Washington Meant What He Said – UPDATED

UPDATE: Bender gives us this in the comments; George Washington being told what to do by the “idiotic cerebral meritocracy”:

This piece by Larry Getlen, at the NY Post is a must-read for the day:

Washington’s plan was to conquer the Hessians on Dec. 26 by sending troops across the Delaware in three sections — under cover of darkness — the night before.

Colonels John Cadwalader and Daniel Hitchcock would lead 1,800 men to block potential Hessian reinforcements from arriving from Burlington, N.J. General James Ewing would bring about 800 men to seal off the escape route over the bridge at Assunpink Creek. Washington would lead the main attack force of 2,400 men directly into the city.

Washington believed that the element of surprise was crucial, which meant leaving by sundown on Christmas night, arriving on the Trenton side of the river by midnight to begin marching the nine miles inland, and invading before daybreak.

The plan came with tremendous risk.

“In a worst-case scenario, [Washington] would not catch the Hessians by surprise, they would counterattack, and they would pinion his army against the river,” says John Ferling, author of “Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence.”

“He really was risking everything. When he said ‘victory or death,’ he meant that not only for himself, but for that whole army.” And for all hope of American independence.

It seems quite wrong to watch a country forged by such selfless greatness as this, tumble so swiftly into an abysmal mediocrity born of an “idiotic cerebral meritocracy,” and a tawdry old electoral bait-and-switch.

It is even worse to contemplate that the tumble was assisted through the willful surrender of a so-called “free press” (to an unknown entity it preferred to dress-up, rather than examine) and by a citizenry so complacent it was content to be lied to, because it is easier to absorb a soundbite than to read a primary-source document.

The Declaration of Independece is getting a hardy workout this 4th of July. Even Drudge is linking to it, via the LA Times Blog.

Given the deplorable lack of civic education offered by our public schools, many Americans may well be reading the document for the first time, with more than a few of them viewing the grievances of the Colonists against England with raised eyebrows, and weighing them–particularly those concerns about taxation, bureaucracy, illegal immigration, law enforcement–against our present circumstances.

It is unimaginable that George Washington, or any of the Founders, would be amenable to a Department of Justice that saw no need to prosecute a clear case of voter intimidation. That was not what Washington was willing to die for; quite the opposite.

The founders of the nation were farmers, lawyers, inventors, journalists, preachers and small business men. Their notion of liberty was to create a government that would protect the shores, promote free trade and stay out of people’s lives for the most part, because the government did not belong there. These founders were not “against” government; their revolution was about keeping government pruned down in size, so that it did not overwhelm. Committed to the notions of private enterprise and private property, these men nevertheless founded schools and hospitals and established charities. They did so because, whether Christian or Deists, they felt sufficiently aware of their eventual accountability to something greater than themselves; they simply did not accept that that “something” should be an all-encroaching government that mirrored the one from which they had wrested their freedoms. America’s greatness was founded in an idea of humanity unimpeded by the applications of a thousand little, biting laws, enforced by ten thousand snippy bureaucrats.

Ben Franklin had a trick of hiding a bit of oil in the head of his walking stick, so that he could amuse a crowd by waving the stick over a pond, thereby releasing the oil, which would still the waters. A bit of a naturalist, it is doubtful that he would be anything but horrified to see the oil disaster overtaking our federally-protected waters, and to read that clean-up efforts have been slowed down and mismanaged by the very government designed to protect them:

Various skimmers and tankers (some of them very large) are available that could eliminate most of the oil from seawater, discharging the mostly clean water while storing the oil onboard. While this would clean vast amounts of water efficiently, the EPA is unwilling to grant a temporary waiver of its regulations.

As Franklin was also a journalist wholly committed to the notion of a free press, he would be equally horrified to discover that the American government he helped to design and sustain in its infancy is actively working to limit coverage the disaster.

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.

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.

It was Ben Franklin who scratched out Thomas Jefferson’s “sacred and undeniable” in the second paragraph and changed it to read “self-evident.” And one reads those words one thinks, “but, of course…”

Our founders were a varied, gifted, squabbling bunch of heroic men, and the exclusion of any one of them might have resulted in the tumbling of the whole structure they sought to build.

It feels like America is tumbling, now; nothing has made more Americans feel insecure than watching our current leadership’s single-minded pursuit of dubious programs, passed into law over the objections of the very public the congress is meant to represent.

The country was founded on a bold idea, and by men (and women–let’s not forget Abigail Adams–) who were exceedingly up-front about what they were doing, and what they sought. Her tumbling has been nothing so striking; it has crept into power on banal rhetoric and little cat feet.

Related:
Airbrushing America
Amateur Hour in the Capital
Loving a Nation that Elected O
Obama’s New America
The Polarization of the Supreme Court
Things to Ponder on the 4th
Preventing the Erosion of Rights
James Madison; Moron
Launching Big Peace
A smaller revolution
Faith-based citizenship
Sundries Shack Round Up
Americans Celebrating
The July 4th of Fuzzy Memory
Deacon Greg: A July 4th Homily

(This will be cross-posted over at Hot Air, where I am privileged to be least among the distinguished gang o’guestbloggers it will take to make up for Allahpundit’s vacation.)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    It seems quite wrong to watch a country forged by such selfless greatness as this, tumble so swiftly into an abysmal mediocrity born of an “idiotic cerebral meritocracy”

    General Washington too had to deal with snooty, know-it-all, cerebral elites. His betters again and again tried their best to strangle America in her crib.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention The Anchoress | A First Things Blog -- Topsy.com

  • Steve

    THANK YOU for posting this!

    We have several Patriotic Videos posted today on Common Cents..

    link

    [Please embed your links -admin]

  • Joi

    Anchoress, you should read Homer Hickam’s thoughts for the day (Hickam wrote the book that was made into the movie October Sky, and has been a real force in the American space program). He writes movingly of meeting a man whose grandfather was a slave: the first thing he did upon gaining his freedom was to buy a Bible and his own copy of the Declaration of Independence. The post is here: link

  • Warren Jewell

    I believe that we have a great number of persons and organizations whom Geo. Washington would have threatened with the point of Continental bayonets.

    Of course, General Gates believed that he should have had Washington’s command office. ‘Cerebral’ as he was, Gates was as much ego and bluster. You might say he was an American proto-fool and be very close to describing his type. Now, we seem surrounded by his like, and we likely should run them out of leadership in every capital with electoral guns pointed at their backs.

  • Janemarie

    We each of us must also fight as best we can; for those of us not in the military, this means in the court of ideas. I am assembling a file of articles about Obama that I will refer to in the battle, and maybe copy and give to individuals I sincerely hope might still have a neuron that leads to an independent thought. We have to confront the poorly informed, who live and work with us and include our family members. It can be uncomfortable; we recently confronted a neighbor at a dinner party over his abject ignorance about the Palestinians and Israel. This same man brought up the old Bush=Hitler meme some months back and I slammed him for it–this same person fancies himself a political independent but he parrots liberal talking points while not wanting to be called a liberal. I am thinking of him as I assemble my file (he told me after the election he hoped Obama’s victory would improve race relations in this country–HA HA … I look forward to asking him about the New Black Panthers case …).

  • pinklady

    Extremely well said Anchoress, I have a rare feeling of melancholy this July 4th, keep thinking about all the brave men and women who gave their lives , I’d be ashamed to face them now if they could see this country today; I should have done more to help people see but I do not like to argue so my cowardice is part of the problem. :(

  • Susan T.W.

    Anchoress: I am excited you and other favorites will be guest blogging on Hot Air this week, and look forward to the news from your perspectives. Washington, Jefferson, the two Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin, so, so many…I am in awe of these men who were Providentially brought together and hammered out, through thoughtfulness and argument, our Founding Documents. And, I do believe, there is another group arising who recognizes our foundations as crucial to our survival as a nation, as families, and individuals.

  • http://www.theironscroll.blogspot.com Towering Barbarian

    “…and by a citizenry so complacent it was content to be lied to, because it is easier to absorb a soundbite than to read a primary-source document.”

    In fairness to the American people, it is not that they were content to be lied to but rather that they had no idea it had happened. Newspapers had seemed a reliable source of information for 100+ years while radio and TV news had seemed reliable for about 90. It’s natural that the trust built up in that time would be slow to erode. But bit by bit that erosion is taking place.

    I would not want to be any of those sellouts in Old Media when that erosion has become complete. ^_~

  • igout

    I walked by a civil war statue last week. You know the kind: A Union soldier is standing in his cape and kepi, his rifle butt planted by his boot. There must have been a booming business in manufacturing them after the Civil War. Every little town needed one to honor its fallen sons. Anyway, I couldn’t look the soldier in the eye. How could we have let this happen to the beautiful country he died for? How?

  • Paul Bergeron

    “Given the deplorable lack of civic education offered by our public schools, many Americans may well be reading the document for the first time, with more than a few of them viewing the grievances of the Colonists against England with raised eyebrows, and weighing them–particularly those concerns about taxation, bureaucracy, illegal immigration, law enforcement–against our present circumstances.” Americans have been strongly discouraged from reading the Declaration since 1865; the power in Washington doesn’t want the grievance concerning “interference with domestic institutions” to be discussed lest a connection be drawn between the independence-seeking colonists and the independence-seeking states. Today secession, the very act that created the United States, is looked on as treason. Afghanistan is metaphor for what has happened: the misogynistic Taliban was overthrown by the US and has been replaced with bacha bazi (boy rape) and Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, igout’s town at least has a (dishonored landmark); many others are being hidden or removed for the “greater good” of commercial development or political correctness.


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