Joel Watts – Question 3 Response 1
Elgin Hushbeck – Question 3 Response 1
Joel Watts – Question 3 Response 2
Elgin Hushbeck – Question 3 Response 2
Q1: What Judeo-Christianity values have defined the country from the very beginning?
Do you mean “from the very beginning” until now? Given the redefinition of the 1st amendment, and the increasingly hostile attitude of government toward Christianity, little except the most basic aspects of morality would fit this definition. Still even with the growing rejection of Christianity, much of our thinking, what might be labeled our shared assumptions still derives from the Judeo-Christian world view. To see this one only needs to compare how Western Europe changed with the rise of Christianity, values like compassion and concern for the poor and those in need that remain with us still.
Q2: Can you define liberty and freedom only from the Constitution, of which Jefferson had no part? How might this shape your view of Government?
Well, given that a major purpose of the Constitution was to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” it would seem that liberty played a significant role. It can also be seen in the type of government they set up, a limited government of enumerated powers with checks and balances. In addition, you can see in the exchanges between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists that liberty was foremost on their minds, as, in short, the anti-Federalists believed the new federal government would be too strong and threaten liberty, while the Federalists argued that they had sufficient limits to keep that from happening. To address some of the other points you raised. At one level the Constitution is the defining document that outlines our form of Government. It was, until recently, the final authority and law of the land*. But I also believe it to be the best answer to the problem of defining a workable democratic** form of government. In terms of governing documents, I agree with British Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone, that “The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”
You said that it was “filled with flaws and temporal based ideals and errors.” As a document written by men, this is probably true, but since you did not give any particular examples, it is impossible to evaluate this statement. Both those who love and hate the Constitution could stay the same thing, so without examples, such statements are meaningless.
You claim that it is “an economic charter meant first to protect the rights of the landed gentry” but this is more a statement based on ideology than history, and in fact conflicts with the contemporaneous writings of those involved. It was, as it says, written “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
While you are technically correct that “This Republic is not based on the Declaration of Independence, but the Constitution” the Constitution is in the same spirit as the Declaration and the Declaration forms the backdrop for it. Much of the debate over the Constitution centered on whether it would be able to “secure the blessings of liberty” or would ultimately threaten them. This remains a key aspect of the modern debate, as some seek to replace liberty with equality.
Finally, you like to make broad, sweeping, and often inflammatory statements such as freedom “is a false idea” or “is a propagandist tool.” Or you cite song lyrics, but again without any examples. Thus it is hard to know what you actually mean. Do you mean a strictly deterministic point of view? If so what is the point of arguing what we should or should not do? Do you mean something else? If so what?
(*) In recent decades the Constitution has been replaced by the Supreme Court under the guise that it is a living document.
(**) So there is not any confusion here, I am using democratic in its generic sense of a government where ultimate authority is derived from the people. I am not referring to pure democracy or direct democracy and know that the particular type of democratic government we have is that of a republic.
Q3) Now that I’ve explained my stances on individualism, I will repeat the question: Individualism is in direct opposition to Jewish Tradition, Christian Tradition, and the Declaration of Independence. Why is it, then, your bedrock ideal?
I was correct in that we have different understanding of individualism. You make sweeping statements such as that the expression “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps” has never occurred in all of human history. Yet this is either understood in some hyper-literal sense that is foreign to my understanding, or it is simply false, because it happens, at least as I understand the phrase, all the time. In fact, one of the really great things about this country it that is happens so frequently, though the government is making it increasingly harder.
Ultimately I do not recognize what I actually believe in your characterizations. Thus the premise of your question is seriously flawed. What specifically do you think I believe that, “is in direct opposition to Jewish Tradition, Christian Tradition, and the Declaration of Independence?”