— Will you vote liberty at the ballot box?
In the Public Eye published March 18, columnists Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith wrote about a freedom-of-the-press issue that arose in St. Joseph County. In their column, Messrs. de la Bastide and Smith informed us “the courts, since the time of Blackstone codified English common law, have held that by definition, ‘freedom of the press’ is simply freedom from prior restraint.”
I consider it impressive that our columnists make a reference to Sir William Blackstone. I wonder, though, how many readers have any idea of whom they are talking about. Unfortunately, Blackstone is a figure virtually unknown to Americans today. Why is that, and why does it matter?
Blackstone was perhaps the most significant figure in English law in the 1700s. His most influential work, “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” sold more copies in America than in England. Our Founders quoted Blackstone extensively and relied upon his legal work in the development of the U.S. Constitution and subsequent applications.
Why, then, are Americans so unfamiliar with this significant historical figure? Because modern humanists, who crow proudly, loudly and often about their open-minded tolerance, suppress and work to eliminate any and all references in public education to our Judeo-Christian heritage. Blackstone did not develop and forward his great works in a vacuum. He did not make it up and never claimed that he did. He freely, openly and proudly gave credit to the author of his work: “Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being ... And, consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker’s will ... this will of his Maker is called the law of nature.” The full extent of Blackstone’s expressions of the presuppositional basis of law cannot be contained within the constraints of a mere letter to the editor. However, they are easily available to anyone willing to do a little personal research.