Happiness

Happiness is a topic we have discussed multiple times, but it seems fitting to bring it up again. I recently had shared with me a letter Thomas Gordon wrote on this very subject. In it, he asserts that “imaginary happiness is a poor amends for the want of real.” I have recently found myself getting caught up in the crowds around me and moving more towards this imaginary happiness. I think that it can be easy to get them confused sometimes. Especially when all around you, people seem to be happy following their own path. So maybe you try to follow it yourself. Or you think you have found happiness in similar places and try to pursue them again. Only you come to realize that what is true for one situation may not be for another. I thought I knew where to find real happiness where I am, but I kept getting disappointed. I’m still getting disappointed. Gordon also writes that “he who aims not at an elevated lot, is happier than he, who, having it, fears to lose it.” I feel like like I’m losing my place, where ever it may be, and because of it, I can’t find my true happiness. And I think a lot of the problem is that I pinned my happiness on others. I was, and still kind of am, looking for reassurance and praise for what I do. I sought out the outlets where I had found it the most, and they turned up empty. So now I am lost. But I know that I can find my way again. Gordon finally surmises that “ Happiness is therefore from within just as much as virtue; and the virtuous man enjoys the most.” Happiness is a goal we must reach towards. The Greek root of the word means “good soul state” and just like virtue, that state can be a struggle to get to. It all depends on how much you are willing to work. If it is a goal you truly desire, the effort will not be in vain. That does not mean it will come easy. It just means that it will be worth it. And you can find little victories along the way. A little happiness and virtue can cleanse your spirit even if it isn’t perfect. I want everyone to know that they are not alone in this struggle. We may be the voices telling you what steps to take and what path is the right to follow, but that’s because we too are making those decisions. We are learning with you. And we are not perfect. We stumble. We fall. And we sometimes feel lost. But then we turn to those around us who help us find our footing again. We are all in this battle together. We get told we are alone by those who want to tear us down. But happiness is achievable. Virtue is achievable. If we help each other along the way, we have nothing to fear. So don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you feel lost like I did, well, am. And don’t be afraid to reach out to help if you see someone lost, either. I look forward to continuing on this journey with all of you by my side.

Yours truly,

Publius

The Time Will Come

I have recently found myself in a new environment and have been thinking about how to broach the subjects on which we discuss so frequently with people unfamiliar with the cause. I have kind of been anticipating and dreading the eventual moments when things like politics or the constitution are brought into conversation. Will anyone else understand? And will they even want to listen? What if it just ruins things?

I found myself looking back through my copy of Plato’s Gorgias and came across a passage where he describes how to have proper rhetoric. Socrates states that “A teacher passes his expertise on for his pupils to use when it is morally appropriate to do so-which is to say, defensively, not aggressively, and against people who wish them harm and do them wrong”. There will be a time when my knowledge, when all of our knowledge, will be called into question and we will have to defend it. But it is important to recognize when it is appropriate. And it may seem like that could be difficult. How do you know we to speak out and when to hold your tongue?

In truth, “we” kind of don’t. But the spirit does. We will be told/prompted when the time is right. And sometimes the people we talk with aren’t the right ones. Not everyone is prepared to take in this message. But the spirit will guide us to the right people. We should never turn down a prompting. And we should always be ready for a prompting.

And maybe there will be contention when you bring up your beliefs. But we have to remember to not be aggressive. We’re not trying to force our ideals on anyone. The people that deal in force are “trying to win the argument rather than look into the issue they set out to discuss”. Argument leads to anger leads to unclear minds. We can’t enter into these conversations hoping to “win”, only hoping to educate.

So I am still anxiously awaiting the day when I am prompted to share this information. I know that I have important things to say, and I trust that I will say them to the right people. With this knowledge, we have the responsibility to share this with others. We just need to remember the proper way.

Update

Hello, everyone! Due to some schedule changes in our lives, Tuesday is no longer the best day to post new entries. Starting this week, the weekly updates will be posted on Saturdays. We hope that you continue to stick with us as we continue to spread out message. Thank you for all of your support! See you Saturday!

Don’t Be Discouraged

This week we want to introduce everyone to a guest contributor, Pharos. They are a great friend to the cause of liberty, and we are honored to have them write something for us. It is important to recognize those around us who dedicate themselves to this cause. It is also important to show that we are not alone in this cause. Feel free to contact us if you ever want to find other outlets for liberty or if you have any ideas/suggestions for future writing and projects. Thank you all so much for your continued support!

Don’t be discouraged.

Liberty is not an easy path. It comes with many responsibilities, some of which may seem inconvenient or unnecessary at times. You will be mocked, threatened, and despised for desiring to go down this path. You may even feel as though you are alone on this path.

But you are not alone. No amount of mocking, threatening, or hate will ruin the benefits of liberty. And all of the responsibilities, overwhelming as they may seem, will be worth it. The ability to act and be as one pleases is more precious than gold. Cherish it, and be not discouraged.

-Pharos

The Constant Focus

Hello everyone! Sorry for the short post today, but I feel like there’s not much more that needs to be said. Thank you for the continued support!

There is a lot of change in the world. Sometimes it seems that you just can’t escape the evolution of life around us on the day to day. While many changes are minuscule and rarely noticed, others can be life altering. And in those moments where it seems that nothing will ever be the same again, it can be hard to stay true to yourself. Often, we let those changes take over. We feel left behind when everyone jumps onto a new trend or out of touch when the accepted “right” constantly shifts. The key, as I see it, to stay grounded through all of the turbulence of the world is to remember that some things never change. Just like a dancer is told to focus on one point as they spin at a dizzying pace, so must we put our focus on the truth while everything surrounding us swarms around. No matter what the public may say, there are universal truths that do not change no matter what way you look at it. But even more important, there is one source we can always look to as a steadying force. There is something eternal that guides us. He is the same before and after a worldly shift. No matter what happens on earth, no matter what is said, and no matter what anyone thinks, He is constant. And He is there to help you through. Because He sees the end result before you’ve even started on the path. And whether you believe that that eternal presence is person or spirit or simply a “force” of the universe, you can not deny that something is guiding you along. The universe does not change just because someone on earth decides it does. So when you feel lost and confused by the innovations and evolutions around you, just remember that there is something unchanging to focus on. And if we set our eyes on that point, no matter how fast the world is spinning around us, we will not fall. 

Yours Truly,

Publius

Journalistic Bias

In story after story covering the recent tragedies in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, commentators are just clever enough to hide behind the semantical skirts of some people and insist that Donald Trump bears some of the blame for these murders.

Demonstrations of this sort of yellow journalism at a time when families are mourning are reprehensible and should be labeled as such by all legitimate news sources.

There is no political bent that of its own device or influence could ever convince someone to commit murder in cold blood. The very premise is laughable. Such acts are the result of mental instability and are the product of a perversion of purpose inscrutable to most, regardless of the virulence of their political or social associations and activities.

Moreover, even the most discerning minds in the fields of medicine and psychology are now and are likely to remain woefully ignorant of the vortex of abnormalities that combine in ones mind to produce such anti-social behavior. Inside every cranium there is a universe and no explorer has successfully navigated the myriad spheres of influence that orbit therein.

While the attempt is noble, the presumption that there are explanations to be found in a killer’s mad online scribbling or self-aggrandizing videos is naive at best and purposefully misleading at worst.

Unfortunately, the prevailing cultural zeitgeist is one of reality television where titillating production precedes performance and predicts ratings.

In the sentient world we all occupy, however, there is no logical way to inculpate the sale of firearms or ammunition clips in the murders committed over the past few weeks.

The ready availability of guns is no more responsible for this or any other such massacre then an all-you-can-eat buffet is responsible for obesity.

Temperate appeals to right reason will instruct the thoughtful person that a propensity for such an act is not born of opportunity, but of instability.

Let us not dishonor the memory of those killed by allowing partisan fealty or the purposefully bellowed passions of faction to indict the innocent — or the inert — as co-conspirators of the murderers.

I’ll close with the wise words of Cesare Beccaria from his influential Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1764):

“The laws of this nature, are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent.

Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance?

Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator; and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty?

It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack armed than unarmed persons.”

Yours truly,

Publius

Try Kindness

America has been faced with multiple terrible tragedies in the recent days. But perhaps the worst tragedy of all is the exploitation of lives lost into the political field. Every time havoc is wreaked upon our country, suddenly it is as if lines have been drawn in the sand. The days that follow are filled with remarks from both “sides” of the playing field and countless responses over and over until it seemingly fades out of mind. Then another tragedy occurs, and it starts all over again. Both parties claim to be wanting the best for the people, yet they express their grievances in the most politically correct way they can. They use these events to push their platforms and remind everyone of the proposals seemingly lost in space after the last tragedy. If we really want to help people moving forward, we need to stop making everything a political issue. These are humanitarian problems that affect the country as a whole. We cannot fool ourselves any longer. The more we split into factions and create dueling sides in our country, the more people feel obligated to pick a side and the more conflict is created because of those divisions. Every time we make and issue about which side is right or wrong, we are encouraging people to defend their side. And some people, who aren’t in the right head space, will defend it with violence. We, citizens of America, are creating the monsters that plague our society. Someone I know recently said that we need to focus on kindness in wake of these tragedies, and I can’t agree more. Let’s shift our focus from fighting for what we are told is right moving forward, and let’s put effort into doing what we actually know it right: helping our neighbors and caring about our country. Why is it that the day after chaos, we see the need to fight it out online and on the house floor? How does that help anyone? Don’t contribute to the flames being fanned by those who seek to shine the brightest. Because if we combine all of our lights together, they will never come close to outshining us.

Yours with love,

Publius

Push Them Forward

Sorry for the late posting! Something happened yesterday and the post didn’t go through. Here is this week’s entry!

In the coming days when our preparation is called into practice, it may seem overwhelming to suddenly be much farther along than others around you. Some of us may find ourselves in places of power or authority due to our developing knowledge and virtue, or we may be looked to as a guide to help others prosper. As Tacitus wrote, “Indeed, the crowning proof of their valor and strength is that they keep up their superiority without harm to others.” In many ways, there will be a sense of superiority amongst us. But it is important to keep a level head. It has been said that power corrupts, and even the most virtuous can sometimes be swayed by the temptation to push their limits.

I believe one of the keys to remaining virtuous while in a position of power is to remember where you started. We all were introduced to the principles of liberty and virtue in very similar ways, and we worked our way through books and readings like everyone else. Anyone could have the knowledge we gained. Anyone can work hard to be where we are. If we believe that everyone has the same possibilities, it is hard to feel superior. Because we all have the possibility to be virtuous. There is no need to prove our valor through harm and violence. That goes against the key principles we are upholding. Instead, we should strive to prove our experience through teaching and demonstrating. If we really believe in liberty, we must believe in it for all men. So, if we are trusted with a position of power, we must use it to give the people the liberty they deserve. We should use our superiority as a way to show the people the best way for life. 

We were chosen for a reason. We were presented with this information and the option to pursue it. Now, it is our responsibility to spread the wealth. We will be looked to as the guides for a better future, the future we are meant to have. We must not do harm to others; we must only push them forward. 

Yours Truly,

Publius 

Good Books

It is well known by now that we must continually seek to educate ourselves on the important matters at hand. I think it is important, however, to talk about what we do outside of our studying. Today, there are so many distractions in the world that seemingly surround us day in and day out. But it can appear extremely hard to distinguish what is truly harmful to us and our progress. Oftentimes, movies, television programs, books, and even people have become so commonplace that it is hard to see that they are influencing us for the worse. I am going to specifically be speaking about books. From the time kids are young, they are continually encouraged to read and engage in literature. In schools and in homes, people want their kids to grow up surrounded by reading. I know that I was even praised when I would read more than the average kid my age. But while we tell them to read their hearts out in school libraries across the country, rarely do we tell them what they should be reading. Of course, as young kids it’s mostly nursery rhymes and random books about animals or colors; however, as they grow older, a much larger variety is presented to them. The books marketed to teens and young adults favor themes and ideas that some adults might find abrasive. Yet we still applaud those who pick them up off of shelves because “kids just aren’t reading anymore these days”. While reading in and of itself is a great way to strengthen the mind, the subject matters that we are letting slip into our heads are sometimes less than ideal. There is a difference between a good book in the worldly sense and a good book in the spiritual sense. What the public decides in a “good” book is one that is technically well written and overall entertaining to the readers. But the the truly GOOD book fills our soul, teaches us important lessons, and doesn’t make us question what we know to be true. As Milton wrote in Aeropagitica, “He who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye…a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit.” We should not only be encouraging the reading of books in general, but of good books in Milton’s understanding of the word. Now I understand how hard this can be to accept sometimes. As Wordsworth wrote, “the world is too much with us”, and we have began to accept things into our lives that take the place of better options. I’m not saying you have to completely drop every fiction book you have in your collection and replace them with historical texts. There are countless good books out there that are works of fiction, even some newer ones believe it or not. We just must keep in mind that we should not spend more time focusing on entertainment that we do education. Be careful of those hidden influences in popular material, especially when it comes to the youth. And make sure to take a mental inventory every now and again; are you filling yourself up with what will ultimately help you in the end, or are you taking in meaningless “bread and circuses” more and more often?

Yours truly,

Publius

The Past and the Future

It is always advised to learn from the past. The past mistakes from us and from others teach us to be better people in the long run. But it is important to remember that while we look to the past for guidance, we must not dwell on those past experiences. As Francis Bacon wrote, “That which is past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men have enough to do, with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with themselves, that labor in past matters.” Everyone has mistakes they’ve made in the past that they wish to correct. Despite this, there is almost nothing at all we can do to alter that past. Just as we can not change history, our own personal backgrounds are set in stone. The key is to take that and build off of it. 

It is cowardly to only look behind you as you move forward. Fear of what is to come ties you to what has already happened. There is always hesitation moving forward, but that doesn’t mean we can dwell on what is past. It takes courage to venture into the unknown; the path is not necessarily unknown, however. Wise men take the past and use it as a lamp for the future. Just as Patrick Henry said, “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.” When we study history, we know what steps we must take and which steps we must avoid. It is important to remember from whence we came. Every action done, every decision made has lead us to this exact moment. Even the poor choices and the missteps mean something. And more importantly they show us the way to a better future. Those who came before us died so we may live without their mistakes. It is disrespectful to ignore their struggles and simply learn it in our own. Move on from the past, but keep it in your mind. It will help you keep moving forward for years to come. 

Yours truly,

Publius