Ignorance Is Bliss
by Arthur R. Thompson, CEO
Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.
— 18th Century poet Thomas Gray
Ignorance is bliss.
But it is still ignorance.
And if ignorance prevails, bliss will not only cease; it will be replaced by agony for billions. The conspiracy that seeks to rule mankind with an iron hand will have reached its goal and the once-blissful billions will wonder what happened.
Essentially, ignorance means a lack of understanding. It manifests itself at the ballot box, in a variety of everyday choices, or when poor solutions to problems are embraced. It often brings on deep regret.
I have spent more than 40 years studying history in libraries all across America, which anyone can do, but few individuals are able (because of time constraints) or willing (because they are blissfully unaware) to devote time to overcome the ignorance that our enemies count on.
I have often scarred my tongue from biting it when I hear people speaking about some history they obtained from a questionable book, or from some element of the mass media.
It is very disconcerting, for instance, to hear leaders of the so-called conservative movement demonstrating how little history they understand or how few facts they actually possess. Some of these people are allied with us in some aspect of the fight for freedom. These are leaders we have to keep close to us because if we don’t, they will be led astray by clever individuals thought to be real friends. Without a solid understanding, they will ultimately be used by the very conspiracy we fight, especially when they adopt solutions offered by the conspiracy. They will lead other concerned fellow citizens to endorse dangerous alternatives. As a result, good people who look to them for leadership will waste time and even become counter-productive. They will also become alienated from working with our members because they see our Society at odds with them on key issues and the truly effective way to deal with them.
Without a sound grasp of history, it is often difficult to recognize a false solution when it is offered. The prime example of a false solution at the moment is a constitutional convention, or Con-Con. Recent events have demonstrated once again that good people can be buffaloed into supporting something fraught with danger.
Our friends don’t seem to realize that the Constitution they admire and advocate can be destroyed by a false solution supposedly aimed at dealing with government spending and inevitable deficits. Expecting politicians who already don’t pay attention to the Constitution to honor a revised constitution or an entirely new constitution is expecting something that won’t happen. Most political leaders will pay no more attention to a new amendment or a rewritten constitution produced by a Con-Con than they honor their oath to abide by the present Constitution.
We’re very grateful for the many Society members who have been holding the line before various state legislatures where the potential for a Con-Con has been introduced. We have lost a few battles, the fight is not yet over, but we have won enough to be able to state that, as of this writing, we have once again been the primary force in saving the Constitution from being placed in the hands of unknown forces in a Con-Con.
This particular issue tells us once more that you can never trust politicians, even the good ones, particularly when it comes to the solutions that are offered. Many of them are excellent when it comes to recognizing problems but they are almost always short on real solutions. Most people fit the same pattern.
Sometimes, politicians realize what must be done but are reluctant to take the needed political steps for fear of losing their office. This can happen when there is ignorance among the constituents. If those who voted for the office holder don’t have sufficient understanding of existing problems, and especially if the person they voted for isn’t willing to adopt solutions that might destroy his or her comfort zone, then the needed solution will not be adopted.
On many occasions, Society Founder Robert Welch suggested that a candidate for any office must run an educational campaign. The process he advocated would always help to build an informed electorate. If the candidate failed to get elected, at least a foundation for solid political activity in the future would have been built, not only for a candidate but in dealing with whatever issues might arise.
If the candidate lost the election, it would be safe to conclude that the people in his district were not yet ready to be represented by someone who adheres to the Constitution. If he or she wins without having created needed understanding, the victory will likely have resulted from extraneous factors. Then, without a sufficiently educated electorate, a strict constitutionalist will find it very difficult to be reelected.
Obviously, if enough pains are taken to bring awareness to the electorate, voters will send a hard-core constitutionalist to Congress, and re-send him or her again and again. The most important point to remember is that no real solution is possible without an informed electorate in a representative and free system of government. No solution! An uninformed electorate may elect good people as the result of a backlash of public sentiment, as happened in some districts in 2010. But are they ready to implement the real solutions necessary for good government?
Good government results when people accept the responsibility for their actions, their livelihood, their families, their communities, etc. They either do this or they will not live in a free society. Once they become irresponsibly dependent on the government, they will lose their freedom.
Looking at Con-Con History
There have been two constitutional conventions in American history. What? Many are aware of the one that occurred in 1787. But most either tend to forget or never knew in the first place that, after the Southern states seceded, the Confederate government had a Con-Con. What occurred in the few years of the Confederacy’s existence is just as much a part of our nation’s heritage as what our nation’s government has done since its founding.
The first Con-Con was conducted behind closed doors. No one knows for sure what the exact proceedings were. Except for the detailed notes taken by a few, including James Madison, we would have little knowledge of what happened.
Years later, some wanted the Confederacy’s Con-Con to be recorded and even conducted in open session. This was voted down. The Southern citizens didn’t know what occurred at that Con-Con any more than the people in 1787 knew what had happened behind those other closed doors prior to the results becoming known.
The secrecy surrounding the original Con-Con prompted the famous incident that saw a woman approach Benjamin Franklin as he was leaving the Convention Hall to ask him, “What have you given us, Sir?” His famous reply was, “A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Just because a good set of government laws was produced by both conventions is no guarantee that equally good laws will be passed by a future, secretive Con-Con.
This is particularly true when we don’t have the constitutional scholars who would be needed at such a convention. We could go into many other arguments against a Con-Con, but The New American magazine and researchers such as our own Larry Greenley and Joe Wolverton have done fine work refuting the whole idea of a modern convention. This information can all be accessed on our website at www.JBS.org. (See also the “TNA Update” column in this Bulletin, page six, for information on our latest two articles warning against the Con-Con threat.)
Nullification and the United Nations
Solutions to other problems that are proper can be manipulated by judo moves to further the conspiracy’s agenda rather than ours. Nullification comes to mind.
We heartily support the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. After all, it is part of the “Supreme Law of the Land.” In addition to limiting the federal government, it actually forms the basis for nullification of onerous federal laws and unconstitutional mandates.
But we are also seeing the 10th Amendment ignored when mandates come from another source, such as the United Nations. As long as we remain members of the “House that Hiss built,” we are subject to being told what to do by a growing world government rather than by our own federal government. This is occurring with increasing frequency as portions of the UN’s Agenda 21 program are taking hold.
Local and state governments dominated either by socialist politicians or well-intentioned but ignorant office holders are implementing a governmental program more in line with the UN’s desires than with adherence to the American way. The UN is an alien system dominated by a majority of totalitarian states. Even the UN nations that are not totalitarian can’t be counted on to be friendly toward the United States and the American people.
This UN initiative involves pressure from below by do-gooders and others as part of a pincers movement whereby local governments turn away from representing their citizens and become an arm of international socialism. Meanwhile, the federal government — in league with the UN — is imposing international regulations from above at the same time. Pressure from below and pressure from above is occurring. You and your freedom lose.
Nullification is not the only solution. A far better course includes working to “Get US out! of the United Nations.” It also involves creating awareness amongst fellow citizens who don’t have a clue about what is meant by the term nullification.
Used in the past, the process of nullification has attempted to stop the federal government from gaining unconstitutional power. The most celebrated attempt saw South Carolina oppose a federal tariff that its leaders felt punished the state. They tried to nullify the law, while a few tried to instigate a rebellion.
This gave the excuse for President Andrew Jackson to threaten to send federal troops into the state to put down the uprising. Certain individuals went far beyond the wishes of the people who simply sought to overturn what they perceived to be a bad law. Even then, cries were heard to convert the unrest into a secession movement.
Thus it is with any legitimate grievance. There will always be some who will use the grievance as an excuse to perform their own judo movement and elevate the matter into something to serve the conspiracy’s aims. Hotheads will appear and quickly create a countering storm calling for nullification. The public will be told that the very idea of nullification is also extreme and the hotheads will serve as an example that it is indeed extreme. In the end, getting enough people to understand the basic issue will become difficult because the advocates of nullification have already been painted as extreme and duly rejected by reasonable people.
Awareness of Fundamentals Essential
Getting back to our discussion about the pitfalls that result from ignorance, we see various movements that are built on young, enthusiastic people whose hearts are in the right place, but who are victims of their poor government education. They may have broken through the bonds of that education to the extent that they realize something better is possible, something more beneficial to themselves and their nation, by returning to what our country’s Founders gave us.
A very serious problem in this regard can be seen in the erosion of understanding about the foundation upon which our American system was built. Some who express a desire to get back to the fundamentals actually reject the foundation. I am referring, of course, to the Judeo-Christian fountain from which sprang the basic ideas that we do indeed get our rights from God. If the well-meaning people reject God, there is a problem.
During a conversation I recently had with a nice young man, he told me that he was really into “conspiracy theories.” Since we were in a place where I wouldn’t expect such awareness, I was surprised that the notion of conspiracy even came up. I was delighted that such a young man was aware of what was going on — until we talked further when my delight faded.
I mentioned to him that the conspiracy we face today had roots during our nation’s founding. He said that he knew that and he mentioned a couple of names of men he thought were bad who sacrificed all to give us our heritage. I said to him that he needed to be careful which sources he used to study the conspiracy since the men he mentioned were actually good people and there is a campaign to convince modern students that the good guys were the bad ones, and the bad guys were the good ones.
I won’t mention all of the names of those about which he was confused because there is only so much space in these Bulletins. I will say that not all of the statements by early American leaders widely cited today were good at the time they were pronounced. Today, something may seem to be a valuable quote about freedom, but it shouldn’t be cited if it was uttered in support of the conspiracy and against the administration of George Washington and the Constitution.
Even today, the war against George Washington continues because he laid down the fundamentals of good government, projected the course for future government, and was an enemy of the same conspirators whose prodigies we face today.
I also mentioned to this young man that there were men lauded in the history books as patriots who were actually anti-Christian. My disappointment in this youngster grew when he said that he didn’t have a problem with that since he was opposed to Christianity as well.
We see his attitude manifested by young people who have recently awakened to the need for good government but do not have a clue as to the foundation for a good government. And if they do have a clue, they reject the Judeo-Christian part, just as did Ayn Rand.
For instance, if government is to protect life, liberty, and happiness, then life must be protected from beginning to end. No abortion at one end, no euthanasia at the other. If these exceptions are accepted, life in between will be eroded as well. It’s rather simple, really. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, government must protect life, period. If not, then whoever lives or doesn’t boils down to a mere difference of opinion, and that opinion can later focus on quality of life, racial quality, etc. This has happened before in history, several times in fact.
In our Darwinian Age, these dangerous concepts aren’t taught in historical perspective. Instead, we are told that the Nazis, for example, were motivated by right-wing extremism rather than the prejudices of some disciples of the conspiracy such as Marx and Engels. Marx had a hatred of the Jews, and Engels likewise for the Slavs. The so-called right-winger, Hitler, tried to eliminate both. He was, of course, never a right-winger to begin with and was always a left-wing socialist.
The lack of morality that we see among contemporary conservative youth stems from ignoring God’s Word. We are not talking about this church or that church, just the basic precepts of the Jewish and Christian faiths.
From the very outset of our country, the war against the Constitution has been only a part of a vicious anti-God movement. The best-kept secret of the campaign to replace the Constitution with a socialist-style government may be its anti-God foundation. The fountain from which flows the conspiracy’s efforts is a rejection of the existence of God.
I recently listened to two speakers. One related an historical incident that tugged at the heartstrings of the audience even though it didn’t tell the entire story; the other actually promoted the words of a traitor, a real enemy who is extolled in every English literature class in our nation as a great philosopher and patriot.
This experience caused me to add two more scars to my tongue. But it wasn’t the time or place to try correcting what I had heard. Nor would I have had enough time to lay the historical background for the audience or the two speakers to get them to accept what I wanted them to consider. Plus, instead of being a kind friend with information they needed, I would have been perceived as someone who makes them appear stupid to their followers — even if I had the time to develop the background necessary for acceptance. Such an attempt on my part would have alienated them from The John Birch Society. At another time and in another place, quiet conversation will work better.
The speaker relating the sad story about the Fugitive Slave Law failed to mention that local authorities were stabbed repeatedly, and that the incident was used by local communist organizations to further their agenda. The incident he discussed is so little known that I was probably the only one in the audience who knew anything about it. I don’t profess to know everything but it just so happens that I had been doing some research on that very incident just a few weeks earlier.
The situation was one where two wrongs don’t make a right. He was wrong, but it would have been wrong for me to correct him publicly. We must be careful never to allow ourselves to become so obsessed with our cause that we do things or support things that are unethical, immoral, imprudent, or violent. When we do that, we actually become counterproductive to the movement. This is what happened in the very incident the speaker was talking about. By blindly opposing one wrong, the Fugitive Slave Law, the people were led into public chaos and attempted murder. The extreme methods produced a reaction of support for the law in other sections of the country, completely the opposite of the desired effect of the public participants.
Let me only bring into this discussion one individual mentioned in those speeches even though he was not the main part of the talk I heard. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson. If Emerson was not part of the conspiracy, then I do not understand the meaning of the term.
I like Emerson’s poetry. Who could not be stirred by his words etched on the Minuteman Statue at the site of the Concord Bridge where the “Shot heard ’round the world” was fired?
But I invite all to go to a library and perform more than superficial research about Emerson — about his associations and the organizations he joined — and you will find that he was the leader in America of the “death-of-God” movement. He actually left the ministry and became a “theologian” determined to bury God. Everything he touched led to the diminishing of the American people’s faith. While he did not directly lead organizations that both attacked the Constitution and promoted communism, he surrounded himself with such people, gave them inspiration, and participated in their organizations. His circle included many of the academics and intelligentsia of his time.
He fit well into the Illuminist plan to destroy the old social order, a goal necessary to break down the American state and set the stage for an Illuminist world. A Transcendentalist leader, he was more than just a friend of John Brown of the famous Harper’s Ferry attack. He and many others worked to dissolve this country. His works were promoted by the Democratic Review, the leading mouthpiece of the conspiratorial Carbonari and its Young America movement.
Because of the systematic expunging of American literature and publishing over the past 175 years, the likes of Emerson appear to the modern student to have been the flower of American literature — while others, who did not have an anti-God slant or socialist goal, have been dropped into the memory hole.
I plan on discussing this and much more in the future.
The reason I bring this up is to show that unless the people, and those who lead many of the organizations that have sprung up in the past 10 years, understand our nation’s true roots, they cannot find true solutions. Not only quoting such people but putting them forward as paragons of liberty does a terrible injustice to the movement.
I know that very early on, Mr. Welch pointed to Emerson as his favorite poet. After he founded our Society and involved himself in its leadership full time, he studied the conspiracy more deeply and refrained from extolling Emerson in the future. As did Mr. Welch himself, we have all grown in our understanding of who our adversaries are.
As a young man, I was not all that enamored of God either, just as the young man I mentioned earlier felt. I was a victim of my government education where my college English teachers promoted atheism. Once I joined The John Birch Society, Mr. Welch made me realize that we were involved in a fight between good and evil, and there was more to it than simply being an anti-communist. Patience on the part of friends led me to Faith. I believe that we have to be patient with those we see in similar straits and allow them the opportunity to work for good even if they do not yet understand the ultimate Good.
What I have stated above may seem to be more of a sermon than a Foreword to the Bulletin, but the two main points I have stressed have come to the surface as a result of recent events and my own continuing study. I have been reviewing many years of my own notes taken from approximately 500 books dealing with the first 100 years of the American experiment. The notes were compiled over three decades, and the full impact of what has been happening did not always come through to me because it was spread out over 30 years. Reviewing these notes all at once has made it clear to me that this war on the American people is essentially an anti-God movement. To me, this is inescapable.
I have come to more fully appreciate why Robert Welch called our enemy a “satanic” Conspiracy.
Today, all one has to do is to look at the frontispiece of Saul Alinsky’s small book Rules for Radicals where he salutes “the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.” Yes, he suggested Lucifer as a model for those he sought to train in his style of revolutionary activity. This book appears in the recommended reading list on the website of the National Education Association (NEA). The recent demonstrations around the country show that many of the teachers who left their classrooms and took to the streets have adopted Alinsky’s “Rules” as part of their modus operandi.
We are in a spiritual war, but many who understand this get themselves in trouble because they are still ignorant of history. Our job includes helping all to understand the basic principles upon which our country was founded. And this means reaching out to both friends and enemies of the Constitution. The reason for creating understanding among friends is that many of the false public “heroes” can then be exposed to our friends. This will help to blunt the obvious infiltration into the newly awakened groups whose members are being steered into cul-de-sacs designed for them to fail.
Helping the newly awakened to be leery of false heroes is only a beginning. These are the very Americans we must organize as members of our Society.
In all that we undertake, let us always remember that patience with others will always bring more success in leading them to the truth and the solution than any “in your face” approach.