by Walter Mow
Reason, Logic and Common Sense…
It’s value to our Founders and succeeding generations
Thomas Paine claimed that, “it was simply a matter of common sense that an island could not rule a continent”. And Thomas Jefferson’s rendering of “the reasons for the entire revolutionary enterprise emphasized the self-evident character of the principles at stake”.
As Allan Bloom so eloquently said, “the Founders were not prophets, poets or heroes in the old sense but were, rather, reasonable men”. In a time of kings and emperors, the Framers as it were, challenged the world to meet them on the field of reason.
“Not to have knowledge of what happened before you were born is to be condemned to live forever as a child”. Cicero
Historicism may lead some to think that earlier thought was not as true as thoughts and ideas arising today; that 18th century opinions could not possibly help resolve the issues of today. Could it possibly be that the Founding Fathers began with a clean slate and by their own intellectual powers invent a new kind of government?
The short answer is an emphatic no; they studied as many of the forms of government that existed before them as was possible to devise a system suitable to them. It was the writings of such luminaries as Bacon, Locke and Montesquieu that provided the basis for the Founder’s efforts, and it was the words of these men, including many from antiquity that inspired them to think and reason.
Francis Bacon’s writings examined law as a social phenomenon and raised such questions as: What is law? What does it do? What is legal reasoning, and how is it different from other kinds of logic? Bacon’s utopian novel”The New Atlantis” would spark discussions of law and its purpose in society that continues to this day.
John Locke destroyed the myth of “Rule by Divine Right” with a carefully reasoned argument. Locke argued that God did not set Adam over other men, but if he did, who among Adam’s progeny did the right to rule pass; and as we are all Adam’s descendents, it is impossible to know whom God intended should rule. You? Me? Nay, none.
Montesquieu believed that law should be separate from morality and government from religion. This was radical thinking in mid 18th century France, but found a home in the minds of the Founding Father’s reasoning, where the result was to be enshrined in our Constitution.
The simple appeal of the writings of Thomas Paine was to propel the revolution forward. The simplicity of his logic coupled with reason and common sense was to drive a desire for the fruits of liberty. This plain language appealed to an American public’s opinion of themselves as a people possessed of un-common good sense.
Even as the Founding Fathers devised our system of government, they feared a strong central government just as they feared a standing Army. They reasoned that either entity could turn on them. The Father of our country George Washington was to state: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence-it is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action”.
The Reason, Logic and Common Sense of the Founders stand as testament to the soundness of their judgment. It is to us, the steadfast patriot that the challenge to retain this kind of reason, logic and common sense has fallen. Therefore we must generate by whatever means necessary the fortitude to stand against the drive to separate us from our heritage of un-common good sense.
The efforts to supplant our Republic with an elitist government has not ceased in the intervening years and increased exponentially during the Obama administration. History repeats itself, as a student of history I see the vilification of one side at the expense of the other. It was these very issues, executive powers, state’s rights and slavery that fomented the disillusionment suffered by many of the Founders and precipitated the “American Civil War”.
The 1790’s were oft called the “Age of Passion”; a cacophonous affair punctuated with accusatory rhetoric, personal attacks, an intransigence that stalled all efforts to move forward plus claims of imminent catastrophe. During this period many of the Founders felt the ideals of the Revolution were being swept aside. In this vein Thomas Jefferson in later years would write. “All, all dead, and ourselves left alone amidst a new generation whom we know not, and who knows not us… I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776… is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it… I have sometimes asked myself whether my country is the better for my having lived at all”.
December 29, 1829 Connecticut Senator Samuel Foote introduced a resolution to limit the sale of public lands in the west to limit both expansion and settlement. This set the stage for a debate that consumed the congress for the next five months; presidential power, slavery, states’ rights, partisanship and Thomas Cooper’s July 1827 declaration that it was time to “calculate the value of the Union itself”.
Thomas Hart Benton, representing Missouri called Foote’s resolution an attack on the west. He stated that by governmental targeting of public lands the entire country could be at risk; (Benton’s point being, once started, where does it stop?) “The whole country may be alarmed, agitated, and enraged, with mischievous inquiries; the South about its slaves and Indians; the west about its lands; the Northeast on the subject of its fisheries, its navigation, its light houses, and its manufactories”.
South Carolina Senator Robert Hayne replied, “…I believe that the very life of our system is the independence of the states and that there is no evil more to be deprecated than the consolidation of this Government…”
Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster would enter the fray depicting the southerners as failing to value the Union. “The tendency of all these ideas and sentiments is obviously to bring the Union into discussion as a mere question of present and temporary expediency; nothing more than a mere matter of profit and loss”. ”I am a Unionist…I would strengthen the ties that hold us together. Far indeed, in my wishes, very far distant be the day, when our associated and fraternal stripes shall be severed asunder, and when that happy constellation under which we have risen to so much renown, shall be broken up, and be seen sinking, star after star, into obscurity and night”.
Hayne, to his credit would defend South Carolina, slavery as a necessity to the southern economy and nullification of federal law deemed to be detrimental to the south’s economy.
War was on every mind, Margaret Bayard Smith said, “It is a kind of gladiatorship in which characters are torn to pieces, and arrows, yes poisoned arrows, which tho’ not seen are deeply felt, are hurled by the combatants against each other. The Senate chamber is the present arena and never were the amphitheaters of Rome more crowded by the highest ranks of both sexes”.
On a cold January day Webster replied to the veiled calls for dismemberment of the Union. “I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union, to see what might be hidden in the dark recesses behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty, when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this Government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering, not how the Union should be preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the People when it shall be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise. God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind. When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time, the sun in Heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their feeble and lingering glance, rather behold the gorgeous Ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased of polluted, nor a single star obscured – bearing for its motto, no such interrogatory as ”What is all this worth?” Nor those other words of delusion and folly, “Liberty first and Union afterwards” – but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole Heavens, that other sentiment dear to every true American heart – Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!
James Madison cautioned the country of the defeating characteristics of factions in the Federalist # 10. His call for unity also fell on many deaf ears.
Not only does history repeat itself, but every time it recurs, it is even more strident. Witness the current state of affairs; blind obedience to an ideology, rank personal attacks, a willingness to use any and all tactics, legal or not; to this add ideas that if initiated will destroy this country. The shrill and raucous claims of discrimination, racism, claims leveled at the American populace who do not agree with their agenda of destruction is not an objective analysis, just more rhetoric.
The rancorous resistance has gone to great lengths and are willing to go much further; if the nation is to survive the globalist push to render our sovereignty nil, we must see not only border security, but a change from the old boy net work DC Swamp that poses a threat to very survival of our Republic. If we fail fellow patriots, the globalists win.
I ask this of my fellow patriots; have we the faculties of Reason, Logic and Common Sense to defend our Republic and defeat the globalists?