On this day in 1787 the Constitution was signed. While it would still take time for it to be ratified, this document, setting out a new form of government, giving rise to the term “American Exceptionalism”, was truly amazing.
So Happy Constitution Day!
But, we can not yet leave the topic of the Declaration of Independence which is the rock upon which the Constitution was built.
One of the pervasive criticisms I hear about the Declaration and the Constitution is that they were written a long time ago (O, and by slaveholders so it is all trash, but I will get to that topic later). The world has changed, technology has changed, words have changed so these documents by old, dead, white men no longer has any relevance to our times. Quaint and all but really, lets just move forward.
That logic is the bait for the trap the jaws of which we now find ourselves in.
In answer to that criticism I submit the following:
“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceeding restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well disregard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter.”
“If all men are created equal, that is final.”
“If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final.”
“If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final.”
“No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backwards toward the time where there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. ”
“Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient. than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”
I wish I had said that, but it was Calvin Coolidge in a speech for July 4th in 1926.
The enemies of the Declaration and the Constitution pervert the meanings of words and call themselves Progressives. But as the above excerpt shows they are really reactionaries.
They are not interested in liberties, they are interested in power.
They don’t say, “Hey everybody, we want to go back to a time where we control you by using coercion and compulsion.” Instead they say,”We are Progressive. We want to move forward and away from these old ideas written by men, who owned slaves, who did not let women vote and who are basically super moldy. Things have changed, we need new answers to new human problems and these guys are, well, just a drag.”
Well, if you ever checked out Ecclesiastes (and if you haven’t you should it’s short) you will know that there is nothing new under the sun.
The principles in the Declaration and the Constitution are timeless. They don’t change because a few years go by. Your IV amendment rights to be secure in your “…papers, and effects,…” don’t go away because your “paper” is now electrons and your “effects” are now computers.
Their real purpose is reactionary control so they have told a lie.
And Progressives always lie.
They have to.
But to show that takes time, so next time we will try to answer the related question:
President Wilson: Woodrow or Dick?