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

Curiosity

Everyone has heard the phrase “curiosity kills the cat”, yet we have also been told to question and search. It seems that we are once told to stick to the surface and again told to dig deeper. I believe that life truly requires a balance of both. There is always a time to inquire and a time to remain silent. Plutarch writes of this in his essay “Of Curiosity”. He describes how there are some people who think it is their place to know everyone’s business. They “cannot be satisfied unless they rake into the private and concealed evils of every family in the neighborhood.” People like this are rarely trusted and are seen as enemies rather than friends. There are matters that are meant to be kept private. “Without knocking at the door, it is great rudeness to enter another’s house,” as Plutarch puts it. Boundless curiosity is not only rude to the others around us, but is harmful to those who have it.

Despite this, there is a way to use curiosity in the proper setting. Plutarch proposes “to avoid the danger of this curiosity, divert thy thoughts to more safe and delightful enquiries.” Nature holds secrets that are meant to be analyzed. There are questions in life that need to be answered. If we direct any curiosity in those directions, it will not go to waste. Dig into ancient histories or books of principles and virtue. Seek to educate yourself on the things that matter. This will not be harmful. In fact, it is normally the opposite.

We cannot avoid curiosity in our lives. However, we can direct it towards the proper ends. There is nothing wrong with questions as long as they are focused on the proper issues. As we dive into knowledge, there is no limit. We should always strive towards understanding the world around us. Being inquisitive is not always a bad thing. We simply must learn where to direct our growing minds. This ability comes through maturity and education. Let us together push towards that perfect balance.

Yours Truly,

Publius

All Men Are Created Equal

This Thursday marks the 243rd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. One of the key phrases in it is “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. While most Americans are able to quote this line with confidence, very few actually understand what it means. Thomas Jefferson knee the importance of the words he was writing and chose them very carefully. He writes that “all men” have these characteristics. Today, the phrase has somehow started to mean all Americans. However, this is not what he is saying. All men, no matter where they are born or what country they pledge allegiance to, have the natural rights to life, liberty, and property among many others. The Creator gave these rights to mankind, and we have no authority to deny anyone of them. We claim to want liberty for all, yet we don’t let them choose how they receive it. We claim to respect the life of others, yet we take it away without question or trial. We claim to want the best for every citizen of every country, yet we march in and take over without pause. Why do we not respect all men?

You can not force men to be free. When independence was declared, the convention did not require everyone to sign the document. States joined the union voluntarily. The Bills of Rights was written to ensure that the government didn’t over step their boundaries like the monarchy that proceeded them. Every step of the way, America upheld the natural rights of man. So why does it stop at our borders?

While we celebrate our nation’s independence and the liberty that severance allowed the founders to act upon, keep in mind the principles that lead our founding fathers to that point. We were created to be free, as all men were. Our rights do not come from the government and do not stop at our citizenship. We are independent. Let’s start recognizing what that truly means.

Yours truly,

Publius

Choosing Your Path

It is sometimes thought that men are constantly choosing between the right and wrong things in life. While this is most commonly that case, there sometimes arises that situation where there appears to be only one choice. Well, then what is the case? If it is an evil path, does that make the traveler evil? Or if it is the noble way to go is the decider inherently virtuous?

I believe that there are some people who honestly do not know any way but one. Perhaps they have not been taught an opposing side or they have never come across it in there life. When this is the case, they can not be seen as choosing their way. If a person has grown up with a family who has always followed a certain path and was never told that there are other options, they are not choosing between good or evil; they are following what they know.

We look around our country right now and see thousands of examples of this very thought. The virus that is plaguing our country is not the current generations doing. It has come from decades of un-education in generations of Americans. The “blame” is so far back that is is very hard to pinpoint exactly where it started. People today are simply following what they know. Their parents, and their parents’ parents years back, have only presented them one way to live and act. They honestly do not know any better. So they are not “choosing” the wrong thing if they are not seeing any options.

This is where people start to get heated, however. Many argue that they are still making that choice no matter what because the good path is always there. And while this is technically true, just because a path is there doesn’t mean they can see it. And usually, they haven’t even been taught how to look for it.

We must be their guiding light. It is our job, those of us that can see the good way to do things, to show them that they have other options. We must educate them, teach them the difference between right and wrong, the true difference. If you are able to consciences make the decision to do good each and every day, you have been given the gift of the truth. Now it is up to you to share it.

But be careful. Often times, there are people who only see one choice in their life, and it happens to be the good one. Perhaps you were raised in a very virtuous family and were blessed to have the righteous path laid out very clear. You still need to pay attention. As Plutarch wrote, “Virtue, like finest brass, by use grows bright.” If you have been blessed with an inclination towards virtue, you must still make the best of it. Strengthen it like any other muscle. Not acting on the best instincts makes them useless.

People are quick to judge the others around them. They see people’s actions and have no consideration to the process behind them. We must always be open to the possibility that others have not been shown the truth. Because many have not. But if we always meet these people with disapproval and contempt, no one will ever want to hear what we have to say. Keep this in mind every time you try to speak the good word to those around you.

Yours truly,

Publius

3 Years of Pursing Patriotism

This past Sunday marks the three year anniversary of America Restored. As we celebrate everything that has lead us here, we think back to our original purpose of these blogs. We truly do want to restore America because we love our country. But sometimes it is unclear what that love, which some refer to as patriotism or ‘public spirit’, actually looks like. As Gordon wrote in Cato’s Letter Number 35, “The love of one’s country, or publick spirit, is a phrase in every body’s mouth, but it seldom goes deeper, it is talked of with out being felt.” 

We see false patriots around us every day. They claim to love America and the freedoms it possesses, yet they act in ways that completely undermine what the founders stood for. They, in fact, are the opposite of true patriots. Those people slowly lead the masses away from what America is and act against the public’s own good in a way that could never be considered the love of one’s country. Gordon writes that the “duty of a man to himself [must] be performed subsequently to the general welfare, and consistently with it.”  There are still many who claim to have a different duty – be it protection or humanitarianism or whatever flag they wave. They use their titles to take us away from our governing document and ideals. They make wild claims or use invisible threats to make us unsteady. It is best put in letter 35:

“Those patrons therefore of dry dreams, who do mischief to the world to make it better, are the pests and distressers of mankind, and shut themselves out from all pretense to love of their country. They would force all men into an absolute certainty about absolute uncertainties and contradictions; they would ascertain ambiguities, without removing them, and plaque and punish men for having but five senses.”

We must not listen to these men. In order to defeat their false pretenses, we should strive for the truth. To love one’s country, you must understand what it stands for. What good is spirit if it is not rooted in the proper place?

So how do we show our public spirit? We strive to be true patriots and support our country as best we know how – by upholding the principles of its founders and honoring the government they created. We seek to educate the public and point out the misdeeds around us. As Gordon wrote, “we…dread to see the day, when it will be safer for one man to be a traitor, than for another man, or for a whole people, to call him so. Where-ever public spirit is found dangerous, she will soon be seen dead.” 

Thank you for being with us these three years as we work towards our goal. We would also like to apologize for our lack of consistency these past few weeks. Our lives have been moving forward and changing, but because of this we are focused on making “America Restored” do the same. We hope you will stay with us as we further pursue the noble path of our fathers before us. 

Yours truly,

Publius