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OPINION

Liberty Versus Power

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Every day that goes by we are seeing an America we don’t recognize. But is there a point where it could go too far? Of course. Nowhere is it prophesied that America will last forever.

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In Fiddler on the Roof, Reb Tevya, the patriarch of a devout Jewish family, is severely tested when one of his daughters wants to marry a Gentile. Tevye says, “How can I turn my back on my faith, my people? If I try and bend that far, I’ll break!”

Sometimes I wonder if America is bending so far that we might break. The indictment, arrest, and arraignment of a former president, who has declared his candidacy for another run, is a new low, even in our current post-Christian state of America.

Victor Davis Hanson is an insightful historian. He sees the big picture so well. On April 6, 2023, he opined that America is fast approaching our own version of the Jacobin-led French Revolution.

Hanson notes, “This revolution is run by elites and is a top-down operation….Still, to thoroughly erase America, our Jacobins must radically alter our customs and traditions….like the Jacobins, names and dates had to be radically transformed. 1619, not 1776, is now America’s birthdate and, we are told, it was an ignominious one. Statues are toppled, careers Trotskyized.”

 What all this boils down to is the abuse of liberty to gain power. Power must be maintained at all cost. That’s all that matters to the hard core left today.

At the end of the day, they would tear America down with the goal of rebuilding a Marxist utopia---an apt phrase since utopia means “no place.” Nowhere on earth is there a Marxist paradise. There are many Marxist governments, but all of them are horrible places---unless you happen to be a part of the elite.

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The genius of America’s founders is that they were careful not to allow too much power in the hands of too few people.

For my series of films on how our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage is the “Foundation of American Liberty,” I interviewed retired Judge Darrell White, who has established the group, Retired Judges of America.

Judge White said of America’s founders, “They pledged their lives, their fortune, their sacred honor on behalf of themselves, but also, on behalf of posterity.  That’s us and our grandchildren and we hold the truths of the Constitution and the sacred guarantees that are ours as Americans. We hold them not as owners, but in trust.  We are trustees for the next generation.”

But what about needed change?

The founders made provision for that in Article Five of the Constitution---otherwise known as the amendment process. These amendments to the Constitution would need to be proposed by two-thirds of each chamber of Congress. They would then require the ratification of three-quarters of the states to be approved. The founders made the process arduous on purpose, since changing the Constitution is not to be taken lightly. Nevertheless, it’s not an impossible process. Indeed, the Constitution has been amended 27 times.

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White explains: “That’s the mechanism for changing the Constitution. Other than that, the Constitution means what it said when it was issued, and James Madison, the father of the Constitution, made that crystal clear when he said, ‘Every word of the Constitution decides a question between liberty and power.’”

Liberty versus power. The longer those who worship power and will do anything---even lie, cheat, and steal (elections and everything else)---the more they are undermining liberty for the rest of us and certainly for our children, and children’s children.

George Washington, who presided over the Constitutional Convention, showed us the key to getting back to our national roots.

The father of our country said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports….And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” In Washington’s day and context, he meant that to undermining Christianity and Biblical morality was to undermine the nation.

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If we curtail religious influence in society, notes George Washington, then we can expect our morality to plummet. And if our morality plummets, we become incapable of self-government. That is precisely what we see happening today.

Another founding father, James McHenry, said, “In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw intrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong intrenchments.”  Enthrenchments refers to habits so ingrained that change is difficult. Thus, the Bible helps increase and safeguard morality. We abandon it at our peril.

Thus, America’s great solution is genuine revival leading to great change. That is our greatest hope.

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