What Is Liberty Without Virtue? It Is Madness, Without Restraint!
“ALL that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
This famous quote was from British statesman Edmund Burke, who was born JANUARY 12, 1729.
He was considered the most influential orator in the House of Commons.
Edmund Burke stands out in history because as a member of the British Parliament, he defended the rights of the American colonies and strongly opposed the slave trade.
A man of principle, Edmund Burke wrote in his Will:
“First, according to the ancient, good, and laudable custom, of which my heart and understanding recognize the propriety, I bequeath my soul to God, hoping for His mercy through the only merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
When America’s Revolutionary War began, Edmund Burke addressed Parliament with “A Second Speech on the Conciliation with America,” March 22, 1775:
“The people are Protestants; and of that kind which is the most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion.
This is a persuasion not only favorable to liberty, but built upon it …”
Edmund Burke continued:
“All Protestantism … is a sort of dissent.
But the religion most prevalent in our Northern Colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion.”
Edmund Burke is quoted in The Works and Correspondence of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke, Volume VI:
“The Scripture … is a most remarkable, but most multifarious, collection of the records of the Divine economy;
a collection of an infinite variety of theology, history, prophecy, psalmody, morality, allegory, legislation, carried through different books, by different authors, at different ages, for different ends and purposes.”
In 1789, the French Revolution started with the vaunted motto of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”
Robespierre led the “Committee of Public Safety” — France’s Department of Homeland Security.
He gave a Speech to the National Convention, February 5, 1794, titled “Terror Justified”:
“Lead the people by means of reason and … by terror … Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice; it flows, then, from virtue.”
Robespierre’s Reign of Terror resulted in over 40,000 being beheaded in Paris and over 300,000 massacred in the Vendée, a rural, very religious, Catholic area of northwest France.
During this time:
– churches were closed, or turned into “temples of reason”;
– crosses were forbidden;
– religious monuments were destroyed;
– graves were desecrated, including Ste. Genevieve’s, who had called Paris to pray to avert an attack of Attila the Hun in 451AD;
– public and private worship and religious education were outlawed;
– treaties were broken resulting in the capture of 300 American ships headed to British ports.
Talleyrand, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanded the U.S. pay millions in bribes to stop France from raiding American ships.
A skilled politician, Talleyrand stated: “We were given speech to hide our thoughts.”
There was an intentional campaign to de-christianize French society, replacing it with a civic religion of state worship.
Robespierre placed a prostitute in Notre Dame Cathedral, clothed her with a sheet, and called her ‘the goddess of reason’.
Not wanting a constitution “Done in the Year of the Lord” — as America’s was — they made 1792 the new “Year One.”
Not wanting a seven day week with a Sabbath day rest, they came up with a ten day “decade” week.
Each day was made up of ten decimal hours, each hour made up of one hundred decimal minutes, and each minute was made up of one hundred decimal seconds.
Considering “ten” the number of man — as man had ten fingers and ten toes — they created the metric system with all measurements divisible by ten.
The first to be beheaded was King Louis XVI, who had sent his navy over to help America gain its independence.
Next to be beheaded was the young queen, Marie Antoinette.
When the country’s situation did not improve, Robespierre accused the royalty, resulting in all of them being beheaded.
When the situation did not improve, the wealthy were beheaded, followed by business owners, farmers and those who hoarded food.
When the situation did not improve, the religious clergy were beheaded.
Their speaking out against the immoral behavior was considered as somehow holding the nation back from achieving a secular utopian society.
Priests and ministers, along with those who harbored them, were executed on sight, similar to what happened in Mexico in 1917.
When the situation did not improve, they accused those who had been the initial revolutionaries but were now calling for moderation.
They were considered disloyal and beheaded.
Finally, Robespierre himself was accused, arrested and beheaded.
Proverbs 26:27 “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.”
Lawless street mobs cast off all moral restraint in unprecedented debauchery and violence.
The seeds of this behavior were planted a generation earlier by Voltaire — now they came to fruition.
Amid the domestic instability and social confusion, Napoleon began to rise toward dictatorship.
As the bloody French Revolution progressed, Edmund Burke wrote in “A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly,” 1791:
“What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue?
It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without restraint.
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites;
in proportion as they are disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good in preference to the flattery of knaves …”
Edmund Burke continued:
“Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.
It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.
Their passions forge their fetters.”
In Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790, Edmund Burke wrote:
“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.”
On January 9, 1795, in a letter to William Smith, Edmund Burke stated:
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
On the eve of the French Revolution, the first U.S. Minister to France, Gouverneur Morris, wrote April 29, 1789:
“The materials for a revolution in France are very indifferent…
There is an utter prostration of morals … depravity … extreme rottenness of every member …
The great masses of the common people have no religion … no law but their superiors, no morals but their interest …
In the high road a la liberte … the first use they make of it is to form insurrections everywhere.”
Gouverneur Morris wrote Observation on Government, Applicable to the Political State of France, 1792:
“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God …
Provision should be made for maintaining divine worship as well as education …
Religion is the relation between God and man; therefore it is not within the reach of human authority.”
Gouverneur Morris, who died November 6, 1816, had spoken 173 times during the Constitutional Convention, more than any other delegate.
As head of the Committee on Style, it was Gouverneur Morris who penned the final draft of the Constitution and originated the phrase:
“We the people of the United States …”
Gouverneur Morris helped write New York’s Constitution, was elected U.S. Senator and pioneered the Erie Canal.
In the same spirit of Edmund Burke, Gouverneur Morris addressed the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1785, regarding the Bank of North America:
“How can we hope for public peace and national prosperity, if the faith of governments so solemnly pledged can be so lightly infringed? …
This hour of distress will come.
It comes to all, and the moment of affliction is known to Him alone,
whose Divine Providence exalts or depresses States and Kingdoms … in proportion to their obedience or disobedience of His just and holy laws.”
Article by William Federer