- The Following speech was delivered to the meeting of the Council for National Policy on Saturday, May 12, 2007.
One thing about folks knowing you are going to speak at the Council for National Policy, you get lots of advice as to what to say. A lot of good advice. Good talking points. In fact enough for several speeches. Also, some of your friends, knowing that you are thinking about running for President, urge you to give a rousing campaign speech
Hopefully there will be an opportunity to do all of those things but tonight instead of all of that, I want to talk a little about what should be the origin of all those talking points. This would be the principles on which they are based — first principles. The principles you have been defending since 1981.
For Americans, these are found in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. They include a recognition of God and the fact there are certain rights that come from Him and not the government. They are based upon a respect for the wisdom of the ages, and a belief that human beings are prone to err; that too much power must never rest in too few hands. The result is a system of checks and balances and a separation of powers that flow from our guiding documents and from the rule of law.
Finally, if we want to change or alter these concepts or any provision in the Constitution, we are given a specific method to do that — by Constitutional Amendment.
So how are we doing as a nation in upholding these first principles? The answer is we could be doing better … a lot better.
I want to tell you a couple of short stories from my own personal experience. Each story is about a man. They are both public figures and I was blessed with the opportunity to be of some small assistance to each of them. Their circumstances have to do with these first principles.
First, an observation. Our nation is based upon the proposition that our statutes, common law and the Constitution will not only be applied fairly between litigants, but will also be observed by the government. People will be able to rely upon the rules, usually long established, and their consistent application. This engenders respect for the law. It is a sad irony that a nation that is so dedicated to the rule of law is doing so much to undermine the respect for it.
Our founders established an independent federal judiciary to decide cases, not social policy. Yet more and more that is exactly what it is doing. Roe v. Wade is a classic example. And nowhere is it more apparent than with regard to the issue of church and state.
Fred Thompson has been a lawyer, actor and United States Senator. He writes exclusive analysis and commentary for Townhall Magazine.