Uncommon Sense

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I like people, books, and technology. That mostly explains me.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Ron Lantz Finds the Beltway Snipers

Ron Lantz says he's not a hero. I think he's something even better.

He's an American.

Cheers of course to the police, FBI, ATF, and other officials who took down two murderous wackos Wednesday night. But it wouldn't have happened without Ron Lantz, ordinary American.

If there is one lesson that has been driven home time and again in the first 14 months of the Terror War, it is that ordinary Americans are a key line of defense. The name of Ron Lantz should be mentioned in the same breath as the heroes who fought the Flight 93 hijackers, and the heroic passengers and flight attendants who subdued the shoe bomber.

This is the way it should be. For too long we have trusted our defense, internal and external, to the "experts." Now don't get me wrong, our firemen and cops and soldiers are among the very best Americans you can meet. But the common defense is the responsibility of all us, and as Ron Lantz shows, we are up to the task.

Free people are vigilant people. It is not enough to trust the experts to protect us. We, each of us, must be the eyes and ears of America. When appropriate, we should act ourselves; when the experts are needed, we should call them in as Ron Lantz did.

Let's roll.

Monday, October 21, 2002

John Adams tells us why we no longer fit the Constitution

News: New address for comments. To comment on material posted here, send email to spiffsetz AT hotmail dot com (sorry about spelling it out, but my Inbox gets enough spam as it is).

I am of the opinion that the USA no longer exists as a Republic under the Constitution of 1787. Our citizens no longer understand the Constitution--they don't even read it!

Some suggest that this change has been wrought by the domestic Welfare State, or by overseas "imperialist war-mongering," or by the school prayer court decisions (really!). I think those are merely effects, not causes. Herewith, my take on part of the cause of America's shift from federal republic to ... something else, anyway.

What did John Adams Mean?

John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Some modern Fundamentalists mistake this, thinking it means the federal Constitution encodes Christianity. But Adams' point is far more subtle, and far more damning of our current society.

A Republic depends on public virtue. The Republic devised by our Founders does not require any specific religion--Jews and Buddhists alike can flourish under it--but it absolutely requires in its nature that the vast majority of citizens aspire to traditional Protestant values--work ethic, lifelong monogamy, self-sacrifice, restraint, honesty and charity. It also requires that leading citizens (politicians, business executives) exhibit these behaviors even more fully than ordinary citizens.

The people who tune in Baywatch every night, invest in dot-coms to get rich quick, speak earnestly of "starter marriages", seek undemanding "spirituality" rather than rigorous religion, steal pencils and loot pension funds are not capable of retaining the Republic of the Constitution. It's just not possible.

And, contrary to what some Fundamentalists think, "Christian" legislation and prayer in schools and "under God" in the Pledge aren't going to change that. At best, such measures might move a few people to change their lives for the better.

Even a second revolution by itself wouldn't change our nation's downward path. Only a massive change of both attitude and behavior among the citizens of the US can reverse our course and restore the liberty under law given to us by the Founders.