Seventy One Years Ago

In case you don’t immediately understand I will let someone who has a much better way with words than myself explain it.

And then you see her on the port quarter, what little there is to see of her above the water from an acute angle: The number 3 barbette of the USS Arizona, the watery graveyard of 1100 men and a mute testament both to perfidy and unpreparedness. Sixty-odd years after she went down, little rainbow pools of oil still bubble to the surface from within trapped spaces and voids, footless passageways embracing the mouldering bones of sailors whose names are known but to God. The old salts say that these are her tears of rage and anguish, her tears of loss and bereavement. They say that she is weeping. They say that she is weeping still.

Go read the whole thing, it’s definitely worth the time.

Independence Day (2012)

Every year for the past couple years I have done a decent Independence day post.  It was never really intended to be an ongoing theme.  I will say that I love this day, mainly because I love the fact we sent a formalized letter to Bastard King George saying we can, and have the right to tell him to go screw himself.

As a quick rundown, here’s the posts I’ve done on independence and liberty over the past couple years.

I love this day, more specifically I love the history of it and the significance of it.  When else in history did someone formalize a letter like that telling them, and rightfully so, to go piss up a rope.  There are a lot of people who attempt to trivialize or even discredit both the people who achieved independence as well as the history surrounding it.

There were a lot of things that happened just right, and even more importantly many of the right people with the right attitudes were in a position to make things happen.

So today, celebrate the fact that a bunch of men took a risk upon themselves, pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to give you the opportunities you have today.  Many probably wouldn’t be interested in spending the time learning the details surrounding it.  My wife used to be one of those, however I have converted her to enjoying history instead of hating and despising it.  I love learning history much the same as I love learning about anything.  I’m glad I’m not the only one with that view of learning.

I don’t feel like giving a history lesson today.  Instead all I ask is at some point if you haven’t watched it before, watch the John Adams miniseries.  It provides a good window for those who aren’t as apt to pick up a book or just generally enjoy history.

So a thank you to the obnoxious and disliked Mr. Adams.

Look forward to Part II later today.

Ear Worm Wednesday–7/4/2012

Considering today is the day America recognizes as having declared their independence.  When in truth we merely formalized the letterIndependence was actually declared two days earlier.

I think I’m just going to have to post this every year.

Independence Day 2010

This year we celebrate Independence Day on the heels of another win for gun rights. The historical road for this country is full of lessons that we should remember, cherish, and endeavor to never forget. Independence Day is a day devoted to one of the most monumental and important events in our history. This event is so important and monumental that previously nothing like it had ever been seen throughout the history of the world. This event is marked by one day with one particular document. On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted on the Lee Resolution which actually declared the colonies to be free and independent states. It was then that the Continental Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, as the document to formally notify fat George we were no longer accepting his bull "crap".

If you have never read the entire Declaration of Independence I highly suggest you do. If you have read it, read it again, it’s never too early for another refresher.

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

We must never forget the road that took us down this path. We must also remain ever vigilant to maintain freedom and liberty by watching for tyrants and stopping them from abusing our form of government for their own gain and acquisition of power.

Memorial Day

Memorial day is tomorrow despite the fact many believe it to be on Monday. Sorry but it’s not, it is not an excuse for a three day weekend. It is a day to stop, pause, and reflect on the men and women who have paid the ultimate price so that we wouldn’t have to.

Photo: Barron Barnett (2001)

Many have never been to Arlington or seen the Vietnam Memorial. I have seen both, it is extremely sobering. Many take the gift of freedom for granted. They have no concept of the sacrifice made by so many or the impact it has beyond just those who never return.

Photo: Trey Ratcliff(2010)

Tomorrow at noon, I ask, stop whatever you are doing for one minute. Reflect on all the men and women who never came home, never saw their families again, never saw their children grow up, never got to retire and grow old in peace. One minute towards thanking them, remembering them, and appreciating what they’ve done so you wouldn’t have to.

Ignored Lessons

For those who have never read it, Joe Huffman wrote this great page on civil disobedience. The lessons quoted from someone else at the end drive it home.

Remember the lessons of the 20th Century:

Lesson No. 1: If a bureaucrat, or a soldier sent by a bureaucrat, comes to knock down your door and take you someplace you don’t want to go because of who you are or what you think– kill him. If you can, kill the politician who sent them. You will likely die anyway, and you will be saving someone else the same fate. For it is a universal truth that the intended victims always far outnumber the tyrant’s executioners. Any nation which practices this lesson will quickly run out of executioners and tyrants, or they will run out of it.

Lesson No. 2: If a bureaucrat, or a soldier sent by a bureaucrat, comes to knock down your door and confiscate your firearms– kill him. The disarmament of law-abiding citizens is the required precursor to genocide.

Lesson No. 3: If a bureaucrat tells you that he must know if you have a firearm so he can put your name on a list for the common good, or wants to issue you an identity card so that you may be more easily identified– tell him to go to hell. Registration of people and firearms is the required precursor to the tyranny which permits genocide. Bureaucrats cannot send soldiers to doors that aren’t on their list.

Lesson No. 4: Believe actions, not words. Tyrants are consummate liars. Just because a tyrant is “democratically elected” doesn’t mean that he believes in democracy. Reference Adolf Hitler, 1932. And just because a would-be tyrant mouths words of reverence to law and justice, or takes a solemn oath to uphold a constitution, doesn’t mean he believes such concepts apply to him. Reference Bill Clinton, among others. The language of the lie is just another tool of killers. A sign saying “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes You Free) posted above an execution camp gate doesn’t mean that anybody gets out of there alive, and a room labeled “Showers” doesn’t necessarily make you clean. Bill Clinton notwithstanding, the meaning of “is” is plain when such perverted language gets you killed. While all tyrants are liars, it is true that not all political liars are would-be tyrants– but they bear close watching. And keep your rifle handy.

From Obama’s mouth:

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I’d be OK

But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

His statements on guns coupled with the above are greatly disturbing and certainly lesson 4 comes into play.