Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Founding

Rush and the Rest

Rush Limbaugh just read George Washington's original Thanksgiving Proclamation.  You won't hear such antiquated language from any other popular media.  The Progressive left disdains the founding and its principles (see, e.g., Wilson's "What Is Progress?"), so it cuts itself off from the most powerful and true resources of America.  Obama's politics reflects the extremes of Progressivism, thus rejecting what is in its interest and the national good.
Categories > The Founding

Discussions - 21 Comments

"The Progressive left disdains the founding and its principles..."

So is that why Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, and Glenn Greenwald (just to name a few off the top of my head) so frequently pronounce their deep (and obviously knowledgeable) appreciation for the Constitution? Or wait, are they actually teachers at Beck University, too (I'm sure Beck is only concerned with hiring the most knowledgeable people, not simply those who adhere to some particular ideology... right?) ??

Rush's reading of such a thing is a striking example of a hollow and shallow gesture, contrived merely to put a dignified and rarefied sheen on his various knuckle-dragging views. ("Wow, listen to Rush read (!!) those probably-profound words by that Washington powdered-wig guy!! I bet John Washington woulda watched FoxNews if he were alive today!!") He should return to his true interests: Oxycontin, Viagra, "tourism" in the Dominican Republic, sweating, and reviewing cars:

"Obama's politics reflects the extremes of Progressivism"

That statement is truly amazing for its incredible blindness. Only someone who resides completely inside a Rush-FoxNews-NRO-NLT sort of echo chamber/bubble could actually say that with a straight face. Someone who has essentially no interaction with progressives, either of the flesh-and-blood or virtual-online variety.

(pssst.... Progressives have largely given up on Obama, and are beyond disappointed in him on the majority of issues)

Aside from the content, the language alone elevates the soul.

Happyy Thanksgiving!

Hey, George Washington was quite a knuckle-dragger himself, don't you agree!

No, I don't agree.

I missed Limbaugh's no-doubt-moving reading of that proclamation (here's hoping he didn't embellish it).

No, Washington was no knuckle-dragger (duh?), but that doesn't mean that various knuckle-draggers of today do not try to make him in their own image.

To wit, a previous Limbaugh bloviation:

or Sarah "Stand with North Korea" Palin:

or honored Ashbrook speaker Glenn Goldline Beck:

talk2action dot org/story/2010/6/23/74018/0628

The Palindrones would really love to believe that if George Washington were with us today that he'd be on the board of the Family Research Council or American Family Assoc., or packing Muslims onto trains (see Dain & Kate's ideas on that), but it ain't necessarily so.

When do Progressives ever express admiration for General Washington for his purposes and the Constitution as a restraint on regulation? Of course, relatively few people of any political viewpoint do--Tea Party excepted.

The point about Rush is that there are different routes to finding the Founding--it's rarely seen the schools, so it's a blessing anytime it comes up, whatever the source. If an Ashbrook/Claremont/Hillsdale education leads to partisanship of a certain sort, fine; if partisan politics leads to serious study of the American political tradition, that works too.

As far as Progressives' disenchantment with Obama, that simply confirms my point above about their utter confusion and inability to persuade Americans and thus their incompetence to govern.

Here's the difference, kids: It all goes back to Burke and Rousseau. The Left believes that human imperfections spring from corrupt social arrangements, and so those aspects of the Constitution that guarantee atomized human rights (and only those aspects) are held in high regard (the rest is just moldy words best ignored). The Right believes that human imperfections are inherent, and so you need a strong balance between imperfect institutions (like government) and imperfect people. The latter political camp is more likely to venerate the whole document, which is after all a system of government that wholly trusts neither the people nor their governors.

Thomas Sowell had it right when he talks about "the tragic view" of Man.

Today, let us be thankful for the wisdom of our Founders!

Oh, I can see where this is coming from and where it's going, and it probably explains the abundance of Thanksgiving posts:

While the right tries to rewrite history to play their silly power games and fetishize speeches that they imagine makes Washington a door-to-door evangelist, I can think of one family (in NW Ohio) who lost their son in combat in Iraq. They don't think he died for our freedom, they basically think his life was trashed by an absurd and immoral war. They won't be celebrating Thanksgiving or working themselves into some kind of jingoistic ecstasy by role-playing any of the founding fathers, either.

Of course that's a terrible loss. The best memorial and consolution for such a family, other than a purely religious one, is the Gettysburg Address.

It is awful to lose a child in any circumstances.

Those who I know whose sons died in similar circumstances do find consolation in those circumstances of their sons deaths, and in religion. Young men die in all sorts of ways and I do not see how it would be better for me if a son died because of his own foolishness or through accident or by being killed by someone in America, or even worse, by his own hand. I know too many young men of that last sort who died because they could not find meaning for their lives. Their parents would have been consoled to know those sons had given their lives for a cause they all found noble rather than taken them for nothing and in the name of nothing.

The pain of the loss might not be less, but there would be something of justification.

The parents of any young person who volunteers for military service know the possibilities, or should. We all should know especially when those children of ours volunteer for deployment to dangerous areas. I really do not see how the alternatives of death in civilian life would bring much consolation. "Oh, at least he didn't die in a war I find absurd and immoral." A couple of years ago, watching another son twitching in a hospital emergency room escaping death after overdosing on the seed pods of a common weed he ate for its cheap high, I was thinking about the relative merits of types of death. His would have been absurd and immoral.

Craig, I am sorry you find so much of life degrading and so many people degraded. How awful for you.

Yes, I never like to see servicemen and women die under any circumstances (regardless of how people view any given conflict). Nonetheless, if you voluntarily draw the paycheck then you necessarily put yourself in the hands of policymakers. Even a "good war" like WWII led to terrible wastes of life caused by stupid leadership. It is the human condition. Those who fight will sometimes die because they are poorly led.

I am sorry for their loss, regardless. I hope they find some solace in the fact that those of us who saw some purpose to the war honor their sacrifice.

Oh yes, I'll be sure to pass that link to the Gettysburg Address to them. I think they'll see the obvious similarity between Lincoln's words regarding the American Civil War and the USA's misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Actually, passing along the link is probably safer than giving them a paper copy or doing a Limbaugh and reciting it for them - I'd rather not be slapped in the face.)

[Wrap your heads around this: they're agnostics, and they feel that their son died a pointless death in a faraway desert for malevolent people.]

Craig, we get that and are sorry for that. Both that they are agnostics, without God's consolation, and how they feel about their son's death. It is a pity all around.

There were many people during and after the Civil War who saw it as pointless. Some, but not all, saw the value of death in it for Union as making more sense to them than "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free." Yet many people thought it it was stupid altogether, one grandmother telling me that her grandfather, who died a Pennsylvania coal miner, wondered why anyone would risk dying for a bunch of damned niggers.

That last line is interesting - did he ever get much exposure to the conservative spin on it, that it wasn't really about slavery, but states' rights?

(Also, do you know how much it irks agnostics when theists feel sorry for them - it's incredibly condescending; think it over...)

(Also, do you know how much it irks agnostics when theists feel sorry for them - it's incredibly condescending; think it over...)

I'd call that a side benefit.

Whose conservative spin is that? Never mind. I know. It is not mine nor was I taught that way at the conservative institution where I got my history education.

Apparently, we all get to be condescending to one another over matters of faith; think it over, yourself....

I recall a WW II movie about Italian immigrants whose son is reported dead in battle. The immigrant father's immediate response is to recite the Gettysburg Address.

Here's another movie version, from Ruggles of Red Gap. Charles Laughton's servant was won by a cowboy in a poker game abroad:

Agnosticism does not play a decisive role here. Nor does the wisdom of any particular war, though of course Lincoln was focused on the Civil War. Lincoln's principles remain the same.

Craig, I protest your accusation of condescension. I was stung by it before, because that had not been my intent.

But thinking about it, is it condescending to wish for someone the revelation of God? If I know God as mainstay or anchor for the soul, great comfort, light in the dark, sweetness in the bitter of life and I wish that for someone, it seems to me as common humanity, fellow-feeling, sympathy of the greatest sort. If I were wishing them warm feet, good cheer, plenty and prosperity, never to know another such piercing grief, or any other thing that I know as good, is that condescension? Then I am fatally condescending, as is anyone else who hopes for all the best things for everyone else, from the smallest pleasures to the greatest good we know, which is God.

"[I]s it condescending to wish for someone the revelation of God?"

Good question, Kate.

Would it be condescending for me or any agnostic or atheist to wish for someone to be able to better use their faculties for logic and rational reasoning? Yes, it probably would.

(BTW, I don't take that approach with believers, as I think it's about the equivalent of what you suggest - people ought to have the right to think and believe what they want, and use their imaginations in whatever way they want - it's fundamental)

If God hasn't been revealed to a person, should they be punished by eternal damnation in Hell? This is all talk of the supernatural, and I don't understand when people lose patience for those who stubbornly "refuse" to see any particular ghost or accept any story of supernatural activities which they never witnessed and never could (time & history-wise).

I am not God. Your complaint is with him, not with me. I do not punish anyone with eternal damnation. It is not my job, for which I am eternally grateful.

I have friend at my college who thinks it is his obligation to crush the faith of any student, of whatever faith, who is in his classroom. If I proselytized as he does, how long do you suppose I would be employed there? I would not do it, anyway.

Although, not talking about God at all is a challenge, sometimes. When I slip, I confess the academic sin of Christian faith and apologize. To my students who think I should evangelize in the classroom, I explain that it would be an abuse of my authority. Still, I can't help faith any more than an unbeliever can help his not having it.

I do use my logic and rational reasoning, but those are rooted in or based on the premise that God is. Would you have me deny what I know to be true? I know that is all about faith and having lacked faith before I had it, I have compassion for those who do not. I know full well that is not a question of intelligence, as I have same intelligence I had when atheist. It seems an ill logic (to me) to posit no God; those who do always seem to be trying to fill the void with something else.

"Your complaint is with [God], not with me."

Well, first off, it's not so accurate to call it a complaint; it's primarily a question. But since I've heard and read things from Christians, and not God, I offer the question to Christian believers. Will those who have not experienced the revelation of God - by chance of circumstance, birthplace, etc., or by inability to comprehend and acknowledge the revelation if/when presented - face an afterlife in Hell? If so, does God offer a justification for that punishment? If I end up in the hellfire one day and I get a moment with God or am able to fill out a comment card, then it may well become an out-and-out complaint. I've heard differing answers from various kinds of Christians, so I don't know if the situation is one that I'd consider unjust.

"Would you have me deny what I know to be true?"

Certainly not (so please don't proceed as if I would, or that I've answered affirmatively, okay?). But how you claim to know certain things to be true is fair game for critique, however.

How do you know that Jesus was/is the son of God, was born of a virgin, and was resurrected?

I would guess that you reject - much like an atheist - every other religious belief that is not yours, with, if needed, some sort of logical reasoning as to why it's not the correct faith. But that's just a guess (I could well be wrong), based on what you've revealed here. You don't strike me as one who'd be a fan of interfaith pluralism.

The greatest determinants for what most people know to be true in religious matters are the simple facts of one's place of birth and the religious beliefs of one's parents.

I wondered what happened in this thread, if anything. Five busy days from my last, but ten from the original post, which puts it in the archive. I couldn't remember what the discussion was attached to. We got away from the original.

I know well that it is impossible to explain about God; I was raised by an agnostic and an atheist who couldn't stand the arrogance of atheists and called himself an agnostic. "Many very decent people have claimed to know that God exists. I would be calling them liars if I totally denied God. God might be. I don't know." was the line my dad took.

Lots of people know God in lots of different ways. I know people who claim to have come to belief in God wholly through reason. There is nothing reasonable about the revelation I had. I was dumbfounded when it was happening and do not understand the continuation of communication that has followed. I suppose all could be coincidence on coincidence, as well as daily and sometimes hourly instances of false causation that I am delusionally experiencing over the last 35 years related to prayer and faith. If I were the only person to whom this had happened, I would have to logically assume a set of bizarre anomalies, schizophrenia, or some other "sane" cause of my faith illusion. After I succumbed to what seemed logical in my experience, , I read the Bible, spoke to other Christians and then read about the experiences of other Christians and either we are all mad or we are not mad at all. If we are not mad, then God exists.

I don't know why everyone doesn't know.

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