US Constitution based on Secular or Judeo-Christian values

Discussion in 'Science & History' started by Godfearingsecular, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. Is the US Constitution based on secular, Judeo-Christian values or something else?

    I believe the US Constitution is based on Judeo-Christian values which supports a free market capitalism system based on Social Darwinist's form of government.

    The constitution itself is a stand alone proof of Social Darwinist's value... the amendments added shortly after signing represent Judeo-Christian values.

    Do you agree or disagree and why?

  2. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    I don't really understand how you're reading social Darwinism into the Constitution. The idea that all white men should have an equal vote in determining who represents them seems pretty egalitarian to me (for the time...). I also didn't notice any provision in it that suggested the economy be set up in such a way that each man gets only what he can wrestle for himself. It strikes me as being pretty neutral on such things.

    The Bill of Rights seems to me to advocate Enlightenment values. It draws heavily on the ideas of the British philosopher John Locke. I really don't see anything particularly Judeo-Christian about it. Sure, the Bill of Rights was written under the Enlightenment notion that reason could reveal the way of governance that best accorded with nature, and by proxy, the will of a Christian, deist, or Spinozian God. That, in itself, doesn't strike me as overly Judeo-Christian though.

    I should add that I don't think the distinction between secular and religious values is overly clear. I would say all values are examples of human values, and thus secular, but that's my very humanist take on things. One might say that Judeo-Christian values are those explicitly advocated by the Bible, or that they're those held by a particular group or groups of modern or historical "Judeo-Christian" people, or any number of different things. It's not clear to me where we should draw the line here.
  3. The term Social Darwinists is defined as the pecking order... Darwin was not born yet, but the definition does relate. If you read the constitution it is written in a way that reflects the value of persons based on their wealth and power, a person's value is in their accomplishments of wealth and power. For an example the constitution is set up like free market capitalism... the best of the best stay in business... those with poor management fall to the wayside. Here I'm speaking of the constitution without the amendments.

    Examples of the above are the construction of the Senate, who selects them... The state legislators select them (rich white guys select rich white guys of their choice) The election of the President, who selects them... In the original constitution only rich, powerful property owners could select Senators and the President... The vote of "the less than rich and powerful" was subordinated to the judgement of the Electoral College (rich, powerful folks from each state)... The purpose of the Electoral College was to assure the right rich white guy was selected... In the south hardly no one voted for federal elections including the House of Representatives... Southern voters were limited to plantation owners and ports authority and other Nobel rich white people... In the North most states allowed all property owners to vote down to a shop keeper... non property owners were not allowed to vote.

    Locke was a religious philosopher... he had traveled to the US and made friends with the Governor of NC who later created a State Bill of Rights based on Locke's philosophy... VA and other states followed suit with the Bill of rights... Locke was not a progressive liberal Deist he was a religious philosopher that did not like to associate God with the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church along with the Kings they appointed suppressed the people removing their rights...

    Were the people in America overwhelmingly religious?

    The US adopted the values of the 99.9% of the population which was Christian... they adopted American Common Law, the Colonies version of Law according to their values... They demanded trial by jury... why, because the Social Darwin elite were doing the trials for the most part... it was something like Bill Gates being judge only in the case of the time it was judges who were rich, powerful farmers... they would hold cases until the corps were in and they had quiet time to deal with crime... sometimes several farmer judges would hear the same case and decide verdict. Thus, power to the people ...Jury trial... timely trial.
  4. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    I've always found the whole notion of Social Darwinism to be incoherent. We can say for the sake of this discussion, though, that it is the view that there is some natural pecking order.

    You're reading things into the Constitution that aren't there. It says nothing, and was intended to say nothing, about the value of any given person. Even the bit that slaves count as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of taxes and representatives, doesn't assign to anyone what was seen as an objective worth. It was well recognized as a pretty arbitrary number that came about due to a compromise between states with a lot of slaves and those without.

    Capitalism is an economic theory which the Constitution neither explicitly advocates nor prohibits. It's every bit as mercantilist as it is capitalist, as both terms are meaningless as they might be applied outside the domain of economic thought, and both sorts of economies are possible under the guidelines of the Constitution.

    Rich white men were the only folks at the time who had a decent education (with probably a few exceptions). Almost nobody would say today that someone who can't read or write should be given the power to govern, but that hardly makes everyone a Social Darwinist by any typical definition of the term.

    Locke was a progressive and liberal Christian. The values he advocated were unquestionably progressive in their time, and he is considered to have contributed much to liberal theory. He certainly didn't advocate traditional values on the whole, and given that the values he did advocate have very questionable Biblical grounding, it's hard for me to figure out how they might be particularly Judeo-Christian.

    Different Christians have different values. Should we say that every value held by a Christian is a Christian value? If so, then we should probably have to say that every value is a Christian value, and that the term is then worthless. What do you consider to be Christian values? I think most theologians would want to say that it's simply equivocation to say "Christian values" when you mean "values held by Christians".
  5. The Constitution was an attempt to strictly limit the power of government and protect the unalienable rights of individuals under Natural Law. The experiment failed of course, but that was the original intent. The principle philosophical influences of the Founding Fathers were John Locke and Algernon Sidney.

    Structurally though, there are aspects of the government that were based on the Roman system and on Mosiac law.

    But the Constitution was most certainly not founded on the Christian religion:

    "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" - George Washington

  6. Kazmarov

    Kazmarov For a Free Scotland

    Secular values.

    1) Quite a few of the Founders were Deists.
    2) Free market capitalism has nothing to do with Judeo-Christian values, Christ himself advocated quite a few socialist values.
    That's an eccentric reading into the Constitution. It advocates legislative power over everything else, supoported by popular rule...the idea that the best of the best stay in power is much more of an executive-dominated concept--early American democracy did not figure in large men of power and wealth fighting for absolute power--Jackson would probably be the first President to legitately assert that.

    Again, Judeo-Christian values equal free market capitalism?? What? That has nothing to do with anything, unless you're talking about the bastardization of Christianity by Roman Catholicism...Christianity fundamentally HATES people of wealth and power (re: Sermon on the Mount), and espouses egalitarianism, non-materialism, and socialistic living.
  7. Alright folks this is why I started the thread, I was watching Book Review on CSPAN 2 and there was this guy promoting his book that has turned the historians on their heads... Please take time to read the reviews here: Campaign for the American Reader: Pg. 69: "Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution" His presentation is what caused me to start a new debate here because it really made sense... it was the people that forced the Federalists to amend the Constitution and not simply an action of the Anti Federalists... If you or other readers of this thread today are interested I'm pretty sure that CSPAN will probably replay his book review soon... I'm thinking seriously about buying the book, but in the meantime I'll return to what he presented on TV...

    He was stating that following the Revolutionary War, that was fought for unfair taxes from England, the US government was taxing citizens from the several states to pay for the war cost and the tax was four times the rate they were paying to England before the war... and, he went on to say the federal authority demanded the payment in gold and not paper certificates from the several states... this caused the price of gold to soar causing the taxpayers to have to trade three times as much of their stuff for gold as it would have cost before the government demanded gold... the people were pissed! He goes on to state that during the war the US federal authority issued paper bonds for property they took from farmers to fight the war, horses, wagons and cows and so on... These bonds were not repaid right away because the tax was insufficient... as a result the federal bonds lost value and he go to claim that the founders were very rich and were involved in buying these bonds from desperate farmers for 3 or 4% of their face value... He states John Adams wife, Abigail was filthy rich through the purchase of these government notes... and others were busy buying western land to sell at huge profits... And to rap it up the Federalists needed loans from France and England to buy the western land through Indian deals but, Thomas Jefferson, who was ambassador to France advised the rich folks there refused unless the US develop a basis for being sued for non payment of debt... and that is why the Federalists placed section 10 in the base US Constitution... LII: Constitution

    Anyway, it hit me that politicians in the late 1700's were just as concerned for the regular little guy as they are today. It kind of popped my bubble about how great our founders were. I have did a similar thread on another site in the past but I never thought of the angle of social Darwin constitution. The people didn't buy it. Most discussion on the founding relates to the Federalist and their papers but until seeing this historian I always thought that it was the Anti Federalist that forced the adding of the Amendments, but according to this guy it was the people who were tired of eating shit from powerful people regardless if they wore a crown or hat. And, of course the people were all religious so I thought, now this should make a good topic for debate.
  8. cloud 9

    cloud 9 Guest

    what the hell are you guys talking about
  9. Mad_Michael

    Mad_Michael Registered Member

    In my opinion, the US Constitution appears to be overtly secular - a testament to 18th century enlightenment thinking.

    The infamous words of the preamble to the Declaration of Independence (holding rights to be self evident) represents an inherent break with all traditional Judeo-Christian political principles (which had always upheld that 'rights' flowed only through birth and family).

    How may I ask is "free market capitalism" and "social Darwinist form of government" in any representative or related to Judeo-Christian values?
  10. soot

    soot Registered Member

    I don't know about all that.

    I just quickly thumbed through Hume, Locke, Rousseau, and Hobbes to refresh my memory and I don't see how anyone can say that those guys weren't heavily influenced by Christian values.

    Again, I find that statement illogical.

    I agree that the enlightenment political philosophers made a break with traditional monarchical notions of blood rights, but they did so in favor of God-given rights. God being the operative term in the concept.

    If you read a little further along in the Declaration you'll see that those rights were self-evident specifically because humanity was endowed of those rights by a creator - God.

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