Finding New Life after Waterloo...
Volume IV, Issue XLVII
True Greatness Rises From Defeat, Let's Get Started
Claudius Crozet was Napoleon's Engineer who was charged with planning the Battle of Waterloo. Waterloo would become a name synonymous with humiliating defeat. Indeed, Crozet left France for the New World feeling the shame of failure. He probably wanted to go away and hide himself from the world for a while. As a Bonapart Loyalist, his future was not bright in France.
With a letter of recommendation from the Marquis de Lafayette in hand, Crozet took a professorship at West Point. Far from his birthplace in Villefranche–sur–Saone. The year was 1816.
His travels brought him to the American frontier in Virginia where he served as the state's engineer, taught at VMI and eventually built the Central Virginia Railroad, an engineering feat in its day because it linked the wild inaccessible Western reaches of the state to her rivers and coastal cities. The Blue Ridge Tunnel, built by Crozet and 2000 Irish laborers, was completed in 1856 and remained in active service until 1944.
In the Nineteenth Century Irish immigrants were coming to America in droves as famine had decimated their country and killed thousands of their countrymen. Facing a hopeless situation with courage, these immigrants found new opportunity building the infrastructure of a growing nation.
On the morning of November seventh I could identify with Crozet and a host of others who have tasted defeat. I felt we had failed to communicate our ideals and our ideas. I wanted to disappear into the woods for a long time. Our generation had failed to pass the torch. America is in decline. I felt, somehow, personally responsible.
But then it ocurred to me that much of humanity's progress has come on the heels of times of great turmoil and darkness. The Nation of Israel was reborn in the Twentieth Century after an ill-conceived attempt to wipe out the Jewish people. Golden ages have always followed periods of great trial. History is full of examples.
We must see our dark times through the eyes of Faith, and work to find opportunity in the chaos. Those of us who look to "a better Kingdom" as Believers in G-d must seek opportunity to build that Kingdom as we strive on Earth. The future is still unseen, but here are some thoughts on the directions that we might follow.
We can still work to promote energy independence in the United States. We must resist Cap-and-trade schemes and come forward to promote true responsible production within our borders. We can still work to make our land prosper, one fight at a time. We can call out statements like that of Energy Secretary Cho, when he suggested we needed higher energy costs. In doing so we can still create jobs and financial strength for our country. We can demand financial accountability in Washington, and in 'off-year' elections, take advantage of the opportunity for serious patriots to make our voices heard.
We can stand up to assaults on Religious Liberty and Personal Freedom, one battle at a time, like David Green of Hobby Lobby. Again this will take hard work and persistence. Ultimate victory will not be cheap or easy. We can band together to create alternative institutions, building on the tradition that allows the Amish to avoid Social Security taxes. Am I thinking too big here?, perhaps, but in times before us the Church built hospitals and schools and cared for the general welfare even as the state persecuted it. What would happen if all of us joined Medishare, an insurance alternative that has already received an exemption from the mandate? I think you can get the idea that there are many things we should do, and consider doing, rather than stand on the sidelines wringing our hands.
Finally, we can get off the internet and take our place in local government, working to make our localities and state governments sound. We can serve on Economic Development Boards. We can promote creative strategies to do business and protect private investment that creates wealth and jobs for our communities.
It will not be easy. Good things rarely are, and yet human progress stands squarely on the foundations of such blood, sweat, toil and tears. Rest assured there are foundations to be built. Battles to be won and people to hopefully influence. For the person who's hope is in the LORD, the end of such struggles is rooted in sure promise. In the words of the old hymn:
This is my Father's world
O let me n'ere forget,
that though the wrong
seems oft so strong,
G-d's still the Ruler yet
This is my Father's World
the battle is not done,
Jesus who died
will be satisfied,
when Earth and Heaven are One
Build! Plant! Bless! And Pray!