Friday, July 01, 2016

Caesar Rodney Rides Into History

Two hundred and forty years ago, Delaware's Caesar Rodney was galloping hard through the stormy night to reach Philadelphia in time to cast a crucial tie-breaking vote for American independence. Rodney's 70-mile ride the night of July 1, 1776 pushed Delaware into the pro-independence column and insured the Continental Congress voted UNANIMOUSLY (with one colony abstaining) for America's independence on July 2. The Declaration of Independence would be approved two days later, but it was actually on July 2, 1776 that the Continental Congress voted to "absolve all allegiance to the British Crown" and lay the foundation for the United States of America.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Walter Williams Chastises Bernie Sanders for Attack on Founders

Economist Walter Williams is taking Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to task for telling Liberty University students several months ago that the Founding Fathers created the United States on "racist" grounds. According to Williams, this cheap shot against the Founders is typical of the Left's efforts to denigrate the Founders and "undermine the legitimacy of our Constitution."

Check out Williams' article at the link below...

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Why Did George Washington Retire Before He Became President?

One of the questions asked often on the Internet is why George Washington retired as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army before becoming President of the United States. The simple answer is that General George Washington was done with public 1783. Once the British signed the Treaty of Paris recognizing American independence, General Washington's task was done and all he wanted to do at that point was head home to Martha and Mount Vernon. He had no interest in serving in any public office, political or otherwise, when he retired in 1783.

Note that this was four years before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and five years before the election for the first President of the United States created by that Constitution. The presidency that Washington would step into was still several years off when the Treaty of Paris was signed. The only "president of the United States" at the time of General Washington's retirement was the head of the Congress under the nascent Articles of Confederation, and that was a very different office from the one created by the Constitution in 1787-88.

General Washington would of course come out of retirement to attend, and later preside over, the Constitutional Convention in 1787. That body was called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It ended up replacing them entirely. The requisite number of states ratified the new compact by the time of the presidential election in 1788. George Washington was unanimously elected. By that time, he was out of retirement, being an advocate for the new Constitution.

After two terms as President, Washington announced his retirement again, returning to Mount Vernon. He was called once more out of retirement by President John Adams who asked him to command the American army in preparation for a possible invasion from France, a Revolutionary War ally that had experienced a violent change in government. Washington agreed on the condition that he remain at Mount Vernon. His second-in-command, Alexander Hamilton, became the effective commander of the American army, which was dissolved once peace with France was established.

Retirement is actually one of the keys to Washington's greatness. Washington had several opportunities to seize power and essentially hold it until his death. He could've been a king or dictator in America. He refused. His humility and self-restraint make him one of the greatest leaders in all of history.

**For more on George Washington's character, check out The Religion of George Washington: The Faith and Moral Philosophy of our Greatest Founding Father

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

RIP Patty Duke (aka Martha Washington)

Acclaimed actress Patty Duke passed away in the early hours of the morning on March 29, 2016. One of her representatives confirmed her passing at 1:20am. He said: "She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a mental health advocate and a cultural icon. She will be missed."

Patty Duke is known to this blog's readership for many things, but among them is her starring role in the George Washington miniseries from the mid-1980s. She played Martha Washington opposite star Barry Bostwick who played our nation's first general and President. 

She will be missed.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Honoring the Best President on Presidents Day

Washington's inauguration as depicted by artist Mort Kunstler
The third Monday in February is set aside each year by federal law to honor the father of our country, but culture has hijacked the February holiday, calling it "Presidents Day" and lumping the first President in with all the rest. Today, most Americans see Presidents Day as a day to honor all our Presidents, in spite of the fact that it's not the holiday's original nor official intent. What's more, the idea that Washington should share his holiday with Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Joh Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Andrew Johnson is a bit ridiculous, to say the least.

Setting aside the fact that George Washington's accomplishments outside of the presidency warrant a holiday in their own right (like, say, his generalship in the Revolutionary War and his presiding over the Constitutional Convention), President Washington nevertheless ranks as the most important and significant Chief Executive in our nation's history. Yes, there's Lincoln who presided over the Civil War and FDR who led us through the Great Depression and World War II, but these men (and all the others) followed in Washington's foot steps. They operated under his shadow. It was George Washington who defined the presidency and who made it work. To steal a phrase from Tina Turner, Washington is "simply the best, better than all the rest."

On this "Presidents Day," let's remember the President who stands head and shoulders above all other American statesmen and who, more than any other, made the United States possible.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mort Kunstler Honors Lewis & Clark

Today (January 18) in 1803, Thomas Jefferson requested funds from the U.S. Congress to finance the Lewis and Clark expedition in the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Congress authorized $2,500 but the actual cost exceeded $40,000. To commemorate this date, Mort Kunstler, one of my favorite artists, displayed this piece on his Facebook page today...

Find more art from Mort Kunstler at his official site

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Treaty of Ghent Ends War of 1812 (sort of) 201 Years Ago Today

On this day (December 24) 201 years ago, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, setting the stage for the conclusion of the War of 1812 (a war which began in 1812 but lasted longer than the one year for which it was named). News would not reach North America in time to stop the British attack on New Orleans, which would be the last major battle of the war. This is truly an event that showcases the significance of modern communications technology.

Read more about this "forgotten war" at...

Monday, December 14, 2015

George Washington Dies December 14, 1799

Sixteen years ago, I stood at Mount Vernon and watched the funeral procession of George Washington. For a moment, it felt like the real funeral of George Washington - a brief moment made difficult by all the spectators (like me) with cameras and in modern clothing lining both sides of the procession and a moment completely shattered when I saw one of the early American soldiers sporting sunglasses!

I attended the 1999 bicentennial reenactment of Washington's funeral, because I recognized the significance of the man being honored. With the passing of George Washington in December 14, 1799, the United States of America lost its greatest leader - then and since.

To be sure, our nation has been blessed with wonderful leaders, including several of Washington's contemporaries (the men we know as "the Founding Fathers") and many of our Presidents, military leaders, civil rights activists, and religious figures throughout history. But Washington tops them all given the sheer breadth of his experience (political, business, and military) as well as the indispensable nature of his contributions. Without Washington, there would almost certainly be no United States of America today.

While an imperfect man (Washington, after all, was a slave owner - though a progressive one whose conscience led him eventually to manumission), George Washington embodied the highest ideals of character and service. Faced with the temptation of becoming dictator (or perhaps king) after the American Revolution, Washington instead chose retirement. Then the nation's leaders begged him out of retirement to supervise the Constitutional Convention and to accept the presidency under the new Constitution. Washington faithfully served two terms and, once again, turned over the reins of power and headed home to Mount Vernon.

In this time of political and social division, those of us who love America can only hope that the vast majority of Americans will agree that whatever greatness our nation has achieved in its short history is due in no small measure to the foundation laid by the men and women of the founding generation. And, when one looks at the founding, the figure of George Washington looms the largest.

In the end, Abraham Lincoln summed up Washington's legacy the best: "To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked, deathless splendor, leave it shining on."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Christopher Columbus Conundrum

The Columbus Day holiday presents our American society with a revealing conundrum. An increasing number of people regard Christopher Columbus to be more villain than hero, and are saying he should NOT be celebrated with a holiday. If this is so, on what basis do we judge him to be a villain?

That Columbus did and said some troubling things is pretty much beyond dispute. When Columbus landed in the Indies, he was met by a party of Arawaks, the native inhabitants of the land he claimed for Spain. In his journal, Columbus wrote of the Arawaks: "They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

Indeed, Columbus did subjugate many of the Arawak, and he didn't stop there. His treatment of the native inhabitants of North America set a pattern that would in many ways define European colonization and exploitation of the Americas. Bartolom√© de las Casas, a Catholic priest and contemporary critic of Columbus, wrote: “While I was in Cuba, 7000 children died in three months...Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation ... in this way, husbands died in the mines, wives died at work, and children died from lack of milk.”

Understandably, many today find Christopher Columbus a deplorable figure and consider the Columbus Day holiday to be highly objectionable. Still, such moral assessments of Columbus beg a question that is too often ignored in our society: What is the basis of any such moral judgment?

American culture today is feverishly resistant to any kind of "imposed" moral system, especially if such a system has any religious roots to it. Consider the debate over abortion. Most of those who defend abortion rights do so on the grounds of emphasizing the importance of personal autonomy and a rejection of any attempt to impose a religious-based morality on the rest of society. The irony is that those same themes were echoed in the defense of slavery in pre-Civil War America as well as many episodes or situations where Native Americans were mistreated. If religion is to be cast aside as a source for morality -- if indeed we are to set aside any objective system of morality - and we are to instead celebrate individual autonomy, then it's difficult for me to understand how anyone can rationally judge the actions or beliefs of another person, such as Columbus.

If morality is determined by each individual, then it was completely understandable for Columbus to ignore critics such as las Casas. What's more, why should he let a native's cry for mercy or freedom dissuade him from his quest for profit? Sure, the native inhabitant had a life and had goals and desires, but if each person can ultimately determine his or her own moral code, then it comes down to an issue of power, not ethics. If Columbus had the desire and the power to enslave people for his own purposes, then why should he not do so? Why must he yield to someone else's morality? After all, he did what he thought was right. If you're someone who supports individual-based morality, you have NO sensible or judicious grounds upon which to judge Christopher Columbus.

On the other hand, if morality is determined by community or culture, then how do we rationally decide WHICH community or society gets the final say? Why should, say, the Arawaks get to decide what's right or wrong? If individuals determine morality, then (as we saw above) it comes down to power, not ethics. The same would logically be true for communities, would it not? If one community has the desire and the ability to subjugate another, so be it.

Some may counter that, in the case of conflicting societal values, size matters. They may say that a large number of people who believe a certain way should enlighten others who feel differently. But how does that follow? Are moral questions determined by a vote or by public opinion polls?

There's also the issue of time. Since Columbus' level of public approval has fluctuated throughout the last few centuries, does that mean a person's status of hero or villain should be based on what year it is and what generation happens to be living at that time?  So, if the Spanish in 1492 believed slavery was appropriate, but today believe slavery is wrong, does that mean slavery was okay in 1492 but wrong today? Is the morality of slavery dependent on the times?

Whether we're talking about the treatment of Native Americans, the sanctity of human life, sexual ethics, the definition of the family, or any other moral question, it makes NO RATIONAL SENSE to say, on the one hand, that ethical principles are based entirely on individuals and/or communities -- and to then turn around and pronounce moral judgments on the actions or beliefs of others. It's intellectually incoherent to make ANY kind of moral judgment on anyone or anything if morality itself is based on individual choice or public opinion. And thus...

Without an objective, external, moral referent, no one can make any kind of rational assessment of Christopher Columbus. Period. 

I don't write this to defend Columbus. On the contrary, I believe much of what Columbus did was reprehensible. But my moral compass isn't set to public opinion or individual preference. When you have an objective standard (as I do), it's simpler (not always easy, but simpler) to come to a moral conclusion. And that is certainly the case with Columbus. Enslaving people against their will is wrong today and it was wrong in 1492. That's an objective moral standard which Christopher Columbus violated, and thus his actions were immoral. But if you remove objective morality from the equation, then no such judgment can be rendered. And, in that case, we may as well celebrate a Columbus Day holiday, because no one can dispute that his actions were monumentally consequential.

So, the next time you're tempted to make a judgment about Christopher Columbus or anyone else, ask yourself what is the BASIS of that judgment. Such an intellectual and philosophical exercise, on your part, will make Columbus Day worthwhile.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Is America Great?

Is the United States of America a truly "great" nation? Dinesh D'Souza, author of America (and director of the documentary of the same name) says so. Check out this article and make any comments below...

God bless the USA!