Thankful to be in a nation with founding principles that renew lost freedoms 11/21/07Posted by Steve Boriss in Thanksgiving.
If my non-American readers will allow me to engage in a little Yankee pride on this Thanksgiving, I would like to express my gratitude for living in a nation whose founding principles based on individual rights continue to be a source of inspiration and renewal after more than 200 years. Like every nation, we are not perfect and go astray every once in awhile. But unlike virtually every nation, we have an optimism and confidence that the eternal and enlightened principles in our founding documents will ultimately pull us back, redeem us, and put us back on the right path. Thomas Jefferson was a human embodiment of this principle. He set a standard that all men are created equal in the Declaration of Independence. It was a standard he did not personally meet as a slave-owner, but he knew in his heart that the standard was right and he was wrong, so he freed his slaves upon his death. Similarly, on the issue of slavery, our nation knew we did not live-up to our standard, and we freed our slaves, accepting the death of half a million.
In the area of news, our nation’s standard is the First Amendment, which promised us a multitude of voices engaged in a freewheeling marketplace of ideas, free of pressure from the entity most anxious to violate our rights — government. Instead, we now live with a single national conversation controlled by elites who insist that their one version of the story is the truth, and who scoff at dissenting opinions. We have a Congress that has engaged in malpractice by doing exactly what the First Amendment tells it not to do — abridging our free speech with laws and agencies that regulate and intimidate, controlling who can say what when. But the seeds of Old Media’s destruction were planted more than 200 years ago. Bloggers are emboldened by the First Amendment’s promises, and private enterprise has the freedom to pursue profits, protected from the government by the rule of law. News will be pulled back, redeemed, and set back on the right path. For that, we ought to be thankful.