Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Miami

I’m back from a three day stint in Miami. Spoke on a panel at the Heritage Resource Bank meeting; most enjoyable and useful. I learned much from the hundreds who attended. They represented a variety of good organizations, think tanks, etc., all on the right side of most issues. Good program, well executed. I also attended the annual meeting of the Philadelphia Society, of which I have been a member for many decades. The theme was "What is an American?" This topic, as you know, is both important and dear to my heart and mind. There were some good papers, and some good conversations. On the other hand, there was a much too visible inclinination of some to talk as if the U.S. was an ordinary nation, as one wag said, based on our common soil. Another said he found no references among our "Founders" (he couldn’t use the that term, or "Founding," because we don’t have one, hence the quotation marks) to natural rights or natural right. It was not clear what he found, but he thought it was worth looking. Most such at the meeting just talked about "culture," in more or less the old fashioned way (habit, growth), but some made very clear that there is only culture, no politics, nothing for which we have stood, and may continue to stand. And all men love what is their own, and so do we. No difference. Human nature and creed were nasty words for some. Not clear what the Constitution is, according to this understanding, although some favorable references were made to it; I guess because it’s ours. Most such people confused themselves by collapsing the French Revolution with the American, and in thinking that the progressive revolution in American politics is different from the regime established by the Founders. I say all this more in sorrow than in anger.

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