Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Guest Editorial

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

The following essay was written by Shmuley Boteach for the Jerusalem Post, and it falls under the category of "I wish I had written that..."

He captures succinctly and completely the reasons why conservative values surpass progressive values not only in a practical sense, but in a moral sense, and he gives us a blueprint for building a stronger bond with minority and underprivileged communities. This is something I have targeted for quite some time, and I, for one, intend to use his insight in an attempt to increase awareness and support in those communities.

The link to the original column is here. Please read and enjoy, and I welcome your comments and suggestions at taxdayteapartysiny@gmail.com

Yours in Liberty,


Why the Tea Party Resonates With Human Dignity

The Tea Party movement is far from perfect, but it taps into a hidden human desire to live a life crowned with self-esteem.

One Friday night at my home, a dear friend who runs a large charitable foundation raised his glass to toast the demise of the Tea Party, which he branded a group of racists, xenophobes and bigots. Taken aback, I responded that to my knowledge the Tea Party is focused simply on more limited government and the reduction of government spending. I didn’t know racism was part of the platform, I said.

But he was adamant that the Tea Party’s small-government rhetoric was an attack on low-income minorities.

Lost in the debate about the morality of the Tea Party is any discussion about its underpinnings in human nature. The principle purpose of government is to provide the optimal conditions under which human beings can acquire their most important necessities, the highest of which is dignity.

Governments provide many essentials for their citizens, from law and order to social services, from good roads to education. If it’s a socialist government, it may even provide cradle-to-grave benefits, or if it’s a more Right-leaning government, it may emphasize robust national defense. But the one human essential that government cannot provide is human dignity.

Dignity is something acquired through personal effort. Dignity is the human aura that comes through self-reliance.

Its underlying premise is independence. A dependent life is a fundamentally undignified life. Self-respect is earned through the sweat of one’s brow. An heir to a great fortune may travel the high seas in a 100-foot yacht and soar through the air in a Gulfstream V. But he will remain without dignity so long as he is living on someone else’s dime.

Yes, people want to pay their bills. They want nice houses and material comforts. But more than anything else they seek an existence infused with a sense of relevance and purpose. We seek redemption, but wish for it to come through our own devices.

IN MANY cultures the loss of dignity, or face, becomes a reason to terminate life itself. The Talmud states that shaming someone in public is worse than murder, because the public humiliation makes them wish they were dead.

America’s rapid rise to global economic power was not an accident, but the direct result of a fierce individualism and rugged self-reliance on the part of its citizens.

Where European populations were content to live under anointed rulers, Americans threw off the yoke of a foreign sovereign and tamed a vast wilderness. For Americans, divine right translated as manifest destiny – the ability of an immigrant nation who arrived on these shores with nothing, to spread their accomplishments from sea to shining sea. In so doing, Americans claimed a level of independence and dignity that had few historical precedents.

The welfare state claims it is more moral than capitalism, which it sees as selfish and materialistic. There is some truth to this claim, especially when capitalism is allowed to run rampant, becoming soulless and deadening. But for all its flaws, capitalism fosters an independence that promotes dignity while socialism creates a reliance that subverts self-esteem. Yes, the government must provide a safety net for a rainy day, but only selfreliance creates a sunny life.

I recently heard a philanthropist tell of visiting a soup kitchen that had asked for his support. He was skeptical that the people eating there were actually in need; perhaps they simply came because the food was free. But the rabbi who ran the facility asked him: “Are you capable of asking someone for food?”

The philanthropist answered that he was not. “Well then,” the rabbi responded, “if someone is forced to ask me to eat, I have to believe he is truly hungry.”

The story illustrates both the necessity of providing essential social services for those in need, while always being mindful never to allow that need to become a permanent dependency. True, socialist governments provide without people having to ask. But the effect is the same – a corrosive dependence on the hand that feeds. The effort to recapture the dignity that springs from selfreliance is what the Tea Party should be all about.

Countries like Britain, Greece and Spain are undertaking drastic austerity measures to rescue themselves from economic collapse. In truth, however, their move away from reckless entitlements and wholesale capitulation to organized labor has less to do with their inability to afford vast social services than it has to do with reversing the corruption these services were fostering in their populace. My progressive friends speak to me about how a compassionate society takes care of its citizens. That is true. But it must also take care to ensure that it never robs its citizens of the nobility of spirit which is their birthright.

Does having your job preserved by a union when you consistently underperform induce pride? Can you feel good about yourself when you’re in a profession in which only collective pressure keeps you receiving a paycheck?

Maimonides famously lists levels of charity, with the provision of a vocation being the highest. The Tea Party is far from perfect, but in emphasizing self-reliance, it taps into a hidden human desire to live a life crowned with self-esteem.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

""Resolved: That Two Battalions of Marines Be Raised..."

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

It was a brew house built in 1693 at the intersection of Water Street and Tun Alley near the docks, and so the wooden structure built by Samuel Carpenter and his brother Joshua was ultimately known simply as Tun Tavern.

Over the decades, while fires of independence were being stoked that would eventually enflame all thirteen colonies, it became a favorite gathering place in that part of colonial Philadelphia known as Carpenter's Wharf, attracting the likes of Jefferson, Washington and Franklin. So it was that when Captain Samuel Nicholas was commissioned by the Second Continental Congress on November 10th, 1775 to raise two battalions of Marines, he appointed Robert Mullen, the proprietor of the establishment, to the position of Chief Marine Recruiter.

It must have been a raucous scene in that watering hole, night after night, as Mullen set out to attract able-bodied volunteers, though he was instructed that “no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required…”

The newly-established Continental Marines were to provide on-board security for the ship's Captain and crew, and during naval engagements Marine sharpshooters were dispatched to the top of the fighting masts. From there, they targeted enemy officers, gunners and helmsmen.

They wore green coats with white lapels and a distinctive high collar made of leather, designed to protect against sword and cutlass slashes. Even today, the Marine Corps dress uniform features a high collar in commemoration of those first two battalions - and they are still known as “Leathernecks.”

I could not let this date go by without asking you to think of them. I am, as you are, intensely and rightly proud of ALL branches of our military, but I must admit that I experience a little surge of adrenalin when I read the words, "The Marines have landed!"

They have defended our flag in God-forsaken, pestilent jungles across the globe. They have defended our liberty and independence with glory and honor, engaging and defeating enemies who may have had the advantage in numbers and guns, but could never surpass them in heart and courage.

They have been fighting and dying for our freedom since the days when the fate of our Republic may have depended upon the outcome of the next battle. They are symbolized by men like Sergeant Dan Daly, exhorting his Marines up and over the top against overwhelming odds in bloody Belleau Wood with the words "C'mon you sons-of-bitches, do you want to live forever?"

They are the stuff of legends.

Happy 235th Birthday, Marines. We couldn't have made it without you. May God bless you and keep you, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

Yours in Liberty,

Frank Santarpia
Staten Island, NY


"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."

- President Ronald Reagan