Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day 2012 - Concern for the Future

I have been fortunate to have grown up in and spent most of my adult life in Morris County, New Jersey. Although many people take it for granted and thus tend to stick to backyard parties and such on the anniversary of our independence (Maybe taking in an appropriate evening of fireworks) Morristown and the surrounding area area is rich in places that provide reminders of the sacrifices that were made so that we could have a Republic based on Liberty and freedom from oppressive government. With the British  firmly control of New York City and therefore able to both threaten the Hudson corridor and move into the southern states, Morristown provided a base that was far enough from the British to be safe from an immediate attack but close enough to shadow or confront them in the event that they dispatched troops from New York to any other theater.

It may well have been due the proximity of Washington's army (Washington wanted dearly to redeem himself for losing New York City in the early days of the war) that Clinton wavered for so long that, by the time he finally moved to support Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, it was too late. By then de Grasse has control of the Chesapeake Bay and Rochambeau and Washington had penned in Cornwallis with siege-works.

The Ford mansion (Which served as Washington's headquarters), Jockey Hollow (The location of the Army's encampment), and numerous other still-standing buildings that served as quarters for field-grade officers, Hospitals, etc. for the Continental army have been necessities for my family's 4th of July observations.

Morristown was actually the location for two winter encampments, the one after the Battle of Princeton, and that of 1779-1980. The latter, except for the improvements in camp hygiene and the siting of soldiers huts on drier ground, was far worse than that of the more famous Valley Forge. 1779-1980 saw the worst winter in recorder history for the region, before or after. It was noted at the time that no living person could recall a winter of similar severity. Even what supplies the Financier Robert Morris and his associates in the Continental Congress could scrounge up could not be transported to Jockey Hollow as the snow, which never melted from the first storm until the following Spring, rose to depths of four to six feet (That is not referring to drifts).

Soldiers such as Joseph Plumb Martin went as much as four days without a single mouthful of food. Desertions increased in frequency. Troops mutinied and, in an act that is the greatest threat to a Republic, marched towards Philadelphia with the intent of  adding some bite to their otherwise reasonable demands. Although these were persuaded to return, the second instance of soldiers marching off the threaten the Congress caused Washington to order the execution of the ringleaders. Spring brought little relief. Food and pay (In virtually worthless Continental paper dollars) were not arriving then either. 

This site is good source. It is not overdone and it provides good photos of the encampments:

At that time, Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, had no power to tax. Today, the power to tax has become the power to arbitrarily compel us to do almost anything, has been upheld by our last line of defense - the Supreme Court of the United States. I feel that we should dispense with the proper use of names for court cases and label the Obamacare decision the Roberts Decision.

All four of my grandparents immigrated here in the 20th century, but their descendants integrated into this society from which we have been its beneficiaries. For that I am eternally grateful. Italy is a big mess and  Ireland is run by an EU banker. I would not want any other place for a home for my grandchildren, but I am beginning to run out of confidence in our ability to perform the necessary repairs to our Republic.

I did take my HS Junior son to the Ford Mansion and Jockey Hollow earlier today but did not stay at the Ford Mansion for the annual public reading of the Declaration of Independence. It was a shame as the reading is nicely done in period style, with people breaking in with shouts of "Down with King George!", etc. The truth is that my current despondent mood would not allow it. I could not bring myself to watch people shouting revolutionary slogans who may have every intention of placidly accepting what is happening to the very nation that was being fought for at the time of the Declaration.

Having long been a staunch Unionist and opponent of secession in any way, I often have to ask myself if I am really moving towards the latter position. I find Lincoln to have been an intellectual, ethical, and moral giant. I highly doubt, however that the Rail-Splitter would recognize or approve of our current situation. I have noted in previous posts that there is a world of difference in what justifications for secession the pre-Civil War Southern States had versus those of the Continental Congress and the people of the United States of today.

While the South had no more than concerns that things may wind up  being changed contrary to their wishes, both we and the thirteen colonies have been hit with "a long train of abuses". For us in Particular, I note the following:

Wickard v. Filburn - People can be penalized for growing what they want on their property despite the fact that nobody was harmed and that FDR sickeningly wanted to keep grain prices high when the unemployed were starving.

Kelo v. New London - Forget a right-of way for a road or school, Eminent Domain is allowed for any reason at all. A developer can target your property for seizure in order to build on it and cause the municipality to obtain more tax revenue from the new ratable. The town need not even prove that it is in dire financial straights. They just need to say that they can make more money from the property if it is more built-up.

......and the piece de resistance, the Obamacare ruling that I refer to as the Roberts Decision. Not only can virtually anything be forced down our throats, but the court will help the government's attorneys by arguing for them, provisions that do not exist in the Tax Code of the nation can be counted as taxes, and the Commerce clause is still left open to further abuses. Remember the Commerce Clause from our Constitution? It was written with the intention of, for example, prohibiting one State from taxing the products from another State or those entering neighboring State.

No governmental structure can last forever. The people can lose their virtue*, the government can lose its way or be taken over by elements hostile to the vision of its creators, or the people can be drugged by concepts foreign to those of their nation.

*Note Montesquieu's take on the need for virtue in a Republic or a Democracy. Frugality, morality and love of one's country are mandatory: [7/5/12 - It is a sad irony that those who demonstrate these virtues are mocked and derided today without mercy.]

Republics and Democracies** (What a Democracy actually is - not what some claim it to be), while far better than Leftist, Fascist, Theocratic, Monarchical, or any other governmental structure, also have shelf-lives. I hold that we are facing our expiration date. 

-On Democracies:

We are at a point in which, like that of the later Western Roman Empire, citizenship is ( in the words of Colin McEvedy) becoming slavery.

Our hopes lie with individual States that shelter their people from laws such as Obamacare or petition for a constitutional amendment that brings back voter qualifications*** (real ones - not being 18 and a citizen).

If the above are out of the question then free States must declare outright their intent to separate from the Government of the United States. If the countries of the Soviet Union did not collapse along with Politburo, then I have no reason to believe that we cannot do the same and still survive. The new governing body can still cooperate and be on friendly terms with what is left of the old.

No one will mourn the passing of our nation more than I would, but I would rather see it go with honor and reverence than live under a zombified version of the United States animated only by Leftist dogma, class warfare, and soft totalitarianism.

Now, I you will excuse me, my poor dog is as terrified of the fireworks going off now as I am about our future. I had to miss the fireworks tonight as I had to watch my disabled son - I will attend a good display this weekend.

***-From the link on what Democracy is:

"A Democratic system must, if it is going to survive, have some restrictions on who is allowed to vote. It can be a simple property or income tax qualification ( My personal favorites), a proof that one is receiving no government assistance whatsoever, or a past military service requirement. One friend of mine held that anyone who receives any government-cut check, including public employees (He was one of those) should not be allowed to vote as his interests would be in question. A reasonable age requirement that provides for an presumption of some life or work experience is also needed.

What we do know is this - a Democracy that extends the vote to all, regardless of whether or not he or she effectively and tangibly contributes to the society (Or at least does not receive benefits for free) or can demonstrate a past record of appreciable service to it, cannot survive. After a period in which the doling out of free benefits becomes ingrained, the system gets bogged down and begins its inexorable march towards tyranny. This is the "Democracy" that is being celebrated by the Left. What they call Democracy is a system that, far from protecting the rights of citizens, slowly impoverishes and enslaves them while destroying their senses of identity and cultural vigor."

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