In order to grasp the spiritual significance of the birth of our nation, it must be understood that the Unites States Declaration of Independence and Constitution were the first documents of their kind in the history of mankind. Up until this time, men had always been governed by royal, papal, or tyrannical edict. The laws they followed were given them by others. The radical concept of people governing themselves was absolutely unheard of. The birth of American style freedom was an extremely spiritual thing done by spiritual men. They spent many months and went to great pains to anticipate every eventuality that could possibly befall the fledgling nation.
Navigating turbulent political waters, the Founders ingeniously avoided many pitfalls, but they drafted the documents with the clear knowledge that the greatest danger that they faced was the corruptible nature of man. It is specifically for this reason that the United States is, in the words of our first president, “A nation of laws, not of men.”
An attack on the foundation of our laws, the Constitution, is an attack on our national soul, the very essence of what makes us Americans. If one takes the single hour required to read the founding documents of the first Constitutional nation ever conceived, the entire political discourse of our day becomes maddeningly apparent.
That is correct, it wasn’t a typo, we were the first, the prototype, for the notion of modern nationalism. Though anyone who has traveled abroad has seen many stately, even ancient, buildings and cities, what he has not seen are old governments. In terms of architecture and history, we may be very junior compared to our European neighbors, but in terms of government we are the venerable forerunner of the entire modern world.
The American Constitution is the oldest written national framework of government in the world. The principles outlined in this document have guided the Constitutions of most of the, nearly two hundred, nations of our planet. When one tampers with the United States Constitution he is, in effect, tampering with the source document of the governance of the entire free world. So one must ask; where is the moral authority for such an important document?
Associate U. S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has written that:
“American politics and the American Constitution are unintelligible without the Declaration of Independence, and the Declaration is unintelligible without the notion of a higher law by which we fallible men and women can take our bearings.”
Needless to say, he was excoriated for this position. Those of us old enough to have been engaged in the Clarence Thomas Senate confirmation hearings watched in disbelief as the left tried to create a puerile case for rejecting this brilliant jurist on the basis of accusations that are, frankly, beneath the scope of this discussion. Clearly, the attack was motivated by their disdain for his adherence to both his faith and common decency. Justice Thomas is a Godly and noble man.
Unfortunately, neither attribute holds any value in the minds of his hopelessly confused attackers, who continue to ridicule both his enormous intellect and genuine honor, even today. Perhaps it is fitting that such a dignified jurist remains an object of derision for those who have no comprehension of his understated elegance. No matter how you cut it, you just can’t buy class.
So, what does all this have to do with current events? Well, the concept of Natural Law is not nearly as esoteric and distant as it may, at first, appear. In fact, the entire battle that we see being played out in the political arena on a daily basis is, in effect, being waged over the concept of whether or not civil law must recognize the concept of natural law. One need only flip the remote control between cable news networks in order to witness the battling ideologies.
In the mind of the Conservative, the government of man flows from the God given right and responsibility of society to seek natural justice. He believes that the law should provide negative remedies in order to constrain criminals from impinging on the rights of their fellow man, who should be left free to conduct the business of his “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
On the contrary, in the mind of the Progressive, law must evolve along with man, free from the constraints of such arcane concepts as good and evil, which he perceives as fungible human constructs. He recognizes no intrinsic moral rudder in the heart of man. Consequently, he feels that it is the responsibility of the government to steer humanity to its best end. He seeks not so much to restrain the criminal from that which he must not do as to coerce the law abiding man into doing that which he must. To this end, the progressive mind is constantly involved in using the law for the process of social engineering.
This is the very core of the argument over terms like, “unconstitutional” or “living document” or “strict constructionist” which seem to dominate our news cycles these days. Clearly, the founding documents are underpinned with an explicit recognition of the Judeo-Christian ethos of Western Civilization. Since this fact is unchallengeable, the progressive argument seeks to attack the relevance of the founding documents rather than their content.
An excerpt from Mr. Bianco’s timely and poignant upcoming new book, It’s the Devil, Stupid.