Friday, August 31, 2012

Quote of the week

"None of us have to settle for the best this [Obama] administration offers -- a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

"Listen to the way we're spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

"It's the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio.

"When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That's what we do in this country. That's the American Dream.

"That's freedom, and I'll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners."

(Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's nominee for Vice President, from his acceptance speech Wednesday evening)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quotes of the day

"Here's what it boils down to: I think that the country could survive four more years of Obama. But I don't believe the country can survive...full of people that would reelect him." (Rush Limbaugh)

"Let us come to the point. Obama is reaching out to his very own special constituency. It is composed of those who believe that the Republicans would put up as their candidate for the presidency a person who in his business life would engage in fraud, tax evasion, even murder. Mr. Obama is casting his net for the moron vote. I do not believe that there are enough morons out there to reelect him." (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. in The American Spectator)

I have to agree with Rush Limbaugh (this time) and, regrettably, I must disagree with Bob Tyrell -- there are more than enough moronic American voters to sustain this president's assault on Liberty.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Facebook follies

During a ritual cruise of Facebook this morning I came across a few posts that had me shaking my head. The first was an image crediting liberal political ideology with the creation of weekends -- seriously.

"In 1886," the graphic claims, "7 union members in Wisconsin died fighting for the 5-day work week and the 8-hour work day."

In 1886 my great-grandfather was a young man, mining coal to feed his family, working as many hours as the company would give him. One of his sons, my grandfather, became a farmer, raising dairy cattle and coaxing crops from 240 acres behind teams of draft horses.

After my father left military service, he became the first member of his family to graduate from college. He returned to his hometown and worked over four decades as a veterinarian -- out the door at 4am every day for his farm clients and in the clinic 'til 10pm (or later) every night treating housepets and performing surgery.

As for me, I can't imagine being proud of insisting on working a 5-day, 40-hour week. I guess it's not in my blood.

The second Facebook puzzler, not unexpected in this political climate, also displayed breathtaking ignorance of work and business.

Reacting to Pres. Barack Obama's "You didn't build that" speech, Georgia business owner Ray Gaster added a panel to the sign outside each of his three Gaster Lumber and Hardware locations:
I built this business without gov't help.
Obama can Kiss my ass.
I'm Ray Gaster & I approve this message.
One of my Facebook friends, a committed statist, posted an annotated photo of Ray Gaster and his sign. The altered image features 18 callouts, each presuming to show how the owner couldn't possibly have succeeded without the government's help.

My friend was hoist by his own petard -- the unintended result was a fairly comprehensive illustration of how our federal government meddles where it doesn't belong, how it takes credit for what it doesn't do, how it plunders and squanders and wastes and overspends the citizens' money.

The Annotated Gaster doesn't deserve even a participant ribbon, much less a gold star.

Finally, it's been entertaining to watch left-wingers' heads explode over Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan. The disinformation, the tortured talking points...let's just say that I may run out of popcorn well before Election Day.

Perhaps the most sideways reaction I've seen, however, came to me from New York City by way of a Facebook thread:
"I am personally embarrassed that Paul Ryan was a graduate of Miami of Ohio. Yes, there were many conservatives that attended in my days at the University. However, I developed my liberal and ethical leanings from Miami. He obviously had a different 'Miami experience.' So sad."
Sad? Really? How arrogant is that?

Looks like Paul Ryan didn't read the chapter in the student handbook requiring all Miami grads to ply the waters of the world listing to port.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

'More American Reserve Power'

This political season seems a good time to scroll back to a vintage ad first depicted on KintlaLake Blog here almost 18 months ago.

The year was 1919. The advertiser was Remington UMC, the campaign was "For Shooting Right" and post-war nationalism was the proud refrain. Remington placed a series of unapologetic ads in popular sportsmen's magazines like Outing and Forest and Stream.

The opening paragraphs of one of those ads -- "More American Reserve Power" -- should ring clear and true with every independent citizen-patriot:
"The strength that comes from the hills was never worth more in this country than it is today. Both to the man himself and to all about him.

"No poison-pollen of Old World imperialism gone to seed can contaminate -- nor any attempt of crowd-sickened collectivism undermine -- the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."
I can't get those words out of my head. While the current campaign for President of the United States insults my intelligence and promises to assault individual liberties, strangely it's the century-old work of a Remington copywriter that resonates.

The passage offers me no solutions, of course -- it's merely rhetorical refuge from my frustration with a government gone mad and a People gone to sleep.

In a 1788 letter to Col. Edward Carrington, a Virginia Delegate, Thomas Jefferson wrote,

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground. As yet our spirits are free."
I see a nexus between the Remington ad and Jefferson's letter. Without expressing resignation, both acknowledge the enemies of Liberty, and both celebrate the wellspring of true independence:
"...the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."

"...our spirits are free."
The key is this: Liberty resides in the individual spirit. Political winds may swirl around us and the burden of bureaucracy may bend our backs, but we remain Americans -- citizens of a nation, not subjects of its government.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

'May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen'

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

(Samuel Adams, whom Thomas Jefferson called "truly the Man of the Revolution," from a speech delivered at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Horace sense, revisited

"...The right to own and bear arms is a natural right of man, guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, but superior to all laws and constitutions. It is our only defence against tyranny, and, as such, will never be relinquished by Americans who respect their birthright."

(Horace Kephart, from "The Gun: A Fool I' the Forest," published in the February 1901 issue of Outing magazine)

Friday, August 10, 2012

'From my cold dead hands!'

It looks like I'm back for one more encore. I've been asked to serve a third term as your president.

I don't think anyone's done that before. But George Washington hung around until the Revolutionary War was won. Roosevelt hung around until World War II was won. Reagan hung around until the Cold War was won. If you want, I'll hang around until we win this one, too.

Do you feel that incredible energy in the air here today? I'll tell you what it is. It's the feeling you get when you're making a difference in the future of your country.

That was my goal -- to make a difference -- when I became your president two years ago. So I set some lofty goals. I said I'd do my part if you'd do yours. Now, just two years later, we've accomplished them all.

All except one.

First, I asked you to rebuild our NRA membership, and you have. Not by just a few thousand members, but by one million members.

Second, I asked you to rebuild our NRA war chest, and you have. I don't mean just in dollars, but in sense. The good sense of the NRA leadership you see here today. Your leaders are qualified, competent, unified, and believe me, fearless.

Third, I wanted to bring the NRA back to the table of mainstream political debate, and we have. You saw Wayne on that tape. I'd say we're not just at the table.

We're eating their lunch.

But more than anything else, I asked you to believe in each other again. To believe that gun ownership is as wholesome as it is constitutional. To believe that an NRA sticker on your windshield is a sign of pride. To believe that a kid who wants to plink at tin cans is not a kid gone wrong. To believe that the great flame of freedom our founding fathers ignited has not grown cold.

I declare that mission accomplished! I look around this great hall and I see the fire is in your eyes, the pride is in your hearts, and the commitment is here in your presence today. The NRA is baaaaaack...

All of which spells very serious trouble for a man named Gore.

Didja see that Gore rally in D.C. last weekend? One of the marchers said, "The hands that rock the cradle rule this nation." And I thought, No madam, the hands that rock the cradle rule our families and governments and corporations. The hands that wrote the Constitution rule this nation.

All the anti-gun celebs came out to march. Tipper Gore was there, Rosie O'Donnell was there (I like to call her Tokyo Rosie). A fine actress, Susan Sarandon, was there and shouted with great diplomacy and stateswomanship, "We Moms are really pissed off!"

I must ask, pissed off about what? If it's crime, why aren't you pissed off at the failure of this Administration to prosecute gun-toting criminals?

If it's accidents, why aren't you pissed off at swimming pool owners, or stairway owners, or pickup owners?

Why aren't you pissed off that gun accident prevention programs aren't in every elementary classroom in America?

As a matter of fact, why aren't you pissed off at parents who're oblivious that their kids are building bombs in their bedrooms?

Why aren't you pissed off that Mr. Gore wants registration and licensing instead of parenting and prosecution?

Which leads me to that one mission left undone: Winning in November. That's why I'm staying on for a third tour of duty.

Today I challenge you to find your third term, and serve it. Find your extra mile, and walk it.

Only you know what you can do between now and that decisive November day to turn the tide of these elections in favor of freedom. I ask you to find it and fulfill it.

Go the extra distance, find that extra member, write the extra check, knock on one more door, work one more hour, make one more call, convince one more friend, turn the other cheek if you must, but find your third term and serve it.

That's your part to play. What more important role can there be...than to bequeath our freedom to the next generation as pure and intact as it was given to us. As Mr. Lincoln commanded: "With firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in...and then we shall save our country."

Each of us in his own way, plus all of us in our collective millions, must give that extra measure that freedom demands of us.

Let me tell you what I mean. Until a few hours ago I was finishing my 80th film in Vancouver, Canada. I was there because I love my craft and I love to feed my family.

So you'll forgive me if I'm a little tired. I flew all night, across a continent and three time zones, to be here with you. I'm here because I love my country and I love this freedom.

But it was just the most recent flight in thousands of flights, the most recent mile on thousands of roads I've travelled in my ten years of active service to this great Association. It's been a helluva ride.

I remember a decade ago at my first annual meeting in St. Louis. After my banquet remarks to a packed house, they presented me with a very special gift. It was a splendid hand-crafted musket.

I admit I was overcome by the power of its simple symbolism. I looked at that musket and I thought of all of the lives given for that freedom. I thought of all of the lives saved with that freedom. It dawned on me that the doorway to all freedoms is framed by muskets.

So I lifted that musket over my head for all to see. And as flashbulbs popped around the room, my heart and a few tears swelled up, and I uttered five unscripted words. When I did, that room exploded in sustained applause and hoots and shouts that seemed to last forever.

In that moment, I bonded with this great Association. And in thousands of moments since, I've been asked to repeat those five words in airports and hotels and rallies and speeches across this land.

In your own way, you have already heard them. That's why you're here.

Every time our country stands in the path of danger, an instinct seems to summon her finest first -- those who truly understand her. When freedom shivers in the cold shadow of true peril, it's always the patriots who first hear the call. When loss of liberty is looming, as it is now, the siren sounds first in the hearts of freedom's vanguard. The smoke in the air of our Concord Bridges and Pearl Harbors is always smelled first by the farmers, who come from their simple homes to find the fire, and fight.

Because they know that sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and blued steel, something that gives the most common man the most uncommon of freedoms. When ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument, that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and liberty.

That's why those five words issue an irresistible call to us all, and we muster.

So as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those words again for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore:

From my cold dead hands!

(National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston, in opening remarks delivered at the NRA Annual Meeting on May 20, 2000)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I miss Barry Goldwater -- and you should, too

"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."

(Those are the words of Barry M. Goldwater from his 1960 book, The Conscience of a Conservative. Over a half-century later, Liberty-loving Americans are suffering through a presidential election year dominated by Santa Claus on one side and Wink Martindale on another. With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul and Gov. Gary Johnson, this campaign shows little evidence of Sen. Goldwater's legacy.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Constitutional illumination

Rather than burdening readers with a lengthy introduction, I'll get right to the meat of this post. Here's the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
You and I know that those 27 words guarantee an individual right. Some still insist, however, on the primacy of the first clause -- that is, the necessity of "a well regulated militia" to be armed somehow trumps "the right of the people."

So here we are, 223 years after the Bill of Rights was introduced, applying today's language, culture and politics to our understanding of the Framers' intent. Wouldn't it be helpful to have something resembling a contemporaneous take on this fundamental right?

To that end I present Article VIII, Section 20 of the first constitution of the newly admitted State of Ohio:
"That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State; and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be kept up: and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to the civil power."
Adopted in 1802 -- the year before Ohio achieved statehood and just 11 years after the U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified -- that leaves no doubt about the purpose of granting the People an individual right to bear arms: "for the defense of themselves and the State."

Come-lately critics and anti-gun zealots, please take note: There's no mention of "hunting" or "subsistence" in that section -- that's because they were (and are) irrelevant to the right to keep and bear arms.

The 1851 revision of the Ohio Constitution moved the state's Bill of Rights up from Article VIII to Article I -- talk about primacy -- and the section related to arms underwent a slight change at the same time:
"The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power."
That language remains in force today, underscoring that every citizen of The Great State of Ohio rightfully may bear arms "for their defense and security." It also reminds us why military forces must be "well regulated" -- because "standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty."

I could leave it there, certainly, but Ohio's constitution has much more light to shine.

Returning to our nation's founding documents, here's the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The first Constitution of the State of Ohio (1803) incorporated similar principles, addressing "natural, inherent and unalienable rights" in Article VIII, Section 1:
"That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights; amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; and every free republican government, being founded on their sole authority, and organized for the great purpose of protecting their rights and liberties, and securing their independence; to effect these ends, they have at all times a complete power to alter, reform or abolish their government, whenever they may deem it necessary."
In the 1851 revision, which saw Ohio citizens' enumerated rights given proper prominence, the "inalienable rights" passage became more concise. This is Article I, Section 1:
"All men are, by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety."
Notice that both versions of this section -- the second of which is still in force, by the way, 161 years after its adoption -- codify two fundamental rights before all others: "enjoying and defending life and liberty" and "acquiring, possessing, and protecting property."

Legal scholars continue to argue over whether the Declaration of Independence represents law or merely principle, but the Constitution of the State of Ohio carries the force of law. Fortunately, the early Ohioans who crafted their state's governing document -- during the same formative era in which the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were written and ratified -- saw fit to incorporate the inalienable human right to defend life, liberty and property.

That's because they understood our nation's founding principles. Their understanding is my understanding -- and a legacy of Liberty.