Monday, December 29, 2008
"We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution." -- Preamble to the Washington State Constitution. "We, the people of the state of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare do establish this Constitution." Preamble to the Idaho State Constitution. "We, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution." -- Preamble to the Pennsylvania State Constitution. "We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain and establish this constitution." -- Preamble to the North Dakota State Constitution. "We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." -- Preamble to the Constitution of the State of Massachusetts.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Rick Moran has a great reflection on George Washington's campaign in New Jersey during the Christmas season of 1776, posted here on Pamjamas Media. As Moran writes, things looked fairly grim for America at the close of 1776:
Patriots in New York and New Jersey took advantage of General Howe’s generous offer of a pardon and flocked to the British standard. Fearing capture, the Congress fled Philadelphia for Baltimore. They placed Washington in charge of both military and civilian affairs, thus making him a de facto military dictator. Not that there was anyone or anything to dictate to. Washington himself believed the cause was lost when he wrote his cousin in mid-December “I think the game is pretty near up.”Read it all.
It may very well have been except for two things: Washington’s fierce determination to go on the offensive and the writings of a dour, New England leveler named Thomas Paine.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
As for grammar, those who work through the writings of Thomas Jefferson, who had a classical education, or George Washington, who did not, or their English contemporaries Samuel Johnson, Edward Gibbon and Edmund Burke, will find that the syntax of Greek and Latin had affected the complexity and clarity of their expression and so of their thought. We need to know Latin if we want to think like the Founders. Forrest MacDonald saw this clearly. 'In thinking in eighteenth-century English...a rudimentary knowledge of Latin is highly useful; after all, every educated Englishman and American knew Latin, English words were generally closer in meaning to their Latin originals than they are today, and sometimes, as with the use of the subjunctive, it is apparent that an author is accustomed to formulating his thoughts in Latin.-- E. Christian Kopff, Open Shutters on the Past: Rome and the Founders in Vital Remnants: America's Founding and the Western Tradition (ed. by Gary L. Gregg II, ISI: 1999), pg. 74.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Spengler has one of the best short articles on the economy that I have read in quite awhile. Read it here, and read it repeatedly. In a related study, the ABA has released the results of a poll of over 14,000 attorneys that indicates that the legal profession is not going to be immune from the impact of this recession. The poll results are available here. I have to say, that the results of this poll tracks discussions I've had with fellow attorneys in private practice -- things are definitely getting harder out there for lawyers. The legal profession is often seen as being "recession-proof," but that doesn't appear to be the case this time around.