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  • Author: Slade Mendenhall
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty, by Timothy Sandefur. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2014. 200 pp. $24.95 (hardcover). While the principles of liberty on which America was founded are under attack from so-called liberals and conservatives alike, and while expanding abuses of government power are too vast and complex for most Americans to fully follow, books by rational, knowledgeable professionals clearly and concisely explaining the problems and offering solutions are of immense value. Timothy Sandefur's The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty fits this bill. Sandefur, a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, bases his latest work on an underappreciated idea in American legal thinking. It is the idea that the Declaration of Independence—understood as a formal, legal, diplomatic document issued by the representatives of thirteen British colonies to the king of England—is part of the law of the land, just as are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact, argues Sandefur, the Declaration used to be seen as the “conscience of the Constitution,” and reviving this understanding of its position in the framework of U.S. law will go a long way toward establishing the moral and political context within which lawyers, judges, and Supreme Court justices should argue and interpret constitutional law. Sandefur's thesis is controversial and is not likely to be well received in modern courts and law classrooms. Most law schools teach students to view the Declaration as a mere manifesto or letter of aspiration. But Sandefur wages a compelling intellectual defense of the Declaration-as-law on two fronts: against leftists, who have ridiculously claimed that the document was drafted as a wink-and-nod effort by elite white men to put down minorities and the lower classes; and against conservatives such as Russell Kirk and neoconservatives such as Irving Kristol who, afraid of its “natural rights” language, dismiss the ideas of the Declaration and characterize it as an underhanded “ploy to lure the French” into conflict with the English (p. 14). Sandefur, pointing out the baseless nature of such criticisms, puts forth a strong argument for holding the Declaration as law and highlights the Founding Fathers' own understanding of it as such. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, England
  • Author: C.A. Wolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: It is 1939 and England is in crisis—war looms, the government is in chaos, the people are in despair. All eyes turn to the country's reluctant, recently crowned monarch, George VI, to offer stirring words that will brace them for the coming storm. But there's the rub. The king suffers from a paralyzing stammer, and there are grave doubts that he will be able to deliver the speech that will unite his nation. Tom Hooper's Academy-Award winning The King's Speech is much more than a simple, inspiring wartime tale of a historical figure overcoming a physical and psychological ailment. The story of how Albert, Duke of York, later King George VI, overcame his stammer to give a series of rousing wartime speeches that united and inspired his nation is indeed the framework of the film. But at its heart, the film is the story of the power of the human mind and how hard work and perseverance—not miracles and wishes—are the bulwarks of the human spirit. The film opens in 1925. Albert (played by Colin Firth) must deliver the closing speech of the Empire Exhibition. The king's second son is terrified. He is led to the podium where his speech will not only be heard by the assembled crowd but is being simultaneously broadcast across the Empire. The time comes, and in what can only be described as sheer agony, Albert chokes out the first few words. He is next seen several months later at a session with a so-called “speech therapist” who insists that smoking will “relax the throat” and that stuffing one's mouth full of marbles is the “classic” cure for stuttering. Both remedies, unsurprisingly, fail. Albert, with the help of his wife, Elizabeth (played by Helena Bonham Carter), eventually lands himself in the offices of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist, who promises that he can help Albert (whom he insists on calling “Bertie” to the prince's continuing disdain) overcome his stammer and speak clearly. The eccentric speech therapist delivers. Through hard work, setbacks, and triumphs, Logue, with sometimes unusual therapeutic techniques and a wry bit of psychoanalysis, treats the prince and helps him rediscover the confidence and self-esteem that had been robbed from him during his bleak childhood. The efforts culminate in the pivotal speech that Albert, as king, must give. Success is the only option—and the psychological tightrope the king must cross during this moment is more compelling than any explosive action sequence one might imagine. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Australia, England
  • Author: Roderick Fitts
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Oxford: Kramedart Press, 2011. 400 pp. $32 (hardcover). Reviewed by Roderick Fitts Dr. Bryan Niblett's work, Dare to Stand Alone: The Story of Charles Bradlaugh, Atheist and Republican, immerses the reader in the life of a man who courageously fought against the Victorian-era culture of his time—and won. Niblett shows Bradlaugh to be a radical of his time, whose life's work consisted of passionately arguing in support of his unpopular views, including atheism and individual rights, and against injustices such as the “Oaths Act” of England, which excluded men with certain religious beliefs, including atheism, from taking office as a member of Parliament (MP). Niblett's thesis is “that one man, relying on reason, and daring to stand alone, can make a difference in the world” (p. viii). This he shows by surveying the life of Charles Bradlaugh (1833–1891), including personal, family, social, and business matters, but focusing primarily on various legal conflicts that defined Bradlaugh's career. His life and struggles are presented in a series of short and accessible chapters. We first see Bradlaugh as a poor young lad with a sense of justice, a desire to gain a wide range of knowledge and skills, and a penchant for conveying his ideas to others by means of logical arguments. He would grow to be one of 19th-century England's greatest orators, a famous (and detested) atheist, the founder and first president of the National Secular Society, a powerful and distinctive MP, and a prominent opponent of socialism and communism. Niblett shows that Bradlaugh was a consummate individualist, believing that people should never accept the claims of authorities on faith or expect to be taken care of by others, but rather should seek to understand matters for themselves and solve their own problems. And because he held that men should live by the judgment of their own minds, he held that they should be free to do so. . . .
  • Political Geography: England
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Isaac Newton sought "to master all the apparent confusion of the world, to bring order where none was apparent" (p. 5). He had, as Thomas Levenson shows, a "legendary capacity for study"; and for him frequently "sleep was optional" (p. 9). He was absolutely brilliant. Yet "for all his raw intelligence," Levenson says, "Newton's ultimate achievement turned on [the fact that if] something mattered to him, the man pursued it relentlessly." Equally crucial to his ultimate success, Newton was never a purely abstract thinker. He gained his central insight into the concept of force from evidence "known by [the] light of nature." He tested his ideas about gravity and the motion of the moon with data drawn from his own painstaking experiments and the imperfect observations of others. When it came time to analyze the physics of the tides, the landlocked Newton sought out data from travelers the world over (p. 20). By 1695, at the age of 51, Newton had been at "the leading edge of discovery" for almost three decades (p. 104). He had, as Levenson shows, discovered calculus-"the essential tool used to analyze change over time" (p. 14), and he had "presented gravity as the engine of the system of all creation-one that binds the rise and fall of the Thames . . . to all the observed motions of the solar system" (p. 30). And then "an odd message arrived from London . . . on a matter completely outside his usual competence" (p. 105). The letter, sent by Secretary of the Treasury William Lowndes, solicited Newton's opinion on the worsening shortage of silver coins, a matter of national importance. This unexpected correspondence would ultimately lead to Newton becoming warden of the Mint-and, as such, both an industrialist and a criminal investigator. Levenson tells the exciting story that follows in Newton and the Counterfeiter: the Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist. The problem facing England was that from "the late 1680s to the mid-1690s, the supply of [silver] coins-the basic units of exchange for the daily business of the country-shrank year by year." "By 1695," Levenson says, "it was almost impossible to find legal silver in circulation" (p. 109). This led to a standstill in trade, tenants that could not pay rent, many suicides, and a "general sense of terror" that violence would soon erupt (p. 138). . . .
  • Political Geography: England
  • Author: Scott Holleran
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Andrew Carnegie was the quintessential American, the archetypal self-made man. A poor immigrant boy, Carnegie rose to become a titan, advancing key theories of integration in business, producing more steel than all of England,1 creating the first billion-dollar corporation,2 and leaving an indelible legacy of colleges, arts, and libraries. His was an exceptional life and, in his time, he became the world's richest man.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: America, England