The Sovereignty of the States

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

Step By Step

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.

Goal for 2018

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.

Stay Strong,

Publius

Staying Focused

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,

Publius

Revere Liberty

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.

Yours truly,

Publius

Speak Up

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.

Yours truly,

Publius

Seek Out Knowledge and Be Wise

The subject of knowledge is one I have written about a number of times, but one that can not be stressed enough. William Shakespeare taught, “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” It is foolish to think that at some point you have learned everything and that you need not seek knowledge anymore. There is so much even the wisest of men still don’t know, and it is impossible to have learned all of the knowledge that the world has to offer. Only once I began reading more than just fictional stories did I realize how little I really know. To be wise is not to know everything, but to recognize how much there is to learn, and to seek out that knowledge. Many people are led to believe that once they have gotten to a certain point, they have learned “enough” and that, though there is more knowledge out there, there is no need to seek it out because it is useless, but I will again use the statement made by James Madison, that “knowledge will forever govern ignorance.” If we refuse to learn all we can, we will be forced into slavery by those who know more than we do. However, if we will take the time and effort required to gain as much knowledge as we can, then we can know more than those who rule over us, and once again obtain liberty. Benjamin Franklin also spoke of the importance of learning. He taught, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” What we learn now, we will not only use in our own lifetimes, but can be taught to others and affect the lives of many more. Knowledge, accompanied by virtue, is the key to a free nation. I encourage you to find every opportunity to seek it out, for yourself and those around you.

Yours truly,

Publius

Look to the Constitution

When I published the first entry to America Restored, I was inspired by the men who wrote the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers. For this reason, the very first words I put on our website were “the new Federalist papers”. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists both loved liberty, and had differing opinions on what would be best to secure it, but both had amazing insights and ideas that have taught thousands of us today. The Federalists ultimately won the debate and because of this we were given our Constitution today. The Anti-Federalist papers had just as many, if not more good ideas and incredible principles, but the reason I chose to call America Restored the new Federalist papers, is because the Federalists stood up for the Constitution, which is what we are trying to do today.

If we will support the Constitution at all times, then it will be the key for us to restore liberty. An amazing teacher of mine, Joe Wolverton, repeatedly declares, “The Constitution. Every issue. Every time. No exceptions. No excuses. No respecter of persons.” We cannot simply pick and choose when we will and will not support this document; we must be constantly fighting for it. The Constitution draws the barriers between government, and tyranny. Once someone takes a power that is not expressly given to them in the Constitution, it is an act of tyranny and must be put to an end immediately. We cannot expect those governing over us to stay within their bounds unless we stop them from doing so. Any unconstitutional act must be stopped, no matter what sacrifices we have to make, otherwise, it continues to grow. This is why America Restored was started in the first place. Eighteen months ago, I decided I was not going to sit back and watch people continue to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution without doing anything. Stand up, and don’t allow the tyranny to continue to grow. It has been let out and the only way we can trap it again is by forcing it back within its constitutional cage. We have been, and will continue to strive to become the New Federalist papers by supporting the Constitution with “every issue. Every time. No exceptions and no excuses.”

Yours truly,

Publius

Live With Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches I would like to again emphasize the importance of gratitude. I realize that I often write about what we are lacking, but it is important to remember that we still have so much for which we should be grateful. I once heard the question, if tomorrow you had only what you were thankful for today, what would you have left? Too often we forget to be grateful for the small things, as well as some of the big things we have had for so long that we tend to take them for granted. Henry David Thoreau boldly declared, “I am thankful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” When we recognize all that we have, our hearts are filled with gratitude and humility. We are then filled with the desire to help others who don’t have what we do, so that they may feel the joy and gratitude we feel. Be grateful for all the mistakes you have made, they have made you better. Be grateful for the hardships you have endured, they have made you stronger. Be grateful for the joy you have felt, it will keep you going. Be grateful for those who fought for you in the past. Be grateful for those who do so now, who help you and lift you up. Be grateful for your knowledge, for most people live their whole lives without knowing what you know. Be grateful for the liberty you do have, because you can use it to obtain more liberty. Be grateful for your virtue, because you can use it to become more virtuous and help others do the same. I am grateful for these things. I am grateful for each page of every book that has given me knowledge. I am grateful for every teacher I have had that has done likewise. I am so beyond grateful that I know of the principles of liberty and tyranny, and for the means by which I can share it with others. I know that if we are grateful for what we have now, we will have the desire to accomplish so much more.

Yours truly,

Publius

Why I Am An American

On May 29, 1940, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. gave an address entitled “Why I Am an American”, in this address, he reiterated what countless patriots have declared before him, he said, “I am an American because I believe in a government of laws and not of men… I am an American because I believe that government must derive its ‘just powers from the consent of the governed’… I am an American because I believe in the greatest possible measure of self-government…I am an American because I believe that the destiny of America is to be an abiding place of liberty.” Many people today pride themselves on being an American because of the freedom we have; however, though we may have more freedom than many other places, we are still enslaved by the chains of tyranny, even though are chains may be longer. Being an American does not simply mean you live in America, being a true American or patriot means standing up for your liberty, and working to break the chains that enslave you. We have an obligation to obey the government when it abides by the Constitution, but when it doesn’t, we do not have to, and should not support it. Being a true American means not allowing a tyrant to take your freedom, we just fight for our liberty, and only then can we be called patriots.

I am an American because I love my country. I am an American because I value virtue and liberty. I am an American because I believe that we can never truly be free unless the government we have chosen abides strictly by the Constitution.

I am an American because I believe that we are not yet completely free, but I am fighting to get there. I am an American because I believe that liberty is important today, and that we need to fight for it. I am an American because I believe that one day, we will have liberty, and I am an American because I will never settle for anything less.

Yours truly,

Publius