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View Diary: My Journey as a 9/11 Republican Turned Modern Progressive (263 comments)

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  •  Your next step should be to immerse (9+ / 0-)

    yourself in the actual writings of the American Revolution, with a goal of understanding the historical conflict between democracy-based republican self-government, and oligarchy and aristocracy.  Consider this quote from John Adams' 1765 A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law:

    The poor people, it is true, have been much less successful than the great. They have seldom found either leisure or opportunity to form a union and exert their strength; ignorant as they were of arts and letters, they have seldom been able to frame and support a regular opposition. This, however, has been known by the great to be the temper of mankind; and they have accordingly labored, in all ages, to wrest from the populace, as they are contemptuously called, the knowledge of their rights and wrongs, and the power to assert the former or redress the latter. I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, - Rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws - Rights, derived from the great Legislator of the universe….  Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers…. The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.

    Ben Franklin's Autobiography is wonderful antidote to Rand, especially if you keep in mind 1) Franklin as one of the greatest spy masters in American history; and 2) the dominant at the time Puritan / Quacker / Christian conception of man acting in the image of God (ie, the "pursuit of happiness" was to so understand nature and society through cultivation of the intellect, as to align one's life and actions with to will of God to do good - in other words, promote the general welfare - not some hedonistic accumulation of pleasurable things and experiences. )

    This second point speaks to your distaste for most Christian denominations today. They have been hopelessly corrupted by their accommodation to usury, social injustice, and mass consumerism, and have completely lost sight of what it means to be and act in the image of God. The focus of American "christians" has accordingly shriveled to a preoccupation with personal salvation, while neglecting and ignoring the institutional "structures of sin" that have come to dominate and shape society.

    The largest problem of political economy we have today is to figure out what the economic bases of the United States as a republic is supposed to be. I highly recommend Bernard Bailyn's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution; Frank Bourgin's The Great Crisis: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic; and E.A. Johnson's The Foundations of American Economic Freedom: Government and Enterprise in the Age of Washington. An except from Johnson wrote:

    The general view, discernible in contemporaneous literature, was that the responsibility of government should involve enough surveillance over the enterprise system to ensure the social usefulness of all economic activity. It is quite proper, said Bordley, for individuals to “choose for themselves” how they will apply their labor and their intelligence in production. But it does not follow from this that “legislators and men of influence” are freed from all responsibility for giving direction to the course of national economic development. They must, for instance, discountenance the production of unnecessary commodities of luxury when common sense indicates the need for food and other essentials. Lawmakers can fulfill their functions properly only when they “become benefactors to the publick”; in new countries they must safeguard agriculture and commerce, encourage immigration, and promote manufactures. Admittedly, liberty “is one of the most important blessings which men possess,” but the idea that liberty is synonymous with complete freedom from restraint “is a most unwise, mistaken apprehension.” True liberty demands a system of legislation that will lead all members of society “to unite their exertions” for the public welfare. It should therefore be the policy of government to aid and foster certain activities or kinds of business that strengthen a nation, even as it should be the duty of government to repress “those fashions, habits, and practices, which tend to weaken, impoverish, and corrupt the people.”

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:11:07 AM PST

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