Curtis Dahlgren
The "Jury is Hung" (while Washington weeps over warnings ignored)
By Curtis Dahlgren
March 1, 2009

"A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true." — Socrates

"Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism [and in your heart you know he's right]."
Barry Goldwater

"Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere."
James Madison

THE CIRCULATION OF MONEY IS RELIANT ULTIMATELY UPON PURE FAITH, EVEN A RELIGIOUS FAITH. A downward economic spiral is essentially a lack of confidence. The U.S. has been slowly morphing into a despotic form of government for at least three generations. The people who have the most money to put into circulation have lost confidence in the future because our Founding principles have been tossed out the window. The Dow Jones has soared from over 14,000 to about 7,000 as a result. When the Administration speaks, the stakeholders listen and vote with their assets instead of their feet (because there is obviously more to fear than "fear itself").

All despots think that they are immortal, but some despots think that they're more immortal than others (and they take on the posture of infallibility, so that anyone who asks dumb questions is considered out of the loop). "Conformity" trumps " Goldwater's "creative differences" — and the rules of the game are constantly changed as the game progresses. Equality of opportunity takes second place to "equality of outcome."

Life is a paradox, and the Left's "conformity" conflicts with their doxology that "the only Eternal verity is change." This doctrine is more than counter-intuitive; it is self-destructive. I made a statement to some friends yesterday that no country in the history of the world has succeeded by "soaking the rich." I almost got kicked out of the bar, and one of my best friends, who is like a brother to me, made a profane remark and told me:

"You're a poor man, Curt — ACT LIKE ONE."

So there's an "appropriate" and an "inappropriate" way for a poor man to ACT (and think) in the world of Topsy-turveydom beyond Alice's rabbit hole? YES! We have supposedly been "unified" now. Ninety-five percent of us are supposedly going to get a "tax cut" now from our crazy Uncle Sam, so I'm supposed to act grateful? My thinking has to conform?

If you read the fine print in that 1,100-page "stimulus" bill, you find out that the IRS tax rates have not been changed. That tiny "check" they're going to send you will be considered income, and could potentially put a lot of people in a higher tax bracket so that they will have to send the money back when they file their 2010 income taxes. What? They didn't tell you that? What else is there in that TRILLION dollar law that they didn't tell you about? Most people don't want to know — and they certainly don't to hear the rest of the story."We are all socialists now," says Newsweek.

In his first Inaugural address, President James Monroe said that we Americans would not have been so "blessed" if the People had been "less virtuous and less independent." Monroe said that so long as we avoid "ignorance and corruption" everything would be SAFE.

That was then and now is now. When yo hot, yo hot; and when yo not, yo NOT! As for what's "hot" now, conformity and dependence is HOT, and independence and "relative virtues" are definitely out of "STYLE."

The only definitive thing about despots is that they never look like despots when they first come to power.

A Samuel Horsley made a statement that should be an eye-opener: "Despotism is the only form of government which may, with safety to itself, neglect the education of its infant poor."

With truancy and drop-out rates in many cities around 50 percent, it isn't even arguable anymore: We have been neglecting the education of our youngest poor, and the more grades they stay in school, the further they drop behind their contemporaries in other countries. Is this one of those problems that is so "complex" that the rest of us will simply have to ignore it and forego any attempt to rectify the situation?

Is it mere coincidence that the new Education Czar comes fresh from Chicago, one of the worst public school systems in the nation, where they "teach" diversity and the conformity of the MASSES at the same time? Having Cook County, Illinois "reform" Education is like having Cook County "reform" the ethics of politics, and teaching economics is "foreign" to them.

In the Law of Nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action, in spite of any "good intentions." In mountaineering they often say, "Gravity isn't just a good idea; IT'S THE LAW." Alexander Hamilton said, in 1775:

"To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature, may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, appears to a common understanding altogether irreconcilable. Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever. This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind."

This is where President Washington's farewell warnings become so critical. He taught that morality and happiness were inseparably joined together, and Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, a pioneer economist (who was also hated in his own time and was shot to death).

This is not common knowledge, but Economics is one of the youngest of all scholastic disciplines. Economics contains more than one theory, and the discipline has its share of both wheat and chaff. Karl Marx assumed that capitalism had reached maturity in Britain and that it was a total failure deserving banishment (faulty premises lead to faulty conclusions). Economists on the left side of the aisle still believe that they are the most highly evolved "thinkers" of all time, and that if we just "trust them," we will end up in the Utopia that Karl Marx envisioned. But economics is only half of the "coin"; general morality is the other side of the coin of the realm.

"Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle," said Edmund Burke (1729-1797). And also:

"There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity — the law of nature, and of nations."

Note: Burke used the word "equity" instead of the word EQUALITY. He did that deliberately because those two words are not interchangeable. Here are a few words more of Burke:

"Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it."

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contempible struggle."

"People never give up their liberties but under some kind of delusion."

Some very bad people intoxicated with power are poised like a snake to attack our personal rights under the First Amendment. James Madison's first draft of that amendment read:

"The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion [denomination or sect] be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience, be in any manner, nor on any pretext, infringed."

Though the wording in the final draft was slightly changed, the sentence above crystallizes the "original intent": To protect the Individual's conscience from persecution by the State. The original idea was to keep the State out of religion, not to have the State promote "freedom FROM religion" by judicial fiat, or any other means. But the tide is running more and more against the "free exercise" of religion (lest an agnostic or atheist be "offended").

Thomas Jefferson said that it neither picks my pocket nor breaks the leg if someone says that there is one God, or twenty gods (and that's the Left's author of a "wall of separation" between religion and public debate?). Christians are not "offended" if someone says there is no God, either, but it does bother us a bit when the powers-that-be threaten the clergy into silence on so-called "controversial" subjects, and try to essentially burn the Book.

Some legal experts say that if current trends continue, the time will come when churches will be forced to perform gay weddings, or give up the right to marry people at all.

Don't laugh. You didn't think that judicial edicts could ban prayer — or even moments of silence — from the public schools, did you now? And it has gotten to the point where nativity scenes are banned from the same "holiday" displays that include the star of David and Muslim symbols. The only topics that can be deemed "controversial" by the courts now are Christian topics or symbols. Speaking of which:

When I look at the British Union Jack flag, I've come to think of those three lines as symbolic of "the intersection of culture, religion, and politics" (which includes economics). It was the Anglo-Saxon "empire" that defined Freedom and Liberty as our Founding Fathers understood it (as liberty of conscience but not "license" to do whatever we wish to do).

As much as I appreciate the huge role played by American Catholics today in defending

Traditionalism, much of our civil rights inheritance originated in the Reformation's concept of an individual's right to read the Bible in his/her own language. The concept of religious liberty conceived and gave birth to the rest of our civil liberties. Modern "Law" school graduates hold this notion in contempt (as though beneath them), but history is history.

The flaw in the slaw is that Western society has been flaunting "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God" for so long that nihilism and hedonism have become "settled" precedents. They are now as American as hot dogs, apple pie, and — well, forget Chevrolet.

Given the intersection of culture, religion, and politics, our economy may be able to coast for awhile, but the unintended consequences of our morality cannot be avoided forever. I've always said — for years anyway — that I believed we would see serious consequences when we reached the point of 50 million fatalities from Roe v. Wade. In 2008, we reached that statistic (equal to WWII's casualty totals), and in the same year our economic house of cards began to quiver and shake. And the Liberals are livid.

The reason that the Lefties despise "debate and discussion" is that the Conservative knows that he is right and the Liberals aren't so sure — being "certain" about anything is against their religion, you know — so all they can do is lash out and try to shut us up. They are angry with themselves for the kind of lives they have lived, and so they project that anger upon anyone who holds up the proverbial mirror.

They can't throw us to the lions yet (though some of them would if they COULD), so now is the time and this is the place to put our foot down. God never closes a door without opening a window. There may be a small window of opportunity for His Truth to get out there in your neighborhood before the "regulation" (read "strangulation") of AM radio and the Internet are literally brought in through the back door.

Stephen only preached one sermon before HE was cut off cold. "They stopped up their ears and ran upon him with one accord and stoned him."

The apostles Peter and Paul were repeatedly told to STOP — stop "preaching" at the politically correct of their day, but until they were stopped for good, they kept on keeping on.

We have not yet been stopped for good. The best thing you could do when you finish reading this column would be to ask God to show you what you can do for our People.

Professor Arthus Voobis, in exile from Communist Estonia, once wrote:

"One cannot rejoice enough over the birth of each individual who, by rebelling against mass-mentality, becomes an aware and responsible person, capable of living real life amid real issues . . Real life amid real issues would check the drift of the individual into frustration, loss of vitality and individual submission to fate."


P.S. Nothing is inevitable. I'm not talking about abstractions here. There are some concrete things that each citizen of this still-free America could do. For further reading, you could go to Thomas Sowell's latest column, and here's an excerpt or two from the John Stuart Mill Honorary column-of-the-week by Bill Murchison:
"The Season of Penitance"

"When the stock market is receding to the levels of a decade ago, and no one agrees on what to do, the coming of the season of penitence might seem easy enough to overlook. Or, relevant enough to engage every fiber of mind and body and spirit.

"Boy, do we humans blow it at times! Are we moronic (or worse)! Such are Lent's logical lessons: hard to grasp when the hedge funds are soaring, and borrowing to buy a house is easy as driving up to one and walking in . . . [but] . . "

For the record, I don't officially observe Lent, but the spirit of the season shouldn't be wasted by ANY religion. And I would further recommend reading a timely book:

"An Introduction to Christian Economics" by Dr. Gary North (see AmericanVision).

PPS: This column could not conclude without referencing some of the crazy headlines of late, just for the record:

- "National Intelligence Council chairman received $1 million from a Saudi prince."

- "Clinton warns Israel"

- "President gives millions to Hamas"

- "Administration bans T-word — 'terror'"

- "Obama requests $130 billion for wars next year"

- "'Backward-flying' comet passes the earth's neighborhood"

- "Assisted suicide becomes a front-burner issue"

Comment: no surprise there — when government "pays," government rations, health care — so assisted suicide as a top priority will be becoming a predictable topic of discussion. That won't be "controversial" though, like all those "Christian-related" topics. The dominant (non-radio) news media — the Pravda/Izvestia wing, routinely label their "obstructionist" opponents as "stupid" — even the intellectuals among them, ala the ol' Soviet Union.

How stupid does that make them look, eh? But how long before we get sent to mental hospitals, reeducation camps, or Siberia? Maybe the Left will find a use for Alaska yet — instead of importing oil from there, just send all those pesky "divisive" conservative Christians up there!

If this sounds paranoid, more to come next week. Washington weeps.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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