The Value of Knowing Principles
It was not long after the resurrected Christ had given charge to his apostles and departed from them that new ideas began to creep into the churches. The apostle Paul expressed the fear that unless the saints stayed close to the original teachings, they would be lead away by the cunning craftiness of those who make it their purpose to deceive. He reminded them of the very reason Christ called apostles and prophets was to keep the teachings pure. He begged them to stay with those who helped found the Church and who knew the correct doctrines and principles that would eventually lead to real happiness. This is how he expressed it:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets… That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:11, 14)
So it is with correct principles learned in other aspects of our lives.
The Value of Correct Principles
How many times in our daily lives have we appreciated our second or third grade teacher who made us memorize the multiplication tables? These principles of mathematics have become so much a part of us that it would be ludicrous for someone to try to convince us that four times four is really thirteen. The only ones that they could really convince are ones who never really learned their multiplication tables or perhaps those who have never periodically reviewed them. And isn’t it great that gravity is always constant or that reactions between chemicals are always dependable, or that electricity is always going to react the same way under similar conditions, or that the earth, the moon, and the sun are always so dependable in their orbits? These are constant scientific principles that never change! Our modern advanced technology is so dependent on all these things happening the way they were originally designed to function.
The Founders of America chart “a new and more noble course.”
For the first time, the Founders of America, believing that there are correct principles of good government which will allow freedom, prosperity, and peace for all, and using many doctrines outlined in the Bible for human happiness, discovered the principles of liberty which created the first free people in modern times and which have created a nation that has become the marvel of the world. They gave a charge to their successors to maintain the Founders’ pure doctrines. James Madison admonished:
"Happily for America, happily we trust for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of a great Confederacy, which it is incumbent on their successors to improve and perpetuate."
They believed the principles they discovered and implemented were as unchangeable and permanent for the advancement and happiness of mankind as are principles of religion, math, astronomy, or any other science. They form the science of human happiness. John Adams even defined politics as the “divine science.”
It began with Jamestown and Plymouth
The English colonies of Jamestown and Plymouth brought with them the old European style government where the people were basically assigned duties within a communal style of living. They almost starved to death. Governor William Bradford of Plymouth decided rather than die out of existence, he would try a new system of free-enterprise, where everyone would be on his own and would enjoy the benefits of his own labor. He said of this experiment:
"This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been ... The women now went willingly into the fields, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression."
This began of process of trial and error in which the Founders tried many ideas to see what form of government would promote freedom for the individual and still protect and preserve individual rights for all. After nearly 180 years, 1607 to 1787, they met in Philadelphia, first to draft a Declaration of Independence and then later to write a Constitution, to reduce to writing the principles of liberty they had discovered which would guarantee the most happiness to the people. These new ideas produced nearly unbelievable progress. The Jamestown settlers were plowing fields, moving around on land and sea, and making their cloth basically the same way their ancient ancestors were doing it 5000 years ago. Suddenly, the new principles of liberty set the human spirit free and within 200 years mankind was walking on the moon! The progress of man could not be matched anywhere in the history of the world – it is truly the miracle of America.
Progress under principles of freedom even surprised the Founders
The state of affairs after the Revolutionary War was teetering on disaster – and getting worse. When the Founding Fathers assembled in Philadelphia May 25, 1787, it was a frightening experience. The entire American experiment was falling to pieces! The unity which existed during the Revolutionary War had disappeared. There was a deep depression with runaway inflation and rioting in some places. The states were quarreling over boundaries in the west and fishing rights in the east. The states actually treated one another as countries, charging customs on imports and exports. Spain was threatening to seize territory along the Mississippi River. England would not remove her troops from the northern border of the United States. Such hostility had developed between the states that New England was threatening to secede from the Union! It was obvious the Articles of Confederation were a failure and the central government was completely incapable of dealing with all these crises. The whole civilized world was watching to see if the men assembled in Philadelphia could save the dis-United States. At times, George Washington himself wondered if they would survive as a nation. Even halfway through the Constitutional Convention of 1787, seeing the disagreements and frustrations of the delegates to come up with solutions, he wrote:
"I almost despair of seeing a favorable issue to the proceedings of the Convention, and do therefore repent having had any agency in the business."
Then it happened. After Benjamin Franklin reminded the delegates of their dependence on Divine Providence, within several weeks the whole convention seemed to turn around. Compromises and consensus were made on important issues and at the end the delegates were incredibly united in their support of the new Constitution. After the ratification, members of congress were elected and President Washington was sworn into office as President. He knew he faced an extremely difficult task. But after only two years as president, George Washington was able to write:
"The United States enjoy a scene of prosperity and tranquility under the new government that could hardly have been hoped for."
The next day he wrote:
"Tranquility reigns among the people with that disposition towards the general government which is likely to preserve it.... Our public credit stands on that [high] ground which three years ago it would have been considered as a species of madness to have foretold."
Not only did these newly discovered principles change the United States, but within a few years it aroused the admiration of the whole world.
Could this dream of Washington come true in our day?
I have the pleasure of teaching the required Government class to seniors in high school. We spend many classroom sessions becoming familiar with the 28 Principles of Liberty developed by the Founders. Using current issues, we learn how restoring these principles could indeed save America once again. I ask these young students to dream of working hard enough to once again enjoy a government based on these true principles. Then, three years from now we will meet again and recollect sitting in our high school classroom, three years previous, talking about the terrible shape we are in. But with all our energy we were able to convince enough Americans of the correctness of these principles and restore them in our government. Would not our reaction be the same as Washington’s? We could say, with Washington, “If anyone would have foretold that we could solve our problems in just three years using these marvelous principles of liberty, we would have thought him a fit candidate for the madhouse!” But it did happen and can happen again! That is what we must work toward.
As a concerned citizen, what can I do to help make a difference?
First, become familiar with these principles yourself. Memorize them and then practice applying them. There are several good online sources to go to see what kind of bills are being introduced in Congress and in your state legislature or even ordinances being considered in you city or town council. Compare these proposed laws to correct principles of government and become conversant with explaining why the proposals are good or bad based on correct principles. There is nothing more satisfying than to know your thinking has solid basis of principle rather than mere emotion of the time. Second, NCCS has produced several audio recordings that focus on various topics. They are designed to reinforce the Principles of Freedom in a fun and engaging way. Visit our Facebook page or our web site to listen to these audio segments. You can also influence other by liking us on Facebook and sharing them through social media. We would really like your input, so please let us know what you think. Third, an important election is coming in 2016. As you may become acquainted with candidates for local, state, or federal offices, invite them to learn about these principles. Get NCCS’s publication on Constitutional Questions to Ask Candidates. It is a great way of quickly knowing what kind of a candidate they are and how they feel about restoring Constitutional government. Also, invite them to complete our study course online using our new Discussion Guide entitled, Proclaim Liberty. Using this guide, anyone can view our online videos at no cost and learn how the Founders first developed, and then implemented these principles into our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Fourth, after you do the three steps above, encourage those around you to do the same. Soon you will become a powerful influence for good in restoring correct principles. You will feel the peace of not being “carried about with every wind of doctrine….”
Earl Taylor, Jr.