Modern Progressivism and the Declaration of Independence

Author: Andy Woods
Date Written: November 14, 2013
From the archive of
Below is a revealing quotation from Calvin Coolidge, who incidentally was the favorite president of Ronald Reagan. This quotation concerns our Declaration of Independence and the harmful advance of American Progressivism. Progressives typically claim that our national foundational charter is out of date, and consequently we need to progress or advance beyond its original terms. However, is such an advance or progression really possible? Coolidge says no! A good question to ask of progressives is what would you instead have us progress toward? According to Coolidge, such "progression" would instead be a regression away from the highest ideals known to man and a movement towards a more primitive and lower civilization.
"About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers." (Foundations of the Republic; Speeches and Addresses (1926), p. 451)




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