I am honored to speak at the graduation from high school of these young men and women who were once my students and who are now my friends.
We’ve grown so close, in fact, I’ve decided to graduate with them!
Over the last few weeks, as the day of my departure grew near, many of these dear friends have thanked me for the lasting impression I’ve made on their lives. Now, while anyone of them can tell you that being unable to take a compliment is my fatal flaw, I responded honestly when I told them that they have had as lasting effect on my life as I have had on theirs.
Over the past four years, these 21st Century Sons of Liberty have confirmed my hope that my call to come to Arizona and to Heritage Academy was issued by God.
As we sat together, telling stories of Raging Catfish and reading the words of Uncle Algy, I saw the light grow in their eyes. I was only able to see that growing light because my own light and knowledge was increasing, too.
When I spoke last year, I related inside jokes and told each of the graduates things I would always remember about our relationship, but this year, those things have been said privately and in class, which I believe was more appropriate and more meaningful.
Tonight, I will relate only a few of the accomplishments of these, my best beloved brothers and sisters, but I want this, my last lecture, to be less nostalgic and more ennobling; less lighthearted and more light bearing.
Many of you have seen the “Factious and Discontented” shirts. Those shirts were their idea and the slogans on the back and down the sleeve, were chosen by them, as well. Whenever someone would say, “Isn’t being factious and discontented a bad thing?” We would smile at each other and say, “Yeah, if you’re a tyrant!”
Speaking of tyrants — which is something I almost never do, right, kids? — so many of the things we’ve written would cause great anger in tyrants if they were to read them, but we’re not worried because we all know that tyrants never read!
In the few months before moving to Arizona, I re-read many of the books that our Founders’ read, in preparation for teaching them to my students.
During that preparation I came across a passage in Trenchard and Gordon’s Cato’s Letters that profoundly struck me and that set the goal for the atmosphere that I would try to create in my classroom:
“No sooner had the Athenians heard Demosthenes, but they were subdued by the energy of his words; and, having lost all terror of the tyrant Philip, they ran headlong into the defense of their city. He inflamed their minds with a passion for glory and liberty, and covered their hesitant considerations in the magical mist of his eloquence; so that, inspired by it, like men now possessed by courage, they took sudden, bold, and honorable resolutions.”
It isn’t appropriate for me to judge whether I achieved that goal or not, but I testify that He who will one day judge me and each of you, knows that I’ve tried my best and have given it my all.
In our time together, we’ve read the words of men who gave all, even their lives, in the defense of liberty. These men have become their heroes and I am sure that these men, wherever they are, are so grateful to this group of graduates for having remembered their names and having studied their words, when it seems that the rest of the world has completely forgotten them.
The world has forgotten these men — the men we call the Founders’ Recipe — not through a lack of desire for the truth or a disregard of the wisdom they taught, rather the names and deeds of these men who meant so much to our Founding Fathers have been purposefully purged from our collective memory by the tyrants who created federally mandated school curricula.
Why, some have asked, would the books written by these influential men have been systematically stripped from our schools?
To those who have read these books the answer is easy: the tyrants fear that if we read what our Founders read, what might do what our Founders did!
Through the study of the words of the 37 men most often quoted by our Founding Fathers, these graduates have come to know not only what is in the Constitution, but why those things are included there. That is powerful and as such, it is dangerous to those who exercise unconstitutional authority over our states and over the union.
These young men and women seated here know that if all men are created equal, then one man gets power over another man in only one of two ways: consent or force.
Thus, they know that if the government commits any act beyond the boundaries of its constitutional authority, then the government is acting without our consent and we are not obliged in any way to obey.
In fact, to obey the orders of a man who commands you without your consent, is the act of a slave, not the act of a free man! I can testify to you, ladies and gentlemen, that every one of these graduates are free men and are determined to stay that way!
Now, for my last lecture.
We live in dark times. The stark and inescapable truth is that we must not be easygoing at a time of such clear and present danger to our republic.
We must be loyal where others are traitorous. We must be tirelessly engaged in the cause of defending liberty against all her enemies — foreign and domestic.
As the Roman orator Cicero said as he spoke in the Senate against those in that body that were plotting to destroy the republic: “Let there be written upon the brow of every man how he feels about the republic.”
Ladies and gentlemen, today is the day for the declaration of allegiances. All who claim to care about the Constitution must come out courageously and proclaim their loyalty to the liberty cherished by our ancestors.
To begin with, politicians needn’t bother drawing near to the Constitution with their lips while their voting record and personal morality is far from it.
We need no sunshine patriots or compassionate conservatives.
We will no longer tolerate wolves in sheep’s clothing.
We will banish forever from the ranks of the defenders of liberty all capitulators, all compromisers, and all cowards.
We will only accept the aid of men and women who care less for personal popularity or partisan promotion than for the zealous and selfless defense of our country and our Constitution.
Those engaged in the fight to restore the sovereignty of the states — including their right and responsibility to unapologetically nullify each and every unconstitutional act of congress, court, or president — must recall and reaffirm these words spoken by Samuel Adams:
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
And this must begin today!
Today, consecrate yourself to the “animating contest of freedom.”
Today, begin toiling in the daily reconstruction of the barriers that our Founding Fathers erected between the branches of government, between the general government and the states, and between self-government and tyranny.
Today, steadfastly and fearlessly profess your love of liberty and your undeviating devotion to principle over party.
Today, put all the elected enemies of the Constitution on notice: We will not retreat, not another inch. We will not compromise with them and we will not re-elect them.
In fact, we will not rest until the Constitution is restored to its proper place and anyone who stands in the way of that endeavor is either converted to the cause or marked as a traitor.
Today, refuse to be labeled a “Republican” or “Democrat.” Refuse to be pigeon-holed as a “conservative” or even a “libertarian.”
From this day forward, all of us — united — must proudly gather beneath the banner of the Constitution and manfully resist being moved, mocked, or manipulated.
Ask yourself this question: Which is more treasonous: to exceed the boundaries of power listed in the Constitution or to enforce them?
What, then, is the answer to all the tyranny, all the federal despotism, all the attempts by Washington, D.C. to control, as Patrick Henry said, “everything dear to human existence?”
James Madison gave us the answer in the Virginia Resolution:
“The states have the right, and are duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights, liberties appertaining to them.”
In other words, to paraphrase a popular politician: we must:
Make America STATES Again!
Finally, I’ll let the last words I speak to you as a teacher at Heritage Academy come from a man who is our hero and was a hero to our Fathers: the republican martyr, Algernon Sidney:
I do not know what success God will give unto our undertaking, but I am certain that I can have no peace in my own spirit if I do not endeavor by all means possible to advance the interest of God and his people. Others may judge where this desire comes from better than I, but I know that if it be from God, He will make it prosper.
I pray that God defend us from our outward enemies, but more especially from those that are within ourselves. Pray that God give us a knowledge of truth and that we be constantly directed in seeking that which is truly good, for this being obtained, all other things will follow.
May we know what, when, and how we are to act; and may we then act, suffering or prospering according to the will of our Maker.