Elgin Hushbeck – Question 3 Response 1 – The Role of Government
1. Elgin, I contend that the idea of a Judeo-Christian anything is a myth beginning in the last century with Darby (England) and expanded by Scofield in the United States. It is a myth, and not the good kind like Genesis 1. In my opinion, this idea of a Judeo-Christian foundation presents an unreal expectation and authority for the Constitution and the Government. I will allow, for the moment, “Christian” entails Christian Tradition rather than the New Testament (so that we have Thomas Aquinas rather than, say, Paul). Here is the question. Given the mythical foundations promoted in the last century, such as Judeo-Christian, how do we might place the philosophy of Government back into Enlightenment-era deism from which it sprang and forgo the revisionist history, such as the values you list on the currency?
There are so many false assumptions in your question it is hard to know where to begin. First, I am not sure what you think the Judeo-Christian heritage is, but for me it is simply an easy way to reference how Western Civilization was shaped and influenced by Christianity and Judaism. That it was shaped is simply a fact. Medieval Europe was an amalgamation of three main influences: The declining Roman Empire, the invading barbarians, and Christianity. Even today, though its influence has waned some, Christianity remains a considerable influence shaping how Western Civilization viewed the world.
Even given that, I do not see any authority in the Constitution stemming from the Judeo-Christian heritage. As for the values on the currency, these do not provide any authority. As I layout in my book Preserving Democracy, they simply are the values that have defined the country from its founding until fairly recently. Though as I lay out in the book, I think these are good values to build a country on and much better than the alternative values seeking to replace them.
Thus since your question is based on a false premise, there really is no answer to it.
As for the authority of the Constitution, itrests on the value of its answers to the problems of a democratic government. It provides for a limited government of enumerated powers.
So how do you view the Constitution?
2. You say the people “should be free.” Where is the argument for this and further, what is “free?”
There are several ways I could answer this. In terms of this country it was one of the driving principles behind the revolution and a founding principle of the country set forth in the Declaration of Independence when it says “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It remained a central value up through the 1960’s when Martin Luther King so movingly proclaimed in his speech on the mall,
So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Ultimately I believe we should be free because God created us as moral agents with the ability to choose. My argument is the fundamental argument for human rights, what God has given, no one, not even the king, should take away.
As for what is free, while I believe that freedom is important, I do not believe that it is absolute. I believe that individuals should be free to act, but as I wrote in my answer that this includes a say in the community in which they live. I do not believe that the freedom of the one automatically trumps the freedom of the community.
To use an analogy from the movie Back to the Future, Biff’s ability to set up a casino in the second movie should not automatically override the citizens of Hillsdale’s say in the type of community in which they wish to live.
This is why I believe that levels of government are so important, and why I would give local governments much more latitude to act then the Federal Government, for such a system strikes a balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community.
What role does Freedom play in your view of Government?
3. Individualism is in direct opposition to Jewish Tradition, Christian Tradition, and the Declaration of Independence. Why is it, then, your bedrock ideal?
Individualism is a very broad term encompassing a lot of views some of which I agree with while others I would soundly reject. After all I am a conservative, and not a libertarian who have a much stronger view of the individual’s freedom. Thus, before I could answer this question, I would have to know how you understand Individualism. Somehow I suspect that your view of Individualism does not conform very well to what I actually believe.
So how would you define Individualism?
Watts – Question 3 Reply
Hushbeck – Question 3 Reply
Watts – Question 3 Response 1