I borrowed the title for this post from a book by the late, great, Colonel Jeff Cooper. To borrow implies an obligation to pay back (something I wish our political class would understand), so I need to pay homage before I get started. Anyone familiar with John Browning's model 1911 chambered in .45 ACP probably knows the name Jeff Cooper. Browning gave us a handgun that hasn't been improved in a hundred years. That's just a fact. I suppose it's odd that it took a half century for someone to develop the proper technique for using it. That man was Colonel Jeff Cooper. "Gun control means using both hands."
The late colonel's idea of gun control is probably enough to rank him as a major contributor to western civilization. But Colonel Cooper was more than a pistolero. He was, dare I say it, an intellectual. If G. K. Chesterton was the Apostle of Common Sense, then Colonel Jeff Cooper was a slightly lesser apostle. But only by a slim margin. If you care to immerse yourself in his prose, you will be well rewarded. Okay, my debt is paid.
"To ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth" is a proverb that comes from ancient Persia. The idea, perhaps a recognition, was that Persian princes would learn only intrigue if raised in and around the royal court. A wise king sent his sons into the countryside to experience the rigors of rural living: to ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth. Only a righteous monarch can rule his domain with wisdom. And I guess that's my entire point.
I am sick almost to despair when I listen to the latest wranglings, and interpretations, and gambits regarding the budget negotiations. Yesterday I heard from a former student: "Mr. Paules, what ever happened to righteousness?" Well, spot on. Nailed it in a word, he did. Out of the mouth of babes and all that. Righteousness! We are either a righteous nation or we are not. We will rise to new heights of greatness or fall into the abyss on that virtue alone. Period. End of story.