Liberty Letters with Steve Farrell
It was October the 27, 1787, when Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 1, observed this pivotal truth:
“It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.”
That was the pivotal moment then. That Founding Generation rose up to the challenge. They gave us a republic, the best in history, and it has prospered and stood out as a veritable “light on the hill” republic ever since. Until now. Until what has been a combination of a long and gradual assumption of power from the people and the states to Washington D.C., and from Washington D.C. in general to the Executive Branch in specific, and in some cases this too: from the Executive Branch of the United States to the unelected, pro-socialist, anti-American bureaucrats at the United Nations. And meanwhile, a general corruption of the once predominantly believed in and predominantly lived Judeo-Christian Moral Law of America, that once guiding star of men’s actions in America, that most substantial of all the checks the Founders had in mind when they erected the checks and limitations of power doctrines in the Constitution. That is, that only check and limitation of power that can make the ones written in the Constitution to be anything more than meaningless phrases to be ignored or laughed at (as some men do today). I mean the self-check of a people who believe there is a Higher Law of right and wrongs, and a people who believe that they will one day be judged by a Higher Judge in relationship to how they acted in relationship to those Higher Laws of rights and wrongs, and a people who in the majority observe those rights and wrongs in their daily living and in their application in the civil law when they are called upon as public servants. Without this greater, fundamental check those written into the Constitution will not long survive in reality as anything other than a mere facade or mockery of law and liberty.
This is our crisis today. Will we stand up as the Founders once did and say “No!” to the concentration of power, and put things back in the order God inspired in our beloved Constitution? And will stand up as the Founders once did and restore religious freedom as first and foremost among our Unalienable Rights so that we may be wise enough, moral enough, to succeed at self-government?
John Adams reminds:
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”
This then was the real object of the First Amendment from a politically practical standpoint: that the people being free to choose their faith without molestation, and to air their views on faith and morality at all times, and in all things, and in all places that they be in (especially in public is the object here) will generally decide aright on the Great and General Principles of religion and morality. And having self-discovered these Great and General Principles rather than having them imposed by a national church (like those once prevalent in Europe) are all the more likely to live it because they love it, because it found its place in the heart freely. And since they will be more inclined to live it, then the hope was and is (and it was and is a hope grounded in experience) the Great American Experiment in Self Government would not end in a that great self destruction that is the sure fate of every self-government in history that finds itself run by a people dominated by covetousness, dishonesty, disloyalty, division, theft, murder, sexual incontinence, and idol worship. How could it be otherwise? The Founders wanted better. They gave us religious freedom. It was meant to be a tool of national character promotion, of faith in and fidelity to general principles of right and wrong, of law, of freely given duty to God, family, and country, so that liberty might be deserved and might endure.
This is our pivotal crisis. We must return to the Founders Constitution and decentralize power, and re-divide it, re-check it, and re-limit it; and we must bring back the Judeo-Christian law as the foundation of our culture and legal system – and we must re-win our hearts and souls to it, and once again live it, and defend it. Then there will be hope for America. Continue to neglect these, however, continue to let the enemies of liberty and their unwise followers run roughshod over them and we will not long survive a free, happy, and prosperous people. Not long at all.
We can, should, and must return to our moorings.
Liberty Letters is a project of The Moral Liberal’s, Editor in Chief, Steve Farrell. Copyright © 2012 Steve Farrell.