Theodore's World: The Left's Assault on the Declaration of Independence

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July 04, 2009

The Left's Assault on the Declaration of Independence

Quote of the Day: "No country can be called free which is governed by an absolute power; and it matters not whether it be an absolute royal power or an absolute legislative power, as the consequences will be the same to the people." ~ Thomas Paine

Morning Bell: The Left's Assault on the Declaration of Independence

The Heritage Foundation

There has been a lot of change in recent months – a $787 billion spending bill, a budget exceeding $3 trillion, government ownership of auto manufacturers, government-imposed caps on earnings, legislation imposing limits on economic activity in America under the name of environmental justice. It is increasingly difficult for conservatives to sustain any audacity of hope for moderate policies coming from the current administration.

What unites these policies and their sweeping designs is the progressive aim of “remaking America”—as President Obama said in his Inaugural Address—into a country much more like the highly regulated, secular, and pacifist nations of Europe.

The view of America that dominates the academy, journalism, major foundations, and most segments of the American intellectual community was marked out at the start of the last century by progressive thinkers when they launched their grand project for America.

They repudiated the Founders’ principles, holding that there are no self-evident truths—in the Declaration of Independence or elsewhere—only change in the constant search for progress without final goals.

There are no permanent rights with which man is endowed, but endlessly evolving rights that develop and grow based on new demands. Our fidelity must be to a “living” Constitution that adapts to fit the demands of the times. The way forward is to control social conditions and engineer a better society, redistributing wealth through a distant and patronizing welfare state that regulates more and more of the American economy, politics and society.

Over the course of the twentieth century—as America’s principles were assaulted, undermined, and redefined in our culture, in our universities, and in our politics—we have taken significant steps down this path. The Progressive Movement laid the intellectual groundwork, but the basic infrastructure of the modern welfare state established under the New Deal has expanded in regulatory scope and social purpose under the Great Society and its progeny in both political parties. We are in the beginning of a new and perhaps decisive move in this direction.

Now, more than ever, is the time to relearn the meaning and contemporary significance of the Declaration of Independence and recognize that modern liberalism has explicitly rejected the truths it proclaims.

Woodrow Wilson, one of the most famous early progressives, argued during the 1912 presidential campaign that “all that Progressives ask or desire is permission…to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle,” meaning that it should promote an ever-expanding set of powers for an ever-expanding government.

The problem, he declared, was that pesky Declaration of Independence: “some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence,” he remarked with astonishment; “The Declaration of Independence did not mention the questions of our day.”

The progressive view rejects outright the very idea, at the heart of the Founders’ way of thinking, of being guided by permanent or fixed principles. As the prominent progressive historian Carl Becker put it in 1922, “to ask whether the natural rights philosophy of the Declaration of Independence is true or false, is essentially a meaningless question.” Such relativism renders meaningless the whole American experiment in self-government.

But denying the truth of America’s principles for the sake of “change” can make no claim to progress at all—a point made with unsurpassed clarity by Calvin Coolidge on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1926:

“If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions.”

We don’t need to remake America, or discover new and untested principles. The change we need is not the rejection of America’s principles but a great renewal of these permanent truths about man, politics, and liberty—the foundational principles and constitutional wisdom that are the true roots of our country’s greatness.

As we celebrate the blessings of liberty that America’s Founders made possible and the sacrifices of succeeding generations have enabled us to enjoy, let us also rededicate ourselves, and strive to rededicate our nation, to the Declaration of Independence.

Wild Thing's comment........

Great article!

So many countries wish they had the freedom we have as Americans.

Heritage is giving away free copies of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. You can order one online at Ask for it and they'll send you freebies of the Declaration and the Constitution.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at July 4, 2009 07:48 AM


On this 4th of July, I wish for every liberal in congress and the senate to suffer a fatal cardiac arrest. Screw you all and you will not be missed.

Posted by: cuchieddie (Pissed off American) at July 4, 2009 10:53 AM

The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution have been the blueprints of the freest, most advanced and greatest country in the history of the world.

That some sorry individuals and groups that never paid a price for their freedom want to turn America into another socialist dump ticks me off. Perhaps we are now fighting the greatest battle in America's short history, from within. There may be a Second American revolution.

Posted by: TomR at July 4, 2009 11:43 AM

Thanks Chrissie, for the links too.

OMG, my brother from a different mother. cuchieddie (Pissed off American) Have a great day, I think like you.

Wouldn't that be nice, Chucky Schumer's smiling face in the funeral parlor, Barney Frank co joined with Teddy to be buried together. Like Reverand King I have a dream.

I hear you Tom.

Posted by: Jack at July 4, 2009 12:19 PM

cuchieddie (Pissed off American), LOL
I sure would never miss the left in our
government, not at any level. .

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 4, 2009 11:45 PM

Tom, I agree so much. This war and battle
from within has got to be won. How it
will be fought has yet to be seen,but
I feel it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 4, 2009 11:49 PM

Jack, heh heh ditto that.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 4, 2009 11:52 PM

Pardon, but that should be the flag of anyone BUT Israel on the right side of that illustration. (Folk on the left-hand side of the political spectrum don't exactly like Israel that well.)

Posted by: Anonymous at July 5, 2009 12:14 AM

Anonymous, you absolutely right. I could
not change it because it was done by a
guy named Dees that did the graphic and
I am not sure but I think he has his art
work copyrighted.

Thanks for pointing that out because
Obama certainly does hate Israel.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 5, 2009 01:04 AM