Would you agree that “A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men?” How about this, on freedom? “A free society cannot survive as a Republic without a broad program of General Education.” And, “A free people will not survive unless they stay strong.” Perhaps these sentences gave you pause for thought, given the events going on in our country. Let’s discuss this.
Welcome, as we return to study Cleon Skousen’s principles of liberty, 22, 23, and 24. (Skousen, W. Cleon. The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Ideas That Changed the World. National Center for Constitutional Studies, 1981). This week, we are looking at Principles 22, 23, and 24.
Principle 22 states that free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men. Our author, Cleon Skousen, equates this with “equal justice under the law.” I say it is government by established law and not by the feelings of public officials or the public, for that matter. Feelings fluctuate. They are not reliable. Law is an established process with procedures that require thought, deliberation, and adherence.
Skousen tells us that our Founders believed in “liberty under law.” That is, there is no freedom without the protection of the law. He reminds us, “unless a society can provide a person with a code of fixed and enforceable laws, he might as well have stayed in the jungle.” (Ibid., p. 244) Add to that, Skousen’s remarks on how “law should be understandable and stable.”
Do you think our law provides our society with considerable freedom? Is our law understandable and stable?
Moving on to Skousen’s 23rd Principle: “A freed society cannot survive as a Republic without a broad program of General Education.” I’m an advocate for homeschooling, so I had to digest our author’s point -the necessity for an educated populace, regardless of economic status. Skousen points out that Founder John Adams believed, “liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.” (Ibid, p. 250)
Skousen talks about the credentials and the careful selection of those early School Boards- “highly conscientious people.” How many of us today read the bio of a candidate running for the school board? Are these candidates driven to have a high standard of academics in our country in order to maintain freedom? Or are said candidates advocates of a social, rather than an academic agenda?
“In the American colonies the intention was to have all children taught the fundamentals of reading writing and arithmetic so that they could go on to become well-informed citizens through their own diligent self-study.” (Ibid., p. 251) We learn of the “popular textbook on political instruction for children. It was called “Catechism on the Constitution, “ and it contained both questions and answers concerning the principles of the American political system. It was written by Arthur J. Stansbury and published in 1828.” (Ibid., p. 254)
Would you say that our education system encourages strong fundamentals in academic disciplines so that students go on to become well-informed citizens through their own diligent self-study?”
Finally, the 24th Principle is, “A free people will not survive unless they stay strong.” The world events of this week beg our consideration of this Principle of Liberty.
Skousen maintains that:
-Free people tend to be prosperous.
-When government meddles with a free market economy, production is inhibited.
-Free and prosperous nations attract greedy, covetous, predatory nations.
-Free and prosperous countries remain so under a philosophy of peace through strength. In other words, a robust national defense is a logical necessity.
Would you agree?
Considering these Principles of liberty is difficult. Our forefathers and regular citizens like you and I did not think it a waste to orient ourselves in the American founding principles. Our forefathers, whether in city or country, rich or poor, took time to become educated to keep the fires of liberty burning.
That’s Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. ??