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Memories of the 28th Century

American Orthodoxy

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Apparently the religious wars resulted in America orthodoxy splitting into several sects. I wonder whether it would be possible reconstitute the original, or if it would be better to take control of one sect and use it to conduct a war of annihilation against the other sects, or would it be better to take a more positive approach and simply spread one sect by taking over the other sects. One question that has not yet been answered is what the real American orthodoxy is.

When we look at the documents that first defined the U.S.A. as a separate entity when considering political philosophy. Classical Liberalism is the common theme. By Classical Liberalism I mean the preference for freedom for individuals to decide their courses for themselves without control by government or social institutions. The political philosophy of John Locke and of others who influenced the drive for an independent U.S.A. were classical liberalism. The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution are all very much of a classical liberal leaning. Early politicians of both the Federalists and the Anti-federalists (Democratic Republicans) were classical liberals, as were the Whigs. The Republican Party was the first major political movement in the U.S.A. that was not of a classical liberal leaning; although the Know Nothings and some other minor political groups were not liberals.

It makes sense to consider the political and economic leanings of the early 1800's to be as close to American Orthodoxy as one can get, even though there were some significant disagreements, and slavery is not especially liberal. That period was typified personal freedom and a progressive decrease in the influence of religion on politics. The position before independence was more restrictive of freedom than after, but complete freedom and equality demanded that people put some effort into the matter; thus it took until 1920 for women to be granted full citizenship, and so on. On the economic side the government was largely hands-off; although there was the Bank of the United States period, but taxes were equitable, so that business was not given advantages, and trade was not highly restricted. Individuals were expected to live their own lives, so there were no restrictions on what people could buy or at what age they could buy it. After the Civil War the federal government became progressively more intrusive, and advantages were given to different classes of businesses. Business corporations were granted special privileges, including the privilege to be considered persons before the law. The Federal Reserve System was introduced in 1913, but it was almost exclusively a clearing bank until the 1930's. After FDR became president the U.S. government became involved in many matters that arte not among the powers that were given to it in the Constitution, and this is where serious heterodoxy entered the U.S. government.

There had been minor infringements of the rights of the people before FDR, such as requiring prescriptions form a physician for the purchase of some drugs, but the age requirement for buying alcohol was unheard of before the end of Prohibition, and Prohibition was massively offensive to the people of the U.S.A.; it was the first major piece of nanny government, but the camel's nose was under the tent, so now government at all levels in the U.S.A. thinks that it should save people from themselves.

Here in 2017 we have a president who thinks that government exists for his benefit, rather than a minimal thing to organize a legal system and provide for public works that it was a mere hundred years ago. Neither of the major parties in the U.S. espouse the normal American political philosophy of Classical Liberalism; only the mostly ignored Libertarian Party favors Classical Liberalism. It is humorous to note that the Libertarian Party calls itself that, because the word "liberal" has been taken over by social liberals who favor big government that controls everything; fascists in plain English. Unfortunately, the fascists are quite popular, because they provide "bread and circuses". Even the economics of Trump would be preferable, if he weren't working on giving himself as much advantage as possible.

The best way to improve the political philosophy of the U.S. would be to elect only people who favor minimal government. It will take years, but the result will be worth it.

Updated 05-22-2017 at 02:10 PM by PeterL



  1. Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Minimal government sounds like anarchy to me.

    I thought this thread would be about the different Orthodox churches in the USA.
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson
    Minimal government sounds like anarchy to me.
    Anarchy is no government, while minimal government means a little government but no more than necessary.

    I thought this thread would be about the different Orthodox churches in the USA.
    There are many kinds of orthodoxy. Orthodox means correct teachings.
  3. Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    I know that is the usage for the word, but strictly "orthodoxy" means "giving God the right glory".
  4. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson
    I know that is the usage for the word, but strictly "orthodoxy" means "giving God the right glory".
    "ortho" right or straight and "dox" Teaching or opinion. The word has nothing to do with giving any God anything.

    "orthodox (adj.) Look up orthodox at
    mid-15c., of opinions, faith, from Late Latin orthodoxus, from Greek orthodoxos "having the right opinion," from orthos "right, true, straight" (see ortho-) + doxa "opinion, praise," from dokein "to seem," from PIE root *dek- "to take, accept" (see decent). As the name of the Eastern Church, first recorded in English 1772; in reference to a branch of Judaism, first recorded 1853. "

    It is related to doctrine, meaning teaching and doctor meaning teacher.