American principles go on tour
Balint Vazsonyi probably isn’t a familiar name to most Carson City residents.
The principles he’s taking on a 128-day whirlwind tour of state capitals should be much more familiar.
Vazsonyi is the founder of the Center for the American Founding, an institute dedicated to reacquainting people with the principles of the Constitution.
He and a group people have hit the nation’s roads touting four basic principles of the United State’s foundation – the rule of law, individual rights, security of property and our common American identiy-hoping to create a national dialogue on “the principles that unite us rather than the issues that divide us.”
Vazsonyi, a Hungarian-born classic pianist turned political philosopher, is acutely aware of how issues can divide a nation. He grew up in Hungary under Nazi oppression during World War II and left his homeland after it too fell to Communist rule. In 1959 he came to the United States with no English skills and $23 in his pocket. He became a U.S. citizen in 1964.
“Living in Eastern Europe, I noticed right away that American’s were very different and that America was a far better place,” Vazsonyi said. “American’s had figured out how to work and live in peace. That’s something the European’s haven’t figured out yet.
“America is the freest, most prosperous country in the world and that is no accident. We believe the reasons can be found in the four principles.”
Vazsonyi has embraced his adopted country, and after 30 years of pondering what made America different, founded “a little think tank to focus on the American founding principles.”
With the election year in full swing, Vazsonyi hopes national conversation will help people analyze the issues politicians freely throw around using the basic principles.
He’s given a lot of thought to the principles, which he compares to a compass. The compass’ true north is the rule of law, or more plainly that all laws must be consistent with the constitution.
Individual rights can be vested only in individuals, not groups. Vazsonyi points to the differences between the Civil Rights and Affirmative Action movements to illustrate this principle.
“The whole idea of the American Constitution is that everyone should be treated the same,” he said. “It’s quite one thing for the civil rights groups to ask for equal rights. That makes the Constitution right and is in line with the rule of law. To create rights for others always creates tension between groups.”
The third principle relates to security of property. Either things are yours or they aren’t, Vazsonyi said, and if the government can take it, it’s not really yours.
“There is no liberty without the security of property,” he said.
The final principle is that despite the differences that often seem so blatant, Americans share a common identity.
“Everybody now is a hyphenated American,” he said. “We just all fall apart into different groups, but really, everybody is equal. Without realizing that we can’t really have a nation.
“Being American means having a common language, a common morality, a special type of work ethic, fierce independence, a belief that people need to do good to and for each other. There’s a sense of goodness that comes with being American.
“There is really insignificant conversation among Americans. The Constitution is no longer taught in the school houses. Hopefully, with our work Americans will know what it’s like to be American’s again.”
Carson City is the 13th capital in the 22,600-mile tour that ends in Philadelphia on July 4. Re-Elect America hits the capitol steps at 10 a.m. with a governor’s welcome. Vazsonyi will present the state of Nevada with a book containing copies of unique documents penned by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Each state receives a leather, hand-stitched volume made specifically for that state. Vazsonyi will speak at a $10 a plate luncheon hosted by Mayor Ray Masayko at the Pinon Plaza Hotel Casino at noon. There are only 100 seats available and anyone interested in attending can RSVP to the mayor’s office at 887-2100.
Re-Elect America’s Carson City stay will culminates with an open town hall meeting hosted by the American Legion starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ormsby House. Vazsonyi will be joined by state senator Maurice Washington and attorney David Horton in a panel chaired by radio personality Rusty Humphries.
“We’re inviting people to think about what makes America America,” he said. “We’d like to reacquaint America with the principles that made America what it is and even to see if those principles are still relevant.
Re-Elect America comes to Carson City on Wednesday. The schedule is:
— 9:45 a.m.-arrival ceremony and governor’s welcome on the Capitol steps.
— noon to 1:30 p.m. luncheon at the Pinon Plaza Hotel Casino, 2171 Highway 50 East. Guest speak will be Dr. Balint Vazsonyi. There are only 100 spaces available. Call 887-2100 for information and reservations.
— 7:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. “We the People Forum” town hall meeting at the Ormsby House, 600 South Carson St.
For information on the Center for the American Founding or the Re-Elect America tour head to the web at http://www.founding.org.