As America celebrates another birthday and the British people celebrated their Brexit vote for freedom from tyranny to a supranational bureaucracy, the heart and soul of the American Left again exposed itself as statist and globalist.
Exhibit A: Steve Pincus. His recent Washington Post article attempts to paint Brexit supporters and the Republican Party as racist, anti-American xenophobes. In his introductory and subsequent paragraphs, Pincus inextricably links pro-Brexit forces with the agenda and sentiments of American conservatives and Pincus finds them wanting.
His headline asserts, “No, Brexit was not Britain’s ‘Declaration of Independence.’ It was the exact opposite.” Pincus couldn’t be more wrong.
His subheading: “The American founders would revile the pro-‘leave’ camp.” Again, his conclusion is contrary to everything we know about the Founding Fathers.
Nevertheless, Pincus contends, “But they’ve got America’s founding document exactly backward. The original American patriots would be horrified to hear their opus invoked in the service of Brexit.”
Pincus makes two striking, and strikingly wrong, claims.
Open vs. Controlled Borders
Pincus’ first strikingly wrong claim is that our Founders and the Framers of our Constitution, favored open borders. Pincus claims, “The founders called for a government that would allow for free movement of goods and peoples.”
Actually, American colonists sought control over their own borders. They vehemently opposed a power across the Atlantic Ocean determining their fate and enacting laws without their consent and contrary to their wishes.
Pincus cites the Declaration: “He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.”
No “open borders” here. What did the Founders actually seek? How do we interpret that portion of the Declaration? By what the Founders did. As noted by Heritage Foundation (emphasis added):
“Congress passed the first ‘uniform Rule of Naturalization’ under the new Constitution in March 1790. It allowed ‘any alien, being a free white person’ and ‘of good character’ who had resided in the United States for two years to become a ‘citizen of the United States’ by taking an oath in court ‘to support the constitution of the United States.’”
The very first Congress actually limited and circumscribed immigration by a clear set of criteria, looking for emigres from the Northwestern European nations which had settled America.
Heritage continues (emphasis added): “Key criteria for citizenship of the Naturalization Act of 1795 remain part of American law. These include (1) five years of (lawful) residence within the United States; (2) a ‘good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States’; (3) the taking of a formal oath to support the Constitution and to renounce any foreign allegiance; and (4) the renunciation of any hereditary titles.”
In contrast to the Founders’ wishes and the law of the land, today illegal aliens celebrate their Mexican holidays while burning the American flag and promoting the overthrow of the American government. Our Founders would have put a stop to this.
Activist vs. Limited Government
Pincus’ second strikingly wrong claim is that our Founders and the Framers of our Constitution favored an activist government. (Hence the subtitle of his new book.)
According to Pincus, “America’s founders celebrated the creative potential of the state to promote the general welfare and happiness of the people; they wanted an activist government – one that would intervene in the economy to promote growth.”
To buttress his claim, Pincus cites the Second Continental Congress: “Government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to be administered for the attainment of that end.”
But what did the crafters of our Republic actually mean by “welfare?” The Founders sought to promote the “general welfare and happiness of the people” by securing liberty! They understood that a free people – being secured in their liberty and able to use their God-given gifts as they deemed best – could, in today’s parlance, “maximize their potential,” strengthen their local communities, and improve the general welfare of the nation.
Our Founding Fathers fought for freedom and limited government to preserve that freedom.
Pincus clearly regards FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights” as superior to, and countermanding, our Founders’ original Bill of Rights. FDR’s progressive economic bill of rights seeks equality of outcome through government force while the Framers of our Constitution, with their political bill of rights, sought to maximize freedom and, thus, equality of opportunity.
Progressives like Pincus agree with President Obama’s assessment that America is fundamentally flawed and, therefore, needs to be fundamentally transformed. The Founders, Framers, and generations of Americans heartily disagree. Middle America seeks to reclaim its heritage, one built upon a Judeo-Christian ethos which cherished liberty.
Similarly, progressives like Pincus, the Obamas, and the Clintons seek to eviscerate nationalism and elevate supranational and global institutions. In doing so, they willfully dismiss, like willing dupes, the nexus between the immigration and terrorism crises.
Progressives follow Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village (i.e., big government) when our great nation was founded on the premise that the primary duty of government is the protection of the People at home (law enforcement) and abroad (national defense) – and from government itself (Constitution).
Nationalism vs. Supra-nationalism
At heart, America as a Nation and a People matters little to these progressives who prefer to use American power and ideals against her in pursuit of their own globalist utopian goals.
Pincus equates “English First” pro-Brexit voters with the resurgence of contemporary America Firsters inspired by Donald Trump. To some degree he is correct, yet he regards that as a bad thing.
The heart and core of the Brexit Vote was to liberate the British people from the bureaucratic behemoth of the European Union’s usurpation of national sovereignty and abrogation of the will of the People. Similarly, Middle America seeks its own independence from a draconian federal government which serves its own needs and purposes while thwarting those whom they purportedly serve.
But Pincus again twists the historical record, asserting that late 18th-century Britons wanted the American colonists (legal settlers all) to pay their “fair share,” likening them to illegal aliens in America, today.
In reality, the American colonists – who were all self-supporting and obviously did not rely on a non-existent welfare state for survival – disagreed with the Mother Country and insisted upon, “No taxation without representation.” Our forefathers, like us, preferred a free market system without undue taxation and regulation, the very things Pincus and his lot pursue.
In his tract (and presumably in his forthcoming book as well), Pincus skirts this crucial reality: the majority of the colonists came from Britain and shared legal, linguistic, political, social, cultural, and spiritual similarities with the British realm.
Those brave men and women who gave birth to this great nation were brothers and sisters by blood who forged a new nation by creed. That creed – “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights” – is central to our identity as Americans.
Individual rights, not collective rights; equality of opportunity, not of outcome; reverence for God, not for the State.
As Americans, we should celebrate the greatness of America as achieved by the Providence of God through the wisdom of the Founders and we should strive to return to our roots, to restore that vision of “government of the People, by the People, and for the People,” eschewing the liberty-denying statism of the Progressive vision.
Let us reinvigorate the American experiment that it may not perish from the earth.
God bless America!
 Pincus’ historical revisionism is apparent in the title to his forthcoming book, Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government.