7 Habits of the Effective Patriot
By Granite Prepper
These really are the times that try the soul…..much as Thomas Payne penned generations ago. An out-of-control debt/deficit, a tyrannical over-reaching government and a society that is experiencing moral decay and rot at a pace never-before seen on these shores; it is a rot the likes of Caligula and Emperor Nero would stand in awe of! However, with that being said, what are constitutionalists, libertarians, little “r” republicans and true liberals(in the mold of our founding fathers) to do to stand against this ever-encroaching tide?? That is the $64,000.00 question and one I’ve been struggling with for a number of years. I read, and have for sometime, many blogs, websites and historical documents that give me a sense of the historical founding of the country and also the initial path we were started on years ago. I’ve studied the rise and fall of civilizations stretching back to biblical times. I’ve perused academic tomes about the sociology and psychology of mankind…..sadly both got their start with Karl Marx as he struggled to conceive of the utopian society. Finally, I’ve searched my heart and plumbed the depths of both my beliefs and my convictions to come up with my solution to this conundrum. What I’ve gleaned from this search is there are seven founding principles or, better described, steps to follow in order to prepare for battle with the afore-mentioned rise of evil…..and that ladies and gentlemen is what we are truly facing; evil in its many faces and forms is waging this many-pronged attack to sink from within the greatest society and home for good ever known to man….truly Ronald Reagan’s shining City on the Hill.
Let me first provide a disclaimer that this isn’t a perfect list…..I’m not a perfect person. You may agree with the steps in their entirety, you may vehemently disagree with them or you may fall somewhere in between….and I say that is a very good thing because it is with the thinking and rationalization, the synthesis of where you fit, that we give birth to the true Patriot. I will tell you it was my journey in formulating these steps that better enunciated my core beliefs and ultimately gave rise to my direction in life. My sincerest hope is that not only do you use these steps to better cement your beliefs or path, but you take them and use them while talking and debating with others; both people you agree with and people you don’t……patriots win this titanic struggle through education and illumination. But I digress, on to the meat and potatoes as it were…..
1. Knowledge(or the “What”): I started this piece by explaining the synthesis of the article being grounded in history…..”Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” as George Santayana, a Spanish poet and essayist, opined in his “Reason In Common Sense, The Life of Reason Volume I.” This was prudent in the late 1800s and early 1900s and holds true through today. We as Patriots must know from which well of hope our society sprung, the great leaders of its success, the villains that sought its demise and ultimately how and where we fit. We must not only study our founding documents and their reason for existence, but must also know where THEY came from; what was the prevailing mindset and reason of the times. The Articles of Confederation, The Bill of Rights, The Federalist Papers and The Constitution are all great to use as a springboard but we must dig deeper and try to read as many letters and other forms of correspondence between the founders(ideally in their own words) as possible to understand, truly, the “WHAT” of history. Once you’ve begun that journey, and in a concurrent fashion, endeavor to branch into the study of mankind; in other words the study of man scratches the surface of our founding and history, but reach further in your search by reading Aristotle, Plato, Freud, Nietzsche and Conte as a means to take history and couple it with a classical understanding of philosophy that has driven man for centuries….what ultimately is human nature. As well, throw some tentative hands upon works of madmen: Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Karl Marx, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot to name but a few. Get a sense of the contrarian argument to individual freedom and the struggles of the uniqueness of man versus their views of collectivism, communitarianism and utopian shared sacrifice. Finally, and not last on the list by any stretch, delve as deeply as you can into the Bible, the Koran, the Torah and other religious and pagan texts to grasp the history of faith, how that ties into the history of man(and US history) and how, ultimately, belief ties into the human spirit and condition. Be aware too that this step isn’t a stand-alone enterprise….to try to pore through all of history, religious and otherwise, before moving on to the other steps would leave you very old, if not outright dead by its completion. Begin this step as the foundation of your Patriot beliefs and continue this search even as you concurrently work the others…..the quest for knowledge isn’t a destination but rather the journey itself.
2. Know Your “Why”: This step is really the core step for any individual…..this provides the definition of each person’s existence. Why were you born? Why did you have a family(or not)? Why did you get up today? Why did you have the bean and onion burrito prior to the big sales presentation?? This is all about self-examination. Do I go to work for love of the job or to make money? Do I own the home I have because of it’s functionality or because of prestige? Am I truly religious or only pretending to be for political or societal gain…..remind you of any politicians?? What is at the very core of my belief structure? Do I believe in individualism, collectivism, abortion, sanctity of life, etc ad naseum….you get the picture. A true Patriot, someone who will be the warrior for our constitution, must be firmly grounded in what they believe, why they believe it and, most importantly, solidly marching on the path that supports those belief structures. Our society as a whole is made up of false people, with fake beliefs marching to the beat of someone else’s drum….we save our republic when we are grounded in our individual reality. That is what provides the beacon of hope for other Patriots to rally to and gives the glue to hold that perpetual movement together. Understand that this step requires brutal honesty…this is no-holds-barred combat between what you truly believe and what you THINK you believe. You will need to challenge every facet of your knowledge and your belief structure….this will likely contradict much of what you learned during your public education and to that I say good!! In the end, if the truth knows no agenda you need to confidently walk the path of your heart, conscience and spirit…..the truth will most likely surprise you but it will also set you free. It will give you a sense of peace and stead-fast/unwavering confidence. This peace, coupled with a strong knowledge of history will prepare you for…..
3. Know Your Environment(Or the “How” and the “Where”): Here is where the fledgling butterfly hatches, stretches its wings and prepares to re-enter the world. It is at this stage you start to reach out in your local community….using your new-found knowledge and beliefs to discover what is going on around you and, more importantly, why. Find out what political persuasion your school board, city council and county commissioners are. Do they support or detract from constitutional principles? Is there any corruption in the system, why is it happening and who is responsible? What is the feeling towards the business community? Are the schools educating or indoctrinating? What is the financial state of the school, city, county and state? Are the various aspects of your community in line with your beliefs or diametrically opposed? What laws are on the books and why are they there? Read city/school charters and study the state constitution. In my last article I spoke about the military concept of preparing the battlefield…..here is the first step in doing so….knowledge of your surroundings or recon.
4. Know Your Resources(Or the “Who” and the “When”): Now that the butterfly is winging about and has a sense of her surroundings, it is time to explore her options for growth and interaction. In our world, we must now seek like-minded people. In my case, Tea Party Patriots, Free-State New Hampshirites, small government conservatives, libertarian constitutionalists and every manner of man, woman and child who share the same values. Again in military parlayance, and in my particular case of living in New England, I have been inserted behind enemy lines and must start building relationships with people in order to bring about constitutional change. I can seek to become a member of the afore-mentioned groups and/or I can look to become a member of the local school board, city council , county commissioners or elected state agencies that will give me the greatest opportunity to affect local change. Think too about the concept of tactical versus strategic(small rather than large, or local rather than national). By this I mean any realistic change must truly start at the grass-roots or tactical level(while keeping an eye on the strategic or large-scale picture) and grow or develop into the strategic or larger stage movement that has both mass and inertia(much like a snowball rolling downhill). This is the beauty of the internet….you can research, plan and initiate local action while networking with national-level or strategic friends to prepare the battlefield for the explosion of local ideals/ideas into a national platform. I think it is important to note that this step requires the most faith and belief in what you’re doing as this is the perfect example of one man/woman making a difference. However, it is also the easiest point at which a movement can be derailed…..The Tucker automobile, a truly revolutionary idea/concept, was scuttled because it was created by a small, upstart company with very little support that was up against a monster in the establishment US auto industry. Constitutional principles are much like the Tucker in that there is little support in today’s world by either side of our political spectrum and so we must guard, during this step, against the desire to give up or take the easy path…..honor and integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching and especially when times are tough. So, with that in mind let’s move on to…..
5. the Individual(Or Taking Care of YOU): This path we travel will, most certainly, take its toll on each of us so it behooves the Patriot to take a few precautions to prepare to make the payment. In no particular order are the following:
- Physical Fitness: This process is not for the faint of hear and a strong back and constitution is imperative. Walking, running, physical conditioning, martial arts, weight lifting and good posture(funny enough) all ensure you don’t exit the fight prematurely.
- Sleep/Rest: The human body can only function so long, both physically and cognitively, on little to no sleep so getting as much sleep when you are able will help to off-set those times when you can’t.
- Diet/Eating Smartly: All things in moderation as my mother used to say is the pathway to health. I am by no means a health food nut….I love my sweet and salty things too much for that…..but I try(emphasis on the word TRY) to balance those unhealthy foibles with fruits and vegetables so my body is balanced and strong.
- Flexibility: Before you start accusing me of being Richard Simmons, let me say I’m not referring to stretching…..at least no physically. What I’m referring to is not be rigid in your thinking. Be strong in your beliefs, but also flexible and adaptable to deal with the ever-changing battlefield. I was taught at a young age, and then reminded in my time in the military, to adapt and overcome those things in front of me….and of course the old axiom of a plan not surviving first contact/engagement holds true. Simply put, make sure you are flexible to our ever-evolving environment, don’t become target-fixated and are able to deal with any paradigm shift that presents itself. We live in an asymmetrical world and as such we must be able to adapt quickly…..and decisively.
6. The Family(Or the Foundation): This is a step that I struggle with on a regular basis…..not because I don’t love them, rather the truth is it is just the opposite. I struggle because sometimes I fixate on what is going on in the world and how I can keep my family safe in today’s environment that I lose focus on enjoying the time I have with them…….limited as it can be. My solution is to keep firmly focused on my family as one of my paramount “Whys.” THEY are why I do what I do and am the person I am and am striving to become. I use the love of and from my family as the nourishment for my mind and body…..it is my sustenance! Sometimes it is like failing to see the forest for the trees……don’t lose sight of why you do what you do or are who you are. That loss, for me, would be soul-crushing. However, so would the loss of my…….
7. Faith(Belief in Many Forms): I don’t seek to preach to you because not everyone believes in religion…..and that is well and good. However, I have met very few people who have no faith at all….faith in self, friends, family, god, the universe, etc. Life without faith at some level is life without hope….it is the difference between laughter and sarcasm. Life without hope is a bleak existence that leads people to stay in bed, fail to take risks and ultimately leads to stagnation. As I’ve stated, I’m a religious man(though I haven’t always been) and it is my faith in God that nourishes my spirit and soul. It is this faith that my hope and belief for a brighter tomorrow springs from and it is the life preserver I cling to when I feel adrift in hopeless seas. My faith is also what allows me to turn sarcasm at something into humor….I try to take myself less seriously and laughter is the engine for that change!! Also, while I have faith listed as an individual step, it is much like family in that it is something more all-encompassing. Faith is the cocoon that enwraps me, nourishes me, protects me and buoys me. In the end, I feel faith in something greater than yourself ties the individual to the family and the family to society as a whole. This isn’t collective salvation by any means, rather it is the moral and ethical belief of loving thy neighbor and being a shelter during turbulent times and times of strife. Look at the people of Mississippi, a group with strong faith and the belief in the individual, during Hurricane Katrina. They banded together as families and local communities and took care of each other. Compare and contrast this to the collectivist progressives of New Orleans(certainly not all but a large portion) who banded together to rob each other and loot local businesses; they also expected the government to rescue them versus looking to each other. I’m sure I just riled up any number of Cajuns with that perspective, but my feeling is actions speak louder than words.
So here we are at the end of the article, the end of my ink, the beginning of my problems with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and, hopefully, the beginning of your journey to patriotic enlightenment. I hope these ramblings will help to provide you, as it has me, with measures that can be taken to combat the takeover of our constitutional republic. There is great evil in our world, but there is greater hope…WE each represent a spark of that good and that hope and together we will be as fire before the prairie winds!! Until next time, I’ll leave you with the prophetic words of Patrick Henry…..”GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!!” We must all choose how to serve…….