Philosophy, Principles And Pundits

by Colonel Dan


The Cowboy Chronicle

July 2005


I’m sometimes asked why my column doesn’t focus much on current political events.  Two reasons answer this question.  First, it’s difficult to be timely on anything “current” when your column is published monthly with a submission dead line two months in advance.  Second and more importantly, my real interest is in political philosophy and principle rather than what some elected weasel did today.

My musings are not often essays on any one political episode.  However, when I do reference specific events, it’s to better illustrate the principle I’m writing about.   I prefer to focus on an underlying philosophy that can be applied to specific events—and especially to encourage people to think for themselves based on solid principles. 

I’m convinced that if you establish firm philosophical principles, events, past, present and even future, will be seen through the eyes of that philosophy and as the old saying goes, you’ll soon discover, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”  Politicians have been creating the same problems since Adam was elected governor of Eden.

If your political framework is based on the principles of our Founders and plain common sense, it will lead to a solid understanding that needs no spoon fed interpretation from political pundits or nationally syndicated talk show hosts.

Too many times I’ve found that these nationally acclaimed “experts” are little more than “Spin Meisters” for their side of the political aisle.  If you listen or read closely, you’ll see that most of what they say is simply “Our side good.  Their side bad” and it goes on day after day after day.  If the politician in question isn’t on their side of the great partisan divide, they’re quick to call a pig a pig.  If however he is one of their own, they’ll just as quickly put lipstick on that pig and call it Miss America.

Spin machines, in my estimation, don’t encourage people to think very much on their own—which is a real disservice to the overall process as I see it.  If they did encourage independent thought, you wouldn’t actually need them for very long; their ratings would drop as would their revenue stream and we all know that would never do.  Moreover, this lop-sided spinning doesn’t do the work of holding ALL political feet to the fire equally as was hoped by our Founders. 

The Framers of our Constitution had a healthy distrust of politicians and established a system that would keep them in check.  That system however required the constant attention of the people.  As Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” and an unfettered willingness to yank a tight knot in the political leash when necessary I might add. 

A personal political philosophy is essential in a representative republic such as ours.  The Founding Fathers based their faith in America’s future on well informed and clear thinking citizens that would be able to see through the fog of daily politics and hold their elected officials accountable to the laws and in particular, to the Constitution.

This approach is what led Franklin to caution they had given us a Republic, “…if we could keep it.”   The Founders knew what it would take to keep this American dream alive and it wasn’t a country of spoon fed, non-thinking, uninvolved sheeple that didn’t pay attention or have strongly held political principles based on a firm Constitution. 

The Constitution was to be the ultimate yardstick by which our political lives were steadfastly measured—a yardstick that IS CERTAINLY NOT a living, breathing document subject to the judicial activism of these self-anointed lords of the bench.

So am I unconcerned or oblivious to what my elected representatives did today or said yesterday?  Of course I’m concerned—as it pertains to my responsibility as an active American citizen charged with holding their political feet to the fire. 

Have I seen much new over the years of closely watching these daily episodes that make the Keystone Cops look pretty good?  Not really.  I simply judge what these politicians do against the clear standards provided in the writings of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton and Madison which, combined with a touch of common sense, tells me all I need to know about the path we’re on. 

I can read and interpret for myself what they wrote without the help of a judge, politician or pundit and I believe in my heart, they meant what they wrote and simply wrote what they meant—nothing more complicated than that.

So my advice and purpose has always been and will remain…study the thoughts of our Founders, develop a political philosophy based on sound principle and view political events through the eyes of those principles.  You can certainly be open to and consider other sincere viewpoints but in the end, always think for yourself.  I’m convinced if you adopt such an approach, you’ll quickly find you really don’t need that talk show as much as you thought.

Just the view from my saddle…  



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