“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” — Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777
Since posting my “call to action” after the passage of Obamacare, I have been reminded by several of our readers that to simply vote Republican without considering the positions and philosophy of candidates would be foolish. Some Libertarian readers take exception to Republican social conservative positions, such as abortion. Others believe that we should not be the world’s policeman (to overgeneralize the position), and that to vote Republican necessarily inflicts such positions on those who object to them. According to this logic, unless Republicans fundamentally remake themselves into secular conservatives, there is no real future for the party.
John David Lewis in his article “Reason or Faith: The Republican Alternative” states the “moral contradiction between the Biblical mandate of self-sacrifice and the factual need for human beings to pursue and protect their life-serving values is destroying the Republican party”. He goes on to say “Republicans face a decision, they may conclude that they have failed their faith and that they must seek redemption by injecting religion more deeply into politics, or they may realize that their faith has failed them and that they must abandon the crusade, commit themselves to individual rights, and set forth to defend freedom, limited government, and capitalism……. if the Republicans choose the latter, they will have taken the first step toward becoming principled, intellectual advocates of the American republic. They will be free to build a Republican party of individual rights from the ashes of the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, and if they do, they will deserve to win the next election.”
Alexander Hamilton understood and rejected the view that there is a conflict between reason and faith.
“Religion and government have both been stigmatized as abuses; as unwarrantable restraints upon the freedom of man; as causes of the corruption of his nature, intrinsically good; as sources of an artificial and false morality which tyrannically robs him of the enjoyments for which his passions fit him, and as clogs upon his progress to the perfection for which he was destined.
“ As a corollary from these premises, it is a favorite tenet of the sect that religious opinion of any sort is unnecessary to society; that the maxims of a genuine morality and the authority of the magistracy and the laws are a sufficient and ought to be the only security for civil rights and private happiness.”
Frankly, I cannot view our founding documents apart from the men who wrote them. These were principled (not flawless) men of faith. The notion of a Creator is inherent in the thoughts and fundamental principles of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The very idea that man is “endowed by his creator” with certain rights and with free will implies both self-government and the burden of conscience.
Without that fundamental understanding, there is indeed a conflict between reason and faith, between self sacrifice and self serving activities.
We have arrived at this place in our history because we have embraced narcissism. We have pursued material benefits to the exclusion of all else. We have gorged ourselves with diversions, abandoned faith and conscience, taken our freedoms for granted and forgotten, (if we ever knew) what is required to keep it. But freedom is not free.
This intellectual conflict does not exist except among the secular. Secularists prefer the luxury of their own selective morality, exempt from religion, because it allows them to feel virtuous without the discomforts of sacrifice.
Today, increasingly, we live in a nation of legalisms, rather than a nation of laws. The law is only alive when it breathes with the spirit that gave it birth. Christ called the Pharisees of his day, “whited sepulchres”, because they had lost the spirit of the laws that Moses received from God, the Creator. As we slice and dice and refit the Constitution to fit our secularized society, we have robbed it of the life infused in it by its creators.
We are victims of our own success, as is so often the case. Like children, who have been given too much by doting parents, without the requisite understanding of what it took to provide the bounty, we have forgotten the price paid by others to provide our liberty, and the spiritual context of free will.
The price of waking up will be steep, but we must pay it. And much of it will have to be done on our knees.