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The Finger of Blame

Over the last year I have learned a valuable lesson. This country is screwed up but it isn't because of the politicians. Benjamin Franklin said that when we became corrupt and vicious we would need more masters.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Ben Franklin - April 17, 1787 (

He wrote in a pamphlet about immigrating to America:
"Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems...pleased to favor the whole country."

We sure have come along way baby. Any hint of this would be met with a fit of protest about how intolerant that is. Yes, the days of the corrupt and vicious are here. Some examples of corrupt and vicious Americans include kids beating each other to death on the way home from school, our obsession with violence in all entertainment sources, overflowing jails, bribed public officials, and corporate accountants, unions paying off politicians so they can get favorable legislation even though it hurts the cause their members are working for (teachers unions!) and citizens declaring bankruptcy on a regular basis. These things have become so common that we assume it happens everywhere.
How have we dealt with this trend? We have passed LAWS (or masters?) against such corrupt and vicious behavior as if we didn't already have laws to deal with it had they been correctly applied. This trend allowed us to fool ourselves that someone else could solve the problems in our own back yards while we sat around feeling smug and faultless.
Yes, American's in general have become very smug. We throw money at every problem we see as if money created magic and solved all problems. And we have plenty of money. Yes, we donate it all over the place and that is a good thing, but not when we feel like we have then done our part and nothing more should be required of us to solve the ills in our communities. How arrogant is that? Our attitude then enslaves us to the solutions of others. We wonder why the problems aren't going away and we begin to blame those we thought would save us. Again, distracting ourselves from the real problems- our own apathy and corrupt, vicious behavior. So we have masters of our own making all in an effort to remove any responsibility or change our pleasurable ways.
Our political problems are not the fault of our politicians, they are OUR OWN FAULT! We elect the jerks. We are the jerks. And we will NEVER solve problems until we can turn the finger of blame back to ourselves and admit to the real problem. Because blame has a great side effect - it allows one to take the power to solve the problems. Only those who take the blame have the power to solve the problems. As long as we are intent on blaming anyone else, we are giving away our power and thus we have many masters in the form of politicians and laws.
IF the day should come that we see ourselves for what we really are, corrupt and vicious, THEN we will have the power to return to virtue as Franklin called it.
When we start loving our neighbors rather than competing with them, when we realize nothing is free unless it is stolen, and when we begin to return to honesty we may be able to recover. I've seen the problem and I am increasing my energies at home so I can have real power -with my kids and the future. Because Benjamin Franklin was RIGHT.


The History of Freedom

I've found the most amazing books about history. I always loved when President Hinckley talked about history and especially the Reformation. I wanted to learn more about the Reformers he mentioned. Well I found a book that does that.
The Story of Liberty (Charles C. Coffin)was written in 1879 and tells the story of how freedom developed from the time of the Magna Carta in 1215, until the time of the pilgrims coming to America. From the perspective of Protestants, this book shows how the people were oppressed by the alliances formed between Catholic Popes and church men and the Kings of Europe. The story of how the Bible was allowed to be accessible to the average person, how those who tried to reform the church were persecuted, how the kings used the church and how the church used the kings are all detailed here. I was fascinated by the idea that God had been working on this project for over 500 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed! How patient he is with us! I was surprised at all the history that I hadn't been taught or even read about in the books I'd found. The subtitle of this book is "so you will comprehend what liberty has cost... and what it is worth" and it definitely lives up to that goal! There has not been a better time to read this book.
I next started reading Winston Churchill's four volume History of the English Speaking People. It starts back further with the Romans coming to Britain and how they affected the people already there. It goes through the history of Kings and ministers and rulers of England, their territorial squabbles, how they rose to power, who they married and why, their mistakes, their endeavors, and their passions. Because England so often interacted with Europe, it is a fairly good history of European countries as well. It tells the history from a political view, but none the less it tells the story of freedom's development for centuries before flowering in America. I am currently on the third volume about The Great Democracies.
Because of the mention of Roman rule in England, I started reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I am not very far into this yet, but already I can tell that I will love it. It's much easier to read than I thought it would be, being written so many years ago.
So many people crammed into these stories tends to make my eyes glaze over, but I figure I can go back and research the people individually later. I'm in it for the history of freedom. My next goal is to read the Old Testament for an understanding of the system of government that the Hebrews used before their Kings. At a seminar in January put on by the Nation Center for Constitutional studies, I learned that the Founders knew this system quite well and worked it's principles into our government. The workbook we received had references to many scriptures in Deuteronomy, so I plan on looking those up and studying them. It should go nicely with my study of all scriptures mentioning liberty, agency or choice. (which is another eye opening experiment)
This is the kind of learning that I absolutely love. It sends my brain on fire!
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