On Regime Politics, Ancient and American

Politics is as Old as Human Civilization

Recent years have witnessed an uptick in the use of the term “regime” in political commentary. Conservatives have long groped for suitable terminology to describe the modern leviathan: the managerial elite, administrative state, bureaucratic labyrinth, kleptocratic oligarchy, priestly clerisy, and so forth. These terms all have strengths and weaknesses, but all leave us dissatisfied, since none of them properly capture the full extent and dystopian nature of the modern state.

With the Democrat’s recent lawfare against Trump in New York, Washington, D.C., and Georgia that resulted in a jury conviction in New York, the Right has begun to cast the current ruling order in regime language in order to capture its all-encompassing and intrusive nature. In the pages of this online journal, Josh Abbotoy has helpfully defined a “regime” as “a set of public, quasi-public and private actors exercising coordinated power for the purposes of advancing a shared agenda for social and political control.” Abbotoy, along with Mike Sabo, have provided erudite commentary explaining regime concepts and its application to current affairs.

Liberal centrists, however, are more skeptical. Brad Littlejohn contrasts modern administrative rule with regimes, and casts regime language as negative in its popular use and connotations. While Littlejohn technically admits, via a standard dictionary definition, that regime language need not be negative, he does not elaborate on what a regime is and where such language and conceptuality comes from.

It might help us, then, to know what a regime is and how it functions, and whether America ever was or was intended to be a regime according to the classical understanding.

The Regime in Classical Greece

The word “regime” is translated from the Greek politeía. Politeía, however, can rightly be glossed as “government,” “administration,” “civic polity,” “constitution,” and even “free commonwealth.” Lexicography can only take us so far, and thus we must turn to ancient historians intimately familiar with the primary sources as sure guides. For the Greeks, every city (pólis) was its own political community governed by a regime—the one way of life of the whole city, or its soul. The regime consisted of a constitution (politeía), a ruling element that held the political offices (políteuma), an officially sanctioned education (paideía) common to all citizens, and the citizens of the regime who were allowed political participation (polítēs).

Examples of ancient constitutions include Aristotle’s Athenian Constitution and Xenophon’s Constitution of the Lacedaemonians. What’s striking, especially about the Spartan constitution, is the role of the lawmaker (Lycurgus) in family planning (eugenics), education, the proper rearing of children, moral legislation, and habits of work, religious adherence, and warfare. All of these together formed the “customs” or nómoi of the people—their ways of life, self-identity, and place in the world that gave them meaning and purpose as a people. While a lawgiver like Lycurgus or Solon might found a city (a great and noble feat) and give the people their constitution, the day-to-day affairs of the city were overseen by officials. In the Politics, Aristotle spends a great deal of time discussing the various political offices. This included the legislative or deliberative element that had authority over war and peace, alliances and treaties, domestic law, exile or execution of traitors, and the appointment of officials. These officials included priests and political magistrates. Courts dealt with audits, criminal offenses, sedition, private disputes, homicides, and foreigners.

The political offices, however, only made up a fraction of the whole city. The parts of the city included the farmers (multitude), artisans (working element), market traders, warriors (often taken from the farming class), priests, the wealthy, political officials, and lastly, laborers or slaves. Not all of these were citizens. Only those who possessed the requisite virtues to be free, to be capable of deliberation, and who did not work in vicious occupations that corrupted the soul (such as the money class) could be citizens. And only citizens could participate in political rule—ruling and being ruled in turn as free and equal citizens.

The reason the Greeks emphasize a virtuous standard for citizenship was that while they well understood the corrupt tendencies of human nature toward selfishness, predation, and the pursuit of personal glory at the expense of the public good, they also knew that humans were unique. Aristotle claimed that men were “political animals” (Ethics 1097b10, 1098a5; Politics 1253a1) because they had speech—or lógos. The capacity to speak and communicate at a higher level not only made men naturally social and so drew them into political communities, but it set them apart from the animals.

Yet it wasn’t merely speech that the Greeks cared about—although their penchant for the rhetorical arts, public education, and beautiful orations in the assembly to persuade their fellow citizens attests to this truth—but the fact that speech was linked to the rational capacity to deliberate over and seek a common understanding of that which is advantageous, good, and just. Although all men have an irreducible animality, they can be more than animals; they do not merely grunt or make noises to communicate, they do not live only for the next meal, the next act of copulation, or to laze around in the shade. Men were made for honor, glory, and immortality. For the Greeks, politics was the arena where this quest for immortal glory happened, and it happened through men reasoning, speaking, deliberating, and contesting with each other for the truth and strength of their opinions.

The public nature of man’s speech and reason, and the consequence it would have for the virtues of the city and its advantages or disadvantages in peace and war, meant that moderation was prized. It was the moderate man possessing the middle ground who would be most useful to the city, and thus who could shine most preeminently through his public benefactions. After all, it was Aristotle who argued that the virtue was the mean between two vicious extremes; not a watered down “third way,” but the maximization of virtue that was neither deficient nor excessive. This is why the middle way of determining what was needed, fitting, and just in the public assembly was equivalent to engaging in a public contest—the agōn: “To occupy the middle ground was to enter an agonizing struggle for preeminence and renown.”

The end or final purpose of the Greek pólis was political solidarity (homónoia). Only in the city could men have a complete and self-sufficient life, for no man was an island, and those who were able to live outside the city were either godlike or bestial. The goal was not merely to survive, but to live well—to obtain excellence in one’s own capacity and the city at large. “The city is a community of similar persons, for the sake of a life that is the best possible,” concluded Aristotle. This required concord, cooperation, and friendship among the city’s inhabitants, which, in turn, necessitated order, hierarchy, and virtue.

To accomplish all this, the Greeks prized education and elevated it to a prominent place. Aristotle argued that the multitude of the city “must be made one and common through education,” which explains the heavy emphasis in his Ethics and Politics upon the nature and place of education in the city. Education must begin with the youth and must purposely shape them not merely to be good men generally (the virtuous or best man) but good citizens in particular. A civilizational education like this must work in tandem with nature: identifying and educating according to those whose natural virtues incline them toward the active versus contemplative life, those better able to rule and lead others (hēgemonikós), those who will become warriors or priests, and so forth. Thus, the Greeks believed that education must account for nature, habit, and reason. Since the full development of reason and intellect was the end of human nature, education was the means to achieve this—according to (not against) natural virtues and through a lifetime of habituation in keeping with the customs of the city.

For the Greeks, education and civil law overlap and reinforce each other. The city’s paideía must not contradict the laws and way of life of the city, otherwise the youth will become rebellious, factious, and seditious. Where formal education ended, civil law took over—a kind of continual civic education in virtue, friendship, and patriotism for adult citizens for the rest of their lives. The key to education’s success was habituation: not merely stuffing heads with abstract ideas, but the coherence of belief, choice, and action that, when repeated thousands of times, formed the soul to have a virtuous disposition and to love both what is good in itself and the good of one’s own.

In sum, the Greek regime described the totality of life of a particular city: its political constitution, the distribution of offices among those who rule, the delimiting of citizen privileges and responsibilities, and the development and promotion of a civilizational education that turned men into good citizens.

The Original American Regime

Scholars have long debated the influence of classical Greek and Roman political ideas present in the thought, writing, and reasoning of the American founders. In his 1994 path-breaking book, The Founders and the Classics, Carl J. Richard argued that the leading intellectuals of the late eighteenth-century were deeply influenced by classical authors, symbolism, historical examples, and models for government. Prior to Richard, Richard M. Gummere had advanced a similar thesis of classical influence but focused on the colonial period prior to the founding. Other scholars have since taken up the debate with renewed interest.

While I do not intend to settle this debate here, I will argue that it is accurate to present the American constitutional settlement post-1790 as a regime in the pattern of the Greeks. Just like the Greek city states, the American political order had a very particular constitution, ruling element, education, and citizenship that, when considered together, constituted a coherent and comprehensive polity.

The Constitution and the Constitutions

More than any other nation in world history, America is defined by her Constitution. Surely other nations have had constitutions, and America owes an incalculable debt to the English Constitution and the common law tradition that was subsumed into American jurisprudence. America’s Constitution is unique, however, in that it is a written and definitive document. Modern man has lost the appreciation for the power and novelty of the written word. In oral cultures, what was spoken necessarily was limited in its range and comprehension: only those who spoke the same language, were within hearing distance, or could accurately be told what another had said could understand, appreciate, or debate the spoken word.

The act of writing down what one believed or said, such that it could be reproduced, translated, and disseminated not only across peoples and cultures but also across time, made the written word both powerful and dangerous. A master in one era and region could now be the teacher of another people in a distant place, far in the future. At the same time, unfamiliarity with the original language, idioms, cultural references, or even a poor translation, could open the way for written treatises to be erroneous interpreted and misapplied for ill-gotten ends.

Political scientists sometimes claim that the Articles of Confederation or the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 or even the U.S. Constitution qualifies as the first written constitution in America. Yet, that pride of place goes to the 1636 Pilgrim Code of Law. It is not an exaggeration to claim that politically speaking, America has always had a tradition of written constitutionalism (see also the 1619 Laws Enacted by the First General Assembly of Virginia, the 1639 Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties, and the 1681 Fundamentals of West New Jersey).

This has great import for the American political tradition: it publicly proclaimed the law in the common tongue of the people, thereby inviting citizens to approve and submit to the law and so participate in their own self-government. While deference in interpreting the law has always been given to magistrates and jurists, a written constitution makes the most fundamental elements of a common political life together accessible to the people. These matters can now be publicly debated, law-makers can engage in transparent deliberation over statutory proposals, and the people can petition their government for redress of grievances. These elements of American political life, so beloved, practiced, and encoded at the time of the founding, long had precedent in colonial governments and town life.

Popular conservative commentators like Auron MacIntyre, who are focused on the desultory state of the current post-constitutional regime in Washington, D.C., rightly emphasize that it is the “people [who] make constitutions.” But MacIntyre is just as wrong in asserting that “constitutions do not make peoples.” America was a common people before she crafted the first continental constitution, and even the Declaration of Independence speaks of the thirteen colonies as “one people” united to dissolve their political bands with England. Yet just how Winston Churchill in October 1943 famously quipped that “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us,” so it is also true that a people first make a constitution, but thereafter that constitution shapes the people.

Witness, for example, Henry Cabot Lodge’s beautiful 1911 oration on the Constitution, “The Constitution and Its Makers.” Lodge was opposed to progressive thinkers who thought the Constitution was outdated and needed to be updated to fit the current and rapidly-changing social and economic situation. He argued instead that the Constitution had implemented “popular government” of and for the people that made them jealous to cherish and guard it. The men who wrote the Constitution, Lodge claimed, were “a very remarkable body … men of the world, men of affairs, soldiers, lawyers, statesmen, diplomats, versed in history, widely accomplished, deeply familiar with human nature.” These men,

were not making laws to regulate or to affect either social or economic conditions. Their work was not only higher but far different. They were laying down certain great principles upon which a government was to be built and by which laws and policies were to be tested as gold is tested by a touchstone.

The Constitution, Lodge argued, was the instrument that had wrought a nation out of a people. That nation was not a product of chance, accident, force, or merely the evolution of tradition. It was an attempt to found government upon eternal, divine, and natural principles of justice and right for the sake of the public good and conducive toward the temporal and eternal happiness of the people. The constitutional order that Lodge appeals to demanded something of the people and their leaders: virtue, moderation, reasonable deliberation, a knowledge of the good, and a pursuit of a beautiful life—the American version of homónoia. They were not merely tool-making animals, out for profit and gain, filling their bellies and rubbing their genitals, all while vainly striving with others over fashion and taste.

The U.S. Constitution was not the only constitution overseeing and ordering the lives of Americans in 1790. In fact, there were fourteen written constitutions governing the colonies in that year; today, there are fifty-one. The original federal structure created an interlocking web of constitutions and dual citizenship for every citizen. Liberal and libertarian political theory often misses this, focusing only on the national Constitution as a statement of limited government that simultaneously cordoned off the political in order to contain and tame it, while also opening up a broad, private culture of family, business, and civic life untouched and untroubled by the polluting slick of political garbage. Yet the dual constitutional order left domestic affairs to state governments that had the right to be intrusive into matters of familial, sexual, parental, religious, and economic life. The public/political-private/cultural divide was far less stark in reality than in the imaginations of political theorists.

This means, among other things, that the original constitutional order of both state and national governments in its totality was given priority over all other areas of life: the family was to be protected and nourished by the political; property rights and economic and business dealings were to be carefully regulated to prevent the love of money and global commercial relations from degenerating the peoples’ morals and undermining national civic life; the religion of the people—Christianity—was to be preferred, established, and supported throughout the union; and the rights and liberties of the people were to be upheld in a traditional allegiance-for-protection exchange in which those rights and liberties were understood to be from God but also their proper uses and limits defined by God. The political—in its constitutional dimension—was accorded primacy.

Of course, none of the founders believed that a written constitution, no matter how perfectly the parts were structured or how much the people adored it, was sufficient to constrain human vice or prevent the grasping nature of power. As Madison concluded, “a mere demarkation [sic] on parchment of the constitutional limits of the several departments, is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same hands” (Federalist no. 48). The failure of our Constitution to do what no political constitution is capable of doing is not a mark against it. America is still a constitutional people, their national soul having been shaped and tempered by constitutional habits, even in a post-constitutional world.

Representation and the Ruling Element

A key element of the founding generation’s constitutionalism was the idea of representative government. Alexander Hamilton named representation as one of the five elements of an “improved science of politics” (Federalist no. 9), and Madison identified it as the distinguishing element that made republics strikingly different—and better—than democracies (Federalist no. 10). The purpose of representation, per Madison, was to “refine and enlarge the public views” by “passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice, will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.” The founders held that ancient Greek democracies that required the active and physical participation of all citizens were unstable regimes prone to the tempestuous passions of the people, were bastions of demagoguery, and were rarely conducive toward wise and virtuous legislation.

The nature and process of political representation was meant to cull out stupid, self-aggrandizing, and vicious citizens looking to use political power and popularity for their own selfish ends. To appeal to a knowledgeable, virtuous, and industrious people, representatives had to prove their own virtues, their wisdom and courage to hold the people’s trust, their ability to lead men in difficult times, and their skill at public speaking and rational deliberation over the public good. They had to be men of moderation—not just good men but good citizens as well. They would be rewarded with public approval, national preeminence, and an august place alongside America’s political heroes. They would be the American políteuma.

The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously critiqued representation, scorning the idea as a cheap sell-out. In his well-known work, Of the Social Contract (book 3, chapter 15), Rousseau claimed that representative government was a sign that the people were already degenerate: having shirked their own responsibility to be present in the political assembly, the people pay others to do their political duty for them. Such persons “prefer to serve with their purse rather than with their person”; they are too caught up in the “bustle of commerce and the arts” and the “avid pursuit of gain” that compromises their responsibilities as citizens; it is “softness and love of comforts that change personal services into money.” Rousseau countered that “in a truly free state, the citizens do everything with their own hands and nothing with money.” Those who refuse this duty and instead pay for political middlemen necessarily find themselves betrayed: “sovereignty cannot be represented for the same reason that it cannot be alienated,” for the people’s will “does not admit of being represented: either it is the same or it is different; there is no middle ground.” In other words, the interests of the people cannot be represented; representative government is a sham that only serves the interests of petty political deputies looking to take advantage of an already weakened political constitution.

Rousseau’s critique may be wrong in its totality, yet it does enlighten us to a singular danger of representation. By reserving political participation in local and national legislatures only for representatives, it removed the people by one degree from their government. This freed citizens to worry less about law and policy and to pursue other beneficial vocations: education, business, technical trades, agriculture, industry, and the like. From the Greek perspective that was distrustful of the acquisition and use of money outside the household economy, this epitomized a major problem. Not only was it threatening (in the long run) to the stability of the family and the virtues of the people, but it created a public-private divide that divorced citizens from the political dimensions of their city. In a way, then, representation threatened to transform patriotic citizens who loved their fatherland into blasé economic units in an imperial economic zone. No longer would citizens have a distinct political identity or pursue glory and honor through public deliberation or fight manfully and fiercely to defend their own; instead, they would be domesticated by private family life and corrupted by the pursuit of commerce and financial profit.

The founding generation understood these risks. But direct democracies were also risky, as no Greek city state had proved stable and durable enough to withstand the internal vicissitudes of the people or the external threats of conquest and the lure of imperial commerce. Besides, the geographic expanse of the American continent gave the founders little choice about the need for representation, for it was virtually impossible for a multitude of millions, traveling on foot, horseback, and carriage, to physically participate in their own assemblies. The colonial history of successful representative government conjoined with a virtuous and moderate people well-adjusted to constitutional rule gave the founders confidence that America’s representative políteuma would be able to accurately embody the people’s interests and yet still govern for the good of all.

A Political Education

The founders believed that a knowledgeable, virtuous, and educated citizenry was indispensable for republican government. If the people are dumb and vicious, they cannot govern themselves but deserve to be ruled by a master who will control them. In his First Annual Message to Congress, George Washington declared that “Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness.” In Query XIV of his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson believed that all the children of the state ought to receive an education in “reading, writing, and common arithmetic … well taught in Greek, Latin, geography, and the higher branches of arithmetic.” A basic education focused on classical languages, literacy, and science and math was the foundation for a common education suited for a free people.

At the same time, however, both Washington and Jefferson believed that education was not simply general and individual, but civilizational, communal, and particular to America. In his same Annual Message, Washington went on to stress that

To the security of a free Constitution [knowledge] contributes in various ways: By convincing those who are intrusted [sic] with the public administration, that every valuable end of Government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people: and by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of Society; to discriminate the spirit of Liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the Laws.

Similarly, Jefferson, in his 1779 Virginia Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge, argued that the best prevention against the degeneracy of the people and the tyranny of rulers would be “to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.” In the same Bill, Jefferson argued that a common “liberal education” at the public expense was to ennoble those “whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue” such that they might “become useful instruments to the public” by guarding the “sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens.”

Washington, Jefferson, and others (such as Benjamin Rush) believed that in America, education was primarily for the benefit of the people and the nation. By it the people were meant to genuinely know their rights, liberties, and duties before God as a people worthy of self-government; to discriminate between oppression and lawful authority, vigilantly resisting the first and cheerfully submitting to the second; to know the difference between liberty and license, recognizing that licentiousness among the people is as quick a path to despotism as any devious tyrant. American education had a common element that accorded educational opportunities equally to all citizens; yet it also provided pathways of distinction and achievement for those gifted with the natural virtues to serve politically.

A civilizational education thus served to identify and elevate a natural áristoi who could distinguish themselves as virtuous representatives of the people capable of deliberation in the contest of congressional debate. The result would be laws and statesmen who jealously guarded the people’s right and liberties, as well as the public good, against moral degeneracy and license on the one hand and tyrannical abuses of power on the other. This demonstrates the way that the American paideía and políteuma overlapped and were reinforcing of each other and for the good to the nation writ large.


The contrast between the ancient Greek and American regimes is most prominent in their respective understandings of citizenship. Greek citizenship was reserved for certain classes, vocations, and virtues. American citizenship was offered equally to all those who joined the political covenant or social compact. Thus, the natural and constitutional rights and liberties—the “privileges and immunities”—of all citizens were equally protected and regulated for the common good. Yet in two ways American citizenship mirror Greek citizenship.

First, American citizenship had moral, religious, and loyalty conditions attached to it. Early American immigration policy sought to maintain a relatively homogenous population by filtering by ethnicity and moral qualifications. Virtuous and religious immigrants who were industrious, lawful, and capable of self-government were prized over the vicious, slavish, and slothful. This disposition and its attendant policies lasted until the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. The idea of indiscriminately inviting into the country people from every corner of the globe who know nothing about America and are incapable of governing themselves, and then awarding them with the rights of citizenship, would have been anathema to the founders.

Second, within America’s original regime, there were distinctions between the common rights of all and particular political rights reserved for some. For example, state laws often limited voting rights for men who owned land (even though the property requirement was being phased out). This was neither sexist against women nor discriminatory towards the poor. Instead, it reflected the ancient belief in natural leadership differences between men and women, and the importance of land ownership as a condition for economic and political independence (thus not allowing the development of a poor and dependent voting class as prejudiced clients of corrupt, political patrons). Those who own land and a home, who cultivate them, and put them to productive uses have a stake in ensuring that good government and responsible statesmen rule over them.

There were no second-class citizens in America originally. Yet there were still natural and reasonable social hierarchies as well as preconditions and qualifications for political participation that balanced self-government and the consent of the people with good government by the wise.


America’s original political regime was not a carbon copy of the Greek model. Yet neither was it a complete departure from it nor an attempt to create a form of government entirely novel. In its constitution, its ruling element, its education, and its citizenry, the America founding created a regime that was undoubtedly sui generis yet reminiscent of the ancient Greeks. What both had in common was that each in its own way was meant to form a distinct and particular people, noble and virtuous, bound together by common loves and friendships, and happy to live under a comprehensive political polity that touched every aspect of their lives. 

Today, this has been lost in America. The current regime is just as much a regime as was implemented in 1790, even though its administrative and global structure is markedly different from the original constitutional model. The main difference, however, is that the tyranny, licentiousness, and oppression that Washington warned about has overtaken the nation. The current regime has a new constitution, a new ruling element, a new education, and a new citizen-serf. It is a regime, but a terrifying one, as Friedrich Nietzsche knew. In chilling words, he spoke about the death of a people: “the State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.’” The original American regime formed a beautiful nation out of a common people, while our current regime dissolves the nation by fragmenting the people. The solution is not to reject “regime politics” because it sounds foreign and frightening, but to break and conquer the ascendant regime and replace it with a better one. For this task, we can be grateful that our own history and founding fathers provide us with a noble example.

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Ben R. Crenshaw

Ben R. Crenshaw is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Declaration of Independence Center at the University of Mississippi. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Politics at the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. You can follow him on Twitter at @benrcrenshaw.

3 thoughts on “On Regime Politics, Ancient and American

  1. What I find among the new conservatives, such as the MAGA people, is that their accusations against others are all too often confessions of wrongdoing? Does the other side lie? What about Trump’s Big Lie? Does the other side ignore The Constitution? What about the January 6th Insurrection? These conservatives want to believe that they are the ones for law and order and yet look at Trump’s convictions. He wasn’t indicted or convicted by politicians. He was indicted and convicted by ordinary Americans. If that isn’t enough, then, again, look at January 6th.

    In addition to that is the projection of one’s own idealism on heroes from the past so that they could act as authority figures for us today. The Constitution was concerned about the family? Hardly. Look at Yates’s notes on the secret debates of the Constitutional Convention or Madison’s notes on the convention itself and count how many times the family is mentioned. Concern for the family is said to be a Christian idea but such an emphasis forgets how Jesus defined His family.

    We should note what caused the convention to take place. It was the widespread dissent and Shays Rebellion that spooked America’s new elite into meeting.. Some of those new elite Americans were slaveowners–a fact that we continually avoid to fully face. Some, like Washington, were land speculators. Some opposed the opening of elections to all classes of people lest agrarian law followed–see James Madison. The Constitution denied citizenship to Native Americans and Blacks–that’s part of your homogeneous population efforts which today is referred to by the word ‘racism.’ We should note that the Founders did not want to challenge the institution of slavery. Why was that? Perhaps it is because people who own slaves have a different view of slavery than people who are slaves.

    The Constitution, however, declared something that no other government at that time declared: ‘We The People.’ That stood in contrast to those nations that were based on various religions. The Constitution made clear that religion was not an important matter when it came to the Federal government. After all, it prohibited the use of any religious test for those in public service in the U.S. And then there is the Establishment Clause. But even more than that, look through Yates’s and Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention and see how many times and to what extent religion and God are mentioned?

    It’s not that we shouldn’t learn from the past. It is, however, that the past should not dictate our present and future. The calls for a return to Christendom and Christian Nationalism based on appeals to the past forget the changes in demographics over the years. Those appeals to English law and the Puritans, who had. a significant presence in only around 3 of the 13 colonies turned states, show that the New Right, as some like to call it, is nothing more than the Old White. In fact, haven’t there been articles posted on this website that call for a prominent role to be played by White Anglo Saxon Protestantism? And yet, what do our demographics call for?

    The problem with Traditionalists is that they rely too heavily on selected parts of the past to interpret and respond to the present. And that problem is very apparent in the above article. Traditionalists are one side of the same coin shared by Narcissists. The problem with Narcissists is that they rely solely on the present to interpret reality. And it takes real wisdom to know what to embrace and what to leave from both the past and present in understanding how we should live together in our nation. The above article displays no effort in seeking for that wisdom.

    BTW Ben, I hope that the above comment has been posted in a timely fashion.

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