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).

The Book of Mormon30

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).

Captain Moroni16

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).

Captain Moroni17

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

State Flags and American Values

All Americans recognize the U.S. flag. We all know the stars and stripes when we see them. However, many Americans may not be able to identify individual state flags. There are are fifty state flags and many of them give us a hint about what we as Americans cherish and stand for. This article will give an overview of what some of our state flags reveal about the values Americans have traditionally held dear.

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The Pennsylvania flag is one of the most interesting. The state coat of arms was designed in 1777 and used on the militia flag of 1799. In 1907, the current flag, bearing the coast of arms, was finally adopted. The image shows a plow, wheat stalks, and a ship, surrounded by corn stalks and olive branches, with two horses on the sides and a bald eagle on top. The words “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence” show at the bottom. The various symbols represent the industry of Pennsylvanians, the prosperity and abundance of the state, and the loyalty of the state’s citizens to the Union.

The three words on the flag of course have the most overt message. Let’s discuss the word “virtue.” When you examine letters, documents, speeches, and sermons from the founding era, you find mention of the word “virtue” everywhere. Pennsylvania’s own Benjamin Franklin once wrote:

I understand it to be the Will of God, that we should live virtuous, upright, and good-doing Lives. . . .

. . . Faith is recommended as a Means of producing Morality: Our Saviour was a Teacher of Morality or Virtue. . . .

. . . Peace, Unity and Virtue in any Church are more to be regarded than Orthodoxy . . . Morality or Virtue is the End, Faith only a Means to obtain that End No point of Faith is so plain, as that Morality is our Duty; for all Sides agree in that. A virtuous Heretick shall be saved before a wicked Christian” (Benjamin Franklin, “Dialogue Between Two Presbyterians,” April 10, 1735).

Even those not considered particularly religious were expected, by society, to be virtuous. Being virtuous was held in high regard by the ancient Romans and early Americans believed it was paramount for their fledgling Republic. Virtue was considered a part of citizenship. President George Washington explained:

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. . . .

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government” (George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796).

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Virtue was seen as the embodiment of manliness, loyalty, morality, character, sturdiness in principle, the Christian faith, and so on. Without virtue, there could be no civil society and no Liberty. It was the “spring” from whence came our government. John Adams said it this way:

Statesmen my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. . . . 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).

Virtue, then, was considered the keystone of Americanism and a prerequisite of true patriotism. It was essential to the other two words on Pennsylvania’s flag – Liberty and Independence. Pennsylvania is not the only state, however, with such slogans proudly emblazoned on its flag.

Iowa’s flag proclaims: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” The words are written on a banner being carried in the beak of a flying eagle. Simple, yet powerful. The design is compelling and the expression is true. It’s sad to watch the ongoing Democratic Party caucus catastrophe making a mockery of that state and of its election process. It is equally sad to see that radicals like the homosexual socialist Pete Buttigieg, the Jewish-Marxist Bernie Sanders, and the fake Indian Elizabeth Warren leading the Democratic wolf pack in the state. Yet, if the people of Iowa ever need inspiration to guide their choices in the future, they need only look at their flag and take its words to heart. Valuing our God-given rights and maintaining them through selfless sacrifice has always been the duty of an American freeman.

Georgia’s great flag has several important messages. Set in a pattern unmistakably similar to Old Glory, the flag bears the words “Constitution,” “Wisdom,” “Justice,” “Moderation,” and “In God We Trust.” The words are part of our surrounding an arch on top of pillars. A soldier in a Revolutionary War uniform stands holding a sword, ready to defend the Constitution.

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Though not always the design of the state flag, the current image tells us a lot. The flag points our minds to those things which are most important: God, the Constitution, and values like justice and wisdom. Abraham Baldwin, one of Georgia’s signers of the U.S. Constitution, had a major hand in creating the University of Georgia. In the university’s 1785 charter, we find these wise recommendations:

As it is the distinguishing happiness of free governments that civil Order should be the Result of choice and not necessity, and the common wishes of the People become the Laws of the Land, their public prosperity and even existence very much depends upon suitably forming the minds and morals of their Citizens. When the Minds of people in general are viciously disposed and unprincipled and their Conduct disorderly, a free government will be attended with greater Confusions and with Evils more horrid than the wild, uncultivated State of Nature. It can only be happy where the public principles and Opinions are properly directed and their Manners regulated. This is an influence beyond the Stretch of Laws and punishments and can be claimed only by Religion and Education. It should therefore be among the first objects of those who wish well to the national prosperity to encourage and support the principles of Religion and morality, and early to place the youth under the forming hand of Society that by instruction they may be moulded to the love of Virtue and good Order.”

You will notice the similarity in sentiment in these ideas and those of John Adams and George Washington. Everyone in our founding era knew that Freedom – even that protected by a written constitution as marvelous of our own – cannot remain and will profit little if the People are not virtuous. If our manners are not regulated by bringing them into harmony with the principles of religion and morality, and if we are not “moulded to the love of Virtue and good Order,” our Liberty will turn to licentiousness and our Republic will crumble. Georgia’s flag reminds us that we must trust in God and embrace just principles in order to maintain our Constitution.

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Rhode Island, one of the original thirteen states, has a simple flag with another great message: Hope. The flag depicts a golden anchor above the word “Hope” surrounded by thirteen golden stars. Several sources attribute the impetus for using the word to the Apostle Paul who said that hope is “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). Specifically, our hope was to rest in Jesus Christ and His promise of eternal life to the faithful. Rhode Island’s flag, therefore, is another reminder that our forefathers looked to Christ and relied upon the “protection of divine Providence” in their endeavors.

Finally, I discuss what is likely my favorite state flag – the flag of Virginia. Certainly this flag is the most evocative of them all. The flag has gone through some superficial alterations, but has remained substantively the same. Virginia’s seal, which shows on her flag, was designed by a committee of four patriots in 1776: George Wythe, George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, and Robert Carter Nicholas Sr. George Wythe, the personal tutor of Thomas Jefferson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a temporary delegate to the Constitutional Convention, was the primary creator of the seal.

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The seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus, or Virtue, standing triumphantly over the slain body of a despotic king. Virtus holds both a spear and a sword whereas the fallen king’s whip and chain, symbols of his oppressive rule, lay impotently on the ground along with his crown. The Latin phrase Sic Semper Tyrannis, “thus always to tyrants,” or, more popularly, “death to tyrants,” features prominently on the image.

Virginia’s flag sums up the core American values of resistance to tyrants and obedience to God. Americans once believed that when the laws of despotic rulers contradict those of Almighty God, they had a sacred duty to resist and depose the despots and honor God instead. They certainly did not believe the mistaken doctrine that individuals owe blind obedience to their government no matter what. Instead, they knew that freemen only owe obedience to just laws – laws that safeguard their rights. Benjamin Franklin’s proposed motto for the nation summed up our forefathers’ attitude: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

John Adams reiterated the right of the American People – or any people – to kill a tyrant. He wrote:

The right of a nation to kill a tyrant, in cases of necessity, can no more be doubted, than that to hang a robber, or kill a flea. But killing one tyrant only makes way for a worse, unless the people have sense, spirit, and honesty enough to establish and support a constitution guarded at all points against tyranny; against the tyranny of the one, the few, and the many. Let it be the study, therefore, of lawgivers and philosophers, to enlighten the people’s understandings and improve their morals, by good and general education; to enable them to comprehend the scheme of government, and to know upon what points their liberties depend; to dissipate those vulgar prejudices and popular superstitions that oppose themselves to good government; and to teach them that obedience to the laws is as indispensable in them as in lords and kings” (John Adams, “Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America,” 1787).

It is further significant that Virginia’s bold flag was adopted in 1861 when Virginia succeeded from the Union after Abraham Lincoln arbitrarily and unconstitutionally raised an army to attack South Carolina. Virginians in 1861 knew that Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant who treated the Constitution like toilet paper. It was with Lincoln’s despotism in mind that they adopted the state seal with the iconic words Sic Semper Tyrannis as the official flag of the Old Dominion. It was this very phrase, death to tyrants, that John Wilkes Booth yelled when he shot President Lincoln in Ford’s Theater four years later.

Sic Semper Tyrannis is a phrase that all Americans should keep on the tip of their tongues. The great Thomas Jefferson proclaimed:

God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion . . . What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its 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” (Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787).

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Not only do Virginia’s tyrannical Democrat leaders who are assaulting the 2nd Amendment need to be warned and rebuked, but all American representatives who are threatening the God-given, Constitution-protected rights of Americans need to be warned and threatened. They need to know that “death to tyrants” isn’t an archaic notion, but an eternal American verity.

Many of America’s state flags are interesting and many are striking. However, it is the message they convey that matters. And, taken as a whole, they remind us of those things that made America great in the first place: Reliance upon God; hope centered in Jesus Christ; love of Liberty; ordered Freedom protected by the Constitution; and our People’s virtue. These are the things that really matter. They are the heart of what it means to be an American.

In this time of deep division and cultural crisis, we need to look to the past. The slogans of our noble past, those wise mottoes which fly overhead every day, point the way to the future. If we truly want to make America great again, we must recover and act upon the core values that made us great in the first place.

We have some very hard questions to ask ourselves as Americans. For starters, we can decide the following: Are we freemen who believe in Liberty and Independence or servile serfs who kow-tow to our own government representatives? Are we Americans whose hope centers in Christ or are we like godless socialists who put their trust in the state? Are we real Christians like our forefathers or will we reject our authentic heritage in favor anti-Christ systems of belief?

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Fellow American, look to our state and national mottoes for guidance. Make “In God We Trust” a part of your everyday life. Uphold the principles of Liberty. And stand firm in defense of your rights with “Sic Semper Tyrannis” on your lips. God help us to restore our Republic!

Zack Strong,

February 6, 2020

Principles of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is America’s first formal law. It is a binding legal document. It is an official pronouncement by the first leaders of our Republic. Not only did the Declaration announce America’s Independence to the world and list our forefathers’ grievances against the British monarchists, but it set forth the basic principles that our confederated Republic is founded upon. It is incumbent upon Americans who value their Freedom, as well as their history, to study this remarkable document. Consider this article a lesson in some of the essential principles of the Declaration.

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We will discuss two principles of paramount significance: 1) The truth that our rights come from God; and 2) the reality that political power springs from the People and exists for the purpose of securing their God-given rights.

Perhaps the most prominent principle of the Declaration of Independence is its affirmation that an individual’s rights come from God and cannot justly be taken from him or curtailed. In its first paragraph, the Declaration refers to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” It elaborates in these terms:

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.”

Nature’s God, the Creator of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the source of our “unalienable Rights.” They do not come from man. They do not come from a collective consensus. And they do not come from government. They are not invented by legislative bodies, granted at the pleasure of a president or king, or voted upon. Our rights come from God alone. Alexander Hamilton put it this way:

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power” (Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February, 1775).

In 1772, Samuel Adams, often referred to as the Father of the Revolution, wrote a document titled “The Rights of the Colonists in which he expounded the very principles we are discussing today:

Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. . . .

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule. . . .

In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”

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Each individual, upon birth, inherits his or her Liberty. Freedom is our birthright! It is the gift of Almighty God. It is an innate endowment and an essential factor in our life’s mission here on earth. This Freedom cannot be justly taken away or limited unless one has forfeited it through their infringement of the equal rights of others. The masterful 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).

Only our own misuse of our Liberty can allow it to be taken from us by just laws rightly administered. Unless we violate the “equal rights of others,” the law has no hold on us. Any law that violates our individual rights is, by definition, tyrannical.

Our rights – life, Liberty, the ownership and control of private property, self-defense, privacy, due process, habeas corpus, free speech, discrimination/association, and so forth – come from God Almighty. They are, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, “sacred and undeniable.” Please always remember that your rights are God-given, that they are sacred, and that no just government can deny you your exercise of them.

The second great principle we can glean from the Declaration is that all political power rests in individuals. This power is granted by the People (that is, individuals working together voluntarily) for the specific purpose of protecting their rights. The People has no right nor authority unless an individual has the same right and authority. Working in concert does not suddenly increase authority or negate justice. For instance, if an individual cannot take money from his neighbor and give it to another person, then neither can the group take money (e.g. taxes) from members of the population and give it to others (e.g. welfare, federal education aid, foreign aid). The American People has just as much political power as the weakest individual in society has and no more.

After explaining that our precious rights come from God, the Declaration explains that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” What’s more, the Declaration makes it clear that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e. defending individual rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

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The purpose of government is to secure our life, Liberty, and property. Frederic Bastiat, writing in his classic text The Law, explained man’s essential rights, the purpose of law and government, and how collective rights are derived only from individual rights:

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life. . . .

Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups. . . .

If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.”

When a government exceeds its authority and ceases to fulfill its enumerated purposes, it is not only the right of the People “to alter or to abolish it,” it is a duty. Again, the Declaration informs us:

[M]ankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But 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.”

It is our duty, my fellow freeman, to throw off the shackles of tyranny when evil men slap them on our wrists. And make no mistake – a pattern of tyranny, such as we’ve seen in the United States for decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations, is a clear sign that there is a “design” to “reduce [us] under absolute Despotism.” That is to say, when we see a “long train of abuses,” we know for a surety that they are not mere mistakes or miscalculations, but that there is a conspiracy at work to enslave us.

Two years before he wrote the Declaration, the Sage of Monticello penned a lesser-known document entitled “A Summary View of the Rights of British America.” In it, he succinctly explained:

Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.”

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We see so many examples of concerted attacks on our Liberty that only one totally uninformed or maliciously complicit can deny them. Republicans and Democrats alike are angling to destroy the Second Amendment’s guarantee of our right of self-defense, violate what little privacy and due process we have left, micromanage what we can and cannot say and publish, steal the remaining wealth they haven’t already stolen, and spill American blood in unconstitutional foreign wars in which we have little to no legitimate interest. When we see this “long train of abuses,” it is our sacred duty to overturn the corrupt laws, oust the oath-breakers, and “provide new Guards” who will honor their oaths to uphold the Constitution and secure our God-given rights.

Never tolerate the violation of your rights by harboring the misguided idea that we owe blind obedience to government at all times and in all things. We do not. We owe obedience only to God, the Constitution as properly interpreted, and just laws that are made in pursuance of the Constitution. Our obedience to these, George Washington said, is “sacredly obligatory upon alland is “the duty of every individual.” However, arbitrary and despotic government merits no allegiance. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Rather, we have a right and a duty to alter or abolish such tyranny and to support a government that secures our rights.

I turn again to the first great principle of the Declaration of Independence; namely, that our rights come from God. It is only by obedience to His divine laws, and through faith on the name of Jesus Christ, that a People can escape the destruction of their Liberty. While we must step forward to safeguard our Freedom, rescue the Constitution, and resist tyranny and conspiratorial machinations, the ultimate remedy for our ailing society is repentance. We must repent, turn our hearts to Christ, and become a righteous and virtuous People once more.

The Holy Bible makes these timeless promises to peoples which serve the Lord:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord(Pslam 33:12).

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).

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. . . .

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. . . .

And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city” (Isaiah 1:16, 18, 26).

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We must turn to God like our forefathers did. Those extraordinary patriots did not recklessly stumble into the War for Independence. They humbly bowed themselves before their Creator, petitioning Him for strength, and then went to work, having faith that their Lord would be with them and would preserve them in their just struggle. In his memorable speech, Patrick Henry proclaimed:

[W]e are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. . . .

. . . I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Surely, the Lord was with our ancestors in their bid for Independence. He presided over their conflict and gave them the victory. God is the true Founding Father of America. At the height of the fighting, General Washington was awed by God’s intervention on America’s behalf and stated:

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).

The Declaration of Independence concludes with a similar statement of faith to Washington’s and Henry’s. Patriots everywhere know and cherish these iconic words:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

If we love our Liberty, then we will follow our patriot-fathers’ example. We will repent, turn to Christ, and walk uprightly. We will honor God’s laws and the principles of the Constitution. We will zealously guard our rights and ensure that our representatives honor their oaths of office and are punished when they do not. If we are freemen, we must act like freemen.

The time is at hand when neutrality is no longer an option. You must choose a side. Stand with your countrymen who are doing their utmost to defend our Faith, Families, and Freedom. Stand with constitutionalists trying to preserve the supreme law of the land and our distinct Americanist system. And fight the good fight at all times, in all ways, and in all places. I close with words from the Father of our Country. Let them echo in your ears and in your hearts from this day forward. God help us restore our Republic!

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 themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will 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 only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die” (George Washington, address to the Continental Army before the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776).

Zack Strong,

January 20, 2020

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Private Property Essential to Liberty

There can be no Liberty without the right to own and manage private property. Private property is essential to Liberty. It is indispensable to individuality and fundamental to life itself. Where there is no right to private property, there is no Freedom and self-will. In order to maintain our American Republic in Liberty, we must reclaim and secure our cardinal right to own and oversee our own private property.

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The great political scientist Frederic Bastiat, in his classic book The Law, defined property this way. Note how it encompasses much more than mere objects and tangible possessions, but is wrapped up in the very concept of Liberty:

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

These words are found at the very beginning of Bastiat’s The Law. They are at the beginning because Bastiat understood that there can be no comprehension of Liberty without a correct understanding, first, of the importance of private property and individual stewardship.

Property is the root of Liberty. It is the foundation of free will. It is the essence of personhood. In a very real sense, there is no life – at least, no life that satisfies and uplifts – without property. What is our life without our God-given right to own and manage private property?

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Our Eternal Father created us, His children, and sent us to earth to progress and grow. But how can we accomplish this mission of growth and progression unless we have a personal stewardship to manage, direct, and be personally accountable for? How can we have a stewardship without private property to superintend? And how can we claim we have Freedom if we do not enjoy property and, thereby the chance to use our faculties in administering a stewardship of our own?

Protecting property – that is, life and and the essence of Liberty – is the reason governments exist. The Declaration of Independence states that “to secure [our] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The three rights specifically mentioned, though of course there are many more, are the rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson adapted his phraseology from the common political thought of the time regarding the three cardinal rights of man – life, Liberty, and property. Some have erroneously charged Jefferson with plagiarism, but the fact is that the notion of “life, Liberty, and property” was widespread. For instance, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, ratified on June 12, 1776, contained this paragraph:

That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

Perhaps more famously, the British philosopher John Locke, whom Jefferson highly regarded, had written in his Second Treatise on Government that man has a right “to preserve his property, that is, his life, liberty and estate.” Locke elaborated on the idea of property in these terms:

[E]very man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others. . . .

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. . . God, when he gave the world in common to all mankind, commanded man also to labour, and the penury of his condition required it of him. God and his reason commanded him to subdue the earth, i.e. improve it for the benefit of life, and therein lay out something upon it that was his own, his labour. He that in obedience to this command of God, subdued, tilled and sowed any part of it, thereby annexed to it something that was his property, which another had no title to, nor could without injury take from him. . . .

Thus labour, in the beginning, gave a right of property, wherever any one was pleased to employ it upon what was common. . . .

The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a legislative, is, that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the members of the society.”

Other thinkers besides Locke, including the most prominent American Founding Fathers, expressed similar ideas and knew the value of private property rights. They understood that every individual “has a property in his own person” – that is, his life – and that by the labor of his hands he acquires and exercises a stewardship over other property, for which he is accountable. This individual stewardship and accountability over property and life is the fundamental essence of what we call Liberty.

When seen in the light of Bastiat’s explanation of property, we better understand Jefferson’s phrase “pursuit of Happiness.” It is impossible for man to be happy without property. Or, in other words, it is impossible for man pursue a course that leads to happiness without a stewardship, the control of which is authentic life and true Liberty.

We turn again to Frederic Bastiat. He contemplated the purpose of law, government, and society. As before, please note how property correlates to Liberty:

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.”

The fundamental basis of civil society is property! Civilization exists to protect individual rights – the most fundamental being life and the stewardship over property that gives that life meaning.

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The Founding Fathers knew how important property was. The Bill of Rights was written to protect, among other things, property. The Fifth Amendment, for instance, declared that no citizen shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” These lines in truth encompass the whole of the Constitution and all of our rights. For example, gun confiscation not only violates the Second Amendment, it violates the Fifth by depriving an individual, without due process in a court of law, of his property (i.e. his weapon), his Liberty (i.e. his right to defend himself), and sets him up to be deprived of his life.

The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, concurred with Bastiat and Locke. He gave an eloquent description of property and the purpose of government. Madison stated:

This term [i.e. property] in its particular application means “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.

In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.

In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.

He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.

He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.

He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.

In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.

Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions. . . .

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own. . . .

. . . Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right. . . .

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest. . . .

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where arbitrary restrictions, exemptions, and monopolies deny to part of its citizens that free use of their faculties, and free choice of their occupations, which not only constitute their property in the general sense of the word; but are the means of acquiring property strictly so called. . . .

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A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species: where arbitrary taxes invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich, and excessive taxes grind the faces of the poor. . . .

If there be a government then which prides itself in maintaining the inviolability of property; which provides that none shall be taken directly even for public use without indemnification to the owner, and yet directly violates the property which individuals have in their opinions, their religion, their persons, and their faculties; nay more, which indirectly violates their property, in their actual possessions, in the labor that acquires their daily subsistence, and in the hallowed remnant of time which ought to relieve their fatigues and soothe their cares, the influence will have been anticipated, that such a government is not a pattern for the United States.

If the United States mean to obtain or deserve the full praise due to wise and just governments, they will equally respect the rights of property, and the property in rights” (James Madison, March 29, 1792).

There is much to digest and learn from this description, but the takeaways are these: 1) That man has an inherent right to property, which includes not only his tangible goods like his house and land, but his opinions, conscience, and life; and 2) that government exists to preserve property and can only be considered “wise and just” when it secures this right to each individual.

Like his fellow Founders, John Adams was fierce on the point of private property. He said property is sacred and must be protected as equally as the laws of God Almighty. He wrote:

Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty . . . The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free. (John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America,” 1787).

Another time, John Adams simply stated: “Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist” (John Adams, “Discourses on Davila,” Chapter XIII).

Samuel Adams was every bit as forceful. To him, forfeiting one’s right of private property is to make oneself a slave. He affirmed:

In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave” (Samuel Adams, “The Rights of the Colonists,” November 20, 1772).

We could continue citing quotes from wise men on the necessity of property and the correlation between property and Liberty, but the point has already been made. Let’s now discuss the opponents of Liberty. The greatest enemies of Freedom are those which seek to abolish private property and, with it, the meaning of life and the essence of Liberty. I speak of the communists specifically and of collectivists in general.

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The Communist Manifesto declares that “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” Taking what we know about the relationship of Liberty and property, we can rewrite the communist goal in these words: Abolition of individual Liberty.

The communist desire to abolish Freedom is openly admitted in the Manifesto. Marx noted that capitalists complained that the communists’ planned destruction of capital, that is, wealth, industry, and property, would mean the destruction of Liberty as well. In response, the Manifesto, nonchalantly states: “And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.”

You better believe that today’s conspirators – the Satanic communists who lord over us – still desire to destroy Freedom by abolishing private property. They have successfully succeeded in curtailing property rights throughout most of the world, including nearly everywhere in socialist Europe. They are well on their way to undermining our property rights here in the United States, too.

There are many tactics which the enemy uses to subvert our property rights. James Madison mentioned several. I name only three. First, the big-government oligarchs spend so much money and rack up so much debt that an increase in taxes is necessary to pay for it. This unnecessary and exorbitant taxation is nothing but theft of our personal property – property that belongs rightfully to us and which is earned through our own hard labor. And disproportionate and unequal taxation – which people who advocate higher taxes on the rich are really calling for – is more egregious still, constituting little more than classic wealth redistribution. Inflation, which we fork out money to cover at the grocery store and elsewhere very day, is another hidden tax that also robs us of the fruit of our labor. Minimum wage laws also destroy Liberty and property by stripping from employers the right to decide how to dispense their own property and how to run their own businesses. Socialized medicine – welfare statism – is yet another way government expands, centralizes power, and destroys our wealth (i.e. property) taxation.

Second, our property rights are increasingly curtailed by bureaucratic regulations. Government regulations now number in the hundreds of thousands. These arbitrary and unconstitutional regulations dictate how we can and cannot use our land, how we can and cannot use technology, how we can and cannot run our businesses, who we can and cannot hire, and so forth. Regulations restrict our Freedom to use our property according to the dictates of our conscience and in the pursuit of our personal happiness. It therefore inhibits our full exercise of stewardship – and without stewardship and accountability over property there is no Liberty.

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Third, the outright theft of property under spurious justifications increasing at an alarming rate. Americans now lose more property every year to police than to robbers. Under tyrannical asset forfeiture laws, police rob Americans of their property and livelihoods. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is another arm of government that has been busy stealing private land coast to coast. Indeed, government agencies of all types have been confiscating hundreds of thousands of acres of land, in Bolshevik fashion, from innocent Americans – and they’ve been caught on tape bragging and laughing about it! Karl Marx would be proud of what the U.S. government has been turned into by Marxist moles.

No matter how the communists and their abettors do it, the destruction or theft of private property is nothing more nor less than the destruction and theft of Freedom. Remember, even Marx himself acknowledged that the goal is “the abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom.” Please understand that the enemy doesn’t need to arrest you and put you in a cage to take your Freedom. They can do it just as easily by confiscating your property through taxers or by restricting your ability to control your property via bureaucratic regulations.

There can be no real Liberty without private property. There can be little value in life devoid of individual stewardship – and stewardship is embodied in one’s control of private property. In order to be free agents and fully accountable for our individual actions, we must have the right to acquire and control private property. Without this right, no other right really matters. Without private property, there is no Liberty. Without private property, individuality is a hollow talking point. Without private property, we are a collective mass of equally miserable beings. And without the right of private property, there is no Liberty.

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I urge you to rise in opposition to the enemies of private property – the communists and big-government collectivists. I encourage you to never relinquish your private property willing, for in so doing you become a slave. And I implore you to always remember that property and Liberty are inseparably linked and that the latter cannot exist without the former. Keep ever in mind the truth that our rightful stewardship over private property is the essence of our Liberty and the essence of our success as Americans. God help America reclaim her sacred rights and her precious Freedom!

Zack Strong,

January 10, 2020

The Anti-Gun Agenda

[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported.” – John Adams

This article is inspired by Thursday’s Democratic Party presidential debate. At the debate, the Democrats’ anti-gun, and, thus, anti-Freedom agenda was on full display for the nation to see. These traitors openly said they would confiscate firearms and vowed to destroy one of the most fundamental aspects of the U.S. Constitution – our right to keep and bear arms. Enough is enough. This is war. It’s time to decide once and for all whether you’ll stand with red-blooded Americans or with Red traitors.

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The most flagrant threat against our God-given, constitutionally-protected right of self-defense came from Beto O’Rourke. He openly said he plans to confiscate a host of firearms from the American People, as well as ban various types of ammunition, if he becomes president. Of course a president does not have authority to ban firearms, ammunition, or gun accessories – which is something that someone seriously needs to tell President Trump – but this is the anti-gun agenda he will pursue and advocate. A summary of his menacing threat won’t suffice, so I cite it in full. The debate moderator asked:

You’ve said, quote, “Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell them to the government, all of them.” You know that critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?”

O’Rourke responded:

I am, if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield. If the high impact, high velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside your body, because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.

When you see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time, hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

And I want to say this. I’m listening to the people of this country. The day after I proposed doing that, I went to a gun show in Conway, Arkansas, to meet with those who were selling AR-15s and AK-47s and those who were buying those weapons. And you might be surprised, there was some common ground there, folks who said, I would willingly give that up, cut it to pieces, I don’t need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war.”

When this filthy traitor said “hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” the audience burst out into raucous applause. That we have reached a time in American history where a candidate for president openly says they’re going to violate their constitutional oath of office and confiscate firearms, and the audience cheers, should alarm and enrage all real American patriots. Our Freedom is under direct attack. The Republicans are bad enough in their anti-2nd Amendment treason, but the Democrats are leading a full frontal assault.

Let’s analyze O’Rourke’s treasonous statement a little more. O’Rourke said that any weapon “designed to do that,” that is, designed to “kill people on a battlefield,” should be outlawed and taken from us. Of course, the gun-grabbers pretend they only want to take away what they erroneously call “military weapons,” “assault weapons,” or “weapons of war,” but their statements reflect their inward desire to confiscate any weapon that can potentially be used to kill someone.

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Here’s a news flash for O’Rourke: All guns are designed to kill people! All firearms are designed to propel a bullet forward, causing it to penetrate the flesh and mortally wound a target. Whether one bullet creates a bigger wound or inflicts more inward damage than another, or was created directly for military use, is wholly irrelevant – the purpose of all firearms is ultimately the same. The fact that a weapon is designed to kill should never be an excuse to outlaw or confiscate it.

Furthermore, when you aim a gun at someone and pull the trigger, you always run the risk of killing that person. This is why the military and police teach their personnel never to put a finger on the trigger unless they’re prepared to use lethal force. And then when they pull the trigger, they shoot to kill and to totally neutralize the threat. It is the same with normal citizens with guns – any guns. We use them only when we need to defend ourselves and potentially use lethal force. To deprive us of our right to wield a weapon – any weapon – in self-defense because it has the potential to kill someone (as it was designed to do) is the height of stupidity and evil.

O’Rourke and his Democrat cohorts are playing word games. They pretend they just want the “big mean military weapons” off the street. In reality, however, their descriptions can apply to any and all weapons. Of course, any informed person knows that the Elite eventually want to ban all firearms, as symbolized by the United Nation’s vulgar statue of a pistol with its barrel twisted in a knot. But we don’t have to resort to interpreting statues and murky symbols to understand the intent. The Democratic and Republican traitors have been kind enough to tell us that they plan to disarm us.

President Obama frankly stated: “I don’t believe that people should be able to own guns.” He also made this derogatory remark about average Americans like you and me: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” Democratic Congresswoman Dianne Feinstein, however, was even clearer. She infamously threatened:

If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them – Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in – I would have done it.”

This is what it’s all about for Democrats – “an outright ban” on your firearms. They want an “outright ban” on your ability to defend yourself. They want to “an outright ban” on your Liberty.

But what of Republicans? I cite just one of many turncoats with an R next to their name, and remind you in the same breath that numerous prominent Republicans and Democrats mime these same flawed arguments. Flip-flopper Mitt Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts signed strict gun control laws, stated: “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them.” He also used the same rationale that O’rourke used for opposing assault weapons: “They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

Indeed weapons are for killing people; hence the reason why the American People need them! We need to be able to kill tyrants who threaten our rights and criminals who endanger our families and property. We need them to defend ourselves against traitors who say we shouldn’t enjoy our God-given rights. We need them so we can support our military when our nation gets invaded by hostile forces. We need them to regain our Freedom and to thereafter remain free. The very idea that the People shouldn’t have military-style weapons is at its core totally evil.

We need to also be aware that not only do Establishment Republicans like Romney love gun control, but that President Trump – the so-called swamp-drainer – is also blundering down this same gun-grabbing road with his support of highly-dangerous and wildly unconstitutional red flag gun confiscation laws. Please see my articles here, here, and here, and listen to my Liberty Wolf podcast episode here for more on this pressing issue and our right of self-defense. And read Chuck Baldwin’s recent article for an additional summary of the despotic red flag gun laws popping up in all fifty states.

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The Democrats and complicit Republicans know they are not strong enough to outright confiscate all firearms at the present time. However, like the Fabian Socialists they are, they work by gradualism. They chip away at one part of a right, then another, then another until they have finally dismantled it. They also love to stoke the fires of fear which cause others rational human beings to do irrational things against their best interests, such as giving up their means of self-defense in the face of threats.

The traitors in our government want to first go after what they call “assault weapons.” They think, or at least tell their ignorant, emotion-driven constituencies, that “assault weapons” are strictly “weapons of war” that do not belong on our streets. There’s no real purpose for private citizens to have them, they claim. And besides, they say, our Founding Fathers never could have envisioned rapid-fire weapons and surely would not have included these under the broad “shall not be infringed” protection mandate of the 2nd Amendment.

Let’s debunk these ideas briefly. First, no hypothetical excuses should ever be used to strip us of our God-given natural rights. That one person might misuse a weapon – and remember, all firearms are designed to kill – and harm or kill another person does not give government or society a right to strip the rest of us of our rights. That’s a logically flawed and patently preposterous argument. By that same standard, government could take away our knives, axes, or literally any other weapon or tool they wanted to, because they can all be used to kill and some are designed to inflict damage.

Additionally, no majority ever has a moral right or legal authority to take away the individual’s rights unless he has forfeited them through misconduct that violated another person’s equal rights. Or, as the great Thomas Jefferson put it:

[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).

Any law that strips us of our rights unjustly is nothing but “the tyrant’s will.” It is arbitrary and despotic, tyrannical and Devilish. To outlaw firearms – any firearms – is unconstitutional, immoral, and wrong. Only anti-American tyrants and their dupes propose such a scheme.

Semi-automatic weapons are the core of our self-defense as a People. Our Founding Fathers were very well aware of the existence of repeat-fire rifles when they wrote the 2nd Amendment. Gun-grabbers often say this is not true, thus proving their blazing ignorance. Here’s a short history lesson for people who claim the 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply to repeat or rapid-fire weapons.

In 1777, at the beginning of America’s War for Independence, Joseph Belton invented a repeat-fire rifle that could fire sixteen consecutive rounds in about twenty seconds. He pitched this weapon to Congress. Negotiations eventually fell through because of a disagreement about compensation, but the technology existed and our national leaders were well aware of it. George Washington, for instance, favored this weaponry. So our Founding Fathers clearly knew all about rapid-fire rifles when they wrote the 2nd Amendment in 1791 and commanded the government that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

Let’s return to Thursday’s Democratic debate. In the debate, Joe Biden blundered his way through his own threat to confiscate firearms from the American People. In response to a question about guns, he stated:

I’m the only one up here that’s ever beat the NRA – only one ever to beat the NRA nationally. I’m the guy that brought the Brady bill into – into focus and became law. . . .

Over 90% of the American people think we have to get assault weapons off the street – period. And we have to get buy-backs and get them out of their basements.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Biden wants to reach into your basements and steal your firearms! I’m sure he thinks what the city of San Francisco thinks and recently declared, that the National Rifle Association is a “terrorist” group. These gun-grabbers see you and I as insurgents or “domestic terrorists” in their war to enslave America.

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Joe Biden wants to force you sell your firearms “back” to the government. He lied and said that 90% of Americans want to get rid of so-called “assault weapons.” He jut made up that number to justify his cry for mass gun confiscation. Yet, as I recently pointed out above and more thoroughly in my article “You Do NOT Determine My Rights,” no majority, no matter how large, has authority to strip you of any of your God-given natural rights. Period.

Let’s explain what a so-called gun “buy-back” is. This is where the government forces you, under penalty of law, to give up your guns. They try to sweeten the raw deal by paying you for those guns they’re forcing you to relinquish. But what are they paying you with? Tax dollars. In other words, they plan to force you to give up your guns and then pay you with money that was yours in the first place! Giving up your right of self-defense to get a small part of your tax dollars back doesn’t sound like a good deal to me, yet apparently many Democrats and Republicans think this is a wonderful idea. For some reason we allow these people to vote!

Kamala Harris was another Democratic lackey who called for gun control at the debate. She responded “that’s right” to a query asking if she would take “executive action on guns within [her] first 100 days” in office, “including banning imports of AR-15 assault weapons.” She dredged up the memory of dead cops and dead children, and complained about having to look at “more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you,” as justification for her tyrannical aspirations.

As grisly as crimes might sometimes be, they do not justify taking away the rights of an entire nation. And let’s be blunt: By depriving people of their means of self-defense, you only ensure that there will be more victims, more dead children, and more horrible autopsy photographs to look at. We would be wading through puddles of blood like the people in London, Mexico, or Chicago if we allowed these tyrants to steal away our right of self-defense.

People who support gun control are far more responsible for gun violence than gun owners. We need to finally comprehend an important truth: Only an armed and righteous society is a polite and safe society; a defenseless society is a society of victims. Let’s never give up our God-given rights.

Democratic candidate Amy Klobuchar similarly favored gun control. When asked about it, she made a revealing statement:

Everyone up here favors an assault weapons ban. Everyone up here favors magazine limitations . . . That’s what unites us.

You know what else unites us? . . . What unites us is that right now, on Mitch McConnell’s desk, are three bills – universal background checks, closing the Charleston loophole, and passing my bill to make sure that domestic abusers don’t get AK-47s.”

There you have it – every single one of the Democratic Party candidates for president “favors an assault weapons ban” and other restrictions on your Liberty. Every single one of them is a traitor who wants to do away with your right to defend yourself and your family. And Republican traitors like Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and Mitt Romney, support many of these same measures and are either wolves in sheep’s clothing or blind leaders of the blind.

The debate moderator next questioned Marxist candidate Corey Booker about guns. He said:

You have argued, if you need a license to drive a car in this country, you should have a license to buy a gun. Gun-owners would not only have to pass a background check, they would have to obtain a federal license to buy a gun.”

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Booker then lied through his teeth and showed his true colors as he expounded on this idea:

So, background checks and gun licensing, these are agreed to by overwhelmingly the majority of Americans. . . .

. . . I was the first person to come out for gun licensing. And I’m happy that people like Beto O’Rourke are showing such courage now and coming forward and also now supporting licensing. . . .

I will lead change on this issue . . . Nobody has ascended to the White House that will bring more personal passion on this issue. I will fight this and bring a fight to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby like they have never seen before.”

Yes, Booker is trying to lead the charge to disarm Americans and made our nation less safe and secure. He is a foul traitor. His extreme treason would make Benedict Arnold blush.

Not to be outdone, Elizabeth Warren, one of the most senile and unstable candidates to ever hold or run for high office in America, stated:

We have a gun violence problem in this country. . . .

And we agree on many steps we could take to fix it. My view on this is, we’re going to – it’s not going to be one and done on this. We’re going to do it, and we’re going to have to do it again, and we’re going to have to come back some more. . . .

. . . 90 percent of Americans want to see us do – I like registration – want to see us do background checks, want to get assault weapons off the streets.”

There is that fictitious 90% figure again. It’s a total lie, yet one-by-one the candidates repeated it. They’re trying to condition everyone into believing that the majority of Americans support gun control when in fact they do not. Yet, even if they did, thank God our rights are not determined by majority opinion! Thank God we have a Constitution which secures our rights! May the Lord thwart and crush anyone who would attempt to strip us of our rights!

Socialist Bernie Sanders chimed in on gun control, too. Predictably, he said:

[W]hat I would support, absolutely, is passing major legislation, the gun legislation the people here are talking about, Medicare-for-all, climate change legislation that saves the planet. I will not wait for 60 votes to make that happen. . . .

I am proud – I am proud that, year after year, I had an “F” rating from the NRA.”

Here you have an open and avowed socialist who literally honeymooned in Soviet Russia and frequented international communist conferences in Europe threatening the American People with taking away, unilaterally and dictatorially, their right of self-defense. He doesn’t care whether the American People want it, whether the Congress votes for it, or whether the Constitution authorizes it – he’s prepared to “make that happen” through executive authority (authority, I remind you, totally lacking in the Executive Branch of government).

Never in our history has a major political party so blatantly campaigned on destroying the Constitution as the Democratic Party has during this current election cycle. The Democratic Party is a party of traitors, oak-breakers, liars, and actual or would-be tyrants. It is a despotic, anti-American organization that hardly deserves to exist. A good case could be made that the Democratic Party, which has recently teamed up with the Communist Party, should be formally classified as a subversive organization.

When will Americans cease to tolerate communist traitors like Sanders, Warren, Booker, Klobuchar, Harris, and O’Rourke threatening to destroy our Constitution, violate our most fundamental rights, and victimize our families? When is enough enough? When will we finally move to silence this fifth column of traitors and agitators? When will we take their vile threats seriously and move to safeguard our Liberty forever?

It is time for us to make our own private oaths to God Almighty to defend our Faith, Families, and Freedom against all enemies – especially against traitors in our government or attempting to weasel into our government. We must “[swear] upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man (Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800). And we must rush forward and take this pledge now before it is too late to regain our Freedom without massive bloodshed.

Oath Keepers is an organization of both veteran and active military and law enforcement personnel who have sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution. In particular, these individuals swear to defend the 2nd Amendment. Their pledge is relevant and I encourage all Americans to make similar declarations:

The attempt to disarm the people on April 19, 1775 was the spark of open conflict in the American Revolution. That vile attempt was an act of war, and the American people fought back in justified, righteous self-defense of their natural rights. Any such order today would also be an act of war against the American people, and thus an act of treason. We will not make war on our own people, and we will not commit treason by obeying any such treasonous order.

Nor will we assist, or support any such attempt to disarm the people by other government entities, either state or federal.

In addition, we affirm that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to preserve the military power of the people so that they will, in the last resort, have effective final recourse to arms and to the God of Hosts in the face of tyranny. Accordingly, we oppose any and all further infringements on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

This pledge is one that all real Americans gladly make, regardless of whether they formally serve in the military or law enforcement. All true Americans defend the right of personal self-defense and the individual right to keep and bear arms. This right comes from God – not the government or the majority. It allows us not only to hunt for food or shoot for sport, but to defend our families and to kill tyrants who would enslave us. The right of self-defense, coupled with virtue, keeps us free.

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John Adams bluntly stated that we have a right to kill tyrants. Please internalize his words:

The right of a nation to kill a tyrant, in cases of necessity, can no more be doubted, than that to hang a robber, or kill a flea. But killing one tyrant only makes way for a worse, unless the people have sense, spirit, and honesty enough to establish and support a constitution guarded at all points against tyranny; against the tyranny of the one, the few, and the many. Let it be the study, therefore, of lawgivers and philosophers, to enlighten the people’s understandings and improve their morals, by good and general education; to enable them to comprehend the scheme of government, and to know upon what points their liberties depend; to dissipate those vulgar prejudices and popular superstitions that oppose themselves to good government; and to teach them that obedience to the laws is as indispensable in them as in lords and kings” (John Adams, “Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States,” 1787).

If a People have a right to kill oppressors in self-defense, then individuals do, too, because society does not posses any right except those first possessed by individuals. The right of the individual, then, to possess the means to eradicate tyrants must be held equally inviolate as the People’s or militia’s right to maintain those same “weapons of war.” As stated above, yes, guns are designed to kill; and we must retain our right and ability, as a last resort, to kill any tyrant who would oppress us.

It’s long past time to tell the traitors in Washington and in our state capitals that our rights are non-negotiable. Were will not barter away our Liberty. We will not sell our birthright for a mess of pottage. It’s time we remind our public servants that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, that they have sworn an oath to defend it, that we will hold them strictly accountable, and that we are freemen and not slaves.

John Adams encouraged us to stop at nothing to secure our precious rights. These rights, after all, come from God and were secured by the blood and sufferings of our forefathers. We have no right to surrender our Freedom to anyone for any reason – and our posterity deserves to have Liberty handed to them intact:

[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood” (John Adams, “A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law,” 1765).

Are you prepared, as were our patriot forefathers, do sacrifice your ease, luxury, property, and even your blood on the altar of Liberty? If not, then you don’t deserve to be free. Thomas Paine was correct when he stated: “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, 1777). Are we real men? Will we defend our Faith, Families, and Freedom against traitors and tyrants?

What John Dickinson declared in 1775 must resound throughout the country once more. It is our duty to declare this message with forcefulness:

Our cause is just . . . The arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than live slaves” (John Dickinson, The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity on Taking up Arms, 1775).

Sic Semper Tyrannis! Long Live Liberty!

Zack Strong,

September 14, 2019

The Noble Free

The great patriotic hymn “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” contains these memorable lines:

“My native country, thee, Land of the noble free, Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills. My heart with rapture thrills Like that above.”

America, a precious land dotted from one coast to the other with the beauties, blessings, and bounties of God’s superintending love, is the greatest land on earth! It is a special land of promise – a land of special covenants and promises. It is a land sanctified with the blood of patriots and martyrs. It is a land saved and set apart by the Almighty to be inhabited by a God-fearing, righteous, honorable, industrious, worthy people.

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The American People, in the early days, was a society of such spiritual stature that they won this land for their inheritance and were blessed with political, religious, social, economic, military, and technological advancement unrivaled by any other nation at any time in history. No honest and objective observer can deny that the America is the greatest nation to have ever existed when measured by nearly any metric.

The very perceptive scholar and statesman J. Reuben Clark, Jr. noted that:

“[U]nder our form of government the people of the United States have made a progress never before made by any other people in the world in an equal time during the whole period of recorded history.

“. . . standards of life and of living of the entire American people are far beyond those enjoyed by any other people in any other part of the world, either now or at any other time, which is a living testimony and evidence of the kindly beneficence of our free institution. . . .

“. . . I believe that the destiny of America is to be the abiding place of liberty and free institutions, and that its own practice and enjoyment of these blessings shall be to the world a beacon light which shall radiate its influence by peaceful means to the uttermost parts of the world, to the uplifting of all humanity” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., June 11, 1940, cited in Jerreld L. Newquist, ed., Prophets, Principles and National Survival, 129).

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America indeed has risen to greater heights than any other nation before her. Today, even in our degraded state brought on because of years of deliberate attack by our enemies, the United States is the most influential, powerful, prosperous, respected, and free nation in the world. Without one ounce of doubt, we possess the greatest potential of any people on the planet. The Lord has not only blessed this Promised Land with the riches of minerals and natural resources, but with the far richer blessing of an unequaled heritage of Freedom, rule of law, and Christian devotion.

Our ancestors were “the noble free.” They were true freemen. They were patriots. They were the Sons of Liberty and the daughters of the Revolution. Our forefathers were great. They were honorable. They were pious and faithful. They were fervent Christians and fierce patriots. They were not perfect, but they were sincere and grounded, honest and true.

Our forefathers forged a free, civilized, and prosperous nation out of a wild wilderness. They made the Gospel of Christ and the Ten Commandments the basis of our society. We were founded as a nation of laws, not a nation of tyrants. Rule of law prevailed – not the whim of the mindless majority. Of these early Americans, George Washington Adams recounted:

“Our forefathers were a patient and persevering people; their devotion was simple but earnest; their theories were circumscribed but conscientious; their morality was rigorous but practical. They were from necessity frugal; from their position circumspect; from their situation vigorous and hardy. Obliged alike to brave the savage and the European foe – acquainted equally with the implements of husbandry and with the weapons of war – they guarded the state till she had cleared the dangers of her infancy. Such was the early character of the people of New England. It shows a race of men fit to be free. History presents no parallel to such a people mid all her records . . . she shows no other state originating in devotion and in liberty of thought – no other nation whose foundation was the pure worship of the living God” (David Barton, ed., Celebrate Liberty: Famous Patriotic Speeches and Sermons, 47).

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As noted, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the rock foundation of this American nation. With the love of the Lord came a love of the Liberty He bestowed upon mankind. Defending the Liberty “wherewith Christ hath made [them] free” (Galatians 5:1) became paramount for the colonists. Therefore, when British persecution became severe enough, our patriot forefathers burst the political bands that tethered them to enslaved Europe and created the first free nation in modern times, opening a new epoch in mankind’s history.

Our Founding Fathers published the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming that this nation acknowledged God as their Sovereign, that their rights came from Him, and that they would rely upon Him for protection. The Lord heard our People’s cries for deliverance and divine intervention was forthcoming. In his First Inaugural Address, President George Washington affirmed God’s intervention in our nation’s behalf during the War for Independence. He stated:

“[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 those 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.”

It was widely believed by those of our founding generation that America had been set up and protected by the hand of God for a special reason; that reason being the preservation of Liberty for mankind. For instance, in an Independence Day oration in 1826, George Bancroft stated:

“The dearest interests of mankind were entrusted to our country. It was for her to show that the aspirations of former ages were not visionary – that freedom is something more than a name – that the patriots and the States that have been martyrs in its defense were struggling in a sacred cause and fell in the pursuit of a real good. The great spirits of former times looked down from their celestial abodes to cheer and encourage her in the hour of danger. The nations of the earth turned towards her as to their last hope. And the country has not deceived them” (David Barton, ed., Celebrate Liberty: Famous Patriotic Speeches and Sermons, 98).

The American freemen cherished the thought that Heaven had appointed them to be the guardians of Freedom on the earth – that America was a shining city on a hill beckoning to the oppressed of mankind. They knew, from the generous intervention of Almighty God in their favor, that America was not just another nation; she was special. I also know that America is a blessed land, a favored land, a choice land, a Promised Land. There is nowhere on earth more favored and watched over than America. And no people has received as many blessings as the American People.

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We owe a massive debt of gratitude to our Creator and God for the privilege and blessing of living in this the greatest nation on earth. At this time of the year when we turn our minds back to our patriot forefathers who won for us our sacred Freedom, we should humble ourselves and recommit our lives to the service of God. John Adams famously said that our system of government is only sustainable by a “moral and religious people.” He was right. Our forefathers knew it and I know it. Either we will turn back to the Lord and cut out the cultural cancer consuming us, or we will collapse as a nation.

Another great American, Ezra Taft Benson, issued a warning in 1979. It is even more applicable in 2019:

“Never before has the land of Zion appeared so vulnerable to so powerful an enemy as the Americas do at present. And our vulnerability is directly attributable to our loss of active faith in the God of this land, who has decreed that we must worship Him or be swept off. Too many Americans have lost sight of the truth that God is our source of freedom—the Lawgiver—and that personal righteousness is the most important essential to preserving our freedom. So, I say with all the energy of my soul that unless we as citizens of this nation forsake our sins, political and otherwise, and return to the fundamental principles of Christianity and of constitutional government, we will lose our political liberties, our free institutions, and will stand in jeopardy before God.”

If we wish to be “the noble free” like our ancestors, we must cherish this land of Liberty enough to live as our forefathers lived and worship as they worshiped. Our devotion must be to law – rule of law and divine law. The Savior should be the center of our lives, the center of our families, the center of our communities, the center of our laws, and the reason we so fiercely contend for Liberty under our inspired Constitution. America, this citadel of Freedom we so love, is worth every effort to defend.

Truly, it is not enough to remember the sacrifices our forefathers made all those years ago. We must imitate them and step forward to defend our Republic in our own day. It is time to show whether you are a freeman or a slave, a patriot or a turncoat. Now is the time to honor your forefathers by making our America the bastion of Liberty – the shining city on a hill – they hoped to create. The power is in our hands. What will we do with it?

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Happy Independence Day. God bless you and yours. And God bless America.

Zack Strong,

July 1, 2019

Guns and God

“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.” – John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

Each mass shooting reminds us that we need more of two things: Guns and God. You have likely heard the saying that an armed society is a polite society. Years ago, I realized this concept needed to be amended thus: An armed and righteous society is a polite society. This article is a plea for us to add more guns and more God in our lives.

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Guns or no guns, a God-fearing, decent, and righteous society will be one of peace, happiness, and security because “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). Yet, because both evil and free will exist, even good, “turn-the-other-cheek” Christians must sometimes reluctantly take up arms to defend their Faith, Families, and Freedom. It has always been this way and it will remain the status quo until the Lord returns and cleanses the earth.

For all of history, patriots and prophets alike have had to wield the sword in defense of eternal truth, God-given rights, political Freedom, public morality, and societal stability. In ancient times, it was Jehovah’s peace-proclaiming prophets and the most righteous followers of the Gospel who were the first to stand up and fight for their rights. Whether you look at Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Elijah, Josiah, or any number of righteous figures of olden times, you find men willing to fight and to risk everything in defense of their rights, relatives, and religion.

Our honorable Founding Fathers also abhorred war and bloodshed, but they did their duty to God and their countrymen. They were great lovers of peace and knew the horrors of conflict. Yet, they also understood that it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. Patrick Henry voiced their rallying cry in these treasured words, “give me liberty or give me death!” Consequently, they waged a holy war of self-defense against the British monarchists trying to subjugate them. If we are to vouchsafe to our own children the rights handed down to use by our forefathers, we must be equally prepared to fight.

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The purpose of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was to plainly and publicly affirm that individuals possess the right of self-defense which no government can justly deprive them of. In truth, the Second Amendment is not even about guns – it is about self-defense. Whether you defend yourself with a club, machete, rifle, machine gun, or bazooka makes absolutely no difference. We focus on guns because they are the gold standard in personal self-defense, but we must never lose sight of the underlying principle of self-defense which existed before the Constitution was ratified and will exist for all eternity.

Our forefathers knew that a sure sign that a government had evil intentions to reduce its people to slavery was its attempts to disarm them. Accordingly, when the American colonists saw British Redcoats marching to Lexington and Concord to arrest Samuel Adams and confiscate their cache of firearms, they turned out with their rifles to defend their rights like real men. The “shot heard ‘round the world” happened because Christians with guns knew their rights and had the integrity to defend them at the risk of their own lives. Yes, American Liberty was won because a small band of armed Christians had enough valor to do what was required of them. They kept their guns close and their God closer.

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Many Christians today believe that they cannot take up arms even in self-defense. They erroneously think it violates the Gospel of Jesus Christ to defend their rights against evil men. And they certainly do not agree with our Founding Fathers who believed that rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. Though “timid men . . . prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty” (Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei, April 24, 1796), I, as a Christian constitutionalist, understand that there are times I must defend my Faith, Family, and Freedom even to bloodshed. In so doing, I stand with our Founding Fathers who proved their noble words by their valiant actions. And I stand with the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

One of the great exponents of natural law was John Locke. In his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Locke described the rationale behind the right of self-defense thus:

“Whosoever uses force without Right . . . puts himself into a state of War with those, against whom he so uses it, and in that state all former Ties are cancelled, all other Rights cease, and every one has a Right to defend himself, and to resist the Aggressor.”

Self-defense is the most natural of rights. It is the one right that ensures all the others. Our rights, emanating from God, cannot be justly taken from us. When an attempt is made to deprive us of any right, the right of self-defense becomes operative. We who have been wronged have every prerogative to resist aggressors and would-be tyrants. Yes, the surest way to protect our general Freedom is through self-defense. Therefore, when we see this precious gem assaulted, we know that we are in danger.

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John Adams spoke of a People’s right of self-defense. As you read his words, please understand that a nation has no rights but those which are possessed also by the individual citizens comprising the nation. Every nation derives its powers, as The Declaration of Independence attests, “from the consent of the governed.” With that in mind, consider this statement:

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant, in cases of necessity, can no more be doubted, than that to hang a robber, or kill a flea. But killing one tyrant only makes way for a worse, unless the people have sense, spirit, and honesty enough to establish and support a constitution guarded at all points against tyranny; against the tyranny of the one, the few, and the many. Let it be the study, therefore, of lawgivers and philosophers, to enlighten the people’s understandings and improve their morals, by good and general education; to enable them to comprehend the scheme of government, and to know upon what points their liberties depend; to dissipate those vulgar prejudices and popular superstitions that oppose themselves to good government; and to teach them that obedience to the laws is as indispensable in them as in lords and kings” (John Adams, “Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States,” 1787).

The right of an individual to kill a tyrant, robber, or aggressor, in cases of necessity, cannot be doubted. Our inspired Constitution has safeguarded our right of self-defense and tens of millions of Americans stand armed and ready to defend their Faith, Families, and Freedom. Yet, do we possess the morality, honesty, integrity, goodness, and righteousness necessary to balance and temper our arms? John Adams made it clear that improved morals must go hand-in-hand with the capacity and willingness to wage defensive war against tyrants and aggressors.

Speaking of the tyrannical forces encroaching upon our Liberty, the venerable Ezra Taft Benson stated:

“If America is to withstand these influences and trends, there must be a renewal of the spirit of our forefathers, an appreciation of the American way of life, a strengthening of muscle and sinew and the character of the nation. America needs guts as well as guns. National character is the core of national defense.”

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Yes, we not only need our guns, but we need our God even more. Our moral character must be improved and cultivated as both Mr. Adams and Mr. Benson affirmed. We must become an armed and righteous society. Unless we cultivate morality at least proportionate to the number of arms we have, I fear that we will be led to turn our arms on each other in a scene of anarchy and mobocracy unrivaled in human history.

As Christians, we must lead the way to a peaceful resolution of societal differences, yet without sacrificing principle. Ours should be the loudest voices calling for peace, encouraging morality, promoting goodness, exposing corruption, and championing the Constitution. As Christians, we must show the world through our personal righteousness that an armed society really is a polite society. And, finally, Christians we must be the first to stand up in defense of Freedom – even, and perhaps especially, when it requires drawing the sword.

The Lord has not presently called His people, as a collective group, to wage war against the wicked. In fact, He tells us to proclaim peace. Yet, it is equally sure that Christians must be prepared to fight when the time comes. The moment of action may or may not come in the shape of a formal war. But it very well may come during the night as a thief attempts to plunder your home; during a worship service when a hate-filled assassin attempts to shoot up your congregation; in the office when a disgruntled employee seeks revenge; in the back alley when a rapist attempts to deprive you of your virtue; or on your drive home from work when a thug tries to victimize you. The point is that you never know when you will need to exercise your God-given right of self-defense; and you should always be prepared.

Millions of lives are saved each year because people care enough about themselves and their loved ones to keep and bear arms. How many more lives would be saved if more Americans carried weapons for their personal defense? How many families would today be enjoying the company of a loved one if they had only been prepared to defend themselves? How many more people have to die needlessly because employers and school administrators force their employees and students to be defenseless and helpless in the workplace and in the classroom? How long will America sit idly by as a small, ruthless clique campaigns to deprive us of our most important right, our right of self-defense?

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In 1833, the great Joseph Story wrote that “the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a Republic” (see Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States). As the palladium, or safeguard, of our rights, the Second Amendment should hold a place of preeminence in our hearts. If it goes, our Freedom goes. And in order to properly wield the great power of arms placed in our hands, we must turn our hearts to God.

To counter criminals, evil people, and tyrants, we need more guns. We need more weapons in the workplace, in schools, in public, and everywhere there are people to be defended. And we need people trained in their competent use. Training at an early age breeds respect for the power and proper use of guns. The message that “guns are evil” only breeds fear and incompetence and, ultimately, leads to greater casualties and suffering.

Yes, I say that we need more guns in America! Yet, the proliferation of guns in our society will turn into a sore curse if we do not follow the commandments of Jesus Christ. If we are an immoral People, we will eventually be led to turn our firearms on each other in a fratricidal war. History proves this pattern as clear as any other. However, if we once again become a moral nation, our firearms will prove an extra safeguard on the evil passions and proclivities of unscrupulous men.

While most of us may not need to use our guns, doesn’t it give peace of mind to have them just in case? Which husband or father, or even wife or mother, would not rush to defend a beloved family member rather than watch them gunned down by the hand of evil? Who, in hindsight, would choose to be a helpless witness than a defender of innocence? Ezra Taft Benson once said something of the Lord’s law of chastity that is applicable to our conversation: “It is better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent.”

Thankfully, we live in a nation established by Almighty God – a nation whose founding documents clearly safeguard our rights. Thankfully, we have a heritage of Freedom and can distinctly see the path marked by our forefathers. We have been given the right of self-defense, along with all other rights, and it is our solemn duty to make good use of it. How shameful it would be if we who have been given so many blessings, so much prosperity, and so much individual Liberty, threw it all away because we were not brave enough to defend ourselves and our families! Stand up and be men. Stand up and be Christians. Stand up for your rights!

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In the wake of each new gun-related tragedy, the Establishment batters us with anti-rights propaganda in hopes will we grow so weary that we will surrender. The media flashes images of dead bodies and blood on our TV screens in order to shock and scare us into submission. Don’t fall for it. Don’t be victimized. Don’t be deceived by the masters of deceit. Stand for your Liberty no matter what pretext is used to persuade you to accept your chains. Know that you stand on the moral high ground when you stand with the Constitution. And keep your guns close and God even closer.

I leave you with these immortal words of Samuel Adams. It was a frank challenge to his countrymen at the outset of the War for Independence. Though he spoke more than 200 years ago, he might as well have been speaking to you and me. Ponder the words and decide once and for all whose side you’re on:

“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plow, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

Zack Strong,

June 1, 2019

Presidents Day

Today is Presidents Day. It is also, not coincidentally, the birthday of George Washington. From the glorious days of President Washington to the era of Donald Trump, the presidency has been occupied by a mixed bag of individuals. Some of been traitors and wolves in sheep’s clothing who sold out their nation and abused the U.S. Constitution and others have been honest, wise, good, faithful, and inspiring statesmen. This short article is written to commemorate and celebrate the memory of that small band of patriots who have occupied the Oval Office.

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On page 101 of the first volume of his phenomenal book series titled Leadership, Elder Sterling W. Sill wrote:

“This ability to fill ourselves and others with enthusiasm carries with it a great power of accomplishment. It is one of the most valuable abilities with which God has endowed us. But its value is still further increased because it is so rare. It is one of the potentialities which is often left undeveloped in men. there are many good men; there are many wise men; there are many industrious men. There are not many fire kindlers, not many fire carriers, not many who bring us sparks from the divine, even in a symbolic sense.”

Yes, there are many decent people, many who work hard, and many who have abundant stores of knowledge, but how few men are true leaders who possess the ability to inspire nations! How few are able to really inspire and stir our souls! How few can be called “fire carriers . . . who bring us sparks from the divine”!

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Without question, the most important position of public leadership in our Republic is the office of president. People look (far more than they should) to the president for guidance – and not merely in politics, but in social, cultural, and moral issues. The president bears a tremendous burden to lead by his stalwart example, inspire with the soundness of his ideas, and kindle the fire of patriotism, virtue, and civility in his People with the moral force of his own character.

That most presidents have not lived up to this high charge is lamentable. However, a few good men have lived up to their duty and have been true leaders who inspired the nation. It is on this small band of Sons of Liberty that we focus today.

This article is not a list of good and bad presidents. I previously wrote a piece on that subject which you can find here. Rather, we seek to draw inspiring quotations from some of the great men who have borne the title President of the United States.

My favorite president was the Sage of Monticello, the great Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson gave us some of the most inspiring words ever penned by an American. It was Jefferson who wrote:

“I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

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It was this same super-patriot, whose lifelong devotion to Liberty is archetypal, who declared in the original draft of The Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying it’s foundation on such principles & organising it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness.”

Surely few passages of text have ever inspired more people to noble sacrifice and heroic action than did The Declaration of Independence! The Declaration was the first bookend of the American story of Liberty. Yet, even before the Declaration was published to the world, Jefferson had made his views on Liberty and leadership public and plain. In “A Summary View of the Rights of British America,” Jefferson had written:

“The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counsellors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail . . . The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”

Thomas Jefferson always put his nation first above his own leisure and desires. I was willing to sacrifice anything to ensure American Freedom. In a letter to John B. Colvin, he voice sentiments which show his devotion to the Republic. Said he:

“The question you propose, whether circumstances do not sometimes occur, which make it a duty in officers of high trust, to assume authorities beyond the law, is easy of solution in principle, but sometimes embarrassing in practice. A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.”

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When we judge leaders, it is well to judge them, at least in part, according to whether they did all they could to ensure the security, sovereignty, Liberty, and happiness of America. I thank the Lord for men like Thomas Jefferson who, like the north star, still point out the course which our People may travel to arrive safely in the harbor of peace, Freedom, and happiness.

Another great man who occupied the White House was Andrew Jackson. Jackson was and still is hated by the Establishment because he took a stand against them and, at least in his day, thwarted their agenda to enslave this Republic. Jackson was rabidly pro-American. He was also the only president to eliminate the national debt and presided over a period of prosperity. And, notably, he spent much of his time trying to kill the insidious national bank and eliminate its poisonous effects on our nation.

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In his First Inaugural Address, President Jackson stated:

“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 of 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. Partial injuries and occasional mortifications we may be subjected to, but a million of armed freemen, possessed of the means of war, can never be conquered by a foreign foe. To any just system, therefore, calculated to strengthen this natural safeguard of the country I shall cheerfully lend all the aid in my power.”

In his Farewell Address, and in the context of denouncing the “moneyed interest” which sought to dominate and strangle the nation, President Jackson reminded the American People:

“[Y]ou must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.”

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President James Monroe was another good man whose political views have helped guide and steer our ship of state for generations. In his First Inaugural Address, Monroe spoke of the need for the United States to stand up and defend itself against the encroachments of foreign powers in our sphere of influence:

“Dangers from abroad are not less deserving of attention. Experiencing the fortune of other nations, the United States may be again involved in war, and it may in that event be the object of the adverse party to overset our Government, to break our Union, and demolish us as a nation. Our distance from Europe and the just, moderate, and pacific policy of our Government may form some security against these dangers, but they ought to be anticipated and guarded against . . . We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished.

“To secure us against these dangers our coast and inland frontiers should be fortified, our Army and Navy, regulated upon just principles as to the force of each, be kept in perfect order, and our militia be placed on the best practicable footing. . . .

“But it ought always to be held prominently in view that the safety of these States and of everything dear to a free people must depend in an eminent degree on the militia. Invasions may be made too formidable to be resisted by any land and naval force which it would comport either with the principles of our Government or the circumstances of the United States to maintain. In such cases recourse must be had to the great body of the people, and in a manner to produce the best effect. It is of the highest importance, therefore, that they be so organized and trained as to be prepared for any emergency. The arrangement should be such as to put at the command of the Government the ardent patriotism and youthful vigor of the country. If formed on equal and just principles, it can not be oppressive. It is the crisis which makes the pressure, and not the laws which provide a remedy for it. This arrangement should be formed, too, in time of peace, to be the better prepared for war. With such an organization of such a people the United States have nothing to dread from foreign invasion. At its approach an overwhelming force of gallant men might always be put in motion.”

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Pursuant to these very ideas of national honor and self-defense against foreign despotism, it was President Monroe who established, with the advice and aid of Thomas Jefferson, the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine was designed, as Jefferson penned in a letter to President Monroe, to ensure that America:

“should therefore have a system of her own, separate and apart from that of Europe. While the last is laboring to become the domicil of despotism, our endeavor should surely be to make our hemisphere that of freedom.”

Under the Monroe Doctrine, Latin America was preserved for a time as a land of Freedom. Today, however, we have largely abandoned our role of defenders of this “hemisphere of freedom” and Marxism has infiltrated and taken deep root. We need only look at the communist “paradises” of Cuba and Venezuela to know how precarious the situation has become. Yet, President James Monroe charted our national course in this regard and it is our duty to steer the American ship of state back into safe waters that this hemisphere might truly become a hemisphere of Freedom once more.

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We ought to cherish the memory of all the great men who have served as the first officer of our government – men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson. We need to rekindle and fan the flame of patriotism, piety, and Liberty those noble statesmen lit and carried in their day.

We also ought to support the efforts, however feeble and at times misguided, of President Donald Trump to “make America great again” and fight against the increasing threat of socialism. President Trump did not collude with Russia or communists, as lying and ignorant ideologues claim. He is also not cut from the same cloth as men like Jefferson and Washington. However, he is the first president in my lifetime to make a dent in the Establishment’s control over our Republic. More importantly than anything he has personally done in office, President Trump has inspired people to stand up, speak out, and be counted in favor of Freedom and traditional Americanism.

I pray to our Father in Heaven that the cause of American Liberty will prosper, that the modern Sons of Liberty will never lose hope, and that leaders will step forward to kindle the flame of Freedom in more American hearts. When we each do our part, however small, we help to pave the way for a future return to our true American heritage. We can begin our journey back to our roots of greatness when we remember those stalwart men who have gone before us who carried the torch of Freedom, who inspired the hearts of their countrymen, and who put the Republic and its preservation in happiness, peace, and Liberty above all else. God preserve our Republic!

Zack Strong,

February 18, 2019.

Royal Sycophancy

This past weekend I watched in disgust as the news and social media lit up with chatter about the “royal wedding” of Prince Harry and his American bride Meghan Markle. News commentators gushed about how “beautiful” the event was. The hearts of millions of fawning young girls fluttered with excitement. And crowds around the world cheered and overflowed with emotion. What is wrong with the psyche of America when your average person gushes over a “royal wedding” in a foreign land?

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There are many things that could be said about the British Royal Family. For instance, I could discuss the rampant pedophilia and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) that goes on among them behind closed doors. I could cite the book Dope, Inc. and reveal the Royal Family’s involvement in the world-wide opium industry. I could even stoop to talking about the Royal Family’s recent, and possibly continued, use of a “groom of the stool” (I’ll leave that to you to investigate). No, this article won’t be about the Royal Family. Rather, I want to discuss the problem of Americans fawning over the notion of royalty and why this is an omen of dark days to come.

In 1776, our forefathers rebelled against the British Crown, declaring Independence for the new American states. On July 9, 1776, the inspired words of the Declaration of Independence were read to the crowds in New York. So captivated with feelings of Liberty were they that the crowds promptly marched to Manhattan and tore down and demolished a statue of King George III. The statue was later melted down and made into musket balls which were used to shoot invading British Red Coats.

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This story depicts the true American feeling towards royalty. Real Americans will have no king over them. Real Americans love self-rule and submit only to the dictates of one King – the King of Heaven. Thomas Paine, who is often erroneously called an atheist, wrote in his classic Common Sense:

“But where says some is the King of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain.”

Yes, the only King of America is Christ the Lord, the King of kings. Our forefathers acknowledged His right to rule. They endeavored to establish America as a free and Christian society – a shining city on a hill and beacon of hope, virtue, and Liberty to mankind.

In an Independence Day oration in 1837, John Quincy Adams similarly stated:

“A moral Ruler of the Universe – the Governor and Controller of all human power – is the only unlimited sovereign acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence.”

Only God is acknowledged as the superintending power in the United States – and this in our nation’s first official document! Perhaps both of these great men took their lead from ancient Gideon who, when asked by Israel to rule over them, replied:

“I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you” (Judges 8:23).

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Finishing his earlier thought, Paine explained:

“Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in 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.”

Let the crown of supposed “royalty” be demolished! The People – and only the People – have the right to establish their own laws and rule themselves.

Fortunately for us, our wise Founding Fathers submitted their finite will to God’s wisdom and were inspired to create and forge a Republic of unequaled Freedom, prosperity, happiness, security, influence, and opportunity. The U.S. Constitution is the embodiment of the principles of Liberty and is the most sacred relic our forefathers handed down to us. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of that document states: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States.”

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Thus, it is a canonized, official part of our government that there shall be no nobility in America. The concept of royalty was repugnant to our noble Founding Fathers. They fought against would-be kings and refuted the notion that one segment of society was destined to lord over the rest.

It should always be remembered that it was the monarchists and elitists they waged their War of Independence against. If the British Royal Family had its way, the United States would have never been born and you would be even today a subject of Britain.

You would absolutely not enjoy the rights secured under the U.S. Constitution, nor the wealth provided by the American free enterprise system, nor the protection of just laws and honorable men who cherish their God-given right to keep and bear arms. If the Royal Family had their way, you would be a slave.

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It was against elitists who fancied themselves “royalty” that our patriot forefathers fought. American blood was spilled because the British Royal Family wanted to keep us in chains. The War of 1812 was waged for the same reason and by the same forces of evil.

It was against this same clique of elitists inside the United States that Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, and others battled on the monumental issue of a national bank. Unfortunately, the Americans living in 1913 lost that battle and the Federal Reserve monstrosity exists as a parasite sucking the lifeblood out of this nation.

This same war has always been fought between the forces of Freedom and the sponsors of tyranny. Throughout history, tyranny has all too often taken the form of a monarchy, such as the British Royal Family represents. These monarchies, led by self-professed demigods and self-absorbed elitists, have done little more than oppress mankind, stifle growth, and impede the course of Freedom.

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The patriots of 1776, however, struck a blow against the British Royals and gave America a reprieve from monarchical tyranny. They provided us the opportunity of self-government and Liberty. They suffered, sacrificed, and spilled their blood so that we would be free of the suffocating influence of the British Royal Family. Yet, today Americans gush over “royalty” and follow every detail of the British monarchists’ lives. Our forefathers would be rolling in their graves if they could witness this shameful, sycophantic spectacle.

The ever colorful John Adams once wrote:

“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it” (John Adams to Abigail Adams, April 26, 1777).

Indeed, what have we done with our bounty of Freedom so graciously secured for us by our patriot forefathers?

On Independence Day, 1798, Noah Webster gave a speech in which he stated:

“[O]ur fathers were men – they were heroes and patriots – they fought – they conquered – and they bequeathed to us a rich inheritance of liberty and empire, which we have no right to surrender.”

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Yet, surrender we have. Today, some “Americans” wish we had a king. Millions grovel at the foot of the federal government petitioning for handouts and favors like any peasant of the feudal age. With my own ears, I heard a professor at Brigham Young University-Provo declare that the “divine right of kings” was not only approved by the holy scriptures, but that we should have a king in America. What’s worse, some of my fellow students in the class voiced their agreement and approval. The sickness of royal sycophancy is spreading.

Think of how polarized the United States has become. This divide is never more visible than in an election year. In almost every election, we hear the cry of “rigged” from the losing side. Two years after her defeat, Hillary Clinton is still telling interviewers that Donald Trump rigged the election and she should be the rightful ruler of America. And make no bones about it, Clinton is an elitist who sees herself as a ruler, not a servant of the People.

The crowds have developed a sycophantic allegiance to their favorite candidates, whether Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders. They act fanatical in their support of these individuals who, in their eyes, can do no wrong and represent all that is good. The opposing sides are closing ranks and digging in. Both sides are so embittered and hate-filled that they have come to blows more than once. Soon, there will be no chance of even having an open and free dialogue and only compulsion will decide things.

Judging from history, these terrible trends portend severe strife and very possibly civil war. It is altogether conceivable, for instance, that a losing candidate in a national election could reject the vote tally, assert that he was cheated in a rigged election, declare himself king, and have half the population follow him. It sounds outlandish in the 21st Century, yet it has happened in the past so many times that we would be foolish to dismiss the very real possibility.

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Yes, we live in an age of demigods and cults of personality. Rule of law means virtually nothing. The U.S. Constitution is all but forgotten. States have lost their sovereignty and the federal government is run like a dictatorship with the president wielding extreme and unlawful amounts of power. And the American heritage of opposing the British Royal Family and monarchists and tyrants of all stripes has fallen by the way side.

If the Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s “Royal Wedding” is any indication, the American People are ripening for servitude to the first person bold enough to declare himself a king. The first Caesar bold enough to march his legions across the American Rubicon might just gain himself a kingdom, and bequeath to the American People thralldom. I pray, however, that if that dark day ever comes, the characteristic American spirit will revive and we will repeat the glorious days of 1776 when King George III was toppled and Independence from tyrants was declared before the eyes of the world. Long Live Liberty! Sic Semper Tyrannis!

Zack Strong

May 22, 2018.

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My Essential Liberty Trumps Your So-Called Safety

“They who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, February 17, 1775

The tragic Parkland, Florida school shooting has once again raised the demonic specter of gun control and has stirred people into a mindless and frenzied hysteria against our God-given Liberty and the Constitution which protects it. I want to speak bluntly in this article. I want to refocus this debate on the real issue at play; namely, on our rights. Personal feelings, personal opinions, personal fears and paranoia, all must bow before the exalted throne of individual rights.

Our individual rights are given to us by God. They do not come from man. They do not come from society. They are not granted by government. They are not granted by the U.S. Constitution or Declaration of Independence. They are not subject to the whims or opinions of the majority. They are not subject to elections or votes. They are not subject to populist passions. They are not dependent upon the president’s or Supreme Court’s support. They are inalienable, sacred, and undeniable for those who live peaceably and do not violate the equal rights of others.

The great Thomas Jefferson defined Liberty thus:

“[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 H. Tiffany, April 4, 1819).

Liberty is an individual’s right to “unobstructed action.” The only restriction placed upon an individual’s right to act without obstruction is the violation of another’s equal rights. Let’s demonstrate this principle with an example. While you have a right to life, if you murder – thus violating another’s equal right to life – you forfeit your right to the same. And so on and so forth. Unless an individual has violated another person’s rights, his actions cannot be restrained, curtailed, obstructed, or punished by legitimate law. And any law which would limit a person’s Liberty for any reason and because of any pretext is nothing but “the tyrant’s will” and is itself a gross violation of the very notion of Freedom. And it is an explicit violation of the U.S. Constitution.

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Inasmuch as government does not grant us rights, government cannot then restrict or curtail those rights unless you have forfeited them by violating another individual’s rights. Our Founding Fathers understood this concept and codified it in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. The Declaration of Independence declares that the power and authority of the People supersedes any government or constitution. It plainly stated:

“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.”

To “secure these rights” – rights such as life, Liberty, and the right of self-defense – is the chief function of all legitimate government. When a government violates those rights, the People have not only a right but a duty to “alter or to abolish” that government and erect new laws or forms of government that will best secure their natural rights and Liberties. Government’s job, then, is not to give you a “safe space” or to tuck you in at night and sing you lullabies. The state’s job is not to rock your cradle, hold your hand, and keep you “safe.” The government’s sole job is to secure each individual’s God-given rights against all threats foreign and domestic.

The U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights is a list of “thou shalt nots” directed at government. For instance, the government shall not infringe upon the individual’s God-given right of self-defense. That is explicitly stated in the 2nd Amendment. The other amendments similarly use terms like “shall not” and “shall” to restrain government and protect the individual.

The 2nd Amendment, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with guns. Firearms is not the issue. Rather, this precious amendment has everything to do with self-defense. Every honest person will admit that individuals have an inherent right to defend themselves, their property, their family, and their rights. Without this overarching right of self-defense, no other right could ever be secured. What does the right of property mean without the right to defend it against those who would steal or plunder? What does the right of life mean without the means of self-defense? By using simple logic and rational thinking we come to the obvious conclusion that the right of self-defense is the most important right, for, without it, our other rights don’t matter and are not secure.

If what I have just said is true, then it is also true to state that any infringement of the Second Amendment is a blow against our safety. It cannot be otherwise. If the right of self-defense is the right that defends all others, to infringe it infringes automatically upon all other rights. Ignorant students and rabid activists like the characteristically communist David Hogg only think with their emotions and aren’t informed enough to understand what Liberty is and what the Constitution says. Their knee-jerk reaction is that which they have been indoctrinated in public schools and by the controlled Establishment media to perform.

Instead of immediately rushing to defend our rights in the aftermath of a tragedy, they immediately rush to destroy our rights just so they can feel safer in their bed at night. This attitude is tyrannical in the extreme. We are a nation of mini tyrants with each person waltzing on the other’s rights whenever it suits them or whenever they feel afraid of some bogeyman the media can make appear, such as the myth of the “white Christian conservative with an AR about ready to shoot up the local school.” We live in an era of fear-based politics and paranoia rules the day.

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If you support any form of the curtailment of the right of self-defense – gun restrictions, national data bases, waiting periods, licensing, attachment bans, mandatory screenings, ad infinitum – you, sir, are a tyrant. You stand in opposition to the Constitution. You stand opposed to the Founding Fathers – great men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. You are at war with Freedom. And you are at war with the Author of that Freedom, the God who rules in the Heavens. In short, you are an enemy to the Republic if you favor any legislation, policy, program, ruling, or executive order designed to restrict, even in the slightest, our natural right to defend ourselves, our families, our Freedom, and our faith.

In short, my essential Liberty trumps in every imaginable way your so-called need to feel safe. Liberty trumps safety every time. Secured Liberty is true safety. My God-given rights trump your insecurities and paranoia. My Freedom surpasses and exceeds your desire for calm and safety.

The great Thomas Jefferson declared:

“[A]ll timid men . . . prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty” (Thomas Jefferson to Philp Mazzei, April 24, 1796).

Another time, he accurately wrote:

“The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave” (Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, October 20, 1820).

Anyone who thinks things will always be tranquil and calm is ignorant of reality and is guilty of wishful thinking. Life will never be calm. There will always be boisterous waves, tempests of thought, contention and differences. Until the Lord returns to reign, this world will be one of disagreement and tempestuous convulsions. We must not react to these bumps in the road by restricting the one thing that could ultimately see us through the storm safely – our Liberty.

Liberty must be the paramount issue. When a mass shooting occurs, our first instinct must be to defend Liberty against rash emotionalism and knee-jerk reactionism. Only by securing our rights – crucially, the right of self-defense – can we be safe. If you can only feel “safe” by destroying another person’s Freedom and the right to defend himself and his family, you have a serious problem. If this is your attitude and proposed solution to the perceived problem of violence, you are not only ignorant of reality, but you are an enemy to Liberty. You see the world through a tainted lens. You are living in fear. You have no respect for Liberty or the Constitution.

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Please, be a true friend to the Constitution. Be a friend to Freedom. Be a friend to our God-given rights. Unite with those who want to be freemen rather than slaves, to be self-sufficient rather than rely upon the government for everything, including their personal safety. Unite against the demagogues and despots who want to subjugate you and your family and who use the corpses of school children as talking points to push their sick agenda. Choose the right side and you will have friends. Choose the wrong side and reap eternal infamy and bring shame upon your country.

I close by repeating that my essential Liberty, my individual rights, my right to defend my family and Freedom, trump your need to feel “safe.” When you sacrifice Liberty on the altar of safety, you sacrifice everything. Liberty must not be sacrificed to quiet the fears of a paranoid and insecure segment of society or the demigods in government who bite at every opportunity to increase their power and wrap chains around the American People.

Long live Liberty! Sic semper tyrannis!

Zack Strong

April 10, 2018.