President Calvin Coolidge rose to the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1926, with a speech providing a magisterial review of the history and thought underlying the Declaration. His speech on the occasion
deserves to be read and studied in its entirety. The following paragraph, however, is particularly relevant to the challenge that confronts us in the ubiquitous variants of progressive dogma that pass themselves off today as the higher wisdom:
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter.
If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.
Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.
During this time when so many Americans refer to the Constitution and attendant documents as “living,” so often meaning “changeable to meet OUR interpretation.” I think it is important to reflect on what direction those changes would go.
Personally, there is little doubt in my mind of which direction they would desire. I don’t have any trouble with those words of our Founding Fathers and the concepts they were endowing on the world after millennia of oppression and rule of arrogance. I also think I have as good a grasp upon those words as anyone, including a lot of “Constitutional scholars.”
If there are events in our history as a race that convinces one of the existence of divine intervention, surely this was one of them.
How many armed revolutions in the history of our race led to the betterment of the people?
Damn, damn few.
And I can't think of one prior to ours that gave the power to govern to the governed.
Happy July Fourth