The American Founders, for the most part, were devout Christians, who understood that the best designs of man must conform with the laws of nature and the laws of God if Divine Providence is to lead a People to freedom and to prosperity. On this basis, they crafted the greatest political document ever written as the basis for their new Nation. The fact that their beautiful parchment is now tattered and torn is not the fault of the crafting. It is a sad consequence of a decisive majority of the People parting company with the laws of nature and the laws of God.
While the founders lived, and controlled the supreme offices of government in the new republic, Divine Providence indeed dictated their actions and shone upon their People. Once they were gone, however, darker forces began to dominate, as the Andrew Jacksons, the Woodrow Wilsons, the FDRs, the Lyndon Johnsons, and the Barack Obamas assumed ascendancy under the new secular doctrine of Manifest Destiny.
In this doctrine, based on the so-called Enlightenment, man is viewed as the captain of his soul and as the sole determinant of his destiny. In a national view not ultimately dissimilar to one that later would dominate much of continental Europe in the years between the two great wars, Manifest Destiny implies that man is supreme in the Universe, that Americans are exceptional in this regard, and that every action that Americans take is justified by this exceptionalism. So, the destruction of the Native American tribes, the elimination of the buffalo, the unstoppable drive Westwards in pursuit of Gold, the seizure of Mexican lands in the West, the incarceration of German-Americans and Japanese-Americans in ‘concentration camps’, were all justified by the Manifest Destiny of a now-Pagan Super-Race, much in the way that ReichsFuhrer Adolf Hitler justified Operation Barbarossa in his murderous attack on the Slavonic and Jewish races of Eastern Europe and the USSR.
The current manifestation of Manifest Destiny and rejection of Divine Providence now comes under the label of Progressive Socialism. In essence, it differs little from its earlier forms. It is a philosophy that denies the laws of nature and is contemptuous of the laws of God. It represents a clear and present danger to the future for freedom and prosperity in the United States:
“I long hesitated whether to insert this personal note here, but ultimately decided to do so because support by a professed agnostic may help religious people more unhesitatingly to pursue those conclusions that we do share. Perhaps what many people mean when in speaking of God is just a personification of that tradition of morals or values that keeps their community alive. The source of order that religion ascribes to a human-like divinity – the map or guide that will show a part successfully how to move within the whole – we now learn to see to be not outside the physical world but one of its characteristics, one far too complex for any of its parts possibly to form an ‘image’ or ‘picture’ of it. Thus religious prohibitions against idolatry, against the making of such images, are well taken. Yet perhaps most people can conceive of abstract tradition only as a personal Will. If so, will they not be inclined to find this will in ‘society’ in an age in which more overt supernaturalisms are ruled out as superstitions?
On that question may rest the survival of our civilisation.
Friedrich A. von Hayek, The Fatal Coceit: The Errors of Socialism. University of Chicago Press, 1988.