The New Sons of Liberty and the Cosmic Scofflaws of the Left
I'm currently reading an outstanding book on this very subject, We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future (it must be temporarily out of print, because it shouldn't be nearly that expensive, but it is highly recommended when the price comes down). I'm going to try to weave in some of Spalding's insights as we further discuss Bolton's critique of nondualism -- which, if the latter forms the basis of one's ontology, leads to a radically different conception of politics, being that it eliminates the individual, whereas America's founders were precisely concerned with protecting the individual and allowing him to flourish.
In so doing, the Founders thought deeply about how and where to ground individual liberty. In other words, to simply affirm liberty without grounding it in something metaphysically real is no less rootless or self-serving than to affirm the absolute right of your leftist neighbor to the fruits of your labors. And if "all is one" -- if the individual is an illusion -- then your neighbor surely has that right. If I am you and you are me, then hey, your stuff is mine. Party at Deepak's walled compound! Dibs on the ruby eyeglasses!
Spalding quotes John Adams, who was responding to a question about the real meaning of the American Revolution: "The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments and affections of the people was the real American Revolution." In other words, this was primarily an interior revolution; nor could it have been successful if this hadn't been the case, for merely exterior revolutions -- as nearly all revolutions are -- only bring about a new set of tyrants.
And it is of course highly higher and highestly important to again emphasize that conservatism is interior and interiorizing whereas leftism is exterior and exteriorizing (i.e., the latter diminishes free will, effaces the individual by reducing him to a group member [e.g., black, female, homosexual, etc.] and promotes his passive victimhood).
Again, consider the stark epistemological consequences that follow from the different ontologies of left and right: "[A]mong the learned elites of our universities and law schools -- those who teach the next generation, shape our popular culture, and set the terms of our political discourse -- the self-evident truths upon which America depends have been supplanted by the passionately held belief that no such truths exist, certainly no truths applicable to all time" (Spalding).
Which is why, ever since this truly sinister metaphysic has become common currency, the federal government can today act "with little regard for the limits placed upon it by the Constitution, which many now regard as obsolete." The leftist assault on the Constitution has been so thorough, that to even point out the truism that a government takeover of healthcare is shockingly unconstitutional is to auto-marginalize oneself.
In other words, for the left, to be American is to be un-American. Obama himself was uncharacteristically honest in acknowledging his belief that America's founders "got it wrong" in their failure to address the issue of material inequality (which, of course, they did address by creating a system through which the self-interest of the individual could freely operate to the benefit of all).
America was intended to be the "workshop of liberty," not the sweatshop of collectivist serfdom. Ironically, Obama is the one public official who swears to God that he is a conservative -- that he will preserve and protect the Constitution, not allow it to be maimed by the tenured pettifuggers of the left.
It is no coincidence whatsoever that the left must eradicate any trace of religion in order to eliminate the principle barrier (along with the sanctity of private property and the family, and the chrome to back them up) to the intrusive and acquisitive reach of the state.
For to affirm God is to sharply limit the state; indeed, it is to affirm that the state and its laws have no legitimacy to the extent that they contravene the transpolitical Laws of Nature and of Nature's God (as the Declaration expresses it). We have no obligation to obey laws that are fundamentally immoral.
For the Founders, "the idea of human dignity, that we are created in the image of God, forms the theological underpinning of the ideas of human nature and human equality -- core principles of liberty" (Spalding). Which is why, for the ACLU and its fellow travelers, the Constitution is unconstitutional. And which is why they feel so free to change it into something more congenial to their interests. But a Constitution that doesn't mean what is says and say what it means, merely means what powerful men want it to mean, and we are right back to the Rule of Men, not of Law. Which, of course, is the whole point of the left.
But metaphysical conservatism stands athwart the left and says STFU! Here is how John Dickenson put it back in the day (1766): the rights essential to human happiness "are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice" (quoted in Spalding).
Radical then, radical now. In this wide-angle cosmic context, one can see that the leftist counter-revolutionaries are entirely reactionary. Job one for them is to undo what the Founders done did.
Note as well that Nature's Law, as understood by the Founders, obviously did not -- and could not -- apply only to America. Rather, to the extent that it was true, then it was true for all time and for all peoples and even humanities departments. So much for diversity and multiculturalism!
In this regard, Spalding references William Blackstone -- a deep influence on the Founders' thinking -- who wrote that the metacosmic law "is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original."
Thus, real conservatism is simply impossible -- for it is grounded in "nothing" -- if its archetypal, transpolitical roots are not perpetually watered from above.