society in charge of the Nation via the pre-existing tradition, but altered it to the democratic one in a federal republic. That requires intelligent decisions by society through representative democracy... and it was worried about at the founding as it is now, and the warning signs of when democracy and republics decay were also given then. That is why it is disheartening to see us shift from reason to chaos and lose reasoning within society and intelligence of society in that shift.

I trust the reasoning of the examination of the history as seen by the founders, but only individuals can decide for themselves on that. They asked me to entrust Nation to society and I do. And to representative democracy, which I see on a decay path as set by the opening of the 20th century. Now the voices of unreason are heard on Left and Right, to set something over Nations or remove our ability as a society to guide ourselves, and I feel the chill of darkness encroaching. When the mechanisms of democracy are diluted, when Nation is put above the People, and when we no longer see our rights as self-evident within us, but handed to us from government, I must use my separate intelligence to state those problems and point out those things. That is the role of separate intelligence within society: to bring problems to the attention of others, not to scream about them and ask for dictatorial changes, but to begin a dialogue of reason. That is my charge and duty, also handed to each and every citizen of the Nation.

I am, apparently, archaic in that outlook.

So be it.

The Griper said...

"As religion meets up with Nation, the encompassing whole of monotheism puts forth a need for Divinity or Divinely inspired leadership"

ok, this can be seen in the old Testament. and it was carried through to the days prior to our Independence, if we speak only in regards to us. and it was called the concept of "the divine right of kings"

and while i cannot prove it, that concept could be argued as the basis of reasoning for our founding fathers to write the Declaration of Independence so as to not be accused of going against the Will of God by revolting against him that God determined should be ruler. It showed justification which was needed under that concept.

one more thing. People misuse the word "Christianity". Christianity is not a religion. it is a collective word encompassing many religions as a singular unit. granted, at one time it could be seen as being synonymous with religion when but a single religious viewpoint was the case but that ceased to be once that religion no longer was the singular christian religion. For the West it was the "Reformation" that did it.

I point this out because in the times when governments were wedded to religion you'll find that government wedded itself to a very specific religion. and when you see that you will also see that persons were persecuted for not abiding by that specific belief that the government was wedded to even they were Christian also.

now days, especially in the United States the many different religions act as a check and balance against the government wedding itself to a particular religion.

the above statement is given credibility by the Article 6 section 3 of the Constitution. An article, by the way, which would lead to saying that any member of Congress could vote his religious conscious not vote against it as some think in Congress. And when saying this I refer to those like John Kerry who believe differently.

another word misused is the word "God". when people hear that word, for some reason or another, they assume Christianity and liken the word to the words Allah and Jahova or whatever name a religion gives to Gods or God. the word God refers to a life form greater than the life form of a human, animal, insect, or plant life and considered their creator. thus there is no answer to the question "whose God?" for God is as He is and anything else said of Him is man's perception of what they think He ought to be. so this leads to saying are we a nation under God? the answer would be yes. whose God? nobodies, for he is as he is regardless of how we or anyone may perceive him.

by understanding the above we still could say we are a nation under God even if God does not exist as an athiest would believe.

With this we can now say that every man is under God therefore that which man founds, nations, is under God also. and being under God, subject to his Laws above the laws of man. thus the connection as i stated in my first comment.

A Jacksonian said...

It is indeed the Divine Right of Kings that Westphalia put a nail into the coffin thereof, although not the final one, it served its purpose to remove Divinity from Sovereigns and move the Nation into an area accorded by men, not willed by God (or other such cosmic force). That is specifically upheld not only by Amendment I, in the Congressional prohibition on religion, but via IX and X given to the States and the People. Thus the Westphalian system writ small exists intra-State and each State may have its own religious viewpoint so long as it does not transgress the rights shared by all within the Union. The founders looking back at the 30 Years War and the horror of it, wanted no part in giving such a thing any chance to re-grow in the Nation. Additionally I do use the term christianity to put the cover over the totality of all believers in Christ be they of the one in three, three in one or various other derivations thereof. In this new land we also had Jews, the native religions when still adhered to by Natives becoming citizens, and other forms of religions and sects christian and non-christian.

By Western tradition of moving to a Westphalian composition of Nation and the laws of understanding that grew up around those, plus bringing in exterior views by trade (in the Black Book of the Admiralty) and culture (the common law concept), the synthesis of these prior to the founding created statements on the Laws of War (Grotius amongst many) and the Law of Nation (Grotius for reiteration and Vattel for working out the complex framework that arises by the instantiation of 'Nation'). The wisdom of religion is reflected by the individuals elected to represent the People. One of the sets of understandings at the time of the founding, was what was required for democracy to actually reflect the 'will of the People', and they worried over that, both Federalist and Anti-Federalist. It is that common will, which *does* hold religion and elects individuals who adhere to various religions that are to give us guidance across those religions by common accord. I have no problem with individuals elected to High Office to seek guidance from Above or from wherever they find their faith leading them. That is part of the common experience of the People and it is insane to argue against it. What is required, also by common accord, is to put no religious ideal forward unless it has widespread backing for common reasons outside the realm of religion. Put a law into place to back religious belief (no matter who's, including the atheist) and the whole of the Nation suffers. As a People we are not blind to religious guidance, but it is reasoning between religions for the common good that is to give us good law. Reason, then, is to make accord between religious faiths, find what is common to all and uphold that, as well as uphold the traditions of common rights as seen in the Bill of Rights, which are a statement of the basics of English common law practices.

The founders, themselves, had varying views on religion ranging from near zero to a plethora of christian outlooks, plus judaism and a scattering of lesser known types. Jefferson would rail against Catholicism, while various of the Protestant sects had few good things to say about each others ways of demonstrating belief. Still others put the Bible as a source book of knowledge and wisdom, but one of many passed to us by a larger Deist force present across mankind. Hard to pin that lot down under the rubrik of 'christian', where the commonality was in disagreement which would help curb all of them via a common system of laws and government.

Sovereign states, while still retaining the name of 'sovereign', had morphed not only before the rise of monotheism, but after it as well. Democracies and republics had been seen previously to ours and their track record was none too sterling. Still, a few did last some time and our own is now hitting some of the longer limits of them. While religious belief may dictate one type of State or system, the experience of humanity points at the right of men to change religions, society and Nations. We, as a Nation, recognize this basic and primary right that has been seen since the beginnings of recorded history in places like Mesopotamia and Korea: in distant lands a millenia before even Judaism we see governments, states and even Nations arise amongst men.

And fall.

And change.

And morph.

And dissolve.

And decay.

And revitalize.

Democracy was made to see if a new formulation of conscious self-guidance under a carefully restricted format could lead to something lasting a bit longer, and we still have a long, long, long way to go to meet the life of some of the Ancient Empires. Democracy was not handed down on the 10 Commandments, nor common law, nor trade law... those latter two already seeing formulation prior to them and are antecedents. It is fun to traipse through the various documents of the founding and find mentions of Hammurabi, Xerxes, Alexander, and even some nice things about Odin scattered in amongst Moses, Christ and John the Baptist. I somehow get this strange idea that they actually *meant* those things, and that wisdom of good government has transcended religion so that taking up a 'best practices' approach helps to yield better government.

The Bible, to me, does not stand alone because of that set of founders that put forward such multiplicity of sources that should lend alloy to our new amalgam and strengthen it. The post-Westphalian moves towards secular Nations in their treatments toward each others and allowing a modicum of religious freedom to their peoples, also speaks deeply on that note of religion being a guide, but not the only, final and transcendant guide... because humanity has a wide experience of the Divine and it, apparently, speaks in many voices. Finding best common practices amenable *across* religions and infringing upon none... that is part of making 'a more perfect Union' that we take up as citizens.

The temporal power of the US is a contingent factor in these affairs of mankind, and there is no inevitability to the history that will be written about us. That bedrock of the republic comes from many places, but keeping it whole depends only upon one thing: the People. While we stand upon it, it is also ours to keep from eroding, lest the Nation be undercut. We dare not ignore the wisdom of religion and the driving force of it that handed us this Nation... nor should we be looking to start blasting at it to give us a modern view of religion *alone* as that is also a warning to us. While God doth give the universe to us, the operating manual was not included, so we must adjust to those works as best as possible and understand them and marvel at the beauty of that, without killing ourselves over who's view of beauty is more 'right' than others. And in the plethora of after-market manuals that have cropped up, we can see a general pattern to uphold that is common to all and that, without doubt, is *good*. Doing 'better' is left up to us for good or ill.