Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why This Site is So Important and Now is Our Time

I left the following comment at "Daily Paul" in response to this post. Some of this is my personal political views and not so germane to the vision of this site but please read through to see the overall point I make and how that point is germane. Here it is:

"The principle of federalism is what we are fighting to restore not "states rights" and certainly not the Confederacy. Madison spoke plainly in Federalist 28 that both state and national governments can usurp individual rights. Thus, one was to balance the other. State sovereignty is not and never was absolute. It was a check put into the system to protect individual liberty.

Statements such as the following puke all over an otherwise exciting post:

'Save your confederate money, it appears the South is about to rise up once again.'

I fully understand that Lincoln never intended to free the slaves and that the South had good reason to want to suceed from the North when the North's economy collapsed and it began more profitable for the southern states to trade with Europe. As they did this the North levied unjust tariffs. In reply the South left.

With that stated, the southern elite planting class stood to lose out if the abolitionists had their way. There was also ample motive to exaggerate things when John Brown tried to start an army to free the slaves and strike fear into south. Above all they wanted to keep the plantation system alive. Slavery was the way to do it.

In the end it was mostly a battle about economic philosophy that started with Hamilton and Jefferson. Hamilton was right about the coming Industrial Revolution and Jefferson was right about opposing Merchantilism. Both were wrong to in that Hamilton wanted to rig things for the British style merchantilist debtor economy and Jefferson ingnored the second wave Industrial age to our peril.

How about a progressive and modern view with respect for localism and free markets? Would that have been the answer? In the 1780's or 1860's? How about now?

The Tea Party worries me because Obama's vision of modernity has a lot of truth in it. His corporatist bent is what messes it up. But when we throw out the baby with the bathwater and ignore the nuances of history we do it to our own peril.

So not beat your chest about the "Constitution" unless you not only carry it around and read it but seek to understand the context in which it was written. It is also important to study the 500 years of the evolution of certain ideas that led to it.

As far as the Christian aspect I think many that spout off Confederate leanings ignore that Locke's basis for rights was for inalienable rights because man is valuable because he is made in the image of God. Love of neighbor and self out of reverance for the image of God. Slavery violated this and talk of the rising "south" and using Confederate money revives ideas that violate this principle.

Please heed this warning or Ron Paul's current dead tie with Obama for 2012 that was seen in the Rasmussen poll today will evaporate as he is called a racist and the charges of racist rantings under his newsletter come up again. When people come on sites like these it will be used for ammo and at times rightly so with comments like the one above."

I then summarized what we discuss here and linked our site.  I am not sure if we at American Creation realize the moment we are in where what we discuss here everyday has the potential to impact what seems to be a national dialogue about the founding, what it meant, and what is relevant for today?  No matter your political leanings this has to excite all involved here. Let's get out there and add to the discussion what we have learned here. Much of what I wrote above was birthed in our discussions here.


eli said...

There ought to be a blog that deals with the Civil War like this one does with the Founding. Here, in the comments section of this post, the topic won't be dealt with fairly.

I personally do not accept that pro-confederacy polemics are automatically racist, nor that they ought to be treated so, even if it is pretty much guaranteed that they will be taken that way. (100 million winner-indoctrinated minds can't be wrong about the losers of that war!)

It would have been better to warn against such language merely on the basis of political expediency.

King of Ireland said...

I should have been more clear that I am not calling this man racist nor do I think he is. I am calling him unwise in that he hurts the very cause he seeks to spread with un-necessary comments. His comments about Confederate money could very well have been about a proposal I actually support about bringing back state legal tender to check the power of the Fed from the ground up. But there are better ways to word what he was saying.

I agree about the Civil War. The 14the amendment comes up a lot in these discussions and adds context that we cannot really get into here.

King of Ireland said...

Another thing most do not know is that the abolitionists used interposition, nullification, and secession language too. In fact, they used nullification(from what I think I read but cannot remember for sure) language from Jefferson and Madison's resolutions of 98 to void the fugitive slave act. So much for the argument that arguments for state checks on federal power are racist!

Hyperbole abounds!

King of Ireland said...

By the way please excuse my stylistic errors and typos in the comment I quoted in this post. I wrote it quickly in response and then realized it had become blog post length. I cleaned it up some but wanted to keep the intregrity of what I wront as much as possible. The perils of the blogosphere and instant analysis.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Federalist 28 is by Hamilton, not Madison.

It's good to read these things for oneself, as Hamilton's argument is a little more subtle than it appears here.

He speaks of a state government becoming tyrannical and "usurping" power against its citizens. Since local governments would be unable to organize an effective militia against the well-organized power of the state government, yes, a standing national army might be of help.

[Also arguing that the nation as a whole needs a national army for self-defense against furriners.]

Of course, Hamilton makes it inconceivable that we might need "Tea Parties" in some future century:

"It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.

Heh heh. An axiom.

King of Ireland said...

That was Hamilton? At least I got the number of the paper right. I need to go read through them again now that I feel I have learned more about the context they were written in. Thanks Tom.

King of Ireland said...

That was Hamilton? At least I got the number of the paper right. I need to go read through them again now that I feel I have learned more about the context they were written in. Thanks Tom.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, I wasn't criticizing, Joe. I didn't know anything about Federalist 28 until you cited it---that Hamilton wrote it just turned up by-the-by.

I know I come off like a know-it-all sometimes [well, all the time, hehe], but it's only because I give enough respect to the writers at American Creation to look up the source documents for myself, because that's our mission around here, to read the Founding documents for ourselves and give them a fresh look.

You can never go wrong by returning to the Founding documents instead of taking some "expert's" word for anything without checking it out for yourself.

By reading them for ourselves and discussing them, we avoid the "revisionists" of both left and right and remain, as you put it, really are important and now is our time. You'd be surprised how often we turn up on google near the top on a given issue. I don't devote so much study and passion for this blog just to brainwash some ignorant mook who happens to be reading. We do great work here, not for just now, but for somebody googling us years from now.

We're kinda like Protestants and the Bible, reading it all afresh. That gives this Catholic boy a great big chuckle, especially since I've learned Protestantism was such a big part of the American Founding by participating on this blog.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Eli---I agree with you that the Civil war and the 14th Amendment altered the Founding vision, although mostly in the 20th century interpretations of 14A, which went much further afield than just making the black man legally equal to the white.

What I've found is that once race---whether slavery or its successor, Jim Crow---is dragged in, in support of any argument or principle, it's like dragging in the Nazis, reductio ad Hitlerum.

Whoever succeeds in making the other side into racist or Nazi sympathizers is on the Side of the Angels, and wins the argument, even if his arguments are total crap.

I think that's what your caution was saying, Eli, if understand you correctly.

If not, well then , I'm saying it, unapologically.


I've had jerks try to run my through that mill.

That's why I prefer to stick with the Founding, and the original principles. They knew well that slavery was an abomination and a violation of humanity's natural [and God-given] rights, even Mr. Jefferson, a slaveholder himself. They just couldn't get around the reality of it being in place, unless they wanted the Constitution left unratified, or a Civil War fought immediately in 1787.

But they wrote a poison pill for slavery into the Constitution, something nobody ever talks about.

Article 1, Section 9. You could look it up.


King of Ireland said...


No criticism taken. It is our time. My respect for you is immense. We are hitting on some really important nuances here. Dare I say "prophetically". I just want to see posts like your Paine one hit the audience it needs to. Jon too. I am starting to see his wisdom more and more.

King of Ireland said...


This atheist turned Evangelical Protestant is revisiting his Catolic upbringing again. If the church returned to Aquinas and Salmanca again it would bring me aboard. In fact, I no longer consider myself and EVangelical anymore based on what Jon hits on here.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, Joe---and I'm going to allow myself to get personal here, which many people have urged me to do, but I always resisted---I'll reveal to you a bit about myself.

Yes, I pump Thomas Aquinas on this blog, but here's why---

I was born [interesting cultural story] & baptized Catholic, and went through Catholic grade school and high school and a Catholic college, but never once heard him discussed. Not once. The only reason I even knew his name was Mom told me he was my patron saint, but since my Dad's name is also Thomas, it's not exactly like I was named for Aquinas.

As I approached age 50, I realized how truly ignorant I was about man's history, philosophy, the American Founding, despite my college education. I picked up a book one day and realized I didn't know anything about the Sumerians, let alone all the rest. Not Plato, not nothing except George Washington and the cherry tree and that the Founders were deists.

Heh heh. An ignoramus at almost age 50.

I'd long ago abandoned Catholicism, but in my study of philosophy and history the name of Aquinas kept cropping up. As it turned out, Thomas is the only "Christian" who gets a seat at the table in every philosophical discussion, modern, classical, whatever.

He is also the only theologian. The rest of those theological jerks get left at the door.

I'm never selling anything here at this blog, least of all Catholicism. I don't even know how Catholic I am except Thomas defends God better than the rest of the people at the table who deny him. That's all I know.

What a surprise.

And yes, Jonathan Rowe does a wonderful job around here too. Jon and are are friends, real friends, and only disagree on the particulars of this and that about God, or the Bible or whatever, just like the Founders did.

That's how it's supposed to work. Even Aquinas was just a man, and not right about everything. No mere man is right about everything. It would be boring if any man was. Then all we'd be left with is following the dots.

How boring, if life was just a job, or a program. Surely there's more to life than programming.

Phil Johnson said...

One of problems with which anyone is faced as efforts are made to discuss our present condition in America with the Founding Era seems to be related to our different understandings of what the Founding was all about. At least it appears to me that such is so.
I've frequented this site for enough time to be able to say that I have a grasp on the positions of most of its participants. But, no matter their position, the focus most certainly is to define the foundation upon which our society was founded. Some say it is Christianity and some say it is not. But, none appears to claim the foundation upon which our society was laid was a scientific experiment.
If it was seen as an experiment, is it true that the major reason the test included such strong (??) language supporting states' rights was due to the necessity of forging a working compromise so that the testing could be put in motion? Did important Founding Fathers like Washington and Jefferson want to abolish slavery at the onset--was it Jefferson's desire to include that in the Founding documents? Was it, in fact, true that--because they realized they could not get agreement at the time that they hoped there would be a careful--but sure--movement toward abolition? Was their fear in forcing the issue at the Founding that the union would not stand?
Was America--after every other claim is made--founded as a political experiment as Lincoln claims in the Gettysburg Address?

Unknown said...


All good questions.

Unknown said...


I think it is good to get personal on here at times.