Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reflection: Wisdom, Yes -- Will of People, No

Dr. Ben Carson (Presidential Candidate in 2016?)

Dr. Ben Carson's latest appearance on Fox News Sunday was underwhelming compared to the bold speech he gave at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013.

Rather than condemning Rev. Al Sharpton's role in advising President Obama on Eric Holder's replacement, Carson offered that Obama needs to listen to a number of opinions.

Granted, there is some good advice, but where was the discussion on Sharpton's prior, heated rhetoric which has escalated race-based conflict rather than elevating the discussion on poverty and cultural problems America's inner cities.

 As for his biggest complaint against the now resigned Attorney General, Carson said that the chief law enforcement office is supposed to be blind in choosing which cases to take up and which crimes to prosecute. Holder, in Carson's opinion, had a partisan, ideological agenda.

Ya think?

His comments about the role of the government and the people in determining the leadership and direction of the country were noteworthy, not just for the necessity of wisdom in our leaders (a good point), but the argument that politicians need to represent the will of the people as opposed to the will of the government.

The United States Constitution does not establish a populist democracy, but a republican, representative democracy, in which the will of the people is expressed, certainly, but not the determining goal of the federal government.

The Preamble of the US Constitution summarizes the role of the federal government:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The federal government does not enact the mercurial will of the people, but is supposed to ensure the blessings of liberty: a common defense, peace at home and abroad, ensuring the rule of law based on natural rights.

Majority rule, yes, but with minority rights, checks and balances, and a healthy respect for the fallible nature of man: all of these aspects define the design of the federal government. Appeals to the will of the people are common, yet dangerous, especially in light of populism's frequent and terrifying turns toward government tyranny (The French and Russian Revolutions, Nazi Germany).

Regarding wisdom, this leadership trait is a much-needed yet sorely lacking commodity in Washington. A biblical principle which respects eternal verities and honors the truth instead of custom and agreement, wisdom exceeds intelligence as well as experience.

President Obama, for all his academic accolades, is not a wise man, does not listen to others, and certainly does not consider diverse opinions. This habit of academic autism defined his college and professor days before running for office in Illinois.

Dr. Carson's key contribution to the political discussion is the reassertion of Biblical principles into the national discourse. Not Bible-thumping, as secular alarmists would contend, but the deep respect for Jude-Christian values revealed in the Bible, which have withstood the tests of time and human ambition. Second President John Adams was clear: "The United States Constitution was written for a moral people."

We need a respect for that morality once again in our country. In no other cultural reality does anyone find definition and recognition of human rights as God given, unless they originate in a benevolent Creator as opposed to an abounding bureaucracy.

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