From The Wretched Dog:
Stumbled across this at Powerline. While the discussion is completely off-topic, the statement at the end caught my attention, as it resounds with the essential issue in crafting a tenable, lasting just constitutional system.
“I realized that the issue between Lincoln and Douglas was identical to the issue between Socrates and Thrasymachus in the first book of Plato's Republic. Not similar to it. Identical. It is a question of whether the people make the moral order or the moral order makes the people."
We need a universal (e.g. both Judeo-Christian and secular) moral system to undergird our future polity; one that can command the respect and adherence of a overwhelming majority of Americans.
The Founder’s fundamental mistake was the assumption that the Judeo-Christian ethos would, coupled with the forms of separated and shared (therefore competitive) power, along with Adam Smith’s enlightened self-interest, stand sufficient to guard against tyranny, would the people be even minimally alert.
History proves otherwise. For all their Calvinist pessimism regarding the human condition and appreciation of the tyrant’s ‘will to power’ throughout History, the founders failed to adequately craft an adequate political-economy.
I think the essential flaw in the Founder’s constitutional design was the failure to explicitly codify the nature and precepts of the moral order (mere referencing ‘Nature’s God” and ‘Natural Law’ is not adequate), tied explicitly to the mechanisms of governance at every level. What matter if the national government cannot take my property if the local commissars are not so bound?
Still working on outlining my thesis (not that it will ever matter to anyone but myself), but I found this statement – “Do the people make the moral order, or does the moral order make the people” – to be quite helpful.