The saving grace of the republican imperative - Loyal To Liberty

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The saving grace of the republican imperative

by Alan Keyes on September 30, 2009

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I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the RINGBOLT to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost. (Frederick Douglass, “Fourth of July” Speech)

As I suspected they might, some of my recent posts have roused opposition from the folks I now think of as the “Ron Paul nationalists.” When it comes to opposing the destruction of America’s national sovereignty, and seeking to restore the economic basis for the sovereignty of the American people, we seem to share a lot of common ground. But we part company when it comes to the distinctive substance of the American national identity, and its consequences for law and policy.

I take seriously the Constitution’s demand that the United States maintain a republican form of government. This imperative has consequences for every area of national policy, domestic as well as international. But in the first place it affects the way we think about policy. It requires that we carefully think through and constantly keep in mind the defining goal of republican government and the principles of justice that determine it, for we cannot reliably conserve what we do not accurately perceive or understand.

Thanks to the summary of republican principle contained in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, we have a succinct basis for doing both. The defining goal of republican government is to secure the unalienable rights with which their Creator has endowed all human beings. On account of this goal, the republican form characteristically confines government to the exercise of “just powers” derived “from the consent of the governed.” Though still very familiar to many Americans, we too rarely pause to consider the full implications of the Declaration’s words. Though consent is the sine qua non for the government’s exercise of just power, consent is not the substance of justice. That substance consists in the Creator’s provision of unalienable rights as an aspect of human nature. The governed may choose from among the range of government powers that secure these rights (government’s “just powers”) those which are suitable to their circumstances. Unjust powers of government (those that do not serve the goal of securing their unalienable rights) are not legitimized (made lawful) by the consent of the governed. So, though it is an essential feature of republican government, the sovereignty of the people is not absolute. It is subject to the Creator’s prior provision for justice, to the higher law constituted by His will.

This is the key point ignored (or else willfully neglected) by the Ron Paul nationalists. It was also neglected (or simply rejected) by the states’ rights advocates for slavery before the Civil War. From a republican point of view, their states’ rights arguments were fatally flawed because no state government can claim the power to legitimize (make lawful) that which contravenes the Creator’s provision for justice. The people’s consent cannot supersede the Creator’s authority because His authority is also the ground or basis for the right by which the people lay claim to government based on consent.

I have always considered this to be foremost among the saving graces of the Declaration’s understanding of republican self-government. The very logic by which the people claim the right to be the ultimate arbiters of sovereign power limits their exercise of that power. They are constrained to respect the provision of justice that demands security for the unalienable rights of every individual. Because the authority for that provision is the same as the authority that requires that government be based on their consent (the will of the Creator God), the people cannot abuse their sovereignty without destroying their just claim to exercise it. In this way, republican self-government respects the constraints implied by the Bible’s Golden rule: if the people act unjustly toward others, they destroy the basis for justice toward themselves.

Both the Obama national socialists and the Ron Paul nationalists turn away from the beautiful symmetry of the Declaration’s wisdom. Both treat the idea of limited government as if it were simply about the good or bad results of action, with respect to the particular aspect of justice they hold to be paramount. The Obama faction does so claiming to seek social and economic equality. The Ron Paul nationalists do so in the name of personal freedom. They either fail, or else refuse to see the essential purpose of limited government, which is to establish the exercise of government power on a basis that keeps the pursuit of particular goods within boundaries that respect and preserve the possibility of justice for all.

I first began to appreciate the Declaration’s wisdom years ago, during the preparation of my doctoral dissertation when I first immersed myself in the thought of the founding period. I was then still deep in the throes of a very personal struggle to reconcile the hurt and anger I felt as I learned about the terrible injustices that slavery and racial prejudice inflicted on black Americans. As I think it did for Frederick Douglass, so for me the knowledge of America’s essential commitment to the law of justice for all helped to kindle first respect and then an abiding love for the idea of the American nation, on account of the moral and spiritual encouragement this commitment to justice has given to people of good will throughout the nation’s history.

But it’s also on account of the salutary reminder it involves, that every particular quest for justice must be tempered by respect for justice itself, so that no claim of just purpose in itself calls for or justifies the exercise of morally unconstrained power. I learned that liberty involves more than freedom, even as justice involves more than getting good results. Both have an intrinsic source and foundation, to which respect is due at every step along the way. So I came to the paramount truth on which the substance of republican government depends: the presence and authority of the Creator God. This is the truth in which America’s identity truly abides: “in all places, and against all foes, and at whatever cost.”

There are many who profess, at least in their hearts, to recognize this truth. When will they mobilize the ultimate saving grace of the republican imperative, and unequivocally act on their profession?

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  • chiu_chunling

    I am disinclined to accept the "long usage" argument…injustice does not become right simply because it is a longstanding practice.

    Also, the Constitution is some distance from "explicitly" codifying slavery. The framers went to some pains to avoid the term. And their various sentiments, privately and publicly expressed, make it clear that most of them did indeed see a glaring contradiction in the continued legality of slavery.

    The lesson we draw from a more informed review of the history surrounding the toleration of slavery in the newly formed republic is that the Founding Fathers whom we regard most highly deeply condemned slavery, but bowed to the pragmatic necessity of respecting the representation of slave-holders' interests at the Constitutional Convention. That is, they understood that laws must be enforceable, and that confining themselves to making those laws which could be enforced did not require that they relinquish their own principles.

    I endorse this sensible perspective myself. As long as the existing government is better than anarchy, it is dangerous to overthrow it because it is not perfect. No human government ever will or can be perfect. Sadly, we now have a government which is worse than anarchy, it actively encourages and rewards criminality and immorality while oppressing and disparaging the law-abiding and moral majority.

  • Brandon

    @Dr. Keyes: As we search for the application of the Constitutional injunction upon the federal gov't to "guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government," doesn't it make sense to look at how this injunction was/was not applied in the period immediately following the ratification of the Constitution? The mere fact of the presence of the 3/5ths Clause and the Fugitive Slave clause shows that the Framers of the Constitution, some of whom were also signators of the Declaration, saw no contradiction (at least not one that prevented them from supporting the new Constitution) between this injunction to guarantee a Republican form of gov't to the States (supposedly derived from the principles of the Declaration) and the ownership of slaves. That and the fact that no subsequent acts of Congress were passed in an attempt to use this purported Constitutional power over the States to merely abolish slavery, something which, again, would have been absurd given the explicit codification of slavery in the Constitution itself. Your view is of a Constitution as you wish it to be, not of the one the Founder's actually drafted and ratified by the peoples of the several States.

    As a practical matter: if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, and subsequently many states passed laws outlawign abortion to one degree or another (as would surely happen), would that not be preferable to the status quo? I fail to see how it could be otherwise. I think many people like you fall victim to the fallacy of control. You want to empower the federal gov't to this degree, but fail to see (somehow) just how easily such centralized power has already been abused, not to mention how it may continue to be abused in the future. We may not like certain state laws, indeed we may consider them tyrannical in some cases, but to give the federal gov't the power to nullify state laws was explicitly rejected by the Constitional Convention, unless such laws contravened specific provisions of the Constitution (e.g. Art 1, Sec. 10). Your interpretation of this clause would seem to potentially grant the federal gov't nearly unlimited scope of power, much like the elastic clause and the infamous interstate commerce clause.

  • chiu_chunling

    The key point being "perception".

    Whether the government is republican in form is a matter of the perceptions of those who have the ability to either obey or defy the laws as a result. We recognize this implicitly by accepting the responsibility to speak for those who have no voice…it is a pragmatic duty based on the fact that we happen to have the ability to speak while they do not. So we see again that no matter how horrible pragmatic considerations may be, they must form the foundation for every possible action, because pragmatic considerations govern all that may actually be done.

    Satisfying themselves with 'high minded' sentiments which have no actual connection to reality is a behavior I have come to expect of various stripes of progressive, from Communists to the Anarchist. In the end, if we are not responsible for the actual effects of our actions, but only whatever we please to imagine as intended effects, then there is no point in doing anything at all. You would do as well to determinedly imagine that your inaction will have wonderful results.

    Which may even be the case, but I would rather decide that question based on concrete evidence rather than wishful thinking.

  • Alan Keyes

    chiu_chunling:
    In matters of perception the word "form" refers to an object's distinctive appearance in perception. Our sense of its meaning must obviously take account of the faculties through which perception takes place. Reference to the 'form' of a tree calls to mind something different than referring to the 'form' of a piece of music, or of a dancer in action.
    The 'form' of government is rather more like the dancer, in that it cannot be perceived except in action. Unlike the dancer, however, its 'body' appears mainly as an object of intellectual rather than material perception. Its form thus corresponds to a certain body of ideas (understood as a logically coherent arrangement of premises and conclusions to be carried into action.) In this respect it is more like the dance than the dancer, in that its form at any given moment is determined by choreography, which exists prior to action as an object of intellectual judgment and perception, an object of thought.
    As an object of thought the republican form of government is a body of ideas that starts from the basic premise that "all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights". Just as a ballet dancer must respect the rules that govern the body's carriage during movement (appropriate flexure of the feet, rectitude of the spine, correct alignment of the shoulders, neck and head, etc.) a republican government must respect this basic premise (and its consequences) in all its arrangements and actions. If and when it departs from it (as legislation violating the unalienable right to life does) it is no longer maintaining the republican (i.e., just and legitimate) form of government.
    I believe this clarifies the connection between ending "legalized" abortion and maintaining the republican form of government. The latter involves implementing a certain understanding of justice, so that its 'form' and its 'substance' (from the Latin sub stare, meaning to stand under) are inseparable.
    The American founders had nothing but contempt for the idea of letting the U.S. Constitution become an arrangement of insubstantial "parchment provisions." A constitution is justice in action. That's why the oath of all government officials in the U.S. (including officials at the state level) binds them to carry it out (respect it in their actions.)

  • Texas Potters – Kim Overall

    Alan,

    I, along with the majority of Americans, wish you and all God's speed in your California court case today. May our country restore its priorities to God and our constitution.

  • vonroy

    "Sarah Palin, etc. they have repeatedly said that laws permitting abortion are legitimate at the state level"

    I would like to question the correctness of this statement -- not as in whether or not Sarah, etc,. said these words -- but rather whether this properly conforms to what a the meaning of "law" actual is. Is not a law by definition a government degree that stipulates that a certain act of wrong doing shall have the consequence of application of force (e.g. via courts and police) against the wrong doer? A so called "law" which states there shall be no penalty for a certain action is, as far as I am aware, no different than having no law at all. In other words, men are naturally in a state of liberty, and the laws of God and the laws of men put limits on the actions of individuals. The civil government does not grant liberty, it takes away liberty. Here the government has failed in its God given duty to recognize and enforce a law punishing the taking of innocent life.

    "Government must respect unalienable rights (i.e., the premise of the republican form of government)at all levels, and the Constitution makes it the Federal government's responsibility to make sure this is so. If this argument is wrong, show me."

    From a biblical point of view, I am not sure the concept of "unalienable rights" is the correct way to understand the limited authority of Caesar. I would like to know what passages would you cite to establish the concept of such rights? Instead, I have been considering for a little while that a better approach is to recognize that Caesars jurisdiction is limited to only that which God has specifically authorized. When Caesar steps outside his jurisdication he usurps the authority of others (e.g. of parents over children).

    Nevertheless, we agree that the punishment of the taking of an innocent life is a duty of civil government. However, I do not believe it follows that our government has been so constructed that this duty is an obligation of the federal level as opposed to the state level. Would not the implementation of a federal law concerning abortion necessarily grant the federal government a police power -- something our founding fathers did not wish to grant? If a state fails in its duty before God to implement such a law, it does wrong. That state, however, may very well retain a republican form of government. I do not understand why you see it as a duty, or constitutional duty, of the federal government to remedy such failures of individual states. Can you please explain further?

  • gilbertabrett

    Nelson, if you are still "reading," please go back and READ what I wrote. Do not "interpret" it… my goodness…

    The point boils down to this: We, as a people in the USA, are given PERSONAL choices by GOD -- NOT the government. The government cannot even balance a checkbook, yet they pretend to tell us the difference between right and wrong with no concept of the needle of the compass of morality that ALWAYS points to GOD. And vengeance is GOD'S. And if a woman is hateful enough to murder her unborn baby then let GOD deal with her. Government should NOT put up the money for abortion and should NEVER have been allowed to put their two cents in it.

    How anyone could read I was pro-choice (which is not even a word in my vocabulary -- it is murder plain and simple) out of my comment lends credibility to the results of the last "election."

    Dr. Keyes, may you and Dr. Taitz be highly blessed and favored this day. And so may the USA… Many are praying for you both and for the citizens of this great nation to prevail against the man that occupies OUR White House.

  • chiu_chunling

    See, the leap you make between "Republican form of Government" and "advocating direct reversal of Roe v. Wade is pro-abortion" is the place you're losing me.

    I realize you're connecting them. I just don't see the logic of that connection. Maybe you need to go through it a little slower or something.

    For myself, I think the word "form" is in there for a reason. The Founding Fathers may well have realized that it would simply not be possible for the Federal government to actually guarantee that each state would be an ideal Republic. So they might have meant "Republican form of Government" quite literally, since it is easier to enforce forms than ideals. Just thinking…they paid a lot of attention to what might actually be possible in their design for the United States.

    I believe in miracles. My existence cannot otherwise be explained, after all. And yet…I also believe in prudence. I don't actually practice it, but I do believe in it.

  • Alan Keyes

    chiu_chunling:
    Where respect for the republican form of government is concerned, the Constitution clearly states that the U.S. government has responsibility for guaranteeing that it is maintained. This is a positive Constitutional duty. If a state respects the premises of republican government, no U.S. government action is needed. But if it departs from that respect (as it does with legislation that violates the unalienable right to life, for instance) the U.S. government has a Constitutional duty and obligation to act.
    Those of us who work under the banner of the Constitution cannot treat its terms as optional. According to those terms, the states must adhere to the republican form of government.
    Finally, though we act at a time when strong forces are working to abuse the power of the U.S. government, it has not been "irreversibly delegitimized". Its legitimacy depends on proper respect for Constitutional limits and duties, and will be restored along with that respect. Such is the aim of the work I and others are doing.

  • chiu_chunling

    The precise point of disagreement is whether directly reversing the national government's arrogation of the authority to decide the legality of abortion would 'vitiate' the principles on which America is based.

    My argument (I don't know the details of the Pauls' position) is that the several states, while not individually necessarily any better stewards of this authority, are collectively better because they face competition and work under Federal limitations rather than acting as totally sovereign governments. Whether or not this argument is persuasive, you have advanced nothing in opposition to the argument itself.

    I have no vested interest in holding this position, given that I believe that the Federal government is irreversibly delegitimized. I am perfectly willing to be persuaded…but you must make an argument that I can follow from premises I accept.

  • Alan Keyes

    billjoeallen:
    You are right to identify the Fugitive Slave Act as symptomatic of the cause of the Civil War. Lincoln thought the same. He saw that Act, and the Dred Scott decision, as part of the slaveholders' efforts to force the whole union to accept and enforce slavery. If the pro-slavery interest had been willing to give up this effort to force an outcome contrary to the country's principles of justice, the war could have been avoided. Since this is precisely the basis for the argument I make, I don't know why you call the article ignorant and wrong.
    Once it became clear that the pro-slavery interest would not stop pushing for general complicity in slavery, the expedient compromise(letting slavery be where it already existed, but ending the importation of slaves by which action they hoped to set slavery on the path of extinction) the Founders tolerated in order to launch the nation could not be maintained.
    I call Ron Paul a nationalist in the same sense that I am: we agree on the need to maintain the American nation, defend its sovereign borders, and return sovereign control to the American people (rather than surrender it to globalist interests.)
    Unfortunately by taking a position that vitiates the principles the country is based on (as articulated in the Declaration of Independence) the Pauls undermine the right basis for our national identity and unity. Government must respect unalienable rights (i.e., the premise of the republican form of government)at all levels, and the Constitution makes it the Federal government's responsibility to make sure this is so.
    If this argument is wrong, show me. Negative adjectives are no substitute for instructive reasoning.

  • Terry Morris

    Nelson wrote:

    I have yet to meet a Pro-Choice advocate who can deliver a sound argument for the killing of innocent life.

    A 'Pro Choice' (re: pro-murder) advocate is, by definition, someone who advocates the government sanction of the murder of innocent unborn life. Gilbertabrett is, therefore, not a Pro-Choice advocate by any stretch of the imagination. Didn't you read the rest of his post?

  • billyjoeallen

    This is just so ignorant and wrong.
    Dr.Paul is not any kind of nationalist. It was the Fugative slave act that allowed slavery to continue in the states after in was abolished in England. Without the FSA, slaves could have escaped to free states and the system would have crumbled.
    We could have abolished slavery without the war that killed more americans than all others combined. 600,000 lost their lives to accomplish what England accomplished peacefully.

  • chiu_chunling

    To continue, after the required break…

    After all, the nationalization of the abortion issue led immediately to it being declared not murder at the Federal level. I was able to live in several states which did not exclude me from the protection of laws against murder. If the Federal government deigns to take over that issue, it is more than likely that I will no longer enjoy that option, it will become legal for anyone to kill me throughout the United States.

    Not that I really mind, precisely. But if I did, my most effective strategy might be to promote the right of the several states to define murder, and to be able to live in a state that would define killing me as a crime even while I agitated to get such laws passed elsewhere. Moreover, it might be a strategy more in line with respect for the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Which is not to say I would necessarily follow such a strategy, only that it might be effective if I did.

    In no case would I immediately label anyone as harboring designs on my life simply because they suggested such a strategy. Which is what you have effectively done in your denunciation of those who suggest that reversing Roe v. Wade might be good place to start in fighting abortion.

  • chiu_chunling

    The question of 'legitimacy' can be nothing other than a pragmatic issue when it comes to the legitimacy of law itself. To say that something is legitimate is nothing more or less than a way of saying that it is in accordance with law. When it is the law itself to which one refers, what one means is that the law is one which is treated as a law by those subject to it.

    The attempt to appeal to 'higher law' in an argument has a fatal difficulty…we cannot rely on those whom we seek to persuade to already share our ideas of what that 'higher law' might be or even whether it exists. Indeed, if everyone already did agree sufficiently on the dictates of higher law, there would be no need for human laws at all. To accept the idea that human laws are of any importance is to admit that at least some men will not heed the higher law, but would heed human laws.

    Your willingness to heed 'higher law' as you understand it is admirable, but all your appeals to it cannot move me because I do not share your views. For instance, I believe that pragmatism is an essential virtue, the development of which lies at the heart of the purpose of mortal life and the pursuit of which is essential to eternal destiny. I see in the teachings of Christ a love of the wisdom that men must learn to live, and an appreciation of how that wisdom can elevate life beyond the struggle for survival. Thus for me to say that an issue is pragmatic puts it into the highest category of any mortal concern (being evil, I rarely practice the pragmatism I espouse, but that is another issue altogether).

    And yet, though I believe that I am correct, I decline to accuse you of duplicity or hypocrisy for disagreeing. While I might wish everyone agreed on this point (though in fact I do not wish it), I can see that sincere disagreement exists and it is thus useless to commend you to pragmatic action based on the fact that pragmatism is an eternal virtue. I instead offer the more immediate rewards of pragmatism, about which we are more likely to reach agreement, as an inducement. Your arguments about the innate value of every human life are much stronger when they appeal to the common desire of most men to have their own lives valued. When you resort to assertions about higher law, you can only hope to persuade those who already agree with you.

    The genius of the Founding Fathers was not in their perfect apprehension of divine law, but in their ability to admit that they had insufficient knowledge of (or at least agreement about) divine law and thus to create a system in which limitation of government power would leave others free to pursue their own consciences. An essential aspect of the system of government that they designed left the power to decide issues like the definition of murder in the hands of the several states.

    Note the precise literalism…if abortion is murder, then it must be defined by state law as all other murders are defined. Now I do not wish to create the impression that I rest on the historical accident that has left the legal definition of murder up to the states. Nor do I wish to convey the impression that I am perfectly content with however the states may decide to define murder (such as the aforementioned situation in which the laws of some states did not provide for the killing of persons of my racial/religious background to be considered murder). The point is that, to preserve the value of the Constitution, one must respect the wisdom of dividing that power among the state legislatures.

    And here we pause for a moment to rest your weary eyes.

  • Nelson

    gilbertabrett:

    You said, "If a woman wants to murder her unborn child and never tell anyone, more power to her. It is HER choice. SHE will pay the price".

    More power to her? Are you making the case that a mother who decides to kill her innocent child empowers her somehow -- in a positive way?

    Her "choice" results in the killing of innocent life -- does this not affect you in the least bit? Have you no heart?

    By your reasoning, it would be ok for me to kill another person because, after all, it is MY choice. So I will pay the price. Right? To expand on this thought, the government should not interfere in my decision to kill another human being. Right? I'm just trying to follow your baseless argument.

    I have yet to meet a Pro-Choice advocate who can deliver a sound argument for the killing of innocent life.

    Dr. Keyes, I apologize if this response comes off as a bit too emotional. It's just that I am deeply affected by the heinous crime of abortion for many reasons.

    - Nelson

  • gilbertabrett

    OK you two…

    My simple opinion on abortion -- man makes no law that overturns GOD'S. If a woman wants to murder her unborn child and never tell anyone, more power to her. It is HER choice. SHE will pay the price. HOWEVER… the "government" has NO right to take on such things and bring a curse on the whole nation.

    The Constitution does not give the power to men to rule over men in such a fashion. It does provide for people's protection. The problem arises when idiots and evil people agree that a baby human is a "fetus" and therefore has no rights -- the blind leading the blind. People in America back in the late 60's/early 70's should NEVER have stood for such interference and subjection; here we are today. This land is cursed with the blood of tens of millions of the last two, going on three, generations and people want to argue over states rights vs. federal law. Amazing… all the while, more babies are murdered per day in our once highly blessed and favored nation than are killed every day in the war on terror -- or man made disasters, or whatever Emperor Burnt Torch and his court renamed that war…

    Speaking of old sparky… did not take him, his REALLY happy wife, and ole sell it on the mountain OPRAH to get that Olympic Committee to vomit, did it?

    I heard the braggart in chief spent 25 minutes LESS discussing the war (or disaster?) in Afghanistan with "his" top commander than he did kissing the Olympic Committee's behinds… wonder where THAT'LL get us… and how much tax payer money was spent flying those three loony tunes over there and back…

  • Alan Keyes

    chiu_chunling: The question of legitimacy is not a "pragmatic" issue unless one assumes that there is no standard of right and wrong apart from human will and imposition. The doctrine of unalienable rights invokes a higher standard, a higher law, the will of the Creator God. Human actions and legislation that contravene the Creator's provision for human nature are unlawful.
    The people of the United States, and of each state respectively, base their claim to be the utimate aribiters of authority for law and government on this provision. When, through their representatives, they make laws they cannot contradict the provisions of the higher law without vitiating their right to govern themselves.
    If, without regard to the provisions made for human nature by the Creator, we accept as lawful whatever the people decides to be such, there would then be no difference between constitutional government and the arbitary rule of despots and tyrants. However, the Constitution does not establish or sanction a tyranny of any kind, including tyranny of the majority.
    To be sure, some Americans now wish to overthrow constitutional government, and to replace it with a socialist tyranny claiming to act on behalf of the people. They deny the existence of God, of any higher law and of any standard for human affairs except "history" (i.e., what happens determines what's right.) Put simply, this returns us to a world in which might makes right and success justifies everything.
    The majority of Americans don't want to live in such a world. Since our tactical aim is to build a majority, the right tactical goal is to make sure people realize that whether or not we live in such a world is what is really at stake in all our present discussions. Because this is most directly clear when dealing with respect for unalienable rights (like the right to life,) emphasizing this aspect of every issue is the most salient and effective way of achieving the tactical goal.
    By the way, the moral concensus we seek to achieve is not just about abortion, it is about justice and liberty. Making clear the unlawfulness of abortion serves and must be seen in the context of this overall purpose. Reducing abortions without restoring respect for God's provision of justice for humanity does not achieve the purpose, though all too many people presently regarded as pro-life leaders mistakenly think that it does.)

  • Dawg_em

    NSangoma,
    I too find it curious the founders posited the notion that "all men are created equal" and that they are endowed with the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Could they have been so oblivious to the state of the slaves who existed at the time of the declaration and the constitution? Or perhaps they were laying the groundwork for a future free of that least noble enterprise.

    As to the Amerindians, my proclivity for romantic nostalgia leads me to desire a return of lands for the purpose of truly independent nations. However, one hindrance to this notion arises; the various pre-discovery aborigines routinely conquered, slaughtered and enslaved the members of other tribes. They did not sit around singing kumbaya and holding hands.

    Regardless, the point is to always strive for freedom and justice whenever, where ever oppression and brutality reign. That is best accomplished by cleaning our own house first. Until we rid ourselves of the tyrants and globalists who presently run this nation we won't have a leg to stand on.

  • Dawg_em

    Either abortion is the slaughter of a defenseless human being or it isn't. To say the issue belongs to the states is nonsensical on its face and shows an indefensible hypocracy. (re: McCain, Palin, et al) Irrespective of federal or state sanction how can anyone convince others of the rightness of their position when they so easily allow for the unfettered continuation of genocide?

  • NSangoma

    ~
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
    http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/doi/text.html

    Would seem that the founders were against not only the African slaves revolting to win their freedom, they were also against the Amerindians fighting to protect their lands. Hmmm,
    `

  • Rachael M

    For several months, I have been becoming more familiar with the ideas that were so important to the formation of this country. What I have learned has been given mostly to my friends. My family is rather political and so issues of contention is frequently discussed.

    But I think for this generation, especially, most people want to know where exactly is the line between individual rights and the government?

  • chiu_chunling

    A clarification may be in order for those unfamiliar with certain of my previous statements.

    I personally do not believe that it is possible to remove the burden of unjust laws your nation now suffers without terrible bloodshed. Further, I do not believe it would be possible to long avert the coming destruction in any case. And, as I may have mentioned before, I have lost the power to really want to avoid it. Liberty was never produced or maintained except by those willing to kill and die for freedom. I do not believe that has changed.

    But if you intend to advocate for a peaceful restoration of Constitutional government in America, it would please me if you would do so with vision. If you advocate using the existing political process, then support a political strategy that has some hope of success, or devise one. There is nothing beautiful about mere obstinacy. Only when you confront reality with a sentient awareness of its difficulties can your struggle become meaningful.

  • chiu_chunling

    I am disinclined to put too much moral weight on the issue of legitimacy of laws. It is nothing more than which laws will actually be treated as law, when you get right down to it. In that sense, it is nothing more than a pragmatic judgment. And in just this sense, those who say that the states have the more legitimate authority to make such legislation have a very strong case.

    If we are to hope for a reversal of Roe v. Wade by persuasion of the electorate rather than overthrow of democracy, then stating the principle of that reversal in terms of preserving the guarantee of self-government is prudent. In order for it to be moral, such statements should represent a real willingness to let the issue of abortion be settled by state laws. This in no way implies a abdication of the moral responsibility to advocate good laws, only to keep that fight at the level of the state legislatures.

    I have mentioned before that a complete ban on abortion is unenforcible. While I'm willing to withhold the explicit details which would turn that argument into a de facto instruction in how to perform one, I will not let the point slide. Legitimacy of abortion laws may be a matter of pragmatism, but in the case of a law that can so easily be circumvented, it is not unimportant.

    To put it very bluntly, where abortion is not regarded as wrong in and of itself, laws restricting it are likely to be ineffective. They will not be obeyed, and are likely to be difficult to enforce as well. A commitment to pursuing such laws through the democratic process at the state level implies persuasion of the majority in each state that abortion is wrong and should be eliminated by law. This persuasive process is precisely what is needed to actually eliminate (rather than unenforceably outlaw) abortion.

    A declaration of absolute commitment to achieve some objective which rejects the methods by which it has any possibility of actually being achieved is…not prudent. If one understands that one is undermining the potential for success, then such a statement would be downright deceptive. Fortunately for my opinion of your honor (though it perhaps is something you wish to mend), you do have a notable tendency to lose sight of political realities in your pursuit of ideals.

    To argue that the states have the authority to regulate abortion through their democratically elected legislatures is to imply that they may decline to do so. I'm afraid that one cannot disparage this reality of limited government…where an explicit law cannot be enacted through the legislative process, the law is silent. I favor limited government for a number of reasons, not least because it provides for laws to be explicit and regular rather than corresponding only to the whim of those in power. Regardless of whether or not it serves any given social or political end at some moment, limited government is one of the chief principles of the Constitution (and the Declaration of Independence, where--if you'll recall--the whimsical and arbitrary nature of the King's rule was the essential focus of most of the complaints).

    In my life-time, there have been a number of different state laws which denied my right to exist or live because of my racial or religious background. I do not hold that any of these laws were good laws, but it never occurred to me that there was any point in disputing the authority of the various states to make them. The point was to fight to get them reversed (a fight in which I never had much interest, to be honest). States may make bad laws, or fail to make good laws. But if you have any love of the principles of limited government then you have to grant someone the authority to make laws, and the Constitution grants the authority over all but a few laws to the states.

  • Alan Keyes

    chiu_chunling: The Pauls take the position that the states may abrogate their responsibility to secure the unalienable right to life of posterity. Along with McCain, Sarah Palin, etc. they have repeatedly said that laws permitting abortion are legitimate at the state level.
    But the goal of republican government is to secure unalienable rights. This is not optional. It is a positive obligation of justice.
    If a state abrogates responsibility for the security of the right to life (by declaring open season on posterity via so called abortion rights) it departs from the substance of republican government. The Constitution mandates that the Federal government guarantee adherence to the republican form of government. It is therefore constitutionally obliged to act to remedy the state's breach of republicanism.
    This by no means implies taking away the state's right to make laws. Rather it enforces the state's obligation to make provision in the law for the security of unalienable rights, in this case the right to life.
    By the way, on account of the constitutional requirement that all persons be accorded equal protection of the laws, the selective abrogation of the state's responsibility for the security of the unalienable rights of nascent posterity is not only a substantive formal dereliction of republican government, it is also a violation of a specific constitutional provision. (By the way, the Pauls, McCain, etc. do not hold to the view that nascent human offspring are not persons. They allow that they are persons, but claim that states can legitimately confer a right to kill them anyway. In this respect, their contradiction of republican constitutional justice is more egregious than is the case with those who hold that nascent posterity are not human beings.)

  • chiu_chunling

    Dr. Keyes, you are apparently making an accusation…but I fail to see the substance or even the sense of it.

    My point (and I did not see any others being made), was that you appear to disparage the one tactic for restoring a moral consensus and legal system in opposition to abortion which has any hope of being sucessful, which also happens to be the one most in line with the particular wording and intent of the Constitution.

    If, as you seem to imply, there is some definite agenda expressed on the part of the Pauls to fix the 'peculiar institution' of abortion as an inviolable states' right for all time, I would appreciate it if you would address such statements. As I mentioned earlier, I don't have enough interest in the Pauls to follow their statements in any great detail.

    On the other hand, if they have made no such statements of nefarious intent to use the mantra of states' rights to perpetuate the practice of abortion against all attempts to restrict it, then I don't see how their choice of the Constitutional strategy to remove control over abortion law from the province of the national government should be counted as support of abortion.

    I once mentioned that even the hopeless battles must be contested sharply. I do not believe this implies that one must deliberately fight all one's battles on the worst possible ground. A hopeless battle is only worth fighting when the alternative is not fighting at all, when the alternative is an advantageous battle, one must wonder at the decision to fix one's standard in ground that cannot be defended.

    Especially as I simply do not see the guiding principle that would give such a decision 'moral' merit. Restricting the power of the national government to purely Federal issues (as the Constitution provides) would seem to be the more 'principled' way to address this issue, as well as being more likely to provide success.

    If you were to answer the following questions I might better understand your position.

    Do you really believe that reversing Roe v. Wade would not be a substantial victory for pro-life activists?

    Have those who express a desire to precisely reverse the Roe v. Wade decision made explicit statements that they foresee such a reversal being a fundamental victory for pro-abortion activists?

    Is there some essential flaw in the design of the Federal system described in the Constitution, such that it should be considered unacceptable to leave the states with any significant role in making laws?

    I would not ordinarily think to ask you these questions, but this last post leaves me in considerable doubt as to what your answers to them could possibly be.

  • nail-in-the-wall

    So I came to the paramount truth on which the substance of republican government depends: the presence and authority of the Creator God. This is the truth in which America's identity truly abides: "in all places, and against all foes, and at whatever cost." -Alan Keyes

    “And, indeed, though they differ concerning other things, yet all agree in this: that they think there is one Supreme Being that made and governs the world, whom they call, in the language of their country, Mithras.” –Thomas More

    “I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” –Thomas More

    So chaos is their prize… abandoned is divine order, reason and justice.

    Thank you Doctor Keyes, you are;

    A Man for all seasons,.. and a nail the master firmly placed [Isaiah 22;23,(24)] "Beautiful".

    Okay, be that RINGBOLT :-)

  • Carol

    Mr. Keyes, your wisdom is so pure,it must be directly from the Creator. Even when I start out disagreeing with your premise, you lay out your argument in such precise, common-sense terms, I find myself cheering for your "side" in any debate. It is a marvelous thing to be able to change hearts and minds for good. Thanks to God for you.

  • Parrfection

    It's concerning how liberals must seemingly ignore the principles which we nationally hold dear. President Wilson has said, "… if you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface."
    Where would we be morally, as a nation, without "the preface?" To what would we appeal for value and justice?

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