10 months, 3 weeks ago
At WRSA there is an interesting discussion on the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. Here is a snippet.
I recognized that, despite the cries of today’s Constitutionalists about the Divine inspiration of the US Constitution and the accompanying Bill of Rights (USC/BoR), both of the foundational documents of American governance were drafted by mere humans based on the political accommodations necessary at the time (e.g., chattel slavery) and had no effective provisions for enforcement when violated.
I realized that, even if one does not fully accept the “intentionally fraudulent from the beginning” premise of Royce’s Hologram of Liberty, the institutions established by the USC/BoR have failed in preserving individual freedom and American sovereignty.
It should be remembered what John Adams said to us. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The only perfect text is the Holy Writ because it has both human and divine authorship – no text that is exclusively human can be free of flaw. But that isn’t the problem with failure to preserve our liberties. The problem comes from the heart of man.
It’s called federal headship [of Adam] and original sin, and it extends to every man, woman and child, to every corner of the globe, and to every part of the moral and physical constitution of mankind. Take for example the second amendment. We’ve discussed before how “The second amendment discusses the right to bear arms and be free of federal interference in the context of the states’ desire to keep that interference from happening. That is the historical milieu in which it was written. The founders only needed one excuse to prevent federal government interference with the states on firearms, and they chose the most likely and obvious choice, i.e., the militia. The second amendment is not a treatise on the foundation of liberty.
It’s an illogical jump to cast that as the only reason for the right to own and bear arms. If you had discussed regulation on the right to own and use a tool of their trade to protect their families, hunt, and ameliorate tyranny with a colonial man, he would have buried you under the remotest prison. God gave us our rights based on man being created in His image and the expected duty to work and subdue the earth to His glory. The militia was a convenient excuse for a certain clause in one part of the constitution. Limiting our rights to our understanding of that clause is a mistake.”
As elaborated by one commenter, “All the rights in the BoR are subsidiary, or appurtenant, rights. That is, appurtenant to the fundamental rights of Life, Liberty, and Property. The 2d Amdt is an agreement as to the practical, real-world way in which a people protects its fundamental rights, and which any just government must guarantee if the citizenry’s fundamental rights are to be protected.
It could be worded a thousand different ways (and the 2d always seemed poorly worded), but the underlying fundamental rights — and the necessity of a practical means of ensuring them — does not depend on the wording, nor upon whether there is any wording at all. The rights exist. They cannot be overridden, taken, bargained away, or lost … especially not by appeal to legal or linguistic “precedent.”
Yes, but why? I no longer appeal to anything in the constitution for my rights, as readers might be able to tell (or if I do, the appeal is short and for the purpose of connection with my readers). I see the constitution as a covenant, with attendant rights, responsibilities and punishments. Surely, if all parties are in collusion with the wickedness, there is no punishment for violation of the provisions of the constitution.
But the furniture is there to effect such punishments, e.g., impeachment, withholding of funding, and corporal punishments up to and including imprisonment and death. The college of gargoyles, demons and pit vipers inside the beltway won’t hold anyone accountable because many of them are part of the problem. The neutered politicians at the state and county level won’t because they have rendered themselves eunuchs by choice.
So the furniture is there, the volition is absent. Our constitution is intended only for a moral and religious people. It cannot function for any other. And if you are one of those individuals who wants to find moral absolutes, framework for society, and rules upon which you can entrust your future in any document written by mankind, or any system of ethics absent God, your project is doomed to abject failure, just as Bertrand Russell couldn’t establish morality without God in his debate with Frederick Coppleston, or Gordon Stein in his debate with Greg Bahnsen.
One writer editorialized about the second amendment (in Heller) that “there was never any risk of the court adopting the gun movement’s more exotic premises, such as the notion that gun rights are “God-given,” a view handed down by National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre in his colorful sermons.” I don’t know anything about sermons by Wayne, or NRA position papers on this topic, nor do I really need to know any of that. The interesting thing about this writer is that he considers the notion that our rights are God-given to be exotic.
To the post-modern pawn, the constitution is as good as anything else given that appeal to the masses based on the emotion of the moment will certainly bring random ethics to bear. They may as well twist the words of the agreement (constitution) to mean what they want them to mean – that way, at least they have a chance of winning. But to those whose God is the Lord, it’s much clearer given that the only sovereign has declared beforehand the boundaries, times and epochs of His creatures.
Men must decide how they will live together. If their eyes are firmly fixed on God, they will endeavor to live together in peace and liberty. To the degree to which they worship themselves, no paper or parchment can save man, regardless of the provisions contained therein.
Self defense isn’t just a responsibility, it’s a duty based on the image of God in man. This self defense doesn’t stop with personal safety, but extends to family safety and even further. There is nothing natural about rights, and the foundation of liberty itself is based on the God of the bible.
The reference to “natural laws” and what nature may teach us is quaint and amusing, but philosophically outdated and meaningless. Nature confers upon us nothing, and certainly not rights of any sort. What may be obvious to us is contrary to the pronouncements of others who look at the same “nature.” To John Dewey, John Stuart Mill and in more drastic form the communists, whatever works the best and achieves the greatest good for the greatest number is “good” (whatever that means).
But under this rubric many men and women have perished, a fact that is acceptable to the communists. Under this rubric many millions of unborn infants in America have also perished, a fact that is wholly acceptable to the pragmatists and utilitarians. The tribes in Ethiopia engaged in the practice of killing healthy baby boys whose top teeth came in before his bottom teeth.
America has for a long time found acceptable the idea of theft through taxation and inflation (both of which steal wealth), because that’s what the majority say. If one turns to “nature” for values, whatever that means, perhaps the best source for ethics and morality would be watching male lions kill the cubs of females so that they come into estrus, or watching other animals as they steal kills. Again to emphasize the point, nature cannot reveal a system of laws and turning to natural law means that you haven’t thought things through.
For those who have taken courses in apologetics or philosophy (and also for those who haven’t), a world view requires a system of categories working together, including metaphysics, ontology, ethics, epistemology, and so forth. All of it is usually seen to be based on epistemology, as that category of philosophy describes and explains your source of truth.
It also requires that you posit your presuppositions beforehand. Arguing that you want “reason” instead of “faith” belies ignorance (and the failure to take courses in math and philosophy). Recalling the advice of Gordon H. Clark, you need to take a class in geometry. All logic is governed by rules of deduction, but based on presupposition, axiomatic irreducibles. If it can be demonstrated it is a pronouncement of your syllogism, not a presupposition.
With the right presuppositions you can demonstrate that the moon is made of green cheese. You must state yours, and we get to examine them, along with your syllogisms. What is your source of truth? You see, these things are necessary before your system can amount to anything. Otherwise, you’re an infant trying to read a calculus textbook.
Politics is ethics. It is part of a larger system of philosophy, and it cannot be posited in a vacuum without being void of compelling argument. You must explain how you know what you know in order for us to judge it, and all of your system must show itself to be consistent with the rest. This is what philosopher Gordon H. Clark shows so well in “Religion, Reason and Revelation.”
I’m not disappointed in the founders, and I don’t think they intended failure of the republic. I know that mankind is fallen, and that covenants must be enforced at points in history, that is, the punishments of the covenant. The founders knew it too, and in fact if you read them carefully, they used their covenants with the King to justify their actions, legally speaking, but philosophically they appealed elsewhere.
If your appeal for liberty is to the constitution, you’re robbing yourself of the surety and certainty that comes from knowing the truth, denuding yourself of the very cloak of righteousness you will need to move forward in uncertain times.