Today’s Surprise: I Recommend My Own Books

In the nearly two years that I’ve written this daily blog, I’ve never, to the best of my recollection (how’s that for a lawyerly term that gets me off the hook if I’m wrong?), advertised for books I’ve authored. Today, though, I would beg your indulgence, since I’ve just had a new edition of one of my books come off the presses.

I first wrote If the Foundations Are Destroyed in 1994. This is now the fourth edition of it, complete with a new cover. Why might you want it? The subtitle, Biblical Principles and Civil Government, tells you what it’s all about. I go through what I consider to be Biblical principles and how they apply to government. These form the basis of all my analyses of current government policies. So if you are a regular reader of this blog, this book will provide a window into why I believe as I do.

I have excerpted some of these concepts on the blog already as an overview. If you are interested in a preview, just click on the “Biblical Principles” category in the right sidebar. To learn more about the book and to order it, go to:

http://ponderingprinciples.com/books/itfad/.

While I’m at it, let me talk briefly about the other two books I’ve written.

I did my doctoral dissertation on Noah Webster. While writing it, I had in mind that I wanted to make it into a publishable book. That’s not always easy with a doctoral dissertation, but I made every effort to ensure the writing style was accessible to a general audience as well as scholars. I hope I succeeded.

Webster was the schoolmaster to early America. His speller and dictionary could be found in nearly all American homes. The subtitle, A Spiritual Biography, lets you know that my goal in this book was to chart the course of Webster’s thinking and worldview. At age 50, he experienced a conversion to orthodox Christian faith. How did that affect his scholarly work? The book compares the pre-conversion Webster with the post-conversion man, while offering along the way an accounting of his contributions to American life and culture. To find out more and order this book go to:

http://ponderingprinciples.com/books/webster/.

In 2001, I completed a study of the Clinton impeachment. My approach was different than any of the other books on the impeachment written at that time. I wrote it from the perspective of the thirteen congressmen—they were called House Managers—who went to the Senate to argue for Clinton’s removal from office. I personally interviewed all thirteen of the Managers in their Capitol Hill offices; this book provides their story on why they thought it was essential to go forward with these impeachment proceedings in spite of public opposition. It’s a study in character and the significance of the rule of law in society.

At the time of its publication, it was a main selection for the Conservative Book Club. Well-known author and editor of World magazine, Marvin Olasky, wrote the foreword for me. This is the only one of my books that is currently out of print (which I hope can be changed someday), but it is still available for those who are interested. For one of the limited number of new copies that still exist, you can order from this page:

http://ponderingprinciples.com/books/misimp/.

If you don’t mind getting a used copy, check out Amazon.

I don’t offer these with any expectation of becoming fabulously wealthy. My primary concern is to disseminate valuable information. I’ve promoted books by a number of authors over the past two years. I just wanted to make sure you are aware of mine as well. I hope some of you decide to add one or more of these to your library.

Prosecuting Arizona

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made some news. In an interview with Ecuadorean television, she informed the world that the Justice Department was planning to take Arizona to court over its illegal immigration bill.

Let’s look at this development from a couple of different angles. First is the appropriateness of the Secretary of State being the bearer of this news. Her job is international affairs, not domestic. What does this mean? One of two things, either one not good. Either she spoke out of turn, which shows an administration in some state of disarray, or she was tasked deliberately to be the point person on this, which shows an administration in some state of disarray. Wait a minute—the two are the same, aren’t they?

Of course Attorney General Eric Holder is the one who should have been given the task. He’s the one responsible for deciding what types of things should be subject to federal prosecution. His track record is interesting: thugs standing outside a polling place in Philadelphia intimidating voters did not deserve prosecution, in his view; Arizona’s attempt to bring illegal immigration under control does.

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona never was told about this. In fact, as of today, it’s still not official—Secretary Clinton’s announcement was a trifle premature (unless it was meant as a trial balloon to see how it goes over in public opinion). Brewer has said Arizona will fight this in the federal courts and win. She’s standing tall.

Politically, what does the administration have to gain by pushing for this? A majority of American citizens are in agreement with what Arizona has done. One commentator speculated that since President Obama’s not going to win over those voters anyway, this lawsuit will be a way to galvanize his base going into the November elections. That may be true, but how telling is that as to the nature of our politics at this time?

The last time I checked, illegal immigration was . . . well . . . illegal. The law that makes it so is from the federal government, not Arizona.

Arizona has done nothing more than try to enforce what is already federal law, and for that it is being prosecuted? Take note: this is the nature of the administration currently running our government.

The Real Threat?

I would find it even more amusing that the mainstream media and their philosophical allies are  disappointed the Times Square bomber isn’t a member of the Tea Party if it weren’t so disturbing. They don’t see the real threat right in front of them.

Their whole scenario just blew up before they could indoctrinate their subjects fellow citizens.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano is on the case.

Reinforcements are always available in the person of a certain ex-president.

I repeat: it would be amusing if it weren’t so disturbing.

He's Back

Bill Clinton apparently hasn’t changed his mind. The Oklahoma City bombing was 15 years ago yesterday. At that time, President Clinton blamed talk radio [read: Rush Limbaugh] for the atmosphere that created the bombing.

It was ludicrous then; it remains so today. Why? Rush was in no way associated, in person or in philosophy, with Timothy McVeigh. But Clinton made the connection anyway. It served his political purposes.

This week he has spoken up again, now claiming that the Tea Party movement’s rhetoric is fashioning a climate for another Oklahoma City tragedy. Careful what you say, Mr. Ex-President. By the same logic, couldn’t your words be used as a rationale for someone who is on the edge—wondering whether to go forward with a mad scheme?

What are the Tea Partiers saying that’s so harmful? They are merely criticizing the government [a praiseworthy activity when a Republican is in office] and calling the nation back to its founding principles.

Since when is it inflammatory to say we should follow the Constitution? Where’s the “danger” in reminding citizens that the Tenth Amendment declares that if the Constitution doesn’t give a certain authority to the federal government . . . it doesn’t have that authority. Instead, the authority goes back to the states and/or the people. Those words were written by historic flamethrowers such as James Madison. Strange . . . I thought he was supposed to be an admirable example.

Let’s compare a minute. When’s the last time you heard George W. Bush or his father, George H. W. Bush, make statements along the same line as Bill Clinton? When’s the last time either of the Bushes intruded themselves into a current public policy debate?

Yet Clinton [and Carter would have to be inserted here as well] is constantly offering his views and trying to frame the debate. Is that the place of an ex-president [emphasis on ex]?

I believe this cartoon captures quite accurately the substance of his advice—as well as its value.

The Debt Legacy

The Founders of America were always talking about posterity. They wanted to be certain that they created a government and a society that would bequeath liberty and virtue to their children and their children’s children to untold generations.

I still hear talk of doing things “for the children.” Bill Clinton was a master of using the children to promote his policies. But if the policies we follow are going to bind future generations to a massive debt, it becomes obvious some politicians are making “the children” props for their schemes.

I encourage you to go to the following site for a does of reality—http://www.usdebtclock.org/—and see just what we are placing on our children. As of the moment I am writing this blog post, the United States is $12,672,000,000,000+ in debt. That works out to $41,016 per person, $115,491 per taxpayer. The largest budget item is Medicare/Medicaid, coming in at more than $765 billion; the interest—just the interest—on the national debt is fast approaching $200 billion.

Kids, this is your legacy.

Congratulations.

Speaking of congratulations, did you read about one individual who is absolutely thrilled by passage of the healthcare bill?

When Fidel Castro is on your side, you’ve already lost. You would think that would make some Democratic politicians pause. I predict, though, that they will not stop their march into madness.

Ah, yes, a way to get more votes. That’s all that counts, right?

Honoring the Government

Let me clarify something today. I can almost hear some readers of this blog thinking, “He criticizes the president and Congress so much that he can’t really have any respect for the government.”

The opposite is true.

I have the highest regard for the federal government. This comes from a reading of the Constitution, the debates over its ratification, and the character of many of those who helped bring it to pass. I believe the form of government set up by our Constitution is the best the world has seen, yet I also believe that it can work the way it’s supposed to work only if we maintain our Biblical principles.

Congress, in theory, is a wonderful institution. Initially, it allowed direct representation for the people and direct representation for all state governments. This provided balance and set up a federal system. When we changed how senators were elected, state governments lost all representation. That was a blow to the federalism essential for the Congress to function the way it was intended.

Further, as I stated in my last post, when individuals in Congress are allowed to set up their fiefdoms over which they rule imperiously, we have lost the character necessary for it to represent the people.

As for the presidency, the Constitution did not set up an all-powerful executive. It did give the president strong powers in certain areas, such as making him the commander in chief of the armed forces, but the president was not to be a monarch.

George Washington, I believe, had the proper attitude toward the office. He accepted it as a sacred trust, a responsibility thrust upon him by a people who had confidence in his leadership. Given a choice, he never would have taken the job; he would have preferred to stay at home and oversee his farms. Yet his country needed him to set the right precedents for the office.

As I tell my students, what we need today are people who don’t need to be president to have fulfilled lives. Far too many of those who aspire to the office see it as the apex of their existence. Many have been running for it [in their minds, at least] since they were teenagers. How many do so because they have the same attitude Washington had? How many do so because they simply want the authority that the office bestows? The latter are not the ones I want to entrust with that authority.

I know not everyone will agree with me that Abraham Lincoln also possessed Washington’s outlook. Yes, he was a politician who wanted the job. However, a closer look at his motives reveals a strong desire to use that office for good constitutionally. He had dropped out of politics until Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. That act, which opened a new area to slavery, incited Lincoln to reenter the fray.

As president, he bore a heavy burden. Those with Southern sympathies believe he was a tyrant. I must respectfully disagree. Although under tremendous pressure to change the nature of the country forever, he did no such thing. He merely took his job as commander in chief seriously as he tried to bring rebellious states under control. In the process, slavery disappeared. I used to be one of those who disliked Lincoln. Further study changed my mind.

We have had presidents since Lincoln who did their best to keep the nation operating constitutionally. Chief among those were Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan. Others had strong impulses for changing the government in a way that would destroy the original intent of the Founders: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama have been the most prominent.

Why do I critique the current Congress and President Obama so much? It’s because I have a deep respect for the original intent of this government. It’s because I have a heartfelt desire to see us maintain our Biblical principles and build upon them.

When one sees the foundations of a once-great nation crumbling, one has a responsibility to speak up. To do otherwise would be to share in the blame when it finally is destroyed.