Government; Our Helper or Just a Bully?

America's Founding Community Education History Liberty/Politics Worldview

The purpose of government is a matter of common sense, although it may have been forgotten by many. Welcome friends, I will be preparing a summary of the Chapter “Residents” in Victor Davis Hanson’s book the Dying Citizen however work has kept me too busy to present it to you in a way that meets my standards. We are currently engaged in emergency action training and going over plans for nearly every type of medical, hostile, or systemic emergency that you can imagine. So, I will provide a little Common Sense from Thomas Paine on the foundation and purpose of just government and hopefully get “Residents” ready for Thursday’s post. It is incredibly relevant considering the events now taking place in Texas and when you read it, I think you will agree.

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it the superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first the formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the Means of calling the right of it in question (and in Matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the Sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry) and as the [reigning ruler & legislature] hath undertaken in his own Right…and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretentions of both, and equally to reject the usurpation of either...

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances hath, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all Lovers of Mankind are affected, and in the Event of which, their affections are interested. The laying of a country desolate with Fire and Sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all Mankind, and extirpating the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earth [or Texas and the Southern Border at least,] is the concern of every Man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling…

Philadelphia, February 14, 1776

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron and the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or exposed to the same miseries by a government which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer [through our consent and taxes.] being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. [This is where the idea of Natural Rights comes. They are the rights that we have on our own in the wild. We have no right to compel anyone else in such a state to do anything for us. Therefore, healthcare and education are NOT natural rights because they demand someone do something for us. Free speech, self-defense, hanging out with the people we like, these are all things we can do and they are our natural rights among others listed in the Bill of Rights.] A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of the wilderness, but one man might labor out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the meantime would urge him from his work and every different want call him in a different way. Disease, may even misfortune, would be death, though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.

Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede , and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that…they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other, and this…will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect in moral virtue.

Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters…

But, as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and … will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those have who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would act, were it present. [as the colony grows Thomas Paine illustrated how many communities might come together and each send representatives to a common legislature for this purpose – but contrast this with today. Our legislators do not generally come from “the whole body” rather they disproportionately come from the rich and many cannot even understand the life and daily trials of the common citizen. I remember seeing someone say how hard it was to have a scholarship to Harvard when they were just a poor white man. He said that his friends would be flying down to Florida for a 3-day weekend and he said he had to stay home and clean and do laundry. “Why don’t you just have your maid do that?” Our elite have no clue how the common person lives and trifling matters that they could weather can set a regular citizen behind on a mortgage payment. But they are, in general, so out of touch that they cannot properly govern us.- Daniel]

Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security…I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered;

Common Sense, 1776, p3-7 by Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine continues his February missive with a discussion of the odious structure of monarchal government and having legislatures that are far removed from the people making decisions for them as to how they are supposed to live their lives when they have no practical experience in how the people of a region live.

I thought this might be interesting to some of you who may have always thought of reading Thomas Paine but never got around to it. I find it interesting that he wrote for the “common man” in his newspaper and they (without public education,) seem to have been much better educated and bear stronger vocabularies than public schools have provided the general populace with today. And, I might add, had longer attention spans that were better able to take in information, weigh it logically, and make meaningful (rather than emotional,) decisions. I am similarly struck by the Confederate regiments in Virginia who studied war by day and discussed Xenophon and other Greek authors (that they read in Greek,) at night. When I was in the US Army, I knew Latin but there was no chance that I could start a discussion group to read Caesar in the orignal Latin where we could discuss it together. Clearly, not everyone was like that, and history tells us that many Southerners were unlettered. However, raw data tells us that, per capita, there were more people in the South who had been educated at universities in Europe than there were in the North. In fact, many were educated in the Nationalist crucible of the Universities of Germany at a time when Germans were wondering why they didn’t have a country of their own. I cannot help but wonder if this fervor for “forming a government of our own” that they had in the 1800s did not come, at least in part, from the Nationalists in German universities. Their education in Europe was probably not unusual since the South had most of the richest states in the Union before the war.

But you, Freedom Troopers defy the curve. I am constantly impressed at the data of they brave, determined, and loyal who persevere through this format. The very fact you are here and keep returning shows that you are not among the many who live and act at the whim of CNN or MSNBC. I remember, years ago, watching the news on Thursday and realizing they were completely contradicting what they said on Monday. I looked at my wife and said, “Do they actually believe we are dumb enough to not notice they are lying to try to manipulate us?” But, it seems that about 30% of a population will fall in the category that Mr. Barnum said “You can fool some of the people all of the time.” You Freedom Troopers are in the few, the “historic minority” who can see the problems of today and dare to ask for the answers of tomorrow. I am proud to have such a loyal reader base.

Please, take the time today to pass on this link to friends who may be interested in what is going on down in the border as, Thursday, we will look at what Victor Davis Hanson said about residents and citizens of a Republic.

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