The Declaration of Independence… Minus Politics

I’ll begin this post by admitting that I have an affinity for “declarations” and even for “manifestos.” Whether they be particularly good or bad, the people writing such things have invested more passion in these documents than most people have ever invested in anything. By itself, I think that’s worthy of respect. Right or wrong, the people who write such things are actively living… they are energetically engaging with herculean issues.

This world would be a lot farther along if more people had the courage and drive to do such things. It takes a lot of guts to write and publish a manifesto.

I further admit that I’m an ardent and long-time admirer of Thomas Jefferson.

And so, today I’m editing Jefferson’s Declaration on Independence. I’m really changing only one aspect of it, though it’s a significant aspect: I’m taking out the politics. And that, interestingly enough, leaves us with a document that revolves around morality and liberty.

Editorial Notes

Here are a few editorial notes on my version:

  1. As much as I admire the preamble to the Declaration (“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another….”), it’s about politics: nations separating themselves and so on. My version is apolitical. Like many others, I’m convinced that politics is, to use an American legal phrase, “fruit from the poisonous tree.” It derives from the practice of men ruling over other men, and I find that whole exercise degenerate.

  2. I’m ignoring all the complaints against King George. They’re also tied to politics, as well as being way out of date.

  3. Likewise I’m ignoring all the complaints about Britain in general.

  4. In order to keep the document pertinent to Americans, I’ve left the remaining text unchanged. That is, except for removing political material and doing some minor rewording around it, I have altered not a single word. I even left the old-style capitalizations in place. You can check the original text here.

This version, then, is shorter than the original. It’s also, and more importantly, an enlightening read. And it certainly should be for Americans, who tend to claim it as the justification for their way of life.

The Declaration

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. – That when any organization becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to separate from it, and to institute new arrangements, laying their foundations on such principles and organizing them in such forms, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that established arrangements should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such arrangements, and to provide new arrangements.

We, therefore, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of good people everywhere, solemnly publish and declare, That we are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent; that we are Absolved from all Allegiance and have full Power to conduct our own affairs.

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.

My Own Experience

My eyes opened to the Declaration in High School, where a copy of it hung on a schoolroom wall. I read the second section – “We hold these truths…” – and was awestruck by it.

My first impression, and a powerful one, was that this was the truth… that the ideas underneath this were the right ideas to live by… the right way to order my life.

My second impression, coming a second or two later from I know not where, was very simple:

No one believes this.

But whether anyone believes them or not, the core principles of the Declaration – the core principles of what’s written above – define a moral universe suited to all decent men and women. I think we should take it seriously.

* * * * *

As it turns out, history was never too hard to understand; they just told you the wrong story.

Comments from readers:

“This is the most amazing little book I have read on history in 36 years of reading history.”

“It will change the way you look at nearly everything.”

“I will flat out say that this is the best history book I have ever read… I am fairly well read, but I learned a tremendous amount that I hadn’t known before or hadn’t aligned so that it made sense.”

“This is the best and clearest description of the history of Western civilization I have ever read.”

“Packed with insights on every page concerning how the world came to be the way it is and what we might expect in the future.”

Get it at Amazon or on Kindle.

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Perpetual Abuse in the Catholic Church

CatholicChurch

Before I get to details, let me be clear that I am not trying to destroy the Church, and I’m certainly not criticizing individual Catholics, most of whom are decent human beings and good neighbors. (And the victims in this as well.)

The Church has a problem… a huge problem. Furthermore, the problem is very old and will never go away until its cause is removed. So long as the cause remains, the effects will forever follow. Scribbles on official papers have no chance of changing it.

Pittsburgh

By now you’ve probably heard about the big new scandal: Some 300 priests abused some 1000+ boys and girls in Pennsylvania. You can find the heroic report here.

I have to add, however, that the story has been given rather spotty coverage. Several major outlets covered it very little or not at all.

The report linked above did an excellent job of explaining how these things are covered up by the Church. It goes like this:

  1. Never say “rape”; say “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.”

  2. Assign fellow clergy members to make credibility determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work.

  3. Send priests for “evaluation” at church-run psychiatric treatment centers. Allow these so-called experts to “diagnose” whether the priest is a pedophile. Base these determinations largely on the priest’s “self -reports,” regardless of whether the priest has actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.

  4. When a priest is removed, don’t explain Tell his parishioners that he’s on “sick leave” or suffering from “nervous exhaustion.” Or say nothing at all.

  5. Even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults.

  6. If a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, don’t remove him from the priesthood. Instead, transfer him to a new location where no one will know he is a child abuser.

  7. Above all, don’t tell the police. Handle it as a personnel matter.

But these revelations, as disgusting as they are, are merely the most recent. (See other recent revelations here.) This has been going on for roughly a thousand years, continuously.

And so long as celibacy requirements remain, this will continue and nothing will stop it. Consider this, please:

  1. Celibacy weaponizes sexual urges. It also drives normal young men away from the priesthood, leaving a high percentage of damaged or corruptible young men in their wake.

  2. If the Church cracks down too hard on abusive clergy, they may run out of priests (there’s already a significant shortage in the US), and the continuation of the Church comes into question.

Like it or not, that’s the situation, and it has been this way since celibacy became required (in stages, from about 305 AD to 1139 AD). And it continues unabated. It will not stop so long as celibacy is required for Catholic priests.

And for those who didn’t know, celibacy was not promoted by Jesus. Furthermore, some of the apostles (including St. Peter) were married.

My Stories

I’ve been close to Catholics and Catholicism most of my life, and I’ve accumulated stories along the way. Since stories of this kind never receive public attention, I want to share them here.

The half-married priest

I used to live down the hall from a devout Catholic mother and daughter. And over time, I couldn’t help noticing that after Sunday services, a particular priest would come to their house for lunch. He’d also stop in certain afternoons… times at which the mother would be away for some hours.

Clearly, the priest and the daughter were a couple. In fact, they were a long-term, loving couple. I felt sorry for them. They were both decent people but were condemned to a life in the shadows, and they would never have a normal family.

This was, sad to say, one of the best cases, in which all the sexual activity was voluntary, even if potentially shaming and certainly difficult to reconcile with what these people called holy.

The seminaries of the 1970s

I knew a woman from a Catholic family whose younger brother decided to become a priest. After three weeks at the seminary, his mother went for a visit, whereupon he told her, “Get me out of here, now!”

Horrified, the mother, a devout Catholic who’d been very proud that her son would become a priest, said she couldn’t and demanded to know why.

“They’re all queers,” said the son, vehemently. The mother, doubly horrified, insisted that it could not be so.

“Take me to a doctor and have him examine me!” shouted the son.

The mother, to her credit, did take the boy to a doctor. Then she confronted Church officials and had the boy excused from the seminary, contrary to the rules. And if I recall correctly, the other children in the family got free schooling from then on.

No one was punished of course, and the matter disappeared.

The abuser with improbable connections

I had some business dealings with a former priest who was tried in a high-profile sex abuse case. But I didn’t know who he was at the time; I met him in my normal course of business and thought no more about it until someone alerted me to the fact.

Somehow, this man went directly from his parish to run a fairly large industry association… apparently with no experience in the industry at all.

How that could happen is an intriguing question.

It’s Always the Poor Kids

Before I conclude, I want to point out that the kids who are abused are nearly always from poor and/or broken families. Abusers don’t go after rich kids whose parents have the resources to fry them.

So, the poor are set up to be victimized yet again… by self-avowed “advocates for the poor.”

So…

I want to state the obvious one more time:

It is the celibacy requirement that’s driving the sexual abuse of poor, weak, and especially, young Catholics… and has been driving it for some 1,000 years. So long as this cause remains, its effects will remain. Period.

Celibacy had no root whatsoever in early Christianity. At this point it remains only because giving it up would diminish the honor of the Church.

And so, with each passing year, more children will be sacrificed (that is, destroyed) for the honor of the Church.

At what point do we start crying, “Moloch”?

* * * * *

As it turns out, history was never too hard to understand; they just told you the wrong story.

Comments from readers:

“This is the most amazing little book I have read on history in 36 years of reading history.”

“It will change the way you look at nearly everything.”

“I will flat out say that this is the best history book I have ever read… I am fairly well read, but I learned a tremendous amount that I hadn’t known before or hadn’t aligned so that it made sense.”

“This is the best and clearest description of the history of Western civilization I have ever read.”

“Packed with insights on every page concerning how the world came to be the way it is and what we might expect in the future.”

Get it at Amazon or on Kindle.

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Lift Up Your Eyes

YourEyes

When was the last time you tasted the sublime?

When did you last feel wonder?

Can you remember feeling awed by something?

These are things we need, if we are to thrive. They are fuel for the higher human abilities. If we lack them, as is currently endemic throughout the West, our higher abilities will lag.

For lack of better terms we can call these feelings “upward movements of the heart,” and we are diminished when there is a lack of them. Without them we fail to develop our higher capacities and insights. We slide more and more toward becoming, in one critic’s words, “mere trousered apes.”

I am certainly not the first person to notice this. Here, for example, is something Albert Einstein wrote on the subject:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Here’s a comment from Mozart:

Neither a lofty degree of intelligence, nor imagination, nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.

And here’s a poem from Richard Feynman:

Out of the cradle
onto the dry land
here it is
standing:
atoms with consciousness;
matter with curiosity.

Stands at the sea
wonders at wondering: I
a universe of atoms
an atom in the universe.

We need these things.

Currents to the Contrary

Sadly, the modern West has become a mad scramble to distract as many sets of eyes as possible, and to keep them – to own them – for as long as possible. And so long as professional distractors own your imagination, you won’t experience much in the way of awe.

Think of Google and Facebook; these outfits bring in billions of dollars per month, based almost entirely on how much human attention they can capture. Likewise the many news networks; they get paid according to how many people watch their images for how many minutes. These people are serious about owning your brain cycles; they employ armies of employees to count, gather, plan, and improve their ownership of your eyes.

Please understand the content they deliver serves only to grasp your attention.

Certainly websites like Freeman’s Perspective also want your attention but not for its own sake. I want your attention because I think we have something worthwhile to communicate, not to own your brain. Facebook and Google want to own you… the inner you.

Likewise the lords of academia((I am not including kind, benevolent teachers in this group… some of whom still survive in modern academia.)); they want your mind to bear their impress… permanently.

Consider, for example, the many academics who espouse cold, rationalist, materialistic philosophies: that we are no more than preprogrammed machines, that words can never really communicate anything, that humanity is ignorant and dangerous.

Have you noticed that they reek of “smarter than thou”?

Then if you have the opportunity, examine their lives for beautiful acts, for loving passions, for kindness and deep benevolence. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll notice a striking lack of those things.

The Contrasts

Among the greatest of all contrasts to the upward movements of the heart are those pertaining to dominance, status, and rulership. They are natural antagonists.

Think of drinking in the wonders of the universe, the beauty of nature, the glorious love between a good parent and their child… and then contrast those things with the blight of the dominator “protecting” you at the point of a sword… of the politician cultivating your fears like a gardener cultivates a garden… of the lover of status who feels pleasure when seeing you beneath her.

Dominance, status, and rulership are the drives of the people who abuse us. And they are primary causes for our elevated experiences being diminished.

Moving Past the Blockage

We need to get away from these people and beyond these foul concepts. And once we do, life will expand. Here to make that point is a final quote, this one from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel:

The loss of awe is the avoidance of insight. A return to reverence is the first prerequisite for a revival of wisdom…

The things that contribute to our higher nature have been driven away from the Western world, and often systematically. Humans who are denuded of the higher things are far less trouble to rule, and they are far easier to manipulate… to own without their noticing.

But don’t let yourself by driven away from the higher and better things:

Lay under the stars and wonder.

Look into the face of a child and experience his or her awe of the world.

Sit in the wilderness and imagine benevolence and beauty and goodness unchained.

Lie in bed and imagine yourself with a conscious sense of righteousness.

Imagine yourself with no embedded fear.

Ruminate over good things you could do in the future, over beautiful things you’d do in the right circumstances.

Politics poisons this, dominators wish to subdue it, sociopaths cannot experience it.

Get as much of it as you can. Go out of your way to cultivate it.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.

  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 4: The Sanitarium

TheSanitarium
When I walked into our latest TCM lunch, I saw a few new members, two of whom were young women. That made me feel good, because there had been a flaw in most 20th century liberty movements, in that they never drew many women. Liberation movements of the past featured lots of women, many of whom showed more courage than the men.
So, I took it as a healthy sign that women were showing up at our lunch, as indeed they do at Bitcoin meetups.
The group discussed a new ridesharing service that seemed to be an improvement (Libre Taxi) and decided that they were worth checking out. Nikos volunteered for the job, and the rest of us gave him a list of things to look into. After that, we moved into a discussion of recent events in the cryptocurrency world.
But through all of this one of the young women, Esther, jumped in with questions, mostly directed to me, on side subjects. That was odd. And they were odd questions like, “Why do people care about beauty?” and, “Have you ever spent time with mentally challenged people?” She was polite and tried to avoid derailing the main conversation, but she clearly had some alternative purpose. So, I answered her as best I could and waited to see where she was headed.
I soon found that she was going nowhere I had imagined.
As the meeting broke up, she asked me to stay and talk, and so I did. We sat at the empty end of the bar.
“I had reasons to ask you those questions,” she said.
“I was pretty sure of that,” I responded, offering a small smile, which she returned ever so briefly. Then she handed me a card that read: Mueller Sanitarium for the Chronically Ill.
“That’s where I live,” she added. “Myself, my mother, and about dozen others. We want you to come help us.”
I was lost and could only reply, “I’d be glad to help, but I’m not a doctor.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “We’re not really sick.”
And if that wasn’t enough to send my mind reeling, she added that the people at the sanitarium already liked me.
“How’s that?” I squeezed out.
She explained that they had seen an article I wrote on children being tortured in schools a few years back. And for that, they trusted me.
“That’s very nice,” I said, “but I’m entirely lost here, Esther. What is this sanitarium and what would you like me to do? And I should add that I have very limited time these days. It’s stretching it for me to make these lunches.”
“I know,” she said, “but once I explain, I think you’ll make at least a bit of time.”
I nodded and waited for her to continue. And what a story she told.
The residents of the sanitarium, Esther explained, had once called themselves “The Rejects.” I immediately stiffened, displaying my objection. No one should accept such a verdict; it’s an offense to human dignity itself.
“They no longer use that,” she added, “but I want you to understand this. These are people who are very homely or physically deformed… the kinds of people who were tortured in schools, pointed at, and insulted all their lives. Either that or tucked away in an asylum, where they’d simply be housed till they died.”
“And they really have their own place, where they live together?”
“They do,” she assured me. “The sanitarium sign, even if it’s false, provides protection for them. Behind it they’re not bothered, and they can live without torment.”
She was right; I very definitely wanted to help these people. I immediately made an appointment to see them, but I needed more information. This was a wild story, and I needed to understand it.
Esther began by explaining herself. “My mom,” she said, “is a very homely woman. She never once had a man who was interested in her.”
“I’m sorry,” I injected.
“We all are,” she said, “but there was nothing to be done about it, and so, after decades of crying, blaming God, hating the world, and hating herself, she found that she was still a human being with choices, thoughts, and dreams. She decided that she could either wallow for the rest of her life in the same old pool of pain or she could start living out of her inner self, which wasn’t ugly if she didn’t want it to be.
“And that,” she said with her first real smile, “is how I came into the world.”
Esther’s mother, as it turns out, had been one of the early customers for in vitro fertilization. She had always wanted a child and wasn’t yet past the age limit for pregnancy, and so she decided to do what she wanted. She found the appropriate doctor, picked the best looking sperm donor she could find, and had her baby. (Here I should add that Esther turned out to be an attractive young lady.)
Esther was raised at the Sanitarium and mainly homeschooled there. She went off to college for a few years and then returned. Now she’s setting up businesses for the residents… which became necessary because their bank account, after nearly 30 years, was finally running out. But even more than that, Esther told me, “They’ve learned, slowly, that they can do most of the things pretty people do… and now they want to do them.”

More to Come

I’m already running long for a weekly post, so I’ll stop here. But there is definitely more to come.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Calling Things by Their True Names

CallingThings

Somewhere along my travels, I found an old Chinese proverb that says this:

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their true names.

I’ve found a great deal of value in that little saying. It is, in fact, a fundamental building block of human development. So long as we call things by false names, we maintain our own confusion and contribute to our own abuse.

So, today I want to examine several instances of calling things by false names and to define true names for them.

True Name #1: “Because violent people say so.”

We’ve all heard young people ask why certain things must be done. And we are all familiar with responses like “because it’s the law” or “because that’s how society works.”

Those phrases, however, are untrue. The honest answer to such questions is “because violent people demand it.” Almost no one pays taxes willingly; they pay because they’ll be punished if they do not comply, ultimately including armed men and jail cells. The same goes for every state order, from building permits to stop signs: Comply or face punishments, ending in violence.

The truth is not that we do things because of laws or even because of convention; we do them because the users of violence order them and stand ready to hurt us if we don’t comply.

For actions we take voluntarily, difficult and misleading answers are not required. We usually answer questions about those things easily and honestly.

True Name #2: “Thank you for killing people and breaking things.”

How many times have we heard, “Thank you for your service,” solemnly intoned to a military employee? The truth, however, is that militaries accomplish very specific things, which are – if we are to be honest and direct – to kill people and break things. Phrases like “protecting our freedoms” and “safeguarding our civilization” are judgments – approving summaries with the purpose of making you feel good. They are not direct facts.

Thus, the true name of “thank you for your service” is “thank you for killing people and breaking things.” Whether or not we think the killing and breaking are appropriate, this is an honest description of what weapons do.

(Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh, who was, so far as I know, the first person to use this phrase.)

True Name #3: “Paying my extortion.”

Extortion is “obtaining money, property, or services through coercion.” The classic example of extortion is a protection racket, with the racketeers calling their demand a “payment for protection.”

As we mentioned under #1, almost no one pays taxes willingly. Taxes are taken via coercion and justified by promises of protection. And so it could hardly be any clearer that the true name for taxes is extortion.

Some people will claim that this involuntary transaction is somehow justified, but that does nothing to change its true name: Taking money by coercion is extortion, and always will be.

True Name #4: “Campaign bribery.”

Bribery, according to Black’s Law Dictionary is the “offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.” In other words, you give money to a ruler of some type, and they do something for you in return.

So, when a company gives $5,000 to some political candidate (or group of candidates) hoping to get something back – even if they call it “access” – that’s bribery.

And please, let’s not pretend to be naïve: Every serious “campaign donation” is spent in hope of getting something in return. Thousands of us have personal experience with this (myself included), and we cannot believe otherwise without deluding ourselves.

So, call it “campaign bribery” or simply “bribery,” but this multi-billion dollar business is simply large-scale bribery, which we could also call graft. There’s no other honest tag to place upon it. If we say, “but it’s legal,” we merely defend our own confusion.

True Name #5: “Rigged trade deals.”

Free trade requires just one thing of governments: to get out of the way and let people buy and sell as they wish.

What politicians call “free trade,” however, includes hundreds and even thousands of pages that define what you may and may not do. The current example of this – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP) – features a couple of thousand pages of regulations. It was written by government officials with “input” from mega-corporations worldwide.

So, to be honest – to speak truthfully – what televised suits refer to as “free trade deals” are, in honest language, “rigged trade deals.” Free trade requires the traders to be left alone.

I Could Go On…

I could go on at some length of course: “News stations” are primarily “fear delivery systems,” “officials” are actually “rulers,” the Federal Reserve is neither federal nor a reserve, and so on. But I’ll stop here, confident that you understand my message.

Calling things by their true names is important. In fact, if we persist well enough and long enough in this, the world will change as a result. The coercive systems of our time couldn’t survive with light shining clearly upon them. Their continued operation requires a confused populace.

So, if you’re “looking for something to do,” please start right here.

* * * * *

If you’ve enjoyed Free-Man’s Perspective or A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, you’re going to love Paul Rosenberg’s new novel, The Breaking Dawn.

It begins with an attack that crashes the investment markets, brings down economic systems, and divides the world. One part is dominated by mass surveillance and massive data systems: clean cities and empty minds… where everything is assured and everything is ordered. The other part is abandoned, without services, with limited communications, and shoved 50 years behind the times… but where human minds are left to find their own bearings.

You may never look at life the same way again.

Get it now at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com