JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 29, 2010 – The United States is locked in an ideological battle between limited government conservatism and European-style progressivism that will determine whether the country continues to be exceptional, National Review editor Rich Lowry said Sept. 29 at Union University.
“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and its finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide,” Lowry said, quoting Abraham Lincoln. “It’s my profound belief that this country will resolve to live.”
Lowry, a syndicated columnist and a commentator for Fox News Channel, spoke in the Carl Grant Events Center as part of the 12th annual Union Forum luncheon lecture series. Lowry has written for such publications as The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest and others.
Lowry outlined four ways the United States has demonstrated itself to be an exceptional nation in its history. First, the U.S. has always been a commercial nation, concerned with creating national wealth through commerce.
The U.S. has always been a middle class society concerned with individual advancement, Lowry said, and has always been concerned with fostering its national strength and projecting it abroad. Finally, Lowry argued that the nation has always been about achieving freedom through limited government.
Lowry referred to the Declaration of Independence, which states that citizens’ rights come from their creator, and not from government. Government’s duty is to protect those rights, Lowry said, and it has lost its purpose if it fails in that endeavor.
In crafting the U.S. Constitution, Lowry said the genius of the Founding Fathers was that they created a system that, for the most part, allowed the government to control both its citizens and itself. He argued that political liberals are scandalized by these four distinctives, and support an ideology intent on eliminating that which has made the United States exceptional in its history of more than 200 years.
Lowry also offered some analysis on more recent political developments, and said that Democrats are suffering from an “ideological grandiosity” stemming from their triumphs in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Democrats mistakenly thought their wins in the last election gave them “a mandate from heaven to do whatever they wanted to do,” Lowry said.
Instead, what the election really provided was simply a chance for Democrats to govern, not a mandate, Lowry said. He accused Obama of suffering from hubris, as others in both parties before him have done.
The problem, Lowry said, is that the Democratic programs haven’t worked, and they never will.
“Government deficit spending is not the key to economic growth,” he said.
In his introductory remarks, Lowry expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to speak at Union, and referenced the 2008 tornado that caused massive damage to the Union campus.
“Anyone who doubts the resilience of the American spirit, look to Union University,” he said.