Posted by: Democratic Thinker | October 24, 2018

Daniel Webster—Ichabod

Daniel Webster—January 18, 1782 – October 24, 1852

Daniel Webster.

Why did all manly gifts in Webster fail?
He wrote on Nature’s grandest brow, For Sale.



THIS poem was the outcome of the surprise and grief and forecast of evil consequences which I felt on reading the seventh of March speech of Daniel Webster in support of the “compromise,” and the Fugitive Slave Law. No partisan or personal enmity dictated it. On the contrary my admiration of the splendid personality and intellectual power of the great Senator was never stronger than when I laid down his speech, and, in one of the saddest moments of my life, penned my protest. I saw, as I wrote, with painful clearness its sure results, — the Slave Power arrogant and defiant, strengthened and encouraged to carry out its scheme for the extension of its baleful system, or the dissolution of the Union, the guaranties of personal liberty in the free States broken down, and the whole country made the hunting-ground of slave-catchers. In the horror of such a vision, so soon fearfully fulfilled, if one spoke at all, he could only speak in tones of stern and sorrowful rebuke.

But death softens all resentments, and the consciousness of a common inheritance of frailty and weakness modifies the severity of judgment. Years after, in The Lost Occasion I gave utterance to an almost universal regret that the great statesman did not live to see the flag which he loved trampled under the feet of Slavery, and, in view of this desecration, make his last days glorious in defence of “Liberty and Union, one and inseparable.”

—John Greenleaf Whittier.

SO fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone
Forevermore! Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | November 7, 2017

Eulogy – In Remembrance

Chaos Manor.

Eulogy – In Remembrance

By TheWebGuy | Sep 25, 2017 – 12:25 pm | September 25, 2017 – 12:25 pm | View


As requested by many in attendance at his memorial service and wake

In Remembrance of Jerry Eugene Pournelle
7 August 1933–8 September 2017

As written and delivered by his daughter Jennifer Pournelle at
St. Vincent de Sales Church, Sherman Oaks, California, September 16, 2017

Jerry Pournelle.

I have been asked today to say his eulogy. From the Greek, as he would tell us, meaning true words, spoken in praise of the dead. And as the eldest of his children, presumed by age to know the most about his life, that duty falls to me.

But how is it possible to write truth in praise of a master of fiction? How is it possible to eulogize a man who rose to public acclaim while I was mostly away? Away to school, away to the Army, away to university, away to build my own career?

I cannot say truth about the personality—the public figure, known far better to many of you here than to me. I can only do my best to say truth about the person; about the man. About what I know to be true about the son, the husband, the father, the grandfather—and the loyalist of friends, to those fortunate to know him as a friend.

I begin with what we all know of him: his insatiable intellectual appetite. His breadth of subject was literally encyclopedic: as a child, alone on the farm, his parents away working, he entertained himself by reading the Britannica from A to Z. That reading foreshadowed an essential, but surprisingly inobvious, core trait of his character: iron discipline. Not imposed on others, but imposed on himself. The chaos we all observed around him, immortalized in the household epithet “Chaos Manor,” was actually symptomatic: the result of him making everything—absolutely everything—secondary to being done.

He quite openly expressed this sense of discipline about his writing: writing, he often said, was work. It was not difficult: you merely sat in front of a typewriter until beads of blood popped out on your forehead. Yet he did it, time and again: dozens of novels and anthologies authored and co-authored—eight of them bestsellers. Hundreds of columns, delivered weekly, on time, over decades.

But both his joking aphorism and prodigious output belie the other disciplines that lay behind them. First, his disciplined reading. He read voraciously. He read everything, on every subject. His walls at home are literally lined with enough books to fill a small library—and those are only the ones he kept. Thousands more no doubt fill others’ shelves today, donated to book sales or simply given away. And that’s the books: the breadth of periodicals, online and in print, is staggering. Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | December 18, 2016

Lewis Hayden—December 2, 1811

Lewis Hayden—December 2, 1811-April 7, 1889

Lewis Hayden—Eleven to Convict, One to Acquit.


Eleven to Convict, One to Acquit.

Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | October 11, 2016

Education: How Close is Too Close?


The Police Policy Study Council hosts a reprint of Dennis Tueller’s pioneering reaction-response distance study, first published in March 1983.

At what distance does this adversary enter your Danger Zone and become a lethal threat to you?

DISCLAIMER: Democratic Thinker is a member of the National Rifle Association—and Democratic Thinker supports the right of all citizens to defend themselves during all lawful activities anywhere they find themselves; be it public places, highways and byways, business establishments, churches, schools, etc.


Visit The Police Policy Council

This timeless classic, credited with first establishing the importance of maintaining a “reactionary gap,” appeared in the March 1983 issue of SWAT magazine.

How Close is Too Close?

by Dennis Tueller

The “good guy” with the gun against the “bad guy” with the knife (or machete, axe, club, tire-iron, etc.).  “No contest”, you say. “The man with the gun can’t lose.” Or can he? A great deal depends on his ability with that gun and the proximity of his opponent.

If, for example, our hero shoots his would-be attacker at a distance of 20 yards, he loses. Not the fight, you understand, but most probably his freedom because he will almost certainly be charged with murder. The only thing that justifies your shooting another human being is the immediate need to stop him from trying to kill you (or someone else), remember?

If, on the other hand, our hero waits to fire until his attacker is within obvious striking distance, he may still lose. His shots may not stop his attacker instantly enough to keep him from using his knife.

So, what is the answer – just how close is too close?
Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | September 30, 2016

Commentary: The Battle for Religious Liberty


Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, states his concerns over the late attacks of religious liberty in the United States. He lists four progressive steps by which opponents of religious liberty use to reach their goals—Caricaturization, Marginalization, Discrimination, and Persecution.

The secularists in our society seek to redefine the First Amendment protection of the “free exercise” of religion, to a mere right of worship. In other words, their view is: “If you are going to be bigoted in your pro-life views or your view that marriage is between a man and a woman and that fornication (both heterosexual and homosexual) is morally wrong—then you must confine your views within the four walls of your sanctuary. But don’t bring your bigotry into the public square.”

PE News.

The Battle for Religious Liberty

by George O. Wood on 22 July 20, 2016



I feel impelled to write you this most unusual pastoral letter. I do it out of deep concern and I ask you to hear my heart.

We are on the precipice of losing critical religious liberty protections in our country. Over the past 25 years, the Supreme Court has severely limited the traditional understanding of the First Amendment to the Constitution. While matters like selection of ministers and internal doctrinal issues are probably not under near-term threat, the Constitution is no longer interpreted by courts to give people of faith, as well as the schools and service ministries we form, the protection we need in order to fully live out the implications of our most cherished beliefs. Meanwhile state courts, legislatures and city councils around the country have moved to further narrow the protections granted for religious liberty, as their citizens must choose between adherence to religious faith and full participation in the public square.

The threats to religious freedom that are now upon us can be likened to the frog put into a pan of water placed on the stove. The water warms gradually and the frog does not realize its peril until it is too late to jump out of the pan.

Many evangelical and Pentecostal believers and leaders have not been previously alarmed at how the “pan” has been gradually heated in the assault against religious liberty. For example, in our own Fellowship I and district offices contacted nearly two thousand credentialed ministers to support a religious freedom bill just a month ago that was before a committee in the Missouri House of Representatives. Less than 15 percent of them even bothered to respond. The bill failed in committee and significant religious liberty protections were lost. We are like the situation described by Jesus in the parable of the weeds and the wheat: “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat” (Matt. 13:25). We have largely been sleeping. Have we awakened too late?

I trust not.

Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | September 23, 2016

Emerson—Social Aims

American Thought

Ralph Waldo Emerson compares the effectiveness of manners with—among other things—that of public laws.

Manners are the revealers of secrets, the betrayers of any disproportion or want of symmetry in mind and character. It is the law of our constitution that every change in our experience instantly indicates itself on our countenance and carriage, as the lapse of time tells itself on the face of a clock. We may be too obtuse to read it, but the record is there. Some men may be obtuse to read it, but some men are not obtuse and do read it.

In December, 1864, Emerson delivers a lecture during a course on American Life before the Parker Fraternity. The lecture—with minor revisions by his editor James E. Cabot—would be first published in 1876 as an essay in Letters and Social Aims.

Social Aims.


MUCH ill-natured criticism has been directed on American manners. I do not think it is to be resented. Rather, if we are wise, we shall listen and mend. Our critics will then be our best friends, though they did not mean it. But in every sense the subject of manners has a constant interest to thoughtful persons. Who does not delight in fine manners? Their charm cannot be predicted or overstated. ‘T is perpetual promise of more than can be fulfilled. It is music and sculpture and picture to many who do not pretend to appreciation of those arts. It is even true that grace is more beautiful than beauty. Yet how impossible to overcome the obstacle of an unlucky temperament and acquire good manners, unless by living with the well-bred from the start; and this makes the value of wise forethought to give ourselves and our children as much as possible the habit of cultivated society.

‘T is an inestimable hint that I owe to a few persons of fine manners, that they make behavior the very first sign of force,—behavior, and not performance, or talent, or, much less, wealth. Whilst almost everybody has a supplicating eye turned on events and things and other persons, a few natures are central and forever unfold, and these alone charm us. He whose word or deed you cannot predict, who answers you without any supplication in his eye, who draws his determination from within, and draws it instantly,—that man rules.

The staple figure in novels is the man of aplomb, who sits, among the young aspirants and desperates, quite sure and compact, and, never sharing their affections or debilities, hurls his word like a bullet when occasion requires, knows his way, and carries his points. They may scream or applaud, he is never engaged or heated. Napoleon is the type of this class in modern history; Byron’s heroes in poetry. But we for the most part are all drawn into the charivari; we chide, lament, cavil, and recriminate.

I think Hans Andersen’s story of the cobweb cloth woven so fine that it was invisible,—woven for the king’s garment,—must mean manners, which do really clothe a princely nature. Such a one can well go in a blanket, if he would. In the gymnasium or on the sea-beach his superiority does not leave him. But he who has not this fine garment of behavior is studious of dress, and then not less of house and furniture and pictures and gardens, in all which he hopes to lie perdu, and not be exposed.

Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | September 7, 2016

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Prisoner of War and Missing in Action
Recognition Day

POW/MIA—You Are Not Forgotten.

September 16th

POW/MIA—You Are Not Forgotten.


Click to visit the National League of POW/MIA Families.
Visit The National League of POW/MIA Families.
Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 20, 2016

Isaac Watts—Am I a Soldier of the Cross

Western Thought

In 1709 Isaac Watts writes a two-part sermon on Christian courage. To illustrate the first section he writes a still popular hymn.

Where the life or the estate of our neighbour is in danger, we must venture something to secure it, as well as to defend his good name. This advice is given in Prov. xxiv. 11, 12, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn out to death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider?” That is, if there are any persons drawn out to death, and ready to be slain by sinful oppression, and thou hast a just and reasonable power in thine hand to preserve them, it is not thy duty to stand still or hide thyself, and say, “Behold I knew it not.”


Holy fortitude, or remedies against fear.

l COR. xvi. 13.—Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.


IN the first ages of Christianity the professors of the gospel had great need of divine courage, that they might stand the many shocks of opposition, reproach and violence. The Corinthian heathens, though they were a polite and learned people, yet they were blind and obstinate in their own superstitions and idolatry, and rooted in the profane and vicious customs of their ancestors. It required a large, stock of holy fortitude, to profess and practise a new religion among them, that ran counter to all their former opinions, and their manners. Therefore, St. Paul, who planted the gospel in that city, calls upon his converts to shake off cowardice and fear, to stand firm and unmoved in the profession of their faith, to behave like men of war, like heroes, in the practice of Christianity, and to exert all their strength of soul in this glorious work: “Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

It is true we live not in a heathen country, among lewd and barbarous superstitions: the land where our lot is cast, is honoured with the Christian name, and professes the religion of Jesus; yet, let me tell you, infidelity is a growing temptation of this age; the gospel of Christ hath plentiful ridicule thrown upon it, by many of our neighbours that go under the name of Christians; and we may sometimes be called to put on courage for the, defence of the gospel.

But, besides this, there are many things occurring in the divine life, that require us to put on this holy fortitude of soul. The very nature of men is so corrupt and vicious, their hearts are so averse to the holy precepts of Christianity, the multitude of sinners is so exceeding great in every nation, even where the gospel is professed, the customs of this world are so contrary to the rules of the gospel, and the malice and rage of Satan, with his evil angels, is so constant and so violent against the religion and the name of Christ, that it is true, at all times (as well as in the primitive ages), “that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution;” 2 Tim. iii. 12. When we become soldiers of Christ, and resolve to be religious in good earnest, we must reckon upon enemies and oppositions, we must be prepared to “endure hardness,” chap. ii. ver. 3.

Our business, therefore, is to seek for a spirit of power and holy fortitude, that we may be void of fear in the profession of our faith, and in the practice of our daily duties. Not the Corinthians only, but we also, must “watch and stand fast in the faith; we must quit ourselves like men, and be strong.” If we are affrighted at the sound of every reproach, or terrified by the fierce opposition of a wicked world, we shall be in danger of turning back from the paths of Christianity, and of losing the heavenly prize. Such doctrines and such practices as the gospel teaches, require the professors of them to be bold and valiant.

Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 15, 2016

National Aviation Day—August 19

National Aviation Day.
August 19.


Wright Flier—First Flight.

Wright Flier—First Flight.


High Flight.


OH! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, —and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of —Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air ….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

—John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 5, 2016

Monarchical Theory of Modern Europe

Background of the American Revolution

In 1830, John Allen—Master of Dulwich College—publishes a history of the rise of the monarchy in England.

The Kings of the Barbarians were delighted with the titles and trappings of the empire, and with childish vanity in the imitation of Roman forms and customs.





Monarchical Theory of Modern Europe.
[Second Chapter]


Canon and Feudal Law.

IT is in the first place to be observed that the fiction of an ideal King, to whom all the powers of sovereignty are confided, is not peculiar to England. It is to be found in all the monarchies of Europe, established on the subversion of the Roman empire. However different in other respects, all these governments agree in recognizing, as the fundamental principle of their constitution, that the sovereign power of the commonwealth resides in the King. It is in the next place a coincidence not less remarkable, that, after teeing down this principle in terms the most general and unqualified, they all agree in admitting certain constitutional checks and limitations on the exercise of the supreme and absolute authority with which he is vested. What the law appears to give, long-established usage is supposed, in the most arbitrary governments, to moderate and restrain. In theory the King of France, before the revolution, was held in law to be an absolute, but in practice to be a limited, monarch. His power was said to be supreme, but it was to be administered according to fundamental laws. He was the source of all authority civil and political, but he was to govern by the fixed courts and magistracies of his kingdom. His will was law, and, as such, was to be obeyed; but in issuing his commands, he was bound to respect the honour and even the prejudices of his subjects. He was the judge of his people, but he could not exercise any judicial function in person. He was the sole proprietor of land in his kingdom, but he could deprive no man of his inheritance, unless by a judgment of law, over which he had no control. If he transgressed these rules, he ceased to be a King, and degenerated into a despot.1

1 Esprit des Lois, ii. 1,4; iii. 8, 10; vi. 5; viii. 6; xxvi. 15.

Read More…


An original intern of the Viking program recalls the day of the Mars landing.


I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space.—-President Kennedy, Address to Congress, May 25, 1961.

Sky & Telescope.

40th Anniversary of Viking’s Red Planet Rendezvous

By: Richard Tresch Fienberg | July 18, 2016

July 20. The date is instantly recognizable to space enthusiasts as the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969. But another major space-exploration anniversary shares the same date. Can you name which one? Perhaps if you’re a Baby Boomer.

On July 20, 1976, NASA’s Viking 1 lander touched down safely on Mars, becoming the first spacecraft to do so. The milestone was originally scheduled for July 4th, to coincide with the U.S. bicentennial celebration. But images from the Viking 1 orbiter — the lander’s mother ship — revealed the planned landing site to be more boulder-strewn than expected. It took 16 days for mission scientists to find a less hazardous alternative. Two months later, on September 3rd, the twin Viking 2 lander also made a successful touchdown.

Viking 1 Lander's first image

The first photo from the surface of Mars shows one of the Viking 1 lander’s footpads.

This past Saturday, July 16th, some 200 of the mission’s surviving scientists and engineers and their families, along with many younger space explorers inspired by the Vikings, gathered at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver, Colorado, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Viking 1 landing.
Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | February 22, 2016

American Life: Safety of the Highways

American Life

In 1926 Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co. begins an advertising campaign targeting independent women.

What will you advise your mother, sister or “the only girl” to do? Stay in the house at night? Try and do it!


Suppose he had not arrived.—Click to View Full-Size.


A tip o’ the hat to Oklahoma Sun.

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | January 24, 2016

Commentary: Happy New Year of the Trees


Cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen—over at the Dry Bones Blog—comments on the start of a Jewish holiday.


So Tu B’Shvat simply means the “15th of Shvat”.


the Dry Bones Blog

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Happy New Year of the Trees


Tu B’Shvat is the Jewish “New Year” of the trees. On Tu B’Shvat we plant trees For future generations. Tu is the number 15 in the biblical numbering system (which uses the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet). B’ is Hebrew for “in”. Shvat is the current month in the Hebrew calendar. …

(Read complete article at original site)

Read More…

Posted by: Democratic Thinker | January 21, 2016

Weekly Story: The Great Seal

Weekly Story

Naval Officer George Henry Preble documents the development of the Great Seal of the United States of America.

Dr. Franklin proposed for the device Moses lifting his wand and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh and his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. For a motto, the words of Cromwell, “REBELLION TO TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD.”




“AS well might the Judas of treason endeavor
To write his black name on the disk of the sun
As try the bright star-wreath that binds us to sever,
And blot the fair legend of ‘Many in One.’”—0. W. Holmes.


Seal commonly used.
Seal commonly used.

DR. Franklin, Mr. John Adams, and Mr. Thomas Jefferson were appointed a committee to prepare a device for a great seal for the United States of America, July 4, 1776,* the very day of the Declaration of Independence.

* Journal of Congress.

Du Simitière, a French West Indian, a silhouette cutter of portraits, and painter of miniatures, water-colors, &c., was called to their assistance, and proposed a device showing on a shield the arms of the nations from whence America was peopled, with a figure of Liberty on one side and an American rifleman on the other for supporters.*

Du Simitière’s Design.
Du Simitière’s Design.

* The illustrations of designs for the great seal are reduced fac-similes of the designs on file in the State Department at Washington, excepting Jefferson’s design, which was drawn by Beason J. Lossing, LL.D., from the description of it reported to Congress. See an interesting article on the subject in ‘Harper’s Magazine,’ for 1856, by Mr. Lossing, also ‘Wells’s Illustrated Handbook,’ 1856, on the great seal of the United States, and the article on ‘The Seal of the United States’ in Nicholson’s Encyclopedia.

Dr. Franklin proposed for the device Moses lifting his wand and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh and his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. For a motto, the words of Cromwell, “REBELLION TO TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD.

Adams proposed ‘The Choice of Hercules,’ as engraved by Gribelin: the hero resting on a club; Virtue pointing to her rugged mountain on one hand, and persuading him to ascend; and Sloth, glancing at her flowery paths of pleasure, wantonly reclining on the ground, displaying the charms both of her eloquence and person to seduce him into vice.

Read More…

Older Posts »