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To: Torie
Although some hate to admit it, the founding fathers founded this country on Enlightenment principles, rather right down the line.

I think you need some detail on the usage of the term "enlightenment" ol' chum.

When one, today, speaks of the enlightement in public discourse, it refers to one thing only: the French enlightement and its spin-offs. And, of course, that was not what the United States was founded upon.

First, I would suggest reading Chapter Four of The Constitution of Liberty by Hayek which makes the distinction between the French Enlightement and its theories of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality and the Scottish/English Enlightenment of a generation prior that the French were animated by in making a poor copy. I even have a thread on it linked on my page...the arguements are old but the whole chapter is there if you want to read the distinctions.

Gertrude Himmelfarb has actually written a good book about the THREE enlightement periods:
1.) The Scottish/English
2.) The American
3.) The French (and all its spin-offs down to Marx)

The entire Federalist -- Jeffersonian conflict of the first twenty years of the Republic was a fight about the values and worth of what led to the Terror: That Enlightenment.

It hallmarks were centralized power, rationalism, anti-religous zealotry and a diefication of the General Will.

Our rebellion was a revolution averted, not made. We kept our intitutions. We kept our heritage. We preserved what was good about our patrimony. No so the French.

Just one fine example would suffice. Did you know that Voltaire and the others of his ilk were non-democratic monarchists? They had no use for the common person what so ever.

Part of our confusion now is that leftists have foisted enlightenment values and sentiments (the French enlightement) on top of our American values.

20 posted on 12/10/2006 6:28:24 PM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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To: KC Burke

Voltaire was an atheist rationalist. He was used by radicals in France, and things got off the rails. But the founding fathers, the intellectual ones, admired both French and Scottish philosophers. Montesquieu was a big hit, as he is to this day. Gary Wills however has written a book that the Scottish Enlightenment philosophers were the most influential, as well they should. Edinburgh for a brief period was a fantastic gleaming city on the hill, at least of the mind.

23 posted on 12/10/2006 6:48:39 PM PST by Torie
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