Not that anyone asked, but I have come up with a slogan for the GOP that will help them win big in 2012:
It’s the perfect antithesis to Barack Obama’s Audacity of Hope, or more appropriately, The Audacity of Hopey Changey. From Obama’s book we get this twaddle:
“For in the end, laws are just words on a page- words that are sometimes malleable, opaque, as dependent on context and trust as they are in a story or poem or promise to someone, words whose meanings are subject to erosion, sometimes collapsing in the blink of an eye” (p. 92)
Doesn’t that just give you a thrill up your leg and inspire you? To our president, the law means what he says it means. It’s malleable, and typical of postmodern thought, we can’t really know what it means with any degree of certainty.
I consulted the 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language and found the following definition for “audacity”:
“Boldness, sometimes in a good sense; daring spirit, resolution or confidence.”
And the definition of “hope”:
“A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.”
Doesn’t that essentially describe the Obama presidency in a nutshell? A bold, daring confidence with a slight expectation that some good will come out of all of this.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a little underwhelmed by “The Audacity of Hope” (and frankly, sick to death of it).
But add that daring and boldness to the concept of “liberty” defined in the 1828 dictionary and we start back down the long road to a Constitutional Republic:
“Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.”
“Civil liberty, is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.”
Our country’s Founding Fathers gave us a bold, daring experiment in self-government – a view of liberty that only reluctantly imposed laws upon its citizens, who were born with natural, unalienable rights. John Adams described it this way:
“All men are born free and independent, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness” (The Political Writings of John Adams).
Over a hundred years ago, the French statesman, Frederic Bastiat said,
“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place” (The Law).”
Because of this common understanding of Natural Law, many people were wary of the Constitution at first, fearing it would create a powerful ruling class. Madison, in Federalist 46 reminded them that the Constitution explicitly granted the power to the people, not the government:
“The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject; and to have viewed these different establishments not only as mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone.”
President Obama swings so far to the left of the Founders and their contemporaries in Audacity of Hope that they would not recognize him as an American president:
“According to [Justice Breyer’s] view, the Founding Fathers and original ratifiers have told us how to think but are no longer around to tell us what to think. We are on our own, and have only our own reason and our judgment to rely on….
“…As we read these documents, they seem so incredibly right that it’s easy to believe they are the result of natural law if not divine inspiration. So I appreciate the temptation on the part of Justice Scalia and others to assume our democracy should be treated as fixed and unwavering; the fundamentalist faith that if the original understanding of the Constitution is followed without question or deviation, and if we remain true to the rules that the Founders set forth, as they intended, then we will be rewarded and all good will flow. Ultimately, though, I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution—that it is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world. How could it be otherwise?” (Audacity of Hope, p. 90).
Obama rejects out of hand the collective wisdom of the Founders, who provided the framework for a very limited federal government, and the means by which the people can change it – the amendment process. This process, by design, is difficult, cumbersome, and rare. Instead, he and other liberal progressives depend on activist judges and the Administrative State behemoth to impose their will upon the American people.
That’s why we need “The Audacity of Liberty.” A bold, daring return to freedom and self-government – and the polar opposite of Obama’s limp-wristed version of “hope.”