This is the first in a planned series of posts about the Constitution and political ideology.
Aside from the belief of the Founding Fathers for the need of an “enlightened electorate” which are both educated on the issues and of high moral standing—the misguided effort of the Progressives to march out the quite often disproven yardstick of “Communism on the Left” and “Fascism on the Right” is one of many of my pet peeves commonly employed by this very same group of uneducated potential voters.
The Communism = Left, Fascism = Right misnomer has more to do with the seating arrangement of the parliaments of Europe than it does with where the political system actually falls on the left-right spectrum. Plain and simple–government is power by rule or control. Political systems (not parties) can be measured by how much coercive power or systematic control the system employs over its people. Remove the monikers from the parties because this argument has nothing to do with parties but rather power and control. Nothing to do with Republicans, Libertarians, Democrats, Progressives, or even the Green party–the measurement is not one of political parties, but rather political power.
The founders considered the two extremes to be anarchy (no government, no law) on one hand and tyranny (absolute control) on the other. On one side, the left, of the scale was tyranny or complete domination which they called “Ruler’s Law” and at the other extreme of their scale (on the right) was “No Law” or total anarchy. What the founders designed was a system shy of total anarchy but based on as much freedom as possible which they called the “People’s Law.” Try to remember this has nothing to do with political parties but rather the amount of systematic control the “ruling class” exerted over the ruled.
Some of the characteristics of Ruler’s Law (which was often described as a tyrannical monarchy) echo the thinking of Progressives; People are not equal, but are divided into classes, all are looked upon as subjects of the King. The entire country is considered to be the property of the ruler(s) who speaks of it as his/her realm. Thrust of Government is from the top down, and not from the people up. “Subjects” have no unalienable rights; rights are issued and rescinded by government hence government is by the whims of men and not fixed by the rule of law. As Jonah Goldberg explains (in Liberal Fascism) “They have a desire to form a powerful state which coordinates a society where everybody belongs and everyone is taken care of; where there is faith in the perfectibility of people and the authority of experts; and where everything is political, including health and well-being.”
This country was therefore founded under Anglo-Saxon Common Law, Natural Law, or what was called the People’s Law, where the people were considered a commonwealth of freemen and the decision and selection of its leaders had to be with the consent of the people. Laws were considered natural law given by divine dispensation, power was delegated among the people, and the rights of the individual were considered unalienable. The primary responsibility for resolving problems was first with the individual, then the family, then the community, then the religion, and finally the government or nation.
With anarchy marking the right boundary of the scale while tyrannical monarchy marks the left side of the scale it becomes easy to mark where on this scale differing political systems, not parties, fall. As we traverse this scale from left to right, political systems like Communism and Fascism are placed at the far left, if not totally on the left side of the scale because of the oppressive nature of the rulers, state ownership, or state control over, of all industry and farms, and the lack of individual rights. Progressive-based systems are next, as is Liberalism (a “child” of Progressive think), but definitely left of center on the scale no matter the form. As Goldberg points out, an effort of Liberal Fascism is “to create an “all-caring, all-powerful, all-encompassing” state” but concludes with “Simply because the nanny state wants to hug you doesn’t mean it’s not tyrannical when you don’t want to be hugged”. No matter how benevolent they attempt to appear–political systems are based on control and power. Finally on the right side of the scale stands our Representative Republic as far to the right without falling into total anarchy allowing its people as much freedom as possible while living under a rule of law. The question of how far to the left on the scale they fall is answered by how much power and control they exert over the individual.
Make no mistake, since the foundation, this country has been shifting left by hook and crook through the likes of Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson, among others but that is neither the original framers’ intention nor those of us who uphold the Constitution today as an outline for the best means of governing the country. We hope this post, as well as subsequent related posts, leads to meaningful, civil discussions about exactly what kind of country and what level of government we want for future generations of Americans. As a final note: A great deal of this posting goes to many people but not least folks like W. Cleon Skousen, Cicero, J. Goldberg, and some residents of this blog.