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April 16, 2011
On This We Stand
We must clearly articulate the precise philosophical doctrine of the Tea Party.
Classical Liberalism, the political philosophy of The Founding Fathers, has yielded incredible planet-wide improvements in the human condition. Few politicians (and nearly no academics) understand this, nor are they able to articulate this truth in a meaningful way. Such is the theme of this speech, authored by me and given today at a Tea Party rally in Hanover, Pennsylvania (video here):
Given a forthright chronicle of man's history, both ancient and modern, we must somberly recognize that human liberty has been the exception, and not the norm. Often, governments have ruled over the people by fear, and nations have lived under tyranny. Today, millions of people still live under cruel regimes which deny them their basic natural rights.
In Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-One, British historian Arnold Toynbee completed his epic work "A Study of History", a twelve volume colossus which spans 6000 pages. Mr. Toynbee found that through the annals of human history, there have been some 21 to 23 advanced civilizations, 16 of which have run their course and crumbled - consumed by history.
We might reason, and Toynbee himself said, that "Human affairs do not become intelligible until they are seen as a whole." We would be wise to study the works of men like Mr. Toynbee, so that we too might attain a more complete perspective on our affairs.
John Adams advised "We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form." He goes on to say: "Nothing is more certain, from the history of nations and nature of man, that some forms of government are better fitted than others."
Adams concludes, "the form of government which communicates happiness to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is best."
Only a fool or a tyrant could disagree.
Through his words and actions, John Adams demonstrated that our politicians can and must be Statesmen. Our Founding Fathers showed us what we should demand. A Statesman is a tireless student of history, philosophy, politics, religion, and war. A tradesmen, a writer, and a thinker. Statesmen must possess the moral courage, and presence of mind, to recognize and call out the fundamental distinction between good and evil. Statesmen must submit to the rule of law, but tear down the rule of men. The Statesman will face his faults. In our halls of governance, men and women such as this are too few.
We may hold our ideas dear, but we may not hold them blindly. It is simply not good enough to pose at the lectern and exclaim one's belief in small government, or belief in low taxes. We cannot be serious when we spew hollow and exhausted platitudes to deafening applause. We cannot be serious when we entertain politicians who promise the people benefits funded out of the public treasury, in exchange for their votes. A Statesman must be able to make plain, in slight but elegant terms, why it is that emphasis of the individual, and de-emphasis of government, will in fact communicate happiness to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree. This old idea is known as "Classical Liberalism" - liberal civil and economic freedoms, and reliance on the self. Today, we call these notions conservatism, or libertarianism. "Classical Liberalism" is why the Tea Party exists; "Classical Liberalism" is our cause.
As democracy is a contrivance of men, it is a reflection of his flaws. Indeed, mankind's single greatest flaw lies in his natural inclination to increase, and then abuse, his own power. This immutable fact, however obnoxious it is, must always be answered to, before an effective and safe government can be assembled and maintained.Our Founding Fathers sought to blunt men's ambitions to power through the erection of rigorous checks and balances. But when the goal becomes for the state to fulfill every human need, these checks and balances become an impediment, resulting in injudicious politicians trying to evade them. No matter the motive, attempts which have been made in the past to impose fairness and equal outcomes, have instead yielded terrible human suffering. No government, however shrewdly crafted, can save everyone from everything.
It is our unique system of government, laid upon Judeo-Christian principles, which allowed America to become a great, kind, and generous nation. If we allow these principles to slip away, and abandon their timeless reason, history will consume us.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, are known conjointly as the Charters of Freedom. These Charters are the finest political treatise ever laid by the hands of men -- men, that while imperfect, were made of a moral and intellectual sum which the human race cultivates perhaps a few times in ten centuries.
America is exceptional, because she still stands as an earthly bellwether of human liberty, and human dignity. As she has ascended, so too has the whole of the human condition. This is not a coincidence.
Somebody once said that America is less of a place and more of an idea. Our Founders knew, that their ideas would not only lay the foundations for liberty in America, but that those same ideas could someday inspire designs that might convey liberty to every living soul on this Earth.
Liberty is not a station in time that we arrive at, or something that we achieve - liberty is an endless journey; a sacred cause that we engage at inestimable cost. We must never forget these costs, or that liberty demands our eternal vigilance -- so that we may secure her blessings for ourselves, and for our children. Save for life itself, there is no blessing, no human right, more precious than liberty. And it must never be taken for granted.
We are the American Tea Party. We stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We will not divide other human beings into groups, proclaim their victimhood, and cynically anoint ourselves or government as the lone path to their dreams. Our philosophy is simpler, and better - do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. We - Americans, value diligence, humility, patience and charity. The Tea Party stands for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all of God's children, in every quarter of the Earth - and all of the time.
Thank you, and God bless you.