Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!” When I see what is happening in this country and the fact that so many people simply refuse to accept that their government is either completely inept, or willfully trampling upon our unalienable rights I feel the urge to scream those very words to everyone I meet.
Abraham Lincoln is thought to be one of our nation’s better presidents. Although I tend to disagree, there are many things Lincoln said that, on the surface, echo the sentiments I myself feel. Among them is the following quote, taken from Lincoln’s address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield Illinois on January 27, 1838, “Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor…”
Yet how can a people pledge support to something they know absolutely nothing about? Last year Newsweek magazine gave the U.S. Citizenship test to 1,000 Americans. The results were both telling, and disheartening. 38% of the people failed it; 29% could not name the vice president; 63% did not know the correct number of Supreme Court Justices, let alone any of their names; 70% did not know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land; and 40% could not explain the purpose of the Bill of Rights. In another survey it was found that one-fourth of all Americans could name all five members of the cartoon family the Simpsons, yet only one out of a thousand people could name all five rights protected by the First Amendment.
Ben Franklin, in his Poor Richards Almanac, once said, “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” When one talks of the heroes of our nation’s war for independence, the name Nathanial Greene is not one whose name immediately comes to mind. Yet he was a leading figure and a general who served under the command of George Washington.
Greene was a Quaker whose father had no use for formal education, and the lack thereof saddened him. In fact, Greene is quoted as saying, “I lament the want of a liberal education. I feel the mist [of] ignorance to surround me…”
Noah Webster, whose name is synonymous with the Merriam-Webster dictionary, once stated, “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.”
I constantly hear people tell me that they are simply too busy to devote the time and effort that I do in studying the writings of our founding fathers, or the many pieces of legislation our Congress enacts. Yet Confucius once said, “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”
When I write I find that I am often rejected and scorned by people who, in all likelihood, would be among those who failed the U.S. Citizenship test as given by Newsweek magazine. They find it inconceivable that their government could be either so completely inept, or so completely corrupt, that it is guilty of violating our unalienable rights, and destroying our way of life as envisioned by the founding fathers.
I have no idea who Michael Rivero is, but he said something I tend to agree with, “Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair in the face of evidence to the contrary, because most people don’t want to admit they don’t have the courage to do anything about it.”
And Hendrik Willem Van Loon also stated, “Any formal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession-their ignorance.”
Yet James Madison clearly warned us that “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 see so many people who stand behind their government or the political party of their choice that they are blind to the flagrant violations of our rights by the government as a whole. In 1956 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, “Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their rights, due to ignorance.”
Have we become so ignorant as to the spirit of resistance to government that this country was founded upon that we cannot see that we still retain that right? In a speech before the House of Representatives in 1848, Abraham Lincoln stated, “Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right…Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”
The Supreme Court: Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, states, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted. Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…. A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.”
In his series The Crisis, Thomas Paine wrote, “Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death…Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.”
It takes a certain degree of courage to stand alone when the vast majority is more than content to follow public sentiment like a herd of cattle or sheep. Yet Einstein denounced the masses when he said, “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.”
Yet that is what I am faced with whenever I try to open people’s eyes to what is really happening in this country, not what they are spoon fed by the whores on the network news channels. And, as Thomas Paine once said, “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” And in all fairness to the dead, they are probably more open to reason than are most registered voters in this country today…