Curtis Dahlgren
YOUR ENGLISH HERITAGE (whether you like it or not)
By Curtis Dahlgren
June 20, 2012

"In no country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study . . . This study renders men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defence . . . They augur misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze." — Edmund Burke ("Conciliation with America"'; March 22, 1775)

"By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes . . . " — Shakespeare (1564-1616)

YOU'RE NOT ANGLO-PHOBIC, I HOPE. Whether you speak perfect English, broken English, or street English, we all owe the English people a lot. The Foundations of American Liberty were the design of "English" thinkers (on both sides of the Atlantic) — to the benefit of most of the world I might add).

Speaking to his countrymen that day in 1775, Burke remarked: "Young man, there is America — which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world . . .

"My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are the ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron."

The War of 1812, declared June 18, 1812, was an unfortunate "family squabble" — mostly over some property up along the Canadian border. It wasn't philosophical or ideological like the US/USSR "cold" war; it was more like Norway and Sweden, or Northern and Southern Ireland — like two peas in a pod, but with some "issues."

WELL, the election of 2012 is another Family squabble. It features "tainted breezes" and the look of ominous shadows going before, possibly "something wicked" pregnant with consequences for our Liberty.

And "Why can't we all just get along," Rodney King?

To help answer that question, this week I want to quote some of those old Anglo-Saxons again. All this may be a bit "heavy" for summer reading, but the government doesn't stop writing EDICTS just because it's summertime. It even does it on Friday evenings when everyone is tuned out. From the WPA to the EPA, liberalism never takes a vacation.

"The power of the crown, almost dead and rotten as Prerogative, has grown up anew . . ." — Burke (1729-1797)

- "It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty." — Bacon (1562-1626)

- "Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street." — Blake (1757-1827)

-"Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, . . pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field . . . or that, after all, they are other than the little, shriveled, meager, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour." — Burke

- "The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse." — Burke

- "Dangers by being despised [covered up] become great." — ditto

- "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." — ditto

- "Falsehood has a perennial spring." — ditto

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

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

- "Never, no, never, did Nature say one thing and Wisdom say another." — ditto

- "God forgives; man sometimes forgives; Nature never forgives." — author unknown

- "Do you think the laws of God will be suspended in favour of England because you were born in it?" — Shaw

- "Freedom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition." — Burke

- "Though you untie the winds and let them fight against the churches, . . laugh to scorn the power of men . . . For the poor wren, the most diminutive of birds, will fight — her young ones in her nest — against the owl." — Shakespeare

- "Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety." — Burke

- "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an upitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." — ditto

- "Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny." — ditto

- "Kings will be tyrants [through] policy, when subjects are rebels from principle." — ditto

- "Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist." — ditto

- "In all forms of Government the people is the true legislator." — ditto

- "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors." — ditto

P.S. As you can see, Burke wrote a lot more than that famous line which is often put as:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for enough good men to do nothing."

Enough said for one week?

More to come.

PPS: "Should we be rewriting history just to make people feel good? That's not history; that's psychiatry." - Ed Koch

© Curtis Dahlgren


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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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