Tag Archives: history

Thomas Paine on modern America

In “Common Sense” Thomas Paine deconstructs several reasons America should rebel from great Britain to form the United States. I found his reasons for revolution in 1776 against the British amazingly applicable, in many ways, as the reason we should demand change (revolution) from our own Government today.

1. The ruling class is not equip to govern the people.

Much like the royal class in 18th century Britain modern America has the political and corporate elite. A wealthy and well connected ruling class that passes wealth, connection, and power from one generation to the next. Kings are replaced by names like Bush, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Kennedy (the list goes on).

Thomas Paine points out many good reasons why such families are not equip to govern the people:

“There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of a monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required. The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly; wherefore the different parts, by unnaturally opposing and destroying each other, prove the whole character to be absurd and useless.”

2. The Government is overly complex.

The founding fathers, having learned a valuable lesson from English rule, intentionally designed American law to be fairly easy to understand. Today our government and legal system couldn’t be more complicated.

Once again, Thomas Paine had brilliant insight:

“But the constitution of England [like modern America] is so exceedingly complex, that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover in which part the fault lies; some will say in one and some in another, and every political physician will advise a different medicine.”

The most effective Government?

“The more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered…”

3. The size of the federal government, the power of the executive:

Many of the issues Thomas Paine identifies with the English king I believe we see coming to fruition (to a lesser extent) with the modern day federal government – especially the executive branch. Here are a few that parallel:

  • The authority to make decision without consultation or consent of the people or their representatives (executive orders today)
  • The disconnect between the executive and the desires of the common man. (similar to #1 above)
  • Lack of election by the people (due to the amount of money it takes to run for president we are basically given choices for President, we do not choose our own from among the people)

4. Meaningless Debt

Perhaps the most compelling reason Thomas Paine provides for separation from Britain is the burden of debt on the American colonies due to English imperialism and military. The comparison undoubtedly highlights American folly today. Ultimately the debt we incur and pass on to posterity is unfair to future generations.

“…to expend millions for the sake of getting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the present ministry only, is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity with the utmost cruelty; because it is leaving them the great work to do, and a debt upon their backs, from which they derive no advantage. Such a thought is unworthy a man of honor, and is the true characteristic of a narrow heart and a peddling politician.”


Biblical History: Jewish slaves in Egypt

This is an interesting 12 minute podcast from Skeptoid.com where author Brian Dunning provides historical evidence that the stories told in Biblical account of the book of Exodus, from his perspective, are factually inaccurate.

“Was there a mass Exodus of Jewish slaves out of Egypt? There is no record of any such thing ever happening, and the simple reason is that there is no time in which it could have happened. No Egyptian record contains a single reference to anything in Exodus…”

Challenging Fact

What I found most interesting about this podcast wasn’t the lack of proof of the Exodus, but the fact that it had never occurred to me that the account from the bible wasn’t true (the Jewish slaves in Egypt part). I was raised a Christian and heard these stories over and over again. Repetition lead me to assume that there was a large body of archaeological and historical evidence that corroborated the account. No such evidence exists.

Whether or not you believe the story from the Bible or history as recorded in the podcast is up to you, but the takeaway from this, at least for me, is to always challenge your assumptions and remember just because a story is repeated enough doesn’t make it fact.

You can read his entire article here for additional references and resources.

As an advocate for Liberty I appreciate what Obama did today

Although he didn’t do it for exactly the same reasons I may have fully appreciated Obama made a great step as a leader and advocate of Liberty today. He openly supported the rights of human beings to engage in personal relationships without the intervention of the Government. He advocated for personal and private property rights, human rights – Gay rights.

Although there is a whole lot I find myself disagreeing (and sometimes agreeing) with Obama about I can and will always respect a politician who takes a stand, the right one, even when it is construed by many as unpopular.

Admittedly, openly supporting Gay marriage isn’t exactly political suicide for Obama or anything and Biden already tested the waters for him days earlier by openly supporting Gay marriage himself. Most of Obama’s supporters agree with him on this issue and most of the people that advocate a ban on Gay marriage almost certainly aren’t voting for Obama anyways – I still respect the steps he took today.

I can respect any man who is honestly trying to do the right thing and taking steps to get there – even if and when I personally disagree with them. It’s certainly better than shitting on the people or war-mongering. Which is more than I can say for most of the Republican candidates.

I only hope that Obama continues to take steps to advocate personal freedoms and common sense lawmaking. Giving the power to the people, protecting the individual, and empowering everyone to do the best they can for themselves and each other is a great way forward. I just hope Obama keeps making choices that keeps the Government out of our bedrooms, emails, personal lives, and personal decisions – especially when we don’t want them there.

Obama may be the first president to openly admit, while in office, that he supports same sex marriage. History was made today.

A Loss of Humanity through Education

Since my return from Japan I’ve been reading a book called “The Japan We Never Knew: A Voyage of Discovery by David Suzuki and Keibo Oiwa.  The book basically takes an anthropological look into the people of Japan. One passage I read really hit home.

When referring to Japanese civilians committing mass suicide when trapped in cave rather than surrender to Americans during WWII:

“Those children did not take part in the decision, so I say it was not just a mass suicide but a mass murder. Why would mothers go against their every instinct and kill their own children? They preferred to kill the creatures they loved the best rather than let them be captured by the enemy.  That’s what they were taught. Their humanity was transformed by their education. (p. 27 emphasis added)

Those words echo in my head:

“That’s what they were taught.  Their humanity was transformed by their education.”

The very propaganda that taught them to believe that the enemy was pure evil, would torture them upon surrender, that it was better to kill themselves than be captured – ended in the loss of their own humanity and life.  An illogical education resulted in a tragedy.

The story goes on to talk about an identical situation happening in another part of Japan; however, in the cave were two Japanese men who had lived in Hawaii for several years.  Having an understanding of American culture they did surrender and of course no one was tortured – they all lived to tell the story.

So is the enemy as evil as we make them out to be?

It makes me question our own American education.  Doesn’t the media promote the same illogical beliefs in our “enemy”.  We see all enemies as terrorist.  Suicide bombers and torturers.  Time and time again I hear aquantances joke about seeing a middle eastern man on a plane and questioning if he is planning a hi-jacking.  This is insane racism and propaganda propetuated by our own political machine.  Isn’t it?

Propaganda prevailed in Japan.  Are we any different?  We see the same images of “terrorist” torturing and decapitating innocent civilians – but is that a true cross-section of those who oppose us?  Can we really label everyone who opposes America a terrorist, a murder, a religious zealot hell bent on the destruction of a Christian nation – or is there something more complex, more logical?

I do not know, but I do think it is important to take a lesson from the past and view EVERYONE as a person, not a machine of evil and destruction – no matter what our Government, our neighbors, or the media tries to push down out throat.  It’s all to easy to convince ourselves that WE would never fall for those same old tricks, that WE’RE too smart for that, but we aren’t.

We have to keep our humanity.  Now more than ever.

the best way to beat him is to ignore him – THE MEDIA vs. RON PAUL

Even with the whole of he media completely ignoring and downplaying Ron Paul he still managed to run a close race in Iowa – coming in 3rd. Is it that the people really do not agree with his politics or that they simply do not know who the man is? Every time I talk to a family member or friend that doesn’t support Ron Paul it is almost always because “well, I don’t really know anything about him.” Give me 10 minutes and almost everyone can’t believe they hadn’t heard of Ron Paul! It seems like the media is doing a great job of ignoring Ron Paul – ignoring him to defeat.

2012 Iowa Caucus Results

The race was close in Iowa though, so I figured people would mention it. Someone would say, “Hey this Ron Paul guy is doing pretty good for a guy with no Media attention or corporate donors.” My search in the news was in vein. Almost everyone else was mentioned – even the losers, but somehow the guy in 3rd place by a narrow margin was forgotten, completely.

Top Stories on CNN

Nothing, not even in the articles. No mention of the guy who is still in this race, but why? Why is the media ignoring the one man who has been preaching about blowback, the housing bubble, the fed, the economic crisis, FOR YEARS and BEEN RIGHT – not getting any attention? Instead, its talk about Rick Santorum, Romney, and even still Gingrich – the 4th place loser.

If conservative and liberal media have one thing in common – its ignoring Ron Paul.

Fox News Top Stories

I wish I could say I was kidding, exaggerating, or just making this stuff up – but I’m not. Is it a conspiracy or am I just too close to this? There seems to be too much evidence to believe that! What do you think?

rights all intellectually honest, liberty loving, Americans should demand: GAY RIGHTS

Marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. That’s what the law tells us. So what about two individuals of the same sex? Why is it that so many Americans find it immoral for this group of individuals to have the same right – to engage in marriage under the law? Furthermore, how can the legal system justify withholding this right from a certain group of people?

It is a basic tenant of personal property rights that individuals may engage in any personal relationship they wish when their rights do not infringe on anyone else’s property. How can the government limit such a personal relationship, especially when it is between two consenting adults in which there is no victim of their actions?

To quote congressman Ron Paul:

“I think the government should just be out of it (marital rights). I think it should be done by the church or private contract, and we shouldn’t have this argument…Who’s married and who isn’t married. I have my standards but I shouldn’t have to impose my standards on others. Other people have their standards and they have no right to impose their marriage standards on me…if we want to have something to say about marriage it should be at the state level, and not at the federal government.

In a free society…all voluntary and consensual agreements would be recognized…There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage.

Everyone can have his or her own definition of what marriage means, and if an agreement or contract is reached by the participants, it would qualify as a civil contract if desired…Why not tolerate everyone’s definition as long as neither side uses force to impose its views on the other? Problem solved!” (re: Ron Paul)

An honest American will admit that the SINGLE reason the personal relationship between two members of the same sex are constricted is solely due to the Judeo-Christian values are being enforced by the Federal Government and have become the status quo of our American society. No legal, moral, or political reasoning can be given to justify the withholding of such a right to a certain minority in the population. While a religious person may argue that the majority of Americans share these Judeo-Christian beliefs, thus it is justified that the majority rule when it comes to upholding moral philosophies by law; however, how can that be when the law is to be enforced outside and independently of any religious dogma or any majority rule!

The Judeo-Christian moral code is irrelevant in cases of the law! Most religious people would agree that Satanism is immoral; however, the Satanist belief system and practice is protected under the law. Again, other issues that may be viewed as moral vices are protected as well – pornography, intoxication, and lude language, to name a few. Why does society accept these activities, but raise such concerns with homosexuality? Could it be because society, in general, enjoys the right to sometimes utilize such “immoral” behaviors? Yet the majority so willingly and hypocritically advocates the removal of another’s personal and legal rights when it does not interfere with the lives of those making or enforcing the law! Even if one may argue same sex marriage is immoral – they cannot justifiably remove the institutional right under the law!

Only a few decades ago our legal system thought it appropriate to limit the rights of an individual based on race – today we realize that such a notion is completely ridiculous. In the South, blacks were prohibited from eating at certain restaurants, attending the same schools, or even using the same seating section on public transit. To go a step further – it was unheard of for a person of color to engage in a relationship with anyone outside their race. Today it is morally unacceptable to argue such things! So why does society condone the limiting of basic civil and property rights to a person who happens to be attracted to, and fall in love with, a member of the same sex? Who are we so perfect to deem their relationship and feeling unworthy?

To take another approach – what is so immoral about two consenting parties engaging in the ultimate commitment to each other? Can one form an intellectually logical argument against Gay marriage? Can one deny the feelings two responsible adults feel toward each other? Can one deny the positive influence the Gay community has had on neighborhoods across America? (re: The Castro District) Wouldn’t a gay couple engaging in marriage, reaping the emotional and psychological benefits of a stable monogamous relationship be something that all Americans want for our citizens if they so choose? None of this really matters though – as this is a matter of personal liberty and property rights – not one sects view of morality!

The simple fact is this: regardless of your personal feelings and beliefs about homosexuality or Gay marriage, marriage of any kind between two consenting parties is an individual property right – they own the right to whatever relationships they deem necessary for their particular pursuit happiness! The Government has no right – naturally, legally, or constitutionally – to prohibit such a relationship from being formed. Societies current opinion on the issue is irrelevant. I will say this though – history has always sided in favor of civil rights – and in the coming decades we will look back on this restriction of personal relationships as a blemish on par with racism that we so shamefully regret today.