Steve Deace

This is an excerpt from the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again

If we want to restore these United States of America as a true constitutional republic, we actually have to start basing our arguments as if we still are one.

That means we begin every one of our arguments at the beginning:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable (God-given) Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

This quote is the money-line from our nation’s mission statement—The Declaration of Independence. Whenever a nation, people, organization, or institution acts in a way that is contrary to its mission statement it has abandoned its mission. Those seeking to restore that mission then must start thinking and behaving in accordance with that mission regardless of what those opposed to it are doing.

But that’s not what we’ve been doing.

Within the past generation we have reduced the moral high ground of our arguments to clichés and talking points for speeches before the already-converted. However, once we step into the arena to take on the Left we end up arguing our version of utilitarianism versus theirs. Since utilitarianism is a philosophy that has its origins in humanistic and Marxist thought/philosophy, that means those of us who still believe in the mission statement of America lose no matter who wins.

There are four characteristics of a culture that has fully embraced utilitarianism. Read on and see if any this sounds like our culture today.

Decadence: Liberty becomes licentiousness, self expression becomes selfishness, and the pursuit of happiness becomes materialism. Moral standards are summed up with phrases like “if it feels good do it” and “as long as you’re not hurting anybody else it’s ok.”

Decay: Traditions and institutions that a society once leaned upon to maintain the proper relationship between the government and the governed, as well as the rule of law, are allowed to deteriorate until they are eventually ignored and cast aside altogether.

Debt: Personal accountability and responsibility are replaced by the common good, which means it becomes the role of society to enable, validate, and in some cases subsidize the individual’s quest for self actualization/gratification—provided that individual is an asset and not a liability. Valuable corporate entities that make bad decisions become “too big to fail” and require government bailouts. If someone wants to acquire the education and training necessary to become a productive member of society, then society must pay for it and then society has a claim on the wages that person earns once they’re successful. In short, the ends justify the means. The endgame is almost always the creation of a ruling class, or elites, as those in public policy (government) and captains of industry (business) monolithically join together since it’s obvious we need them to make all our decisions for us.

Death: Once a person is labeled a liability, discarding them is justified. If unmarried high school sweethearts conceive a child in a hotel room on prom night, that unborn child can be killed because its birth gets in the way of what they have planned with the rest of their lives. With no moral constraints on flawed human nature, resources and revenues grow scarce, so the population must be controlled to manage them. Unproductive workers or minority groups can be purged if it is determined they have outlived their usefulness, and/or become a drain on the system. An elderly woman who is disabled can be tossed aside by the healthcare system in favor of the able-bodied and productive. Schoolchildren are conditioned to adopt this value system through tests which list ten people stranded on a boat that will sink unless four of them are tossed overboard. Students are given the background on all ten passengers, and then select which foursome’s lives are worthy of sacrificing with the idea the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few—or the one.

That hits pretty close to home, doesn’t it?

Utilitarianism is based on maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain for the most public and/or individual good. Of course, the definitions of terms like “good” are always evolving. Thus utilitarianism becomes a totally subjective standard not based on moral absolutes, but rather what’s best for the whims, desires, impulses, and preferences for those wanting to justify their actions at the time. Utilitarianism was a driving philosophical force in the former Soviet Union—“from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

Utilitarianism runs contrary to the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” referenced in The Declaration of Independence, which is the fixed standard embedded in the creation by the Creator Himself for our own good, and is so obvious our Founding Fathers called it “self evident.”

Utilitarianism allows ethics to evolve based on what individuals or societies prefer or believe is optimal at the time, or necessary to drive their materialistic bottom line. Meanwhile, the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” is an objective moral standard that is always what’s best for individuals and societies, because it is the very blueprint devised by the loving God in whose image we are all made.

Since our rights come from God and not government, nobody has a “right” to do anything that God says is wrong. Now, that doesn’t mean government punishes every sin as if it’s a criminal act, but it does mean that if your sin gets in the way of someone else’s God-given rights, you have no right to it.

For example, if permitting your sin prohibits someone’s access to continue to exist, you have violated their God-given right to life. If permitting your sin prohibits someone’s access to their moral conscience, you have violated their God-given right to religious freedom. And so on and so forth. Furthermore, you don’t get to claim you have new, never-before-acknowledged “rights” if granting you those rights costs somebody else their previously acknowledged God-given ones.

We aren’t going to preserve liberty and prosperity for future generations by indulging our own variation of moral relativism, or our own variation of unconstitutional government. For example, the response to judicial tyranny isn’t getting our own judges in there to violate their oaths of office to make things right. It’s getting other or lesser magistrates to honor their oaths to uphold the Constitution by refusing to enforce these anti-constitutional judicial fiats in the first place. That both does the right thing but also sets things right by restoring the separation of powers.

There is no right way to do a wrong thing, nor is there a wrong way to do a right thing. The imperfect men who devised our constitutional republic devised a near flawless system because they acknowledged the sinfulness of man from the outset—including their own. That’s why we have checks and balances and a necessary and proper process for putting our virtues and values into action politically.

If we violate that necessary and proper process to put our beliefs into action, we’re no better than the Statists. In fact, we’re playing right into their hands.


Steve Deace

Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated radio host for the USA Radio Network. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and Real Clear Politics among others. He's one of the top 100 talk show hosts in America according to Talkers Magazine. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Conservative Review, USA Today, and Town Hall.com, Deace is a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the book "Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again," which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. He lives in Iowa with his wife Amy, and their three children: Ana, Zoe, Noah You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.