“The only way I know to drive out evil from the country is by the constructive method of filling it with good.” -Calvin Coolidge
There is so much evil in the world and it has such a profound influence on the lives of so many people. Those who support this evil are also the ones who encourage it, and try to get you to do the same. Luckily, there is also so much good in the world! The choice each of us faces everyday is will we be influenced by the evil, or will we be influenced by the good? The people we interact with, the things we read, what we listen to, they can all impact the way we think and the decisions we make. In order to drive out the evil in our lives and fill it with good, we must move only towards those things that promote virtue. We can find a way to become more virtuous in every situation, but some are easier than others. With all the influence evil has on the world, it can become very difficult to choose the path that leads to virtue rather than wickedness. We need to have the courage and determination to choose to be virtuous. Once you have done so, you need to influence those around us to be the same. With all the evil everyone faces, you can be the good that people turn to so they can drive out the evil. In order to become a society that loves liberty, we must first become a society that admires virtue and despises evil. Instead of being influenced by the evil, be an influence for good.
In everything that we do, every single day, we think, then we act. We think, “what should I wear today?”, then after making a decision, we actually put on what we have decided to wear. There are very few actions we ever take without having a thought before them deciding to do that action; however, quite often we think of something, and never act on it. We think of getting up and helping out a friend or neighbor, but then we never do. We think about getting a head start on studying for a test, but then put it off. We think about taking time out of our day to read and learn of valuable principles, but it just doesn’t happen. Getting up and doing something can be a lot harder than just thinking about doing it. However, without the action being taken, friends and neighbors are left alone and you can never learn anywhere near as much as you could have. If we are constantly thinking about doing good, but never act on those thoughts, then so much is left undone. When we allow ourselves to become lazy, then we allow ourselves to become slaves to those who actually act, even if their actions are wrong. Despite this, Stephen R. Covey once said, “We can act, instead of being acted upon.” Short, yet so powerful and true. We cannot let ourselves be ruled by those who work hard for tyranny, as we sit back and watch it happen. We need to put forth more effort and more action than those who are trying to take our liberty. If we choose to be acted upon, instead of taking action, we will be forced to live our lives in slavery. I encourage you all to take the action necessary to earn back that liberty we have lost.
Yours truly, Publius
This is sometimes one of the most daunting questions that we can be faced with, while at the same time being a simple three letters. People can almost develop a fear of asking questions.
So, why do we do this?
Not because we don’t want to ask, but because we’re afraid of the answer. A questions like “why” can lead to so many different paths and you have no control over where it leads. So you stay silent. You let the moment pass. You stay curious in your thoughts but silent in you actions. And that’s when bad things happen.
Because if you do not question, there is no barrier for someone to break through. If no ever questions your actions, then there’s no reason to stop. Our government is where it is today because no one ever stopped to ask “why”. No one ever questioned where things were headed or why officials were doing what they did. They just turned their heads. They didn’t care enough to ask. Or maybe they didn’t know enough to ask.
Because a lack of questions also leads to a lack of knowledge. You must ask to receive. Information is found through a series of questions. If you ever want to stop something, you must find out why it is going. In order to correct the misdoings of our government, we must ask why it has gotten to where it is and how to fix it. Seek out the answers to the questions of your mind, or they will remain simply that. Questions.
Ask your friends “why”. Ask your teachers “why”. Ask your family “why”. Ask your government “why”. Ask yourself “why”. Ask “why” to anything that makes you question for many reasons, if not just simply why not.
Thomas Jefferson stated, “in manners of style, swim with the current; in manners of principle, stand like a rock.”
In today’s society, there are trends and styles that come and go rather quickly. Through all these changes, it is easy to want to follow each latest craze and feel part of, and accepted by society, but it is important to recognize that while some of these newest ideas are harmless and can be embraced, some ideas are harmful, and take place of true, good principles. The principles of liberty are timeless, but are no longer being taught. The principles of education and knowledge have been taken and changed into something that has a completely different purpose from what they were meant to accomplish. The principles of virtue have been set aside and pushed away. Why is it that these incredibly important and valuable principles have been taken out of today’s society? They have been, and always will be, important to understand; however, today they are looked at as “old fashioned” and irrelevant. To this I agree with Patrick Henry, that if these principles “be deemed old fashioned… I am contended to be so.” It is ok to be part of society and keep up with the latest trends, but never if you have to compromise the principles you know to be true. Never throw away these truths because they can be your most powerful tool in restoring liberty and virtue.
James Madison declared, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Unfortunately, we live in a world where men are not angels and we often make mistakes, so usually, government is necessary. It is important, however, to know what the government is meant to provide so we can know when it is not doing enough, or doing too much and taking too much power. The purpose of our government, as stated in the Constitution, is to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty.”
The first phrase, “form a more perfect union” is one that is crucial to understand. The States came together when signing the Constitution so they could protect each other’s liberty, but in The Quintessence of Long Speeches, Arranged as a Political Catechism, by Maria Pinckney, it explains that when the states agreed to, and signed the Constitution, “the individuality and sovereign personality of the States was not at all impaired.” In other words, when brought together by the Constitution, the States did not give up any sovereignty, meaning that each state is entitled to, and should make their own laws, and run each State whichever way the government of that state sees fit. The beauty of this system is, if you decide you don’t like the laws in one state, you can move to another. This also means that federal laws should be scarce, and be made only when every state deems in necessary and it is within the powers given them in the Constitution. If the law cannot be made within the boundaries in the Constitution, then it is not a law at all. In the same Catechism as quoted before, it says, “for the people to be free, the states must be free.” When signing the Constitution, the states did not sign away their freedom, but only formed a way to protect it. Likewise, the government should never take away our personal liberty, but only protect it. If we see it begin to take more power than it is given, it is our duty to take it back.
Yours truly, Publius
It is hard to believe that there has already been a full week of 2018. As mentioned in last week’s entry, this is the time of year that people make new goals for themselves. Many people want to lose weight, read more, be more organized, etc. but less than half of the people that set these goals, actually accomplish them. So what is the secret? Why can’t people seem to be able to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves? At the beginning of each year, you recognize what you have done wrong or could have done better the year before, so you want to be able to have a fresh start and completely change then and there, when that is not how things work. In order to change something you feel needs to be changed, you need to start slow and work your way up. Simply saying, “from now on I am going to be completely organized and my house will never get messy again,” just isn’t going to work. Instead, try saying “I am going to make sure I stay organized these next few days.” Once that is accomplished, you can move onto a week, a couple of weeks, a month, and before you know it, you are more organized in 2018 than you were in 2017. However, it is also important to recognize that you will not be one-hundred percent perfect in keeping your goals. There may be a day every once in a while that you just can’t keep up and things get a little more unorganized than you wanted, and that’s ok.
This same principle applies when trying to restore liberty. You cannot just say that you will have liberty restored by the end of the year, or even within your lifetime because that just might not happen. You need to begin by trying to read daily, learn the principles, be more virtuous, and teach others, because liberty cannot be restored any other way. Also, you’ll need to recognize that it is ok that you aren’t perfect, and it’s ok that you mess up, because we all do, just making that effort to restore what has been lost is an amazing accomplishment. I encourage you to make personal virtue a goal in your life, and help others to do the same.
As we welcome in the New Year today, everyone starts to think about their various resolutions. Whatever your current situation be, I ask that you consider this as your goal for not only this year, but all years to come: Restoration. Our primary goal here and our constant goal in life, restoration can occur on all fronts. Restoring America is of course the major goal, but as we’ve stated many times before you must start with yourself. Make an effort to restore your personal being in 2018. With a push towards virtue, many other typical resolutions are covered. For instance, in Benjamin Franklin’s list of thirteen virtues, number one is temperance or “Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation” which covers any dieting goal for the new year. Want to be more organized? Number three states “Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time” and “Tolerate no uncleanliness of in body, cloaths, or habitation” as in number ten. Other virtues of Franklin include Sincerity, Moderation, even Frugality if you wish to save more money. With a dedicated restoration of virtue in you life, many other goals are accomplished. But the most important, in my eyes, to come from this list is Resolution itself. It does not just mean to set goal, but to be resolute in them, as Franklin wrote “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve”. So this year, set out to restore your personal life and remain resolute in your goals. Resolutions are nothing without dedications to follow them. Bring in the New Years with a goal for goodness in your life in order to make 2018 a great year. As our history teacher says, “Make America Good Again” and in order to do that, make yourself good again first.
Since today is Christmas, I wanted to keep today’s entry brief. With all the festivities going on around this time of year, it is easy to be caught up in all the gifts, music, and lights, and while all of these things are fun and should be enjoyed, it is important to not lose focus on all of the things that bring us true joy. So while you are enjoying all of the fun that comes at this time of year, don’t forget to continue working toward personal virtue, because that is what can lead to the most happiness in your life.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday full of joy,
Voltaire declared that it is “difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”
About 44BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated by Brutus and other Roman senators because they were through with his tyranny. When they had done so, they expected the people to be thrilled to be rid of such a dictator as Caesar but instead, these Roman senators found that the people were angry, because though Caesar was a tyrant, he provided them with protection, food, and entertainment. While we may say, “Caesar was awful, why wouldn’t they have rejoiced to be rid of him?”, we often catch ourselves doing the same thing. Any time someone speaks against something the government is doing, many people tend to defend and justify their tyrannical actions, simply because it benefits them. When people fight against tyranny and for liberty, people get uncomfortable because that is going against what they have been taught.
On a more personal level, there are so many things that surround us that we know can harm our virtue, or harm us physically, yet we still decide to participate in it, disregarding the negative effects it may have on us. Many times, we choose the short lived pleasure over a long time of peace and virtue, simply because it is easier to do so. C.S Lewis taught, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” When we are strong enough to resist taking the easy path that will lead us astray, and instead take the path of virtue, we will rejoice in the liberty that we will receive, instead of complain of the worldly pleasures we have lost. To quote Patrick Henry once again, “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings, give us that precious jewel, and you may have everything else.” Nothing the world can give us can amount to the value and blessing of liberty. It will give us more peace, more strength, and more joy than any phone, tv show, or car. Liberty is truly the most precious jewel, and it is time we treat it as such.
The first amendment to the Constitution is the freedom of religion, press, speech, and assembly. The one thing all of these have in common, is that they all ensure that the people have the freedom of thought, or, as Thomas Gordon said, “you might think what you would, and speak what you thought”. Today, I want to specifically draw attention to the freedom of speech, which can really include all of the above mentioned freedoms. There is a reason that this was the very first amendment to the Constitution, because while the Constitution guarantees certain “unalienable rights” which include the freedom of speech, there were those who wanted to make sure that this certain right could not be taken away under any circumstances. This freedom of speech is what allows the people to say whatever they wish about the government and what it has become. It allows people to be able to fight against tyranny, and stand up for that which they believe to be right. Thomas Gordon also declared, “that men ought to speak well of their governors… while their governors deserve to be well spoken of; but to do a public mischief, without hearing of it, is only the prerogative and felicity of tyranny: a free people will be shewing that they are so, by their freedom of speech.” The freedom of speech is an important tool to restoring liberty. Not only is it a privilege when we have this freedom, it is our duty to use it to fight against tyranny. All of the principles I have written about; hard work, perseverance, teaching, knowledge, virtue, liberty, and all others, require you to utilize those freedoms mentioned in the first amendment. This is why these freedoms being targeted is so detrimental to the cause of liberty. No matter what, we must continue to say whatever we can for the cause of liberty, even as it grows harder in today’s society to do so. To close with Thomas Gordon’s words, “the defense of liberty is a noble, a heavenly office.” I hope we can all strive toward this noble office, and restore liberty to where it is supposed to be.