Last night was like a breath of fresh air as a group of friends gathered at our house, as been our habit about every other Wednesday for over a year, to begin an elementary course in government. A breath of fresh air about a course in government, you say? Absolutely, it was fresh air because it began to blow away the cobwebs of the small thinking that passes as political discussion today from our political leaders. I think what we learned and will be learning can give us a standard by which we can look at current events and see how they measure up to basic principals and help correct them if necessary. I will revisit that last sentence later.   

Our friends, Alex and Anna Wimmer, Blake and Sangeetha Youngman, Justin and Traci Reeves and Beth Larsen began the Introduction to the Constitution series from Hillsdale College. These are a series of five one-half hour lectures given last fall by Larry Arnn the President of Hillsdale College, to be followed by “Constitution 101” which has already begun. Based on the reviews of the group, I think I can highly recommend this series for your viewing or viewing by groups of friends.

I have always thought the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were brilliant documents, I might even call them miracles and last nights lecture only served to reinforce that opinion. One of the main points of last nights lecture was that the founders through the declaration established that as humans, we have all been created with the same nature and therefore we are equal (All men are created equal) and therefore we must be governed in a certain way. We have to be governed in a way that respects that we are all human beings with a distinct nature that is not mineral, plant or animal, but human and therefore equal with one another. No human is by nature better than any other human.

If we accept this self evident truth that we are all equal, then it follows that certain basic governmental structures must be in place for our nature to be respected and honored. Dr. Arnn argues that the declaration, and then more by construct in the constitution that the general method is through Representative Government; Separation of Powers and Limited Government.

If you are still with me, I will try to briefly make the connection between these three basic structures of government with our basic human nature and our equality in that nature.

If we are to be governed, and there must be governmental structures to bring order to societies of people – lest there be anarchy, and if we are all of the same equal human nature then we must be represented in that governance. That seems to me to be self evident, though we do not often think of that.  

If we are to have representative government, we would by necessity not want to give all power of governance to one person or to one body of people, because we would loose our voice. Power must be separated to ensure that one group could not abuse the people.

Finally, it is important that our power over society be ceded to representatives of us to exercise it more efficiently and then it is important to separate that power, but if we gave all power to even multiple groups of government entities, they could collude and abuse us, so it is important that the power that we give them be limited. This again is self evident, although we do not often think of it.

This may seem dry and very mundane political talk, but I found it fascinating because it took the structure of our government out of the realm of mere political text books and put it squarely in the theological realm. The argument for our representative government goes right to the core of who we are as human beings, to our nature given to us by our creator. This is a theological argument without being a religious or a sectarian argument and is brilliant in its conception and in its execution. Well done founding fathers!

There was a companion point to this that I also found remarkable, even though I intuitively have always thought along these lines, and that is that a representative government can not exist apart from a strong, independent society. This also seems self evident.

Government owes its existence at least we say our government does, by the consent of the governed. If the people are week and dependent what will they do when it comes to the formation of a government? They will give all authority to the government and let the government tell them what they can and can not do. That violates the third point mentioned above, the government is not limited. If the government is not limited, it ceases to be representative. In many ways that is where we are today.

Look around you and ask yourself, are we strong and independent or are we looking for the government to tell us what light bulb is acceptable, what foods are good for us, what fuel efficiency standards should be, what regulations child care providers must meet, what drugs should be provided for free in a health insurance policy, what can be taught children in our schools, whether we can smoke or not, whether we can say certain things or not, whether our children can work on our family farms and on and on. Maybe you think some or all of those things are ok, but there are hundreds of new regulations being issued by different agencies every month and no one can keep up with them. More and more we are being told by some government entity what we can and can not do.

If you look no further than the National Health Care bill you will know that we have ceded too much power to the government and if we ever want to get that power back we will have to elect a different President in November. Barack Hussein Obama is an enemy of limited government and therefore an enemy of a strong and independent society. If he is an enemy of a strong and independent society, he is an enemy of representative government. (Indeed if he had paid any attention to the people during the health care debate he had to know what he was trying to ram through was against the consent of the governed from which he derived his authority) If he is an enemy of that type of government, he is an enemy of humanity that has all been created equal. His brand of governance is not American.

This is not intended as an effort to bash the current resident of the White House, he is only the latest and most egregious iteration of a non-American governing philosophy. We have had a progression of leaders going back 100 years that have slowly and often sneakily, with our hardly paying attention, moved us away from the three pillars of our governing system. Those pillars come from understanding that our rights come from our creator and not from our government. Our current batch of leaders tends to think rights come from the government, but that can not and must not endure.

I believe that it is important that we start now to become stronger and more independent people and families, and communities, and businesses and communities of faith. An important part and probably the most important part of our strengthening is spiritual. We must realize who we are and who made us and we must live lives that will reflect our appreciation and devotion to our creator.

I think a spiritual awakening coincides with an awakening of who we are as a nation, a people who believe in our creator and who believe this government should be representative and limited. The awakening can’t begin soon enough for me, how about you?