Category Archives: Founding Fathers

UPDATED (7/6): NEW COLUMN: A July Fourth Toast To Thomas Jefferson—And The Declaration

America, Founding Fathers, History, Nationhood, The West

“Let us, then, toast Thomas Jefferson—and the Anglo-Saxon tradition that sired and inspired him.”Ilana Mercer, July 4, 2019

WND: By Ilana Mercer

The Declaration of Independence—whose proclamation, on July 4, 1776, we celebrate—has been mocked out of meaning.

To be fair to the liberal Establishment, ordinary Americans are not entirely blameless. For most, Independence Day means firecrackers and cookouts. The Declaration doesn’t feature. In fact, contemporary Americans are less likely to read it now that it is easily available on the Internet, than when it relied on horseback riders for its distribution.

Back in 1776, gallopers carried the Declaration through the country. Printer John Dunlap had worked “through the night” to set the full text on “a handsome folio sheet,” recounts historian David Hackett Fischer in Liberty And Freedom. And President (of the Continental Congress) John Hancock urged that the “people be universally informed.”

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, called it “an expression of the American Mind.” An examination of Jefferson‘s constitutional thought makes plain that he would no longer consider the mind of the collective mentality of the D.C. establishment, “American” in any meaningful way. For the Jeffersonian mind was that of an avowed Whig—an American Whig whose roots were in the English Whig political philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

By “all men are created equal,” Jefferson, who also wrote in praise of a “Natural Aristocracy,” did not imply that all men were similarly endowed. Or that they were entitled to healthcare, education, amnesty, and a decent wage, à la Obama.

Rather, Jefferson was affirming the natural right of “all men” to be secure in their enjoyment of their “life, liberty and possessions.”

This is the very philosophy Hillary Clinton explicitly disavowed during one of the mindless presidential debates of 2007. Asked by a YouTubester to define “liberal,” Hillary revealed she knew full-well that the word originally denoted the classical liberalism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But she then settled on “progressive” as the appropriate label for her Fabian socialist plank.

Contra Clinton, as David N. Mayer explains in The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson, colonial Americans were steeped in the writings of English Whigs—John Locke, Algernon Sidney, Paul Rapin, Thomas Gordon and others. The essence of this “pattern of ideas and attitudes,” almost completely lost today, was a view of government as an inherent threat to liberty and the necessity for eternal vigilance.

Jefferson, in particular, was adamant about the imperative “to be watchful of those in power,” a watchfulness another Whig philosopher explained thus: “Considering what sort of Creature Man is, it is scarce possible to put him under too many Restraints, when he is possessed of great Power.”

“As Jefferson saw it,” expounds Mayer, “the Whig, zealously guarding liberty, was suspicious of the use of government power,” and assumed “not only that government power was inherently dangerous to individual liberty but also that, as Jefferson put it, ‘the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.’”

For this reason, the philosophy of government that Jefferson articulated in the Declaration radically shifted sovereignty from parliament to the people.

But Jefferson‘s muse for the “American Mind” is even older.

The Whig tradition is undeniably Anglo-Saxon. Our founding fathers’ political philosophy originated with their Saxon forefathers, and the ancient rights guaranteed by the Saxon constitution. With the Declaration, Jefferson told Henry Lee in 1825, he was also protesting England‘s violation of her own ancient tradition of natural rights. As Jefferson saw it, the Colonies were upholding a tradition the Crown had abrogated.

Philosophical purist that he was, moreover, Jefferson considered the Norman Conquest to have tainted this English tradition with the taint of feudalism. “To the Whig historian,” writes Mayer, “the whole of English constitutional history since the Conquest was the story of a perpetual claim kept up by the English nation for a restoration of Saxon laws and the ancient rights guaranteed by those laws.”

If Jefferson begrudged the malign influence of the Normans on the natural law he cherished, imagine how he’d view our contemporary cultural conquistadors from the South, whose customs preclude natural rights and natural reason!

Naturally, Jefferson never entertained the folly that he was of immigrant stock. He considered the English settlers of America courageous conquerors, much like his Saxon forebears, to whom he compared them. To Jefferson, early Americans were the contemporary carriers of the Anglo-Saxon project.

The settlers spilt their own blood “in acquiring lands for their settlement,” he wrote with pride in A Summary View of the Rights of British America. “For themselves they fought, for themselves they conquered, and for themselves alone they have right to hold.” Thus they were “entitled to govern those lands and themselves.”

For the edification of libertarians prone to vulgar individualism, the Declaration of Independence is at once a statement of individual and national sovereignty.

And, notwithstanding the claims of the multicultural noise machine, the Declaration was as mono-cultural as its author.

Let us, then, toast Thomas Jefferson—and the Anglo-Saxon tradition that sired and inspired him.

©By ILANA MERCER

* Image courtesy of WND.

UPDATE (7/6/019):

 
“She is brilliant!
Many a radio host intimidated by her writing and brains. Otherwise she would be on many shows.”
“What an inspiring, informative, patriotic, reasoned, accurately historical article is this! I learned a lot, especially from the British end of things. Much gratitude for this substantial article — and admiration for its able writer! God bless you and yours…”
 

California’s Centrally Planned Neighborhoods

Federalism, Founding Fathers, Private Property, Regulation

Think Americans still live in the decentralized republic the Founding Fathers bequeathed? Think  Americans benefit from a federal form of government, where control is local and residents get to decide about the character of the place they inhabit? Think again.

Consider California’s housing-supply law. If residents of a community don’t want to “develop” their corner of the world—if they wish to preserve the character of the place they call home—Big Brother Central Planner will make them.

Gavin Newsom, California’s new governor, is  suing “Huntington Beach, a coastal city in Orange County, for failing to comply with the state’s housing-supply law.”

California has a severe shortage of affordable housing, and he wants to bring a sense of urgency to the problem. The state has the highest poverty rate in America when adjusted for the cost of living. One-third of renters pay more than half of their income towards rent, and homeownership rates in the state are at their lowest level since the 1940s.

The lawsuit against Huntington Beach is meant to be a warning shot to cities that they cannot stonewall development. Fifty years ago the state passed a “housing element” law requiring communities to plan for new housing for all income groups, based on forecasts for population growth. In 2017 the state legislature passed several bills to speed up housing development and approvals. Until recently many cities have not met their housing numbers but faced little consequence …

MORE: “Why California’s governor is suing Huntington Beach: Can a lawsuit compel upscale cities to build more housing?

Democrat Impeachment Ad Invokes … The Founding Fathers (Whom They Otherwise Call Racists)

Democrats, Founding Fathers, Government, History

Thirty five seconds into this Democrat ad for impeachment, launched by one Tom Steyer, these hypocrites invoke the Founding Fathers:

“Our Founding Fathers expected you, Congress, to hold a lawless president accountable.”

These are the very Founding Fathers whom the dim-witted Democrats call racists and bigots and whose statues they defile, deface and wish to remove.

America Was Never Meant To Be A Raw, Ripe Democracy

Conservatism, Constitution, Democracy, Federalism, Founding Fathers, Natural Law

In the context of last week’s column against democracy, it’s important to remember that, “the reason the American democracy has been more successful than others is precisely because “the fathers of the American Republic devised an instrument of government unparalleled as a conservative power for ordered liberty.” (“The Conservative Mind” by Russell Kirk.)

Everything in the American Constitution was wisely designed to constrain raw democracy. A “great part of that accomplishment results from the wise conservatism of the Federal Constitution,” which avoids “the peril of a single assembly,” recognizes “the rights of several* states and the necessity for limiting the power of positive legislation.”

However, warned Kirk, the father of American conservatism, “[I]f there is a weak point anywhere in this “artificial reservoir,” “the mighty force which it controls will burst through it and spread destruction far and near.”

(“The Conservative Mind” by Russell Kirk, p. 335)

And so it has.

* The meaning of “several” in this sentence is individual,” I believe. 

** Image is of the guillotine, French democracy in action