[In an article this week at barbwire.com I discuss Donald Trump’s recent immigration reform policy statement, and political pundit Anne Coulter’s unseemly reaction to it. In what follows, I further elucidate the inadequacy (for the United States) of the principles Mr. Trump set forth in that policy statement.]
Lincoln described America as “a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The words of America’s Declaration of Independence confirm the truth of his observation. In the first place, the United States of America assert their independence as an entitlement rooted in “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Then they proclaim as their common view, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And finally they appeal “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,” thereby acknowledging His judgment as their common standard for what is right.
At the moment of its birth, the borders of the new nation were not yet defined, its laws as a nation not yet ordained and established, and those who claimed to be its citizens had not yet proven that they were anything but traitorous subjects of the King of England. Yet they would go on to risk and give their all for the borderless, allegedly lawless nation in which their citizenship was, as yet, little more than a hope.
Obviously, Donald Trump’s three principles entirely lose sight of something essential about this nation that the Founders saw so clearly they were willing to die and even kill to sustain it. In practical terms the most profound of these essentials is the fact that the vocation that most of all defines the nation is not “to serve its own citizens,” but to serve “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God” which apply to all human beings. It was on this ground of their God-endowed humanity that America’s founding patriots stood to challenge the laws of the British King when as yet there were no laws to govern the United States. It was within the bounds of God-endowed unalienable rights that they discerned the purview of their independent sovereignty when as yet there were no boundaries in the new world except for those of the European empires.
The Founding patriots kept this in mind when they set about framing the Supreme Law of the Land for the nation governed by that sovereignty, after the war in which they vindicated the nation’s Independence. It is telling that in the articles they added to the U.S. Constitution to make provision for some of the God-endowed unalienable rights from which they derived their claim to sovereignty, they did not speak only of the privileges and immunities of citizens, but of the rights and freedoms every person who came under its sway.
The first amendment speaks of the “the right of the people peaceably to assemble”; the Second of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”; the fourth of “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects…’’; the fifth says that “no person shall be held to answer” for certain crimes without a jury’s indictment, that no person shall be subject to double jeopardy, or compulsory self-incrimination, or deprived of life liberty or property without due process.
In the service of fundamental right, the U.S. Constitution does not make the distinction between foreigners and citizens Donald Trump makes in his principles. That distinction may be fundamental to the identity of other all other nations. But according to the primordial vocation of the American people, to be the nation we set out to be, our actions must give and take account of the endowment of right God has worked into our human nature. They must, therefore, give and take account of the respect we justly owe to ourselves and to all other persons who show, by their exercise of right, that they too are entitled to claim a share in that endowment.
Our shared acknowledgement of this moral obligation substantiates our existence as one nation. More than geographical boundaries, or wealth; more than military or any other material power it is the key to our identity as a people. Donald Trump does not hold that key. The GOP Quislings do not hold that key. Unprincipled time servers who are willing to sacrifice, the God-endowed unalienable right to their own convenience and pleasure do not hold that key.
What they offer us is a snare designed with diabolical intelligence to let the elitist faction twist the decent spirit of liberty against itself, turning our anger at the overthrow of our rightful sovereignty into an outrageous expression of self-worshipping and self-destructive evil. They seek by every means to poison the nation’s providential hope, so that instead of appealing to God’s benevolent goodwill toward the whole of humanity, it rests on an idolatrous appeal to power that discredits the people’s just claim to liberty.
Lincoln warned against just such intelligent evil when he spoke of elitists whose towering ambition “thirsts and burns for distinction; and if possible … will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving free men.” He predicted that they would ruin the American republic. Ann Coulter’s sarcastic indifference to the moral premises that define us as a nation represents precisely the demoralized condition that will assure their success. Trump may well unite us against the illegal foreigners in our midst, but if he does so on a narrow premise of unprincipled and selfish citizenship that denies America’s vocation for all humanity, he will unite the nation by turning it against its true self.
If we thus poison its root, the more perfect union we are supposed by our Constitution to seek will withdraw forever beyond our reach. Like the Moor Othello in the play, we will have with no recourse but to say farewell to all our greatness. For like him we will fall victim to our own wickedly manipulated rage. We will insanely murder the cause of God-endowed right that, as a nation, we have professed to love. God knows, that is no way to save our sovereignty as a people.
But our obligation to uphold and exemplify decent respect for God-endowed human right does offer a way, if we to return to it. The thinking we must do in order to make sure our nation’s immigration policy satisfies that obligation can help us to understand how to do so. In my column for WND.com this week, I will try to summarize that thinking. The result should be available in the archive found at this link sometime after 8 PM ET on Friday.