dence with the practical safeguards against centrahzation insertedrninto the first ten amendments. No o n e ^ a s fooHshrnenough, in the early days of the republic to reau the D&clarationrninto tlrie Constitution (as one sect oiphilosophes has claimed torndo), but demagogues like Webster and Lincoln, in their constantrnharping on the themes of the Declaration, made it seem asrnif Mr. Jefferson’s elegant sentences on equality and inalienablernrights constituted an American creed. Calhoun saw the mischiefrnbut was powerless to stem the hde.rnThere is one strange aspect to the Lincolnian misreading ofrnthe Declaration promoted by Prof Harr)’Jaffa and his disciples.rnAs anti-Christians, President Lincoln and Professor Jaffa convenientlyrnpass over the obviously Christian language of the Declaration.rnMr. Jefferson was far from an orthodox Trinitarian, butrneven as an Anglican deist, he was careful to couch what seemedrnto be a Lockean argument in language that would appeal to thernChristian majority who would be expected to fight the Revolution.rnJefferson did not say: “Men were originally born equal inrna state of nature from which they derive their rights.” He apparentiyrnwrote in his original draft “that all men are [presentrntense] created equal and independent, that from that equal creationrnthey derive rights inherent and inalienable. Amongrnwhich are the preservation of life and liberty and the pursuit ofrnhappiness.”rnOnce Jefferson and his colleagues had clarified the point byrninserting “endowed by their Creator,” the text took on an almostrnThomistic ring. Our Creator has made man in such a wayrnas to be possessed of certain essential properties which includernthe right to live, to be free, and to pursue the happiness which isrnthe natural end of human existence.rnNow, to a Jacobin, a Marxist, or a Straussian, “the pursuit ofrnhappiness” might serve as a cover for imposing a tyrannicalrnreign of virtue. The students of Aristotle and St. Thomas knowrnbetter, that commonwealths —as Thomas says more thanrnonce—exist to make a virtuous life possible; they cannot andrnmust not attempt to compel virtue. (Thomas thought collectingrninterest on a loan was sinful, but he acknowledged that itrnmay be in the interest of society not to punish usury.)rnMr. Jefferson was no Thomist, although he had certainlyrnread his Aristotle. We know, however, what he thought aboutrnthe role of national and state governments. His views on thernpower of states are declared ringingly in the Kentucky Resolutions,rnand although he opposed slaver)’, his loathing of the abolitionistrnarguments from higher powers and natural rightsrnboiled to the surface in his famous remarks on the MissourirnCompromise, when the abolitionist rhetoric awakened him as arn”firebell in the night.” Albert Jay Nock once asked himself how,rnon Jefferson’s understanding, the state should act to “raise therngeneral level of happiness.” Nock answered:rnMr. Jefferson’s answer to this question can be put in a fewrnwords—that it should mind its own business… to protectrnthe individual firom the aggressions and trespasses ofrnhis neighbors and beyond this to leave him strictly alone.rnThe part}’ of Lincoln turned Mr. Jefferson and the Bill ofrnRights on their heads, and few Americans are willing to considerrnthe plain meaning of these texts. I do not exempt constitutionalrn”scholars” or political “philosophers,” and the ordinary,rndim-witted sort of sluggard who chairs Senate committees or sitsrnon the Supreme Court does not dream for a moment of goingrnback 30 (much less 200) years to discover the truth.rnTo measure how far we have come, simply compare thernDred Scott decision with Roe v. Wade, hi Dred Scott, the mostrnbasic argument was constitutional; African-Americans had notrnbeen considered citizens by the Framers of the Constitutionrnnor did they enjoy, even in states dominated by abolitionist politics,rnthe most rudimentary form of citizenship—the rights tornvote, hold public office, sit on juries, intermarry with rights. IfrnCongress or the states wanted to make them citizens, they werernfree to do so, but such an innovation was not the prerogative ofrnthe Supreme Court. In his decision, Chief Justice Roger Taneyrntook note of the colonial and post-republican laws restrictingrnthe rights of Mrican-Aniericans, commenting:rnIt is not the province of the court to decide upon the justicernor injustice .. . of these laws. The decision . .. belongedrnto the political or lawmaking power; to those whornformed the sovereigntv’ and framed the Constitution.rnThe dut}’ of the court is, to interpret the instrument theyrnhave framed, with the best lights we can obtain on thernsubject, and to administer it as we find it, according to itsrntrue intent and meaning when it was adopted.rnThis is the pure republican doctrine of the Framers, but onlyrn116 years later in Roe v. Wade, the justices discovered somethingrnthat no one had ever heard of before: a right to privacy thatrnprevented state governments from regulating what everyone inrnhis right mind knew to be homicide. These two opinions wererndrawn on absolutely opposite grounds, but in this age of lead,rnthe so-called conservative defenders of constitutional federalismrnthink they can score points by confiising judicial restraintrnwith judicial legislation and by equating slavery with murder.rnSlavery is an evil, but it is not murder (much less legalized abortion),rnand it is embarrassing to come across this degradingrncliche even in Justice Scalia’s principled dissents.rnInexorably, the Bill of Rights, which was supposed to defendrnthe concrete Anglo-American liberties for which our ancestorsrnfought and died from the power of cenhalized government, hasrnbecome a Declaration of the Rights of Man to justify the expansionrnof government at the expense of society.rnHow this works in the case of the First Amendment hardlyrnneeds comment. Fearing the power of government to silencernpolitical opposition, the framers of the First Amendmentrntried to safeguard freedom of speech, press, and assembly, andrnbecause religion in the 17th and 18th centuries was a focalrnpoint of every political struggle, they lumped the exercise of religionrnin with the provisions protecting political speech. Inrnpractice, however, government agents (a.k.a. judges and politicians)rnhave converted, for example, freedom of religion to thernprohibition of religion.rnAiding and abetting the government agents have been thernbusiness and cultural monopolists who have sought to cartelizernall aspects of social and political expression. What does freedomrnof the press mean in a country where access to the vast television,rnradio, and newspaper markets is controlled by a few giantrncorporations that collude with federal regulators? Pat Buchananrnhas the right to say anything he likes in his own living roomrnor even on a local talk show. If he secures the nomination of arnparty that not so long ago garnered 19 percent of the vote, hernwill still not be allowed into the presidential debates. As thernNew York Times explains, George Bush and Al Gore are providingrnthe genuine differences of opinion on which hue democra-rnOCTOBER 2000/11rnrnrn