Tag: liberty

Quote of the Day – Boxes of Liberty


The liberties of the American people were dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country. – Frederick Douglass

Last week I alluded to the four boxes of liberty: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  A modern version of the saying follows up the listing with the admonition, “Open them in that order.” Someone thought I had thought them up. Much as I would like to take credit, the concept of the four boxes of liberty emerged in the 19th century. Frederick Douglass (as in the quote above) frequently used the metaphor, so I thought it appropriate to use it in a discussion of a Douglass quote.

Quote of the Day – Liberty and Free Speech


Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power.  – Frederick Douglass

This is as true today as it was  when Douglass first spoke these words at an 1860 speech in Boston. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which among other things guarantees freedom of speech, is virtually unique among the nations of the world. Only it guarantees free speech as an absolute right. Virtually every other nation with a “free speech” clause in its written or unwritten constitution hedges that right with weasel words abridging the right under certain conditions.

A Toilet in Every Home


In 2010, I found myself working in Noida, India – a modern pop-up city on the outskirts of Delhi.

Narendra Modi, a lifelong political operative, was angling to become the 14th prime minister of India. One of the more unusual planks of his platform was the aspiration to put a toilet in every home.   (At the time, about half the homes in India didn’t have indoor toilets, and those that did were predominantly in cities or their surrounding sprawl.)

What Are You Willing to Lose?


“I don’t want to get involved.” “I don’t want to speak up.” “It’s none of my business.” “There’s nothing that I can do.” Maybe you have heard some of these phrases from others; maybe you have uttered them yourself. When we see a problem, what is our response? Our general struggle may be that we like to be liked; we don’t want to disagree with anyone. Or we may hate to rock the boat. Or we may be timid in the face of disagreement. Or, honestly, we may simply look at a problem and say, “I don’t know what to do.”

Or maybe, when intimidating forces face us, we may simply want to keep quiet and keep what we own, out of selfishness. Francis Schaeffer warned people about a self-centered perspective when faced with hostility. Schaeffer was concerned with what he called “personal peace and affluence.” Our general disposition is “I don’t want to lose my status, my job, or my friends, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut when I see a social problem or encounter governmental overreach of power.”

But there are people like “Moms for Liberty” who have taken a stand for their children and for their children’s education. The seeds of Moms for Liberty were sown during the 2020 Virginian gubernatorial campaign. Parents were being told that educators know best about a child’s education. Parents were frozen out. So, moms banded together for educational reform; these children were their children, after all. Personal peace and affluence were the last things on their minds.

‘Liberty and Justice for All?’


“Social justice” is a phrase individuals and institutions throw around without definition. But students in my classes can’t get away with such a lazy approach. If a student writes a paper using the phrase “social justice,” I will always, somewhere in my comments, ask two questions:

“What is your ‘social’?” and “What is your standard for ‘justice’?”

Here is an example. A student wrote a declarative comment in his paper,

Within political discussions on the Right, social conservatism is on the rise. Why did the Right have a libertarian phase, and why is it leaving it behind? What does social conservatism look like in the world of practical public policy, and what is its future? How do religious citizens fit within the conservative movement?

Ryan Anderson ’04, is the director of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a thinktank at the forefront of just such questions. After graduating from Princeton, Dr. Anderson pursued his PhD in Political Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is the co-author of five books, most recently Tearing Us Apart: How Abortion Harms Everything and Solves Nothing (Regnery, 2022). His research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, in two Supreme Court cases. In addition to leading the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Anderson serves as the John Paul II Teaching Fellow in Social Thought at the University of Dallas, and the Founding Editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute.

Biden’s Bile, or How to Guarantee a National Disaster if Republicans Don’t Act


While Joe Biden raves and rants at MAGA Republicans, who he thinks are determined to destroy our democracy (which is actually a republic), the rest of the country is taking stock of Biden’s presidency and asking the difficult question: why are we supporting this man who has led this country in such a disastrous direction? I’m becoming more convinced every day that he has sealed his own fate and that of all citizens by believing that the country will be inspired by his rhetoric, which is not only irresponsible but denigrates the very people he is supposed to be serving.

Why have I come to this conclusion?

He insists on thinking that Democrats don’t realize that his administration is responsible for all the hardships that are unfolding. Inflation has risen on his watch; the borders have been decimated with his ignoring enforcement; interest rates are rising; the food and household goods continue to be in short supply.

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Wisdom, honesty, truth and common sense go a long way – in politics and life.  So it’s hard to believe the words coming out of the president’s mouth that conservatives, mainly those that support a “Make America Great Again” philosophy, are now considered “semi-fascists”.  This is a lie.  Biden is labeling people because they want […]

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It took a little longer than usual, but I did manage to get in to the office today. I went out and got some photos this afternoon, which I’m currently processing and I’ll post in the comments. Apologies for the poor quality of the videos. I used my older cameras because they have better battery […]

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Folk have been asking what it really means for Justin Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act.  In that vein, I think it would be easier to simply post the full text of the Order In Council that was released last night.  The legalese is not that hard to decipher: Whereas the Governor in Council believes, […]

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That’s according to the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS considers anyone who 1) claims the election was stolen, 2) advocates for early Covid treatments like Ivermectin or 3) acknowledges vaccine injuries are a dangerous reality, should be considered domestic terrorists. There are more categories that will get you on their radicals watchlist but those […]

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Last night, Canada’s House of Commons had a 5.5 hour emergency debate on the trucker protest, and the Prime Minister came out of hiding to give us a speech about how the truckers and the conservatives are a bunch of fascist plague-spreaders, pretend to answer a couple of questions, and then scurry off to his […]

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The next sitting of Canada’s House of Commons starts tomorrow, so I’m back in my Ottawa office today trying to tidy up the place before the bosses roll in to town.  I went out for a walk after lunch so here are your Ricochet Exclusive photos for Day 4 of the Trucker Rally. I’ll provide […]

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Quote of the Day: Popular Speech


“Politically popular speech has always been protected; even the Jews were free to say,’Heil Hitler!'”* – Isaac Asimov

Dr. A may have been a crazy lefty, but he was dead right on this one. It is always easy to say what is politically popular. America’s Founding Fathers also understood this, which was why they added the First Amendment to the Constitution. To protect unpopular political speech. Or unpopular speech in general.

Poland Fighting For Its Freedom – Why Doesn’t America?


Poland is fighting against a powerful tide – more like a tidal wave. The leadership is fighting for its sovereignty, freedom, and the heart and soul of a country that has suffered so much. Does that sound familiar?  The European Union is not amused.  Maybe it is because Poland only threw off the stranglehold of communism in 1989, and they remember the oppression.  That’s only 32 years ago.  Can you imagine for a moment if the United States was only free for the last 32 years?

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in an October 18 letter to EU leaders:

Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal has ruled that Polish law takes precedence over European Union law. The landmark ruling, which seeks to reassert national sovereignty over certain judicial matters, has called into question the legitimacy of the EU’s supranational legal and political order.

Quote of the Day: The Tragedy of Liberty


There are those who assert that revolution has swept the United States. That is not true. But there are some who are trying to bring it about. At least they are following the vocal technique which has led elsewhere to the tragedy of Liberty. Their slogans; their promise of Utopia; their denunciation of individual wickednesses as if these were the wards of Liberty; their misrepresentation  of deep-seated causes; their will to destruction of confidence and consequent disorganization in order to justify action; their stirring of class feeling and hatred; their will to clip and atrophy the legislative arm; their resentment of critic; their chatter of boycott, of threat and of force—all are typical enough of the methods of more violent action.

— Herbert Hoover, “The Challenge to Liberty”

What Is Happening to Our Country?


What is happening to our country? @docrobert posted about the supply chain issue, focusing on California ports (just one port of many), but these supply shortages and delivery issues are just one, in a long list of serious problems in the “new, woke Biden administration’s America.” Our Transportation Czar, Pete Buttigieg, has taken a maternity leave since August, to stay home with his gay partner. Dear Mr, Buttigieg, you may have a doctor before your name, but neither you nor your partner carried a child for nine months, or went through a grueling and exhausting delivery, and never will. Why such a long leave? In the meantime, people are waiting for building materials, appliances, furniture, computers, auto parts, and many other critical supplies, that you should be on the job resolving. Pete, can you address the country on our supply chain and delivery issues and what you are doing about it?

The babies arrived amid the delay of a bipartisan infrastructure bill and growing concerns over product shortages and the sluggish transport of goods, inconveniences that have only grown more biting as the pandemic continues.  On Friday, Mr. Buttigieg’s twins cooed in the background as he spoke by phone about the “pro-family” policies.

Let’s continue: