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