Be Thankful For Our Founders

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Be Thankful For Our Founders

By: John A. Baden, Ph.D.
Posted on November 25, 2015 FREE Insights

Americans  have excellent reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We live in the world's most successful large scale experiment in harmonizing liberty, ecology and prosperity.  Our founders understood the power of voluntary cooperation among free men and the constant dangers of threats to liberty and political predation.  

The founders were, however, captives of their context. Hence not all men were free and outside of their homes, women counted for little.  The burden of this flaw haunts us today. While liberty, ecology and prosperity are vulnerable values, liberty seems the most fragile. 

Politicians and cultural elites commonly employ real and contrived threats to justify constraints on liberty.  Speech codes regarding "micro-agressions" against hypersensitive classes of individuals would astound anyone who experienced active and hurtful prejudice. Imagine the toll of restrooms and water fountains designated and restricted by race.  I find it amazing that so many university leaders lack the character and understanding to withstand assaults on free speech.  
 
I find it appalling that so many university leaders at previously respected schools lack the character to withstand current assaults.  Dartmouth, Princeton, and Claremont exemplify the problems of caving.  They signal a fundamental problem. Their leaders and trustees are among America's elite.  When a nations's elites lose faith in the legitimacy, value, even superiority of their culture, that society crumbles.  And when a leader leads an apology session or tour, he sets a tone that minions hum.
 
Fortunately, at least two prominent universities, Purdue and Chicago, have respected the liberty of free speech. Hillsdale College takes a firm stand for liberty, inviting speakers who celebrate America's heritage of liberty. These schools have not yielded to cultural bullies fixated on trigger warnings and micro-aggressions regarding ethnicity, gender, class, appearance and race.  Their students have the advantage of experiencing the world.
 
On this Thanksgiving Day,  I'm grateful for their intelligence and principle.  Next year I'll be especially thankful if their example is contagious and other universities and colleges follow.


Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other’s heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

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