Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Politics

Washington's Convictions and Ours Today

From Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause, vol. II of the Oxford History of the United States:  Facing a "cruel test," Washington was sustained through the Revolution by

at least two profound convictions.  The first was that he was the instrument of Providence in the struggle....  The other belief approached passion--a love of what Washington called the "glorious cause," the defense of the liberties of Americans.  (p. 296)

Of course not everyone who claims divine inspiration may be discerning or even truthful, but convictions about God's will have been honorable motives for public service from our origins as a nation.  Should such a self-examination be less essential today?  Or must sociological circumstances or mere personal self-aggrandizement determine our political leadership? 

The objective test of course is whether a candidate's views comport with those of the Declaration of Independence.  Private revelations are quite subordinate to that overriding consideration.  Might candidates who court the Tea Party actually use the wisdom of our founding period in contemporary debates?

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Discussions - 1 Comment

You have it exactly right. When private views reinforce public commitments there is no difficulty. It is when those private views reject or misdirect public commitments that we have a problem.

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