Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Modern Jacksonian - Chapter 10 - Honor

“Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defence and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.” - Andrew Jackson

Defending our Nation and its way of life is more than just military service or police service, those are high forms of defense, but not as high as defending yourself, defending your family, defending your society.  Without those latter three you do not get the former and see, instead, Warlords, rogue armies, bands of thieves and strongmen coming to power.  The basic defense against the latter are ensuring that the simple things are done in protecting yourself, your family, your society as they are the basis for creating law and a just way to add other defenses above and beyond the basics.  If we cannot put forward that these things are worth defending in our daily lives, then we will not have them to cherish and the Nation will perish for lack of caring and oversight.  Then we go one step further and require that we, as individuals, set aside negative liberties that we have via the Law of Nature and agree to invest those in accountable institutions that come to be known as government.  Civilization follows the path of civility towards our fellow citizens so that we may entrust the negative liberties in government and not have them used upon us.  Without that basic trust in our fellow man we do not get justice, we do not get civility and life would be very, very short.

Living an honorable life means doing some few basic things, and the overall thrust was encapsulated in a short, pithy button I saw some years ago.  It is most simple.


Do what you Say.

Say what you Mean.

Mean what you Do.

A simple set of concepts that interlock, that give feedback, and that help in guiding one's life.  Honor is a feedback mechanism and one of the highest we have as social animals as having it requires an individual to go beyond more than espousing things, or doing things, or meaning things: it requires all three.

Do as you Say

Political adversaries act simplisticly, so as to attack these basic precepts of honor.  A common attack for those that did not support the Iraq war was the 'Chickenhawk' attack, which took the base notion that only by serving in the armed forces did one have an ability to advocate for war.  That idea, however, while noble with the Spartans is ignoble in a society in which the basis for defending a Nation, as a whole, is defending yourself, your family and your society, in which everyone does not have to serve in the armed forces... or die.  If those supporting the 'Chickenhawk' meme would just come out and advocate for universal service or death, I would have no problem with that position as they have worked through the honorable method to advocate it and find the pre-requisites for it.  Of course that would require military training from the youngest age and a pure survival ethos culminating in individuals being pitted against wild beasts to survive as a rite of passage.  To advocate for anything less is dishonorable as the means to get to that end are not put forth for equality of citizens to speak on a subject.  Yet it is many of those same individuals who will talk forever on equality, and just want you to shut up when you disagree with them.  And then cast ill-thought out and childish slurs that a five year old might comprehend, but that an adult can, and must eschew.  For if the only one qualified to talk about war are those who have served, then they are also the only ones qualified to talk about making peace.  These two go together, and the absolute requirement on advocating war is also the exact, same, one for setting the goals of peace.  If you want to advocate peace and hold the 'Chickenhawk' meme, then serve in the armed forces and advocate for an all-military guided culture.  Just like the Spartans.

And be prepared for the hatred you will get for wanting to rip our current culture apart.

I hate war and it is the very and absolute worst thing that can be done by a Nation, save for suffering from injustice from an ill-thought out peace that makes a Nation suffer.  No one goes lightly into war, save Warlords, Dictators, Despots and Tyrants, who will use any excuse for self-aggrandizement and distraction of their people from their absolutely base activities.  In Iraq, in Desert Storm, we came to an agreement with Saddam Hussein known as a 'cease-fire'.  That cease-fire required him to do many things that he voluntarily agreed to do.  Our outlook as a Nation, set at the Founding, was that we are a Nation that abides by the Law of Nations, and even state that as a basis for Congress to create Law in the US Constitution.  As de Vattel described in Law of Nations, an agreement made during active hostilities is a treaty and fully binding.  Worse is that making such an agreement is absolutely binding on all parties involved, without recourse to anything but War.  That is fundamental as far back as Grotius and dates back even further to previous hostilities waged by Nations back to the beginnings of the first City States.  And the basic premise for that is very, very simple:  if you can't trust someone's word during wartime then just when, exactly, can you trust them?  When one side dishonors a wartime agreement before a final peace settlement, the only action to be taken is to start hostilities again... or sue for peace and hope such a dishonorable foe will have some honor in peace while your Nation is subjugated to unjust rulers, which start at the one willing to sign such a peace treaty.

For many years my Nation has had dishonorable leadership that would not hold Saddam Hussein to account for his uncivilized behavior in regards to a cease-fire signed onto willingly by him.  That agreement was binding by all traditions and the logic of war, itself.  Deceit in preparing for more war during a cease-fire or even in not holding to the agreement and doing the things stated by a leader, is not only dishonorable it is uncivilized and base in attitude.  It is what we come to expect of dictators, tyrants, despots, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes of all stripes.  They are looking out for the hides of those in power, and care nothing of their people and will do anything, say anything and break any law, vow or treaty to that end.  They will enslave their people and murder them wantonly, without any regard to social norms or customs.  They will indoctrinate children to report on parents and tear at the fabric of what makes the world civilized, and then deceitfully claim they are doing it for a good cause or acting to better their people.  Yet the sweet words and soothing attitudes belies the blood on their hands and those imprisoned due to conscience.

Do as you Say and realize what it is that you Say means and what it requires.

Or shut the hell up until you figure it out and can offer something approaching a reasoned attitude on the world.  A worse tyranny of a world run by 5 year olds I cannot imagine, as whatever flitting idea of 'good' tends to last in times measured by seconds, and changes based on simplistic understandings of a complex world driven by simple motivations.  It takes time to disabuse oneself of the idea that simplistic remedies actually *work*, and to address actual, simple motivations and outlooks, and then understand that they make complexity in their multiplicity.

Say what you Mean

Pin a politician down on a subject and you get jello.

Politicians dare not say what they mean as to do so would require them to then act in accordance with what they say, and as so many like to point out: 'politics is about negotiation'.

But it isn't.

Treaties are about negotiation, how one runs a Nation in service to its people is about abiding by the culture and society of those people and not abrogating it.  That puts limits on politicians who want to do many things that they see as 'good' but just can't find agreement in the culture or society.  So they 'negotiate'.  They want others to step away from their beliefs and principles and start giving them away.  That is a great disrespect towards one of the fundamental principles that came to us from before the Founding, and that was in the very long treaty put forward in the Peace of Westphalia.  We get to be under that treaty due to the lineage of the royal family in England at the Restoration having been covered by that self-same treaty while that family was in Europe.  It is a Universal Treaty, which means that if you come from a Nation that is covered by it or your Nation derives direct  lineage from a Nation that was under it, you get the Treaty unless you specifically disavow it.  Nations sign up to Treaties and rebellious Colonies need to establish their start by saying just what it is, exactly, they are not continuing from the originating Nation.  Brand new Nations on undiscovered territory, or territory left vacant can start out with an absolute clean slate.  The United States kept to its traditions and upholds the Peace of Westphalia, which requires a separation of Church and State in the Secular realm, and which avows for toleration of religion.  As the Universal Peace spread, religious toleration became its cornerstone as well as shifting to move the areas of the Secular out from Sacred rule by God.  That does not mean that we do not use the wisdom and teachings found in religious views: on the contrary they form the basis for our culture and society and we must uphold those.  That upholding must be done to respect areas of religious disagreement and keep those areas absolutely in the cultural realm and away from the realm of Secular government.  That includes those who wish to profess the belief of no divine being, as it is also another belief in the realm of religious views.

The greatest backers for this, at the time of the Founding, were the leading churches.  Many of those had been first established in lands where they were not respected as those Nations had not broadened their views on religion and kept to more exacting views of Westphalia.  Fearing repression, social stigma and even death, those settlers left from those lands and came here and the very last thing they wanted to do was to establish a Nation that followed any, single religion.  The greatest backers for a Secular State were Christians, because they had seen what other Christians of differing sects would do to them and wanted nothing of that.  Yes, indeed, the Nation was founded by Christians!  Catholics, Calvinists, Quakers, Pilgirms, Church of England, Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, Unitarians... see, all believed in *exactly* the same thing, right?  No?  Sorry, they didn't cotton on to this 'broad category defines everything' concept of Christianity that so many in the modern world wish to put into their minds and mouths.  That was the point of coming to a new land - to found a new way of life that would then be picked up by the Nation - Freedom of Religion.  That did not mean that religion had no part to play in politics, and far from it.  The idea that good law would come from sound understanding of belief that would have wide appeal and infringe the rights of no one is one that comes from Westphalia and those that were persecuted as they were not covered by the Peace.  If God directed a good way of life, then those same ways of living should have wide appeal as the Divine inspired them.  Getting a majority to believe in any one aspect of any religiously founded law was a hard thing to do as one went up the ladder of governing size: something that works great in a small town may fail in the Nation.

That gave the Nation a firm basis to accept Federalism and to allow great leeway to the States and other municipalities under them to self-govern.  Very basic guidelines set up by that compact known as the Constitution would ensure the greatest play of liberty to exercise freedoms to find good ways to live with the most minimal of interference.  That also means that the rights and liberties of minorities and individuals are to be respected so long as they do not go outside the realm of those things agreed-upon in the Secular realm of governance.  Majority does, indeed, rule, but we have equal protection under the law to protect religion.  This strange and modern idea to use non-believer views to try and get the basis for good law making *out* of the Secular realm, that being Divine Inspiration, is nuts.  If a good law can be found in the religious realm and gains wide acceptance as a good way to do things and can be established with infringing on NO other religion, then that is damned good.  Good laws should stand no matter where they come from.  And those inspired to explain their views enrich our society even and especially when we disagree with them: they have taken the civil path to appeal and accept that some will not agree with them.

Saying what you Mean is more than just spouting off: it is the attempt to show that one can find reasonable basis for their views that have some greater backing within themselves.  Often those views will be contrary to how the world operates and it is up to the individual to do that reconciliation for themselves - even if it comes to stepping up on a soapbox, shouting and waving your fist about.  Do, indeed, pay out millions or billions to have other people advocate them for you!  It is good for the economy!  It doesn't make the views given any more right or wrong, just gets them heard more widely.  Own up to your backing and the honor is complete, as you are willing to put yourself forward as an advocate.  Attempting to hide those contacts and associations and pay-offs is dishonorable, because we can no longer judge what you say from you, and if you really mean it... or just have lots of cash to hide those positions from others for pure personal reasons, such as profit or power.

Mean what you Do

Simple, easy, deadly.

Killing one with kindness or because they 'know what is good for you' is, perhaps, one of the most deadly and insidious forms of activity known to mankind.  We have entire Private War organizations set up because they mean what they do and have been doing it since the dawn of civilization.  And we have those that reappear when the time to confront them draws neigh who ask if we can't pay those nasty people off since we are so good... or so religious... or so incapable of defending ourselves... that actually doing something to stop the barbarians would just be too much work.  Even when woefully inadequate civilizations, like Rome in its decaying days or the Hittites when they saw not only a change in weather variations but a slew of Sea People coming to ravage their cities, and those uncivilized forces actually 'win', they do not leave a new civilization in their wake.  They meant to kill for their causes, be it for sheer plunder or to enforce their religious views on a grand scale, and what they always do once they 'win' is to suppress, oppress, kill wantonly and set no law down that they will abide by.  They can and do change cultures, by sheer dint of killing people off and suppressing previous culture, but they are not a creative force in their destruction of what exists and they have no higher set of morals to be held accountable to.

Standing up to that requires not only opposing those who act like that, but preparing for them.  That does mean military forces against despotic States or Rogue States, but they are, when all is said and done, Nation States.  The Law of Nations applies to them and it is a civilized set of standards on how Nations act, interact and come into conflict.  These others, these 'non-state actors' have gained other names throughout history: armies of thieves, brigands, pirates and terrorists are but a few in this class.  No matter their skin color, ethnicity, or culture they come from, they shuck those all aside for the absolute liberty of the Law of Nature and the rule of the powerful on the weak, the predators on prey and the scavengers on any that are weak enough to succumb to them.  To those ends the State has its hands tied under the Law of Nations for regularized State activity in warfare: it can deploy all the civil tools at its disposal, make those as harsh as possible and augment the military whenever direct military conflict is sought.  Nations can, must and do fight those off and seek their bases... and expect help and cooperation from all Nations in doing that and rejecting the international lawlessness seeking to undermine Nations. 

Further, there is one other option to the Nation and it is a nasty tool that can turn on the unskilled user of it.  As those that attack are individuals, then the Nation can empower individuals to go after them in direct proportion to damage caused to the Nation as a whole.  It is a 1:1 deal, and in times past those who were empowered to do this were called Privateers: Private Citizens empowered to take up military arms for the State in service to the Nation.  And they were held to the military codes for their activity in doing so.  In a wide-open, mostly uncharted world, those individuals could, themselves, turn Rogue and go out for themselves.  Today that is far less possible, although it can still be done as terrorists and pirates, to this day, have demonstrated.  And they, in turn, would be hunted down.  Nations quickly learned that hiring Pirates was likely to have a blade plunged into those things they expected to be protected, which is why Citizens were used when the military forces could not properly go after these individuals in other lands.  Paying off terrorists with 'a little today, they can be reasoned with' emboldens them to attack more, demand more and call you weak. 

Because you are.

This is a two-fold path of politics and private affairs at the National level.  Being 'strong on terrorism' requires more than a strong military, more than confronting regimes harboring such people and groups, and far, far more than law enforcement.  To defend the State honorably, the Citizen must take up responsible arms on his own behalf.  No Nation, no matter how powerful, can repeal the Law of Nature, and the absolute right to defend oneself against those waging Private War transcends culture and ethnicity.  It is a right we have as humans without regard to any other thing.  The derivative right to protect property is one that develops out of positive liberty and the right to defend it, and if you wish to own anything for your temporary time in this life, then the ability to raise arms to defend them are necessary as no Nation, no matter how dictatorial, authoritarian or totalitarian, can protect your goods for you.  And most come to take them away when they are that powerful, and your right does not, cannot and will not disappear until you are enslaved, bound, shackled and kept from any means of freeing yourself to enact liberty for yourself with freedom.

The use of arms, be it for military purposes or for private defense, brings along with it social accountability for that self-same use.  Nations are accountable for their militaries, be they Public or Private, both must be held to the scrutiny of the Law of Nations and the Laws of War.  The Individual is accountable for their use of arms to those societal organs known as 'government' which enact laws to uphold the common good of the Citizenry.  As Citizens we have seen some weapons come into the hands of criminals and outlaws to raise domestic death tolls, and yet the place to divide between military and civil use of arms has come into question.  If automatic weapons are so awful, then why is it the favored weapon of terrorists... next to the bomb made up of plastic explosives, that is?  They are outlaws: they operate outside the law and many civil jurisdictions have made those weapons restricted and terrorists cannot and will not follow those codes.  If they are caught before acquiring arms, there is an attempt to show how pitiful their plans are.  And if they are caught after getting them, you get a death toll.  Societies have done similar for high explosives, fuel-air explosives, and other forms of weapons, like thermonuclear devices.  And yet, when a Rogue State makes such arms and threatens to ally itself with unaccountable Private War groups to carry out National policy, how is this in any way different from England, Spain, France and Portugal hiring Pirates to do their dirty work?

One of the prime reasons that Citizens push to have some of these weapons, and mostly in the 'I can learn how to skillfully use this and not endanger my fellow man' form where practice and skill trump criminal use, we see a society that remembers the wanton criminal use and a very bloody St. Valentine's Day.  Those who push for the puissant skill of law enforcement to protect society and the citizenry from illegal use can then find those who take up such arms and armored protection outgunning those self-same law enforcement officers.  And seeing blood on the streets as the restriction of these weapons have not put an end to their use.  Worse is that the law abiding Citizenry cannot stand up to be more than a target unless they are one of the self-select handful studying the accurate use of larger bore rifles at astonishing distances.  That rarity has led to scarcity and the ability of gangs to wantonly kill using any means or method at their disposal.  And that trump card of snipers is no longer supported by the Nation via sponsored events to ensure that the population has such skills available.

Our agreement, as Citizens is in that Preamble to the Constitution as We speak with One voice on what We declare We will do with or without government.  We believe in greater unity with our fellow man to form a more perfect Union in this Nation, allowing that absolute perfection is denied Us in the mortal realm.  We agree to abide by the Laws of the Land, the Laws of the States and Local Laws and to establish Justice in that doing and in every other thing We do in life - We are a Just people.  We seek Domestic Tranquility, which is the orderly functioning of the Laws seeking Just means to create more perfect Unity.  Then we agree to provide for the common defense.  When We the People agree to stand up for the common defense, it is not *just* the law enforcement agencies, military or National Guard.  It is in our lives as individuals that we seek not only defense, but tranquility, justice and more perfect unity.

That is our word to each other as Citizens agreeing to be Citizens of the United States.

That is what We Say as a people.

The meaning, however, now appears to be lost.

Is it any wonder we don't know what to do?

I know what those words Say, and they are my agreement to you as a Citizen.

I know that they Mean, I must abide by them in my daily life.

And everything I Do must carry that Meaning with it for those things.

When I fail I am more than willing to hold myself accountable to Justice.

I hold my Nation's Honor as my own, and I much prefer that those in charge of it....

Do as they Say.

Say what they Mean.

Mean what they Do.


Don't you?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Yet more of the decline of America and all things good

The following was originally presented at Dumb Looks Still Free and here, and I will add a few observations at this point in time.

One of the themes I was unaware of, when writing this, was the strong link between the Whiskey Rebellion, during the term of President Washington, and the migration of the no-tax rebels to the territory then outside of federal control in Kentuck. That hard core group of rebels moved after the rebellion, as they did not seek bloodshed, just the freedom from onerous taxation placed on a volume of liquid, not per transaction. The poor Scotch-Irish in Pennsylvania had few choices with whiskey as a medium of exchange that was readily acceptable to those without cash. This early presence in America was brought to my attention by the History Channel's Rumrunners, Moonshiners and Bootleggers, which delves into the history of hard liquor on the wild side in America.

When looking at the two campaigns remaining today, the rural/urban divide is apparent and in stark contrast, with only one ticket possibly realizing just what that contrast *is*. It will be interesting to see if that campaign has the wit to realize that it can grab that divide and the majority of the population with it, on more than just a political basis. That divide is cultural, and as I go through in the article, it is one that goes back prior to the founding of the Nation. It is the actual divide in America and it is simple, and very complex. It is the reason we seek to have government that governs, not rules, and it is why so much of the nation is turned off by modern politicians who believe that rule making leads to order. Just the opposite as it is society that creates order and government that enforces the absolute bounds of what can be allowed in civil society. As government is the punisher, so should it be restricted in power and the people have the highest authority over what is and is not allowable within society. That is civil discourse, and government is the last and least place to have those discussions and put rules in place about them.

Of the four left to campaign, only the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, understands this and brings the frontiersman ethos and ethical background to address this cultural divide. That is an understanding that government must have limits and that it has no business in dictating the lives of the people to the people. It will be interesting to see if the campaign she is a part of has the wits to know that and have her campaign based on culture and how it brings her to her politics... instead of having politics dictate culture as those in love with the other side of the divide want. A starker contrast cannot be drawn based on that culture and view of ethical government run by those who hold themselves accountable for their actions. You still get politics out of that, but not the 'anything I can get away with' style of today.

In the meantime those cherished roots of kith, kin, hearth and home were brought over by many and still exist, to this day. A good way to live leading to a good life, and barest essential government to live with. So that the American people can live free and determine their own society without government dictating it to us.

After this, the original article is presented as-is, with no corrections in spelling, syntax or logic, anywhere.

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society-the farmers, mechanics, and laborers-who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.

- President Andrew Jackson's Bank Veto Message, 10 JUL 1832 (Source: The Avalon Project)

Michael Hirsch's latest article at Newsweek on How the South Won (This) Civil War, 25 APR 2008, brings to mind the outlook and views of President Jackson and Jacksonians as he cites them as being a part of America that is doing things that he just doesn't like. Apparently he, like Bill O'Reilly, is bemoaning the slow decline of American culture and cites the Scots-Irish in the South as the source of it, and I will take the liberty of extensively quoting his article so as to examine just what it *is* that he is going after:

In part this is a triumph of demographics. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge observed in their 2004 book, "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America," the nation's population center has been "moving south and west at a rate of three feet an hour, five miles a year." Another author, Anatol Lieven, in his 2005 book "America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism," describes how the "radical nationalism" that has so dominated the nation's discourse since 9/11 traces its origins to the demographic makeup and mores of the South and much of the West and Southern Midwest--in other words, what we know today as Red State America. This region was heavily settled by Scots-Irish immigrants--the same ethnic mix King James I sent to Northern Ireland to clear out the native Celtic Catholics. After succeeding at that, they then settled the American Frontier, suffering Indian raids and fighting for their lives every step of the way. And the Southern frontiersmen never got over their hatred of the East Coast elites and a belief in the morality and nobility of defying them. Their champion was the Indian-fighter Andrew Jackson. The outcome was that a substantial portion of the new nation developed, over many generations, a rather savage, unsophisticated set of mores. Traditionally, it has been balanced by a more diplomatic, communitarian Yankee sensibility from the Northeast and upper Midwest. But that latter sensibility has been losing ground in population numbers--and cultural weight.

This is, as they say in refined circles, garbage. The lineage of both the Scots-Irish and the Protestant English, Dutch and Germanic peoples that came to the Northeast and Upper Midwest had very similar lines of society to those of the Scots-Irish, although with a more taciturn view of things than the more rambunctious cousins to the South. The differences between rural life in the Deep South and Northeast was that of basic religious outlook between the deep Protestants in the North East and the more Catholic lines in the South, but both led to similar problems for poor, rural communities in both regions. The Yankee tinkerer is no different in outlook than the Southern Frontiersman, save that one had to fight climate and government to keep kith and kin alive while the other had to fight hostile natives, government, and brew up whisky while keeping kith and kin alive. In fact, as Rev. A. L. Perry would write about in 1890, the Scots-Irish were very much IN New England (Source: Library Ireland):

The Scotch-Irish did not enter New England unheralded. Early in the spring of 1718 Rev. Mr. Boyd was dispatched from Ulster to Boston as an agent of some hundreds of those people who expressed a strong desire to remove to New England, should suitable encouragement be afforded them. His mission was to Governor Shute, of Massachusetts, then in the third year of his administration of that colony, an old soldier of King William, a Lieutenant-Colonel under Marlborough in the wars of Queen Anne, and wounded in one of the great battles in Flanders. Mr. Boyd was empowered to make all necessary arrangements with the civil authorities for the reception of those whom he represented, in case his report of the state of things here should prove to be favorable.


I have lately scrutinized with critical care this ancient parchment stamped by the hands of our ancestors, now in the custody of the Historical Society of New Hampshire, and was led into a line of reflections which I will not now repeat, as to its own vicissitudes in the seven quarter-centurys of its existence, and as to the personal vicissitudes and motives, and heart-swellings and hazards, and cold and hunger and nakedness, as well as the hard-earned success and the sense of triumph, and the immortal vestigia of the men who lovingly rolled and unrolled this costly parchment on the banks of the Foyle and the Bann Water! Tattered are its edges now, shrunken by time and exposure its original dimensions, illegible already some of the names even under the fortifying power of modern lenses, but precious in the eyes of New England, nay precious in the eyes of Scotch-Irishmen every-where, is this venerable muniment of intelligence and of courageous purpose looking down upon us from the time of the first English George.

The direct addressing of issues via community based democratic means in towns in the North East and upper Mid West have mirrors in the social and societal organizations that may have taken a slower pace in the South, but still assured that families and clans were all brought up to date on issues of the day. The more taciturn and somewhat puritanical North Eastern Yankees did have different societal customs across the North East and Mid West, ranging from that small town view of democracy in Vermont and New Hampshire to the more blue-blooded cosmopolitan forms in the big cities (Boston, New York, Philadelphia) to the backwoods Dutch who had settled across Western NY to Ohio and Indiana, centered in Pennsylvania Dutch territory. From there the Appalachian family and clan views of the Scots-Irish intermingle and shift down through the Virginias and Carolinas to Georgia, forming the lovely Multi-Culti, wide spectrum of religious and social outlooks that gave birth to this Nation. Those differences in culture showed up in language, so you can chart out the Mason/Dixon line by the bucket/pail line, and numerous other words used to refer to items. Yet the presence of Scots-Irish in New England is demonstration that the divide being spoken of is *not* that of the Scots-Irish vs. the Elites of New England and the Mid West.

No, what Mr. Hirsch is describing is a different cultural divide, not the North-South one but the Big City - Small Town divide of America. In fact it was many of the 'East Coast Elites' that *were* elites because they sat in the halls of power in the larger cities of America and had their own derogatory view towards their Small Town and Rural cousins. A piece I did on Sam Adams clearly shows some of what that city-based elite saw as it viewed other parts of the culture in the Colonies and the Early Nation. While a noted thinker, theorist, brewer and patriot, Sam Adams did have his prejudices against Roman Catholicism, here writing in his untitled document on the Rights of the Colonists:

In regard to Religeon, mutual tolleration in the different professions thereof, is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced; and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind: And it is now generally agreed among christians that this spirit of toleration in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society "is the chief characteristical mark of the true church"2 & In so much that Mr. Lock has asserted, and proved beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only Sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach Doctrines subversive of the Civil Government under which they live. The Roman Catholicks or Papists are excluded by reason of such Doctrines as these "that Princes excommunicated may be deposed, and those they call Hereticks may be destroyed without mercy; besides their recognizing the Pope in so absolute a manner, in subversion of Government, by introducing as far as possible into the states, under whose protection they enjoy life, liberty and property, that solecism in politicks, Imperium in imperio3 leading directly to the worst anarchy and confusion, civil discord, war and blood shed-4

So, when Mr. Hirsch starts talking about a more 'diplomatic, communitarian' North East, one does have to wonder just *which* North East he is talking about? The rural North East would put up with a hell of a lot from the officious governments in their State Capitols, as seen during and after the Revolutionary war. Sam Adams was a *very* enlightened thinker for his time and period, and yet the clear distrust of Roman Catholics is demonstrated. That is neither 'diplomatic' nor 'communitarian' to seek outright restriction upon individuals because they happen to believe in one form of christianity over another.

Part of the Big City Elite vs Small Town and Rural is seen in the long and gloried career of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln who would be called out after the Revolution for a problem that faced the Confederacy (Source: History of War site):

Lincoln’s one remaining official post was first major general of militia. He accepted this post in December 1785, and made a series of suggestions for improving the state of the militia, but if he expected them to see any action, it would only have been guarding the borders of the state against Indian incursion. To his shock, he was to find himself leading troops against his fellow citizens.

At the heart of the divisions in Massachusetts was the split between the commercial towns and cities of the east coast and the entirely rural western part of the state. Just as the British had found western Massachusetts almost impossible to rule, now the state authorities found themselves facing a violent uprising. In the summer of 1786 protests began as a protest against the increasing burden of taxes. Added to the tax burden was an attempt to force the payment of private debts. Most of this debt was owed to the wealthy merchants of the east coast. The farmers in the west of the state felt that they were being oppressed by an oligarchy and were not properly represented by the state government. Many of their complaints were similar to those of the revolutions of the 1770s, an irony that appears to have escaped Lincoln, but that many did see (especially British visitors to the state).

The initial response of the state government was to grant a eight-month debt moratorium, but at the same time habeas corpus was suspended, and a new Riot Act put in place. Protest in the west soon turned into armed revolt. Leaders began to emerge, amongst them Daniel Shays (after whom the revolt was named). They began by closing the courts in the west of the state, but by the end of 1786 their rhetoric had grown to include a direct threat to march on Boston and overthrow what they felt was an illegitimate government. The similarities to the events of 1775 worried many, including Washington. As commander of the militia, Lincoln found himself in the front line against his fellow Americans.

The payment of debts incurred during the Revolution and the extremely heavy burden upon the poor, rural farmer caused many families to go into poverty as their land was confiscated to pay those debts. Here the Elite center of commerce in Boston put large debt repayment loads on individuals and enforced the payment of private debts, which further burdened farmers already close to the brink of going under. It is that view from the central, establishment in the Cities upon the rural folks that *is* the Elitist brand that Mr. Hirsch talks about, but the resentment OF IT is in no way limited to Jacksonians and the Deep South.

One of the reasons Washington did so well as General and President is that he did not cut himself off from his own frontiersman roots as a scout and surveyor for the British Army, and he continued to brew Rye Whiskey at Mount Vernon. These things and his humility in listening to his enlisted officers who had better knowledge of terrain and the army itself during the Revolution allowed Washington to manage that and so inspire the volunteers that many went without pay for long, long months. And while President Jefferson would not have religious practices during his term, and, in fact, formed a religious group of one individual (Source: Thomas Jefferson letter to William Short, 13 APR 1820 via Library of Congress), he would not seek to enforce that Elitist view upon the Nation and, instead, adhere to the wisdom of letting his fellow man decide for himself about what is right and proper in their lives in regard to religion. His continued support for agrarian views would continue to endear him to the more rural population, while his elitist views put him into the 'radical thinkers' camp in the realm of human liberty and religion. Would that latter day Elitists could take the lesson from that and learn to understand and even live with Small Town and Rural America.

The concentration of industrial capacity in cities would later put that divide into play as the Nation slowly moved from agrarian based to industrial based and the flow of money and power into Big City Elites and their corporations would entrench that view that Big City Establishments were out of touch with Small Town and Rural America. Whenever a politician speaks to the needs and beliefs of Small Town and Rural America they get a derogatory name attached to them: Populist. Populism, itself, is a 'grab-bag' terminology, often employed by the Elite establishment against anything that isn't part of it. Thus when Mr. Hirsch uses the following paragraph to tell what he is seeing he is deploying the 'populist' argument as an Elite:

The coarsened sensibility that this now-dominant Southernism and frontierism has brought to our national dialogue is unmistakable. We must endure "lapel-pin politics" that elevates the shallowest sort of faux jingoism over who's got a better plan for Iraq and Afghanistan. We have re-imported creationism into our political dialogue (in the form of "intelligent design"). Hillary Clinton panders shamelessly to Roman Catholics, who have allied with Southern Protestant evangelicals on questions of morality, with anti-abortionism serving as the main bridge. Barack Obama seems to be so leery of being identified as an urban Northern liberal that he's running away from the most obvious explanation of his association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former Weatherman Bill Ayers: after Obama graduated from college he became an inner-city organizer in Chicago, and they were natural allies for someone in a situation like that. We routinely demonize organizations like the United Nations that we desperately need and which are critical to missions like nation-building in Afghanistan. On foreign policy, the realism and internationalism of the Eastern elitist tradition once kept the Southern-frontier warrior culture and Wilsonian messianism in check. Now the latter two, in toxic combination, have taken over our national dialogue, and the Easterners are running for the hills.

Notice that his first attack is on 'coarsened sensibility' which he then categorizes as: frontierist, shallow jingoist, backwards looking religious based views, anti-urban Northern liberal, UN demonizing, anti-Eastern elitist foreign policy while being pro-warrior and messianic Wilsonian. Do notice that he puts forward no positive views on this, nor does he recognize the large Roman Catholic populations that came to America from Italy, Poland and Spain. However he does correctly pin the problems of the Elitist as that of 'urban Northern liberal' and puts forward that *that* allows for anything against the United States to be absolutely OK with him so long as it has cover in something like 'inner-city organizer'... while not ever explaining what an 'inner-city organizer' does. Even worse is the attempt to look only at the 'messianic' part of Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy views, while trying to distance THOSE from the fact that they are tied up with the idea of extra-National organizations like the League of Nations and, later, the UN.

That last is particularly galling as Woodrow Wilson, himself, was an East Coast Elitist (to use Mr. Hirsch's terms) who used the messianic views as they were seen as a normal part of the political speech of that day and age. Indeed he did look to 'liberate Jerusalem' but when push came to shove he would not want to *fight over it* when given the opportunity to do so by taking on the Ottoman Empire. No, President Wilson was not going to do *that* to carry out a warrior-based, messianic foreign policy. Those were not Southern views he was giving, but they were part of what is called 'Progressivist' views, which Woodrow Wilson held. 'Progressivism' at that stage of things was decidedly a Christian-based movement, for all the fact it would later morph into one that held beliefs more in line with socialism and atheism.

I looked at the basis for Wilsonianism for Transnationalism, and found that President Wilson actually had a disdain for things like the Declaration of Independence (Source: 14 JUL 1914 speech Independence Hall in Philadelphia, President Wilson's Addresses, via Project Gutenberg:

In one sense the Declaration of Independence has lost its significance. It has lost its significance as a declaration of national independence. Nobody outside of America believed when it was uttered that we could make good our independence; now nobody anywhere would dare to doubt that we are independent and can maintain our independence. As a declaration of independence, therefore, it is a mere historic document. Our independence is a fact so stupendous that it can be measured only by the size and energy and variety and wealth and power of one of the greatest nations in the world. But it is one thing to be independent and it is another thing to know what to do with your independence. It is one thing to come to your majority and another thing to know what you are going to do with your life and your energies; and one of the most serious questions for sober-minded men to address themselves to in the United States is this: What are we going to do with the influence and power of this great Nation? Are we going to play the old role of using that power for our aggrandizement and material benefit only? You know what that may mean. It may upon occasion mean that we shall use it to make the peoples of other nations suffer in the way in which we said it was intolerable to suffer when we uttered our Declaration of Independence.

Yes, like many of the Elites of the 'Progressivist' movement, Woodrow Wilson did not describe the Declaration of Independence as having eternal truths but only transitory ones that lose their significance once the Nation was born. This is not one of those uncouth, ill-bred, ignorant masses telling us about the transitory nature of the Declaration, but a well-heeled gentlemen of the East Coast Elites doing so. Nor are the 'warrior culture' folks of today using the highly linked idea of President Wilson of a Christian Nation that would take part in international bodies for the greater good of the world. You can't import the Wilsonian 'messianic views' without also dragging in the international part as they go hand-in-hand, so saying that the 'warrior culture' would embrace both the pro-international institutional views of Wilson and the anti-UN views of corrupt international institutions doing more harm than good is extremely ahistorical and trying to cherry-pick an ideal here and an ideal there to put together an incoherent mish-mash to tar other folks with.

And if Mr. Hirsch will rail about the lack of holding on to 'realism and internationalism of the Eastern elitist tradition' then perhaps Mr. Hirsch can point to the actual GOOD that tradition has done for the Nation? I have looked at the unreality of those 'realists' and see much that is at fault with their high minded views that want little or nothing to do with the actual dirty ways that Nations and societies run themselves. While they did, indeed, form a semi-coherent position against Communism, these great elitist foreign policy thinkers like Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, and James A. Baker III plus many others across party lines all *missed* the salient problems of Private Warfare, Islamic Fundamentalism and Radicalism, and had taken no price to try and confront either those waging Private War against the Law of Nations nor to confront the underpinnings of Islamic Radicals who started shooting up and blowing up choice parts of the Middle East, Europe, Russia, China, India, Africa, South America, North America and, indeed, other parts of the world. What did these great and oh-so-wise thinkers on all things Realpolitik actually *DO* about this?


For all the combined brain power they couldn't even bother to figure out that war waged by Private groups and individuals is anathema to all Nations and a threat to the entire international system they all so adored. So when a political figure starts to ally himself with a preacher speaking an ahistorical, unfounded gospel to condemn America and a homegrown, unrepentant terrorist, one does begin to look a little askance at just *why* this individual is so 'transcending' politics, when he is supporting those who think the place should be condemned and thrown into the ash heap of history. You don't have to be a coarse, warrior culture individual to know that such ties end up to bad places in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other choice parts of the world being blown up and shot at by other religious and politically totalitarian individuals spouting the EXACT SAME THING.

That set of Eastern elitist views backed by powerful industrialists who seek to dissolve National borders in the name of 'free trade' and their liberal counterparts looking to liquidate society based on illegal immigration do seem to be walking hand-in-hand these days: those are views to strip those outside of the elite enclaves of their ability to have a strong culture, strong society and protect the Nation. In that we are seeing a strange confluence of individuals like Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton and John McCain who are *each* from the elitist establishment either by background or by shifting their views to that of the establishment so as to gain political power from it.

If Mr. Hirsch wishes to look for the problems caused by the Big City Elite establishment with the Nation, it is not the future that he should worry about, but the past and Shays Rebellion. That is the problem he is describing and it isn't a purely Jacksonian one, but is of the vast Red Nation with the isolated pockets of deep Blue in the Big Cities. The last time the Elites tried to push an unfair and destructive regime of taxation that would undermine family and society, that is what the Nation started to get and far beyond just the North East. A direct attack on that culture, itself, by the Elites and backed by politics may see something very similar.

The Big City Elites are one fine Shays away from getting something far worse than a 'coarsening of culture'.