A Toast To Thomas Jefferson—And The Anglo-Saxon Tradition That Sired And Inspired Him

America, Classical Liberalism, History, Human Accomplishment, IMMIGRATION, Nationhood, Natural Law, Political Philosophy

“Let us … toast Thomas Jefferson—and the Anglo-Saxon tradition that sired and inspired him.”ILANA MERCER, July 4, 2019

The Declaration of Independence—whose proclamation, on July 4, 1776, we celebrate—has been mocked out of meaning.

To be fair to the liberal Establishment, ordinary Americans are not entirely blameless. For most, Independence Day means firecrackers and cookouts. The Declaration doesn’t feature. In fact, contemporary Americans are less likely to read it now that it is easily available on the Internet, than when it relied on horseback riders for its distribution.

Back in 1776, gallopers carried the Declaration through the country. Printer John Dunlap had worked “through the night” to set the full text on “a handsome folio sheet,” recounts historian David Hackett Fischer in Liberty And Freedom. And President (of the Continental Congress) John Hancock urged that the “people be universally informed.”

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, called it “an expression of the American Mind.” An examination of Jefferson‘s constitutional thought makes plain that he would no longer consider the mind of the collective mentality of the D.C. establishment “American” in any meaningful way. For the Jeffersonian mind was that of an avowed Whig—an American Whig whose roots were in the English Whig political philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

By “all men are created equal,” Jefferson, who also wrote in praise of a “Natural Aristocracy,” did not imply that all men were similarly endowed. Or that they were entitled to healthcare, education, amnesty, and a decent wage, à la Obama.

Rather, Jefferson was affirming the natural right of “all men” to be secure in their enjoyment of their “life, liberty and possessions.”

This is the very philosophy Hillary Clinton explicitly disavowed during one of the mindless presidential debates of 2007. Asked by a YouTubester to define “liberal,” Hillary revealed she knew full-well that the word originally denoted the classical liberalism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But she then settled on “progressive” as the appropriate label for her Fabian socialist plank.

Contra Clinton, as David N. Mayer explains in The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson, colonial Americans were steeped in the writings of English Whigs—John Locke, Algernon Sidney, Paul Rapin, Thomas Gordon and others. The essence of this “pattern of ideas and attitudes,” almost completely lost today, was a view of government as an inherent threat to liberty and the necessity for eternal vigilance.

Jefferson, in particular, was adamant about the imperative “to be watchful of those in power,” a watchfulness another Whig philosopher explained thus: “Considering what sort of Creature Man is, it is scarce possible to put him under too many Restraints, when he is possessed of great Power.”

“As Jefferson saw it,” expounds Mayer, “the Whig, zealously guarding liberty, was suspicious of the use of government power,” and assumed “not only that government power was inherently dangerous to individual liberty but also that, as Jefferson put it, ‘the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.’”

For this reason, the philosophy of government that Jefferson articulated in the Declaration radically shifted sovereignty from parliament to the people.

But Jefferson‘s muse for the “American Mind” is even older.

The Whig tradition is undeniably Anglo-Saxon. Our founding fathers’ political philosophy originated with their Saxon forefathers, and the ancient rights guaranteed by the Saxon constitution. With the Declaration, Jefferson told Henry Lee in 1825, he was also protesting England‘s violation of her own ancient tradition of natural rights. As Jefferson saw it, the Colonies were upholding a tradition the Crown had abrogated.

Philosophical purist that he was, moreover, Jefferson considered the Norman Conquest to have tainted this English tradition with the taint of feudalism. “To the Whig historian,” writes Mayer, “the whole of English constitutional history since the Conquest was the story of a perpetual claim kept up by the English nation for a restoration of Saxon laws and the ancient rights guaranteed by those laws.”

If Jefferson begrudged the malign influence of the Normans on the natural law he cherished, imagine how he’d view our contemporary cultural conquistadors from the South, whose customs preclude natural rights and natural reason!

Naturally, Jefferson never entertained the folly that he was of immigrant stock. He considered the English settlers of America courageous conquerors, much like his Saxon forebears, to whom he compared them. To Jefferson, early Americans were the contemporary carriers of the Anglo-Saxon project.

The settlers spilt their own blood “in acquiring lands for their settlement,” he wrote with pride in A Summary View of the Rights of British America. “For themselves they fought, for themselves they conquered, and for themselves alone they have right to hold.” Thus they were “entitled to govern those lands and themselves.”

And, notwithstanding the claims of the multicultural noise machine, the Declaration was as mono-cultural as its author.

Let us, then, toast Thomas Jefferson—and the Anglo-Saxon tradition that sired and inspired him.

©2019 ILANA MERCER
WND.com
July 4, 2019

SEE: “A July Fourth Toast To Thomas Jefferson—And The Declaration,” by Ilana Mercer, July 4, 2019

NEW COLUMN: H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America

America, Celebrity, Critique, Human Accomplishment, Intelligence, Journalism, Literature

NEW COLUMN IS “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America.” It first appeared in American Greatness (which is shaping up to be the most courageous webzine on the intellectually honest, hard Right).

The column is now on WND.COM and the Unz Review.

An excerpt:

…  Written at a considerable level of abstraction, for a prosaic people that, by Mencken’s estimation, “cannot grasp an abstraction,” a Mencken essay is certain to furrow the brow of the above-average American reader, writer and editor nowadays. Unlike the tracts disgorged by Conservatism, Inc., the least complicated of Mencken’s editorial writings would place excessive demands on the unsupple minds of young activists, who are busy striking a selfie on social media or running to CPUKE conferences.

Indeed, ideas are in retreat; and the incremental and steady “closing of the American mind” is on the march. By virtue of the unsettling, bracing originality of his ideas, Mencken is rendered as inaccessible to the American reader as an alien from deep space.

While Mencken’s libertarian acolytes and admirers focus on his disdain for The State as the leitmotif of his writings—Mencken’s war on the “dishonest, insane, intolerable and tyrannical” U.S. government was, arguably, the least controversial thread in his voluminous oeuvre.

Mencken’s grasp of government as a predatory, “regimenting” force that fleeces the citizen without flinching; that could and does “safely strip [the individual] to his hide”; a “gang well-nigh immune to punishment”—these, nowadays, are the most acceptable of Mencken’s thoughts.

What would make Mencken an outcast to the turgid minds dominating the current marketplace of ideas is his disdain for the “intellectually underprivileged” American electorate, whom he called the “boobs.” As Mencken saw it, Boobus Americanus, so easily and reliably “impressed and enchanted” by the political scoundrels, was largely to blame for why nowhere in the world was government more secure than in the United States. Americans were simply the “most timorous, sniveling, poltroonsish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag …”

“A glorious commonwealth of morons,” Mencken called America. “The American moron’s mind”—this “mob-man’s” mentality—is that of a “violent nationalist and patriot,” to whom ideas are a menace, and who would always opt “to keep his Ford, even at the cost of losing the Bill of Rights.”

These are all Mencken’s words, not mine.

It was Mencken against America, then, to paraphrase the scholar Thomas W. Hazlett. And it would be Mencken against America today.

More so than his anti-statism and strong, spare prose—so different from today’s insipid, anemic, meandering commentary—Mencken shattered every conceivable totem and taboo of American life. It is this so-called anti-Americanism that would make Mencken unpalatable and unemployable in our times.

In a word, being a man of ideas is what would render Mencken a misfit among his countrymen. For, as Mencken saw them, Americans were congenitally and “implacably hostile to” the very things that made him tick: “novel ideas and points of view.” “Everything American,” mocked Mencken, is characterized by “a great distrust of ideas” … and “a harsh fidelity to a few fixed beliefs,” most of which Mencken derided.

Let me count the ways. …

… REMEMBER: THIS IS MENCKEN Unadorned:

READ “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America,” on American Greatness , WND.COM, and the Unz Review.

UPDATED (7/5): ‘Systemic Racism’ Or Systemic Rubbish? The Latter!

Argument, Logic, Political Philosophy, Race, Racism, Reason

A media person made a ponderous comment on Twitter about the tiff between Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who “transmitted a letter to the City Council, urging members to take action against Councilwoman Sawant.”

In response, I summed up the empty fracas, paraphrasing “The Barbarians Are In Charge: Scenes From The Sacking of America“:

The Sawant and Durkan dynamic gives new meaning to the ‘broad’ sweep of ideas in Seattle: A socialist calls on a progressive to resign over abuse of power (what power?) and systemic racism (a meaningless abstraction), while the city is sacked.

William Barnes replied on twitter to the “systemic racism” (meaningless abstraction) refrain: “This is an important point. If someone tells you racism is systemic, they should be able to provide specifics.”

Indeed, operationalize the nebulous variable of “systemic racism,” or get out of my face. Until you have methodologically and statistically operationalized the abstraction that is “racism”—it remains is nothing but a thought crime. And even when you have, thought crimes are nobody’s business in free societies.

UPDATE (7/5):

On CNN, comedian DL Hughley had compared the THOUGHT CRIME of racism to the BODILY ASSAULT that is COVID19. Illogical. He says that whitey can be an asymptomatic carrier of racism. Just because you haven’t done anything racist, ventured Hughley, it doesn’t mean you AIN’T RACIST. It’s ironic that the nebulous abstraction that is “systemic racism” comes out of the West (postmodernism). After all, such “thinking” flouts Western law and logic.

‘Mercy For Animals’ Contaminates Worthy Message With The Illogic Of Racial Politics

Argument, COVID-19, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Free Speech, Logic, Political Philosophy, Politics, Propaganda, Race, Racism, Reason

All good people would intuitively support “Mercy For Animals,” if the organization refrained from veering into racial politics. Such fuzzy, imprecise thinking, as expressed in this fortune-cookie quality notice above, will only serve to weaken the appeal of the worthy causes of “Mercy For Animals.”

In connecting the cause of animals with the “Black Lives Matter” production, “Mercy For Animals” has ridiculously and irrationally conflated unrelated issues. It’s akin to the epidemiologist who suddenly starts rabbiting about racism as a pandemic.

Racism is generally a thought crime—the crime of thinking politically impure thoughts.

COVID-19, the pandemic, is the spread of a physical, contagious disease that affects the body.

Logically, never the twain shall meet.

Aside from spouting irrational stupidity, such “medics” have crossed over into politics—policing thoughts, in particular—and should forthwith, as a result, lose all medical credibility.

Likewise, “Mercy for Animals” should stick to their needy charges: abused and misused animals.