Learning From Error

We all make mistakes and no one can argue against that. We all do things we wish we could undo; things that embarrass us, things that harm others or ourselves, and things that have short term, or long lasting effects. This does not mean that because we all stumble that it is acceptable to continue making the same mistakes. Cicero declared, “any man can make mistakes, but only a fool persists in his error.” Yes, there will be times when you misstep, but once you find you have taken a wrong turn, change your direction. Do not continue to go down the path you know is taking you away from your destination. Strive to be virtuous, and avoid the things of the world that pull away from personal virtue and liberty. But do not give up when you do something you wish you hadn’t. Do not lose hope when you have to change course. Each and every mistake we make is an opportunity for us to learn and grow. They will guide us in the future, and help us grow and progress. Plutarch taught that “to make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom from the future.” We are not expected to be perfect. To be virtuous does not mean never making a mistake. To be virtuous is to learn from those mistakes and become better through your experiences. 

Yours truly,

Publius 

Living Up to the Constitution

Our country was given a very special gift in our Constitution. The founders who wrote the laws of our land wrote them not for themselves, but for future generations. They studied the history of past civilizations in order to understand the policies, ideas, and issues that can span lifetimes. They knew that the people who lived in America would not stay the same, and they knew there would eventually be a time that things began to falter, but they labored to make it as easy as possible for us to stand up to a tyrant when one comes to power and expected us to fight as soon as someone took power that was not given to them. The federalist and anti-federalist papers prove their knowledge, and prove that they wrote the Constitution with future generations in mind. They gave us this government because they knew it was the best for us. But there is a reason it is not working. Our constitution was designed for a virtuous society, the society our founders hoped would proceed them. In Centinal 1, in the Anti-Federalist papers, it declares simply and straightforwardly, “A free government can only exist where the body of the people are virtuous.” We must change ourselves to live up to the constitution, not change the constitution to live down to us. The government set up in the American constitution can lead a country no matter what time, but an unvirtuous people can never fathom the power that our constitution has. So before you claim that America’s founding principles are too outdated or that they can no longer work for today’s society, check and see if it is instead that today’s society can no longer work for our constitution. You may be surprised what you would discover a virtuous people is capable of.

Yours truly,

Publius

Move Forward With the End in Mind

One of the hardest things for us to accept is that we just don’t know everything. We constantly have questions about the past, present, or future that we can’t seem to find the answers to. It becomes hard to pursue something when you don’t know exactly where it will lead, how long it will take to get there, and what you will need to sacrifice; but, sometimes what we need to do is all we can do. Move toward what you know is right and believe that it will work out in the long run. Easier said than done, right? It is hard to invest in something that is so difficult without knowing if it will all pay off, but trust me when I say, one way or another, if it is right, it will pay off. I know that this may be little consolation because it still leaves many questions unanswered like, “when will it pay off?” But my advice is to move forward with the end in mind, and try not to think about things that have little importance in the long run. If we spend all our time concerned with the little details then we will ultimately miss out on our main goal. As we are laboring to restore liberty, it may seem like our efforts are making little difference, but think about what we are working towards, a country enveloped in the arms of liberty and free from the bonds of tyranny, and suddenly the difficulties that accompany this task seem to disappear. Niccolò Machiavelli taught, “where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.” What we do is just a small role in the ultimate restoration of liberty, but it could have a lasting and powerful effect. We must never forget what we are working towards, otherwise we will be consumed with worry about the trials and difficulties that lie ahead, and forget about the blessings that come because of them. 

Yours truly,

Publius

Patterns From the Past

About 1,500 years ago, Rome fell because of greed and tyranny. Approximately 1,200 years later, the united states of America became subject to tyranny and they fought to take back their liberty. Now, 250 years after that, we are again subject to tyranny. Of course, these are just a few examples in history of when an empire has seen the destruction of tyranny. History has been repeated over and over again by men who have not learned from it, but their mistakes can be our greatest tool in restoring liberty today. Thanks to history, we know what mistakes led to the destruction of nations that we can now avoid, and more importantly, we know how brave men and women were able to restore liberty after it had been taken. They laid out a blueprint of what we need to do today in order to accomplish the same task they did 250 years ago. David A. Bednar taught, “A pattern is a guide or a model. Patterns are used in sewing and knitting, in wood and metalworking, and in a wide variety of other productive pursuits, activities, and jobs. Patterns help to avoid waste and unwanted deviations and facilitate uniformity that is appropriate and beneficial.” We can use all that has happened so far as a pattern for our lives so we can avoid making the same errors that were made in the past, and continue doing the brave and virtuous things that we admire from the past. We need to study the ups and downs from history so we can be prepared for the future. We have everything we need to restore liberty available to us. We can access it all with little effort, yet so many of us choose to remember a few names and dates and move on, not bothering to analyze the lessons and principles being taught from the things people have already experienced. So much knowledge can be received from studying the examples of those from the past, and through them we can be better than ever before. Study history and the principles that can be learned from it; then a perfect blueprint for what you are trying to build will be laid before you, all you need to do is follow it.

Yours truly,

Publius

Turn Your Focus Toward Liberty

If you have ever read any of the words of the men who fought for liberty, at any point in time, then you know how much they truly cherished it. The words that they wrote are so powerful that you can feel their desire and love for liberty. One of my favorite quotes, is one by Patrick Henry, “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings- give us that precious jewel, and you may take everything else.” I have done an entry just on this quote alone because it is so powerful. When I read it for the first time, it changed my focus entirely.

Have you ever stopped to think of how many times a day you think about how others view you, or what possessions you have, or something else along those lines? I will admit I think about these things at least a few times a day. It is difficult not to be concerned with how the world views you but I found it becomes easier as you change your focus. Instead of thinking about how the world sees you, why not think of how those who fought for liberty see you? Alexander Hamilton, in the Federalist Papers, defended the people who would be living in America years after he was gone, or us, he said that if the government ever were to overstep its boundaries, the people would “be obliged to act, and in such a manner as would leave no doubt that they had encroached upon their natural rights.” He believed so firmly that we would never allow the government to control us yet that is exactly what happened. The love of liberty has slipped away from today’s society and we need to be the ones who ignite the spark so that others may have a desire for liberty once again. The weight of the examples of those patriots who fought before is heavy, but I hope you can feel as I feel when I read their words; not just the weight of restoring liberty, but the desire to do so. Once you have that desire, your focus will be changed and you will accomplish so much more and will impact the lives of many others. 

Yours truly,

Publius

The Storms of Tyranny

Lately there has been, as most people have noticed, many natural disasters that have greatly impacted the lives of thousands of people. Unfortunately, the nature of a hurricane or earthquake is not to help, but to harm; and the same is to be said for tyranny. 
Trenchard and Gordon have said that tyrants “live by the destruction of mankind.” Livy declared that the tyrants are “the flames that are burning you now.” Algernon Sidney taught that there is no peace “when the government instituted for the good of a nation be turned to it’s ruin”. Lastly, Pufendorf warned that, “more inhumanity to man has been done by man himself than any other of nature’s causes.” The winds will blow, and the ground will shake, and sadly, there is nothing we can do about that, but tyranny can have a long lasting affect that is much more dangerous than anything the world can throw at us, and we can stop that. All of the men mentioned above, and so many more, have preached of the destructive nature of tyranny and warned of the damage it’s storms can cause. Tyranny causes knowledge to blow away, and discourages those who go after it; it pours out food and entertainment that distract us from liberty and truth; and it, as mentioned in last week’s post, makes virtuous things look wicked and things that are wicked look good. 

While it truly is heartbreaking to see the devastating consequences of the earth’s storms, we must remember that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against wickedness in high places”, (Ephesians 6:12). These things are hard. No one will ever deny that. But in the end, the storm you have to endure will make you stronger. The tyranny that threatens us may just be the exact thing we need to prove our virtue. The rain and wind is temporary, but the consequences of tyranny will last forever if we choose to let it be. However, if we fight for liberty, and prove our virtue, the blessings for doing so will be eternal as well and will be well worth the effort and sacrifice. 

Yours truly,

Publius

Listen to the Right Voices

No matter where you go, there are always two different types of voices telling you where to go and who to be. “The one,” as John Trenchard said, “making common sense dangerous, and enquiries criminals; vowing the spirits of men, and rebuking the sallies of virtue; while the other, at the same time, encourages the improvement of the understanding, rewards the discovery of truth, and cultivates, as a virtue, the love of liberty and of one’s country.” 

Once a tyrant obtains power, he will use it to gain more power. The influence of the tyrant’s voice can be heard everywhere! At school, on the news, or even just casually walking around the grocery store, there are almost always voices shouting or sometimes just whispering at you, attempting to influence your decisions. These voices of the tyrant will tell you it is dangerous to think for yourself and that being virtuous is shameful; these false ideas are more prominent than the second voices. The second voices Trenchard mentions, though much harder to hear, can also be found everywhere. Anything that encourages you to do good, to learn, and to stand up for liberty, are the voices that will eventually lead you to liberty and virtue. Trenchard also proclaimed, “a few loud words rule the majority, I had almost said, the whole world.” Tyranny is loud, it is prominent, and it is dangerous; however, the harder we work, the louder we can become and liberty will be more prominent than tyranny. First, we need to listen to the right voices and be influenced by only good and virtuous things, then, we must shout from the top of our lungs, letting everyone know that we will not be ruled by a tyrant, we will fight to restore liberty, and we will not settle for anything less. 

Yours truly,

Publius 

Commitment, Diligence, Perseverance

I always encourage, “keep fighting for what’s right” and “keep pressing forward”, but that can be hard to do. I think sometimes people overlook the fact that just moving forward with what you know to be right can be one of the most difficult challenges we face today because there are so many that tell you to stop and try blocking your path. People forget that commitment, diligence, and perseverance are all incredibly important virtues that need to be recognized as such . Despite the fact that all three of these virtues are very similar, they are not the same, but they do go hand in hand. First, commitment; whatever you are doing, whatever you are fighting for, it is important to be committed to it. If you’re not committed to begin with, you will not get far. Many of the men and women we read about throughout history proved that they were committed to liberty and virtue because they dedicated their lives to preserving them, which leads to the next virtue, diligence. To be diligent is to continue doing what you are doing on a regular basis. You can’t simply read a page of a book and say you have diligently read it, you need to read it daily until you finish it, then proceed to act on what you’ve learned from it to prove your diligence. Henry B. Eyring taught, “We are to act in all diligence, never being lazy or slothful. The pattern is simple but not easy to follow.” That leads to the final topic, perseverance. To persevere is to continue being diligent, even when it is hard… especially when it is hard. The time it starts becoming difficult to continue working toward something virtuous is when it is needed the most.

These three principles I brought up today need to all be applied together. Be committed to what you are doing, be diligent in doing so, and persevere when it gets tough; then will the goal you are working towards become a reality. When it gets hard to fight for liberty, keep pressing forward, keep learning, and keep fighting; we are fighting with you and we know it will all be worth it.

Yours truly,
Publius

Selflessness is a Virtue

One of the prime characteristics of a tyrant is selfishness. A tyrant will do anything to ensure he has the power he desires, even if he must harm the lives of others. However, what I want to write about today is not selfishness, but selflessness. Too often today we hear the terms, “but I want…”, “how does that benefit me?” or, “why should I?” People are so caught up with sustaining their own desires that they forget that others needs might be more important than their wants. In Livy’s The War with Hannibal, he talks about a fearless tyrant named Hannibal who would stop at nothing to gain power, and his army, as it says, was “willing to submit to Hannibal’s orders, to supply him with guides and provisions, and to offer hostages as a guarantee of their good faith.” They followed him blindly because it benefited them, even though it greatly harmed others. Though it is difficult, we must learn to put our own wants aside so we can do more for others who need it. For example, we all have something many people do not, we know of liberty and its importance, so we need to use that. I will admit, sometimes it gets hard to take time out of my day to read or write about these things, but the things I would rather be doing will make no impact and have little to no importance. Taking a little time out of each day to read about these important truths, though maybe not your first choice, will eventually benefit the lives of you, your children, and their children. What you choose to do now will impact the lives of so many others. Much like what I said in last week’s entry, we might not obtain complete liberty within our lifetimes, but we can do so much for those who will come after us and they will be so blessed because of the sacrifices we make today, even if we can’t see it yet. Yes, it is hard, but as Tacitus explained, “the crowning proof of their valor and strength is that they keep up their superiority without harm to others.” Your true character is shown when you can be the best person you can be without harming, and might I add, with helping others in the process. As I close today, I hope you will look toward the examples of those who I mention almost every week, those who fought for liberty so many years before us, who sacrificed so much for us without thinking of themselves. As we learn to be selfless as they were, we will be blessed beyond comprehension for all the good we can accomplish when we put our unimportant desires aside.

 Yours truly,

Publius

Patience Truly is a Virtue

We have all heard the phrase “patience is a virtue”, usually said in casual, witty circumstances, but have we ever stopped to think about what that really means and what knowledge this simple statement may hold? I have mentioned from time to time one of my favorite quotes, “there is no liberty without virtue”, and if patience is a virtue then we need to recognize that we cannot have liberty if we have no patience. This virtue is one of the many that have been lost in the past few years and people seem to continue to lose more patience with different parts of their lives every single day. Personally, it is growing more difficult to be patient with others and even just with what I’m trying to focus on at the time. Today, it is becoming more common to be less patient because people have stopped fighting it. People are losing patience with close family members and friends, with work, and more importantly, with learning. Knowledge does not come easy, and definitely not quickly; we must be patient as we work toward obtaining a greater desire to learn and the knowledge that comes from that desire. The knowledge that is truly valuable cannot be taught from a textbook, it comes from continually searching and studying the words of the men I mention almost every week. Benjamin Franklin taught, “He that can have patience can have what he will.” Liberty is not something that can be obtained within a week, or a year, we need to be constantly striving for it in order to obtain it. If we can teach ourselves to have the patience everyone had 250 years ago, we can and will restore the liberty they fought for all those years ago. Every day people miss opportunities because they are so used to not needing to have patience. Please, don’t lose patience with the things that are most important in your life, because then, you will lose those things that are most important in your life. Trust that if you continue to fight for what is good and virtuous, it will come eventually. If it is virtuous, it will come!

Yours truly,

Publius