Ed Hudgins

What America Will We Give to the Future?

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What America Will We Give to the Future?

By Edward Hudgins

June 30, 2015 -- Will future generations look back on our current July 4th festivities and lament that we didn’t grasp that the republic was gone?

Or will they celebrate that we were energized to restore the republic?

Liberty that empowers

Our country was established in 1776 on the premise that we all are endowed “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.”

The Constitution created a government of limited and enumerated powers, checks and balances, and federalism to protect individual liberty not only from threats foreign and domestic but also from the greatest threat to liberty of all: government itself.

The result: America went from a rural backwater to the richest and most innovative country the world had ever known. This was because individuals were free to pursue their own dreams and to make their own lives through their own productive efforts.

Political liberty was spiritually liberating, opening minds to the fact that they could flourish, that material poverty and personal impotence need not be their lot. Millions of immigrants came to these shores seeking that liberty. They both partook of and contributed to the culture of self-ownership, empowerment, and personal responsibility.

Even up until a few decades ago, most supporters of the welfare state still held that individuals should generally run their own lives, that property rights and free markets should be protected by government. They simply believed—mistakenly—that government would need to step in to provide a safety net for unfortunates who might fall through the economic cracks or to rein in businesses that get too big and threaten competition.

Powerful elites

Today, the elites who dominate the Democrat Party, media, and academia believe government should be all-powerful and that they, the elite, should direct our lives. While some give lip service to empowerment, they in fact believe that most individuals are incapable of running their own lives. This is not idle rhetoric. It is a description of what motivates these elites. And it points to the dark place they are leading us.

As the scope and power of government grows, every aspect of our lives and our every choice become a matter of political conflict—what we eat, how we educate our children, what we can plant in our gardens, and when our children can run a lemonade stand. Political power and pull rather than productive achievement become the coin of the realm, determining who gets what. The result is the ugly, crony system of today.

Power to the individual

But there is pushback because the American spirit is still alive.

Today it is not only Tea Party activists who are skeptical about government. Political independents and many young people have seen the promises that government can radically improve our lives coming to naught.

Within the GOP there is now a civil war. Libertarian and limited government Republicans, who want to roll back government, are exerting their influence. They are challenging establishment Republicans, who want to keep the welfare state, just tweaking it to make it more efficient, and extreme social conservatives who give priority to actually limiting personal liberty.

In recent decades we’ve see the rise of new entrepreneurs who created the information and communications revolution and are now sparking revolutions in other areas as well—robotics, nanotechnology, genetics, 3-D printing and manufacturing, life extension, and much more. These individualists understand the power of human reason to change the world for the better. They love and take pride in their work. And they want to be free to pursue their own dreams and to make their own lives through their own productive efforts.

They manifest the best of the American spirit. They represent hope. They offer a political opportunity for those who want to restore the republic that is necessary if these entrepreneurs are to continue to achieve in the future.

A powerful vision

In the past, the liberty in America offered millions the opportunity to win for themselves prosperous and fulfilling lives. The country offered a powerful vision of hope for all of a world as it can be and should be.

Today, we still have the opportunity to reclaim for ourselves that liberty, which will secure the thanks of future generations, if only we seize the moral high ground and fight for the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness set down in the Declaration.
------

Hudgins is a senior scholar and director of advocacy at The Atlas Society.

Explore:

*William Thomas and Edward Hudgins, “The Volcker Rule and the Two Americas.” December 18, 2013.

*David Mayer, “Completing the American Revolution.” June 23, 2010.

*Edward Hudgins, “Let's Declare the Fourth of July a Tax-Free Day!” July 4, 2007.

*Edward Hudgins, “What Unites America? Unity in Individualism!” June 30, 2004.

*William Thomas, “What Are Rights?
*Edward Hudgins, “What Is An American?” July 3, 1998.

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Here are a couple more:

www.studentsforliberty.org

www.YALiberty.org

www.fff.org

www.fee.org

And a book or two:

Tom Woods: Nullification

Griffin: The Creature From Jekyll Island

Timberlake: Constitutional Money:A Review of Supreme Court Monetary Decisions

Levy: The Dirty Dozen

www.KingWorldNews.com

www.silverseek.com

www.USAGold.com

www.APMEX.com

Enjoy!

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The Republic stands. The Federal Republic disappeared a long time ago.

This July 4 I will still be engaged in the pufuit of hapineff. However it is not guaranteed I will catch it.

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Our country was established in 1776 on the premise that we all are endowed [by our 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.”

Just a very slight correction, Ed. "By our Creator" is missing.

Obama has publicly committed the same omission. That phrase really sticks in the craw of secular leftists who would love to expunge it. I'd like to see it remain as it was originally written.

What will America give to the future?

DEBT :laugh:

Greg

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This July 4 I will still be engaged in the pufuit of hapineff.

What is that? Hebe-ronics?

See the elongated "S"s in the hand written version.

Please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_s

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Im proud of myself. Ive done two miles three days in a row. Its around 4pm here so my semi tame pet gray fox, Foxy, will be showing up. I really thought she was a guy but a few days ago she showed up with a half grown kit. I have a soup bone with a little meat on it, and two old hotdogs. And she will get her usual sprinkle of dry dog food, for small dogs, three dog biscuits, some peanuts, and a can of wet dog food. Now she is busy grabbing food then rushing behind the shed with it for her little ones mouth.

I truly enjoy talking to you Greg, and most everyone else. Its fun to never hold back yet remain corresponding.

Moralist wrote: Just a very slight correction, Ed. "By our Creator" is missing. End quote

It could be a simple omission. Or done for a reason. It is similar to the Gov in SC removing the Confederate flag from the State House: Its antiquated, offensive to some, supports those who believe in a Christian deity which is contrary to the doctrine of the separation of church and state, and since the US fought the holders of that flag, it is unpatriotic. Now lets go whole hog pc and change *by our creator* to *by our creator and Pope, and Mullah, and Allah, by Buddha, by Shiva, by Zeus, Appollo and Peter Paul and Mary*. Or we could have a constitutional amendment to remove it in 20 years when the projected demographics will support that cause.

A local store on the Maryland / Virginia border pledged to continue to sell the Confederate flag and merchandise showing the flag . . . and fireworks! And cigarettes. Practically in the same sentence. I wonder if they still sell Goo Goo Clusters? Though the Goo Goo Supreme is also a fine candy bar too.

I think omitting by our creator is short-hand for the majority of 1776 deists who's idea was *by the universe* and if we go forward in time, *contextually* we could say *by evolution.* Or we could be secularist and say, *by I dont know what, it just was, is, and will be and there WILL NEVER BE ANY PROOF that a deity is real. And I did not just get struck down by lightning.

Cranky in the Country

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A question...since we're endowed by are Creator, how come some are more endowed than others?

That is just not fair...we need perfectly equal endowment.

Official government endowment checker>>> glitter-ruler-smiley-emoticon.gif

A...

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I argue, of course, that belief in a creator is not necessary to justify individual rights. Our theist Founders like Jefferson understood "creator" in a very different way than many Christians today. But the point here is not to get bogged down in religious debates. Indeed, the Founders created the United States as a secular nation--current conservative Christian contentions to the contrary--because they had witnessed centuries of repression, torture, and wars that killed millions in the name of religion. We should fight the Obamas of the world based on the Founders' understanding of the purpose of government as the protection of individual liberty rather than the direction of our individual lives.

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Our theist Founders like Jefferson understood "creator" in a very different way than many Christians today.

That's a commonly repeated meme by secular leftists. Alinsky style repetition is how they attempt to expunge God from America's creation... and they're actually quite good at it.

"Resolved, That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, be a committee, to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America." – July 4, 1776, Journals of Continental Congress...

...He also drew the below realization of the committee's reverse side. It is based on Jefferson's edit of Franklin's suggestion:

1CommRev.jpg"Pharaoh sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his head and a Sword in his hand, passing through the divided Waters of the Red Sea in Pursuit of the Israelites: Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Cloud, expressive of the divine Presence and Command, beaming on Moses who stands on the shore and extending his hand over the Sea causes it to overwhelm Pharaoh. Motto: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God."

http://www.greatseal.com/committees/firstcomm/

The Israelites being led out of Egyptian slavery by the Lord is hardly deist! :laugh:

Care to claim Washington was a deist too? :wink:

Federal_Hall_George_Washington_in_Prayer

Greg

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The United States is and has always been essentially a Christian nation. The whole natural rights philosophy came off of and out of a Christian matrix. In English culture and law even the King bowed down to God. That's what the phrase in the Declaration of Independence means: "all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights"--thus properly combining the secular with the religious, the secular being the forthcoming political structure of the new nation. "God" for a true secularist is merely a shorthand way of explaining natural rights philosophy morally and philosophically. Many of the Founding Fathers were true secularists, but not of the conniving left. They respected their philosophical roots. That's why Jefferson as President went to church. He was respecting not only those roots but those who actually and ardently believed in a Supreme Being. He was at least going to bow down to morality and equality. And I'm sure he was determined as President to harvest all that religious strength for the benefit of the nation even to the extent of general religious toleration. A God-fearing Christian makes the enemies of America fear and respect the United States because they made this great country and will walk right up to and into death defending it, even mistakenly. This powerful culture even sweeps in the American atheist, which you can call me to understand me about me and this.

--Brant

https://youtu.be/OFtNVEbasOo

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I remember Jeff. He was a good satirist, and Objectivist Living is THE offshoot of Atlantis and OWL. Peter

From: "Jeff Olson" To: "atlantis" Subject: ATL: Dialogues with God

Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 13:47:49 -0700

I took Debbie's suggestion about arguing with God directly, and fortunately, owing perhaps to His omnipotence, He was able to spare time from His busy schedule to meet with me personally and discuss some of my concerns....

I found God sitting in my backyard, drinking a beer. At first I thought He was a biker, since He was wearing a leather vest, blue jeans, and motorcycle boots -- but the "Mother Mary" tattoo and the thick, salt-n-pepper beard gave Him away. (God, by the way, apparently drinks Keystone Lite, which I don't take necessarily as a good sign. But perhaps He was just trying to avoid hurting my feelings by not drinking an expensive imported beer, since He knows my drinking budget is rather limited. Either that, or Keystone Lite has some cosmic

significance that I'm not privy to.)

In any event, God said He'd seen the back gate open, and had just mosied in and made Himself to home while His "Hog" was being repaired. He said He hoped I didn't mind, which I thought was kind of funny, since I'd called for Him and all. And I did wonder about His use of swine metaphor, but decided not to waste time with trivial questions and get right to the point.

"When You told Moses to stone a man to death for working on the Sabbath, was this a good thing to do simply because You ordered it? Or did the act have goodness in itself?"

God leaned back in my lawn chair, pursing His lips reflectively. "Well, man, I think you gotta try to understand everything as a whole, you know? Things were a whole lot different back then, if you catch my drift."

"Are You saying that morality is historically relative, or perhaps time-sensitive?"

"Yeah, uh, right. It's like certain ways a doing things just stop working, and something different takes its place. Like now I ride a hog instead of a chariot, you know?"

On that note, I saw the opportunity to ask the question I'd always wanted to ask the King of Kings. "Then who is responsible for all the evil and suffering in the world? You or humankind?"

God took a long sip of beer, and nodded thoughtfully. "Well, me and boys have caused *some* of the suffering, man, I'll give you that--"

"By 'boys' I take it you mean 'angels'?"

"I meant 'Angels,' of course. They aren't exactly boys, that's for damn sure." He let out a guttural laugh. "But, you know, it's like my ma used to say--"

"You mean, Mother Mary?"

"Uh, right. Hey, how did you know?" Then He traced my gaze to His tattoo, and chuckled. "Oh, yeah. Anyways, my mom always said that you got free will, you know, and each man's free to make his own decisions in life. So if you fuck up, it's you own damn fault, is what I'm sayin'."

"But if You created man, aren't you in some sense responsible for the qualities that lead him to certain actions, irrespective of free will?"

Now God gave me a kind of odd, impatient look at that point, as though I'd done something to earn His disfavor. He lowered his beer, and crushed the can noisily in one ham-sized hand.

"Look, son," He grumbled finally, "I'm not here to give you all the answers. I'm just here waiting for my ride to get fixed. But them's questions you gotta work out on your own, you know, though personally I think it's probably a waste of time to even look at it 'cause you're not going to understand it anyway."

I lowered my head humbly, and then the loud, concussive rumble of an approaching motorcycle echoed back into the yard.

"Hey, that's my ride, partner." God stood up stiffly, tossing the beer can in the grass. "Anyhow, nice talkin' to ya. Good luck with all them questions."

I followed God out to the gate, literally shaking with a sense of impending revelation. I suddenly realized that asking God to solve all our problems and answer all our questions is wrong, and that He, in His divine omniscience, was telling me that I had to solve those mysteries myself, to exercise my free will, and to take responsibility for my own life.

I thought then that this God is one helluva being, despite being ugly as hell and reeking of cheap beer.

But as I watched from the gate, and God positioned his corpulent form on the back seat of a motorcycle, presumably driven by one of his special angels, I realized that my eyes had been opened to at least one holy mystery -- and that at least one prevalent rumor about his Divinity was true.

God, apparently, *does* ride a Harley.

Jeff

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Greg, here are some old notes I kept. Peter

Posted 06:26 PM March 3, 2012 from Dennis Hardin.

Heres a fascinating example of the historical spin game. In 1797, the United States signed a treaty with the Muslim nation of Tripoli that contained the following provision:

As the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mohometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of harmony existing between the two countries.

From Wallbuilders (David Barton):

Quote

The 1797 treaty with Tripoli was one of the many treaties in which each country officially recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent further escalation of a "Holy War" between Christians and Muslims. . .

This article may be read in two manners. It may, as its critics do, be concluded after the clause "Christian religion"; or it may be read in its entirety and concluded when the punctuation so indicates [as shown above--DH]. But even if shortened and cut abruptly ("the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion"), this is not an untrue statement since it is referring to the federal government.

Recall that while the Founders themselves openly described America as a Christian nation, they did include a constitutional prohibition against a federal establishment; religion was a matter left solely to the individual States. Therefore, if the article is read as a declaration that the federal government of the United States was not in any sense founded on the Christian religion, such a statement is not a repudiation of the fact that America was considered a Christian nation.

From a Separationist website:

Quote

So far as we can tell, the inclusion of these words in the treaty had no negative political ramifications for the treaty whatsoever. On the contrary, the treaty was approved by President John Adams and his Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, and then was ratified by the Senate without objection. According to an information sheet provided to us by Ed Buckner of the Atlanta Freethought Society:

The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the United States Senate clearly specifies that the treaty was read aloud on the floor of the Senate and that copies of the treaty were printed "for the use of the Senate." Nor is it plausible to argue that perhaps Senators voted for the treaty without being aware of the famous words. The treaty was quite short, requiring only two or three pages to reprint in most treaty books today--and printed, in its entirely, on but one page (sometimes the front page) of U.S. newspapers of the day. The lack of any recorded argument about the wording, as well as the unanimous vote and the and the wide reprinting of the words in the press of 1797, suggests that the idea that the government was not a Christian one was widely and easily accepted at the time.

We could debate until were all blue in the face about which one is truth and which one is a useful fiction. Or we could simply take the wording of the treaty itself at face value. I don't think the words "in any sense" leave a lot of wiggle room.

Is there any historical topic that's immune to noxious, interminable debate? This one certainly should be.

End of letter to OL

My response.

Dennis Hardin quoted the treaty:

As the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

end quote

Thank you so much, Dennis. I am saving your letter for posterity. I hear the opposite over and over by Sean Hannity and other religious conservatives.

George H. Smith wrote on page 109 of Why Atheism:

Bacons secularism, while it did not challenge Christianity per se, exiled God to the nether regions of faith and theology . . .

and George quoted Franklin Baumer about 17th Century thought:

Secularism, unlike free thought, posed no threat to particular theological tenets. What it did was to outflank theology by staking out autonomous spheres of thought. The tendency was, more and more, to limit theology to the comparatively restricted sphere of faith and morals.

I dont have ATCAG handy but I seem to remember George going into more detail there or in one of his other books. This topic definitely needs a re-visit. I am so tired of arguing with Theists without definitive, convincing ammunition.

Peter Taylor

Michael Stuart Kelly responded:

It should be mentioned that the treaty was signed with a government that was, in fact, an Islamic theocracy.

Since there were not a lot of USA government statements like the one you quoted from those times (and I'm only presuming there were more because I don't know of any, although I did know about the wording in the treaty with Tripoli), I think it is reasonable to assume that the authors were trying to assure the Islamic theocratic government in Tripoli that the USA was not one of its traditional Christian theocratic enemies, or like those who favored religious warfare against Islam.

If you look at the times, that seems reasonable to me. They had Islamic fanatics even back then. (And even if some were pirates...)

I would be more inclined to give the interpretation you favor if there were treaties like that with, say, France or other non-theocratic countries.

In my view, within that context, the statement simply meant that the USA was not a Christian theocracy and had never been. I don't see where the USA government would have had any reason to assert the interpretation you favor with a hostile Islamic state during peace negotiations.

Michael

Michael Stuart Kelly wrote:

I would be more inclined to give the interpretation you favor if there were treaties like that with, say, France or other non-theocratic countries.

end quote

My quibble with Michaels argument is that there would be no need in diplomatic language to include or exclude theocratic references to England or France unlike a Musselman country though I think there would be no utilitarian reason to mention God, except in a salutation like May god speed . . .

This would be a good project for a writer. Wasnt there somebody other than Ghs who wrote about the non-religious though deistic philosophical basis for our constitution back in the seventies?

Peter (Alexis) de Tocqueville.

Dennis Hardin, on 03 March 2012 - 07:26 PM, said:

We could debate until were all blue in the face about which one is truth and which one is a useful fiction. Or we could simply take the wording of the treaty itself at face value. I don't think the words "in any sense" leave a lot of wiggle room. Is there any historical topic that's immune to noxious, interminable debate? This one certainly should be.

If you watch David Barton's interview with Jon Stewart, you will see that Barton misquotes the passage from the Treaty of Tripoli in an effort to show that it supposedly doesn't mean what it says.

Here is an interesting story about the Constitutional Convention (1787) that the likes of Barton either don't know about or would rather ignore. When the delegates appeared to be deadlocked over the issue of representation -- a problem that eventually resulted in the "Great Compromise" -- Benjamin Franklin suggested that a minister be called in to pray for a resolution. The proposal was voted down, and no minister was summoned. Alexander Hamilton quipped that the Convention had no need for foreign aid.

I included this story in my Knowledge Products scripts on the Constitution. I wrote four of the eight scripts (two on the Convention and two on the text of the Constitution -- around 180 manuscript pages altogether), and I edited the other four (by Jeff Hummel and Wendy McElroy). The scripts were submitted to a Bicentennial Committee of leading historians of the Constitution, and they were approved with no changes whatsoever. The final KP tapes then became the "official" Bicentennial tapes on the U.S. Constitution, as indicated by a medallion on the original packaging.

Ghs

God). They don't say it that way. They just try to push and shove it in those directions. That's my read. Michael

Saying that the U.S. government is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion does not mean the same as saying that the U.S. is not a theocracy. A theocracy is a nation ruled by a religious authority. A nation can have an established religion, as England and France did during the eighteenth century, without being a theocracy. Or a government can promote religion in some form, or show a preference for one religion over another, or impose religious tests for holding civil offices (as England did). or impose tithes for the support of religion, without being a theocracy.

Again, Barlow's statement refers specifically to the U.S. government, not to the nation (both terms had specific and well-understood meanings at the time); and in saying that the government was not founded, in any sense, on the Christian religion, it is clearly referring to the founding document of the government, i.e., the Constitution.

You present one side as saying that "Christianity did not influence in any manner the political thinking back then...." This characterization is too ambiguous to serve a useful purpose. And I frankly cannot think of any reputable historian who has ever said this.

The relevant point is whether or not the U.S. Constitution contains any points that are specifically Christian. It does not. The doctrine know as "separation of powers," for example, goes back to Greek and Roman times (most notably Polybius). Even the theoretical foundations of the Constitution, ideas not explicitly stated in the Constitution, are not specifically Christian. The notion of the "rule of law" is found in Aristotle, who was frequently cited as a standard source. One of the most most commonly cited sources for the notion of "natural law" was Cicero, who had a profound influence on Christian thought. And so forth.

Ghs

Michael Stuart Kelly, on 04 March 2012 - 07:11 AM, said:

studiodekadent, on 04 March 2012 - 01:36 AM, said:

Barton and his Evangelical buddies then tighten the screws and start using "America is a Christian Nation" to argue that "America should be governed according to the principles of Evangelical fundamentalist Christianity." Which means they would not acknowledge either Catholics or Unitarians as "real" Christians, and they would reject a secular state.

Andrew,

I don't agree with Barton on many things, but this mischaracterizes his position, at least according to what I have read and seen.

His argument is not about imposing Christianity on anyone. It is for allowing government officials to include their expressions of faith in discharging their duties. He is standing up to the removal of monuments from government buildings that, say, include the Ten Commandments, against prohibiting prayer for opening a meeting and things like that.

In his so-called "Detached Memoranda," James Madison -- who wrote the original draft of the First Amendment and shepherded the Bill of Rights through Congress -- argued that "the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress" violates the Establishment Clause of First Amendment. This practice was "a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles." Madison also opposed "Chaplainships for the army and navy" and "Religious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings & fasts." The latter, though "recommendations only, imply a religious agency, making no part of the trust delegated to political rulers."

Right-wingers like Barton frequently complain that their opponents wish to ban religion from "the public square," without explaining what this term is supposed to mean. Madison, in contrast, clearly distinguished the private activities of politicians from actions taken in their capacity as government officials:

Quote

In their individual capacities, as distinct from their official station, they might unite in recommendations of any sort whatever, in the same manner as any other individuals might do...,

Madison goes on to criticize a "day of thanksgiving" proclaimed by Washington, as well as one by John Adams ("which called for Xn worship").

Ghs

Xn is Christian, per George. That is a direct quote from John Adams and Xn was used frequently during that era.

One argument of the Barton school is that Christian morality profoundly influenced the Founders. Well, if this was true in some cases, it was not true in the case of Thomas Jefferson.

In 1785, Jefferson wrote a letter to Peter Carr (one of his favorite nephews). This letter recommended various books that Carr should read in the course of his education. The Bible nowhere appears on his list of recommendations, nor is any Christian moral philosopher mentioned. Jefferson wrote: "In morality, read Epictetus, Xenphontis [i.e., Xenophon's] Memorabilia [an account of Socrates], Plato's Socratic dialogues, Cicero's philosophies, Antoninus, and Seneca." These are pagan authors, one and all.

In various letters, Jefferson described himself as an "Epicurean" and a "materialist."

Ghs

Posted Yesterday, 08:18 PM

Michael Stuart Kelly, on 04 March 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

Dennis Hardin, on 04 March 2012 - 05:37 PM, said:

... I simply do not see any logic to the arguments which try to undercut the clear wording of that treaty.

Dennis, I'm not trying to undercut the wording. I'm just trying, as I'm sure you are, to avoid a double meaning being used in the wrong way. Like it or not, the term "Christian nation" has more than one meaning....

For the third time, the Treaty of Tripoli refers to the U.S. government -- i.e., the federal government -- not to the nation. These terms did not mean the same thing during the 18th century, and they still don't. "Nation" signified a government and its citizens, i.e., both government and society.

There is no "double-meaning" involved in the statement that the "Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." The is very precise and very accurate. It says nothing about the values and beliefs held by most Americans at that time, which were largely Christian. But a government administered by Christians is not the same thing as a Christian government.

Ghs

Posted Yesterday, 08:58 PM

Michael Stuart Kelly, on 04 March 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

I'm not trying to undercut the wording. I'm just trying, as I'm sure you are, to avoid a double meaning being used in the wrong way. Like it or not, the term "Christian nation" has more than one meaning.

Here is a quote by a slightly later President, John Quincy Adams, that Christians like to plant all over the place (from An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, at their request, on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1837.)

John Quincy Adams said:

The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent Nation of Christians, recognizing the general principles of the European law of nations.

Granted, he was no longer the President when he said that, but he was a Congressman.

Adams' phrase is one of the meanings of "Christian nation" I believe he said it quite eloquently, which is why I quoted it. Another meaning is that the USA is a nation where Christianity is a governmental affair, with official merging of Christianity with government in some capacity.

Here is another passage from the same pamphlet:

Quote

They had formed a subordinate portion of an European Christian nation, in the condition of Colonies. The laws of social intercourse between sovereign communities constitute the laws of nations, all derived from three sources: the laws of nature, or in other words the dictates of justice; usages, sanctioned by custom; and treaties, or national covenants. Superadded to these, the Christian nations, between themselves, admit, with various latitudes of interpretation, and little consistency of practice, the laws of humanity and mutual benevolence taught in the gospel of Christ. The European Colonies in America had all been settled by Christian nations

(1) Adams makes the point that the U.S. is a Christian nation in the same sense that all European countries were Christian nations, i.e., their populations were made up primarily of Christians. True enough, and no historian, left or right, has ever denied this. This truism does nothing to further the causes of Barton and his Christian followers. America was indeed a Christian Nation in this sense, and so were Britain and France. But this didn't keep them from repeatedly fighting one another. Indeed, Britain and France were at war during much of the 18th century.

(2) Note how Adams describes the supposedly Christian feature of the "laws of social intercourse between sovereign communities." These were regarded as the same as the moral principles that would guide sovereign individuals in a "state of nature."

Quote

Superadded to these, the Christian nations, between themselves, admit, with various latitudes of interpretation, and little consistency of practice, the laws of humanity and mutual benevolence taught in the gospel of Christ.

So are we to believe that humanity and benevolence are specifically Christian values? And are these the same Christian values that constituted the moral foundation of slavery in America? (Adams, to his credit, was antislavery.)

3) JQA's address was essentially a stump speech for the Federalist Party and its nationalism, in contrast to the Jeffersonian Republicans and their defense of states rights. Look at his analysis of the Declaration early on, which is incorrect but which was the standard line of Federalists. (The Federalists later morphed into the American Whig Party, and then into the Republican Party.) In fairness to John Quincy, however, I should note that he was something of a maverick among the Federalists, as was his father, John.

4) JQA's Old Testament citations were window dressing intended for popular consumption. Even the rabidly anti-Christian Thomas Paine quoted liberally from the O.T. in Common Sense when it suited his political agenda. And Jefferson despised the O.T. He once called the O.T. god "a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust." (Letter to William Short, 1820.)

Ghs

Posted Yesterday, 08:58 PM

Michael Stuart Kelly, on 04 March 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

I'm not trying to undercut the wording. I'm just trying, as I'm sure you are, to avoid a double meaning being used in the wrong way. Like it or not, the term "Christian nation" has more than one meaning.

Here is a quote by a slightly later President, John Quincy Adams, that Christians like to plant all over the place (from An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, at their request, on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1837.)

John Quincy Adams said:

The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent Nation of Christians, recognizing the general principles of the European law of nations.

Granted, he was no longer the President when he said that, but he was a Congressman.

Adams' phrase is one of the meanings of "Christian nation" I believe he said it quite eloquently, which is why I quoted it. Another meaning is that the USA is a nation where Christianity is a governmental affair, with official merging of Christianity with government in some capacity.

Here is another passage from the same pamphlet:

Quote

They had formed a subordinate portion of an European Christian nation, in the condition of Colonies. The laws of social intercourse between sovereign communities constitute the laws of nations, all derived from three sources: the laws of nature, or in other words the dictates of justice; usages, sanctioned by custom; and treaties, or national covenants. Superadded to these, the Christian nations, between themselves, admit, with various latitudes of interpretation, and little consistency of practice, the laws of humanity and mutual benevolence taught in the gospel of Christ. The European Colonies in America had all been settled by Christian nations

(1) Adams makes the point that the U.S. is a Christian nation in the same sense that all European countries were Christian nations, i.e., their populations were made up primarily of Christians. True enough, and no historian, left or right, has ever denied this. This truism does nothing to further the causes of Barton and his Christian followers. America was indeed a Christian Nation in this sense, and so were Britain and France. But this didn't keep them from repeatedly fighting one another. Indeed, Britain and France were at war during much of the 18th century.

(2) Note how Adams describes the supposedly Christian feature of the "laws of social intercourse between sovereign communities." These were regarded as the same as the moral principles that would guide sovereign individuals in a "state of nature."

Quote

Superadded to these, the Christian nations, between themselves, admit, with various latitudes of interpretation, and little consistency of practice, the laws of humanity and mutual benevolence taught in the gospel of Christ.

So are we to believe that humanity and benevolence are specifically Christian values? And are these the same Christian values that constituted the moral foundation of slavery in America? (Adams, to his credit, was antislavery.)

3) JQA's address was essentially a stump speech for the Federalist Party and its nationalism, in contrast to the Jeffersonian Republicans and their defense of states rights. Look at his analysis of the Declaration early on, which is incorrect but which was the standard line of Federalists. (The Federalists later morphed into the American Whig Party, and then into the Republican Party.) In fairness to John Quincy, however, I should note that he was something of a maverick among the Federalists, as was his father, John.

4) JQA's Old Testament citations were window dressing intended for popular consumption. Even the rabidly anti-Christian Thomas Paine quoted liberally from the O.T. in Common Sense when it suited his political agenda. And Jefferson despised the O.T. He once called the O.T. god "a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust." (Letter to William Short, 1820.)

Ghs

Posted Today, 03:22 AM Dennis Hardin wrote:

Michael Stuart Kelly, on 04 March 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

Dennis Hardin, on 04 March 2012 - 05:37 PM, said:

... I simply do not see any logic to the arguments which try to undercut the clear wording of that treaty.

Dennis,

I'm not trying to undercut the wording. I'm just trying, as I'm sure you are, to avoid a double meaning being used in the wrong way. Like it or not, the term "Christian nation" has more than one meaning.

Michael,

It's certainly true that the term "Christian Nation" could have multiple meanings, but my concern is with the conservatives' claim that America was founded as a "Christian Nation." To say that America is a "nation of Christians" is noncontroversial. That's just a matter of statistics, and I would have to add: So what? From a philosophical perspective, the critical issue is: Was the United States of America founded upon the Christian religion?

The essential founding document of the United States and its government is the Constitution. To say that the U.S. was founded on the Christian religion is to say that the founders based the Constitution on the Christian religion. The Treaty of Tripoli makes clear that they did not.

The United States was founded on the ideas of The Enlightenment and, to some extent, Aristotle. That was the philosophy embodied in the Constitution--and the founders knew it. Otherwise, those words would not have been in that treaty.

Unfortunately, today's religious conservatives do not know it and refuse to accept it. That's the problem--and the Treaty of Tripoli is my evidence that they are clearly and unequivocally wrong.

Studiodecadent wrote:

Posted Today, 05:05 AM

Dennis Hardin, on 05 March 2012 - 03:22 AM, said:

Michael Stuart Kelly, on 04 March 2012 - 07:53 PM, said:

Dennis Hardin, on 04 March 2012 - 05:37 PM, said:

... I simply do not see any logic to the arguments which try to undercut the clear wording of that treaty.

Dennis,

I'm not trying to undercut the wording. I'm just trying, as I'm sure you are, to avoid a double meaning being used in the wrong way. Like it or not, the term "Christian nation" has more than one meaning.

Michael,

It's certainly true that the term "Christian Nation" could have multiple meanings, but my concern is with the conservatives' claim that America was founded as a "Christian Nation." To say that America is a "nation of Christians" is noncontroversial. That's just a matter of statistics, and I would have to add: So what? From a philosophical perspective, the critical issue is: Was the United States of America founded upon the Christian religion?

Dennis,

I agree with you, and even that issue can be nuanced, complicated and thorny.

1) What "Christian" religion, specifically? There are multiple denominations of Christianity, most of which are incompatible with the other denominations and accuse the other denominations of being false Christians that will burn in hell forever. Even within the same denomination you can find multiple different philosophical substrains (Catholicism for instance). And certainly, from an historical perspective, all those evangelicals who say "America was founded on Christianity" seem to conveniently forget that the specific kind of Christianity they advocate and believe in didn't even exist at the time of the founding.

2) Being founded upon "Christian principles" does not necessitate that the principles themselves are uniquely Christian. For example, the Law of Identity is a principle one can find in Objectivism but is also found in other philosophies. One can correctly say that the Law of Identity is an Objectivist principle, but not an exclusively Objectivist principle.

3) Additionally, a principle being compatible with (any specific understanding of) Christianity does not necessarily mean the principle is "Christian."

Quote

The essential founding document of the United States and its government is the Constitution.

This is where I would register a slight disagreement, since I do think the Declaration of Independence is just as essential. This is where Santorum actually was correct; the Constitution must be read in the context of the Declaration (which in turn must be understood within the context of its historical and intellectual background etc.).

Quote

To say that the U.S. was founded on the Christian religion is to say that the founders based the Constitution on the Christian religion. The Treaty of Tripoli makes clear that they did not.

I agree.

Posted Today, 08:36 AM

Dennis Hardin, on 05 March 2012 - 03:22 AM, said:

The United States was founded on the ideas of The Enlightenment and, to some extent, Aristotle. That was the philosophy embodied in the Constitution--and the founders knew it. Otherwise, those words would not have been in that treaty.

Unfortunately, today's religious conservatives do not know it and refuse to accept it. That's the problem--and the Treaty of Tripoli is my evidence that they are clearly and unequivocally wrong.

Dennis,

As I showed, some of the states that make up the United States actually were founded on the Christian religion. But I know of no reference to Aristotle in any founding documents.

Fact: In the founding of the United States, the whole (the federal government) is not Christian but some the parts are (state governments).

Does that lead to this conclusion? That means that Christianity did not exist as a philosophical influence in the founding of the United States.

One does not follow from the other in my understanding.

But here's an idea for you. I agree with George on making a clear distinction between the government and the nation. The USA federal government was not founded on Christianity. Some state governments were, And the nation mostly was.

The influence of the Enlightenment was also present in the government and in the nation.

In other words, it's not an either-or proposition. Philosophically, both influences were present.

I know that idea does not satisfy fundamentalist Christians, but does it satisfy the enemies of fundamentalist Christians?

Incidentally, just because the founding of the country occurred one way, that does not mean it has to continue that way. Slavery is a good case in point.

Michael

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The United States is and has always been essentially a Christian nation.

Yes.

A Judeo/Christian nation... with a secular government.

Greg

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Saying that the U.S. government is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion does not mean the same as saying that the U.S. is not a theocracy. A theocracy is a nation ruled by a religious authority. A nation can have an established religion, as England and France did during the eighteenth century, without being a theocracy. Or a government can promote religion in some form, or show a preference for one religion over another, or impose religious tests for holding civil offices (as England did). or impose tithes for the support of religion, without being a theocracy.

The US government is doing that right now...

It actively promotes the secular political State religion of feminized leftism.

"Separation of church and state" my ass! :laugh:

Greg

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Saying that the U.S. government is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion does not mean the same as saying that the U.S. is not a theocracy. A theocracy is a nation ruled by a religious authority. A nation can have an established religion, as England and France did during the eighteenth century, without being a theocracy. Or a government can promote religion in some form, or show a preference for one religion over another, or impose religious tests for holding civil offices (as England did). or impose tithes for the support of religion, without being a theocracy.

The US government is doing that right now...

It actively promotes the secular political State religion of feminized leftism.

"Separation of church and state" my ass! :laugh:

Greg

Do you prefer macho politics? Since when does morality and politics have a gender? Right is Right. Wrong is Wrong and there is no male or female about it. Mixing gender with other stuff is most distracting and annoying....

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Since when does morality and politics have a gender?

Since Liberalism is a feminized ideology and Conservatism is a masculine ideology.

Greg

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Since when does morality and politics have a gender?

Since Liberalism is a feminized ideology and Conservatism is a masculine ideology.

Greg

So you keep saying without offering a crumb of proof for your position.

Right/Wrong has no gender.

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Since when does morality and politics have a gender?

Since Liberalism is a feminized ideology and Conservatism is a masculine ideology.

Greg

So you keep saying without offering a crumb of proof for your position.

Right/Wrong has no gender.

After all this time you should know that Greg makes asseverations, not (logical) arguments. He even says he doesn't argue, which really isn't true because asseveration is a form of argument. It'd be intellectual bullying but it isn't intellectual, just brain lead.

--Brant

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After all this time you should know that Greg makes asseverations, not (logical) arguments. He even says he doesn't argue, which really isn't true because asseveration is a form of argument. It'd be intellectual bullying but it isn't intellectual, just brain lead.

--Brant

I can only respond to what is written or said. I am very bad at picking up subtleties of character.

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Baal wrote: I can only respond to what is written or said. I am very bad at picking up subtleties of character. End quote

Alas poor Yorick, he hardly knew Bob (Baal). It is a different, sensitive skill that can pick up subtleties of character in a face to face meeting. Many times, when corresponding over the internet or by mail, the writer is cognizant of their own attempt to become a character with assumed attributes (and they are trying to scam you) but other times the attributes are evident to a reader without any deliberate attempt to project them on the writers part. Is that in any way clear? Yawn. It is after midnight.

What will a potential Presidential candidate give to future generations? Some would give the enlightened truth. Paul, and Cruz are two of those candidates who readily come to mind.

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So you keep saying without offering a crumb of proof for your position.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Conservative man

937c06e1c74fb43bbfb9b1c219e195f6.jpg

Barry Obama: Feminized liberal male

600b09201e1.jpg

Case closed. :wink:

Greg

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