I refer back to G.K. Chesterton quite often. He is to me what I imagine Mao is to Anita Dunn. Chesterton was an amazing mind and is rightfully known as the “Apostle of Common Sense.” He is one of the most quotable writers in recent history, probably because he though and wrote about anything and everything–even the Declaration of Independence.
Whenever I come across a particularly profound quote from Chesterton, I like to dig up the original source so I can see the context, and often this yields some very interesting food for thought. One such quote comes from his book What I Saw in America and is often seen truncated to just one sentence: “America is the only nation in the world founded on a creed.” Expanding the quote reveals as succinct and profound a description of the Declaration of Independence as I’ve seen.
America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature. It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism. and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived. Nobody expects a modern political system to proceed logically in the application of such dogmas, and in the matter of God and Government it is naturally God whose claim is taken more lightly. The point is that there is a creed, if not about divine, at least about human things.”
Reading a bit further you are rewarded with another profound and timely nugget. I recently took a class in which the instructor told us how America is no longer a melting pot, but rather a salad bar. She actually said this as if it were a good thing. I found the thought depressing, because as Chesterton says, “the melting-pot must not melt.”
Now in a much vaguer and more evolutionary fashion, there is something of the same idea at the back of the great American experiment; the experiment of a democracy of diverse races which has been compared to a melting-pot. But even that metaphor implies that the pot itself is of a certain shape and a certain substance; a pretty solid substance. The melting-pot must not melt. The original shape was traced on the lines of Jeffersonian democracy; and it will remain in that shape until it becomes shapeless. America invites all men to become citizens; but it implies the dogma that there is such a thing as citizenship.”
Citizenship is a dogma in the American creed. One wouldn’t seek to join a religion without first accepting all the things that religion professes to be true, but more and more, people seek citizenship and the benefits thereof without actually seeking to become Americans. This is like joining a church based on the relative comfort of its pews rather than on what the church professes to be true about God and Man. The melting pot is melting, and politicians for whom this is advantageous seek to speed up the process. Those who come to America only for the comfortable pews will vote for whomever promises to maintain or extend those comforts, not for those who espouse individual liberty and the responsibility inherent in it.
America is unlike any other country because it is at once a nation and a philosophy. This is the kernel of what we call American exceptionalism. To believe in American exceptionalism is to recognize what Chesterton, the Brit, recognized–that America is the manifestation of a creed. President Obama said he believed in American exceptionalism the same way the Brits believe in British exceptionalism or the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism (by the way, I wonder how exceptional the Greeks are feeling these days). With those words, Obama was saying that he rejects the American creed. He tried to hide this fact by redefining it as some sort of nebulous national pride or patriotism (which in itself is probably a stretch for him), but what he said was akin to heresy.
As a Catholic I’m used to reciting the Nicene creed every time I go to Mass. I know various Protestant denominations do something similar. We do this because it is a continual affirmation of what it is we believe. As a people of faith we often fail to live up to what we believe, so we recite it to remind ourselves. We need to know what we profess so that we can know when we are drifting or being led astray.
As Americans we need to know and recite our creed as well. We need to teach it to our children and to those who come here from other nations so that they understand what it means to be an American. We need to be evangelists for America. We need to harden the melting pot so that it retains its original Jeffersonian shape because when we stop believing in America, America will cease to be.
I received this in an eMail this evening. Fred Phelps’ cult is targeting the funeral of a local hero for one of their disgusting protests.
I grieve to have to send this email out to you. Many of you may have heard about Cpl. Kurt Shea, who lost his life in service to our country. His remains arrived at the Stauffer Funeral Home in Frederick this morning around 10:30am. His hearse was surrounded by State Police and Frederick County Sheriffs and a motorcycle escort this morning and there were many Frederick residents there who waved American flags as a show of respect to Cpl. Shea.
However, there is much bad news.
The Westboro Baptist Church has targetted the funeral of Cpl. Kurt Shea this Wednesday morning for one of their vile protests. If you have never seen this church in action, you need to check out their website: www.godhatesfags.com
Regardless of your political views, I am urging everyone who can be available on Wednesday morning to arrive at 8:30am at Frederick Christian Fellowship Church at the Lynfield complex off Rte. 15 and Hansonville Rd. in Frederick, MD.
In my humble opinion, there aren’t many things that rate higher than attending this funeral for a fallen soldier and surrounding his family with a hedge of prayer in the face of the vile hatred spewed by this church. Sometimes we can be so busy with other things that we might just decide to take a pass on this funeral. I am asking, no, I am urging you to clear your calendar, take some personal time off from work and make time to be there. I urge you to come and pray for Cpl. Shea’s family and honor the life of this brave young man.
This is a link from the Westboro Baptist Church targetting Cpl. Shea’s funeral on Wednesday morning:
Please pass this information along to others in your sphere of influence. If you know of anyone who is a member of the VFW or anyone who is a veteran of the military to let them know and ask them to pass the word.
If you are free on Wednesday morning and are available to attend Cpl. Shea’s funeral at the Frederick Christian Fellowship’s church (at the Lynfield Complex) I would urge you to come and support Cpl. Shea and his family.
Cpl. Shea gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life in service for his country. The least we can do is keep the Westboro Baptist Church as far away from his grieving family as humanly possible.
Jane M Orient, M.D explains simply yet powerfully in an article in The Cypress Times, why she will not accept Medicare money. Her reason is a letter her father kept tacked above his desk.
The letter from Russ Plumbing Company, one of his best subcontractors, reads as follows:
“According to your government, the powers that be have decided that we have exceeded our allowable profits in 1972 at the rate of 1/13th of 1%.
“Consequently, we have consented, under the Voluntary Compliance Agreement, to reimburse a total of $789, the amount involved, to our 1972 Contractors. We have endeavored to prorate this amount as equitably as possible.
“May we take this opportunity to mention that although we have shown a net loss for the fiscal year 1973, it does not have any bearing on the above decision.
“Enclosed herewith please find a check to cover the amount due you.”
A check for $17.90, which my father never cashed, was attached.
Read the rest of Dr. Orient’s article here.
The story she tells is a story of tyranny. A simple plumbing contractor paying back money he earned because the government decided he had earned too much. How much worse will such tyranny be under a president who openly says that “at some point I think you’ve made enough money,” while neglecting to put a dollar amount on this arbitrary and morally bankrupt philosophy.
The only regulation of that plumber’s profit margin should have been the profit margin of his competitors and the quality of his own work. It makes me queasy to think of a hard working small business man writing a check for $17.90 because the government judged his value to be less than that to his customer. I’m sure no government agent physically aimed a gun at this simple plumbing subcontractor but that threat is implicit. The more imminent threat would be endless red tape, but ultimate defiance of government results in force being used against you. The tyranny under which we live doesn’t often have to resort to making the implied threat of force actual because the bureaucratic threat is actually the more dangerous. The bureaucratic threat robs you of your livelihood. Against that threat the only remaining recourse is to stop doing business.
So tell me, what happens to us when doctors learn that the only liberty they have left is the liberty to stop being doctors?