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  2. ACLU History | American Civil Liberties Union
  3. Keynote Address: Reclaiming Our Rightful Place: Reviving the Hero Image of the Public Defender

Beginning with the Magna Carta, many of the great Anglo-American conservative revolutions took place decades or even generations after the loss that precipitated them. Deep historical currents made Americans both unruly we refuse to allow others to rule over us unjustly and well-ordered we refuse to accept disordered and capricious laws and institutions. Long experience leads us to love our political freedom and we have often had to fight to preserve this freedom.

Our love of freedom imbues our cultural and social disposition even today—a disposition that is encoded into our political DNA in countless ways, most barely visible because they seem self-evident.

Such cultural habits, dispositions and long-cultivated affection for self-reliance take a long time to murder. They will not necessarily live on forever, but they were not erased in the last few generations. Because a free people cannot be manufactured by policy or revolution, the objective of a conservative revolution is not primarily cultural or social. Rather, it is to create the social and cultural space—space now occupied by the state and hence dangerous to the underlying cultural order—for self-governing people to develop and pass down crucial habits and dispositions now under assault.

The cultural order is more important than politics, but it is the product of organic growth not revolution, which is why any revolution that will work for the goals of a free and self-governing people is a conservative revolution. All other revolutions will produce tyranny. The deep state is not the administrative state, even if the latter is necessary for the former. I refer to the deep state as short-hand to describe a kind of corruption exercised by a largely hidden elite almost completely insulated from the oversight of the sovereign people—an elite that acts in direct violation of the principles of limited and balanced government as well as democratic participation.

As recently as , most of us now confronted with growing evidence of a concerted effort by high placed officials in different parts of the government who engaged in illegal actions to bring down a duly elected president, would not have believed it possible. These activities and attending cover ups amount to a conspiracy to use power to subvert the authority of the sovereign people. Any non-partisan examination of this shocking evidence cannot help but frighten citizens of our republic.

After decades of disallowing ourselves to consider such possibilities, we have become woke. But two facts about what we have learned are just as important as our emerging awareness of these extensive crimes by powerful people. First , the most conspicuous figures in this scandal are not only denying that they did anything wrong, much less illegal: they are doing so in a way that is insulting to the American people.

They have the audacity to tell us that their spying is not really spying because they are incapable of such things and how dare we think otherwise. This is now a standard defense among those who are the primary figures in this scandal as well as their congressional and media supporters. What is plainly true, we are told, is simply not true— because they say so.

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Second , a large number of Americans, including a great many who are deeply informed and well educated, refuse to believe that the evidence before the public now constitutes anything illegal or immoral. We can attribute some of it to a kind of partisan ideological purity combined with a deep hatred of the President. However concerning we find this kind of blindness to evidence, it is not as troubling as the blindness of those who are of good will and whose political principles are not narrowly ideological, yet still refuse to believe the evidence before the public.

Their refusal reveals the most insidious consequences of the deep state. Paradoxically, allow me here to suggest that conservative revolutionaries need to consider the trenchant Leftist analysis of American society and politics from the s, C. Read in light of recent events, this book illuminates some characteristics of what we are now broadly calling the deep state that must be understood well before any conservative revolution can take place. Mills claimed that a relatively small and interlocking set of elites controlled the most important decisions that dramatically affected the United States.

In particular, these groups control the institutions in politics, economics, and the military. In each of these areas, much of what had been characterized by overwhelming pluralism and decentralization for centuries had, by the s, been consolidated in such a way that a few key institutions—such as major corporations in the economic sphere—could exercise enormous control over the economy of a sort that was impossible to imagine a century before.

Those who controlled this small number of corporate behemoths not only possessed inordinate power—they belonged to interlocking networks and interest groups that produced a consensus based on their common perspective and collective interests. Moreover, the powerful elites in economics were often directly or indirectly connected to elites in the other two areas of military and politics. Those who are most powerful are not likely to be self-aware of how the system in which they exercise direct power and indirect influence works, or to think in a grand way of how they might manipulate or use it for their narrow benefit.

To them, as successful people in a successful society that is the envy of the world, their exercise of power is organic and self-evident. It is natural. They are where they are, deploying the kind of power and influence that they possess, because it works well. The consensus the system produces cannot help but look self-evident, prudent, mild, and progressive to those at the top.

Many do not even see that they are part of a very small minority that exercises more control over the nation than the vast majority of non-elites who constitute the electorate. The events of the last three years have revealed what many of us thought impossible. We do not just live as most conservatives have long understood in a post-constitutional republic connected to the administrative state: the shock of our corrupt and over-ripe system of self-righteous elites at Trump the barbarian exposed the fact that we have long been ruled by protected overlords.

Only a barbarian someone relentlessly hostile to the conventions of the elite could have provoked such a reaction that, in turn, exposed the extent of the rule of the elites over the rest of us. We can no longer ignore the system of lies that the well-heeled peddle.

ACLU History | American Civil Liberties Union

We cannot believe and yet we are told we must that the elite promoters of the general will of the people expect us to accept this system of lies upon their moral authority alone. We cannot unsee the astonishingly open connections between the most powerful media corporations and the deep state.

The revolution must begin with the deep state because it not only awakens us to the oligarchic nature of our current regime; the paroxysms of the power elite in this system are the necessary and best opportunity to lay bare to the larger public of free citizens that they are living under the tutelage of schoolmasters to quote the great French thinker, Alexis de Tocqueville. For the harder parts of the revolution to succeed such as limiting the scope and power of the federal government , a vigorous minority, supported by an understanding majority, must be fully sensitized to the fact that not only does the current system of elite controls favor the self-interest of those who have long been in power, but that this elite has worked for decades to create the images on the cave walls that control how American citizens interpret their experiences, to create the vocabulary that determines how we talk about moral and political matters, and to persuade us not to trust our own experiences and common sense.

The deep state undermines the four constitutional principles I outlined at the start popular sovereignty, limited government, balanced government, and democratic participation , but the more foundational challenge to revivifying those principles in our current system requires a sustained conservative revolution in the structure of our federal government. Without our experience of the deep state I doubt that the real revolution would be possible at this time.

But the real revolution will be neither as sexy nor as easy as fighting the corruption of the snarky elites in government, media, universities, and corporations. These expanding administrative agencies force us to confront some basic questions: over what areas of life ought these agencies have jurisdiction; what powers ought they possess in service of their statutory obligations; and what kind of authorizations do they need to have for both their regulatory scope and powers for them to be considered legitimate? These are all questions that return us to our four principles.

Conservatives have long known and documented the assault on our republican principles of government by the expanding federal state but their critiques have, until now, been largely meaningful lamentations rather than serious calls for reform. The best of the recent batch of such reactions suggests part of the problem. For Murray reclaiming our republic is, at best, the work of generations. Today we have an awakened public, which is the necessary condition for the relentless education campaign, political activism, and new policy options the revolution needs to be effective. Strategies for various campaigns in this revolution are already well outlined by people like Murray, but the first task during this inflection point is to use current frustration with the corruption and elitism of our time to teach about the four principles of the American republic.

We must use this opportunity to reveal how much we have lost over the decades by means of seemingly prudential additions to the administrative system of governance by elites. In some cases, the overturning of our principles happened with barely a public whimper.


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The task before us is to review and present our principles and our history in a way that produces a bang discernible to a listening public. Within the new government created by the sovereign are separate but overlapping spheres of authority and action that harness the self-interest of different institutions to provide salutary checks on other parts of the government.

Nothing is as dangerous to American ideas of republican rule than unity of the powers inherent in sovereignty being exercised in one institution. If we are to address the larger concerns of our time, the most important questions are the scope of authority and the specific range of powers granted by the Constitution to the Congress. Although he rarely, if ever, uses the phrase "American exceptionalism," he insists upon the "distinctive characteristics of British North American life. Although the concept of American exceptionalism dates to the founding ideas, [15] the term was first used in the s.

Some claim the phrase "American exceptionalism" originated with the American Communist Party in an English translation of a condemnation made in by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin criticizing communist supporters of Jay Lovestone for the heretical belief the US was independent of the Marxist laws of history "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions".

Early examples of the term's usage do include a declaration made at the American Communist convention proclaiming "the storm of the economic crisis in the United States blew down the house of cards of American exceptionalism". The phrase fell to obscurity after the s, and in the s American newspapers popularized it to describe America's cultural and political uniqueness. The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.

Their strictly Puritanical origin, their exclusively commercial habits, even the country they inhabit, which seems to divert their minds from the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts, the proximity of Europe, which allows them to neglect these pursuits without relapsing into barbarism, a thousand special causes, of which I have only been able to point out the most important, have singularly concurred to fix the mind of the American upon purely practical objects.

His passions, his wants, his education, and everything about him seem to unite in drawing the native of the United States earthward; his religion alone bids him turn, from time to time, a transient and distracted glance to heaven. Let us cease, then, to view all democratic nations under the example of the American people. Wells , G. Chesterton , and Hilaire Belloc ; they did so in complimentary terms. From the s to the late 19th century, the McGuffey Readers sold million copies and were studied by most American students.

Keynote Address: Reclaiming Our Rightful Place: Reviving the Hero Image of the Public Defender

Skrabec argues the Readers "hailed American exceptionalism, manifest destiny , and America as God's country Furthermore, McGuffey saw America as having a future mission to bring liberty and democracy to the world. In June Jay Lovestone , a leader of the Communist Party in America and soon to be named general secretary, described America's economic and social uniqueness. He noted the increasing strength of American capitalism, and the country's "tremendous reserve power"; strength and power which he said prevented communist revolution.

In general, Americans have had consideration in national "uniqueness. Recently, socialists [ who? Many scholars use a model of American exceptionalism developed by Harvard political scientist Louis Hartz. The national government that emerged was far less centralized or nationalized than its European counterparts. Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American Puritan roots. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to provide a model for the other nations of the Earth.

One Puritan leader, John Winthrop , metaphorically expressed this idea as a " City upon a Hill "—that the Puritan community of New England should serve as a model community for the rest of the world. The Puritans' moralistic values [ clarification needed ] remained part of the national identity of the United States for centuries, remaining influential to the present day. In this vein, Max Weber was a pioneer in delineating a connection between capitalism and exceptionalism.

Eric Luis Uhlmann of Northwestern University argues that Puritan values were taken up by all remaining Americans as time went by. Schultz underlines how they helped America to keep to its Protestant Promise , especially Catholics and Jews. The ideas that created the American Revolution were derived from a tradition of republicanism that had been repudiated by the British mainstream. Historian Gordon Wood has argued, "Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era.

So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy. Thomas Paine 's Common Sense for the first time expressed the belief that America was not just an extension of Europe but a new land, a country of nearly unlimited potential and opportunity that had outgrown the British mother country.

These sentiments laid the intellectual foundations for the Revolutionary concept of American exceptionalism and were closely tied to republicanism , the belief that sovereignty belonged to the people, not to a hereditary ruling class. Religious freedom characterized the American Revolution in unique ways—at a time when major nations had state religions.

Republicanism led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison created modern constitutional republicanism , with a limit on ecclesiastical powers. Historian Thomas Kidd argues, "With the onset of the revolutionary crisis, a significant conceptual shift convinced Americans across the theological spectrum that God was raising up America for some particular purpose.