Today’s post is centered on another excerpt from Robison & Richards’ Indivisible, in which they examine a fundamental difference in how the typical “progressive” views human nature and how America’s Founding Fathers saw human nature, as evidenced by the language used in our founding documents and in other writings.
“The Founders saw human beings as sinners who could be shaped by society but who have a nature that men can’t change. This founding philosophy could not be more different from the so-called ‘progressive’ philosophy that now dominates our public life. Socialists and progressives assume that man can be molded and transformed like a soft lump of clay. You just need society to be set up correctly and run by really smart people. But even in an ideal environment, human beings can fall into sin. That’s how we got where we are to begin with. Even when Adam and Eve were placed in a garden prepared by God, they still managed to get into trouble.”
This comment about “smart people” reminds me of a comment I saw on Facebook the other day. It was by someone who was obviously of a “progressive” bent and they made precisely this claim. Though I don’t remember the actual wording, she was yearning for a time when we could just get a bunch of geniuses in office, so that they could fix the nation’s (and maybe the world’s) problems. I just shook my head, when I read that. I resisted launching into a long reply, since she was a friend of a FB friend and I wasn’t really part of the conversation. But, it struck me how many times I hear/read comments from people who equate intellect with wisdom. Newsflash: They ain’t the same thing! You can’t count on “smart” people to have wisdom or integrity. In fact, smart people — especially those considered (even if by no one but themselves) to be “intellectuals” — often make some pretty “dumb” (i.e., foolish) choices and believe some pretty “dumb” (i.e., foolish) things.
Ironically, many “intellectuals” were among the first to be executed by the Nazis (i.e., National Socialist Party) and Communist regimes.
But, I digress….
“The progressive left has depended on generations of judges and justices to twist and squeeze the meaning of the Constitution to fit their vision of unconstrained state power. This is often done in the name of liberty or privacy. This tactic reached its low point when the Supreme Court reaffirmed in 1992 the ‘right’ to kill unborn babies by proclaiming, ‘At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.’ When the Founders defended the ‘right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ they meant the right not to have your life snuffed out before you are born. But this view of liberty had no place with a majority of Supreme Court justices who resolved the competing interests between an unborn child and a mother by ignoring the child. This is the worst possible defense of liberty. It denies that human nature, and nature itself, has any objective reality that government must respect. It undercuts the constitutional basis on which our liberties are secured.
Outside the courtroom, the left has recently felt less need to appeal to the Constitution at all. When former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was asked where the Constitution gave Congress the authority to take over health care, she didn’t mount a defense; she sneered, ‘Are you serious?’ This from an elected official who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution.”
Pelosi isn’t the only one, of course. The current administration seems to be intent on appointing socialist/communist Cabinet members, czars, judges, etc. And when the “progressives” in Congress get stymied in pushing their agenda by Constitutional limitations on their power, President Obama seems more than willing to find an end-run based on executive orders & such, even when that also is of questionable constitutionality. It is precisely this type of undermining-from-within and other unscrupulous behavior that demonstrates that the Founders — not to mention, Lord Acton — were correct in their assessment of fallen humanity and the necessity of limiting the power of corruptible men (and women) in government. As government gets bigger, the corruption and intrusion into our lives and reduction of our freedoms only gets worse.