On Wednesday I read of a media orchestrated exchange of views between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz that further entrenched my opinion that the elitist faction dominated GOP offers no hope of survival for America’s liberty. In response to a question, Rand Paul said that the GOP should set aside the discussion of “social issues”, like abortion and the natural rights of the God-endowed family. He contends that this will swell the GOP’s voter base with “young people”. Ted Cruz said in reply that the GOP should continue to defend life and continue to defend traditional marriage.
Rand Paul’s statement should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to him since he first ran for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky. Before deciding to campaign for one of his opponents in that race, I carefully considered what Paul was saying. At that time, for example he took what I and others have called the “pro-choice for States” position on abortion, i.e., human government has the power to make it lawful to kill innocent children in the womb so long as the decision is taken at the State level.
When dealing with the vital issue of respect for the unalienable right to life, both of them have consistently used formulations that contradict the heart of the pro-life position. To get pro-life votes they loudly proclaim their opposition to Roe v. Wade. Individual mothers should not be the ones who decide whether the child’s innocent life should be destroyed. Government should decide, but at the state level. This contradicts the simple truth on which the pro-life cause depends: the unalienable right to life, like all unalienable rights, comes from a decision by God. It cannot be taken away by any human decision- not the mother’s decision, the Supreme Court’s decision or the decision of any State legislature.
According to the principles of the US Constitution, people institute government (at any level) in order to secure the unalienable rights given to each person by the Creator, God. It is therefore not legitimate (lawful) for government at any level to use its delegated powers to destroy the security of those rights. The term “limited government” refers in the first instance to this just limit on the use of government power.
Sarah Palin is widely touted as a pro-life politician. Some people have tried to convince me that Rand Paul is as well. I do not agree when it comes to either one of them. The principles and logic of the American Declaration of Independence justify the practice of limited government, of, by and for the people, which the U.S. Constitution is supposed to implement. But the Paul/Palin “pro-choice for states” position contradicts the self-evident truths set out in the Declaration.
Politicians who take the “pro-choice for states” position pretend to stand for “limited government” on this or that particular issue. But by rejecting the Declaration’s logic, they deprive themselves, in principle, of the ability to justify their stand. On that account, they will inevitably lose the argument in every case to leftist opponents who purport to make their case in terms of justice and moral principle. Using the Declaration’s logic, the leftists’ arguments can be easily refuted. Without it, their bad arguments prevail because no good argument is brought against them.
The people now dismantling America’s constitutional liberty routinely abuse the language of justice and moral principle in this way. They don’t argue for abortion, they argue for “abortion rights”, making the issue a matter of fundamental justice and constitutional principle. They don’t argue for a government monopoly over the means of self-defense. They argue that, in order to insure domestic tranquility, all but those in government must be disarmed. They don’t argue for a government monopoly over the rearing of children, completely displacing any parental authority that is not derived from government fiat. They argue for each individual’s right to marry and otherwise conduct their family relations free from the moral interference of others, again making the issue a matter of moral principle.
Even in the economic sphere, the proponents of Obamacare don’t argue for the institution of socialism in the health sector, or other spheres of economic activity. They argue for the equal “right” to decent health care, jobs, a minimum income, and so forth. They understand what supposedly conservative politicians like Sarah Palin and Rand Paul incompetently or intentionally forget: Every issue of rights is a discussion about what is right. By agreeing to put moral issues on the back burner, the Palin/Paul “conservatives” cede the moral victory to their opponents.
So we end up with successful assaults on the natural rights of the God-endowed family; the God-endowed right to life; the God-endowed right to pursue and store the material means of self-preservation (the natural rights of property); the God-endowed right it to be secure in one’s person and property from unjust individual or organized (including government sponsored) violence, and so forth. Rand Paul can pretend, if he likes, that this stance of moral surrender will contribute to the political success of the GOP, but America’s history emphatically demonstrates that in the end, the side that appears to win the moral arguments eventually carries the day in American government and politics.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz speaks to differentiate himself from Rand Paul. In an interview after his speech at “C”PAC Cruz “told WND…that social issues should not be taken off the table in 2014.” But what about 2016? In the speech obviously intended to be a preview of his approach to the 2016 Presidential election, he too put the issues of moral principle on the edge of the coin (where opponents of the principles of the Declaration of Independence want to see the motto “In God We Trust”.)
When, Cruz talks about “the values we share” in speeches to conservative audiences, does the “we” refer to conservatives or Americans in general? Does he understand that the issues of moral principle are not about the values of this or that group of Americans? They are about preserving the logic without which America’s liberty and the God-endowed rights of her people cannot be understood, recognized and perpetuated. They are about respecting the solid, rational premises that are the basis for the hitherto unexampled success of America’s democratic, constitutional republic.
We cannot set aside or de-prioritize the battle to vindicate and restore respect for those premises without abandoning America itself. Without political representatives who frame their approach to every issue in terms of those premises, the American people are decisively losing the ongoing and very real (though so far bloodless) war to overthrow the constitutional, democratic self-government based upon them. We must reject the leadership of those who claim to believe that the nation’s vital principles should not be set aside, but who consistently neglect the opportunity to whet them effectively in the battle to save our constitutional Republic.
There was a time when at least some of America’s politicians realized that those who win votes by exploiting the ignorant, self-destructive passions of the people are in fact the enemies of their self-government. True friends of liberty think through and articulate the persuasive arguments made possible by the nation’s founding principles. Now more than ever, we must lift up representatives who understand and are willing to do that vital work of persuasion. We must insist on candidates who win votes by changing minds; and by turning and returning American hearts toward the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. For those truths express the handiwork of God in creating us, whereby in fashioning our nature as human beings He set, and still intends to keep us, free.