Friday, June 10, 2011

A Recurrence to Fundamental Principles

The constitutions of many early American states included passages like the following one, from New Hampshire in 1783, which I think is an excellent expression of the role of this site -- to recover and recall foundational principles, to consider how they are to be applied (what reason would require), and to examine other considerations and points of accumulated wisdom that may be forgotten.

"A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the Constitution, and a constant adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, frugality, and all the social virtues, are indispensably necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty and good government; the people ought, therefore, to have a particular regard to all those principles in the choice of their officers and representatives; and they have a right to require of their lawgivers and magistrates an exact and constant observance of them in the formation and execution of the laws necessary for the good administration of government."

The achievements of past generations gave us America, and (where their achievements were true victories) subsequent generations added to those gains.  However, their victories are not permanent.  Unless the Constitution they made is defended and maintained (not just venerated and invoked) by people who are willing to read it, study it, and find a way to preserve it in its role as the Supreme Law of the Land, atrophy and entropy will reverse the good it has done, as other objectives and interest claim priority.

We have a choice between those two outcomes.  Our decision -- the right decision -- is clear.

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