Curbing a Constitutional Crisis; Rediscovering Core Principles Is the Key to Liberty

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 9, 2009 | Go to article overview

Curbing a Constitutional Crisis; Rediscovering Core Principles Is the Key to Liberty


Byline: Ed Feulner, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

These are the times that try conservatives' souls.

A liberal president wants funding for defense slashed. Congress aims to increase taxes and regulate just about everything. Activist judges create new rights while ignoring long-standing precedent.

So why remain upbeat? Because our country still has the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They're the touchstones of our liberty - and the conservative trump cards in the battle of ideas.

We don't need to remake America, or discover new and untested principles, writes scholar Matthew Spalding in his latest book. The change we need is not the rejection of America's principles but a great renewal of these permanent truths about humanity, politics, and liberty - the foundational principles and constitutional wisdom that are the true roots of our country's greatness.

In short, we need a roadmap back to where our country should be. That's where Mr. Spalding's We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future (2009, ISI Books) comes in. It outlines the core principles of liberty, details the progressive liberals' assault on those principles, and explains why and how we must defend and reapply them if we are to save our country.

Every American should know the Founding principles of our country. The meaning and power of these ideas will be lost in the course of a lifetime if they are not taught to each generation of students, Mr. Spalding warns. The public mission of our schools in the past was to transmit this knowledge to young Americans as the most important requisite for democracy. This must be the mission of our schools again.

But there's no need to wait for a new generation of citizens to rise and lead us. Elected officials should also act.

One small step in this direction would be to require all legislation to contain an explanation of its constitutional authority, compelling at least a consideration of each proposal's constitutional legitimacy, Mr. Spalding writes. Policymakers should also work backward, reviewing existing laws and regulations to ensure they pass constitutional muster. …

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