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History vs. Hypocrisy: Our Founders Critique Today's Party Platforms

By Ivan Squall
Published October 1, 1992

Anyone who reads the Democratic and Republican party platforms will be surprised at how dramatically different their stated positions are from those of our elected officials when they actually get around to writing and voting on real legislation. This discrepancy is particularly acute when it comes to economic issues.

On a scale from 1 to 10, with socialism being a “1” and economic freedom with property rights being a “10,” the Republican party platform merits an “8.5,” while the rhetoric in the Democratic platform might earn it a “5.” Unfortunately, party platforms don’t carry much weight with elected representatives after election day. If the recent past is any guide, we should not be surprised to find our Republican representatives on average drifting back to about where the Democrats claim they actually stand, while the Democrats reveal that their intent is to take this nation just short of socialism.

On social issues, the gap between word and deed is not nearly so wide. Here both parties seem to be more consistent with the Democratic legislators proving to have more guts when it comes to putting into practice the radical values that they preach. The Republican’s platform is no less bold in what it declares, especially given the flagrant hostility of the media to anything conservative, traditional or religious, but they somehow seem incapable of selecting candidates who are committed to their platform’s social planks.

One useful way to analyze today’s platforms and candidates is to compare the worldviews they hold with that of our Founding Fathers and other great statesmen from the formative years of our history. To the extent that our current political ideologies are validated by the framers of the Constitution and other noteworthy early American patriots, we can take an extra measure of confidence in them, and in the character of the candidates who espouse them. Conversely, any significant diversion from the founding principles of our nation should be a cause of great concern, and lead thoughtful citizens to question the motivation of politicians who would choose to abandon tried and proven principles of proper government, in order to pursue their newly hatched schemes of social engineering.

The Republican national convention and its platform were excoriated by a contemptuous press for their repeated references to God, morality and family values. Prime-time speeches were replete with statements echoing such platform declarations as: “We believe in traditional family values, and in the Judeo-Christian heritage that informs our culture,” and, “If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Media and Democratic partisan criticisms notwithstanding, let’s examine the speeches and writings of several of our nation’s founding heroes, to see whether or not they might have felt comfortable addressing the Republican party delegates that gathered in Houston last August.

George Washington (1st President) – “True religion offers the government its surest support.” “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” “ Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

James Madison (Father of the Constitution) – “Religion … (is) the basis and foundation of government … Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”

John Adams (2nd President) – “The first and only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible.” “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Samuel Adams (Father of the American Revolution) – “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader … If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.” After the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and … from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.”

Daniel Webster (Senator, Orator, Defender of the Union) – “Lastly, our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits.”

Noah Webster (Father of American education) – “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from: vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Abraham Lincoln (16th President) – “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” “All the good of the world is communicated through this Book (the Bible); but for this Book we could not know right from wrong. All the things desirable to man are contained in it.”

Wow! If these guys had attended the last Republican convention, they probably would have accused Pat Robertson of watering down the message.

Now imagine what would have happened if any of these historical luminaries had wandered into the Democratic Convention last July. What country do you suppose they would have thought they were in? Jacobin France perhaps? Do you think they would have been invited up front to speak? Well if the treatment of Pennsylvania’s pro-life Governor, Bill Casey is any indication, our Founding Fathers would not only have been muzzled and unwelcome, they might have needed a police escort just to make it out of Madison Square Garden safely. While the Democrats found plenty of time for a long parade of abortion industry representatives and homosexual extremists, they refused to allow Governor Casey anywhere near the microphone. One of Casey’s aids was booed and hissed for daring to suggest that some reduction in abortions would be beneficial.

This is the behavior of the party that was founded by that icon of tolerance Thomas Jefferson. The opening paragraph of their platform invokes his legacy, as they claim to have inherited his mantel of moral legitimacy. Today, though they try to usurp the authority of his moral heritage, it is certain that this year he would not have been allowed near their convention podium. The Democratic leadership’s tolerance of other’s views seems to have an increasingly short tether; their putative rainbow of diversity seems suspiciously monochrome.

Imagine how any speaker would have been treated who dared to utter these words: “Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” (Religion) … is “deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.” “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty; … students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens.”

No doubt these words would have ignited a firestorm of protest from every fringe pressure group in the Democratic coalition over this speaker’s “patent homophobia, fascist family values and unconstitutional mingling of church and state.” And so today’s Democrats would have revealed their true colors by excommunicating the very founder of their own party. For these are not the words of some dreaded southern fundamentalist preacher, rather they were taken straight from the mouth of Thomas Jefferson himself.

It’s amazing how the light from just a little bit of history can cut through the thickest smog of contemporary political rhetoric.

The Republican national convention and its platform were excoriated by a contemptuous press for their repeated references to God, morality and family values. Prime-time speeches were replete with statements echoing such platform declarations as: “We believe in traditional family values, and in the Judeo-Christian heritage that informs our culture,” and, “If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Media and Democratic partisan criticisms notwithstanding, let’s examine the speeches and writings of several of our nation’s founding heroes, to see whether they might have felt comfortable addressing the Republican party delegates that gathered in Houston last August.

George Washington (1st President) – “True religion offers the government its surest support.” “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” “ Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

James Madison (Father of the Constitution) – “Religion … (is) the basis and foundation of government … Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”

John Adams (2nd President) – “The first and only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible.” “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Samuel Adams (Father of the American Revolution) – “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader … If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.” After the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and … from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.”

Daniel Webster (Senator, orator, defender of the Union) – “Lastly, our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits.”

Noah Webster (Father of American education) – “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from: vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.

Abraham Lincoln (16th and 1st Republican President) – “It is duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” “All the good of the world is communicated through this Book (the Bible); but for this Book we could not know right from wrong. All the things desirable to man are contained in it.” “The only assurance of our nation’s safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion.”

Wow! If these guys had attended the last Republican convention, they probably would have accused Pat Robertson of watering down the message.

Now imagine what would have happened if any of these historical luminaries had wandered into the Democratic Convention last July. What country do you suppose they would have thought they were in? Jacobin France perhaps? Do you think they would have bee invited up front to speak? Well if the treatment of Pennsylvania’s pro-life Governor, Bill Casey is any indication, our Founding Fathers would not only have been muzzled and unwelcome, they might have needed a police escort just to make it out of Madison Square Garden safely.

While the Democrats found plenty of time for a long parade of abortion industry representatives and homosexual extremists, they refused to allow Governor Casey anywhere near the microphone. One of Casey’s aids was booed and hissed for daring to suggest that some reduction in abortions would be beneficial. Anne Malone, a pro-life delegate from Minnesota said she “was screamed at, shoved, pushed, and verbally harassed … I have 32 black and blue marks on my legs from shoving.”

This is the behavior of the party that was founded by that icon of tolerance Thomas Jefferson. The opening paragraph of their platform invokes his legacy, as they claim to have inherited his mantel of moral legitimacy. Today, though they try to usurp the authority of his moral heritage, it is certain that he would not have been allowed near their convention podium this year. The Democratic leadership’s tolerance of other views seems to have an increasingly short tether; their putative rainbow of diversity seems suspiciously monochrome.

Imagine how any speaker would have been treated who dared to utter these words: “Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are no to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. (Religion) … is deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support … The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty; … students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens.”

No doubt these words would have ignited a firestorm of protest from every fringe pressure group in the Democratic coalition over this speaker’s “patent homophobia, fascist family values and unconstitutional mingling of church and state.” And so today’s Democrats would have revealed their true colors by excommunicating the very founder of their own party. For these are not the words of some dreaded southern fundamentalist preacher, rather they were taken straight from the mouth of Thomas Jefferson himself.

It’s amazing how the light from just a little bit of history can cut through the thickest smog of contemporary political rhetoric.

Anyone who reads the Democratic and Republican party platforms will be surprised at how dramatically different their stated positions are from those of the politicians when they actually get around to writing and voting on real legislation. This discrepancy is particularly acute when it comes to economic issues.

On a scale from 1 to 10, with socialism being a “1” and economic freedom with property rights being a “10,” the Republican party platform merits an “8.5,” while the rhetoric in the Democratic platform might earn it a “5.” Unfortunately, party platforms don’t carry much weight with elected representatives after election day. If the recent past is any guide, we should not be surprised to find our Republican representatives on average drifting back to about where the Democrats claim they actually stand, while the Democrats reveal that their intent is to take this nation just short of socialism.

On social issues, the gap between word and deed is not nearly so wide. Here we find both parties to be more consistent with the Democratic legislators proving to have more guts when it comes to putting into practice the radical values that they preach. The Republican’s platform is no less bold in what it declares, especially given the flagrant hostility of the media to anything conservative, traditional or religious, but they somehow seem incapable of selecting candidates who are committed to their platform’s social planks.

One useful way to analyze today’s platforms and candidates is to compare the worldviews they hold with that of our Founding Fathers and other great statesmen from the formative years of our history. To the extent that our current political ideologies are validated by the framers of the Constitution and other noteworthy early American patriots, we can take an extra measure of confidence in them, and in the character of the candidates who espouse them. Conversely, any significant diversion from the founding principles of our nation should be a cause of great concern, and lead thoughtful citizens to question the motivation of politicians who would choose to abandon tried and proven principles of proper government, in order to pursue their newly hatched schemes of social engineering.

The Republican national convention and its platform were excoriated by a contemptuous press for their repeated references to God, morality and family values. Prime-time speeches were replete with statements echoing such platform declarations as: “We believe in traditional family values, and in the Judeo-Christian heritage that informs our culture,” and, “If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Media and Democratic partisan criticisms notwithstanding, let’s examine the speeches and writings of several of our nation’s founding heroes, to see whether they might have felt comfortable addressing the Republican party delegates that gathered in Houston last August.

George Washington (1st President) – “True religion offers the government its surest support.” “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” “ Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports.”

James Madison (Father of the Constitution) – “Religion … (is) the basis and foundation of government … Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”

John Adams (2nd President) – “The first and only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible.” “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Samuel Adams (Father of the American Revolution) – “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader … If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.” After the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and … from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.”

Daniel Webster (Senator, orator, defender of the Union) – “Lastly, our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits.”

Noah Webster (Father of American education) – “The moral principles and precepts contained in teh Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from: vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.

Abraham Lincoln (16th and 1st Republican President) – “It is duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” “All the good of the world is communicated through this Book (the Bible); but for this Book we could not know right from wrong. All the things desirable to man are contained in it.” “The only assurance of our nation’s safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion.”

Wow! If these guys had attended the last Republican convention, they probably would have accused Pat Robertson of watering down the message.

Now imagine what would have happened if any of these historical luminaries had wandered into the Democratic Convention last July. What country do you suppose they would have thought they were in? Jacobin France perhaps? Do you think they would have bee invited up front to speak? Well if the treatment of Pennsylvania’s pro-life Governor, Bill Casey is any indication, our Founding Fathers would not only have been muzzled and unwelcome, they might have needed a police escort just to make it out of Madison Square Garden safely.

While the Democrats found plenty of time for a long parade of abortion industry representatives and homosexual extremists, they refused to allow Governor Casey anywhere near the microphone. One of Casey’s aids was booed and hissed for daring to suggest that some reduction in abortions would be beneficial. Anne Malone, a pro-life delegate from Minnesota said she “was screamed at, shoved, pushed, and verbally harassed … I have 32 black and blue marks on my legs from shoving.”

This is the behavior of the party that was founded by that icon of tolerance Thomas Jefferson. The opening paragraph of their platform invokes his legacy, as they claim to have inherited his mantel of moral legitimacy. Today, though they try to usurp the authority of his moral heritage, it is certain that he would not have been allowed near their convention podium this year. The Democratic leadership’s tolerance of other’s views seems to have an increasingly short tether; their putative rainbow of diversity seems suspiciously monochrome.

Imagine how any speaker would have been treated who dared to utter these words: “Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are no to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. (Religion) … is deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support … The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty; … students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens.”

No doubt these words would have ignited a firestorm of protest from every fringe pressure group in the Democratic coalition over this speaker’s “patent homophobia, fascist family values and unconstitutional mingling of church and state.” And so today’s Democrats would have revealed their true colors by excommunicating the very founder of their own party. For these are not the words of some dreaded southern fundamentalist preacher, rather they were taken straight from the mouth of Thomas Jefferson himself.

It’s amazing how the light from just a little bit of history can cut through the thickest smog of contemporary political rhetoric.


Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » History

Your comments are welcome!

Many of these quotes are taken out of context. For instance, you quote Madison here as saying, ““Religion … (is) the basis and foundation of government … Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”

Not only are these quotes taken out of order and mixed liberally for desired effect, they are horribly chopped to conform to your interpretation.

What Madison really wrote was this:

“Because finally, “the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience” is held by the same tenure with all our other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consult the “Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the basis and foundation of Government,” it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis.”

Obviously Madison’s words speak not to any religious foundation, but to the right of the free exercise of religion – any religion and to any degree as seen fit by the individual.

I mention Madison only because it was the very first quote I checked. I suspect many of your other quotes here are also revisionist corruptions.

If you’re going to rely on quotes to support your arguments, at least provide clear examples and with proper citation.

Functionally there is no difference between intentionally misleading your readers and accidentally doing so.

Posted by mrgoodbar on 05/25/2009 09:07 AM #

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