Fighting for Principles
Limited government. Individual liberty. Personal responsibility.
These are the first principles of America, the principles our Founding Fathers staked their lives and reputations on when they declared our independence from England. The Founding Fathers’ belief in these principles shaped the Constitution and the American spirit, setting us on the most remarkable course of history that the world has ever seen.
As Senator Rand Paul writes in his feature on page 8, America’s current national crisis centers on a neglect of these principles. As our government continues to expand beyond the prescribed limits of its constitutional powers, it abandons the fundamental principles that made America the greatest nation in the world in the span of only a few centuries.
As Ronald Reagan and Alexis de Tocqueville before him reminded us, it is essential that each new generation understands and embraces these foundational principles and their role in creating a free and prosperous society.
It is principles and big ideas that drive history. In the excerpt from his new book, How the West Won, on page 12, Rodney Stark explains that—contrary to what many history professors would tell you—the West shaped world history not because of an inherent advantage in natural resources or technology but because of an advantage in ideas.
The uniquely Western mind-set led Europeans to sail into uncharted waters, continuously strive for scientific discoveries, and challenge prevailing ideas of economics and philosophy. The West became great because of its willingness to seek out wisdom and embrace innovation.
Although it is easy to become pessimistic as we witness America’s first principles daily under siege, we can take heart in the lesson Stark teaches us. History is driven by those with the right ideas, and by studying and digesting history’s lessons, you are equipping yourself to lead our country forward.
I hope the articles in this issue inspire you to take your education to a higher level and stand for the time-tested wisdom of America and the West. I urge you to seek out a deeper understanding of the values and virtues that make the United States free and prosperous, and help others understand and embrace these principles.
As many professors and politicians neglect and even renounce these proven principles, it is up to you and me to fight for them. As you study the great books, take the time to learn from prominent thinkers, and become more involved with ISI, you are better arming yourself to shape the future of America.