"Ideas have consequences. - Weaver
One set of ideas is embodied in America's founding documents, speeches, writings, and explanations of its Constitution's restraints on powers delegated by "the People" to elected officials. That set of ideas resulted in what has been described as "the miracle of America." The Preamble to the Constitution states the goal of that set of ideas. Thomas Jefferson laid out in his First Inaugural what he called the "essential principles of our government" and called them the "only path to peace, liberty, and safety."
The other set of ideas does not envision individual freedom as its goal. Americans need to understand the difference.
"Although all men are born free, slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorantthey have been cheated; asleepthey have been surprised; dividedthe yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson? ... the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government, they should watch over it ... It is universally admitted that a well-instructed people alone can be permanently free." - James Madison
So-called "progressives" understand the "divided" part of Madison's cautionary words, but the rest of us seem to ignore the rest of Madison's statement.
Might it have something to do with our not having been "well-instructed" in the ideas of freedom?
Edmund Burke, in his 1775 "Speech on Conciliation," observed the following "spirit" in the founding generations:
"Permit me, Sir, to add another circumstance in our colonies, which contributes no mean part towards the growth and effect of this untractable spirit. I mean their education. In no country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study. The profession itself is numerous and powerful; and in most provinces it takes the lead. The greater number of the deputies sent to the congress were lawyers. But all who read, and most do read, endeavour to obtain some smattering in that science. I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business, after tracts of popular devotion, were so many books as those on the law exported to the plantations. The colonists have now fallen into the way of printing them for their own use. I hear that they have sold nearly as many of Blackstone's Commentaries in America as in England. General Gage marks out this disposition very particularly in a letter on your table. He states, that all the people in his government are lawyers, or smatterers in law; and that in Boston they have been enabled, by successful chicane, wholly to evade many parts of one of your capital penal constitutions. The smartness of debate will say, that this knowledge ought to teach them more clearly the rights of legislature, their obligations to obedience, and the penalties of rebellion. All this is mighty well. But my honourable and learned friend on the floor, who condescends to mark what I say for animadversion, will disdain that ground. He has heard, as well as I, that when great honours and great emoluments do not win over this knowledge to the service of the state, it is a formidable adversary to government. If the spirit be not tamed and broken by these happy methods, it is stubborn and litigious. Abeunt studia in mores. This study renders men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defence, full of resources. In other countries, the people, more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance; here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a distance; and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze." (Underlining added for emphasis)
Burke also declared to the Parliament that what he called the colonists' "fierce spirit of liberty" also must be attributed to their "religion," "under a variety of denominations agreeing in nothing but in the communion of the spirit of liberty."
In that great 1775 Speech to the British Parliament about the American colonies, Burke also observed and carefully documented the great and astounding economic progress which had already occurred in America, where the colonists went about their productive enterprises despite the burdens of King George. Burke pointed out that the Old World was feeding from the breast of the New--and that was before the 1776 Declaration and 1787 Constitution which further enhanced the "spirit of liberty" in that new and sovereign nation.
Do you have a link for the Burke quote?
Or, do you know which one it was where Burke argued that the colonists were right on principle regarding the tea party?