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Published by: Colorado Christian University on Jun 11, 2012
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By Thomas L. Krannawitter
 Editor: As a nonpartisan think tank, Centennial Institute cannot say who should win the presidency this year. But we are emphatic about what principles should prevail next year. Here is the inaugural address we’d hope to hear when America’s chief executive takes the oath on January 20, 2013. It will be discussed in depth at the Western Conservative Summit, this month in Denver.
Fellow Americans, I stand beforeyou honored, and humbled, to takethe sacred oath of President of theUnited States. I stand before you with great hope, but also with graveconcerns at the precarious state of our Union. As Americans, we live in aconstitutional republic of our own design and direction. The freedom we enjoy is unmatched in theannals of history. We are fortunate; some would say blessed.But it is nowhere foreordained that America will remain free. America places its destiny inthe hands of its citizens who can then make of America what they will, for better or worse. The future of ourcountry literally depends on the character and education,the choices, of our citizens. What to do with America,and how to do it, are questions each new generation of  Americans must wrestle with and decide for themselves.
Principles of Freedom
 This does not mean that we are abandoned to making thesefateful choices blindly or arbitrarily. America was foundedon distinctive moral, political, and economic principles— principles of freedom incorporated in a political regime
for the rst time ever by the men and women of 1776.
 As Thomas Jefferson explained, “Every species of 
government has its specic principles. Ours are perhaps
more peculiar than those of any other in the universe.By learning these principles—and the logic of individual,
political, economic, and religious freedom that ows from
Editor, John AndrewsPrincipled Ideas from the Centennial Institute
Volume 4, Number 6 • June 2012
Publisher, William L. Armstrong
Thomas L. Krannawitter
(Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University) is professor ofpolitical science at Colorado Christian University, a Centennial Institute fellow,and the author of
Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of Our Greatest President 
Centennial Institute
sponsors research, events, and publications to enhancepublic understanding of the most important issues facing our state and nation.By proclaiming Truth, we aim to foster faith, family, and freedom, teach citizen-
ship, and renew the spirit of 1776.
Inaugural 2013:A standard forwhoever wins
them—we today can prepare ourselves to make vitally important choices in our personal, as well as our public,capacities and to make them wisely. The foundation for allour freedoms rests upon simple, self-evident truths:
• That all men are created equal in their natural rights to life,
liberty, personal property, and the pursuit of happiness;
• That the only legitimate form of government derives its
authority and power from the consent of those who aregoverned by it;
• That the only legitimate purpose of government is to
secure those equal rights with which all the governed havebeen equally endowed by their Creator, not to dispenseunequal entitlements and favors to different groups;
• That the only legitimate way for government to advance
its purpose is through laws that are fair, knowable,constitutional, and provide equal protection to all who liveunder them. These principles were given political life by our wisely-designed Constitution. It may not be perfect—no humanconstitution ever will be perfect. But itis a work of political genius, the closestapproximation to a perfect constitution of liberty the human mind has ever conceived.
 A Proud Story
Even the sad story of human slavery and its inuence on
the drafting of the Constitution is a monument to liberty: Trying to deal with an evil institution which they did notcreate, but had inherited and could not easily or quickly eradicate, the Americans of our Founding made only thoseconcessions to slavery that were utterly necessary to keepour Union together, and were therefore the right thing todo at that moment, in that situation. They restricted the
spread and inuence of slavery as much as possible and
they paved the way for its eventual total elimination— perhaps America’s greatest moral achievement, made
R   e   g  i   s  t   e  r   N   o  w  
H   e  l    p   S  a  v  e   A  m  e  r  i   c  a  “   C   a  l   l   i   n   g   A  l   l    C   i   t   i   z  e  n  s  ”   
W   e  s  t   e  r  n   C   o  n  s  e  r  v  a  t   i   v  e   S   u  m  m  i   t    2  0  1  2  
Centennial Review, June 2012 ▪ 2
Inaugural 2013:
Reafrm the
possible by the statesmanship of America’s greatestpresident, Abraham Lincoln. This is a story of which all Americans should not be ashamed, but proud—as is thecontinuing story of our nation’s endeavors to ensure equaljustice, dignity, and opportunity for all, a record unexcelledin all the world.
Our great challenge today is recovering the full authority 
of our Constitution of liberty in our political life. Thereare parts of the Constitution we still follow today, witnessed by the fact that we continue to hold free andopen elections when the Constitution callsfor elections. We respect the Constitutionevery time an incumbent who loses anelection freely and peacefully leaves public
ofce, and a challenger who wins an
election is allowed freely and peacefully toassume the responsibilities and the powersdelegated to him by the people for his elected term of 
ofce. This is a great feat in the violent human history of 
political controversies over the control of governments. We Americans should applaud ourselves for solving withballots what most nations historically could solve only withbullets.
Constitution Violated and Ignored
But there are large swaths of the Constitution that are violated frequently by government, and ignored by the American people. Government routinely exercises powersand passes policies, often at enormous expense andunfunded debt, nowhere authorized by the Constitution. And in many instances the American people haveresponded with apathetic disinterest and compliance. Thequestion that we should always be asking is: If we allow government to ignore or violate parts of our Constitution,on what ground will we stand if government ignores or violates all of the Constitution? Three-quarters of a century ago, a new political vision wasoffered to the American people. That view suggested thatthere are different kinds of rights that answer differentkinds of threats. In the era of our Founding (so theargument went), when political tyranny was the threatagainst Americans, political rights such as free electionsand representation in government, the right to property,the right to religious freedom, the right to free speech andfree press, were the solution. Those were the rights for
 which the Revolutionaries of 1776 fought. But, according to this new view, America in the 1930s now faced a different
kind of threat, not political tyranny, but economic tyranny. Against the alleged threats of big corporations, Americans were now in need not of political rights, but economicrights, entitlements to things such as jobs, prices and wagesset by government, a house, an education, health insurance,social security, and more. This was the new view of rights suggested by a president
 who held ofce for an unprecedented four terms, a view that
has largely shaped our politics ever since. The biggest obstacle for implementing thisnew view of rights was the Constitution, which nowhere authorizes government totake from some Americans so that it candistribute homes and jobs and insurance
and other material goods to others. Ours is
not a constitution of redistribution.
Worsening Our Lives
 Thus that same president and the many followers afterhim suggested that Americans become less vigilant indemanding government obedience to the Constitution,or that we interpret our Constitution as a living, evolving document that can be distorted to permit, rather thanprohibit, such expansive reaches of government power. And, in their desperate conditions during the GreatDepression, many Americans agreed.
But today, in 2013, we have overwhelming evidence that all
these powers government has exercised beyond the scopeof the Constitution have not improved our lives. They havemade our lives worse. The very unconstitutional policiesenacted by government to solve the Great Depressionmade it more severe than it needed to be. By extracting so much capital from the private sector at precisely themoment when America needed economic growth and thecreation of capital, Washington caused the economic crisisto spiral and deepen for almost two decades.Even more importantly, those policies have made us far toocomfortable with unconstitutional government. Americanshave become accustomed to favoring unconstitutional
policies from which we expect benet directly and
immediately, while ignoring the ill effects of many otherpolicies that don’t immediately seem to affect us.
Scan this code with your smartphone to read this and previous issues online.
is published monthly by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. The authors’ views are not necessarily
those of CCU. Designer, Danielle Hull. Illustrator, Benjamin Hummel. Subscriptions free upon request. Write to: Centennial Institute, 8787 W.Alameda Ave., Lakewood, CO 80226. Call 800.44.FAITH. Or visit us online at www.CentennialCCU.org.
Please join the Centennial Institute today.
As a Centennial donor, you can help us restore America’s moral core and preparetomorrow’s leaders. Your gift is tax-deductible. Please use the envelope provided. Thank you for your support.- John Andrews, Director
mankind throughout most of history. Only through the
implementation of individual rights, limited government,the rule of law, and the protection of property, did wesee a sharp, unprecedented explosion in the creation andspread of capital. The free market economy, enshrined in our Constitution, was the greatest anti-poverty program in human history. America went from a nation of poor farmers to the mostpowerful, wealthiest nation in the world, in only a few generations. We ignore that lesson at our own economicperil. But we can look ahead to a wealthier, healthier, happier
future by nding our way back to limited government and
economic freedom, and the policies of protecting property that we know work.
Paramount Purpose of Government
 There is one area which the Constitution grants to
government signicant, though not unlimited, power:
national defense. If there is one purpose thegovernment must do well, it is to secure the American people against all threats, foreignand domestic. If government fails this basic
task, it can fulll none other. But in our
appetite for increased domestic spending,our national defense and military resources have beendiminished relative to the growing dangers in the world.It’s simple: There is only so much money the governmentcan raise, and the more we spend on domestic programs,the less we spend on national security. The result is ashrinking navy, an army that could easily be stretchedbeyond capacity, and a refusal to develop and deploy theablest, most advanced technology possible to defend theUnited States. This has led many who are hostile to America to attack usor threaten us with impunity. We have shown the world that
 we are willing to conscate and redistribute the property of 
our own citizens, to limit their civil liberties, and to watchthem with increased suspicion. But we have not shown the world an unwavering resolve to defend ourselves againstexternal enemies. The result has been to embolden those who would challenge or harm us. Today, we cannot stop a single incoming nuclearintercontinental ballistic missile aimed at the Americanheartland. But we know it can be done. In numeroustests, we have “hit a bullet with a bullet”. If we have thepolitical will, we can protect ourselves from even the mostmenacing threats to our security. It is not the American way to not do something because we don’t think we can.
 Americans are brilliant at guring out technical solutions
to technical problems.
Fidelity to Friends, Defance to Enemies
It is time to focus the attention of American government
Centennial Review, June 2012 ▪ 3
 Time to Stop
 Almost absent-mindedly, we have allowed all of thosebad policies to compound and worsen, right to this day. Today at last, fellow citizens, let us agree that it is time tostop. It is time to become vigilant again in defense of ourConstitution. It is time to choose whether we will repeatthe same mistakes of old, or move forward to a new era of constitutional freedom, limited government, and economicgrowth and prosperity.In recent generations we have focused much of ourattention on the distribution of wealth between those withmuch and those with little. But in the meantime, we haveforgotten about what precedes any distribution of wealth:the creation of wealth. Government has no wealth. Wealthmust be created, and if government follows the processesof the Constitution, it creates no wealth at all, nothing tobe bought or sold.If all Americans stayed home and did not work, government would have nothing. If the people do not work, there is nothing forgovernment to tax—and no one would lendmoney to the American government because America would have no way of repaying thedebt. Every penny our government might control andspend comes ultimately from the American people.No one is in favor of poverty. All Americans agree it isbad. But what is poverty, and what is the solution? Thereis no greater question for us, especially in this time of persistent high unemployment and stagnant growth.Poverty, in short, is the absence of wealth. The solutionis the creation of wealth. But how is wealth created? Notthrough government policies and programs—those can
only conscate and redistribute wealth. Wealth is created
by human labor—the human mind and body working to create and invent and produce and distribute goods
and services that other people nd valuable enough to
purchase, including medicines, better food, and technology of all forms.
Enterprise Creates Wealth
Unless we resort to stealing, the only way one personcan get the goods another has produced is by producing something himself of equal value to trade. That is theprinciple of free enterprise, and it is what made Americathe wealthiest, most prosperous country in history. By allowing each person to keep what his labor produces, by protecting personal property rights strictly, we give eachperson a tremendous incentive to be entrepreneurial,creative, and industrious, because he knows that the morehe produces and earns, the more he keeps. This is why there was very little economic growth—there was little wealth to be distributed—under feudalism, slavery, andother unjust forms of economic servitude that plagued
Inaugural 2013:Restore free

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