Capitalism, History Timeline, and Adam Smith

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

key“Under capitalism everybody provides for their own needs by serving the needs of others.” ~Ludwig von Mises

Adam Smith Wealth of Nations

Free Market: Essence of Prosperity

 by C. A. Davidson

handshake“Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only.”

“Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want.”

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We … never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” ~Adam Smith

Government bureaucrats often rage about the “selfishness” of businesses, but the most successful businesses please the most consumers. This is clearly unselfish.

When some businesses do not meet the needs of consumers, they fail. If they break the law against robbery and fraud, they are punished.

But what happens when government takes over business and fails to meet consumer needs? Who punishes government for breaking laws, for engaging in robbery and fraud?

Too many politicians have taken to enforcing Political Correctness instead of the law. Rather than encouraging free trade and spreading prosperity, the result is stifling honest, wholesome, and necessary businesses.

To the extent that governments restrict businesses in their free exchange of goods and services by eliminating competition, it is government which creates monopolies, reduces the selection and quality of goods, reduces gainful employment, and spreads poverty.

History Timeline and Analysis

Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations

*From Wikipedia

capitalismAdam Smith (baptised 16 June 1723 – 17 July 1790 [OS: 5 June 1723 – 17 July 1790]) was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment,[1] Smith is the author of The Principles Which Lead and Direct Philosophical Enquiries, Illustrated by the History of Astronomy, prior to 1758, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759, and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. It earned him an enormous reputation and would become one of the most influential works ever published. Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics and capitalism and is still among the most influential thinkers in the field of economics today.[2] In 2009, Smith was named among the ‘Greatest Scots’ of all time, in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.[3]

Smith studied social philosophy at the University of Glasgow and at Balliol College in the University of Oxford, where he was one of the first students to benefit from scholarships set up by his fellow Glaswegian John Snell. After graduating, he delivered a successful series of public lectures at Edinburgh, leading him to collaborate with David Hume during the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow teaching moral philosophy, and during this time he wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In his later life, he took a tutoring position that allowed him to travel throughout Europe, where he met other intellectual leaders of his day. Smith then returned home and spent the next ten years writing The Wealth of Nations, publishing it in 1776. He died in 1790 at the age of 67.

The Wealth of Nations

Main article: The Wealth of Nations

AdamSmith1790bSmith used the term “the invisible hand” in “History of Astronomy”[76] referring to “the invisible hand of Jupiter” and twice – each time with a different meaning – the term “an invisible hand“: in The Theory of Moral Sentiments[77] (1759) and in The Wealth of Nations[78] (1776). This last statement about “an invisible hand” has been interpreted as “the invisible hand” in numerous ways. It is therefore important to read the original:

As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other eases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. [emphasis added].

Those who regard that statement as Smith’s central message also quote frequently Smith’s dictum:[79]

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

Smith’s statement about the benefits of “an invisible hand” is certainly meant to answer Mandeville’s contention that “Private Vices … may be turned into Public Benefits”.[80] It shows Smith’s belief that when an individual pursues his self-interest, he indirectly promotes the good of society. Self-interested competition in the free market, he argued, would tend to benefit society as a whole by keeping prices low, while still building in an incentive for a wide variety of goods and services. Nevertheless, he was wary of businessmen and warned of their “conspiracy against the public or in some other contrivance to raise prices.”[81] Again and again, Smith warned of the collusive nature of business interests, which may form cabals or monopolies, fixing the highest price “which can be squeezed out of the buyers”.[82] Smith also warned that a true laissez-faire economy would quickly become a conspiracy of businesses and industry against consumers, with the former scheming to influence politics and legislation. Smith states that the interest of manufacturers and merchants “…in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public…

 Dinner Talk

Analysis: how to discern and evaluate economic principles

1. Read the capitalist viewpoint in the General post link above.

2.Today, the Left considers capitalism a  “conspiracy” to rip off the consumer. This is an exhibit of human nature. Examples of this would be the Enron scandal, and Fannie and Freddie Mac. You may not remember Enron, perhaps because despite the impact on many employees, our economy managed to survive.

 

3. History timeline: Revisiting History

 

1776— “The Wealth of Nations was also an argument against government control. England at the time had chartered monopolies back in 1776. The king decided what companies would do what.” ~Rush Limbaugh

1930s and 1940s—-Another word for “crony capitalism” is fascism. This was the brand of socialism practiced by Hitler and Mussolini. They invested government money (from taxpayers) into their chosen industries.

2012

4. Enron was a large private sector corporation that went under because of fraud. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing scandal contributed to the present recession because of abuse of funds. The difference in the two cases is that government bailed out the housing case. This is an example of the government acting in the so-called “public interest”, instead of individual businesses acting in self-interest. Compare the effect on the national economy of the two policies.

5. What do you think is the difference between selfishness and self-interest? Why do you think the Constitution shows that the Founders understood human nature?

(That’s why there’s a difference in “selfishness” and “self-interest,” but everybody looking out for themselves — not in a selfish way, but in a self-interest way — benefits everybody else. The guy behind the counter selling a television set, he’s gotta make sure there’s a lot of them there to handle the demand. He’s gotta make an investment in having a stockroom full of the things that people might want. He’s gotta take a risk in how many to buy and what kind, based on the best evidence he has of what people are gonna want and what they’re willing to pay. ~Rush Limbaugh)

Gallery

Bible Stories, Symbolism, and Abortion Facts

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Dinner Topics for Monday Bible Stories: Shiphrah, Ancient Activist on Infanticide Prevention And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he … Continue reading

Moral Support for America: Separation of Powers, Agency Accountability Act

Moral Support for America:

Separation of Powers, Agency Accountability Act

Mike Lee recommended Merrick Garland, an Obama nominee, to run the FBI! I don’t get this guy. How can he talk about returning to the Constitution and at the same time favor a leftover Lefty? “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)  Time to drain the swamp, not further entrench it! ~C.D.

3 Bills Sen. Mike Lee Thinks Could Shift Power ‘Back to the People’

Rachel del Guidice

Over the past eight decades, Congress has gradually relinquished its lawmaking role and left it to the administrative state, said a conservative senator at a Capitol Hill event on Wednesday.

“Many Americans now feel that they are not in control of their own government,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said during an event hosted at the Federalist Society’s fifth annual Executive Branch Review Conference. “The administrative state is designed to be insulated from the will of the people.”

The Utah senator said that one way he is working to combat this phenomenon is through an initiative he has started called Article One Project.

“Our goal is to develop and advance and hopefully enact an agenda of structural reforms that will strengthen Congress by reclaiming the legislative powers that have been ceded to the executive branch,” Lee said.

Lee said that lawmakers are to blame for the shift in power.

“We are not, in fact, the victims, we are the perpetrators,” Lee said, adding:

We have done this willfully because it makes our job easier. It is a whole lot easier and less politically risky to have somebody else do the lawmaking than it is to do the lawmaking yourself.

There are several pieces of legislation, Lee said, that could help address executive overreach.

1.) REINS Act

The REINS Act, which has passed the House but has yet to pass the Senate, would make progress in regaining ground Congress has lost, Lee said.

This proposed law would require both congressional and presidential approval of major rules, which “have an economic impact of $100 million or more,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., wrote in a recent op-ed.

“Under this law, the specialized know-how within each agency would still be allowed to contribute to the regulatory process,” Lee said.

“But ultimately, Congress would be responsible for every major regulation that went into effect. This would make it easier for American voters to know who to blame for bad policies. As things currently stand, lawmakers can have it both ways.

2.) Separation of Powers Restoration Act

The second piece of legislation Lee suggested to help restore congressional authority is the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, which has passed the House in 2016.

In a 2016 op-ed in The Hill, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, warned that “The practice of administrative agencies engaging in de facto ‘lawmaking’ was exacerbated by a 1984 Supreme Court decision, [Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council], which determined that courts must defer to agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous laws as long as their interpretation is deemed ‘reasonable.’”

The Separation of Powers Restoration Act, which Ratcliffe has introduced in the House again this year, would “[reverse] the 1984 Supreme Court decision that established the ‘Chevron doctrine,’ placing the power to determine ambiguous laws back into the hands of the judiciary.”

“The bill would end the dysfunctional status quo that tilts the legal playing field in favor of bureaucrats who pass the legislation to [place] federal law in the hands of legislators and the power to write and judges power to interpret just as the Constitution,” Lee said.

3.) Agency Accountability Act

The third piece of legislation, the Agency Accountability Act, will do exactly what its name implies, Lee said, and will hold agencies accountable.

The act, which has been introduced in the House, would “make federal agencies accountable … by directing most fines, fees, and unappropriated proceeds to the Treasury instead of letting federal agencies keep the money and then spend it as they see fit,” the Utah senator said.

Right now “agencies have the ability to use funds received through fines, fees, and proceeds from legal settlements without going through the formal appropriations process, thus avoiding congressional oversight,” according to a report from The Heritage Foundation’s Justin Bogie, a senior policy analyst in fiscal affairs.

If signed into law, this legislation would help restore Congress’ role in overseeing how money is spent, Lee said.

“You see the Constitution has this pesky little provision that … Congress has the power and the responsibility to direct spending of federal dollars. The power of the purse is one of Congress’ most potent tools for controlling bureaucracies,” Lee said.

While Lee said that many Americans feel like they have lost control of their government, legislation like the Agency Accountability Act would be a remedy.

“Passing the Agency Accountability Act will go a long way in putting Congress, and by extension, the American people, back in charge of the federal bureaucracies and specifically, the way they spend money,” Lee said.

Lee urged Congress to act.

“If we are able to pass even one of these legislative proposals … then we will have made real progress toward listening to the people and making sure that our government itself has to listen to the people,” Lee said, adding:

If we can pass all three bills, it would constitute a fundamental, generational shift of power in the country, a shift of power back to the people.

US Constitution Series 6: Law, Liberty, and Socialism

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

All Men are Created Equal

key The Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

decofindependence1The Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that some truths are self-evident, and one of these is the fact that all men are created equal. Yet everyone knows that no two human beings are exactly alike in any respect. They are different when they are born. They vary in physical strength, mental capacity, emotional stability, inherited social status, in their opportunities for self-fulfillment, and in scores of other ways. Then how can they be equal?

The answer is that everyone’s individual differences should be accepted, but be treated as equals as human beings. Constitutional writer Clarence Carson describes two ways all persons should have their equality guaranteed:

1) Equality before the law. this means that every man’s case is tried by the same law governing any particular case. Practically, it means that there are no different laws for different classes and orders of men [as there were in ancient times]. The definition of premeditated murder is the same for the millionaire as for the tramp. A corollary of this is that no classes are created or recognized by law.

2) Each man has an equal title to God-given liberties along with every other.

Rousseau’s Error

johnadams2John Adams was in France when Jean Jacques Rousseau was teaching that all men were designed to be equal in every way. Adams wrote:

That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has …But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people as ever was practiced by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, …or by the self-styled philosophers of the French Revolution.

Minorities: Crossing the Culture Gap

Being a minority, even in the United States, is painful because acceptance depends on “crossing the culture gap.” This means learning the English language; attaining the general norm of education—which in America is fairly high; becoming economically independent—which often means getting out of the ghetto; and bedoming recognized as a social asset to the community—which always takes time. (Skousen, p. 106)

There is not a single ethnic group in the United States but what has been treated at one time or another as a minority, or less than first-class citizens. The story of minorities in the United States is a fascinating tale. Beginning with the French in the 1500s and the English in the 1600s (and Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Scots, and Irish in between),it was one grand conglomerate of tension, discrimination, malice, and sometimes outright persecution. But the miracle of it all is the fact that they fought side by side for freedom in the Revolutionary War. So all of this became America—a nation of minorities. (Skousen p.107)

The Black Minority

Providing equality for the blacks has never been approached with any degree of consensus. Some felt that with education and job opportunities the blacks could leap the culture gap just as other minorities had done. Others felt they should be made the beneficiaries of substantial government gratuities. Experience soon demonstrated, however, that government gratuities are as corrupting and debilitating to blacks as they are to the Indians [Native Americans] or any other minorities. The blacks themselves asked for equal opportunity at the hiring hall.

Violence Proves Counter-Productive

In the mid 1960s there were groups of Marxist agitators who move in among the blacks to promote direct action by violence. One of these was Eldridge Cleaver, who had been trained in Marxist philosophy and tactics. He became a leader for the Black Panthers. Cleaver describes the rationale behind their philosophy of violence. It was to destroy the whole economic and social structure of the United States so that blacks could enjoy equal right under an American Communist regime. (Skousen p.109)

The crescendo of violence increased year after year. During the summer of 1968 over a hundred American cities were burning. But the burning was always in black ghettos. But the burning and fire-bombing backfired. The black population began to realize it was only the homes of the blacks that were being burned. Other than police, it was primarily blacks that were being hurt in the melee of the riots. In the shoot-outs with the police, nineteen of the Black Panther leaders were killed. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded. He and his wife later fled to Cuba and then to other Communist countries.

The whole scenario of violence had proved tragically counter-productive. It temporarily jolted out of joint a broad spectrum of reforms which the blacks were really seeking and the rest of the nation was trying to provide.

Eldridge Cleaver Returns

Eldridge_Cleaver_1968After nearly eight years as an exile in Communist and Socialist countries, Eldridge Cleaver asked to be allowed to return to the United States and pay whatever penalty was due on charges pending against him. He and his wife were no longer atheists. They were no longer Communists. Those bitter years behind the iron and bamboo curtains had dispelled all the propaganda concerning “equality” and “justice” under Communism. Cleaver told the press: “I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else.” He then went on to say:

“I was wrong and the Black Panthers were wrong …We [black Americans] are inside the system and I feel that the number one objective for Black America is to recognize that they have the same equal rights under the Constitution as Ford or Rockefeller, even if we have no blue-chip stocks. But our membership in the United States is the supreme blue-chip stock and one we have to exercise.”

By 1981 Eldridge Cleaver had paid his final debt to society. soon after that he began accepting speaking engagements before schools, churches, community gatherings, and even prison groups to describe his new and yet profound appreciation for America.

He described the despondency which came over him when he found what a betrayal of human rights and human dignity Communism turned out to be. He described the long and strenuous intellectual struggle with his Marxist atheism before he recognized its fraudulent fallacies.

He frankly and patiently dialogued with university students still struggling with similar philosophical problems. He assured them, as Locke had done, that a persistent pursuit of the truth would bring them to the threshold of reality, where the Creator could be recognized and thereafter have a place in their lives. (Skousen, pp. 110-111)

Declaration_independenceThe Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

Next—

Principle 7: The proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not Provide Equal Things

US Constitution Series 5: Trust in God

 

Memorial Day History: YouTube, a Soldier’s Pledge—Reagan

Memorial Day History Tribute:

For Paralyzed Veterans of America—give for wounded and those who are still fighting

Please give during the Memorial Day Challenge so your gift can have TWICE the impact for our paralyzed veterans who urgently need your help.

YouTube, a Soldier’s Pledge—Reagan

 

Memorial Day: Museum Honors War Heroes

National WWII museum: WE OWE THEM

vetsweowethemHe blinked his eyes rapidly and tears began to moisten his 90-year-old cheeks as memories of war flooded his mind.

“I guess everybody has those feelings,” World War II veteran Harry Robinson told AFA Journal about his recent trip to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Robinson grew up on a farm in Clay County, Mississippi, and voluntarily joined the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 18 years old. After his enlistment, he rode a train from Jackson, Mississippi, to San Diego, California, and then spent two-and-one-half years overseas. Robinson served as a cook and a baker, so he didn’t experience actual combat other than an invasion of Guam that included his platoon. And he was at home on leave when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

But the war was real; Robinson was a part of it and forever impacted by it.

“I have forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten,” Robinson said. His memories became reality again as he and his family toured the museum.

“I’m so thankful I came back [from war] without a bruise or anything,” he said while fighting back tears. “So many people lost their lives over there. I hope that visitors to the museum recognize the fact that so many gave their lives.”

The National World War II Museum opened its doors June 6, 2000, after its founder, the late  historian Steven Ambrose, had the idea to build it in memory of Andrew Jackson Higgins. Higgins built the boats that were used as landing craft by the United States to win WWII. Higgins Shipyard in New Orleans built some 20,000 of those boats, thus the reason the museum is located in the Big Easy.

“The museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world,” William M. “Bill” Detweiler, J.D., told AFA Journal. “It tells why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. That’s our mission statement.”

Detweiler is the museum’s consultant for military and veterans affairs.

“The museum is a passion for me,” Detweiler said. He has been with the museum since before there was a museum, dating back to his service as national commander of the American Legion (1994-95). During that time he was in a dispute with the Smithsonian Institute over the display of the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress WWII bomber that became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb.

“I got involved on behalf of the American Legion and spent my whole year as national commander trying to defend the courage and honor of the men and women of the war years and to defend President Truman’s decision to drop the bombs to bring the war to a conclusion,” Detweiler explained.

Because of his work, he was elected to the board of the museum a few years later.

Ceremonies
Presently, Detweiler handles all of the outreach and relations dealing with the military on both the local and national levels. This involves special ceremonies presented by the museum as well as assisting with special functions initiated by branches of the military.

“We host major ceremonies on patriotic holidays like Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the Fourth of July,” Detweiler said.

Plans are still being finalized for this year’s Memorial Day celebration, but in years past it has consisted of a speaker, music by the museum’s Navy band and Marine Corps band, and a POW/MIA ceremony provided by a Jr. ROTC cadet program from one of the local high schools.

“It’s a very elaborate ceremony that’s put on by these high school students in memory of those who have paid the supreme sacrifice and have been lost in war,” Detweiler explained. The Memorial Day program is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. (CT) and is open to the public.

On June 6, the museum is planning a major observance to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. There is a related event planned almost every day during the week of June 1-8.

Education
The museum reaches out not only to veterans and their loved ones but also to families, schools, students and the community. The purpose of the museum is to help people understand WWII, how it influences the world today and what future generations can learn from it.

“In order to keep young people interested, the exhibits have to be such that they appeal to younger people and that they raise their interests and keep their attention,” Detweiler said.

That’s why the museum always has an ongoing project and is constantly incorporating advanced technology to make the museum relevant both now and in the future.

One of the most powerful aspects of the museum, according to Detweiler, is a feature presentation titled Beyond All Boundaries that runs daily on the hour. It’s a 4-D film produced by actor Tom Hanks that tells the story of the war in less than an hour.

The museum also houses thousands of oral histories, statements from WWII veterans and members of the home front. One of the museum pavilions has been remodeled to look like a train station from the 1940s. Visitors purchase tickets and board a train car that uses technology to take them on a computerized ride through the countryside in order to experience life during the era.

At the museum’s Stage Door Canteen, bands play, the Victory Belles sing, and swing dance lessons are taught on occasion. In the restoration facility, visitors can watch as men and women work to restore a WWII patrol boat similar to the one on which President John F. Kennedy served.

The United States Freedom Pavilion, which opened earlier this year, houses five vintage WWII planes. The planes hang 90 feet in the air, and catwalks allow visitors to walk right up to the planes and look inside them.

There are various hands-on educational projects, events and exhibits like the Classroom Victory Garden Project that teaches elementary students the importance of community during a time of war. The museum holds summer camps for children as well as various activities for families including Night at the Museum, when a child and parent stay in the museum overnight, watch movies and make crafts.

“We’re an educational facility,” Detweiler explained. “We are not a museum of guns and bullets. We’re not about gore. No veteran who has ever seen combat wants to see war or combat again.

“We want families to realize the sacrifices and what it took, what these men and women did, in order to earn and protect the freedoms that we continue to enjoy today,” he said. “We really encourage families who still have a living World War II vet or family member who was working on the home front during World War II to come on in and take a look. It’s worth the visit. It really is.”

– See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/may/features/national-wwii-museum-reminds-us-%E2%80%A6-we-owe-them.aspx#sthash.8QMGv7Rg.dpuf

 

For more information:
National World War II Museum
504-528-1944
info@nationalww2museum.org – See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/may/features/national-wwii-museum-reminds-us-%E2%80%A6-we-owe-them.aspx#sthash.8QMGv7Rg.dpuf

Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Dinner Topics for Memorial Day

Support, Donate to Paralyzed Veterans

MemorialDay-Wrapper_950x590donate

Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Some gave all

keyLord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget! ~Rudyard Kipling

memorialdaysomegaveallTeddy James, AFA Journal

In Flanders Fields* by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.
*Public domain

To some, it is just a flag, resting in a triangular box on a mantle. To others, it explains why there’s an odd number of place settings at the table, why the opposite side of the bed stays cold, why there’s a vacant seat at graduation, why a bride walks down the aisle alone.

To some, it is just a day, an excuse for a three-day weekend to barbeque and celebrate the beginning of summer. To others, it is a day to be alone, remembering daughters they can’t hug, dads they can’t call, friends they couldn’t save, brothers who saved them with the ultimate sacrifice.

Who we remember

soldierbrave-paulrsmith-medalhonorArmy Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith was part of B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division. On April 4, 2003, Smith participated in building an impromptu prisoner of war holding area in Baghdad, Iraq. During the construction, his unit was attacked by a group of Iraqi fighters. During the battle, an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier was hit, wounding the three soldiers inside. Smith saw to the evacuation of the injured soldiers. There was an aid station directly behind Smith and his team with already over 100 combat casualties. Smith and his team were the only obstacle between Iraqi attackers and the aid station.

Smith climbed into a damaged M113 to man its .50 caliber machine gun and ordered the driver to reposition the vehicle so he could fire on the enemy, leaving himself unprotected and exposed to enemy fire. He went through three boxes of ammunition before his gun fell silent.

Afterward, Smith’s team found him slumped over the machine gun. His armor showed 13 bullet holes. Before he died, he had wiped out over 50 enemy combatants and saved many American lives. SFC Smith was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Smith and countless other heroes who have given their all for America are who Memorial Day is for.

Why we remember

vetsweowethemNo fewer than two dozen cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Waterloo, New York, the original site in 1966. While the site is disputed, it is clear the tradition started around 1866 as a way to memorialize soldiers who died during the Civil War.

In 1868, General John Legend, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued this proclamation: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

soldiersfallenlestweforget2General Legend chose the date because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle.

In the little town of Columbus, Mississippi, also claiming to be the birthplace of Decoration Day, the tradition began with families entering cemeteries and caring for the graves of Confederate soldiers. It expanded when a group of women noticed local Union soldiers’ graves in disrepair and took it on themselves to correct the situation by pulling weeds, placing flowers, and paying respect.

The sentiment covered the country, and today, Memorial Day pays homage to those who surrendered their lives for a purpose they deemed bigger than their personal safety.

Memorial Day’s storied history continues to live in prose, legend, and lyrics. Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields,” a stirring poem published in 1915. The legend says he was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in World War I.

Inspired by McCrae’s poem, Moina Michael responded with “We Shall Keep the Faith.” She wrote:

soldiersfallenlestweforget1And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Michael decided to wear a red poppy on Memorial Day in honor of all soldiers whose blood was shed not only in Flanders fields, but also everywhere across the globe. Today many veterans’ groups hand out poppies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

How we remember
libertyMorrill Worcester won a trip to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery when he was 12. The image of rows and rows of headstones lodged itself in the mind of the preteen. The sight taught him real people gave their lives to pay for the freedom he enjoyed every day. That lesson never left him.

Years later, Worcester founded his successful business, Worcester Wreaths, in Harrington, Maine. One year he had a surplus of Christmas wreaths, and the image of Arlington’s unadorned headstones came back to his mind. With the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME-R) and other volunteers, Worcester placed the wreaths in an older section at Arlington.

Worcester and his team quietly kept the tradition until 2005 when an image of the gravestones, semi-covered in snow and decorated with an evergreen wreath and hand-tied red bow, took the Internet by storm. Support poured in from people wanting to donate money for more wreaths in Arlington; others asked how they could start laying wreaths in national or state cemeteries close to home.

From the outpouring of support, Worcester and a team developed Wreaths Across America, and the movement continues to grow. In 2013, the volunteer wreath brigade laid over 540,000 Remembrance Wreaths at 908 locations. The wreaths are another fitting tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Express your thanks
• Sponsor a wreath now that will be laid on December 13, National Wreaths Across America Day.
• Volunteer to lay wreaths at your local cemetery.
• Start a community fundraiser.
• Make Memorial Day an opportunity to serve those left behind. Spouses and children of deceased soldiers should hold a
special place in the heart of every American. They paid – and are paying – a price too.
• Build a relationship with the family of a fallen soldier. Learn their needs and meet them.
• Make this Memorial Day more than an excuse to barbeque. Let it be the starting point of a lifetime honoring, respecting, and remembering our military heroes.
• Contact U.S. senators or congressmen or local veterans organizations to ask for information on local Memorial Day events or projects.

For more information, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org or call 877-385-9504.

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/may/some-gave-all/

Memorial Day: Remembering World War 2 Heroes

Memorial Day: Remembering World War 2 Heroes

This World War II Soldier’s Story Reminds Us of Why Memorial Day Matters

James Carafano

memorial-day2arlingtonIf any day is more than just a day, then Memorial Day is it.

Sometimes remembering just one soldier reminds us why.

His name was Lawrence Gordon. He grew-up on a hard-scrabble farm in Canada. After Pearl Harbor, he decided to join the American Army. The Americans had better “kit.”

The Army sent Gordon into the center of the storm, as the allies battled from the beaches of Normandy breaking through the German defenses and then racing to encircle the enemy as it withdrew from France.

Gordon was on the sharp edge of the bayonet. His cavalry unit, in thinly skinned armored vehicles, was dispatched way to the front or the flanks to find the enemy before the more heavily armored columns were called up to engage. Sometimes “finding” the enemy started with a wild exchange of gunfire or the unexpected burst of mortar rounds. Patrols could go from tense silence to vicious firefights in seconds. Gordon’s letters home to the family and his girl kept up their spirits with assurances he was safe and surrounded by dependable comrades and delivered a travelogue of his little unit’s march across France.

One day the letters stopped.

The family received a partially burned wallet. They knew it was his. The picture of his girl was singed but still recognizable. But other than a few personal effects, there was no explanation of what had happened to Lawrence Gordon—and no body. He was missing in action—and would remain so for almost 70 years.

A documentary, “Honoring a Commitment,” by a young filmmaker named Jeb Henry, tells the extraordinary story of how his loved ones found Private Gordon and brought him home.

The new film, recently screened at The Heritage Foundation in partnership with National Review, is part detective story and part love story, a journey of a family’s determined unrelenting effort to find and honor a brave man.

Remembering Private Gordon is important for all of us. Any remembrance of war that doesn’t include the telling of individual stories lessens the purpose of the day–and why it is important that we remember.

Sometimes the enormity of war overwhelms the truth that all great struggles are just the sum of individual stories. Each is more than just the story of one soldier’s service and sacrifice. Their service ripples across their families, friends and their communities. Memorial Day reminds us it is the noble sacrifice of many that makes us who we are.

Every soldier’s story of World War II is worth telling. Every story of every soldier in every war has value. Every generation of American soldiers is the greatest generation. What is most extraordinary about the extraordinary story of Private Gordon and his extraordinary family is that it is singularly representative of what the fight for freedom and the eternal struggle for the preservation of liberty really means.

MemorialDay1They Stood For Something and We Owe Them Something’: Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day Speech

Remembering Those Who Never Came Home

US Constitution Series 5: Trust in God

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

Principle # 5

keyoldIn the Anglo-Saxon language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is “God.” (Skousen p. 96)

creationhandsAll things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible

The Founders vigorously affirm throughout their writings that the foundation of all reality is the existence of the Creator, who is the designer of all things in nature and the promulgator of all the laws which govern nature.

The Founders were in harmony with the thinking of John Locke as expressed in his famous Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In it Locke pointed out that it defies the most elementary aspects of reason and experience to presuppose that everything in existence developed as a result of fortuitous circumstance. The mind, for example, will not accept the proposition that the forces of nature, churning about among themselves, would ever produce a watch, or even a lead pencil, let alone the marvelous intricacies of the human eye, the ear, or even the simplest of the organisms found in nature. All these are the product of intelligent design and high precision engineering. (Skousen, pp.95-96)

How Can One Know There Is a God?

In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke insisted that everyone can know there is a divine Creator. It is simply a case of thinking about it. To begin with, each person knows that he exists.

Furthermore, each person knows that he is something. He also knows that a something could not be produced by a nothing. Therefore, whatever brought man and everything else into existence also had to be something.

This something would therefore have to be superior to e everything which had resulted from this effort. This element of superiority makes this something the ultimate “good” for all that has been organized and arranged. In the Anglo-Saxon language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is “God.” (Skousen p. 96)

So, as John Locke says, there are many things man can know about God. And because any thoughtful person can gain an appreciation and conviction of these many attributes of the Creator, Locke felt that an atheist has failed to apply his divine capacity for reason and observation.

The American Founding Fathers agreed with Locke. They considered the existence of the Creator as the most fundamental premise underlying ALL self-evident truth. It will be noted as we proceed through this study that every single self-evident truth enunciated by the Founders is rooted in the presupposition of a divine Creator. (Skousen pp. 97-98)

Concerning God’s Revealed Law Distinguishing Right from Wrong

The Founders considered the whole foundation of a just society to be structured on the basis of God’s revealed law. These laws constituted a moral code clearly distinguishing right from wrong.

William Blackstone, widely read authority on this subject in the Founders era, expounded it in his Commentaries on the Laws of England.

He said the laws for human nature had been revealed by God, whereas the laws of the universe (natural law) must be learned through scientific investigation. (Commentaries, p.64) Blackstone stated that “upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws …” (Ibid., p.65)

[T]he attitude of the Founders toward God’s law (both natural and revealed) gave early Americans a very high regard for the “law” as a social institution. They respected the sanctity of the law in the same way that it was honored among the Anglo-Saxons and by ancient Israel. (Skousen pp.98-99)

The Nearness of God

Days of fasting and prayer were commonplace in early America. most of the Founders continually petitioned God in fervent prayers, both public and private, and looked upon his divine intervention in their daily lives as a singular blessing. They were continually expressing gratitude to God as the nation survived one major crisis after another.

George Washington

George Washington was typical of the Founders in this respect. Charles Bracelen Flood discovered in his research that during the Revolutionary War there were at least sixty-seven desperate moments when Washington acknowledged that he would have suffered disaster had not the hand of God intervened in behalf of the struggle for independence. (Skousen p.99)

trust“In God We Trust”

From all of this it will be seen that the Founders were not indulging in any idle gesture when they adopted the motto, “In God we trust.” Neither was it a matter of superfluous formality when they required that all witnesses who testify in the courts or before Congressional hearings must take an oath and swear or affirm before God that they will tell the truth. As Washington pointed out in his Farewell Address: 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?” (Skousen, p.100)

See how you can draw your family closer to God in these troubled times

US Constitution Series 3: Benjamin Franklin on the Good Leader

US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

History Facts: Hillsdale College Online Course on American Heritage

History Facts:

Hillsdale College Online Course on American Heritage

History 102: American Heritage, From Colonial Settlement to the Reagan Revolution

 

YouTube video

 

Recommended Readings

History 101: Western Heritage, From the Book of Genesis to John Locke