We are a great nation because we have a system that corrects for the flaws of human society.
It’s that time of year when we celebrate the creation of an exceptional nation. When patriotic Americans look back at the birthright of freedom they have been entrusted with from past generations. A legacy that we are duty bound to preserve for future generations.
We won’t dwell on those who choose to denigrate this legacy, suffice it to say that perhaps they have forgotten the difference between perfection and greatness. We haven’t made a claim to perfection, which is a goal that is impossible to attain in an imperfect world.
Greatness means that we have the best system that is humanly possible. A system that corrects for the imperfections of human society as best it can. The story of our nation is one of flawed men and women who have overcome their imperfections to create an exceptionally self-correcting system.
The founding fathers created an ideal society despite their many flaws.
There, we said it, the men who created this great nation had many and varied flaws as does everyone, including those who use passive voice far too often or use the word ‘and’ as a transitional phrase. Nevertheless, these flaws didn’t stop them from looking around to find the best ideas for the formation of a society to amalgamate them into a system that has stood the test of time.
It is quite possible that they knew of Plato’s ancient conceptions of an ‘Ideal State’ given that Thomas Jefferson had a copy of his Socratic dialog ‘Republic’ from over 2,000 years ago. Sir Thomas More’s classic work ‘Utopia’ was also a sensation when it was published in 1516, so it is entirely possible they could have been exposed to these ideas and rejected them.
Similarly, Adam Smith’s ‘Wealth of Nations’ was published in 1776, in addition to the works of John Locke and others. The point is that they created the best system possible, utilizing what worked while rejecting that which depended upon fanciful and untested theories that defy human nature.
A system of limited government able to correct itself.
Were there flaws in the system of government they created? Of course there were, with the vile institution of slavery being the prime example. Nevertheless, they were able to work around these flaws to form something that would correct this issue later on.
It was never perfect, but no system of imperfect beings can ever attain that goal. Taken by itself, our society could be assailed as being woefully inadequate, but in the context of other societal systems of now or then, it is vastly superior. Consider the words of some the people who created and fostered this great nation in taking account of what has been attained and what can be accomplished in the future.
Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence.
Everyone with even a passing familiarity with history should know of the man’s flaws and circumstance. Nevertheless, he was able to create an almost perfect statement of the relationship of government and a free society.
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed.’ Thomas Jefferson
We concede that the man held slaves, the point is that he rose above that transient circumstance to create what is now colloquially referred to as a ‘mission statement’ for the proper relationship between government and society.
Thomas Jefferson’s declaration against slavery.
Please take note of the words that were struck from Thomas Jefferson’s “original rough draft” of the Declaration of Independence
With regard to the ‘repeated injuries and usurpations’ of the ‘present King of Great Britain’:
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.
The colonies wouldn’t have been able to attain independence without presenting a unified front to the King, therefor a compromise was made to avoid the problem at the moment, while they took steps to at least incrementally resolve the issue. This would of course come back to haunt them with the agony of the American Civil war later on.
The proper form of the rational political spectrum.
His statement on the direct relationship between the size of government and the circumstances of Liberty is an almost perfect encapsulation of the rational political spectrum:
‘The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.’ Thomas Jefferson
He also set forth a statement of the essential types of government:
Our latest episode of the NOQ Report Podcast...
Extract from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison
Paris Jan. 30. 1787.
Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. without government, as among our Indians. 2. under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one. 3. under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. to have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. it is a government of wolves over sheep.
That rudimentary framework along with the common definitions of most political ideologies informs as the best framework for a proper understanding of the rational political spectrum. Correlating them logically places anarchy as the first form. With Limited, Pro-Liberty Conservative government as the second form while the authoritarian tendencies of the Socialist-Left would fall under the third form.
This isn’t the purpose of this essay, but suffice it to say that those who choose to use deception to advance their attainment of power. Will quite often deliberately confuse the issue at to where certain political ideologies situate themselves on what should be a straight linear progression. From ‘without government’ on the far-right to ‘governments of force’ on the far-left.
Correcting for the original sin of slavery.
As was the case with the world at the time [and still is in many cases] the country had a major structural flaw: Slavery. Despite this flaw we persevered and compromised as we have always done. The founding fathers knew slavery was a horrid injustice that would have to be addressed at some point in the future. It should be noted that the abolition slavery was the raison d’être for the existence of the Republican Party. This was the structural injustice that caused the most devastating war was ever fought on the North American continent. It raged for four long years with the ‘high water mark’ taking place on the anniversary of the nation’s birth around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Perhaps it was the timing of the first days of July with independence day looming that caused Robert E. Lee the commanding general of the army of Northern Virginia to take the gamble known as Pickett’s Charge on the third day of the battle. Never the less, the failure to win the field meant the ultimate end of the Confederacy and the abhorrent institution of slavery. It was also the timing of July 4 that caused Confederate General John C. Pemberton to surrender the city after a 47-day siege.
The dedication of Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania saw another flawed man arose to offer a few remarks. The short address by President Abraham Lincoln was only a few paragraphs, but it encapsulated and rededicated the purpose of the nation:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
The American civil war would rage on for 2 more bloody years before effectively ending at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Throughout the years the system the founding fathers created still had problems and these were corrected with new laws or new constitutional amendments. Some of which merely affirmed what was previously set forth in the document. These corrections were done systematically, without the need for revolution or bloodshed, a bottom up approach instead of a top down Diktat.
A tradition of elevating flawed men and women to greatness.
We will close out this longer than expected dissertation with one other note. This great nation of ours has a ‘habit’ of utilising admittedly flawed people and having them do great things. This is more than exemplified by our current president. Like many, we were reluctant Trump supporters with many a time disagreeing with what he has done or tweeted. Nevertheless, he has also turned out to reach beyond expectation, while not perfect he has shown greatness in many ways. That is the essence of our nation, admittedly flawed people of all variations who have done extraordinary things because of a system based in Liberty. Let us keep it that way.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
[gravityform id=”2″ title=”true” description=”false”]