I’ve recently been reading A Patriot’s History of the United States, by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. When studying unrevised history, I’m always reminded of my college history professor’s claim that history has taught us that we don’t learn from history. Reading pre-civil war history, I was struck by a comment from the aforementioned in regard to the demise of the Whig party, “…unwilling to take a stand on the major moral issue of the day, and that was its downfall.” ( A Patriot’s History of the United States, Schweikart & Allen, p. 275). For the Whigs, the issue was slavery. The Democrats stood squarely in support of slavery. (Note to BIack Americans: they remain the party of slavery; it just takes a different form). But, the Whigs attempted to take both sides of the issue. It remained for the new Republican Party, grown out of the void, to become the party of freedom.
Is the Republican Party preparing to repeat history? The major moral issue of our day is abortion. The GOP has been the party of life since Roe. Since then, it has always had a pro-life plank. But, its leaders have only paid lip service to the plank every election. They have never really tried to do anything about it. They just preach it for elections to get the evangelical vote. (You would think that their stand would earn Catholic support, but it never has, which is a whole different story that I addressed last week). After all, the evangelicals are the worker bees, invaluable for elections only.
On the other side of the issue, the Democrats have stood firmly as the party of unrestricted child killing. The Republican leadership, the country club set, has always detested the evangelicals. Since Roe, the leaders have called for moderation. With the loss in the 2012 election, the calls to abandon the “social” issues have escalated, cheered on by the new vocal Ron Paul libertines, who see no government role in protecting life, marriage or family.
Are the Republicans about to repeat the mistake of the Whigs? Is abortion really so important? Can it be compared to slavery? There is a striking similarity between the institution of slavery and that of child murder.
Both disregard morality for convenience. Slave holders and “moderate” Whigs alike saw slavery as a necessary evil. Schweikart and Allen make an interesting point:
For those who contend they want certain institutions – schools, government, and so on – free of values or value neutral, the journey of Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas in the 1850s is instructive. … In claiming that he was not “personally in favor’”of slavery – that it ought to be up to a people of a state to decide – Douglas held the ultimate value neutral position. In fact, such a position has its own value, just as Abraham Lincoln would show. Not to call evil, evil, is to call it good. ( A Patriot’s History of the United States, Schweikart & Allen, p. 283).
Doesn’t Douglas’ position sound familiar? He asserted that it did not matter whether slavery was right or wrong. He advocated a majoritarian dictatorship. Lincoln and the Republicans stood for a democratic republic, where majority rule was proscribed within the rule of law, especially a higher law. Local control should never come at the expense of self-evident truths. God had created all men equal.
At the core of the debate is the founding principle of our nation, enunciated in our Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Democrat Party no longer holds these truths as self-evident. They are the party of no God, no Creator. At their last national convention, they were caught striking God out of their platform. The Obama campaign insisted on re-inserting God only after this change was exposed by conservative media. A clear majority of the delegates wanted to keep God out, but were over-ruled by a rigged voice vote, followed by boos from the delegates.
To most Democrats, people who believe in a Creator are Neanderthals. But guess what, if our rights don’t come from God, but come from government instead, then they are not inalienable. They can be taken away.
The right to life for certain inconvenient persons has already been removed by government. The list will be expanded if we remain on this road. The right to defend ourselves is under attack based on the same secular humanist, anti-God worldview. And now, Republican leaders want us to remain silent on the major moral issue of our day. It’s not just about abortion.
The central question for our nation is the same central question for all mankind throughout history: Is there a God that we are accountable to? Our founders thought so. Lincoln thought so. History does repeat itself. I look forward to a new party firmly committed to our founding principles.
Image: Declaration of Independence; John Trumbull (1756–1843) ; Current location: United States Capitol; source/photographer: US Capitol; public domain