The Constitution Will Not Save Us

(The audio version of this essay can be found here.)

No matter how bad things get in our country, many conservatives still retain a sense of pride and optimism in the United States because of our history, our traditions, but most especially our Constitution. Patriotic conservatives believe that the Constitution is an everlasting protection against tyranny in our land. No matter what, they say, we still have the Constitution. But how much does the Constitution really protect us nearly 250 years after its ratification?


In 1783, the Continental Congress of the thirteen colonies concluded a peace treaty with Great Britain and achieved the independence they had declared seven years prior. That was the easier part, however. Now that the fighting was done, they had to create a new nation out of thirteen unique states. Each of the original colonies had developed in its own way, with its own history and traditions. While it was one thing to ally together against a common enemy during the Revolution, it was quite another to find the compromises necessary to unite in a peacetime administration. The first national government was laid out by the Articles of Confederation. In this system, state governments were strong while the national government was little more than an assembly of delegates with little real power. While the Articles were a great libertarian idea in theory, in practice they proved ineffective for governing the new nation. With Great Britain still interested in recovering their lost territory, France on the verge of an unpredictable revolution, and Spain still taking interest in the region, a stronger hand was needed to keep the new nation afloat in world affairs. In 1787, the states sent delegates to a Constitutional Convention to figure out what to do next. While their mandate was merely to revise the Articles, they came out of convention with a new Constitution.


Statesmen throughout the thirteen colonies debated the merits of the new Constitution for several months. Having just won a bloody war to gain their independence, many in the new nation were justifiably suspicious about the new central government that the constitution represented. Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay anonymously wrote a series of pamphlets later known as the Federalist Papers that advocated for the new constitution. Eventually, all thirteen states ratified the constitution and it became the law of the land. George Washington of Virginia, who had led the Continental Armies during the Revolution and had presided over the Constitutional Convention, was elected the first president of the new government. John Adams of Massachusetts was Vice President.


The United States Constitution is a magnificent document and its ratification is a milestone in human history. For the first time, a government had been created ex nihilo, from scratch. A document was created which not only laid out the organizational structure of this new government but also constrained the government from infringing upon the natural rights of its citizens. Other nations in the world up until that time had grown up very gradually over the course of many centuries. Great Britain, for example, began as a loose collection of Anglo-Saxon tribes and kingdoms, each with their own traditions and systems of governance. They were conquered by the Normans in 1066, adopted Magna Carta in 1215 which placed obligations upon the king, gradually developed the concept of Parliament in the following centuries, redefined the relationship of king and church during the reign of King Henry VIII, fought a brutal civil war between King Charles I and Parliament that ended with the King’s execution, and finally adopted the idea of a parliamentary monarchy with a Bill of Rights in 1689. The British Constitution, even to this day, is not a single written document but is instead the accumulation of centuries of case law that has codified previously unwritten rules. The United States Constitution, on the other hand, was written from the beginning, and is still in force to this day. The authors built into it a method for altering it – the amendment process – which has allowed it to be updated for the times, but only very carefully and deliberately, with the approval of super-majorities of Congress and the state legislatures.

Magna carta

The word “constitution” typically refers to a document that lays out lays out the structure and laws for an organizational body. However, we also use the word to refer to the substance or characteristics of a body itself. As a document, the US Constitution laid out the organizational structure of the government, but it also reflected the characteristics of the people who wrote it. Had the Constitutional Convention been attended by modern Zambians, contemporary Japanese, or even Englishmen from the year 1000, it would have been an entirely different document. When the Constitution was adopted, the people of the United States were mainly of British heritage and of varying degrees of Christianity. While they had their differences and disagreements with each other, they were remarkably homogeneous compared to the so-called melting pot of America today. Founding Father John Adams remarked that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Keep this in mind as we discuss the role of the Constitution to the present day.


Reading a history of the Constitution gives you a good picture of how much the country has changed since its founding. For example, the Constitution originally banned any form of income tax, yet the Congress and states passed the 16th amendment which authorized one. Despite originally only originally applying to the richest of the rich, and only taxing a small percentage of income, we all file taxes on April 15 now. The original Constitution also had Senators appointed by the states, to serve as the voice of the state legislatures in the US Congress. The 17th amendment took that away, however, and made Senators elected directly by the people. While this might sound like a good idea in theory, giving more power to the people, in practice it further marginalized the states while increasing the power of the federal government. The 18th Amendment banned alcohol, and the 21st amendment repealed that ban. It is hard to imagine either the Founders or modern Americans ever banning alcohol at a constitutional level.


One might suggest that these amendments are evidence that the Constitution works, but recent history suggests that while this might have been true at one time, it is no longer the case. The last amendment to be proposed and adopted by the congress and the states was the 26th amendment, which reduced the eligible age for voting to 18. This was in 1971, almost half a century ago, when young men were being drafted to fight in Vietnam but lacked the ability to hold their representatives accountable. (The 28th Amendment was ratified in 1992 but had been proposed as part of the original Bill of Rights two centuries earlier. Later amendments included sunset provisions should they not achieve ratification by a certain point.)


Despite no amendments being proposed and ratified since 1971 our interpretation of the Constitution has changed greatly. The legal and social structure of our society is being changed, but neither Congress nor state legislatures are voting on these changes. Rather, they are being made at the court and bureaucratic levels. The Supreme Court somehow discovered rights to abortion and gay marriage on constitutional grounds, despite no mention of those things in the actual text. The Obama Administration successfully convinced the Supreme Court that a health insurance mandate was constitutional, despite nothing in there giving government the right to force you to buy a third-party product. Federal judges have ruled that President Trump does not have the authority to revoke President Obama’s executive orders authorizing illegal aliens to remain in the country, despite the very clear precedent that one parliament or president cannot bind another.


But federal judges are not the only ones making end runs around the letter of the Constitution. Congress itself has outsourced a tremendous amount of its constitutional lawmaking powers to various executive agencies, passing laws that gave the bureaucrats in these agencies enormous power to create regulations that affect our daily lives. The Founding Fathers surely did not intend for this to happen. The number of regulations we deal with today dwarf the taxes and regulations that drove our ancestors to rebellion. The result of this practice is the creation of vast federal bureaucracies that control every aspect of our lives yet remain entirely unaccountable to the voting public. We can vote out Congressmen who infringe upon our liberties, but what can we do about a random Health & Human Services bureaucrat who is crafting regulations regarding children’s health, or a Secretary of Labor who decides that a company is not allowed to build a factory in a non-union state?

The United States Capitol building

Let us sum up our situation today: We still have the Constitution, at least on paper, but whenever a federal judge or bureaucrat decides it is inconvenient, they simply ignore it, and we citizens have no recourse. The proper method for changing the constitution has been abandoned; instead of amending it with a vote of congress and state legislatures, activist judges simply reinterpret the words of the Founding Fathers. Yet patriotic conservatives still hold out hope that the Constitution will somehow save us from tyranny. To that I say, wake up! We are already under tyranny! Our ancestors spent blood and treasure throwing off a tyrant who ruled over them from an imperial capital three thousand miles away. Today, we are under the thumb of a tyrannical deep state that micromanages our lives from an imperial capital up to three thousand miles away.


I know what many of you might be thinking right now – what about an Article 5 convention? Many conservatives have latched on to this idea of creating a new convention that can propose amendments. While it is a valid option that is in the Constitution itself, I believe this ignores a big problem in conservatism today. Can we trust the same conservatives who couldn’t even conserve the women’s restroom to fix our constitutional system? Too many conservatives now advocate positions that are decidedly contrary to American traditions, such as open borders, gay marriage, affirmative action for women and minorities, and more. Does anyone really believe that today’s conservative leadership would resist the opportunity to slip in some insidious poison pills to any new amendments? That is not even to mention the compromises that would be required when dealing with the other half of the country that wants outright socialism. Sadly, I do not believe that there is a constitutional option to solving the problems that our Constitution has failed to stop. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson never believed that our nation would last for 250 years with a government still based upon the Constitution they wrote in 1788. He believed, rather, that every generation would need to foment their own revolutions rather than coasting on his. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” he said.


The clearest example of the failure of the constitution is not in government, but in the social media censorship that is becoming more rampant day by day. While Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the rest of the social media giants are indeed private companies, they have become so powerful that any participation in the public square essentially requires using one of their platforms. Imagine if every public park and street corner was owned by a private company that decided what you could say or believe in those places, or a telephone company that banned people based on the content of your conversations. It would be unthinkable, yet these social media companies are doing just that. Rather than maintaining neutrality, these companies hold themselves above the US Constitution, censoring people based upon the ever-changing moral standards of whatever leftist social justice organization is the most outspoken at any given moment. Facebook and YouTube recently admitted to banning pro-life ads in Ireland during the referendum on abortion, while promoting pro-abortion ads. Look at the implications of this – these social media companies used their power to alter the moral laws of a Catholic nation that had stood for centuries. What might they do here in America with their thumbs on the scale of our democracy?


Project Veritas has recorded numerous conversations with employees of Google and YouTube who confidently say that they are not going to let 2016, with Brexit and President Trump’s election, happen again. A handful of people at the top of these social media companies are using their influence to change our government to suit themselves, disenfranchising millions of people who vote otherwise. Where are the constitutional protections for us against this attack? Too many naive conservatives simply say “Well, Google and Facebook are private companies, so they can do what they want.” As I said though, participation in the public square, the marketplace of ideas so beloved by conservatives, is impossible when you’re banned by social media, chased off the internet when web hosts refuse to let you set up your own sites, and ostracized entirely from the public sphere when payment providers refuse to let you do business. What is the conservative answer to this? It was recently discovered that Facebook’s so-called “Community Standards” prohibit threats of death and violence made against other users, unless those users are considered “dangerous”. Yet who is really considered “dangerous” by Facebook? Anyone that leftist organizations like SPLC and ADL tell them, including journalist Paul Joseph Watson, who has never advocated violence but simply makes videos exposing and mocking leftist hypocrisy. The policy was quietly scrubbed from the community standards page, but their intent was clear: One set of rules for the left, and another set for the right.

Zuck VR

Federal judges are no help here. The same conservatives who say that the social media companies can do what they want because they are not part of the government have had no defense against federal judges who rule that bakers and florists are required to participate in degenerate rituals. The same conservatives who are making criticism of Israel illegal have no answer to social media companies that ban conservative commentators and publications. The conservative establishment has long played the role of Washington Generals to the left’s Harlem Globetrotters; that is, they see their job as to put on a good show while in the end accepting the left’s premise and vision for America. Conservative darling Ben Shapiro said nothing when Milo Yiannopolous or Jared Taylor were banned from Twitter, because he knows that he will never be banned because his milquetoast views are useful as controlled opposition to the left.


So, what do we have left? A paper Constitution that is ignored by federal bureaucrats and reinterpreted by activist judges. A First Amendment that is ignored by social media companies who act as gatekeepers to the public sphere. We know that they have no problem using their power to influence the course of history of nations, altering or even completely erasing their heritage. As always, the question remains, how then shall we live? Step one is to stop feeding the beast. It is probably impossible to completely disengage from social media these days, but you can at least stop paying them either with cash or with information. Use adblockers, lock down your privacy settings, use VPNs and anonymous accounts if possible. Do not rely on them for your livelihood, because they will stab you in the back if they can. Finally, stop counting on the Constitution to save our country. As a founding document it was wonderful, but America is not the same people we were when it was written. We are no longer the “moral and religious people” that John Adams saw around him. Do not wait for a national savior but build your family and community in such a way as to carry on the traditions that created the Constitution in the first place.


If you accept that the United States as constituted today will not survive the next generation, then planning for what comes next becomes a far simpler prospect. Our fathers fought and died so that we would not be subject to a tyranny in London; why should our sons be subject to a tyranny in Washington DC? Focus on your family and your community, because that is where a real difference will be made. Remember that your sons and grandsons will be the ones to rebuild once the decline and fall of the United States of America is complete.

It Didn’t Have To Be This Way

(The audio version of this essay can be found here.)

Last week, as I write this, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the mission on which men set foot on the moon for the first time. The America of the postwar generation had so much potential and achieved so much greatness. Yet we look around ourselves today and wonder when the timeline shifted into a dystopian nightmare. Hordes of barbarians are crossing our southern border, and rather than stopping them, many in our government want to incentivize them. Our children are being bombarded with all sorts of degenerate propaganda, and rather than saving them, many parents are signaling their virtue by exposing them to even more. Too many rural communities are being torn apart by drug addiction, depression, and suicide, yet rather than helping them, our elites shame them for their “white privilege”. The worst part is that it didn’t have to be this way.

Abandoned School House, Dryad, Washington, 2015

In 1776, the founders of our country declared their independence from Great Britain. From the start, the New World had been filled with potential. Despite the existence of the American Indian tribes, much of North America was empty wilderness, waiting to be tamed. Colonists could escape from the overcrowded cities of Europe and begin a new life in America. For the Pilgrim Fathers, America was a new Zion, the city on a hill that all nations would look to as an example of godly living. For the Virginia planters, America was unrivaled opportunity, where a peasant from Europe could become a wealthy landowner through only the sweat of his brow. By the time of the Revolution, these colonists had already formed a new nation. Benjamin Franklin recognized the potential of America, with untapped resources and undeveloped land waiting for anyone who was willing to work for it.


The framers of the Constitution saw the opportunity to build a new country from scratch. They based their new government upon the best political theories, and the clean slate of America gave them the ability to put these theories into practice in a way that the existing governments of Europe did not. When the thirteen colonies ratified the Constitution starting in 1788, they were entering a voluntary union with each other for mutual defense and efficient governance. When the resources and talents of the thirteen colonies were pooled together, they were already as formidable as any of the old kingdoms of Europe. The Union was able to stand toe-to-toe with Napoleon at the bargaining table and came out of it with the entire Missouri basin, stretching from New Orleans to the Pacific Northwest. The Union was able to fight the mighty British Navy to a standstill in the War of 1812, gaining worldwide respect and renown.


Yet the specter of slavery haunted the new nation. The northern states had done away with slavery already, and the slave trade itself was abolished by 1807. The reason slavery held on much longer in the south while disappearing in the north was likely due to two reasons – the Puritan and Quaker ideologies were stronger up north, and they disapproved of slavery, but a more pragmatic reason was because African slaves simply did not thrive well in the cold and wet northern climate. Geography, more so than morality, was the early driver of the pro and anti-slavery positions in America.


Yet the divisions only increased as time went on. Northern states grew more abolitionist, to the point where a proposal to pay southern planters to emancipate their slaves was considered too compromising. Southern states, seeing the increasing abolitionist aims of the north, began to grow fiercer in defense of their “peculiar institution”. This all came to a head in 1860 after the election of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president. The Republican Party had been founded in 1854 with the explicit aim of stopping the spread of slavery in the new western territories. Though they claimed to not be fully abolitionist, the result was obvious. If every new state out west was admitted as a free state, then the slave states would be wholly outnumbered in Congress, and abolition would come sooner or later. Rather than wait for this to happen in the Lincoln Administration, eleven southern states seceded from the Union.


This was a crucial point in American history. Every state that had joined the Union since 1788 had done so freely, with a vote of its representatives. Should not the people of a state be free to leave that Union? Was the federal government a voluntary confederation of states, or an Empire whose lands were eternally subject to the lord of Washington DC? The southern states believed it was the former, and that secession was simply the withdrawal from a voluntary union. But President Lincoln made the choice to enforce the Union with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans. It’s ironic, President Trump recently drew ire from the left for suggesting that people who hate America should leave. Yet President Lincoln in 1861 used the full force of the Union armies to kill those who tried to leave. It didn’t have to be this way.


By 1865 the Civil War was over, hundreds of thousands of Americans were dead, the south was in ruins, and the concept of a voluntary union had been brutally demolished. America since then has truly been an Empire, rather than a Union of sovereign states as the founding fathers intended. Before the Civil War, it was common to call our nation “These United States,” plural, while afterward people said instead “The United States,” singular. A few decades later the American Empire even added colonies to its possessions, picking up the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico from the dying Spanish Empire. We even seized the sovereign kingdom of Hawaii simply because we wanted a naval base in the Pacific to protect our new colonies and project our power across the globe. President Roosevelt sent the Great White Fleet on a tour around the world to display the new American Empire’s power to every nation on earth. In 1917 President Wilson sent a million American troops to Europe to intervene in a foreign war which did not threaten American shores in the slightest. Sure, we had some economic interests, but can those ever justify spilling the blood of thousands of American young men? It didn’t have to be this way.


When President Lincoln called for troops to subjugate the South, they came by community and by state. For example, I have an ancestor who fought with the 148th Regiment of the Pennsylvania volunteers, and was wounded at Spotsylvania. At his side were his friends and neighbors, as communities and states were kept together from training through deployment. After World War I, however, men who enlisted were mixed up to random units, and so they fought alongside soldiers from other states and other communities. Rather than having an army made of the young men of each sovereign state, the army was treated like the legions of an Empire, where your loyalty was not to your community or to your state but to the lord of Washington DC. Camaraderie, rather than being the organic bonds of family and community, were instilled during basic training. The American military began to resemble the late Roman Empire rather than the citizen-soldiers of the Roman Republic. It didn’t have to be this way.


Before 1913, the federal government raised funds mainly through tariffs. An income tax was explicitly forbidden by the Constitution, but the 16h Amendment changed that, allowing the federal government to levy taxes directly on the people. Those taxes have only grown, enabling the federal government to become an untrammeled behemoth, a leviathan that spends more money in a day than many countries spend in a year. Also prior to 1913, Senators were appointed by state legislatures to be the voice of the states in the federal government. After all, the United States was originally supposed to be a confederation of sovereign states, so it was only right that the states had a say in the operation of that government. The 17th Amendment changed that, turning Senators from representatives of the states into super Congressmen, elected just like the House of Representatives yet still serving for six years. Finally, 1913 also saw the creation of the Federal Reserve Banking System, a quasi-independent group of bankers that had enormous control over the monetary system of the nation. With these three changes, the federal government now had almost unlimited power. They had their own source of income, they could directly manipulate the economy, and states no longer had a say in its actions. It didn’t have to be this way.


The Great Depression began in 1929 after a decade of unprecedented prosperity. Herbert Hoover, far from being the hands-off, laissez-faire president that public school textbooks portray, was a civil engineer by trade, and sought to fix the economy like one would fix a broken machine. This was the opposite philosophy of his predecessor, Calvin Coolidge, who figured that American business could run itself without government intervention. Of course, Hoover’s interference only made the Depression worse, and in 1932 American voters turned to Franklin Roosevelt, who promised a “New Deal”. This New Deal, of course, was simply more government intervention: price controls, excessive regulation, civil service, social security, and more. When the Supreme Court struck down parts of the New Deal as unconstitutional, President Roosevelt simply threatened to pack the Court itself, and they soon became compliant in his schemes. Rather than standing down after two terms, President Roosevelt ran for reelection a third time in 1940. Only his death at the beginning of his fourth term in 1945 finally ended his imperial reign. A funny coincidence of history is that in 1933, new leaders took power in both the United States and Germany. Both leaders would radically reshape their nation’s economy and society, and would stay in office past when precedent dictated they should retire. Both leaders would involve their nations in bloody wars, and each of these leaders would die within mere weeks of each other, and just before the war’s end. I know comparisons to Adolf Hitler are rather gauche, but this one is uncanny. When American voters elected Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, did they realize they were setting up a dictator for life? It didn’t have to be this way.


As World War II flared up across the world, a large majority of Americans wanted to stay out. They remembered the horrors of World War I and saw no reason to send their sons to die in another foreign adventure. Yet the government saw things different. President Roosevelt very much wanted to involve the United States in this war and was using every power available to him to send money and material to Great Britain, and later the Soviet Union. He pushed Congress to give him more and more power, arming the Red Army of the Soviet Union after Hitler at the same time as imposing embargoes on the Empire of Japan, which pushed that nation ever closer to war as well. While Winston Churchill remarked that “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons,” it is hard to see the wisdom of choosing sides between Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. Sure, the Nazis were evil, as we have been taught for the past 75 years, but so were the Soviets. Stalin killed more people than Hitler, but the hammer and sickle has not been given the same stigma as the swastika has in polite society. To continue Churchill’s metaphor, by virtue of Hitler’s invasion of Hell, our media now goes as far as to say that the devil is actually a good guy. It didn’t have to be this way.


After World War II, rather than returning to the status quo ante bellum of America First, we instead projected our military and economic power throughout the world. We established bases in the defeated nations of Japan, Germany, and Italy – bases which we still operate today, 75 years after the war’s end. We intervened in Korea, Vietnam, and numerous other places. We involved ourselves in NATO, the UN, the IMF, and many other international organizations – every single one of which subtly chipped away at American sovereignty. After the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union in 1991 we doubled down on foreign entanglements rather than returning to the old ways. The result has been chaos. We spend massive taxpayer subsidies to countries all over the world whether allies or enemies, whether civilized nations or barbaric tribes. Our military is deployed in every hellhole country from Central America to the Middle East. It took eight years to win independence from Britain and four to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, yet as of this recording we have been mired in Afghanistan for nearly eighteen years, with nothing to show for it. It didn’t have to be this way!

Afghanistan War Grown Up

In the forty years leading up to 1965, immigration to America was tightly controlled. After the influx of migrants in the late 1800s, the American people decided to put the brakes on immigration until several generations of newcomers had fully assimilated. It worked – the generations that came after the 1924 Immigration Act were the generations that won World War II, created the atomic bomb, landed on the moon, and established the most prosperous society in the history of the world. Yet this was not enough for Phillip Hart, Emanuel Celler, Ted Kennedy, and the rest who pushed through the new Immigration Act of 1965. With that Act, they threw open the doors of America to everybody, falsely promising that it would not alter the existing demographic character of our society. Yet today we have massively changing demographics, while mainstream media celebrates the upcoming minority status of the descendants of America’s founders. New Americans bring with them the pretensions of their old countries, which in many cases are incompatible with the traditions and ideas that have defined America since its founding. In America today there are places where English is not spoken, where the flag is desecrated rather than honored, where socialism is promoted and hard work is denigrated, where Christianity is spat upon while Islam and paganism are triumphant. But it didn’t have to be this way.


Last June, mass media took part in the largest celebration of deviant behavior yet as they celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In 1969, police attempted to shut down a mafia-owned gay bar in New York that was hosting illegal and deviant activities, and homosexual activists rioted in response. Homosexuals remember this as their own little American Revolution, claiming that all they wanted was freedom to live how they wanted and love whom they chose. Yet today, homosexual activists are using the power of government to force Christian bakers to create cakes celebrating degeneracy with horrific symbols. A so-called transgender person is trying to force female salon employees to wax his private parts because he claims to be female. Demonic-looking drag queens are taking over public libraries and indoctrinating children. Young boys are being brainwashed by activist parents to dress in girls’ clothing and dance for the lustful eyes of gay men. Our conservative activists did not bother stopping any of this, because they were too busy convincing Americans to sign up for endless foreign wars to give any care about the moral fabric of our society.


It didn’t have to be this way, but it is. There were numerous off-ramps from the highway to hell that we find ourselves on, but we have missed them all. We cannot go back and take the path not traveled.  We must live with the choices made by previous generations. As always, the only question before us is “how then shall we live?” When you see even conservative Christian families succumbing to the propaganda and dysfunction of our society, tell yourself that it doesn’t have to be this way for your family. Keep yourself and your family physically healthy – eat right and lift heavy things. Keep yourself and your family mentally healthy – learn new things rather than watching television all day. Keep yourself and your family spiritually healthy – shut down the propaganda that is delivered through mass media, popular culture, and the public schools, and read the Bible and the Great Books of Christendom to your children. Take responsibility for the well-being of your family rather than outsourcing it to daycare, television, or the internet. The decline and fall of America is a foregone conclusion at this point, the seeds of which have been germinating for more than a century. Don’t lament what we have lost, but focus on what we have, and what will be. Your children and your children’s children deserve to live in a society that loves God and honors the traditions of their ancestors. It is their generation that will rebuild Western Civilization. Remember the past and learn from the mistakes that are forefathers made along the way. As you observe the United States collapsing around you, remember that it doesn’t have to be that way for us.


Episode 16: It Didn’t Have To Be This Way

(The essay version of this podcast can be found here.)

American society often feels like a dystopian nightmare, as the moral fabric of our country is being torn to shreds all around us. But it didn’t have to be this way. Our ancestors made specific choices at specific moments in time that led to where we are today.

Listen here, or listen, subscribe, and review at iTunes.

The Eagle Has Landed

(The audio version of this essay can be found here.)

There is a lot going lately that further illustrates the ongoing decline and fall of our nation. However, I would like to put that aside briefly and instead discuss a moment in time when our nation reached the summit of all human experience, a moment that will forever define the history of our country and of our civilization.

Fifty years ago, a Saturn V rocket lifted off from the coast of Florida with three brave men strapped inside a tiny capsule. Destination: The Sea of Tranquility, on the surface of the moon. Four days later, two of these men, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, would become the first humans to set foot on another world. The third, Michael Collins, would become the loneliest man in history as he orbited the moon in the command module, more isolated than any human had ever been before. In an interview for the fiftieth anniversary of the launch, Collins was asked yet again what it was like being so alone. He answered, “I had coffee, I had music… I enjoyed the time.”


This feat was neither impossible, like conspiracy theorists like to claim, nor easy, as it must sometimes seem in retrospect. The first moon landing was the result of more than a decade of hard work and preparation by astronauts and engineers. Yet it was more than just the end of the space race. The moon landing was, in many ways, the culmination of every achievement in human history. For thousands of years, mankind had looked up at the moon in the sky and wondered. For all human history, the moon has been there, a constant presence, its regular phases guiding us as we marked time through untold eons. Its influence was felt even in the tides that defined life next to the ocean, and whose predictability were necessary for sea travel.


By the late 19th century, technology spurred by the industrial revolution had reached a point that people were seriously talking about someday reaching the moon. Authors such as HG Wells and Jules Verne wrote fantastic stories about daring voyages to the moon. The advent of rocketry by such pioneers as the American Robert Goddard, the Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, and the German Werner von Braun brought the idea of a moon landing a little closer to reality. World War II put that thought on hold for a while, as technology was diverted from adventure and scientific research to weapons of war. Von Braun, notably, was made to build rockets that could carry warheads to London rather than the moon, but after the war he was recruited by the United States. Early American rocketry was ostensibly for weaponry as well, but von Braun and others saw the potential in these rockets for interplanetary spaceflight.


On October 4, 1957, Russia launched Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. It orbited the earth while emitting a radio signal that even hobbyists in their brand-new suburban garages could pick up. For humanity, this was a watershed moment, as we had for the first time crafted a machine that left the atmosphere and circled the planet. For the United States, this was terrifying. The evil Soviet empire had proven they could launch a machine that could travel to any point over the entire world, out of range of American defenses. If they could launch a satellite, why not a nuclear bomb? President Eisenhower’s administration acted quickly to close the perceived “missile gap”, expanding the budget of military and government rocket arms and pushing young men and women to go into scientific research after high school. NASA was created at this time, and Project Mercury was formed with seven test pilots chosen to prepare to be the first men to fly into space aboard the Mercury-Redstone rockets. The Space Race was on!


The United States was embarrassed again, however, as it was a Russian and not an American who was the first to leave the surly bonds of earth. While Project Mercury suffered setbacks, Russia again made history by sending cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit around the earth on April 12, 1961. Russia had previously sent the first animal to space when Laika the dog went up in Sputnik 2. To the layman, it appeared that the United States was falling hopelessly behind. President Kennedy, recently elected to succeed Eisenhower, pledged to do whatever it took to land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in outer space aboard Freedom 7. Early in 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth aboard Friendship 7.


In all, six of the Mercury 7 astronauts flew in space. Deke Slayton ended up grounded by an irregular heartbeat but would eventually make it to orbit in 1975 on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a joint mission with the Soviet Union during a period of detente. The United States would be beaten to one more milestone when Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first man to walk in space on March 18, 1965. The next four years, however, were all American victories. Russia’s space program stalled after the death of lead engineer Sergei Korolev in 1966. Meanwhile, NASA was working on perfecting the tools and skills needed to attempt a moon landing. Buzz Aldrin, one of the astronauts who had been recruited by NASA for the Gemini missions, had written his doctoral thesis on orbital rendezvous, a skill which would prove important en route to the moon. The first successful rendezvous occurred when astronaut Wally Schirra maneuvered his Gemini 6 capsule to within one foot of Gemini 7 in December of 1965. A few months later, Neil Armstrong docked Gemini 8 with an unmanned NASA capsule, but a thruster malfunction forced him to abort the mission. His quick thinking and courage during the emergency likely saved his life along with the other astronaut on board, David Scott.


While Alexei Leonov had been the first man to walk in space, and American astronaut Ed White had also done so, it was not until November of 1966 that a spacewalk was successfully concluded without issue. Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell flew the final mission of Project Gemini, Gemini 12. Lovell made a perfect docking maneuver with an unmanned vehicle while Aldrin spent three hours outside the capsule. After the issues faced by Ed White in the first American spacewalk, it had been Aldrin himself who came up with the idea of practicing underwater. Project Gemini had given NASA the experience needed to take the next step on the road to the moon: Project Apollo. The Apollo capsule would feature three astronauts, with one staying behind in the command module while two went down in the Lunar Excursion Module to land on the moon and then return, dock with the command module, and come back to earth. The first planned flight, however, ended in tragedy.


On January 27, 1967, the crew of Apollo 1 were practicing for their launch, scheduled for the following month. The mission was commanded by Gus Grissom, a veteran of both Project Mercury and Project Gemini, who would probably have been the first man on the moon if not for what happened. With him were Ed White, the first American to walk in space, and Roger Chafee, a rookie astronaut. During this practice run, however, something went horribly wrong. A wire somewhere sparked, and in the pressurized pure oxygen atmosphere of the capsule it turned into an inferno in mere seconds. The doors could not open against the high pressure and the three astronauts were asphyxiated in the hellish flames in moments.


Ironically, the issue with the doors was due to a previous accident that involved Gus Grissom. On the second flight of Project Mercury, Liberty Bell 7, the door had been explosively opened early after splashdown, causing the craft to sink to the ocean floor. Grissom was initially accused of accidentally hitting the button too early, a charge that he always denied. Engineers for the Apollo capsule had tried to fix the issue by removing the explosive bolts. Without them, though, the mechanically operated door was impossible to open against the high pressure of the inferno.


The Apollo 1 accident shocked NASA and the nation. Project Apollo was grounded for a year while engineers went over every part of the capsule to make sure the accident could never happen again. Hearings were held in Congress. NASA had essentially admitted that they rushed parts of the program to meet the late President Kennedy’s deadline. Now that they had taken a year to fix the problems caused by this rush, would they still make it to the moon before 1970? It was not until October of 1968 that a manned Apollo mission finally took place. Apollo 7, as it was known, was a test flight of the new Apollo command module. Its crew was commanded by Wally Schirra along with Don Eisele and Walter Cunningham. Their successful mission restored America’s faith in Project Apollo.


In December of 1968, Frank Borman, Bill Anders, and Jim Lovell became the first men to leave low earth orbit. For the first time, men experienced firsthand the power of Werner von Braun’s mighty Saturn V rocket, whose size and power were necessary to apply the thrust needed to reach the moon.  Apollo 8 orbited the moon at Christmastime, and the three men made a live broadcast back to earth that is remembered as one of the most emotional moments in human history. They each took turns reading from the book of Genesis, describing God’s creation of the earth, and closed with “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.” In a year that had seen riots, political assassinations, and seemingly endless war and death, the flight of Apollo 8 had brought hope to humanity. The astronauts became the first humans to look upon the entire globe of earth at once, and the pictures they took reminded people down here that we were all together on this planet.


The next two Apollo missions continued testing the things that would be needed for a moon landing. Apollo 9 stayed in low earth orbit and Rusty Schweickart piloted the lunar module a hundred miles away from the command module before returning and docking once more. A few weeks later, Tom Stafford, John Young, and Gene Cernan took Apollo 10 to low moon orbit, just a few dozen kilometers above the surface. It was a dress rehearsal for what would come next. On July 16, 1969, veteran astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins lifted off in Apollo 11, bound for the surface of the moon.


Once in lunar orbit, Armstrong and Aldrin climbed aboard the lunar module, named Eagle, leaving Collins behind in the command module, Columbia. Armstrong piloted the LEM down to the surface of the moon, taking manual control from the computer when it appeared the autopilot was going to put them down in a crater full of boulders. There were only mere seconds left of fuel when he touched down, any more time and they would have had to abort. But Armstrong, the veteran test pilot and astronaut who calmly saved Gemini 8, was cool and collected. Mission Control, on the other hand, was full of breathless people. Yet from the moon came the voice of Armstrong: “Tranquility Base here: The Eagle has landed.”


No matter what achievements mankind has yet to accomplish, we may never again reach the heights we did on July 20, 1969, fifty years ago. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, backed by countless men and women involved in the project, accomplished the dream of mankind since the first days of consciousness. We conquered space and put our flag, the American flag, on the surface of the moon. Since then we have accomplished many things – mobile phones, the internet, robots vacuuming our floors, and more. Yet what can compare to a human being setting foot on another world for the first time? Today we have robots on the surface of Mars, as well as on comets and asteroids. We sent a satellite that flew by Pluto, and the Voyager probes have left the solar system. Yet the moon landing stands alone as the peak of all human accomplishment. A human stepping foot on Mars someday will be historical and amazing, for sure, but it will merely be an echo of Armstrong’s famous steps from the LEM to the surface of the moon.


In the space of two generations, mankind had created the first airplane, crossed the oceans in it, created the first rocket, and then set foot upon the moon. Someone born in 1870 would have grown up in a world without cars, electricity, phones, radio, or television, only to see all those things and more, culminating in the moon landing, before turning 100. Since then, however, our airplanes have not grown any faster and humans have not gone further than Armstrong did – in fact, no human has set foot on the moon since Project Apollo ended in 1972. A thousand years from now humanity will look back on the events of July 1969 as the peak of human history. While our gadgets might be better today, our civilization has surely declined. We won the Space Race but lost much of our culture. For now, however, we need not dwell on what we have lost. Let us instead remember the achievements of that great generation of Americans who won the world war and conquered outer space. Remember the difficulties they faced and the tragedy they endured. Honor their bold and daring spirits.


I could talk for hours about the heroes of America’s Space Age… of Alan Shepherd, the first American in space, whose inner ear problem grounded him until he commanded Apollo 14 ten years later, and he became the only one of the Mercury 7 to walk on the moon. He even brought his golf club, hitting a ball for miles and miles. Or of David Scott, Armstrong’s copilot on Gemini 8, who finally put to rest a theory that had vexed physicists since the time of Galileo when he dropped a hammer and a feather at the same time in the vacuum of the moon. Or of John Young, who smuggled a corned beef sandwich onboard Gemini 3, later drove the moon rover, and finally piloted Space Shuttle Columbia on her maiden flight. That is not to mention the countless men and women of mission control and the Manned Space Center who worked tirelessly to fulfill President Kennedy’s charge to send men to the moon and bring them back again safely.


It is in our nature to explore our world. In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in Hispaniola, the first European since the Vikings to visit the New World. In the sand of that island he planted the flag of Spain, who had financed his adventure. But of course, there were already native people, other human beings, living in the New World. When Neil Armstrong planted the American flag on the moon in 1969, he had truly gone where no man had ever gone before.

Neil Armstrong

Episode 15: The Eagle Has Landed

(The essay version of this podcast can be found here.)

Today I present a special early edition of the podcast to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. On this day fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins set forth on the most spectacular journey in human history, and accomplished the dream of mankind since the first time we looked up into the sky. There might never again be an achievement as grand as landing on the moon.

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Episode 14: The End of the Constitution

(The essay version of this podcast can be found here.)

No matter how bad things get in our country, most conservatives still retain a sense of pride and optimism in the United States because of our history, tradition, and especially our Constitution. Patriotic conservatives believe that the Constitution is an everlasting protection against tyranny in our land. But is it really? I posit that the Constitution of the United States has failed to prevent the erosion of our heritage and our natural rights that we see today.

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Independence Day 2019

In 1776, representatives of the Thirteen Colonies signed a Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Their differences with the Crown and Parliament had become too great. Ever since Parliament levied taxes against the Colonies in order to pay for the Seven Years War, patriots had become more and more outspoken against Britain’s exercise of sovereignty over their distant possessions. It was more than just a dispute over taxation, representation, and justice, however. In the centuries since the first British settlers had arrived in Jamestown and Plymouth in the early 17th century, the American colonists had developed into a separate people from their motherland.

The political and economic issues that sparked the American Revolution in 1775 are dwarfed by the issues we face today. The American colonists enjoyed political and economic freedom that we today can barely dream of. How many colonists had to file a tax return every year enumerating every dollar they made and send thirty percent of it to the Crown? Did the colonists need to file years of expensive permits in order to build a house or a business? Were the colonists issued a government number at birth that will be used to track them for their entire life?  Which colonists faced ostracism and even prosecution because they dared hold the same opinions as their grandparents?

If George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin could see what the country the fought to create has become they would surely be dismayed. Of his many achievements, Jefferson counted the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia as his greatest, even more than two terms as President. Yet today, mainstream media outlets such as Vox and Salon are writing about how horrible, racist, sexist, and evil the Declaration and the Revolution were. In the meantime, Jefferson’s beloved University of Virginia has said that they will no longer celebrate their founder’s birthday. The country bequeathed by our founders no longer belongs to their descendants, but instead to latecomers who have no loyalty nor respect for the men who created this nation.

As we celebrate our independence from Great Britain, take a moment to think about your own place in this country we love. Declare your own independence from the propaganda that is poisoning the minds of the next generation. Declare your independence from the nutritional propaganda that would keep you fat, sick, and addicted to expensive medications. Declare your independence from a consumerist mindset that says you must work hard in order to buy useless junk to validate your existence. Declare your independence from a school system that steals the minds and the souls of your children. Finally, declare your independence from the bread and circuses that keep you from realizing your true potential.

Independence Day is more than just barbecues and fireworks. It is a time to remember what our ancestors stood for; what they lived for and what they died for. Our fathers and their fathers fought and died to grant us the freedom that we take for granted. It is up to you to bequeath the inheritance you received from them to your own sons and grandsons. There is no better way to honor the memory of our founders than to pass on the country they built to our posterity.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Episode 13: There’s No Going Back

A lot of people on both left and right believe that the nationalist and populist uprising in the United States, as exemplified by President Trump, is an aberration. History, however, suggests otherwise. We have crossed a threshold in American society, and there is no going back.

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