First, I want to answer the questions posed:
So how do you view the Constitution?
The Constitution is a man-made document filled with flaws and temporal based ideals and errors; however, it has provided for its only continuation through the amendment process. The Constitution is not ignoble, but an economic charter meant first to protect the rights of the landed gentry, give some reasonable image of participation on Government to those who could own property but was not so wealthy as to afford to leave large estates. But, it has evolved somewhat into a more humane and modern document allowing for more participation in Government.
On a more legal side, it is the Law by which the Republic must be guided by. This Republic is not based on the Declaration of Independence, but the Constitution, although we seem to be moving in the direction of Jefferson’s ideal, utopian commune of life, liberty, and the pursuit of social happiness.
What role does Freedom play in your view of Government?
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. It is a false idea, as often times we enjoy only what freedoms someone else allows. Freedom is a propagandist tool.
So how would you define Individualism?
Individualism is the suggestion best summed up in the expression “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.” This has never occurred in all of human history. Individualism is the antithesis of human civilization. Individualism, then, suggests that one man is indeed an island. The moral worth of an individual is only found in the community’s actions, so that an individual is only worth something if he or she is a part of a community. This is antithetical to individualism.
Now, I want to turn some of the issues Elgin believes he has raised or laid to rest in his answer to my questions.
1.) Judeo-Christianity is a new term and concept. The Founding Fathers referred to the Jews, but so too to Islamic notions. Western Civilization has even found influence in Islam. Further, Christianity was shaped first by the discovery of pagan philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle — likewise influences on the Founding Fathers. It is more appropriate to say that the West is still shaped by ideals of these philosophers but that these philosophers have been shaped by Jewish, Islamic, and Christian appropriation of their statements.
Q: What Judeo-Christianity values have defined the country from the very beginning?
2.) The Declaration of Independence is not our founding document. It is the founding document of the united States, governed under the Articles of Confederation. We no longer have that country, but one founded under the Constitution which is not concerned with the communal pursuit of life, liberty, or the pursuit of social happiness. I find it odd that you write, “(freedom) remained a central value up through the 1960’s,” given the reason MLK marched is because the central value of the country was equality only for white people. What did equality mean? It was transformed and muted and moderated, and unleashed in various ways throughout the preceding decades, but it was never about true equality.
This is where (your) poor theology of free moral agents comes into play, something the great thinkers of Christianity would have disagreed with. This is counter to both sound Government and sound Christian theology. While, as a Wesleyan, I find some sense of freewill, not even Jacobus Arminius argued for a complete free agency. Our choices are, as the Greek thinkers who gave way to the Latin from North Africa who gave way to Thomas Aquinas and so on said, not our own, but there by God.
Q: Can you define liberty and freedom only from the Constitution, of which Jefferson had no part? How might this shape your view of Government?
Q: Now that I’ve explained my stances on individualism, I will repeat the question:
Individualism is in direct opposition to Jewish Tradition, Christian Tradition, and the Declaration of Independence. Why is it, then, your bedrock ideal?