Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, Remember

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.

Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

While Guy Fawkes Day is more of a British event than here, the thought that a holiday can or should be dedicated to the remembrance of an act of treason is fascinating to me. We have no real equivalent here in the United States, no Benedict Arnold Day or such. So why is it so important for Britons to remember an attempted terrorist act that happened 404 years ago today?

Perhaps it's an important social reminder to succeeding generations of the importance of respect for the bounds of civil society, beyond which we should not let our passions take us. Originally there was an anti-catholic bent to the celebrations, but this was replaced over the years with the rhyme above, fireworks, and "a Penny for the Guy." The reminder that one's act of treason will not be forgotten is a powerful meme, one with strong social ties to the community to remind people that while it may be permissible in the pursuit of social discourse to take up opposing sides of important issues of the day, there are boundaries that are not to be crossed.

Indeed, this reminder might be a valuable token to offer our own so-called leadership in this country as to their obligations to respect the bounds of ethics, morality and the timeless values that bind human society together in ways that strengthen without enslaving, and without which society is reduced to anarchy and chaos. Leaders in business, government, religion, education and culture seem to have forgotten that to lead is to serve, that those who follow are not vassals to be toyed about or trifled with. Leaders who have fallen from the path of truth, who accept expediency over deliberation, the quick answer over the right answer, form over function, "right now" instead of just plain right.

The message needs to go further, to those who take their ill-considered beliefs to such extremes as to destroy the fabric they claim to be saving from others, those instigators who drive the masses towards decisions their grandchildren will regret for them. We should take notice of a month in history that should remind all future generations of the persistence of consequences that arise from ill-begotten actions: Red October, culminating in the 25th, 1917. In more recent history, we see how faith is twisted to serve evil purposes, to massacre innocent women and children for no other purpose than to amass power and reduce humanity to mere playthings of pretend gods, living - but mostly dying - at their idle whim. There are no greater evils in our world today than Fascist Islam, Socialism and Communism, who together have murdered and enslaved nearly half the planet.

These bankrupt philosophies are being repudiated around the world as people in many countries emerge from the darkness of misery, yet here in our own country, a cadre of "useful idiots" plow forth down the same paths to ruin, while the drunken and passionate cry of ignorant citizens along for the ride drives them on.

Remember, indeed. Treason to moral principles and values that are ageless, even God-given, is just as bad as betraying your country, and the consequences will be visited to the seventh generation.

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