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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
A blog 'for independent minds'
Enlightening
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About this blog
Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Political Views
Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rob Meltzer
Dec. 9, 2013 11:13 a.m.



One of the things that has truly been lost in American education is the fundamental concept that the American Constitution is not only a legal document, but a reflection and refinement of enlightenment thinking. To some extent, there used to be this theory that the Enlightenment was comprised of a number of different thinkers, but political philosophers such as Isaiah Berlin who posited that there was both an Enlightenment and an Anti-Enlightenment, or Counter Enlightenment, followed by Enlightenment Responsa. In short, this was sort of the blog of the 18th Century, and it makes life a lot easier for modern students of political philosophy to be able to admit that the writers are not consistent because they disagree. The Counter Enlightenment was often dominated by monarchists and church officials. In almost any school standards, a study of the Enlightenment is pretty much limited to about twenty minutes of confusing back and forth on two or three of the nearly 80 prominent philosophers. Trouble is, the Founding Fathers, particularly Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Jay and few others were reading the blogs back then, and much of our Constitution consists of compromise between the pure Enlightenment ideals of Jefferson and the somewhat more practical opinions of the federalists. Nonetheless, the Constitution is remarkably consistent if you know the philosophical background to it. On many occasions, I’ve heard people shake their heads that the same document that talks about “all men are created equal” also enshrined slavery. Actually, its not confusing at all. As we’ve been arguing on another thread, the concept of human dignity and compassion are not Enlightenment philosophies and are, in fact, Counter Enlightenment philosophies. The Bill of Rights, particularly the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth reflect the means of protecting the individual from religious philosophy of an eighteenth century European monarchy. An individual is autonomous, is what the Constitution says, and the autonomous individual remains autonomous when the government does not compel interference in the right of the citizen to remain autonomous. Since 1932, this country has veered sharply away from its founding principles, which is why we find ourselves in a state of decay and corruption. Attempts to graft the anti-Enlightenment on to our Constitution is grinding the government to a halt. It is not a joke that Congress is the opposite of Progress, or that “govern” means “to slow or halt” or that “governor” is an “instrument of hindrance.” The inheritors of the Enlightenment are the current Tea Party Patriots, and when you trash the Tea Party you trash and spit on the Constitution.

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