April 16, 2013 by Anders Ingemarson
I think of the U.S. Constitution as the political blueprint for the New World. It is radically different from the political systems of the Old World. Theirs are built on religion, race, geography or some other more or less arbitrary foundation. Ours is built on the idea that all men have unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Constitution, with its checks and balances, protect those rights.
Similarly, I consider the Declaration of Independence the moral blueprint for The New World. We have unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is a profoundly moral statement. Rights are good as opposed to Wrongs which are bad. Right and wrong, good and bad: the essence of morality.
Despite the Founders’ magnificent accomplishments, we find ourselves in deep trouble today. Something has gone terribly wrong. Some say we have ignored the Constitution. There’s some truth to that. But on a more fundamental level we have ignored the Declaration of Independence.
Instead of acknowledging that the Constitution, the political blueprint for the New World, is rooted in the Declaration, the moral blueprint for the New World, we have divorced the two. Why?
To have unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness is not just any moral statement. It’s a moral statement of self-interest, of rational selfishness: You (and everybody else) have the unalienable rights to your life, your liberty, and your pursuit of your happiness.
Here’s the problem. Instead of embracing the moral blueprint for the New World we have held on to what I call the ABC of Old World Morality:
A – Altruism
B – Brother’s Keeper
C – Common Good
What moral code does the ABC represent? You guessed it: the morality of sacrifice.
Altruism, the basic principle of which is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification for his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.
Brother’s Keeper, the notion that we live to serve others.
Common Good, meaning that the good of some men, always defined as a collective—the class, the race, the age group, the gender, the sexual preference, the nationality, or just vaguely “the country”—takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals.
And girls, don’t feel left out: Brother’s Keepers includes Sister’s Keepers as well.
So we’re faced with a contradiction. On the one hand, the Declaration, the moral blueprint for the New World, proclaims our rights to be self-interested, to be rationally selfish. On the other, the ABC of Old World Morality preaches the virtue of sacrifice.
Morality trumps politics. As long as sacrifice is considered virtuous no Constitution in the world will in the long run be able to protect your rights to be self-interested. As long as the ABC of Old World Morality rules the day, no checks and balances will be able to protect your unalienable rights to your life, your liberty and your pursuit of your happiness.
This is why the collectivists have been able to chip away at our freedoms for the past 100+ years. You don’t believe me? Try to come up with an argument in favor of a government program that does not use ABC as its justification—government (“public”) education, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, government infrastructure spending, environmental regulation, health care regulation, food regulation, anti-trust regulation, any regulation. See what I mean?
In creating the U.S. Constitution as the political blueprint for the New World, our Founding Fathers were political revolutionaries. To finish what they started, we have to become moral revolutionaries. We have to resurrect the Declaration of Independence as the moral blueprint for the New World. We have to fight an intellectual revolutionary war against the collectivist aggressors who use the ABC of Old World Morality as their weapon. I’ve picked my battle: championing the moral case for separating state and the economy. Waste no time finding yours.