“Tyranny, Like Hell, Is Not Easily Conquered; Yet We Have this Consolation with Us, That the Harder the Conflict, the More Glorious the Triumph”

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


In September and October of 1776, the American forces were beaten in New York. While thousands of American soldiers starved and died on prison ships, the battered remnants of the Continental Army fled enemy soldiers and their foreign mercenaries through New York and New Jersey.

5,000 Americans were killed or captured. Another 5,000 remained, left with little food and no hope.

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine wrote then in The American Crisis. “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. 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. ”

Paine addressed the swirling arguments over the reasons for the defeats that had been inflicted on Americans by foreign mercenaries and the royalist armies.

“We have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest.”

A conquest is permanent, but a ravage is temporary. The conqueror holds the territory, while the ravager swarms over it, looting and committing atrocities on it, but cannot hold it.

“‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country… Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before,” Paine wrote.  “A noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.”

“Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.”

Paine concluded. “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.”

A year later, Philadelphia had fallen and the Continental Congress had fled as refugees.  The Battle of Brandywine had been lost. “Sir: I am sorry to inform you that in this day’s engagement, we have been obliged to leave the enemy masters of the field,” Washington wrote after that engagement. The Paoli Massacre reminded the rebels of what defeat would mean. The defeat was both brutal and humiliating.

At Valley Forge, a quarter of the army died and efforts were underway to remove Washington from his command. After the Germantown defeat, Washington sent this message to his men.

“The Commander in Chief returns his thanks to the Generals and other officers and men concerned in yesterday’s attack on the enemy’s left wing for the spirit and bravery they manifested in driving the enemy from field to field,” and despite the American defeat, he wrote, “they
nevertheless see that the enemy are not proof against a vigorous attack and may be put to flight when boldly pushed —

“This they will remember and assure themselves that on the next occasion, by a proper exertion of the powers which God has given them, and inspired by the cause of freedom in which they are engaged, they will be victorious.”

 

My president is not Barack Hussein Obama and I have never described or referred to him by that title.  My president is George Washington.

  • Mary Sue

    Obama's going to be like if Carter had a second/third term. Apparently this wasn't enough of a disaster for people to wake up.

    I have to wonder where all the people are that lived during Carter. Did they all go senile? Were they in a coma during the Carter years? Are they now outnumbered by kids that refuse to learn from history from people that actually remember it?

    My only consolation is that perhaps if USA sinks quite a bit lower, that maybe, MAYBE, people MIGHT start to open their eyes and wake up and stop being "Democrat kittens", coddled with their eyes shut and Big Momma Cat Government tending to their every need.

    • Spider

      Yes I lived through the Carter years. I saw the gas lines, the Iran hostage situation, I saw prices go up 5% or 10% every week you went to the grocery store. It was a disaster as will be the next 4 years. To answer your question YES we are now outnumbered by by kids that refuse to learn from history. We are also now outnumbered by people on the Government take and racists who vote for somebody just because they have the same color skin.. I don't think there will be another Ronald Regan to save us this time because this is no longer the America we grew up in. Our values and demographics have changed drastically. since 1980..

      • Mary Sue

        Back in the day, when I was a kid, I would read books such as "Change agents in the schools" and other similar tomes which detailed just how the Education system was being hijacked by the Left, that it started with John Dewey who was a dyed in the wool socialist. This is why your education system in America, by and large, is turning out young skulls full of mush. The libs got a hold of it early on and slowly but surely they've been indoctrinating all the kids, and fortunate are the children with the critical thinking skills to see right through them. Unfortunately, it's reinforced when the child's own parents are stupid hippies or stupid yuppies.

        In order for this to be reversed one of the largest problems that need fixing is the education system, but it's so pervasive it will be a difficult job indeed, wresting control of it from the Leftists. I won't say it's impossible, but right now it's not looking good. All we can do now is do our best to counter their lies and propaganda.

        • Jim_C

          It would be one thing if education was truly something conservatives seemed concerned for, but by and large they'd rather complain and make defeatist excuses. Meanwhile, liberal s—l—st George Lucas just donated the $4 billion he earned from selling his franchise to Disney to an education foundation.

          Want to get rid of the Dept. of Ed? I'm listening. But I want to hear creative, constructive solutions–not carping about "indoctrination."

          • Mary Sue

            Dude, it's simple. The department of Education need not exist AT ALL. You never needed it. Canada does NOT have one and we get along just fine, thank you very much.

            I'm surprised that you haven't connected the dots and realized that the people responsible for the decay of education are the same people running these s+++hole cities for 50 some odd years without a break, the DEMOCRATS. These Democrats at the local and state level are to blame. Yet these idiots cry that the Republicans are at fault. The god damn hypocrites.

          • Jim_C

            Well, that's why I think conservatives have an opening…but it has to be concerted, creative, and constructive. Getting rid of the Dept. of Ed. would be symbolic but a whole restructuring may be warranted. I say "may be" because my kids are getting a fine education, and my own urban public and parochial experiences were comparably good.

            Like I said–I'm open to it.

          • Mary Sue

            Well that's good, at least.

  • Patriot

    Let me have trouble in my day, that my children may have peace.

    • Mary Sue

      Let's hope that the trouble you're about to receive actually results in a turnaround instead of a Greece in North America…

  • tagalog

    Mr. Greenfield, if you're a true American who would be true to the democratic beliefs of George Washington, Barack Obama, the duly elected Chief Executive of our nation, IS indeed your President.

    He'll remain your President (and mine), no matter how much we chafe under his leadership, until we can get rid of him legitimately. To speak otherwise is to speak like those lefties who said "George Bush is not MY President." back a decade or so ago.

    • Roger

      Speak for yourself.

      True Americans don't follow Marxists who violate the Constitution and win through voter fraud.

      • tagalog

        I AM speaking for myself. Who the hell else do you think I'd be speaking for? You?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      It's not 1969 anymore. Might be nice if it were. But it's not.

      • tagalog

        Nineteen sixty-nine was a really crappy year in just about every way. Most people who lived through that time agree on that. One old freak said prominenty, "1969 – everybody was in a bad mood." Things were so bad we were only months away from Kent State and Jackson State. It's the kids who think it was terribly romantic. Living through all those people getting shot was no fun, I can assure you. What it mostly was, was dreary, frustrating, frightening, and angry. The FBI reported more than 4,000 bombings or attempted bombings. See http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/1969… It was the year of the Days of Rage.

        It was a considerably worse time than this one. We were teetering on the edge of revolt and insurrection. But we still acknowledged Richard Nixon as the legitimate president, even though he won the election by only about 500,000 votes. We just thought he was a scumbag.

    • Lisa

      This is a man who coldly and callously watched for 7 hours (along with 17 others), as four of our American heroes; two Navy Seals, Ambassador Chris Stevens and his security detail; were attacked mercilessly, by
      al Q’aida members — and killed, right before all of their eyes. You call this man “President”, but I call him “Traitor”.

      • Mary Sue

        I call him another name.

        "Sociopath" with a good dollop of "Narcissist". Only a narcissist would do the equivalent of "Screw this, I'm going to bed."

      • tagalog

        I don't think criminal incompetence in the Benghazi incident constitutes "treason" as the Constitution defines it; maybe, maybe not. People claim that FDR deliberately allowed the murderous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, with foreknowledge. They say that Kennedy allowed Cuban patriots to be slaughtered at the Bay of Pigs because he didn't authorize U.S. air support, or that after a lot of supportive talk about the Hungarian Revolt, Eisenhower allowed the Soviets to murder Hungarian democrats because he didn't take steps to support them as the tanks rolled in the streets of Budapest. People claim that Richard Nixon allowed GIs to die in Vietnam while he and Kissinger dithered over the shape of the negotiating table at the Paris Peace Talks. That kind of loose talk is made about a lot of presidents. People claim that President Bush lied about WMD in Iraq, thus allowing lots of GIs to die in the War on Terror. All of that kind of talk is arrant nonsense insofar as accusations of treason are concerned.

        But one thing is sure: a person could conceivably be both the duly-elected President and a traitor at the same time.

        He's our President, the President of all us, not because he's any good, but because he was duly elected as the Constitution provides. To take any other position is to be a disloyal American, and untrue to our founding principles, most particularly those of George Washington, who paid a lot of attention to the attributes of the presidency.

    • Jim_C

      I want to thank you for this. During Mr. Bush's tenure, I didn't brook disrespect of the office by my own side. Anyone looking back at my posts will see I refer to him as President Bush or Mr. Bush. Regardless of my opinion of his policies, I knew he wanted the best for this country. This president deserves the same respect. If there are constitutional violations by any president, those are prosecutable at least. So prosecute. But give respect to the office.

  • JCS

    Sadly George Washington is too often thought of as a worthless white slaveholder by too many liberals.
    He needs to be taught about in schools again.

  • Ghostwriter

    The thing is that President Obama managed to convince enough people that his vision was right. It also helped that he had much of the media on his side. Right now,they're probably doing cartwheels over this.

  • truebearing

    There is one glaring difference between the current situation and that of the Revolutionary War: they fought and risked their lives. We think commenting on political websites is actually accomplishing something.
    As long as we are satisfied with futile speech, the Left will grudgingly allow it. Should we begin to suggest that the Tree of Liberty needs to drink the blood of tyrants, our free speech will be met with an iron fist. Marxists and Muslims don't just speak, they act. If we don't begin doing the same, we may as well be sock puppets.

    • Jim_C

      Right, champ, well I have news for you–raising taxes on the top bracket is hardly "Marxism."

      But flatter yourself, knock yourself out, stroke up your little militia. I dare you.

      • Mary Sue

        Depending on how high you raise them and what you do with that money, it is indeed marxist.

        At the very least, it is counter-productive. You could confiscate all the earnings of all the rich people in the United States and only have enough money to run the country for about 2 months. You can't balance the books on the "backs" of the "rich", there are not enough of them.

        • Jim_C

          How about the rates as under Eisenhower? I'd be golden with those!

          • Mary Sue

            Oh you mean the 91% ones? Those were so obscene that JFK had to drop those down to 70. How did that even pass back then, the 91% stuff?!

            The thing is these exhorbitant tax rates don't actually bring in more revenue, even though people pretend that they do. If they are on principle to "punish the rich", they are Marxist in essence, even if the rest of the Administration's policies really aren't–otherwise it's just sheer government stupidity and anticipatory greed. Reagan's drop from 70 to 28% brought in even more revenue.

      • truebearing

        I wasn't thinking of a "little militia," Jimmy. I was thinking of a big one, with lots of pissed off former SEALS, Green Berets, Rangers, etc. Sorry I scared you.

        Marxists never seem to admit that anything is marxist. Why is that, Jmmy? Are they ashamed of their beliefs, or is it that criminal dishonesty that is epidemic among their ranks?

        • Jim_C

          Guess the Founding Fathers were Marxist.

          • truebearing

            What idiocy lead you that ridiculous conclusion?

        • tagalog

          A pissed-off professional is a professional who is likely to make serious mistakes. In the world of special forces, serious mistakes can get people killed.

          Taxation is neither Marxist nor non-Marxist. It's the way all governments -Marxist and non-Marxist alike- finance their operations.

          Some non-Marxist governments have had very high taxation, for example the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when the highest tax rate on income was 95%. It might also be noted that during that time, U.S. patriotism was at an all-time high level. And Buddy Holly was alive, at least until 1959.

  • Jim_C

    "My president is not Barack Hussein Obama and I have never described or referred to him by that title."

    Then get the f**k out of this country you despise so much, you p.o.s. Please do us that favor. Start your secession movement, or whatever it is whiny creeps like you do when you lose elections.

    • tagalog

      Just because a U.S. citizen has the opinion that some elected president is not his President doesn't make the President not the President. Such a point of view is deeply solipsistic, close to being so ego-bound that it's pathological.

      There's a few ways to get Barack Obama not to be the President: (1) depose him in an armed revolt. George Washington probably wouldn't approve of that, after all, he was a REAL revolutionary and knew what it means to fight in one; (2) assassinate him – not recommended if you want to survive to live under another President; (3) get to bloody work, connect with the majority of the American people, and vote him out; (4) impeach him for "high crimes and misdemeanors." Good luck with that with a Democrat-controlled Senate. He might get very sick and die while in office, that's another potential alternative.

    • truebearing

      Says the unhinged goose stepper…