(Reactions to recent events by Harrison Schmitt — Heartland Institute Board member, former U.S. Senator (R-N.M.), and the last man (and first scientist) to set foot on the moon. (Cross-posted at America’s Uncommon Sense):
Quoting from the 6-9-11 Postscript below: “As in the 1850s, Americans have divided themselves between those who would restrict liberty and those who would expand liberty. Let us work to see that the electorate better addresses this division in 2012 than it did in the decades prior to the Civil War.”
Those leading the nation in the 1850s kept postponing the reckoning inherent in the Declaration of Independence’s statement that “all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Founders reinforced this principle with the assertion in the 9th Amendment to the Constitution [See essay No. 36] that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Among those other rights, “liberty,” as well as life and the pursuit of happiness, clearly would be covered by the 9th Amendment as they are not enumerated specifically in the Constitution. President Lincoln’s policy of freeing the slaves, as well as the deaths of over 600,000 Americans in doing so, specifically has constitutional justification in the 9th Amendment’s reinforcement of the Declaration’s “unalienable rights”.
Constitutional justification exists today, equal to that supporting Lincoln’s actions, for Conservatives’ active resistance against encroachments on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” by the Congress and agencies of the Federal government. Obamacare, Obamabank, Obamamotors, tax threats, EPA intrusions, Western land grabs, energy production and use restrictions, housing market distortions, and interference with legitimate personal and business decisions represent only the most recent and egregious of Federal attacks on American liberty [See essays No. 6, No. 9, No. 12, No. 16, andNo. 43] as well as against the federal system and on the constitutional functions of the States [See essay No. 1].
Significantly, this fight for the restoration of human liberty in the 21st Century is led by Western and Southern States whereas the moves to restrict human liberty are led by the Northern States and California which bled so profoundly to extend liberty to the slaves. Moving back toward their heritage in defense of liberty are most of the Midwestern States, led by Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, whose contributions to the Union created the critical mass for victory in the 1860s.
2011 and the election of 2012 constitute watershed years that will show if the lessons about failure of leadership in the 1850s have been learned, or if even more serious events will follow.