Wednesday, October 19, 2011

American Values; What Are They and Why?

"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Where, some say, is the king of America? I'll tell you, friend, He reigns above."
Thomas Paine

"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 was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
John Adams

Our country is more divided by politics than ever before. That is not to say there has never been difference in opinion on how our values should be communicated. Even the early founding fathers and the people struggled with how to convey our principals. But those beliefs were held by all who decided on our constitution. John Adams quoted above and the more liberal Alexander Hamilton knew the republic we enjoy is based on rights granted by our Creator.

“You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and that civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice.”
Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775

The key to understanding the American political advantage is to know what John Adams and the rest of the founders appreciated; that we need a republic and not a democracy.

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself."
John Adams

We have lost most from the 1920’s until now by ignoring or misunderstanding that our nation is a republic and not a democracy. I quote someone who determines the difference and says it better than I could.

“These two forms of government: Democracy and Republic, are not only dissimilar but antithetical, reflecting the sharp contrast between (a) The Majority Unlimited, in a Democracy, lacking any legal safeguard of the rights of The Individual and The Minority, and (b) The Majority Limited, in a Republic under a written Constitution safeguarding the rights of The Individual and The Minority; as we shall now see. In both the Direct type and the Representative type of Democracy, The Majority’s power is absolute and unlimited; its decisions are unappealable under the legal system established to give effect to this form of government. This opens the door to unlimited Tyranny-by-Majority. This was what The Framers of the United States Constitution meant in 1787, in debates in the Federal (framing) Convention, when they condemned the "excesses of democracy" and abuses under any Democracy of the unalienable rights of The Individual by The Majority. A Republic, on the other hand, has a very different purpose and an entirely different form, or system, of government. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general. The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term "the people" means, of course, the electorate.

So how do we help close the gap between right and left today? Some conclude the fix of opposing political partisan positions is by making sure you sit in the middle or as a moderate. This will only work for those who have not truly defined all they believe and why they believe it. I'm not talking about those who "like" what they think the America way should be but one who is a student of American politics and can defend that position based on our founding as a nation. I will not go into details here but our founding fathers struggled with many of the same types of issues and they found this nation on a philosophy that created a republic that can grow and continually form to that vision when the people understand and work within it. The answer is not necessarily keeping the majority corralled in the middle but that the middle is found on conclusions reached by civil debates about what our republic is and/or should be. It’s time “We the People” learn what our republic means, live by the principals it was found upon and be that people it was formed for.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Abraham Lincoln

"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."
Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence