“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Dreyfuss Initiative

It is good to hear from Richard Dreyfuss, a liberal idealist with some common sense, intellectual honesty and someone with whom you could hold a dialogue interesting to conservatives and liberals alike.

I would be curious to hear if Dreyfuss is in love with the Constitution as written or as evolved by the courts.

Our promises, oaths must return to value
Published Friday, November 26, 2010 Island Packet

Promises, promises. In the time of our Founding Fathers, one's oath was so important they wrote it into the U.S. Constitution. In Article II, Section 1 and Article VI, we read that the president, senators and representatives, as well as members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, are bound by oath or affirmation, to support, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss, commenting on his role in "The Lightkeepers," recently opined: "We live in an era where an oath doesn't mean much ... there was a time when an oath meant everything."

Today, we live under a plague of uncertainty. A promise or oath is now for the courts to decide. This begs the question, where are the promise keepers? Whom can we trust to keep their word?

As a grandparent, I look back at promises made and promises broken.

It took me years to learn the value of keeping my word and the value of not making promises I couldn't keep. Three times I've sworn my allegiance to the Constitution. Thousands of times, I've pledged my allegiance to the flag and our republic. To me these are not empty words spoken with hand over heart in compliance with the crowd. In the last line of the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. What politician today would do the same?

-Edmund Johnson, Lady's Island

Read more of the comments at the bottom of the article: here


  1. I too have sworn to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States, against enemies foreign and domestic.

    So too did Robert E Lee and US Grant.

    I would be curious to know if either was willing to do so with the Constitution as written or as it had evolved by the courts, at their time and place.

    Two men of commensurate honor, having wildly divergent interpretations of the Constitution and the duplicate oaths each of them took, to protect and defend the Constitution, from enemies, foreign and domestic.

    The Constitution, like any document, is open to interpretation. It is up to the officers of the Federal establishment, the Congress, Courts and Executive to bring it to life.

    Each are empowered and directed to act within the confines of the Constitution and to defend and protect it. If all come to a similar conclusion as to its present meaning, then that is what it means, today. Whether or not that was the meaning meant or believed by the authors, back in the day.

    The Congress and the Executive can, and have, over rule the Courts interpretations of the Constitution, when they deem it necessary.

    Citizens, individually or in groups, can work within the System to change the application of interpretation. There have been more than a few instances when individuals or groups took up arms against the Federals, in their efforts to have others intemperate the Constitution, as they do.

    Few have succeeded in those armed efforts, while many have succeeded while working through the System, to change it.

    Learn it, Live it, Love it.

    Or leave it.


    A national forum on the deepening crisis in our civic culture will be held on January 17. The forum will be simulcast from the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC and the Kroc Center for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego starting at 1:00 p.m. EST.

    It’s Time for a Talk; The National Conversation on Revitalizing America's Civic Culture brings together leaders from across the political spectrum to review the current civics crisis and the loss of decorum and civility in our public processes.

    “When those who serve our nation, and citizens participating in open public processes, are gunned down we have to take action”, stated Richard Dreyfuss, Academy Award winning actor and President of The Dreyfuss Initiative. “The January 17 forum will review a crisis that was years in the making and seek solutions for moving America back from the brink.”

    The panel will include John Fund [WSJ], Bob Edgar [President, Common Cause], Roy Romer [Former Governor & School Superintendent], Admiral Bruce Boland [ret], Frank Luntz [Pollster], Rick Shenkman [VoteIQ], and Diane Ravitch [commentator].

    Richard Dreyfuss will make opening remarks. Scot Faulkner [former CAO of the House of Representatives] will moderate the event.

    For more information visit:

    Coverage of the event and media availability of panelists before and after the event should be arranged with:

    San Diego: Eva M. Stimson, EMS MC, Inc.,
    828/832-8297, 858/864-8536 (mobile),
    Washington, DC: Scot Faulkner, Executive Director, The Dreyfuss Initiative
    304-535-2757, 703-598-5548 (mobile),