Oliver DeMille is an amazing thinker. I've read two of his books now and found that he inspires me to do better in my life and to teach my children all the things that they might be missing out on. Not that I don't already try to do that, I just never thought of focusing on the history of the things before.
This was an amazing book. The back of the book is a great teaser for what's inside, "Three critical events in 1913, followed by a corresponding event in 1936, together struck a resounding blow to America's freedom. In fact, they triggered the greatest Turning Point away from freedom in modern times. What were these dangerous events? Why do so few American citizens know about them - especially since they dramatically and negatively impact every detail of their lives? Most importantly, how can their effects be reversed and freedom restored?"
Doesn't that just make you want to pick up the book and see what you've been missing and what you could be working at harder to make this country better? I know I did. I also knew that I enjoyed Mr. DeMille's style, so there was no downside to taking on this book.
I forced myself to read it in small chunks so that I could digest all that he says. It was really the only way to read it because there is so much information.
I enjoyed learning that all the branches of government except the Supreme Court could be checked by others and that Jefferson tried enacting an amendment to fix this but it was never adopted so the Supreme Court continues to consider itself above the other branches of government. Also, that the common people used to follow the Supreme Court's cases. I don't remember the last case I heard about which tells me that I am lacking in important information because I hope they are not getting paid just to sit around and wait for a case. I need to get more informed.
I enjoyed learning that since 1936, twelve of the thirteen US presidents have drastically increased US spending over the levels of their predecessors (the thirteenth tried but didn't succeed). And that of the thirteen presidents leading up to 1936, only four significantly increased US per capita budgetary spending. Looks like a case of one-up-manship to me. Or the greed finally set in. Makes me wonder when we'll get a president who will make sure that the government isn't paying inflated items just because they're the government and everyone wants something for nothing nowadays. It makes me wonder what I can do to stay informed on these matters. Mr DeMille says that you need to make sure to read the fine print in everything in-order to find out what it's all really about.
I loved this quote, "Where political freedom is concerned, inalienable rights and freedoms must be applied to everyone equally. This is the main purpose of government, and when it falls short of this (or tries to do much beyond protecting equal rights), freedom for all is decreased. History is absolutely clear on this point."
I loved this one too, "Only a few people got on the Mayflower, but this event changed the world forever. Only a few sailed with Columbus, or even knew of his journey. Only a few stood firmly for their religion while the roman soldiers herded them into arenas to be slain by lions. Only a few participated - both for and against - in the life, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ." This summed it up that it won't take all of us to turn this country back around, just a dedicated few who are willing to educate themselves and teach others and take a chance on the unknown for a belief in something better.
Mr DeMille takes a moment in the book to touch on President Calvin Coolidge. He shares what a great thinker he was even if he is portrayed as weak in our textbooks. There are two quotes Mr DeMille shares that I think you may like.
First, "Individual initiative, in the long run, is a firmer reliance than bureaucratic supervision...We do no need more knowledge; we need more character. We do not need more government; we need more culture. We do not need more law; we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen; we need more of the things that are unseen...If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand."
The second, "We have been successful beyond others in great commercial and industrial enterprises because we have been a people of vision. Our prosperity has resulted not by disregarding but by maintaining high ideals. Material resources do not, and cannot, stand alone; they are the product of spiritual resources."
These tell me that we need to inspire more dreaming and goal setting in our kids. Goal setting should be taught day one in school; what do the kids want to accomplish this year? We know what the teachers want to accomplish, but what about our kids. I bet if we asked them, they would be more excited about school, be more involved in their learning process and our schools would excel overall. Give them a reason to be there. It's not always fun working on other people's goals, but your own...that's a different story.
I loved Mr DeMille's definition of freedom. "Put simply, freedom means one has the ability to improve his situation in life - whatever it may be."
And the slap in the face excerpt: "When people lose their freedoms in such a system, it is always the people, not the system, which have failed. The people have all the power, but they must choose to exercise it.
If the people understand freedom, read history and the Constitution and the great political and economic classics, and stay actively involved in maintaining their freedoms, the complex arrangement of constitutional freedoms will not fail."
Which tells me that I need to get out there and dig for information that I want to know. I need to stay informed on who is making decisions for me and what those decisions are. I can't blindly stand by the wayside and let those who are supposed to be more informed than me make all the decisions because by the looks of things, they aren't who they've been telling us they are.
We are all human and we are all programmed to look out for ourselves. We need to overcome that and start thinking about our communities. The people we interact with every day, what impact do we have on their lives and them on ours and how can we improve the interaction in-order to begin the shift towards more freedom. If we start caring for each other, we won't want to rely on the government so much. We'd rather receive from those we know instead of those who say they have our best interest at heart....because they are only human after all.