Thursday, July 13, 2017
It's Bastille Day : As France, America and the West Fight to Save their Civilization's Individual Freedom and Liberties
TODAY'S NEWS FROM THE WORLD TO PARIS IS "VIVE LA FRANCE!" • • • FRANCE WELCOMES PRESIDENT AND MRS. TRUMP. As France welcomes President and Mrs. Trump to Paris for the French National Day, it has received them with military honors at the Hotel des Invalides, the institution created by Louis XIV as a place where French soldiers could be cared for and live as guests of the grateful French government. French President Emmanuel Macron showed President Trump the tombs of French World War I commander Marshal Ferdinand Foch and Napoleon Bonaparte. Despite his strong criticism of Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement on limiting climate change, President Macron has repeatedly warned against isolating the US President. Last Thursday he said in an interview with the newspaper Ouest-France : "We need the United States of America. And we have essential common ground : the fight against terrorism and the protection of our vital interests." • This year's centennial of the US entry into World War I gave Macron the occasion to invite Trump to Paris for the French Bastille Day celebrations. A contingent of US troops will lead Friday's parade in honor of the occasion. It is the most impressive, somehow peaceful, military parade in the world, and if you have a chance to watch it -- do. • • • BASTILLE DAY IN PARIS. Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In France, it is formally called la Fête nationale and commonly and legally le 14 juillet -- Quatorze juillet. • French National Day commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people for the first time on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with French officials and foreign guests. • • • THE HISTORY OF BASTILLE DAY. On May 19, 1789, Louis XVI invited Estates-General (les États-généraux) to air their grievances. The deputies of the Third Estate (le Tiers État), representing the common people -- the two others were the Catholic clergy (clergé, because the Roman Catholic Church was the official state religion) and the nobility (noblesse) -- decided to break away and form a National Assembly. The Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath (le serment du Jeu de paume, 20 June 1789), swearing not to separate until a constitution had been established. They were gradually joined by liberal delegates of the other estates and Louis XVI started to recognize the validity of their concerns on 27 June. The assembly renamed itself the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante) on 9 July. • Jacques Necker, Louis' finance minister, who was sympathetic to the Third Estate, was dismissed on 11 July. The people of Paris then stormed the Bastille. They were fearful that they and their representatives would be attacked by the royal army or by foreign regiments of mercenaries in the king's service, and so sought to secure ammunition and gunpowder for the general populace. The Bastille was a fortress-prison in Paris which had often held for very long periods people jailed on the basis of lettres de cachet, arbitrary royal indictments that could not be appealed and did not indicate the reason for the imprisonment, but they were known to be used for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government, and were thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy. Importantly, the Bastille also held a large cache of ammunition and gunpowder. The crowd was eventually reinforced by mutinous Gardes Françaises ("French Guards"), whose usual role was to protect public buildings. They proved a fair match for the fort's defenders, and Governor de Launay, the commander of the Bastille, capitulated and opened the gates to avoid a mutual massacre. However, apparently because of a misunderstanding, fighting resumed. According to official documents, about 200 attackers and one defender died in the initial fighting, but in the aftermath, de Launay and seven other defenders were killed, as was Jacques de Flesselles, the prévôt des marchands ("provost of the merchants"), the elected head of the city's guilds, who under the feudal monarchy also had the competences of a present-day mayor. • After the storming of the Bastille, late in the evening of 4 August, after a very stormy session of the Assemblée Constituante, feudalism was abolished. On 26 August, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen) was proclaimed (Homme with an uppercase H meaning “human”, while homme with a lowercase h means “man”). The French Declaration of the Rights of Man still sets forth the guiding principles in all European democracies and in the United Nations. • The Fête de la Fédération on 14 July 1790 was a celebration of the unity of the French nation during the French Revolution. The aim of this celebration, one year after the Storming of the Bastille, was to symbolize peace. The event took place on the Champ de Mars, which was at that time far outside Paris. The place had been transformed on a voluntary basis by the population of Paris, in what was recalled as the Journée des brouettes ("Wheelbarrow Day"). A mass was celebrated by Talleyrand, bishop of Autun. The popular General Lafayette, as captain of the National Guard of Paris and a confidant of the king, took his oath to the constitution, followed by King Louis XVI. After the end of the official celebration, the day ended in a huge four-day popular feast and people celebrated with fireworks, as well as wine and running nude through the streets in order to display their great freedom. • • • PRESIDENT TRUMP AND EUROPE. As we celebrate with the French on their National Day, it is impossible not to reconsider the remarkable Warsaw Speech given by President trump on July 6. Marc Theissen wrote an Opinion piece in the Washington Post on July 12 that is remarkable, not least because the WP actually published it. • Theissen wrote in his piece : "The President heaped praise on Poland as a country 'at the center of European civilization' and warned that our shared Western civilization is threatened by 'totalitarian forces in the world who seek...to further their barbarous assault on the human spirit.' He called on the West to defend 'the great civilized ideas : individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God' and criticized 'the shyness of some of us in the West about standing for these ideals.' " • Theissen was making a critically important point because the President he quoted was not Trump, "whose recent speech in Warsaw calling on the West 'to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization' has drawn irrational criticism here at home. It was Ronald Reagan, in his famous 1982 Westminster address promising to “leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history.” • In fact, wrote Theissen : "Trump’s words could have been delivered by almost any American president of either party in the past century. They could have been delivered by Harry S. Truman, who in 1952 praised the United States for saving 'Western civilization from enslavement by a godless creed.' They could have been spoken by John F. Kennedy, who in a 1963 speech in West Germany spoke of “preserving Western culture, and Western religion, and Western civilization' and defending 'our common heritage from those who would divide and destroy it.' They could have been uttered by Lyndon B. Johnson, who warned in 1966 of 'ideologies...that threaten the very roots of our common Western civilization.' They could have been spoken by Bill Clinton, who declared in 1994 his belief that 'Western civilization was the greatest of all, and America was the best expression of Western civilization because of its commitment to...the belief that the future could be better than the present and that we have an obligation to make it so.' ” • Theissen then chides everyone in the Progressive Leftist media who labelled Trump's call to defend Western civilization “an alt-right manifesto,” and belittled “His white nationalist supporters [who] will understand exactly what he means” because “The West is a racial and religious term.” • Theissen takes them all on : "No, it isn’t. Quite the opposite, Western civilization is founded on ideas that transcend race and religion. As Yale historian Donald Kagan put it : 'Americans do not share a common ancestry and a common blood. What they have in common is a system of laws and beliefs that shaped the establishment of the country, a system developed within the context of Western civilization.' He added that every student should study 'the philosophical, scientific, agricultural and industrial revolutions in the West' which allowed human beings 'to produce and multiply the things needed for life so as to make survival and prosperity possible for ever-increasing numbers' and gave birth to 'the theory and practice of the separation of church from state, protecting each from the other, and creating a free and safe place for the individual conscience.' ” • As Theissen notes so eloquently, these ideals are "Western," not because : "they are exclusive to the West, but because of the historical fact that they emanated from the West : the first democracy in Greece under Pericles (which predated Christianity by more than four centuries); to the principles enshrined in Magna Carta; the works of the Renaissance humanists; and the treatises of Enlightenment philosophers that inspired the authors of our Declaration of Independence. 'Western' values are universal values, and Trump affirmed their universality in Warsaw, declaring that 'we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom.' ” • • • PROGRESSIVE GLOBALISTS ATTACK THE FOUNDATIONS OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION. Since the 1980s, the left has been on a tireless crusade to eliminate the study of Western Civilization in universities -- to as they put it, fight "Eurocentrism." Now, says Theissen : "apparently, they want to drum Western values out of presidential rhetoric. We must not let them do so. Trump has said many objectionable things, but his eloquent defense of Western civilization in Warsaw was not one of them. It is ironic. The left likes to paint Trump as a threat to democracy. But the real threat to democracy is when the leader of the free world can no longer defend the ideals of the West -- which, Reagan told us, 'have done so much to ease the plight of man and the hardships of our imperfect world' -- without being accused of bigotry." • It is a remarkable Opinion by Marc Theissen, and surprisingly published by the Washington Post. • • • WILL THE WEST SAVE HUMANKIND? Another important article was published by American Thinker on July 10, titled "America’s Long March toward a Secular Socialist Democracy." Author Steve McCann wrote : "The United States is the only nation in the annals of mankind to be established on the basis of a political and social philosophy centered on natural, or God-given, rights. Yet, within 230 years of our founding, America has been essentially transformed into another secular socialist democracy. This metamorphosis is the end-product of a subtle but determined assault on that philosophical underpinning. Property rights are the bedrock of the American political system; without that foundation, there is no freedom. The Founders held that property rights encompass not just physical property but also one’s life, labor and livelihood, as individuals own their own lives; therefore, they must own the products of that life that can be traded in free exchange with others. They further believed that the primary role of government is to guarantee and protect these property rights, and further, that these property rights are natural, or God given rights. Thus, the Declaration of Independence proclaims that Men '...are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights...That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men...' ” • Gradually, in the past 150 years, "Statists," including the current American Progressive Democrat Left, have put all their effort into the goal of the Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Communist Manifesto -- "The Theory of Communism may be summed up in the single sentence : Abolition of private property.” Statists -- Socialists or Communists really -- contend that an inndividual's labor, livelihood and life are not private property but subordinate to the common good as determined by the state. • Historically, the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels cut against the long centuiries of Western political philosophy. They chose, deliberately or not, to side with the 2,500 year-old call of Greek philosopher Plato (427 BC-347 BC) for a communist social order in which property is held in common because human nature can and should be molded and transformed to benefit the state -- Plato's reasoning was that men cannot govern themselves unless they are philosophers, and since few men are capable of being that, the best thing is to turn government over to a "philosopher-king" who will understand how best to make every citizen happy. • Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) disagreed with Plato, arguing that if property is held in common, there is the potential for animosity and anger. And, since man possesses a human nature that cannot be molded or transformed to some ideal of a perfect state, the laws of nature and the rule of law demand that government should govern for the good of the people, not for the good of those in power -- this was the first light of democratic political thought. • In Rome, Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) asserted that the “right of ownership is inalienable.” Doesn't that sound familiar?? His reasoning was rooted in natural law and the “laws of human society.” • The conflict between communism and democracy has been the centerpiece of history since the Greece of Pericles. The philosophical battle over the role of property rights was fought in 17th Century Britain between Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704). Hobbes published his seminal work "Leviathan" in 1651, describing man’s essential nature as one of aggression, avarice, destruction and near constant war. Therefore, an all-powerful sovereign (or government) was a necessity in order to protect against and repel this base human nature -- a more extreme version of Plato. Hobbes believed this sovereign would by necessity have near limitless power to take and use any and all property (including one’s labor and livelihood) for the good of society. Individual rights did not exist and whatever rights an individual had were merely at the whim of the government and could be revoked at any time. Hobbes was the darling of kings who believed they ruled by "divine right" -- foremost among them was Louis XIV, the Sun-King of France. • John Locke published his Second Treatise of Government in 1690. In contrast to Hobbes, Locke reasoned : "...though the things of nature are given in common, yet man, by being master of himself and proprietor of his own person, and the actions or labour of it, had still in himself the great foundation of property; and that which made up the great part of what he applied to the support or comfort of his being…was perfectly his own and did not belong in common to others. Thus labour, in the beginning gave a right of property. Since...the means of subsistence, are discovered by natural reason, they are ipso facto derived from natural law....To secure property and the translation into a constitutional right of a fully validated right based on natural law..." is, for Locke, the role of government. • • • THE FOUNDERS VISION TODAY. The Founders of the United States were profoundly influenced by the writings of Aristotle, Cicero and Locke when they wrote both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. American Thinker's Steve McCann says : "It is the natural right of property as a constitutional right that has enabled the United States to evolve into the most prosperous and successful nation in the history of mankind. Nonetheless, since the 1930’s the Progressives have been extraordinarily successful in gradually transforming the country into what the Founders feared : a nation dominated by an all-powerful central government running roughshod over man’s inalienable rights. Throughout the past century and around the world, the disciples of Plato, Hobbes, Marx and Engels have achieved political hegemony in many nations due to their callous manipulation of human nature. The most dominant trait of mankind, as of all living creatures, is an innate desire to survive and prosper. While many may willingly choose to pursue subsistence on their own terms, to the majority of the human race, the path of least resistance is the most desired. Thus, mankind is susceptible to financial scams, gambling, crime, and resentment towards those who may have more. But above all, far too many people are open to the concept of a central authority providing them with the means of survival." • McCann continues : "A secondary characteristic of the human race, also shared by other species, is the need by some within the group to conquer or maintain control over their fellow man. In the post-Industrial Revolution era, the easiest course to assume this power was to promise, in exchange for the votes of the people, that the state, through a new ruling class, would provide the citizenry cradle-to-grave security. Thus, a Faustian bargain encompassing the desire by the majority for ease of survival and others for the need to rule through the vehicle of an authoritarian central government whose primary purpose would be control of virtually all economic, political and societal activity. As the history of the 20th Century affirms, this goal is relatively easy to achieve in those nations built solely on a foundation of ethnicity and national identity (e.g. Germany, Russia, China, Japan). To do so in the United States required more cunning and deviousness." McCann outlines the history of Progressive action in the US : "The Progressives, beginning in the 1890’s, seized upon the concept of 'fairness' and redefining 'fundamental rights' as the basis of rejecting the Founders’ concept of a natural moral order. Rather than accept the theory that the purpose of government is to protect man’s natural rights, the Progressives put forward the notion that government’s primary purpose is to ensure fairness and economic equality. Therefore, fundamental rights, as prominent Progressive thinker Charles Merriam (1874-1953) wrote, 'are considered to have their source not in nature, but in law.' John Dewey (1859-1952), often considered the father of American Progressivism, also wrote : 'Natural rights and natural liberties exist only in the kingdom of mythological social zoology.'....The seeds they planted took root in the 1930’s with Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression. The basis of the nation’s founding was forever altered as the coercive taking of one’s labor or livelihood to give to another, for whatever purpose the state may determine, became accepted as a fundamental role of government. This role was further expanded in the 1960’s with the passage of a panoply of government-sponsored and -funded social and health care programs." • McCann sees the drastic change in the educational curricula in America as part of the Progressive effort to tear the Founders' protection of power and property away from individuals : "Also in the 1960’s, a more radicalized Progressive movement, motivated by Vladimir Lenin’s assertion 'Give us a child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik for life,' began to aggressively infiltrate the education establishment. The 'fairness' strategy of the early Progressives was reinforced by the incessant propagandizing in academia that the United States as a civilization was responsible for all manner of evil throughout its history. A majority of two generations have been indoctrinated into believing the nation must, therefore, discard the basis of it’s founding in order to make up for its past sins. This can only be accomplished by guaranteeing the new 'fundamental rights' of equal societal and economic outcomes." • The catastrophic $222 Trillion in unfunded liabilities is due entirely to government sponsored social programs and debt service -- the funding of which is totally dependent upon the confiscation of the labor and livelihood from one American to give to another, says McCann, and : "The ongoing debate regarding health care is centered on the degree to which the government will ultimately appropriate the labor of those in the medical profession, the management of hospitals and the products of pharmaceutical companies. As one’s life, labor and livelihood are no longer considered God-given rights but subject to the whims of the state, the state can determine what is life....abortion is no longer illegal or immoral and since 1970, 175 million babies in Europe (115 million) and the United States (60 million) have been exterminated....euthanasia is increasingly being accepted and decriminalized." • Socialism states that you don’t own yourself. The state owns all, decides all, and nobody is exempt except the elites. On September 17, 1787 -- the last day of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia -- Ben Franklin wrote what has turned out to be, perhaps but hopefully not, the final word : "Sir, I agree to this Constitution...and there is no form of government but may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other." • • • DEAR READERS, the Republic that the Founders bequeathed to future generations of Americans is disappearing. There will never be another nation founded on the principles of natural, God given, rights. The United States has started down the same spiral as Europe, and America faces the same destiny of collapse and the supression of all individual God-given rights. In what many perceived as the last chance to reverse the spiral toward Socialism, Americans elected Donald Trumpas their President and placed Republicans in charge of Congress. • In France, voters elected Emamnuel Macron for similar reasons. He says he wants to free the French from their heavy, almost unsupportable, tax and regulatory burdens and give them the liberty to reconstruct France. • Even Democrat Party strategists Mark Penn wrote a piece for the New York Times last week urging the party to come back to the “center” and stop chasing after the Sanders/Warren/Social Justice fringe that represents such a small slice of the American electorate. Clearly concerned that the Democrats are going to waste a golden opportunity for a Washington comeback next November, Penn advised party leaders to ignore the loud voices calling for an even more Progressive approach : “Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.” • What Penn might have said is that American Democrats do not want their personal freedom and constitutional liberties trashed by a Democrat Party hellbent on making of America a Socialist/Communist dictatorship. Writers at the Huffington Post, Vox, and Salon have taken their shots at Penn for abandoning the Democrat Party and its cherished slide toward anti-American Socialism. These critics think the success of the Democrat Party lies in the rioting of UC Berkeley, in the writings of Karl Marx, in Black Lives Matter, in George Soros' and Barack Obama's Progressive Globalism that relegates individuals to being pack-mules for the State. McCann says that while Millennials are ardent leftists when it comes to their politics, their political views are not shared by the generation coming up behind them. The new crop of voters, who will be eligible to head out to the polls in 2018 and beyond, are much more conservative and much more likely to be Trump supporters. The backlash against the Obama years didn’t come and go with the 2016 election -- it only began. • There are no miracles. There is only work and voting and running for office and faith in God and in their fellow Americans to prevent America from being duped into relinquishing its hard-won and unique freedom for the chains of elitist Statist Socialism. I believe in America. Believe in her with me.