Recognizing Tyranny

John Trenchard advised, “Beware, my friends, of the first step, and know your whole journey before you move one foot…When we are engaged, we cannot retreat; one step will draw another.” So, what is it we’re fighting against? What is tyranny? Tyranny is one of the reasons Samuel Pufendorf said, “More inhumanity (to man) has been done by man himself than any other of nature’s causes.” Liberty is one of the most sacred and glorious gifts, and tyranny destroys that gift in cunning and dishonest ways. Tyrants harm men and women by convincing them they are being saved. They will stop at nothing to obtain power and the only way they can do so is through consent or force; so a tyrant will trick the people into giving him their consent, or force the people into giving up their precious gift. Either way, the people are being deprived of their liberty, which is more destructive than any natural disaster. Think of a typical villain from any book or movie. If I am not mistaken, most villains attack the protagonist of the story because they want power and the hero is standing in their way of obtaining it. They go to extreme measures in order to destroy the person who is threatening their reign. This doesn’t just happen in fairy tales, it is happening every single day but, like the protagonist in most stories, we just might not recognize who is the villain right away. Tyrants will not hesitate to get rid of anything that stands in their way of power. Today, they are destroying the minds of those most capable of restoring liberty by getting rid of the words of incredible men, they are making sure we cannot fight back by disarming the people, and they are convincing everyone they are doing this just for our safety and well-being. Luckily, we are the heroes of this story. We must recognize who the villain is and do all we can to bring him down in order to save the liberty of those living today, and those who will come after us. Just like any story on the screen or on a page, if we continue to fight for what we know is right, we wil win. I urge you to learn to recognize tyranny so you will know what you are fighting against. I promise you once you do this, you will find it that much easier to restore liberty. 

Yours truly,

Publius 

What One Year Can Bring

One year ago today we published our very first entry. Since then, we have been able to experience so much and hopefully have been able to teach others the truths we hold so dear. Though we began this website as an attempt to reach out to and teach others, I can honestly say that I feel that writing these entries each week has helped and taught me in more ways than anyone else.  I look back to when we began and I simply cannot believe how far we have come as a website, but more importantly how far I’ve come as an individual. Though it is impossible for me to write them all down, I would like to share just a few truths I have learned this past year that are most important to me.

First, something I’ve stated countless times, personal virtue. I had absolutely no idea when I began how important it really is to be virtuous not just for yourself, but for everyone around you and for future generations. What you do now can truly effect the lives of a countless number of people. Another essential truth is the importance of educating yourself. I will admit, when I first began writing America Restored, I would read a chapter of a book here and there, but most of the time I would write having not read anything that week. However, I slowly began to realize that each time I read, everything I wrote seemed to have more power than when I was simply writing just to have an entry put up. The words of Algernon Sidney, Trenchard and Gordon, and Cicero are full of so many lessons that they allow me to write with more strength than I could ever do alone. The final thing I wanted to emphasize is to remember the men and women from the past who cherished liberty in such a way that it caused them to sacrifice all they had in order to preserve it. Looking back on their examples is what continues to inspire me today because no matter which way you look at it, you cannot deny the fact that they loved liberty in a way unfathomable to us today. I aspire to become as they were and hope we can restore the liberty they fought so hard to keep.

To conclude, we just wanted to thank those who taught us these incredible truths, those who take the time to read what we write, and those who are making an effort everyday to restore liberty. Thank you so much for this amazing year of support. This experience has presented so many opportunities that we would never have imagined. We have loved every minute of this journey. It has led us to develop our beliefs, our thoughts, and our lives. Thank you for letting us share this journey with you. I hope that we can continue to grow not only this website, but this connection between us two writers and all of you. Thank you all for your continued support. Here’s to many more years to come! 

Thank you,

Publius

Don’t Ask. Act!

How can we become virtuous, destroy tyranny, or restore liberty when the world around us seems so against it? Today, people hear or read what we are trying to teach and cringe, because they are subjects we are taught to be uncomfortable around. I will admit there have been times when I have felt uneasy with the things I was reading, not because they weren’t true, but because they were so foreign to the things I had always been taught. However, soon the uneasiness I felt turned into a love of liberty. Our goal, is to help others feel the same way we do, and dismiss the feelings of discontent when surrounded by these principles. The key to accomplishing this is to stop asking the world for approval, and begin doing what you know is right. Once you do this, you will feel happiness and joy, rather than discomfort and nervousness. Read the words from the men and women who came before us, who loved and cherished liberty, and you will see that they knew these things to be true.

Now, another question that has at one point crossed my mind is, “what if these things were true, but aren’t anymore?” We are led to believe that these principles are “old fashioned” but as I read more and more, I realized that each and every one of the things they taught over 200 years ago, still apply today. They are not old fashioned, they are words of advice from those who previously went through similar experiences, and learned from them. If we want to be remembered as a people who loved and cherished liberty, just as these men and women were, we need to take action and fight for it. Alexander Hamilton showed great faith for the people in the future, or for us. He said that if a man ever decided to take more power than was given him, the people “would be obliged to act, and in such a manner as would leave no doubt that they had encroached on their natural rights.” So now it is our turn to act, and show others that we care for our rights and we cherish our liberty. Do not be misled into believing these principles are irrelevant because they are just as true today as they were hundreds of years ago. I urge you to use the obstacles the world puts forth to your advantage so we can be one step closer to liberty. Restore those freedoms we are meant to posses and never let them be taken away again.

Yours truly,

Publius

Choosing Virtue

As mentioned in previous entries, government is something created by the people as a method of protecting their lives, liberty, and property. Because of this, when our constitution was first created, the people chose men to lead who, as Algernon Sidney says, “excelled in the virtues that are most beneficial to civil societies.” Those who were chosen to lead were men who deserved to do so because of their love of liberty, and their virtue. They were also men who stayed within the bounds set by the constitution because their only desire was to protect the people and their freedoms. On the other hand, “so soon as the supreme lord begins to prefer his own interest or profit, over the good of his subjects”, that is when government begins to become dangerous. It is not meant to profit one person, but to benefit a whole nation, because of the sacrifice of a group of leaders. 

Unfortunately, today many people are convinced that whether power is freely given, or forcefully taken, the person in possession of that power deserves it. I will respond to that by saying those who take power by force do not deserve that power nor do they have any authority to utilize it. Once a leader begins to take more power than that which was originally entrusted to him, for his own benefit, he will neither protect nor care about the people he is supposed to lead. I warn you, to do everything within your power to ensure that those who are given power do not take more than they deserve. Algernon Sidney also teaches, “he is only fit to conduct a ship who understands the art of a pilot: When we are sick, we seek the assistance of such as are best skill’d in physick… in like manner, he only can, according to the rules of nature, be advanced to the dignities of the world, who excels in the virtues required for the performance of the duties annexed to them.” Only those who surpass the expectations of virtue are suitable to govern a body of people, so only those who demonstrate such attributes should be chosen to do so. I will close by once again expressing the importance of personal virtue so as to one day obtain public liberty. I know it is difficult as even Thomas Jefferson counseled, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, but I will remind you once more that the blessings of liberty are incomprehensible and worth the sacrifices it may take to obtain it. 

Yours truly,

Publius

Pursue True Liberty

In Alexis De Tocqueville’s book, Democracy in America, he cautioned, “[l]et us not be mistaken about what we must understand by our independence. There is in fact a kind of corrupt liberty, the use of which is common to animals as it is to man, and which consists of doing whatever you please.” I would not call this liberty, but false liberty. It is the enemy to true and moral liberty. There are many who will try to convince you that you need to be able to do whatever you wish without any consequences in order to be free, but that is why this false liberty is so dangerous. This causes wickedness, instead of virtue, and ignorance, rather than wisdom. Even Algernon Sidney advised, “for being careless of their liberty, or unable to govern themselves, were by Aristotle and other wise men called slaves by nature, and looked upon as little different from beasts.” Both of these men realized that if we are not wise enough to care for our own liberty, or the liberty of others, we become slaves and there is not much that sets us apart from the animals. Real liberty allows others to govern themselves, while still being subject to the consequences that come if they fail to do so correctly. It is a blessing that benefits everyone, rather than a curse that destroys. It is doing whatever you please, without harming the life, liberty, or property of others. This, as Alexis De Tocqueville says, “is the liberty to do without fear…This holy liberty we must defend at all costs, and if necessary, at risk of our life.”

Do not be fooled into believing that your circumstances prevent you from being able to fight for what you know to be true. Everyone on this earth was blessed with the ability to discern right from wrong, and that is all you need to restore personal virtue which is what leads to true liberty. Finally, I want to once again remind you of the incredible examples from the past that we can look to to accomplish this. I beg you to read the words of Algernon Sidney, Alexis De Tocqueville, Cicero, and other amazing men; do not just take my word for it. Study the words of these men, and you will know for a surety that what we write is true. They valued liberty more than anyone and now we must get it back.

Yours truly, 

Publius

Begin With Yourself´╗┐

It is easy to pin the blame for our loss of liberty on an outside disturbance, because then, it’s not our fault. I just want to make one thing plain, when liberty is scarce, it is because the people have lost some component which is essential for the preservation of that liberty. No matter how hard the tyrant tries, if the people care about liberty, and posses the virtue, strength, and courage required to maintain it, the tyrant will always fail. Ezra Taft Benson said, “I’d rather be dead than to lose my liberty. I have no fear we’ll ever lose it because of invasion from the outside, but I do have fear that it may slip away from us because of our own indifference, our own negligence, as citizens of this land.” We need to be alert and cautious; we need to realize that if we hope to one day obtain liberty, it is necessary for us to start with ourselves. Though this weeks entry may be brief, I hope you realize what we are trying to accomplish. We realize that we may not  see a significant effect now, but we know that by reaching out, we can reach the minds of people who might not have read these things otherwise and because of that, we will be one step closer to liberty. 

With hope and promise,

Publius

Prioritizing Liberty

A law, is a rule put in place within the bounds of the Constitution to protect the property and liberty of the people living under that law. It is not a rule put in place by the one man to make the people do whatever he desires. By living in the united states of America, we agree to obey any law that is put into place, and we should; however, a law that is not created within the bounds of the Constitution is not a law at all. Unfortunately, if you break a “law”, even if it technically isn’t a law, you will be punished for it. Does this seem right? Today, one man can say a few words and he can get millions of people to obey them because most of those people believe he has the power to do so. Like Algernon Sidney says, ” ’tis hard to comprehend how one man can come to master many, equal to himself in right.” We were all born with the same amount of liberty, and a conscience that tells us how it needs to be used, but somehow, one man is able to take that liberty from millions of people, either by “consent or force”. Though it doesn’t seem right, it has been this way for years and not many have done anything to stop it. Why? Because people are taught that is isn’t a priority. It is too often tempting, to put aside what is really important, simply because they aren’t as easy as some other things we could be doing. Other times, we tell ourselves don’t have time for these things because we have more important things that need to be done. This seems to be the attitude of most people, the world has us believing we can be doing anything but the things that truly matter; fortunately, there is a simple solution to this dilemma we all seem to be experiencing, prioritize.

As Dallin H. Oaks says, “”desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and our choices determine our actions.” If you have a real desire to make a change, or to do something good, that will become a priority in your life, and if that becomes a true priority, you will find it becomes much easier to sacrifice some of the time you could have spent chasing worldly pleasures, to do something that really matters. You will be able to stop the unjust laws if it’s really important to you to do so. We live under a government that is more concerned with riches and power than with happiness and freedom, and like Algernon Sidney “if it be liberty to live under such a government, I desire to know what is slavery.” Fortunately, we do not have to continue to live as slaves. I plead with you to make liberty a priority in your life, so the many, will not settle to be governed by the few.

Yours truly,

Publius

Hope for the Future, Because of the Past

It can be discouraging looking back at all the incredible things the men and women who came before us were able to accomplish and what they sacrificed for us, yet we wait here idly for someone else to fix the many problems that we face today. I often think how they became the people they were and what more I can do to become like them and what I can do to restore the united states of America to what they used to be.

Fortunately, Alexis De Tocqueville said, “If it were possible for us to go back to the elements of societies and examine the first memorials of their history, I am certain that we would be able to discover there the first cause of the prejudices, dominant passions, of all that ultimately composes what is called the national character”, in other words, if you go back to a nation’s roots, there you will find what makes up that particular country and what its potential is. When I read this, it gave me great hope because though we may not have an abundance of liberty today, at one time, we did. The men who formed this country were men who loved liberty, and who, as William J. Watkins, Jr. said, ” ‘observed that they were duty bound to defend their liberties’ and ‘to hand them down to future generations.'” Most men at that time, actually did not want to become independent from Great Britain; however, they knew their responsibilities, and that they needed to sacrifice everything they had to make sure they fulfilled those duties. So if De Tocqueville is right, then we have great cause to rejoice because we have the potential to be just as they were then. They fulfilled their responsibilities,  defended their liberties, and passed them down to future generations, and even though we do not have most of those liberties today, we should never feel discouraged. They gave us an assurance that we can restore those liberties in the future if we put worldly desires aside, and take up virtue, knowledge, and courage. The united states of America were “‘led to greatness by the hand of Liberty” and unfortunately are “now forging chains for her Friends and Children'” but that is not how it has to stay. I promise you, restoring liberty is not a lost cause, it will happen! If we fulfill the duties we have now, liberty will undoubtedly be restored.

With hope and joy,

Publius

Hearers and Doers of the Truth

In James 1:25, it says “Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therin, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” I have encountered this scripture many times and have heard it mentioned countless other times, but not until reading it recently did I understand a new and greater meaning that it had. To start, the phrase “forgetful hearer” is mentioned, but what does that mean? A “forgetful hearer” is someone who hears truth, yet might forget or set aside the importance of it and does nothing to spread it. If you never hear or read the truth, how could you be expected to be accountable for it? However, once you’ve come across the truth, you become responsible to use the knowledge you have gained for good; Voltaire said, “Every man is guilty of the good he did not do.” Once you know the great blessing of liberty, and the importance it holds, it is your duty to protect and cherish it. If you do this, though you may encounter criticism and mockery by some, you will ultimately be blessed.

Another point made in the passage that I found interesting was, that right in the beginning, he mentions liberty. It is wonderful to know that a man so virtuous and righteous, who inspired so many, loved and valued liberty. He clearly understood its value and his duty to protect it. The founding fathers, and other who helped shape the united states, all diligently read the words of James and others in the Bible. They trusted these men and the words they wrote and it helped mold them into the heroes we know them as today.  

Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”. Don’t remain silent, don’t be a forgetful hearer, and never forget the true and valued blessings that come from knowing and loving liberty. “Now, act honestly and boldly for liberty, or forget the glorious and charming sound.”-John Trenchard

Yours truly,

Publius

Only Virtue Can Lead to Strength

To use Algernon Sidney’s words once again, “the glory, virtue and power of the Romans began and ended with their virtue”. We are promised today by our country’s leaders that they will make our nation greater, stronger, and more powerful than it ever was before. Though it may seem like they are delivering, or that we live in the most powerful empire, how long can it last? Rome began abundant in liberty, they prided themselves on their freedom; however, like most empires, they began to get greedy. They wanted a country that was greater, stronger, and more powerful than the rest and in the process of doing so, they lost their virtue and liberty. Eventually, Rome fell. They lost any power and strength they ever had and that’s what their known for today. How then, can we expect to be the strong unless city liberty and virtue abounds? Rome is just one example, there have been countless cities and cultures that have been lost once their liberty was lost. Now, they warn us not to make the mistake and guard that jewel first. Once that happens, we can be great, or strong, or powerful, but only if we are free. It is “ridiculous to think that fortune, which of all things is the most variable, could for so many ages continue the same course, unless supported by virtue”. Only those who deserve fortune, will receive fortune. Live your life in a way that will allow yourself, and those around you to inherit greatness and preserve liberty. To end, I just want to say that we hope you keep your hearts and minds open to new ideas as you read our words each week. The things we write we write because we believe them. We know them to be true, and we know the founding fathers knew them to be true as well, and we have a strong desire to feel the liberty they fought so hard for. 

Thank you all, 

Publius