Is there a moral case to be made for the British Empire? To even ask the question at your typical university would be to invite derision. That’s a shame because the British Empire’s legacy is one Western Civilization should be proud of. We’d be living in a much less free and prosperous world without it. Historian HW Crocker III explains why in this eye-opening Prager University course.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
The United States Constitution is one of the most well thought-out works ever created by mere mortals. As the Federalist Papers make clear, America’s Founding Fathers carefully considered nearly every aspect of human nature, the demands of freedom, and the nature of government when drafting it, and created a system of government designed to effectively carry out its duties without imperiling liberty, and calibrated to properly balance society’s competing commitments to self-rule and objective morality, to liberty and security, and more. Under the Constitution, the United States became the freest, most prosperous, and most consequential nation in history.
But to the Left, this magnificent document is at best a relic of a bygone era which has outlived its usefulness; at worst the product of long-dead, bigoted elites. Philosophically, they have inherited President Woodrow Wilson’s view that the Constitution was based on a theory of government mankind has since evolved past:
The makers of our federal Constitution followed the scheme as they found it expounded in Montesquieu, followed it with genuine scientific enthusiasm. The admirable expositions of the Federalist read like thoughtful applications of Montesquieu to the political needs and circumstances of America. They are full of the theory of checks and balances. The President is balanced off against Congress, Congress against the President, and each against the courts. Our statesmen of the earlier generations quoted in no one so often as Montesquieu, and they quoted him always as a scientific standard in the field of politics. Politics is turned into mechanics under his touch. The theory of gravitation is supreme.
The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other as checks, and live. On the contrary, its life is dependent upon their quick cooperation, their ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence, their amicable community of purpose. Government is not a body of blind forces; it is body of men, with highly differentiated functions, no doubt, in our modern day of specialization, but with a common task and purpose. Their cooperation is indispensable, their warfare fatal. There can be no successful government without leadership or without the intimate, almost instinctive, coordination of the organs of life and action. This is not theory, but fact, and displays its force as fact, whatever theories may be thrown across its track. Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice.
Fortunately, the definitions and prescriptions of our constitutional law, though conceived in the Newtonian spirit and upon the Newtonian principle, are sufficiently broad and elastic to allow for the play of life and circumstance.
Accordingly, the needs of their agenda dictate a variety of approaches to the Constitution, depending on the issue. When America needs to be reminded of its irredeemably-evil history, the Constitution is an abomination. When a certain passage seems useful out of context, it becomes an example of the Founders’ wisdom (and pay no attention to that history book behind the curtain). And when a passage seems to get in the way, it’s time to break out the historical relativism.
No more. This weekend, we’re highlighting ten of the most distorted or ignored passages in the Constitution, listed in the order in which they appear in the text. Let’s get started.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
Left-wing satirist Bill Maher is taking his hatred of the Tea Party movement to the next level. Evidently epithets like crazy, stupid, and racist no longer satisfy him, and he’s decided it’s time to hit “teabaggers” where it really hurts: by mocking their reverence for America’s Founding Fathers, suggesting the Founders’ values aren’t their own:
“[T]he Founding Fathers would have hated your guts…and what’s more, you would have hated them. They were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris, and thought the Bible was mostly bullshit.”
Maher got a crack in at the Founders as well, saying they had a moral code, but it didn’t come from the Bible…”except for the part about, ‘it’s cool to own slaves.’”
Here, Maher is repackaging the ridiculous straw man that conservatism is not only incompatible with reason and science, but that right-wingers actually pride themselves on disregarding the insights of modern intellectuals in favor of gut instinct and unchanging tradition. But this is a complete distortion of conservative arguments.
We have no problem with true intellectualism or reevaluating our positions in light of new evidence; what we object to is the arrogance of societal elites who look down upon the decision-making abilities of the average American, especially in decisions concerning the individual’s personal affairs. We object to “expertise” being taken as a license to make policy outside of the democratic process.
Scott Feldstein says that”Being for slavery during the Civil War was a conservative position.” I shed a little light on his historical illiteracy after that comment, to which – surprise! – I got a lazy response that doesn’t even try to mount a meaningful defense of his false characterization of both history and American conservatism.
I guess we shouldn’t expect any better from the guy who thinks you should be able to kill a human being with a heartbeat, a fully-formed brain, and the capacity to feel pain “for any reason at all.”
(For more on the Civil War, click here.)
Those on the Religious Right, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind — from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-choice fanatics; their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the embryo is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the born man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just — but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.
Sounds like your typical pro-abortion hyperbole, right? Demonize the opponents as fanatics and claim the mantle of reason for yourself. Right out of the playbook.
Well, it is, but the interesting thing is which playbook. Y’see, these words were spoken many years ago by Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, in his famous Cornerstone Speech. Of course, he was talking about Northerners, the Negro, and the white man where I substituted in the terms of today’s debate, but it’s remarkable to note that his spiritual successors are using the same tired, discredited arguments to justify their dominance of their chosen inferior class.
(Incidentally, the speech is also interesting in that Stephens’ rhetoric pretty clearly refutes the idea that the Founding Fathers, and the Constitution they produced, viewed slavery as a decent societal norm. Well worth a read.)
Jon Stewart disgraces himself with Bolivian thug-in-chief Evo Morales.
Another day, another liberal lie campaign. Target: Bill O’Reilly.
Michael Medved offers some inconvenient truths about slavery to America-haters.
There’s still some justice in the world: American traitor Jack Murtha has been ordered to testify in a defamation case pertaining to the Haditha marines.