Immortal Truth

Algernon Sidney famously wrote that “that which is not just, us not law; and that which is not law, ought not to be obeyed.” Continuing on in that section, he writes that Law… “must be founded upon that eternal principle of reason and truth, from whence the rule of justice is sacred and pure ought to be deduced, and not from the depraved will of man…” There is always one truth that all men know down inside their souls. This is what we should base our lives and our laws on. This is the rule we must measure all against. Men naturally falter, they can be corrupted and swayed to where what they wish will not always be the best. But what is really good always remains good in our hearts. Certain principles should govern not only our personal lives, but our political ones as well. The purpose of written law is to push us back towards virtue when we have strayed, so our laws should be as virtuous as possible. Basing them on what is true is the key to make this work. In order for this to happen we must not only redirect ourselves back into the path of truth, but convince others that this is what is best and what was meant for us. We know what is good, we just need to be reminded of it. Today, laws are made when people get upset or someone in power wants something new. We can not base our laws on what people want, or what people think is best. We must base them on what we know is true. People differ, good does not.

Yours Truly,

Publius

Learning From History: The Good and the Bad

“A republic perishes when its citizens no longer remember their past. Without an active remembrance of those who founded and protected its institutions through good times and bad, its citizens gradually lose sight of the virtues that made their republic great. Failing to cultivate those virtues will lead them to squander their precious inheritance… Today the past is more often treated as a cautionary tale instead of a guide. Rather than emulating our forbearers’ virtues, we are urged to focus only on their sins.” -Philip A Wallach

Many things that actually have such a positive and virtuous impact, are given bad connotations today. Words or principles we know and love are changed in such a way that takes much of the value from them. We are required in school to study history, and most of the time the reason we are given for having to do so is so we can avoid the mistakes the people before us had made. While this is true, why is it that we only focus on the bad? While we revere George Washington, James Madison, and the other founding fathers as heroes, we are not told to look at their examples of virtue and to try to become like them. Instead we are told “If only there were people like that today” or people expose their weaknesses to try to take away from all the things that were good about them. Until recently, in my history classes I was never told to “learn from this experience” unless we were discussing a mistake someone or some group of people had made. We live in a world full of negativity, and because of that it is even more crucial to focus on the positive aspects of history and try to be as they were. Not just to say “I wish there were people like that today” but to become modern day James Madisons or Patrick Henrys. Those kinds of people didn’t become who they were by sitting and hoping for the best. They worked hard to educate themselves and gain knowledge. Those kinds of people didn’t just live 250 years ago, they live now. You can become that type of person. Learn from the mistakes that were made, but also follow the examples of those that have done good. Then we can all work together to emulate the virtue our ancestors once had.

Yours truly,

Publius

The Power of What is to Come

“The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power” -Unknown

I don’t think we realize how much power we hold just by living in this time. Everything that has happened is out of our control, though we can learn from it. Everything that will happen is solely within our power. We have the ability to change the lives of hundreds of people in the future just by the small decisions we make now. This is one of the reasons pursuing virtue and liberty is so important. It can be extremely difficult to see what difference you are making by doing so, but the difference is there. Whether you’re making a difference within yourself, or within others, it is there, even if it’s small. And in years from now those small changes will grow, and someone’s life will be completely different because you chose to be virtuous now. What an amazing truth that is! You can make someone’s life so much better, someone you don’t even know, just by pursing what is right.

Thomas Jefferson said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Now, what has happened in the past is so important to know and study because there is so much to learn from it, but in reality, it’s over and there is nothing we can do to change it. Thomas Jefferson knew the blessings that came from studying history, just as we should, but he also recognized that what will happen is more important than what has happened. We have no ability to change the past, nor should we want to, as it has shaped who we are today, but the future can beautiful or frightening depending on how we choose to live our lives today. I hope we can all realize that we have power. We have a wonderful gift given to us to be able to shape our own future and the future of those who will proceed us, but we must use it wisely. Seek virtue, seek liberty, and the impact you will make by doing so will shape a wonderful future.

Yours truly,

Publius

The Value of Individual Liberty

So many times I have written about the “precious jewel” that is liberty. I’ve written about how to preserve it, it’s importance, and it’s value, and once again I wish to discuss this “noble subject”, as it is called by Thomas Gordon. As I continue to try to explain just how valuable liberty is, I continue to run into the same problem, one that Gordon also encountered. As I try to explain it, I notice that “language fails in it, and words are too weak.” Nothing I say or write can do any justice to the precious gift and blessing that liberty is and express how valuable it should be in our lives, but I can do my best to try.

There were and are a countless number of people who would give anything to preserve individual liberty. As everyone knows, Patrick Henry even said, “give me liberty or give me death!” And he was not the only one who felt that way. Not only this, but people lived they’re entire lives dedicated to liberty, giving up their lives in a different way. What other intangible gift has had such an effect on mankind that would cause them to die, or live, just to preserve it? I can think of very few.

Those who are governed by liberty are those who love their neighbors and strive to help not only themselves, but all those around them. Liberty is being free to do whatever you see fit as long as you don’t intrude on another’s liberty. What a wonderful society that would be to live in! Where everyone loves and trusts each other and loves and cherishes liberty.

Liberty is not a past gift that we can never obtain. It is not something we learn about in history books and old journals. Liberty is priceless, beloved, and one of the most important gifts we have been given today. “Give is that precious jewel, and you may take everything else!”

I know it is impossible for me to fully express the value of this jewel, but I plead with you, strive to understand it, for it is one of the most important things to understand. Strive to value it, so that you may be willing to fight for it. I promise you, it is just as relevant to do so today as it was 250 years ago, if not more so.

“We, who enjoy the precious, lovely, and invaluable blessing of liberty, know that nothing can be paid too dear to preserve it” -Gordon

Yours truly,

Publius

Decide to be Happy

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” -Aristotle

Such a short and simple phrase, yet full of so much truth. The world is full of so much negativity, or of things that promise happiness but never deliver. We are taught that happiness is almost an object; something tangible that we are working to reach. It is difficult to find that happiness if you look at through this lens. Happiness isn’t an object, it is not something you can obtain only when you complete a list of certain requirements, it is a state of mind. Happiness is a choice. However, George Washington also said that “happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” If we choose to live unvirtuous lives, that state of mind may become a little harder to reach as the little voice in your head tells you what you are doing is wrong. We cannot be happy if we choose to seek for that joy by seeking wickedness. On the other hand, if you live according to your moral duty, knowing what you are doing is right, you don’t need money, fame, or other worldly objects to try to satisfy your desire for happiness because the most sincere joy comes from doing what you know to be right. What a beautiful truth that is. The world will continue to lure you into believing the happiness you long for can only be found by going against your moral values when in reality that will only bring you misery. But I promise you, the misery can be avoided, and that joy that you are yearning for achieved. This of course does not mean that life will be perfect and that trial won’t arise, but you will be able to make it through, still smiling, and still knowing what is right. I can assure you that as you follow your moral duties, and as you seek truth and virtue, you will find happiness.

Yours truly,

Publius

Speak Loud

One of the major issues in today’s society is freedom of speech. There is a question of what are the appropriate boundaries, if any, when controlling speech is on the line. Well, there is a very clear answer. Freedom of speech is a key an integral part to retaining liberty and can not be controlled or removed. As Trenchard and Gordon wrote, “A free people will be showing that they are so, by their freedom of speech.” The proclamation of ones thoughts is the clearest example of a free being. By saying what you want, you show that there is no control over you and that no one can stop you from acting. When you have no one watching what you say, you will speak more freely, so when a tyrant is breathing down you’re neck, you hold your tongue. The free man will speak out when things are wrong, the slave will either not notice or keep quiet. Additionally, the government does not have the power to silence your speech. No matter what people say, the government can not have any power over the people that the people themselves do not have. We created the government and gave them certain powers. How can we give something we do not have? We have no authority to punish our neighbor for something he said. We have no authority to go into his house and force him to be silent. We don’t have the authority to kill a man just because of what he said, so neither does the government. If you don’t agree with something, or you don’t like what was said, ignore it. You don’t have to listen. If your neighbor can be silenced, so can you. It is our right to express our opinions. We not only have that right to speak our minds, but a responsibility when it comes to what we know is true. We must share these things we have learned, shout it from the rooftops, till it touches every ear it can. You owe it to yourself, to the people around you, and to the people come and gone that you now revere to speak out. There is debt that must be paid for the years left silent; We must pay it in any way we can. Yes, we may be talking to a wall and maybe no one will ever hear the things we say or read the things we write, but perhaps someone will. Maybe the things we do will have the power and force to change how at least one person sees the world. Maybe one more person will fight back because of us. Maybe one more person will join in our efforts to change the world. That’s enough of a chance for me. Is it enough for you?

Yours Hopefully,

Publius

We Are in Your Hands

The fight to restore liberty is not a solo venture. We are united under a unified goal, to restore the principles that once were. While the camaraderie may prove to be an essential benefit to this cause, it can also hold us back. As Trenchard and Gordon wrote in Cato’s Letter Number 70, “Consider what you are about, and whether you will bring life or death upon us. Oh! take care of yourselves, and of us all. We are all in your hands, and so at present are your representatives; but very quickly the scene will be shifted, and both you and we will be in theirs.” The fate of the people is in your hands, in all of our hands. Unfortunately for us, the scene has already shifted. We now look to our representatives for instruction when they should be looking to us. We are in their hands, following what they say and living how they decide. This should not be the case. We choose them. We elect them, and we can kick them out. So why don’t we? The fate of America is in all our hands, right now. Now is the time! We have the power and the right to get the scene back into focus, right the car on the road, and put things back they way they should be, but our fate is in your hands, in everyone’s hands. We must work together to overcome this. Consider your votes and consider your allegiances because they just might impact the entire population. Also in Letter 70, Trenchard and Gordon pleaded, “For God’s sake, Gentlemen, and for your own, and for all our sakes, show your spirit, your understanding, and activity, upon this occasion; and the hearty prayers and wishes of every honest man will attend you. Alas Gentlemen with tears I tell you that the cure of corruption is left to you.” We have the spirit of the restoration, we have the understanding of what needs to be, we participate in the proper activities, all we must do is show it. Show it to the world, to the community, and most importantly to those who wish to serve us. Show them what you want and show they what you expect. Show them that you see them, you see their corruption, and you see someone better standing in the wings. The cure of corruption is left to us. We need only to find it and to put it in use, but it will take all of us that know how in order to accomplish this. Keep in mind the next steps you take on the path to liberty, as they will be the steps that affect us all.

Yours truly,

Publius

What is Worth Working For?

Most people have probably heard the expression “don’t cast pearls before swine”, but until recently I had not stopped to think about what that phrase actually means. It, of course, does not refer to throwing actual pearls to actual pigs, but giving something precious to someone who does not work for it or appreciate what it is capable of. When thinking of it in this context, I remembered what Patrick Henry said, “Liberty… give us that precious jewel and you may have everything else.” Pearls are precious jewels, just as Patrick Henry says liberty is. Liberty is something everyone should have, but only those who work toward it are able to obtain it. Because “there is no liberty without virtue”, it is impossible to obtain liberty if you do not work to earn it and it cannot just be given to everyone regardless of their virtue because they will not be capable of protecting it. The same applies to knowledge. We cannot expect knowledge to just be thrown at us if we have done absolutely nothing on our side in order to obtain it. It takes work, time, and desire in order to gain knowledge, but it can also be seen as a precious jewel. Overall, anything that is precious or worth anything cannot be obtained through little or no effort. If it is of any real value, it must be earned. Though this post is short, I encourage you all to think about it, and think about what you are willing to do in order to obtain those things that are truly precious jewels.

Yours truly,

Publius

Courage Is…

C.S Lewis explained that “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point.”

As I’ve said countless times, the world often does not make things easy. There are so many temptations pulling this way and that. It sometimes seems so much easier to give up. To just allow yourself to do whatever everyone around you is telling you to, regardless of if it’s morally right. People often don’t realize how much courage it takes to remain virtuous.

As C.S Lewis said, courage is being able to remain virtuous, and stand firm in your principles, even when it seems impossible. Courage is being able to say no when the whole entire world is screaming yes. Courage is the ability to stand firm when everyone else is falling. Courage is recognizing the truth and not disregarding it for anything. All the work put into become virtuous would be for nothing if you don’t have the courage to stand firm in what you’ve accomplished.

It is true what Plato said, that “courage is knowing what not to fear.” All of those who are telling you to believe in or do something wrong are not to be feared. In the long run, they have no power. The only thing we need fear is not living up to our potential and not doing what we know we should be doing. I promise you, if you are doing what is right it is never impossible to have the courage to stay on that path. It is not easy or popular, but it will bless you more than you know. Just recognize that it takes courage. I know that each of us can stand firm and remain virtuous if we are willing to do so.

Yours truly,

Publius

Listen and Seek Truth

In Plutarch’s Essay, “On Listening”, he teaches that “speech contains both injuries and benefits in the largest measure.”

Throughout our day to day lives we hear people shouting at us to go one way or another and sometimes it’s hard to determine what we should and should not follow. Some of the things we hear can hurt us; we can be influenced by flattering words and be steered in a direction that can lead us to harm, instead of bringing us closer to truth. However, some of the things we hear can aid us in coming nearer to the truth. We can hear inspiring quotes or lessons that can help us realize what we have been doing wrong or could be doing better.

With all of the things we hear, how can we tell what we should and should not follow? We listen. Not only need we listen, we must listen well enough that we can recognize when what is being said is helpful or harmful. Overall, be a seeker of truth. In order to do that you cannot, simply listen to one thing and be content with only that. Keep your mind open, but be cautious so you will not be swayed by enticing words. Plutarch also said that “success is not due to chance or accident, but to care, diligence, and study.” We cannot expect to gain knowledge and obtain truth if we don’t care enough to listen, be diligent enough to follow up, or study enough to decide what is true. The amount of success we have is based solely on the amount of work we put forth. I encourage you to listen to all that is being said around you, be cautious, and seek truth. By doing so, you will come closer to personal liberty and virtue and be able to know for a certainty what is true.

Yours truly,

Publius