"A cynic is a man who when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."
A friend of mine, (and he is truly a dear friend) who has finally come to the realization that America is in deep trouble, and that Obama (the man he voted for in 2008) is not the hope of the world, has become so cynical because of his diligent study of the signs of the times, that he sees no way out short of violent revolution. here's what he said in a recent email:
It boils down to this. The US is no longer the Republic the founding fathers put together. "Because of this, there is NO POLITICAL SOLUTION to getting “back to the founding fathers”. That ship sailed long ago. Thinking that the US can be fixed politically (you know, that the people are going to magically become more moral, patriotic) is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If it gives you goose bumps to listen to Reagan and his canned speech, then enjoy yourself with that."... Reagan is a puppet trying to foster nationalistic sentiments…no more, no less."
My friend (let's call him Frank) confuses nationalism with patriotism, and believes they are the same. Not so. Frank says he has no patriotism for America. But is it still possible to have patriotic feelings toward America in spite of the problems we have? Frank and I both agree on the scope of corruption and the goal of the criminal conspiracy that wants to take us down. But I am proud to be called a patriot, and Frank says patriotism has been "burned out" of him. Well, here's what patriotism is to me:
“Patriotism means unqualified and unwavering love for the nation, which implies not uncritical eagerness to serve, not support for unjust claims, but frank assessment of its vices and sins, and penitence for them”
| ~Alexander Solzhenitsyn~|
Solzhenitsyn knows a lot about living in a nation that is ruled by evil people, and about patriotism. He did what he did, risking his life to try and increase freedom in The Soviet Union, because he loved his mother country in spite of her sins. He worked tirelessly for a better country, and he never gave in to crippling cynicism.
"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
This brings me to the main point of this post.
The only way to lose, in the end, is to give up.
The cynic can see all the faults in America; he can see all the dead-ends blocked off by the ruling elite. Well, here's how Frank put it in an email to me today, Thanksgiving day:
So why try? Why not just give up, and get ready to be enslaved in a massive dictatorship? Why not become a government informant and at least earn some brownie points with the masters? I have archived over five-hundred emails with Frank, and after looking back through them, I can't find a single positive statement about the future. Not a single account of something he is doing to help turn the situation around. Not a single suggestion or idea of something that can be done to improve our lot in America. It kind of makes me want to go out and eat worms.
There's not a single mention in Frank's emails of any part of the Constitution that we can still use to increase freedom, or any part that he thinks is still operative. Wow, Frank, we're toast, we're doomed. The only answer, as he has told me many times is revolution. I say, maybe, someday, but not yet.
One of Frank's favorite people is Ron Paul. Dr. Paul knows how bad it is in America. He's been warning about it for decades. Yet, in spite of all our looming difficulties, he is still hopeful and positive in his approach. In a recent video prepared for his supporters, and, I might venture, even for people like Frank, Ron Paul spoke of two things that give him encouragement. First, he is grateful for the First Amendment that allows him - and me - to speak out and criticize the policies of government that hold us back, to write about our heritage of freedom and the answers the Founders provided us. Ron Paul has hope....and he's doing something about it. Second, he has hope in the rising generation. Which is why he has dedicated his life to education. And in a small way, that's my chosen avenue to help in the fight for freedom.
OK, so what about other informed Americans' states of mind? And maybe interplanetary travelers?
Have you ever noticed that heroes, be they revolutionary war heroes, inventors, or the millions of
everyday heroes who walk the streets, work in the factories and homes of America, just seem to get up each day and continue to provide for their families, help others, contribute to their communities and just keep on keepin' on?
And when they see the corruption, corporate cronyism, criminal escapades and political skullduggery, they don't get discouraged and cynical. They don't complain and point out everything that is wrong while sitting in their easy chairs yelling at the TV. They find something they can do to help.
Take Patrick Henry. He didn't hid his head in the sand, and he didn't shy away from the cold hard truth. And he spread the word to to others, along with leadership in righting the wrongs of the British government. For him, it was all or
nothing, "liberty or death."
"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it."
So Frank, what I'm trying to say, is that yes, we do need to know how bad it is, but we also need to know what can be done to help improve the situation, if only in our local area. I urge all to try and locate a copy of the May 25th 1998 edition of The New American magazine, published by the the John Birch Society. An article therein, titled "Hope's Foundation". This article quotes Robert E. Lee, who said,
"My experience of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them, nor indisposed me to serve them; nor, in spite of failures, which I lament, of errors, which I now see and acknowledge, or of the present state of affairs, do I despair of the future. The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient, the work of progress is so immense, and our means of aiding it so feeble, the life of humanity being so long, and that of the individual so brief, that we often see the ebb of the advancing wave, and are thus discouraged.
"It is history that teaches us to hope."Not so, says my friend Frank. He said to me, when I told him about the marvelous intervention of God to save Boston, after the prayers of it's citizens beseeching God to turn back a seemingly invincible armada of French warships, that We can't "magically" save the Country, "that ship has already sailed"?
Reverend Thomas Prince didn't get the memo." And in another email, after I reminded him that principles are eternal, Frank had this to say:
So, that's the way it is, huh Frank? That's pretty cynical. So where's my shovel? I'll just go dig a hole and crawl in, and maybe eat some worms. There is no forward thrust in cynicism. Or, as Peggy Noonan says,
"Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It's unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don't have to try."So, Frank, I want to make two things clear: (1) I know things are bad, I know elections are rigged, I know the government is spying on us, I know corruption is entrenched in high places, I know all that. I have been warning about it for over 35 years. (2) But, there is another thing that I know. I know, whether the Constitution is dead or not, so was Lazarus. I know:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.
And as Benjamin Franklin said, "God governs in the affairs of men". And I know that one of the major causes, if not THE major cause of our predicament is the fact that we have lost God's promised protection on this land because of our wickedness. The God of the Bible warns us that nations, as well as individuals will reap blessings or cursings based upon whether or not we follow His rules and commandments of interpersonal and international behavior. "Blessed is the Nation Whose God is the Lord", is not just a cute slogan. And it has it's opposite. Liberty is the "natural", or created state of man, and the rights of life, liberty and property are the endowment of our Creator.
He commanded his people, long ago, to "proclaim liberty throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof." (Leviticus 25:10). That is our heritage, that is our gift from God, and we can keep it only upon principles He has set forth. He can save us; He has saved America more than once, and as Robert E. Lee said, history teaches us to hope.
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. We have no reason to give up, to let the disease of cynicism paralyze us. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.
Trying timesMy friend Frank is actually doing something, albeit sad. He is "prepping" as we all should be, but he is preparing to leave America for a country with more freedom. He is going to be a deserter. This saddens me. Times are tough, things look bleak, just like they did December 23rd, 1776, when George Washington had a pamphlet read to his weary, hungry and outnumbered troops. In the pamphlet "The American Crisis", Thomas Paine had something to say about this:
These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.I'm sorry, but those words, though written over two centuries ago, are not dead. They ring out today lout and clear to all who will hear. Washington, Paine, Madison, Monroe, and all the brave soldiers who fought in the Battle of Trenton two days later, refused to let cynicism take over their minds and bodies. Their miraculous success was amazing, even to Washington himself, and caused him to thank God. This is a lesson that, once again, as Lee told us, "it is history that teaches us to hope."
Rome offers innumerable lessons from the past that are as important today as if they happened only yesterday. Rome's once majestic Republic crumbled beneath the weight of licentiousness, greed and lust for power. The situation was hopeless, yet Marcus Tullius Cicero spoke out, warned, pleaded with and scolded his fellow leaders to turn back and embrace once again the principles and practices that made of Rome the envy of the world. Knowing of the intrigue and hate-inspired jealousy of those whose careers he threatened, he kept on, refusing to give into cynicism. In the end, he gave his life, a victim of assassination, rather than stop his valiant efforts to increase liberty, integrity and greatness in his beloved Rome. Thus, he is remembered as "the man who tried to save Rome".
To sum up, Frank is a dear friend of mine. I have stood by him in very difficult times, and I have no doubt that he would to the same for me if the opportunity arose. He and I have many things in common, among them music and golf. And though we disagree, our friendship remains strong.
In the arena of ideas is where our differences lie. Frank's views are not unique. There seems to be an outbreak of this malady, cynicism. Many are infected. But there is a vaccine and a treatment protocol. They are both the same.
As the Founders wrote in the Northwest Ordinance, the same Congress that had just ratified the new Constitution,
Art. 3. "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."
So there you have it, religion, morality and knowledge are essential to freedom, and that is why Bibles and Hymnals were purchased by Congress and state governments for use in the schools. These principles are the answer, the recipe, and the means for our revival.
And they were placed in order of importance in the document.
My friends, during this "holiday" season, let us never forget what holiday it is that we are celebrating; let us not forget our part in this vast undertaking of defending liberty and God-given rights.
Say no to cynicism. Inoculate yourself against its ravages. If you find yourself with symptoms, stop, take a moment look at history, look at your children, look to the Word of God, and look to the many examples in your life today who are shining examples of hope, action and faithfulness.
Then, pick yourself up, prayerfully find something you can actually do to spread the word of freedom. Share information with your friends, family and neighbors, volunteer with a good organization that is established and respected. Donate to the same.
Longfellow was not a victim nor a carrier of cynicism.
I heard the bells on Christmas day
This is a long post, but I am constrained to do it. I close with this excerpt from a great American, Ezra Taft Benson, secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower, and President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Let's get to work.