Calvin Coolidge on the 4th

Chad the Elder highlights an important historical speech by one of the greatest American presidents:

“Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man…are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions…Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish.”

He also observes that the Declaration’s principles are final, not to be discarded in the name of progress. To deny the truth of human equality, or inalienable rights, or government by consent is not to go forward but backward—away from self-government, from individual rights, from the belief in the equal dignity of every human being….

We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first…If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things which are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshipped.”

This illuminates the great blunder of the self-styled “rational materialists”. Because they know nothing of history, they assume that the fruits of Christendom are its foundations. Christianity alone did not create the freedom and subsequent wealth of the West, but it was one of the most important elements. And without that element, without a population steeped in that element, it is logically apparent that the fruits of it will gradually wither, one by one.

Coolidge was merely recognizing a truth that was equally obvious to the Founding Fathers and astute visitors such as de Tocqueville alike. The concept of “Progress”, which itself is an evil fruit of a 19th century Christian heresy, is nothing more than a descending return to the historical norms of impoverished slaves forcibly ruled by an immoral and unaccountable elite.