Recently, I have been doing more reading than blogging, and I am enjoying it. I have just finished reading a new book, Preserving Democracy, written by Elgin Hushbeck, Jr. It is published by a small but growing publisher, Energion Publications, and I wish to thank the publisher, Mr. Henry Neufeld, for a copy of this advanced edition.
I am a fan of the the U.S. Constitution because the Founding Fathers who designed the U.S. Constitution constructed the finest constitutional document, probably in the history of the world. To those who are critical of the United States, its ideals and its problems, I probably sound like I have been totally taken in or doofed by American propaganda (Note: I can say this because I am Canadian…and some of you know what it means to be Canadian). But to those who understand the history of the United States and who have read what James Madison and Alexander Hamilton reported in the Federalist Papers, one will appreciate the genius behind the framers of the Constitution. This document has become the model for many other national constitutions around the world. Americans should be very proud of the U.S. Constitution. If it wasn’t a great document and so intelligently put together, I highly doubt it would be held in such high regard by so many other nations.
Yes, America has not been perfect, and it still isn’t. Critics of the great American democratic experiment will be quick to point out the history of slavery and poverty; but this has existed in the histories of every country and I do not intend to condone any wrongs. However, I must ask: Is there any other country on earth where it has opened its doors to so many immigrants where so many have found freedom, equality and the liberty to pursue happiness, prosperity, and religious freedom?
In this book, the author defends the American democratic ideals. Hushbeck knows and understands the history of this nation from its Christian roots. He has helped to enlighten my eyes to what Thomas Jefferson really meant when he wrote to a Baptist group in Danbury, Conn.:
“I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State” (p.91).
Jefferson said this not to establish freedom from religion, but to establish freedom for religion. Today, the courts have twisted and corrupted the honorable intention of Jefferson such that many use this to mean that any public institution must be secular. This cannot be further from the truth. Anyone who doubts this piece of American history should read further into American history. Hushbeck has drawn his information from many sources and is well-informed about the history of the American Founding Fathers. I doubt that many history teachers know about this part of American history because many universities teach American history from a purely secularized perspective and is devoid of true “His-Story.” This is sad.
True freedom can only be experienced within the confines and protection of the Rule of Law, and when the laws of the law promote justice and equality. Freedom is not anarchy, nor do I believe it is libertarianism. Americans should never take freedom for granted because it is, and still remains, one of the freest countries on the face of the earth. It is so because of respect for Rule of Law. It is Rule of Law, and not laws, that give people protection and security under the law. However, these freedoms are being eroded today. I really like what Hushbeck says in the chapter on The Rule of Law. He defines what this concept is.
“The Rule of Law is not law. Laws have been around since before recorded history…. While laws are the rules of conduct of a society that are backed up by the authority of the state; the Rule of Law is a concept that deals with how law itself is to be understood and more importantly to whom it is applied. In its simplest form, the Rule of Law can be summed up in the statement: No one is above the law, not even the ruler” (p. 80-81).
In dictatorships, nations under Mao, Stalin or Hitler did not have Rule of Law because they dictated what the law should be according to how it best benefited them. This still happens today under tribal leadership and dictatorship, and it is abuse. However, they would not consider it abuse because they do not have a true understanding of Rule of Law.
What is truly important about Rule of Law is that it provides a basis for true democratic government. The author used an example of Saddam Hussein who acted as though he was above the law. He changed the way elections were conducted at his own whim. Therefore, democracy never actually existed under Hussein. This sort of thing still happens in other countries today. In false democracies, posed as democracies, their practices are underhanded, or even unashamedly open-handedly but corrupt.
Hushbeck says that the American democratic republic could fail if the U.S. Supreme Court continues in it dangerous trend of where court justices set dangerous precedents to define how new laws should be applied. Judges who see the Constitution as a fixed standard treat the Constitution as if it is a “living document” in the sense that it “can grow and be expanded to meet the needs of an ever-changing society.” Should it be able to be expanded? Should the American people ever change the Constitution? I mean, should one fix what is not broken? Some feel that rather than fixing it, it would be easier to reinterpret what it says. When judges base their ruling on their own personal views as to what is important or what ought to be, it can set a dangerous precedent; and it has. “In short, it makes the judge more of a ruler than a judge,” says Hushbeck. Undoubtedly, this weakens the public confidence in the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and respect for the laws of the land. It also allows for injustice.
There is so much more to say about this book that I would need more room and time to say it. If you have an interest in American history, the richness of American heritage, and are concerned about the state of the nation today, you should read Preserving Democracy. This book has just been released on April 15, 2009 and is now available for pre-purchase at Energion Publications and on Amazon.com. I am very glad to have read this informative and well-written book. Thanks.