Three American secrets to success that Obama does not get

The American system of government rests on a short list of first principles. Three simple secrets enabled true freedom to emerge. Photo: Washington Times

WASHINGTON, August 9, 2013 — President Obama claims that Republicans are more obsessed with “phony scandals” than with fixing the economy. That’s why the economy continues to sputter and falter.

The facts make clear that Obama’s vision and approach are wrong, regardless of scandal. The threat of Obamacare is responsible for moving this to a nation of part-time workers, not Republican concerns over the IRS and Benghazi. Seventy-seven percent of the jobs created so far this year are part-time. Republicans didn’t do that; Obama did.

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The American system as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution is simple. It works. When the people choose leaders who understand those documents, America prospers.

Obama has pursued a progressive agenda to a degree never before seen in the American presidency. Obama’s every policy, tactic and speech provides a stark contrast to the simple yet demanding formula for freedom gifted to the American people. The Founding Fathers first laid out that formula in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, and bequeathed us a refined set of operating principles in 1791, with ratification of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

Those who believe that progress means remaking America’s system of government and culture reject three truths that Colonial Americans understood and accepted:

1. Human nature does not evolve. 

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While men and women differ in many ways, the nature of man — red and yellow, black and white — is fixed. We are no better than those who came before us, no wiser, no more just. We only live under different institutions. Our laws have evolved as our societies have grown in wealth and complexity, not our spirits.

Each of us, unless committed to internal and external discipline, is prone to laziness, greed, corruption through power, jealousy and pride. We have the capacity for virtue — hard work, sharing, compassion and love, but we always have. All that has changed are our opportunities to express our nature. A subsistence farmer is too busy to be the best or the worst that he can be. Orange County housewives and New York City Congressmen with iPhones have the time and opportunity to show the world who they really are and what they really value.

An understanding of human nature is the reason for a separation of powers, checks and balances, due process and every other element of America’s unique constitutional republic. They limit the power that has corrupted everyone from the Caesars to the Borgias to the Soviet Politburo to the city fathers of Chicago.

Obama seems to believe, as W. David Stedman wrote in “Our Ageless Constitution,” “that groups of imperfect people, possessing the power of government, will act more morally, more ethically, and make better decisions than people, acting as individuals.” Has he never opened a history book?

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2. All primary or “unalienable” rights come from the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.” 

America was the first nation to throw itself fully into the experiment of structuring a government to protect rights given to all individuals by God. Our government was designed to serve and protect our God-given rights. If at first our understanding of “all men” was limited, our laws and institutions grew to be more inclusive, but this principle remained: The people granted power to their government; the government could not create or grant rights.

This is expressed at its most basic level in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”

The massive health care law that is rapidly imploding under its own weight is an example of government attempting to create a new, manmade right. Adequate health care is something everyone wants and needs, but it is not a right for government to secure. Trying to make it so puts us in the position of supplicants, waiting for the government to create and distribute rights, which it can only pretend to do if we grant it more power.

3. The history of civilization revealed the truth.

Those who created this country studied what had worked and not worked since human civilizations first appeared 5,000 years ago. They were, as Stedman writes, “synthesizers and activators of a long train of political thought.”

The brilliance of Cicero, Locke, Hume, Socrates and many more influenced their writings, including the Declaration and Constitution. They considered the Roman Republic a zenith in governance, influencing the great British Empire to come. Roman experience, good and bad, led the Founders to choose a republican form of government. The Israelites modeled the principle of divisions among the population into what we know as local, state, and national forms. 

Tthe Founders looked at history carefully to distill a short list of “first principles.” Though distorted and ignored by many modern American leaders, their importance is undiminished.

Progressives like Obama refuse to acknowledge that all other forms of governance have failed repeatedly, for example communism and socialism. They have failed because they have assumed that human nature is infinitely mutable, that they can mold us into into the right kind of people for their ideal societies. Rather than create governments that take human nature as given and channel our greed and ego and generosity to achieve greatness, they demand that humans become pieces of their grand vision. They love humanity, but know and care nothing about human beings.

Europe has attempted to bend the principles into what they call “social democracy.” The herd element of human nature let it work as long as the government could provide its human sheep with growing material wealth, but when the government can no longer provide, the sheep don’t just sing the Marseillaise and resolve to work harder.

The sheep get resentful and testy. Their basic human nature bubbles up. We have seen it in violent Greek and Spanish protests over reductions in public benefits and jobs, destructive street violence in France over laws against Muslim women wearing full face coverings, rage over youth unemployment of 50 percent in Southern Europe, riots in Sweden prompted by simmering resentment over inequality, and so on.

Obama and his team call Benghazi, the IRS abuses, Operation Fast and Furious killings, and crony deals with firms like Solyndra “phony scandals.” In fact, these scandals and others are the result of attempting to recast basic principles and redefine America’s culture and government. 

Every modern alternative to America’s constitutional republic has led to a loss of liberty, and the more they have ignored the basic principles, the greater the body count. Hundreds of millions of cruel deaths have resulted from ignoring these principles. The Founding Fathers gave us a bulwark against that tide of savagery, if only we have the wisdom to defend and preserve it.


Carla Garrison follows current events with one eye on history and the other on the future.  Her goal is to encourage people to know the truth and use it as a call to personal action. Read more Truth be ToldFollow Carla on Twitter and Facebook.



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Carla Garrison

Carla writes about current issues and events with an aim toward telling the truth, using the writings of great thinkers, dead and living, as well as common sense.

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