On the Cause of Freedom; and Leadership

Well, we took a casualty yesterday in our cause’s leadership, no I’m not subscribing to the conspiracy theories in this case, casualty does not imply enemy action. It was a surprise though, and at this time in our history we are prone to look for ulterior motives.

Andrew Breitbart was one of our best and brightest, and he will be sorely missed. But the battle goes on. How little he would think of us if we mourned him instead of pressing on to victory. My study of military history indicates that the victory goes to those who persevere. We who have skin in the game must, for we have the most to lose. We have other leaders, in truth we are all leaders, striving for the common objective.

We won’t get there, we know that, for this is the unending battle between liberty and slavery that we have referred to so often. It will continue as long as there are people who wish to dominate people for their own purposes.

What Andrew Breitbart did was provide cover for many of us while showing us how to lead. For how many of us would have feared to tread where we do today without a great man to show us the way.

The following video (hattip to Mark America for the reminder) is a remembrance of the cause, which is so much greater for us, and for the world, than any of us.

And always remember, it’s up to all of us to lead, as well as to follow.

The 1812 Overture

US Canadian Border Crossing: via heritage.org

I can’t speak for you but, I’ve had enough politics, rumors of war, and usurpations of freedom for today, so I’m going to lighten up a bit. If you know me, you know there is some history coming, and there is.

Back in 1812 we Americans got fed up with British impressment and their failure to abandon Fort Detroit and Dearborn, and figured while they were all tied up fighting Napoleon we’d go for a little walk and have Canada as booty.

Anyway it didn’t work out as planned, the Canadians (and their Indian allies) kicked our militia rabble back out. We shouldn’t have been too surprised, we tried it in the Revolution too, both up the Hudson and up the Kennebec in Maine (in winter, no less). Anyway it was a nasty war with towns being burnt including York (now Toronto) and Washington D.C., with rape and murder, and then there were the Indians.

You see, the Canadians had British officers, who were the best in the world, while we had militia officers who seem to have gotten elected by being the last man standing at the tavern. (The Navy did a lot better, but, was overwhelmed.)

Eventually a young officer named Winfield Scott got some troops trained properly and stood up to a charge in the open field, and gained enough notoriety to be General-in-Chief until the Civil War. He also had a great record in the Mexican War commanding the amphibious assault that eventually captured Mexico City. having officers like Grant, Lee, Sheridan, and Jackson probably didn’t hurt either. This was at Lundy’s Lane and this is the reason that West Point Cadets to this day wear uniforms of militia gray.

Eventually, General Packenham decided to take New Orléans, Andy Jackson didn’t think this was too good an idea and so they fought a battle, it was a bit after the armistice but, if Packenham had won do you think the British were going to give it back. Oh, before I forget there is a song about it:

Anyway the war ended Status Quo Ante Bellum, mostly because everybody thought better of it, anything left unresolved was delegated to commissions and the Treaty of Ghent was signed on Christmas Eve of 1814, to nearly everyone’s relief.

The results are striking for what was a pretty minor war, though. The United States learned a lot about how to educate military officers with West Point as the result soon thereafter. The United States became that: united because of the nearly national (less New England) effort. And finally the proto-Canadians, for lack of a better term, also became united all these years after Wolfe took Quebec in the French and Indian War. One of the other things it brought about was that the US and UK including Canada finally figured out that, in Churchill’s phrase, it’s cheaper to “Jaw, Jaw, Jaw than to War , War, War” and it led directly to that famous longest undefended border in the world, and thereby to the US rejoining the rest of the English speaking world.

Why am I talking about this now? Because I saw a link to The Economist about how Historic Forts George and Fort Niagara fired volley of blanks at each other across the Niagara River to celebrate the new year and the 200th anniversary of this war. That article is here. It’s good.

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