Tag Archives: Founding Fathers

The Muhlenberg Melting Pot

I ran across this doing some research.

Frederick Muhlenberg, a delegate to the first Congress of the post-Constitution age, was also the first Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He was from Pennsylvania; of good German stock and a founder of the Lutheran church in America. He, and his brothers, spent a great deal of time in the German principalities in his youth and he spoke fluent German.

An issue arose as to whether to translate some official U.S. documents into German, considering the large number of German speakers in Pennsylvania (including one of my predecessors on my mother’s side) and elsewhere, Muhlenberg abstained from the vote, causing it to fail.

Allegedly he explained his abstention — “The faster Germans become Americans, the better it will be.”

We could learn a lot from the people of the founding era.

We’re All Just Renters Now

You might think you own…

But you don’t in the mind of liberals, Democrats, the Supreme Court or the federal government.

The original concept of the United States under the Founders was that it would be a group of states mostly populated by yeoman farmers along with small scale business owners and service providers plus a handful of religious communities living pretty much their own lifestyles. Each man would be his own master, like a little lord. Most, if not all, adult males would own their own property or aspire to. Property owners had the exclusive right to vote in some places. It was kind of a “having skin in the game” approach.

In that construct, the individual is powerful. The individual has primacy. Government serves the individual and is devolved to the state or county level while minimalized at the federal level and when individual and government come into conflict, the individual should win out. The approach is to err on the side of the individual. In fact, local government would be made up of those individuals, rather than a faction of professional bureaucrats and politicians. That was the theory, anyway.

That was the theory, I should say. Of course no battle plan survives its first encounter with the enemy — just ask the farmers of western Pennsylvania, c. 1791.

Individual power has been eroding for centuries. One might start with the Whiskey Rebellion. It certainly took a turn for the worst with the Civil War. It’s been noted that it was there that the United “States” became the “United States,” that the agglomeration became the unitary; the needs and desires of the federal government overrode the powers of the individual states.

After a few post-Civil War decades, with some starts and stops with Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson restarted the centralizing machinery. Once Franklin Roosevelt was installed, the die was set.

We are no longer masters of our world. We are viewed as serving the government. We provide its room and board. We are subject to its interests. When the individual comes into conflict with the government, the government wins. The government has to win.

An irresistible government increases its power daily, hourly, all at the expense of individual liberty.

Land owners are no longer able to determine what they want to do with their land. Dozens of agencies (and third-party activists conducting lawfare) claw at the land owner, overseeing everything he does. Examining every detail: determining what can and can’t be built, grown, tended to, stored, modified, etc.; thwarting attempts to improve it, make it profitable. You don’t own your land. You might pay taxes on it but it is controlled by someone else. You can’t will it to someone without being relieved of a portion of it. In reality you’re really just a tenant. And you best behave or you could be forced to give up that land.

Businessmen find themselves filling out numerous forms at all levels of government; subject to diktats, licenses and inspections from all levels of government near and far concerning employees, finances, operation, practices, performance, materials, services and products. Erring even once can produce devastating, even fatal penalties though most of the encumbrances are niggling; rather of the parasite tick living off the host variety. But a hundred ticks can bring down even the strongest animal.

And government-empowered third-party activists find businesses to be a fruitful feeding ground.

This is not new. Thomas Jefferson wrote of King George III in the Declaration of Independence: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

It’s as true today as it was in 1776. Seemingly most everything in the Declaration of Independence is applicable in these times. Have we come full circle?

We are, in essence, now just fleeting passengers on the ship called United States. We occupy a room or two and when we pass away, someone else will occupy that space. We don’t own it, can’t will it to our children or chosen ones without the ship’s crew’s approval. Our ability to decorate it or make it ours is severely curtailed by the ship’s crew and even some of the louder, bossier, better organized passengers. We do not decide, they decide.

Or perhaps we occupy a location on a bench in the galley called United States. We galley slaves row our oar and as long as we row the government tolerates us and provides us with some food or “benefits.” Disrupt that routine and the eye of authority opens onto you. It does not blink and does not think twice about punishing you. You are its subject. Submit or be tossed overboard.

That we might own our own boat and go our own way, supporting ourselves and our family and friends without the big government ship or its crew is inconceivable to the galley master. “Why it would be chaos! Think of all those ships polluting the ocean, getting in the way, what would be the point? Think of all those galley slaves who don’t have a boat of their own — it just wouldn’t be fair. If not everyone can have a boat then no one can have a boat. And the boats must be equal, as well. No one can have a better boat, that wouldn’t be fair either.”

When King Barry famously said “You didn’t build that” he could have also said, “You don’t own that.” (For a little fun go to the Wiki page for ‘You didn’t build that’ and read all the sophistries trying to argue that Obama didn’t say what he, the greatest communicator evuh!, clearly said.)

First They Came for the Hoopskirts…

With all due apologies to Niemoller… this is becoming serious business.

You knew when they stated ripping the Confederate flag down, the Social Justice Warriors would not stop there.

Here’s a continuation that almost reads from The Onion (what doesn’t these days with these people?) but it is true – the banning of hoopskirts. Et tu, UGA?

Sadly, the University of Georgia has been taken over by liberals, mostly from out of state. It’s rather like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” They appear Southern but they are in reality alien agents intent upon conquest. This is happening all throughout the South in academic institutions, most recently at TCU.

Adding salt to the wound is this bit of idiocy from a “research associate” (what is that?) from the University of Maryland in The Washington Post. I gather that this “research associate” has no idea what women of the North wore nor fashionable young gals in London were wearing during those years. And, of course, the young dames of Paris could be the hoopiest of them all.

Bushy dresses predate the existence of the United States.

It’s madness. We’ve entered a period of pure delusion, overlorded by cocksure youngsters seeking to expunge anything of the past they might find uncomfortable for their delicate, sheltered sensitivities (a bill of lading that is quite lengthy).

July 4, 2015

Today is our annual celebration of American independence. The Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It may have been initially “signed” as early as July 2 but July 4 was quickly adopted as they day of importance.

There would be some nitpicking over the following weeks in Philadelphia though copies were immediately distributed throughout the states (or States), some arriving in England.

I’d bet that today (and certainly 10 years from today it will be moreso) you could find a scary number of high school and college-aged kids who couldn’t tell what day the Declaration of Independence was signed/ratified on. “Thursday?” they might more likely answer.

I’d also wager that a large portion of our brethren today haven’t much of a clue what the Declaration of Independence is really about.

It is first and foremost a set of divorce papers. It tells the “State of Great Britain” that the colonies demand a divorce.

It lays out the “long train of abuses” in detail. (King George III [“the present King of Great Britain”] was the face of their ire but the declaration does clearly address parliament at a point.)

It also offers a few thoughts of political philosophy and it was those lines which would be its greater legacy for the rest of the world.

Having a group of “states,” tribes, assemblies, whatever, break away and attempt to govern themselves wasn’t completely out of left field. It had happened throughout history and many of the founders were acutely aware of that side of history. Even having these groupings govern themselves without a king wasn’t new though it wasn’t the normal manner of governance, leading so many of those independents and leagues to failure, eventually to be gobbled up or dismembered. By most thought the natural mode of government was some manner of monarchy.

The document, however, does not posit exactly what form of government the states would take. This is probably the greatest misunderstanding of the Declaration of Independence.

The text at the end expounds some hints as to directions a government or governments could take. “[A]s Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

That the states were “independent” is one of the repetitive themes. The uncapitalized word “united” before a capitalized “States” opening the section demonstrates this. That is followed by a lower-cased “united” before the capitalized “Colonies.”

Some might argue that that is merely a grammatical affectation but it wouldn’t seem so since “Free” and “Independent” are capitalized. Note “States” is also capitalized.

It would seem that a unitary, centralizing, homogenizing government was not the aim of these men of various States in July of 1776. Why would they trade one practice of tyranny for another?

They clearly emphasize independence, not “united.”

The weight and import of the Declaration of Independence is that it survived and set a course which would not be undone merely in a few decades or after the leading personalities had decamped.

Thanks to these gentleman we have had a grand time since. The world was subsequently turned upside down and monarchs toppled from their thrones. Sadly, tyranny continued to survive for democracy is no guarantee against tyranny; what is?

But on this Glorious Day I shall not harp on how far we have fallen from the grace of the Declaration of Independence.

Enjoy your freedom.