The Roots Of Liberty In America

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

I don’t sit waiting on the next post by Max Velocity in order to critique it, but this came in the mail and I felt that it would be appropriate to weigh in with readers.

This is a bit of a combination post and is intended to get a few things off my chest, and challenge the narrative. I will mince no words when I tell you that the state of things in this country right now appalls me. We have just had July the 4th and as a (former) Brit I have seen my share of dumb statements that drive me nuts.

Anyway, this is what I think: I will ‘recast’ for you the American Revolution. I know you won’t like it, because you have been reared on your own historical propaganda. In simple terms, the events surrounding 1776 were a civil war between the British Crown and Aristocratic landlords in the US, who were British. The colonies were British and had been for a couple of hundred years. The beginnings of America were British.

In the 1776 civil war, there were various actors. The British Regular Army, Hessian mercenaries, the Rebels, the Colonial Loyalists, and the French Navy. When Paul Revere made his ride, what he was actually yelling was “The Regulars are coming.” Not the British, because everyone was British.

When the Regulars marched to Lexington, they were met by British Colonial Militia. Yes, yes, farmers with guns blah blah, but they were actually a militia, trained to be able to fight with the weapons of the day. However, nothing should take away from the huge achievement of the rebels. I won’t go on here about that fact that Britain was involved in a huge war with France, and that a tiny percentage of combat power was only ever able to be given up to fight in the American colonies. For the colonies, this was a life and death struggle; for Britain, it was a sideshow. Same with 1814 etc: for Americans relating this on July 4th, it is everything, for the British Empire at the time it was nothing but a side-show to achieve specific political objectives. In short, there is a lot of American Hubris over events about 200 years ago, not really tied to any general awareness of world events at the time. Much of this can be traced to American ethnocentrism safe behind the ocean walls that protect this country. Consider this: Britain was involved in a total war with the French Empire, which was not concluded until the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo. By today’s standards, the relatively small taxes levied in the Colonies were to help pay for that war. It was extremely self centered for the Rebels to pick that time to conduct a revolution: and don’t forget the large number of Colonial Loyalists who stayed loyal. I have not studied it, but given the war in Europe, I am interested to know who it was that Britain sent to the Colonies as Regular troops in order to fight the rebellion. What was their standard? Were they green troops or hardened veterans who were sent for a needed rest? It’s an interesting point.

If he’s right, it wasn’t self-centered, it was smart.  But I don’t think he’s right.  In fact, I think this analysis is very poor and perhaps suffers from his own propagandistic rearing.  And no, I couldn’t care less who were the British regulars sent to prosecute war in the Americas.

We’ve dealt with this in just a bit of detail before, but I’ll recapitulate it.  General Howe was hopelessly mired in operations in the North.  The linchpin of the British strategy was General Cornwallis and his plan to take the important Southern port of Charleston, which he did after taking Savannah, and then move North through the Carolinas and eventually meet with General Howe.  Despite several conventional victories, his forces suffered many casualties and lack of logistics mainly because of the insurgency in South Carolina (combined with the death of his plan to use loyalist troops in battle against patriots).

His intention was to march Northward, with the hideously awful plan of leaving loyalists in charge of land and assets taken in battle.  This approach failed when loyalists evaporated and patriots multiplied.  Cornwallis’ plan to march Northward became a plan to flee to Wilmington carrying wounded troops and attempt resupply.  He was hauling wounded troops with a depleted force, and needed lead ball, gunpowder and virtually everything else.  His retreat to Wilmington was unapproved, but he knew that his force couldn’t sustain much longer without rest and resupply.

At the height of the campaign in Afghanistan, I predicted the failure of logistics through Chaman and the Khyber pass, and because of the U.S. failure to engage the Caucasus region, supply aircraft left and returned from Donaldson AFB 24 hours a day, 365 days per year (Mr. Bob King, Instructor, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations, Leavenworth, encouraged my work in this area).  Essentially, logistics were provided to U.S. forces in Afghanistan via air transport, which is no way to prosecute a war.

The American continent became the British Afghanistan times a thousand.  Continued logistics were impossible.  The expanse of the land made it too cumbersome, too difficult, too costly, and too involved.  Furthermore, the temperament of the people was not conducive to rule by the Brits.  It wouldn’t have mattered if The Brits had sent all of their armies.  The campaign would have lasted longer, but in the end the outcome would have been the same.

But the most profoundly wrong sentiment in the article I cited above isn’t the analysis of the campaign, but rather, the reasons and impetus for its advent.  Whether there were aristocrats involved or engaged isn’t the point.  Modern American community is fractured to the point of being nonexistent.  Consider.  In the expansive wilderness of the American frontier, if a man perished on the field of battle, he needed someone he could entrust with the lives of his widow and children.  To whom could you turn today?

In order to understand history, one must turn to the primary source documents.  Secondary source documents, along with the pronouncements of professors of history, can lead one astray.  For both the American war of independence and the war between the states, my professors forced me to study sermons, and in fact read some aloud in class.

The city square was little visited compared to the church pew in colonial times.  The place for philosophy, politics and theology was the pulpit, and the theologian-philosopher was the pastor.  In order to understand why the American revolution happened, you must read the sermons of the day.  Aristocrat-involvement or not, fighting men were needed, men who could entrust their families to aid from a dedicated community in the event of their death.  Without fighting men, such an adventure as the American revolution is just a figment of aristocratic imagination.

The sermons were heavily focused on the breakage of covenant by King George.  In fact, it has been said – and correctly so – that “The American revolution was a Presbyterian rebellion.”  “Calvinists and Calvinism permeated the American colonial milieu, and the king’s friends did not wish for this fact to go unnoticed.”

As I’ve explained elsewhere:

In terms of population alone, a high percentage of the pre-revolutionary colonies were of Puritan-Calvinist background.  There were about three million persons in the thirteen original colonies in 1776, and perhaps as many as two-thirds of these came from some kind of Calvinist or Puritan connection.

[ … ]

… by 1776, nine of the thirteen original colonies had an “established church” (generally congregational in New England, Anglican in New York, Virginia and South Carolina, “Protestant” in North Carolina, with religious freedom in Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia) … While this did not necessarily mean that a majority of the inhabitants of these colonies were necessarily committed Christian believers, it does indicate the lingering influence of the Calvinist concept of a Christian-based civil polity as an example to a world in need of reform.

Every colony had its own form of Christian establishment or settlement.  Every one was a kind of Christian republic.  It was to them a monstrous idea … for an alien body, parliament, to impose an establishment on them.  The colonies were by nature and history Christian … to read the Constitution as the charter for a secular state is to misread history, and to misread it radically.  The Constitution was designed to perpetrate a Christian order.

Their experience in Presbyterian polity – with its doctrine of the headship of Christ over the church, the two-powers doctrine giving the church and state equal standing (so that the church’s power is not seen as flowing from the state), and the consequent right of the people to civil resistance in accordance with higher divine law – was a major ingredient in the development of the American approach to church-state relations and the underlying questions of law, authority, order and rights.

[ … ]

It was largely from the congregation polity of these New England puritans that there came the American concept and practice of government by covenant – that is to say: constitutional structure, limited by divine law and based on the consent of the people, with a lasting right in the people to resist tyranny.

It may be difficult for contemporary Americans to comprehend, but for colonial America, covenant was king, the roots of the revolution were largely theological, and the people were deeply religious whether the aristocrats were or not.  There was going to be revolution with or without the aristocrats.  The Brits in America and the Brits in England were far too different to co-exist under the same crown.

Before closing, there is one more odd statement in the article.

None of the above is to say that I don’t think that ultimately the events of 1776 – 1787, resulting in the founding of the original thirteen colonies of America as a separate united country, was a bad thing. It’s just important to look at it in it’s true light. My understanding is that a lot of loyalists moved to Canada – it’s pretty poor form that the US then tried to invade Canada! Consider also Washington’s put-down of the Whiskey Rebellion – how hypocritical. In fact, that makes you smell a rat at the very beginning of the formation of the country. It was about the first new American tax. Many of the rebels were war veterans who believed that they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution; against taxation without local representation, while the new federal government maintained that the taxes were the legal expression of Congressional taxation powers.

I’ve seen this sentiment before and while tempting, I do not fully concur with it.  If the power of taxation doesn’t extend to the payment of salaries for military service, it would never extend to anything.  A conversation between a libertarian and me almost turned ugly at one point when he demanded that continued medical services for veterans was socialism.

To be sure, unearned entitlements such as SNAP and welfare is socialism, but as for what my son did in the USMC, he signed a contract with the U.S. government.  The WCF has this to say about lawful oaths and vows.

Whosoever taketh an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth. Neither may any man bind himself by oath to anything but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform.

The contract signed by my son, and all veterans, and by the U.S. government, is a lawful oath.  His education benefit, his medical benefits, and so on, were part of the contract.  Failure to meet the stipulations of that contract is sinful.  You can decide that you don’t like it and work through your elected representatives to change it, but you cannot revisit what has been signed.  I repeat.  It is a lawful covenant.

Equally sinful is the failure to pay for service rendered by the members of the continental army.  The Whiskey tax was legally passed with local representation in 1791.  Max’s objection that the rebels believed they were fighting against a tax that lacked “local representation” is fabulating.  The members of the House approved it.  They elected the members of the House.

To be sure, I would have chosen to do this otherwise (than a silly, nonsensical tax on Whiskey).  But of equal importance, perhaps more important, is the question why America believed it could avoid the immorality of failing its obligations to fulfill covenants and contracts.  That says as much about the times as does the Whiskey tax.

“You shall not muzzle an Ox when it is treading out the grain,” (Deut 25:4).  So says God, whether you like it or not.

The final points on due remuneration to soldiers of the continental army are mostly beside the point except that they were addressed in the original article.  Suffice it to say that I disagree with the spirit of the balance of the article.

I do concur that it is time for America to take note of what has been gained, what has been lost, and why we are where we find ourselves.  But Max, while full of complaints, suffers from what I find in this community.  Diagnosis of the problem is everywhere.  Remedies are in short supply.

I intend to offer a few remedies of my own, and these are unrelated to the article that started this.  I don’t want to leave the reader without hope and actionable ideas.

1] Resolve never to be disarmed.  That is the least your family and community should be able to expect from you.  This involves having a world and life view to support such a determination.  You have no greater God-given duty than to your family for their protection and provision.

Libertarianism isn’t that world and life view.  As R. J. Rushdoony observed:

“Modern libertarianism rests on a radical relativism: no law or standard exists apart from man himself. Some libertarian professors state in classes and in conversation that any position is valid as long as it does not claim to be the truth, and that therefore Biblical religion is the essence of evil to them. There must be, according to these libertarians, a total free market of ideas and practices.

If all men are angels, then a total free market of ideas and practices will produce only an angelic community. But if all men are sinners in need of Christ’s redemption, then a free market of ideas and practices will produce only a chaos of evil and anarchy. Both the libertarian and the Biblical positions rest on faith, the one on faith in the natural goodness of man, the other on God’s revelation concerning man’s sinful state and glorious potential in Christ. Clearly the so-called rational faith of such irrationalism as Hess and Rothbard represent has no support in the history of man nor in any formulation of reason. It is a faith, and a particularly blind faith in man, which they represent.”

Libertarianism is tyranny by substituting the government for the individual.  A tyrant by any other name is still a tyrant, and tyranny can present itself in lawless behavior in the community just as it can in taxation.  Classic libertarian politicians, like Ron and Rand Paul, care less about laws to protect the border than the democrats (who want voters) or republicans (who want cheap workers for the corporations).  Libertarianism leads to lawlessness and breaking of covenants, contracts, vows, oaths and obligations.

Your basis for never being disarmed is that you were created in God’s image, and His law is immutable and transcendental.  Anything else is shifting ground and will disappoint you.

2] Consider your community.  If you cannot entrust anyone except family for the protection of your wife and children, not only is that a sad testimony concerning the state of America, but it makes a laughingstock of plans to conduct small unit fire and maneuver tactics.  You need to look for a good church, one that values caring for widows and orphans more than it does large buildings and multi-media presentations.

3] Horace Mann laughs from the grave.  If your children or grandchildren are in the public school systems of communist reeducation, you should consider home schooling.  Incrementalism isn’t something we should reject in the patriot community.  Practically and humanly speaking, the father of modern Christian education in America, Rousas J. Rushdoony, believed so thoroughly in Christian education and home schooling that he spent much of his life on it and believed it to be the only real hope for America.

I hope this engenders discussion, thought and study.

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Comments

  1. On July 14, 2019 at 11:08 pm, George said:

    Herschel very good response and commentary. I have a question. From my reading of the colonial period I always understood that the majority of the Colonial Aristocracy were not in favor of the war. Max seems to think otherwise. I could be wrong but am I?

  2. On July 14, 2019 at 11:49 pm, ROFuher said:

    The title and author escape me, but there is a 40 or 50 page essay from the period preceeding the war that argued if the colonists were going to get it done, that was the time. It examined British obligations around the world, as well as the economy of materials and munfactuted goods. The conclusion drawn was if one supported independence, a better time than the 1870’s wasn’t going to present itself.

  3. On July 15, 2019 at 7:32 am, Drake said:

    He’s wrong about the principle of the thing. It wasn’t the taxes themselves which sparked the outrage. It’s the fact that those taxes were imposed on Englishmen without the representation in Parliament that was their hard-fought right.

    It’s the same trap Athenian Empire fell into during the Peloponnesian War. “We are a democracy, but only if you live in Athens.”

    I hugely admire the rebels and Founding Fathers. They took a principled stand against the petty, unprincipled, corrupt a-holes running the most powerful empire in the world – and put their necks on the line. It would have been so much easier to ignore the inconvenience of the taxes and let the statists win. That’s what would happen today.

  4. On July 15, 2019 at 8:00 am, Frank Clarke said:

    As a small-L libertarian myself, I flinched from your broad-brush characterization of libertarians based on the Pauls. Yes, I’m in favor of open borders, but I also recognize that open borders to a welfare state is a losing strategy. Those who come to work and grow rather than to laze are, in my opinion, likely to hold opinions like ours and to vote in a manner we approve. It’s the others we need to be wary of.

    I also am inclined (but not committed) to the notion that ‘taxation is theft’. Our troops would never have gone to Afghanistan or Iraq were it necessary for the DoD to fund the trip on donations. If the American taxpayer is disinclined to ante-up for a war, perhaps that war shouldn’t be fought. I can also hear you object: “what if we’re under threat?” but the same analysis applies. If America is unwilling to defend against a threat, perhaps it needs to come to an end. All nations eventually do, and ours is not guaranteed eternal life. Actually, if America is unwilling to defend against a threat, it probably no longer exists anyway.

    It’s good to see you back in the saddle. I worried that something awful had happened.

  5. On July 15, 2019 at 8:36 am, Herschel Smith said:

    @Frank,

    “Those who come to work and grow rather than to laze are, in my opinion, likely to hold opinions like ours and to vote in a manner we approve.”

    Yes, I know that libertarians think that, just as did Charles Krauthammer who said so many times. I’ve tried, but I just cannot put my finger on the malfunction.

    We’ve proven many times with our quotes of Latino polls that not only do those who come to work also come for socialized medicine, they vote socialist and against gun rights. By 70-80%. Again, and again, and again. It’s like clockwork.

    But despite the data, libertarians continue to engage that myth. As I’ve said, I simply cannot understand it.

  6. On July 15, 2019 at 9:41 am, Inventive said:

    It’s been a while since I’ve read up on it, but from what I remember the Whiskey Rebellion is a bit trickier than you portray. Since the folks that rebelled were mostly backwoods farmers, saying that they had representation is probably not particularly accurate. I’m sure some of them did, but contemporary reading shows that a fair number of them never had the opportunity to vote for a representative.

    The lack of representation, following a dramatic shift in government, compounded by the fact that it was the first instance of a domestic tax, on a very important item… It’s understandable that they would immediately think that a struggle against a king was going to happen all over again.

    Ultimately, I can see the reasoning behind both views… I think it’s just a far more grey area than folks like to paint it.

  7. On July 15, 2019 at 10:05 am, BRVTVS said:

    One statement that I have an especial nit to pick is this. “By today’s standards, the relatively small taxes levied in the Colonies were to help pay for that war.”

    The true situation was this. The colonies had been de facto self governing for a long, long time when the revolution came. This was possible, in large part, because colonial governors, though appointed to represent the crown, were paid by locally elected legislatures. If the governor went against the colonists, he didn’t get paid. The British felt that, if they didn’t make the colonies heel, they would eventually be lost. These “small taxes” were to have the big effect of giving the governors an independent source of income, upsetting the established order. The war was in that sense a conservative war meant to protect the birthright of self-rule against innovation from the British.

  8. On July 15, 2019 at 10:25 am, John said:

    All good stuff and an enjoyable, thought provoking read.
    When Mr. Smith speaks of large “aristocratic landowners” running the War
    he does not consder the fact that our shooters were there as
    volunteers under short term enlistments. They fought, suffered and died
    for their ideals and following men they agreed with and trusted. If they did not,
    they stayed home or joined the tories.
    No troops. No war. No United States.

  9. On July 15, 2019 at 10:32 am, Herschel Smith said:

    @John,

    “When Mr. Smith speaks of large “aristocratic landowners” running the War
    he does not consder the fact that our shooters were there as
    volunteers under short term enlistments.”

    You may have meant to direct that at the original author of the piece I cite. It did indeed occur to me to mention that enlistment was voluntary, but I cannot write everything in a single post. To be sure, Washington did enforce discipline (e.g., shooting deserters of the continental army), but there was no draft. Membership in both the continental army and the militia (or the unorganized or organized insurgency in S.C. and elsewhere) was entirely voluntary.

  10. On July 15, 2019 at 12:57 pm, Fred said:

    From Mr. Velocity: “When the Regulars marched to Lexington, they were met by British Colonial Militia. Yes, yes, farmers with guns blah blah, but they were actually a militia, trained to be able to fight with the weapons of the day.”

    Um, were they farmers? And what was the blah blah? They were more so tradesmen, craftsmen, and such as most people regardless of trade or vocation did some subsistence farming as well. And they were fairly educated to which I would venture a sixth grade equivalent was better than a 2 year junior deal today, much better. But what bound them at Lexington? Why were they a coherent militia? What common bond, what sense of worth in each other did they have that they would organize in the first place and later rebel against their king? What was Lexington Green? Well, Lexington Green was the front lawn of the Church where Jonas Clark, the leader on the field that day for the “Rebels” was the Preacher. These men were churchmen. This is no small thing. They knew each other very well, even each other’s sins to a great extent. These were no mean men, although some may have been less well educated. What would compel Bible believing Christians to rebel against their earthly king? Crickets from the American Church of today for they know not the God of the Bible. It was King George who rebelled by breaking covenant with those under his charge.

    Does your team worship together? Do you know each other’s most intimate illnesses? Do you know from a long common bond each others abilities, proclivities, personalities, quirks, who you can trust to accomplish what task? Do you know all of each other’s children by first name and are all of the children and wives trusted to the care any one? Do you trust God, do you understand the Covenant nature of our Creator enough to understand when His law has been violated to the point of taking up arms? That’s who those men were, no, not dumb provincial hick farmers at all.

  11. On July 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Fred,

    Good points and all true. Bravo.

    When Urban Meyer (of whom I’m no fan) became coach of OSU, or around that time, he implemented a teamwork approach based on USMC fire teams. When Daniel was in the Marines, the NCOs expected them to live together, sleep in the same place, eat together, go to the movies together, play together, learn each others’ families (which they did over time), and so on. It built unit cohesion. Daniel told me that by the time they have finished their workup, they didn’t even have to speak to each other when performing room clearing, sweeps of buildings, CQB, etc. They knew what the other was going to do before he did it.

    But after the MC, I also saw that commitment evaporate. Shared duress and burden makes brothers, but not long enough to be considered lifetime.

    These men were ready to commit lives to each other and that commitment didn’t evaporate over time. That should cause one to stop and ponder.

  12. On July 15, 2019 at 1:57 pm, TommyA said:

    In graduate school, the study of what was the difference between those who remained loyal to the King, and those who became revolutionaries was a major item of study. It was not wealth, or religion, or any of the usual suspects. The difference was who was connected with the British government. Those without such connections never got appointments from the colonial governor to any post, colonial office, or board. They became the core of the revolution.

  13. On July 15, 2019 at 2:09 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @TommyA,

    The core of the revolution was the fighters. Many of them. I just told you in this article where they got their world and life view.

    Read the article again. Your professors misled you because they didn’t do a study of the primary source documents like my professors and I did.

    EDIT: I find it amazing that anyone would actually accept that explanation. Why on earth would hundreds of thousands of men risk their lives and livelihoods and potential widows and orphans to fight to another aristocrat’s right to be appointed to a special position in the colonies? That explanation doesn’t even pass muster.

    All wars develop because someone wants a fair hand in government. That sounds like COIN BS that would come from the psychology and social studies majors at The Small Wars Journal.

  14. On July 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm, David said:

    If to choose a tyrant of the state or individual, I will take the individual always. Statism is what is spoken in this article. I find it interesting that you use scripture as support and yet scripture never supports statism.

  15. On July 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @David,

    See, this is what I’m talking about here:

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2019/07/14/comment-policy/

    So where have I ever said I prefer a tyrant to not having a tyrant? Where have I ever said that I support the state as a tyrant even though Scripture speaks against the state as a tyrant?

    Or perhaps you just hit “reply” before thinking hard about what you said. Perhaps you just need to think more about my advocacy for NOT having a tyrant of any sort, and libertarianism NOT being the answer for the desire NOT to have a tyrant?

    Libertarians can be tyrants too: Rand Paul who wants to ignore the law and flood your borders just like the democrats do, because he is a law unto himself and whatever he believes must be right. Marquis de Sade was a tyrant too, just like Jeffrey Epstein, who does whatever he wants.

  16. On July 15, 2019 at 3:24 pm, Fred said:

    David, I beg to differ.

    “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: and let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.”

    That’s the Republican form of governance, right out of the King James Holy Bible. This is from the time prior to the people asking for an earthly king.

    Later, the people asked for a king because they had forsaken God and wanted to be like the heathen all around them. This is God’s reply (in part):

    “And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”

    Is this not the Feudal Serfdom that the Reformation destroyed culminating in the formation of the first ever attempt at a nation returning to God’s Law, with NO CAESAR to whom taxes would be paid as tribute? Well, the question is rhetorical because, of course it was. But I must admit, 10 percent to God and 10 percent to the king sounds like a good deal from where we now sit.

    It’s easy to see where we’ve gone wrong from what was a pretty good attempt…If you know your history AND your Holy Bible such as those during the Revolution. But what do I know, I’m just a dumb provincial hick farmer.

  17. On July 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm, BoyDownTheLane said:

    I think George Will’s new book on conservative sensibilities (which I have not yet finished) sums it up nicely; he expresses the idea that those who came to the new world to build a community that allowed them to have the rights to which they were entitled both from God and the fact that their own sweat, energy and blood built the nation. They (my ancestors were among them from 1630 onward) did not regard themselves as British militia or British anything; they were Americans. The sense of independence predated the committees and others getting around to expressing it in writing.

  18. On July 15, 2019 at 4:02 pm, moe mensale said:

    “These men were ready to commit lives to each other and that commitment didn’t evaporate over time. That should cause one to stop and ponder.”

    @Herschel,

    In that time frame extended families were fairly localized. Which makes commitment easier to achieve. That doesn’t hold today for many families who find their relations spread across a continent. A commitment to your neighbor isn’t going to be the same thing. There’s a certain “glue” that’s not there.

  19. On July 15, 2019 at 5:22 pm, Lineman said:

    As great as this article is and it is a good one it still is just words on a sheet in cyberspace…I subscribe to all 3 of your ideas but if that’s all we are doing we will continue to lose in this war against us…I’ve said it a thousand times before and I will keep saying it until maybe in permeates the thick heads out there that we need to be building Communities of people that have the same goals and values as us…That way we can be truly prepared for what’s coming down the pike for us…

  20. On July 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm, BoyDownTheLane said:

    Who’s got a map that identifies where those communities are being built? Identifying them helps them become targets. Although sometimes it’s obvious, most people don’t wear a hat with their IFF beacon lit.

  21. On July 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm, Lineman said:

    BDTL
    You must be new on the scene…

  22. On July 15, 2019 at 8:21 pm, John said:

    Butressing the argument:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24836523-patriot-preachers-of-the-american-revolution

  23. On July 15, 2019 at 10:46 pm, PJ said:

    More libertarian bashing, and for what purpose? When a war is on the horizon, it makes sense to seek allies rather than creating more enemies. Of course, as a libertarian, I am in complete agreement with your points 1, 2 and 3, except that I would state 3 even more strongly: why are any Christians in government schools at all?

    As to the border, here is something to chew on: “A Libertarian Wall”
    https://ncc-1776.org/tle2019/tle1008-20190217-05.html

  24. On July 15, 2019 at 10:53 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @John,

    Thanks for that. There is more. So much more.

    https://muse.jhu.edu/book/18247

    https://www.csmonitor.com/1987/0703/askip.html

    “He also studied the communication of ideas in the Colonies. In the 17th and 18th centuries, America was a wilderness. There were few roads, no national postal system. Most of the population lived in villages untouched by newspapers or print media. The only books most colonists owned were the Bible and a few almanacs, Stout found.

    “Yet these were the most literate people in the history of the world,” he said in a recent interview. “You wonder: `Where do they get their ideas of self, of society, of corporate purpose – of what they are placed in the world to do?”’

    His answer: the sermon. In colonial America, Stout says, the sermon was a message of extraordinary power. The average New Englander heard 7,000 sermons in a lifetime, about 15,000 hours of concentrated listening. There were no competing voices. It was a medium more influential than TV is today, he says.”

  25. On July 16, 2019 at 12:01 am, Papa said:

    I gave the piece by MV a second read.
    And, I’ve read the post here, and the comments by Fred and others. Good points and thoughts by all.
    The British colonists at Lexington and Concord didn’t fart around when crunch time came.
    I’m reminded of the programs William Cooper did on this subject and era of history. He also recommended a book, Paul Rever’s Ride, by David Hackett Fischer. A must read.

  26. On July 16, 2019 at 2:08 pm, Henry said:

    “For the colonies, this was a life and death struggle; for Britain, it was a sideshow.”

    Reminds me of the aphorism that to a chicken, our breakfast requires a contribution, while to a pig, it requires a total commitment.

  27. On July 16, 2019 at 5:23 pm, TommyA said:

    @Herschel

    I stand by my comments regarding the leaders of the revolution as any reading of the biographies of Washington, Franklin, Adams, Hancock, Warren, etc. illustrate the point.

    The soldiers came from that class of men made aware of their rights via the Great Awakening, which made them ready to take arms when the circumstances led to that point.

    Getting to that point required leadership and the willingness to risk a relatively prosperous life, and my commentary above related to what led those men to that point.

    When i attended Texas A&M, the history department was not riddled with lefties ,,,,

  28. On July 16, 2019 at 6:17 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Tommy,

    You deserve credit for engaging the issue with me, but you’re still wrong on this.

    So what you’ve told me is that there are different schools of thought on this. I already knew that. There are also different schools of thought on the roots of the DOI and the constitution, one school believing that the DOI was a primarily enlightenment document and the constitution being primarily a Christian document, and the other believing that both were Christian documents. The former would be advocated by C. Gregg Singer, the later by R.J. Rushdoony and Douglas Kelly.

    Historiography is difficult.

    But in this case, your professors, while taking one of the classical views, fail to engage the sermons of the day. Without fighters, independence is a figment of the imaginations of the men you cited, regardless of what they did or didn’t believe.

    I’ll say it again for emphasis. Without engaging the sermons of the day, you have absolutely no idea of the thinking or belief system of 99.9% of the fighting men. None. The pulpit reigned supreme as the center of philosophy.

    So the facts are these, and they are not in dispute:

    1] The fighting men went to worship.
    2] The pastors were the philosophers and theologians and political theorists to whom they listened.
    3] Without the fighting men, those who put their name on any document like the DOI would have been hanged within a week.
    4] The pastors were preaching a very robust Calvinian concept of covenant to the people from whom the fighting men came.

    Case closed.

  29. On July 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm, Doug W said:

    Libertarianism is the exact same utopian pablum as communism, socialism, conservatism, capitalism, et al. They are all sides of the same coin, and require government intervention to enforce their principles. The same government that is currently oppressing and exploiting people world wide (human government) is also expected to enforce the rights of liberty for all men. To use a proper British term, POPPYCOCK! The anarchist libertarians are no better, having read “Lord of the Flies’ and missed the point. The only true government is self government; all else stems from this, and this itself stems from Christ – for He is the vine and we are merely His stemming branches. Any governmental system that does not endorse, facilitate, and derive legitimacy from the self government of its people is not only a tyranny in drag, but it is destined to fail miserably.

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You are currently reading "The Roots Of Liberty In America", entry #21537 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Politics,Religion,War & Warfare and was published July 14th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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