Liberty Is to Faction What Air Is to Fire

I’ll start the normal, Federalist/Constitution posts again in time but right now, given everything that has transpired over the past week, I’m using these posts to give a little commentary. Today is Veteran’s Day, so let’s honor our veterans by remembering their sacrifice and remembering that the liberty they fought for does not equal unity. In fact, liberty can never equal unity.

Some Thoughts

So, the news stations announced that they are declaring Biden to be next president. Of course, that does not make him the next president by any means, but it does cause the citizenry to begin to consider Biden the next president (Or perhaps even current president? Have you noticed how quickly Biden is acting as if he is president, rather than will be president once he’s officially sworn in?).

The announcement of a Biden win also did something else. It prevented riots. If you haven’t noticed, you should notice that the cities that were boarding up are no longer boarded up anymore. The threat for chaos has been, for the time, alleviated. The corona-virus has been placed on the back-burner (at least for now), the media’s mood all slightly more chipper, and much of the anger and angst vindicated for many people. That’s aside, of course, from massive groups beating stuffed Donald Trump dolls in the streets, the clearly mature thing to do.

Does all of this make you wonder if those who spent the last four years throwing a literal tantrum feel just a little foolish? I mean, seriously. I was thinking about this the other day. No matter your position on Trump, he didn’t destroy America. He didn’t take dictatorial power, didn’t fundamentally change the Constitution, or the executive position or really make any major changes. Yes, he acted unconstitutionally at times (which president hasn’t?), he said immature things at times, but all in all, he did what some presidents do. He served as president and didn’t destroy or fundamentally change anything.

What were those who hate Trump so afraid of, truly? (And if you were/are a Trump hater or were deathly afraid of Trump as president. I’m truly asking. What were you afraid of? And what makes you believe he would do what you were afraid of should he be elected to a second term?)

Personally, I do not hate Trump. I find certain aspects of his personality to be off putting and did not appreciate some of his political actions, but overall, he’s never threatened liberty and remained, generally speaking, restrained.

But those who hate him and are convinced that he’s bringing about the end of the world and he is the bane of all existence…what real evidence do they have for such claims? That’s a lot of power for one individual. So, I wonder: in what ways did he specifically destroy the United States or could, in the next four years, destroy the United States? I mean, isn’t that the goal anyway for most of his opponents? To destroy the United States?

It makes no sense to me and I do truly wonder if his opposition feels just a little foolish now that they claim to have won. Because, if they—and we—are all honest with ourselves, if anyone changed anything in this country, it would have to be those that pitched a fit for four years. The divisiveness from their never ending tantrum seems to have suddenly disappeared. In which case, doesn’t that make it clear that it wasn’t Trump who was stirring up the divisiveness?

My Concern

You see, here’s a small taste of what I’m concerned about. Did I enjoy the tantrum? No. Did I like the tantrum? No. But, I realize that, in a free country, tantrums are expected and healthy. Divisiveness is a part of American culture; it just is. You can’t have free people who don’t, in turn, use that freedom to express how they feel or think about things. If they don’t, then they’re not free. There’s no such thing as a uniform, homogeneous Republic and if becomes that, if it becomes “unified”, it’s only that way because some portion of the country has either been forcefully silenced or eliminated.

So, naturally, I’m concerned by this new—rather odd and out of character talk from Biden—pushing for “unity” and “oneness”.

Does he really know what he’s saying? If he does, that is much more frightening than if he doesn’t. Take a look at what Madison says about divisions, disagreements and faction in America.

Federalist 10:

“By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.”

Alright, so let’s think about this. Essentially, the flames of passion, contention, and faction, that are a natural part of human nature, are nourished by liberty. Destroying liberty would destroy the natural outflow of “faction” as he calls it. So, to destroy contention, bickering, disagreements and the like, we’d have to destroy liberty. There’s no way for liberty to exist without the other. And according to Madison, destroying liberty would be much worse than the disease of faction.

He continues:

“The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

Man’s reason if fallible and inextricably attached to his love for himself, therefore, if given liberty, he will form opinions that differ from others and it’s governments job to protect these opinions, interests and property. Rather intuitive, is it not?

“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”

In other words, the division, contention, and divisiveness we’ve seen these past 270 some odd years is a natural by-product of liberty.

Should Biden take office, (and I say “should” because, at the moment, it appears that there’s going to be much investigation and litigation before that ever takes place), he wants all that to change.

Thoughts On Biden’s First Moves

Biden is now preaching unity. Does he really think that a country where at least 71 million people voted for his opponent are going to be completely complicit in his actions? That’s not America. Americans, left and right, don’t do that. We don’t storm the White House, but we don’t roll over and die either. Americans protest, disagree and make their voices heard, whatever the cost.

Hey, the left did it for four years and the right did it for the eight before that. It’s the way of things in a country that is free.

So, what on earth is this new call to unity?

What’s one of the first things that I believe the Biden administration will try to do—in the name of unity?

Eliminate the electoral college.

If they are successful at doing this, they will then attempt to re-arrange the Court and the courts. They will slowly do all they can to make everything “unified” by eliminating any and every outlet for any opposition voices, news, protests etc.

Do you think that social media is going to ease up on voices they don’t agree with? No. If anything, they’ll clamp down harder—-to the point that it seems like there is no division, there is no controversy or contention—-there’s just unity.

The news will begin to report on the world with rose-colored glasses, saying that the national mask mandate and national lock downs are saving the country. The economy will magically appear to recover (even though it will be suffering more than it every has in years). If there are protests and marches, they won’t be televised or shown, so that, unless you’re there or you follow the few people who know about it, no one in the country will believe there’s opposition. (Don’t believe me; in the class I teach, only two students had any clue what Chaz in Seattle was, the rest had never even heard of it). It will look like the country is unified, at peace and finally healed.

Then the administration will start to tear apart the Constitution piece by piece with a number of new, unconstitutional policies— stretching from complete and free healthcare, to a living wage paid out to all Americans, massive regulations to promote “climate change”, complete erosion of private business as the government takes control to make sure that there is no more systematic racism, and the quiet destruction of “American culture” through rhetoric.

Friends, it would not be pretty…even though it would be “beautiful”.

I do not want to see or experience what may happen should this new “unified” American encounter under Biden truly occur.

I know some people are throwing their hands up and saying, “ah well, we lost, move on and pray for a better president in the next election”. I understand, but if you do so, don’t do so blindly.

Please understand, if the Biden administration does take office and does what they’ve all already announced they’re going to do… we will have an incredibly “unified” nation moving forward, for now and forever. In other words, the views of his administration will be the views of every administration to follow and those of us left in the country who oppose what’s going on will have no choice but to comply or be silenced.

It’s already started. Just take a look at Twitter and the news. Notice what’s there, but more important what not there.

The best we can hope for is for the checks and balances that do still exist to disrupt the newfound “unity”.

Because friends, there is no such thing as a country with complete unity and complete liberty.

For one to exist, the other has to go.

I know today is Veteran’s Day. Our veteran’s didn’t fight for perfect unity, they fought for liberty and all that entails.

If Biden takes office on January 20th, the U.S. may magically turn into a “unified nation”.

But those of us who love liberty must realize at what cost.

The Liberty Belle

4 thoughts on “Liberty Is to Faction What Air Is to Fire”

  1. First I need to put out front I am an IDEOLOGICAL CONSERVATIVE not a POPULIST that follows President Trump.
    I find your above piece disappointing first that it is wrong and second because it takes sides so as long as opinions are being given here’s mine.
    Your columns seem to reflect your twenty something views, who freshly got her degree and how she sees the world. Although you know the Constitution and political science your columns don’t reflect reality but are almost as if you are aiming them toward a civics class for high school or elementary school kids . I wouldn’t say they were naive but you definitely don’t write from life experience but simply from your educational background. There are many example I can give to support this but your piece on "Checks and Balances" and the Trump administration jumps out. If anyone in American history has ignored checks and balances not to mention the Constitution over their four years he leads the pack.
    Perhaps you can realize the country is diverse and made up of many different people with different views on any number of subjects. They say by 2035 whites will be in the minority so unfortunately our views will need to change with the makeup of the population after all it is "We the people ….." who are supposed to have the say. The GOP sees what this future looks like, they realizes they have lost the culture wars and decided that divisiveness is he path they wish to take. Neither side however is looking out for what is best for the people but what is best for their party.
    I’m 73 and have seen many administrations come and go and I can assure you the country will not fall under another democratic administration. America has always been great. The challenge is to live up to what makes her so and this administration sadly lacks that ability.

    1. C. McMasters Ph.D.

      Great points and thanks for sharing! You’re absolutely correct, I do not have much experience at this point, simply knowledge. Hopefully with time I will gain more experience, but I doubt I’ll ever have the experiences some in our country have had and that’s just way life works. I do write in a way that is meant to be very simple and in many ways, what I’m saying is likely unattainable, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to say it.
      Agreed, this administration and most administrations for the past 60 years have not lived up to America’s greatness and I’m not sure any administration to come will ever live up to her greatness. But, as long as we know and cherish her greatness, there’s will always be a remnant of her greatness remaining.
      Thanks again for your response. I’m always happy to hear from y’all. 🙂

  2. Your response was very kind considering my post was a very harsh to which I apologize.
    I understand the disappointment you expressed because many of us shared it after the 2016 election. In regard to the call for unity those of us who were against Trump aren’t your enemies, are not traitors nor are we evil. There was no dolchstosslegende involved. We are all Americans with simply a different view of how and where to take America in the future. "This is the most important election of your life" has been used every election that I can remember and America has survived . I hope you can see that. Once again my sincere apologies for my behavior and wishing you all the best………………….Bob

    1. C. McMasters Ph.D.

      Thanks for this! Yes, I do not have a problem with Americans calling for unity, I’m merely concerned (indeed, just my opinion here) that Biden’s call for unity is not a genuine call for unity but rather a call for those who disagree with him to silence themselves or be silenced. I do believe, though, that many Democrats and Republicans alike want real unity, or some semblance of it.
      And yes sir indeed, even back to the Jefferson/Adams election. It’s the American way. Wish you all the best as well!

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