January 18, 2012
The Intellectual & Moral Bankruptcy of Our Time
In a previous paper, I explained the shift from the philosophy of our Framers, which was based on Logic, Fixed Principles and Judeo/Christian Morality, to the pragmatist/existentialist mindset of today. With our mindset of today, we are “freed” from the notion that some things are True, other things are False; some things are Right, other things are Wrong; and that there exist fixed Standards and Principles - such as the U.S. Constitution and the moral laws - to which we must conform.
Today, we have nothing to guide us but our own feelings: “I like it”, “I don’t like it”, “I agree”, “I don’t agree”, I “believe” or “I don’t believe”. That is the essence of the existentialist mindset: we make “choices” on the basis of no standard except for what we “like.” Or don’t like. When people disagree, those with The Power decide - on the basis of what they like.
Our politicians ignore Our Constitution. They do whatever they want. Every day, the President violates the Constitution he swore to protect; and Congress does nothing about it. How could Congress do anything about it? Since they too abandoned the Constitution, they have no Objective Standard by which to judge the President. All they can say is, “I don’t agree.”
And WE THE PEOPLE don’t hold our politicians accountable for their violations of Our Constitution. We keep re-electing them! Why? Because we too have abandoned the Standard by which to judge their acts: Have you read Our Declaration of Independence and Our Constitution? Do you understand the concepts of “enumerated powers”, “federalism” and “rule of law”?
Our Existentialist U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio
our politicians fall short of the mark. None of them seem to
understand that they are obligated to obey Our Constitution; and that
they have no right to elevate into law their own personal views.
They all illustrate the intellectual and moral collapse of our time – even the charismatic Tea Party darling, Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Fl). Consider his speech of August 2, 2011 before the Senate.
You can read it here, and watch it here.
A few paragraphs into his speech, Rubio says:
I would remind many like myself that were elected in the last election cycle, tightly embracing the principles of our Constitution… [boldface added]
Oh! A tea party candidate who will “tightly embrac[e] the principles of our Constitution”! We in the Tea Party are all for that, aren’t we?
But then, Rubio goes on to speak of the dispute “between two very different visions of America’s future.”
One group, Rubio tells us, “believe that the job of government is [to] deliver us economic justice, which basically means: an economy where everyone does well or as well as possibly can be done.”
The other group believes “it’s not the government’s job to guarantee an outcome but to guarantee the opportunity to fulfill your dreams and hopes.”
He’s doing OK so far. But then, he goes on to say, respecting the two views: “By the way, one [is] not more or less patriotic than the other.” And, “One is not more moral than the other.”
No Moral Distinctions?
WHAT? He sees no moral distinction between, on the one hand, a government which takes - by force - property from one group of people and gives it to other people to whom it does not belong; and, on the other hand, the free country with a federal government of limited and enumerated powers created by Our Constitution? No moral distinction between legalized plunder and a federal government which respects the private property of The People?
When one abandons the moral Principle, “Thou shalt not steal”; then there is no impediment to stealing – assuming you have the power to do it. So, stealing is just fine when the federal government does it – because they have the power to do it.
Making a Choice – By What Criteria?
Rubio goes on to say:
…America is divided on this point … we must decide …what kind of government do we want to have and what role do we want it to have in America’s future.
Folks! WE THE PEOPLE have already decided this issue: Our decision is enshrined in Our Constitution – the Constitution whose Principles Rubio promised to “tightly embrace”. Our Constitution does not permit the federal government to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Besides, on what basis would we decide? Rubio has already told us that there are no moral distinctions between a government which robs Peter to pay Paul, and a government which respects the private property of Peter. Rubio has already told us that those who advocate legalized plunder are “patriots” to the same extent as those who oppose such plunder.
So! If there are no moral distinctions between the two “very different visions”, and we all go along with Rubio’s abandonment of his promise to “tightly embrace” the Principles of the Constitution, then on what basis do we decide? We have no basis for making a decision other than our own “likes” and “dislikes”.
And THAT is the existentialist mindset. A mind “freed” from all standards other than, “I want” or “I don’t want”. “I like” or “I don’t like”.
So! Now that Rubio has come to the point where the only standard is what we “like” and “don’t like”, he tells us what he likes:
I believe and we believe in a safety net program, programs that exist to help those who cannot help themselves and to help those who have tried but failed to stand up and try again, but not safety net programs that function as a way of life…
WHERE does the Constitution permit the federal government to redistribute peoples’ private property? WHO can lay his finger on that Provision of the Constitution which authorizes the safety net programs Rubio “believes in”?
Rubio told us near the beginning of his speech that he was elected on the basis that he would “tightly embrace” the principles of the Constitution. The Moral Law requires him to live up to his promise! The People in Florida must push him to do just that.
And who decides whether we continue these “safety net programs” Rubio “believes in”? People in Congress like Rubio and Rep. Pete Stark (D. Ca.) voting for what they “believe in” – the Constitution be damned?
And as to THE PEOPLE who don’t want to be robbed to pay for other peoples’ handouts, and who object to being enslaved so that Rubio can continue safety net programs he “believes in”: Rubio has stripped them of any moral or legal basis for objecting.
How to Fix This
I do not accuse Rubio of being evil. But he has absorbed the prevailing dogma of our time – existentialism – and may not even be aware of it. The first task of man is this: Ask yourself, “What do I believe, and why do I believe it?” You may find that you believe it for no other reason than that you have always believed it.
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And as a People, we have lost the ability to think and to analyze. Rubio’s speech [like the speeches of all politicians] reflects this inability to think and to analyze, as well as an existentialist mindset. If he had argued from Principle – if he had applied the Constitution he promised to embrace – he would have said that Our Constitution prohibits Congress from spending money on anything other than its enumerated powers. If he understood “federalism”, he would have understood that the power to create “safety nets” is reserved to The States or to THE PEOPLE. If he understood “the rule of law”, he would have understood that the obligation of people in Congress is to obey the Constitution.
And WE THE PEOPLE must return to our Founding Principles. We must start choosing our candidates on the basis of their conformity to our Founding Principles – not good looks and charm. We in the Tea Party are every bit as silly as the foolish Democrats & Independents who voted for Obama for the reason that he too was good-looking and charismatic. PH
I focus on Marco Rubio because he - like all other politicians - illustrates
the philosophical problems of which I write; but Rubio is also
being pushed by some for Vice President!
2- Rush Limbaugh understands the significance of Rubio’s moral blindness. I first heard of Rubio’s speech on Rush’s show.
3- Frederic Bastiat's essay, "The Law", explains the evil of legalized plunder and the moral superiority of limited civil government. It is one of the masterworks of Western civilization, and the best thing to ever come out of France. It is clear, and easy to understand. Someone! Give Rubio a copy!
4- Our beloved James Madison, Father of the U.S. Constitution, couldn’t find the provisions either. He said:
The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. -- James Madison, speech in the House of Representatives, January 10, 1794 [boldface added].
The Economics Department at George Mason University provides this quote (among many wonderful others) on its page, Constitutional Limitations on Government.
Watch this magnificent woman point out to Congressman
Pete Stark that obamacare
makes SLAVES - in violation of the 13th Amendment - of those who are forced
to provide medical care to others. And watch Stark ignore her constitutional
and moral argument against slavery and tell his constituents that “the
federal government can do most anything”.
6- A bit of personal history illustrates this point: I was raised a secular humanist by parents who were secular humanists. When not much older than Rubio, I asked a Christian pastor, “How can you believe all that stuff?” He answered, “I have preconceptions; you have preconceptions. Examine yours.” I did. And discovered that I was a secular humanist simply because I had always been a secular humanist. I had never examined it. When I examined it, I found there was no evidence to support my world view. So! I abandoned it and learned a new world view based on Fixed Principles – those laws which are woven into the Fabric of Reality.
Let us pray that Sen. Rubio will do the same, and consign his existentialist worldview to the trashcan (where it belongs). The Laws of Morality and the Laws of Logic are among those Laws woven into the Fabric of Reality. And he promised to “tightly embrac[e] the principles of our Constitution”! PH
© 2012 Publius Huldah - All Rights Reserved
Publius Huldah is a retired attorney who now lives in Tennessee. Before getting a law degree, she got a degree in philosophy where she specialized in political philosophy and epistemology (theories of knowledge). She now writes extensively on the U.S. Constitution, using the Federalist Papers to prove its original meaning and intent. She also shows how federal judges and politicians have ignored Our Constitution and replaced it with their personal opinions and beliefs.h