What then saves us from this extreme individualism – the individualism, I might point out, that so many Tea Partyers advocate? Priestley answers:
“The great instrument in the hand of divine providence, of this progress of the species towards perfection, is society, and consequently government.”
How are legitimate governments created? Priestley tracks Locke again by stating that individuals entrust some of their rights (some police powers, for instance) to society and to government, and government in return protects society and individuals and helps them achieve their notions of happiness.
These are some of the Framers’ first principles of government, perhaps the most essential ones. This is Lockean liberalism, the kind of liberalism we all share. This is where the Declaration of Independence gets its notion of inalienable rights – rights that we entrust to the government but never fully transfer. The Framers’ political philosophy is based on the idea that we need society and government to help us improve ourselves.
On Apocalyptic talk. Let’s put two pieces of evidence together. On May 16, 2010, the Washington Post reported that “people are voting with their feet” and moving to counties and states that share their cultural and political viewpoints. As a result, “Many more states and counties are dominated by one-party supermajorities than in the past.” [...]
I love those flags from the Revolutionary War era. The excitement of the times must have led some colonists to stay up nights on CorelDRAW (it was a while ago) designing flags to express why their people were fighting. “Everything is new and yielding,” Benjamin Rush enthused about his generation’s time, and everyone may have had [...]
And that’s the logical flaw in American exceptionalism. We can’t be both an example and an exception. How can we say, with Hamilton and Lincoln, “You can be like us,” while we also say, “We are exceptional – we are an exception”? Do we believe with Stephen Douglas that certain nations or certain regions of the world need our political oversight and even the exercise of our military power to establish liberal institutions and republican government? Do we see some other nations as, in Hamilton’s words, “forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force” – destined to depend, perhaps, on our own force?
Shutting down the federal government, threatening to cause the nation to default, threatening to secede from the Union – it’s all so cool. As kids we used to call tactics like these “going sui.” One figured he’d lost the game, so he spent his remaining strength – be they armies in Risk or mortgaged houses [...]