I’ve been thinking about the “list of grievances” in the Declaration of Independence. These are the things the patriots believed were their God-given rights, and expectations under the law as Englishmen. But the king had been ignoring the law, and their rights, and imposing upon them, despite their appeals through all legal and peaceful means.
By the time of the Declaration of Independence, the patriots had been engaged in fighting the British Army, their supposed protectors, since April 1775, more than a year of war already.
The revolutionaries of our founding were not trying to fundamentally transform England; they were trying to restore the rights their citizenship was supposed to grant them. In separating, they found a better way than a monarchy to guarantee those rights—by limiting government.
It still took more than another decade to settle into creating the Constitution, with its balance of strength and limitations. Our founding documents are brilliant—and inspired.
Some months ago I wrote about the different types of minds that gravitate toward “conserving” what is good or “throwing out” what isn’t perfect. This is the debate between two foundational thinkers: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine (in Personality Divide, Part I and Part II). Either party can have a variety of thinking types, but there does seem to be an overabundance among liberals of those who see what they see as something imperfect in what we have, and expand that to hate the whole and want to start from scratch, their own way.
This difference in ways of thinking appeared again recently. A few days ago I learned of a study by Pew Research, that came out in June, concerning patriotism. Their studies tend to be exhaustive and detailed. But, the short version is, if you’re patriotic in America today, chances are great that you are a conservative.
Without delving into the specific questions, we can say that of “steadfast conservatives,” 72% say they’re proud to be Americans, of “business conservatives” (I’m not sure how this difference is defined), 81% are proud to be American. Of self-declared “solid liberals” only 40% say they’re proud to be American.
I haven’t studied this enough to say whether the data bears this out, but it might be that, if you don’t love the country enough to recognize her strengths, you shouldn’t be allowed to touch anything that might cause “transformational” change—because you don’t know a good thing when you’re living with it up close and personal.
Along those lines, I want to share one other thing today. This is a comparison of what happened after we won the Vietnam War—when liberals came in, failed to keep our promises, and allowed the enemy to come in and claim victory after all—and what is today happening in Iraq. I’ve seen this comparison in my own mind, but didn’t have the historical details to synthesize it. Bill Whittle does that clearly—as he does with so many issues. It’s worth watching on a day when we celebrate the brilliant, shining example of civilization that is America.