Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Proceed Ever More Boldly (Dan McCarthy)

Daniel McCarthy says the American Revolution in 1776 faced far bleaker circumstances than we face today, and we should follow the example of those revolutionaries and proceed ever more boldly against evils:

“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 their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

As my friend and colleague Jonathan Bydlak has pointed out before, the American Revolution—the very thing whose legacy Ron Paul is fighting to keep alive—had darker days in 1776 than anything we have yet faced. George Washington and the Continental Army, as well as the American irregulars who fought for their own homes and families even apart from the organized army, lost battle after battle that fall and the following winter, ceding New York and New Jersey to the British and retreating into Pennsylvania.

Our country was on the brink of being reabsorbed into the empire from which it had struggled to break free, and our revolution was close to being extinguished in spirit as well as in the flesh—and that crushing of the American spirit would have been the one defeat from which there could be no recovery. Think of George Orwell’s 1984, where the ultimate horror was not the endless wars between Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia or the state’s unlimited powers of surveillance and control, but the crushing of one man’s spirit at the end of the novel.

The American revolutionaries, unlike Winston Smith in 1984, did not break. They rallied. George Washington put his troops through grueling training at Valley Forge. Tom Paine wrote The Crisis, whose words I’ve quoted above, to rekindle the spark of liberty in our hearts. Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life did whatever was in their power to keep the revolution going. Our revolutionary forefathers heeded the words that many of them had read in the Latin epic The Aeneid: tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. “Do not give in to evils, but proceed ever more boldly against them.” Those words would later become the motto of the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, whose work has contributed so much to inspire Ron Paul and his revolutionary fight for a return to limited government.

The sacrifices that are now asked of us in our fight against the Leviathan state are minuscule compared to those of our revolutionary forefathers or those of Professor Mises, who fled Austria as the Nazis consolidated their state power. But we fight for the same spirit that animated Washington, Jefferson, and Mises. And because the burdens upon us are so much lighter by comparison, we have that much less reason to give in to evils or give up on our efforts. If ours is a long, long struggle, so be it: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.”

Already the Ron Paul revolution has achieved more than even its own founding father dared dream. Nobody anticipated that in a field of eleven Republican candidates, Ron Paul would be among the last four standing, outdistancing one-time “frontrunners” Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. There is still much more good work to be done, if we are willing to do it—if we do not give in to evils. And there are two obvious places to start or continue in that good work: by contributing to Ron Paul’s campaign and by organizing the revolution for peace and liberty in your neighborhood by becoming a Precinct Leader. These times may try our souls, but the example of those who have gone before us still lead us ever more boldly onward.

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