Political Power

His real name was Natty Bumppo, but his nickname was Hawkeye.  In 1757, Hawkeye (a fictional person) refused to acknowledge allegiance to any liege lord — and most assuredly to no king of England or France.  Here we find a major clue in James Fenimore Cooper’s book Last of the Mohicans that in 1757, a large number of people living in the English colonies in North America no longer considered themselves “English.”  It was still a long while before the creation of the United States, so these colonists simply began referring to themselves as Americans.  If it is true that the real American revolution was a general acceptance of the belief that all men are free to choose for themselves how they should live their lives, then by 1757, the revolution had already begun.

Today, most historians give credit to such men as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Thomas Paine for their arguments supporting the laws of nature.  John Locke was born in 1632 — after men started populating the new world.  David Hume came along in 1711 when the great undertaking was in full swing.  So, the question is, did Lock and Hume (and others) influence the ideas of the British colonists, or was it the other way around?  As philosophers, they were observers.  What did they observe about how men lived in North America and how they viewed themselves in the greater scheme of things?  If James F. Cooper’s tale is any indication, then it is possible that the actual colonists were the teachers, and the philosophers were — at first, their students.  

Mr. Washington at Prayer, by Jon McNaughton

Fast forward to 1774, when nearly every one of the “founding fathers” believed that all political power emanates from the people — because it was the only rational argument that could justify a declaration of independence from the United Kingdom.  They argued that it was the right of the people to institute a new government whenever the present government failed to meet the needs of the people (or society).

Within the next two hundred years (seven generations), things changed significantly in the United States.  The people are no longer sovereign.  The government is sovereign — and the people will do as they are damn well told.  There will be no demonstration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.  Anyone attempting such a thing will become insurrectionists, enemies of the state and the state will persecute them (which is not the same thing as prosecuting them).

Creating the American Republic was no easy accomplishment.  As a result of the arguments and debates among our founding fathers, the newly constituted government of the United States acknowledged that the American people were entitled to certain inalienable rights — such as the right to free speech, press, assembly, and the freedom of religious beliefs and practices.  Americans have the right to keep and bear arms, to live unmolested by the government in their homes, to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, certain rights if accused of a crime, the right to a speedy trial, the right to be judged by their peers, protection from excessive bail and fines or cruel punishments, such other rights beyond those encapsulated in the Bill of Rights, and that the rights of the federal government are limited by those outlined in the Constitution.

Admittedly, I don’t have all the facts surrounding the so-called 6 January insurrection.  I wasn’t there.  I cannot imagine any possible reason why I should want to attend.  I’ve seen the videos, read all the press reports, and still do not understand.  What was the problem?  How does one have an insurrection without weapons?  And then, how does the government justify keeping people locked up in solitary confinement for extended periods of time?  If the people cannot demonstrate their unhappiness, what powers do they possess?

Setting aside the 6 January insurrection, an incident where the government denied the people their inalienable rights, we also hear demands from some people, within the Democratic Party, for example, that the government restrict some speech because it sounds hateful.  Voices are demanding that the government confiscate all firearms.  Meanwhile, Congress passed a law allowing the government to convene secret courts, issue secret warrants, and use sophisticated electronic equipment to “eavesdrop” on Americans whom the government suspects of criminal or anti-government activities, behavior, or attitudes.  This is no longer the America of 1776 or 1789.  One must wonder what our founding fathers would say about the United States in 2022.  What would Natty Bumppo suggest?

What will America look like sixty years (two generations) from now?

29 thoughts on “Political Power

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    1. There’s no doubt that the early philosophers had an influence upon the colonists, but it was mainly through the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. As for the “American” influence upon subsequent American and French revolution and arguments from “Nature”, that was largely a direct result of Ben Franklin’s influence. There used to be a wonderful history of Ben’s influence written by a Native American critic, but I don’t think its’ still available on the internet. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is definitely true that colonists had a very high literacy rate (at least signature literacy), but to the extent that most colonists read philosophical discourses is unknown to us. I certainly agree vis-a-vis Franklin.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The “reading audience read “Pamphlets” like Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” which printers like Franklin published. They say that Jean Jacques Rousseau invented the first “popular novel” Julie; ot the New Heloise in 1761

          …and of course Franklin’s “Library Club” had lots of Philosophical tracts.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Newspapers in Franklin’s Day were also filled with “content” from classical works that Franklin himself had read and then re-written to be more “entertaining” ala Poor Richard’s Almanac

          Liked by 1 person

        3. While Logan would eventually become mayor of Philadelphia, chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, lieutenant governor, and acting governor he is perhaps best known for being a bibliophile, confessing once that “Books are my disease”.[12]: 130  He collected a personal library of over 3,000 volumes. Some commentators consider Logan’s library to have been the largest and best collection of classical writings in America at that time.[13][14]

          Logan would in time become known to Benjamin Franklin and his “Junto”; an influential group of friends that would meet weekly and discuss scholarly and political issues. He became a mentor to Franklin, who published Logan’s translation of Cicero’s essay “Cato Maior de Senectute”.[15]: 56  Eventually, the Junto decided to establish a subscription library, a cooperative endeavour where members would pay a fee for use of the library.[16] Franklin and the other members of the Junto considered Logan the “best Judge of Books in these parts”[17] and chose him to select the first 43 titles for the Library Company of Philadelphia.

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      1. Right — but what I’m saying is that by the 1750s, the colonists were less British than they were “American,” and that this transition pre-dated what we think might have been the full impact on enlightened philosophers. In any case, what will America look like in another two generations?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That’s not entirely true, IMO. It wasn’t until the French and Indian War and the Taxes that followed that singled out the colonists for colonial stamp taxes and the like that any serious permanent thoughts of dissolution of British Sovereignty was contemplated, and that was largely because the Crown controlled the Indian lands through people like Sir William Johnson. Franklin originally went to England seeking a William Penn like land grant that would allow for expansion of the colonies. My internet avatar, Joseph Brandt, was very likely Sir William Johnson’s bastard son, and IMO, Sir William Johnson was also the Native American more widely known as King Hendrick (who adopted a “native” double personae, as did Brandt). The idea of separation was only hatched after the Four kings introduced themselves to William and Mary (and they were largely Dutch settlers posing as Mohawks.)

          The whole Nattie Bumpo story cam from some of Franklin Philly friends (James Logan) at all, and James Fenimore Cooper bought his house.


        2. I hear that it was great fun at parties… 😉

          Regardless of one’s wealth or social standing, it was never possible simply to appear at the Philadelphia Dancing Assemblies unsponsored. At times the invited guests were outsiders to the local social scene, however. In 1755, a group of Mohawk Indians joined the Assembly and performed a “scalping dance”; in 1768 the presence of the British Duchess of Gordon (Jane Gordon, c. 1748-1812) caused a stir.


  1. Mustang… you stated “There will be no demonstration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Anyone attempting such a thing will become insurrectionists, enemies of the state and the state will persecute them (which is not the same thing as prosecuting them).”

    I don’t agree, and here’s why.

    I think most people would be okay with a demonstration on the US Capitol steps and wouldn’t see it as an insurrection or the ppl as enemies of the state. We’ve had that for years all across Washington. hundreds of thousands of ppl gathered at the Washington Monument in 1963 to demonstrate against the government and that went off peacefully. Almost 400,000 gathered in 1995 for the Million Man March without violence to support their cause and call for more government action related to Civil Rights.

    The issue of Jan 6 was not the protest, it was the violence. Violence that injured more than 100 Capitol police sworn to do their duty and protect the Capitol from unwanted/unauthorized intruders and guard the members of Congress. Violence that many conservatives ignore happened.

    Various law enforcement agencies found bombs around the capitol. We have vivid photos and video of officers being savagely beaten with flag poles, sticks, kicked, stomped and injured. The protestors vandalized the capitol, ransacked offices, stole US property and openly threatened the lives of US Congressmen, Senators and the Vice President.

    I get people being upset about what government does, or how it functions. But violence is not the answer. Voting is what our founding fathers set up to address our grievances. Those huge demonstrations of 1963 and 1995 managed to get their points across and change policy without resorting to violence.

    I don’t understand why those from Jan 6 couldn’t do the same.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Okay Dave … as I said, I wasn’t there. I’ve heard conflicting accounts. Including just now, from you, that someone spread “bombs” all over the place. No doubt, someone will try to assign that, if it’s true, to Donald J. Trump as well. I’ve not seen 100 injured police; I saw one policeman murder an unarmed female. I read that several capital police officers committed suicide. But let’s not kid ourselves about how peaceful earlier demonstrations were. I recall whites beating the crap out of blacks who were demonstrating for civil rights, police officers siccing their German Shepherds on black and white protestors, and law enforcement officers murdering blacks and tossing their bodies in the Mississippi River. I remember Kent State. I recall city streets bombarded with tear gas. I remember Chicago police whacking mostly white demonstrators, and people like the dear friends of Obama blowing up police stations. Nothing I saw on 6 Jan was reminiscent of any of those events. But I do suppose it is possible that I was on another planet back then.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. MUSTANG…why would cops commit suicide after 1/6? Were they compelled to lie in an operation they disagreed with by politicos they were afraid to say ‘no’ to?


  2. Mustang… you’ll notice here and elsewhere, I’ve never assigned blame to Fmr. Pres. Trump for the events of Jan 6, so that’s a non issue for me.

    As for the more than 100 injured officers, those numbers have been largely reported and are not really in question. The Hill, a middle ground news org has a good write up as they cite the GAO. Politico, rated left of center, says there were more than 1000 attack in Capitol Police that day. FOX News, right of center, details many brain and spinal injuries as a result of the attacks of the day. Info on the bombs planted that day is also widely available.

    GAO says 114 Capitol Police Injured

    More than 1000 attacks on police

    FOX News… crushed spinal discs, brain injuries

    As for Ashley Babbit, a US Officer fearing for his and the the lives he was sworn to protect, under attack from a mob of people calling for the death of those people, shot and killed a person breaking through a window to enter the building. I am sure you are like me in that if someone was breaking into your house with spoken intent to kill you, your friends or your family and you had a gun, you’d shoot them.

    Why are conservatives so loathe to accept that reality? Should he have let her in? What if he did and she attacked a member of Congress or the VP who, again, they stated they wanted to hang?

    You cite many events in our past… but I doubt you can cite a single event in the last 100 years of a mob of 1000’s attacking the US Capitol, breaking in, vandalizing the Capitol, attacking and injuring hundreds of police, threatening our Congress and the VP and working to disrupt a Constitutional duty of the US Government.

    Again, a simple, peaceful protest on the Capitol steps would have been no problem.

    Also, as it relates to any of those other events you cited, as well as the George Floyd, BLM and the ongoing mess in Portland, Oregon, none of those protests or events justify what happened on Jan 6.

    All of the events you listed, the additional ones I listed AND the events of Jan 6 were wrong. Period. Full stop.

    But let’s be clear… only one of them was specifically an attempt “by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.”


    1. Again, Dave, I wasn’t there. And I don’t think I have a dog in this fight. If you want to defend oppressive federal officers … please, go right ahead. All I’m saying is that there is so much BS about that one event, no one knows what (or who) to believe — which IS a strategy. I’ll only say, adding to my earlier blather, that I saw videos of capital police waving people into the grounds, and into the building. Let me clarify … waving people into the “People’s House.”

      I’ll add that when FBI agents entrap US citizens and then charge them with attempting to kidnap a governor … well, then you’ve got a few problems in the land of the free and the home of the knave.

      Now if some of those people got carried away and thought it was cool to bust glass and break down doors, I have no sympathy for anything that happened to them. I’ll only say that this government has forgotten its place. We are the MASTERS, and they are the SERVANTS. If you want to call 6 January an insurrection, you go right ahead. But … um … what do you call it when the servants are shooting down their masters?

      In conclusion, Dave, you seem to want to blame the American people for being crapped on by their government. That’s okay with me. There seem to be two kinds of Americans these days. Those who are willing to sit down and shut up when the government orders them to do so — a la Uncle Joe Stalin, and those who will not go into that dark night.


    2. Conservatives are tired of the constant harangue about Jan 6, usually implying this WAS Trump (it was not, he called for a peaceful protest, though I know there’s plenty of info we don’t know) and it certainly represents all Conservatives. Constant mention of it, every time ANYthing comes up about Republicans is tiring, stupid, and wrong.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Well Mustang… others might say, and like you, I’m sure I can trot a similar number of patriots who’ve fought and died for the right to say so… That yes, there are two types of Americans these days. Those who were willing to look the other way as a violent mob attacked law enforcement, defiled the the Capitol and worked to block a Constitutionally ordered action of the US Government and those who still believe in democracy, the rule of law and the United States of America.


  4. I almost went. If not for Mr. AOW’s decline in the latter months of 2020 and the early months of 2021, I would probably have attended.

    I don’t know what I’d have done if a Capitol Hill Officer stepped aside and waved me into the building. Apparently, that kind of thing happened as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AOW, I am glad I did not go. The whole incident is convoluted by the left. You make a good point that if one was there and ushered in by a Capitol Hill Officer one would believe it was okay to go in. It begs the question were some of these officers paid off to allow people in to make a national scandal in the happening to further discredit Trump? They are still salivating over it on the left and it is disgusting. Their inquiries into it and their committee are not even legal. They did not put it together via proper means according to Constitutional Law.


  5. Ok…. just show me the thousands of hours of tape the government will not release of the January 6 incident. Then we can have a conversation about the happening. till then, let’s give it a rest because we don’t know nothin.

    Liked by 1 person

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