Having read a few chapters of American Progressivism this weekend, I have been giving a good deal of thought to the concept of “progress” as applied to our political institutions and the role of government of these United States.
As the book points out in the first several chapters, it is important to understand the roots of the progressive movement in order to understand its present incarnation in today’s ultra liberals who now hold influence in almost every aspect of our lives.
In that context, I think it could also be said that to understand our nation as a whole, to understand why we cannot simply “progress” towards a European model of socialism that values the society over the individual, that values the relativistic and changing will of the majority as expressed through the continually updated rule of law over natural rights, we must understand something of our own past. We must be reminded that our very existence, that our very birth, was conceived in rebellion to those beliefs that progressives now claim we must embrace for the good of the society as a whole.
In effect, we must be reminded of the truth of our past in order to be reminded of the lie that is now so repeated in our present.
“[America is] a rebellious nation. Our whole history is treason; our blood was attained before we were born; our creeds were infidelity to the mother church; our constitution treason to our fatherland.” ~ Theodore Parker
I just noticed a random tweet go across my screen. It said only “Basically America supports war.” I don’t know what point that person was trying to make, or what exactly would even bring that up, but there it was in my face for me to think about.
But having seen that tweet my mind went instantly to a memory of a quote by John Stuart Mill. A quote I think is an eternal truth. A quote I think is highly relevant to the world we live in today and a quote that is definitely worthy to be called “Words of Freedom”.
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” ~ John Stuart Mill
One hundred and forty seven years ago today in a small town in Pennsylvania two great armies parted after three of the bloodiest days this nation has ever known. The two armies were the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The battle was of course Gettysburg. With casualties between 46,000 and 51,000 there is no doubt that each side had given their “last full measure” for their belief in freedom.
That so many Americans, past and present, have been willing to make such sacrifice should never be forgotten. Nor should these words of freedom:
“In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger. .. This is the great reward of service, to give life’s best for such high stakes that it shall be found again unto life eternal.” ~ Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain