Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Montesquieu's Roadmap for Our American Constitution

In my last blog post - A Founding Father's Quote for Election 2012, I found a quote from Montesquieu written descriptively below the word origin of "vice."

Word Origin & History

"moral fault, wickedness," c.1300, from O.Fr. vice, from L. vitium "defect, offense, blemish, imperfection," in both physical and moral senses (cf. It. vezzo "usage, entertainment").

"Horace and Aristotle have already spoken to us about the virtues of their forefathers and the vices of their own times, and through the centuries, authors have talked the same way. If all this were true, we would be bears today." [Montesquieu]

This morning, I reached chapter 5 in Mark Levin's book "Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America" which covers the writings of Montesquieu. It is amazing to see how the warnings contained in this chapter fit so well with describing the current gangster government under Obama.

Before I get to that chapter, I have to share something I saw on O'Reilly last night. Producer Jessie Waters attended the Academy Awards on Sunday night. He stood on the "red carpet" and approached several "celebrities" to ask them political questions. Apparently, Cameron Diaz was heard saying, "I don't do Fox News." But George Clooney was willing to speak with Mr. Waters. Jessie asked George if he thought that Obama was doing a good job. Clooney answered, in a liberal leftist predictable way, that he thought Obama was doing a good job. As Clooney started to depart from the microphone Jessie was holding, he also said, "and it's President Obama." The look on Clooney's face as he walked away but continued to look at Waters didn't even need to be analyzed by a body language expert. It was a look of disdain, disgust, and contempt. All of that because Waters disrespected Obama by not giving him the proper label that Clooney thought he should have. But do you recall how Clooney and the rest of the Hollyweird crowd denigrated, trashed, disparaged and cursed about President George W. Bush? How quickly they forget that "respect" mantra when they are spewing their vile comments against a Republican President. Hypocrisy - Clooney is thy name.

Waters didn't verbally bash Obama. No! All he did was make the "mistake" of not saying his current title - and THAT was disrespectful in Clooney's mind? Give me a break!!

What's more, O'Reilly agreed with Clooney (sort of) that Obama should be given respect because of the position he holds. Tell me Bill, would that have applied to Hitler too? It isn't about the position one holds that deems what kind of respect should be given - it's about whether or not that person's deeds in the office deserve respect!

I'm sure that there have been MANY video clips of O'Reilly just calling Barack by his last name. So...should O'Reilly call himself out on that?

I think that it is humorous to see Fox News anchors fall all over themselves because Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum called Obama, "a snob." I'm sure that the crazies at MSNBullCrap are apoplectic over it!! But again, the media of mass deception called President Bush every derogatory name you could imagine, but THAT was OK?? Hypocrisy, MSNBC is thy name!

Let's look at the definition of that word and see if it fits Obama:

snob   /snɒb/ Show Spelled[snob] Show IPA
1. a person who imitates, cultivates, or slavishly admires social superiors and is condescending or overbearing to others.
2. a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field: a musical snob.

Word Origin & History


1781, "a shoemaker, a shoemaker's apprentice," of unknown origin. It came to be used in Cambridge University slang c.1796 for "townsman, local merchant," and by 1831 it was being used for "person of the ordinary or lower classes." Meaning "person who vulgarly apes his social superiors" arose 1843, popularized
1848 by William Thackeray's "Book of Snobs." The meaning later broadened to include those who insist on their gentility, in addition to those who merely aspire to it, and by 1911 had its main modern sense of "one who despises those considered inferior in rank, attainment, or taste."

I think Rick hit the nail directly on the head!  The term "snob" certainly does describe Obama as:

"2. a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field: a musical snob." and
"one who despises those considered inferior in rank, attainment, or taste."

Recall when Obama was fundraising with millionaires in San Fransisco prior to the 2008 election and he was caught on tape referring to people in Pennsylvania with disgust, labeling them hicks who "cling to their guns and Bibles?" I think that the term "snob" fits Obama quite well. But it certainly isn't the only derogatory description that he deserves!  Also recall how Obama disparaged the TEA Party protestors, but embraced the Occupy Wall Street protestors; many of whom killed, raped, pillaged and destroyed their surroundings.  Now Obama and his thugs have gone one step further, having the IRS target TEA Party groups.

Back to the topic.

I would like to share a few paragraphs from Levin's Ameritopia that are written in Chapter 8  which is entitled, "Charles De Montesquieu and Republican Government."

Montesquieu wrote of the nature of governments. "There are three kinds of government: REPUBLICAN, MONARCHICAL, and DESPOTIC. To discover the nature of each, the idea of them held by the least educated of men is sufficient. I assume three definitions, or rather, three facts: one,  republican government is that in which the people as a body, or only a part of the people, have sovereign power; monarchical government is that in which onoe alone governs, but by fixed and established laws; whereas, in despotic government, one alone, without law and without rule, draws everything along by his will and caprices"  (1,1,2).

Montesquieu describes the Republican form of government requiring people to vote in elections.

Levin continues:

Montesquieu points out, There is this difference between the nature of the government and its principle:  its nature is that which makes it what it is, and its principle, that which makes it act.  The one is its particular structure, and the other is the human passions that set it in motion" (1,3,1).  He explains, "There need not  be much integrity for a monarchical or despotic government to maintain or sustain itself.  The force of the law in the one and the prince's ever-raised arm in the other can rule or contain the whole."  As for republican government, Montesquieu asserts that "in a popular state there must be an additional spring, which is VIRTUE."  What I say is confirmed by the entire body of history and is quite in conformity with the nature of things.  For it is clear that less virtue is needed in a monarchy, where the one who sees to the execution of the laws judges himself above the laws, than in a popular government, where the one who sees to the execution of the laws feels that he is subject to them himself and that he will bear their weight....But in a popular government when the laws have ceased to be executed, as this can come only from the corruption of the republic, the state is already lost" (1,3,3).  In despotic government, "virtue is not at all necessary to it..." (1,3,8)

Montesquieu saw despotism, including its frequent antecedent, anarchy, as a continuing threat to republican government.  "When that virtue ceases, ambition enters those hearts that can admit it, and avarice enters them all.  Desires change their objects:  that which one used to love, one loves no longer.  One was free under the laws, one wants to be free against them.  Each citizen is like a slave who has escaped from his master's house.   What was a maxim is now called severity; what was a rule is now called constraint; what was vigilance is now called fear.  There, frugality, not the desire to possess, is avarice.  Formerly the goods of individuals made up the public treasury; the public treasury has now become the patrimony of individuals.  The republic is a cast-off husk, and its strength is no more than the power of a few citizens and the license of all" (1,3,3).

I think that the last sentence describes the angst of the informed electorate who now see what Obama and his cohorts are REALLY all about! It all started back when the TEA Party formed in 2009.

Rick Santelli's rant on the stock exchange floor may have spurred on the TEA Party movement, however, ever since that day many more people are realizing the terrible direction that Obama is taking our nation.

Right now, Republicans are in the process of vetting out the candidates for Election 2012. Personally, I think that is a GOOD THING! Anyone who is calling for early selection of a candidate should be held under suspicion of being part of the establishment RINOS who would take this country in the same direction that Obummer has, but at a slower pace. There are progressives in each of the major parties, so we must be diligent to spot the candidate that best represents what the TEA Party stands for.

In the next few paragraphs, we find Montesquieu warning about despotic government:

Montesquieu warned, "In despotic states the nature of the government requires extreme obedience, and the prince's will, once known, should produce its effect as infallibly as does one ball thrown against another.  No tempering, modification, accommodation, terms, alternatives, negotiations, remonstrances, nothing as good or better can be proposed. Man is a creature that obeys a creature that wants. He can no more express his fears about a future event than he can blame his lack of success on the caprice of fortune. There, men's portion, like beasts', is instinct, obedience, and chastisement. It is useless to counter with natural feelings, respect for a father, tenderness for one's children and women, laws of honor, or the state of one's health; one has received the order and that is enough" (1,3,10).

A paragraph later:

It follows that virtue is mostly impossible in a monarchy and nonexistent under despotism, but is crucial to sustain a republican government. "Virtue, in a republic, is a very simple thing: It is love of the republic; it is a feeling and not a result of knowledge; the lowest man in the state, like the first, can have this feeling." However, virtue alone is not enough. "Despotic government has fear as its principle; and not many laws are needed for timid, ignorant, beaten-down people"(1,5,13), but republican government requires fixed, established laws adopted by the representative of the people, which create a culture of support for the republic. "Laws must relate to the nature and the principle of the government that is established or that one wants to establish, whether those laws form it as do political laws, or maintain it, as do civil laws" (1,1,3)

Levin goes on to describe several of Montesquieu's warnings. I am writing just the first sentence of each warning:

1. Montesquieu warns of the tyranny of concentrated power resulting from either unjust laws or the application of laws unjustly, and the anarchy of radical egalitarianism that leads to despotism.

2. Montesquieu also fears the destructive consequences of excessive taxation of liberty.

3. Montesquieu also viewed commerce as essential to the character of republican government.

4. Montesquieu explained that unlike the poor in republican government, who in freedom can better their circumstances, in despotic states the poor have no hope.

5. [While discussing industrious men and societies] - Moreover commerce is a natural outgrowth of republican government, where individuals are largely free to make self-interested economic decisions.

6. Montesquieu, always mindful of history's preference for tyranny, argued that political liberty exists within the context of a constitution--a fixed, established law.

7. Montesquieu urged an independent and temporary judiciary in which judges, chosen from the people, strictly adhered to the law.

There is much more to read about Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws. We can safely say that it had virtually nothing in common with the utopias in Plato's Republic, More's Utopia, Hobbes's Leviathan, and later, Marx's workers' paradise.

Levin writes:

Montesquieu's greatest concern was with despotism's threat to the individual and his political liberty. He argued for moderate, republican government, where the people choose their representatives and their representatives are prudent and virtuous. Aware of tyranny's resoluteness and the nature of political power, Montesquieu insisted that republics must separate the three powers of government into different branches to ensure they are not united under one person or centralized in one institution.

Furthermore, he emphasized that the law must be stable and predictable, reflective of society's mores, and made not to interfere with the individuals routine except in cases of actual necessity. When disputes arise or violations of law occur, they are to be adjudicated by individuals who are independent of the legislative and executive branches and adhere strictly to the law's meaning.

The majority of the American people have seen Obama wreak havoc against the principles of our Constitutional Republic over the past three years. His attempts to create a kind of utopianism here in America is actually a form of despotism in and of itself! When a political Marxist gets into office, he and his cohorts attempt to fool the public into thinking "he knows what's best." The trouble is, it is THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what most Americans want! Americans want LIBERTY, equality properly understood, moderation, tolerance (not approval of aberrant behavior!), and to prosper as individuals in a society of freedom while keeping our traditions alive and well!

Levin closes the chapter:

In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu would provide a road map for the American constitution, in which a system of gevernment is established to represent a diverse and dynamic society, and the individual lives free from the cruelty and domination of others and the government itself.
Hat tips to all links.


Steve said...

Hey Christine!
Wow! Little lady, you got up this morning with "your guns loaded"! Right you are about the "deeds" of a person being the determining factor of any due respect. Call to mind ... "Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor." (Ecc. 10:1) If there ever has been a person given a position of trust and "wisdom and honor" and is consumed with "folly" ... Barack Hussein Obama fits all too well.
Like you suggested, what else could we expect to get from the likes of some of the most arrogant people on the planet? These kinds of incidences make me thankful for scriptures such as: "I ... praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."
As always I get encouragement visiting Talk Wisdom.

Christinewjc said...

Thanks so much, Steve!

I get encouragement when fellow believers like you come here and share great points - backing it up with awesome Scripture! It is important to show readers here that so much of what formed our great nation came from individuals who believed in God, His Living Word - Jesus Christ, and His written Word, the Bible!

No one can beat the truth of Scripture! All they can do is deny the truth; but then, they are found to be "consumed with folly" -as you had stated.