By Robert A. Vella
The modern conservative movement, which is more radical now than conservative, has for many years kidnapped the legacy of America’s founding fathers as justification for their extreme ideology. Their perfunctory rhetoric would have us believe Washington, Jefferson, et al were icons of conservative virtue, that the notions of unrestrained capitalism, decentralized government, Christian fundamentalism, and cultural homogeneity, constitute the core principles of America.
Conservatives have been largely successful at perpetrating this myth because Americans have forgotten their history, in addition to the narcissistic complicity of the corporate-controlled media. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. Although individually diverse in their thinking, America’s founding fathers as a whole promoted the philosophy of 18th century liberalism during the Age of Enlightenment. They advanced the application of reason and science to self-governance. They favored the rule of law over hereditary privilege and the Divine Right of Kings. They promoted democracy, civil rights, secularism, and freedom of the press. All these ideas are now either explicitly or implicitly opposed by modern conservatism.
You’ll never hear conservatives or the mainstream media admit to this, but the U.S. Constitution is probably the most liberal document ever devised to build a nation upon (at least up until then).
The current concerns over economic inequality were also shared by America’s founding fathers who had much to say on the topic. They believed excessive concentration of wealth would be detrimental to a free and just society. David Cay Johnston wrote an informative piece this week for Newsweek which superbly conveys their views on this matter. I highly recommend reading it: Why Thomas Jefferson Favored Profit Sharing
Hence, the importance of keeping the history alive in generations – so that the Founding Fathers’ core values are upheld. Regretfully it does not happen as a matter of blanket voice, but who knows a U turn may yet occur…
Hopefully. Americans have done a pretty poor job of keeping their true history alive.
Yes and the “disease” has spread wide I think. But, let’s hope and hold the thought of regeneration 😀
Jay Leno, when he did those “man on the street” bits, could’ve asked, “were the founding fathers democrats or republicans?” The answers would’ve been interesting.
Ina, I watched a YouTube video about some pyramid structures in Visoko, Bosnia that was interesting. One man on the film thought that the pyramid structures were the greatest archeological find of the century. I believe you live in that region, so I was curious if you had any knowledge or opinion about the pyramids. If not, search YouTube “Visoko – The Enigma of the Bosnia Pyramids”. The man who is leading the study is an academic named Sam Osmanagich, and he suggests the pyramids are energy machines – maybe plausible, maybe not – but interesting.
Answers to your hypothetical Jay Leno question would probably be exceedingly embarrassing as well. For the record, the current Democratic and Republican parties didn’t exist until decades later. Andrew Jackson was the first Democratic president, and Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president.
In his farewell address, George Washington spoke out against political parties. From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington%27s_Farewell_Address
“Washington warns the people that political factions who seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government, or prevent the constitutional branches from enacting the powers provided them by the constitution may claim to be working in the interest of answering popular demands or solving pressing problems, but their true intentions are to take the power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men.”
Your right- Conservatives do not “own” the Constitution.
One reason why information and education are so important.