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Is it time to refresh the Tree of Liberty?

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to timewith the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Thomas Jefferson

I appreciate Ann Barnhardt.  She’s a take no prisoner kind of gal.  The pic of her brandishing a pink AR-15 is priceless; though, can’t say I’d ever do that to a perfectly good AR-15.  Sometimes she can get a little shrill and she is a tad more profane than I am willing to be in print (cutting me off in traffic is another story).  But all in all, she calls it like she sees it, doesn’t mix words and makes some very good points.

One of my recent posts was a paragraph from Thomas Paine’s pamplet Common Sense.  Paine was making the case for war to separate from England.  Though it was wildly popular when he wrote it – January 1776 – he did so anonymously out of fear of reprisals.  Just few months later a little document was signed that started off with the words:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Ann is making the case, as I understand her, that anything less than a second declaration of independence is cowardice and accomodation of evil:

If you forced me to distill everything that is wrong with this culture down to one word, to find one word that covered almost every sin in one fell swoop, it would be cowardice. I look at western civilization and I see cowardice EVERYWHERE. It is in the eyes and hearts of every adult. Its stench permeates everything.

First, the definition. Cowardice is, when you boil it down, total self-absorption. Cowardice is putting your own immediate and superficial desires above everyone and everything else. Cowardice is indifference to your fellow man, and to God, and as we have already established, indifference, not hate, but INDIFFERENCE is the opposite of love.

The coward cowers and fails to act because he puts himself first, thus breaking the two Great Commandments simultaneously: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul AND thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The coward gives both God and his neighbor the proverbial finger, pulls the covers over his head and retreats into his own navel, oftentimes rhetorically hiding behind the words “prudence” and “benignity”.

The word “Prudence” has been twisted by cowards into the lie that one should never act, but rather think and think and think ad infinitum until either they have talked themselves out of any action (which is always very easy to do) OR until someone else comes along and takes up the slack, thus making the question of their own action moot. In other words, STALLING.

Prudence is being able to discern the right, see the big picture and then DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. Many people think that they can “legally” dodge this by simply doing nothing. Ah, but they forget that to NOT act is to act, to NOT speak is to speak, to quote Bonhoeffer. It is impossible to avoid action, because inaction is itself an action. When prudence truly dictates that something MUST be said or done, inaction then becomes a sin, no matter how one might try to justify that inaction as prudence. That sin is called COWARDICE.

Benignity means “kindness”, which is not the same as “being nice” or even being liked. True kindness sometimes requires sternness, or even ferociousness. If you walked into a kitchen and saw a three year old child just about to drink from a bottle of drain cleaner, would you not ferociously dive at the child yelling, “NO!” in order to save that child from poisoning and burning themselves? Anything less would be unthinkable. How could one react with silent paralysis to a child about to drink poison? How would that be kind? How would that be benign? It wouldn’t. It would be malignant malefaction devoid of prudence and charity, and utterly cowardly.

You can read the rest of her post here.  She doesn’t link to particular articles on her site, so you’ll have to scroll to “On Cowardice”.

I’m not sure I agree with her – which doesn’t mean diddly; half the time, I don’t agree with myself either.  On the one hand, if the Founding Fathers had a legitimate beef with England sufficient enough to go to war, it would seem that we’ve got it now.  In spades.

Consider, just for instance, the complete gutting of the Fourth Amendment (which for the government educated, was supposed to keep private citizens secure in the persons and papers, blah, blah, blah), the National Defense Authorization Act, which removes any vestigal protection provided by what used to be called the separation of powers, and our beloved executive branch, which has already demonstrated its willingness to assassinate its citizens where ever they may be found – and without all that pesky due process stuff.

One of the things that the Founding Fathers considered – and wisely so – was the likelihood of success of the endeavor.  Paine went to great pains (sorry!) to include that in Common Sense.  We’re no where near that situation today.

Not only are we up to our beer bellies in apathy, affluence, and appearances, there is not – it seems to me – any way on the planet that the citizens could match the firepower of the federales.  (Despite the Second Amendment’s intention to the contrary.)  To say otherwise is to deny any lesson from what our benevolent benefactors in DC did to the men, women, and children at Waco.

So help me out here.  What’s the answer?  Right ones are preferred.

The Tree is looking a little withered these days.  Just sayin’.

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