Monday, February 27, 2012

books, books, ...

The recent list of books I posted has to be followed by some quotes from my current read, which is Orestes A. Brownson's "The American Republic" - written in 1865. It's not hard to guess what he'd think of today's Obamacare. Or, for that matter, the course of the Federal government since his time. 

The United States Bank was manifestly unconstitutional, as probably are the present so-called national banks. The Unites States Bank was a private or particular corporation, and the present national banks are only corporations of the same sort, though organized under a general law. The pretence that they are established to supply a national currency does not save their constitutionality, for the convention has not given the [Federal] government the power nor imposed on it the duty of furnishing a national currency. To coin money, and regulate the value thereof, is something very different from authorizing private companies to issue bank notes, on the basis of the public stocks held as private property, or even on what is called a specie basis. To claim the power under the general welfare clause would be a simple mockery of good sense. It is no more for the general welfare than any other successful private business. The private welfare of each is, no doubt, for the welfare of all, but not therefore is it the “general welfare,” for what is private, particular in its nature, is not and cannot be general. To understand by general welfare that which is for the individual welfare of all or the greater number, would be to claim for the [Federal] government all the powers of government, and to deny that very division of powers which is the crowning merit of the American system.
The italics above are mine to underscore the point. When Brownson speaks of the division of powers, he does not mean that between the three branches of the Federal government; these are useless, he holds, as checks and balances. What he is speaking of is the division between the general and the particular, the Federal, and the State; each of which has its sphere of competency, both of which are needed to balance the needs of individual rights and the social rights.

Writing at the end of the Civil War, which saw the defeat of the imbalance tilting towards the individual, he warned of the opposite imbalance, towards the social, which he considered a graver evil; the despotism of the state at the cost of freedom.

So, we've brainwashed our generations to believe sexual license is"freedom" so they willingly embrace slavery. nice touch.

here's another interesting quote:

There is hardly a government now in the civilized world that can sustain itself for a moment without an armed force sufficient to overawe or crush the party, or parties in permanent conspiracy against it. This result is not what was aimed at or desired, but it is the logical or necessary result of the attempt to erect the state on atheistical principles. Unless founded on the divine sovereignty, authority can sustain itself only by force, for political atheism recognized no right but might. No doubt the politicians have sought an atheistical, or what is the same thing, a purely human, basis for government, in order to secure an open field for human freedom and activity, or individual or social progress. The end aimed at has been good, laudable even, but they forgot that freedom is possible only with authority that protects it against license as well as against despotism, and that there can be no progress where there is nothing that is not progressive. In civil society two things are necessary - stability and movement. The human is the element of movement, vor in it are possibilities that can only be successively actualized. But the element of stability can only be found in the divine, in God, in whom there is no unactialized possibility, who, therefore, is immovable, immutable, and eternal. 

Bear with me for one more jewel!

Error is never harmless, and only truth can give a solid foundation on which to build. Individualism and socialism are each opposed to the other, and each has only a partial truth. The state founded on either cannot stand, and society will only alternate between the two extremes. Today it is tornb by a revolution in favor of socialism; [remember, this is 1865!] tomorrow it will be torn by another [by "another" he refers to the Civil War as a revolution] in favor of individualism, and without effecting any real progress by either revolution. Real progress can be secured only by recognizing and building on the truth, not as it iexists in our opinions or in our theories, but as it exists in the world of reality, and independent of our opinions.

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