Author Archives: Todd Branco

Ben Franklin: Thoughts from the grave…

Ben Franklin

As scandal after scandal seems to be uncovered, people are still clinging to their liberal leadership regardless of the magnitude.   As some used to say “Nixon was the only person who could go to China” my father, and political cartoonist A.F. Branco, coined the phrase “ Only Obama can get away with a scandal.”

The NSA has decided that privacy is not important.   So what?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” So why should Franklin , the man Walter Isaacson stated was “the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become”, be an expert on things of this nature?

Ben Franklin wasn’t just a major figure in the American Enlightenment. He was an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.  Benjamin had a resume that arguably gave him a platform to suggest relevancy in our era, at least enough relevancy for some to lend an ear to his advice from the grave.  But if that’s not enough, it’s important to remember the setting in which Franklin lived.

For most of us, regardless of social status, we live in a time and place where we aren’t in the immediate midst of war or invasion.  We all have struggles, trials and tribulations, but many of us are also comfortable sitting behind our computers attempting to put into perspective the violence and insanity that we hear about in the middle east, and other parts of the world.   During Franklin’s era however, he was all too familiar with war.  He also knew the negative effects of a government who did not see “faces” but instead, faceless “numbers.”  Franklin was against authoritarianism in the government and in religion.  He had a profound respect for the teachings of Christ, stating that they were “the best the World ever saw, or is likely to see” but he also rejected the effects of religion, and realized the possibility that Christ’s words may have been corrupted over time.

All in all, Franklin was a brilliant man who realized the potential for human nature to create an environment that was none too friendly to the common hard working person.  His fundamental principles were built around the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, and self-governing institutions.  Those same values built the country that we have today, rapidly disintegrating under the utopian façade of progressivism.

It isn’t just this current issue with the NSA.  We were warned before by another man, who’s fundamental principles were similarly aligned with Franklin.  Ronald Reagan stated that we would never vote for socialism ” but under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.”  Reagan had a specific scathing review for governmental reform of healthcare, because under the false pretense of providing healthcare for the masses, we would also be subject to an intrusion of privacy.  I would encourage everyone to watch Reagan’s 10 minute speech he gave in 1961, which was an eery pre-cursor to the health care system being implemented today.  (You can find it on you tube)

WHY IS PRIVACY IMPORTANT?  If everyone is doing the right thing, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about right?  Hypothetically, sure.  But who exactly is to say what is “right“?  Ideology grounded in the Ten Commandments and Red Letters from the New Testament are something that have guided many in life when all else has proven rocky and unreliable.

With an ever creeping government intent on keeping tabs on its people, we are more and more subject to what the minds of the political elite deem the “correct” way of living which, according to the government, may often coincide with our personal morals, but what happens when it doesn’t?  Franklin and Reagan believed quite seriously in the following creed: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Franklin, Reagan, and the many others before them were correct. Their intent was always to give people the freedom to make their own decisions, and pursue their personal motivations with minimal hindrance from the government.  They took their positions seriously, but more importantly they took seriously the fact that they derived “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The administration espouses that their actions are in the name of the safety of its people, but we will always be faced with enemies of our way of life.  “Essential” to our life and liberty is the ability to  make decisions without being put under a microscope, so to speak.  Furthermore, we’ve already seen the government take steps to re-establish some of the foundational belief systems our forefathers had, in the name of tolerance.

So, in an era where president Obama advises to reject the voices suggesting “tyranny is always lurking around the corner“, one may contend that a biblical perspective that advises  “test everything; hold fast to what is good,” might be a better alternative.  Having humbly taken the time to logically “test” some of the actions of the Obama administration, one can’t honestly say that the idea of tyranny is out of the question.

1. The Benghazi scandal
2. Fast and Furious gun running scandal
3. An IRS scandal targeting Conservative Tea Party groups.
4. A scandal involving collection of private phone records of several AP reporters.
5. The NSA and Prism scandals, essentially allowing the government access to all internet and phone activity.
6. The “Affordable” Healthcare Act that coincidentally will be deemed the largest tax increase in history.
7. Signing the NDAA which authorized the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at Obama’s own discretion.

(THOSE ARE JUST A FEW)

Obama quoted his administration:
“I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness …. Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

Jay Carney stated:
“This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he’s been committed to that since he ran for president and he’s taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that.”

Whether its through rhetoric, mounds of confusing paperwork, or just plain denial,  the products of this administration have been anything but transparent.  It makes me uneasy to think that an administration that blatantly LIES about transparency will now have an unprecedented amount of access into our personal lives.  You can argue perhaps that some of these measures are necessary to ensure the safety of the American people,  but given the fact that our president has shown his disregard for our foundational documents, it doesn’t make me confident that he has our best interests in mind.

Ben Franklin also famously said,  “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”  Given the current IRS, and AP scandals its almost as if Franklin is here looking over our shoulders.  Everyone should stay grounded and “test everything.”  Not through the partisan side of Republican or Democrat, but through the humble eyes of a human being.  Right is right.

Violence is not the answer, but with enough people taking the time to hold fast to their values and not let political correctness sway them into feeling wrong, or obsolete,  good will prevail.  At the very least it will hold accountable those who think our foundation is changeable.