Treatise on
Twelve Lights

To Restore America the Beautiful Under
God and the Written Constitution

 

 

 

Struble’s remarks to accompany the introduction [three minutes] Click Here

Audio only!  Sound, not video_

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

‘neither glory nor extent of territory, but a defense
of all that is dear and valuable in life.’

George Washington, on the purpose
of the Revolutionary War
[1]

 

 

Flag of Nevada, detail

 

           

What an exceptional nation America was!  At the time of my birth, midway through WW II, Dad was a U.S. Army Captain, having volunteered in the country’s justifiable and all-consuming military effort.  Because of his deployment to Nevada, my birth certificate from the “battle born state,” served, I suppose, to reinforce my status as a war baby.

            I was barely learning to walk when the war took a decisive turn.  Outnumbered and outgunned, the German army began forced retreats along both the Western and Eastern Fronts.  In 1945 Germany’s foremost rocket scientist, 34 year old Wernher von Braun, led his team of scientists and engineers along a war ravaged route from Peenemunde to Bavaria, where they surrendered to U.S. forces.  His team of rocket scientists preferred going over to the Americans – rather than to the Russians, the British or the French – because, as von Braun announced:

We knew that we had created a new means of warfare, and the question as to what nation, to what victorious nation we were willing to entrust this brainchild of ours was a moral decision more than anything else.  We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through, and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.[1]

            The rocket team’s moral premise lived on for almost two more decades.  The coup de main came on June 17, 1963, as the Supreme Court backed atheist leader, Madelyn Murray O’Hair, in her determination that the Bible should no longer serve as the nation’s guide – emphatically not for public school pupils.  This blow from the Federal bench marked the end of my teenage years, chronologically and figuratively.

            In my boyhood I had known happier times, and Dr. von Braun had been one of my heroes.  During the 1950’s, I followed his career eagerly as he became the leading personality in the rocket program of the United States, helping to instruct and inspire Americans in our noble aspiration to pioneer space travel.

            My parents had long since returned to Washington State, and as a schoolboy in Spokane I learned about my country, how it was conceived in a grand revolution and boasted a magnificent legacy.  Throughout my youth government at all levels was for the most part respectable and restrained in reach.  When I graduated from a Seattle high school in 1961, the elegance of Camelot had inspired many of us to see politics as a high and noble calling.  Jacqueline Kennedy, the First Lady, set a tone of class and grace.  Many young people looked with admiration and hope to the tenor of political leadership set by our dynamic young President.

John F. Kennedy’s predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had come to the Presidency as one of the heroes of our just fight in World War II.  My formative years took place during the Eisenhower administration (1953-61) and like many youthful Americans during the 1950’s, I grew up patriotic and sure of my country.

6

John F. Kennedy, 1963

7

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

American culture was civilized in manners and morals; it was Judeo-Christian in its prevalent spirit. During my childhood, my parents could send me alone to the store without worrying that predators might accost me en route, or that I might be confronted with pornography once I arrived. The general public was not so jaded as to scoff at films like It’s a Wonderful Life, (staring Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart). The film depicts genuine love and romance between, yes, a man and woman happily married to one another. Hollywood actors, directors and studios were still clean enough to make and promote such movies.

Our culture and economy permitted the nuclear family to get by with a single breadwinner. More than amassing money, family prosperity consisted in the public mind of building character and nurturing happiness. A full-time homemaker stabilized the family as a “haven in a heartless world.”

Unlike the majority of my fellow Americans today, I have experienced that kind of America first hand.  I enjoy a certitude and confidence derived from personal experience: it is surely possible to maintain a great and modern nation that is neither loathsome culturally nor odious politically.  For I knew such a country, and I lived in it for 20 years – the USA until 1963.  Till then I was “able to love my country and still love justice,” as Bobby Kennedy used to quote Albert Camus.

            Alas, I have also seen my country metamorphose into its present state. Yet history offers consolation and reassurance that the process might someday be reversed. During their occupation of Boston, the Red Coats took historic Old South Meeting Hall and converted the church into a horse stable and riding school. But after the Continental Army under Gen. Washington recovered Boston in 1776, the church was laboriously repaired, although it took nearly eight years to put the building back into its original condition.

Several years later, during the French Revolution, the ancient Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was sullied far more profanely than Old South. Notre Dame was given over to pagan rites for some years, but under Napoleon Bonaparte the Catholics of France were able to restore and re-sanctify the Cathedral.

What these architectural analogies indicate is that when transmutation afflicts a good form, or when something sacred is given over for a time to despoilers; still there remains hope for restoration — more hope for reversing the harm and havoc than in edifices (or nations) where integrity and quality never ruled. We can be optimistic about restoring a country like ours that has been stolen away by postmodernist usurpers, because our illustrious legacy gives us hope. Encouraging precedents include West Germany (liberated in 1945); also East Germany, Poland, Hungary and other Iron curtain nations (liberated after 1989).

A related source of optimism derives from the inspirational pull that proceeds from a good history.  The more glorious a country’s past, the more advantage accrues to reformers when they call their fallen country back to her roots. 

The city state of Sparta was a case in point some 2240 years ago, and the ancient story warrants a few paragraphs here, insofar as we dread to overlook whatever bears directly on the viability of restoration.  As Plutarch records it, no sooner had Spartans …

 

returned to their primitive customs and discipline, than, as if Lycurgus himself had restored his polity, and invigorated it with his presence, they had given the most extraordinary instances of valor and obedience to their magistrate, in raising Sparta to its ancient superiority in Greece, and recovering the Peloponnesus. [2]

 

The process of restoration began when a reform minded king, Agis IV, (c. 244-241, B.C.) inherited a Spartan polity and society debased by more than a century of corruption.  Under his leadership an epic attempt at restoration ensued, but Agis and his family paid the price of martyrdom via unscrupulous elites.  The assassins stood to lose land, wealth or privileged status if revival of old forms took place.[3]  A few years later, however, the general populace embraced the cause of restoration when king Cleomenes III took up Agis’ fallen torch.  Cleomenes cited the ancient Lycurgan code and looked to students of the past like Sphairos, the dyarch’s personal advisor, and Sosibios the antiquarian writer.  The young king’s call for return to the revered legacy of the Lacedaemonian polis touched a chord with the masses.  Even the poor held their country’s past in high esteem, and within a few years Spartans had achieved a root and branch reform, and had begun to transfigure their homeland in the mold of her former greatness.

But the Spartans labored under a dismal disadvantage that we as Americans need not fear if we pursue restoration.   In the third century B.C., in addition to the challenges that always accompany radical reform domestically, foreign policy factors came to the fore and overrode everything else.  On the Balkan Penninsula four major powers vied for dominance – the Achaean league, the Aetolian league, Macedonia, and the meddling republic of Rome.[4]  The last two were numerically and militarily much superior to Sparta, and all four powers dreaded to see that illustrious city by the river Eurotas reemerge as a major player.  In 222, B.C., invaded by the Macedonians with their mighty phalanx, Sparta fought bravely and skillfully for a day, then succumbed.  Before the reborn eagle had fully grown its talons, jealous outsiders intervened and forcibly ended Spartan independence.[5] 

The radical impulse to restore her heritage had driven Sparta to “the verge of political greatness,” says Oxford historian, W.G. Forrest.  In his, A History of Sparta, Professor Forrest notes that “a clear invitation to revolution such as no other Greek state had” was inherent in the renowned tradition of Lycurgus and early Spartan history.[6]   Discrepancies between the historical definition of Sparta and the sordid realities contemporaneous with Agis and Cleomenes, were so stark as to create a dissonance or tension resolvable only by the counterrevolutionary process of restoration.

 

In China, by contrast, or South Africa, there would be no good purpose, and certainly nothing inspirational, in restoring the Manchu or apartheid regimes.  Iniquitous historical roots are unworthy of restoration.  The idea of doing so would come across as repulsive and foolish.

 

How can bad grapes yield good burgundy?

Or rancid soil rhododendrons and roses?

 

 

Where the tribes lost their Eastern Washington homeland

Yet no country is completely devoid of goodness in its heritage.  Although the politics of China offers little to restore but the lesser of evils – a pathetic choice between dictators and imperial dynasties – the strong family structure and respect for Chinese elders (minus the ancestor worship) is a model worthy of emulation anywhere.  Although the “white man’s burden” in South Africa was overall a tragic travesty, yet Christianity and technology proved to be invaluable particular contributions.

The same principle applies less pervasively to our own past.  Although America’s heritage is overall a glorious thing to behold, Uncle Sam does have some skeletons in his closet.  Not all U.S. History is pretty to contemplate or a candidate for restoration – most ignominiously slavery and black segregation in the South.  Broken treaties with the Indians will forever live in infamy; also it remains shameful that the government took Native American children forcibly away to boarding schools where they systematically suppressed native languages.

The quest for restoration of America the Beautiful will require careful navigation.  In public relations, be on guard against two accusations: let us steer clear of the Scylla that we aim to bring back the bad, and let us avoid the Charybdis that we aim to resurrect the dead hand of the past.  Firstly, we cannot be bedeviled by recriminations about restoring racism, or any of the other sins of our fathers.  Quite the contrary, we intend to be selective and discriminating (if that’s the word) in what we restore.

Secondly, let us repudiate the platitudes about turning back the clock.  A nation may be driven far down in one man’s lifetime, without his children despairing of restoration — though doubtless reform increases in difficulty as generations pass and the evil becomes more entrenched.  But what about the argument that once the genie is out of the bottle, there is no forcing him back?

The American writer, John Derbyshire, thinks prospects “unlikely” if reforms depend “on our being able to recapture the social habits and attitudes of an earlier time.”  Why?  Because, says he, “the toothpaste is out of the tube.”  To add teeth to his metaphor, Derbyshire quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,[7]

 

We may build more splendid habitations,

Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,

But we cannot buy with gold

the old associations!

 

Actually Longfellow, the first American to make Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, was versifying not on national politics, nor on aggregate cultural or economic conditions, but on treasured personal and familial connections.  Still, one must concede to Derbyshire that, in a nation’s life, restoration cannot make things quite the way they were.  In that sense, history never repeats itself.  Neither is it true, however, that a general pattern cannot reoccur.  Many times in history counterrevolution has revived former ways.  The most famous of the Pharaohs, Tutankhamen, is remembered today for his tomb; but back in his own day King Tut was revered for undoing the revolutionary changes imposed by his predecessor, Pharaoh Akhenaton.

The ancient Athenian empire provides history’s first prominent example of a counterrevolutionary insurrection successful in restoring a democratic system of government.  In 411, B.C., nearly a century into the world’s original democracy, an oligarchy of 400 “leading citizens” secured abolition of the assembly and disbanding of the council of 500, in the process accruing power unto themselves.  They accomplished this oligarchical revolution by intimidation, dissimulation and Peloponnesian War hysteria, perpetrated under cover of seemingly valid political / legal procedure.  Like our own federal courts masquerading as defenders of the U.S. Constitution, the Athenian usurpers found means “to employ the constitutional sentiment of Athens as a means of killing the constitution.”[8]

The new oligarchy of 400 imposed a rigorous rule on the city state of Athens,[9] but Athenian imperial troops overseas repudiated the coup, and on the Aegean island of Samos they established a government in exile.[10]  Under this pressure from without, it was not long before a counterrevolution broke out in Athens itself.[11]  To the reader desirous of more detail, I commend George Grote’s wonderful account of how the usurpers were put down and democracy restored.[12]  (For refutation of the fatalistic fallacy, “you can’t turn back the clock,” see 42 historical examples of counterrevolution in action in the appendix to this chapter).

 Some 2½ centuries after the counterrevolution in ancient Athens, the Israelites fought a war of restoration against Macedonian occupiers hell-bent on revolutionizing Jewish religion and culture.  An elder statesman, Mathathias of Modein, tried peaceful methods of resistance, but soon bequeathed to his family and fellow countrymen an armed insurrection.  Chanukah celebrates and history records that with prayer, patience, and good leadership by the Maccabees (Judas Maccabeus and his brothers), restoration did come to pass.  In 166, B.C., in the initial stage of this counterrevolution, Mathathias had made the following deathbed appeal:

 

 

John Philip Sousa, “the March King,” 1905

I beseech you … to preserve
the customs of your country,
and to recover your ancient
form of government, which is
in danger of being overturned.
[13]

 

The concept of restoration, particularly cultural revival, brings radio to mind.  With his Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor accomplished what was supposedly impossible – reviving with smashing success the “obsolescent” radio show.

Another case in point from the world of entertainment is marshal music.  Contemporaneous with the death of John Philip Sousa in 1932, America’s musical tastes changed.  Within a generation Elvis and the Beatles had radically altered the musical landscape.  Common wisdom had it that there could be no restoring what was fashionable in the days of the “March King.”  Enter conductor Keith Brion.

In 1986 Brion fulfilled a personal dream by instituting his New Sousa Band.  Successful tours here and abroad have since given the lie to the notion that you cannot put new life into patterns from the past.  The thousands who gave the band standing ovations at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall in May, 2003, could hardly have disputed that what is intrinsically beautiful can return generations later to touch a chord in the human heart.

No, the skeptic will say, Sousa’s performances were art form, not politics.  I would reply that the United States is an art form par excellence when you examine her illustrious heritage, and to restore America the Beautiful is by no means impractical or fanciful.

 

USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) at her centennial, 1897

USS Constitution at her bicentennial, 1997

What is so impossible about restoring what has been vandalized?  Since its restoration, the Pieta, Michelangelo’s masterful sculpture, meets the eye as beautifully as before 1972, when a vandal hit the statue 15 times with a sledgehammer.  In the 19th century the U.S. Navy made unsightly alterations on the USS Constitution in order to convert the old warship into a receiving ship, rendering "the eagle of the sea" unrecognizable.  Yet since the restoration of 1927-31, Old Ironsides looks like herself again.

By analogy, it is no unrealistic goal to restore that venerable document, the written U.S. Constitution, to her former status of lex rex (king law), wielding the scepter once again over a Republic of laws, not men. In his immortal work, Common Sense (1776), Thomas Paine proposed a patriotic holiday to commemorate the regal status the constitution was to have in the new American republic:

 

Let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING.[13a]

 

Is it so unduly optimistic to suppose that the defilement of the country and the dethronement of the written Constitution are irreversible? To be sure, radical measures will be necessary ­– something on the order of constitutional dry-dock. And admittedly, it may take a leap of faith to believe that renewing an old form can actually happen. But once believing...

 

Oh give but a hope, let a vista but gleam,

To uplift and restore – her beauty redeem.
Once convinced it could be, bereft of despair,

We’d fight with a will: Constitution repair [14]

                 

            Would a national turnaround require a revolution?  Yes and no.  Yes, in that the normal political system has proven hopelessly inadequate for the purpose of halting and reversing the headlong rush toward ruination of the Republic.  Instead of the corrupt political process the situation calls for means at least as "revolutionary" as the constitutional convention.  Failing that we will have to follow in the footsteps of George Washington and the continental army.

No, however, there would be no revolution.  Quite the opposite in the sense that radical turnabout demands a counterrevolutionary direction.  The country has already been sullied too much by the postmodernist revolution.  The last thing we need is more of this sordid revolution, but rather a reversal of direction.

About 1963 America began to incur a cancer at the heart.  The most all-encompassing term I know for America's multi-tumored malignancy is postmodernismThe postmodernist worldview dismisses all forms of absolutism from eras past, especially Judeo-Christian faith and morals; yet the postmodernists idolize absolutely their new secular trinity of tolerance–diversity–choice.  Since 1963 they have employed a gradualist and stealthy top-down revolution to make this inanimate deity the governing paradigm of America’s culture and future society.  We see much the same ongoing pattern of power plays imposed upon once Christian cultures in Europe and elsewhere.[15]  As a youth I was also afflicted.  Formerly an honor student, all-conference quarterback, and national essay contest winner; I regret to say that like so many of my peers in the 1960’s, I myself apostatized into the postmodernist mindset.

 

Tis an old lesson;
Time approves it true,
And those who know it best,
deplore it most

Lord Byron[16]

 

Politically, the most I could boast during my postmodernist years was helping to lead the insurgency on my college campus in California during the cruel calamity and deadly overseas debacle of Vietnam.[17]  Academically I won membership in Phi Alpha Theta, the honor society for History; and earned my first bachelor's degree.  For the time being I put my knowledge of the past to little good use, however, until after my own personal restoration, 1970-71.

And yet like the proverbial silver lining to the cloud, my postmodernist years yielded a wide variety of occupations, associations, and traveling opportunities.  The lens of my multifarious life has given me firsthand experience with each corner of the left–center–right coalition, or counterrevolutionary combination, as proposed in chapter two.

After two decades (1981-2002, 2006-07) in the honorable profession of teaching (Religion, History, Writing, and Contemporary Issues – FYI, see resume), I am again in retirement.  Not a few of my students have gone like arrows from a quiver to fight the good fight out in the world beyond school.

My years in the political arena of the late 20th century provided insights into the nature of America’s political malaise.  That process of thinking anew which Abraham Lincoln saw as crucial – “we must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country”[18]– is a schooling from which I have most assuredly graduated.  Three terms as Washington state committeeman for the GOP, and service on the steering committee for a statewide referendum on term-limits (passed by Washington voters only to be overturned by the courts) were disenthralling lessons on how our political process was designed for maintaining a nation that is essentially healthy, but manifestly not for curing mortal diseases.  Gone are my naive notions about reforming the country radically from within the system.

Meanwhile, I have been blessed with a loving wife and three extraordinary children. I much prefer domestic tranquility to disruption and discord. And yet, as Holy Scripture puts it, (Ecclesiastes 3: 1,8) “for everything there is a season,…a time for war and a time for peace.” Whatever is necessary this citizen must do, or so I am resolved, rather than give up hope that my children and grandchildren can respect and cherish their country as once I esteemed mine. As James Otis put it in the opening oratorical salvo of the American Revolution, “Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed.” A little later, Tom Paine discussed his motives in writing the manifesto that radicalized Americans to fight for independence, rather than just for their rights as Englishmen.[18a] With Paine, let me concur that…

I mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbers, that we may pursue determinately some fixed object.

Thomas Paine, Common Sense

            With dismay, I see the American dream degenerating into a nightmare fit for the pen of Petronius.  The powers that be tout freedom for vice of all kinds, but deny freedom to live in a respectable culture – one that uplifts youth rather than besieging kids with immorality and ignobility at every turn.

In the space of several months during 2003-04, the postmodernist regime raised sodomy to the level of a “full right” under the Constitution, meanwhile ejecting the Ten Commandments from the Alabama judicial building – also firing state chief justice Roy Moore, an elected official and longtime Decalogue defender.  Inexorably slipping away from us is what Ambassador Alan Keyes described in 2003 during the Ten Commandments fight in Montgomery as, the freedom to live in communities that are governed by laws that reflect our beliefs.[19]  What Thomas Jefferson considered the “most valuable” of all freedoms – a people’s freedom to be self-governing[20] – has given way to a black-robed politburo of nine unelected and irremovable oligarchs.

I have no doubt that the country’s precipitous devolution or steep decline will mature fully, with cataclysmic consequences, unless citizens prove willing to take political risks in the 21st century comparable to what our forefathers and foremothers dared at Lexington and Concord in 1775, and at Philadelphia in 1776.  As said Captain John Paul Jones during that earlier fight,

 

“He who will not
 risk cannot win.”

 

     

JFK and RFK

 

In a thousand days of JFK,

Hope held sway for a better way.

To the noble we did aspire.

What was keen and bold we did admire.

 

Jackie helped us look for class,

Rise above the crass and brass.

In Spanish and French, for Jack she spoke,

To grace and poise she inspired plain folk.

 

Naught did we dream, little think or say,

How soon Camelot would pass away.

When we looked to Bobby five years later,

‘Twas hard to say who was the greater.

 

Something like his brother’s were his ways,

His rise like a blaze through inky haze.

Like Gaius Gracchus in his time,

With Tiberius’ torch – bright, sublime.

 

Memory of the Gracchi brothers will never cease,

Nor Agis and Cleomones of ancient Greece.

Like John and Bob killed by assassins’ blow,

They dared to defy, go against the flow.

 

Losing such leaders, so matchless and rare,

Some Americans gave way to despair.

Yet memory of two courageous profiles,

Has strengthened our nation for future trials.

 

The risk is justified today by the objective to be won, namely to reclaim the merit of the 13 star Republic founded with the help of my distant uncle, Daniel Struble, who served under General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.  Another worthy objective is to reassert the tradition of fighting for high principle, as in the American Civil War against slavery.  That great struggle was carried on under a 34 star flag by altruistic and idealistic soldiers including my great-granduncle, Private (later Congressman) Isaac Struble of Iowa.[21]   Another laudable objective is to recover the majesty of the 48 star republic [1912-1959] on behalf of which my fine father, the late Robert Struble, Sr., volunteered for both World Wars.[22]

            For those of us who do not loathe the past, but rather who love America’s heritage, it is respectful and righteous that we should try to restore those ways that boast a track record of honor and success.  Toward such a restoration, my hope is that Americans will use the following chapters like tinder.  May they kindle a conflagration, a counterrevolution, that reduces the postmodernist regime to cinders.

            By postmodernist regime is meant the aftermath of that ‘long march through the institutions’[23] that began in earnest about 1963, and that has been consolidated into a bipartisan regime that controls most of the high, strategic positions of power and leverage in the USA (as well as in Canada and most of the EU).  Akin to that process of decay lamented by William Bennett, postmodernism reared its ugly head not from outside but from within the polity, economy and culture.  The enemy within is “more difficult to detect, more insidious … gradual, difficult to perceive over a short period of time, and terribly dangerous.”[24] 

            The new regime took power not as an organized political grouping like the Bolsheviks when they conspired to impose Communism on Russia.  Rather the postmodernist organization, if such it can be called, is a sort of proselytizing compulsion from on high.  It is a spiritual / ideological impulse emanating from the Weltanschauung or worldview that afflicts the West’s political, economic and cultural powerholders.  Four of the marks which this regime often exhibits are arrogant elitism; preference for big government; disdain for tradition; and inclination to push Judeo-Christian faith and morals down into the political/cultural ghetto – under what Pope Benedict XVI calls the “dictatorship of relativism.”

            Accordingly, this book’s purpose is to set forth a desirable and workable plan for the overthrow of the postmodernist regime in the United States.  In conjunction with the regime’s ouster, the call is for us – “we the people” – to restore America the Beautiful under the written U.S. Constitution, in the process giving thanks to the country’s divine Benefactor.  Our success will afford hope throughout North America and Europe, and to many other nationalities looking to stem the postmodernist tidal wave.

 

 

 

 

Listen my children and you shall hear,

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

Who was ready to ride and spread the alarm,…

For country folk to up and to arm….

 

(And so) borne on the night-wind of the Past,

Through all our history, to the last,

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,

The people will waken, to listen and heed.

          Longfellow, (adapted)[25]

 

Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, W.R. Leigh, Christ Church, Boston (Old North Church)

 

 

 

APPENDIX:

Forty-two counterrevolutions or restorations in history

            Of the 42 counterrevolutions or restorations listed below, some were beneficial in their aims or effects.  My purpose in citing all 42 is to let history expose fallacious thinking implicit in the phrase, “you can’t turn back the clock.”  A sizeable minority of these cases of counterrevolution or restoration used only peaceful means.  Most relied ultimately on military force or violence.[26]  Five out of six achieved more than short-term victory.

 

Ancient Egypt

·         After disintegration of the Old Kingdom, 200 year interregnum follows with local rule by nomarchs.  About 2000 B.C., unity under the Pharaohs is restored (Middle Kingdom).

·         Pharaoh Ahmose (1575-50, B.C.) overthrows Hyskos (foreigners who ruled for a century) and restores indigenous monarchy (New Kingdom).

·         Tutankhamen (1336-27, B.C.) permanently reverses earlier reforms, especially the new religious order established by the Pharaoh Akhenaten (1367-50, B.C.).

 

Ancient Greece:

·         Recovery from the dark ages of c.1100-750, B.C.  Restoration of literacy, commerce and urban civilization.

·         Athens: oligarchy of 400 overthrown; democracy restored, 411, B.C.

·         Sparta: Following the example of his predecessor – Aegis IV – the dyarch, Cleomenes III, briefly (227-222, B.C.) “reversed that former change which had been the cause of all their calamities.”  Under Cleomenes’ leadership, writes Plutarch, the Spartans “restored their city to its ancient state.”[27]

 

Israel / Palestine

·         Elijah v. Ahab (876-854, B.C): after initial success, Elijah’s disciples failed over long term in restoring religious orthodoxy to northern kingdom.

·         Babylonian exile (586-36, B.C.) ends; Jews begin return to their homeland.  Rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, 520-515, B.C. (second temple).  Restoration of Old Testament religious order.

·         Nehemiah rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem, 444, B.C.  Restoration of political independence.

·         Machabeean insurrection, (167-142, B.C.) successful in reversing the Hellenization program culturally and ending the Greek occupation militarily.  Restoration of both political independence and the religious order of the Old Testament.

·         First Crusade (1097-99, A.D.) reversed Islamic conquest of Byzantine Palestine, and restored Christian rule (1097-1187).

·         Saladin and the countercrusade, reversed it again (1187).

·         1948-49, Israel restored as a Jewish state; culmination of Zionist dream.

 

Iran

·         Reversal of the “White Revolution,” the Shaw’s Westernization program.  Formation of an Islamic State in 1979 under Ayatollah Khomeini.  Restoration of the Koran as the supreme law of the land.

 

China

·         Restoration of imperial dynasties uniting China after interregnums of B.C. 403-221, A.D. 222-280, 304-589, 907-979.

 

Carthage

·         Hannibal Barca leads successful counterrevolution (196, B.C.), ending judicial usurpation and the oligarchy of the Hundred and Four judges.

 

Ancient Rome

·         Senate reverses reforms of the Gracchi brothers, 121, B.C.

·         Overthrow of Sulla’s dictatorship (82-79, B.C.); republic restored.

 

Catholicism

·         St. Francis of Assisi (early 13th century, A.D.) leads revival of spirituality in an era gone worldly.

·         Popes return from Avignon exile (1309-77, A.D.); resume ascendancy in Rome.

·         Council of Trent (mid-16th century) restores purity and vitality in the Church after a century of worldliness.

·         Concordat of 1929 restores political independence of the Papal States after 59 years, although in radically downsized form, i.e. Vatican City.

 

            Florence

·         Cultural counterrevolution under Savanarola (1494-98); Christian manners & morals restored temporarily – anticipating Trent by half a century.

 

Sicily

·         Sicilian Vespers, 1282, against French occupation.

           

Byzantine Empire

·         Restoration of Greek rule under Michael Palaeologus, 1261.  Reverses Latin conquest of 1204 (Fourth Crusade). Restoration lasts for two centuries.

 

Russia & Eastern Europe

·         Revolutions of 1989 reversing the postwar Communist revolutions in E. Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania.

·         Revolution of 1991 under Boris Yeltsin accomplishes a U-turn relative to the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

·         “Reforms” of 2004 under Vladimir Putin undo key democratic components of the 1993 Yeltsin constitution.

 

Germany

·         Otto von Bismark: reverses disintegration of 1st Reich (Holy Roman Empire); restores German empire as 2nd Reich in 1871.

·         Reunification of Germany, 1990.  Berlin Wall dismantled, reversing 4½ decade partition, 1945-1990. 

 

            France:

·         The Vendee, 1793; counterrevolution against the French Revolution.

·         Thermidorian Reaction, 1794.  Overthrows dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety.

·         The 100 days, 1814-15.  Temporary restoration of Napoleon.

·         Paris Commune overthrown, 1871.  Communist revolution reversed.

·         Restoration of Charles DeGaulle, 1958, after 12 years out of power.  Revival of strong executive government.

 

            Britain

·         Rebellion of Boadicea, 61-63, A.D., against Roman annexation almost two decades earlier. 

·         William Wallace (c. 1270-1305) restoring Scottish independence from England.

·         Queen Mary v. Protestants (1553-58).  Temporary Catholic restoration.

·         Queen Elizabeth I (counter-counterrevolution), 1558-1603.

·         Gen. George Monck and Restoration of the monarchy, 1659-60.

·         The “Glorious Revolution” ousts James II, 1688, and the Stuart dynasty.  Counterrevolution against revival of Catholicism under the Stuarts.

 

United States, 1773-76.

·         The American Revolution began in April 1775 (or dating from the Boston Tea Party, December 1773) as a fight for our rights as Englishmen, i.e. a counterrevolution against the British reversal of salutary neglect after 1763.  This longstanding policy had allowed the 13 colonies to be self-governing.  From this standpoint, therefore, it was London which imposed a top-down revolution after the French and Indian War, and the Americans who responded with a counterrevolution.  After July 4, 1776 the counterrevolution escalated from a struggle to restore our rights as citizens of the British Empire to a fight for full sovereignty.

 

 

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ENDNOTES 

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[1] George Washington’s letter to General John Thomas of MA on the purpose of the war in 1775.  David McCullough, 1776, (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2005), p. 55.

[1a] Arts & Entertainment, Biography (1959-1961 series). Mike Wallace, television biography of Wernher von Braun, video clip of his statement to the press in 1945.

[2] Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, Cleomenes 18, tr. by John & William Langhorne (1770).  Available online.

[3] Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, Agis, tr. by John Dryden, revised by Arthur Hugh Clough, (New York, Random House), pp. 970-72 – last six paragraphs.

[4] Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid empire also had their interests in Greece.

[5] W.G. Forrest, A History of Sparta: 950-192 B.C. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1968), pp. 15-19, 143-50.  A third Spartan revival under Nabis (207-192, B.C.) saw attacks from the Achaean league, Rome, and finally the Aetolian league’s raid that killed Nabis and resulted in the incorporation of Sparta into the Achaean league.

[6] Ibid., pp. 143-144.

[7] Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Golden Milestone;" John Derbyshire, "In the Bivouac of Life:  Longfellow and the Fate of Poetry," The New Criterion, December 2000, taken from J.D.'s website.

[8] George Grote, Greece, 12 vols. (New York: James Campbell Yancy, 1856) 8: 41-42.

[9] Ibid., 8: 43 indicates that the 400 “made large changes in the administration of affairs, carrying everything with a strictness and rigor unknown under the old constitution.”

[10] Ibid., 8: 47. 

[11] Grote notes that discord among the 400 was a factor in the success of the insurrection [Ibid., 8: 58-63].

[12] Ibid., 8: 7-93.  Grote was an English historian who wrote his monumental History of Greece during the years 1846-56.

[13] Following the death of Mathathias, “Judas cast their enemies out of the country, and put those of their own country to death who had transgressed its laws, and purified the land of all the pollutions that were in it.”  Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 12.6.3-4.  See also, Josephus, The Jewish Wars 1.1.3-4.  Both of Josephus’ works available online at www.giveshare.org/library/josephus/index.html#Antiquities%20of%20the%20Jews

[13a]Thomas Paine, Common Sense, Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine (New York: Signet Classics, 2003), p. 38.

[14] For the first line of this verse I am indebted to Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies, “Oh! Blame Not the Bard.”

[15] The reader will note my ad hoc rendering of the term, postmodernism.  I have stripped it of its original literary connotation and given it a specificity that belies its amorphous, ill-defined generality in today's common parlance.  My decision in this regard was dictated by default, for want of a better term.  My only excuse is that I could find nothing better, after giving up on "post-1963 revolution" as uneuphonic and dull.

            In a 1994 speech in Philadelphia, Czech Republic President, Vaclav Havel, (formerly an heroic dissenter from the Communist regime) saw postmodernism as chronological in nature, i.e. a new stage of history.  He defines the modern world as the almost five centuries from the discovery of America to the first moon landing in 1969.  Havel sees the subsequent postmodern world as one based on science, and yet paradoxically “where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain.”  To stabilize the situation, Havel argues that post-modernists must develop a “new model of coexistence…appropriate to the present multicultural age.” 

In place of what he supposes to be an outdated anthropocentric theological notion, Havel would have us substitute (1) the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, and (2) the Gaia Hypothesis.  On behalf of this new world order, Havel chose to make his stand in the sacred premises of Independence Hall, declaring that “we must go farther and deeper” than the modern or classical conception of the Creator enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  Vaclav Havel, The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World, speech in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 4, 1994.  

While Havel seeks a postmodern epoch to last centuries, Christian philosophers look askance at our present day insofar as it is governed by postmodernist thinking.  One of America’s premier Christian leaders, Dr. James Dobson, sees postmodernism as a system of thought that negates moral certainty.  His Focus on the Family web page states that postmodernism “holds that there is no truth, no basic right or wrong, nothing good or bad, nothing evil or noble, nothing moral or immoral.”  Focus on the Family, editorial comment on Dobson’s Restoring The Foundations: Repealing Judicial Tyranny speech, Montgomery, 8/23/03.

Another Christian source gives the following definition of postmodernism:  “A worldview characterized by the belief that truth doesn’t exist in any objective sense but is created rather than discovered.”…  Truth is “created by the specific culture and exists only in that culture.  Therefore, any system or statement that tries to communicate truth is a power play, an effort to dominate other cultures.”  Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler, The New Tolerance (Carol Stream IL: Tyndale House, 1998), p. 208.

[16] Byron, Childe Harold 2.35

[17] During 1969-70 I represented 23,000 in the student body as administrative vice-president and executive coordinator of what is now San Diego State University.  I served also as campus chairman of SMC, the national “student mobilization committee" to end the war in Vietnam. 

[18] Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd annual message to Congress, 12/1/1862.  “The occasion is plied high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.  As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.  We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

[18a] Paine, Common Sense, at supra, p. 29.

[19] Speech by Allan Keyes to the Pro Ten Commandments demonstration on the Capitol grounds, Montgomery, Alabama, 8/16/03.  On the same theme see, Robert H. Bork, Coercing Virtue, The Worldwide Rule of Judges (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 2003), p.1.

[20] Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, 21 Jan. 1812.  "A letter from you (Jn. Adams) calls up recollections very dear to my mind.  It carries me back to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right of self-government." (emphasis mine)

[21] Isaac S. Struble (uncle of George M. Struble, my paternal grandfather) enlisted during 1861 in Company F, 22nd Iowa Infantry, and served three years.  Isaac Struble would later serve four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1883-1891).

[22] During The First World War, Robert Struble, Sr. served in the “Flying Circus,” 161st Aero Squadron, US Army Air Corps.  In WW II he served in the CMP or military police, [650 MPEG Co., O-461576].  See A Brief Biography of Bob Struble, Sr. (1899-1967) written in 2002 to edify his six grandchildren by his son, Bob Struble, Jr. in consultation with his daughter, Almeda Campbell. http://www.bangsfamily.net/grandpabob/

[23] On the “long march through the institutions” see, for example, Patrick Buchanan, The Death of the West (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002), p. 77.

[24] William J. Bennett, The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), p. 130.  See also Bennett’s Index of Leading Cultural Indicators (Broadway Publishers, 1999).

[25] Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.  Please forgive me, sir, but given the many times that I have read your epic composition to my history classes verbatim and without charging the Longfellow estate for advancing the poem to America’s posterity, I have taken the liberty of slightly adapting some excerpts here to assist my introduction.

[26] The restorations of 1871 in Germany and 2004 in Russia were not a direct result of violence or military force.  Bismark’s restoration of the Reich involved an earlier instance of violence as a pretext for the restoration, i.e. the Franco-Prussian War.  Putin took advantage of an attack by Chechnyan terrorists against a school in Beslan, killing 338, to announce less than two weeks later “reforms” that undid democratic elements in Yeltsin’s constitution of 1993.  In neither case was the violence part of the restoration process itself, but rather an earlier incident employed by opportunists.

[27] A Macedonia invasion put an end to the promising Spartan revival – battle of Sellasia (222, B.C.).  Plutarch’s Lives, “The Comparison of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus with Agis and Cleomenes,” tr., John Dryden, revised by Arthur Clough, 1864, p. 1020.  A good scholarly account is in chapter 15, “the Second Revolution,” of G.W. Forrest, A History of Sparta, 950-192 B.C. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1968), pp. 143-48.  One can also find online some good general accounts of this quasi-counterrevolution.

 

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