Friday, September 30, 2011

One Reason Why Scholars Think Washington Was a Deist:

I think what I write next needs to be stressed in the study of George Washington's personal religious beliefs.

After reading virtually everything George Washington said and wrote on religion, I conclude GW believed in an active personal Providence.

However, Washington was also imbibed in Greco-Romanism, particularly Stoicism. I'm still trying to get a handle on what the Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers -- the ones who didn't believe in mythology (Zeus, Hercules, etc.) -- believed religiously. As far as I can tell, they believed in some kind of impersonal deistic-Providence.

Again, Washington (of all the Founders, especially) drank deeply from that well. So we see quotations where GW refers to Providence in an impersonal sense, calling Providence "It" and "She" at times, sounding like a deist. (You'll have to trust me he did this; I'll provide the quotations elsewhere if requested.) I think he was being sincere when talking about Providence this way. He was just sounding like the neo-Stoic he was.

However, elsewhere (over and over again) he refers to Providence as an active personal God, and seemed to believe in a warm universal theism.

If one focused only on those letters where GW invoked the neo-Stoic impersonal Providence I understand why one would (inaptly in my opinion) conclude him a "deist." (You still have to put his impersonal Providence talk together with his warm theism talk.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forster and Gregg on Locke:

I try to stay up on when Locke experts debate what he was really getting at. Here, at The Public Discourse, Samuel Gregg argues Locke breaks with the classical-Christian understanding of the natural law.

A taste:

Locke himself supported King James II’s overthrow in the 1688 Glorious Revolution and the subsequent passing of the Bill of Rights in 1689. There were many reasons for James II’s removal from the throne, but we should not pretend that his eviction was based on some type of contract violation. It proceeded from the refusal by significant segments of Britain’s political elites to accept his political authority any longer.

Which brings me to another point that I think demonstrates the problems of social contract theory: political authority in itself does not require a contract or some form of transmission process for its legitimacy.

Contra Locke, the rational foundation for civil government is not, in fact, consent. As Aquinas wrote, “it is natural for man, more than any other animal, to be a social and political animal, to live in a group” [emphasis added].


Another reason for the prevalence of social contract theories is that they often allow us to rationalize philosophically and legally the emergence of new sets of political arrangements. A number of authors, for example, have speculated that Locke’s social compact arguments, with their particular emphasis on consent, flow from his desire to legitimize the particular political order instituted in Britain by and after the Glorious Revolution.

One weakness of such interpretations is that Locke appears to have worked out the basic principles of his political theory some years before 1688. Hence Locke’s treatises deserve to be treated, as Copleston writes, as more than just another Whig pamphlet. Nevertheless, it’s not clear that Locke’s political theory—either before or after 1688—can be entirely separated from his opposition to the Stuart dynasty, his disputation of the divine right of kings (which obviously opposes any notion of consent from the governed), and his personal beliefs as a longtime Whig.

Of course, nobody can completely escape the influence of context when developing his or her ideas, but this does not mean Locke could not have formulated a more robust account of political order to explain why James II needed to be removed from power. Pre-existing classical natural law arguments about the legitimacy of removing rulers who become tyrants would have been perfectly adequate.


... In Locke’s view, we do not obey our rulers because a concern for human flourishing, justice, and the common good tells us that it is reasonable to do so. Instead, we obey because our rulers have a superior will. “Law’s formal definition,” Locke wrote, “is the declaration of a superior will.” How different this is from Aquinas’s understanding of law as “an ordinance of reason for the common good, promulgated by him who has the care of the community.”

In the end, this difference may well reflect varying conceptions of God. The notion of divine wisdom (logos) is integral to the classical natural law understanding of why the commands of God create concrete responsibilities in conscience for human beings.

By contrast, Locke joins some of his contemporaries, such as Grotius and Pufendorf, in explaining this obligation in terms of a God who exercises raw, perhaps even willful, power. “For who will deny,” Locke writes, “that clay is subject to the potter’s will and that the pot can be destroyed by the same hand that shaped it.”

Here is Greg Forster's response defending Locke's authenticity in the classical-Christian tradition.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chris Rodda Wants David Barton to Sue Her:

She writes about it here. She also welcomes suggestions for making it happen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Throckmorton on David Barton: Did Early Presidents Sign Documents “In the Year of Our Lord Christ?”

Here. A taste:

Adams, Madison and every other President signed these forms on behalf of countless vessels sailing into foreign waters. That Presidents signed their names to form letters with language required by treaty is simply not an indicator of some special recognition of Christ. Although the Americans were not antagonistic to including this diplomatic language in their treaties, they were not breaking new religious or political ground. As I noted in the prior post, other nations, including France and Holland, used this language long before the United States did as a new nation.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jefferson & Fear of Public Speaking:

From Sam Harris here. A taste:

It is widely believed that Thomas Jefferson was terrified of public speaking. John Adams once said of him, “During the whole time I sat with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three sentences together.” During his eight years in the White House, Jefferson seems to have limited his speechmaking to two inaugural addresses, which he simply read out loud “in so low a tone that few heard it.”

I remember how relieved I was to learn this. To know that it was possible to succeed in life while avoiding the podium was very consoling—for about five minutes. The truth is that not even Jefferson could follow in his own footsteps today. It is now inconceivable that a person could become president of the United States through the power of his writing alone. To refuse to speak in public is to refuse a career in politics—and many other careers as well.

Perhaps I imagine a connection that doesn't really exist, but I observe extremely intelligent folks -- especially the "verbally articulate" -- as likelier to struggle with anxiety and depression issues. If you dig deeper in the record you'll see this applies to among others Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln.

I struggle with fear of public speaking. But what do you mean, am I not a college professor? Isn't that all I do? In my mind, no. When I lecture to my students, it isn't public speaking. And time flies by and I have great fun. But when I am being evaluated or asked to speak in front of my peers, it is public speaking and time crawls. I've had some agonizing experiences.

But I recognize this is a total irrational illusion in my mind. And something in the ideal that should be transcended. And for the most part all anger and anxiety is irrational and illusory. If you don't need to run to save your life or to physically strike at something that threatens the physical safety of you and yours, anger or anxiety as an emotional reaction to a perceived threat is fundamentally irrational.

But internalizing that Truth is easier said than done.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Warren Throckmorton on David Barton and Unitarianism:

WT has been doing some great work analyzing and commenting on Barton's theories. See his latest.

He quotes Barton:

We have the same thing when you look at Quakers. You see Quakers were founded by William Penn in Pennsylvania. I’ll lay you odds there’s no chance that William Penn would be a Quaker today, even in the denomination he founded, he would not be a part of. We look at it the way it is today and say it must have been the way they were back then.

And the example of that is what happens when you look at Universalist Unitarians; certainly not a denomination that conforms to biblical truth in any way but as it turns out, we have a number of Founding Fathers who were Unitarians. So we say, oh wait, there’s no way the Founding Fathers could have been Christians; they were Unitarians. Well, unless you know what a Unitarian was in 1784 and what happened to Unitarians in 1819 and 1838 and unless you recognize they used to be a very evangelical Christian denomination, we look at what they are today and say the Founding Fathers were Unitarians, and say, there’s no way they were Christians. That’s modernism; that’s not accurate; that’s not true.

As Throckmorton notes, Penn didn't found Quakerism, George Fox did.

This is a comment I left there:

The idea that Unitarians (of the Founding era) can’t be Christians is not modernism; it’s orthodoxy.

Founding era Unitarianism (I term it “unitarianism” and leave the “u” uncapitalized because the unitarianism of the Founding era — mid to late 18th Century — usually wasn’t an official denomination, but a theology) defined itself by disbelieving in the Trinity. They identified and understood themselves to be “Christians.” It was the orthodox of that era and of today who claim, no, you must believe in the Trinity to be a “mere Christian” (as CS Lewis would term it).

I think the kernel of Truth in Barton’s claim might be the unitarians of the Founding era weren’t quite like today’s UUs. They were quite theistic, devout and very often biblical.

In this sense, they may be more like today’s Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Non-Trinitarians, but nonetheless very devout and theistic. Though the Founding era unitarians were also very rationalistic, “enlightened” and “liberal” for their day.

Though I am starting to see some consistency in Barton’s understanding of Christian minimums. If non-Trinitarians like Mormons can qualify as “Christians,” so too can many if not most of the Founding era unitarian Christians.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Conflicting Notions of Liberty & the Right to Do Wrong:

The post from David Post on Justice Thomas got me thinking more deeply about liberty rights and the American Founding. As a libertarian I tend to resolve conflicts in favor of political liberty as a default position.

The case Brown vs Entertainment Merchants Assn involved on the one hand the liberty of video game producers to market violent products even to those underaged v. the right (liberty?) of parents to raise their children with “absolute authority” and “total parental control over children’s lives”.

It's not easy to draw the line on where liberty ends and license begins. One standard I absolutely reject -- and I think the Founders rejected to -- is that we have no right to what is "wrong" in an objective sense (understanding that reasonable folks will disagree over what in fact IS wrong in an objective sense). Such a standard truly makes liberty meaningless or "hollow shells" (to use TVD's term in the comments).

The Founding Fathers believed men had an unalienable right to worship as they pleased which necessarily gives men an unalienable right to break the first half of the Ten Commandments and many other parts of the Bible (a very demanding book on moral issues).

But even extending beyond the narrow "rights of conscience" issue. Take Justice Thomas' standard on rights of parents. Absent thorny issues like when parents' near absolute authority conflicts with others' freedom of speech, I tend to agree with Thomas. Parents almost own their minor children, yet have the responsibilities to provide for them. Short of beatings which go beyond reasonable corporal punishment (I don't defend corporal punishment as good policy; but I don't think it's illegal to spank your kids) or neglect of necessaries, parents can do whatever the Hell they want with and to their kids. But that doesn't make what they do necessarily moral. It just means parents have a right to do what may be wrong. The Westboro Baptist Church or kids who are brainwashed into the KKK are two reductio ad absurdum examples. Or the humiliating emotional abuse to which many parents subject their children. I think for instance the emotional abuse that DJ AM's father subjected him to was gravely immoral and strongly contributed to his suicide. (I don't attribute causation as I believe all adults are ultimately responsible over the choices they make as adults.)

But I would see this as part of a parents' right to do wrong that comes with the almost absolute authority over their minor children of which Justice Thomas speaks. And this right to do wrong is part of a natural liberty right as America's Founders understood it. Again, the line draws at no beatings beyond reasonable corporal punishment and providing for necessaries.

We can't have government bureaucracies enforcing standards like "you can't emotionally abuse your children or we will fine you or take your kids away." But emotional abuse of your children is gravely immoral. I think any meaningful conception political liberty, ultimately, conflicts with the Nanny State of the Left and the Granny State of the Right. Maybe I'm wrong. But make no mistake giving people the right to self control and liberty over their own lives necessarily means giving them a right to do wrong and make mistakes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

David Barton Files Lawsuit:

Against critics of his. Read about it here.

Barton, it seems is fighting his enemies on both the Left and Right. He was just dropped by his Christian radio network because of his ties to Glenn Beck, specifically his defense of Beck's Mormon Christianity. Warren Throckmorton gives the details.

Finally, for Barton's side on his defense of Glenn Beck's Mormon Christianity, see his Facebook note.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

David Post on Justice Thomas' Originalism:

Prof. Post was one of my favorite professors at Temple Law. At Volokh, he notes what strikes many as problems with the kind of originalism Justice Thomas articulates:

In support of this latter proposition—which, more or less, ends the constitutional inquiry for Justice Thomas—he relies, inter alia, on Wadsworth’s “The Well-Ordered Family” of 1712, Cotton Mather’s “A Family Well-Ordered” (1699), “The History of Genesis” (1708), Locke’s “Some Thoughts Concerning Education” (1692), Burgh’s “Thoughts on Education” (1749), along with a number of more recent scholarly studies focused on child-rearing practices during the Founding period.

That is originalism on steroids, and, to my eye, rather poignantly illustrates the weakness of the approach. I understand, and am sympathetic to, the notion that the meaning of a constitutional provision should be informed by the meaning given to it by those who drafted and ratified it. But can that really mean that we will look to the child-rearing principles of Cotton Mather and John Locke to define, for all time, the scope of the constitutional protection for free speech? Even assuming that Justice Thomas (or anyone else) can reconstruct the sociology of the eighteenth century to definitively support the notion that parents possessed “absolute authority” over their children, and that “total parental control over children’s lives” was the governing societal norm—what then? The question in this case is not “do parents have absolute authority over their children?” The question in the case is, rather, “how does what the state did here relate to (a) the authority of parents over their children, (b) the power of the state to protect the well-being of children, and (c) the constitutional protection for ‘the freedom of speech’?” That’s a hard question in 2011, and it would have been a hard question in 1791, because it involves categorization: Is this, actually, a case about the authority of parents over their children? Or is it a case about the extent of the state’s power to protect minors? The scope of the First Amendment rights of video game manufacturers? Or the scope of the First Amendment rights of minors? ....

I'd like to see Prof. Post get more involved in the, "what kind of originalism is valid originalism" dialog with among others Randy Barnett, Akhil Amar, and Lawrence Sollum.
Witherspoon, Edwards, and Natural Law at Princeton:

At the ISI blog here. The first two paragraphs:

By the end of John Witherspoon’s first year as president of Princeton University (then, the College of New Jersey) in 1769, a small group of tutors, including the late president’s son – Jonathan Edwards Jr. – had resigned their positions at the college. Their leave had been amicable in spite of their philosophical differences with the new president. Though tolerant of the tutors’ idealism, Witherspoon had arrived in the colonies promoting Scottish realism and that brand of moral philosophy advocated by Francis Hutcheson and argued against by his predecessor at Princeton, Jonathan Edwards. The philosophical shift superintended by Witherspoon would have a profound impact on the future of the institution: natural philosophy – science – would be introduced into the curriculum; an empirical, “common sense” approach would replace the theistic-centered methodology of the old regime; the college would increasingly come to be seen as a “nursery of statesmen” rather than a seminary. In the ensuing years, Witherspoon himself would become active in politics as a member of the Continental Congress and signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Despite the progress of the college during his tenure, I will argue in what follows that there was an inherent conflict between Witherspoon’s Scottish Enlightenment philosophy on the one hand and his Calvinist Presbyterian orthodoxy on the other. Such incoherence did not characterize the thought of Jonathan Edwards. Witherspoon was an epistemological optimist: he advocated an empirical approach to the study of ethics, believing “a time may come when men, treating moral philosophy as Newton and his successors have done natural, may arrive at greater precision. It is always safer in our reasonings to trace facts upwards than to reason downwards upon metaphysical principles.” In his Lectures on Moral Philosophy, Witherspoon teaches that “the principles of duty and obligation must be drawn from the nature of man,” though he concedes that “there is nothing certain or valuable in moral philosophy, but what is perfectly coincident with scripture” (Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon 1802: 3.470, 380, 471).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Apiarianism: The Useful Function That Enlightenment Served For the American Founding & Religion:

Time once again to revisit "The Synthesis" of ideologies that was the American Founding. The vast majority of expert scholars of whatever ideological background agree with Harvard's Bernard Bailyn that the American Founding synthesized Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian (biblical), Common Law, Whig, and Enlightenment. There is debate as to whether these disparate strands are compatible with one another. But in the minds of the American Founders, they were. To the extent that they may not have been, the Founders, using their reason, made them "fit" even if they had to "revise" to achieve those results.

This quotation of Jefferson on Christianity comes to mind:

"Were I to be the founder of a new sect, I would call them Apiarians, and, after the example of the bee, advise them to extract the honey of every sect."

-- To Thomas B. Parker, May 15, 1819.

When it came to "religion" a great deal of what these "rational Christians" believed in or admired, was already dispersed throughout Christendom. Indeed, they tended to have an affinity for the "primitive Christianity" of the earliest era before it got corrupted by Trinitarian creedalism. Doctrines for which they tended to have affinities like Arianism, Socinianism, Universalism predated the Enlightenment.

But during the Enlightenment, it all started to come together. For instance, we have noted, on resisting tyrannical government, Calvinists (though not Calvin himself) and before them medieval scholastics, argued something similar to the Lockean Enlightenment theories of resistance which America's Founders adopted.

But, while I can't speak for medieval scholastics whose views on the matter I need further to research, I do know that on religious liberty -- what America's Founders thought the most unalienable of rights -- the Calvinists, including the "resisters" were horrible, as bad as Calvin himself.

This is what Samuel Rutherford said of Roger Williams' emerging views of liberty of conscience:

"It was justice, not cruelty, yea mercy to the Church of God, to take away the life of Servetus, who used such spirituall and diabolick cruelty to many thousand soules, whom he did pervert, and by his Booke, does yet lead into perdition."—Samuel Rutherfurd, A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience. (1649).

Yet, Roger Williams and the Quakers did innovate on ideas of religious liberty and separation of church and state. And they were not at all in the tradition of Calvinist Christianity. (Williams at one point seemed to be a Calvinist, but quickly moved towards a unique religious sect unto himself). I have no idea how Roger Williams and the Quakers theorized, in principle on how to deal with tyrannical magistrates. Though in practice it was, if you don't want to be civilly punished, get the f--k out of our territory and found your own colony, which they did.

Locke seemed to have most of what America's Founders were looking for on both the issues of resistance and religious liberty; though America's Founders self-consciously extended religious liberty further than Locke did.

But those pre-Lockean sources that had what America's Founders were looking for, had only bits and pieces. Arianism here; Socinianism there. Universalism here; natural law there. Resisting the magistrate here; religious liberty and separation of church and state there.

The Founders operated as Apiarians, to use Jefferson's term, took from the various sects what they found useful and put it all together into a whole package during their Enlightenment times.
More on George Washington's Enlightenment Parlance:

George Washington was, as Peter Henriques noted, one of if not the finest product of the American Enlightenment.

As noted in this post, Immanuel Kant seemed the first thinker to self consciously understand they were living in an era of Enlightenment.

Yet George Washington, writing TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, Mount Vernon, 15 August, 1786, did seem to realize they lived in an "enlightened" and "liberal" age:

But let me ask you, my dear Marquis, in such an enlightened, in such a liberal age, how is it possible that the great maritime powers of Europe should submit to pay an annual tribute to the little piratical states of Barbary? Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enemies to mankind, or crush them into non-existence.

Washington too had problems with militant Islamic forces of his day. Yet -- good Enlightenment religionist he -- Washington did not therefore write off Islam entirely. To the contrary, Washington's letter to the Emperor of Morocco, dated March 31, 1791 indicates he thought Islam a true religion that worshipped the same God that Jews and Christians did.
Francis Schaeffer Buzz:

I largely ignored the dialog on Francis Schaeffer that recently occurred. Andrew Sullivan recaps:

One of the more engaging discourses I read while I was sick was the exchange between Ryan Lizza and Ross Douthat on exactly how radical the Christianist writer Francis Schaeffer is. Schaeffer had a huge influence on Michele Bachmann, and his work is clearly part of the thriving Christianist/GOP subculture. Ross's first post in defense of this radical is here. Ryan's riposte is here. Ross concludes here.

Buried in all this
is an interesting quotation by Schaeffer on the American Founding and Romans 13 issues:

"When any office commands that which is contrary to the Word of God, those who hold that office abrogate their authority and they are not to be obeyed. And that includes the state ... Rutherford offered suggestions concerning illegitimate acts of the state. A ruler, he wrote, should not be deposed merely because he commits a single breach of the compact he has with the people. Only when the magistrate acts in such a way that the governing structure of the country is being destroyed—that is, when he is attacking the fundamental structure of society—is he to be relieved of his power and authority.

That is exactly what we are facing today. The whole structure of our society is being attacked and destroyed. It is being given an entirely opposite base which gives exactly opposite results. The reversal is much more total and destructive than t
hat which Rutherford or any of the Reformers faced in their day."

A while back we noted Mark Noll among others took Schaeffer to task for his arguable misunderstanding of the American Founding. Schaeffer wrongly credits Samuel Rutherford with the ideas for the American Founding. America's Founders didn't cite Rutherford, but Locke for these propositions. And Locke didn't cite Rutherford either.

[And yes, I know of the tradition of resistance among Calvinists, though not Calvin himself, that almost certainly, in some meaningful way, influenced the American Founding.]
Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in World:

Get the details here. Even though this is cool, the vast majority of JSTOR stuff still is not free.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Interesting Lecture From A Biblical Unitarian:

Many "key Founders" and the philosophers and divines who influenced them were theological unitarians. They were also devout theists who believed, in some way, revelation (God speaking to man in holy texts). One interesting dynamic I've found is mentioning they were "unitarians" automatically, reflexively connotes today's Unitarian-Universalist Church who aren't quite the same as those classical, Founding era unitarians.

Perhaps this fellow is more in line with those unitarians:

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Rodda and Barton on the Black Robe Regiment:

David Barton has a new feature at Wallbuilders on the Black Robe Regiment. His arch-nemisis Chris Rodda is set to debunk it. Barton is already responsible for the Baboon statistic that 27 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were "ministers" -- a figure which Rodda properly called out. In reality only one signer -- John Witherspoon -- was a minister.

From what I have researched, even though Barton was wrong on ministers and the Declaration, I do see "ministers" as preaching American Founding/DOI ideas before Jefferson and company wrote the DOI.

Barton quotes Alice Baldwin: "There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763."

She did say this. And I think her assessment is accurate. But there is more to the story. Gregg Frazer's PhD thesis likewise quotes Baldwin to support HIS thesis: that the political theology of the American Founding was neither Christianity nor Deism, but "theistic rationalism." That those ideas weren't "Christian" but rather something else.

Many of those "New England" clergy referred to were, like Jonathan Mayhew, theological unitarians. And they didn't proof quote the Bible as final trumping authority when asserting the "rights," similar to or the same as those found in the DOI. The Bible was referenced as authority. And so was the book of Nature. These "rational Christian" clergy thought the two needed to work together for ultimate Truth discovery (they were not Sola Scriptura evangelical Protestants).

And as I observe, most of the relevant "rights" came from Nature, not the Bible; though after discovering the rights in Nature, the Bible was then referenced for support. And sometimes those discoveries in Nature (like the right to rebel against tyrants!) were used to interpret or otherwise explain away parts of the Bible that seemed to teach otherwise (like Romans 13).

This was a form of politically and theologically liberal, rationalistic Christianity, if it's accurate to call it "Christian" at all. This nuance is certainly lost on Barton.

Though after the recent news that David Barton thinks Mormons can be Christians, I'm not sure what he endorses as a "test" for "Christianity" or "Christian principles."

Friday, September 02, 2011

Some Thoughts on Online Education:

I've gotten to the point where I typically teach 1/2 my load online, so I have some authority on the matter. Many traditional professors are resistant to online education and I understand their concerns. My friend John Fea, of Messiah College, is one of them.

In this thoughtful post, Dr. Fea blogs about his concerns. I left a comment here which I reproduce below:

1. Where I teach students want online education. There are a variety of reasons for the demand: One, I suspect, is not having to go to campus and block out that time for the professional obligation. In short, the flexibility.

2. There is debate as to how much $ (if at all, given infrastructure costs of running virtual colleges) online edu. currently saves. But it does save in terms of room space, and for the college, it solves logistical issues by eliminating the need for an actual classroom.

3. Yes, there are shortcomings; but think about how much one can learn using free online source materials. I learn so much more from sites like the Volokh Conspiracy than I do from my [PA] continuing legal education requirements.

I've never met you in person (I think I will at the David Library). But think about how much we've learned from one another using the Internet.

4. What follows is something every traditional face-to-face educator needs to take very seriously: Whatever shortcomings online education currently has will probably be solved as Moore's Law progresses. The gap between online and live will close. It used to be that one benefit of online was the wealth of resources available at your fingertips from the Internet. As classrooms move towards universal wiring that gap closes.

However, the "see your face and hear your voice" gap will also close when all computers in their boilerplate features have web cams, Skype like communication software and fingerprint and retina scanning measures.

This is not sci fi, pie in the sky prognostication. This is what it means to advance exponentially which IT currently is. (Again, Moore's Law.)

This is a change that needs to be embraced, in my opinion. I'm just worried about what the creative destruction may do to many universities and previously thought "safe" tenured jobs.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Trenchard & Gordon: Liberty proved to be the unalienable Right of all Mankind:

Dated NO. 59. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1721. A taste:

... Who, following for their guide that everlasting reason, which is the best and only guide in human affairs, carried liberty, and human happiness, the legitimate offspring and work of liberty, to the highest pitch that they were capable of arriving at. But the above absurdity, with many others as monstrous and mischievous, were reserved for the discovery of a few wretched and dreaming Mahometan and Christian monks, who, ignorant of all things, were made, or made themselves, the directors of all things; and bewitching the world with holy lies and unaccountable ravings, dressed up in barbarous words and uncouth phrases, bent all their fairy force against common sense and common liberty and truth, and founded a pernicious, absurd, and visionary empire upon their ruins. Systems without sense, propositions without truth, religion without reason, a rampant church without charity, severity without justice, and government without liberty or mercy, were all the blessed handyworks of these religious mad-men, and godly pedants; who, by pretending to know the other world, cheated and confounded this. Their enmity to common sense, and want of it, were their warrants for governing the sense of all mankind: By lying, they were thought the champions of the truth; and by their fooleries,impieties, and cruelty, were esteemed the favourites and confidants of the God of wisdom, mercy, and peace.
David Barton on how Glenn Beck's Mormonism Doesn't Disqualify His Christianity: