CONTRIBUTE US Constitution Ohio Constitution Declaration of Independence chair@constitutionpartyohio.com 740-404-3312

CONSTITUTIONAL PHILOSOPHY EXPLAINED

 

Introduction

Just as the Founding Fathers acknowledged and appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intentions and placed a firm reliance on the protection of pine Providence in the Declaration of Independence, so too do members of the Constitution Party acknowledge the living God and appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and protection in our efforts to restore and preserve the blessings of liberty that they secured. This sentiment seems foreign to many as our citizenry progressively embraces a secular worldview and becomes further and further separated from an understanding of our nation’s history and heritage of liberty.  However, we need look no further than the Declaration of Independence to discover that acknowledgement of our Creator is central to American liberty and not a violation of, but rather the foundation of the Constitution’s First Amendment.

The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God

Not only did our founding fathers have a Biblical worldview, they rested our nation’s entire philosophy of liberty and the Constitution on “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  Here is how those terms are defined in Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Law, the only law book in the Colonies at the time of the American Revolution:

Blackstone explained how God equipped man to discover and obey the law of nature. First, God gave man reason, the ability, we might say, to determine causes and effects. So, for example, we might observe that acts like murder and theft produce bad consequences, and so conclude that these acts are bad. Second, Blackstone said, God made man in such a way that man cannot be truly happy unless he follows God's law. Thus, our own self-interest, our own desire to be happy, tends to make us do what is right and avoid doing what is wrong. This inner drive to obtain happiness by doing what is right both stimulates our logical reasoning to discover what is right and depends on our ability to employ logic to determine the right path in any given situation.

But, Blackstone said, our ability to reason logically is not "as in our first ancestor before his transgression, clear and perfect, unruffled by passions, unclouded by prejudice, [or] unimpaired by disease or intemperance . . . ." Because man's "reason is corrupt, and his understanding full of ignorance and error," Blackstone observed that God had not left the discovery of His natural law to man's reasoning powers alone. Rather, "in compassion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindness of human reason," God has been pleased, "to discover and enforce [His] laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered what we call the revealed or pine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures." So the second pillar on which the Founders based our freedom and independence - "the Laws of Nature's God" - is the Bible.

"Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation," Blackstone said, "depend all human laws." Blackstone explained that the natural law discovered by man's reason and the Bible were one and the same thing, but the Bible was "of infinitely more authenticity than that moral system which is framed by ethical writers," because the Bible is "expressly declared... by God himself; the other is only what, by the assistance of human reason, we imagine to be that law."

 
The governing constitutions of all 50 states recognize our Creator whether called Almighty God, pine Goodness or Supreme Ruler of the Universe and many, in their preamble acknowledge that He is the author of liberty.  In fact, gridlock plagued the delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention until Benjamin Franklin reminded them in a famous speech that:

“God governs in the affairs of men, and we have been assured…in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be pided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.”

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson boldly proclaimed that "God who gave us life gave us liberty” and then pondered “can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” 

Knowing that our rights are a gift from God, not government, do we cower to political correctness and speak the truth only in our homes and churches?  Doesn’t this help usher in the removal of a conviction in the minds of the people that our liberties are a gift from God?  It already has – and consequently, liberty is on the brink of destruction.

“This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

Religion is the practice of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe and man.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the fundamental precept that:

`“…inpidual man is infinitely important. Inpidual man is imperfect, yet God so loved him that He sent His only begotten Son to save him from sin.”

“After that basic Christian idea had worked for centuries in the finite minds of men, it led to an obvious conclusion: Inpidual man, the object of such infinite grace and mercy, is the most important creature on earth.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the origin of the basic American political ideal that man gets all his rights and powers from God, the Creator; that government was created by man and is instituted among men for the equal protection of inpidual God given rights.

What is the consequence of rejecting or neglecting this fundamental truth in our country and not holding government accountable to its proper role?  Nothing less than the progressive destruction of these rights to life, liberty and property.  Nothing less than the promotion of the same tyranny that has plagued most of mankind throughout all of history.

Liberty cannot be maintained apart from this moral and unchanging foundation.  The modern theory of a “living Constitution” (changing foundation) is what provided the framework for the post-New Deal liberal state.   “…fifty years of liberal jurisprudence has left American constitutionalism in a state of intellectual and moral confusion.”  Now contemporary constitutional theory is little more than "a veiled apology for rule by a liberal oligarchy.”

“The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations…”

With this phrase, we are often accused of being theocrats – or of advocating a merger of church and state.  Here is the key word to consider: RESTORE.  The definition of jurisprudence is, “the science or philosophy of law.”  Simply put, the philosophy of law in America was founded upon “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” – the stated authority in the Declaration of Independence.

From the time of the War for American Independence to the time of the War Between the States, the primary law book in America was Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England which was published in 1760.  It was widely circulated through Colonial America, and became the leading textbook for teaching law.

Blackstone defined law as “a rule of action which is prescribed by some superior and which the inferior is bound to obey.”  To illustrate this concept, he goes on to explain:

“When the Supreme Being formed the universe and created matter out of nothing, He impressed certain principles upon that matter from which it can never depart, and without which would cease to be.”

Blackstone drew a parallel from the laws governing the physical world to the laws governing man’s affairs:

“Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator for he is entirely a dependent being…As man depends absolutely on his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should, in all points conform to his maker’s will.”

Blackstone called the maker’s will the “law of nature” which was fixed when God created man:

“For as God, when He created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction o the motion, so when He created man, and endued him with free will to conduct himself in all parts of live, He laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that free will is in some degree regulated and restrained.”

“This law of nature, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.”

When the Foundation Began to Change

This faith in God, creation and revelation as the foundation for law dominated legal education until a Harvard dean, Christopher Columbus Langdell, not only introduced a new method of teaching law, he introduced a new faith concerning law.

While Blackstone had demonstrated that the principles and doctrines underlying the common law of England were unchanging, Langdell in his 1879 work, Cases on Contracts asserted that the law is a living thing:

Law, considered as a science, consists of certain principles or doctrines…  Each of these doctrines has arrived at its present state by slow decrees; on other words, it is a growth, extending in many cases through centuries.  This growth is to be traced in the main through a series of case; and much the shorted and best, if not the only way of mastering the doctrine effectually, is by studying the case in which it is embodied.

Rather than law being derived from Natural Law as verified in the Revealed Law, Langdell believed that the cases were the original sources of legal doctrine and principles.  “…the case gave birth to a rule of law, which slowly evolved through a series of cases into a full-fledged legal principle.”

Langdell abandoned the historic method of teaching Christian principles of the common law in favor of the new "case-book method" which directed the student to discover law through the constantly evolving opinion of judges.

Langdell taught that the evolution of law was guided by judges. Each opinion they wrote was one more step up the evolutionary ladder. A modern law student will never understand the mind of our Founders, because our Founders did not study the scribbling of men in black, they studied the Supreme Law of the Universe – the law of nature and nature’s God. Furthermore because Langdell taught that the evolution of law always means improvement, this would further discourage anyone from even studying our Founders. After all they would be considered legal Neanderthals by comparison with the enlightened Langdell. He rejected the Creator and His Law as the moral law which governs the universe.


Langdell claimed that his method of studying the law was the truly scientific method, implying that our Founders were unscientific and therefore in error. He substituted man’s reasoning for God’s revealed truth and taught his students that the scientific understanding of law requires society to reject the notion of fixed unalterable laws. His goal has been achieved. Like a virus unleashed, Langdell’s ideas infected not only his students, but other law schools, future law professors, judges and attorneys, and a vast number of legislators as well as anyone who came through the ranks of law schools across our land. And today the average American has also began to view law in a different light altogether. Now we have reached the point where, when you explain our Founder’s view of law and government people are dumbfounded. They often conclude, “How could our Founders have been so wrong about so many things?”

This drastic change in the foundation of American jurisprudence came at a time when a new faith was sweeping the academic world:

“that Darwin’s theory of evolution was the key to all of life, including the law.”

“As Darwin rejected God’s revelation of the creation account of life, so Langdell rejected God’s revelation of the creation of man and the governing moral laws of the universe.”

After hiring colleagues sympathetic to his philosophy and after winning the support of influential lawyers, Langdell’s teaching methods were implemented in almost every law school in the country by 1914.  His case method also has remained relatively unchanged for over one hundred years.

The single most influential jurist of the Twentieth Century was United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. His massive treatise, The Common Law, supplanted Blackstone's Commentaries as the premier text for law students. Holmes taught "the life of the law has not been logic, but experience," and argued that it was the responsibility of courts to direct the evolution of law. Because right and wrong do not exist in any absolute sense, judges must determine which standards are most appropriate at a given point in the evolution of a society.

Self-evident Truth

The Constitution is the law of the land.  That law has a moral foundation in both the Laws of Nature and the Laws of Nature’s God.  We’ve seen through history and we are currently witnessing the consequences of abandoning this solid foundation in whole. 

But what of abandoning the foundation in part? 

Our closest ally in political building is the Libertarian Party. The fundamental difference between our two parties is the foundation of American jurisprudence.  As described above, the Constitution Party recognizes the same self-evident truths articulated in the Declaration of Independence.  The LP, while recognizing that man has unalienable rights, remains silent on the question of a Creator (or rights giver) choosing instead to base their entire philosophy of government on human philosophers and reason.  In short, the LP has built a party based on the authority of the Laws of Nature alone.  This platform has attracted Christians and Atheists alike as well as many who embrace anarchy and its various philosophical forms.

As Blackstone observed both the natural law discovered by man's reason and the revealed law of the Bible were one and the same thing, but the revealed law was most reliable because it is the moral law given by God himself, rather than what man through his fallible reason imagines or guesses the law to be.  He made it clear that all legitimate laws rest on these two foundations.

To the LP, man’s reason, despite its passions, prejudices, perceptions and intemperance is perfectible and capable of discerning right from wrong to a sufficient degree that basing a nation’s foundation of law upon it would secure liberty to all people.  However, one glaring contradiction in libertarian ideology is the issue of abortion.  Man’s reasoning over the past 30 years has come to justify terminating the growing life inside of a woman so long as she chooses to do so.  Some rationalize that the growing embryo or fetus is not really a life.  Some say the mother’s right to control her body trumps the preborn child’s right to life.

At any rate, it is clear that abandoning the authority of the Laws of Nature’s God in favor of man’s reason alone removes the secure foundation for liberty.  Even if man believed he can “justify” abortion, the Law of Revelation makes it clear that unjustly destroying a human life is murder.  This absolute moral law removes any question of right and wrong in this circumstance.

When we remove God, we are inevitably left with the rule of men.  The rule of elites, the rule of experts.  In these people, we must place ultimate trust to carry forth their duties and protect liberty.  In the Kentucky Resolutions, 1798, Jefferson insisted that:

“confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism – free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go ... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in his Templeton Address of 1983:

  1. More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.’
  2. “Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval...
  3. ...But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.’

When our civil laws are not based on God’s absolute moral law, but rather the law as man imagines it to be, a conflict – as in the justification for abortion – will inevitably result.   As Frederic Bastiat opined in his 19th century work, The Law:

  1. “In the first place, it erases from everyone's conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.
  2. No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable.
  3. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

America’s social, political and economic problems stem from our turning away from the fundamental principles of liberty contained in our founding documents.  Generations of compromise of principle has led to a conflict society that has lost its moral compass.  Consequently, we face being swallowed up by the chains of tyranny that has been the destiny of most of the people of the world throughout history.

We all want progress…

But progress means getting nearer to the place  where you want to be.  And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.
~C.S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity"

When you consider that in a little over a century, America became the richest industrial nation on earth, and in less than a century we’ve become the largest debtor nation on earth, it is clear that America has taken the wrong path.  Americans understand that something is wrong, but having been sufficiently separated from knowledge of our own heritage of liberty, we are being easily taken in by promises of hope and change.  But that hope and change, sadly is more of the same.

To restore our Constitutional Republic and its political protection of our God given rights, there is no doubt that we must return to the path laid out for us by our founding fathers in the U.S. Constitution.

However, the lack of a mainstream platform for Constitutional principles and along with propaganda in the media obviously challenges this solution.  Most of us did not learn about the principles of good government in our public school education.  We learned dates and people and wars, but for many, American history wasn’t taught with any relevance to today or the future. 

The debates of the Constitutional Convention and the writings of the founders reveal a broader knowledge of religious, political, historical, economic, and philosophical studies than would be found in any cross section of American leaders today.  Likewise a study of the more than 200 years since our nation’s Constitution verifies the wisdom of the political system they originally devised. 

When the Constitution was understood by the people and followed by their representatives, America prospered like no other nation in history.  The abandonment of the Constitution and its principles of liberty has created a government whose long train of abuses and usurpations, is pursuing invariably the same object and evincing a design to reduce us under absolute despotism. We must begin anew to spread these principles of liberty and empower our citizenry to return to the path that will truly secure peace, prosperity and freedom.

© Constitution Party of Ohio - All rights reserved