FIRST PRINCIPLES

Lincoln's Address at the Dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, November 19, 1863, lithograph published in Chicago by the Sherwood Lithograph Co., 1905, 41.2 x 50 cm.
First Principles

The Apple of Gold and Frame of Silver

America’s 16th president on how the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution fit together.

ll this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle […]

First Principles

‘Liberation’ and the Dismantling of Liberty

The only way “liberation” may be pursued is through the systematic dismantling of liberty as it was understood at the founding of this nation 244 years ago this weekend.

he original idea of liberty in America was fairly narrow. “Liberty” referred simply to the state of affairs enabled by a limited government that protected the natural rights of its citizens. In fulfilling that commitment, citizens were enabled to pursue ends conducive to their own happiness and flourishing.  But as government steadily expanded, so too […]

First Principles

Why You Have a Constitutional Right to a High Capacity Magazine

Even as the very scenario that demonstrates the need for high-capacity magazines unfolded in St. Louis, the Colorado Supreme Court endorsed the view that you don’t need one.

ith no police or security within sight, Mark and Patricia McCloskey stood with their backs to their house wielding a small pistol and an AR-15. The “peaceful protest” featured a screaming scrum of hundreds smashing down the gate to a privately-owned neighborhood as they poured onto the privately-owned street just a few feet from the […]

First Principles

‘Through All the Gloom, I Can See the Rays of Ravishing Light and Glory’

Why this American Founder believed July 2, 1776, would be “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.”

n July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia after a lengthy debate adopted a resolution in favor of declaring independence from Great Britain. The language of the Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, which Americans have celebrated ever since as Independence Day. But John Adams, who sat on the committee appointed to […]

First Principles

Grim Lessons from Aristotle on the Causes of Civil War

Why aren’t we challenging our cozy assumptions that things can’t get worse?

s the United States headed for a civil war? Every new partisan battle feels like the battle to end all battles. But contemplating apocalyptic violence and massive upheaval brings doubt: even with all the current acrimony, could it really be the case that the most successful nation on earth is spiraling towards internal war? Isn’t […]

First Principles

Fathers and Sons, American-Style

This is why men can’t talk about their fathers. Our reverence cuts too close to the very core of who we are as men.

en love to talk about the big subjects: politics, war, religion, and football. There is, however, one subject that is taboo among men—the subject of fathers. Men rarely talk about their fathers with other men. The subject is too sensitive, too fraught with our deepest hopes and fears. No matter who or what we have […]

First Principles

Tales of Endurance and Enduring Tales from My Father

If there is hope to be found, a significant portion of that hope must lie with America’s fathers. Fathers like those who taught their sons and daughters to carry on.

icture this scene. A bored adolescent boy, half-listening to his teacher drone on about some uninteresting grammar lesson, tears his notebook paper idly into little pieces, amassing a small pile on his desk. Watching the clock tick away the seconds, he grows in his conviction that the day will never end.  As the teacher diagrams […]

First Principles

Language, Freedom, And Law

In Bostock, the Supreme Court has taken the fateful step to assert that a common word, vital to social relations, can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean.

he U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week in Bostock imposes on Americans a rule of greater import than any ever asserted by any government. Its adoption into law of a meaning of the word “sex” that is at war with that of the dictionary, of biology, and of common use, and enlists the U.S. legal […]

First Principles

John Roberts and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamer Robe

Intelligence invests in illusion when the need for illusion is deep.

he U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ruling that the Trump Administration failed to comply with federal regulation procedures.  In an opinion for the 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts explained, “we address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation […]

First Principles

Kangaroo Nation

We ruin reputations, we tear down monuments to our flawed benefactors, we destroy lives with a glee and a certitude that would make the old inquisitors blush.

he premise behind much of the protesting we hear in our time from women, African Americans, gays, and other groups granted the special status of being in the minority (how that applies to women, who make up more than half of the population, is hard to see), is that they are to be believed when […]

First Principles

Property Rights Matter Even More Than Lives

Everything unique to an individual, whether physical things or rights of conscience or data, belong to the individual. A government created out of the consent of the governed that fails to protect these rights is an unjust government.

ctually, property does matter In the midst of the rioting and looting that’s taken place in Minneapolis, New York City, and other major cities—as businesses are robbed and buildings burned to the ground—some have justified the lawless behavior by saying, “It’s just property.” As though people’s livelihoods and lifetimes of investments in time and money, […]

First Principles

The Left Fears Law-Abiding Gun Owners More Than Rioters

Leftists fear an empowered citizenry that can do things without the pre-approval of liberal bureaucrats.

emerica is under siege by left-wing extremists and racial agitators. The lawless crowds have brutally beaten dozens of innocent people and destroyed the stores and homes of thousands. Police are doing their best to quell the crowds, but feckless leaders have kept them from doing their job and providing sufficient support. Many ordinary citizens are […]

First Principles

Virtue Signaling Theater at the Mouth of Hell

The hypocrite is not the person who says one thing and does another. He is the play-actor, the man or woman who puts on a show of righteousness, to fool himself first of all, because he is his own favorite audience.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”  —Matthew 23:23-24 ne thing that […]

First Principles

The “1619 Project” Learns from Mussolini

The “1619 Project” is a genuine and instructive exercise in “fascist attitudes and activity” as described by Mussolini.

ontrary to what many think, fascism is not based on the belief in absolute truth. Fascism is based on the belief that there is no truth; that is, on relativism, or nihilism. This position is actually built on a fatal contradiction: a relativist says there is no truth, but in so doing, he is asserting […]

First Principles

Americans Deserve Open Debate About Big Tech and Free Speech

The tech industry and its advocates may not think this debate should happen, but lawmakers certainly do.

resident Trump on Thursday signed an executive order regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the provision of the law that shields tech companies from liability for censoring content on their platforms. This comes on the heels of Twitter deciding it would “fact-check” one of the president’s tweets about voting by mail. Chinese propaganda […]

First Principles

The Pandemic Showcases Courts’ Limitations

Why won’t Michigan’s legislature—the political branch that most represents Michiganders—embrace its role in the state’s constitutional system?

he Michigan Court of Claims on Thursday released its much-anticipated decision in Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate v. Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The court spoke through Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens and ruled mostly in favor of Whitmer. Judge Stephens dismissed the legislature’s lawsuit, denying its request for a declaratory judgment that Executive Order 2020-67 […]

First Principles

Yea, Though I Walk Through The Uncanny Valley

You are being gaslit, but not by a sociopathic manipulator. Instead, the growing psychic pressure is the constricting consensus of an increasingly popular fabricated reality. You are on the business end of a casual conspiracy of complicity.

o, you’re not crazy. They just want you to feel that way. There is a special flavor of cognitive dissonance experienced by those confronted with the dawning of a collectivist utopia. It’s found in the twilight between luminescent NuThink, and the benighted remainders of objective reality to which we plebs still cling so bitterly. Allow […]

First Principles

The Restart of History and the Renaissance of Realpolitik

States and their interests, both cultural and historical, to recall Charles de Gaulle, are eternal. They do not, and will never, take a backseat to ideology of any sort. Including our own.

n the heyday of geopolitical optimism after the First Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet empire, political theorist Francis Fukuyama prophesied the “End of History.” What he meant was that liberal democracy was ascendant and would continue to be ascendant in the coming years. History had other things in mind. That fate culminated […]

First Principles

Coronavirus Is an Opportunity to Reject Judicial Supremacy

The litigious Michigan legislature has endorsed the idea that the courts alone can save Michiganders from Governor Whitmer’s grip. This is a lie.

f anyone has benefitted from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s lawyers. Business is positively booming; if Americans know how to do anything, it’s file lawsuits. The American Spectator reports that since the various pandemic measures were enacted in March (has it really only been two months?), “dozens” of lawsuits have been filed against Democratic governors across […]

First Principles

Is Half of the Country Crazy?

When the only seemingly possible solution is using the power of the government to crush those who disagree, it is time to rethink the entire paradigm.

s half of the country crazy? Regardless of which side of the political divide you happen to be on, at least half the country appears to be crazy. And they probably think the same about you. Can this be true? It is difficult to believe half our country—which half doesn’t really matter—is unmoored from reality. […]