The Founding Fathers were radical conservatives
“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.”
In 1776, 56 delegates (collectively referred to as the Founding Fathers) from the original 13 colonies endorsed The Declaration of Independence. This—for the uninformed—was the document officially declaring the nation’s parting of the ways with England.
Perhaps its most historically misunderstood concept revolves around the idea that “rights” come by virtue of being born a human being. (Said another way, rights come from God or, if you prefer, Nature.) The Point is that for the very first time in history, those old, dead, white men advocated a system of governance that stated the power of government was derived from the people and not the other way around.
You will also note that previously, the divine right of kings ruled supreme. In a sense, it’s a consistent theme among all rulers with absolute powers. To wit, they set themselves up quite nicely, and then the next round of morons come to power and change the rules to suit themselves.
And that perhaps brings me back to the Point, that those old, dead, white guys did something extraordinary: They embraced a system of ideas diametrically opposed to the one in England. Part of their new concept denied the idea that a monarch ruled with God’s (vis-à-vis, the church’s) approval—in fact, they found it an absolute abomination. (Are you “separation of church and state” people taking notes yet?)
Recognizing their need to combine forces yet still cautious of a central government’s powers, these Founding Fathers chose the obvious option—strong states’ rights and a weaker central government. They expressed this formula via The Articles of Confederation, the very first attempt at a constitution.
Years later, they recognized that it was not a workable system. For example, the federal government could make treaties, but the states couldn’t be compelled to respect them. Thus, in 1787, our Constitution was born.
Now, anyone with any understanding of history might also recognize a correlation to the Confederate States of America, which was a similar lapse into stupidity that advocated strong states’ rights over the federal government.
Lest you think that the Civil War was all about slavery consider that while President Abraham Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery, he did not issue the Emancipation Proclamation allegedly freeing slaves until January 1863—almost two full years into the war—and only because the North was getting its teeth knocked in by the South.
Our liberal friends like to impose a faux-intellectual superiority whenever conservatives invoke those old, dead, white guys by suggesting that some of them did in fact own slaves. Their next statement is typically, “If they had only known [insert argument] then [insert right] would be constitutional.” (For example, abortion, gay marriage, marijuana use, etc.)
Fair enough. Only a liberal would pretend to know more about rights than those old, dead, white guys who set up a system that had never before been implemented in the history of mankind. And incidentally, who also set in place a way to change that system—which has been successfully done 27 times.
Then again, let’s recall that every liberal Democrat construct starts and ends with the idea of taking something from someone else—an idea abhorrent to the Founding Fathers, and even I get nauseous over it.
This perhaps brings us back to Thomas Paine.