WISDOM THAT FORTIFIED OUR COMMON HERITAGE.
I am 50 years old born in the the United States of America . I have not been too confident in our country’s direction for quite a while. It could be rationalized that every prior group can become disillusioned about their country due to generational differences. I am sure these differences existed between the generation that witnessed the constitutional convention and the one that grew up with Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Even though these differences exist we should not turn away from the knowledge we can gain from history.
Below is a comment used frequently to crystallize revolutionary thought in colonial America . The statement is by one of Cromwell’s prior solders found guilty of a plot to assassinate Charles II of England . His statement comes as he is about to be drawn and quartered still defiant as to the injustice of monarchical power.
Richard Rumbold.”I may say this is a deluded generation, veiled with ignorance, that though popery and slavery be riding in upon them, do not perceive it; though I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another, for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.”
I believe the fundamental problem is that we as a people have allowed the federal government to become too powerful thereby overly intrusive in our lives. Government has become the problem, a major cause of anxiety within our republic. It is this constant nonsense from Washington (which goes unchallenged by the media) that aids this distress and fear on a daily basis and people are agonizing over it.
“The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles.”
VIII, ch. I Charles de Montesquieu.
A new perception seems to be taking hold in the country. We no longer have a rational government that holds the best interest of the United States at heart. The last two administrations that controlled the White House for sixteen years assisted in the establishment of laws that have notably continued this intrusiveness. Through the use of federal dollars Washington exerts greater control over local communities. Some of these dictates are born in bureaucratic departments without legislative scrutiny. The congress has never been further from its constituency or more deaf to the needs as to the greater good of these communities. The use of televised and printed (emergency) politics has reached a new level where hast to enact sweeping restrictive laws takes precedent without discussion or debate. The speed in which these laws are being passed reeks with the fear of detection as if the merit of the legislation itself is deceitful.
What type of personality craves the office of a politician in present day Washington ? Our first president walked away from the aphrodisiac of power two hundred and twelve years ago. It was said that King George III commented that if Washington left the seat of power “he would be the greatest man in the world”. The office of the presidency has been usurped granting narrow favors to the very people that finance their campaign? The key word being narrow. Hell even there own kids are becoming lobbyist or running for office consolidating generational influence.
When you surrender to the collective thought of the party you loose your ability to be effective in your job. Instead of your unique insight you begin to make decision based on party loyalty. There was a young congressman today bellowing that “he would rather have the government decide his health care options than an insurance company driven by a profit motive “. Let’s look to the one thing congress has been in charge of for many years (federal spending) the result is out of control deficits. At least the private sector (staying private) cannot bankrupt the total population of the country. The opinion polls echo the belief that congress no longer represents the will of the people or the greater good of the country. I am sure there are enlightened legislators in office and coming up, nevertheless my problem lies with the structure that promotes this environment.
“But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go.”
XI, ch. 4 Charles de Montesquieu.
Through out history a large centralized government has never worked. Yet each new generation of politicians advance the same agenda with a new label to validate their lives. Then we as a country have to untangle the mess decades later (Fannie May, Freddie Mac).
John Witherspoon . “The only reward that a state can be supposed to bestow upon good subjects in general is protection and defense”.
I would argue that we as Americans should reverse this latest political path and limit the size and intrusiveness of our government. We should return to a path that magnifies common sense not invalidates it. Restricting the reach of the federal government would decrease the narrow calculating influences that shape the national legislative agenda.
The American people could again trust their leaders and not be ashamed by their lack of diligence with regard to the American legacy. It is exactly that legacy the world looks to and fights for as the definition of freedom. ( Honduras , Iran ).
Frederic Bastiat.”The state is the great fiction by which everybody tries to live at the expense of everybody else. The doctrine that places the moving force of Society in the legislators and Government results in imposing crushing responsibilities on them in matters where they ought to have none. If there is suffering, the fault is the Government’s; if there is poverty, the fault is the Government’s – Is it not the general and sole motor of society? If the motor is not good, it must be discarded and replaced by another.”
Without even a facade of common sense the federal government risks anarchy. Legislative actions seem beset by irrationality. Even though people are very disturbed at the path both the legislative and executive branches have taken us down (look at congressional poll numbers) the rule of law must be maintained at all cost. That does not mean (government) uses the contrivance of (emergency powers) to suppress assembly. These tactics are usually invoked by cowards and are easily evident to the public as the last act of a fearful entrenched government. In America we change the law. We are not prone to chaos.
The following statement seems to spell out the intent of the founding fathers.
Samuel Seabury 1774 ” Government was intended for the security of those who live under it- to protect the weak against the strong- the good against the bad- to preserve order and decency among men, preventing everyone from injuring his neighbor. Every person, then, owes obedience to the laws of the government under which he lives, and is obliged on honor and duty to support them. Because if one has a right to disregard the laws of the society to which he belongs, all have the same right ; and then government is at an end.”
The founding fathers being well versed both in Latin and history, created a form of government that held individual rights superior to that of the state. This was the first republic in history to anchor the hierarchy of such natural rights.
Let’s look at three thousand years of acquired thought, culminating in the birth of the United States of America . Incidentally, Latin was the popular language taught in the early American educational system. You were expected you to know the English language when you entered school which was taught at home.
A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”– Barry Goldwater
“Government is not reason, nor eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”– George Washington”
Which condition would require more force, large or limited government? I can understand force to right a current injustice such as slavery in early America . When laws are not uniform to all the seeds of tyranny begin to grow. This statement on slavery does not condone a view by some that prior generational actions require the current generation to atone for such past conduct. The argument for reparations is nothing but outright theft.
When the government begins the task of regulating my life choices, I must begin to question the power and motive of that government. Every tax dollar I abdicate sending an individual to college through affirmative action binds my own ability (through force) to send my own child to school. Funds accumulated through private foundations or voluntary donations are acceptable because they are free from government coercion. By what right does the government ask me to sacrifice my child’s future for another?
Alexis de Tocqueville. “About this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the public should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the soul agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principle concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all care of thinking and all the trouble of living?