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Thread: The 5000 Yeap Leap, founding fathers, miracle that changed the world

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    Default The 5000 Yeap Leap, founding fathers, miracle that changed the world

    The 5000 Year Leap is a book that drives home the true principles that the founding fathers stood for, the principles upon which this nation was built. There are many nowadays, even since the early 1900’s, who have tried to discredit the constitution and the principles of the founding fathers as being outdated, archaic, and completely ungrounded in the modern era. In most cases, they would be right. Nations change and evolve over time, and what was appropriate in the past changes with the times. Yes, this would be true of what the founding fathers started had begun with a framework like any others before them. However, what they started with the founding of this nation, the United States of America, was something never before achieved in known human history.

    What the founding fathers began, and fortified on July 4th 1776, was a monumental leap for humankind. The men who left Europe to find a land of freedom, and the descendants thereof, sought to create a new society, a society that would be a an example to all others in its prosperity and a luminescent beacon of human rights and liberties. They came here to be a nation of truly free people, not beholden to any king, dictator, or any such system of oppressive and constraining rule that would clip the wings of man in his long travelled quest for a better world where true potential is realized. The founding of such a nation, the United States, was a 5,000 year leap forward in the long journey, upon the wings of the great eagle.

    The success of their great endeavor should be obvious to everyone alive and in the grave. Look how far mankind has come in the past couple centuries. Going from horses to airplanes, making great strides in the battles against hunger and disease worldwide, forming the beginnings a global community where prosperity can spread, the spread of democracy, the cementing of basic human rights in formerly oppressive and enslaving nations, and a host of massive technological and social developments that began with the example this country set. Rest assured, the world has a long way to go, while at the same time this nation has a lot of reflecting and growing it needs to overcome its mistakes.

    America has come a long way from its conception. It has evolved into something great and delivered it’s to bounty to the whole world. However, we cannot take this great success for granted. Even the greatest people and civilizations sometimes stray off the path and find themselves in a ditch. Though we may achieve great things in life, there are times when we make mistakes and there are times when we travel so far from where we need to be that we face an impasse. Either we change our ways, and go back to the high road, or we face the destruction of everything we worked so hard to build and destroy our future along with it. This is the impasse that America is at.

    The success that we have shared for over two centuries is predominantly due to the principles that breathed life into this country. We may be at the presipus of losing much (perhaps everything) that made this nation the greatest in history. One cannot condemn this nation for much of what it has done during its lifespan, but there are certainly ways we could’ve done better, and ways we can return to the high path of strength and stability we once traversed so triumphantly. It is only through reconnecting with those principles that this nation will find its way again. Our problems at home (economic, social, environmental, etc.) and our problems internationally, inspiring the hate and ire of so many nations, are symptoms of our fall from the grace bestowed upon the youthful United States.

    I’d like to point out a few of the concepts presented in the book that trouble us In the present day, and use the book’s insight to paint a picture of just what the founders of this country really stood for, and why those principles are important aspects of the problem and the solution. Much of what I post here will be quoted directly from the book, or a summary thereof. Most of the information here will be in my blog post too, but here I hope to have everything opened up for discussion and debate.

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    1. Voices in Time

    Chapters: “The Miracle at Philadelphia”

    (Skousen, Cleon. The 5000 Yeap Leap. : National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2006.)

    James Wilson: "Governments, in general, have been the result of force, of fraud, and accident. After a period of six thousand years has elapsed since the creation, the United States exhibit to the world the first instance, as far as we can learn, of a nation, unattacked by eternal force, unconvulsed by domestic insurrections, assembling voluntarily, deliberating fully, and deciding calmly concerning that system of government under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live."2

    Madison: "Is it not the glory of the people of America that, while they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this manly spirit posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example, of the numerous innovations displayed on the American theater in favor of private rights and public happiness. . . . Happily for America, hap¬pily we trust for the whole human race, [the founders of the nation] pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revo¬lution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of a great confederacy, which it is incumbent on their successors to improve and perpetuate."4

    John Adams: " [The Constitution] is ... the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen."7

    Benjamin Franklin: "I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance [as the framing of the Constitution] . . . should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler in whom all inferior spirits live and move and have their being."8

    Madison: "The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted [in the federal convention], and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and sig¬nally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution."9

    George Washington: "It appears to me . . . little short of a miracle that the delegates from so many different states (which states . . . are also different from each other in their manners, circumstances, and prejudices) should unite in forming a system of national government so little liable to well-founded objections."10

    Washington: " [The adoption of the Constitution] will demon¬strate as visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it."i:

    Washington: "The Constitution . . . approaches nearer to perfec¬tion than any government hitherto instituted among men."1'

    Thomas Jefferson: "The example of changing a constitution by assembling the wise men of the state, instead of assembling armies, will be worth as much to the world as the former examples we had given them. The constitution, too, which was the result of our deliberation is unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men."15

    Washington: "This Constitution is really, in its forma¬tion, a government of the people . . . No government before introduced among mankind ever contained so many checks and such efficacious restraints to prevent it from degenerating into any species of oppression . . . The balances arising from the distribution of the legislative, executive, and judicial powers are the best that have [ever] been instituted.""

    Jefferson: "May you and your contemporaries . . . preserve inviolate [the] Constitution, which, cherished in all its chastity and purity, will prove in the end a blessing to all the nations of the earth."18

    Madison: "The happy union of these states is a wonder; their Constitution is a miracle; their example the hope of liberty throughout the world. Woe to the ambition that would meditate the destruction of either!"1'

    Madison: "Whatever may be the judgment pronounced on the competency of the architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the destiny of the edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and solemn conviction . . . that there never was an assembly of men charged with a great and arduous trust who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them, than were the members of the Federal Convention of 1787 to the object of devising and proposing a constitutional system which should . . . best secure the permanent liberty and happiness of their country."20

    2. A Great Evolution

    Chapters: “Introduction”

    Colonies of civilized human beings have been emerging and disappearing on the continental fringes of the Planet Earth for over 5,000 years. Each of these ganglia of civilized mankind had similar aspirations, but none fulfilled them. At least, not in their fullest dimensions. Some built cities for over a million people that now lie buried in the skeletal debris of the Sahara sands. Others built cities that were even larger—in Asia and South America—but snakes, rodents, and entangled vines are about all that live today in the ghostly grandeur of their ruined past.

    A New Beginning

    It was in A.D. 1607 that another such attempt was made to lay the foundations for man's most modern civilization. Undoubtedly the annals of humankind will ultimately show that this one turned out to be different.

    The settlement was called Jamestown after his royal high¬ness, James I, king of England. It was the first permanent colony of England on the North American continent. The settlers of Jamestown had been assigned the task of estab¬lishing an Anglo-Saxon foothold in the hot, humid, and totally hostile wilderness of what we now call Virginia.

    Shades of the Primitive Past

    The most striking thing about the settlers of Jamestown was their startling similarity to the ancient pioneers who built settlements in other parts of the world 5,000 years earlier. The whole panorama of Jamestown demonstrated how shockingly little progress had been made by man dur¬ing all of those fifty centuries.

    The settlers of Jamestown had come in a boat no larger and no more commodious than those of the ancient sea kings. Their tools still consisted of shovel, axe, hoe, and a stick plow which were only slightly improved over those of China, Egypt, Persia, and Greece. They harvested their grain and hay-grass with the same primitive scythes. They wore clothes made of thread spun on a wheel and woven by hand. They thought alcohol was a staple food. Their medi¬cines were noxious concoctions based on superstition rather
    than science. Their transportation was by cart and oxen.

    Most of them died young. Out of approximately 9,000 settlers who found their way to old Jamestown, only about 1,000 survived.

    Two Hundred Years Later

    Soon two whole centuries had passed into history. By 1976, the "noble experiment" of American independence and free-enterprise economics had produced some phenom¬enal results.

    The spirit of freedom which moved out across the world in the 1800s was primarily inspired by the fruits of freedom in the United States. The climate of free-market economics allowed science to thrive in an explosion of inventions and technical discoveries which, in merely 200 years, gave the world the gigantic new power resources of harnessed elec¬tricity, the internal combustion engine, jet propulsion, exotic space vehicles, and all the wonders of nuclear energy.

    Communications were revolutionized, first by the tele¬graph, then the telephone, followed by radio and television.

    The whole earth was explored from pole to pole—even the depths of the sea.
    Then men left the earth in rocket ships and actually walked on the moon. They sent up a space plane that could be maneuvered and landed back on the earth.

    The average length of life was doubled; the quality of life was tremendously enhanced. Homes, food, textiles, com¬munications, transportation, central heating, central cool¬ing, world travel, millions of books, a high literacy rate, schools for everybody, surgical miracles, medical cures for age-old diseases, entertainment at the touch of a switch, and instant news, twenty-four hours a day. That was the story.

    Of course, all of this did not happen just in America, but it did flow out primarily from the swift current of freedom and prosperity which the American Founders turned loose into the spillways of human progress all over the world.
    In 200 years, the human race had made a 5,000-year leap.

    What About Progress in Reverse?

    Unfortunately, every new generation of human beings seems to feel the instinctive and passionate necessity to re¬invent the sociological wheel. The physical sciences capital¬ize on the lessons of the past, but the social sciences seldom

    In political and social relations, a single generation will sometimes duplicate the same error half-a-dozen times. Too many human beings are doing it today.

    They are muddling their lives with drugs, riots, revolu¬tions, and terrorism; predatory wars; unnatural sexual prac¬tices; merry-go-round marriages; organized crime; neglected and sometimes brutalized children; plateau intoxi¬cation; debt-ridden prosperity; and all the other ingredients of insanity which have shattered twenty mighty civiliza¬tions in the past.

    These elements of social decay can have a devastating impact on the highly technical and delicately interdependent civilization which freedom and prosperity have brought to mankind.

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    3. People’s Law

    Chapters: “Part 1: Structuring a New Government”

    The founding fathers had their own concepts of politics that differed quite a bit from what we have today. The discussion of modern poltics is of political parties, rather than political power.

    Today, as we mentioned, it is popular in the classroom as well as the press to refer to "Communism on the left," and "Fascism on the right." People and parties are often called "Leftist," or "Rightist." The public do not really understand what they are talking about.

    These terms actually refer to the manner in which the various parties are seated in the parliaments of Europe. The radical revolutionaries (usually the Communists) occupy the far left and the military dictatorships (such as the Fascists) are on the far right. Other parties are located in between.

    Measuring people and issues in terms of political parties has turned out to be philosophically fallacious if not totally misleading. This is because the platforms or positions of political parties are often superficial and structured on shift¬ing sand. The platform of a political party of one generation can hardly be recognized by the next.
    As per the definition of government, "a system of ruling or controlling,", the founding fathers measured political systems by examining the amount of power and/or systematic control they exert over the people. By this logic, the founding fathers considered the spectrum to be a range between the extremes of anarchy and tyranny. With anarchy, the state of lawlessness, the government has no control and its citizens operate under no centralized power structure. Under tyranny, the government exercises its coercive power to the maximum effect, thereby cleaving the rights and liberties of the people under its governance. The founders sought to create a system that operates in the balanced center between the two extremes; a system between “no law” and “ruler’s law”, a “people’s law”.

    Ruler's Law
    The Founders seemed anxious that modern man recog¬nize the subversive characteristics of oppressive Ruler's Law which they identified primarily with a tyrannical monarchy. Here are its basic characteristics:

    1. Authority under Ruler's Law is nearly always estab¬
    lished by force, violence, and conquest.

    2. Therefore, all sovereign power is considered to be in
    the conqueror or his descendants.

    3. The people are not equal, but are divided into classes
    and are all looked upon as "subjects" of the king.

    4. The entire country is considered to be the property of
    the ruler. He speaks of it as his "realm."

    5. The thrust of governmental power is from the top
    down, not from the people upward.

    6. The people have no unalienable rights. The "king
    giveth and the king taketh away."

    7. Government is by the whims of men, not by the fixed
    rule of law which the people need in order to govern
    their affairs with confidence.

    8. The ruler issues edicts which are called "the law." He
    then interprets the law and enforces it, thus maintain¬
    ing tyrannical control over the people.

    9. Under Ruler's Law, problems are always solved by issu¬
    ing more edicts or laws, setting up more bureaus,
    harassing the people with more regulators, and charg¬
    ing the people for these "services" by continually
    adding to their burden of taxes.

    10. Freedom is never looked upon as a viable solution to

    11. The long history of Ruler's Law is one of blood and
    terror, both anciently and in modern times. Under it
    the people are stratified into an aristocracy of the rul¬
    er's retinue while the lot of the common people is one
    of perpetual poverty, excessive taxation, stringent reg¬
    ulations, and a continuous existence of misery.

    The Founders' Attraction to People's Law

    In direct contrast to the harsh oppression of Ruler's Law, the Founders, particularly Jefferson, admired the institutes of freedom under People's Law as originally practiced among the Anglo-Saxons. As one authority on Jefferson points out:

    Jefferson's great ambition at that time [1776] was to promote a renaissance of Anglo-Saxon primitive institutions on the new continent. Thus presented, the American Revolution was nothing but the recla¬mation of the Anglo-Saxon birthright of which the colonists had been deprived by a "long trend of abuses." Nor does it appear that there was anything in this theory which surprised or shocked his con¬temporaries; Adams apparently did not disapprove of it, and it would be easy to bring in many similar expressions of the same idea in documents of the time. (Gilbert Chinard, Thomas Jefferson: The Apostle of Americanism, 2nd ed. rev. [Ann Arbor, Mich.: The University of Michigan Press, 1975], pp. 86-87.)

    Characteristics of Anglo-Saxon Common Law or People's Law
    Here are the principal points of People's Law as practiced by the Anglo-Saxons (see Colin Rhys Lovell, English Constitu-

    tional and Legal History [New York: Oxford University Press, 1962], pp. 3-50):

    1. They considered themselves a commonwealth of

    2. All decisions and the selection of leaders had to be with
    the consent of the people, preferably by full consensus,
    not just a majority.

    3. The laws by which they were governed were consid¬
    ered natural laws given by divine dispensation, and
    were so well known by the people they did not have to
    be written down.

    4. Power was dispersed among the people and never
    allowed to concentrate in any one person or group.
    Even in time of war, the authority granted to the lead¬
    ers was temporary and the power of the people to
    remove them was direct and simple.

    5. Primary responsibility for resolving problems rested
    first of all with the individual, then the family, then the
    tribe or community, then the region, and finally, the

    6. They were organized into small, manageable groups
    where every adult had a voice and a vote. They divided
    the people into units of ten families who elected a
    leader; then fifty families who elected a leader; then a
    hundred families who elected a leader; and then a thou¬
    sand families who elected a leader.

    7. They believed the rights of the individual were consid¬
    ered unalienable and could not be violated without risk¬
    ing the wrath of divine justice as well as civil
    retribution by the people's judges.

    8. The system of justice was structured on the basis of
    severe punishment unless there was complete repara¬
    tion to the person who had been wronged. There were
    only four "crimes" or offenses against the whole peo¬
    ple. These were treason, by betraying their own people;
    cowardice, by refusing to fight or failing to fight cou¬
    rageously; desertion; and homosexuality. These were
    considered capital offenses. All other offenses required
    reparation to the person who had been wronged.
    9. They always attempted to solve problems on the level
    where the problem originated. If this was impossible
    they went no higher than was absolutely necessary to
    get a remedy. Usually only the most complex problems
    involving the welfare of the whole people, or a large
    segment of the people, ever went to the leaders for
    In addition to the Anglo-Saxons, the founders also found great inspiration from the ancient Israelites who operated under a similar set of laws as the Anglo-Saxons. In fact, the original designs of the U.S. seal were to be represented by BOTH historical Anglo-Saxon and Israeli symbols. These original designs, however, were found to be impractical for use on a small seal.

    In the Federalist Papers, No. 9, Hamilton refers to the "sensations of horror and disgust" which arise when a per¬son studies the histories of those nations that are always "in a state of perpetual vibration between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy." (The Federalist Papers [New York: Men¬tor Books, 1961], No. 9, p. 71.)
    Washington also refers to the human struggle wherein "there is a natural and necessary progression, from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny." (Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, 26:489.)
    Franklin noted that "there is a natural inclination in man¬kind to kingly government." He said it gives people the illu¬sion that somehow a king will establish "equality among citizens; and that they like." Franklin's great fear was that the states would succumb to this gravitational pull toward a strong central government symbolized by a royal establish¬ment. He said: "I am apprehensive, therefore—perhaps too apprehensive—that the Government of these States may in future times end in a monarchy. But this catastrophe, I think, may be long delayed, if in our proposed system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction, and tumult, by making our posts of honor places of profit." (Albert Henry Smyth, ed., The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 10 vols. [New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905-7], 9:593; modern spelling.)

    The Founders' task was to somehow solve the enigma of the human tendency to rush headlong from anarchy to tyranny—the very thing which later happened in the French Revolution. How could the American people be constitu¬tionally structured so that they would take a fixed position at the balanced center of the political spectrum and forever maintain a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," which would not perish from the earth?

    It took the Founding Fathers 180 years (1607 to 1787) to come up with their American formula. In fact, just eleven years before the famous Constitutional Convention at Phil¬adelphia, the Founders wrote a constitution which almost caused them to lose the Revolutionary War. Their first attempt at constitutional writing was called "The Articles of Confederation."

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    4. Finding the Center

    Chapters: “Part 1: Structuring a New Government”

    There was much deliberation on how to structure the new government. The first drafts of the Articles of Confederation were in fact very much on the side of tyranny as they measured it, giving too much power to the central government. They hacked away at it until arriving at the final form which was also a leap from the center, but on the anarchic side of the spectrum. The federal government had very little operating power, and was reduced to little more than a committee of the states. The inherent weakness of its form was perhaps represented in the many losses suffered over the course of the Revolutionary War due to the central government’s inefficiencies.

    In 1787, they came together in the Convention to form a new constitution. At that time, the continental dollar was hyper inflated, the economy was in depression, rioting was sprouting up in the nation, and the states themselves were in discord. The United States were on the verge of breaking apart, with its enemies waiting in the wings to grab a fracturing nation.

    The Convention was a great brainstorming session that lasted over 4 months. Through much deliberation, the leaders hammered away at the new constitution to arrive at a product that would be pleasing to all. The form of the convention was something like a committee; all the delegates were free to express their views and concerns so that a general consensus could be reached, and votes cast. The process was done to reach an agreement among the delegates, not forceful compromises where they would have to submit to the rest of the committee. They talked it out until the majority of them felt good about the proposals, and eventually developed the constitution as we know it today, complete with the Bill of Rights submitted by the states.

    What they succeeded in creating was a constitution that offered a perfect balance between government power and power of the people; people’s law. James Madison described it as so:

    “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitu¬tion to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. . . . The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, con¬cern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. (Federalist Papers, No. 45, pp. 292-93.)”

    The fixing of the American eagle in the center of the spectrum was designed to maintain this political equilibrium between the people in the states and the federal govern¬ment. The idea was to keep the power base close to the people. The emphasis was on strong local self-government. The states would be responsible for internal affairs and the federal government would confine itself to those areas which could not be fairly or effectively handled by the indi¬vidual states.

    The system of government that began with this constitution is described as a three headed eagle. The three heads represent our Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. All the heads are attached and beholden to the neck, representing the American people. Three separate heads of 3 separate powers was a system of separate powers in government that bring counterbalance to each other through their separation, but work as a unified whole under one government. It was implemented this way to keep the government itself in line with the will of the people (the neck) through checks and balances. I’ll go more in depth on this later.

    The two wings of the eagle represent what can be thought of as two parties in government, though they are really there to express two different functions that both work to keep the eagle (government/nation) flying straight. They serve to balance the government’s approach to serving it’s duties to the people.

    The Two Wings of the Eagle
    The Founder's view of their new form of government can be further demonstrated by using the symbol of the eagle and referring to its two wings:

    Wing #1 of the eagle might be referred to as the problem-solving wing or the wing of compassion. Those who func¬tion through this dimension of the system are sensitive to the unfulfilled needs of the people. They dream of elaborate plans to solve these problems.

    Wing #2 has the responsibility of conserving the nation's resources and the people's freedom. Its function is to ana¬lyze the programs of wing #1 with two questions. First, can we afford it? Secondly, what will it do to the rights and individual freedom of the people?

    Now, if both of these wings fulfill their assigned function, the American eagle will fly straighter and higher than any civilization in the history of the world. But if either of these wings goes to sleep on the job, the American eagle will drift toward anarchy or tyranny. For example, if wing #1 becomes infatuated with the idea of solving all the problems of the nation regardless of the cost, and wing #2 fails to bring its power into play to sober the problem-solvers with a more realistic approach, the eagle will spin off toward the left, which is tyranny. On the other hand, if wing #1 fails to see the problems which need solving and wing #2 becomes inflexible in its course of not solving problems simply to save money, or not disturb the status quo, then the machin¬ery of government loses its credibility and the eagle drifts over toward the right where the people decide to take mat¬ters into their own hands. This can eventually disintegrate into anarchy.

    Thomas Jefferson Describes the Need for Balance

    When Thomas Jefferson became President, he used his first inaugural address to describe the need to make room for the problem-solving wing, to which his own Democratic-Republican party belonged, and also make room for the conservation wing, to which the Federalist paiiy of

    John Adams belonged. He tried to stress the fact that all Americans should have some elements of both of these party dimensions in their thinking. In his inaugural address he said:

    “We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans—we are all Federalists. (Albert Ellery Bergh, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 20 vols. [Washington: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1907], 3:319.)”
    Even in these early days, they had to fend off extremists in their own parties. Thomas Jefferson voiced his concerns over the monarchists in his Federalist party:

    I have spoken of the Federalists as if they were a homogeneous body, but this is not the truth. Under that name lurks the heretical sect of monarchists. Afraid to wear their own name, they creep under the mantle of Federalism, and the Federalists, like sheep permit the fox to take shelter among them, when pursued by dogs. These men have no right to office. If a monarchist be in office, anywhere, and it be known to the President, the oath he has taken to support the Constitution imperiously requires the instantaneous dismission of such officer; and I hold the President criminal if he permitted such to remain. To appoint a monarchist to conduct the affairs of a republic, is like appointing an atheist to the priesthood. As to the real federalists, I take them to my bosom as brothers. I view them as honest men, friends to the present Constitution. (From a news- paper letter, June 1803; Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 10 vols. |New York: C.P. Putnam's Sons, 1892-99], 8:237.)

    Jefferson's Conversaton with Washington

    Jefferson reports a conversation with President Washington in August 1793 in which Jefferson expressed deep concern that some elements of the President's administration were pushing toward oppressive monarchial-type powers. The President immediately responded that republican principles must be maintained and that "the Constitution we have is an excellent one, if we can keep it where it is." With reference to the possibility of a monarchial party arising, President Washington stated that "there was not a man in the United States who would set his face more decidedly against it than himself." Jefferson nevertheless pointed out to the President that:

    There does not pass a week, in which we cannot prove declarations dropping from the monarchical party [the branch of the administration pushing for a central government with massive powers and saying) that our government is good for nothing, is a milk and water thing which cannot support itself, we must knock it down, and set up something of more energy.
    President Washington replied that if any were guilty of such nonsense, it would be "a proof of their insanity." (Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1:257.)

    Jefferson's Concern About the Radical Fringe Element in His Own Party

    In May 1805, while serving as President, Jefferson wrote to Dr. George Logan. He was concerned with elements of extremism pushing toward the extreme right which, to the Founders, meant "anarchy." He wrote:

    I see with infinite pain the bloody schism which has taken place among our friends in Pennsylvania and New York, and will probably take place in other States. The main body of both sections mean well, but their good intentions will produce great public evil. (Ibid., 10:440.)

    Like President Washington, Jefferson saw the need for maintaining the government in the balanced center where the Constitution had placed it. He wrote to Governor George Clinton in 1803, "Our business is to march straight forward... without either turning to the right or left." (Ibid., 10:440.)

    With both of the eagle's wings flying—one solving prob¬lems, the other preserving resources and freedom—the American future could not help but ascend to unprece¬dented heights of wealth and influence.

    The Founders Warn Against the Drift Toward the Collectivist Left

    Since the genius of the American system is maintaining the eagle in the balanced center of the spectrum, the Founders warned against a number of temptations which might lure subsequent generations to abandon their free¬doms and their rights by subjecting themselves to a strong federal administration operating on the collectivist Left.

    They warned against the "welfare state" where the government endeavors to take care of everyone from the cradle to the grave. Jefferson wrote:

    If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy. (Bergh, Writ¬ings of Thomas Jefferson, 10:342.)

    They warned against confiscatory taxation and deficit spending. Jefferson said it was immoral for one generation to pass on the results of its extravagance in the form of debts to the next generation. He wrote: "...we shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life [expectancy] of the majority." (Ibid., 13:358.)

    Every generation of Americans struggled to pay off the national debt up until the present one.
    The Founders also warned that the only way for the nation to prosper was to have equal protection of "rights," and not allow the government to get involved in trying to provide equal distribution of "things." They also warned against the pooling of property as advocated by the propo¬nents of communism. Samuel Adams said they had done everything possible to make the ideas of socialism and com¬munism unconstitutional. Said he:

    The Utopian schemes of leveling [re-distribution of the wealth] and a community of goods [central ownership of the means of production and distribu¬tion], are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, uncon¬stitutional. (William V. Wells, The Life and Public Ser¬vices of Samuel Adams, 3 vols. [Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1865], 1:154.)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Misty_Mountain_Rose's Avatar
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    Jul 2008


    A book review by Joel Otto (I was looking on Amazon to see what others thought of the book and wanted to offer his view).

    I may get the book and read it since I don't think much can be gathered by reading it piece-meal and out of context. Its like quoting phrases from the Bible without discussing what comes before and after the phrase (which is often done). You get a skewed viewpoint that often is chosen to support a specific agenda.

    Thanks for the referral, if I get it I'll come back and offer some more thought out answers about what my opinion of it is.

    Review: (I have offered the link because there are some comments under it from those who disagree) Joel Otto's review of The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed...

    "The 5000 Year leap left me irritated, challenged, and wanting to read more.

    I found the historical material the most interesting, but every time I read the views and conclusions, I felt the need to check the facts. Somehow it seemed that Dr. Skousen was bending the story. I may be off-base here, or I may not. It has inspired me to do more research.

    I had two problems specifically. Skousen's concept of good government, which he says he shares with the Founders, is to seek a balance between anarchy, which he equivocates with chaos, and tyranny. To me that sounds like halfway to tyranny, and doesn't help differentiate between the activities where government arguably has a role, and those in which it doesn't.

    He takes to heart the purpose of government as described in the Declaration of Independence, but I still felt an authoritarian streak running through the book.

    I think the Founders model was to get as close as possible to liberty, and keep the federal government as small as possible, leaving all else to the people or the states. It may sound like a small semantic difference, but the idea of seeking a balance between pure liberty and pure tyranny is a lot different than staying as close to pure liberty as possible.

    My other problem was his notion that the part of natural law that is political law is not discovered but revealed. I believe he is saying that the laws which are used to govern human behavior have been revealed by God, through scripture, and are not discovered through experiment as are the laws of physics. He quotes Blackstone on this. I am uncomfortable with this idea, and plan to read more of Blackstone's work to see for myself.

    My understanding is that common law is the best origin of political law, and that it was discovered through centuries of case law arising from the resolution of disputes. Some forms of resolution work, others don't. The workable solutions last, the others fall away. This is a discovery process, a science of behavior, not a matter of applying scripture.

    This book came out in 1980. In 1943 two books came out which I think better express the idea of the emergence of liberty: The God Of The Machine by Isabel Paterson, and The Discovery Of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane."
    Embrace the possibilities.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misty_Mountain_Rose View Post

    I may get the book and read it since I don't think much can be gathered by reading it piece-meal and out of context. Its like quoting phrases from the Bible without discussing what comes before and after the phrase (which is often done). You get a skewed viewpoint that often is chosen to support a specific agenda.
    And I'm choosing the sampling method, as I hope it will spur people to go out and read the whole book. However, I guarantee you what I have posted thus far is in full context of the author's message, as all subjects thus far have been presented in the same order as in the book, and a fair share of what I have written so far has been summarizing the same points in the book. As I get into the latter subjects (which are more specific) I'll diverge into my own assessment of how they relate to current issues. I'll make it known when I do that.

    One must also keep in mind this book wasn't written to be about politics, or to scientifically describe the machinery of government. The purpose of the book is to reveal the principles of the founding fathers and the principles upon which this nation was built. It was written in hopes that we would remember what it is we stand for and believe in, and reclaim the principles that made it possible for this nation to rise to the great heights it has achieved. The book does this mainly through quoting the founders themselves, letting them do the talking.


    5. Natural law

    Chapters: 1st Principle: The Genius of Natural Law

    At this point I will begin diverging into my own points as well. As much as I am doing this because I hope for people to wake up, read the book, and perhaps reach a new perspective on how they relate to the country they live in and their role in it, I am also doing it for my own comprehension of and reflection over the subject matter. I am not nearly as well read in much of what the book touches upon, such as the writings of Cicero and Natural Law, so my perspective and understanding will not be as all encompassing as I would like for it to be. However, I do hope what time I spend on this will be of benefit to some.

    The founders came from many different social, economical, and religious backgrounds, but shared the same fundamental beliefs and convictions. They were all extremely well versed in the fundamentals of sound nation building, through their meticulous study of best literature of their time. Many were self taught, but indeed most of them read from the same books.

    These men came from several different churches, and some from no churches at all. They ranged in occupation from farmers to presidents of universities. Their social background included everything from wilderness pioneering to the aristocracy of landed estates. Their dialects included everything from the loquacious drawl of South Carolina to the clipped staccato of Yankee New England. Their economic origins included everything from frontier poverty to opulent wealth.

    Then how do we explain their remarkable unanimity in fundamental beliefs?
    Perhaps the explanation will be found in the fact that they were all remarkably well read, and mostly from the same books. Although the level of their formal training varied from spasmodic doses of home tutoring to the rigorous regi¬men of Harvard's classical studies, the debates in the Con¬stitutional Convention and the writings of the Founders reflect a far broader knowledge of religious, political, histor¬ical, economic, and philosophical studies than would be found in any cross-section of American leaders today.

    The thinking of Polybius, Cicero, Thomas Hooker, Coke, Montesquieu, Blackstone, John Locke, and Adam Smith salt-and-peppered their writings and their conversations. They were also careful students of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and even though some did not belong to any Christian denomination, the teachings of Jesus were held in universal respect and admiration.

    Their historical readings included a broad perspective of Greek, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, European, and English his¬tory. To this writer, nothing is more remarkable about the early American leaders than their breadth of reading and depth of knowledge concerning the essential elements of sound nation building.

    The concept of “people’s law” is solidly planted in the bed of Natural Law. The founders sought to create a highly moral and virtuous society. They wanted to exalt the nation above the depravity of all past civilizations, and build a nation of freedom and prosperity. They did so through building a system based upon natural law.

    The concepts of natural law are rooted in a belief in a creator of the universe. It is the creator’s order of things and rules of right conduct which is called Natural Law. It describes man’s reasoning power as being a special dispensation of the creator, thus allowing man to share in the creator’s quality of solving problems rationally, and through COMMON SENSE CONCLUSIONS.

    Examples of Natural Law
    It may be surprising, even to Americans, to discover how much of their Constitution and their life-style is based on principles of Natural Law. For example:
    The concept of UNALIENABLE RIGHTS is based on Nat¬ural Law. Twenty-two of these unalienable rights are listed on pages 125-26.
    The concept of UNALIENABLE DUTIES is based on Nat¬ural Law. Twenty of these unalienable duties are listed on pages 134-35.
    The concept of HABEAS CORPUS is based on Natural Law.

    The concept of LIMITED GOVERNMENT is based on Natural Law.
    The concept of SEPARATION OF POWERS is based on Natural Law.
    The concept of CHECKS AND BALANCES to correct abuses by peaceful means is based on Natural Law.
    The right of SELF-PRESERVATION is based on Natural Law.
    The right to CONTRACT is based on Natural Law.
    Laws protecting the FAMILY and the institution of MAR¬RIAGE are all based on Natural Law.
    The concept of JUSTICE BY REPARATION or paying for damages, is based on Natural Law.
    The right to BEAR ARMS is based on Natural Law.
    The principle of NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRE¬SENTATION is based on Natural Law.
    These few examples will illustrate how extensively the entire American constitutional system is grounded in Natu¬ral Law. In fact, Natural Law is the foundation and encom¬passing framework for everything we have come to call "People's Law."
    This is precisely what Thomas Jefferson was talking about when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
    These well-remembered phrases from America's initial charter of liberty are all primary pre-suppositions under the principles of Natural law.
    It is my own assertion that common sense has all but died in our society. The linen share of avoidable predicaments and object senselessness that we see in so much of society, and especially in American politics, is a staunch representation of the lack of common sense prevailing. We look to our desires as being the fulcrum of our skewed logic, so that our reality is made to conform to them. This does not work, obviously, as it is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle with pieces from completely different puzzles. Sense and logic are inherent to the universe and human behavior, whether one believes in a God or not. What goes up must come down, every action has a reaction, and so too must common sense prevail, lest we face our own destruction for abiding by the laws of “non-sense”.

    The founders knew this very well. Their careful research into human history gave them a breadth of knowledge about how to go about building a just government and a country that would surpass the progress of all others. Blackstone stated that Natural Law was the only reliable basis for a stable society and a system of justice. They held steadfast the concepts of Natural Law, as conveyed through the writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero.

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