Do Americans have a right to government-run health care? Is it “the consent of the governed” to be forced to obey the dictates of unelected bureaucrats? Does religious liberty allow our government to impose a secular culture? These are among great questions of the day to which Americans ought to apply the guiding principles of our nation’s founding, Matthew Spalding, a constitutional scholar at The Heritage Foundation, argues in his new book “We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future.”
Spalding is sure to talk about “We Still Hold These Truths” in the context of these and similar rumblings on the American scene Wednesday morning, when he guests on the national radio show “Bill Bennett in the Morning” (Listen Here) at 8:05 a.m. EST. It’s fair to say author, commentator and radio host William J. Bennett, who served as Secretary of Education under President Reagan, is a fan of Spalding’s book. Bennett happily contributed the foreword.
In it, he writes:
At a time when there is no shortage of books that argue for specific policies or political agendas, ‘We Still Hold These Truths’ is refreshingly radical, according to the original meaning of that word: It looks to the root of what we believe and seek to conserve—the liberating principles, practical wisdom, and constitutional insights of the American Founding. It makes a clear and compelling case for America’s principles as an enduring source of real, practical guidance for today, explaining how we got so far off track and laying out how to get our nation back on course.
The principles of liberty, Spalding demonstrates, culminate in our understanding of self-government—of the character and moral institutions that make for self-government, as well as the political institutions and free markets of a self-governing people. It is this model of national independence and human freedom that we uphold, and defend, at home and in the world.”
Bennett, author of the two-volume history, “America: The Last Best Hope,” notes that the heart of Spalding’s book is a call to stand against the self-styled progressive liberals who long have repudiated the founding principles of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison. Spalding traces how the Progressive Movement came to drive American politics and government, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama.
‘We Still Hold These Truths’ shows that modern liberalism … attempts to define America in a different way, based on ideas found outside of America. The progressive thinkers of the early 20th century, having rejected the very idea of self-evident truths and enduring principles, created a theory of a ‘living,’ evolving Constitution, allowing government to expand and implement ‘progress’ through more and more governmental control over everyday life.
We now face a choice. One path is change for the sake of change, of continued travel along the road of decline—for this future, just witness the political and cultural implosion of modern Europe. The other is the path of renewal … , which seeks to rediscover America’s principles and restore them to their proper place in our political life, as the cornerstone of America’s public philosophy.”
That’s the choice Matt Spalding encourages Americans to consider carefully.