Bill Barr on the foundation of our Republic

US Attorney-General Bill Barr gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame University last week.  I think he summed up very well the real issue with American politics and society today.  I’ll quote from his remarks at some length.

In one sense, Barr simply explained what President John Adams meant by a statement he made in a 1798 letter. He then showed the significance of that statement to American life today.

“We have no Government armed with Power which is capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by … morality and religion,” Barr quoted from Adams’ letter. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Within this context, Barr accurately described the cultural war raging in America today.

“The challenge we face is precisely what the founding fathers foresaw would be the supreme test of a free society,” Barr told the Notre Dame law students.

“They never thought that the main danger to the republic would come from an external foe,” he said. “The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.”

“And this is really what they meant by self-government,” said Barr. “It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

“But what was the source of this internal controlling power?” Barr asked. “In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings. Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values.”

“And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on an authority independent of men’s wills,” he said. “They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being. In short, in the framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.”

. . .

Barr argued that “secularists” are now attacking the moral order that is the foundation of our liberty and threatening religious freedom in pursuit of their cause.

“First is the force, fervor and comprehensiveness of the assault on organized religion we are experiencing today,” said Barr. “This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

The threat is not that the government will establish a state religion; the threat is that the state will attack people for conscientiously practicing their own.

“The problem is not that religion is being forced on others,” Barr said. “The problem is that irreligion is being forced, secular values are being forced, on people of faith.”

. . .

“Education is not vocational training,” he said as he neared the goal line at Notre Dame.

“It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the facilities to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it,” he said.

“We cannot have a moral renaissance,” he concluded, “unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.”

There’s more at the link.  It’s worth reading in full.

Being a man of faith myself, I think Mr. Barr is spot on.  I agree with almost every word.  I know that those of different (or no) faith(s) will disagree with him, and that’s OK, but remember the context of his argument.  He’s quoting President Adams and his remarks;  and President Adams was one of the Founding Fathers who drew up our Constitution.  I submit that if the Founding Fathers believed what the evidence shows they did believe, they were probably right to say that the Constitution they gave us is suitable only for a people of faith.  Without that faith, the Constitution becomes a dead letter, a burden rather than a framework for life.

It appears that a good half of American society today believes that to be the case.  They are not people of faith (or, at least, not the faith of the Founding Fathers) and have no intention of becoming one.

Therefore . . . whither our Constitution?  Whither the road map that has guided the United States to where it is today?  Can it serve us in the future, or is it doomed to be replaced by a more secular society that will abandon many of the founding principles of this nation?

I can’t answer that . . . but I fear the answer that many will give.



  1. The Constitution has been dead since 1933. We must quit pretending it is alive and healthy, if We the People intend to survive.

    The Left is not the "loyal opposition," and has not been for generations They are the enemy. They mean to destroy us utterly. We are already at war. The only remaining choices are to meekly surrender to our certain doom, or to fight back and have a chance of victory and survival.

    Choose wisely.

  2. To expand on your thought, our government is already being replaced by Socialists, under a bait-and-switch election strategy. The idea is that most (nearly all?) people don't know who their elected officials are, so you pick a candidate via a casting call (i.e. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez), and use that candidate to primary out the incumbent. When the general election occurs, the people pull the lever for the candidate with the D or R behind their name, without knowing the beliefs of the person who gets their vote. This strategy works because it is based on the dishonesty of the group performing it, for if they were honest, they wouldn't run candidates this way.

    Note that their objective is obtaining power, by infiltrating government via the election process. Also, near the end of Part II is a disturbing statement on how they will subvert the justice system, by replacing District Attorneys in the same way.

    Here are the two videos detailing what I summarized above, but the most important point occurs in Part II at 12:34

    Part I
    Part II

  3. Bill Barr defended the murderer and sniper Horichi of Ruby Ridge fame. Barr is not a friend of gun owners or the Constitution.

  4. Well, historically, we've ebbed and flowed in our religiousness. Remember, after the Civil War, and pretty much till the turn of the Century, we entered into a less religious and more 'spiritualistic' world full of seances, ghost hunting, psychic powers, mentalists, voodoo cults, 'druidism', the rise of modern wicca, the embrace of eastern spiritualism, and all that mumbo-jumbo and alternate belief methods.

    Then after the turn of the Century, there was a rise in Christianity, followed by a loss of Christianity after WWI, followed by a sharp rise during the latter 20's (in response to the wild culture of 'Me' that shaped the 20's) and then rapidly increasing during the Depression as people saw that even poor churches did better at helping people than the various levels of government.

    So, well, we're in a 'Christianity slump' as the progressives and leftists have attacked our churches, and our churches have responded not by fighting, but becoming progressive and leftist. Stupid move by the clergy and by the congregations that want the left shift.

    We're already seeing some pushback, Opus Dei and the restoration of the Latin Mass in the Catholic Church (even if many Latin Masses are 'secret' and hidden from Mother Church.) We're seeing a return to fundamentalism in lots of churches.

    When Christianity is part of the country, a return to Constitutional values is seen. Without Christianity, there are attacks upon the constitutional frame of our nation.

    I do believe we're seeing an uptake of both Constitutionality and Christianity. Maybe not a Christianity that the Roman Catholic Church, with it's takeover by the lavender mafia and socialism, may recognize. I'm not the only one saying that the Catholic Church has left them.

  5. It is important to understand what Adams meant where he mentioned religion in this context. It is not necessarily a Christian religion but that virtue which Barr rightly stated. As a reborn man seeking after Christ, this is not bothersome to me. The impact is to those who would see the word 'religion' and would turn away. Without true understanding, none would subscribe to that which is the foundation of that society which strengthened America.

    It is very good to see that Barr elucidates this properly, id est, with understanding of the true intent.


  6. Well, McChuck, you might as well mention 1913 and Wilson. Or, Marbury (1803) where the courts usurped much powers, and got away with it. Or, even during the times of the founding when certain persons had already vociferously argued for a central bank.

    Yeah, everyone go home, nothing to see here. It was just a dream.


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