the founders' code
Blueprint for a Moral Revolution
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
What really made America great? What ideas, despite the dark side of exploitation, contributed to the greatest outpouring of inventive creativity and liberty in human history? Was it merely an accident or was it related to something fundamental that we are overlooking? What ideas and what historical events motivated the Founding Fathers? How are these things related to what is happening in some American cities, with lawlessness ruling the streets, aided and abetted by biased news reporting?
Are you concerned about unconstitutional lockdowns that seem unrelated to our medical experience and common sense, or disgusted by the distorted ideologies being taught to our children, or the outright lies being told by shameless politicians with a vested interest in agendas contrary to those of the average American? If so, the Founders’ Code may have the answers you are looking for. This Code, which was first documented in the book, God Has Skin in the Game, addresses current political issues by pointing to the universal principles subscribed to by the Founders. These ideas, based on 2,000 years of critical western thinking, can and should be the foundation for an authentic American Public Philosophy described by Walter Lippmann in 1955.
Who today in the US House or Senate, aside from those who believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, understands or adverts to these words from the Declaration of Independence, which are the implicit basis of an American public philosophy?
“…Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to the [People] shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness in conformity with “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
A significant cause of the political chaos that we see around us is that Natural Law (“the laws of nature”) and “Nature’s God,” concepts used extensively by the Founding Fathers, have been set aside due to an overly intrusive separation of Church and State, and moral concerns, never intended by the Founders. Most politicians have stopped using the common definitions of language subscribed to by the Founders. Additionally, over reliance on modern legal analysis (positivism), which can turn meaning into an ever more disconnected process, tends to destroy cause and effect as it was understood by the Founders.
In 1798 John Adams, prophetically, put his finger squarely on the problem in an address to the Massachusetts Militia.
“We have no Government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
The Five Institutions in american life
America’s Founding Fathers provided a code for human behavior that they enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Their Founders’ Code contained a deep understanding of five critical institutions: Business, Education, Family, Government and Religion. Orderly development of society involves balance, cooperation and respect between all five groups.
History teaches us that if any one of these groups becomes unbalanced or has influence out of proportion to its proper function, the entire social order will suffer. The current economic and political difficulties in which we find ourselves can be directly attributed to a failure of both liberals and conservatives to fully grasp the interrelated nature of those institutions.
The Constitution and Declaration of independence require Responsibility
“A rational society, be it a corporation or a country, can only maintain itself if personal responsibility and accountability are at its core; that is, from top to bottom, every agent or citizen must be empowered to conduct her or his role and to be fully accountable for its performance. To the extent that this is done, there is order, freedom, efficiency and progress, but when personal accountability is diffused, the ultimate result is license, confusion, backbiting, and finally a frightening and destructive anarchy. As Plato wrote in the Republic, in such a society even the dogs become arrogant.
-James Fisher, the Baltimore Sun
Additionally, the implicit principles of the Founders’ Code, found in all major religions and philosophies, need to be reflected on and implemented at all levels of American society. America was not founded by the Civil Liberties Union or the current liberal enterprises that try to delink America from any reference to God. These are in direct contradiction to the thinking of the Founders and are contributing to the moral decline of America.
I am reminded of what happened in a Jewish concentration camp during the second world war. A thirsty inmate asked a guard if he could lick the water off an icicle. The guard said, “no.” The inmate asked, “Why not? The answer was chilling: “There is no why here.” This kind of moral devolution can be avoided by returning to the universally accepted principles of the Founders’ Code.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”
-John Adams 1778
“If we are to survive as recognizably human, we need to return to a politics of the soul, albeit in a new guise.”
-John Milbank Professor of Politics, Religion and Ethics
The Founders' Code
1. Existence is the ultimate force in the universe and source of all religion.
2. The soul or life-force is a dynamic link between Existence and all living things.
3. Moral law is based on a relationship between Existence and the soul.
4. Responsibility and accountability are based on a hierarchy of moral and intellectual values.
5. There are five intellectual values: Science, Wisdom, Understanding, Prudence and Art.
6. There are ten moral values: Courage, Self-Restraint (Continence), Liberality, Magnificence, Magnanimity (selfless generosity), Honor, Gentleness, Friendship, Truthfulness, and Justice.
7. The vices or bad habits, such as gluttony, greed, laziness, intemperance, lack of self-restraint (incontinence), cowardice, injustice, lying, parsimony (cheapness), rudeness, ill-temper, impatience, violence and hatred are the doorway to evil.
8. Honor and happiness come to those who practice moral and intellectual excellence.
9. The family is the first school of the soul.
10. All things return to Existence. This is the basis for the mystery of life.
"To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society."
-President Theodore Roosevelt
“The Founding Fathers assumed that the distinction between intellectual and moral virtue was self-evident. We teach the intellectual virtues of art, science, wisdom, understanding, and justice in our schools but neglect time-honored moral virtues, such as courage, self-restraint, responsibility and honor. The Founders’ Code, which embodies all these virtues can and should be taught at all levels of public education as part of our heritage of American exceptionalism.”
Morality, Religion and the State
“Constitutional law can make no genuine advance until it isolates the problem of rights against the state and makes that problem part of its own agenda. That argues for a fusion of constitutional law and moral theory, a connection that incredibly, has yet to take place. It is perfectly understandable that lawyers dread contamination with moral philosophy, and particularly with those philosophers who talk about rights, because the spooky overtones of that concept threaten the graveyard of reason. But better philosophy is now available than the lawyers may remember.”
-Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously 149 (1977)
Dworkin, one of the pre-eminent jurists and philosophers of the 20th century would not be described as a conservative, although his ideas are compelling irrespective of party. His view noted by Thomas Sowell that “the Constitution rests on a particular moral theory and must be understood as appealing to moral concepts…” can be understood as being central to both conservative and progressive constitutional agendas. The real question is: whose moral theory? The moral theory of the Founders rests on Christian principles, however poorly or well-conceived. The morality of the progressive is based on merely human law, (what is known as positive law), and altruistic and often atheistic concerns for social justice and environmental awareness.
We are told sagely and repeatedly that there is a constitutional wall between Church and state. The relative separation of Church and State, as conceived by the Founders, was merely to keep one religion’s viewpoint from prevailing; it was not to create an absolute wall between religiously derived moral principles and the State. Morality is not religion, although morality and religion are often intertwined, due to the notion of God, or Existence, being the ultimate good. The teaching of morality, however, pre-dates Christianity and can be safely and effectively taught in American schools. Aristotle, Cicero and Lao Tzu’s moral codes, found in their many works are timeless moral teachings that can be taught without invoking religious bias. Those who claim that the adoption of the Founders’ Code would be contrary to the separation of Church and State need only reflect a moment on the reality that atheism is a religion. The word religion simply means “to bind.” Atheists, no less than Deists, are bound by their beliefs.
The principles of the Founders’ Code, based on Natural Law and informed by metaphysics, need to be reflected on, and implemented over time, at all levels of American society. Evangelical as well as New Age teachings reiterate the ancient connection between the body, soul and God that according to Socrates, involved “making the soul as good as possible.” The notion of “soul” is simply not in the lexicon of most atheists and if suggested as a useful concept will be met with quiet incredulity. According to Yuval Harari, a noted atheist, all laws are merely “cooperation agreements.” If this is the case, it might be argued that the Constitution is a cooperation agreement between government and the governed, between the Nation and God. Any attempt to change this cooperation agreement from something that linked a Nation to God, via Natural Law, and replace it with atheistic principles is an exercise that will take us further away from the intent of the Founders. The ringing words of the Declaration of Independence establishes a new political covenant between man and God. Man, through good governance, is to uphold the rights that God has given to all men:
“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.–That to secure these [God-given] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
America was not founded by atheists, and the current liberal enterprise, under the guise of “progressive constitutionalism” to delink America from any substantial reference to God or Natural Law, is in direct contradiction to the Declaration of Independence, and is contributing to the moral fracturing of America. As Thomas Sowell noted in his penetrating analysis of American politics, A Conflict of Visions, the “constrained vision” of the Founders was based on governance bound by the (then) commonly agreed upon principles of Natural Law. The unconstrained vision of “progressives,” on the other hand, driven by moral relativism, positive law, and masked by concerns for social justice, consistently works to remove any reference to God, or a moral sensibility derived from values usually attributed to a Divinity who draws all things towards Himself. No one has stated the universal connection to Natural Law more clearly than Cicero in De Re Publica:
“There is indeed a law, right reason, which is in accordance with nature; existing in all, unchangeable, eternal. Commanding us to do what is right, forbidding us to do what is wrong. It has dominion over good men but possesses no influence over bad ones. No other law can be substituted for it, no part of it can be taken away, nor can it be abrogated altogether. Neither the people or the senate can absolve from it. It is not one thing at Rome, and another thing at Athens: one thing to-day, and another thing to-morrow; but it is eternal and immutable for all nations and for all time.”
“One Nation Under God,” as it says on the dollar, is not a trivial assertion, but the attempt to re-imagine America as a land without a consistent and original vision, not subject to objective principles, is a course that will continue to fragment our national sense of unity. The fall of Rome was once unthinkable, as is the fall of America, but if we do not return to the values of the Founders, what is unthinkable may become our unfortunate reality.