The core principles upon which Western Civilization and The Constitution rest, are:
1. Primacy of the individual (Class, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, or any other group identity are immaterial.)
2. Liberty of the individual, in which…
3. liberty is defined as freedom from coercion by others (negative liberty), NOT freedom to do whatever one wants (positive liberty).
4. One set of laws that applies, and is applied, the same to all individuals (i.e., the Rule of Law.), NOT different laws for different identity groups.
5. Process-based liberty, equality, justice, and fairness, in which the law is applied the same to every individual. NOT outcome-based to achieve a desired result or to make up for past wrongs depending on the identity group of the individual.
6. The enemy of liberty is consolidated, concentrated, government power, therefore…
7. Power must be distributed, and…
8. The centers of power must be set against one another, such that no power can dominate the others.
My first job after leaving college was near Washington, D.C. So, like any new arrival in the area, I spent my first few weekends exploring the museums. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are displayed in the National Archives, and in the gift shop there I found a copy of The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas by Carl Lotus Becker. I bought it, read it, and it whetted my appetite for more. Over the years, in between getting married, buying a house, and raising two kids, I also read:
- Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier.
- Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787 by Catherine Drinker Bowen
- The Theme is Freedom: Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition by M. Stanton Evans,
- Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution by Forrest McDonald
- The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, by Bernard Bailyn
- A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles by Thomas Sowell.
- The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States, by Gordon S. Wood
- Liberty’s Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World, by Michael I. Meyerson
- Restoration: Congress, Term Limits, and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy by George F. Will