Captain Levi Preston is Still Out There

My friend Hector really knows how to put it to you, right?

I know you Christians are under tremendous pressure. But as your drama in America unfolds, and the more our aggressive secular story allies push harder and harder against you Christians, the more it is possible they will come under pressure too. For Paula and I speculate that they are going to meet up with a dangerous — but interesting! — combination of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Braveheart, Captain Levi Preston, Blaise Pascal –and Katie Melua.

What a cocktail, huh?

Paula loves this song by Katie …

Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles

And she pointed out how there are different kinds of knowing going on.

While 9 million bicycles in Beijing is a countable fact (not one less!), Katie doesn’t intend for us to think of her love for her lover in the same way.

And we instinctively know that.

There is something different going on.

It’s relational knowledge, not quantifiable knowledge.

And our story allies in America might want to face the reality that the same thing is going on when it comes to the human desire for freedom.

It’s not so easily quantifiable either.

You can see a striking illustration of this from Joseph Frank, the noted biographer of the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Notice again what he writes about Dostoevsky and the deep desire humans have for freedom…

On a more personal level, his intuition of the importance for the human personality of a sense of its own freedom, already present in his rejection of Socialist blueprints, was immensely broad and deepened. His observations of his fellow convicts revealed that freedom of the will was not only a social desiderata, not only a religious postulate, but a primordial need of the human personality. Acts that might seem senseless or irrational to a superficial observer sprang irresistibly, among the imprisoned convicts guarded night and day, from “the poignant hysterical craving for self-expression, the unconscious yearning for [one]self, the desire to assert [a] crushed personality, a desire which suddenly takes possession of

and reaches the pitch of fury, of spite, of mental aberration” (4:66-67). Dostoevsky compared this uncontrollable fury to the reaction of a man buried alive and hopelessly beating on the lid of his coffin; the certain knowledge of futility would not restrain his visceral desperation. From that time on, the notion that rationality or reasonableness could be counted on as a controlling and dominant force in human life seemed to him the height of folly.

Joseph Frank, The Mantle of the Prophet, 1871-1881

And we came across this from the famous Mel Gibson movie Braveheart…

Braveheart In Defiance Of The English Tyranny! BRAVO

That question —  “What will you do without freedom?” — should grab and hold their attention — and make them think twice about their confidence that they will be able to make you bow down and conform.

You see, the harder they push, the more likely they will come into conflict with Captain Levi Preston…

Levi Preston of Danvers, Mass., was in his early 20s in the spring of 1775 when he fought in the Battle of Concord at the opening of the American Revolution. Many years later, Captain Preston was asked why he went to fight that day.

Was it the intolerable oppressions of British colonial policy, or the Stamp Act?

“I never saw any stamps,” Preston replied. What about the tax on tea? “I never drank a drop of the stuff; the boys threw it all overboard.”

It must have been all his reading of Harrington, Sidney, and Locke on the principles of liberty? “Never heard of ’em. We read only the Bible, the catechism, Watt’s Psalms and Hymns, and the Almanack.”

Well, what was it? asked Preston’s interviewer. What made you take up arms against the British?

“Young man, what we meant in going for those redcoats was this: We always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should.”

The Rediscovery of America, by Matthew Spalding, National Review, November 2, 2009

Commenting on this story, Ilana Mercer connects it to an observation from Alexis de Tocqueville…

Levi Preston is the archetypal American.

If asked whether their love of liberty was inspired by Greek democracy, Roman republicanism, natural rights, or the Enlightenment, Americans of every generation since Preston’s would have been as baffled as he had been. American affinity for liberty and freedom is rooted less in a familiarity with distant events and formal texts than in, as Alexis de Tocqueville observed, the “customs, beliefs, traditions, and folkways of free people.” “Love of liberty,” he wrote in The Old Regime, “defies analysis … It is something one must feel, and logic has no part in it.”

“American Creed,” Ilana Mercer, The American Conservative, January 31, 2005

See that? Logic has no part in it.

And if Christianity is the story we are in, then that fits with the Identity Fountain of Freedom.

But our secular story allies in America, or at least the ones Hector Klumpp calls Beefy Nihilists, are all about their iron logic.

So maybe they should consider the connection between Levi Preston and Pascal’s famous observation…

The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know. We feel it in a thousand things. I say that the heart naturally loves the Universal Being, and also itself naturally, according as it gives itself to them; and it hardens itself against one or the other at its will. You have rejected the one and kept the other. Is it by reason that you love yourself?

It is the heart which experiences God, and not the reason. This, then, is faith: God felt by the heart, not by the reason.

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

So, you see the obstacle the Beefy Nihilists are facing, right?

And just to make it a little less opaque, notice how Spengler connects the origin of America to this deep and passionate desire for freedom…

America’s founders pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the revolutionary cause at a moment when they enjoyed more freedom as Englishmen than the citizens of any other country in the world, and when taxation without representation did not prevent them from living in peace and relative prosperity. Never before or again in modern history did men of property and station make such a reckless gamble. In fact, most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were impoverished by the war, and many would have hanged if the American cause had failed. This supremely immoderate act was motivated by a passion for liberty, mostly with a religious foundation.

Kierkegaard is needed more than ever, by Spengler, Asia Times Online, June 24, 2013

And that’s their problem. The harder the Beefy Nihilists put their shoulders to the plough against you, the more they are going to discover that a surprising number of you aren’t the pushovers they thought you were!

From Huck Finn to Sam Spade, our greatest books and films feature everyman heroes who question illegitimate authority and fight for a fair shake.

What Makes America Great?, By Daniel Krauthammer, Weekly Standard, April 28, 2017

And think about what Tom Wolfe says in relation to the status genre…

Not all status groups are either as competitive as capital-S Society’s and the military’s or as hostile as the bohemians’. Some are comprised of much broader populations from much larger geographic areas. My special favorites are the Good Ol’ Boys, as I eventually called them. I happened upon them while working on an article about stock car racing. Good ol’ boys are rural Southerners and Midwesterners seldom educated beyond high school or community college, sometimes owners of small farms but more likely working for wages in factories, warehouses, and service companies. They are mainly but by no means exclusively Scots-Irish Protestants in background and are Born Fighting, to use the title of a brilliant recent work of ethnography by James Webb. They have been the backbone of American combat forces ever since the Revolution, including, as it turns out, both armies during the Civil War. They love hunting, they love their guns, and they believe, probably correctly, that the only way to train a boy to kill Homines loquaces in battle someday is to take him hunting to learn to kill animals, starting with rabbits and squirrels and graduating to beasts as big or bigger than Homo loquax, such as the deer and the bear. Good ol’ boys look down on social pretension of any sort. They place a premium on common sense and are skeptical of people with theories they don’t put to the test themselves.

Tom Wolfe, The Human Beast, Jefferson Lecture, National Endowment for the Humanities, May/June 2006

And as your tension grows, there is a question which will rise to the surface even more…

Who is now in charge in America?

Look at this…

The rise of digital media, meanwhile, has given ordinary Americans, especially younger ones, an instinctive feel for direct democracy. Whether they’re stuffing the electronic ballot boxes of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, liking a post on Facebook, or up-voting a comment on Reddit, they are seeing what it looks like when their vote makes an immediate difference. Compared with these digital plebiscites, the work of the United States government seems sluggish, outmoded, and shockingly unresponsive.

As a result, average voters feel more alienated from traditional political institutions than perhaps ever before. When they look at decisions made by politicians, they don’t see their preferences reflected in them.

America Is Not a Democracy, By YASCHA MOUNK, The Atlantic, MARCH 2018

And Paula showed us how it was also raised by the following dissenters in the famous case, Obergefell v. Hodges…

Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right to govern themselves. They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges. And they certainly would not have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after “a quite extensive discussion.”


The Court’s accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it.

Chief Justice John Roberts, Dissenting Opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.


It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.


This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government. Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.”

A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.


And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.

Justice Antonin Scalia, Dissenting Opinion, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

And you can see the tension in your drama from the famous quote in Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address…

At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address

And all that tension may increase in this way as your crazy drama unfolds…

Savage predicted that the left’s histrionics could potentially backfire and result in an even more right-wing revolution. “If they keep this up, more and more people on the independent middle will demand law and order,” he said.

Yet he warned that mass hysteria movements tend to spiral out of control and eventually turn against the orchestrators as warring factions use the ensuing chaos to vie for power.

“The guillotine is a thirsty blade,” Savage noted. “It has no political affiliation. And when the left starts dropping it on the right and then the women start dropping it on the men they don’t understand what will happen next.”

“Study any revolution,” he added. “Whether it be that of Mao’s China, the Bolshevik Revolution or Castro’s Cuba. After they got done killing their enemies they started killing each other. Struggling for power. … We are all potential victims of hysteria. It doesn’t matter what side you are on. And what I am suggesting … is take a deep breath before you vilify your enemy. Because tomorrow it may be you.”

Michael Savage: Left’s ‘Orchestrated Mass Hysteria’ Over Trump Must Be Stopped, By Aaron Klein, Breitbart, October 8, 2018

So, maybe this guy is on to something you may want to consider…

Utopianism is about building heaven on earth. Having abandoned the limits of traditional religion, politics has become larger, more intrusive, and higher stakes. The right is mostly engaged in defense, trying to protect private life from the intrusions of a hostile state and its army of snitches and regulators. Having found this group relentless, it is natural to wonder if separation may be the best solution, and it probably is.

The Left Won’t Allow a Peaceful Separation, By Christopher Roach, American Greatness, January 21st, 2019

So, maybe it is time for you to give Hector Klumpp’s Anticipatory Peace Proposal some serious thought.

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