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Radio interview
Paul Clemens Show, WLCR AM 1040, Holy Family Radio
April 19, 2006
Louisville, Kentucky

PAUL CLEMENS: Hello. Paul Clemens. Welcome back to the Paul Clemens Show. This is WLCR AM 1040. Holy Family Radio. The phone number is 451-1040. That's 451-1040. And you'll want to call in today. We have two special guests.

Our first guest is Dr. Alan Keyes, and our second guest will be Jim Curley, author and also a Catholic blogger, and he also is the founder of Requiem Press.

But first we have Dr. Alan Keyes, and let me give you a little background on Dr. Keyes. Dr. Keyes spent 11 years in the United States State Department. He was Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Dr. Keyes has a PhD in government from Harvard. He was president of Citizens Against Government Waste and founder of the National Taxpayers Action Day, which I think is relevant with tax day just passing us.

In 1996 and 2000, Dr. Keyes was the Republican presidential candidate, and he was also, part of that, candidate for United States Senate in Maryland.

Dr. Keyes has hosted his own syndicated radio show throughout the '90's on America's Wakeup Call, and he's also been a television commentator on the Alan Keyes is Making Sense show during 2002 on MSNBC.

And he also speaks French, among other languages.

Dr. Keyes, how are you? Welcome to the Paul Clemens Show.

KEYES: Oh, thank you very much. Glad to be with you.

CLEMENS: And now where are you calling from?

KEYES: Well, you reached me in Maryland.

CLEMENS: Okay. And Dr. Keyes, the reason . . . one of the reasons we're having you for the show is that you're going to be here in Louisville this coming Friday, and that is for the 33rd annual Celebration of Life dinner, and you are the featured speaker. That's put on by the Right to Life in Louisville. And so, we just wanted to touch base with you before that, and hear what you have to say.

And, throughout the program, I'll be giving out a phone number for listeners, who still haven't bought tickets and want to attend that program and to hear your speech. So, I'll give that out throughout the program.

So, Dr. Keyes, do you have any topic that you're going to be talking about?

KEYES: Well, I'll be talking about the fact that, you know, we've all been, I think, engaged in the effort to overturn Roe vs Wade, to put this country back on its right foundations, when it comes to respect for innocent life in the womb. That's been rendered more urgent over the course of recent years by the fact that we're now engaged in a war against terrorism, an evil that is really founded on the principle of disrespect for innocent human life. And in order to be consistent, of course, in our moral commitment, when it comes to that battle to defend innocent life, there are some things we need to get straight at home in terms of our own respect for the principle that we now have men and women defending their lives to preserve around the world.

And I'll be talking about that as well as the fact that we have a lot of crises that we're facing now in terms our institutions of freedom and the character that is necessary to sustain our privileges as a free people. And the first thing we need to remember is that we can't do that if we're disrespecting the first principle of liberty, which is that we're all created equal and endowed by our Creator, not by our mother's choice, with our unalienable rights, including, of course, first of all, the right to life.

CLEMENS: Dr. Keyes you mentioned the inalienable right. Of course, comes from the Declaration of Independence, and you, throughout your writings, call yourself a Declarationist. Can you give us a brief summary of what that means?

KEYES: Well, actually it's very simple. I just think that we have to remember where we come from, and especially where our liberty comes from, as a free people. The right to govern ourselves, which is embodied in the United States Constitution, is not something that in the course of human history most people have enjoyed. As a matter of fact, the kinds of government that predominates throughout human history are un-free government, depotisms, oligarchies, absolutisms, tyranny.

The fact that in America we have the privilege as a people of participating in the governance of our affairs--of being, in fact, the sovereign body of the people who choose the ministers, choose the president, choose those who will make the law. This is a tremendous privilege that is unique, in fact, in a nation of our size and power in the course of human history. And I think, we have to remember what it is that makes that possible. In the principles of right and justice that were articulated in the Declaration are, in fact, the foundation for our claim to government by consent, our claim to unalienable rights which leads then to representative government, and if we abandon that claim in order, in the name of our own convenience or selfishness to sacrifice the very principle that our rights to govern ourselves is based on, that creates tremendous crisis. So, we're really, I think, facing the same kind of issue that the country faced during the slavery period, when we had to decide if we're going to live consistently with the principle that makes us free.

CLEMENS: You mentioned the slavery period. What do the pro-abortion side say when you compare somebody being pro-abortion to be someone back in slavery times to being pro-slavery? In other words, a southerner could easily say, "Well, . . . " or a northerner could say, "I wouldn't own slaves myself, but I don't want to impinge on anybody's right to have a slave." You know. So, what do the pro-abortion say to that kind of logic?

KEYES: I'm not sure. I don't really think that there is an answer consistent with American principle to the argument that we do not have the right to violate the natural rights, the fundamental God-given rights of other human beings. The only argument they have tried to make over the years is that the child in the womb is not a human being.

But, of course, on a number of grounds starting with the logical ground. Well, let's see. If the child in the womb is not a human being and we know that cats come from cats and dogs come from dogs, then I guess we're saying something rather uncomplimentary about the parent.

CLEMENS: Uh-huh.

KEYES: That's the first problem, just from a point of view of common sense. But the other problem, of course, arises from the Constitution itself, and the fact that even though, Justice Blackmum, like a lot of federal judges--the one who wrote Roe vs Wade--kind of gave his own opinions and examined all kinds of philosophers and so forth and so on. The truth of the matter is that we're supposed to base our judgments in America on the Constitution, and the Constitution is very clear. In the preamble it says that the overall goal of the whole Constitution includes the ultimate goal, the goal of securing the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

CLEMENS: Uh-huh.

KEYES: And, as I've pointed out to people, posterity means those who come after us. Those who are not yet born, but who are placed by the Constitution on an equal level with ourselves, when it comes to enjoying the blessing of liberty.

So, the idea that somehow or another Blackmum was justified, based on the Constitution, in not treating the life in the womb, the posterity in the womb, as if its claim to enjoy the fruits of liberty was equal to that of anybody else, that violates the Constitution on the face of it. And that's one of the reasons why I think that the folks in South Dakota are quite right and justified in basically saying that that decision is un-Constitutional. They have passed a law that is based on the Constitution, and they will challenge the court to finally get itself straight and come back in line with the Constitution.

CLEMENS: Dr. Keyes, let me switch gears a little bit. What do you think about President Bush? Has he been a good pro-life president? Or has he just talkin' a good game?

KEYES: Well, I think it's been bit of a mixed record in some ways. I think I've had some problem with the stem cell decision in the way he articulated it, which was inconsistent with the argument of principle that I just made.

But in other ways, I think he has proven himself in the efforts he made, by and large, with judicial appointments and other things to have followed a pro-life course. So, I think that, over all, I think we can be reasonably contented in the pro-life movement, though, obviously, we're always in the midst of a battle where I think we need to be pressing our political leaders to take the initiative to articulate the case on a Constitutional basis, on the basis of our civic principles as a people to articulate the case in favor of life. And I think that there's always more that can be done in that regard.

CLEMENS: Is there any politician out there, Republican or Democrat or Independent, who is most in line with way you articulate your message?

KEYES: Yeah, me, I guess. [laugh]

CLEMENS: Well, besides you. [laugh] I mean, unless you run yah. . .

KEYES: It's not just a question of articulation, though, it is . . .

CLEMENS: Are you running for president again?

KEYES: I don't find that there are folks that are articulating the pro-life case in way that is entirely satisfactory to me, but then more important than what they say is what they do.

I noticed the other day one of our moral leaders was at a meeting with John McCain and came out trying to say that McCain is pro-life. And I can make case, chapter and verse, that that's not the case. He has a pro-life record, but when he ran for president, and since he's been trying to appeal to people in the Democrat party, he has basically articulated a point of view that is not pro-life. It's pro-choice, as they call it. Which basically tries to pretend that this issue of basic principle, basic principle, can be left up to individual choice, which would be like saying we can leave slavery up to individual choice, or murder up to individual choice. It's nonsense.

And similarly, George Allen from Virginia, who I had thought was pro-life and then I read a piece that was very well documented that showed when he ran for U.S. Senate he did not articulate a pro-life position. But instead, basically accepted the rationale of Roe vs Wade, and thought it was just a matter of where we draw the line in terms in terminating the life of the fetus. I think that is totally unacceptable, and if we call people like that pro-life, we are going to deeply confuse the mind of the American people to such an extent that I think we undermine the pro-life movement.

CLEMENS: Well, there's got to be . . . What about Santorum or does Senator Santorum or Sam Brownback?

KEYES: Well, I don't know. I look at . . . I love Rick Santorum. He's been an very, I think, outstanding leader in terms of his willingness to take some initiatives in the U.S. Senate. I think a lot of people . . . I was just in Pennsylvania. A lot of folks were deeply disappointed, though, that in the last go 'round he actually worked actively and passionately against a pro-life candidate in Pennsylvania, who was running against Arlen Specter.

And as I often tell people, people are policy. And if you turn to me, and you say you're all for pro-life, I'm standing for it, I'm fighting for it, I'm voting for it, but when it comes to pro-life candidates, I'm not going to back them. Then you're basically saying that we're going to talk a good game, but when it comes right down to it we're going to let the other guys control the situation. And I don't understand that.

But I think we really have to keep our eyes open, not only for the rhetoric, but for the action. And at the end of the day, we have to try to find somebody who will make the best possible case for, not only, the pro-life position, but what I call the principled position, in terms of issues across the board in American life in politics.

I've got to tell you right now, if you asked me if I'm satisfied with anybody in particular, no, I'm not.

CLEMENS: Well, okay.

KEYES: I thought Sam Brownback was a good guy, but then the other day he takes a stand on immigration that's utterly inconsistent with the idea of maintaining self-government in this country. I don't understand these folks. I don't understand how they think about these issues, because apparently some of them, as good as their actions can be on occasion, are not thinking them through.

CLEMENS: Well, you ought to run again.

KEYES: Well, I don't know. I just do my best to try to help people who have to vote think these issues through, so that we can set a standard that will then, hopefully, elevate the discussion, hold people accountable, and in that way I think improve the overall understanding and temper of the discussion on these very critical issues.

CLEMENS: And Dr. Keyes, on your website, you're very passionate also about the veracious appetite of government and how intrusive they are in our lives. So, what are the limits of government in terms of our family, and school, and social services? I mean, is this a case where you give government a little a bit, and they're going to just gobble, gobble more?

KEYES: Well, I think we have to look at our experience in the course of the last several decades. I think there's been a lot increasing government domination of all areas of our lives. And when you consider the fact, that one of the principles that has been applied in this kind of expansion of government power is a principle that says, well, when you're dealing with the public, when you're dealing with government, things you've got to leave God out of it. Right?

So that means that, if government's going to dominate education, we got to drive God out of education. If government is going to dominate family policy, we drive God out of family policy. If government is going to dominate charity, then charity can no longer be conducted with a view to really share with people the true bread of life, which is the gospel, and things of that kind. This is not a good way to do it.

So, we've seen a combination of expanding government power, decreasing ability, [inaudible] the uses of that power with a true moral stance, and I think that that overall is helping to destroy the foundations of real liberty and self-government, as well as real character in our country. So, it hasn't been a good thing. And the tools that they use, like the income tax, when you examine them, are tools that are also in contradiction with the reality, the practical realities of self-government. The Founders were found of reminding us in their writings that a power over someone's resources is a power over their will.

Well, the income tax at the federal level hands to the government the power to determine our income, and basically that means that we have handed to the government the power to control the will of the people, when it's the will of the people that's supposed to control the government. What sense does that make?

CLEMENS: No sense. Dr. Keyes you have a website and it's called What is RenewAmerica about? When did you found that and, in a nutshell, what's it about?

KEYES: Well, RenewAmerica is run by folks have been very supportive of the things that I believe over the years, and are trying to focus attention on those things, both by helping to publicize the kinds of writing and work that I do. They also have a whole number of other folks who are writing and sharing their thoughts along these lines on the RenewAmerica site. It was founded really to promote the understanding of, the discussion of our Declaration principles, and the application of those principles--their relevance to all the different policy areas and discussion that we face as a people in our public and political life. And I think they do an excellent job of trying to draw out those views, of having fora, where people can get online and talk with each other about these things based on the writings that appear on the site. And it's really aimed at helping to improve the level of understanding. It's a kind of an educational tool, really, for folks who are trying to help spread a better understanding of the Declaration principles, and in particular, I would have to say, to understand that ultimately our claim to liberty is based on that Declaration truth that our rights come from God. And that, therefore, if you drive God out of every aspect of our public life, you have destroyed the basis for our freedom as a people.

CLEMENS: Dr. Keyes, if you are president, how would you address what you call a moral identity crisis? What would be some steps that you as president could do?

KEYES: Well, see, that I think one of the things that I've lamented over the course over the last several years is that we went through a terrible tragedy on September 11th. And that tragedy came upon us because of an evil terrorism. At the heart of that evil is the rejection of most basic principle of justice that then translates into the foundation of our system of Constitutional self-government. That principle that we're all created equal, endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, and that the first of these is the right to life.

The terrorist bases his approach to his objectives on disregarding the claims of innocent life, and believing that the use of force and violence to engender fear, so that people will then be bent to your will that that's an proper way to approach things. That principle--fear, force, and the forceful use of violence against the innocent as the basis for government, basically, for getting people to do what you them to do, that's the basis for tyranny. That's the basis for despotism. And it's the very idea that America was founded to reject. Right?

If that's true, that means that in the context of helping people to understand the cause for which we fight, you can call them to better understand the principle from which we draw our identity as a free people, but that would then, also, require wouldn't it that you apply that principle to the other areas of life and policy starting with the great moral issues, like what we do with innocent in the womb. If have not heard anyone take advantage of this opportunity that has been purchased at the price of suffering and lives to draw this people back to the sound foundation of self-government in terms where our identity comes from as a people. We don't have like lot a of countries--common language, long heritage of living in the same place and so forth. A lot of our people, as we have been reminded of in recent days, are immigrants or the descendents of immigrants, but we still are, all of us, united as American people because of our common commitment to Constitutional self-government based on these very vital principles of justice. And think in the context of the challenges we face, particularly in the national security area, this is an ideal opportunity to use the presidency as the bully pulpit. But it also would serve the purpose of helping us to maintain our moral resolve as we confront the very difficult battle against terror.

CLEMENS: Well, we're coming up on a break, Dr. Keyes, so I want to thank you for calling in and talking to us today. And, Dr. Keyes, will be at the 33rd Annual Celebration of Life dinner put on by the Right to Life of Louisville. That's this Friday at the Clarion Hotel, and if you've ever seen Dr. Keyes live or heard one of his speeches, you know how passionate and articulate he is.

So, Dr. Keyes, thank you again for coming and . . . or calling in and talking to us. And we look forward to seeing you in a couple of days.

KEYES: It's been my very great pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity.

CLEMENS: Okay. Good luck. And we do encourage you to run for president again.

KEYES: Well, I appreciate the thought. God bless you.

CLEMENS: Okay, thank you.

KEYES: Bye, bye.


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