Taking the Constitution on Offense
Last week, Misfit Politics posted a video tribute to honor the passing of Andrew Breitbart. In it, Brandon Morse said that, for the first time ever conservatism is going on the offense… and he couldn’t be more right. Over the last few years we’ve learned a few things and gotten organized. All you have to do now is talk to a few conservatives or libertarians and you can feel the energy coming from them.
The problem is, as conservatives we are often put in the position of defending the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the ideas of our Founding Fathers. Any time you are defending your position you aren’t gaining ground.
If you want to learn how to take conservative ideas on offense, let Calvin Coolidge give you an example of how to destroy progressive ideas:
“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. 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. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay any claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”
Calvin Coolidge – July 5, 1926
There you go – the next time some fool starts attacking our principles or the Founders it’s time to go to on offense. Ask this person, “Ok, what exactly about our principles is outdated – are all men not created equal?” This person will try to redirect the conversation from this question because – more than likely – he was initially just repeating something some campaign talking point or something his college professor told him. But don’t let him off the hook – remember, you’re on offense here. Demand an answer to that question. Then move on to the others. Do we not all have equal rights? Are the people not the source of political power?
Coolidge nailed it in this quote – there is no moving beyond these three principles that make up the foundation of our country. Everything that progressives want to do moves us away from one of these principles in some way. We must force them to defend this ground if we want to move the debate in a positive direction.
Here’s one example of how it works: progressives want to take property away from some people in order to give it to others who progressives feel are more deserving. As President Obama would say, “At a certain point, you’ve made enough money.” This is where you go on offense. Ok, at exactly what point in the income scale do you forfeit your property rights? So we don’t have equal rights to keep property we’ve earned? Who will be taking these rights away? I thought our rights came from God. And on and on.
This is ground that the progressives simply cannot defend. Remember – as long as they are on defense they cannot gain ground.
If you are a person who loves freedom, it’s time to get to work.. and it’s time to go on offense. Liberty is not for those who are willing to sit back and allow others to make decisions for them. Liberty is earned by people who are willing to be eternally vigilant in its defense.
On that same day in 1926, Calvin Coolidge described the type of people we need to be if we want to preserve our freedom:
“The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.”
For decades now many conservatives – myself included – have had the option of paying lip service to how much they love their rights and their liberty without consequence. Those days are over. Our rights and our liberty are currently under a direct assault. The time has come to make a decision – do you have the courage to maintain them?
This is an amazing article and a call to arms in terms of the defense of liberty. Thank you for this, a tremendous spark needed, moving forward!!!
Any time Scott!
Actually give the title regarding the Constitution then citing the Declaration of Independence can be used to underscore the nonsensical nature of Coolidge’s statement.
While the Declaration is widely considered a prolegemena to the Constitution failed in both establishing the equality of all its citizens under the law, and excluded segments of the population from participating in the great experiment in which a free people consents to governance.
By Calvin’s time, both slavery as a Contitutionally sanctioned practice (property rights, and fractional census) and the denial of full womens suffrage had been overcome. As a champion of civil rights, which he was, he surely would have acknowledged this as progress, and would have rightfully acknowledged the role of progressive movements in these achievements.