Liberty Letters, 2008-01
In his 1832 work, “Democracy In America,” Alexis de Tocqueville reminds us that “Christianity, which has declared that all are equal in the sight of God, will not refuse to acknowledge that all citizens are equal in the eye of the law. … Religion … is the companion of liberty in all its battles and all it conflicts; the cradle of its infancy and the divine source of its claims.”
Long forgotten by a state school system infected by Supreme Court rulings, ACLU lawsuits, and Education Associations that worship Dewey and Humanism, while banning God and Christianity; is that it was Jesus Christ’s teaching of the common brotherhood of men, the Golden Rule, and the equal accountability of ALL before the Judgment Bar of Christ, that exercised a mighty hand in inspiring equality before the law, inalienable rights, and the principle of representation in the founding of our republic. Those teachings were the divine source, their first practice, the very cradle of liberty.
De Tocqueville was right.
And because of this liberating influence, the day of the elitist notion of the “King is Law” was over. The ringing reversal that “the Law is King” properly stood in its place. And to state it as clear as clear can be: every man now found pleasure in appealing to his own copy of the Bible to cite principles of Higher Law to protect himself and his neighbor from tyrants, bullies, ruffians, and blue bloods.
This was revolutionary. The democratic principle, largely crushed for ages, rose from the tomb thanks to the invention of the Guttenberg press, followed by the printing of the Bible, its free distribution in the common tongue, and its liberating influence, especially in the free air of America on men’s minds and souls.
And far better than what occurred in a more secular Enlightenment Europe, Faith-and-Reason-America founded a better democratic order. Not like the anarchies of Greece, nor the disgusting and bloody extremes that destroyed all in France, but a sort of moral liberalism. Or to put it another way, a republic of laws, a liberty widely understood as freedom to do what is right, with checks on the magistrate and citizen who did what was wrong, and God-given rights as checks on all. A new, legitimate, solid, constitutional democratic order. Made to prosper, made to last. And last it did.
It turned the world upside down, shook off the shackles of superstition and ignorance, and set man on the pathway to faith and knowledge, freedom and prosperity as never before. Thank goodness, and thank God.
Alexis de Tocqueville had it right, and so we now hear his conclusion:
“These two tendencies (the moral and political world), apparently so discrepant, are far from conflicting; they advance together, and mutually support each other. … The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law and the surest pledge of freedom.”
So we once believed. I still do. Not a state church. De Tocqueville opposed that. He was sounding like Washington, in his Farewell address. Religion and morality must be free to work a salutary influence on us all, to prevent the sort of liberty Burke described as “[like] a madman” or else “a highwayman and murderer who has broke prison upon the recovery of his natural rights.” That’s not liberty. De Tocqueville would agree.
The Liberty Letters are a project of the Latter-day Center for Moral Liberalism, and NewsMax.com pundit Steve Farrell. Mr. Farrell also serves as associate professor of political economy at George Wythe College, and is the author of the highly praised inspirational classic, “Dark Rose.”