I have always struggled to identify with a particular political party in America. For all the supposed debates across the aisle, there are likely plenty of backslaps being traded behind closed doors. To be clear, a spherical collection of snowflakes entering into the Lake of Fire has a better chance of survival than my ever voting for a democrat, or any other brand of leftist. Truly, the leftists have all taken up the doctrine of demons, with their open celebration of abortion on demand, Marxism, and other such atrocities. However, it’s not like the so-called conservatism of America in the 21st-Century has produced anything vastly different. Plenty of rhetoric, but not a lot of action.
If I were to label my political philosophy of choice, I would call it constitutionalism or foundationalism. I’m actually a big fan of something like the Constitution Party and wish they had more traction in public life (i.e. like, people actually knowing they exist). I like conservatism in many ways, and would certainly consider myself a conservative, but it has become something that I don’t think guys like Ronald Reagan or Russell Kirk thought it would be. “Conservatism” is not actually all that conservative. More on that in days to come.
One of the things that has made America exceptional in the story of mankind is the simplicity of its founding. It was undoubtedly a rocky start in many ways, but once a foundation was laid, we began with a few general principles, rooted in natural law and liberty. Truth be told, the term “liberalism” is really the right descriptor, but it has been hijacked from its original meaning to be identified with leftism. Liberalism, in the classical, American sense was and is a commitment to foundational principles of liberty that involve very minimal government intervention. The basic commitment is what those who identify with the constitution party, classical liberalism, or libertarianism (whatever one wants to call themselves) commit to today in the same spirit as the founders: limited government and maximal individual freedom. Unfortunately, the Constitution Party is unknown, classical liberalism is misunderstood, and the Libertarian Party has a fair share of weirdos and the most non-libertarian candidates the party can find. So much for representation.
I like to think about foundational principles and why and how we get where we are. It’s alarming to think that Americans who are committed to preserving the principles of the constitution today are often considered radical fringe-dwellers. To leftists, we’re behind the times and on the wrong side of history; we need to make progress. To some on the kind-of-right, we are idealists who are too principled for our own good. Unfortunately, I have yet to be convinced that most of our politicians have read a single adult book in their lifetime, so their opinions of my greater trust of Thomas Jefferson over them isn’t going to be the cause of lost sleep (not that any of them ever cared what I thought anyway).
I happen to believe that old, dusty documents are the way of the future. If America is to maintain the course of being the most prosperous, most free nation the world will ever know, it will only be because we continue to look back at what made us what we are to begin with. Of course, America has never been perfect. We live in a fallen world and the best of men and the best of their ideas are still broken and imperfect. America has some egregious sins in her past (slavery) and present (abortion), but we are not without hope, so let’s clean up the water for the baby instead of dividing up its parts and selling them to the highest bidder.
Truth be told, if I were not a Christian with hope in Christ that surpasses everything that will come through the elected officials of America, I would be filled with anxiety in 2019. However, I realize that the greatest things of the world won’t last forever, and that’s fine, because what is yet to come is far greater. Nevertheless, while we are still here, we can hope for true freedom, true prosperity, and true peace if we are willing to stop, dust off the documents, and listen to the voices of the past. They had a lot to say and it made a lot of sense.