Abraham Lincoln on liberty: Are you the shepherd or the wolf?

Abraham Lincoln was a smart guy. The problem smart guys have is that they say a lot of memorable things, but for whatever reason people latch on to their most famous lines while allowing the rest to fall by the wayside. With Lincoln, there’s The Gettysburg Address, his “House Divided” speech, The Emancipation Proclamation, and then his Inaugural addresses to pull from. While they are all important, I think his Lecture on Liberty at the Sanitary Fair in Baltimore should be added to the list of “do not forget” speeches.

Lincoln understood in 1864 what so many liberty-loving Americans do not: the definition of the word ‘liberty’ for many Americans is incompatible with the country’s founding.

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today among us human creatures … all professing to love liberty.” — Abraham Lincoln, April 18, 1864. Lecture on Liberty at the Sanitary Fair in Baltimore.

Are you the shepherd or the wolf? There are hundreds of wolves populating the halls of Congress, and all of them are trying to convince you they are a shepherd.

Editor’s note for regular readers: This passage will also play a role in the book I am writing.

On Independence Day, Chris Rock celebrates his ignorance

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country.”

Those were the words of Thomas Paine, a man who dedicated every cent he earned to the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers would draw from Paine (among many other giants of Western thought) as they penned the Declaration of Independence. They would literally put their lives on the line for liberty, and in the process write two of the greatest documents of all time — all so ungrateful millionaires like Chris Rock could make a mockery of their accomplishments.

On Independence Day, the filthy stinking rich Rock celebrated his ignorance:

It must be tough being Chris Rock. Maybe if the founders were nicer guys he would have been a billionaire instead of a multimillionaire whose bathroom closet is probably bigger than my apartment.

As I said before, some form of slavery existed in all cultures throughout history. For thousands of years humans were finding ways to enslave one another. But it was Western Civilization that, for all intents and purposes, ended it. America’s Founding Fathers, in many ways, fired the shots that would eventually kill slavery.

Exhibit A:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

If one believes these words, so eloquently written by the Founders, it is impossible to advocate on slavery’s behalf. In fact, Jefferson’s original draft had a direct admonishment of the King for sending slaves to the colonies, but he had to pull the language in order to keep his fragile coalition together (i.e., the coalition that would depend on a bunch of ragtag farmers with zero formal training to stand up to the British Empire and its legendary Navy).

With no real standing Army — and as traitors to the Crown — what the Founders accomplished is nothing short of a miracle. Modern day liberals want to dismiss the founding fathers as racist “white” men because they couldn’t end slavery overnight (Again, this was an institution that had existed for thousands of years.) They obliviously apply their modern sensibilities to past societies (i.e., “presentism”). Ironically, they are able to demand impossible standards of marvelous men because those men essentially accomplished the impossible!

As historian Larry Schweikart says:

“To have pressed the slavery issue in 1776 would have killed the Revolution, and to have pressed it in 1787 would have aborted the nation,” (A Patriot’s History of the United States, 116).

That is a fact. And after reading The Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers and the Constitution — and then considering all the other threats to the fate of the nation — it is hard not to well up with gratitude that men like Washington were at the helm at that moment in history.

Chris Rock is apparently so busy spending his millions that he never opened up a few history books. Or maybe he did, but his mind is so obsessed with race that he’s incapable of objectively looking at something as monumental as the American Revolution. Meanwhile, his liberal defenders on Twitter try to boil down our nation’s history to 140 characters or less. Brevity is often the soul of wit, but it also can be the soul of a twit — as Chris Rock demonstrates.

Now if you excuse me, I think I’ll quote another white guy: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” It’s a great point, made by Abraham Lincoln. You know, that guy who freed the slaves. It’s just too bad liberals like Chris Rock didn’t get the memo.

Liberals count on Mind-Forged Manacles to pass Health Care Monstrosity.

Barack Obama is making final push to convince Democrats that the proven health care failures of other countries are “bound to be true” for the American people. Today, the President quotes Lincoln, which is ironic since government dependency is the new mind-forged manacles -modern day American slavery – of countless masses.

The President claims Democrats will:

“Do it for the people who are really scared right now…because of an accident or ailment they’re about to lose their house…do it for the American people; they’re the ones looking for action right now.”

Besides asking about the people who will be really scared tomorrow when it’s time to pay the piper and they’re trillions of dollars in debt, I guess the million dollar question for the kids is: What are we fighting for? What do we believe? (And why do I keep linking to music by Yellowcard this morning?) When Barack Obama rolls up his sleeves and hits campaign mode, our suspension of

The Federal Government: Convincing people to slip on their mind-forged manacles, willingly, for centuries.

disbelief is apparently supposed to be heightened so that any soaring vagueness cloaked in the claim the American people support him, is true. What strikes me as odd in this case is that this isn’t campaign season, he has a record we can evaluate, and the American people are not happy with him. The only reason to continue pushing forward is if you adhere to the What’s the Matter with Kansas? mentality: The rubes are too stupid to know that liberal policies are good for them!

Conservatives don’t think the people are “rubes.” The free-market mentality dictates that you must believe that millions of people making millions of decisions and transactions every day, in the aggregate, are making wiser choices than 535 “rubes” in Washington, detached from Main Street and surrounded by full-time staff ego-feeders, cocktail party circuits where Sean Connery clones blindly state “You’re The Man Now, Dog!, and isolation from criticism turns you into a Congressional Homer Simpson.

If Democrats are going to pass their Health Care monstrosity for people “right now,” then conservatives are blocking it for the American people of tomorrow. They’re blocking it for kids and grandkids and future generations that shouldn’t have to be burdened with soul-crushing debt and a declining standard of living. They’re blocking it simply because the myopic, me-me-me mentality of liberal Democrats and the Barack Obama “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” delusion (more akin to narcissistically lathering each other in ego-foam spilling out their mouths) creates incentives and outcomes anathema to the intentions of the public policy.

No matter what happens in the coming days, conservatives have a responsibility to future generations to make things right. And for the kids, let this be your Wake Up Call.