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First Principles

Freedom.  The first principle of America is freedom — the core value of American culture.  It explains why our little country in 1787, compared to larger civilizations elsewhere, grew rapidly, was creative and productive, and generated more wealth than any other place, making life better for everyone.  It released all of the forces that make a strong country:  creativity, competition, property rights, rule of law, and incentive to work.  And, to the extent our freedom is reduced, all of the forces it releases are reduced, and our ability to create wealth and generate progress and an improved standard of living for everyone is also reduced.


Method.  The second principle of America is method — how we make decisions.  Our method is enshrined in the Constitution.  While people will vehemently argue over particular decisions, they can more easily agree on how decisions should be made.  Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek said, “while agreement is not possible on most of the particular ends which will not be known except to those who pursue them … agreement on means can to a great extent be achieved precisely because it is not known which particular ends they will serve.”  This facet of our nature gives us unity of purpose and allows us to rise above our disagreements on the proper resolution of political issues.  Campaign Constitution was formed to improve the methods of decision making needed to restore our freedoms so that our country will be able to generate the wealth needed to meet the expectations of a changing population.  An understanding of method entails an understanding of decision making — a concept little understood and much ignored in the formulation of national policy.


Human Nature.  The third principle of America is human nature, which, next to the weather, has more influence on how we live than anything else.  We learn much about human nature by studying the forces of history that have pushed us to where we are today.  Knowledge of history gives us the knowledge of human nature, which is essential to making better predictions in the formulation of public policy.


Discipline.  The fourth principle of America is discipline.  A properly crafted democracy or republic has been shown to be the best discipline for controlling the passions of greed and power, which, if unchecked, undermine our freedoms.  Discipline includes rule of law, religion, morality, reverence, and harmony and is essential to the preservation of freedom.  Discipline is the essence of responsibility.


Action.  The last principle of America is action.  Unless we act to manage the relationships among us according to the principles that have bound us together and permitted us to have the freedom and resulting wealth for which America stands, our founding principles fall victim to entropy and will be crowded out by the efficiencies of tyranny.


The following comments, often attributed to the great German polymath von Goethe (1749-1832) but are actually those of William Hutchison Murray, bear reflection:


The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamt would come his way.  Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.  Begin it now.