Duty, Honor, and Personal Responsibility

I’m going to start this morning with a couple of paragraphs from Jessica’s last two posts because they are exactly on point to where we are going today. This was not what I was going to write, maybe later, I have elected to supersede that article because of events and knowledge we have gained lately. Here’s Jess from yesterday:

If you hadn’t noticed, I am an Americanophile.  I was brought up not to forget one thing – that the freedom that I enjoyed had been won by the blood of others; and that key to that blood not being spilled in vain was the courage, the sacrifice and the money of the United States of America. It also dawned on me as soon as I started studying history that those things had continued to be gifted to us after the Second World War; Communism had no enemy fiercer than the United States. I lived in Missouri for a year when I was a child, and I learned then how much Americans loved their country; that seemed, and seems, admirable to me.


It won’t do to pretend that the Roman Republic was a democracy, it wasn’t, but it was a place where to be a Roman citizen was the greatest honour possible, and service to the citizens in the Senate was a duty which a man took seriously. Few left office richer than they entered it, because service was costly; but it was considered the duty owed by a man to the Republic. Service in the army was onerous, but again, it was something a man did in the name of honour.

And from today

One of the Republican (as in Roman Republic) virtues which the US has exemplified is independence of spirit.  Men took responsibility for their actions; it was not unknown for senators to fall on their swords if they dishonoured their office. The ideal of the Roman world was Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519 BC – 430 BC) (and the answer to the question is yes, it was named after him). When his son was convicted of a crime and absconded, Cincinnatus had to pay a huge fine and retired to his small farm. But when the State was threatened by the Volsci, the Senate called upon him to lead the State. He laid down his plough and returned to high office, which he discharged with great distinction; after victory was assured, he returned to his farm. In later life he returned once more and did great service; once again, he retired into private life. He became the beau ideal of the Patrician Roman. A man to whom service to the Res Publica – the common weal – was all.

Your American history has many such men, from the great George Washington, through Jefferson and Lincoln and into more modern times, a man like Eisenhower or Truman. These were men of almost Cincinnatan virtue. They were men who gave to the State and asked for little and ended by being loved by the people.

If he had one at all, Cincinnatus was Washington’s role model, all he ever wanted to do was farm Mount Vernon and be with his beloved Martha. It showed too. When he retired after his two terms as President, George the III of England asked the American Minister to England what he would do, the Minister replied ” He will return to his farm”. King George replied of his former enemy “Then he shall be the greatest man in the world.” This is what the American Presidency once was. Add to that the association of former Officers of the Continental Army was The Society of the Cincinnati.

Cincinnatus has also left us a quote, or you could even call it a motto:

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Yes, I know, you thought it came from a much more recent figure, one whom the press has done an outstanding job of demonizing. You’re not wrong, exactly, Senator Goldwater did quote it in his acceptance speech at the 1964 convention. But it wasn’t original with him.

What are the three things that run through what Jess has written (much of what I write as well) and what Cincinnatus and Washington both lived?

Duty, Honor, and Personal Responsibility

Both were plain men doing their best for their country when it called, yes Washington was well off, he was a good planter, and lived fairly well. But as he said at Newburgh  he grew gray and almost blind in our service.

Over the years guided by men like these we have become what has been called “The Indispensable Nation” because of our physical power, as we have become the leader of the free world, which in truth is exactly synonymous with Western Civilization because of our moral power, as well as because we are the last major power who is overtly Christian, the leader of what used to be called Christendom. It’s a very awesome status, which we have borne quite well and humbly as well, not least because of our history, and the men who founded and led what my British friends tend to refer to as The Great Republic, but as Jess asked us this morning,  “Has there been one such since Ike?  And if not, is that not a sign of something?” My answer is, “Yes, it is”. I believe we have lost our way, and we have devolved as the Romans before us did, into a group of grasping vain men and women struggling for power and wealth without thought for duty and honor. If they even know what the word mean.

This morning another British female published an article (I don’t know what’s in the water over there, that these women drink but, I think they need to share!), Melanie Phillips who I started the week by talking about. Here is a bit from her blog.

Fort Hood, Benghazi, the Boston bombings, Iran/Syria, Israel. The pattern is unmistakeable; the danger to America is exponentially increasing; the scandal is deepening into something nearer to a national crisis.

The Obama administration is playing down the Islamist threat to the US and the free world, empowering Islamists at home and abroad, endangering America and betraying its allies — and covering up its egregious failure to protect the homeland as a result of all the above, while instead blaming America for its own victimisation.

What is coming out in the Benghazi hearings would be jaw-dropping if it had not been apparent from the get-go that the administration failed to protect its own people in the beseiged American mission where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff were murdered in 2012, then lied about the fact that this was an Islamist attack, and then covered up both its failure and its lie. (Apparent, that is, to some — but not to the American media, most of which gave the Obama administration a free pass on the scandal in order to ensure the smooth re-election of The One).

But the administration has form on this — serious, continuing form. After the Fort Hood massacre in 2009, in which an Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas shouting ‘Allahu akhbar’, not only was it revealed that his radicalisation and extremist links had been ignored but the Department of Defense and federal law enforcement agencies classified the shootings merely as an act of ‘workplace violence’.

Weeks after the Boston marathon terrorist atrocity, there is still no explanation of why the FBI did not act against the Tsarnaev brothers, despite having had one of them on their books as a dangerous Islamic radical after a warning from Russian intelligence; and why, as the House Homeland Security Committee heard yesterday, the FBI didn’t pass on their suspicions about the brothers to the Boston police.

Even now, the US authorities are playing down or even dismissing  Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s extremist Islamic views. Whether or not the brothers had links to foreign extremists is still unclear. But what is bizarre is the authorities’ belief that if they did not have any such links, they cannot have had any religious motive.

 You need to go read the rest Obamastan | Melanie Phillips. I’ll wait for you.

Now, I don’t have an instant solution, you and I both know that someplace in this cesspool there is an impeachable (and maybe criminal as well) offense, and maybe the House could bring in a bill of impeachment, but what are the odds of the Senate convicting? And if they did, does anybody really think Joe Biden would be any better? We’re pretty much stuck trying to do the best we can for now.

But we had best get to work on finding some real American leaders by the next election. From Samuel Adams:

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards:

And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.

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Categories: American Values, Conservatism, Decline of America, History, Leadership, Western Civilization

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3 replies

  1. Obama is useful to somebody with a lot to lose or he wouldn’t be where he is. OTOH, Jay Carney patronized the White House Press Corps today to the point that they are feeling insulted/slighted/lied to and they are now wanting to know why.

    Impeach? Maybe not. Watergated? Definite possibility.

    Learning to own up to failings…not holding my breath.

  2. Rome fell to ‘evolved’ Romans long before the Germans walked in, right? Those ‘citizens’ forgot who they were and how they got there. We have done the same, repudiating our religion just as the Romans did and looking at the state as owing us as they did, forgetting that word: “responsibility” as did they. They paid for that as pointed out; so will we. Pogo was right: “We has met the enemy, an he is us.”

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