“Illegal Fireworks” on Independence Day

No fireworks on Independence Day, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. To hell with that, said the people.” – Bruce Haring, “Los Angeles County Residents Ignore “No Fireworks” Order, Celebrate With Massive Display,” Deadline, July 5, 2020.

Yesterday was Independence Day. Independence Day marks the glorious moment that our forefathers declared their total Independence from British tyranny and embarked on the experiment of republican self-rule. It was the formal beginning of the Liberty movement that had been sweeping through the colonies and which today is gaining renewed strength among American patriots. It was, in short, the authoritative expression of our People’s desire to be free.

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When the Sons of Liberty finally secured their Freedom and established the United States of America, Independence Day was celebrated from one end of the Republic to the other. As the Union expanded, so, too, did the celebrations. And why should they not have? Independence Day was not only the most significant day in U.S. history, but one of the most defining moments in world history.

John Adams fondly envisioned a day when every American could commemorate their Independence:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. – I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. – Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not” (John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776).

By and large, Americans have faithfully fulfilled Mr. Adams’ hopes. Though the custom has fallen to the wayside, our People traditionally gave rousing sermons and speeches praising God for delivering us from tyranny and thanking Him for setting us up as a free People. To this day, we host large and colorful parades, brilliant firework shows, and community barbecues. You can still find historical reenactments and readings of the Declaration in locations. Bells are sometimes still sounded from church towers. Patriotic music blares over the airwaves. And in rural areas, we still shoot off guns on this special day.

However, a group of anti-American traitors has wormed their way into positions of power in our federal government and in our states. They control governorships, city councils, seats in Congress, judgeships, and so forth. This is particularly true in states like California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and Illinois where hardcore socialists now rule. This cabal of traitors has used their influence to gradually extinguish the American spirit, stifle our patriotism, and transform our country into a soulless Marxian state.

The hyped Coronavirus “pandemic” has provided the whole nation with proof of how eager this group of gangsters is to throw out the Constitution, restrict our rights, and dominate our lives. They’ve banned church services, arrested mothers playing with their children in public park, dumped tons of sand in skate parks to prevent kids from enjoying the outdoors, mandated the public wear masks that even the communist-controlled World Health Organization (WHO) admits do not work to stop viruses, forced us to stand six-feet-apart from one another like prison inmates, closed down our businesses, arrested people for trying to make a living, freed violent criminals from prisons to allegedly protect them (what about protecting us from them?), restricted travel, closed down schools, prevented people from attending doctors because they were trying to make room for “Coronavirus” patients who never arrived, and so on and so forth.

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So blatant have been the attacks on our Freedom – in particular our Freedom of religious expression – that a prominent religious leader, Elder David A. Bednar, said in frustration:

We cannot deny, and we should not forget, the speed and intensity with which government power was used to shut down fundamental aspects of religious exercise. These decisions and regulations were unprecedented. For nearly two months, Americans, and many others throughout the free world, learned firsthand what it means for government to directly prohibit the free exercise of religion. . . .

. . . Government power can never be unlimited. In our political system, the government “derives its just powers from the consent of the governed,” to quote the Declaration of Independence. But the just powers of government cannot be unlimited because they exist most fundamentally to secure the God-given rights of life and liberty so that each of us can exercise our moral agency, the ability to act for ourselves and not to be acted upon, and to be accountable before God for our choices and actions. Constitutions, representative government, checks and balances, and the rule of law help constrain the tendency of government to exercise unlimited power. . . .

. . . despite the obvious need for a proper response to COVID-19, we must not become accustomed to sweeping assertions of governmental power. Invoking emergency powers, government executives summarily impose numerous orders and directives that in many ways are analogous to martial law. These executive orders are unlike laws enacted through the ordinary give and take of the democratic process. No doubt an emergency on the scale of COVID-19 justifies strong measures to protect the public, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that many of these measures are extraordinary assertions of governmental power that can dramatically constrain our basic freedoms. The power of government must have limits. . . .

. . . we can no more disregard the valid claims of religious freedom in a time of crisis than we can disregard the valid claims of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Nor should we prioritize secular interests above religious ones. A health crisis should not become an excuse for a religious freedom crisis.”

Despite common sense of this sort, many states have used the “crisis” as a pretext for ushering in blatant tyranny that strangles our Liberty and extinguishes a multitude of our most precious rights. The abuses have been “sweeping.” They have been unapologetic. And they have been deliberate. Not only have they taken aim at everyday rights like the right to peaceably assemble, but they have been brought to bear on our most sacred national holiday – Independence Day.

If the concocted Coronavirus charade hasn’t been enough to convince you that those in positions of public trust don’t give a tinker’s dam about your Liberty, their blatant display of contempt for Independence Day should have done the trick. California is a case in point. The Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, outright banned fireworks. The L.A. Department of Public Health published a news release ordering beaches closed from the 3rd through the 6th, “prohibiting fireworks displays,” banning “large crowds and gatherings,” and going so far as to tell people they could not spend time with anyone except those they lived with – as if they had such authority!

To quote these mini-tyrants in Los Angeles: “Physical distancing isn’t optional, wearing a face covering isn’t optional, spending time only with those you live with isn’t optional – these are requirements.” Los Angeles has essentially become a dictatorship with the Democratic Party calling the shots – your Liberty be damned.

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Despotic California Governor Gavin Newsom came out and supported the de facto canceling of Independence Day and declared similar measures across the whole state. Newsom threatened to cut off funds to local governments who did not go along with the plot to cancel Independence Day in California. He bullied local governments in these words:

A local government that refuses to abide by, ensure compliance with, or take enforcement action against noncompliance with these statewide public health directives, or that takes action that is otherwise incongruent with these directives, could jeopardize their eligibility for state funding.”

California has been enacting Marxist measures for a lot of years, but now, using the 99.8% survivable Coronavirus as an excuse, they have gone full-blown Bolshevik. Various state agencies have created ominously-named “strike teams” to go after those violating “public safety” measures (i.e. exercising their God-given, constitutionally-protected Liberty). Office of Emergency Services spokesman Brian Ferguson warned how the strike teams would be used this Independence Day weekend:

We will be going directly to those who thumb their nose at public health and safety. State government will be out in force this weekend to make sure all California businesses and service providers are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

In other words, the Almighty Californian State will use its police power to force compliance with Liberty-violating measures allegedly enacted to “keep you safe.” What makes this all the more insulting is the fact that this comes on Independence Day – a time for the explicit celebration of Freedom from tyrannical government! Surely no right thinking individual can miss the irony of prohibiting Americans from celebrating Freedom on their cherished Independence Day!

In spite of government threats and bullying, thousands of people in Los Angeles disobeyed the mayor’s and governor’s dictates yesterday. A broadcast on KCAL 9 aired helicopter footage of the city. In every direction, fireworks illuminated the night sky. Red, white, yellow – the dazzling colors exploded in nearly every neighborhood. One Californian commenter on Facebook said that the city felt like “Baghdad.” On the same thread, another person replied: “It’s friggin Iraq in the city!! I’ve never heard it like this!”

An involuntary smile crossed my face as I watched Americans doing what Americans do best – defy tyrants and exercise their rights. I watched multiple clips of the fireworks in L.A. Everywhere you looked you could see phenomenal pyrotechnics, reminding me of the “rocket’s red glare” in Francis Scott Key’s immortal anthem.

The same KCAL 9 newscast mentioned earlier noted that police had received over a thousand complaints from people snitching on their neighbors for launching “illegal fireworks” (i.e. any fireworks). The LAPD finally asked people to stop calling 911 about fireworks. Apparently, a lot of people get offended by Independence Day and Freedom in Los Angeles. However, a larger number apparently still retain some sense of love for their country.

Though these same people were the ones who elected those public servants who are now trying to dominate and tyrannize them, this very public display of defiance demonstrates that many are fed up with the oppression and want their Freedom back. At the very least, they don’t want to be treated like children who can’t take care of themselves without a government commissar hovering over them. To be sure, some of the revelers just wanted to party. Who can blame them? But I believe many were using the Independence Day season as a chance to show their disapproval of the government’s heavy hand in their lives.

One article explained that Californians have been defying their government’s fireworks bans for weeks:

[E]xplosions and roman candles have been going off for weeks, culminating in a massive display on Saturday night.

Police claimed more than 1,000 fireworks complaints came in to various branches, and they tried to respond. But the task was akin to shoveling the ocean with a spoon . . . the city was ablaze with lights and sounds for many hours on Saturday night.”

I repeat: The fact that governments tried to prohibit us celebrating and exercising our Freedom on Independence Day shows that they hold our rights in utter contempt and seek, regardless of their alleged concern about “public safety,” to control our lives.

All would-be-dictators who seek to dominate the United States need to know that we won’t tolerate it. When our back is pushed up against the wall, we won’t surrender – we’ll fight. Freemen don’t live on their knees. We don’t kneel before thrones. We don’t bow to emperors. We don’t kiss the rings of kings. And we certainly don’t kow-tow to our elected representatives.

American citizens are the masters of their government, not the other way around. We are not governed “masses” or servile subjects. We are American freemen! The blood of patriots runs in our veins. Our ancestors called themselves Sons of Liberty, defied tyrants, and forged their Freedom from the chains created to enslave them.

America has suffered many dark days because we’ve been too kind and forgiving. We’ve tolerated abuses that our forefathers never would have tolerated. We’ve permitted those very things that the Declaration of Independence denounces in plain language, such as allowing government bureaucrats to make us “dependent on [their] Will alone,” establishing “Arbitrary government,” creating “a multitude of New Offices” which send their “swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance,” and “destroy[ing] the lives of our people.”

Yes, we have been far too lenient! We’ve given our public servants the benefit of the doubt that they just want to help us. It should be painfully obvious now to everyone that our representatives look down on us, view us as children to be micromanaged, and spit upon our rights. Their oaths to the Constitution mean nothing to them; they certainly don’t follow them. They’re in it for power, wealth, and fame regardless of how much We the People suffer or how many rights we lose.

I applaud Los Angeles’ defiant fireworks display. It was a very visible symbol of resistance to tyrannical government overreach and a sign that there are few a still embers of Freedom burning in California. However, this defiance must translate into daily acts of resistance or it ultimately means very little. To shoot off fireworks on Independence Day in defiance of government mandates, but to turn around and wear silly masks or comply with “social distancing” dictates, is inconsistent with logic. It also shows that people did not truly comprehend the special meaning of the event they were celebrating.

Independence Day should have been a time for us as a People to regroup, recommit ourselves to the cause of Liberty, and humble ourselves before our Creator. This day, the Lord’s Day, we have the opportunity to again bow ourselves before God, thank Him for His blessings upon our favored land, and petition Him for deliverance from the shackles that our “representatives” are attempting to place on our wrists.

To a great extend, we’ve already fallen from grace and lost must of our Freedom. But the sacred fire of Liberty is not out yet. Millions of Americans honor our forefathers, love our unique American institutions, and will not go down without a fight. Even in California, of all places, thousands are willing to risk police visits and fines by shooting off fireworks to celebrate our nation’s Independence. This should give us hope that though the struggle will be fierce, we can succeed and win back our rights. If we go forward in the power of Jesus Christ, we can restore our Republic.

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I express my unshakable belief that Americans will restore their Republic eventually. Our flag will wave proudly on the flag pole. Independence Day will be celebrated precisely as John Adams envisioned – with devotions to God and shows and parades and guns and bells from one end of this blessed continent to the other. However, it will likely require the “Toil and Blood and Treasure” that John Adams said was required to win our Independence in the first place.

God bless this nation! God bless the good-hearted people who inhabit America by the tens of millions! And God help us maintain our Constitution and the precious rights it safeguards, even if it means defying tyrants to do it!

Zack Strong,

July 5, 2020

The Ongoing American Revolution

The American Revolution was not an event that began and ended at two fixed points in time. We mark the beginning of the War for Independence on July 4, 1776, and traditionally say the Revolution ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris, but the reality is that Independence Day merely marked a boiling point in a sweeping Liberty movement that began much earlier and which has not yet reached its culmination. The American Revolution is ongoing! The War for Independence is being waged today as fiercely as when our patriot forefathers squared off against the British invaders.

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In 1787, Dr. Benjamin Rush made an illuminating remark. He said:

There is nothing more common, than to confound the terms of American Revolution with those of the late American war. The American war is over: but this is far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government; and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens, for these forms of government, after they are established and brought to perfection”(Benjamin Rush, Address to the People of the United States, 1787, in Hezekiah Niles, ed., Principles and Acts of the Revolution, 234).

According to Dr. Rush, the genuine American Revolution consisted of the transformation and improvement of the “principles, morals, and manners” of the American People. What’s more, he saw this as a gradual process that, years after the War for Independence ended, had not yet finished. It was one thing to create a new nation with a novel system of government, but quite another thing to create a citizenry prepared for life under that government. Molding such a people – one worthy of republican institutions of self-government – was the true revolutionary task.

Another Founding Father, John Adams, concurred that the real American Revolution was not the short War for Independence, but a vastly more significant undertaking. He observed:

But what do We mean by the American Revolution? Do We mean the American War? The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the Minds and Hearts of the People. A Change in their Religious Sentiments of their Duties and Obligations. . . .

This radical Change in the Principles, Opinions Sentiments and Affection of the People, was the real American Revolution” (John Adams to Hezekiah Niles, February 13, 1818).

Both Dr. Rush and Mr. Adams agreed that the betterment of American principles and morals – both religious and political – was the real American Revolution. This Revolution happened in the hearts and minds of our countrymen long before the shot heard ‘round the world and continued long after the cannon ceased firing. One could look back to the Reformation or Renaissance to find the origin of the Liberty movement that eventually found its true expression in America. But for our purposes, we can trace the origin of the flame of Freedom to the First Great Awakening that took place roughly between the 1730s and 1760s.

It was during the First Great Awakening, when Americans turned their hearts back to the great God of the universe, that the revolution of principles spoken of by John Adams occurred. Church pulpits were ablaze with fiery sermons on Freedom. Preachers led the way in social reform and prepared Americans to defend their rights and stand like real men against despots. Schools were no less valuable. Teachers instructed children not only in constitutional principles and the science of good government, but in the “perfect law of liberty” given by Jesus Christ (James 1:25). In short, American Christians kneeled before the Lord in genuine humility, and then rose with staunch determination to follow Him and safeguard their God-given rights.

It was a band of Christian militiamen, inspired by their Reverend Jonas Clark, who defiantly stood with Captain John Parker on Lexington green in 1775 as an army of 700 Redcoats came to confiscate their firearms. It was a band of 56 patriots who signed and published the Declaration of Independence, announcing their determination to be free and their proclaiming their firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.” And it was the Christian Father of our Country, George Washington, who told the nation during his First Inaugural Address:

No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

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It was this acknowledgment of God and His laws, including the “perfect law of liberty” noted earlier, that gave our forefathers the strength and tenacity to stand against monarchical tyranny. They were an educated and bright People. They understood self-government and cherished their Freedom to worship their God according to the dictates of their conscience, their Freedom to speak, their Freedom to assemble, their Freedom to bear and use arms to protect themselves and their rights, and so forth. In short, it was their mental and spiritual devotion to their Faith, Families, and Freedom, and their fidelity to these loyalties, that called down Heaven’s blessings on their behalf.

Our noble forefathers did not stop progressing when they went back to the business of daily life after the Revolution. Rather, they went on to produce the inspired Constitution and Bill of Rights, expand the borders of the Republic, and, thus, the borders of Liberty, alter their local laws and customs, prepare to end the vice of slavery, and generally became an industrious, enlightened, and patriotic People.

According to one contemporary figure of significant renown, American greatness reached its zenith during the Age of Jackson. He observed:

In continuation of such noble sentiments, Gen. [Andrew] Jackson, upon his ascension to the great chair of the chief magistracy: said, “As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of person and property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending; and so long as it is worth defending, a patriotic militia will cover it with an impenetrable aegis.”

General Jackson’s administration may be denominated the acme of American glory, liberty and prosperity, for the national debt, which in 1815, on account of the late war, was $125,000,000, and lessened gradually, was paid up in his golden day; and preparations were made to distribute the surplus revenue among the several states: and that august patriot, to use his own words in his farewell address, retired leaving “a great people prosperous and happy, in the full enjoyment of liberty and peace, honored and respected by every nation of the world”” (Joseph Smith, General Smith’s Views of the Powers and Policy of Government of the United States, February, 1844).

Andrew Jackson was one of the greatest American heroes. Today, he is hated and castigated by an ignorant generation that has lost touch with America’s original values and has been deceived by culture-destroying Marxists. But the truth is that General Jackson put America first, fought for his country his whole life as a soldier and statesman, fastidiously upheld the Constitution as president, waged veritable war against the conspiratorial banking cartel that wanted to enslave the Union, and was an honorable man of his word.

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Additionally, President Jackson was the only president to ever pay off the national debt in full. The American People prospered under his hand and it was during his administration that Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States and remarked:

The progress of society in America is precipitate, and almost revolutionary. . . .

. . . The Americans of the United States must inevitably become one of the greatest nations in the world; their offset will cover almost the whole of North America; the continent which they inhabit is their dominion, and it cannot escape them . . . Riches, power, and renown, cannot fail to be theirs at some future time” (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. 1, 434-435).

The American People did not stop their rapid progress and march toward destiny after the War for Independence. That was but a prelude to greater things. For them, as for Benjamin Rush, the American Revolution was ongoing; a process, not an event.

However, after the Age of Jackson, the Republic began to decline in important ways. Over time, we became so prosperous, powerful, and prominent in the world that we began to shed our humility, forget our past, and neglect our participation in self-government. We became reluctant to enforce the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and apply the Constitution as broadly as it was intended to be applied. The Civil War later rocked the nation, caused deep wounds, and resulted in a massively enlarged government that began intruding into our lives as never before.

In spite of the trials of the Nineteenth Century, on the whole, our People put their trust in God and looked to the Constitution and the men who made it for guidance. As the decades slipped by, the pull of prosperity and allure of modern conveniences took us away from the pursuit of Liberty and thrust us into the pursuit of materialism. We stopped studying the art of law. We ignored our governmental duties, allowing an organized group of traitors to come to power over us. We lived our lives in relative peace and disinterest as they hijacked our economy through the Federal Reserve. They put their men – FDR, Wilson, Carter, Bush, Obama, and others – into the presidency. They changed our laws and amended the Constitution in frightful ways. They thrust a dagger in Lady Liberty’s back and began twisting it menacingly.

Closer to home, the agents of cultural Marxism went to work to warp our view of marriage and families. They promoted hedonism and placed sex on a pedestal. They pushed filth and degeneracy, greed and selfishness, perversion and humanism. We began to lose our faith in the Creator – the source from whence our forefathers said came our unalienable rights of life, Liberty, and property. And so it has gone for over a century until now we see the fruit of the gruesome harvest – chaos, rioting, violence, hatred, division, unchecked governmental power, neglect of the Constitution, scientific and medical tyranny, anti-Christian bullying, high-tech censorship, societal distrust, and rampant unbelief in God.

Despite this growing darkness, many of the good people of this nation are waking up. It is in darkness, after all, that the light shines brightest. People from coast to coast have realized that the conspiracy – call it the “swamp,” “deep state,” the “Establishment,” or whatever name you will – is very real and threatens to overturn our Faith, Families, and Freedom. The American giant is beginning to stir and push back against the bands that traitors have tied around her. Lady Liberty is waking up from her deep sleep.

A general feeling is beginning to filter out and permeate the nation wherever good people still reside. It’s palpable and vibrant. The feeling is that revolution is upon us – the time for cleansing and refreshing is nearly here. Perhaps unconsciously, millions of Americans feel what Thomas Jefferson felt and articulated. He said:

[W]hat country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure” (Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787).

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But how will we rally ourselves and refresh the tree of Liberty? Everywhere I go, on every social media page I visit, in church congregations, and in private conversations, I see people asking roughly the same questions: “Where is the next George Washington? Where is our generation’s Thomas Jefferson? When will the next Boston Tea Party happen? When will someone step forward to lead another revolution to reclaim our Freedom?”

As these questions demonstrate, the sincere desire for change – for a return to our roots – is there. It may be in its infancy, but it is growing and rapidly gaining strength. It needs focus, however. It needs leaders. It needs experienced patriots to form us into a fighting force for Freedom.

In an attributed letter of Samuel Adams to James Warren on October 24, 1780, we find these relevant words: “If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin.”

Where are we to find such men and women? Where are the John Adamses and George Washingtons? Where are the Sons of Liberty and militiamen of Concord Bridge? Who will step forward to lead the next chapter in the ongoing American Revolution?

The answer is two-fold. First, though you and I may not be the next George Washington, we may be like those men who marched in his army, crossed the frigid Delaware with him on Christmas morning, and together endured winter in Valley Forge. We may not command the patriot force, but we may be part of it. It may be our eternal honor to march alongside other patriots, either figuratively or literally, to victories as glorious as Yorktown.

No, we may never wear the general’s cap, but we can wear the revolutionary uniform. What good is even the greatest general without his fighting men? What good are fighting men without virtuous women supporting them? And in the war of ideas and principles, women – as mothers and as homemakers – have an absolutely essential role to play. We cannot effect a new revolution without their selfless service in the home, for as goes the home goes the nation.

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To elaborate, I ask, what good is a Declaration of Independence without men to win, and then maintain, Independence? There could have been no Age of Jackson with its prosperity and expansion without those willing to establish and sustain the great institutions of our Republic. Thankfully, earlier patriots have already established beautiful constitutional institutions for us. We don’t need to think outside the box – we need to merely dust out the box of the filth that has cluttered it. And we can kick-start the process by educating ourselves in correct principles.

To repeat, this war is primarily waged on the battlefields of the mind and heart. It is waged on Facebook and Twitter, in public school classrooms and around the dinner table, in private conversations with friends and worship services with your neighbors. It is waged on election day as well as every other day. Our just and holy cause is furthered by acts of service in our communities, by giving proper instruction to our children, by coherent and sincere social media posts, by participation in peaceful assemblies, and by a million other little acts, words, and moments that come in daily life.

Together, these seemingly small deeds constitute a revolution in principles, morals, and manners. Do not think you need George Washington to ride before you in order to participate in the ongoing American Revolution. It is your distinct privilege to fight these battles every day in your home, at church, at work, online, and in the most basic interactions with your countrymen. There will be no great political revolution until we first reform our minds and hearts as our ancestors did prior to challenging the British at Lexington and Concord.

Second, though we all must be engaged in the daily acts of revolution just described, there must be individuals who step forward to rally, unify, and lead those who love Liberty. These figures must have dignity and credibility. They must be men of honor, goodness, virtue, truth, and stability. They must be men of high ideals and lofty standards. They must be noble in heart, valiant in spirit, but humble enough to kneel before their God and petition His blessings upon our cause.

Patriot leaders must be found and thrust to the forefront. As it often goes, the most qualified for leadership are those who want nothing more than to live in peace. They don’t seek the limelight, but merely to do their part, quietly, to support their Faith, Family, and Freedom.

It is instructive to know that George Washington did not want to lead the Continental Army. Yet, he threw himself into the task when the People’s representatives called on him to do so. After the War for Independence, he retired to the peace and quite of his farm. Yet, when his countrymen selected him to be the first president, he came out of retirement and fulfilled that duty honorably. The same is true of Thomas Jefferson, who retired to Monticello before being drafted by his country to serve in the government. And that is the key word – serve. We don’t need self-important politicians, but public servants who labor on our behalf to secure for us the blessings of Liberty.

Today, we must find those people in our communities who are prepared for a call to service. They may not want to serve, they may not want to hold a position of public trust, they may not want to wade into the treacherous swamp of modern politics, but they will respond to the call the serve because their hearts burn with the fire of Freedom. It is our duty as citizens to find the next Thomas Jefferson and draft him into leadership. It is our duty as freemen to find the next George Washington and urge him to lead us against against the traitors who have entrenched themselves in our nation. In short, we may say that the next George Washington will not appear unless We the People call him into service.

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Dear reader, America is the greatest nation on earth, bar none. There has never been a greater Republic. There has never been a People who did more good for the cause of Freedom than the People of the United States. Our country is sick with an alien virus – the Red Plague of communism with its horrid atheism, immorality, and totalitarianism. We must recognize that this plague is hostile to everything our People stands for and that it will result in our demise as a free nation if we do not recognize it, quarantine it, and exterminate it.

Let’s first extinguish the virus in our hearts and minds by turning back to the God who granted us life and Liberty, to the Constitution which holds our Union together, and to the Founding Fathers who marked the path to Freedom for all peoples in all generations. Let’s rekindle the unique American spirit. On the eve of battle in 1776, George Washington encouraged his men to “remember . . . that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of liberty” (George Washington General Orders, August 23, 1776). Let’s do our part to remind ourselves, and teach our precious children, that we are freemen fighting for our Faith, Families, and Freedom!

Speaking at Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2020, President Donald Trump made the following pledge which we can all claim as our own. It can be our starting place as revolutionary Americans. It can be our promise to ourselves and our children:

[L]et us go forward united in our purpose and re-dedicated in our resolve. We will raise the next generation of American patriots. We will write the next thrilling chapter of the American adventure. And we will teach our children to know that they live in a land of legends, that nothing can stop them, and that no one can hold them down. They will know that in America, you can do anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.

Uplifted by the titans of Mount Rushmore, we will find unity that no one expected; we will make strides that no one thought possible. This country will be everything that our citizens have hoped for, for so many years, and that our enemies fear — because we will never forget that American freedom exists for American greatness. And that’s what we have: American greatness.

Centuries from now, our legacy will be the cities we built, the champions we forged, the good we did, and the monuments we created to inspire us all.

My fellow citizens: America’s destiny is in our sights. America’s heroes are embedded in our hearts. America’s future is in our hands. And ladies and gentlemen: the best is yet to come.”

Yes, the best is still to come! We will yet see dark days. They will inevitably grow darker than they are now. But even as our enemies make their final, vain attempt to subjugate our nation, our People will awaken, arise, and rally behind the inspired standard of Liberty. We will recapture the Faith of our forefathers, fortify our Families, and reclaim our Freedom. Victory will be ours!

My soul gushes with thanksgiving to my God for the blessings He has rained down upon America! I love America! I love the Constitution and the honorable men who created it, which includes one of my own ancestors, Caleb Strong, to whom I pay tribute. I love the unrivaled heritage of Freedom we posses here in America. Let us never take it for granted. Let’s gather our children around us today, read to them the Declaration of Independence, and convey to them how much we love this land and the unparalleled rights we enjoy here.

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This Independence Day, be more than a spectator; participate in your Independence. I urge my fellow Americans to fall on their knees, cry to their Father in Heaven, petition the Lord for His strength, and then rise with renewed determination to be Sons of Liberty. We are American freemen. Liberty is our birthright and our destiny. May God help us become soldiers in this sacred struggle, to find and support our Washingtons and Jeffersons, and honorably play our part in this ongoing American Revolution!

Zack Strong,

July 4, 2020

What Government Can and Can’t Do

Government is not all-powerful. I know that’s a surprise to government bureaucrats and people in blue states (and too many in red ones). This article will cut through the fog of lies and lay out, in a very concise format, what government legitimately can and can’t do – which powers it actually has and doesn’t have.

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We need to start by asking and answering some basic questions: Where does government get its power from? From whom is its authority derived? And what is the purpose of government? The Declaration of Independence answers these questions. The Founding Fathers etched the following truths in stone:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

From this statement, we learn that government exists for the express purpose of securing the individual’s God-given rights, such as life, Liberty, property, speech, self-defense, and so on. We learn that governments don’t spring up out of the ground, but are created by people. They create them, as noted, to safeguard their rights. Governments are subservient to the people who create them. They may be abolished by the People at any given time – and especially when the government oversteps its obligation to secure people’s rights.

To reiterate, government gets 100% of its authority from you. As James Madison put it, “the people are the only legitimate fountain of power” (Federalist No. 49, February 5, 1788). Thomas Jefferson, concurring, affirmed: “I consider the people who constitute a society or nation as the source of all authority in that nation” (Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Treaties with France, April 28, 1793). Therefore, if you want to know what a government can and cannot do, simply determine what you justly can and cannot do. If you do not possess a certain power or authority, neither does government. It’s categorically impossible for government to rightly claim prerogatives and powers that its creator does not have.

Additionally, people acting together in groups does not magically endow the group, or government, with extra privileges and powers. Joint action adds zero authority to anything! Acting with your neighbor doesn’t suddenly grant you privileges you lacked as an individual acting alone. Society cannot justly do a single thing individuals are forbidden from doing. If it is wrong for an individual, it is wrong for the group and for the government.

To make this clearer, let’s consult some basic examples.

Do you have a right to kill another human being for no reason? No. Therefore, government does not possess the authority to take a life without justification.

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Do you have a right to kill someone in self-defense? Yes. Therefore, government has the authorization to kill in self-defense; that is, to defend its people against foreign invasion and to secure the rights of citizens, with lethal force when necessary, against criminals.

Do you have a right to seize and imprison someone without cause? No. Therefore, neither does government have that right.

Do you have a right to take money from your neighbor? No. Therefore, neither does government have a right to take money. The obvious exception to this is taxation. In the case of taxation, however, the People collectively consent to giving up a small portion of their income to help the government fulfill its purpose of securing their rights. When it exceeds this purpose, it becomes common theft.

Do you have a right to take money from someone and give it to someone else? No. Therefore, neither does government have a right to take your money and divvy it out to someone else in the community – even for allegedly “charitable” purposes.

Do you have a right to take someone’s property? No. Therefore, neither does government have a just authority to confiscate property. A possible exception is when someone uses their property in such a manner as to infringe upon the rights of other people. For instance, a person cannot acquire property at the head of a river and dam it off so that other people down river suddenly are deprived of their equal share of the water usage. And so forth.

Do you have a right to tell another person what they can and cannot say? No. Therefore, neither does government have that authority. As in the last case, there are exceptions. Slander and libel laws prevent people from lying and intentionally harming the reputation of another individual. You have no right to lie about people. Liars are essentially murderers – murderers of truth, killers of reputations, and destroyers of lives. Just laws protect people against this type of abuse. Similarly, public decency laws protect people against profane language, threats, and so forth.

Do you have a right to control another person’s body? No. Therefore, government doesn’t have authority over another’s body.

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Do you have a right to tell your neighbor what they can and cannot put in their body? No. Therefore, government doesn’t possess any such authority. That being said, certain substances, such as alcohol, impair the individual’s judgment and frequently lead them to mindlessly harm, maim, and kill innocent people. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death, disease, and violence in our nation. Inasmuch as it is a legitimate threat to individual safety, to say nothing of its danger to society by subverting families and morality, government has a legitimate power to protect the rights of its people. You cannot, however, make a similar argument for everything that someone might deem a “threat,” such as fatty foods or guns.

Do you have a right to tell others who the can and cannot marry? No. Therefore, government has no right to dictate in this matter either. The only exception is to prohibit that which is not only unnatural and morally reprehensible, but which demonstrably undermines the stability of the nation and its innocent children. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage is one such example. Lest you protest, remember that the Declaration of Indepedence referenced “the laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God” as the foundation of our entire civilization. To institutionalize violations of the laws of nature is to throw out the entire Declaration of Independence and the very concept of America.

Do you have the right to tell someone what they can and cannot build, do, or grow on their property? No. Therefore, government cannot tell people what they can and cannot do on their property – excepting, of course, criminal activities that violate other people’s rights.

Do you have a right to dictate what other people can and cannot wear? No. Therefore, neither can the government claim authority to dictate in this aspect. Public decency laws apply, however.

Do you have a right to deprive your neighbor of his means of self-defense? No. Therefore, government cannot justly take away a peaceable individual’s means of personal protection. To acknowledge, as the Declaration of Independence does, that our rights come from God is to simultaneously acknowledge that we have an equal right to defend them. You cannot take away this right without jeopardizing all other rights.

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Do you have a right to force your neighbor’s children to go to a public institution to study? No. Therefore, neither does government possess authority to separate children from their parents and force them to study in a public school.

Do you have a right to force another person to inject substances into his body? No. Therefore, government has no such power.

Finally, do you have a right to force your neighbor to stay in his home, wear a face mask, or close his business? No. Therefore, government has no right to force peaceable citizens to stay in the homes, wear masks over their faces, or close their businesses and cut off their livelihoods.

Our list of examples could go on almost indefinitely. You can clearly see the picture, however. The key point is that government is only authorized to do what you, the individual, can do. Nothing more. If you have no authority to do something, then neither does government!

The U.S. Constitution has actually simplified this concept by including a short list of enumerated powers. These powers – about 18 in number, depending on how you want to break up the list – are the only things Congress is authorized to do. They are specific, not broad. They cover individual items, not entire classifications of things. They define what Congress can do, and, by implication, dictates they cannot do anything more.

For instance, We the People have delegated to Congress the authority to “provide and maintain a Navy,” to “establish Post Offices and post Roads,” to “coin Money,” and so on. Beyond these rigid bounds, the Congress cannot legitimately go. The same goes for the other branches of government and their limited, specified powers.

It is crucial for us as free individuals to know where our public representatives derive their authority. It is indispensable to comprehend what government can and can’t do. When we understand that government does not inherently possess any authority except that which the individuals in society give it, then we can more easily recognize and prevent abuses of that authority. When we understand this cardinal point, we’ll also understand that we are the true source of power and that our nation’s destiny is in our hands. All political power springs from We the People. Never forget it.

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I close by quoting once more from the Declaration of Independence. Internalize the words. Really believe them. Reclaim your rights. Exercise your sovereignty. Know that government is accountable to you, not you to the government. And God give you the courage to rise in defense of Freedom like our forefathers before us!

. . . to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Zack Strong,

May 11, 2020

“Just Doing My Job” and Other Things Tyrants Say

Perhaps I missed the “Pandemic Clause” the last time I read the U.S. Constitution, but I don’t recall anywhere in that inspired document where is says that all our God-given rights can be curtailed in a crisis. Yes, the Constitution allows certain specific rights, such as that of habeas corpus, to be temporarily suspended during a time of “Rebellion or Invasion” when the public safety “may require it” (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2), but, otherwise, the document grants no authority to any officer of government to strip peaceable American citizens of their rights. Yet, during the current Coronacrisis hysteria, which I have openly called a psyop, the Constitution has been almost totally suspended by the president, governors, and local public servants. This article rebuffs that erroneous notion and is addressed to anyone who feels the Constitution can be suspended at their will and pleasure, but more particularly local law enforcement, sheriffs, judges, mayors, city councilors, county commissioners, and so forth.

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From New York to California, and from Idaho to Vermont, our sacred rights enshrined in the Constitution have been curtailed as a result of Coronavirus hysteria. Fear has proven to be a far deadlier contagion than this Red Chinese virus. At a time when the economy was booming, confidence in the president was high and rising, and the public was finally starting to talk openly about the dangers of socialism, an illness with an extremely low mortality rate imported from communist China has succeeded in gutting the Bill of Rights and reducing us to patients in a medical police state. In this piece, I won’t discuss the growing mountain of evidence that Coronavirus was and is a false-flag. Rather, I’ll focus my attention on the fact that fear of a limited disease is no justification for violating the rights of an entire nation.

For years, I’ve used the term “mini-tyrants” to refer to those in society, whether private citizens or public servants, who take it upon themselves to destroy people’s rights. In a recent article for The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson used the term “little tyrants” to refer to those who have reacted to Coronavirus by curtailing the American People’s rights guaranteed in the Constitution. In part, Davidson wrote:

We’ve now witnessed local and state governments issue decrees about what people can and cannot buy in stores, arrest parents playing with their children in public parks, yank people off public buses at random, remove basketball rims along with private property, ticket churchgoers, and in one case try—and fail—to chase down a lone runner on an empty beach. All of this, we’re told, is for our own good. . . .

Pandemic or not, this stuff has no place in American society. Petty tyranny of the kind these mayors and local officials are scheming is wholly alien to our customs and way of life, and destructive to the social contract on which our nation is built.”

Amen to every word! It is “wholly alien” to American history, heritage, and law to curtail individual rights simply because a crisis situation arises. Few would argue that society has a right to hunt down subversive groups, like the Communist Party or the MS-13 gang, which are attempting to undermine and destroy society or do harm to Americans, but that’s not what’s happening in the present case. Rather, normal, peaceable American citizens are being targeted, by mini-tyrants in state and local governments, as criminals for simply attempting to go about their daily lives, walk outside, play in the park, assemble in groups per the First Amendment, or go to church.

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Let’s highlight a few of the horrid rights violations and outright irrational things governments have done because of Coronavirus hysteria:

In San Clemente, California, the city decided to dump 37 tons of sand onto a skate park to deter skateboarders from minding their own business and harming absolutely no one during the lock-down.

Near Malibu, California, a man was arrested on the beach for paddle boarding alone in the ocean.

In my home state of Idaho, in the little town of Rathdrum, a woman was cited by police for holding a yard sale and threatened with jail time.

In Meridian, Idaho, where I once lived, a mother who was playing in a public park with her kid was arrested for peacefully refusing to obey a cop’s unconstitutional demands to leave. This despicable incident, the protest at the officer’s house that followed, and the rash of pathetic online comments condemning the woman and ripping on anyone who doesn’t grovel before the golden throne of law enforcement and government “authority,” is what finally prompted me to write this article.

In Kentucky, the governor forbade in-person Easter church services and instructed police officers to take down the license plate numbers of all those evil church-goers.

The city of Westport, Connecticut is currently testing “pandemic drones” that detect coughs, sneezes, and people’s temperatures. I’m sure that won’t violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

In Philadelphia, a passenger was violently dragged off a bus by police officers for what crime? Not wearing a face mask. And how did the police know that some random, peaceful man wasn’t wearing a face mask? Why, the bus driver did his Soviet civic duty and called them, of course.

The state of Utah has limited public gatherings to ten people. Utah has also considered, though for the moment delayed, a bill that would allow local governments to “establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine, and exercise physical control over property and over individuals.”

The Michigan governor has deemed seeds “non-essential” and has forbidden their sale. Yes, seeds. Vegetable seeds. Fruit seeds. Seeds. I can’t think of many things more essential than seeds.

Walmart, Target, Costco, and other stores across the country have closed entire aisles of products, declaring them “non-essential” to conform with state orders closing all “non-essential” jobs and businesses.

The Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods meat plants in South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Missouri, the first of which alone supplies 5% of the nation’s pork, have been shut down.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has used Coronavirus as an excuse to close all gun stores. Not to be outdone, Los Angeles ordered gun stores closed during the “pandemic.” An activist judge agreed that guns are “non-essential” and that the city has the authority to close any business it wants to for any reason it deems necessary.

In Florida, a pastor was arrested for holding church services in violation of a rights-violating stay-at-home order. Pastors in others states have suffered similar persecution.

A toddler’s birthday party in a southern California public park was broken up by an entire goon squad of baton-wielding police officers. It reminds me of the System of a Down lyrics in the song “Deer Dance”: “[V]isible police, presence-sponsored fear. Battalions of riot police with rubber bullet kisses. Baton courtesy, service with a smile.”

The list of arrests and insane, authoritarian behavior could continue on and on, but these suffice to give you the flavor of what’s happening in America today.

This is the sort of behavior that people’s irrational fear engenders. This is the type of thing that people who support draconian stay-at-home orders allow to happen. This is what anti-Americans and mini-tyrants do and support. This is tyranny!

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People who are scared of Coronavirus have the right to stay at home and lock their doors if they please. But they do not have the right to force me and my family to stay locked up in our home. They do not have the right to prevent other people from going to work to earn a living. They do not have the right to stop other people from operating their businesses or selling their products. They do not have the right to keep other people from traveling. They do not have the right to prevent others in their community from playing in the public park. They simply do not have a totalitarian authority over the lives, actions, bodies, and property of other people. The most these timid and terrified people can do is stay at home if they truly think self-quarantine is in their best interest.

The general hysteria has shown millions of people to be hypocrites and supremely inconsistent in their views. For instance, isn’t it ironic that the same people who protest for their “right” to murder unborn babies are now supposedly so concerned about society’s health and well-being that they want us to give up our rights for their own personal safety? What happened to “my body, my choice” in these people’s darkened minds? Apparently this privilege only applies to them. These are the same sort of intellectually-stunted individuals who think that vaccines are safe and effective, yet are worried if you don’t vaccinate. At any rate, whether out of fear or ignorance, these cowed people have thrown their lot in with the mini-tyrants who never let a good crisis go to waste.

There is a lot of blame to go around for the hysterical overreactions and tyrannical impositions that have occurred during this Coronacrisis. We can blame those in government who have usurped power and have taken to dictating how we may or may not live our lives. We can blame police who say “just following orders” or “just doing my job” as they violate the Constitution and arrest innocent people who exercise their rights. We can blame the public for their timidity and for tolerating the tyrannical acts. As noted, however, I’m addressing this to public servants.

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Police are the ultimate public servants. They are where the rubber meets the road. Their job is to “enforce” laws. But which laws? All laws? Or only constitutional laws? History has established that saying “I was just following orders” is no justification for committing immoral or oppressive acts. “Just doing my job” is what mini-tyrants say. Making the excuse “just doing my job” provides no excuse for implementing tyranny.

Any right-thinking individual must conclude that a police officer’s job is to enforce constitutional laws and protect the rights of citizens. By implication, police have no license to violate citizens’ rights regardless of what the law allows. Thus, it is fair to say that there can be no tyranny unless police acquiesce. A heavy burden and responsibility to rigidly enforce the Constitution and reject that which does not comply with it rests on their shoulders.

One of the things that sets America apart from other nations is that we have a national creed – the Constitution. The Constitution is the keystone of Americanism. It holds the Republic together. It is glue which keeps the fifty states in a workable Union. All public officers are bound to uphold the Constitution and the American People are likewise bound to sustain and obey it. It is important, then, that we understand the Constitution’s most important element – the Supremacy Clause.

In the national Constitution, there’s a thing called the Supremacy Clause. You can find it in Article VI, Clause 2. It states that the Constitution and laws made “in Pursuance thereof,” that is, constitutional laws that don’t violate any of its provisions, “shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” In other words, the national Constitution trumps any and all state and local laws that touch upon the same objects.

Let’s briefly examine,using three examples, what this means in practice. If a governor forbids you from assembling peaceably in your state, this is a direct violation of the First Amendment which guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This obviously applies to city and state governments, not merely to the federal government. No city can forbid people from peaceably assembling on public property, such as in a park or the steps of the capitol. Next, if a governor forbids church services, he is violating the First Amendment which guarantees American citizens the “free exercise” of their right of worship. Lastly, if a governor or mayor assumes the authority to ban firearms or firearms sales because of a “crisis,” their declarations are null and void because the Second Amendment guarantees that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

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As you see, the Supremacy Clause is the linchpin of the entire Constitution. Either the Constitution is supreme and all citizens and officers at any level of government must obey it and all just laws passed “in Pursuance thereof,” or it’s a pointless document with no purpose or efficacy. If we admit that the Supremacy Clause is valid, which we do when we acknowledge the Constitution and claim the rights of citizens, then we also admit that any public servant – mayor, governor, judge, president, senator, sheriff – who passes or enforces a law, decree, or executive order that violates an individual’s rights is in blatant violation of the Constitution. If we are to remain a free nation, we must reclaim the understanding that was so basic to our Founding Fathers; namely, that the People had established the Constitution and, thus, it was obligatory and binding upon them and their representatives.

George Washington explained it this way:

This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”

Notice what President Washington said and did not say. He said that a free people which chooses its own constitution is bound by it. He did not say that the American People are bound to obey any and all laws and dictates that come from government. As noted, the Constitution says that we are bound to uphold the Constitution and laws “made in Pursuance thereof.” A law cannot be in pursuance of the Constitution if it violates portions of the Constitution, such as the First Amendment, Second Amendment, and so on. Any law, then, that violates any provision of the Constitution also violates the Supremacy Clause and is null and void.

To reinforce this crucial concept, which is at the heart of the subject at hand, I give just a few more quotations. In the famous, or infamous, court case Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court acknowledged: “All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.”

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At the North Carolina Ratifying Convention of 1788, Governor Samuel Johnston referred to the Supremacy Clause and reasoned:

Without this clause, the whole constitution would be a piece of blank paper . . . Every law consistent with the constitution, will have been made in pursuance of the powers granted by it. Every usurpation or law repugnant to it, cannot have been made in pursuance of its powers. The latter will be nugatory and void.”

Finally, in Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton likewise explained:

There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid” (Jonathan Elliot, ed., The Debates, Resolutions, and Other Proceedings, in Convention, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol. 3, 166).

Can anyone read the plain language of the Constitution, and the unmistakable explanations of these good men, and conclude that the Constitution is not indeed the supreme law of the land? If it is the supreme law of the land, then state and local governments cannot violate it and still be in the right – regardless of their oh-so-benevolent reasons and intentions. When any governor, police officer, judge, mayor, county bureaucrat, ad infinitum, violates any provision of the Constitution (e.g. your right to assembly, your right to keep and bear arms, your free exercise of worship, your right to operate a business), then they have overstepped their authority and are in open rebellion to the Constitution and to the People who established it. Their dictates and actions, in these situations, are inherently and expressly null and void. One may even say they are even tyrannical.

As noted, the heart of the matter is the U.S. Constitution. There is no “Pandemic Clause” which nullifies the Constitution in the event of a crisis. There is no clause, section, or article of that document which allows it to be suspended at the say so of Congress, the president, the Supreme Court, your state governor, or your local mayor. It simply cannot be suspended except, as President Washington put it, “by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people.” Otherwise, it is in force and any local, state, or federal decrees, executive orders, or “laws” to the contrary are null and void.

Another issue connected with the Constitution and important to our understanding of the contrived Coronacrisis hysteria is that of rights vs privileges. A privilege can be taken away by the one who grants it. A right, however, cannot be taken away. It can be forfeited by violating another person’s rights, but it cannot be justifiably taken away from a peaceable citizen of this land.

Rights existed before the Constitution. They are inherent in man. He receives them as an endowment from his Creator, as the Declaration of Independence states so plainly. No government, then, can justly take them away unless the individual forfeits them by violating the rights of others. Thomas Jefferson explained:

[R]ightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual” (Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Tiffany, April 4, 1819).

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If Jefferson was correct, and he almost always was, then the measures being taken by both our federal and state governments to curb Coronavirus are, by definition, tyrannical. How can they be otherwise? They most certainly violate our individual Liberty as guaranteed in the Constitution; the right of assembly foremost among them. Ah, but it’s a “crisis,” you say; it’s for the “public safety.” I dispute that putting an entire nation under house arrest can control a virus. But let’s assume it’s true that forced quarantine is good medical practice, where does the Constitution tell government it can nullify my Freedom just so it can fight a disease?

I fully grant that in legitimately extreme situations, such as in the face of a subversive enemy attempting to overthrow society from within, the Constitution is perhaps not sufficient. However, this is not such a situation. We’re supposedly faced with a virus akin to the common cold that has a 99% recovery rate and which can be cured with a simple $20 medication. Cite me the article, section, and clause that tells me the Constitution can be suspended in this situation and I’ll be pacified and remain silent.

If you cannot find a provision of the Constitution which empowers government officers to trample the Constitution in a “crisis” and violate individual rights for the so-called “good of society,” then you must, if you’re honest, conclude with me that what’s being done in the name of fighting this “pandemic” is tyrannical. And if you cannot draw this conclusion, I cannot in good conscience stand with you, but must consider you an enemy who seeks to destroy my rights. If you find yourself on the other side of this equation, you’re a mini-tyrant and a traitor.

I recant what I said a moment ago; we actually are in a crisis. However, the crisis is not because of some sickness (which may not even be caused by so-called COVID-19), but because of the despotic overreaches that have occurred as a result of the unfounded hysteria the media has whipped up. That is the real crisis. It is a constitutional crisis. We’re faced with an epidemic of mini-tyrants who, like cockroaches, have come out of the woodwork to capitalize on the public’s fear and massively expand the size and power of government.

Police, mayors, governors, and others have assisted in this wholesale destruction of the Constitution by acquiescing and going along with the tyranny. Yet, they say they’re “just doing their job.” If their job is to destroy the Constitution and eviscerate our rights, then they are correct. If their job, however, is to defend our God-given rights, then what they’ve done is break their oaths, trample the Constitution, and betray the trust of the American People.

Since few in government, the courts, and law enforcement apparently have any desire to stand up for American Freedom, it is our duty as freemen to declare our rights, to hold up the Constitution, and to punish traitors. George Washington once wrote: “[It] is a maxim with me, that in times of imminent danger to a Country, every true Patriot should occupy the Post in which he can render them the most effectually” (George Washington to James McHenry, February 25, 1799). Now is such a time.

The smallest, but perhaps most effective, thing you can do right now in this time of “imminent danger” to our Republic is to fearlessly vocalize your resistance to the tyrannical, communistic lock-down measures in place from coast to coast. You can take to social media to inform others that what is happening is nothing short of tyranny, that it is not for the public good, that it’s destroying the economy, that it is contrary to the Constitution, and that it severely weakens our Liberty. You can be the one who shares critical information with your family and friends both in person and online, because you can rest assured that the mainstream press won’t share it. Indeed, social media and the controlled media are attempting to silence and censor truthful content about the reality of this “pandemic,” cover up rights violations, and keep you in slavish fear. You can the voice of reason in a time of paranoia and fear.

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I urge you, fellow freeman, to lend your voice to the resistance effort. Stand up for your rights and encourage others to stand up for theirs. Help rally your countrymen against the godless Marxist tyranny that oppresses us. Name names. Note those who vote against the Constitution and against personal Liberty. Organize electoral resistance to these charlatans in the next election. Call out and protest your local police for “just doing their job” to put shackles on you and your family. Educate and, if need be, rebuff your acquaintances, friends, and family members who support measures that, by their nature, are unconstitutional, tyrannical, and aimed at the demolition of our Republic.

Never be ashamed to stand up for your Freedom. Stand boldly and know that others stand with you. Be warned that if you cave to the pressure and go along with tyranny, even if it’s supposedly for the “public good,” you disgrace your nation and everything which the title “American” stands for. And also know that if you sincerely resolve “give me liberty, or give me death,” you stand with the great ones whose names we speak with reverence – Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Henry, Hancock, Parker, and so forth. America needs its Sons of Liberty and Daughters of the Revolution more now than ever. It’s your time to show where you stand.

Zack Strong,

April 24, 2020

Lexington and Concord

Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, and disperse.”

On April 18, 1775, 700 British troops slunk out of Boston under the cover of night. Their mission was to march to the little town of Concord to capture and destroy a cache of firearms and gun powder that the American “rebels” were stockpiling there. The outspoken patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock had taken refuge in nearby Lexington and would have also been arrested as the British marched to Concord. In short, the Redcoats planned to arrive in Lexington and Concord at dawn and cut the legs out from under the burgeoning American rebellion.

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Fortunately for the cause of Liberty, the patriots had developed an intricate surveillance and information network. Committees of Correspondence carried critical messages between the colonies. Informants spied on British troop movements. And messengers on horseback raced between towns with instructions from leaders like Samuel Adams. These organizations were entirely extralegal, but served critical functions and were indispensable to the American Revolution.

As soon as the British had slipped out of their base, they were discovered by the network of American patriots. A predetermined plan was set into motion, beginning with the famous “one if by land, two if by sea” signal. This signal – two lanterns hung in the steeple of the Old North Church – was flashed from Boston to nearby Charlestown to alert the other members of the network that the Redcoats were rowing across the Charles River.

Paul Revere, who was instrumental in the local courier network and in the secret group of spies called the Mechanics, visited the home of Dr. Joseph Warren of the Boston Committee of Correspondence. Dr. Warren had already dispatched a messenger named William Dawes to Concord with the alarming news. Revere was also sent to Concord via an alternate route.

Revere carefully rode through the countryside warning people friendly to the “rebels” that the troops were on the move. He arrived in Lexington just before Dawes and immediately went to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the danger. Adams and Hancock were staying in the Lexington home of Reverend Jonas Clark (also spelled Clarke) where they were actively guarded by a number of men from his parish.

Revere and Dawes succeeded in convincing the patriot leaders to flee for their safety and then continued on to Concord. On the way, they were joined by yet another rider, Samuel Prescott. The trio was soon intercepted by British soldiers. Dawes and Prescott managed to escaped and rode on to Concord. Revere, however, was detained, questioned, and had his horse commandeered before walking back to Lexington where he arrived before the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.

After the messengers had alerted the people of Lexington, about seventy minutemen eventually gathered on the Lexington town green. They were led by Captain John Parker. Captain Parker ordered his men not to fire when the British arrived. In fact, he decided to place his militia on the neutral town common instead of block the road to Lexington, which would have been a provocative act. He is reported to have said: “[D]on’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

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Nearby, other minutemen gathered at the Fitch Tavern for a quick breakfast. Their leader, Captain Willson, remarked: “It is a cold breakfast, boys, but we will give the British a hot dinner. We’ll have every dog of them before night.” His words would prove to be truer than perhaps he ever imagined.

When the Lobsterbacks finally arrived in Lexington, after roughing up and even arresting various people along their way, they were incensed to the see Captain Parker’s minutemen lined up, rifles in hand, on the town green. The British gathered in battle formation across from the patriots and fixed bayonets. Even before the British appeared, some of the militiamen were spooked and discussed leaving. Captain Parker overheard the murmuring and responded: “The first man who offers to run shall be shot down.”

The British invaders were led by Major John Pitcairn. Pictairn rode his horse to within earshot of Captain Parker and ordered: “Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, and disperse.” Apparently Captain Parker and his men decided to fall back, but declined to give up their weapons. Pictairn again demanded: “Damn you, why don’t you lay down your arms?”

At this crucial point, another British officer behind Pictairn prompted the troops to fire at the retreating American minutemen. Most books today claim that no one knows who fired the first shot, but the evidence suggests it came from the British side – not from the American militiamen who were at the time falling back. At any rate, Pictairn then formally ordered his men, with profanity and anger, to fire. The American patriots returned fire and the War for Independence had begun.

Ebenezer Munroe, one of the first patriots hit, yelled out to John Munroe as he turned to fire: “I’ll give them the guts of my gun.” He and the other stalwart militiamen of Lexington exemplified the “Don’t Tread On Me” American spirit. This spirit had long been cultivated by Reverend Jonas Clark and other patriots.

On December 13, 1773, in response to the Tea Act, the men of Lexington had actually adopted a resolution written by Rev. Clark – an early version of the Declaration of Independence, one might say – in which they had declared: “We trust in God that should the State of Our Affairs require it, we shall be ready to Sacrifice our Estates, and every thing dear in Life, Yea & Life itself, in support of a Common Cause.” Facing off against British tyrants on the town common was only the natural next step in their commitment to Liberty.

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The battle on Lexington Green lasted only a couple minutes. But when the smoke cleared, eight Americans lay dead and nine others were wounded. Some of those who died had been shot in the back and others were bayoneted by the British jackals. The others melted away into the town or nearby countryside. The British wasted little time in Lexington and marched on to their real goal: The Americans’ guns and ammunition stored at Concord.

While the drama was unfolding in Lexington, numerous messengers were sent into the countryside to inform as many people as possible that the King’s troops were on their way. Samuel Prescott had reached Concord and the local minutemen had gathered together. They were later informed by Reuben Brown that shots had been fired in Lexington. They didn’t know the outcome of the fighting there, but braced for a battle in Concord.

As the British approached Concord, they saw a Liberty pole that had been erected. Tellingly, they cut it down. They began seeing militiamen in the hills along the route. By the time they arrived in the town to confiscate and destroy the patriots’ firearms and ammunition, the minutemen had left the town and spread out into the surrounding areas.

The British immediately embarked on their search-and-destroy mission, aided by lists of patriots’ names provided to them by Tory traitors. Some weapons were successfully hidden and certain townswomen were instrumental in diverting the British away from others. Other public provisions were likewise protected by villagers pretending it was their private property. Despite these efforts, the British soldiers looted a number of the homes, burned some of the buildings, and found some of the armaments, which they destroyed.

With their tyrannical work complete, the British prepared to return to Boston. Their return trip would not go off without a hitch, however. Before the Redcoats could exit Concord, hundreds of militiamen from surrounding areas had gathered under the command of Colonel James Barrett. A war council was held. When smoke and fire were seen in Concord, the patriots decided to move into the town. Colonel Barrett ordered Major John Buttrick to advance on the British, though not to fire unless fired upon. Major Buttrick was heard to say they would “march into the middle of the town for its defence, or die in the attempt.”

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Before they could enter the town, the patriots had to cross Concord Bridge which was guarded by British troops. The British fired upon the militiamen as they approached, killing one man. The militia returned fire, killing several British and wounding others. The British withdrew and were joined by others from the town. They squared off with the militiamen for some time. When they finally began their journey back to Boston, they were ambushed on the way by as many as one to four-thousand men from nearby communities who had responded to the warnings of British invasion into their area.

As the Redcoats marched to Boston, they were sitting ducks for militiamen concealed in the trees and hills along the roadside. For hours, the British endured guerrilla fire from American muskets. Along their march, a particularly interesting incident occurred. Samuel Whittemore was seventy-eight-years-old at the time. His house, in the small village of Menotomy, sat on the road that lead to Boston. As the British fell back after their attacks upon Lexington and Concord, Whittemore was warned that they were coming. Instead of running, he prepared to defend his home.

Whittemore set up his musket, pistols, and sword and prepared for the Redcoats. In due time, the British marched through the village, smashing everything as they went. When his door was kicked in by British regulars, Whittemore didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger of his pistols, felling the intruders. He then shot another British soldier who rushed at him. Finally, he went for his sword as still other British soldiers burst into his home. They shot him in the head and bayoneted him thirteen times before ransacking his house and leaving him for dead. But he didn’t die. Incredibly, this brave patriot not only survived, but lived to the age of 98 – living to see America freed from British domination. When asked by his wife if he regretted engaging the British instead of hiding, he promptly replied: “No! I would run the same chance again.”

The Redcoats were harassed on all sides by the American patriots as they rushed back to Boston. They only found relief when they reached the city and General Gage’s reinforcements. The bloody march came to be known as “Parker’s Revenge.” The Battles of Lexington and Concord were costly for the occupiers. At least 73 British were killed with dozens injured and even more who went missing. On the other hand, the “shot heard ‘round the world” ignited the revolutionary spirit throughout the colonies and made a full-scale war for Independence inevitable.

The “shot heard ‘round the world” has been remembered and commemorated by many as Patriot’s Day. In one particular Patriot’s Day address, Major T. Harrison Cummings noted:

Perhaps the most important date in our national calendar, therefore, is the nineteenth of April, 1775. Since, on that day, the blood that was shed in Cambridge and Lexington, marked the first brave resistance of our ancestors to English tyranny, injustice, and oppression, and that resistance brought about the birth of a new nation of freemen.”

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Surely April 19, 1775 deserves its place among other special dates such as July 4, 1776 and September 17, 1787. But how many of us remember, let alone go out of our way to commemorate, this exceptional day? How many of us even know the names of national heroes like Captain John Parker and Colonel James Barrett? We have so much to be grateful for as Americans – more than any other people on the planet – yet our forgetfulness of our past, our heroes, and our principles, is nothing short of deafening.

There’s another reason beyond mere gratitude that we should remember the noble American blood spilled at Lexington and Concord. Our national situation is analogous to 1775. The major difference, however, is that the tyranny we face today is far worse than the tyranny our forefathers faced in on the eve of the Revolution. Our ancestors would have never tolerated the abuses that are daily heaped upon us. Yet, most of us pathetically tolerate and endure violations of our sacred rights.

Despite the cowardice that has a hold on so many people, there are millions of us who are not so timid; millions of American patriots who understand our rights, comprehend the Constitution, and prefer to die on our feet as freemen than live on our knees as slaves. The powers-that-be who have hijacked our government believe we will roll over and continue to submit to their dictates because there are many who loudly profess their subservience to the state. But “therein lies the road to war, because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us. You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery . . . Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it’s a simple answer after all. You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.”” (Ronald Reagan, “A Time for Choosing,” October 27, 1964).

We don’t know where the next “shot heard ‘round the world” will be or what will spark it. It may be in Virginia where the newly-elected Democrat regime is busy pushing through egregious gun control laws. It may be in New York where they want to confiscate firearms just like the British hordes who descended upon Lexington and Concord. It may be in Utah where the state government is attempting to usurp a totalitarian authority over people and property. It may be in the mountains of Montana if the national government ever attempts to once and for all abolish the Second Amendment. It might be on a ranch or farm that the government is attempting to steal like they did in the 2014 “Battle of Bunkerville.” We don’t know where or when the government’s despotism will be opposed with deadly force and the powder keg of resistance will be ignited – but it will be eventually.

The best case scenario is that the American People wake up and we only have a limited revolt against the tyrants entrenched in government. The worst case scenario – the scenario that is, unfortunately, most likely – is that the Elite will get their way and plunge the Republic into an everyone-against-everyone melee of mob warfare. In either case, American patriots have a tremendous need to remember the men who stood on Lexington Green and at Concord Bridge.

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Americans need to imbibe the spirit of our forefathers. They were real men. They had courage. They knew their rights. They were armed both intellectually, spiritually, and physically against tyrants. They resisted infringements of their rights as all freemen do. They were willing to give their lives to defend their Faith, Families, and Freedom. If we are not prepared to sacrifice everything that they sacrificed in the common cause of Liberty, we’re not worthy to enjoy the level of Freedom they won with their gallantry.

May the names Paul Revere, Jonas Clark, John Parker, James Barrett, and Samuel Whittemore rest on your mind. May the hallowed scenes of Lexington Green and Concord Bridge play continually before your eyes. And may the spirit of Freedom that animated the minutemen who fired the “shot heard ‘round the world” flow through you and inspire you to act against abusive government, when the time comes, as bravely as they did. Long Live Liberty!

Zack Strong,

April 19, 2020

See the following for more details about the battles:

The Battle of April 19, 1775 by Frank Warren Coburn

Lexington: From Liberty’s Birthplace to Progressive Suburb by Richard Kollen

The Minutmen and Their World by Robert A. Gross

Battles of Lexington and Concord by John Hamilton

Fanatic

Many times during political discussions and debates I have been called a “fanatic.” So it’s time for a confession: Yes, I am a fanatic! I’m a fanatic for Freedom. I’m a fanatic for truth. I’m a fanatic for the Constitution. I’m a fanatic for America.

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a “fanatic” is “a person who is extremely enthusiastic about something” or “a person who holds extreme or dangerous opinions.” The word’s etymology is intriguing. Our modern term stems from the Latin words fanum and fanaticus. Fanum means temple or shrine. And fanaticus has several meanings, including “of or pertaining to a temple,” “divinely inspired,” or “possessed.” Both words denote religious behavior – sometimes in a good sense and sometimes in a bad sense. Perhaps it is appropriate, then, to say that a fanatic is one who is fired with a religious zeal for something.

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If we accept this definition, I must again confess: I’m a fanatic! I’m extremely enthusiastic about Freedom. I’m exceedingly eager to regain and maintain my individual rights. I’m dedicated to my own self-government. I’m hell-bent on safeguarding my Faith, Family, and Freedom.

I believe in the American Gospel of Liberty. I worship at the altar of Freedom. I bow before the throne of Independence. I give obeisance inside the temple of sacred, undeniable, and God-given rights.

My love for Freedom is fanatical, aggressive, and uncompromising. I believe in militant Freedom. I’m a hardened devotee of the principles of Liberty. I believe that only an unflinching and spirited defense of our natural rights can succeed in securing them in the face of the devastatingly evil, vicious, and cunning enemy that opposes us.

President Calvin Coolidge affirmed:

The issues of the world must be met and met squarely. The forces of evil do not disdain preparation, they are always prepared and always preparing . . . The welfare of America, the cause of civilization will forever require the contribution of some part of the life of all our citizens to the natural, the necessary, and the inevitable demand for the defense of the right and the truth. There is no substitute for a militant freedom. The only alternative is submission and slavery” (Calvin Coolidge, The Price of Freedom: Speeches and Addresses, 159).

Our situation is dire. Society is crumbling around us because of the machinations of a worldwide cabal of gangsters. Our families are imploding, by design. Cultural Marxism is running rampant and corroding everything. Things have reached such a critical point that our only option is Liberty or slavery. With everything hanging in the balance, isn’t militant Freedom warranted? Aren’t we justified in being radicals for the cause of our country?

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The socialist historian Charles A. Beard did a lot of damage to the Republic by pushing his flawed economic interpretation of the American history, but he did make at least one worthwhile comment. He said:

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence” (M. Kenneth Creamer, The Reformation of Union State Sovereignty: The Path Back to the Political System Our Founding Fathers Intended – A Sovereign Life, Liberty, And a Free Market, 265).

Repeating the Founding Fathers’ slogans gets you branded as a “dangerous” extremist these days. Saying “Liberty or death,” like Patrick Henry did, can get you on a government watch list. Repeating Benjamin Franklin’s motto “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God” can get you labeled a potential domestic terrorist. Should being considered an “extremist,” a “radical,” a “zealot,” a “Nazi,” a “fascist,” a “white supremacist,” a “racist,” a “homophobe,” or a “fanatic” deter us from doing what is right? Of course not!

Remember, part of the definition of a fanatic is one who holds “dangerous opinions.” Dangerous to whom? Dangerous to traitors. Dangerous to tyrants. Dangerous to liars. Dangerous to communist riffraff. Dangerous to Satan worshippers. Dangerous to the parasites who feast on the lifeblood of society.

At the end of the day, unless we’re prepared to become die-hard radicals, entrenched extremists, and uncompromising fanatics for our Faith, Families, and Freedom, we don’t deserve any of them. Thomas Jefferson, one of the truest fanatics in all of recorded history, stated: “[A]ll timid men . . . prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty” (Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei, April 24, 1796). Which are you – timid or brave, afraid or indomitable, servile or independent?

Timid men are not worthy of the blessings of Liberty. Weak people are not capable of self-government. Cowardly nations do not deserve to be free. “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves” (George Washington, General Orders, July 2, 1776). When the day of decision comes, and it will come, where will you stand?

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I challenge you to become a Freedom fighter. I urge you to become a dyed-in-the-wool American patriot. I appeal to your inner sense of honor and invite you to become an adamant defender of the sacred rights of mankind. I plead with you from the depth of my soul to become an extremist in the cause of justice, truth, and Independence. I call upon you to become dangerous like our Founding Fathers and the Sons of Liberty – dangerous to any who would destroy our birthright of Liberty. I implore you to become a Freedom fanatic.

Zack Strong,

April 14, 2020.

Silence is Complicity

The Nineteenth Century British philosopher John Stuart Mill, whose socialist political ideology I generally find abhorrent, proved correct the adage that “even a broken clock is right twice a day” when he stated:

Let not anyone pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject” (John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address to the University of St. Andrews, February 1, 1867).

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Mill put into words a concept of tremendous relevance to people of all ages; namely, that we have a moral duty to speak out against wrongs regardless of where they are committed, who commits them, or if they impact us directly. To look on as evil is being perpetrated on others is itself evil. Neutrality is a phantom. Indifference is a sin. And silence is complicity.

Each person is born into mortality “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is no right bestowed by nature without a correlating duty or responsibility being likewise conferred. The right of life, for instance, does not grant us the privilege of living selfishly for ourselves alone with zero regard for the well-being of others in the society. We do in fact have duties and obligations towards others.

We are not our brother’s keeper in the sense that it is our job to take care of everyone in socialist cradle-to-grave fashion. No one owes us a living. No one is obligated to subsidize our existence out of their own pocket. We are not entitled to anything at the expense of others. Simply, it is not the state’s job to provide for you, to give you health care, to educate your children, to give you a house, or to provide “free” services that you could otherwise provide for yourself through your individual industry.

However, we all belong to the same human family and we have an obligation to ensure that our brothers and sisters enjoy an equal chance to live and breathe and work out their lives in the pursuit of happiness, greatness, and salvation. We have a duty to see to it that each member of society is treated fairly, that each is protected in their rights, that each receives the dignity due a son or daughter of God, and that each is equal in the eyes of the law.

It is particularly true that we each have a duty to protect not only our own God-given rights, but the natural rights of all other individuals in the community. To sit silently while your neighbor has his rights violated by the government or the collective community is as if you violated them yourself. While I don’t favor so-called Good Samaritan laws which operate on the principle of compulsion, the example of the Savior Jesus Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan is instructive.

You may recall from your Bible study that the Samaritans were mostly descendants of pagan foreigners deliberately planted in Palestine by the Assyrian conquerors as a way of undermining Israelite societal cohesion and power. Some Samaritans also intermarried with Israelites and worshiped Jehovah, though their claims to religious fellowship were rejected by the supremacist Jews, creating antagonism between the two groups.

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Jesus’ parable begins with an important exchange. The Master asked a lawyer what he believed the most important commandment was. The lawyer responded:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27).

The Lord confirmed his response, to which the lawyer asked the follow-up question: “And who is my neighbour”? (Luke 10:29) Jesus answered with a parable about a man traveling along a dangerous road. The man was attacked, robbed, and left on the brink of death. Along came a Jewish priest who saw the man, crossed to the other side of the path, and continued on his way without helping. Yet another Jewish religionist saw the man, ignored him, and passed by on the other side of the road. However, a Samaritan – one of those whom the Jews hated so badly – came across the wounded man and “had compassion on him.” He dressed his wounds and took him to an inn, pledging to pay for whatever care he needed during his recovery (Luke 10:30-35).

When He finished his story, Jesus asked the lawyer which of the three passersby was a true neighbor to the wounded man. The lawyer responded, of course, that the merciful Samaritan, though a hated foreigner and outcast in the Jewish mind, was the real neighbor to the man in need. The Savior said simply, and perhaps with a bit of a rebuke: “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Jesus’ words apply to you and to me. Though we are under no legal obligation to give our neighbors charity, we should nonetheless be charitable. What’s more, we are to protect others from abuse when it is within our power and to help them receive justice when they have been wronged. Society at large – and society is comprised of individuals like you – has a responsibility to ensure that the natural rights of each member are secured and that justice is exacted when violations occur. Otherwise, there is no point in joining together in a community.

As implied by the parable given by our Redeemer, Christians ought to be the first people to stand up against injustice, error, and despotism. The oppressed, abused, and violated should be able to rely on the support of their Christian neighbors. The weak and defenseless should likewise be able to count on the unflinching assistance of the true follower of Jesus Christ.

Oftentimes when people think of that humble Man from Nazareth, they think of a weak or compliant Individual who always turned the other cheek and submitted to evil. But how accurate is this image? Does Christ really expect us to submit to injustice? Does He want us to kow-tow to government regardless of whether the actions of that government are immoral? And, perhaps more poignantly, during His mortal life did He behave in the passive manner that some Christians today believe we should exemplify?

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In an April 1917 sermon, the Christian leader Charles W. Penrose spoke of the Savior’s personality and His stance on resisting evil. He stated:

True, Jesus Christ taught that non-resistance, was right and praiseworthy and a duty under certain circumstances and conditions; but just look at him when he went into the temple, when he made that scourge of thongs, when he turned out the money-changers and kicked over their tables and told them to get out of the house of the Lord! “My house is a house of prayer,” he said, “but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Get out of here! Hear him crying, “Woe unto you Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and then ye make him ten-fold more the child of hell than he was before.” That was the other side of the spirit of Jesus. Jesus was no milksop. He was not to be trampled under foot. He was ready to submit when the time came for his martyrdom, and he was to be nailed on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, but he was ready at any time to stand up for his rights like a man. He is not only called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” but also “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” and He will be seen to be terrible by and by to his enemies.

Now while we are not particularly required to pattern after the “lion” side of his character unless it becomes necessary, the Lord does not expect us to submit to be trodden under foot by our enemies and never resist. The Lord does not want us to inculcate the spirit of war nor the spirit of bloodshed. In fact he has commanded us not to shed blood, but there are times and seasons, as we can find in the history of the world, in Bible and the Book of Mormon, when it is justified and right and proper and the duty of men to go forth in the defense of their homes and their families and maintain their privileges and rights by force of arms. . . .

. . . Does the Lord permit the shedding of blood and justify it? Yes, sometimes he does. Was not the war of independence of this country justifiable? Were not the rights and privileges of the people of this land trampled under foot, and did they not rise in their might and the God of Battles strengthen their arms and they went forth to victory and brought liberty, not only to themselves and their immediate families, but to hosts of people from down-trodden Europe who are rejoicing today under the Stars and Stripes with liberty of conscience and liberty of speech and liberty of action within proper guidance and direction of righteous law. These principles are to go forth to all flesh. Don’t you forget it. The time will come when they will be carried to all the nations of the earth and they will be delivered from tyrants and oppressors” (President Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, April, 1917, 19-20).

I love the line “Jesus was no milksop.” Google defines a “milksop” as “a person who is indecisive and lacks courage.” Synonyms include “coward,” “snowflake,” “pansy,” “wimp,” and “weakling.” No, Jesus was no coward. He was not a weakling. He was certainly not politically correct or in need of “safe spaces” like today’s “snowflakes.”

Rather, Jesus was full of passion. After He cleansed the temple the first time, John recorded: “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:17). Jesus was a zealot for righteousness. No one has ever made a firmer stand for truth, justice, and goodness. Our Lord was strong and resolute and fearless in the face of maniacal mobs, the machinations of government leaders, and centuries of stubborn precedent. He brimmed with courage, honor, virtue, leadership, and decisiveness. He was a true man in every good sense of the word.

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We are meant to pattern our life after our Savior. He stood unshakable before vicious detractors and in spite of constant persecution. His principles were constant and immovable. He immediately helped those in need, deliberately violating commonly accepted, albeit utterly incorrect, religious traditions in the process. He bodily hurled the money-changers from the temple more than once. He was a Man of action, a Man of passion, and a Man of perfect honor. If we are to to be like Christ, we must be the same type of individuals.

When we see our fellow men groaning under oppression, what is our reaction? Are we pained? Are we indifferent? Do we yearn to help? Do we sit by and ignore the situation? Our reaction to injustice, atrocities, and evil tells a lot about us. And again I repeat: Silence is complicity.

The fiery freeman Thomas Paine explained that part of our duty as patriots is to defend others, even those we dislike, when we see them suffer injustices and abuse:

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself” (Thomas Paine, Dissertation on First-Principles of Government, 32).

If we do not stand up and challenge wrongs at least verbally when they happen, we enable future wrongs and embolden perpetrators. Those same wrongs may one day knock on our door. And if we have not stood in defense of others and done our utmost to defend them and redress the violations of their Liberty, can we honestly expect them to stand up for us when are on the receiving end of tyranny’s kiss?

For instance, if we, as a society, sit idly by as one segment of the populations butchers babies and murders the unborn, how can we expect others to rush to our aid when we are threatened? Babies are the most defenseless, helpless, and innocent among us. If we can permit them to be slaughtered to the ungodly tune of 70-90 million in the past five decades, we don’t have a prayer of justice prevailing in our land. Infanticide – the negation and violation of the fundamental right of life – is simply unconscionable and incompatible with a moral people and a civil, ordered society.

Yes, even our enemies deserve to have their rights secured and safeguarded. If we do not allow them to speak (excepting those like avowed communists who breathe out threatenings against our Faith, Families, and Freedom and who intend to enslave us under a global dictatorship, thereby forfeiting their rights), we should not expect to be allowed to speak either. Criminals also deserve to be treated with dignity and due process, even though our sense of humanity cannot overrule our sense of justice. If we turn a blind eye and deaf ear to human suffering, how can we escape such suffering ourselves? Eventually, that which we allow to happen to others will happen to us.

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In 2019, one of my favorite guitarists and musicians, Daron Malakian, released a characteristically quirky song for his band Scars on Broadway titled “Angry Guru.” The catchphrase of the track states: “Silence leads to violence.” This is an accurate statement. The silence of good people emboldens criminals, thugs, liars, bullies, and tyrants. Silence leads to deception, coercion, and even genocide. Silence encourages inaction, thereby allowed committed enemies of humanity to do their work with little opposition.

In order for evil to gain a foothold in a society, it requires the silence of the majority. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the famed Russian writer who spent time as a slave in Stalin’s GULAG, later recalled that if the Russian people would have dared to speak out and take a stand against the Bolshevik occupiers, communism could have never conquered and maintained control in Russia. With remorse, he wrote:

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur – what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked? The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!

If . . . if . . . We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation. We spent ourselves in one unrestrained outburst in 1917, and then we hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure! . . . We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, Vol. 1, 13).

The Russian people were the victims of an invasion by a foreign clique of anti-Christ gangsters. These predominately Jewish thugs brutalized their way to power, plundering, torturing, enslaving, raping, and murdering everyone in their way. The only real opposition to their Satanic schemes came in the Russian Civil War that began with the communist coup d’etat in 1917. As soon as the Bolsheviks began to gain ground, the Russian people “hurried to submit” to their iron-fisted rule as they had done under the tsars for centuries. If more than a handful of Russians had spoken out and stood up in defense of their rights, they could have rebuffed and driven out the communist cabal. Tragically, their slavish conditioning was too great and the communists prevailed.

Solzhenitsyn said that the Russian people deserved what they got because of their inaction and silence. Does a silent, and, therefore complicit, nation really deserve the horrors of tyranny? Perhaps so. Alexander Hamilton similarly stated:

Moderation in every nation is a virtue. In weak or young nations, it is often wise to take every chance by patience and address to divert hostility and in this view to hold parley with insult and injury—but to capitulate with oppression, rather to surrender at discretion to it is in any nation that has any power of resistance as foolish as it contemptible. The honor of a nation is its life. Deliberately to abandon it is to commit an act of political suicide . . . The Nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a Master and deserves one” (Alexander Hamilton, Philadelphia Daily Advertiser, February 21, 1797).

A nation not prepared for just war and whose citizens are not prepared to put their own lives on the line to defend their Faith, Families, and Freedom, cannot possibly maintain their civilization. A people so cowed and cowardly that they will sheepishly endure abuses is a people without honor. It is tantamount to national suicide to silently witness evil. Silence is in actual fact complicity.

silence1

I now share a poignant warning from the great Ezra Taft Benson. His words were spoken in 1968, but they’re even more applicable now. He proclaimed:

Great nations are never conquered from outside unless they are rotten inside. Our greatest national problem today is erosion, not the erosion of the soil, but erosion of the national morality – erosion of traditional enforcement of law and order. . . .

Those of us conscious of the seriousness of the situation must act, and act now. It has been said that it takes something spectacular to get folks excited, like a burning house. Nobody notices one that is simply decaying. But in America today we not only have decaying but burning before our very eyes. How much we need hearts today who will respond to the inspiring words of the poet, John Greenleaf Whittier:

““Where’s the manly spirit

Of the true-hearted and the unshackled gone?

Sons of old freemen, do we inherit their name alone?

Is the old Pilgrim spirit quenched within us?

Stoops the proud manhood of our souls so low,

That Mammon’s lure or Party’s wile can win us to silence now?

Now, when our land to ruin’s brink is verging,

In God’s name let us speak while there is time;

Now, when the padlocks for our lips are forging,

Silence is crime”” (President Ezra Taft Benson, “Americans Are Destroying America,” General Conference, April, 1968).

What kind of individuals will we be? What kind of society do we want to live in? Do we prefer to live in a spineless nation of people who turn a blind eye to suffering and injustice or do we want to live in a society of stalwart patriots who rush to our aid at the first sign of oppression, harassment, or abuse? Will we be full of valor, virtue, honor, and manliness? Or will we shrink from the fight, stop our ears, cross to the other side of the road, and ignore the plight of our countrymen? The choice is ours, but we already know the outcome if we choose to remain silent like sheep.

We ought to be men and women in the mold of our Master, Jesus Christ. We should help others, show compassion, advocate truth, denounce error, dare to rebuff false teachers and tyrants, and cast the money-changers – both figurative and literal – from our hearts, communities, and nations. In this age of rising oppression, our voices should be raised loud and strong against wickedness and evil.

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We can never be guilty of silence in the face of advancing evil – the stakes are too high. If we are silent, we are complicit. If we close our mouths when others need an advocate, our cries will be met with deafening silence when the jackboot of tyranny forces them from our lips. We cannot afford to be silent. We must speak. We must fight. We must win this war. Failure is not an option. Inaction is unacceptable. And silence is complicity. Be silent no more.

Zack Strong,

March 1, 2020

The Book of Mormon Speaks of Freedom

Freedom is a topic that we all have a pressing need to study and master. The human spirit innately craves Liberty and personal accountability, yet few times in history have people been able to attain and then maintain their rights. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which you can read about in my previous article, is a volume of inspired scripture that speaks first and foremost of the divine mission of Jesus Christ and calls upon all people to worship Him. An important secondary mission of The Book of Mormon, however, is to teach us the correct principles of Liberty, expose Satan’s Freedom-destroying schemes, and show what is required for a people to maintain their God-given rights under a free government.

Captain Moroni13

Because it helps us identify the Devil’s tyrannical tactics and teaches us true principles of self-government, The Book of Mormon is the ultimate handbook of Freedom. While there is not much by way of exposition about the principles of Liberty, we see them in action in the lives and experiences of the Nephite nation. For the first five-hundred years of their history, the Nephites lived under a system of kings. The final king, a God-fearing man named Mosiah, decided to abolish the monarchical system and encouraged the Nephite people to take upon themselves responsibilities, rights, and privileges of self-government.

While contemplating the future of his people, Mosiah made a proclamation wherein he explained the dangers posed by monarchy. The foremost problem he identified was factionalism. Those vying for the position of king could easily divide the nation and cause senseless civil war. What’s more, a wicked king would be unstoppable by any means other than bloodshed. With this context in mind, we read a few lines from Mosiah’s proclamation:

And now let us be wise and look forward to these things, and do that which will make for the peace of this people.

. . . let us appoint judges, to judge this people according to our laws; and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people, for we will appoint wise men to be judges, that will judge this people according to the commandments of God.

Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just. . . .

Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you.

For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction! . . . .

And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.

For behold, he has his friends in iniquity, and he keepeth his guards about him; and he teareath up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him; and he trampleth under his feet the commandments of God;

And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness.

And now behold I say unto you, it is not expedient that such abominations should come upon you.

Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord.

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law – to do y our business by the voice of the people.

And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon them. . . .

And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things, and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and inquities they shall be answered upon their own heads. . . .

. . . I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike” (Mosiah 29:10-12, 16-17, 21-27, 30, 32).

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The Nephite kingdom being conferred on Mosiah by his father, King Benjamin

It should be noted before I proceed with my commentary that Mosiah was not merely a king, but also an inspired Christian prophet. The Holy Spirit therefore moved upon him to formulate a new government that was pleasing to the Lord and compatible with His Gospel.

Mosiah was emphatic that men could not be trusted with the power of kingship. He knew that an unstable or immoral king could cause havoc throughout the land. He was worried that a king would amend the good laws that had been handed down for generations, instituting in their place corrupt laws that would permit sin, punish righteousness, and trample individual Liberty.

Instead of monarchy, Mosiah desired that the Nephite people take upon themselves the responsibility for administering the government. He believed that the people should “do [their] business by the voice of the people.” Note that he did not advocate for pure democracy. Rather, he suggested a system of rule of law with judges selected by the people who would enforce the law. It was, thus, a representative government very similar to that set up in the United States under the Constitution. Just as Mosiah said the law had been given to the Nephites’ forefathers by God, so, too, do I witness that the U.S. Constitution was inspired by Almighty God.

In a portion of Mosiah’s declaration that I did not cited, he made it clear that judges who did not judge “according to the law” could be taken and judged by other judged and removed from their posts (Mosiah 29:28-29). He also verified that the judges were accountable “to the voice of the people” (Mosiah 29:29). The similarities to the system set forth in the U.S. Constitution are too vivid to ignore.

Just as Mosiah said not to place trust in men but instead to make men accountable to the law, the great Thomas Jefferson advised: “In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution” (Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions, draft, 1798).

Thomas Paine was obviously in tune with the same patriotic spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17). In 1776, he explained:

[I]n America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the Crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.

A government of our own is our natural right” (Thomas Paine, Common Sense).

Just as the American Founding Fathers established a government based on the rule of law, individual Liberty, and accountability, so, too, did the Nephites set up a free government in ancient America. When Mosiah presented his plan to the Nephite people, they were thrilled with the prospect of governing themselves. The scripture recounts:

And now it came to pass, after king Mosiah had sent these things forth among the people they were convinced of the truth of his words.

Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.

Therefore, it came to pass that they assembled themselves together in bodies throughout the land, to cast in their voices concerning who should be their judges, to judge them according to the law which had been given; and they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted unto them” (Mosiah 29:37-39).

The Nephites became enamored with the idea of governing themselves and placing this huge responsibility on their own shoulders. They embraced the idea of rule of law and self-governance. The laws that Mosiah gave “were acknowledged by the people; therefore they were obliged to abide by the laws” (Alma 1:1). This is similar to the concept espoused by George Washington when he said:

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government” (George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796).

The people supported Mosiah’s plan, accepted the laws he proposed, and thus bound themselves to obey the established system of self-rule. As noted, the people were generally ecstatic to have the chance to determine their own futures. Mosiah made it plain that maintaining such a system would require great exertion. Self-government is indeed the most demanding form of government. It requires individuals to be informed, to make decisions, to be accountable, and to live in accordance with moral principles.

In 1938, Elder Albert Bowen, a modern apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke of self-government. He said:

Self-government involves self-control, self-discipline, and acceptance of the most unremitting obedience to correct principles. . . .

No other form of government requires so high a degree of individual morality” (Elder Albert E. Bowen, Improvement Era, 1938, 41).

Founding Fathers1

The Founding Fathers of the United States were emphatic in their warnings that only a virtuous people is capable of Freedom. It takes no virtue or excellence to be ruled and enslaved, but it takes a high degree of greatness, personal discipline, and exertion to be free. Because our Founding Fathers’ Freedom philosophy dovetails so nicely with the principles preached by Mosiah and other Book of Mormon figures to be cited later, I present a brief smattering of their thoughts on the connection between morality and Liberty.

My ancestor, Caleb Strong, is one of those forgotten Founding Fathers. He was an intimate associate of John Adams and helped him write the constitution for Massachusetts. He filled many positions during the War for Independence. He attended the Constitutional Convention and was the man who successfully proposed that all money bills originate in the House of Representatives. He served as the first senator from Massachusetts and, later, as governor of that state for eleven years. Mr. Strong made this observation:

Almost every nation, at some period of their existence, have enjoyed the privileges of a free State; but how few have preserved them! – they have been lost by the inconstancy of the citizens, or forfeited by their vices. . . .

. . . Government is necessary, to preserve the public peace, the persons and property of individuals; but our social happiness must chiefly depend upon other causes; upon simplicity and purity of manners; upon the education that we give our children; upon a steady adherence to the customs and institutions of our ancestors; upon the general diffusion of knowledge, and the prevalence of piety and benevolent affections among the people.

Our forms of government, are, doubtless, like all other institutions, imperfect; but they will secure the blessings of freedom to the citizens, and preserve their tranquility, as long as they are virtuous; and no constitution, that has been, or can be formed, will secure those blessings to a depraved and vicious people” (Caleb Strong, speech to the Massachusetts Legislature, January 17, 1806).

John Adams similarly believed:

The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies” (John Adams to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776).

In a more famous quotation, John Adams, then the president, wrote:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (John Adams to the Massachusetts Militia, October 11, 1798).

John Witherspoon, the fiery Revolutionary era minister, gave us this gem:

Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue. On the other hand, when the manners of a nation are pure, when true religion and internal principles maintain their vigor, the attempts of the most powerful enemies to oppress them are commonly baffled and disappointed” (John Witherspoon, “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Man,” May 17, 1776).

Benjamin Franklin also subscribed to this philosophy, writing:

[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters” (Benjamin Franklin to Abbes Chalut and Arnoux, April 17, 1787).

George Washington by Tim Davis

In his Farewell Address, which ought to be required reading in every part of our Republic, President George Washington took up the subject of morality and religion in a free country and proclaimed:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?” (George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796).

Finally, George Washington stated simply but unequivocally: “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” (George Washington to the Protestant Clergy of Philadelphia, March 3, 1797).

The Founding Fathers believed that the American People could only maintain their hard-won Freedom if they were virtuous and lived in accordance with the laws of God. Anciently, Mosiah believed the same thing and established his system of judges and laws in such a manner that required the Nephite people to be righteous in order for them to work. The Nephites consented to this state of affairs and gladly took upon themselves the burden and blessing of self-government. This history contextualizes the most iconic struggles for Liberty related in The Book of Mormon.

The first struggle came only five years after the system of judges had gone into effect. A man name Amlici, who is described as “being a very cunning man, yea, a wise man as to the wisdom of the world” sought to be king (Alma 2:1). Amlici was an anti-Christian zealot who belonged to a sect called the order of Nehors which attempted to impose itself upon the rest of society. We read in the record that Christians and all who loved their Liberty were alarmed at Amlici’s desire to become a king. They knew that “according to their law” all such matters “must be established by the voice of the people” and that “if it were possible that Amlici should gain the voice of the people, he, being a wicked man, would deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God” (Alma 2:3-4).

As time went on, Amlici successfully courted a large number of people “and they began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be a king over the people” (Alma 2:2). Whether they joined him because they were not accustomed to their newfound Freedom, or because they found self-government too demanding, or whether they were also opposed to the Church of Jesus Christ and wanted the strong arm of government to suppress it, Amlici’s followers became so numerous that they forced a vote to decide whether or not their government would be abolished.

We read what happened next:

And it came to pass that the people assembled themselves together throughout all the land, every man according to his mind, whether it were for or against Amlici, in separate bodies, having much dispute and wonderful contentions one with another.

And thus they did assemble themselves together to cast in their voices concerning the matter; and they were laid before the judges.

And it came to pass that the voice of the people came against Amlici, that he was not made king over the people.

Now this did cause much joy in the hearts of those who were against him; but Amlici did stir up those who were in his favor to anger against those who were not in his favor.

And it came to pass that they gathered themselves together, and did consecrate Amlici to be their king.

Now when Amlici was made king over them he commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren; and this he did that he might subject them to him” (Alma 2:5-10).

Amlici’s rebellion fulfilled Mosiah’s earlier warnings to a T. Recall that Mosiah warned that “ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.” The Nephites were compelled to fight a sanguinary civil war all because one very wicked man sought for power over his countrymen and sought to dictate how they should live worship.

The Book of Mormon16

Amlici’s forces, being outnumbered by those who desired Freedom, were quickly defeated. However, Amlici ran to the Nephites’ rivals, the Lamanites, for assistance. The Lamanites routinely watched and waited for opportunities to subjugate the Nephites. A civil war was the perfect opportunity to strike. They joined forces with Amlici and the remainder of his men and waged war against the Nephites.

The Book of Mormon recounts that the ensuing battle was fierce but that “the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and the Amlicites did fall before them” (Alma 2:28).

After the brief but devastating war, the Nephites went back to the work of self-government. Their peace did not last long, however, because there are always those who seek for power over others.

Eighteen years after the “reign of judges” began, we learn of a great warrior named Captain Moroni. Moroni appeared on the scene at a time when the fledgling Nephite republic was again beginning to fracture. A segment of society, led by those of high birth who thought themselves above their fellows, wanted to revert back to the rule of kings. This faction was referred to as “king-men.” The opposing faction took upon themselves the name “freemen” and was determined to maintain their system of self-government at all costs.

This war of ideas came at a precarious time. It came as the aforementioned Lamanites, were again mobilizing for war. The Lamanites were encouraged, as before, by Nephite dissenters. In particular, a group calling themselves Zoramites “began to mix with the Lamanites and to stir them up also to anger” so much so that they “began to make preparations for war” (Alma 35:10-11). The anger stemmed from a difference in religion, the Zoramites and Lamanites denying the Christian Gospel preached by Nephite prophets, but was ultimately aimed at subjugating the independent Nephites once and for all.

At age twenty-five, Captain Moroni was appointed as head of the Nephite army. Moroni, a brilliant tactician and a man inspired by Almighty God, won the initial battles against the Lamanite-Zoramite armies and the latter retreated to regroup and devise a new strategy. During this tense period of war preparations, and as Captain Moroni was occupied fortifying the land in anticipation of the coming onslaught, the seditious king-men seized their chance.

The king-men were led by a singularly devious man named Amalickiah. Amalickiah, as Amlici before him, hated the Gospel of Jesus Christ and wanted to destroy the Church of Christ. He also lusted for power and wanted to eviscerate the Nephites’ Freedom. The Book of Mormon speaks of him and his followers in this way:

And it came to pass that as many as would not hearken to the words of Helaman [the prophet] and his brethren were gathered together against their brethren.

And now behold, they were exceedingly wroth, insomuch that they were determined to slay them.

Now the leader of those who were wroth against their brethren was a large and a strong man; and his name was Amalickiah.

And Amalickiah was desirous to be a king; and those people who were wroth were also desirous that he should be their king; and they were the greater part of them the lower judges of the land, and they were desirous for power.

And they had been led by the flatteries of Amalickiah, that if they would support him and establish him to be their king that he would make them rulers over the people. . . .

Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake” (Alma 46:1-5, 10).

Captain Moroni12

Amalickiah and his elitist, anti-Christian hordes rose up to challenge the Nephites. They openly sought to destroy the government, impose a monarchy over the land, and sweep away the Christians. Captain Moroni, a Christian and a fierce Freedom Fighter, would have none of it. The sacred record tells us:

And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.

And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it – In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children – and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

And he fastened on his headplate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily to his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land. . . .

And he said: Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions.

And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing . . . and crying with a loud voice, saying:

Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.

And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God” (Alma 46:11-13, 18-21).

Moroni ordered that his Title of Liberty be published throughout all the land. With the stirring slogan “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children,” Captain Moroni rallied the Nephites against Amalickiah. He inspired them to stand up and be counted. He roused them to rise in defense of their Faith, Families, and Freedom.

Captain Moroni4

When Captain Moroni had rallied the people to his standard, he marched against Amalickiah to put an end to his machinations. When they saw Moroni coming, many of Amalickiah’s people became “doubtful concerning the justice of the cause in which they had undertaken” (Alma 46:29). Amalickiah, fearing capture, took a small group of followers, including his brother Ammoron, and fled to the Lamanites. Moroni sent his men to apprehend Amalickiah because “he knew that he would stir up the Lamanites to anger against them and cause them to come to battle against them; and this he knew that Amalickiah would do that he might obtain his purposes” (Alma 46:30).

Unfortunately, Amalickiah escaped. Most of his followers, however, were captured. We read:

And it came to pass that whomsoever of the Amalickiahites that would not enter into a covenant to support the cause of freedom, that they might maintain a free government, he caused to be put to death; and there were but few who denied the covenant of freedom.

And it came to pass also, that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites” (Alma 46:35-36).

The immediate threat of civil war was eliminated. However, as Moroni predicted, and in a fascinating story of trickery and treachery that I will not recount here, Amalickiah gained control over the Lamanite army, had his men murder the Lamanite king, and installed himself as monarch. His first command as king, unsurprisingly, was to launch a war of subjugation against the Nephites.

The Book of Mormon gives us this interesting passage about the interim period before the war began in earnest and about the type of man and leader Captain Moroni was:

Now it came to pass that while Amalickiah had thus been obtaining power by fraud and deceit, Moroni, on the other hand, had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God. . . .

And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians.

And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;

Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.

Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.

Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even tot he shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives.

And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land. . . .

Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” (Alma 48:7, 10-15, 17).

Captain Moroni exemplified what it means to be a patriot. He was the ultimate freeman. He has an honored place in the Freedom Fighter Hall of Fame. His Herculean struggle for his people earned him eternal glory. And he was the epitome of the “Christian soldier” marching “with the cross of Jesus” (Hymn No. 246, “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

We have an analog to Captain Moroni in our own history. General George Washington was such a man of similar stature. He was also a strong and mighty individual, a man with a brilliant mind, a patriot who worked for the welfare of his country, and a deeply devout Christian. Just as Moroni bowed himself to the earth and supplicated the Lord for assistance, General Washington relied upon the Lord during the Revolution. At the outset of that struggle, he wrote:

No Man has a more perfect Reliance on the all-wise, and powerful dispensations of the Supreme Being than I have nor thinks his aid more necessary” (George Washington to William Gordon, May 13, 1776).

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The righteous portion of the Nephites were well-grounded in just principles. They knew that conquest was wrong. They knew that the Lord only supports taking the sword in self-defense and to fulfill His divine purposes. Similarly, early Americans abhorred aggressive war and only shouldered their muskets when the British monarchists came to disarm and enslave them. Thomas Jefferson observed:

If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest” (Thomas Jefferson to William Short, July 28, 1791).

The Americans’ War for Independence was a defensive action against modern-day king-men. Our People, like the Nephites, fought a war for their very survival. We had General Washington and the Nephites had Captain Moroni. And as the Nephites rent their coats as a token that they would serve God and thereby receive His protection, so, too, did modern Americans declare their “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.” When you recognize the parallels between ancient and recent history, and recognize that we are today passing through a similar period of division centering on religion and Liberty, The Book of Mormon becomes all the more relevant and useful.

We return to Captain Moroni’s story. Eventually, King Amalickiah’s Lamanite forces invaded Nephite territory. Moroni had cleverly fortified every city throughout the land (the ruins of those impressive forts can be found throughout the heartland of America) and the initial thrusts were repulsed. Amalickiah “was exceedingly wroth, and he did curse God, and also Moroni, swearing with an oath that he would drink his blood” (Alma 49:27). Amalickiah restrategized and, approximately five years later, personally led a new invasion.

This invasion happened as yet another group of Nephites attempted to break away and the society was rife with division. The Book of Mormon gives a commentary about those who caused the new contentions:

Therefore, those who were desirous that the law should be altered were angry with [the newly-elected chief judge Pahoran], and desired that he should no longer be chief judge over the land; therefore there arose a warm dispute concerning the matter. . . .

And it came to pass that those who were desirous that Pahoran should be dethroned from the judgment-seat were called king-men, for they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land.

And those who were desirous that Pahoran should remain chief judge over the land took upon them the name of freemen; and thus was the division among them, for the freemen had sworn or covenanted to maintain their rights and the privileges of their religion by a free government.

And it came to pass that this matter of their contention was settled by the voice of the people. And it came to pass that the voice of the people came in favor of the freemen, and Pahoran retained the judgment-seat, which caused much rejoicing among the brethren of Pahoran and also many of the people of liberty, who also put the king-men to silence, that they durst not oppose but were obliged to maintain the cause of freedom.

Now those who were in favor of kings were those of high birth, and they sought to be kinds; and they were supported by those who sought power and authority over the people” (Alma 51:4-8).

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This division and infighting happened at the exact time that Amalickiah attacked. So bitter were the king-men that they had been thwarted yet again by the freemen that when they knew the Lamanites had invaded “they refused to take up arms, for they were so wroth with the chief judge, and also with the people of liberty, that they would not take up arms to defend their country” (Alma 51:13).

We read that when Captain Moroni was apprised of the king-men’s sedition, he was “exceedingly wroth because of the stubbornness of those people whom he had labored with so much diligence to preserve; yea, he was exceedingly wroth; his soul was filled with anger against them” (Alma 51:14). Moroni was forced to withdraw his troops from their defensive positions to deal with the king-men problem first. The record states that “he sent a petition, with the voice of the people, unto the governor of the land” requesting power “to compel those dissenters to defend their country or to put them to death” (Alma 51:15).

The Book of Mormon attests that Moroni was so concerned because such sedition “had been hitherto a cause of all their destruction” (Alma 51:16). The Captain’s petition was granted and he “commanded that his army should go against those king-men, to pull down their pride and their nobility and level them with the earth, or they should take up arms and support the cause of liberty” (Alma 51:17).

The same king-men who refused to lift their weapons to defend their country nevertheless drew the sword to fight against their countrymen. Moroni’s disciplined men were victorious, however, and the king-men were killed, imprisoned, or “compelled to hoist the title of liberty upon their towers, and in their cities, and to take up arms in defence of their country” (Alma 51:20). Though he did not entirely wipe out the monarchical ideology, Moroni successfully destroyed the king-men as an organization. “[T]hey were brought down to humble themselves like unto their brethren, and to fight valiantly for their freedom from bondage” (Alma 51:21).

During the chaos, Amalickiah was able to capture a number of Nephite cities. He would have continued cutting his way through the land, but a commander named Teancum was dispatched to stop him, which he successfully did because his men were “great warriors; for every man of Teancum did exceed the Lamanites in their strength and in their skill of war” (Alma 51:31). Being repulsed after a hard day of fighting, Amalickiah camped for the night. Teancum, however, wanted to end the war as quickly as possible. He crept into the Lamanite camp, found Amalickiah as he slept, and “put a javelin to his heart,” thus ending Amalickiah’s evil reign (Alma 51:33-36).

The war did not end as Teancum had hoped, however. Amalickiah’s brother Ammoron ascended to the throne and intensified the conflagration, besieging all parts of the land. The war raged for years with both victories and setbacks for the Nephites. I leave you to read about the specific battles and strategy in the book of Alma in The Book of Mormon. I jump to the concluding episode of the war.

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Though the king-men were no longer called by that name, enough people maintained the elitist philosophy to be a major impediment to the war effort. Near the end of the war, Moroni and other commanders stopped receiving sufficient supplies of men and food. Moroni began to suspect that a faction existed within the government which sought their defeat. “Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country” (Alma 59:13). He wrote a bristling epistle that everyone should read in full. I draw a few noteworthy excerpts from its contents – lines which equally apply to those traitors who infest our own government today.

Speaking to the “the chief judge and the governor over the land, and also to all those who have been chosen by this people to govern and manage the affairs of this war,” Moroni chided:

Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you? Yea, while they are murdering thousands of your brethren –

Yea, even they who have looked up to you for protection, yeah, have placed you in a situation that ye might have succored them. . . .

. . . many have fought and bled out their lives because of their great desires which they had for the welfare of this people; yea, and this they have done when they were about to perish with hunger, because of your exceedingly great neglect towards them.

. . . ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people; but behold, ye have neglected them insomuch that the blood of thousands shall come upon your heads for vengeance; yea, for known unto God were all their cries, and all their sufferings. . . .

. . . had it not been for the war which broke out among ourselves; yea, were it not for these king-men, who caused so much bloodshed among ourselves; yea, at the time we were contending among ourselves, if we had united our strength as we hitherto have done; yea, had it not been for the desire of power and authority which those king-men had over us; had they been true tot he cause of our freedom, and united with us, and gone forth against our enemies, instead of taking up their swords against us, which was the cause of so much bloodshed among ourselves; yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies. . . .

But behold, now the Lamanites are coming upon us, taking possession of our lands, and they are murdering our people with the sword, yea, our women and our children, and also carrying them away captive, causing them that they should suffer all manner of afflictions, and this because of the great wickedness of those who are seeking for power and authority, yea, even those king-men.

But why should I say much concerning this matter? For we know not but what ye yourselves are seeking for authority. We know not but what ye are also traitors to your country. . . .

Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.

And now, except ye do repent of that which ye have done, and begin to be up and doing . . . behold it will be expedient that we content no more with the Lamanites until we have first cleansed our inward vessel, yea, even the great head of our government.

And except ye grant mine epistle, and come out and show unto me a true spirit of freedom. . . .

. . . I will come unto you, and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct.

Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear; and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss.

Behold it is time, yea, the time is now at hand, that except ye do bestir yourselves in the defence of your country and your little ones, the sword of justice doth hang over you. . . .

Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country” (Alma 60:1, 7-10, 16-18, 23-25, 27-29, 36).

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Captain Moroni was a man of such integrity, sincerity, and passion that he would move Heaven and earth to fulfill his covenants, defend his country, and secure his people’s Freedom. He knew that there is a price to be paid for Liberty and that everyone must pay it. He further understood that a divided nation is easily conquered, but a united one is difficult to destroy. He chided the government for its neglect and singled out those whose desire was power as traitors to their country. As patriots in all ages have done, he put his own neck on the line in denouncing tyrants and advocating Freedom. He was willing to challenge even his own government when that government was wrong. Such was the integrity of Captain Moroni.

In response to Moroni’s epistle, the chief judge Pahoran responded that he stood firmly with the freemen but that a faction had “risen up in rebellion against me, and also those of my people who are freemen” (Alma 61:3). It was this group of power-hungry autocrats who took over the capital, drove the legitimate government out, and stopped the supply of provisions to Moroni’s armies. They went so far as to appoint a king and entered into an alliance with the Lamanites. Part of Pahoran’s letter to Moroni reads:

I, Pahoran, do not seek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free. . . .

Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God” (Alma 61:9, 14).

Upon receiving news of the insurrection and Pahoran’s continued faithfulness, Captain Moroni took a part of his army and marched to Pahoran. Together, they put down the rebellion in the capital and then turned their sights toward the Lamanite invaders. With the cancer of rebellion finally in remission and the Nephites unified under Captain Moroni’s banner, the Nephites swept the Lamanites before them. They drove the Lamanites, led by King Ammoron, to the edge of their land and prepared for a final fight.

At this juncture, Teancum again appears in the story. Recall that Teancum had previously snuck into the Lamanite camp and killed Amalickiah. As the Lamanites camped, Teancum attempted a repeat of his earlier feat. This time, however, Ammoron was able to alert his guards before dying. The Lamanite guards chased Teancum and killed him, ending the life of one of the greatest Nephite Freedom Fighters.

We are told that when Moroni and the other commanders learned of his death, “they were exceedingly sorrowful” (Alma 62:37). The Book of Mormon pays great tribute to this warrior. Teancum’s memorial is one that I have always striven for. On my tombstone, I hope it is said of me what was written and said of Teancum:

[B]ehold, he had been a man who had fought valiantly for his country, yea, a true friend to liberty” (Alma 62:37).

The day following Teancum’s tragic death, Captain Moroni’s armies drove the Lamanites out of their land, ending that phase of senseless war. Once the fortifications had been built up again, Moroni resigned his post and retired to his home, much the same way George Washington resigned his generalship after the War for Independence and took his rest at Mount Vernon.

The times of war and struggle recorded in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ give us clear examples of what Freedom is, what it takes to maintain, and what type of threats we should be on guard against. In the first place, we learn that a free government is one in which the “voice of the people” is prominent. However, unlike a pure democracy where the mob rules, a truly free government is based on the rule of law. Nephite law was originally revealed from God and accorded with the commandments. The government was not a theocracy, but the laws were just and inspired.

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Similarly, the U.S. Constitution is an inspired document that promotes the power of the People tempered by just laws. It is part of my religion that the Lord established the Constitution. In modern times, our Lord has referred to “the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77).

In a parallel to Mosiah’s wish that the Nephites practice self-government so that every the people’s sins may “be answered upon their own heads,” the Lord further stated that He established the U.S. Constitution so that every person may act “according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:78).

The Savior continued by saying that “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:79-80).

Elsewhere, the Lord has revealed:

And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting the principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:5).

Finally, the Lord has said, regarding government, that “whatsoever is more or less” than the holy principles of the Constitution “cometh of evil” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:5-7).

The Nephite example captures these principles and shows them in action. The Nephite people lived under an inspired system of self-rule that involved just laws which protected individual Liberty. The society consented to follow these laws and maintain their collective privileges and individual rights. They understood that the individual is accountable to God for his behavior and must shoulder the responsibility of exercising his moral agency correctly.

We also see that judges, comparable to elected representatives today, were appointed not to dictate, but to enforce the law. They were strictly accountable to the voting public and could be removed from their posts if they failed to uphold the law. Even this removal process was not a knee-jerk thing, but a procedure codified in the law similar the way modern impeachments are heavily regulated and should never be based on majority ire.

As Nephite history shows, when a small group of people try to exercise their power to overrule the accepted law in order force their point of view or lifestyle on the majority, contention and warfare often result. We also see that when people become detached from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and consumed with anger toward that which is good, even the results of a popular election can’t stop their agitation. People in this situation are prone to violence – even civil war. Nothing but the firmness of freemen can stop king-men, insurrectionists, and revolutionaries from destroying the Liberty of a nation. At times, good men who love Liberty and who cherish peace must fight to maintain them and to defend their families.

The salient points to understand from the history of Nephite government, then, are these: That ordered Liberty is the ideal; that Liberty and law go hand in hand; that political power springs from the People; that government representatives are accountable to the public; that the People are accountable to God for their actions in relation to government; and that self-rule is vastly superior to monarchy.

Furthermore, in the example of the power-hungry king-men, we see that lust for control leads to bitterness, treason, contention, and bloodshed. We see that evil yet persuasive men like Amlici and Amalickiah have the power to upend society, overthrow governments, and destroy Liberty unless the People are vigilant and humble themselves before God, relying upon His deliverance. We also learn that tyrants motivated by a lust for power are inherently weaker than people motivated by their love of God, Freedom, and country.

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And in the story of Captain Moroni and the freemen, we see the qualities a free people must possess. First, we note that the greatest Freedom Fighters and patriots are those who bow the knee to the King of kings, Jesus Christ. Next, we learn that unity is key to any endeavor. A unified society can do great things, but a divided nation is bound to fail. Third, we see that a real leader, a man like Moroni, is one that is full of passion and sincerity, a person who drives on toward his goal regardless of opposition, and a selfless servant who willingly gives his time, talents, and everything he possesses to noble causes, such as the cause of Freedom.

In our day of rampant confusion where personal Liberty is on the wane and the forces of Satanic communism are on the rise, which I discuss at length in my upcoming article “The Book of Mormon Speaks of Conspiracy,” the lessons contained in the pages of The Book of Mormon are absolutely priceless. We can gain badly needed wisdom from Mosiah, courage from the freemen, and inspiration from Captain Moroni, Teancum, and Pahoran. We can be motivated by knowing that another free people who lived on this American continent went through the same struggles we’re passing through today and that they prevailed with the Lord’s help. The Book of Mormon lets us know that we are not alone in our quest for Liberty, that Freedom is worth fighting for, and that every sacrifice for our Faith, Families, and Freedom is not only worth it, but is needed and remembered.

Finally, The Book of Mormon informs those of us who inhabit the same land that the Nephites inhabited, this Promised Land of America, this shining city on a hill, the future Zion of God, that we are under special obligations. If we meet our obligations faithfully, we have special promises extended to us. An ancient prophet, speaking to you and me, told us that America is a covenant land – a special land blessed above all others. He spoke of this land as “the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.” He then explained:

And he had sworn in his wrath . . . that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.

And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written” (Ether 2:7-12).

From this passage, we learn that America is a Promised Land – a covenant land. The covenant is that those who live in America will serve Jesus Christ or they will be destroyed. If they serve the Lord, He has promised that we will “be free from bondage, and captivity, and from all other nations under heaven.” Almighty God has decreed that America shall be inhabited by a righteous, Christian people and no other.

The prophet Nephi, the namesake of the Nephite nation, saw a vision of the discovery and founding of America by a Christian people that carried the Bible with them. He saw that they would fight and win a war for their Independence. He prophesied that they would gain the land for their inheritance because they would humble themselves before their Maker. And, because of their humility, the Lord would prosper and protect them, saving them from all hostile nations. Nephi wrote:

And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.

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And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.

And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.

And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone forth out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.

And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?

And I said unto him: I know not.

And he said: . . . The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord which he hath made unto the house of Israel . . . wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles” (1 Nephi 13:14-19).

The Lord has presided over the history of America from the beginning. It was He who brought the Nephites here and it was He who brought our own forefathers to this land. It was the Lord who protected and delivered the Americans out of Europe’s iron grip. His miraculous power was on display to such a high degree during the War for Independence that George Washington was compelled to write:

The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations” (George Washington to Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778).

America is the Lord’s base of operations. It is His land. He protects it. And He requires that those who are privileged to live here worship Him. When we do, His power is poured out in our behalf.

Another Nephite prophet named Jacob similarly prophesied about this special land. His prophecies deal specifically with our day. He foretold:

But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.

And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.

And I will fortify this land against all other nations.

And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.

For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words” (2 Nephi 10:10-14).

As before, we see that America is a covenant land where the people are expected to serve Jesus Christ, the rightful King of America. If they do, they will be blessed and protected against all other nations. Anyone who attempts to establish a king over this land and thereby abolish the system of Freedom and self-rule established by the Lord via the Constitution “shall perish.” We have a great need as Americans to internalize these promises and humble ourselves before the Redeemer.

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The Bible contains similar promises of a general nature. In the Old Testament, we read:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Isaiah also told the House of Israel that if they repent and become obedient to God’s laws, they will “eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19). Also, if they repent and “put away the evil” from among them, the Lord “will restore [their] judges as at first, and [their] counsellors as at the beginning” (Isaiah 1:16, 26). These promises are only made to the penitent, however, just as the promises in The Book of Mormon are extended only to the righteous.

Lastly, the Bible tells us that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). And so it is.

The Book of Mormon is immeasurably valuable for many reasons, not least of which is that it speaks of Freedom. It shows us what Freedom is and how to maintain it. It gives us examples of correct principles in action. It shows the innate power possessed by the People and the frailty of tyrants. It inspires us to rely upon the Lord and go forward in His power to defend our Faith, Families, and Freedom. Because of its poignant examples, such as the story of Captain Moroni and the Nephite freemen, The Book of Mormon is the ultimate handbook of Freedom.

This sacred volume of scripture also is important to Americans because it speaks specifically to them. It informs them of the covenant they are under by virtue of living in this land. It tells them that they must repent and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. It states rather clearly that the Lord is the King of America and that His law is our legitimate law.

Dear reader, The Book of Mormon is the word of the Lord equal to the Bible. These two divine witnesses belong together. They confirm each other. They both fervently testify of Jesus Christ. Together, they abolish false doctrines, dispel myths, and confirm the truth. And as one they prove that only a righteous and virtuous people, a people that trusts in the Lord, and people that humbles itself, is capable of the Freedom and blessing of self-government.

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Let us raise our own Title of Liberty in our own lives and wherever we have influence. Let us rise in defense of our Faith, Families, and Freedom. Let us exalt God, our Freedom, and the Constitution. Men, be men. Step forward to safeguard your wives and children, your families, and your homes. We are under unrelenting attack we need all hands on deck. Do your duty, stand firm, submit to the Lord’s laws, uphold the Constitution He established, and then trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to defend our land against tyrants.

May the Lord bless you, my fellow patriot. May all who come to the Lord in sincerity be electrified and given the power to stand firm through tribulation. May the Lord bless all those who faithfully share the thrilling stories found in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. May Almighty God prosper people like Darin Southam who are attempting to inspire freemen everywhere through the remarkable history of Captain Moroni. And may we live so that it may be one day said of us that we were true friends to Liberty. I close with my testimony, which I have from the Holy Ghost and cannot deny, that The Book of Mormon is true and that it speaks of Freedom.

Zack Strong,

February 27, 2020

To Be Prepared for War

Peace through strength is an ancient concept. It was the Roman modus operandi as Rome expanded her influence across the known world. It was also the policy pursued by our very own George Washington. In our modern world of appeasement and surrender to the forces of tyranny, maintaining peace through strength has become a uniquely American custom. It is not only the national policy followed by great American presidents, but that which is followed by American gun owners every day. Peace through strength, then, is part of the true American heritage.

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In his first annual message to Congress, President George Washington stated: “To be prepared for War is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” In the very next breath, he continued: “A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined” (George Washington, First Annual Message to Congress, January 8, 1790). When you examine the annals of history, whether you look in ancient Israel, manly Sparta, gallant Rome, or in the American Republic, you find that free people have always been armed. Indeed, arms in the hands of freemen distinguishes them from serfs and slaves.

The philosophy “peace through strength” derives from common sense and practical experience. All human experience shows that unscrupulous men, criminals, and tyrants, prey upon the defenseless and weak. Evil people are frequently cowards and their victims are usually targets of opportunity. And no one is more defenseless and presents an easier target than the unarmed and weak. This is the reason why lunatics choose to shoot people in gun-free zones rather than in locations where free men and women are armed and able to defend themselves.

The same is true of nations. An Evil Empire like the Soviet Union preys upon weak nations. They backpedal and try to negotiate (though they only make deals when it benefits them) when a nation presents a strong and united front against them. Instead of launching a risky frontal assault, they resort to subversion, infiltration, psychological warfare, terrorism, and guerrilla tactics in order to demoralize, weaken, corrupt, confuse, and undermine an opponent before they ever attempt conquest by force.

Communist Russia and Red China will never attempt to take down the United States through force of arms unless we have been sufficiently degraded on the inside first. Unfortunately, that horrific day is swift approaching as cultural Marxism (i.e. feminism, LGBT, radical environmentalism, “civil rights” movements, political correctness, etc.) rips through our vital institutions. We are becoming a weak nation because we have been too politically correct to stand up to the Reds and to call a spade a spade. We are so afraid of offending someone, hurting their feelings, or causing a stir that we suffer abuses and reductions in our personal rights and national influence rather than boldly confront the enemy.

When necessary, a free society must use its arms and strength to defend itself. This should be a last resort to preserve peace, but it must be an option. A nation that is not prepared to defend itself presents a soft target to an aggressor. The Red Chinese commonly refer to the United States as a “paper tiger” that doesn’t have the stomach for a long struggle. They think we are weak and will eventually crumble because they have yet to see us stand up and confront them in a meaningful way. Islamic terrorists (which are primarily trained and funded by Soviet Russia) hold this same philosophy. America’s enemies cannot be appeased or bought off – appeasement only emboldens them.

We learned through our experiences with Barbary pirates at the beginning of our Republic that buying peace with tribute makes our enemies insatiable and actually increases the problem. Because of a lack of naval power at the time, President Washington was forced to pay the Islamic pirates who were raiding our ships rather than face them in battle. President John Adams did the same while creating a navy that could eventually contend with overseas opponents.

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President Thomas Jefferson was the first president to use our newly minted Navy and Marines to punish the pirates and defend America’s vital international trade. After the War of 1812, President Madison sent the U.S. Navy to the Mediterranean to finish what President Jefferson had started. Our Navy devastated the pirates, ensuring peace between the United States and the Barbary States for generations. We learned from this episode that peaceful relations can only be established with hostile states by standing up to them or crushing them with overwhelming strength. Evil people and regimes only bow to power.

Because of his experience as a colonel during the French-Indian War and as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolution, President George Washington understood this principle perhaps better than anyone. It infuriated him that the United States did not have the means to deal with enemies who ruthlessly attacked peaceful trading vessels and harmed Americans and America’s interests. In a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, he raged:

“[H]ow is it possible the great maritime powers of Europe should submit to pay an annual tribute to the little piratical States of Barbary. Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enimies to mankind, or crush them into nonexistence” (George Washington to Marquis de Lafayette, August 15, 1786).

Washington understood that only an armed society – both on a personal and a national level – could retain their Freedom against the multitude of adversaries and tyrants that abound in the world. He knew that freemen could only remain so if they were strong and projected their strength. Part of this was to always be ready for war so that a potential aggressor would think twice before attacking – and so that he would severely regret it if he did.

At the beginning of our War for Independence, General Washington encouraged his troops to stand firm against British tyrants. He said:

“[T]he hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty—that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men . . . every one for himself resolving to conquer, or die, and trusting to the smiles of heaven upon so just a cause, will behave with Bravery and Resolution” (George Washington, General Orders, August 23, 1776).

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The “smiles of heaven” only rain down upon those who take the pains to defend themselves and increase their own human strength. Only the vigorous and valiant are worthy of divine intervention and blessings. Only by “fighting for the blessings of Liberty,” and remaining virtuous, can Americans remain freemen. And all real freemen are soldiers – warriors for justice, truth, and Liberty.

All true freemen are armed and prepared for battle at a moment’s notice – whether against a domestic enemy or against an invader. This is precisely why Samuel Adams envisioned America as a “Christian Sparta” (Samuel Adams to John Scollay, December 30, 1780). Like the Spartans, “molon labe,” or “come and take it,” would be our war cry. It was strict adherence to this principle of preparing for war and being ready to defend the peace, coupled with faithful obedience to God’s laws, that made America great. And the same course can make America great again.

Similar to Washington and Adams, Thomas Jefferson believed that strength was a means of preventing war. He wished every American freeman to be a soldier. He stated:

“[T]he Greeks and Romans had no standing armies, yet they defended themselves. the Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression, as a standing army. their system was to make every man a soldier, & oblige him to repair to the standard of his country, whenever that was reared. this made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so” (Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, September 10, 1814).

This remedy – namely, to arm and discipline our citizens in the art of war – would make America “invincible” to foreign threats so long as we also remain virtuous. A free nation that expects to remain free must be prepared for war. We prepare for war but pray for peace. As Thomas Paine expressed it: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it” (Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4, September 12, 1777).

The phrase “peace through strength,” in its modern context, was popularized by Ronald Reagan during his 1980 campaign against socialist appeaser Jimmy Carter. For eight years, President Reagan preached peace through strength and tried to get America back to her roots. While President Reagan was only marginally successful in his gigantic task, reminding ourselves of some of his inspiring thoughts seems appropriate.

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During one of the presidential debates with then President Jimmy Carter, candidate Reagan said:

“Now, I believe, also that this meeting, this mission, this responsibility for preserving the peace, which I believe is a responsibility peculiar to our country, that we cannot shirk our responsibility as the leader of the Free World, because we’re the only one that can do it. And therefore, the burden of maintaining the peace falls on us. And to maintain that peace requires strength. America has never gotten in a war because we were too strong” (Reagan/Carter presidential debate, October 28, 1980).

In a speech to the American People regarding national security, President Reagan explained the need for strength to combat the Red menace – the exact same menace we face today at home and abroad. He rightly observed:

“We know that peace is the condition under which mankind was meant to flourish. Yet peace does not exist of its own will. It depends on us, on our courage to build it and guard it and pass it on to future generations. . . .

“. . . American strength is . . . a sheltering arm for freedom in a dangerous world. Strength is the most persuasive argument we have to convince our adversaries to negotiate seriously and to cease bullying other nations.

“. . . American power is the indispensable element of a peaceful world. . . .

“But it is not just the immense Soviet arsenal that puts us on our guard. The record of Soviet behavior – the long history of Soviet brutality toward those who are weaker – reminds us that the only guarantee of peace and freedom is our military strength and our national will. The peoples of Afghanistan and Poland, of Czechoslavakia and Cuba, and so many other captive countries – they understand this.

“Some argue that our dialogue with the Soviets means we can treat defense more casually. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was our seriousness about defense that created the climate in which serious talks could finally begin. . . .

“Our job is to provide for our security by using the strengths of our free society” (Ronald Reagan, speech, February 26, 1986).

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Think about it, who is more likely to persuade a thug to put down his gun – an unarmed negotiator with no leverage or a seasoned police officer with a raised rifle? The answer is obvious. Though the Soviets have broken literally every treaty they ever signed with the United States, they were wary of President Reagan because they knew that he would not hesitate, if necessary, to launch nuclear missiles and a full-scale war against the communists in defense of America and the West.

One of my favorite Ronald Reagan moments demonstrates President Reagan’s willingness to stand up to the communist threat. It occurred on August 11, 1984, when President Reagan told a joke. Though clearly a joke, it contained a large kernel of truth. During a microphone sound check prior to his speech, President Reagan mused: “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

I can’t listen to the audio recording of this classic moment without laughing. Yet, the Soviets weren’t laughing – and not because Russians don’t have much of a sense of humor. Rather, these communists – who consider themselves in a permanent state of war with the West – understood that in Ronald Reagan they had a man who would not cower in fear, kow-tow to Moscow, or back down to Soviet advances. Evil regimes like the Soviet Union only gain momentum unless forcibly stopped in their tracks and resisted manfully by one of equal or greater strength.

President Reagan’s views were inspired by his belief that God founded this country and that we are not only exceptional, but that we have a mission to lead the world by our shining example:

“I’ve always believed that this land was set aside in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent between the oceans to be found by a people from every corner of the earth who had a special love of faith, freedom and peace. Let us reaffirm America’s destiny of goodness and goodwill” (Ronald Reagan, Thanksgiving message, 1982).

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Part of being the world leader is helping to preserve peace when it is within our sphere of influence and duty. President Reagan rightly affirmed:

“We’re not a warlike people. Quite the opposite. We always seek to live in peace. We resort to force infrequently and with great reluctance, and only after we’ve determined that it’s absolutely necessary. We are awed – and rightly so – by the forces of destruction at loose in the world in this nuclear era. But neither can we be naive or foolish. Four times in my lifetime America has gone to war, bleeding the lives of its young men into the sands of island beachheads, the fields of Europe, and the jungles and rice paddies of Asia. We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong; it is when they are weak that tyrants are tempted. . . .

“Of all the objectives we seek, first and foremost is the establishment of lasting world peace. We must always stand ready to negotiate in good faith, ready to pursue any reasonable avenue that holds forth the promise of lessening tensions and furthering the prospects of peace. But let our friends and those who may wish us ill take note: the United States has an obligation to its citizens and to the people of the world never to let those who would destroy freedom dictate the future course of life on this planet” (Ronald Reagan, Republican National Convention acceptance speech, July 17, 1980).

Is America today up to the task of being great and exceptional? Are we prepared to increase our unique national strength by fortifying our Faith, Families, and Freedom? And are we prepared to defend these fundamental institutions, and this Promised Land with her unsurpassed resources and beauty and potential, with the strength of arms and military might if necessary? Are we truly prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that the blessings of Liberty we take for granted will extend to our posterity? If today we are not prepared for war to safeguard our peace, our rights, and our homes, we are not worthy of the title American.

General George Washington’s wise words of encouragement to his fighting men should pound once more in our ears. Two days before America formally declared Independence from British tyranny, General Washington wrote to his patriot soldiers to embolden them in their fight. He reminded them what was at stake – slavery or Freedom. He explained that all eyes were fixed on them and that they would decide whether tyranny or Freedom was to reign in America. And he explained the eternal truth that freemen motivated by the just cause of Liberty and aided by the God of Heaven are more fearsome than any conquering army ever can be. General Washington declared:

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army—Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect—We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions—The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for LIBERTY on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth” (George Washington, General Orders, July 2, 1776).

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Today, the eyes of the weary world are upon America. For years we have let them down. Our example has been less than exceptional, not particularly notable, and, in recent times, not worthy of duplication. We have allowed the communist cancer to eat away at our vitals until now we stand on the brink of civil war, mobocracy, economic collapse, open persecution of Christians and constitutionalists, and full-scale societal breakdown.

Notwithstanding how far we’ve fallen through our own neglect and rejection of God’s eternal laws, we have it within our power to step forward, do our duty, and restore our Republic. There will be sacrifices to make – and some patriots will lose their lives because Freedom is never won except at the price of blood – but we must make them for our sake, the sake of our posterity, and the sake of a beleaguered world that desperately needs us to lead.

I close with the rousing words of Ronald Reagan. Each syllable is true. Every vowel applies to me and to you in our present situation. The burden for the future rests squarely on our shoulders. If we shirk our duty now when it matters most, history will hold us in contempt. Let us be real men and real Americans. Let us honor the American tradition of preserving peace through strength and in always being prepared for war in order to secure an honorable peace. Let us be freemen worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as General Washington and his patriot army. God bless us and God bless America!

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth. . . .

“Alexander Hamilton said, “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.” Let’s set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace — and you can have it in the next second — surrender.

“Admittedly there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face — that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender . . . And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don’t speak for the rest of us. You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. . . .

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“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.” (Ronald Reagan, “A Time for Choosing,” October 27, 1964).

Zack Strong,

August 28, 2019.

Indispensable Men: George Washington

“[A]n impartial World will say with you that he is the Greatest Man on Earth.” – William Hooper to Robert Morris, February 1, 1777.

Numerous patriots came together to bring about and accomplish America’s War for Independence, write her Constitution, and establish our cherished Republic. Among these patriots, several stalwart figures stand out as vital to the cause. These are the indispensable men America needed and without whom our bid for Independence would have failed. This “Indispensable Men” series pays tribute to these larger-than-life heroes and the role they played in giving Liberty a proper home.

Hundreds of books, biographies, and documentaries have been produced telling the technical details and stories of George Washington’s upbringing, career, family, and home life, and the interworkings of his presidential administration and command as general. I don’t feel the need to reproduce those facts here. I simply refer you to the best book I know of on Washington’s life and achievements; namely, The Real George Washington written by Jay A. Parry, Andrew M. Allison, and W. Cleon Skousen and published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies. My aim in this series is, rather, to highlight the key ideas, crucial character traits, and most notable public achievements of the “indispensable” figures in the story of American Freedom.

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No man more deserves the first spot on the “indispensable men” list than George Washington, the great general of the Revolution and the Father of our Country. The unchallenged historical consensus is that no man was more respected and admired in our founding era than George Washington. Washington’s impressive record demonstrates the great trust his countrymen had in him and speaks to the tremendous influence he had in his day.

A brief index of George Washington’s public achievements and prominent positions looks like this:

1) Washington began his public service as a soldier. During the French and Indian War, Washington gained valuable command experience and reputation and was promoted to the rank of colonel in the Virginia militia.

2) In 1774, he was elected as a Virginia delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses. During the Second Continental Congress, the Continental Army was created and George Washington was chosen as its commander-in-chief.

3) During the War for Independence, General Washington served as the supreme leader of the Continental Army, saved the Army from defeat numerous times through his skill and decisive will power, and brought the conflagration to a successful conclusion.

4) Four years after humbly resigning his charge as commander-in-chief and retiring to his plantation in 1783, Washington helped orchestrate the Constitutional Convention to save the faltering nation. Washington was unanimously elected as the president of the Convention.

5) In 1789, Washington became the first president of our Republic and to this day is the only man to ever be unanimously elected by the Electoral College. He in fact accomplished this feat twice, speaking to the level of admiration and trust given to him by his contemporaries. The later federal capital district was also named in his honor.

Being a successful military general, a unanimously-elected head of state, the president of the Convention which produced the longest-standing national charter in history, and having a national capitol named in your honor, are things that not many other people can put on a resume. On paper, then, there is zero doubt that George Washington deserves a seat at the “indispensable men” table. But there was much more to his rave popularity than merely holding prominent positions during monumental events.

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Washington’s positions as general and president, as noteworthy as they are, did not make others respect him. Rather, Washington was appointed and elected to those positions because of the supreme respect and admiration others already had for him. And this admiration was engendered by his strong character and unique spirit. Historian Gordon Wood has written:

“Washington’s genius, Washington’s greatness, lay in his character. He was, as Chateaubriand said, a “hero of an unprecedented kind.” There had never been a great man quite like Washington . . . Washington became a great man and was acclaimed as a classical hero because of the way he conducted himself during times of temptation. It was his moral character that set him off from other men.

“Washington epitomized everything the revolutionary generation prized in its leaders. He had character and was truly a man of virtue. This virtue was not given to him by nature. He had to work for it, to cultivate it, and everyone sensed that. Washington was a self-made hero, and this impressed an eighteenth-century enlightened world that put great stock in men’s controlling both their passions and their destinies. Washington seemed to possess a self-cultivated nobility” (Gordon S. Wood, Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, 34-35).

Yet, it is not what modern historians have said about Washington that is so remarkable. Rather, the fact that the American People and his contemporaries in governmental affairs, and even his enemies across the sea, lavished him with praise. We now rehearse some of the acclaim this man received by those who knew him and were in a position to judge the sincerity and depth of his character.

Thomas Jefferson was intimately acquainted with Washington both before he was appointed general and throughout his time in military and government service. Jefferson wrote to future president James Monroe of Washington’s mass appeal in these words:

“Congress have risen. You will have seen by their proceedings the truth of what I always observed to you, that one man outweighs them all in influence over the people who have supported his judgment against their own and that of their representatives. Republicanism must lie on it’s oars, resign the vessel to it’s pilot, and themselves to the course he thinks best for them” (Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, June 12, 1796).

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Another time, Jefferson gave an in-depth evaluation of Washington’s character and many of his traits, including his sense of justice, his reasoning abilities, and his will power. I do not quote everything Jefferson said, but enough to demonstrate why Washington was so revered by his associates:

“I think I knew General Washington intimately and thoroughly; and were I called on to delineate his character it should be in terms like these.

“His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, tho’ not so acute as that of a Newton, Bacon or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. it was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion. hence the common remark of his officers, of the advantage he derived from councils of war, where hearing all suggestions, he selected whatever was best. and certainly no General ever planned his battles more judiciously . . . he was incapable of fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern. perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose whatever obstacles opposed. his integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. he was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, & a great man . . . his person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect, and noble; the best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback . . . on the whole, his character was, in it’s mass perfect, in nothing bad, in few points indifferent; and it may truly be said that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great, and to place him in the same constellation with whatever worthies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance. for his was the singular destiny & merit of leading the armies of his country succesfully thro’ an arduous war for the establishment of it’s independance, of conducting it’s councils thro’ the birth of a government, new in it’s forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quiet and orderly train, and of scrupulously obeying the laws, thro’ the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example . . . I am satisfied the great body of republicans thinks of him as I do . . . and I am convinced he is more deeply seated in the love and gratitude of the republicans, than in the Pharisaical homage of the Federal monarchists. for he was no monarchist from preference of his judgment. the soundness of that gave him correct views of the rights of man, and his severe justice devoted him to them. he has often declared to me that he considered our new constitution as an experiment on the practicability of republican government, and with what dose of liberty man could be trusted for his own good: that he was determined the experiment should have a fair trial, and would lose the last drop of his blood in support of it. . . .

“These are my opinions of General Washington, which I would vouch at the judgment seat of god, having been formed on an acquaintance of 30. years . . . I felt on his death, with my countrymen, that ‘verily a great man hath fallen this day in Israel’” (Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, January 2, 1814).

High praise, indeed! And higher still coming from a man the caliber of Thomas Jefferson! As Jefferson noted, he was hardly the only person to share these elevated feelings. Most Americans at the time looked upon Washington as an exalted figure – a national savior of sorts.

Benjamin Franklin, a man whose own unique talents and achievements had few equals, had high esteem for Washington. When it came time to elect a new president under the Constitution, Franklin had only one man in mind: “General Washington is the man that all our eyes are fixed on for President, and what little influence I may have, is devoted to him” (Benjamin Franklin to M. Le Veillard, June 8, 1788).

John and Abigail Adams both had high praise for the man. John Adams noted: “He is brave, wise, generous and humane” (John Adams to William Tudor, June 20, 1775). And after meeting Washington in person, Abigail privately told John: “I was struck with General Washington, You had prepared me to entertain a favorable opinion of him, but I thought the one half was not told me. Dignity with ease, and complacency, the Gentleman and Soldier look agreeably blended in him. Modesty marks every line and feature of his face” (Abigail Adams to John Adams, July 16, 1775).

In his autobiography, John Adams likewise praised Washington as the principal man of the age. He wrote: “I thought him a perfectly honest Man, with an amiable and excellent heart, and the most important Character at that time among Us, for he was the center of our Union” (John Adams, Autobiography, 1777).

The Marquis de Lafayette, the famous Frenchman who assisted in our War for Independence, once observed:

“This great man has no enemies but those of his own country, and yet every noble and sensitive soul must love the excellent qualities of his heart . . . His honesty, his candor, his sensitivity, his virtue in the full sense of the word are above all praise” (Marquis de Lafayette to Baron von Steuben, March 12, 1778).

Another French observer wrote:

“General Washington conducts himself with his usual wisdom. It conciliates to him more and more the respect and affection of the people. After a war of eight years, during which he has scarcely ever left his army, and has never taken any repose, he has received the news of the peace with the greatest joy. It made him shed tears, and he said it was the happiest hour of his life . . . He will always be the first citizen of the United States . . . all the world is agreed touching his republican virtues, and agreed that there is no character more eminent among those who have taken part in this grand revolution” (Chevalier de La Luzerne to the Comte de Vergennes, March 29, 1783).

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Benjamin Rush, another prominent figure of the day, spoke extravagantly of Washington’s character: “His zeal, his disinterestedness, his activity, his politeness, and his manly behavior . . . have captivated the hearts of the public and his friends. He seems to be one of those illustrious heroes whom providence raises up once in three or four hundred years to save a nation from ruin . . . he has so much martial dignity in his deportment that you would distinguish him to be a general and a soldier from among ten thousand people. There is not a king in Europe that would not look like a valet de chamber by his side” (Benjamin Rush to Thomas Ruston, October 29, 1775).

At the height of the Revolution, Moses Hazen remarked to General Nathanael Greene that Washington “is the very Idol of His Country, and who I love, regard, and Esteem, as one of the best men since the Creation of Adam” (Moses Hazen to Nathanael Greene, July 24, 1780). General Greene had similar praise for his superior officer. Not long after Hazen made his statements, General Greene explained:

“It is my opinion that General Washington’s influence will do more than all the Assemblies upon the Continent. I always thought him exceeding popular, but in many places he is little less than adored; and universally admired. His influence in this Country might possibly effect something great” (Nathanael Greene, January 10, 1781).

In 1791, a newspaper, the Connecticut Courant, gushed with praise for the nation’s first chief executive:

“Many a private man might make a great President; but will there ever be a President who will make so great a man as WASHINGTON?” (Connecticut Courant, June 20, 1791, in John P. Kaminski, ed., The Founders on the Founders: Word Portraits from the American Revolutionary Era, 505).

Shortly after Washington’s death, Timothy Dwight made this observation:

“Wherever he appeared, an instinctive awe and veneration attended him on the part of all men. Every man, however great in his own opinion, or in reality, shrunk in his presence, and became conscious of an inferiority, which he never felt before. Whilst he encouraged every man, particularly every stranger, and peculiarly ever diffident man, and raised him to self possession, no sober person, however secure he might think himself of his esteem, ever presumed to draw too near him” (Timothy Dwight, “Discourse on the Character of Washington,” February 22, 1800).

John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court, shared the sentiment so often expressed that Washington was the “greatest man in the world.” Days after General Washington’s resignation, Marshall stated:

“At length then the military career of the greatest Man on earth is closed. May happiness attend him wherever he goes. May he long enjoy those blessings he has secured to his Country. When I speak or think of that superior Man my full heart overflows with gratitude. Ma he ever experience from his Countrymen those attentions which such sentiments of themselves produce” (John Marshall to James Monroe, January 3, 1784).

These few lines from John Price demonstrate the awe people had for the General of their blessed Revolution: “Immortal Washington . . . has outshined and Eclipsed all Asiatic, African, and European Generals, and Commanders from the Creation of the World, to this Day” (John Price to John Jay, October 29, 1783).

Samuel Shaw, a distinguished military officer under Washington, expressed his keen feelings about his General in these words:

“Our army love our General very much, but yet they have one thing against him, which is the little care he takes of himself in action. His personal bravery, and the desire he has of animating his troops by example, make him fearless of any danger. This, while it makes him appear great, occasions us much uneasiness. But Heaven, who has hitherto been his shield, I hope will still continue to guard so valuable a life” (Samuel Shaw to Francis Show, January 7, 1777).

William Hooper once wrote of Washington’s invaluable role in maintaining and securing the Revolution:

“When it shall be consistent with policy to give the history of that man from his first introduction into our service, how often America has been rescued from ruin by the mere strength of his genius, conduct & courage encountering every obstacle that want of money, men, arms, Ammunition could throw in his way, an impartial World will say with you that he is the Greatest Man on Earth. Misfortunes are the Element in which he shines. They are the Groundwork on which his picture appears to the greatest advantage. He rises superior to them all, they serve as foils to his fortitude, and as stimulants to bring into view those great qualities which in the serenity of life his great modesty keeps concealed. I could fill the side in his praise, but anything I can say cannot equal his Merits” (William Hooper to Robert Morris, February 1, 1777).

Washington’s fame was celebrated throughout Europe as well as America – even in the midst of the War for Independence. While on assignment in France, Benjamin Franklin wrote to Washington: “I frequently hear the old Generals of this martial Country, (who study the Maps of America, and mark upon them all your Operations) speak with sincere Approbation & great Applause of your Conduct, and join in giving you the Character of one of the greatest Captains of the Age” (Benjamin Franklin to George Washington, March 5, 1780).

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King George III, the tyrant who abuses prompted the Americans into fighting for their Liberty and declaring Independence from Britain, developed an interesting opinion of Washington after the war. Rufus King recorded a conversation he had with Benjamin West who had spoken with King George III about affairs in America. King’s account reads:

“[I]n regard to General Washington, he [King George] told him [West] since his [Washington’s] resignation that in his opinion “that act closing and finishing what had gone before and viewed in connection with it, placed him in a light the most distinguished of any man living, and that he thought him the greatest character of the age”” (Rufus King, May 3, 1797, in King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, Vol. 3, 545).

It is likewise my estimation that George Washington was one of the “greatest Captains of the Age,” that he was an “illustrious hero” whom the God of Heaven raised up to save his country, and that he was the foremost of the indispensable men who established American Liberty. My own religious creed and the impressions of the Holy Spirit on my soul cause me to declare that George Washington was indeed raised up by the hand of the Lord to preside over the founding of this Republic. I am proud to live in a nation founded and shaped by George Washington.

George Washington’s guiding light, the thing that propelled him to the greatness ascribed to him by his peers, was his inner conviction about God. Though it is common today to call Washington and other Founding Fathers “Deists,” or, worse, “atheists,” the fact is that Washington was a deeply committed Christian. Washington issued the following General Orders  to his fighting men on May 2, 1788.

“The Commander in Chief directs that divine Service be performed every sunday at 11 oClock in those Brigades to which there are Chaplains—those which have none to attend the places of worship nearest to them—It is expected that Officers of all Ranks will by their attendence set an Example to their men.

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion—To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian—The signal Instances of providential Goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labours with complete Success, demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of Gratitude & Piety to the Supreme Author of all Good.”

Washington not only commanded his soldiers to worship God, but he frequently mentioned his personal belief in God and encouraged his countrymen to be faithful and virtuous. Washington was particularly convinced that God had intervened on America’s behalf during the War for Independence, as were most Americans at the time. One time he affirmed:

“The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf—And it is my earnest prayer that we may so conduct ourselves as to merit a continuance of those blessings with which we have hitherto been favoured” (George Washington to Samuel Langdon, September 28, 1789).

Another time, Washington observed:

“The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations” (George Washington to Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778).

In his First Inaugural Address as president, Washington was moved to comment that Americans were “bound to acknowledge” God’s hand in their Revolution:

“[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

George Washington by Tim Davis

To Washington, God was the real Founder of America and of her inspired Constitution. During his immortal Farewell Address, President Washington made it clear that his convictions had not changed. He spoke a truth that is as applicable today as it was in 1796:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

“It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

In harmony with his public sentiments, President Washington wrote a letter to Protestant clergy wherein he asserted: “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” (George Washington to the Protestant Clergy of Philadelphia, March 3, 1797).

For his own part, Washington never failed to acknowledge the hand of the Lord. He noted:

“No Man has a more perfect Reliance on the all-wise, and powerful dispensations of the Supreme Being than I have nor thinks his aid more necessary” (George Washington to William Gordon, May 13, 1776).

By all accounts, General Washington was supernaturally protected in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Washington, and others, ascribed his protection to God. After a particularly harrowing battle during the French and Indian War, Washington observed:

“But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me” (George Washington to John A. Washington, July 18, 1755).

The Indians involved in the same battle noted that Washington seemed to be under the protection of God and could not be killed. One Indian chief recounted the following to General Washington:

“I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is of the red-coat tribe – he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do – himself alone exposed.

“Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss – ‘twas all in vain, a power mightier than we, shielded you.

“Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you . . . there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy: Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies – he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle” (Bob Gingrich, Founding Fathers vs. History Revisionists, 29-30).

Washington did not utter idle words. As the quotations thus far demonstrate conclusively, Washington was a man who said what he meant and did what he said he would do. He wasn’t afraid to put himself in harm’s way for his beliefs or risk his life for his country. Thus, when Washington said he believed in God, he meant it and did all he could to show his devotion.

As frequently as his demanding public service allowed, George Washington attended Christian worship services. In fact, Washington donated money for the construction of Christ Church near his home. He also attended Pohick Church in which, according to numerous sources, Washington served as a vestryman for some twenty years. Washington also kept a prayer journal and had a personal copy of the Bible which he routinely read and which was donated to Christ Church after his death. It is beyond dispute that George Washington was a Christian who actively practiced his faith.

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In addition to upholding Christian values, Washington lived by a strict personal code of conduct. He wrote up this code into 110 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” Numbers 108 and 110 are the most relevant and give us a peek into Washington’s outlook on life: “When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously & with reverence.” And, finally: “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

From all credible accounts and eyewitness statements, we can conclude that Washington was a good, honest, upright man. He was a Christian with a high sense of honor and integrity. He was sometimes brutally honest. He was calculated and exercise wise judgement. He was a man of boldness and bravery. He was a supreme patriot who gave his life to the cause of Liberty.

One final aspect of Washington’s influence will be discussed. More than almost any other Founding Father, George Washington pushed for a new federal constitution to replace the failing Articles of Confederation. Viewing the proceedings of the nation he loved and had fought so mightily for from his retirement at Mount Vernon made Washington uncomfortable. He saw that the Union must collapse unless reformed.

A few quotes show Washington’s apprehensions:

“That it is necessary to revise, and amend the articles of Confederation, I entertain no doubt . . . Yet, something must be done, or the fabrick must fall. It certainly is tottering!” (George Washington to John Jay, May 18, 1786).

“No man in the United States is or can be more deeply impressed with the necessity of a reform in our present confederation than myself. No man, perhaps, has felt the bad effects of it more sensibly; for to the defects thereof, and want of powers in Congress, may justly be ascribed the prolongation of the war and consequently the expenses occasioned by it. More than half the perplexities I have experienced in the course of my command, and almost the whole of the difficulties and distress of the army, have their origin here” (George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, March 31, 1783).

“Let us look to our National character, and to things beyond the present period. No morn ever dawned more favourably than ours did; and no day was ever more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm. Virginia has now an opportunity to set the latter, and has enough of the former, I hope, to take the lead in promoting this great and arduous work. Without some alteration in our political creed, the superstructure we have been seven years raising at the expence of so much blood and treasure, must fall. We are fast verging to anarchy and confusion!” (George Washington to James Madison, November 5, 1786).

Suffice it to say that Washington foresaw the collapse of the fledgling American government unless the constitution was immediately overhauled. Washington urged and encouraged his fellow patriots to step forward and rescue the Republic. Eventually, a convention was called and Washington was adopted as its presiding head. After months of careful deliberation, the convention produced the U.S. Constitution, a document I consider to be literally inspired by Almighty God.

George Washington approved the document and, upon signing his name to it, remarked:

“Should the states reject this excellent constitution, the probability is that an opportunity will never again offer to cancel another in peace – the next will be drawn in blood” (Allison, Parry, Skousen, The Real George Washington, 490-491).

Shortly thereafter, during the constitutional ratification process, Washington remarked:

“No one can rejoice more than I do at every step taken by the People of this great Country to preserve the Union—establish good order & government—and to render the Nation happy at home & respected abroad. No Country upon Earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wonderously strange then, & much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means, and to stray from the road to which the finger of Providence has so manifestly pointed. I cannot believe it will ever come to pass! The great Author of all good has not conducted us so far on the Road to happiness and glory to withdraw from us, in the hour of need, his beneficent support” (George Washington to Benjamin Lincoln, June 29, 1788).

When the Constitution was ratified, Washington became its greatest champion. Of this charter, he publicly declared: “[T]he Constitution is the guide which I never can abandon” (George Washington to Boston Selectmen, July 28, 1795). Another time he wrote: “The Constitution of the United States, and the laws made under it, must mark the line of my official conduct” (George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 1790).

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After a successful term in office, President Washington was overjoyed at the success America had seen directly because of the new Constitution. It was the American People’s mission, he believed, to show the world that constitutional republicanism is the soundest system of government ever devised:

“To complete the [A]merican character, it remains for the citizens of the United States, to shew to the world, that the reproach heretofore cast on Republican Governments for their want of stability, is without foundation, when that Government is the deliberate choice of an enlightened people: and I am fully persuaded, that every well-wisher to the happiness & prosperity of this Country, will evince by his conduct, that we live under a government of laws; and that while we preserve inviolate our national faith, we are desirous to live in amity with all mankind” (George Washington to the citizens of Alexandria, July 4, 1793).

The way in which America could show the world the wisdom of the Constitution was, simply enough, to follow it! Indeed, Washington strongly believed that all citizens owed strict obedience to the Constitution. He was most emphatic on this point. In his Farewell Address, which ought to be required reading for all Americans, he declared:

“This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government” (George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796).

Much of our constitutional form of government, and, indeed, the U.S. Constitution itself, came about due to George Washington’s instrumentality. He used his influence to persuade his countrymen to draft a constitution which would enshrine the rule of law, protect natural rights, and limit government while empowering it to fully protect the citizens of the country. He also used his influence to urge adoption of the new Constitution. And, then, he worked hard for eight years as president to enforce and maintain that sacred document.

Yes, it was George Washington, the Father of our Country, who really popularized constitutional government in the United States. His indomitable influence and skillful leadership brought the government into being and carried it through its first eight years. He set in stone the practice of a president only serving two terms and then graciously retiring – a tradition faithfully followed until the Marxist demagogue FDR served four consecutive terms, prompting a formal change in the law. Washington was also responsible for adding the words “so help me God” to the end of his presidential oath. All eyes were on Washington in the nation’s critical moments and he guided her through the rocky waters by following the Constitution, applying his own native judgment, and following God’s laws in his personal conduct.

George Washington was, and remains, a true hero. Few heroes in fact have been as worthy of the appellation as Washington. It is, therefore, a true sign of cultural rot that many Americans are beginning to spurn and despise this incredible man. It is rare in history that a man accomplished so much good for his nation, yet, in time, became so hated. A recent and ongoing incident demonstrates this growing hostility.

In San Francisco – perhaps the epicenter of all that is wrong with America – a school recently wanted to destroy an old George Washington mural painted one of its walls. According to the school, the mural “traumatizes students” and “glorifies slavery” and “genocide.” To allegedly protect their students from the image of George Washington, the school decided to paint over the mural, but then decided to simply cover it. Heaven forbid we allow school students to learn about the Father of their Country, the Commander-in-Chief of the Revolution, and the first president of the United States!

Because of the communist cancer that has almost totally taken over public schooling, academia, Hollywood, the press, and government, our Founding Fathers are being vilified as violent “rebels,” self-serving aristocrats, bigots, racists, and religiously-motivated oppressors. Agencies within our government have even gone so far as to classify the Sons of Liberty and our Founding Fathers as “domestic terrorists,” implying that anyone who believes like they did are also “terrorists.” And now the FBI is calling “conspiracy theorists” an extremist threat.

Yes, fighting for Freedom and truth is extreme and revolutionary, especially when the government is antagonistic to Liberty. Historian Charles Beard is said to have observed: “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence” (Charles A. Beard, in M. Kenneth Creamer, The Reformation of Union State Sovereignty, 265).

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This sentiment is, unfortunately, accurate. And there was no more “dangerous citizen” in American history than George Washington. He was the “rebel” leader – the point of the patriotic spear. He was formidable to tyrants and traitors, but a true friend to Liberty. He was a patriot in every sense of the term. He was then as he ought to be now “first in the hearts of his countrymen” (Richard Henry Lee, Funeral Oration on the Death of George Washington, December 28, 1799).

Washington’s shining example will always inspire sincere American patriots. His words will always buoy his countrymen. His spirit will always ride alongside those wishing to rid their country of tyranny and to defend Freedom. God help us remember and emulate George Washington, the most indispensable of indispensable men!

Zack Strong,

August 21, 2019.