In last week’s post, I listed qualities that should be avoided when looking for a leader, but who can we trust to protect our property, our lives, and above all, our liberty? Those who are entrusted with the responsibility of preserving a nation should be those who first and foremost have demonstrated countless times that they live virtuous lives. Hugo Grotious stated that, “A man cannot govern a nation if he cannot govern a city; he cannot govern a city if he cannot govern his family; he cannot govern his family unless he can govern himself.” It does not make sense that we should trust someone to govern over us who cannot prove they can govern themselves. Those fit to lead display their virtue through their love of liberty, their humility, and their knowledge.
The most important duty given to those appointed to lead is meant to be preserving the liberty of the people, but a leader will fail to do so if they do not cherish liberty the way it is meant to be cherished. One would show they are meant to lead by displaying his love of that precious gift. In addition, those who are given authority to govern over us should be those who do not seek power, but seek to preserve the power the people hold over themselves. They sacrifice their time, not expecting anything in return, because they care about the well-being of those who have chosen them to lead. Finally, a leader must know how to govern righteously and know about past events and principles to guide them in the future. If someone does not know the principles of liberty and tyranny taught by so many people before us, they cannot govern over us virtuously.
To sum up, a tyrant is a leader who forcefully takes power or cunningly tricks people into giving it to him. A virtuous leader, the kind we are meant to have, will do everything he can to preserve liberty, and never seek for anything more. These virtuous leaders are out there, and if you can’t find one, become one. I hope you realize the type of people we must seek for, and the type of people we must avoid, as one cherishes liberty, and the other destroys it. I want to emphasize my gratitude, once again, for everyone who is making an effort to restore liberty, I promise your efforts are not in vain. Never stop laboring for what you know to be right.
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.
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!
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.