Lest we forget during this holiday season what the stakes were one Christmas that changed history

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”

— The Crisis by Thomas Paine, Dec. 23, 1776

George Washington and his tiny band of remaining soldiers did not shrink nor shirk. On Christmas, it was Victory or Death. (OK, it is a Newt Gingrich turn out the vote commercial from 2011, but the message still.)

How many today are giving up on the concept of liberty and letting the forces of overweening socialism change this nation forever into something the Founders did not intend, but rather feared and warned repeatedly against.

The stakes were life or death in 1776.

Today it is taxation without representation, again, as Congress critters head home after voting for a $1.65 trillion budget that will add still more red to the deficit that our grandchildren will inherit.

Paine concluded:

“Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.”

Lest we forget.

A version was first posted in 2012.

Washington crossing the Delaware.

17 comments on “Lest we forget during this holiday season what the stakes were one Christmas that changed history

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for posting. I doubt that there are many of our youth today who even know who Thomas Paine was and what place he has in the history of our Country.

  2. NYPete says:

    The Founders warned against socialism??

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thomas Paine loved socialism.

  4. Athos says:

    petey and anny, stop with the Bizarro World, already. Liberty is the key! Yes, we may have to put up with a little licentiousness, but sin and evil will always be in this world.

    We just don’t want to live in a country that “protects” and guarantees sin and evil as a constitutional right. (aka, the murder of children in the womb). We need to take a closer look at the wealth redistribution going on (from middle class to poor back to the elites!)

    This is the true vitriol against Prez Trump. He called out the swamp for what it is. And this latest “bipartisan” boondoggle is the poster child of corrupt politicians. ($1.7 Trillion that had to be passed on December 23rd? Really?)

    No where can be found that 45 was a “morale” man. He was and is deeply flawed. But he identified the rot by NAME (fake news – hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it) and the Federal Police are power hungry Stasi, aren’t they? Why not lie to the FISA courts …..and the American people for that matter!

    Meanwhile, Prez Brandon (as in “let’s go Brandon”) can’t seem to mention Christ in his Christmas address.


    “By their fruit, you shall know them”

    Merry Belated Christmas, fellas!

  5. NYPete says:

    “Prez Brandon (as in “let’s go Brandon”) can’t seem to mention Christ in his Christmas address.”
    Absolutely right, Athos, the man is clearly anti-Christian. I mean, look at what he said in his Christmas address to the nation: “And we look to the sky, to a lone star, shining brighter than all the rest, guiding us to the birth of a child — a child Christians believe to be the son of God; miraculously now, here among us on Earth, bringing hope, love and peace and joy to the world. Yes, it’s a story that’s 2,000 years old, but it’s still very much alive today. Just look into the eyes of a child on Christmas morning …. Yes, even after 2,000 years, Christmas still has the power to lift us up, to bring us together, to change lives, to change the world.The Christmas story is at the heart of the Christmas — Christian faith.”

    I mean, you can’t get any more anti-Christian than that.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Trump marched across a plaza accompanied only by American troops, and secret service agents armed with Uzis, spraying tear gas and having protestors beaten as he went, all so he could hold a borrowed Bible upside down in front of a church he never attended though.

    Can’t get more Christian than that.
    -the evangelical right wing

  7. Athos says:

    Oh petey, you are soooo right!! Brandon is truly a shining star to Christians all across the land!

    Anny, you too, are sooo right! Orange man BAD!!

    Happy New Year, folks!

  8. NYPete says:

    I have no idea whether or not “Brandon is truly a shining start to Christians.” And I don’t care, as I prefer that my elected officials not mix religion with politics. But I felt it necessary to point out that your complaint that the President’s Christmas address somehow slighted Christians, was characteristically idiotic.

  9. Athos says:

    Thank you for your important contribution, petey! You will be amply rewarded in the next life!

    Happy New Year!

  10. Athos says:

    Here’s a question for any and all of you: Since we are all created in the image of God, are we programmed with a God consciousness that compels us to seek Him?

    Which is corrupted by many to substitute seeking God with something less fulfilling?

  11. NYPete says:

    Your question makes no sense to me, as I do not believe that “God” has an “image.”
    In addition, I have no idea what a “God consciousness” is, and I don’t know why such a consciousness would compel every single human being to “seek Him.”
    Also, I do not understand why, if human beings are somehow “programmed” to “seek Him,” how they could be deprogrammed to do something else. Who or what is doing the deprogramming? Is there an app for that?

  12. Athos says:

    petey, I guess philosophy isn’t your thing, is it? Funny how we just celebrated the birth of Christ and here you are…..totally clueless!

    Michelangelo, Rubins, DeVinci or Nicolas Poussin (google him if you want some early 17th Century artwork!) aren’t in your bailiwick, either, are they, petey?

    That’s a shame. Thought you had a little more depth to you. Most liberals do.

    Maybe you’re just too young, eh?

    As to how humans can be “deprogrammed” the Bible talks about a character named Lucifer (who had quite the conversation with Jesus prior to His ministry). I’m sure he’s got an “app” somewhere working to corrupt humans.

  13. NYPete says:

    Actually, philosophy is my thing; it is theology that isn’t. That you don’t know the difference says a lot about you.
    BTW, Poussin is one of my favorite painters. “Et in Arcadia Ego.” You should read T.J. Clark’s “The Sight of Death” — a wonderful essay on “Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake,” which I’m sure you have seen at the National Gallery.

  14. Athos says:

    Very interesting, petey. I did visit the National Gallery in 2019, when my wife, son and I spent a week in London. Never heard of Clark but I can appreciate the wonder of repeatedly returning to these great masters’ works of art. Not to the point of actually BUYING one of these million $ pieces, but checking out whatever gallery is worthwhile (alas…..none in Las Vegas! MGM even sold the Picasso that hung in their restaurant in Bellagio…) And I don’t really recall any in LA or San Fran (although someone told me there was a decent gallery in Pasadena)

    I am of the opinion that philosophy is merely the search for meaning (and joy) that theology (and our relation with God, or higher power, or the abstracted mystical ideal) answers. Some would argue that the Greeks started it (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many more) but none were greater than God made flesh on Earth, Jesus Christ.

    There is a reason the Bible is the best selling book every year, year AFTER year…(the Bible far outsold any other book, with a whopping 3.9 billion copies sold over the last 50 years) it lays out the path to the supernatural that we, as tiny humans, can take that connects us to THE authority above Nature!

    How can you have morality without an understanding that the human “heart” is made in the image of God? Or are you of the opinion that we truly are at the whim of nature and only the strong survive? Or do you have another opinion that I fail to comprehend (I really don’t enjoy putting anyone into a binary choice when the options are indeed, limitless!)

    What say you, petey?

  15. NYPete says:

    You seem to be arguing that one cannot “have morality” (i.e., be guided by an ethical code,) unless one believes in a “supernatural” being. When you think about it, that is an odd kind of argument. It says that we have to believe in and worship some kind of deity not because the deity necessarily exists, but because we need such a deity in order to function. Doesn’t that completely beg the question of whether such a supernatural being actually exists?
    Perhaps more to the point, many, many people would disagree with your contention that there can be no ethics without religion. I suspect one such person is Thomas Mitchell, whose sagebrush libertarian moral code seems to have been shaped by Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand, neither of whom were known for their religious fervor.

  16. Athos says:

    Ayn was fond of capitalism and was an affirmed atheist (from what’s been reported, as we near our inevitable meeting with the gatekeepers of the next life….who knows what goes on in the human heart?)
    My point is that virtue must be taught and can’t be enforced, otherwise it’s not virtue, is it? Would you give money to feed the poor if the government didn’t take that money from you? Would you not steal from a store owner if there were no laws to punish you if caught (that’s a no brainer given today’s lax theft laws, isn’t it?)

    If there is no God, and if He hasn’t written His laws on our hearts, why should we be moral? Let the strong rule! (some would argue the strong already rules, or maybe it’s the rich?) Christianity has shaped our society for over 2000 years, petey. Our creativity is born of God, and God’s rules for how we treat each other has fostered our incredible standard of living. It wouldn’t bother me to return to the status of “Christian Nation” and allow all non-Christians an exemption from Christian teachings.

    Of course, the older I get, the more I see the folly of non-God belief. There’s your philosophy kicking in, pete. Why am I put on this Earth to live these brief years?

    What does it all mean?

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