“Publick Occurrences” – The Fundamentals: Patriotism & Faith

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As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse  – leaves us two factors to consider:
 1) Disagreements over the role of government.
 2) Level of civility debating that role.
Polarized and passionate, yet civil, debate is healthy for our democracy, no matter the topic or how deep the divisions run. But sadly, our nation’s history is riddled with violent incidents – even war – over some of those debates.
There are highly personal, core differences that make today’s debates so emotional. Dividing us are polar-opposite philosophies. The founding principles, where citizens yearn to live in a free society, with limited government intervention and progressive principles are on one side. The other is where government controls more of our personal and professional lives in the name of social justice. Americans no longer enjoy the once-unifying themes of “love-of-nation,” and “fear-of-God.” To the jeers of the left-leaning audience, I spoke about how it angers many on the right when the extreme-left unpatriotically seeks to desecrate and erase our nations great (albeit imperfect) symbols and history, and when it ever-encroaches upon and disrespects our religious rights.
These are serious divisions, but we still should debate them in a civilized manner. Yet, public discourse has devolved into a ‘search-and-destroy’ mentality. Click here now to watch the new video clip from Publick Occurrences. 


  • Rhett Hardwick

    “encroaches upon and disrespects our religious rights.”

    I think the history of religious freedom is poorly understood. From the beginning the colonies were divided by “sects”. Massachusetts was founded by Puritans. Rhode Island resulted from Roger Williams attempting to escape persecution in Massachusetts. Maryland was established for Catholics. Pennsylvania by the “Friends”. Federal troops were sent into Utah to root out “cohabiters”. Utah was denied statehood until the Mormon faith was amended to eliminate plural marriage. An argument could be made that the Branch Davidians were denied religious freedom. Etc.
    The religious freedom provision in the constitution was drafted, not to allow absolute religious freedom, but to prevent the establishment of a state church, such as the C of E. The King’s ability to appoint the arch bishop essentially made the church an arm of the government,

  • BasicCaruso

    “The event’s premise… leaves us two factors to consider”

    No mention of the elephant in the room, the roll of corporations and their influence on government through financing of right-wing think tanks. So much for founding principles on that one…

    “I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” TJ

    • Joe Smith

      Well, let’s look at the Open Secrets data – 11 of the top 15 donor organizations give more to Democrats thant Republicans (and old George Soros is at #10 while the Koch brothers languish at #20). When you speak of “moneyed corporations”, need to expand the definition to include the unions (especially public sector unions).

      Both sides of the think tank ideological spectrum go for corporation donations – it’s the business model now. Look at New America and its dropping of its anti-monopoly studies after the Google chairman complained. The political appointees need soft places to land when their party is out of office!

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