Posted by: Democratic Thinker | October 30, 2015

John Quincy Adams: In Search of Monsters

American Thought

Secretary of State John Quincy Adams delivers a requested address on Independence Day.

She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama, the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.


delivered at the request of
a committee of the citizens of
The City of Washington
on the occasion of reading
on the
Fourth of July, 1821.



UNTIL within a few days preceding that which we have again assembled to commemorate our fathers, the people of this union had constituted a portion of the British nation; a nation renowned in arts and arms, who, from a small island in the Atlantic ocean, had extended their dominion over considerable parts of every quarter of the globe. Governed themselves by a race of kings, whose title to sovereignty had originally been founded in conquest, spell-bound for a succession of ages under that portentous system of despotism and of superstition which, in the name of the meek and humble Jesus, had been spread over the Christian world, the history of this nation had, for a period of seven hundred years, from the days of the conquest till our own, exhibited a conflict almost continual, between the oppressions of power and the claims of right. In the theories of the crown and the mitre, man had no rights. Neither the body nor the soul of the individual was his own. From the impenetrable gloom of this intellectual darkness, and the deep degradation of this servitude, the British nation had partially emerged, The martyrs of religious freedom had consumed to ashes at the stake: the champions of temporal liberty had bowed their heads upon the scaffold; and the spirits of many a bloody day had left their earthly vesture upon the field of battle, and soared to plead the cause of liberty before the throne of Heaven. The people of Britain, through long ages of civil war, had extorted from their tyrants, not acknowledgments, but grants of right. With this concession they had been content to slop in the progress of human improvement. They received their freedom as a donation from their sovereigns; they appealed for their privileges to a sign manual and a seal; they held their title to liberty, like their title to lands, from the bounty of a man; and in their moral and political chronology, the great charter of Runnimead was the beginning of the world.

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 19, 2015

Weekly Story: Apollonius Approaches Rome.

Weekly Story

Apollonius of Tyana and his party journey to Rome.

“Yes, by Zeus,” said Philolaus, “if you could do it with impunity; but if you are going to lose your life by going thither, and if Nero is going to devour you alive before you see anything of what he does, your interview with him will cost you dear, much dearer than it ever cost Ulysses to visit the Cyclops in his home; though he lost many of his comrades in his anxiety to see him, and because he yielded to the temptation of beholding so cruel a monster.”


Apollonius Approaches Rome.


Apollonius of Tyana.

NERO was opposed to philosophy, because he suspected its devotees of being addicted to magic, and of being diviners in disguise; and at last the philosopher’s mantle brought its wearers before law courts, as if it were a mere cloak of the divining art. I will not mention other names, but Musonius of Babylon, a man only second to Apollonius, was thrown into prison for the crime of being a sage, and there lay in danger of death; and he would have died for all his gaoler cared, if it had not been for the strength of his constitution.

Such was the condition in which philosophy stood when Apollonius was approaching Rome; and at a distance of one hundred and twenty stadia from its walls he met Philolaus of Cittium in the neighbourhood of the Grove of Aricia.

Now Philolaus was a Rome polished speaker, but too soft to bear any hardships. He had quitted Rome, and was virtually a fugitive, and any philosopher he met with he urged to take the same course. He accordingly addressed himself to Apollonius, and urged him to give way to circumstances, and not to proceed to Rome, where philosophy was in such bad odour; and he related to him what was taking place there, and as he did so he kept turning his head round, lest anybody should be listening behind him to what he said. “And you,” he said, “after attaching this band of philosophers to yourself, a thing which will bring you into suspicion and odium, are on your way thither, knowing nothing of the officers set over the gates by Nero, who will arrest you and them before ever you enter or get inside.”

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 14, 2015

The Brook


For men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever.


The Brook.


I COME from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come, and men may go,
But I go on forever.

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | July 25, 2015

Swift—Essay upon the Art of Political Lying


In 1710, Jonathan Swift writes an essay for The Examiner.

Besides, as the vilest writer has his readers, so the greatest liar has his believers; and it often happens, that if a lie be believed only for an hour, it has done its work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and Truth comes limping after it; so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late, the jest is over, and the tale has had its effect.

NUMB. 15.



E quibus hi vacuas implent sermonibus aures,
Hi narrata ferunt alio: mensuraque ficti
Crescit, et auditis aliquid novus adjicit autor,
Illic Credulitas, illic temerarius Error,
Vanaque Laetitia est, consternatique Timores,
Seditioque recens, dubioque autore susurri.

Jonathan Swift.

I AM prevailed on, through the importunity of friends, to interrupt the scheme I had begun in my last paper, by an Essay upon the Art of Political Lying. We are told, “the Devil is the father of lies, and was a liar from the beginning”; so that beyond contradiction, the invention is old: And which is more, his first essay of it was purely political, employed in undermining the authority of his Prince, and seducing a third part of the subjects from their obedience. For which he was driven down from Heaven, where (as Milton expresseth it) he had been viceroy of a great western province; and forced to exercise his talent in inferior regions among other fallen spirits, or poor deluded men, whom he still daily tempts to his own sin, and will ever do so till he is chained in the bottomless pit.

But though the Devil be the father of lies, he seems, like other great inventors, to have lost much of his reputation, by the continual improvements that have been made upon him.

Who first reduced lying into an art, and adapted it to politics, is not so clear from history, though I have made some diligent enquiries: I shall therefore consider it only according to the modern system, as it has been cultivated these twenty years past in the southern part of our own island.

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | July 22, 2015

News: Hector, Arkansas — “Our Jerusalem”


Dan Van Veen reports for PE News about the community service practiced by a Christian congregation in Hector, Arkansas.


What began with Williams’ trepidation in following God’s lead has now become the heart of the church. He believes God worked in the hearts and lives of the congregation to prepare them to serve their “Jerusalem” (Acts 1:8).

PE News.

Hector, Arkansas — “Our Jerusalem”

by  Dan Van Veen    on 22 July 2015



Two words: missions trip. What images come to mind?

Far away lands, destitute people, false gods, primitive conditions, hard labor?

Shane and Debbie Williams have been co-pastors of Hector (Arkansas) First Assembly of God for the past 5 1/2 years. Just prior to their arrival, the church had taken a missions trip to Ecuador. The Williams’ first missions trip with the church took them to minister at an Indian reservation.

But as the church began preparing for its next missions trip, God had something else in mind.

“This church has had very successful missions trips,” Shane Williams says, “but the more I prayed about this, the more I heard God saying ‘home missions’ and ‘community service.'” Williams felt the Lord directing him to make Hector the focus of their missions efforts.

Williams prayed about this direction for months. He admits he was not excited about announcing this new focus to the congregation, which averages a surprising 240 (in a town of 500), as it seemed a fairly drastic departure from what the church was accustomed to.

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | July 16, 2015

Rufus Choate—To The Whig Convention At Worcester, Mass.

American Correspondence

After the collapse of the Whig Party in 1854—caused by their disastrous policy of extending slavery into new states—Rufus Choate joins the Democrats and offers advice to fellow Whigs.

To choose his political connection aright is the most delicate and difficult duty of the citizen. We have made our choice, and we abide by it. We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag and keep step to the music of the Union.



BOSTON, October 1, 1855.

Messrs. Peter Butler, Jr., and Bradley N. Cummings, Secretaries, &c, &c.


Rufus Choate.

I DISCOVER that my engagements will not allow me to attend the convention to be holden at Worcester to-morrow, and I hope that it is not too late to fill the vacancy.

I assure the Whigs of Boston that I should have regarded it as a duty and a privilege, if it had been practicable, to serve as one of their delegates. The business which the convention meets to do gives it extraordinary attraction as well as importance.

Whether we are dead, as reported in the newspapers, or, if not, whether we shall fall upon our own swords and die even so, will be a debate possessing the interest of novelty at least. For one, I deny the death, and object to the suicide, and should be glad to witness the indignation and laughter with which such a question will be taken.

If there shall be in that assembly any man, who, still a Whig, or having been such, now proposes to dissolve the party, let him be fully heard and courteously answered upon his reasons. Let him declare what party we shall join. Neutrality in any sharp civil dissension is cowardly, immoral, and disreputable. To what party, then, does he recommend us? I take it for granted it will not be to the Democratic; I take it for granted, also, not the American. To what other, then? To that of fusion certainly, to the Republican,—so called, I suppose, because it is organized upon a doctrine, and aims at ends, and appeals to feelings, on which one-half of the Republic, by a geographical line, is irreconcilably opposed to the other. Even to that party.

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | July 13, 2015

National Day of the Cowboy

National Day of the Cowboy


National Day of the Cowboy.


Saturday July 25, 2015.
Celebrating the Cowboy.

The 11th annual celebration commemorating one of America’s most notable icons, the cowboy.

(List of Events)

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | July 10, 2015

Weekly Story: Water and Ammo in, Bodies Out

Weekly Story

Former Huey crewchief, James “Bud” Harton relates an experience from the Viet Nam War.

That’s when Ray Dussault became my friend. I heard him scream, not on the intercom, as he jumped into the cabin.


UH-1D Huey.


Water and Ammo in, Bodies Out


In early 1967, I was still with the 2nd Platoon slicks, crewing 6982, “Maid Mary.” 6982 was a brand new “D” model which the Company got to replace one of our aircraft which had crashed and killed the crew in December. I sweated over it everyday, trying to keep it clean, scrubbing the floors out,and a futile attempt to keep the carbon off the tailboom from the jet exhaust.

I had a lot of hours in, was kind of senior in the platoon, when my gunner rotated home. The Platoon Sergeant sent us out to the flight line early one morning for a Combat Assault. He promised me that he would bring my new gunner out to the ship.

I went on out and started getting ready. I popped the cockpit doors open for the pilots who were still being briefed, opened the engine cowling for the pre flight inspection and then got my gear ready.

The platoon 3/4 ton truck skidded to a halt and SSG Lawson dropped off a scruffy little guy wearing a boonie hat with the front brim pinned up. He got out of the truck, dropping his flight helmet to the ground, and then stood up and I got a good look at him.

He was OLD, at least 30. As he rambled over to me, I saw he was already wearing the red scarf that we all wore around his neck. As he came up to me, he stuck out his hand and said,

“Hi! I’m Ray Dussault, I’m your new gunner, I just transferred in.”

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | July 8, 2015

Commentary: Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition


Eileen Norcross, writing for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, rates the fiscal solvency of the various states.


How financially healthy is your state? Most states are nearly back to normal since the Great Reces­sion, although there are troubling signs that many states are still ignoring the risks on their books, mainly in underfunded pensions and health care benefits.


Mercatus Center.


Ranking The States By Fiscal Condition.

Eileen Norcross | Jul 07, 2015

In new research for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Senior Research Fellow Eileen Norcross ranks each US state’s financial health based on short- and long-term debt and other key fiscal obligations, including unfunded pensions and health care benefits. The study, which builds on previous Mercatus research about state fiscal conditions, provides information from the states’ audited financial reports in an easily accessible format, presenting an accurate snapshot of each state’s fiscal health.

With new spending commitments for Medicaid and growing long-term obligations for pensions and health care benefits, states must be ever vigilant to consider both the short- and long-term consequences of policy decisions. Understanding how each state is performing in regard to a vari­ety of fiscal indicators can help state policymakers as they make these decisions.

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | June 30, 2015

Weekly Story: Down In The Valley To Pray

Weekly Story

In 1899, Congregational minister William E. Barton publishes Old Plantation Hymns—a book of songs he collected during his time in Kentucky—”hitherto unpublished.”

It was the writer’s privilege to live in the South from 1880 till 1887, and to come into contact with a good many kinds of people. During the earlier years especially he made careful records of most that interested him, and he supplemented these records as the years went by with whatever came in his way. One of the things which never was allowed to escape was an odd song, secular or religious; and wherever possible the quaint air as well as the words was written down at the time. These have waited for eleven years, and it is time that they were printed if they are to appear at all. It is possible that some have been printed already; but even if so, the variations will be of interest. The most of them, however, are probably new to almost all who will see them here, and many, I am confident, have never been printed or even written before.


Down In The River To Pray—Alison Krauss


Down in the Valley to Pray.


O BROTHER, less go down,
Less go down,
Less go down.
O brother, less go down,
Down in the valley to pray.

‘S I went down in the valley to pray,
Stud-y-in’ a-bout dat good ole way.
You shall wear a starry crown,
Good Lord, show me de way.

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Posted by: Democratic Thinker | June 26, 2015

When They Came For The Southrons

When They Came For The Southrons

UPDATED 10 Jul 2015, added disclaimer.

When they came for the Southrons, I was not a Southron, so I . . .


Painting of the Confederate Battle Flag.


With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.—Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

Read More…

Public Service Notice

Lawfare has divided the Defense Department’s recently released 1204-page Law of War Manual into chapters and posted them on-line.

This manual reflects many years of labor and expertise, on the part of civilian and
military lawyers from every Military Service. It reflects the experience of this Department in applying the law of war in actual military operations, and it will help us remember the hardlearned lessons from the past. Understanding our duties imposed by the law of war and our rights under it is essential to our service in the nation’s defense.—
Stephen W. Preston, General Counsel of the Department of Defense


2015 Defense Department Law of War Manual, By Chapter

On June 12, 2015, the Department of Defense’s Office of General Counsel publicly released its long-anticipated Law of War Manual. For ease of reference, and as a service to Lawfare’s readership, we have broken down the extraordinary, 1204-page tome into more manageable, subject matter chapters, which can be found below.

. . .

(Read the rest at Lawfare)


Kevin Gutzman comments over at the John William Pope Center concerning the new high school Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) courses.


Unfortunately, Americans generally pay little attention to these developments in the teaching of history. Few know that their young continue to be indoctrinated in hostility to America’s history, culture, and traditions.


Pope Center.


Kevin Gutzman.

Why the College Board’s New Standards Would Make Teaching History Even Worse

By Kevin Gutzman

June 24, 2015

Since the 1960s, the academic history profession has changed markedly. Traditional fields such as military history, diplomatic history, intellectual history, religious history, and political history have been deemphasized, when not completely eliminated.

Whether in the typical college’s course offerings, on the typical academic conference’s panel program, in the books, articles, and talks they produce, or in the hiring of new colleagues, professors prefer to talk about “race, class, and gender.” That obsession now crowds out almost everything else in the field of history.

In general, the American past looks to such people like a lengthy symphony of class and racial/ethnic oppression with a leitmotif of sexism and occasional bows in the direction of contrary democratic or egalitarian principles. The only heroes of the story are the subject races, classes, and gender(s), besides the occasional critics of capitalism and Christianity, and anyone who can be cast as a spokesman for those who “should have been” aggrieved.

This is not a new development.

Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | June 18, 2015

Magna Charta, Epilogue

Background of the American Revolution

The barons force King John to sign the Magna Charta, June 15, 1215. Troubles await.

The ravenous and barbarous mercenaries, incited by a cruel and enraged prince, were let loose against the estates, tenants, manors, houses, parks of the barons, and spread devastation over the face of the kingdom.



Magna Charta, Epilogue.


William de Albiney IV—From a drawing of his seal, Lansdowne MS, 203.

THE barons, after obtaining the Great Charter, seem to have been lulled into a fatal security, and to have taken no rational measures, in case of the introduction of a foreign force, for re-assembling their armies. The king was, from the first, master of the field; and immediately laid siege to the castle of Rochester, which was obstinately defended by William de Albiney, at the head of a hundred and forty knights with their retainers, but was at last reduced by famine [30th Nov 30, 1215]. John, irritated with the resistance, intended to have hanged the governor and all the garrison; but; on the representation of William de Mauleon, who suggested to him the danger of reprisals, he was content to sacrifice, in this barbarous manner, the inferior prisoners only. The captivity of William de Albiney, the best officer among the confederated barons, was an irreparable loss to their cause; and no regular opposition was thenceforth made to the progress of the royal arms. The ravenous and barbarous mercenaries, incited by a cruel and enraged prince, were let loose against the estates, tenants, manors, houses, parks of the barons, and spread devastation over the face of the kingdom. Nothing was to be seen but the flames of villages and castles reduced to ashes, the consternation and misery of the inhabitants, tortures exercised by the soldiery to make them reveal their concealed treasures, and reprisals no less barbarous committed by the barons and their partisans on the royal demesnes, and on the estates of such as still adhered to the crown. The king, marching through the whole extent of England, from Dover to Berwick, laid the provinces waste on each side of him; and considered every estate, which was not his immediate property, as entirely hostile, and the object of military execution. The nobility of the north, in particular, who had shown greatest violence in the recovery of their liberties, and who, acting in a separate body, had expressed their discontent even at the concessions made by the Great Charter, as they could expect no mercy, fled before him with their wives and families, and purchased the friendship of Alexander, the young king of Scots, by doing homage to him.

Read More…

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