Skip to comments.The Duty to Throw off Such Government
Posted on 07/14/2012 4:23:32 AM PDT by iowamark
"Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty to throw off such Government and to provide new Guards for their future Security." The U. S. Declaration of Independence, 1776.
David Goldman, in a recent article in the Asia Times (June 26), was struck by the fierce loyalty that his countrymen showed to Napoleon, even after several spectacular defeats. Goldman attributed this reaction to Napoleons ability to break the bonds of society and to concentrate all hope and loyalty into himself. The people no longer had sufficient interior virtues and standards whereby they themselves could form judgments about what was right and wrong. That function was subsumed into dependence and confidence in the emperors force of personality and external mission.
Readers of Plato and Aristotle know their recurring thesis: a tyrant arises out of a democracy when the citizens have little or no inner principle of order other than what they will for themselves. The tyrant becomes the leader of the people and, finally, their master. He can impose on them his cure for their well-being. But he is seen as a savior because the people, no longer in contact with the rationale of their own tradition, have little else in their souls with which to judge him. Hence, the loyalty and enthusiasm follow the leader. What struck Goldman about both Napoleon and Hitler was not so much that they failed, but how close they came to succeeding. The wonder is whether we will always be so lucky.
When we read the powerful words of the Declaration, we are struck by the truth of its observation that mankind is disposed to suffer evils, if it can, rather than to take the effort to throw them off. Custom, for all its good contributions to stability, makes us slow to see things as they go wrong. A people are accustomed to its own political Form, even if they retain the capacity to right themselves from its abuses. A point can come where they no longer retain such a capacity or a will to exercise it.
The Declaration of Independence is mostly remembered for its ringing words of principle, the We hold these truths. But as a document, the greater part is a bill of particulars that recounts the abuses of the British Crown as seen by the colonists, themselves nurtured in this same English tradition. The reason why the abuses are so diligently listed is to make a rational case before mankind that a design was being followed to reduce the people to absolute despotism.
The British Crown, no doubt, would have denied that such was its real intention. It merely wanted to restore order to its hot-headed colonial subjects. And no doubt with some considerable prudence on its part, the Crown might well have prevented the Revolution. As we watch the British Empire after both the French and American Revolutions, it did learn many lessons that were more benignly applied to other colonial outposts, some of which are still in existence today.
The American founders saw that the kind of limited government that they formed was likely to be strong enough to withstand most external enemies. What some of them also recognized was that the most dangerous threats to the countrys future would come from within and not without. The American system was put together to prevent despotism. Hence, all its offices were constrained. They were to be limited, checked, and balanced so that the enthusiasm which we associate with Napoleon did not arise among us. This nation, under God, was to be a country of citizens not of masses.
What we see today, I think, is the awareness that we must form a careful list of abuses, analogous to those composed by the writers of the Declaration. This time, the abuses are not against any colonial power but against our own rulers. Who would ever have imagined that freedom of religion would come to be on the governments agenda as an item to be restricted? We see that marriage itself is no longer understood and its supposed alternatives promoted by official policy. The list is getting longer every day.
Though the courts have often been contributors to this list, we see that the Supreme Court may still function as a check on governmental despotism. But what seems clear is that the very idea of a Constitution, of a form of order according to which we should govern ourselves, is called into question when it conflicts with what the democracy or its leader wants. The American Republic was established so that a people who could rule themselves did rule themselves also in the public order. But it was also a Republic based on the idea that such a thing as virtue of soul and order in human affairs existed. They were not simply created in any form we wanted.
Reflecting now on the Fourth of July 2012, we have to wonder about a regime now manifesting a growing list of abuses to the fundamental nature of human worth. These abuses are put into effect by elected rulers themselves. They are accepted by many citizens who themselves are democratic in the classic Greek sense, that in their soul they have little principle of order.
Hence, they have no reason to object to anything on any other basis than that of personal whim or want. The term unconstitutional is meaningless. This situation is not a far cry from that list found in the Declaration. In describing these abuses, it read: He (the King) has made Judges dependent on his Will alone. He has refused to assent to Laws. And He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution.
Constitutional rule derives from a people who understand the nature and demands of the virtues and their relation to our final end. It is aware of an order transcendent to politics. Arbitrary rule arises when a leader, seeing that the people have no real order of soul, sees himself able to impose whatever form of rule that he thinks good for the people. Unless they acquiesce in this rule and its decrees, they are no longer citizens, whatever a written Constitution might say.
In 2012, when we read the Declaration of Independence and its appeal to the judgment of mankind, it seems more addressed to our own government rather than to the British Crown.
“This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it:"
"1. The few plunder the many. 2. Everybody plunders everybody. 3. Nobody plunders anybody.”
We are certainly at #2. When the plunder runs out, and it soon will, I doubt the public will return to Founding era virtue. A corrupted people will need totalitarian government, being suitable for no other.
THis is why the government should not have UAVs and things of that sort. These inlets into our decisions and consciousnesses is completely ridiculous. I mean, do I need a little public trial every time before deciding if I am going to use a fork to pick my broccoli vs. my french fry up?
This is obviously genocide excuse into making people non-entities. Playing with UAV robots or what not is going to be their sole role model. It’s bad enough the K9 unit tries to train people the way they do their own dogs.
Jeremiah 17:5 Cursed is the man who puts his trust in man,who makes flesh his arm-and is turned from God.” We have trusted our Government.We have excused their error fearing we might be ridiculed for questioning authority.Yet I have been saying for twenty years that the American Government has replaced the role played by the Brits in the Founding era. For the same reasons.We have forgotten God(as President Lincoln so rightly put it March 30,1863.Except the Lord of Hosts had preserved to us a very small remnant we would have been made like Sodom and like unto Gomorrah.Romans 9:29 quoting Isaiah 1:9 see also Isaiah 13:19 Is America the new Babylon?
What’s most remarkable about this article is that it was written by a Jesuit who serves on the faculty at Georgetown University. When you start to see this sort of thing from “Catholics” who had spent most of the last 60 years turning from God and getting very comfortable with Mammon, you know something is up.
I want to see our republican leaders take this part and throw him out by impeachment. I know, I am dreaming.
I’m not saying that things are great, just that the cycle has been seen before and there is hope for those who accept Jesus.
...but "being Christian" is, eh? So let's keep on slaughtering babies, until we get that worship right, is that it?
[heroically restrains self]
I suppose it should be repeated because it seems you missed it: nothing improves until abortion stops. Nothing. Ever.
in other words, aquinas, a heathen who doesn't murder his baby will judge the religious person who does -- or who, perhaps, doesn't think it's as important to put a stop to as it is to go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays.
See you there, fellow Patriot!
>>I think there’s a story in the bible about Soddom and Gomorrah rising in judgment of those who “had the worship right” but continued to lie, cheat, steal, murder...
Exactly. They had the worship right. They did all the “things” required. They had a temple, a priest, they walked through the sacraments, they had the right artwork, they gave the required amount to the right charities. They did everything but love God with all their hearts. And then with an evil heart, they went out and committed murder, etc.
The average American Christian does the exact same thing. They show up on Sunday and maybe Wednesday, if there isn’t something else to do, and they go through the motions of performing the act of worship.
The. Act. Of. Worship.
That’s all. Just the act. Just AN act.
Outlawing the murder of babies will not fix that. And God will not favor a nation that does not favor Him.
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t outlaw abortion. It is a crime against humanity, no different than herding people into poision gas showers. But, the line of thinking that God will favor us for doing just that is flawed.
>>...but “being Christian” is, eh? So let’s keep on slaughtering babies, until we get that worship right, is that it?
No. I already made my statement on the difference between worship and the act of worship.
>>[heroically restrains self]
There’s nothing heroic in telling others to not do something that you would never do yourself. Heroism is having a half-dozen unwanted foster children living in your house.
Jefferson's thesis -- upon which he expounds at length -- is that the Crown had violated the precepts of Lockeian social contract, that the obligations of the government to its citizens had been ignored, while the obligations of the citizenry were being enforced at gunpoint. To Locke and Jefferson, that meant the social contract was dissolved; no contract can be unilateral.
We are at that same point (and beyond) today. Our government is NOT "just." It does NOT derive its powers from the consent of the governed; how could Obamacare have passed if it did, when a vast majority of citizens opposed it? And it is not protecting the rights of its citizens; it is merely perpetuating itself and its own elitist vision. Therefore, the social contract, if not dissolved, is certainly eroded, and we find ourselves in much the same position the Founding Fathers did in the days of tri-corn hats.
That is the lesson we've forgotten. That is the lesson we must relearn if America is to once again be free.
Your conclusion ".... I know, I am dreaming." would have been an unthinkable American thought in the forties and fifties, and yet it is what it is.
Greed and sloth coupled with apathy and narcissism have overtaken a once fiercely independent America to the point of drowning in a suicidal drug induced arrogance.
The Congress is now preparing their script to deliver our no compromise Constitutional freedom to bare arms to a contemptable store front fraud that would not exist, but for the billions of our wealth our Congress has flushed down its money sucking throat to buy their sewer slime respect.
Ill write it again :
Im ready for the call.
There are no peaceful options remaining to redress the betrayal of Americas Citizens by a governing body of fools in denial of their precarious vulnerability.
We have used the soap box, the ballot box turned out to be a joke. Now the bullet box is our only remaining option.
It is the FED that came to control our wealth through the secret financing other governments - including those posing the greatest threats to our national security.
The FED has never permitted a complete disclosure of how it has abused the use of our money, and made necessary the expenditure of greater assets in response to historical security threats. For the past ninety-nine years Congress has surrendered America to a monster that has been squandered everything we have and held for future generations.
We really don't know the gravity of the debt, and the Congress wants it kept that way.
What a powerfully insightful statement! Others, including Supreme Court Justices have stated it clearly before; yet, for generations, we have failed, as a people, to study the ideas essential to our liberty which were carefully laid out in our Declaration of Independence and the writings of the Founders and Framers of our Constitution. Instead, we allowed so-called "progressives" to work, like termites, gradually to censor those ideas from our textbooks and our public discourse.
The U. S. Constitution's Precious Cargo*
"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court even can do much to help it." - Judge Learned Hand
The Constitution's words are only the vehicles which carry great ideas across the centuries. The precious cargo must be defined, protected, and treasured by "We, the People" in order for its benefits to accrue to each generation. Take the word, "liberty". What message does this semantic vehicle bring?
Abe Lincoln: "We all declare for liberty, but
in using the same word we do not mean the same thing...."
"The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator,
While the wolf denounces him for the same act...."
"Plainly," said Lincoln, "the sheep and the wolf are not agreed
upon a definition of liberty."
To some, he said, "liberty" means: that each individual in the society may do as he sees fit with himself and the earnings from his labors. To others, "liberty" means: that some persons may do as they see fit (or arbitrarily determine to be best) with other persons' earnings. Lincoln wisely observed that each respective view can be called by the other party by two "different and incompatible" names: "liberty" (unbridled license) and "tyranny" (power abused).
Down through the centuries since 1787, America's constitutional vehicle has traveled, proclaiming right up front that its primary purpose is to "secure the Blessings of Liberty." This is not just any old vehicle. This is the Constitution of the United States of America! Its makers left volumes of writings and definitions of the cargo of priceless treasure its words carry. Its intent to secure a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, and promote the general Welfare (common good) and "secure the Blessings of Liberty" relies on a clear understanding of, and strict adherence to, its underlying philosophy that each individual possesses Creator-endowed rights, as well as its structural provisions for protecting them from abuses of power by those they elect to positions of power in public office.
"Liberty"--the word--can become "liberty"--the blessing--only to those who care enough to know the difference between "license" and "tyranny": to those who will never mistake the real treasure of liberty envisioned by America's Founders for its counterfeits--rampant, unbridled license among the citizenry or abuse of power by those to whom power is delegated. Both are equally fatal to true liberty.
* "Lessons In Liberty" Series by La Vaughn G. Lewis, Free Lance Writer and Co-Editor of "Our Ageless Constitution" & "Rediscovering the Ideas of Liberty"
One of my favorite professors.
One of the most important threads of this year...
I believe there are several FReepers capable of coming up with some very well worded “pariculars” to list the abuses of the government, and its representatives have imposed upon us over just the last 40-50 years...
But since we still have the mechanism to throw off these very representatives...It comes down to what is anyone prepared to do about it, and what are you prepared to sacrifice for it???
When we lose that ability to effect change every two years, then it might be time to throw off that government in a manner fitting and honorableto those whoactiually did to get this Union started...
When it ever comes time to go to guns, everyone loses, lets not forget that...
Really. Just how is that going to work?