Posted tagged ‘The Quest For Cosmic Justice’

July 4th – Individual Freedom vs. Government Tyranny

July 4, 2019

Statue of Liberty on the background of flag usa, sunrise and fireworks

I reread the fourth chapter in Thomas Sowell’s book, “The Quest for Cosmic Justice”, every 4th of July. It is a must read. The fourth chapter is titled “The Quiet Repeal of the American Revolution”. I wish what he states about the difference between the American Revolution and all other revolutions was understood by all Americans. Here are some excerpts from this chapter.

“The war for American independence was not simply a landmark event in the history of the United States. It was a landmark in the history of the world – and especially a landmark in the history of the evolution of free and democratic societies. It’s international significance was symbolized by France’s donation of the Statue of Liberty to the Unites States on the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and by the creation of a facsimile of this state in China, more than a century after that, by protesters vainly seeking to create a free and democratic government in that country”

 

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IS SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHERS

“The American revolution was in some ways the most far-reaching of all the great revolutions in history. Other revolutions may have had more sweeping rhetoric, or greater extremes of violence and terror, or more categorical claims of change. They may even have had more radical changes of personnel, as in the change from czarist to Communist rulers in Moscow, while replacing one form of autocratic despotism with another and more bloody from.”

“The French Revolution of the succeeding decade used similar rhetoric, and was supported by such prominent figures in the American Revolution as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, but nevertheless the French Revolution was grounded on entirely different assumptions and of course took a different path all to characteristic of later revolutions that began with lofty ideals and ended with new and more ruthless despotism.”

  “The American Revolution, however, went further in rejecting a basic conception of man and society that goes back thousands of years, and which is still with us today…people with the most diverse philosophic persuasions have proceeded as if what was needed was to replace false doctrines with true doctrines and false leaders with true leaders – the heathens with the faithful, capitalists with socialists, royalty with republicans, and so on. But, unlike the French revolution and the Bolshevik revolution, for example, the American revolution and its resulting constitution established was not simply a particular system but a process of changing systems, practices, and leaders, together with a method of constraining whoever or whatever was ascendant at any given time…. it gave to the common man a voice, a veto, elbow room, and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of his “betters”….. it was seen by others in the world at large as a landmark in the general struggle for human freedom. That is why it must be opposed by those with more ambitious visions (even if they do not consciously feel any animosity against constitutional freedoms) because, on issue after issue, those freedoms stand between the morally self-anointed and the realization of dreams which have overwhelming importance to them. Some of these dreams revolve around the quest for cosmic justice, in which constitutional constraints may be seen as technicalities to be finessed. Other dreams may be about personal ambitions that can be fulfilled only in a very different kind of society from that established by the Constitution… Ego and ideals are of course not mutually exclusive but may readily exist in the same individual, who may even mistake the former from the latter.”

America was based on the idea that the individual was sovereign. Our founders knew that Government power had to be restrained or else it would be used arbitrarily by politicians and bureaucrats who were in position to wield it. Our Government was established to protect the individual and his property from aggression by these individuals.

In this chapter Sowell quotes a little known speech by Abraham Lincoln given in 1838 (read here) a mere sixty two years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln fears the dangers to our freedom would not come from foreign enemies, but from internal threats.

“If and when the fundamental principles and structure of American government should fall under attack, “men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity” and “strike a blow” against free government.”

“What is particularly significant about Lincoln’s warning is that is was based on the vision of what human beings are like and especially what talented and ambitions leaders are like. To Lincoln, the historic achievement of American society in establishing a new form of government in the world was in jeopardy from later elites precisely because that achievement was already history:”

“Lincoln said: The field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And , when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question is, can the gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot.”

“While the ambitions of some might be satisfied with “a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair,” Lincoln said, “such belong not to the family of the lion or the tribe of the eagle.”

“Lincoln added: “What! Think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? – Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. – It sees not distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible. it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen.”

Lincoln thought safeguarding those institutions would require a public sufficiently united, sufficiently attached to freedom, and sufficiently wise, “to successfully frustrate his designs.

We are not just talking about a single person with a tyrannical idea. We are also talking about a tyrannical idea which has many people with political power who want to implement this tyranny.

 

OUR HISTORY OF LIBERTY IS FADING

But for me here is the part of Lincoln’s speech that really hit me. He is talking about how the spirit of “76” will fade as time passes.

Lincoln said: “I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are not or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like every thing else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the bible shall be read; but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. even then, they cannot be so universally known, nor so vividly felt, as they were by the generation just gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family – a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of woulds received, in the midst of the very scenes related – a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned. – But those histories are gone. they can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done: the leveling of its walls. They are gone. – They were a forest of giant oaks: but the all-resistless hurricane had swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.

“They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence. Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws:…

“Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Today Ocasio Cortez and the rest of Americas socialist insurgents have a great deal of passion but no sober logic and reason. The side that is supposed to be for individual freedom and liberty has lost its passion. But more importantly it has lost the ability to supply the sober reason necessary to combat the passion of the socialist insurgents in our midst.

The party of Lincoln, the Republicans, are supposed to be the party of small government. But very few Republican politicians can articulate why freedom is superior to government central planning aka tyranny. So most have neither passion or reason. That’s a bad combination.

Will our side become passionate enough to learn the sober reasoning for freedom and liberty before the passion of the socialist insurgents win the day? Only the passage of time will answer that question.

 

THE CASE FOR FREEDOM

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (read here) was our statement of freedom form British tyranny. This document is talking about today as much as it was appropriate in its time. On July 4th, Independence Day, take some time to read the Declaration of Independence. Then tell me it isn’t speaking about the present. This document applies to the past, the present and the future.

 

 

PAUL HARVEY; OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES, OUR SACRED HONOR.

 

 

RAY CHARLES – AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

This brings a tear to my eye every time.

 

 

Related Article: July 4th 2018: Independence Day, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: July 4th: What Does Independence Day Mean? at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: July 4th – Our Choice: Liberty or Tyranny, at austrianaddict.com.

 

 

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July 4th 2018: Independence Day!

July 4, 2018

Statue of Liberty on the background of flag usa, sunrise and fireworks

I reread the fourth chapter in Thomas Sowell’s book, “The Quest for Cosmic Justice”, every 4th of July. It is a must read. The fourth chapter is titled “The Quiet Repeal of the American Revolution”. I wish what he states about the difference between the American Revolution and all other revolutions was understood by all Americans. Here are some excerpts from this chapter.

“The war for American independence was not simply a landmark event in the history of the United States. It was a landmark in the history of the world – and especially a landmark in the history of the evolution of free and democratic societies. It’s international significance was symbolized by France’s donation of the Statue of Liberty to the Unites States on the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and by the creation of a facsimile of this state in China, more than a century after that, by protesters vainly seeking to create a free and democratic government in that country”

“The American revolution was in some ways the most far-reaching of all the great revolutions in history. Other revolutions may have had more sweeping rhetoric, or greater extremes of violence and terror, or more categorical claims of change. They may even have had more radical changes of personnel, as in the change from czarist to Communist rulers in Moscow, while replacing one form of autocratic despotism with another and more bloody from.”

“The French Revolution of the succeeding decade used similar rhetoric, and was supported by such prominent figures in the American Revolution as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, but nevertheless the French Revolution was grounded on entirely different assumptions and of course took a different path all to characteristic of later revolutions that began with lofty ideals and ended with new and more ruthless despotism.”

  “The American Revolution, however, went further in rejecting a basic conception of man and society that goes back thousands of years, and which is still with us today…people with the most diverse philosophic persuasions have proceeded as if what was needed was to replace false doctrines with true doctrines and false leaders with true leaders – the heathens with the faithful, capitalists with socialists, royalty with republicans, and so on. But, unlike the French revolution and the Bolshevik revolution, for example, the American revolution and its resulting constitution established was not simply a particular system but a process of changing systems, practices, and leaders, together with a method of constraining whoever or whatever was ascendant at any given time…. it gave to the common man a voice, a veto, elbow room, and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of his “betters”….. it was seen by others in the world at large as a landmark in the general struggle for human freedom. That is why it must be opposed by those with more ambitious visions (even if they do not consciously feel any animosity against constitutional freedoms) because, on issue after issue, those freedoms stand between the morally self-anointed and the realization of dreams which have overwhelming importance to them. Some of these dreams revolve around the quest for cosmic justice, in which constitutional constraints may be seen as technicalities to be finessed. Other dreams may be about personal ambitions that can be fulfilled only in a very different kind of society from that established by the Constitution… Ego and ideals are of course not mutually exclusive but may readily exist in the same individual, who may even mistake the former from the latter.”

America is an idea. It was based on the pretense that the individual was sovereign. Our founders knew that Government power had to be restrained or else it would be used arbitrarily by politicians and bureaucrats who were in position to wield it. Our Government was established to protect the individual and his property from aggression by other individuals. Those ‘other individuals’ mainly included individuals who were in positions to wield Government power against other individuals. The “idea” of America was: the individual is sovereign over State power.

It is amazing how Americans, especially the elite establishment in and out of government, don’t understand this “idea of America”. People from other countries seem to see the truth about America more clearly.

Here is a video of Bono talking about America being an ‘idea’.

 

OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES, OUR SACRED HONOR!

Paul Harvey. From last years 4th of July Post.

 

LETS CELEBRATE AMERICA

 

JIMI HENDRIX: NATIONAL ANTHEM AT WOODSTOCK.

In my opinion there has never been a more moving rendition of the national anthem (Number two is Whitney Houston’s version at the Super Bowl). His guitar making the sounds of ‘the rockets red glare’ and ‘the bombs bursting in air’, and his playing a short version of “Taps” near the end are moving to say the least! This version always makes me tear up with pride and joy about the “Idea” of America.

 

RAY CHARLES:  AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.

This version gets me every time.

 

GOD BLESS AMERICA

God bless the ‘Idea’ that America represents.

 

 

Related ArticleWhat Does Independence Day Mean? at austrianaddict.com.

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Anti vs. Pro-Gun Visions Of The World

August 5, 2014

Watch these two videos. The first is an anti-gun ad by Bloomberg’s anti-gun group, Everytown for Gun Safety. It shows how anti-gun people view the world.

The second is an ad for Glock inc. It shows how pro-gun people see the world.

A CONFLICT OF VISIONS

I saw these two videos when I read an article titled, New Bloomberg Anti-Gun Ad Inadvertently Proves Why Women Need Guns, by Katie Pavlich. It got me thinking about  Thomas Sowell’s book titled, A Conflict of Visions. In it he says, “One of the curious things about political opinions is how often the same people line up on opposite sides of different issues“. The people on each side of the gun issue are most probably on opposite sides of other issues, like the death penalty, abortion, welfare, monetary policy, economics, the role of Government etc. The reason is each side has a different vision of how the world works. These different visions make people talk past each other when discussing different issues. For the most part both sides probably want similar outcomes on many of these issues, unfortunately they have no common ideological road to travel, in order to logically reach a common end. It’s like trying to give someone directions on how to get to Chicago from New York, which is where you live, unfortunately they live in Denver. The directions would make no sense. This is the problem we all have when we discuss issues with other people. When talking to people, ask yourself: Where am I? Where are they? Do we have the same end in mind? Can we find common ground from which to start? Am I wasting my time?

CONSTRAINED VS. UNCONSTRAINED VISION

Dr. Sowell calls these two competing ideologies the constrained and unconstrained visions about the nature of man. The constrained vision sees man as inherently self-interested and morally limited. Instead of trying to change human nature, which is impossible if not cost prohibitive, people with the constrained vision want to produce the best possible outcome inside of these constraints. Incentives matter in the constrained vision. Dr. Sowell quotes Alexander Hamilton from The Federalist Papers: “It is the lot of all human institutions, even those of the most perfect kind, to have defects as well as excellencies- ill as well as good propensities. This results from the imperfection of the Institutor, Man“.

The unconstrained vision sees man as perfectable. Man has the potential to use his understanding and inclinations to grasp the concept that benefiting others is virtuous and being virtuous will make him happy. The unconstrained vision puts its efforts into changing mans nature, because they don’t see his inherent self-interest as a permanent state. Dr. Sowell quotes Marquis de Condorcet as rejecting the idea of “turning prejudices and vices to good account rather than trying to dispel or repress them“. The constrained vision of human nature confused, “..the natural man and his potential with existing man.

In the case of anti-gun and pro-gun, the differing visions is simple to explain. One side thinks the gun entices people to use it to harm another person. If it wasn’t for the gun this temptation wouldn’t exist. The other side believes evil people exist and they can be deterred or stopped by another person possessing a gun. The side of the gun debate you’re on probably depends on your vision of the nature of man.

PURPOSE OF “A CONFLICT OF VISIONS”

The book, A Conflict of Visions, does not try to “..determine which of these visions is more valid but rather to reveal the inherent logic behind each of these sets of views and the ramifications of their assumptions which lead not only to different conclusions on particular issues but also to wholly different meanings to such fundamental words as “justice,”  “equality,” and “power.”  “…this conflict of visions is as sharply contested today as it has been over the past two centuries.”

Dr. Sowell tries to answer the question of which vision is valid in two other books, The Vision Of The Anointed, and The Quest For Cosmic Justice.

 

THOMAS SOWELL DISCUSSING, “A CONFLICT OF VISIONS”

This video was made before the 2008 election. It is eerie how Dr. Sowell’s analysis was like a warning bell.

 

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