There seems to be a widespread belief that the conservative movement in America is passé, that traditional conservatives are no longer relevant. We are told that in order to have any influence within our political system we must moderate our views and become more liberal in our thinking. Times have changed and conservatives must change or be left behind, we are advised.
History tells us otherwise. Conservatism has always been one of the two driving forces in our political life, as has liberalism. It is the checks and balances created by these two forces that has made our nation great. In the four-hundred years since the first permanent settlement was planted on our shores, both liberals and conservatives have made great contributions to our progress. In the revolutionary era, it was the liberals who led the revolution and penned the Constitution.
For those of you who did not click to another site immediately after reading that last sentence, let me explain. Conservatives have always had a cautious reverence for tradition and history while liberals have sought change, often just for the sake of change itself. In the political climate of 1787, the anti-federalists were the repositories of conservative thought and the federalists of liberal thought. The bitter and sometimes acrimonious debate between the anti-federalists and the federalists is what ultimately led to the creation of the most enduring and near perfect political document in history, the U.S. Constitution.
The Anti-federalists feared the establishment of a strong federal government such as the one proposed by Hamilton, Adams, Jay and others, because they foresaw the eventual usurpation of the power of state governments and the dilution of the power of the people leading to tyranny. It was anti-federalists like Patrick Henry and George Clinton who insisted on limiting the power of government and including a “Bill of Rights” as an addendum to the Constitution.
The federalist, on the other hand, believed there was no need to include a Bill of Rights in the final version of the Constitution since the Constitution did not give the federal government the powers necessary to infringe on the rights of the people. Fortunately, for us, the anti-federalist won the debate and history has proven them right.
That debate over the Constitution, to a great extent, defined the roles of conservatives and liberals in the ages to follow. The primary role of the conservative movement has been to check the excesses of liberalism in the progress of our country. That role is more important today than ever before.
The traditional, patriotic liberalism of the founders has died away to be replaced by a radical socialism that threatens to revolutionize our culture, abolish our liberties, and appropriate the fruits of our labors. One of the reasons for the death of liberalism and the rise of socialism is a disdain for the Constitution. In my opinion, the American people are among the best and brightest people on earth, but they are undermined by an almost universal ignorance of our history and the principles set forth in our founding documents.
If conservatives are to be successful in their historical role of defending liberty and freedom, it is imperative that they understand the importance of our founding documents. The Constitution is the only obstacle that stands between us and tyranny, yet few of us take the time to understand its importance or the demands it places on us and our leaders. We have less than two years to revitalize the conservative movement and begin to counter the advances of socialism. If we are to preserve the effectiveness of the movement, we must devote some of our resources to promoting a knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution.
To help in this effort we are changing the focus of our website. Our new focus will be to provide an easy to use and understand resource for learning about the Constitution. We have just posted the first sixty pages in a new section on our website. I encourage you to check it out and recommend it to others. It contains searchable copies of the Constitution in three different formats, the Bill of Rights plus the additional sixteen amendments, and the Declaration of Independence.
We will be adding notes and comments on important passages and phrases as we go along. New postings to the section will be announced on the home page of the website and on our two blogs, the Illinois Conservative Beacon and the Constitution Sentinel. My goal is to keep the new section as free of subjective opinion as possible, using historical facts and documents to put together notes, comments and other references. I will still however, post opinions on current events on our two blogs.
Please check it out and provide me with your comments and suggestions. Click here to check it out, or you can find it by going to our home page and clicking on Conservative Manifesto in the navigation bar.