Whence came liberty?

The men who started this great experiment called the United States of America were men of ideals and ideas. There genius was not to create something from scratch, but to combine ideas that had peroclated throughout history. Seeds planted in the past flowered under their hands. One of the best books to read about the source of these ideas is Russell Kirk’s Roots of American Order, where the history of liberty is laid out in what I call the “tale of 5 cities”. The tale travels through ancient Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome, revisits Jerusalem of the first century, heads to the London of the middle ages, and then on to Philadelphia in the 18th century. I hope this journey, not just through this work but also other works that illuminate the ideas presented, will be interesting and enlightening.

Looking-glass world

‘I should see the garden far better,’ said Alice to herself, ‘if I could get to the top of that hill: and here’s a path that leads straight to it—at least, no, it doesn’t do that—’ (after going a few yards along the path, and turning several sharp corners), ‘but I suppose it will at last. But how curiously it twists! It’s more like a corkscrew than a path! Well, THIS turn goes to the hill, I suppose—no, it doesn’t! This goes straight back to the house! Well then, I’ll try it the other way.’ And so she did: wandering up and down, and trying turn after turn, but always coming back to the house, do what she would. Indeed, once, when she turned a corner rather more quickly than usual, she ran against it before she could stop herself.” –Chapter 2, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

This is where we find ourselves today. The federal government keeps trying to get to the top of the hill using a path that never works. There is little original thinking in D.C., because there are few who really want to change the status quo.

The only way move forward is to look at the history of freedom and take our cues from there. It is appropriate to begin this weekend, celebrating the great experiment in freedom known as The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.