"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."
- Oscar Wilde
by Neal Ross
"In life there are certain things that are known as constants; things that never change. It takes the Earth 365 days to complete one orbit around the sun; that is a constant. In mathematics there are constants as well; one will always equal one is but one example. All things being equal, Newton’s Laws of Physics are also constants. But these are not the constants I would like to talk about; there is one other that I have yet to mention–the truth.
Simply defined, the truth is the state of things as they actually are. When one is called upon to be a witness in a courtroom they are asked to repeat the following, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” Have you ever stopped to think about what that entails?
Let me begin by discussing the phrase, the whole truth. As the truth is a statement of things as they actually are, or were, by omitting certain relevant facts the truth can be altered and those hearing the testimony of the witness will form opinions based upon incomplete evidence. On the other end of the scale there is the phrase, and nothing but the truth. This requirement is so that the person testifying will not embellish their testimony with facts that are not relevant to the questions being asked of them, or add their opinions or beliefs into their testimony.
If a person under oath is found to have delivered a false testimony they can be charged with perjury; a criminal offense in and of itself. Again, simply stated, perjury is simply the violation of the oath to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
That is all well and good…in a courtroom where there are penalties for willfully telling things that are untrue, or incomplete versions of the truth. But what about in the courtroom of public opinion; how can we impose justice upon those who spew lies every time they open their mouths?
There is a scene in the film Apocalypse Now where Colonel Kurtz is talking to Captain Willard and he says, “There is nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies.” I couldn’t agree more; the problem is that whenever I hear people discuss history and politics they are repeating the lies that they have been taught or told by those whose job was to speak truthfully to them.
There is a quote from the 19th Century English novelist Isabella Blagden that forms the basis for a quote falsely attributed to Vladimir Lenin, “If a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.”
The problem, at least as I see it, is that once an opinion takes hold that is based upon lies, it is next to impossible to break people free from it so that they can embrace the truth. I have never claimed to be in possession of the whole truth; but I have made it my quest to seek out as much of it as I can find. One thing I’ve learned, and which is best stated by quoting Einstein, is, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
Remember now, the truth is a constant. If you may have noticed, I did not say what people pass off as the truth is constant; only the truth itself. Sometimes the truth takes a little digging to expose; sometimes it takes a lot of digging before you find it. But you owe it to yourself to at least make the effort to seek it out; that is of course unless you are content to live your life repeating the lies that have been spoon fed to you by everyone from your school teachers to those you have placed your faith and trust in to run this country according to the Constitution and their oaths to support and defend it.
There is something else you need to know about the truth, it does not care if you seek it out, or if you ignore it; it has no feelings; it simply exists as the state of things in their true nature. The truth will always be there; whether anyone chooses to look for it or not. There is one final thing you also need to understand about the truth; that being that it is useless unless it is put to use. As von Goethe so aptly states, “Knowing is not enough, we must apply.” You might know the truth, but if you haven’t changed your opinions or beliefs to be in accordance to the facts, what good is the knowledge you’ve obtained?
When a nation, or a people have been lied to for generations, and the lies have been compounded over time, then people often find it hard to accept the truth; let alone speak it those who have fallen for the lies they have been taught.
In psychological study there is a term called Cognitive Dissonance; one of the definitions of it being the reaction to, or stress caused when one is exposed to the truth that conflicts with existing beliefs. I’m no psychologist, but I believe Cognitive Dissonance is directly proportional to the magnitude of the lie people have been told; the bigger the lie the more stress the truth causes when one finally encounters it. I also believe that some would rather just ignore the truth rather than deal with the hassle of changing their beliefs because they were based upon lies. That is simple human nature; to take the easiest path possible. In a way, it’s just like Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up as if nothing happened.”
But throughout history there have always been those who sought out the truth, and once they found it they proclaimed it loudly; and were condemned for it. Galileo was charged with heresy for claiming the Earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around. More recently, Edward Snowden exposed the truth to the people of the world that America’s government was routinely spying on them, and for his exposing the truth he was forced into exile.
When the lie has taken hold, it becomes the truth people base their opinions upon. It therefore becomes very difficult to find ways for people to accept that they have been lied to about almost everything they were taught about the history and system of government of this country. Those who speak the truth to them find themselves ignored, ridiculed, and often accused of being dangers to society because what they speak goes against what is commonly accepted as the truth. But remember, the truth itself is constant, not what you believe is the truth. It is as Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
Now you may be asking yourselves, “Why did Neal just spend two pages rambling on about the truth?” Well it’s quite simple actually; it is because I would now like to discuss certain truths; things which you may not have known, or given much thought to.
After nearly a century and a half of seeing their rights ignored and violated by their government, many of the Colonists of America decided they would be better off severing the ties which bound them to said government. Delegates to a convention to deal with these violations of their rights chose a young man, Thomas Jefferson, to draft a document declaring the Colonies independence from British rule.
Jefferson could very easily have said something along the lines of, “We, the Colonies of British America do hereby declare our independence, and here are our reasons why…” Instead Jefferson chose to make a statement about the nature of the rights of all men and the relationship between those who are governed and those who govern. The Declaration of Independence can rightfully be said to be the document which gave birth to America; and upon it any system of government owes its existence to.
The version of the Declaration of Independence we are all familiar with begins with the following words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” There is that word again; truth. The revised edition of the Declaration of Independence declares that they are self-evident.
Oh, you didn’t know that the copy you may have read is not Jefferson’s original draft? Well it isn’t. Jefferson brought his original draft to the Committee of Five, who edited it down and changed the wording; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. In his original draft, Jefferson states, “We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable…“
Self-evident merely means that the thing being espoused needs no explanation; everyone understands it to be true. Sacred and undeniable is something else altogether, as it implies that these truths come from a higher authority than man.
There is something else you need to realize about Jefferson’s opening words. If you’ll notice, he did not say this truth, he said these truths; meaning there was more than one truth he was about to discuss.
The first of these truths is that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; among them being the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Now as truths do not change over the course of time, (remember they are constant), what Jefferson states does not change just because situations and political climates change. Our rights, as described by Jefferson are the same now as they were when he first put quill to parchment.
I have spoken of this before, but it is important that I make clear the meaning of unalienable. Unalienable means that something cannot be sold, transferred or taken away. Therefore, if our rights are unalienable, no government, no politically correct society can deprive a single individual of them. For as you recall Jefferson said that ALL MEN are created equal and possess these rights. Just because a portion of society does not like that another portion exercises a right they find offensive, that does not entitle them to deprive anyone the freedom to exercise that right.
Now let’s talk a moment about equality; shall we? Jefferson merely states that all men are created equal and equally all men have these rights. But he also says that one of these rights is the PURSUIT of happiness. He does not say the guarantee of happiness, only that we have the freedom to seek it. Today people are of the belief that society owes people happiness and success; and that if people are unable to obtain these things on their own, then government should provide it for them; unfortunately, this usually comes at the expense of others.
Forty years after Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he spoke of this principle in a letter to Joseph Milligan, stating, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.“
As the principle is that all men are created equal and are guaranteed to right to PURSUE happiness, then any belief that declares that society owes people happiness or success MUST be founded upon a lie; as they have no factual basis in what our Founders believed at the time our country came into existence.
The next truth Jefferson discusses is in regard to the fact that governments exist to secure these rights, and that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed. It is a legal maxim that those holding delegated power cannot have more power than those who originally delegated that power to them.
Whether the Constitution was written in secrecy and ratified by fraud is not relevant; as I am going on the presumption that the Constitution was written with the best of intentions, and ratified in a manner that was above board and without deceit.
The Constitution is that delegated power that I speak of; it was the consent of the governed to establish a government to serve those it was to represent, and to secure the rights for which it was established. That Constitution declares that it is the Supreme Law of the Land, and that all laws passed in pursuance of it are also the Supreme Law of the Land. But what about the laws our government passes which are not authorized by the Constitution; what would you call them?
I can only tell you what our Founders would say; they would call it tyranny. In "Federalist 47" James Madison tells the people of New York, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
Now if you think about that, can you not come to the conclusion that Madison would have believed that the power being held was based upon political party ideology, rather than the confines of the Constitution, would be an apt definition of tyranny? I certainly do.
In the very next edition of the Federalist, Madison goes on to say, “It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.” And where, may I be so bold to ask, are those limits found? Why, they are found in the Constitution. And if the people do not know what the Constitution says, and vote for people based upon what their respective political parties declare to be their platforms, cannot it be said that the people are voting based upon lies; not the truth?
Yet Jefferson was a wise man, he knew that governments could, over time, become tyrannical and oppressive; so he included in the Declaration of Independence a remedy; another truth we have forgotten; “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. Back when our Constitution was written, each State was sovereign and independent from the others; each with their own government to regulate the internal affairs of the States. The government established by the Constitution was to represent the States and the people; not just the people, like it does today. That didn’t occur, officially at least, until 1913 when the 17th Amendment was supposedly ratified.
So the question is, did the Constitution leave the States as sovereign and independent entities, or did it forge a permanent Union, or a consolidation of the States into the entity known as the United States of America; to which they were forever bound?
The answer to that is found in the Declaration of Independence where Jefferson states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” If the government established by the Constitution became oppressive to one portion of the country, which then benefitted another segment of the country, can it be expected that the segment being subjugated and oppressed must remain in a union that was destructive of the ends for which government was established?
If your answer is yes, then you cannot, in all honesty, state that you believe the Founders were justified in seeking independence from English rule. Using your logic, the Colonies had no right whatsoever to leave the British Empire, or declare themselves free of British rule.
But, if you believe the Colonists were justified in breaking all ties with England, then how can you deny that any portion of the Union of sovereign and independent States could not do the same when the government established by all became oppressive to a portion of the country?
In the book “Atlas Shrugged”, author Ayn Rand writes, “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” Therefore, if you support the right of the Colonists to sever all ties with England, you must support the belief that any portion of the United States reserved the right to resume their status free from the rule of the government they all had established.
In fact, this fact was attested to when Virginia ratified the Constitution, “We the Delegates of the People of Virginia duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly and now met in Convention having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us to decide thereon Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will …” (My emphasis)
At the onset of, what you call the Civil War, if the North chose to remain in the Union, that was their choice; but neither they, nor the government established by the Constitution had any legal authority to perpetually bind any State to a Union which was detrimental to their internal well being. You see, what you call the Civil War was not a civil war, as a civil war is a war in which two entities seek control over the system of governance over the whole. That was not the case in 1861; one segment merely sought to sever the ties which bound them to a voluntary Union of States and form their own system of government which would best suit their needs.
It doesn’t matter what their reasons were for leaving the Union, they retained the right to do so whether it was over slavery, tariffs, or a combination of the two; and the central government was not endowed with the authority to force them into staying.
In 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was agreed to, those who had fought for liberty and independence won. However, in 1865 when Lee surrendered at Appomattox, those who had fought for liberty and independence lost. The Civil War was, in fact, America’s Second War for Independence, and this time the outcome affected us all.
The South Was Right: The outcome of the Civil War was that the government established by consent of the people could override the will of the people, or a portion of the people, and exercise exclusive domain and authority; it ended the concept of the States being free and independent entities and finalized the consolidation of them all into the entity we now call the United States of America.
The fact that we have been lied to by our educators about the Civil War, and what it was really fought over, and the fact that we have been lied to about the subsequent subjugation of the South known as Reconstruction, has produced entire generations that have had the truth hidden from them.
That is why I provided the quote from Blagden, the one which said, “If a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.” That is why so many have come out and openly spoke out of how anything about the Confederacy is racist and offensive; because they have come to believe the lie; it has become their dogma. I don’t know if they are willing to die defending their beliefs, but if they don’t stop pushing they are certainly going to be put to the test.”