Friday, July 31, 2009

Is There Any Hope?

I have not blogged in over a week. And though my absence has been a regretful one, it is something that’s been hard to avoid. I leave on Aug 9th to begin training for a new job I have taken, and trying to get my (proverbial and literal) house in order has given me little time to voice my opinion on the issues of the day. This does not mean, however, that I have not been keeping up with what has been going on in our nation.

Our country is in dire straits and has been for many years now.

We have slowly but steadily been marching down a path away from individual freedom and back to the corporatism of massive, centralized government. The same nation that once scoffed at the idea of imperialism now sees its empire expand under the watch of both parties. The remnants of the Old Right (the once great defenders of libertarian values) are small, scattered, and shunned by the very party it helped build. Progressives, long thought by many to be dead in effectiveness, are back in power and making successful strides to carry out their massive statist agenda. Moreover, “Change” has come to the Beltway, but things remain much the same. In sum, the bailouts, government expansionism, and unconstitutional acts of one administration have been replaced with that of another.

What are we to do? How can we stop this runaway statism and get back to limited, constitutional government that provides true freedom and true prosperity?

The answer: We must not compromise our values, principles, or passion for liberty in the pursuit of political gain. And, likewise, we must not shy away from the political process due to feelings of hopelessness.

The fight for freedom is a continual one. There will be victories and there will be defeats, but regardless of short-term outcomes, we must soldier on and never lay complacent.

Let us educate ourselves, read and understand our Founding documents, root out all inconstancies in our thought and practice, and fight for what we hold dear. Moreover, we cannot rely on a single candidate, party, or people group to deliver us from the clutches of tyranny. We must fight consistently and hold those we fight for consistent as well. Don’t fear being vilified, marginalized, or criticized. Stand on solid ground and solid principles, and all others will fall away.

I have fought for the Constitution much of my life, and I have been disappointed with what goes on in the political system for just as long. I admit that I am no beacon of unwarranted optimism, but I do have hope in the liberty movement. Needless to say, I am quite pleased to see others seeking out freedom and constitutional understanding.

I make no claim that total victory will be won and complete constitutional government restored, but I do believe that massive strides toward reclaiming freedom can be made if we seek the cause of liberty unwaveringly. We cannot be dismayed and quit if total success is not met overnight. And, furthermore, if great victory is achieved, we cannot rest on our laurels.

There is hope in the midst of the great adversity we face, and it is found in consistent application of the principles on which this nation was founded. So let us pursue this cause.

Of course, I cannot leave you in a discussion of hope without letting you know where my true hope lies.

Even if we neglect our Founding principles and fall deeper into the pit of statism, losing all our freedoms, I will not be without hope. For, my hope lies not in the actions of men and their governments. My hope is found in the life I have been given in Christ Jesus, who died for sinners like I and redeemed a people for himself. Whether or not I live as a slave here on earth, I have been redeemed by the Lamb of God and no longer live as a slave to sin, but am free in Christ.

My message is simple: There is reason to hope, but the only true hope can be found in Christ.

All lovers of liberty, let us hope that true change will come to this nation. We know how to accomplish this. So let’s fight the good fight.

Christians, let us realize the true source of our hope. Be a witness to the world, and show all the true source of your hope.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Constitutionality of the Thune Amendment

I must preface this post by apologizing for the length. Rather than just sharing my opinion on the Thune Amendment, I thought I would take you through my mental processes. (Scary I know.)

Few are more pro-second amendment than I because, frankly, few love the Constitution more than I. It isn’t merely that I own a large number of guns, which I do. It goes much deeper. I am against any type of gun restriction that would infringe on our right to bear arms because I believe that our Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights for an important reason. That reason is defense—defense of our nation and defense of the citizenry against tyranny. This is exactly why Jefferson repeatedly argued for the right to bear arms—to protect our freedom from governments, both foreign and domestic.

Since I am such a constitutionalist and such a supporter of guns rights, one would expect me to be instantly upset with the defeat of Senator John Thune’s (R-SD) amendment to Defense Department authorization bill, which would “allow individuals to carry lawfully concealed firearms across state lines.”

Well…that wasn’t the immediate case.

Why? Why would I even hesitate to rally behind a legislative measure that seems so in line with my beliefs? The answer: Though I supported the goal of the Thune Amendment wholeheartedly, I was unsure whether or not it passed constitutional muster when it came to issues of federalism. Yes, my desire for less gun restriction was upset, but I wasn’t sure what side of the issue I was on. I wanted freer gun rights but not at the expense of states’ rights.

To understand my reaction you must learn something about me: I read the Constitution a lot. So, when it comes to any issue, before I take a position, my mind goes into overdrive looking at every angle of the measure to test its constitutionality. Of course, I have gut reactions like everyone that may or may not be right, but I subscribe to rule of law not rule of preference. Therefore, for a measure to be constitutional it must be considered in context. What may seem like an open and shut case may not be so cut and dry. For example: some constitutional provisions apply to both federal and state governments, some are solely state matters, and still others are left exclusively for the federal government. This division of power and authority between the different levels of government, called federalism, is of prime importance in our constitutional system--especially when we consider the context of our Constitution’s adoption and the text itself.

The Tenth Amendment’s guarantee that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” gives a large level of deference to the states by the federal government. And we know that the vast majority of our Founders (and I am talking near unanimity) desired that government be small and mostly at the local level. Therefore, when it comes to most issues, I support full state sovereignty--that is unless constitutionally stated otherwise.

So when it came to the issue at hand (Thune’s amendment), though I was fully supportive of its goal, I was not comfortable with the federal government making law that would apply to a potential matter of the state. Of course, I want each state to have zero gun restrictions, but my wants must be measured against the law. And, what’s more, my basic philosophy usually tells me to defer to the state whether or not I like its actions.

For example: I oppose a state income tax in my home state of Tennessee, but I believe that California is free to tax as it pleases. BUT the day the federal government tells TN or CA it must have a state income tax there is a violation of federalism, the constitutional line has been crossed, and I’ll be on the front lines fighting against such an illegal encroachment.

This state deference, however, is not absolute. I understand that there are times when the Constitution requires the state yield its sovereignty.

That is what our Constitution is—a covenant in which the states gave up some sovereign rights in order to form a civil government. The federal government must uphold its side and not infringe on the rights of states and the people, and the states must yield when constitutionally appropriate. This reality of federalism is the context in which we must consider the Thune Amendment.

I must admit that after originally being suspect of the any federal action regarding a possible states’ issue of gun control, I immediately realized that I had forgotten the language of the Second Amendment which reads:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

As one can easily see, neither Congress nor the states are mentioned as being able to “infringe” on the “right to bear arms.” Therefore, neither states nor Congress can infringe on this fundamental right. While other amendments specify either Congress or the states’ legislative limitations, the Second Amendment is a general guarantee of the right to bear arms and a general prohibition against infringement of that right by both state and federal governments.

Coming to this conclusion, we must consider whether the current law regarding carrying firearms violates the Constitution. I must admit that, though current policy could allow more liberty, there is not a direct violation of the Second Amendment. But the changes proposed by the Thune amendment are not unconstitutional either.

In fact, a close look at the Constitution and the amendment has led me to conclude that not only is Thune’s carrying amendment permissible but that it’s a great piece of legislation, seeking to use constitutional authority of the "full faith and credit" of Article IV to protect a fundamental right of a free society. What's more, states still have much authority over their guns policies because of the responsible measures of the amendment.

As Thune points out in a recent press release, “Under the Thune Amendment, individuals who travel to other states would be required to follow the laws of the host state, including laws concerning specific types of locations in which firearms may or may not be carried.”

“Currently, some states with concealed carry laws grant reciprocity to permit-holders from other select states. Senator Thune's bill strikes the appropriate balance between individual and states' rights by allowing an individual to carry a concealed firearm across state lines if they either have a valid permit or if, under their state of residence, they are entitled to do so.”

The fact is that the amendment would respect states’ rights and honor state level gun legislation. It would merely call upon Article IV of the Constitution to allow what constructional scholars refer to as “'union' among multiple sovereigns." We already experience this on a daily basis.

States take it upon themselves to only allow licensed drivers to operate automobiles on the road, but one does not loose that licensed privilege once he has crossed the state line. A licensed driver from California’s right to drive is recognized in Tennessee's burden of licensing has been met. The Thune Amendment would do the same sort of thing. One could not carry a firearm into a state outlawing such an action. But, if a state decides to allow those with carrying permits to carry in their states, (like we do with drivers’ licenses) one would be able retain his right to carry even across state lines.

As Thune correctly notes, "Law-abiding [state citizens] should be able to exercise the right to bear arms in states with similar regulations on concealed firearms. My legislation enables citizens to protect themselves while respecting individual state firearms laws."

This is not a states’ rights issue. States rights’ are fully respected. Moreover, this isn’t a measure testing the rightfulness of concealed carrying; that is a completely other issue.

No state that prohibits concealed carrying will be affect by this legislation. The Thune Amendment would merely allow permitted citizens to carry guns to states which already approve of permitted citizens’ right to carry.

This measure not only falls within the purview of the Constitution. It is good legislation on sound constitutional footing that makes a lot of sense.

I support it based on the whole Constitution, Second and Tenth Amendment alike.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Consistency in our “Fidelity to the Law”

The confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor are in full swing. And once again, as we consider who will fill the vacancy of the highest court in the land, we publically contemplate proper constitutional jurisprudence in a highly politicized manner.

This judicial “freak show” has been going on since the failed Reagan nomination of Judge Robert Bork in the 1980s. Ever since, the presidents’ nominees have been increasingly scrutinized and politicized. My fear is the latter will continue to rule the day and we will look to political ends rather than what is really at stake—constitutional supremacy, and therein, individual liberty.

Regrettably, the hearings for Supreme Court nominees have all the smoke and mirrors of a Vegas production with all the depth of a drained puddle. Often, minds are already made up and votes are not likely to change as most of the vetting that will be done comes about in the initial days after a nominee is announced. Though they may not be guaranteed confirmation, if the nominee makes it to the hearings, they can be assured of two things: softball questions for those who share their judicial philosophy and strict scrutiny from their opponents.

What troubles me most is a lack of consistency in the approach of both sides to philosophy. At the end of the day, the questioning resembles little to do with judicial philosophy and more to do with judicial outcomes. For the Left it is not about equality before the law, but is instead about parity of results. Likewise, for the Right it isn’t about reining in judicial activism, but rather about appointing its own activists.

The solution is what Judge Sotomayor claimed in her opening remarks as her own judicial philosophy: “fidelity to the law.” Sadly, Sotomayor doesn’t believe in “fidelity to the law.” Her record shows as much. What’s more, many so-called conservatives don’t believe in this fidelity either. In fact, despite continued calls for constitutional fidelity from all sides and all segments of society, it is rarely found.

The crux of the matter is, quite simply, that we have become a nation of “constitutional harlots.”

There is little fidelity to the Constitution, unless it suits our needs at the given time. Why else are those who so often act contrary to the Constitution willing to rally around it when it comes time to defend their positions? We see it all the time: The Constitution can be a barrier or a support depending on the position, and we don’t seem to mind when these positions are held inconsistently.

So what are we to do as freedom loving people? The answer is simple: demand fidelity to the law…fidelity to the Constitution. Demand of our elected officials the same standard we desire for our non-elected ones. Judges aren’t the only ones who swear to defend the Constitution. Congress and the president do as well. And we as citizens should do our part; we should be the first line of constitutional defense. The reality is that all branches of government as well as the citizenry are out of control and willing to disregard the Constitution. Our governing authorities act inconsistently with our governing standard and we don’t hold them responsible.

Why is this? Because we don’t hold consistent positions ourselves. We are too quick to compromise. And we continually put people in office by being short-sighted and not holding them to a high enough standard. So we shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t hold themselves to our constitutional standard.

The remedy? Let’s be consistent. Let’s demand consistency from our elected officials, and this will lead to constancy in judicial philosophy.

I subscribe to the judicial philosophy called “originalism.” This simply means that one should look to what the Constitution actually means, not what it should mean and not what society wants it to mean. I firmly believe that “originalism” allows for the document to be the standard, not changing views of society. Consistent beliefs require a standard. Since we have a standard—the Constitution—let us show fidelity to this standard. If we do, we will continually reap the fruits of liberty. But if we shy from this standard, we will sow the seeds of bondage.

Fidelity to the law is a must, not only when it suits our political ends, but in all seasons.

Friday, July 10, 2009

John Calvin's 500th

Today is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. Calvin’s effect on the world as we know it is undeniable and, hopefully for our sake, indelible. His influence on the Christian faith and western liberal society has been substantial. He was not a man without flaws, and he would not claim to be. But, whether or not we want to admit it or realize it, we all owe a huge debt to the “Genius of Geneva.”

This past Spring I was given the opportunity to combine my two greatest passions—politics and theology—in an independent study for my last semester of undergraduate study. The resulting work was term paper on John Calvin and the State.

In my studies I found a man committed to the rule of law, the right to overthrow tyrants, separation of church and state, republicanism, and a number of other ideas we in Western society hold dear. I also found overwhelming evidence of his theological heritage’s influence on our Revolution and Founding documents. And a number of our Founder’s had kind words for the man and his ideas. No wonder most of the Calvinists I know (including myself) support Ron Paul and other constitutionalists.

Though not directly responsible for America’s liberal democracy, Calvin left behind in his writings the ideas that provided the groundwork for classic liberal thought. He was no classical liberal himself, but without him, perhaps classic liberalism would not exist.

Below I have included only the introduction and conclusion to my term paper in honor of Calvin’s 500th birthday.


The legacy of John Calvin is a multifaceted one, comprising the roles of pastor, teacher, author, religious revolutionary, and a number of other achievements. His commentaries, sermons, and other writings have withstood the test of time and continue to be objects of much study which help to illuminate meaning in the Word of God. It is Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, however, which shines above the rest, remaining one of the fundamental works and influences of the Christian faith. It is in this, his life’s work, that one encounters Calvin’s attempt to help guide the believer in all aspects of faith and piety. As Elsie McKee points out, the central focus of Calvin’s work was to “instruct and exhort Christians in the purpose for which they were created…to know and love and serve the triune God…who creates, redeems, and gives faith” (3). Included in this purpose was a focus on the state. In the last chapter of his magnum opus, Calvin devoted his discussion to civil government and, in the process, created political thought which would be used by future generations to create liberal democratic thought.

The impact of John Calvin on Western political thought is undeniable. Though not directly responsible for America’s liberal democracy, Calvin left behind in his writings the ideas that provided the groundwork for classic liberal thought, which was instrumental in founding the United States.


After looking at Calvin’s own works—primarily his Institutes—as well as the large volume of scholarship done considering Calvin’s views of church and state, it becomes quite obvious that his political thought was instrumental in the formation of classic liberalism. As Graham notes, Calvin contributed “mightily to the doctrines of self-rule and self-determination in the new world” (196). To be sure, he was no classic liberal in the purest form of the term, but his work on the issues of theology and government was extremely important to those who would follow him and form Western republicanism.
Calvin was not only a religious revolutionary, he was also a secular one—although this second revolutionary spirit was for him merely a by-product of the first. Calvin did not begin the movement of Western progression toward democracy, though he certainly took a leading role in it. Therefore, he is to be praised or blamed for what would come in the form of capitalism, democracy, science, technology, and numerous other Western achievements (Graham 201).

His views on issues like revolution, church-state separation, freedom of conscience, rule of law, and republicanism, may not present an exact mirror of these same concepts presented by classic liberals in the 18th Century. But without Calvin’s influence, perhaps, none of this thought could have progressed. What we find in Calvin is a man with a passion for Christ and the freedom found in Him. It is only natural that this freedom would spill over into political thought and lead future generations to adopt concepts from the genius of Geneva.

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Consistency in our Pursuit of Privacy

Our recent history as a nation has been littered with attempts by the powers that be to infringe on our right of privacy. The attacks have not merely been from one side of the isle, however, as both Democrats and Republicans have each been involved in overreaching measures that violate our Constitution and our privacy. One need only look to the unread and unconstitutional Patriot Act for an example of both parties’ willingness to sacrifice liberty for so-called “security.”

Now, there seems to be a bit of buyer’s remorse as many that supported the measure in the aftermath of 9-11 have come to the realization that civil libertarians were right when they claimed the Patriot Act and bills like it would make us less safe from our government and create a sense of false security. Hopefully, we have learned the error of our ways and will no longer sacrifice our liberty for “security.” Optimism, however, may not be a valid response as our history with privacy has been inconstant at best.

For example, in the 1990s the federal government pushed for a national id card that was rightfully struck down by Republicans who stood up for privacy and against more government intrusion into the lives of its citizens. This support of our Constitution and the privacy it protects, however, was cast aside in the days, months, and years following 9-11. In early 2005 there was little opposition to the passage of the Real ID Act in the House, while the Senate gave unanimous consent to the measure. At the time Ron Paul opposed noting, “This REAL ID Act establishes a massive, centrally-coordinated database of highly personal information about American citizens: at a minimum their name, date of birth, place of residence, Social Security number, and physical characteristics as well as open-ended authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to require biometric information on IDs in the future. This means your harmless looking driver’s license could contain a retina scan, fingerprints, DNA information, or radio frequency technology.”

Of course, for many, the facts of the card seemed harmless, but defenders of our Constitution and limited government knew otherwise. Whenever, the government is given more power, the liberty of the citizenry decreases. This is not a statement of misplaced paranoia; it is an inevitable fact. And if not for a number of state legislature and civil libertarian groups fighting against Real ID we might be suffering severely now.

A national ID card would allow the government to control and database important personal information about its citizens that could easily be exploited and used to target groups or individuals. Not to mention, such a measure could severely infringe on the First Amendments “rights to assembly.”

As James Bovard points out, “REAL ID was intended to greatly increase federal levers over the movement and lives of Americans.” (Look to Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff’s airport mobility rules for an example.)

Bovard continues, “REAL ID was also used to railroad through a vast expansion of the definition of terrorism. As Rep. Paul noted, the law ‘re-defines ‘terrorism’ in broad new terms that could well include members of firearms rights and anti-abortion groups, or other such groups as determined by whoever is in power at the time. There are no prohibitions against including such information in the database as information about a person’s exercise of First Amendment rights or about a person’s appearance on a registry of firearms owners.’”

Now we face a similar measure with the national Pass ID, which would be another incarnation of the Real ID. We must fight against it, if we intend to fight for our rights. And we must be consistent if we are to be in the right.

For more information on how a national ID card can be exploited read James Bovard’s article here.

My point is not to lay out the nuts and bolts of the dangers of a national ID card. The dangers are there, especially the dangers to our constitutional government. My point is merely to show that we must be vigilant and consistent.

Inconsistency has been the norm in the privacy debate. At one time the GOP can stand for privacy and against big government. Then at another, it may turn its back in a period of fear mongering. The same goes for Democrats, who go as far to claim that a child’s life should be taken in the name of “privacy” when it suits them politically. But much of the rest of the time, they cast privacy protection away as far as the East from the West.

If we truly stand for principle, let us stand to the end. We must not waver. We must not let fear or political pressures cause us to give up our privacy or betray our constitutional values. Rather, we must hold consistent positions, whether popular or not. The winds of public opinion should not be our guide. Rather, let us fill our sails with the pursuit of liberty. If we believe in privacy, if we believe in individual liberty, we cannot let our beliefs be compromised—even if we try to justify it as “security.”

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Battle for our Continued Revolution

On the 4th day of July in the summer of 1776, two days after formally approving a resolution recognizing the independence of the American Colonies from the empire of Great Britain, the Second Continental Congress gave its approval to a document explaining their recent decision—the Declaration of Independence. It was on July 2 that independence was declared, but it was on July 4th, 1776, that fifty-six brave men would begin the process of putting their names to the Revolution by signing the Declaration of Independence in open defiance to the tyrant King George and in open obedience to the cause of liberty. These men knew what was on the line—death in capture or failure, but liberty if successful. Some met this death, but all helped give our nation and the freedom it stands for life.

A little over two centuries have passed since our nation was founded, but our departure from the ideas of the Founding makes it seem much farther away. There has been much change in this short time. Some of this change has been good; some has not. What’s for sure is that good change involves our willingness to actually come closer to the ideals of our Founding. (For example, actually adhering to the belief that “all Men are created equal.”) Sadly, some change has been our willingness to betray the Revolution and move toward more infringement on our “certain unalienable rights.”

When we look at the Declaration we see many of our Founder’s petitions against the Crown reflected in our current state, but we need not go line-by-line to see how far we have erred in carrying out the American experiment. We can look at the over arching themes of the Revolution, and see that we have cast off one set of chains for another.

More than over taxation the Revolution was about casting off big centralized government for a maximization of individual liberty. It was also about a free people’s right to self-rule. But most of all when we look at our nation’s Founding we see a conflict over consent of the governed. Do people govern themselves or are they governed by others? And if others are given positions of governing authority is their power limitless or are they bound by a covenant? The Revolution was about all matters of liberty, but it gained its support by appealing to the people and showing that Britain was guilty of covenant violation. (Read the text of the Declaration and you will see that this is the case.)

Today we are in the midst of a similar battle. A covenant has been continually violated—our Constitution. And like in the Revolutionary period there are those who protest in the name of liberty, others who stand by the side of tyrants—either confused or in willing disregard for freedom, and still others who may sympathize with the cause but fear action.

I am not calling for a bloody revolution, though I am calling for revolution. And I am not calling for a new nation, though we should hold to the ideals of when this nation was new. My plea is simply for every patriot to burn inside with a passion for liberty, a passion for our inalienable rights, and a passion for our Revolutionary documents—the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

What I desire is a return to the ideas of our Fathers. We as a nation have become imperial tyrants. We have become what our Founders fought against. We praise them with our words, but damn them with our actions. Woe to you oh America! Woe to us!

Is there hope? Well…hope always seemed lacking as our young nation sought to establish itself and shake of the chains of tyranny, but we made it. We defeated tyranny because we stood up for freedom. If we see the error of our ways, turn our eyes toward liberty, and pursue what is right and just, then hope can triumph. Freedom can win. And America can be a shining city on a hill, a beacon of liberty, and what our Founders struggled to establish.

In conclusion, those of us who love history not only celebrate our nation’s independence on July 4th, but we also remember John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who died July 4, 1826 mere hours apart. These men were political rivals, bitter enemies, and dear friends. But, despite their differences, both of these men deeply desired the success of our Revolution, before and after the battles had been won. Both believed what many now forsake. Hopefully, we will not betray them.

Adams, not knowing of Jefferson death a few states away, said his last words on the fourth of July: “Jefferson lives!”

If we do not change our ways and if we continue to betray the principles of our Founding, Jefferson will not only be removed from us in body. His ideas contained in our Freedom documents and the Revolution for which he gave of himself will live no more.

I will not stand for this. I will stand for freedom. I will stand for the principles of our Revolution. Will you stand with me?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Little Q & A

In my pursuit of employment, I have applied to Fall internships with both the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. The Heritage application required a few short responses limited to 250 words. I thought my blog's readers might be interested in the content as it reveals a little about myself. Of course, my word limit as well as my intent to impress potential employers restricted my answers, but here it is nonetheless.

1. Explain your choice of ideology.

Though I have put ‘libertarian’ as my ideology, I am a true conservative in the vein of Ron Paul and a strict constitutionalist who opposes abortion, high taxes, unauthorized spending, big government, and any other type of infringement on our individual liberties. Therefore, many just call me a true conservative as I am a classical liberal who believes in the values held by our Founders and embodied in our Constitution, especially the values expressed by Thomas Jefferson. It is through this constitutional lens that I view the issues, and it is my Christian worldview and the Bible which guides my decisions.

I believe that for an individual to maximize his freedom, one must also guard against the infringements on another’s liberty. At times this may not create the desired short-term result, but, as Jefferson put it, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”

Therefore, I am a conservative constitutionalist, who as Reagan, “believe[s] the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Moreover, what I seek to conserve are the values found in our constitution, which many call libertarian. This does not mean I find total kinship with many who would call themselves libertarians (I am pro-life, pro-rule of law, anti-illegal immigration, etc.). But needless to say, I have much more in common with people like Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan than I do with many calling themselves ‘conservative’ today—like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

2. What elected or non-elected political leaders do you admire and why?

Among the living, I most admire Rep. Ron Paul. He never hesitates to take a strong ideological position and unwaveringly defends the Constitution of the United States. Moreover, he holds to the same moral values as myself as a follower of Christ.

Conservative on both social and economic issues, Dr. Paul presents us with a level of consistency that is hard to come by in the modern political environment. Consistency is a key for me as one’s consistency proves the value of his position. If one acts liberal on one issue and conservative on another, he is merely picking and choosing based on either a political chess match or a shallow preference, not based on a committed ideological framework. If we are to stand for a worldview, a political ideology, let us stand firmly and consistently.

Another reason I admire Dr. Paul, is based on my love for the ideas of Thomas Jefferson and those like him. Ron Paul fights for individual rights and liberty, private property, and freedom of conscience just like our Founders, and for this I cannot help but be filled with admiration.

When I first came in contact with the Constitution, I knew that I wanted to fight for it. Dr. Paul has taken on this fight, and he has never looked back.

3. What single public policy issue would you most want to affect and why?

Most of all, I would fight to change abortion policy in our nation. I hate the size and scope of government. I find most of the ways Washington acts unconstitutional and harmful to society. Our domestic policy in general (not to exclude our foreign policy) is horrid. But I would rather live with the hardship placed upon us by an over-reaching government than to have a human being never given the chance to live at all. Without life there can be no liberty, and country based on freedom cannot senselessly murder unborn human beings.

More than a moral issue, abortion is a constitutional issue. The Fourteenth Amendment promises life to all persons. Our current abortion policy fails in that regard.

4. Name the book that has most significantly shaped your political philosophy, and please explain its influence on your thinking.

The Bible has most influenced my political thought as it affects all aspects of my life: word, thought, and deed.

My love for the Constitution stems from a belief that it creates a society best suited to individual pursuit. One can pursue wealth, freedom, solitude, etc., but he can also pursue God and worship freely. When looking back to the ratification process of the Constitution, we see ministers like Isaac Backus calling for the new Constitution and its values, not because it was Scripture but because it best allows us to pursue the mandates of Scripture. Moreover, I see much compatibility with classical liberalism and Biblical teaching. The Bible teaches freedom of conscience, individual responsibility, private property, and many of the other values we hold dear.

Moreover, one need only look to the influence of the Protestant Reformation, Puritanism, and classic Evangelicalism to find a source of much of the enlightenment political thought that went into our nation’s formation.

Reading former Ron Paul chief of staff John Robbins Freedom and Capitalism was of much support to me, showing how Biblical thought carried to action was compatible with classic liberalism. For example, we see in the Bible the Hebrew Republic craving a kingship “like the nations” and the perils it brought. Therefore, I am weary of big government. Additionally, we see mandates for one to act responsibly for oneself and to depend on God and his fellow man, not the government, for help. So I do not support any type of welfare system.

I have been influenced by a number of works and authors. I love Hayek and his Road to Serfdom, and the writings of Jefferson are never far from my mind. I also read a lot constitutional theory, including your very own Heritage Guide to the Constitution. But no matter what work I read, at the end of the day, it is read through the scope of a Biblical worldview. Perhaps, the Bible did not directly establish every position that I have taken politically, but every position I take is thoroughly weighed against Scripture.