Friday, November 6, 2015

Here's how I ranked the presidents

I was talking to my wife about what I learned about Martin Van Buren.  I said that my initial impression of him was that he was an insignificant president.  So I dug deeper and learned his term was not insignificant at all.  I then learned that he was considered an economic failure.  So I dug deeper and learned this was not true either.  I have found this to be the case with many of the presidents.  

I told my wife that, after a thorough investigation into the facts about Van Buren, I learned that he was very successful at both keeping the U.S. out of wars, and at protecting and defending the Constitution.  During his presidency their was a conflict on the border between New York and Canada, and many thought we were going to go to war with Britain.  Van Buren championed for peace and he succeeded at avoiding war.  

I said that the nation was heading into a depression when he was inaugurated, and a few months into his term the panic of 1837 occurred.  Then I said to my wife: "Other than making a few tweaks, he did not give in to pressure to create federal regulations to solve the problem.  He did nothing, and that's why I consider him as a good president."

She said, "You mean he was lazy?"

I was kind of floored by this at first.  Why would my wife see a president's doing nothing as being lazy? Then it occurred to me: This is how liberals consider conservatives.  Conservatives are lazy because they don't like to fix individual problems with government action, they prefer that the government stay inactive, thereby allowing individuals to solve their own problems.  To liberals this is being lazy. (I'm not saying my wife is a liberal, I'm just trying to make a point here.)

It is liberals who control the press, liberals who control the educational system, and liberals who control what is communicated through history books.  By having control of all these platforms, it is liberals who have succeeded in shaping the minds of so many people.  So it is liberals who have succeeded in painting Van Buren as a failure. 

The truth is, presidents like Martin Van Buren, and John Tyler, and Grover Cleveland, are often sited in history books as being rather insignificant.  Yet I have learned, as I described above, that history books are not always fair to some presidents, especially presidents who did nothing.

Look, doing nothing is not so bad.  In fact, the general consensus of most presidents prior to Teddy Roosevelt was not to solve individual problems with government action.  They believed this was necessary to preserve the integrity of the nation.  They also believed it was unconstitutional and they were right.  

They were also afraid of setting precedents that might be abused by future presidents.  So, while Grover Cleveland might have benefited politically by creating some federal regulations, he scoffed at the idea and vetoed hundreds of bills.  

Does this mean Cleveland was lazy? Does this mean he was insignificant?  A review of the facts actually show that Grover Cleveland was one of the best presidents we ever had, merely for the fact that he did not put his own personal ambitions before his country.  

Look, the media, Hollywood, and the most significant historians believe the best presidents are those who solved the most problems with government action.  Most presidents are ranked by how many laws they made, or by propaganda.  For instance, Abraham Lincoln ended slavery so he is ranked high.  George Washington was the first president, so he is ranked high.  FDR ended the great depression.

Yes, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both great presidents, but FDR in no way ended the great depression.  Still, the propaganda has convinced most people that he did.

So, when I ranked the presidents, I did so by how forcibly that president defended the Constitution he was sworn to protect.  I based it on whose policies killed the least people and preserved the most liberties.  In this regard, we can easily rank Martin Van Buren as one of the best presidents of all time.

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