Posts Tagged 'republic'

Ten Conservative Principals

From time to time I believe we need to re-visit the roots and foundations of Conservatism especially today as we are engaged in this great battle with modern progressives who seek to transform our form of government,a Representative Republic into another form of government.
And not just for those new to Conservatism but for those of us who have long been engaged in the battle. We need to be able in the battle of ideas to articulate the principals of conservatism that is the foundation and springboard of our activism.

Russell Kirk is considered one of the pioneers of modern Conservatism His 1953 book, The Conservative Mind, gave shape to the conservative movement, giving special importance to the ideas of Edmund Burke. Kirk was also considered the chief proponent of traditionalist conservatism.

The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal is a nonprofit educational institute based in Mecosta, Michigan, home of the American writer and thinker Russell Kirk (1918–1994).

Ten Conservative Principles

by Russell Kirk

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.
The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers. But of course there is more to the conservative persuasion than this general attitude.

It is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims. In various editions of my book The Conservative Mind I have listed certain canons of conservative thought—the list differing somewhat from edition to edition; in my anthology The Portable Conservative Reader I offer variations upon this theme. Now I present to you a summary of conservative assumptions differing somewhat from my canons in those two books of mine. In fine, the diversity of ways in which conservative views may find expression is itself proof that conservatism is no fixed ideology. What particular principles conservatives emphasize during any given time will vary with the circumstances and necessities of that era. The following ten articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise.

Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know. Order and justice and freedom, they believe, are the artificial products of a long social experience, the result of centuries of trial and reflection and sacrifice. Thus the body social is a kind of spiritual corporation, comparable to the church; it may even be called a community of souls. Human society is no machine, to be treated mechanically. The continuity, the life-blood, of a society must not be interrupted. Burke’s reminder of the necessity for prudent change is in the mind of the conservative. But necessary change, conservatives argue, ought to he gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription—that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. There exist rights of which the chief sanction is their antiquity—including rights to property, often. Similarly, our morals are prescriptive in great part. Conservatives argue that we are unlikely, we moderns, to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste. It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, Providence moves slowly, but the devil always hurries. Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at leveling must lead, at best, to social stagnation.
Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk.

By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order. But if the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are neglected, then the anarchic impulse in humankind breaks loose: “the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

Sir Henry Maine, in his Village Communities, puts strongly the case for private property, as distinguished from communal property: “Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.” For the institution of several property—that is, private property—has been a powerful instrument for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act.

To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny. The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some of these functions are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger. Whatever is beneficent and prudent in modern democracy is made possible through cooperative volition. If, then, in the name of an abstract Democracy, the functions of community are transferred to distant political direction—why, real government by the consent of the governed gives way to a standardizing process hostile to freedom and human dignity.

For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.

The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.

Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Such, then, are ten principles that have loomed large during the two centuries of modern conservative thought. Other principles of equal importance might have been discussed here: the conservative understanding of justice, for one, or the conservative view of education. But such subjects, time running on, I must leave to your private investigation.

The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.

Adapted from The Politics of Prudence (ISI Books, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Russell Kirk.

Additional reading from Russell Kirk

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Send a Christmas Greeeting to our “dear leaders!”

My intent is to provide projects of “armchair activism” that can be done from home yet still send the message to our Representatives that we will not give up until the ObamaCare Bill is killed. This abomination of government control is a nail in the coffin of our Constitutional personal liberties and in fact our very Republic.

…Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings…. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! Patrick Henry – March 23, 1775

“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” Thomas Jefferson

Send a Christmas Greeting to our “dear leaders”!

Front and back of postcards (& list of Senators) can be printed off from this site OR you can download both

Directions:

Click print, you MUST USE LANDSCAPE setting in your printer when you print both the front and back

I also used the “Fast” color setting in my printer to save on colored ink and the front graphic turned out fine
After printing out front of postcard, place GRAPHIC SIDE UP back in paper tray and print out the back of card DON’T FORGET TO CHOOSE LANDSCAPE OPTION in your printer settings

Cut on lines for 4 postcards, address to our “dear leaders (printable addresses for President Obama & senators by state below) sign your name, if you do not wish to use your Street address, please consider your state and zip code to legitimatize your postcard as from a private citizen instead of a Astroturf-type organization

Slap a stamp on ( this is an oversize postcard and only needs postcard postage) and your ready to mail your Christmas “greeting” to our “dear leaders!” Merry Christmas!

Text on postcard back: “I already have a Savior and its not the government. And I do not want “ObamaCare” under my Christmas tree!

Senators by State

Three not to miss!

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylviania Ave NW
Washington D.C. 20500

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
235 Cannon HOB
Washington D.C. 20515

Sen. Harry Reid
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washinton D.C. 20510

A time of Thanksgiving during a Time of War

In 1863 the Civil War was in its second year.

In January of that year President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect.
However September of 1863 saw,
The bloodiest two days in American history
that cost the Federals 1,657 dead, 9,756 wounded, and 4,757 missing for a total of 16,170 casualties out of 58,000 troops. The Confederate losses were 2,312 dead, 14,674 wounded and 1,468 for a total of 18,545 out of 66,000 troops.

However in the midst of that Civil War, a war where every casualty was American, President Lincoln issued a proclamation of national day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.…and…fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Today we are engaged in a war. Although no shots have been fired, or blood shed, our country has been taken over in a bloodless coup by a Fascists regime that seeks to destroy our Republic with a Unconstitutional ideology.

This Thanksgiving let us give thanks for the bounty of America and let us fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand in repentance for our sins and in preserving our Constitution, our Republic and our very way of life as a free people of a Representative Republic that places our trust in God “In God We Trust”

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day

October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

Make Mine Freedom!

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Ben Franklin

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson

Obama resist 2

“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” Thomas Jefferson

(Just for fun) Canine Response to the Stimulus Package

I am an animal lover, especially dogs and us dog ‘parents” know that sometimes the wisdom of our “furry kids” exceeds those of us humans.

This dog is obviously much smarter than our own Governor Jennifer Granholm who would take all the Federal strings attached so called “stimulus” bill money and other states “stimulus” money too!

Bad Jennifer, bad!

*ACTION ALERT* ATTEND THE STATE SOVEREIGNTY BILLS COMMITTEE MEETING

WE WANT THIS BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE AND PASSED!

This Event is listed on Grassroots in Michigan

Here is what we need to do:

ATTEND the Committee (Judiciary) Meeting for the two 10th Amendment State Sovereignty Bills to show support. This is a public meeting so we need as many to attend as possible. Event is listed on Grassroots in Michigan, This TUESDAY Aug. 18th 1:00pm Room 210 Farum Bldg. 125 W. Allegan Street Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: Clerk Phone 373-6920

You can also speak by filing out a card when arriving. Be polite and articulate

SR 17 (Patterson) A resolution to affirm Michigan’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not enumerated and granted to the federal government.

SCR 4 (Patterson) A concurrent resolution to affirm Michigan’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not enumerated and granted to the federal government.

Here are links to the bills:

SR0017
SCR-0004

If you CANNOT ATTEND:

CALL OR FAX COMMITTEE MEMBERS letting them know you support the resolutions:

SAMPLE FAX HERE

Judicary Committee Members:

Senators:

Wayne Kuipers (R) (Chairman) Phone: Toll-Free 877-584-7377 Fax: 517-373-2751
E-Mail: senkuipers@senate.michigan.gov

Alan Cropsey (R) (ViceChair) Phone: Toll-Free 866-305-2133 Fax: 517-373-8661
E-Mail senacropsey@senate.michigan.gov

Alan Sanborn (R) Phone: Toll Free 888-353-2526 Fax: 517-373-5958
E-Mail senasanborn@senate.michigan.gov

Bruce Patterson (R) (Bill Sponser) Phone Toll Free 866-262-7307 Fax: 517-373-9228
E-Mail senbpatterson@senate.michigan.gov

Tony Stamas (R) Phone Toll Free 866-305-2136 Fax: 517-373-2678
E-Mail ofcstamas@senate.michigan.gov

Gretchen Whitmer (D) (M-VC) Phone: 517-373-1734 Fax: 517-373-5397
E-Mail: sengwhitmer@senate.michigan.gov

Hansen Clarke (D) Phone: Toll Free 877-252-7537 Fax: 517-373-9320
E-Mail senclarke@senate.michigan.gov

Raymond Basham (D) Phone: 517-373-7800 Fax: 517-9310
E-Mail senrbasham@senate.michigan.gov

We have three Republican Senator running for office that should be contacted Bruce Patterson who sponsored the resolutions running for Attorney General, Michelle McMannus and Cameron Brown both running for Secretary of State. Their information including information for both House and Senate to CALL OR FAX letting them know you support the resolutions, can be found HERE http://michiganvotes.org/Find.aspx

Write letters to the editors of all the Michigan media outlets. You can find contact info here or

37 states have created or are creating 54 legislative bills/resolutions that re-assert States’ Rights in an attempt to stop the Federal Government’s power grab and to return to the principles of Freedom as defined in the Constitution.

In case you missed it…abortion amendment slipped into Senate “health care” bill

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