Every Patriot's Resolve -- 2016 and Beyond
Timeless Advice for This and Every New Year
“Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.” –Benjamin Franklin (1772)
This past week, my family’s ancestral grandfather clock rang in its 266th new year. This early American instrument, which towers above our dining room table, was set into motion in 1750 by its maker, Benjamin Chandlee, the eldest son of the first immigrant in my maternal family line.
That same year, Benjamin also completed an almost identical clock for Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, a cavalry officer in George Washington’s revolutionary army, who bequeathed that clock to his son, Robert E. Lee. It now stands in the president’s house at Washington and Lee University. (In addition to being among the earliest and most respected American clockmakers, the Chandlees also produced George Washington’s surveying instruments.)
I mention this clock by way of making this point: Our New Year’s Eve celebration was not defined by celebrity fanfare in Times Square, but in the rich context of American history and the legacy of our family and Founders.
That legacy frames the mission of The Patriot Post’s advocacy for individual Liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. As my friend Cal Thomas says, “The Patriot Post interprets current issues in the conservative context of American history — the immutable context of American Liberty.”
Unlike the now-ubiquitous Internet publications and blogs, every word of analysis our Patriot editors have posted since our inception has been tempered by historical context. That distinguishes The Patriot Post from every other news, policy and opinion source on the Web, with the exception of our friends at The Heritage Foundation, who were instrumental in our launch 20 years ago. That is also why we have been on the Web longer than virtually any other publication.
Today, we are charging into 2016. As anticipated, this year began with yet another leftist assault on American Liberty and its most fundamental assurance, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Barack Obama’s faux tears when announcing his latest constitutional insult would not have passed even the worst B-movie standards.
Of course, Obama and his Socialist Democratic Party statists know that, in the words of James Madison, “[T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any.”
Those words ring truer today than ever — and it is precisely that “barrier against the enterprises of ambition” that leftists would most like to demolish.
And, as Madison’s Supreme Court appointee, Joseph Story, confirmed in his “Commentaries on the Constitution,” “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
From George Washington: “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. … Do not conceive that fine Clothes make fine Men, any more than fine feathers make fine Birds. A plain genteel dress is more admired and obtains more credit than lace and embroidery in the Eyes of the judicious and sensible. … Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence; true friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks and adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. … Your love of Liberty - your respect for the laws - your habits of industry - and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness. … We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times. … The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. … Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind! … We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.”
From Thomas Jefferson: “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing. … It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition. … It is a happy circumstance in human affairs that evils which are not cured in one way will cure themselves in some other. … Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence.”
From Thomas Paine: “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle, is a species of vice. … These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. … I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. … The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. … The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. … What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”
From Benjamin Franklin: “Have you something to do tomorrow; do it to-day. … Strive to be the greatest man in your country, and you may be disappointed. Strive to be the best and you may succeed: he may well win the race that runs by himself. … A Spoonful of Honey will catch more Flies than a Gallon of Vinegar. … Sloth, like Rust, consumes faster than Labour wears; while the used Key is always bright… Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of. … Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. … Wish not so much to live long as to live well.”
The foes of Liberty should take note of these words from the Declaration of the Cause and Necessity of Taking up Arms (1775): “With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live as slaves.”
Patriots, in this presidential election year, I invoke this timeless wisdom from George Washington’s farewell address (1796): “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” Indeed, there are among even the ranks of Republican presidential contenders some pretenders. Caveat Emptor! The future of Liberty hinges on the ability and willingness of grassroots Patriots to distinguish between the genuine article and the false prophets.
Finally, a word from Ronald Reagan, the man who lifted me, when a young college student, from the liberal abyss, and called millions in my generation into reverence for the fundamentals of American Liberty: “Live each day to the fullest. Live each day with enthusiasm, optimism and hope. If you do, I am convinced that your contribution to this wonderful experiment we call America will be profound.”
Thank you for sustaining The Patriot Post’s advocacy of Liberty by your support of our mission and operations budget in 2015!
Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis