November 19, 2009

Minor Updates

With apologies to Lincoln:
Eleven score and thirteen years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Never did they think we would end up equal, as in the Declaration of Independence they claimed we only have the right to pursue happiness, not to have it "guaranteed" for us by a federal government that steals our money and our sovereignty (as a recent philosopher put it, in this system someone will lose.  But hey, let's be communist instead so we can all lose together!).

Now, we are headed toward another great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war, the battlefield of ideas - for now.  We have forgotten or have desecrated the memories of the real battlefields, the final resting places for those who here gave their lives that that nation might continue to live.  What did these brave soldiers give their lives for?  I think that question is answered by another question: What were they fighting against?  They fought the very ideas of government that have brought us to this knife's edge today.  They fought the kind of tyranny that today is much more quickly and easily seizing around our own throats.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should wake up and do the same.

But, in a larger sense, talk is cheap. We don't want mindless sheep who don't know what they're fighting for, or don't know how to fight this fight.  The brave men, living and dead, who struggled on the battlefield of ideas have shown us the way.  If the founding of this country were treated as the founding of a church, the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution are not the only canonized works out there.  We need to have more than a trivial ability to recount the important dates of the Revolution, we need to know why they fought, and what weapons they used, because we are fighting the same fight today.  It is our history that will save us.

Your first piece of history today is the remainder of this speech, left unedited so that you can imagine what it would be like if we don't pay attention to the battlefield of ideas:

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

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