September 24th, 2010
Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, Floyd Reports
“America is more than a country,” is the first line of the new Republican “Pledge to America.” It is a curious phrase which tells much about the Founding of our nation, and captures the reason government has been such a failure at solving problems in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
The document continues, “America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves.” In the 18th century ideas were everywhere. The great philosophers of Europe such as Locke, Rousseau and Hegel were writing and debating about how men should be governed. The monarchies and their governing partners, the aristocracy, were losing control as new ideas flourished.
A competition was unleashed as to what would replace the old order.
In America, the governing ideas which are articulated in the Declaration of Independence are echoed in this “Pledge to America,” which continues: “government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
In this sentence, we read the genius of America’s particular and unique idea of rights. In the American view, rights are not earned, neither are they the subject of the king, or the state. Rights for Americans are separate and apart from the governing politics. Rights are a gift from a Divine Being.
The great difficulty we have suffered in the past three decades is directly the result of the underlying thesis of the Founders being challenged by the new aristocracy, the intellectual elites. They refuse to accept the limits to government that are inherent in a system governed by a Divine Being. In fact, they challenge His very existence. They reject limits on the scope and size of government.
Barack Obama expressed it himself when he recently misquoted the Declaration of Independence….