All Commentary
Monday, June 1, 1970

The New Patriots


Mr. Wells has been an educator and currently is a free-lance writer and supervisory training consultant.

War paint zig-zagged across his cheeks, contrasting curiously with the black judge’s robe. The mad abandonment of his dark brown hair matched well the wild irra­tionality of his talk. Standing, he dramatically ripped the robe to shreds to demonstrate his con­tempt both for judges and for the law.

Jerry Rubin is one of the new breed who call themselves Patri­ots and proudly proclaim a close aff¹nity to the Patriots of 1776. How valid is their boast? Is there really a relationship?

On the Question of Liberty: On the eve of the American Revolu­tion, the Virginia House of Burgesses voted to condemn the Stamp Act. But Patrick Henry wanted something more. He proposed that anyone who said Parliament had the right to tax should be de­nounced as an enemy of the peo­ple.

So intensely did these early Pa­triots value liberty, they voted down Patrick Henry’s motion. Much as they wished to protect their own rights, they had no de­sire to silence others. As late as 1777, in the town of Braintree, Massachusetts, the Reverend Ed­ward Winslow continued to pray openly for George III without interference. The Constitution of Pennsylvania, adopted in 1776, was the first in history to guar­antee “that the people have a right to freedom of speech.”

Contrast this love of freedom to the disrespect displayed by the new radicals who cause such an uproar on campus that speakers holding unpopular views cannot be heard; classes cannot be held. Compare this respect for dissent to the program advocated by Herbert Marcuse, Professor at the University of California in San Diego. Leading spokesman for the New Left, Marcuse has described a plan that “would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggres­sive policies, armament, chauvin­ism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, medical care, and so forth.”

So inclusive a policy would deny liberty to the man who complained about high taxes, as well as the woman who expressed a love of country. If all these were silenced, who would be left to carry on the many activities that sustain life on this earth? How would they be silenced? But Marcuse feels no need for explanations. He has made it abundantly clear that his interest in society stops with the revolution.

On the Matter of Responsibility: Painfully lacking is the tremen­dous sense of social responsibility that characterized men such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.

By inclination and desire, Wash­ington was a farmer. He wanted no part of revolution. But once war appeared inevitable, he ac­cepted what he felt was a moral obligation. He agreed to command the Continental Army on the con­dition that he be paid no salary and be reimbursed only for his expenses. He even confided to Pat­rick Henry that “from the day I enter upon the command of the American armies, I date my fall, and the ruin of my reputation.” So he did not seek glory. He fully recognized the awesome difficul­ties that lay ahead; yet he ac­cepted without hesitation. Again, when he was needed to bring the union together, he agreed, again stipulating that he would accept no salary, only his expenses.

Match this with the irresponsi­bility so flagrantly displayed by the New Patriots. Jerry Rubin, of the Chicago 7, advocates a new generation of people who are freaky, crazy, irrational, sexy, angry, irreligious, and mad. Peo­ple who burn draft cards. People who burn dollar bills. People who burn M.A. and doctoral degrees. People who say to hell with your goals. But even more irrespons­ibly, he urges other revolutionaries to pervert and destroy the young, luring them to smoke pot and use the mind-destroyer, LSD. “Don’t pay attention to what your par­ents, your teachers, your minis­ters, your doctors, your neighbors say,” he advises the young, “they don’t know anything.”

Where is the resemblance be­tween such errant nonsense, such vicious advice, and the strong sense of values expressed by the men who wrote the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States? It is blasphemy to equate the two!

On the Respect for Knowledge: Once, when President John F. Ken­nedy was entertaining a group of Nobel prize winners, he remarked, “This is the most extraordinary collection of talent… that has ever been gathered together at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jeffer­son dined alone.”

Men such as Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Benjamin Frank­lin possessed mighty intellects. Madison appeared to live wholly in the world of ideas. While still in college, Hamilton was writing se­rious pamphlets on the legal ques­tions of the day. For years, Jeffer­son kept a “Commonplace Book,” in which he jotted down and some­times summarized the volumes he read, including ideas inspired by those books. Out of 905 entries, 550 were made while he was a student and a young lawyer. Most dealt with highly technical aspects of law and politics, including eval­uations of Beccaria and Montes­quieu. Before he wrote the Decla­ration of Independence and dras­tically influenced the creation of the Bill of Rights, Jefferson had absorbed the thoughts of all the great political philosophers.

John Adams had such respect for facts that he could see all sides of an issue. He was so objective, even those with whom he joined forces were not always certain he was with them. Yet they were enormously pleased when he was, for he was incorruptible, intelli­gent, and usually right.

Benjamin Franklin, indentured at twelve as a printer’s devil to his brother, James, soon discovered that by economizing on food he could save half his salary for books. Throughout his long, useful life, he continued a program of self-education.

The New Left, on the other hand, is frankly anti-intellectual. Ask them what form of govern­ment they would have to replace our republic; they have no answer. A few speak of communism, but they have given little thought as to what form it will take. Some talk hopefully of “Participatory Democracy,” but when asked for a fuller explanation, it turns out to be merely another scheme for re­distributing the wealth. Their em­phasis on local control usually re­fers to personal management of welfare funds. Early in the civil rights movement, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) stressed “control of antipoverty funds.” The more militant want control of the police as a necessary step in the overthrow of the gov­ernment. The old and splendid con­cept of participatory democracy requiring individual initiative and genuine effort appears incompre­hensible to them.

They are not even well read in Marxism. If they were, they might laugh themselves into a state of reasonableness by seeing what an ironic jest they are playing on that dead philosopher. His was to be a revolution of the working proletariat. Marx never once wavered in his belief that the workers created the wealth, there­fore, it belonged to them. So what a farce it is to watch university students, most of whom have never worked, organizing welfare recipients, some of whom are the idle offspring of parents who never worked, into a revolutionary movement to carry out Marx’s theories. I doubt that the irate German would have appreciated being so misunderstood. But as Milovan Djilas wrote in The Im­perfect Society, “ideas are like vampires; ideas are capable of liv­ing after the death of the genera­tions and social conditions in and by which they were inspired.” Furthermore, they are often bor­rowed by men incapable of com­prehending the originator’s intent, and the damage they do is some­times irreparable.

Few of the new breed seem ca­pable of comprehending the awe­some consequences of their rebel­lion. They cry out against the Es­tablishment, yet their every act leads to more Federal government, more centralized control. Marcuse has said that what happens after the holocaust is not his affair. Ap­parently he is excused from pro­ducing any answers since negative thinking only negates.

So let’s really tell it like it is for once. Members of the New Left flatter themselves when they seek to borrow respectability from the Patriots of 1776. The early revolu­tionaries were dedicated men, willing to submit to the rigid dis­cipline of long hours of agonizing political thought.

On the Question of Limited Gov­ernment: All that sweltering sum­mer night printer John Dunlap and his typesetters worked fever­ously to complete the first hand­bills of the Declaration of Independence. Early the next morning, newsboys were on the streets hawking it, scarcely aware they were selling a glorious belief in the equality of free men. It was the gauntlet thrown at the King, the beginning of the difficult struggle for government by the consent of the governed, and strictly limited government at that.

Even when the loose Articles of Confederation proved inadequate, those meeting in Philadelphia to create the Constitution did every­thing within their power to guard the people against being over­whelmed by big government, a fact made amply clear by the Tenth Amendment. Yet even so mild a document might never have been ratified had not George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and other strong voices urged that a Bill of Rights be included. Certainly Madison, Hamilton, and John Jay went to sufficient lengths in the Federalist Papers to assure the people that, with the exception of specified powers, the Federal government was not to usurp the rights of the states or of the people.

Although there is little unanim­ity of thought among the New Left, or even much thought, those who do have a program favor some form of socialism. While railing against big government, they in­vite more. They have not yet faced up to the fact that socialism would not rid them of General Electric or Ford Motor Company. General Electric would simply be amalga­mated with Westinghouse, Consol­idated Edison, Western Electric, and Radio Corporation of America into one terrifyingly cumbersome Bureau of Electricity. Government owned and operated, government could solve power shortages by decry. Television being unimportant except for propaganda purposes, viewing hours could be restricted to half-hour harangues by Jerry Rubin or Abby Hoffman, encoring with lectures on dialectical materi­alism by Herbert Marcuse—pro­vided, of course, critic Marcuse was not the first to be silenced.

In THE FREEMAN of December 1969, Orien Johnson quoted from a program formed by several “Berkeley Liberation Committees.” These young radicals believe they can gain “more control over their lives” by confiscating the profits of local business and industry and taxing nearby universities. To suc­ceed in such a seizure, they would first have to command both the police and the national guard. This would necessitate an overthrow. They would then be in power in Washington and not merely in charge of the Berkeley area. All the problems of the Union would fall upon them, and they have yet to prove they would be less tyrannical than the present government.

It took courage to sign the Dec­laration of Independence. The pen­alty was hanging. To pay so high a price, a man had to believe in a dream. That dream was self-con­trol under limited government. Nothing I have read or heard ex­pressed by the new breed of pseudo Patriot has led me to think they even know the meaning of the term.

On Moral Excellence: In recent years cynics have taken a mali­cious delight in trying to destroy the image of the Patriots of 1776. But even the most diligent search has failed to reveal anything more scandalous about George Washing­ton than that he uttered an angry oath when he saw Charles Lee treacherously retreating before General Clinton’s redcoats at Mon­mouth. Many among the New Left are incapable of expressing a thought without resorting to lan­guage so offensive it rarely reaches the popular press.

Thomas Jefferson made his wife a vow that he would never remar­ry. Although he was a young man of 39 when she died, he kept that vow. Permanent commitments are scorned by the new breed.

Certainly the Revolutionary Cause attracted its share of rogues, as do all causes. Samuel Adam’s distorting of the news was scurrilously dishonest. But most of the leaders were created from as splendid a pattern for mankind as has ever yet been devised. Disci­plined, they ruled their passions. Idealistic, they worked to achieve sound goals. Generous, they de­voted their lives to leave us a rich legacy of liberty and law. Speak­ing of George Washington in a letter to J. Melish, Jefferson wrote, “He asseverated to me a thousand times his determination that the existing government should have a fair trial and that in support of it he would spend the last drop of his blood.” The record of his dedi­cated life proves this was no idle vow!

If there is any discipline among the New Patriots, it exists most prominently within the Progres­sive Labor Party, the cadre most closely allied with Communist China. This tiny group believes that “decadence never made a Rev­olution,” but the mobs of Paris dis­proved that.

If the new breed are ideal­istic, it is a twisted kind of ideal­ism, willing to pervert, to sacri­fice the young for the sake of some poorly defined goal. As John Gard­ner, Chairman of the Urban Coali­tion, described it, it is “rage and hate in a good cause, being vicious for virtue, self-indulgent for high­er purposes, dishonest in the serv­ice of a higher honesty.”

As for generosity, they have nothing to give. Bereft of ideas, they distort Marx to fit their purpose. Unwilling to work, they wish to confiscate the taxes and the profits of the industrious. Hypo­critically inconsistent, they profess to love mankind while hating man.

“The aversion to restraint,” wrote Alexander F. Tytler in Uni­versal History, “assumes the same external appearance with the love of liberty; but this criterion will enable us to distinguish the real­ity from the counterfeit. In fact, the spirit of liberty and a general corruption of manners are so to­tally adverse and repugnant to each other, that it is utterly im­possible they should have even the most transitory existence in the same age and nation.”

Yet throughout history, as in Athens and in Rome, license dis­guised as liberty, libertines mas­querading as patriots have been used to enslave those who refused or could not distinguish the dif­ference.

 

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The Right to Life

To say that you have a right to life, is to affirm that no other entity on this earth is authorized to take your life. It is not to say that other entities are obligated to sustain your life.

For to live as a human being is not merely to exist, but is to employ to their utmost, those faculties with which you have been endowed. Your right to life is the right to work and think, without interference, within the constraints of a peaceful society.

You have no right to an existence which imposes positive obli­gations upon others to maintain your existence. Such arrange­ments must be undertaken on a voluntary basis. To insist other­wise is to aff¹rm your status as master, and that of another as slave.

C. REBERT, Menlo Park, California