Independance Day in Retrospect
Thomas Paine who is most remembered for his work "Common Sense" which inspired our forbearers to seek freedom from the British Crown also penned "The crisis", a work that I find appropriate for the country today. Its opening line will be familiar to some who are likely to have typed it in practice many times. For a country once again at war it is again relevant.
December 23, 1776
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
The war on terror started in 1979 with the Iranian hostage taking. That was followed by numerous other attacks all of which were dealt with using diplomacy, the ultimate result being the attack of 9/11. All joined at that time in a call for a war on terror, but five years later the sunshine patriots have withered in their determination and as the NYT has so recently demonstrated begun to work against the effort.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated
We have locked horns with the very enemy of western civilization, the winner take all. The price indeed is high yet the cost of failure is higher still. Those that wish to withdraw from the breach hold freedom cheap and will find it stolen away even as they believe they have saved it. They are not willing to forgo any exercise of freedom today to secure it for the future. The crisis has revealed their self interest over their national pride.
Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them... Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world.
As the war on terror has sifted the nations who will stand firm or who will wilt, so it has unasked those who will pursue their own interest over the national. It is fortunate that their numbers are small even if their power to do harm is greater. Time will reveal the value of the sacrifice of so many who fought for lasting freedom even for those back home who shrank from their duty.
...and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, "Well! give me peace in my day." Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty....There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both.
Thomas Paine's words as relevant today as when they were penned 230 years ago.
see also Stop the ACLU, Basil's Blog, Below the Beltway, TMH's Bacon Bits and Wizbang
war history politics Forth of July