Friday, July 4, we'll be celebrating Independence Day and while we're shooting off firecrackers and enjoying backyard barbecues, it might be appropriate to reflect on what that day in 1776 wrought.
It was just the beginning. Years of armed strife with the mother country would follow in the wake of the adoption of that impudent document that told George III to butt out of the colonies' business.
Less belligerent strife would accompany the adoption and ratification of the U.S. Constitution and the failure to deal with the issue of slavery in a document that celebrated the truth that all men are created equal would light a slow burning fuse that would ignite a fratricidal civil war seven decades later.
Along the way, there has been much strife over not only what the men who wrote it meant it to say, but what provoked them to say it.
Today, as it has now for a very long time, the most contentious argument about the Constitution has revolved around the changes that come with the passage of time and how those changes should affect the way we moderns must interpret the document's meaning.
Those who see it as a living document that must change with the times tell us that a Constitution written a couple of hundred years ago cannot effectively govern a nation which has put a man on the moon, an event they point out, that the Founders could not in their wildest imaginations have foreseen.
That argument holds water only if its proponents remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that the men who wrote the Constitution based it not on the idea that they were merely constructing a modus operandi for the mechanics of governing a nation and safeguarding the people's liberty, but instead on their understanding of the fallen nature of their fellow man and the paramount need to deal with that reality in respect to establishing a government and protecting the citizens from its certain excesses.
They had a keen recognition that mankind's essential nature has remained unchanged since Adam and Eve developed a fondness for apples from a certain tree. They knew that thanks to our fallen nature, that we would more often than not succumb to the lure of a host of forbidden apples. And they understood that mankind will always resist foolish attempts to change our nature, which God created and only he can reform if we deign to allow him to do so.
It was this understanding that led them to create a governing structure based on the fact that governments are not mere mechanical devices that run on automatic, but organizations put together and run by the descendants of that old fancier of forbidden fruit Adam.
In other words, they understood that given the power to govern others, men would often be less motivated by the better angels of their nature, and more by self-interest and the intoxication of power. They didn't need Lord Acton to tell them that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Their knowledge of the fallen nature of their fellow men was all they needed.
Only when the reality of mankind's fallen nature is ignored can modern man tolerate a devilishly imagined right to murder unborn humans in the sanctity of their mothers' wombs. If you need an illustration of our exposure to our fallen nature, there's none better than our legal toleration of this atrocity.
As a result, the founder's Constitution was based on the notion that in order to protect our sacred God-given liberties, we needed first to be protected from ourselves and our tendency to want to impose our wills on others, even the unborn.
They created a federal government and proceeded to bind it up in all kinds of restrictions such as telling Congress, it could enact no laws restricting the free exercise of religion, for example, an eventuality that they knew someone among our fallen brothers and sisters would sometime try their damndest to impose on the rest of us (and which sadly, they now have largelymanaged to do).
When the adherents of the so-called living Constitution insist that changing times require major changes in the meaning of parts of Constitution they point a dagger at our liberty, which is only at risk when it is threatened by the fallen nature of our fellow man. To refuse to accept that is to refuse to accept the unhappy reality of man's true nature.
Or for that matter, our ever-ongoing need for the redemption by the Son of God who assumed human nature in order to give mankind an opportunity to overcome Adam's legacy. Until we recognize and act on that need, we'll continue to seek out and consume forbidden fruits.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www..pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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