July 4 is over—get back to hating and silencing your political opponents!

Before you dive back into the hate-fest on social media, consider what it will look like once that's fully played out.

Independence Day was yesterday—I hope you all joyously celebrated our nation’s birthday, perhaps as John Adams suggested: “It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever.”

Looks like we kept everything but the “solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty” part. Not to worry: Forgetting God and being entirely self-focused has never caused a nation problems. . .

Anyhoo, it’s July 5th now, and the fourth of July is so yesterday; therefore, I’ll keep this post short so we can go back to what’s really important: hating each other and trying to show how witty we are on social media.

Before we do that, however, could we pause a moment and reflect about history and revolutions and stability? We are increasingly filled with vitriol for those who hold a different view. We all know this is harmful, dangerous, and never ends well; and yet it continues apace. Part of the problem is that we only know our own experiences, unless we are intentional in learning about others’. We haven’t taken the time to learn how unique America is in its stability compared to all nations in history. So we ratchet up the hatred, spewing vile epithets toward one another, assuming America will always be America, providing the freedom to do so (well, except for those evil people on the other side—they should be silenced).

But is this assumption reliable? Historically speaking, it is absurd. We are the anomaly. Except for the state of Massachusetts, America has the longest lasting constitution in the history of the world. In contrast, France has had 16 constitutions since ours has been ratified. Venezuela has had 25, Haiti 23, Ecuador 20. In the last century alone, Russia has had four, and Poland has had seven. Since we haven’t lived through the tumult of revolutions, we take our stability for granted and assume it will last in perpetuity. We are fools if we think that.

The question we ought to pause and consider is: what has been the cause of our stability? Americans are no different than any other humans around the globe, so it’s not us. We could credit the Constitution, but that didn’t magically appear out of a vacuum. The creators of that document did so from the perspective of a particular worldview, and we would not have gotten that document from any other.

Those involved in framing our Constitution had a specifically Judeo-Christian worldview. No, not all of them were Christians, nor were they attempting to form a theocracy (in fact, it was because of their worldview that they didn’t form a theocracy). Their worldview provided them with an accurate understanding of human nature: humans are terribly flawed and require laws. However, did we mention that humans are terribly flawed? Therefore, those with power are also terribly flawed, and thus, checks must be placed on that power. As James Madison said, “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

Because they knew the destructive nature of humans with ultimate power (aka, “government”), they placed “the chains of the Constitution,” on them. They did so, however, with the understanding that the citizens of the republic would be self-governing. This is a necessary component for freedom. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious (stemming from the word “vice”), they have more need of masters.”

Yeah. Those “old, dead white guys,” as they are so often described, weren’t so dumb, huh?

What we see going on today is the structure of our Judeo-Christian worldview—which no one notices any more because “it’s always been this way”—being used (or, rather, abused). At the same time, we are violently ripping out the foundation upon which we’ve been standing these 200+ years. We want the benefits of the Judeo-Christian worldview (e.g., liberty, peace, prosperity, etc.), but we want to be rid of the worldview itself (which is what our entire nation rests on). We don’t realize that thousands of years of history and philosophy went into the crafting of the two most profound and momentous political documents in the history of mankind: the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, before removing a fence, wisdom would suggest you look into why it was put there in the first place. Likewise, we foolishly think we can destroy our foundation and no harm will come to us as a result. Before you go back to hating people on Twitter today, perhaps we could take a moment to ponder what America will be like after we have torn her down brick by brick. Unless you’re a fan of less freedom, you may not like what you see.

Comments
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Jules*
Jules*

@LMS---"...in this section of the letter, Jefferson was referring to the practice of electing judges.".

Please explain

LMS
LMS

Trump is President and I respect the the Constitutional division of power which gives him the authority to nominate. I also respect the Constitutional power of the Senate to agree or refuse to consent. But of course in this section of the letter, Jefferson was referring to the practice of electing judges.

Jules*
Jules*

Reading that letter reminded me of my incredible respect for Jefferson. I did wonder, though, if you, citing his comment on the need to be open to change as times change, have equal reverence for his opinion on this, and if you will be citing it in discussions on Trump's SCOTUS nomination(s).

"let us retain amovability on the concurrence of the executive and legislative branches, and nomination by the executive alone. Nomination to office is an executive function. To give it to the legislature, as we do, is a violation of the principle of the separation of powers. It swerves the members from correctness, by temptations to intrigue for office themselves, and to a corrupt barter of votes; and destroys responsibility b dividing it among a multitude. By leaving nomination in its proper place, among executive functions, the principle of the distribution of power is preserved, and responsibility weighs with its heaviest force on a single head."

Jules*
Jules*

@LMS, of course Jefferson agreed that the Constitution could be changed as times and needs changed. He helped design the process by which it CAN be changed. Duh.

He WAS a visionary, but he also understood that a Constitution had to be followed or it was useless. So, although as you put it he had "full understanding that change could happen" he also understood the need to make that change slow, and thoughtful, and dependent on a process. And he helped design that process.

At no time did Jefferson ever advocate, or even approve, of the idea of simply ignoring the restrictions put on the size, scope and power of the federal government, or using the excuse of "interpretation" to achieve that end. And he made that pretty clear.

LMS
LMS

@Jules, I definitely do not follow your logic on how an on point quote of Thomas Jefferson is selective. It is what the man wrote and what he thought. If you want the full context you can read his letter here: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/letter-to-samuel-kercheval/ In this letter he does decry justices for life and also supports the need to change with the times when it comes to a constitution. Jefferson was a visionary man, with full understanding that change would happen.

On the rulings of the Supremes, I do still contend that what is considered extralegal is most of the time in the eye of the beholder.