To clarify: I like Sarah Palin. I'd have liked to see her as VP (with the only problem being the half-ass that would have been Prez). I'd have liked to see her reinvent herself, lead the conservative governors against the insanity of Obamacare, prove herself to have much more depth than the half-ass media (that slavishly marches to the same liberal drum) has portrayed her having. And I'd have liked to see her hand Obama his nuts in 2012.
(It wouldn't ruin the fun of the Caribou Barbie jokes....)
But then she says stuff like this (quote is at 2:45 in this clip):
"Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant -- they're quite clear -- that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments."Um..., nooooo, ho, ho, ho, hoooo. No.
I really blame the inadequacies of the government schools here, for teaching either a saccharine view of the founding of America (what I got (although I'm not blaming School House Rock)) or a distorted and half-assed view based on whatever agenda the particular teachers have (which I also got because of the damage of 8 years in
First of all, let's get God on the table and examine His influence over the Founding Fathers (FFs). The FFs were men of many faiths. The majority subscribed to some form of Christianity. There were Jews, a few Deists, and some who's faith was not necessarily clear. However, what could be agreed upon by all were the following:
1. There was a Deity that created and ordered all of Creation.
2. The form of government of the United States was ordained by Him (indirectly, of course).
3. The Constitution (and specifically the Bill of Rights) is a codification of rights that exist, therefore are the Provence of God, not man, to give.
And clearly, there is a requirement that morality, most commonly found in faith, is a necessary component of the continuing function of our government. This is the extent that Christianity can actually be "found" in the founding documents. Mostly, it inspired them to create the most just and fair form of government they could at the time (which meant leaving some big messes (slavery) for succeeding generations to fight over). Which means they didn't include a single Commandment anywhere in the actual Constitution. They got most of the things you might find in Exodus from:
English Common Law
As it has been through much of history, a significant portion of the FFs were of the now-loathed brotherhood of lawyers. In this case, they were lawyers who worked the bar in the English courts, working through the tort system and the English Common Law. And for the most part, it worked. So who in their right mind would scrap what worked? Not our FFs. And the British, as they expanded drew from earlier civilizations, such as pre-imperial Rome and pre-government tit anarchy Greece , who drew from more primitive and earlier cultures back to the days when debate over whether the word "snorg" was a proper word. In other words, like those that came before, they drew upon the successful forms of representative governance throughout history, trying to avoid those things that destroyed the great societies of the past from within. So that means:
The Library of Congress, in the wake of the British burning of Washington in the War of 1812, looked to Thomas Jefferson for salvation, as he sold them his entire library. (This was also because he needed cash for his debts, but then proceeded to assemble another library anyway (imagine what TJ could do in the credit market of the las decade!!!!). But his library was the library of many of the leading minds of the Revolution. Such as John Adams. In addition to the Bible (because he read a LOT), you could find works that spanned written history, in multiple languages, covering poetry, literature, history, philosophy and religion. I'd list it all, but there were were 3500 books. That would make the Bible .002% of his total reading material. While that's one of the lowest percentages, it was common for those of learning (or like Washington, those who were mostly self-taught) to tackle reading from a wide range of philosophies and thoughts. In matter of fact, the days of the FFs were an age of enlightenment, something that Christianity, throughout most of its history, has not been known for. As for the Bible, most of it runs along the lines of kings and divinely mandated authoritarian government. Which is why the FFs were big on:
Checks and Balances
The FFs understood the duality of Man, and his tendency to go bad when given power without limit. A single leader, invested with too much power, would become a king. A single assembled group would be an oligarchy. The majority would degenerate into a mob. Any part of the government, if allowed to gain power over another, could tear it asunder. And any group that can claim divine mandate to command the hearts of Men (organized religion) could wipe away freedom by ignoring the free.
In short, they knew enough about people to know not to trust ANYONE with too much power. So their documents were crafted to protect the individual from the mob, to draw lines around specific territories that were appropriate for a federal government and cut them off from the rest, to give the executive the power to tell the congress no, the congress the power to throw out his refusal (and in the worst case, his ass), and the power of the judiciary to throw anything out. In addition, the two houses were set up (until the damned 17th Amendment) to represent different constituencies, balancing their wishes and needs against each other. And they left the option of an amendment process, which had enough checks to make it damned near impossible to amend the Constitution (and I kind of wish they had made it harder). But it all pointed to one general concept, which has been lost in the modern era of the Imperial Federal government:
While many of the early debates (continuing to this day, in fact) were about what were the details of the limits placed on the federal government, one thing was clear. And that was that they only wanted a federal government strong enough to defend the country and hold the union of states together. And that was it. As it was, most of them viewed their state as their country, even more than the United States. And that psychology carried us through our first century, even after a war that split us in two. This is because they understood that the less a distant government (like their former mother country of England) could interfere in their lives, the better they would be. And not one of them believed that government was an entitlement; rather, they viewed it as service that must be paid by them for a free country to exist. And they pledged their fortunes, their lives, and their sacred honor to that.
"Are you done yet?"
I know that's what some of you are thinking. Pretty much. After all, I'm trying to synthesize the thoughts, feelings, and writings of many men of many walks of life into a tiny little blog and mostly from memory.
And much of it is a reaction to the fact that conservatism can't win if we forget what the FFs actually meant, and we start imprinting the agendas of those that envision a Christian theocracy onto people who would be leading the revolt against it if they were still alive. Of course, they'd have revolted over most of the things the Imperial federal Government has done as well.
And despite the idea of a "living document" that magically evolves new rights, their intent was very clear: investing too much of anything in a distant and foreign power (foreign being anything inside the beltway) is dangerous, and generally will end badly. Because they've already covered the basics. A simple example of this would be the Internet. If you think they could have never foreseen this, you are right and wrong. The technology is something they could not conceive. But the questions that it creates (freedom of speech, interstate commerce, personal property rights) have already been addressed. So the document is dead, done, set in stone, subject to a chisel only rarely, unless we are foolish enough to forget what it means and we strap some C4 to it.