The Framers’ and Founders’ Perspective on Freedom

The Framers’ and Founders’ Perspective on Freedom

    The book Set My People Free, published in January this year, looks at the Framers’ and Founders’ intention for the government they structured in the Constitution of the United States, and compares it to where we are now.
    Following The Attack on America, written before 911, the 2nd Edition revised after it, and Beyond Reason, discussing the how and the why America is where it is today, Set My People Free extrapolates that original intention to offer remedies, solutions and alternatives to the financial, social, and political disaster confronting our Nation which are consistent with and abide by that intention. We do not need to amend or alter the Constitution, we need to obey it and put in office only those who do likewise.
    Enabled by an electorate embracing the many manifestations of the various religions of humanism trusting politicians who continue to violate their oath of office to protect and defend that original intention, Congressional failure is the ongoing cause of the crises confronting us. Like those who empower them, those whom we elect to represent us ignore the truths and reality validated by science and history choosing instead to believe the lies and deceptions of our enemies, foreign and domestic.
    Spewing from the media cesspool disseminating untruths and the corrupted education system is the false propaganda motivating a misguided public.
    Set My People Free describes the Framers’ fear of a public majority subject to the leading of those who would destroy all that is good and righteous in America. Their next preeminent fear, repeatedly warned against in their voluminous writings in the process of framing and ratifying the Constitution, is their overwhelming fear of government, particularly the Federal government. With all their fears, not just the two described previously, now playing out in the political circuses, the call to arms reclaiming, protecting, and defending that original intention has never been more important.
    As but one example, Set My People Free examines all the negative consequences of the national debt that are reiterated in the following article by Cal Thomas. World recognized authorities on economics and public policy on this Committee as well as the author of Set My People Free all agree that any government debt always translates into taxpayer liability. The Framers’ and Founders’ conclusions based on immutable Truth never change with time, human desire or invention.
    America is embroiled in a “great new civil war” where freedom and justice for all are threatened and attacked as never before. What we believe and hold to be truths are what direct our political paths and motivate our agendas. We are responsible for open borders, judicial activism, the administrative state, and all the problems addressed in Set My People Free, as well overcoming those problems and defeating our enemies.

What the Founders Had to Say About National Debt

When you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty.” – Benjamin Franklin. (Photo: Pleasureofart/Getty Images

   The Founders of the United States of America warned against massive federal debt, but, to our detriment, their political descendants are not paying attention.

    The Founders speak to us from their graves to condemn and warn of the consequences now that President Trump and Congress have come to an agreement about lifting the meaningless “debt ceiling” and increasing already massive federal spending and the debt, which is at $22 trillion and growing rapidly.

    First to speak is Thomas Jefferson: “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.”

    Next is Alexander Hamilton: “Nothing can more affect national prosperity than a constant and systematic attention to extinguish the present debt and to avoid as much as possibl(e) the incurring of any new debt.”

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values.

     I’m not sure if that line made it into “Hamilton,” the Broadway musical, but if it didn’t, it should have to teach a new generation about fiscal responsibility.

    Then we have this from George Washington: “Avoid occasions of expense . . . and avoid likewise the accumulation of debt not only by shunning occasions of expense but by vigorous exertions to discharge the debts, not throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”

    If that’s not enough, how about this from James Madison: “I go on the principle that a public debt is a public curse, and in a Republican Government a greater curse than any other.”

    John Adams said: “The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own.”

    Are you getting the picture?

    One more and perhaps the most profound of all comes from Benjamin Franklin: “When you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty.” Franklin is establishing a direct connection between debt and liberty–the more debt, the less liberty.

    Is anyone in the present Congress and administration listening?

    President Trump tried to put a gloss on the tentative agreement by saying it will strengthen the military and help veterans. In fact, it is little more than an invitation to unrestrained spending for the next two years. With Congress demonstrating no spending restraint, this is like removing speed limits and radar traps, hoping people will drive responsibly.

    Even in Washington’s current hyper-partisan environment, Democrats will likely agree with a Republican president who allows them to spend more money, much of which must be borrowed from other countries.

    The president and many Republicans in Congress argued that cutting taxes would stimulate economic growth. It has, but the spending never stops and that’s why economic growth is never enough; neither are tax and spending increases proposed by most of the Democratic presidential candidates.

    If spending cannot be controlled, no amount of economic growth will reduce the debt.

    In a 2017 article for the fiscally conservative Forbes magazine, budget expert Stan Collender wrote: “Let it be shouted from every mountaintop in the United States: Today’s Republican Party is a federal budget deficit and national debt fraud.”

    Collender then invokes a definition of fraud and ties it to the GOP: “Intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value,” and “a person who is not what he or she pretends to be.”

    As long as an entitlement mentality prevails and Republicans fear backlash from the media and Democrats should they try to cut even an increase in the rate of spending, much less substantive reforms and reductions, this spending spree will continue unabated with serious consequences to the future of the country.

    So it has been for other nations that have failed to live within their means.

    Just ask the Founders.

    Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist, author, broadcaster, and speaker with access to world leaders, U.S. presidents, celebrities, educators, and countless other notables. He has authored 12 books, including his latest, “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America.” Readers can email him at

(c) 2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Valley Forge: The Crucible of Freedom

Valley Forge: The Crucible of Freedom

Stephen McDowell

    The winter of 1777-1778 was one of the most important in our nation’s history, for that winter was the turning point of the American Revolution. During that winter the American Army faced as great an ordeal as any army in history.

    Before the American Army moved into Valley Forge in December of 1777, it consisted of undisciplined men who had obtained few victories in their war with Britain, but the next spring they marched out as a well-disciplined band, committed more than ever to their General and the cause of liberty. They were now prepared to see victory through their efforts.

What was the ordeal this Army faced? How did such a change occur during the stay at Valley Forge? What was the cause behind this change?

As the American Army, under the command of George Washington, moved toward their wintering spot at Valley Forge, army troops had no clothes to cover their nakedness, nor blankets to lie on, nor tents to sleep under. Washington stated: “For the want of shoes their marches through frost and snow might be traced by the blood from their feet, and they were almost as often without provisions as with them.”1

Their situation even worsened after their arrival at Valley Forge on December 19th. Lack of food and provisions for his men was central to Washington’s appeals to Congress. In a letter to Congress dated December 23, 1777 Washington wrote, “Men are confined to hospitals, or in farmers’ houses for want of shoes. We have this day no less than two thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine men in camp unfit for duty, because they are barefoot and otherwise naked.”2

About one third of all his troops were unfit for service, and this number increased as winter progressed. “The unfortunate soldiers were in want of everything. They had neither coats, hats, shirts, nor shoes,” wrote Lafayette. “The men,” said Baron Von Steuben, “were literally naked, some of them in the fullest extent of the word.”3

Hunger was even a greater danger. “The army frequently remained whole days without provisions,” said Lafayette. “One soldier’s meal on a Thanksgiving Day declared by Congress was a ‘half a gill of rice and a tablespoonful of vinegar!’ In mid-February there was more than a week when the men received no provisions at all.”4

Dr. Waldo gives this description:

    There comes a soldier, his bare feet are seen through his worn out shoes, his legs nearly naked from the tattered remains of an only pair of stockings; his breeches are not sufficient to cover his nakedness, his shirt hanging in strings, his hair dishevelled, his face meagre. His whole appearance pictures a person forsaken and discouraged. He comes and cries with an air of wretchedness and despair, “I am sick, my feet lame, my legs are sore, my body covered with this tormenting itch.”5

    Due to this lack of food and clothing, hundreds of the troops fell sick. Many men’s “feet and legs froze till they became black, and it was often necessary to amputate them.”6 During most of January and February there were “constantly more than 4,000 soldiers who were incapacitated as a result of exposure, disease, and undernourishment.”7

And in the midst of all of this they persevered! Beyond this, the patient attitude with which they endured this misery was no less than supernatural. Washington wrote April 21, 1778 to a congressional delegate:

    For, without arrogance or the smallest deviation from the truth, it may be said that no history now extant can furnish an instance of an army’s suffering such uncommon hardships as ours has done, and bearing them with the same patience and fortitude. Their submitting without a murmur is a proof of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be paralleled. 8

    What could possibly have held this army together through this ordeal? Baron Von Steuben said no European army could have held together in such circumstances. How then could an inexperienced American Army stick together? Was it due to good discipline? “With regard to military discipline,” Von Steuben states, “no such thing existed.”9 Could it have been the financial reward they would receive? Not hardly, for their meager pay was already four to five months past due, and complete payment would never come. What was it then?

    Most historians agree that the reason for their perseverance at Valley Forge can be attributed to their love of liberty and to their General George Washington, and his amazing quality of leadership. George Bancroft states that “love of country and attachment to their General sustained them under their unparalleled hardships; with any other leader, the army would have dissolved and vanished.”10

His character and encouragement inspired the army to follow his example. From the beginning he tirelessly traveled throughout the camp, his very presence bringing strength to the men. His heart was for his men as well as for his country. As Washington observed his naked and distressed soldiers, he said: “I feel superabundantly for them, and from my soul I pity those miseries which it is neither in my power to relieve or prevent.”11

Washington knew that the cause for which they fought was well worth any price — even the suffering at Valley Forge — for they purchased liberty, not only for them, but for the generations to come. While at Valley Forge, blood was not shed in battle, yet the American Army shed much blood. Henry Brown writes,

    The blood that stained this ground did not rush forth in the joyous frenzy of the fight; it fell drop by drop from the heart of a suffering people. They who once encamped here in the snow fought not for conquest, not for power, not for glory, not for their country only, not for themselves alone. They served here for Posterity; they suffered here for the Human Race; they bore here the cross of all the peoples; they died here that freedom might be the heritage of all.12

    It was Washington’s character that helped sustain the army, but what sustained Washington? This question could easily be answered by Washington’s troops or officers, for they knew his trust was completely in God. The army had frequently seen Washington order his men to attend church and to observe days of prayer and fasting and days of Thanksgiving.

Washington was also very instrumental in securing chaplains for the army. Rev. Henry Muhlenberg relates how General Washington “rode around among his army … and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away the wickedness that has set in and become so general, and to practice the Christian virtues.”13

    It was said of Washington, in a sketch written by an American gentleman in London in 1779 that “he regularly attends divine service in his tent every morning and evening, and seems very fervent in his prayers.”14 General Knox was one among many who gave testimony of Washington frequently visiting secluded groves to lay the cause of his bleeding country at the throne of grace.

A number of people have recorded the story of how a Tory Quaker, Isaac Potts, came upon Washington while he was on his knees in prayer in the woods. Benson J. Lossing relates that Potts later made the following remarks to his wife:

    If there is anyone on this earth whom the Lord will listen to, it is George Washington; and I feel a presentiment that under such a commander there can be no doubt of our eventually establishing our independence, and that God in his providence has willed it so.15

   On May 6, 1982, President Reagan remarked on this event in his National Day of Prayer Proclamation:

    The most sublime picture in American history is of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That image personifies a people who know that it is not enough to depend on our own courage and goodness; we must also seek help from God, our Father and Preserver.

    In this most difficult of times, General Washington constantly relied upon God and trusted in Him for success. God was faithful to answer his prayers, and through Washington He eventually established our independence and secured the beginning of the most free and prosperous nation the world has ever seen.

How did God answer Washington’s prayer? One miracle occurred that winter which helped eliminate their near-starving situation. Bruce Lancaster relates the event as follows:

One foggy morning the soldiers noticed the Schuylkill River seemed to be boiling. The disturbance was caused by thousands and thousands of shad which were making their way upstream in an unusually early migration. With pitchforks and shovels, the men plunged into the water, throwing the fish onto the banks. Lee’s dragoons rode their horses into the stream to keep the shad from swimming on out of reach. Suddenly and wonderfully, there was plenty of food for the army.16

God’s providence can again be seen as Baron Von Steuben, a veteran Prussian soldier, came to Valley Forge on February 23 and offered his services to the American Army. No one could have been more valuable at the time, for he trained the men to move together as a well-disciplined army.

His rigorous drilling and training of the troops gave them confidence in themselves as soldiers, even as Washington had given them confidence as men. Not only had godly character and strength been forged and tempered within the army, but military skill had also been imparted to them at last.

Another providential event occurred that winter when France became an ally to America. This meant much needed French money and troops would begin to pour into the new nation. The Continental Congress acknowledged this as the hand of God as they declared a National Day of Thanksgiving on May 7.

In Washington’s orders issued at Valley Forge, May 5, 1778, he proclaimed:

    It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the Universe propitiously to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally by raising up a powerful friend among the Princes of the earth, to establish our Liberty and Independence upon a lasting foundation; it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the Divine Goodness, and celebrating the event, which we owe to His benign interposition.17

    The troops’ survival, the molding of a disciplined army, Washington’s amazing leadership, and all the miraculous occurrences during the winter at Valley Forge can only be attributed to Almighty God. George Washington said following all this: “The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligation.”18

End Notes

  1. George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. 6, Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878, pp. 40-41.
    2. Henry Armit Brown, “Centenial Oration of Valley Forge,” in The Christian History of the American Revolution, Consider and Ponder, Verna Hall, compiler, San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1976, p. 61.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Bart McDowell, The Revolutionary War, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1970, p. 128.
    5. William Wilbur, The Making of George Washington, Alexandria, VA: Patriotic Education, Inc., 1973, p. 196.
    6. Brown, in Consider and Ponder, p. 61.
    7. Wilbur, p. 195.
    8. Bancroft, p. 50.
    9. McDowell, p. 131.
    10. Bancroft, p. 41.
    11. Bancroft, p. 42.
    12. Brown, p. 66.
    13. Ibid., p. 68.
    14. William J. Johnson, George Washington the Christian, reprinted by Mott Media, Milford, MI., 1976, pp. 120-121.
    15. Ibid., p. 104.
    16. Bruce Lancaster, The American Revolution, Garden City, NY: Garden City Books, 1957, p. 42.
    17. Johnson, p. 113.
    18. Johnson, pp. 119-120.

Christianity and the Constitution

Christianity and the Constitution

Stephen McDowell

     The United States Constitution is perhaps the most important document ever written for the benefit of mankind other than the Bible. A prestigious literary journal reveals the reason why, declaring in 1867: “The American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit. This is true – true because the American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.”,[1]

     The Constitution went into effect in 1789, thirteen years after the United States separated from Great Britain and became a nation. The ideological foundation of the Constitution rests in the biblical roots of the nation expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which acknowledges Creator-endowed rights, embraces the laws of nature’s God as the highest authority, appeals “to the Supreme Judge of the World,” and expresses “a firm reliance upon the protection of divine Providence.”

     The Framers of the Constitution declared that its formation and ratification were a miracle of God. Shortly after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Father of the Constitution James Madison said: “It is impossible to conceive the degree of concord which ultimately prevailed, as less than a miracle.”[2] The President of the Convention George Washington wrote that the “adoption of the proposed General Government” disposed him to be of the opinion “that miracles have not ceased.” For, he said, one could “trace the finger of Providence through those dark and mysterious events, which first induced the States to appoint a general Convention and then led them one after another…into an adoption of the system recommended by that general Convention.”[3] Even the non-Christian Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Our General Convention…when it formed the new Federal Constitution, [was] …influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent and beneficent Ruler in whom all…live, and move, and have their being.[4]

     The Founders believed that God was involved in America adopting the Constitution because it contains many biblical principles of good governance. It was the foundation for the advancement of liberty, justice, and prosperity in America and became an example to the world. Washington wrote that the U.S. Constitution and system of government is “in my opinion the fairest prospect of happiness and prosperity that ever was presented to man.”[5] Its purpose, power, premise, and form are Christian.

     The Preamble of the Constitution reveals the biblical purpose of government as expressed by the Apostles Paul and Peter: “to establish justice” (1 Pet. 2:14); “to insure domestic tranquility (1 Tim. 2:1-2); “to provide for the common defense” and “promote the general welfare” (Rom. 13:4); and to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

     The power of the Constitution flows from its underlying ideas which include: the reign of law, Creator-endowed rights, just trials, self-government, religious freedom, private property rights, Christian union, and right of defense. Each of these have their origin in biblical truth.

     The United States Constitution has been so successful because the Framers had a biblical view of man. They understood original sin, human depravity, and the temptation of power to corrupt. John Adams, quoting Jeremiah 17:9, reflects the premise of American government: “The Word of God … informs us, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”[6] This worldview affected the form of the Constitution. Legislative, executive, and judicial powers were divided among three branches of government with a number of checks and balances. The Constitution specified the limited powers of each branch, with the national government prohibited from being involved in religion, education, and media. The states retained most power, and everyone was subject to the written law. Frequent elections enabled the governed to hold those who govern accountable. In instituting these provisions, the Founders were following the example of the Hebrew Republic established by Moses.

     James Madison wrote in the Federalist: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”[7] However, the Bible teaches men are not angels, but fallen and fallible beings who have a sinful nature and, thus, cannot be entrusted with too much power. The U.S. Constitution presupposed this idea, and any nation desiring to live in liberty should seek to incorporate biblical structures of government. More importantly though, they should copy the principles.

    The Constitution has been an example to the world. When it went into effect 230 years ago, there was not one like it. Today, about 175 countries have a constitution, most inspired by and some directly copied from America’s. Most of the nations have not experienced the same blessings this document produced in America because, while copying the form, they neglected its power and premise.

    According to Washington, the establishment of the U.S. Constitution demonstrated “the finger of Providence in human affairs greater than any event in history.”[8] Yet, the Framers of the Constitution knew it was not a perfect document, and hence, they made provision to amend it. Nonetheless, it is the best form of government mankind has produced because “it is the political expression of Christian ideas.” Since these biblical ideas have brought great blessings to mankind, all effort must be taken to learn, teach, and preserve America’s great political charter of liberty.

[1] The North American Review, in The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America, Christian Self-Government with Union, Verna M. Hall, compiler, San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, p. 34.

[2] Robert A Rutland, ed., The Papers of James Madison, University of Chicago Press, 1962, 10:208.

[3] George Washington, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, 39 vols., Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1931, 29:525.

[4] Albert Henry Smyth, editor, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Macmillan Co., 1905-07, 9:702.

[5] Washington to Thomas Jefferson, August 23, 1792, Writings, 32:131.

[6] John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1856), Vol. 6, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, “Chapter First. Marchamont Nedham. The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth Examined.”

[7] Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist, A Commentary on the Constitution of the United States, edited by Paul Leicester Ford, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1898, p. 344.

[8] George Bancroft, History of the United States of America, D. Appleton and Co., 1891, 6:414.

Freedom Versus Taxation: Overcoming Bondage on the Journey to Freedom

Freedom Versus Taxation
from Set My People Free: Overcoming Bondage on the Journey to Freedom
Easter Sunday, 21 April, 2019

    The Declaration of Independence is the ideologic preamble to the Constitution. From it, freedom is understood by the Framers and Founders to consist of those “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness …. endowed by their Creator“. Taxation is, in the political realm, taking something, with or without the consent of the person or entity from which it is taken, usually according to some law or rule, and without regard to what is confiscated or the means by which it is extracted. Because the process of taxation is what steals our freedoms, it is a moot point as to whether the loss of freedom is legitimized politically or not. Call it what you may, taxation in any form or configuration, open or concealed, limits freedom in “the pursuit of Happiness“.

“With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence“, those same Framers and Founders “mutually pledge[d] to each other [their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor“ as they fought for the freedoms many now take fore granted. A primary indictment that led to the sacrifices of the Revolution was taxation without representation. Now, those we elect to represent us betray our trust, violate the original intention of the Constitution, and enslave us with the taxes they impose.

The Framers intended only direct taxes. Without indirect taxes, whether concealed or hidden by politicians failing in their oath of office, or exposed as with income taxes, the cancer of government bureaucracy sucking the lifeblood of working Americans could not grow and thrive. Direct taxes fund and enable the goods or services the tax intends.

Through judicial activism, the tyrants robed in black impose taxes that fund their judgments and findings bypassing the legislative process. Whether right or just, school busing, prison requirements, housing and building code fines, and on and on, are passed on to the taxpayer. There is no service or provision of government that is not taken from the taxpayer. Indeed, except for the blessings afforded by the natural order, nothing is free, and even those endowments require work and sacrifice.

Legislatures pass minimum wage laws that increase the cost of living for every taxpayer, eventually relegating those that have their wages temporarily increased to the same compensation they had previously. Bailing out failed corporations, increasing the national debt, etc., Congress taxes the American worker.

County assessors and the departments of revenue have replaced the slave master’s whip with property taxes funding public education unjustly draining the meager incomes of retired senior citizens and the earnings of those without children.

Manipulating interest rates, printing money, permitting the unconstitutional administrative state to reign on the throne of the Federal Register, as but a few examples, all tax working Americans.

Looking at the Constitutional intention to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”; the unconscionable national debt and unbalanced budget, the failure to protect Social Security making it fiscally sound, among other government failures; all diametrically oppose freedom and justice.

Subsidies, tariffs, and unbridled capitalism insidiously exact their tribute from every worker. Witnessed when legislators fail to uphold their oath of office and represent us according to the original intention of the Constitution, when judicial tyranny is tolerated, or when the administrative state imposes its injustice under the unauthorized color of law; taxes are the parasites of government.

Yet, beyond all these material things lost and time conscripted after being in the possession or control of those justly earning or holding them, where taxation equates to involuntary servitude, slavery if you will; all humanity deals with two additional classes of enslavement.

Politically, whether by force or bullying in the form of the majority subjugating dissent or resistance, we are enslaved by political power. This slavery confiscates irretrievable time. Unable to even pursue happiness, the enslaved are forced to work to satisfy the desires and agendas of those holding the reins of political power. Our great Civil War loosed the shackles forcing anyone to do the bidding of another without due compensation for the sacrifice of time and body. Persisting after emancipation were the Jim Crow laws, and social and economic discriminations denying those freed by the sacrifices and blood of brother fighting brother the equal opportunity to freely and justly follow their dreams.

Unique to our species, endowed with our awareness of time, every person has the potential to succumb to the enslavement arising from freedom itself. Manifest as we seek pleasure, on one hand, while attempting to avoid pain, anxiety, and sacrifice on the other; all are tempted to relinquish freedom to the satisfaction of the self. Motivations unguided by justice, discipline, and sacrifice are, and always will be, consumed by human failure. Yielding to addictions and self indulgence; greed, avarice, and covetousness join with other human failures to ignore and reject responsibility for ourselves and our posterity.

The self is never satisfied. Only when we turn our focus from ourselves to others, caring for others as we do ourselves, can true liberty, as the Framers and Founders intended, be found. This is freedom to be found in the heart, not in the laws ordained by mankind. This was not, and is not, a religious expression. It was a reality understood and addressed in the sweltering heat of the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia. This was an understanding of Truth based on their Christian Biblical worldview as they confirmed it in studying history to 500 years before Christ. Recognizing and ever fearful of the constant repetitive failing of the public majority witnessed to this day, they deliberated in secret before framing the Constitution. This was a “supreme” order of law to which all “legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound”.

Over two millennia ago, during the Passover season in Jerusalem, one Man, Jesus of Nazareth forever changed history when He disrupted and challenged the political order turning over the tables of the money changers taxing the worshipers in the Temple. Isn’t it time for Americans to educate themselves about the tyranny of the governments that we “tolerate”, and reclaim the heritage the Framers and Founders intended?


   This Committee for the Constitution extracted and compiled this message from Set My People Free: Overcoming Bondage on the Journey to Freedom. Discussing the social, political, and economic problems now faced around the world, this seminal treatise on freedom offers solutions to those problems based on the Framers’ original intention. It should be read by every public official from judges, to the legislatures, political executives, public servants, and the voters who wish to be informed as to why and how we got to the circumstances we find ourselves in, and what may be done to reclaim our freedom. Like the Constitution on which it is based, it should be considered in establishing successful and enduring government.

Media Silent on Christian Massacre by Muslims

Muslims Massacre 19 Christians on Sunday, 120 in the Past Three-Weeks; Media SILENT

The Cost of Illegal Immigration

Immigrants use twice the welfare of U.S.-born citizens

A 44 million foreign-born population translates to the average immigrant household costing the American taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare.

Michael F. Haverluck

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A recent study reveals that illegal aliens and other foreign non-citizen residents in the United States use nearly double the amount of welfare that native-born Americans receive from the government.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately half of noncitizens living in America are in the country illegally, and researchers from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) explained that even though the Trump administration has taken many measures to reduce immigrants’ reliance on the U.S. welfare system, they still receive a great majority of free benefits dished out by federal and state governments – at taxpayers’ expense.

    “Sixty-three (63) percent of non-citizen households access welfare programs – compared to 35 percent of native households,” CIS reported. “Despite the fact that there are barriers designed to prevent welfare use for all of these non-citizen populations, the data shows that, overall, non-citizen households access the welfare system at high rates – often receiving benefits on behalf of U.S.-born children.”

Migrants double the drain …

    Even though native-born Americans far outnumber non-citizens, the latter group funnels much more money from the federal government for welfare services.

    “Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives),” CIS’s Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler informed from the data. “Including the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), 31 percent of non-citizen-headed households receive cash welfare – compared to 19 percent of native households …”

Despite many new obstacles erected to curb dependence on government programs, many migrants still have a number of ways to beat the system and pull in extensive taxpayer-funded benefits.

“While most new legal immigrants (green card holders) are barred from most welfare programs – as are illegal immigrants and temporary visitors – these provisions have only a modest impact on non-citizen household use rates because: 1) most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify; 2) the bar does not apply to all programs – nor does it always apply to non-citizen children; 3) some states provide welfare to new immigrants on their own; and, most importantly, 4) non-citizens (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship and full welfare eligibility at birth,” Camarota and Zeigler outlined.

Regardless of how one stacks the statistics, non-citizens overwhelmingly access more government funds than American-born citizens.

“No single program explains non-citizens’ higher overall welfare use,” the CIS report explained. “For example, not counting school lunch and breakfast, welfare use is still 61 percent for non-citizen households, compared to 33 percent for natives. Not counting Medicaid, welfare use is 55 percent for immigrants, compared to 30 percent for natives.”

Whether migrants have been in America for months or decades, their utilization of the welfare system is high.

“Of households headed by non-citizens in the United States for fewer than 10 years, 50 percent use one or more welfare programs; for those here more than 10 years, the rate is 70 percent,” Camarota and Zeigler pointed out.

Even when migrants are working, they continue to receive government handouts.

“Welfare receipt by working households is very common,” the report added. “Of non-citizen households receiving welfare, 93 percent have at least one worker, as do 76 percent of native households receiving welfare. In fact, non-citizen households are more likely overall to have a worker than are native households.”

Failure to attain an education and land higher paying jobs are two reasons for continued migrant dependence.

“Of all non-citizen households, 58 percent are headed by immigrants who have no more than a high school education – compared to 36 percent of native households,” Camarota and Zeigler relayed from the study. “Of households headed by non-citizens with no more than a high school education, 81 percent access one or more welfare programs. In contrast, 28 percent of non-citizen households headed by a college graduate use one or more welfare programs.”

CIS researchers found that in the four states receiving the most immigrants, the use of welfare is considerably higher for non-citizens than native-born Americans.

“In California, 72 percent of non-citizen-headed households use one or more welfare programs, compared to 35 percent for native-headed households,” CIS pointed out. “In Texas, the figures are 69 percent vs. 35 percent; in New York they are 53 percent vs. 38 percent; and in Florida, 56 percent of non-citizen-headed households use at least welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native households.”

Curbing migrant welfare?

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump declared his desire to stop all welfare-dependent legal immigration to the U.S. that siphons away taxpayer funds.

“I don’t like the idea of people coming in and going on welfare for 50 years, and that’s what they want to be able to do—and it’s no good,” Trump told Breitbart News.

He shared his plan last year geared to weed out immigrants who are destined to rely on the government for survival.

“The Trump administration has long called for changes in laws so that new immigrants wouldn’t rely on welfare,” Fox News reported in December. “In a 447-page proposal posted online in September, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called for immigrants to be denied permanent residency if they’ve received or are likely to receive benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid or housing vouchers.”

Since the turn of the century, the number of immigrants living in America has increased four-fold.

“Currently, there is an estimated record high of 44.5 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S – this is nearly quadruple the immigrant population in 2000,” Breitbart’s John Binder informed. “The vast majority of those arriving in the country every year – more than 1.5 million annually – are low-skilled, poor or working-class foreign nationals.”

The tax burden on Americans would be greatly reduced if legal immigration is curbed.

“The legal immigration controls would be a boon for American taxpayers in the form of an annual $57.4 billion tax cut – the amount taxpayers spend every year on paying for the welfare, crime and schooling costs of the country’s mass importation of 1.5 million new, mostly low-skilled legal immigrants,” Binder added. “The majority of the more than 1.5 million foreign nationals entering the country every year use about 57 percent more food stamps than the average native-born American household.”

Immigration’s annual drain on taxpayers translates to nearly as much as a an American pays for a down payment on a house.

“Overall, immigrant households consume 33 percent more cash welfare than American citizen households and 44 percent more in Medicaid dollars,” Binder explained. “This straining of public services by a booming 44 million foreign-born population translates to the average immigrant household costing American taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare.”

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States. For the real truth about the emergency crisis at our southern border, family detention, and all the false political propaganda, their website is an invaluable resource.





The Attack on America – Here and Now

    The book The Attack on America describes how our enemies will try to destroy America and the original intention of the Framers and Founders. The recent Congressional election with Moslems, socialists, and others with ideologies contrary to the ‘One Nation Under God” Biblical worldview held in 1787 being elected brings home the reality that we are engaged in a great new civil war. Organizations such as the Justice Democrats that recruited Ocasio-Cortez enabled the espionage taking place in Congress. The question that needs to be answered and disseminated is: Where does the funding for organizations such as the Justice Democrats come from?.

Socialism Always Ends in the Tyranny of the Ruling Class

Socialism Is a Rigid Ideology Always Ending in the Tyranny of the Ruling Class

Lee Edwards, Ph.D.

 March 06, 2019

Local residents search for food in a pile of trash in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5. (Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images)

Q: What did socialists use before candles?     A: Electricity.

It’s an old joke, sure. But it’s no laughing matter. Just ask the people of Venezuela.

The socialist regime there nationalized the electricity sector a dozen years ago. Today, blackouts in the once-prosperous Latin American nation have become routine.

Electricity isn’t all that’s in short supply. Gasoline is scarce in the oil-rich nation, as are food and medicine.

Meanwhile, the regime concentrates on violently repressing protests and burning humanitarian aid as it approaches its borders.

After 20 years of socialism, Venezuela is a failed state.

And that should surprise no one. Socialism is a rigid ideology that always ends in tyranny.

The prime example is the Soviet Union. Lenin and Stalin’s iron rule brought death to 20-25 million victims. “Enemies of the state” were executed by firing squads, sent to forced labor camps in the Gulag, perished in country-wide forced famines, experimented on in “psychiatric” hospitals, and summarily deported from their homes to the distant steppes of Russia.

No less totalitarian in their practices were the Castro brothers, who promised freedom and democracy when they came to power in Cuba. Six decades later, the Cuban people are still waiting for the first free election.

Socialism always promises progress, but it inevitably delivers scarcity, corruption, and decay.

Eastern Europe under communism became a monument to bureaucratic inefficiency and waste. Throughout the Soviet bloc, life expectancy declined dramatically and infant mortality soared.

Upon gaining independence, India trod a socialist path for 40 years. It led to a never-ending cycle of poverty and economic deterioration. Finally, Indian leaders began looking to Adam Smith rather than Karl Marx to guide their economy. Today, it boasts the largest middle class in the free world.

Socialism has little regard for the middle class. It’s all about securing and maintaining power for the ruling class.

Consider the People’s Republic of China. Mired in Maoist revolutionary rhetoric, it was one of the world’s poorest countries for its first three decades. Then, Deng Xiaoping introduced “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Forty years later, the People’s Republic of China boasts the world’s second-largest economy, but its citizens remain deprived of basic human rights and civil liberties.

The Communist Party does not allow a free press or free speech, competitive elections, an independent judiciary, free travel, or a representative parliament. Instead, President Xi Jinping has instituted a cult of personality that rivals the one-time worship of the so-called Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong.

Nicaragua’s Marxist leader Daniel Ortega is another example of the lust for power and control that characterizes socialism. His underreported reign of terror has resulted in the deaths of more than 300 dissidents in just the last few years.

All of these horrors are inevitable because socialism is built on a fatal conceit.

Modern socialists believe that the world has become so complicated, so complex, so globalized, that regular citizens just can’t manage things. We, and only we (say the socialists), are equipped to run things.

Hence, for example, it’s imperative to nationalize health care, since “the little people” can’t be trusted to make intelligent, informed decisions about their health care.

Rather than empower the common man, socialists believe in empowering bureaucracy. In their minds, bureaucrats will always make decisions based on science and dispassionate reason—and make sure those decisions are implemented and enforced efficiently.

It’s an elitist, intellectually arrogant belief, and it’s dangerous.

As Ronald Reagan noted in a long-ago campaign speech for Barry Goldwater: “Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual [elite] in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

In “The Road to Serfdom,” the Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek dismissed the utopian dream of “democratic socialism” as “unachievable.” Why? Because it is based on the fatal conceit that a galaxy of bureaucrats can collect, analyze, and direct the individual actions of 300 million Americans.

“America will never be a socialist country!” So President Donald Trump declared last month in his rousing State of the Union speech. That should be the fervent prayer of all Americans who prize liberty and wish to live our lives our way.

    Lee Edwards is the Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at The Heritage Foundation’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, and chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. A leading historian of American conservatism, Edwards has published 25 books, including “Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty”.




Situation and Statistical Ethics Never Negate Immutable Law

Kamala Harris Is Wrong. Keep the World’s Oldest Profession Illegal.

Scott Yenor

March 02, 2019

Photo: Mason Trinca/Stringer/Getty Images

    Sen. Kamala Harris thinks that prostitution should be legal.

    Prostitution, the California Democrat said in a recent interview with The Root, are relations based on consent, and “when you are talking about consenting adults, I think that … we can’t criminalize consensual behavior, as long as no one is being harmed.”

    A grocer willingly sells bubble gum to willing customers, just as a car dealer willingly sells a car to a willing customer. Prostitution is no different, at least according to Harris, a former California attorney general.

    Should a willing woman be able to sell access to her body for sex to a willing man?

    What if the woman is not willing—for example, if she has been bought or sold through sex trafficking? Harris says such women haven’t consented. Nobody “who hurts another human being or profits off of their exploitation should be … free of criminal prosecution,” the senator said.

    But this distinction between the legal and illegal would be difficult in practice to police. With more prostitution, one gets more exploitation.

    A young girl, shunned in her hometown, may come to the big city, friendless, and have few places to turn for good work. She finds an “adult entertainment consultant”—what we used to call a pimp—and he “hires” her on.

    Is the exploitation of this lonely, vulnerable young girl criminal? Would the exploitation be OK if the “consultant” didn’t profit too much?

    Harris’ position appeals to a deeply held principle; namely, that all relationships are permissible so long as they are founded on consent and do not harm others. Through appeal to this principle (and a particular notion of harm), American judges have decriminalized pornography and rendered constitutional same-sex marriage.

    Some states have similarly decriminalized marijuana through appeal to this principle recently. A more complete acceptance of this principle could bring bigamy, polygamy, public nudity, and adult incest to America.

    Americans cannot abandon the principle of consent, and yet, at the same time, we need a serious consideration of what makes a practice harmful.

    Liberals like Harris are notoriously selective in applying notions of what constitutes harm.

    The widespread availability of pornography affects the minds, affections, and sensibilities of many Americans and compromises their ability to form lasting, affectionate relations. Liberals insist that’s not a harm.

    People who use marijuana on a daily basis are more prone to commit acts of violence and are more subject to mental illness. Liberals insist that’s not a harm.

    However, suggesting that men shouldn’t compete in women’s sports is “hate speech” that harms the dignity of a transgender athlete. That is a harm to liberals.

    “Harm” must not be a weapon wielded for political convenience. The public must worry about harms done to the broader moral atmosphere, in which people can form marital bonds and maintain them.

    Part of what makes a country livable and decent over the long term are laws that support public morality, like laws against prostitution.

    Legalizing prostitution would destigmatize men paying for sex. Yet, our notions of honor and shame are partly shaped by our laws. When more people do something, it’s less likely to be seen as shameful, and it becomes acceptable.

    This destigmatizing would make it easier for people to engage in such transactions, and more would do it. More women might do it for a living, especially “on the side,” when they are young and need the money. More men would avail themselves of prostitutes for a variety of reasons—fraternity parties or even Super Bowl parties, for example.

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, what happens between consenting adults doesn’t only affect them. It reverberates throughout the culture.

    Sexual desire is partly shaped by society’s images of what is good. Prostitution, if seen as a good, would lead men to be less faithful and compromise the place of fidelity in marriage—one of the attributes of marriage Americans continue to see as central to it.

    Legalizing prostitution also would further detach sex from enduring relations in the minds and affections of the populace.

    Perhaps neither the prostitute nor her customer is harmed, in the narrow sense, by a sexual transaction. Men and women are harmed, however, when sex is seen as something to be bought and sold, rather than something connected to intimate, affectionate, and possibly enduring relations.

    So many innovations—from the college hook-up culture to easily accessed pornography—have disrupted the effort to maintain the connection of sex and enduring relations.

    Legalizing prostitution would complicate efforts for restoring that and only accelerate family decline.

    Harris should take a longer, deeper view on what makes for a harm.

   Scott Yenor is a professor of political science at Boise State University. He was the visiting fellow in American Political Thought in the Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation (2015-2016).






Shall We Defend Our Common History?

Shall We Defend Our Common History?

February 2019 • Volume 48, Number 2

Roger Kimball
Editor and Publisher, The New Criterion

    The recent news that the University of Notre Dame, responding to complaints by some students, would “shroud” its twelve 134-year-old murals depicting Christopher Columbus was disappointing. It was not surprising, however, to anyone who has been paying attention to the widespread attack on America’s past wherever social justice warriors congregate.

    Notre Dame may not be particularly friendly to its Catholic heritage, but its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, demonstrated that it remains true to its jesuitical (if not, quite, its Jesuit) inheritance. Queried about the censorship, he said, apparently without irony, that his decision to cover the murals was not intended to conceal anything, but rather to tell “the full story” of Columbus’s activities.

Welcome to the new Orwellian world where censorship is free speech and we respect the past by attempting to elide it.

Over the past several years, we have seen a rising tide of assaults on statues and other works of art representing our nation’s history by those who are eager to squeeze that complex story into a box defined by the evolving rules of political correctness. We might call this the “monument controversy,” and what happened at Notre Dame is a case in point: a vocal minority, claiming victim status, demands the destruction, removal, or concealment of some object of which they disapprove. Usually, the official response is instant capitulation.

As the French writer Charles Péguy once observed, “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.” Consider the frequent demands to remove statues of Confederate war heroes from public spaces because their presence is said to be racist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for example, has recently had statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson removed from a public gallery. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has set up a committee to review “all symbols of hate on city property.”

But it is worth noting that the monument controversy signifies something much larger than the attacks on the Old South or Italian explorers.

In the first place, the monument controversy involves not just art works or commemorative objects. Rather, it encompasses the resources of the past writ large. It is an attack on the past for failing to live up to our contemporary notions of virtue.

In the background is the conviction that we, blessed members of the most enlightened cohort ever to grace the earth with its presence, occupy a moral plane superior to all who came before us. Consequently, the defacement of murals of Christopher Columbus—and statues of later historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt—is perfectly virtuous and above criticism since human beings in the past were by definition so much less enlightened than we.

The English department at the University of Pennsylvania contributed to the monument controversy when it cheered on students who were upset that a portrait of a dead white male named William Shakespeare was hanging in the department’s hallway. The department removed the picture and replaced it with a photograph of Audre Lorde, a black feminist writer. “Students removed the Shakespeare portrait,” crowed department chairman Jed Esty, “and delivered it to my office as a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department.” Right.

High schools across the country contribute to the monument controversy when they remove masterpieces like Huckleberry Finn from their libraries because they contain ideas or even just words of which they disapprove.

    The psychopathology behind these occurrences is a subject unto itself. What has happened in our culture and educational institutions that so many students jump from their feelings of being offended—and how delicate they are, how quick to take offense!—to self-righteous demands to repudiate the thing that offends them? The more expensive education becomes the more it seems to lead, not to broader understanding, but to narrower horizons.


    Although there is something thuggish and intolerant about the monument controversy, it is not quite the same as the thuggishness of the Roman emperor Caracalla, who murdered his brother and co-emperor Geta and had statues of Geta toppled and his image chiseled off coins. Nor is it quite the same as what happened when Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin exiled Leon Trotsky, had him airbrushed out of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, and sent assassins to Mexico to finish the job.

Iconoclasm takes different forms. The disgusting attacks on the past and other religious cultures carried out by the Taliban, for example, are quite different from the toppling of statues of Saddam Hussein by liberated Iraqis after the Iraq War. Different again was the action of America’s own Sons of Liberty in 1776, who toppled a statue of the hated George III and melted down its lead to make 40,000 musket balls. It is easy to sympathize with that pragmatic response to what the Declaration of Independence called “a long train of abuses and usurpations.” It is worth noting, however, that George Washington censured even this action for “having much the appearance of a riot and a want of discipline.”

While the monument controversy does depend upon a reservoir of iconoclastic feeling, it represents not the blunt expression of power or destructiveness but rather the rancorous, self-despising triumph of political correctness. The exhibition of wounded virtue, of what we now call “virtue-signaling,” is key.

Consider some recent events at Yale University, an institution where preening self-infatuation is always on parade. Yale recently formed a Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming and a Committee on Art in Public Spaces. Members of the former prowl the campus looking for buildings, colleges, faculty chairs, lecture programs, and awards that have politically incorrect names. The latter police works of art and other images on campus, making sure that anything offensive to favored groups is covered or removed.

At the residential college formerly known as Calhoun College, for example—it’s now called Grace Hopper College—the Committee ordered the removal of stained glass windows depicting slaves and other historical scenes of Southern life. Statues and other representations of John C. Calhoun have likewise been slotted for removal. Calhoun, an 1804 Yale graduate, was a leading statesman and political thinker of his day. But he was also an apologist for slavery, so he has to be erased from the record.

Of course, impermissible attitudes and images are never in short supply once the itch to stamp out history gets going. Two years ago it was Calhoun and representations of the Antebellum South. More recently it was a carving at an entrance to Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library depicting an Indian and a Puritan. The Puritan, if you can believe it, was holding a musket—a gun! Who knows, perhaps he was a member of the NRA or at least could give inspiration to other members of that very un-Yale-like organization. According to Susan Gibbons, one of Yale’s librarian-censors, the presence of an armed Puritan “at a major entrance to Sterling was not appropriate.” Solution? Cover over the musket with a cowpat of stone—but leave the Indian’s bow and arrow alone!

Actually, it turns out that the removable cowpat of stone was only a stopgap. The outcry against the decision struck a chord with Peter Salovey, Yale’s president. “Such alteration,” he noted, “represents an erasure of history, which is entirely inappropriate at a university.” He’s right about that. But if anyone has mastered the art of saying one thing while doing the opposite it is President Salovey. He spoke against “the erasure of history.” But then, instead of merely altering the image, he announced that Yale would go full Taliban, removing the offending stonework altogether.

In the bad old days, librarians and college presidents were people who sought to protect the past, that vast storehouse of offensive attitudes and behavior that also just so happens to define our common inheritance. In our own more enlightened times, many librarians and college presidents collude in its effacement.

Someone might ask, “Who cares what violence a super-rich bastion of privilege and unaccountability like Yale perpetrates on its patrimony?” Well, we should all care. Institutions like Yale, Harvard, and Stanford are among the chief drivers of the “progressive” hostility to free expression and other politically correct attitudes that have insinuated themselves like a fever-causing virus into the bloodstream of public life. Instead of helping to preserve our common inheritance, they work to subvert it.

Spiriting away stonework in the Ivy League may seem mostly comical. But there is a straight line from those acts of morally righteous intolerance to far less comical examples of puritanical censure.

Consider the case of James Damore, the now former Google engineer who wrote an internal memo describing the company’s cult-like “echo chamber” of political correctness and ham-handed efforts to nurture “diversity” in hiring and promotion. When the memo was publicized, it first precipitated controversy—then it provided Google CEO Sundar Pichai a high horse upon which to perch, declare Damore’s memo “offensive and not OK,” and then fire him. For what? For expressing his opinion in a company discussion forum designed to encourage free expression!

    In one way, there was nothing new about Google’s actions. Large companies have always tended to be bastions of conformity. Decades ago, everyone at IBM had to wear a white shirt and was strongly encouraged to espouse conservative social values. Today, everyone in Silicon Valley has to subscribe to the ninety-five theses of the social justice warrior’s creed, beginning with certain dogmas about race, fossil fuels, sexuality, and the essential lovableness of jihadist Muslims. If you are at Google and dissent from this orthodoxy, you will soon find yourself not at Google.


    The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 was a godsend to the self-appointed hate police. In its immediate aftermath, companies around the country took pains to declare their rejection of “hate,” and ProPublica, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and other leftish thugs expanded their witch hunts beyond such targets as the “Daily Stormer”—a vile anti-Semitic website. After Charlottesville, for example, “Jihad Watch”—hardly a hate group website—was dropped by PayPal until a public outcry induced PayPal to reverse its decision. There have been other such casualties, and there will be many more.

Let’s step back and ask ourselves what motivates the left-wing virtuecrats attempting to enforce their new regime of political correctness. Christian theologians tell us that the visio beatifica—the beatific vision of God—is the highest pleasure known to man. Alas, that communion is granted to very few in this life. For the common run of mankind, I suspect, the highest earthly pleasure is self-righteous moral infatuation.

Like a heartbeat, moral infatuation has a systolic and diastolic phase. In the systolic phase, there is an abrupt contraction of sputtering indignation: fury, outrage, high horses everywhere. Then there is the gratifying period of recovery: the warm bath of self-satisfaction, set like a jelly in a communal ecstasy of unanchored virtue signaling.

The communal element is key. While individuals may experience and enjoy moral infatuation, the overall effect is greatly magnified when shared. Consider the mass ecstasy that at first accompanied Maximilien Robespierre’s effort to establish a Republic of Virtue during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror in 1793.

The response to Donald Trump’s comments about the murderous violence that erupted in Charlottesville provides another vivid example. Trump’s chief crime was to have suggested that there was “blame on both sides” as well as “good people” on both sides of the protest. I am not sure there was an abundance of “good people” on either side of the divide that day, although Trump’s main point was to distinguish between lawful protest and hate-fueled violence. But forget about distinctions. The paroxysms of rage that greeted Trump were a marvel to behold, as infectious as they were unbounded. One prominent commentator spoke for the multitude when he described Trump’s response as a “moral disgrace.”

I didn’t think so, but then I thought that the President was correct when he suggested that the alt-Left is just as much a problem as the alt-Right. Indeed, if we needed to compare the degree of iniquity of the neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klanners, on the one hand, and Antifa and its fellow travelers on the other, I am not at all sure which would come out the worse. Real Nazis—the kind that popped up like mushrooms in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s—are scary. But American neo-Nazis? They are a tiny bunch of pathetic losers. The Ku Klux Klan was a terrorist group with millions of members in its earlier incarnations. Now it too is a tiny bunch—5,000 or 6,000 by most estimates—of impotent malcontents.

Antifa, on the other hand, has brought its racialist brand of violent protest to campuses and demonstrations around the country: smashing heads as well as property. I suspect that paid-up, full-time members of the group are few, but the ideology of identity politics that they feed upon is a gruesome specialty of the higher education establishment today.

I also thought that the President was right to ask where the erasure of history would end. At Charlottesville it was a statue of Robert E. Lee. But why stop there? Why not erase the entire history of the Confederacy? There are apparently some 1,500 monuments and memorials to the Confederacy in public spaces across the United States. According to one study, most of them were commissioned by Southern women, “in the hope of preserving a positive vision of antebellum life.” A noble aspiration, inasmuch as the country had recently fought a civil war that devastated the South and left more than 700,000 Americans dead. These memorials were part of an effort to knit the broken country back together. Obliterating them would also be an attack on the effort of reconciliation.

And what about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington? They both owned slaves, as did 41 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. What about them? To listen to many race peddlers these days, you would think they regarded George Orwell’s warning in 1984 as a how-to manual: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified,” Orwell wrote,

every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.

    Plato was right when he said that politicians are essentially rhetoricians. Rhetoric succeeds or fails not because of its logic or intellectual substance, but on the question of its emotional appeal. By that standard, I’d say that Donald Trump, though often rhetorically effective, missed an important rhetorical opportunity at Charlottesville. He didn’t understand that the politically correct dispensation that rules academia, the media, the Democratic Party, and large swathes of the corporate world requires a certain ritual homage to be paid to its reigning pieties about “racism” in America.

Doubtless there are things to criticize about Donald Trump. But being racist isn’t among them. What infuriates his critics—but at the same time affords them so many opportunities to bathe in the gratifying fluid of their putative moral superiority—is that Trump refuses to collude in the destructive, politically correct charade according to which “racism” is the nearly ubiquitous cardinal sin of white America. He is having none of that, and his refusal to go along with the attempted moral blackmail is driving his critics to a fever pitch. They scream “racism” but, unlike other politicians, Trump refuses to cower in the corner whimpering. That he goes against their script infuriates them.

Back in 1965, the Frankfurt School Marxist Herbert Marcuse wrote an essay called “Repressive Tolerance.” It is a totalitarian classic. Marcuse distinguished between two kinds of tolerance. First, there is what he called “bad” or “false” tolerance. This is the sort of tolerance that most of us would call “true” tolerance, the sort of thing your parents taught you and that undergirds liberal democracy. Second, there is what Marcuse calls “liberating tolerance,” which he defined as “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

So here we are. The old idea of tolerance was summed up in such chestnuts as, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The new dispensation is: “I disapprove of what you say, therefore you may not say it.”

The Marxist-tinged ideology of the 1960s has had a few decades to marinate the beneficiaries of our free-market society, steeping them in the toxic nostrums that masquerade as moral imperatives in our colleges and universities. Today we find the graduates of those institutions manipulating the fundamental levers of political and corporate power.

The monument controversy shows the susceptibility of “liberating tolerance” to fanaticism. And it reminds us that in the great battle between the partisans of freedom and the inebriates of virtue, freedom is ultimately negotiable—until it rouses itself to fight back. At stake is nothing less than the survival of our common history.

The previous was adapted from a talk delivered on board the Crystal Symphony by Roger Kimball on July 19, 2018, during a Hillsdale College educational cruise to Hawaii.

    Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. He earned his B.A. from Bennington College and his M.A. and M.Phil. in philosophy from Yale University. He has written for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Book Review, and is a columnist for The Spectator USA, American Greatness, and PJ Media. He is editor or author of several books, including The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America, The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art, Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education, and Vox Populi: The Perils and Promises of Populism.