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.