In these two pieces, I start the review of the First Things about American Culture and Civilization. It all began as soon as the Revolution was won. The discussions of “Who Are We?” and “How Now Do We Live?” were controversial to say the least. Those essential questions and the controversies they provoke are at the heart of our Culture War today.
This is the fifth installment – in two pieces – of a series on Our Great U.S. Culture War.
Unity and Division
In the last installment we reviewed the Revolutionary Era’s emerging duality of one overarching American cultural identity and four regional sub-culture identities. A unique American Culture and Civilization took shape. The “American Creed” spoke what it meant to be an American. The regional sub-cultures assimilated everyone in their respective regions.
Contrary to the 1619 Project’s flights of fantasy, the American Creed didn’t specify that a person had to be White to be an American. Despite the enslavement in all 13 newly independent states and widespread racial prejudice, Black Americans were American. No person on earth would mistake them for being anything other than American.
That was true then and it’s true now.
Yet, decades later, when Chief Justice Taney ruled to the contrary in Dred Scott, he ignored the fact that free Blacks voted in elections for delegates to the ratification conventions in North Carolina. It’s hard to argue that voting participants in the ratification process to create the government aren’t actually citizens, but the Taney majority did. The Supreme Court was wrong. Not for the last time, either.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of “from many to one”, all Americans became an English-speaking People. The significant German-speaking minority and all others gained fluency in English.
America’s First Things
Let’s go back to 1783 to 1789 in these United States of America.
Against overwhelming odds, Americans win their independence in a brutal, bloody civil war we call the American Revolution and Revolutionary War. A government is formed with the Articles of Confederation. It doesn’t work well. The Constitutional Convention held May 25, 1787 to Sep 17, 1787 was called by the States to “render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union.” Congress hoped for a mild revision, but at least ten of the thirteen states had something bigger in mind. The delegates wrote and approved a completely new Constitution. It was sent out to the sovereign states to ratify.
Sidebar: It’s ironic that “Confederacy” was an acceptable word for government in 1777. It became less popular in 1861. Sometime in this century it became anathema to American Human Secularist Totalitarians and their sheep.
The ideas embedded in the 1787 U.S. Constitution were controversial. They remain so today. These ideas are the fundamental first things about being an American. They are the essence of who we are as citizens. They are the plumb lines for the Government of the United States (GOTUS) established by the 1787 Constitution as Amended.
The ideas are argued in our elections today. Unlike the superb dialogues in the Federalist Papers, our politicians won’t argue the ideas as such. Regardless, the ideas and their words have meaning. Those meanings make elections have extreme consequences. Witness the damage done to the economy by the Federal Government, and the government alone, since January 2021.
Therefore, as war is too important to be left to the Generals and Admirals, so politics is too important to leave it to the politicians.
Consider this thing first: What is the basis for a treasonous revolution and bloody war to create a new government?
The Patriots said they fought for their Rights under Natural Law and their Rights as Englishmen.
Patriot Americans argued that every individual has inalienable rights. These rights didn’t come from government of any kind. Our Founders believe these rights are given by a sovereign God. They’re attained and fully in effect upon birth. Consequently, the birthright for all Americans is their individual humanity under Natural Law.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines Natural Law as “in philosophy, system of right or justice held to be common to all humans and derived from nature rather than from the rules of society, or positive law.”
Natural Law is a top down hierarchy of the Laws of Nature, Laws of God, and Laws of Man.
The term “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” recognizes the sovereignty of God the Creator in creating all things – nature, humans, science and scientific laws – into being. The Laws of Nature exist whether anyone recognizes them or not. So, gravity is. The nature of “Man” – humans – exists whether one knows it or not. So, there are two genders of humans – male and female – hard stop.
To complicate our understanding of our First Things, the understanding of Natural Law changed over time. In the beginning, the Puritan definition of Natural Law was different from the Roman Catholic definition. The Puritan definition dominated in a 98% Protestant America. That definition evolved through the American Revolution to become more like self-evident principles than explicit reflections of God’s creation. The principles became known as rationally-based moral principles without religious authority. Today, Natural Law is taught, by many if not most, as a moral-ethical basis for civics – completely divorced from God.
Removing God from Natural Law is dangerous.
Hence, the fundamental hierarchy of Laws of Nature, Laws of God, and Laws of Man becomes crucial.
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