“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because
thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee”
“…if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation,
it expects what never was & never will be.
(Jan. 6, 1816)
There are two things I wish I could get people to understand about me; the first being that I am not that smart. I know a great many people who are far smarter than I am. What saves me is that I’m persistent; or as some people like to say, pig-headed and stubborn. As much as I despise Alexander Hamilton, I have to give the man credit for saying one thing I wholeheartedly agree with; that being, “Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have is this. When I have a subject in mind, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it…the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.”
What sets me apart from you, or anyone else for that matter, is that I care enough to spend whatever time it takes to read, and more importantly, understand the things our Founders wrote about the formation of our government and the powers it was supposed to exercise on our behalf. That’s it; I’m no smarter than you, I only care more than you do.
I said there were two things I wish people could understand about me; the second is that I’m willing to admit when I am wrong. Just the other day I posted a comment on Facebook and was later informed that I was incorrect. I didn’t get upset, or butt hurt, and go off on a verbal tirade against the person who told me I was wrong; I simply accepted that someone with a whole lot more knowledge than I do was setting me right as to the facts.
That’s how you learn, by acquiring more knowledge; even if that knowledge obliterates previously held beliefs. I once read something that said something along the lines of, “If you still believe today what you believed 5 years ago, you haven’t learned anything new in 5 years.” Can you imagine how people would be if they stopped learning things after they reached the age of 5; we’d have adults who still believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny for crying out loud!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” That is so sublime and, unfortunately true as it pertains to most people in this country; they think that they are free, but they aren’t. Knowledge is the pathway to freedom, but first you have to care enough to seek it out, and secondly, you have to be willing to accept the facts you encounter should you decide to seek it out.
The problem, at least as I see it, is that people believe themselves to be somewhat educated as to the history and system of government of these States united. Just because people have attended a history and civics class they think they are relatively well versed in history and civics. I’ll bet none of their teachers ever told them about the Einstein quote that says, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”
I went through the same Public Fool System, or indoctrination centers as everyone else of my age. I could have just gone on thinking I was informed and kept making the same stupid choices everyone else is making that hasn’t gone out and sought out the truth. Instead, I chose to seek out that truth; and what I’ve learned has shown me that I wasn’t taught even 1% of the whole story, and much of what I was taught was distorted or an outright lie.
There is nothing in the world that flabbergasts me more than the willingness of some to remain willfully ignorant; that quality is unpardonable in my opinion. You know, Ben Franklin once said, “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”
In a letter written in 1822 to W.T. Barry, James Madison stated, “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
I’m not saying that you have to devote almost every waking minute to the pursuit of knowledge, as I do; but you need to strike a balance between that and the other things you do; that is if you really care about being truly informed. You can choose to remain ignorant, and reject the truth when it is presented to you; but don’t you dare say that your opinions are well founded just because you are quoting some politician or political pundit on the news channel of your choice.
It boggles my mind that people can name the entire lineup of their favorite football team, but they can’t tell you the names of the any of their representatives other than the President. I find it impossible to believe that anyone can call themselves informed if they cannot tell me what each Article of the Constitution does. How can anyone claim the title of patriot, or concerned citizen, yet not become incensed when their rights are legislated away to satisfy the public’s demand for safety and security.
There is an old saying that goes something like this, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” The same goes for knowledge; I can lead you to the information, but I can’t make you think; that decision is entirely up to you.
But there is something else,; knowledge alone is not the answer; people must be willing to put that knowledge to use. There is another quote attributed to von Goethe that I’d like to share, “Knowing is not enough, we must apply.” What good is knowledge, especially knowledge which contradicts your existing beliefs, if you don’t change those beliefs?
You know, I think people have this ingrained need to be part of something; be it a social group, political party, or anything else which connects them to others. I think they would do anything to protect and maintain their status among those they associate with; including rejecting anything which threatens their status among their chosen group.
I think people, at least most of them, are afraid to rock the boat; be that one person who everyone points their fingers at and says, “Can you believe that guy is saying/doing that?” The thing about that is that it destroys individuality and creates a herd mentality.
My situation in life as a young boy caused me to grow up being, pretty much, a loner. Maybe that is why it is not as important to me to belong to any group. In high school I could go talk to the jocks that hung out around the library at lunch, or go hang out with the ‘burnouts’ who hung out over by the auto shop. Groups or cliques did not matter to me; I may not have had the self-confidence I do now, but I was, and always will be, an individual. Maybe that’s why it has been so easy for me to see through the fog of the lies I have been taught/told, and see the truth others cannot.
I have a ballcap I wear that has the words Republican, Democrat and Informed on one side, with boxes next to them; with a check mark in the informed box. This means I choose not to belong to either political party; instead I choose to be informed; and that information has led me to the conclusion that both political parties are, and have been, working to undermine the Constitution and do away with the Bill of Rights. How anyone can support either of the two parties, or our government for that matter, while still saying they are informed, is beyond me.
As Thomas Jefferson said in a letter written in 1789, “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
You know, the truth is like a stone; it doesn’t care if anyone pays any attention to it; it doesn’t care if someone buries it; it doesn’t care if you choose to call it something other than a stone, and it doesn’t care if someone picks it up and admires it; it just goes on being a stone. The truth doesn’t care if you seek it out or if you choose to ignore or bury it. And it certainly doesn’t care if people go around trying to distort or revise it; it just goes on being the truth. All the truth is, is a guide which can help you in making informed decisions in your life. It’s all up to you to decide whether or not you want to make informed choices, or if you want to continue to be led around and misled like a herd of sheep; cause you do know that sheep eventually end up getting slaughtered.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with some comments made by my friend and mentor Michael Gaddy, otherwise known as The Rebel Madman. Ponder these telling words for the remainder of your day:
“Absolutely amazing is the dichotomy concerning the massive number of people who claim such a fondness for our Constitution and Bill of Rights as opposed to those who are willing to spend as much time learning about their governing documents as they do being entertained.
Do most Americans know as much about these documents and their creation as they do about their favorite sports team or the characters on some TV series like the Walking Dead?
I believe the answer to why we suffer under a corrupt governance can be found in the above question.”