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'At the Heart of Our Common Defense'

Posted By Ken McIntyre On November 12, 2009 @ 9:58 am In First Principles | Comments Disabled

Heritage constitutional scholar Matthew Spalding has quite a few things to say about Americans’ love of liberty in his book,  “We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future.” [1] Some of the passages stand out all the more this week as the nation again saluted its defenders on Veterans Day, which this year fell six days after the Fort Hood shootings.

“An understanding of our deepest principles, as well as an appreciation of our history, tells us why this nation is a noble achievement, and worth defending,” writes Spalding [2], who directs Heritage’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies. “We must constantly rekindle an enlightened love of liberty, and of the country that is responsible for upholding the great principles of human civilization here and abroad. We need to take up the work of honoring liberty’s patriots and making new ones.”

In his book, Spalding writes that a passion for America’s core principles must guide our national defense, not just overseas but on these shores:

A chief purpose and obligation of our constitutional order is to provide for the common defense. The fundamental freedom and rights of all are in danger when the nation is at risk. As a matter of principle, the United States must be able, willing and prepared at all times to defend itself, its people and its institutions from conventional and unconventional threats at home and from abroad. …

Without principled American leadership the world will become a more dangerous place–for Americans and for freedom. Transnational terrorism, rampant anti-Americanism, unaccountable international institutions, nuclear proliferation and regional conflict all represent threats to our security, our liberties and our prosperity…

At the heart of our common defense is the need to defend at all cost the very ideas and beliefs that we hold in common, including the good character of our people and America’s universal principles of human liberty. Our national allegiance stems not from deference to political leaders, ethnic categories, or an abstract state, but from a profound attachment to the country that protects and secures individual freedom, fundamental equal rights and the constitutional rule of law.”

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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/11/12/at-the-heart-of-our-common-defense/

URLs in this post:

[1] “We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future.”: http://westillholdthesetruths.org/

[2] Spalding: http://www.heritage.org/about/staff/MatthewSpalding.cfm

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