Book Anthem

"I can say -- not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic roots -- that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world."

 

-- Ayn Rand

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Wednesday
Aug202008

Freeman's Spiritual Crisis (p481)

(Setting:  Freeman collapses in despair at Jefferson's imagined funeral, as he finally comprehends what has been lost).

The song faded to black, only to be replaced by the sound of a lone, plaintive bugle. An unseen muse was playing Taps as if her soul had fingers, her heart had lips, and the very essence of Man was being exhaled from her lungs. It was a slow, deliberate, and infinitely rueful lament that made Sinatra's magnificent rendition in "From Here to Eternity" seem mundane by comparison. Each morbid tone from the bugle ripped another gash in Freeman's wounded heart. He lost consciousness as the final wrenching note bade farewell to his hero.

When he awoke, he was curled in the fetal position, shivering like a lost child in a cold, dark forest. Somewhere very near, wolves were howling at the moon. His shivering intensified. He was drowning in emotional pain from a scathing self-assessment. One of the most brutal lessons in life, he now understood, is learning who you are. Years of youthful exuberance are spent wondering and planning and becoming who you will become. Everything in you and in the world seems malleable and correctable and possible. Then a threshold is silently crossed, and the soft clay of your soul hardens into granite. Your limitless future becomes a limited, uncomfortable present. You are then confronted with the painful discovery that you aren’t who you were supposed to become, in the youthful eye of your idealistic mind. Freeman, like America, had reached this stage in life. He felt irretrievably lost.

Wednesday
Aug202008

Jefferson's Immortality (p471-p472)

(Setting:  Jefferson is sentenced to death by the sham trial, but he declares the immortality of his essence).

"Death isn’t as complete as we mortals fear", Jefferson said cryptically. "These cutthroats can execute me, but they can’t kill me. They can lock me up and throw away the key, but I will still be everywhere. I am eternal, because the ideas of passionate people penetrate every barrier, including the vale of death. As Franklin Roosevelt said, 'No man and no force can abolish memory. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the ideas that embody man's eternal fight against tyranny.' I have done for my country, and for all mankind, all that I could do. I cherished the opportunity to lead the battle for liberty. I sincerely believe that I’ve left the world better than I found it. Now, I resign my soul to the deeper completeness of eternity. Look upon my life and my ideas as inspiration. My body may be buried and eaten by worms, but my infectious spirit will live on. Let my ideas and my inspiration make you think and be moved."

Wednesday
Aug202008

Jefferson Offers a Vision (p461-p466)

(Setting:  At his trial for treason, Jefferson concludes his speech with a description of the moral and political framework that will be put in place after the 2nd American Revolution).

"After we destroy your criminal government, what shall we put in its place? I’ll offer you a vision. It starts with the right to life, which is the foundation of all rights and all morality. There is nothing more precious than life, and nothing that can be so completely and uniquely possessed by each person. All else is derived from this sacred right.

"The purpose of life is to achieve happiness, which means to experience the joy of existence. Any other motive for living is destructive, because unhappiness is the only alternative. Happiness requires values as a foundation for the actions and choices that will lead to fulfillment. Nobody, not even God or Caesar, can determine these values for us, and nobody else can make the thousands upon thousands of choices consistent with our values to enable our happiness. If we aren’t free to choose our values and to act consistently with them to achieve happiness, then we are essentially dead, even if we still have a pulse. Individual liberty is therefore a pre-requisite for happiness and a direct extension of the right to life.

"All men have the right to their own lives, not just a privileged few. The right to life is an all or nothing proposition for humanity. No man is born into this world as chattel of another man or of a social entity. We possess individual desires and ambitions, which are supreme in each of our own universes. If some men are allowed to forcibly violate other men's right to life, then all such rights will become untenable as society devolves into anarchic chaos or totalitarian lock down.

"The right to earn and keep private property is the only guarantee of a man's right to his own life, and it is founded in our natural right to what we acquire through our efforts, without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings. If a man doesn’t own the fruit of his productive effort, then he doesn’t own his life, because his ability to sustain it is owned and controlled by someone else, rendering the rest of his rights meaningless. Each man's physical and intellectual effort belongs to him alone. If he doesn’t have the sole right to that which his life brings into being, then he is a slave in every sense of the word and is merely chattel to be bargained away in grand political initiatives to transfer wealth from those that produce to those that don’t. Thus, the only moral justification for creating governments among men is to protect property and life, with property understood as that which life produces. If property rights are not protected, then life is not protected, and the social compact will disintegrate as bands of thieves pirate what other people produce. The glaring contradiction of our history is that the governments which should have been protecting us have been instead the greatest threats to our lives and the most audacious thieves of our productive efforts.

"Since individual liberty is a corollary of the right to life, voluntarism must be the fundamental mode of social and economic interaction. Anything else implies forcible coercion by some men over others, which is slavery and which violates the right to life. Every transaction and interaction among men must be voluntary, based on mutual consent and mutual benefit.

"A market system with free exchange of labor, capital, and goods is the only moral economic structure consistent with everyone’s fundamental right to life. It’s the only mechanism that guarantees societal ambitions will be subordinated to individual rights. It’s the only system in which men can consensually trade their labor for other things of value. It’s the only system in which accumulated capital can be made available consensually for others to use, in return for a profit. It’s the only system in which the products of our efforts can be exchanged for other valuables with mutual consent. Thus, it’s the only system in which men can cooperate on an enormous scale, while retaining their individual sovereignty. That it’s also the most efficient way to organize economically is merely a serendipitous coincidence. The true beauty of the market system is not its magnificent productivity, but rather its moral requirement that all interactions and transactions be voluntary. Free men require free markets. Any other system for economic activity is, by definition, a form of slavery. It’s as simple and inescapable as that.

"The sole justification for government is to protect life, civil liberty, and the property, equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own industry, or that of his fathers. Rights enforcement, property laws, police, and national defense are therefore legitimate functions of the state.

"The way to have good and safe government is not to create one centralized behemoth, but to divide it among many smaller local governments, distributing to each exactly the functions it is competent to execute. This puts each citizen closer to more of the governmental apparatus than if all things are directed from Washington, enabling them to oversee their appointed officials more effectively. If scoundrels make their way into government, they will be more easily detected, more readily eradicated, and less likely to surreptitiously accumulate irreversible power.

"Any attempt by politicians and judges to enact laws which violate the right to life and property is cause for their removal, first by procedural means, and if those fail, then by violence justified as self defense by citizens. Any step a government takes beyond its charter of protecting life and property must inherently be destructive of either life or property, even if good intentions are professed, and the ultimate result will be slavery, terror, and bloodshed.

"In summation, the moral compact of society is based on each man's right to his own life, and to that property which his life brings into existence. Governments are instituted solely to protect these rights. When governments abuse these rights, it is our birthright to revolt. We have a fundamental right to defend ourselves against our government. Without the 2nd Amendment, all of our other rights are superfluous. As Patrick Henry admonished, 'Suspect everyone who approaches the jewel of public liberty. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined. The great object is that every man be armed.' We must retain the right to bear arms to protect ourselves from tyrannical government when society and law are unequal to the task. Our greatest security is to be found in organizing for defense with our brothers and neighbors in local militias.

"Does this vision have a name? Naming a philosophy is dangerous, because men are quick to suffocate the principles with dogma and suspend their worship of reason for worship of canons. When men look at their philosophies with sanctimonious reverence, faith gradually supersedes reason under their sleepy watch, until the dogma looks nothing like the original doctrine and enslaves them with something unrecognizable and horrible. This is how America ended up with politically correct Ismism, which means nothing and everything at the same time simply because we allow it to, having lost the ability to make proper judgments with reason as our guide.

"America religiously worshipped its founding isms, and then forgot the principles they were built on. These foundations have crumbled, but our dulled minds continue to worship capitalism, federalism, and republicanism, even though we don’t understand their moral and philosophical precepts. We are enslaved by ignorant faith in them, because we have abdicated our responsibility to think.

"We don't need another ism put forth by me. We simply need common sense, which is a commitment to thinking. Thinking will yield more enlightenment in one day than any dogma or ism can in a lifetime. Our lives aren’t meant to be subsumed into grandiose social movements, urged along by terminology and syllogisms beyond our ken. The time has come to abandon our isms, for they are the chains on our ankles and the nooses around our necks. Rousseau wondered why man is born free, but is everywhere in chains. It’s because we surrendered reason in favor of faith, which is the first link in the chain of enslavement to kings and priests.

"We shouldn’t worship our past, our Constitution, or even the Declaration I wrote, merely for their tradition. They served us well, but they are simply manifestations of the much larger human greatness of common sense, the catalytic engine for evaluating reality in a manner that is proper for individuals to grow and prosper. Never let the worship of common sense degenerate into an ism, with dogma, faith, and ritual. Simply recognize that the minds of individual men are sacred, that they must be utilized constantly, and that they must remain free and independent. All rational constructions of society will then be continuously regenerated.

"We should have revered common sense all along. Ironically, Thomas Paine used the title ‘Common Sense’ for his dramatic writings that fueled the intellectual and emotional fire of the original American Revolution. So, if you must name my philosophy, follow Paine’s inspiration and call it Common Sense, or call it nothing it all. In our brief lives on this planet, the goal isn’t to choose one ideology or faith over another, but to resist all such calls and to instead rationally exercise our individual minds to stand firm against all who oppose life, liberty, and the laws that protect both. We must pursue ideas because they are common sense to us, not because our priest or our king has decreed them. If we chain ourselves to an ideology, we will eventually discover that a man like the Head Honcho is holding the other end of that chain. Like Rousseau, we will be left with nothing but to wonder why.

Wednesday
Aug202008

Jefferson Fights Back (p449-p461)

(Setting:  During his trial for treason, Jefferson turns the tables and accuses the Mad Hatter, the Safari Golfer, and the Head Honcho as being the true traitors to America).

Jefferson spun to face the Head Honcho. Tears of passion ran down his cheeks. "Treason, when real, merits the highest punishment", he growled. "But most governments do not distinguish between acts against the government, and acts against the oppressions of the government. The latter are virtues, yet have furnished more victims to the executioner than the former. The unsuccessful strugglers against tyranny have been the chief martyrs of treason laws in all countries.

"Am I the Insurrectionist? Yes I am!" he snarled with unrepentant pride. "Have I refused to pay taxes? Yes I have! Have I evaded the draft and stopped voting? Yes I have! Have I published condemnations of the bureaucratic leeches in Washington that suck out our lifeblood? Yes I have! Have I exposed corruption at every level of government? Yes I have! Have I unearthed the decadent sham of our democracy by uncovering scandals like Watergate? Yes I have! Have I rallied against the needless deaths of my fellow countrymen in spurious wars? Yes I have! Have I armed myself and my compatriots to defend us from the enemy within? Yes I have! Have I planted the seeds of revolution against a government that is now more abusive than the one we revolted against two hundred years ago?" He paused, knowing full well that these were the final words of confession that his accusers wanted to hear. "Yes I have!"

"I am the Insurrectionist, and overthrowing this government is my mission. But I’m not a traitor. How can I be guilty of treason against the nation I founded with my Declaration of American Independence? That document was our philosophical foundation, our compact with limited government of the people, by the people, and for the people. As its author, I’m the spiritual father of this nation. If there is to be judgment today, it should be rendered by me, not you.

"America isn’t a physical location. It’s a state of mind, a philosophical attitude, a vision. The vision is being abandoned now, not because it lacked validity or because it failed to produce spectacular results, but simply because it was attempted in an intellectual environment where irrationalists, mystics, and power-mongers still reigned. You hold power in a physical place traditionally called America, but I am the American. I’m not a traitor to the concept of America. I’m simply your enemy."

The Mad Hatter recovered from his fainting spell. His grogginess wore off just when Jefferson confessed his conspiracy to revolt against the government holding power over the American people. He banged his gavel and half-heartedly declared, "The convict has admitted his guilt. Off with his head. This trial is over."

"This trial is not over!" shouted Jefferson to the astonished judge. "It hasn’t begun yet! If this is to be a trial about the crime of treason, then we ought to turn the spotlight of judgment on the real traitors in this courtroom. Laws should protect life and property, yet this trial is being administered by cutthroats whose actions violate the lives and possessions of every citizen. This court cannot judge me to be a criminal, because this court itself is criminal. No government so defiant of individual rights and private property can have any recourse to the concept of justice. This government can’t offer any meaningful distinction between a shoplifter and a tax protester, so how can it possibly distinguish a traitor from a liberator? The real traitors are those who have formed an unholy alliance of mysticism, insanity, and power in a corrupt government that tramples the individual rights it was created to protect. I will name these traitors and specify their crimes against America.

"The first traitor is you", he accused the Mad Hatter. "You’re a traitor to the ideal of reason. Your madness and illogic encourage mankind's misguided submission to those who have no rational justification for putting chains around their necks. No truth can ever be extracted from what you say except by taking its opposite. You ignore facts and logic, so therefore you ignore reality. When your insanity prevails, people sacrifice their only real resource, their thinking minds. Without reason, we must entrust our lives to priests or governors, who mysteriously know things we mysteriously cannot. We are free to think or to evade that effort. But we are not free to escape the fact that reason is our means of survival. The question 'to be or not to be' is the question 'to think or not to think'. The unrestrained torrent of irrational killing in our world underscores this."

Jefferson boldly pointed at the Safari Golfer lounging in the jury box. "You too are a traitor against America and against mankind. When people stopped thinking, you plied your treasonous subterfuge of the American ideal. While all hands were below deck mending sails, splicing ropes, and minding their own business, you ran our ship into an enemy port like a rogue pilot. You took advantage of our intellectual weakness facilitated by the Mad Hatter’s insanity and replaced our rational thoughts with mystical opiates. Out of nothingness you conjure gods and religions to which we become inexplicably chained.

"You deal out enchantment incomprehensible to the thinking mind. You are deified, because in your foggy conceptions, people find an impenetrable darkness inside which they fabricate untruths as delirious as yours. Your mystical mantras of the common good, political correctness, and amoral expediency became the secular religion Ismism, an absurd concoction of abominable will o' the wisps. Priests have always constructed bridges of mysticism over the moat of reason, enabling our enemies to slip across and put abusive kings and evil tyrants into our midst with our confused blessing.

"He who controls the mythology rules the world, and evil mythology purveyors have torpedoed our great country. Contrary to conspiracists, the world isn’t ruled by the CIA, the Skull and Bones Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Tri-Lateral Commission, or the Bavarian Illuminati. It is ruled by people who have stolen our minds through mysticism, leaving us at the mercy of imperious men over whom we have no powers of punishment or removal.

"Mysticism, whether secular or divine, is the worst thing to ever happen to humanity. It is the root of all organized evil. The plows of the world turn over corpses every day that were fodder for man's myths and religions. You are a traitor for having violated the dearest and most fundamental of our constitutional protections, the separation of church and state. The religion you propagated is a secular one, yet it has infiltrated our state as completely as Catholicism infiltrated the monarchies of the Holy Roman Empire or as Islam infected the despots in the Middle East. Mysticism is unnatural and anti-human, killing millions of men, women, and children as it spread around our globe, leaving those remaining alive to muddle onward either as fools or as hypocrites.

"Once man surrenders reason to mysticism, he has no guard against monstrous absurdities. Like a rudderless ship, he’s the sport of every wind. Faith takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck. Faith is volitional ignorance, putting everything into the hands of politicians and priests. Faith keeps the intellects of foolish humans chained. He who believes nothing is closer to the truth than he who believes what is wrong through faith. Faith torments us with fables of which we have no evidence.

"Witch doctors, magicians, and priests of primitive societies wielded tremendous power. Early man sought to understand the mysteries of the universe, and it was our eternal misfortune that the priest stepped forward before the scientist to explain. Rational inquiry has ever since been beaten into conformity with faith and dogma. We naturally sought knowledge and mastery; what we got in return was mysticism and bondage. Priests were the original traitors to mankind, just as you are a traitor to America.

"As history unfolded, the palace grew out of the temple. Pharaoh was a divine monarch, a military and civil protagonist for the priest. Mankind's slavery to himself arose through this transformation. It is but a small step from slavery to a theocratic state to slavery to the secular 'common good' or 'species being'. Man as slave to god-kings evolved into man as slave to amorphous collections of other humans. Mythical views on the cosmos evolved into mythical views on social organization, leaving us with Mao, Castro, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, and Johnson, all purveyors of social mysticisms that differed only in semantic particulars. They all force-fed us spurious values and half-truths that transcended all others, and then coercively or violently suppressed any contrary inclinations by rebellious heretics. Many of history’s worst tragedies resulted from mass psychosis fed by worship of irrational, mystical, and therefore deranged isms.

"Ignorance begets faith, faith begets priests, priests beget kings, and kings beget chains. This is the food chain of power, of which you, the Safari Golfer, are an integral link. You throw pixie dust into our eyes, so we stumble blindly into the unfathomable abyss of dreams, phantasms, and gods. Your treason translates ignorance into bondage, using faith and mysticism to enslave the unthinking masses to the king and tyrant. When people fall prey to mysticism, they become powerless, because their intelligence is abdicated to a spurious authority lurking behind an ism. You are the reincarnation of Pope Innocent, who annulled the Magna Carta on behalf of King John and the barons at Runnymede. Your only fear is that people will rediscover that reason is the sole oracle of substance in the universe, and that it doesn’t matter if charlatans profess there is one god, twenty gods, or no god.

"Your mysticism laid the foundation for the power of the Royal Tyrant, whom I will now accuse of being the most traitorous criminal of all." Jefferson stood eye-to-eye with the Head Honcho, who was bathed in nervous sweat. The pro forma lynching of the Insurrectionist had turned unexpectedly into an intellectual joust that confused and frightened him. No one ever had the courage to stare directly into his soul through his eyes except, he suddenly recalled, Marcus Brutus, just prior to plunging the dagger into the carcass of Julius Caesar.

Jefferson silently pierced the armor shrouding the Honcho's essential being. He hated the Senator. He hated everything the man and his ilk had ever stood for throughout history. He harnessed this consummate hatred to launch a moral assassination. "No man can chain his fellow man without eventually finding the other end looped around his own neck. Man wasn’t born in bondage to anyone or anything here or in the heavens. He is an end in himself, and not the means to the end of society. We are each a sovereign universe, acting interdependently with other sovereign universes. But you have made your universe more sovereign than all others, and for that you are a traitor to everyone else.

"You are the most vile and despicable traitor America ever had because you stole our right to life and liberty. Each finite moment of life is infinitely precious. Our allotted specks of evaporating time are by nature insufficient to achieve all the joy and fulfillment we each yearn for. To claim any of these finite moments by force from another human is the ultimate moral abomination.

"You’re a traitor because you’ve sown the seeds for the destruction of the greatest nation on earth. America is plummeting from a shining example of all that is magnificent about the human race to a tawdry example of all that is reprehensible. We have now gone completely through the classic cycle of every major civilization. We have moved through the typical phases of bondage, spiritual awakening, courage, action, liberty, abundance, selfishness, complacency, apathy, inaction, and now back to bondage.

"We have become a lazy nation of squabblers and shabby proclaimers of entitlement, when we were once a proud nation driven to accomplish. Our moral foundation has evaporated into mindless confrontation between single-issue special interest groups. Your band of traitors in Washington have herded us into a demoralizing debate about how to manufacture excuses and split up dwindling national resources, rather than fueling the engines of productive ambition. You’ve drawn us into a political quagmire, where all power and wealth are becoming concentrated in the federal government, and we are all becoming enslaved to it. We now pay more taxes than we spend on housing, food, and clothing combined. We are now either recipients of federal largesse or we are the victims from which the wealth behind the largesse is confiscated. You lurk within that unimaginably huge machinery of extortion and detrimental reliance, insidiously bankrupting the nation and crushing our spiritual backbone.

"You’re a traitor because you’ve turned us into a nation of thieves. Our civic life has become a zero sums game, in which some piece of the pie must be stolen from someone else, in order for the game to properly proceed. To enforce some rights, other rights must be sacrificed, because you have obliterated the meaning of rights. For some people to gain wealth, it must be stolen through taxation from someone else, because you have forgotten the importance of production. Your government is consuming our wealth, in perverse spite of its reason for being, which was to safeguard our property, and ultimately, our lives. All we have left is to finish riveting the chains on each other’s necks.

"You’re a traitor because you’ve created a world where personal responsibility no longer matters. Your governmental intrusions have relieved citizens of the necessity for making choices, and therefore of the need to develop a rational set of values. The demanding environment of freedom has been sacrificed for the comfortable yet debilitating environment of entitlement and subjugation to a bureaucracy run amok. When you guarantee a man income through welfare, health through socialized medicine, a job through affirmative action, and markets protected from foreign competition, what need does he have for values? He can exist without them. Do you wonder then why he is hedonistic and apathetic? His choices don’t consider the rigors of survival, for which he is no longer responsible. The expectation of paternal care from the government has undermined our national character. We will never return to a values-oriented society until individuals are held responsible for their own existence, and reason, ability, and productivity are honored. Meanwhile, disenfranchised urban youths, wallowing in your destructive moral view, will learn that there is no difference between a transfer of wealth through the welfare state and a transfer of wealth by robbing people directly, because there isn’t.

"If one can claim the right to his own life, and then behave as if no one else has a similar right, it creates an atmosphere where all rights are arbitrary and therefore illusory. We either all have a right to our lives and property, or none of us do. Everyone squawks about rights, but they forget that people do not have an enforceable claim on others for anything more than being left alone.

"You’re a traitor because you’ve turned our democratic process into a corrupt sham riddled with abuse and devoid of representation for the people. You trade our rights for votes, putting political expediency on an exalted pedestal and the voters in a constitutional dungeon. You’re a whore for special interest groups, taking their filthy money in exchange for unwarranted access to the plundered riches and coercive might of the federal bureaucracy. You siphon money from the public till, you take kickbacks from power brokers, you put your cronies on the public payroll, you bribe potential enemies, and you lie incessantly to everyone while employing hirelings who do nothing but lie to you. You sacrifice your allegiance to what is right to the devil worship of party politics.

"You dine and travel in opulence, and then pay for your ostentatious hedonism with funds taxed from a struggling farmer in Nebraska. Despite your drunken and drugged escapades, you insult us by outlawing alcohol, drugs, and other presumed vices that adults indulge in of their own volition and consequence. You engage in sexual escapades so obscene that lurid accounts in the daily papers are turning them into pulp periodicals of sleazy voyeurism. You then have the audacity to censor our television and radio, setting yourself up as a laughably hypocritical judge of our morals and leaving us with nothing but the illusion of choice.

"You abuse your incumbency by diverting the nation’s resources to get perpetually re-elected. You barter in Congress with your fellow traitors, supporting each other’s pork laden bills, thereby casting our wealth down the yawing funnel of the frivolous and the spurious. You tax Peter to buy Paul’s vote. When this doesn't ensure your re-election, you desecrate our constitution by perpetrating scandals like Watergate. As your power grows, fewer and fewer citizens vote out of revulsion for your contamination. As Mark Twain observed, the only inherently criminal class in America is Congress.

"Every government on earth has some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover and wickedness openly cultivate. For every roach you see, there are ten you don’t, which illustrates one of the pervasive fallacies of big government. If the justification for big government is that individuals are flawed, then who in this big government will restrain and guide these individuals? More flawed individuals? Who will guard the guardians? The FBI or the CIA, who are as likely to kill us as to protect us? If man can’t be trusted with governing himself, can he then be trusted with governing others? Or have we found angels in the form of senators and bureaucrats? Let history answer that question.

"You’re a traitor because you’re a purveyor of death. You are the worst mass murderer in the annals of crime. You sent 50,000 American youths to die in Vietnam, where they were ripped open by grenade fragments, charred by chemical defoliants, and devoured by maggots and buzzards. You subsidize the tobacco industry, which is the leading cause of death in America. You subsidize abortion, killing ten million defenseless babies, surmising life doesn’t begin at conception just as Hitler surmised Jews aren’t human beings. You test exotic weapons on military veterans, the indigent, and the insane, using these unsuspecting social captives as human guinea pigs. Your bans on drugs, guns, and sex created an organized crime tidal wave and a general breakdown in civil obedience, resulting in hundreds of corpses and thousands of victims every day. Your national health insurance is simply a means for the government to ration medical care and become the arbiter of who lives and who dies, creating another way to selectively kill us, under the guise of 'efficiency' and 'the greatest good for the greatest number'. You forced workers to contribute to social security their entire lives, and then blithely informed them the system will be insolvent when they retire. You finance organizations of terror like the CIA, unleashing cutthroats that assassinate our leaders and murder our dissidents. Your welfare state created a terrorist breeding ground of abdicated personal responsibility, giving birth to a generation of alienated and morally adrift hooligans who pillage our inner cities.

"You are as vile and morally contemptible as Hitler for cremating six million Jews, Stalin for starving 16 million peasants, and the British for decimating the population of Ireland. A grave is always your answer to the right to life question. Your genocidal ambition has filled cemeteries and garbage cans with millions of fetid corpses. And if you don't directly kill us, you confiscate nearly one half of our life's energy through taxation. You have the perverse hypocrisy to kiss babies, smile for campaign posters, and shake the hands of your next victims, while you continually contravene the only legitimate purpose of government, which is to protect life, from the first stirrings in the womb to the final groans on the deathbed.

"You’re a traitor for trying to disarm us, because our weapons are all that stand between you and the totalitarianism you lust for. General Washington told us 'Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty, teeth, and keystone under independence. From the hour the pilgrims landed to the present day, the rifle and pistol have proven equally indispensable to ensure peace, security, and happiness. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil influence. When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour. They deserve a place of honor with all that's good.' Washington understood that the 2nd Amendment is to you as a silver bullet is to a vampire. Without it, the Beast is unstoppable.

"Two hundred years ago, my colleague Daniel Webster warned that Congress, with its power to tax, would clutch the purse with one hand and wave the sword with the other. An elective despotism isn’t the government we fought for, but it has descended upon us anyway, proving Webster correct. We banished the tyrant King George, but 500 despots in Congress rose in his stead, making us 500 times worse off. You criminals in Congress have declared war on mankind with injustice and slaughter. The time has come for mankind to declare war on you. Your treason has led us to this unavoidable crisis. We can continue as we are and die as a nation, or we can hoist the banner of revolution and save ourselves and our dream.

"Throughout history, the magician, the priest, the emperor, the king, and the politician have held our devotion and allegiance. Yet as the succession of wars, slaughter, and slavery have proven, none of these objects of devotion have emancipated us. The magician led us to madness, the priest disillusioned us, the emperor stole our wealth, the king led us into deadly war, and the politician made an ostentatious and useless beast of himself.

"Humankind has seen nothing but a succession of masters and institutions shackling it. Rousseau knew of your pervasive treason when he wrote, 'Man is born free, yet is everywhere in chains'. The time has come for us to escape from this desolate predicament and eradicate you and your ilk from the planet. It is time to burst our chains!

"You, not I, should be punished for treason. You put the chains on our ankles and sucked the lifeblood out of our veins, taking advantage of minds weakened by the Mad Hatter's irrationality and the Safari Golfer's faith. But, you won’t be tried in this courtroom, because I am the accused. However, rather than grovel at your feet pleading my innocence and trying vainly to save myself, I will instead plea for all those who can still call themselves Americans to rise up and destroy the abusive travesty that the federal government has become. Like the old Indian Chief, who didn’t go to war over every petty injury, but rather put a straw for each injury into his pouch, we have been patiently filling the pouch of American liberty with oppressions by our government. The pouch is now full, so we should be sending up smoke signals with ominous and unmistakable intent.

"Our government is tumbling off the precipice of politically correct fascism. The seeds for our ruin are sprouting very deep and very broad roots. We must be as aware of this dire threat as was Aesop’s Swallow, who foresaw the hemp seeds being planted by the farmer as the harbinger of the cords and nets that would ensnare all the birds. We must destroy these seeds of evil now!

Wednesday
Aug202008

Jefferson Refutes Charge of Treason (p442-p449)

(Setting:  Jefferson is on trial for treason against the country he founded.  He refutes the charge with a stirring account of the American greatness he fostered).

"Objection!", interrupted Jefferson. "I’m not in contempt of your court. I’m in contempt of you. I’m in contempt of anyone who purveys madness and irrationality. It gives root to mysticism, which grows like mental crabgrass to suffocate objective thought, paving the way for tyrants to seize the day. Irrationality breeds mysticism, and mysticism begets power. And then power nurtures both."

The Mad Hatter suddenly slumped into a dead faint from an apoplectic seizure. Having dispensed with this irritation, Jefferson faced the Head Honcho squarely to begin his defense. "You call me a traitor? What system of morality have I betrayed? Whom have I offended? Whom have I oppressed or killed? What on earth am I a traitor to?"

Without waiting for a response, he continued. "This trial will show that the first object of my heart is America, in which I have invested my life, my fortune, and my eternal spirit. I fathered this nation. I risked my life to nurture it, and my soul has watched over it through the decades as it flourished and then began to whither. I have never betrayed my precious creation. I’ve walked every step of the way with every true American. I was always there to transfuse love of liberty into them during some of history’s darkest moments.

"I was there inside every American's heart when Adolf Hitler and his Axis minions, who had conquered more land and people than Napoleon, Ghenghis Khan, and Julius Caesar, were sinking the planet into a totalitarian abyss. The world cowered in the shadow of a tyrant whose vision of life was silent printing presses, concentration camps, burning churches, and falling bombs. No bigger struggle was ever recorded than World War II, and no other nation than America could have conquered the pure evil of it.

"I wept the same frightened tears that mothers and wives wept on June 6th, 1944, when Eisenhower sent a half million courageous American men onto D-Day beaches code named Omaha, Utah, Sword, Gold, and Juno in history’s largest invasion. Humanity held its breath that day, knowing the enormous consequences of the roiling conflict on those sandy strips of French soil turned into churning valleys of death. The sole hope of the planet rested on the Americans.

"The American-led triumph of freedom over totalitarianism was foreshadowed decades earlier by shot-putter Martin Sheridan, who was the flag-bearer for the American contingent in the London Olympics. It was customary for foreigners to dip their flags in deference to the host country’s ruler. But, when Sheridan passed the King of England in the stadium, he held the American flag even higher and snarled, "This flag dips to no earthly king!" This same defiant ritual was repeated by the American contingent when Hitler hosted the Berlin Olympics. This proud American defiance would later be all that stood between the Europeans and concentration camps.

"I stood with the exhausted workers on the Detroit assembly lines, as history’s most productive peacetime economy was converted into the Arsenal of Democracy to rescue the free world during World War II. While the bloodiest battles were waged with mortal vigor in Europe and Asia, a subtle yet more telling battle was waged by the irrepressible might of American capitalism in our factories. Rosie the Riveter was as much a hero as General Patton. Every morning, she left her children at home, overcame the gripping fear in her heart for the unknown fate of her husband on a distant battlefield, and put her back into building the planes and tanks that would eventually destroy the Axis powers. Ford Motor's Willow Run plant produced one B-24 Liberator every hour. While the dark thunderclouds of dictatorship threatened to extinguish the light of liberty across the planet, it was the lights burning late into the night in American factories that ultimately drove the satanic darkness of government run amok back into hell where it belongs.

"This wasn't the only time America saved the world from its cancerous governments and isms. American troops tipped the balance in the World War I episode of the eternal conflict between liberty and totalitarianism. In one battle, the advancing Germans forced the French troops out of strategic Belleau Wood. The recently arrived U.S. 2nd Division was ordered to plug this dangerous gap. As the battle continued, a French colonel advised the Americans to retreat from another German thrust. Marine Colonel Wendell Neville replied with words that defined the unconquerable American spirit, 'Retreat hell! We just got here!' This brave stand earned them the nickname 'Devil Dogs' and turned the tide in a war that had been a stalemated bottomless pit of casualties.

"When Paris was later liberated by the Allies, American troops were showered with flowers and wild kisses by French citizens in a celebration held on the 4th of July. Aware of this irony, General Pershing, the head of the American Expeditionary Forces reviewing the parades on a balcony of the Crillon Hotel, declared, 'Lafayette, we are here!', in homage to the French general who helped America win its own independence 150 years earlier. As I stood with Pershing on that balcony, I wept tears of gratitude for every GI who ever fell into a grave to free the rest of us from mankind's self-inflicted political monsters.

"I was there in Lake Placid when our hockey team defeated the Russian juggernaut in the most emotional athletic event ever witnessed. Though it was simply a contest of sport against our cold war nemesis, the struggle waged on the ice that day was a metaphor for decades of ideological confrontation between the two superpowers. Broadcaster Al Michaels screamed 'Do you believe in miracles?' at the end of the match, as America deliriously celebrated the stunning upset.

"During the next decade, Ronald Reagan stared down the Russian Bear by building up a military, strategic, and technological superiority. The resolve of America to maintain its inviolate capability to defend against the aggression of the Soviet Empire shattered the paper tiger facade of communism. Unable to match the fabulous power of capitalism to produce and innovate, and the power of individual liberty to inspire an unconquerable spirit, the USSR collapsed under the strain.

"When I stood at the Brandenburg Gate as the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain came tumbling down, I silently answered the prophetic question asked in Lake Placid a decade before. 'Yes, I do believe in miracles', I replied across the eternal continuum of time. I rejoiced as giddy East Germans and West Germans intermingled while dismantling the Wall, having suddenly escaped from the onerous shadow of humanity's greatest monument to slavery. 'Yes, I do believe in miracles', I repeated tearfully, never more aware than in that emotional moment of the incredible miracles that the American vision of individual liberty had inspired since July 4th, 1776.

"I walked alongside Abraham Lincoln as he steered the nation through a gut-wrenching Civil War. He not only held the union together, he brought completeness to the vision of American liberty. Eradicating the scourge of slavery removed the glaring contradiction of our revolution and affirmed my initial draft of the Declaration of Independence. The Great Emancipator reminded us, with his immortal Gettysburg Address, that we all are created equal and that all men are free. As I stared with Lincoln out over the desolate Gettysburg battlefield, where passionate men had fallen in defense of that sacred covenant, I shook with tormented agony at the bloodshed needed to make evident the simplest truth of the human condition. All men indeed are born free, not only from each other, but from myths and governments.

"I stood shoulder to shoulder with Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, Bill Gates, and all of the other titans of American enterprise and inventiveness who had the daring and ambition to lead mankind through the Industrial and Information revolutions. These giants bequeathed to future generations an unrivaled economic engine of contagious wealth creation that fostered a magnificent new phenomenon called the middle class.

"These giants stood on a foundation of individual liberty, private property, and free markets. In just two centuries, this country rocketed from a sparsely populated subsistence economy to nearly 300 million citizens drawn from all corners of the globe, enjoying an economic miracle dwarfing all other attempts at general prosperity. Not only did we dazzle the world with unprecedented material abundance, we demonstrated the sheer joy of living. American music, television, movies, and other creative expressions of our unfettered intellect wowed the world with a kaleidoscopic cultural display.

"By the mid-20th Century, our magnificent productivity and creativity sculpted a world that was essentially an American one. But unlike other empires, this American hegemony was not manifested by forced occupation of foreign territories. Instead, it was manifested by the sheer power of a vision whose time had come, by a determined people exemplifying the power of individual liberty and the potential of life freed from oppressive governments. We didn’t send soldiers as the pillaging vanguard of American domination. Rather, we sent abroad an example of human felicity derived from freedom, with Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America as our ideological beacons piercing the desolate skies of totalitarianism.

"In view of all this, I stand here with unequivocal pride at what my philosophical precepts engendered on those hot July days in the old Philadelphia State House back in 1776. America was no longer just an ideal etched on the Declaration of Independence, it was a magnificent reality that rendered the empires of Greece, Rome, and Britain small, profane, and spiritless by comparison.

"Then there was that magic moment in 1969 when Neil Armstrong, an American from Wapakoneta, stepped noiselessly onto the dusty soil of another celestial body, giving life to the most enduring fantasy of our species. We flew through the cosmos and etched our American autograph for all time across the heavens. I watched this epic drama unfold on live television, as another product of our incomparable technology settled on the Moon’s surface with only 20 seconds of fuel left, after a desperate, daring, and therefore consummately American search for a clear place to land.

"I’ll never forget the surge of pride and relief coursing through my arteries as Armstrong's voice crackled across a quarter million miles of space, declaring to eternity, 'Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.' Yes, the American Eagle had landed. Then the hatch to the lunar module opened. Armstrong stepped down the ladder and fulfilled an impossible dream by planting his foot onto the moon. 'One small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind', were his timeless words, generously including everyone else in this American triumph.

"Armstrong planted the American flag into the Moon’s virgin soil, not as an act of conquest, but as a statement of supreme purpose and genius that fittingly reached across 200 years and 250,000 miles into the restless spirits of those who had the courage and the vision to father the American nation. My own spirit soared higher than those intrepid astronauts. Tears streamed down my cheeks and strangers around me hugged each other out of the sheer joy of being an American. For a special moment in time, we were starkly aware of the staggering greatness humans were capable of.

"I trembled at the awesomeness of a seemingly impossible Earthrise glowing blue-green against the dark silhouetted rim of the moon. It wasn’t just the awesomeness of our technology, our spirit, and our daring that moved me, it was the awesomeness of what this nation has meant to the world for two centuries. If America had never existed, what would the world be like today? My mind quickly abandons the despairing proposition

"A thousand years from now, people will look back on this achievement as the finest of our species. We matured from worshipping gods to being gods, from staring in wonder at lightning to creating our own magnificent lightning strike across the heavens. No longer bound by terrestrial limitations or by the ball and chain of our primitive mythologies, we achieved a fundamental spatial and spiritual liberation. The Egyptians created the Great Pyramids. The Chinese created the Great Wall. The Romans created their great networks of roads. But with this adventure to the moon, we Americans created something more enduring and magnificent than all the other world wonders combined.

"Since the moon exists in an airless void, Armstrong's footprints will remain undisturbed for a long, long time. It would be unforgivable if evidence of American greatness on the moon outlasted evidence here on Earth. This impending irony conjures despondence out of joy. Our dream is now crumbling around us as we descend into the hellhole of government run amok. Our greatness is evaporating into ignominy. Bill Clinton is replacing Abraham Lincoln as the epitome of our national character."