The 9-12 Project of Central PA

"You Are NOT Alone!"

"9-12 Group has Legitimate Concerns" (Collegian Article)

I gave an interview last week, to Bill Wellock, a reporter for The Daily Collegian, PSU's newspaper.

Here is a link to the resulting article:

9-12 group has legitimate concerns


"Peter Trippett is not crazy. When I asked him about the perception of groups like the 9-12 Project or the Tea Party protesters, he laughed a perfectly sane laugh and asked, "Do I seem crazy?"

I had to admit that he did not.

Trippett is the president of the 9-12 Project of Central Pennsylvania, a local group that supports a return to government guided more strictly by the Constitution. The 9-12 Project, Trippett said, is a movement invented by Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck1. In March 2009, Trippett and other individuals in central Pennsylvania met to watch one of Beck's programs where he encouraged viewers to organize. Now, 9-12 groups exist across the nation.

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Comment by Peter Trippett on February 8, 2010 at 5:34pm
I wrote the following response to Bill Wellock...

Thanks for supplying a link to the article. I think you are fair in your description of the group.

But, I don't agree with you about our view of the founding fathers.

I don't think that any of us believe that the founding fathers were anything other than human beings, each with their own imperfections and fallibilities, just like the rest of us. However, when choosing a form of government, they had thousands of years of history to draw on, and they were able to see what worked, and what didn't work.

They formed a country based on the principles of individual freedom, and limited government, and the concept that you should be free, and that you have rights not granted you by any government or document. These principles were never acknowledged by government before in human history. It is those principles, and the definition of freedom, that have not changed in the 234 years of this country's existence. Following those principles allowed this country to rise to super-power status in 150 years, above other civilizations that had existed for thousands of years.

Our founding fathers were under no illusions that they were perfect, and thus they wrote the 9th amendment, which protects your rights that are not specifically listed in the constitution.

Bill, do you want a relatively small group of fallible, imperfect, human beings determining which freedoms you are allowed to exercise, and which you are not? Which rights you have, and which you do not? Do you trust that a majority of our representatives, whether Republican or Democrat, are motivated to do the right thing? Do you think it reasonable that they exempt themselves from laws that the rest of us must follow? That their spending practices have put us in debt for generations to come? That there are groups of corporations and lobbyists that frequently benefit from government spending policies, while the rest of us lose out?

All of these things stem from activities on the part of our government that are way outside the constitution, and prove that men are just as fallible and corrupt now, as they were in the days of our founding fathers.

You can bash our founding fathers all you want, but I would be very careful before you bash the precious principles that protect your freedom. As I said, those principles have never existed in government before in human history, and once gone, they will not easily be regained.
Comment by Greg Fasolt on February 10, 2010 at 8:39pm
Mr. Wellock writes, I'm preparing for scenarios -- say, meteors -- in which there was no government, I thought I should talk to someone who might just be OK with that." If this is the premise of his interview, he has clearly missed his mark by interviewing the president of a group that intends to restore legitimate, Constitutional government. However, since he did write about our organization and related matters, I am compelled to comment.

Mr. Wellock writes, "First, the 9-12 Project connected to recent movements that I don't like. Such as the Beck origins. When the only people who I know watch "Glenn Beck" are watching "Glenn Beck," someone is usually high or soon going to be."

First, Mr. Wellock really should choose his friends more carefully. But putting these choices aside, I must suggest that, while he is free to feel as he wishes about Beck, he should be more cautious painting others with the same brush. True, many of our members met for the first time thanks to Beck's suggestion. But Mr. Trippett, like each member of our group, is an individual, and as such, wrestles with the facts of the matters that concern our organization and reaches his conclusions independently. For most members, Beck serves as a source of useful information. Mr. Wellock should try Beck's show some time. He might be surprised at what he learns once he has checked Beck's claims.

Mr. Wellock opined, "Also, I don't understand the insistence on considering our Founding Fathers guys who knew everything, forever. They were not infallible."

Of course the founders were fallible. The point that Mr. Wellock seems to have missed is how they came to choose their words in drafting the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The founders did not act on emotion, they did not seek a consensus of opinion, they did not turn to mysticism, and they did not rely on second-hand philosophies acquired at random. Instead, they looked to Aristotle for reason and logic and to John Locke for an absolute and objective understanding of man's rights. The founders worked within reality, with facts and reason, not whim and wishes. The consequence was the codification of man's preexisting rights, the rights nature requires for man to live.

I gather from his comments regarding his parents, that this was not the environment in which he grew up. While this is an unfortunately common experience today, his childhood experiences hardly form a reasonable foundation for criticism of our nation's founders and their accomplishments.

Mr. Wellock says that he feels pretty free. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss, and I suspect that he can neither define freedom nor rights. Thus, not knowing what freedom and rights are in an objective sense - that is, being ignorant - he is able to "feel" free.

Feeling free is an emotional experience, but emotions are not necessarily mirrors of reality, but rather an immediate, automatic responses to our perceptions of the world around us shaped by our philosophy, values, and history. Emotions serve as quick guides to our experiences, but If one's philosophy is faulty, then the emotional responses will be faulty as well. Thus, as Mr. Wellock seems to lack the philosophical foundation necessary to understand the very rights with which he was born, I suspect his emotional sense of freedom is a faulty signal originating with an incomplete or faulty philosophy.

I have been harsh with Mr. Wellock here. When one assumes the role of journalist as he has, one must accept the responsibility of writing the truth - the whole truth. Mr. Wellock should ask and answer who, what, when, where, and why, especially why. Why does this group seek to restore justice and the rule of law? Are these 9-12 groups really autonomous? Why would compulsory health insurance be wrong? Why did folks equate our president with Hitler in the signs you noted?

It is the journalist's responsibility to ask and answer such questions, and answer not with opinion, but with facts. Mr. Wellock failed to do this in his article, and by this means he has done a disservice to his readers. He has published his own false philosophy through commission and omission, and placed other minds risk of absorbing it.

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