Promises of change made by revolutionaries in 18th-century France and 20th-century Russia were said to bring about a new world order that would arise Phoenix-like from the dead ideas of the past. Give us power and time and the bloody mess that’s today will fade in memory as we look forward to a glorious future. Promises, promises.
When America’s founders called for change, they did it in terms of universally held principles that had as their source God’s law, both special and natural revelation, as English Jurist William Blackstone (1723–1780) made clear:
“This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God Himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered [permitted] to contradict these.”
There were certain principles that could not be set aside even for the most claimed utopian promises. In addition, these governing principles had been tested in the crucible of history.
Now we come to our nation and the claim by some that the old principles must be discarded for a new set of principles. But these new principles aren’t new. They also have been tested in the crucible of history and have been found wanting.
Consider this from Sam Donaldson:
“It’s the Tea Party and thinking of the Tea Party and people like that that are driving the Republicans out of contention as a national party. You cannot win nationally if you don’t know something about the way the country’s changed, and the Tea Party seems to think the country can go back 25 or 30 years. The greatest slogan that I hated during this last campaign was ‘We want to take back our country.’ Guys, it’s not your country anymore — it’s our country and you’re part of it, but that thinking is going to defeat Republicans nationally if they don’t get rid of it.”
This is the rhetoric of revolution. Donaldson does not see that he has a tiger by the tail. Presently, the changes we are seeing are mostly peaceful. But there is an undercurrent of revolutionary fervor. We saw some of it during the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Once the masses believe that they can vote for prosperity by wealth confiscation and believe that it’s their moral right to do so, we’re doomed.
The people of France didn’t expect the Guillotine, and the Russian people did not expect the Gulag.
Mr. Donaldson can make these revolutionary statements now because he is protected by a culture of civility, but given time and the ascendency of radical social revolutionaries, a firestorm of change would consume everything he holds dear, including himself.