Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Duty to Throw off Such Government
Crisis magazine ^ | July 9, 2012 | Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.

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 Napoleon’s 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 emperor’s 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 country’s 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 government’s 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.


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: catholic; declarofindependenc
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-62 last
To: Monorprise
Of course there is the potential problem of the church collaborating with the State to instead of freeing souls to stand upon their own with God, enslaving them to an early institution.

Huh?

51 posted on 07/16/2012 2:46:22 AM PDT by papertyger ("And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if..."))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 50 | View Replies]

To: Robert Drobot

Last “Peaceful” option...

Secession is the moral choice. It allows those who desire freedom to follow that road and leaves those who choose slavery to the collective to their miserable fate. None are denied their freedom or their chains.

The option of secession is the “live and let live” option. It is the “High ground” and it will be our justification when we are attacked by our former slave masters.

I am willing to kill my former countrymen to PROTECT a newly gained freedom, but Im not willing to kill them to FORCE them to live free of their chains. The difference may seem small but in my mind its the difference between good and evil. Secession is the moral (good) option.

Will there be some within the newly formed country who will choose to remain slaves to the collective? Sure, and I think it would be fair to provide them safe transit to whats left of the old United States if they simply cannot shoulder their freedom and the consequences of their freedom. The property of those who choose to leave will remain their property to do with as they choose (within the laws of the newly formed nation). If they choose to come back and live free then they can return to what belongs to them. However... If they choose to come back as aggressive combatants, bent on re-shackling free people to socialism, they will forfeit more than just their property.

Secession will not be entirely peaceful but the intentions of those choosing it will be, and that means everything. Well, almost everything... Its still incumbent upon those choosing to be free to be prepared to DEFEND their freedom from those who WILL choose to deny them.


52 posted on 07/16/2012 6:10:20 AM PDT by myself6 (NOT voting for the GOP's socialist - Romney)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: stevie_d_64

Every two years we have an opportunity as you so clearly outlined...
I could not agree more
....WHAT ARE WE PREPARED TO SACRIFICE TO ELECT NEW MEMBERS TO CONGRESS?

Any talk of revolt, separation, etc is just that...talk.

Actively walking the neighborhood with door hangers and putting up signs for your candidate, getting out the vote, attending training sessions put on by Tea Party groups, “Get out the Vote” training, etc. THAT is how change happens in Washington! How do you think the idiots that are in there now got there...a small group worked hard to convince a slim majority to vote for them.


53 posted on 07/16/2012 6:22:32 AM PDT by An American! (Proud To Be An American!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: papertyger

There is a reason the church does not well integrate with the state. Power corrupts even the church.


54 posted on 07/16/2012 10:20:21 AM PDT by Monorprise
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 51 | View Replies]

To: papertyger

To be clear I realize there is no threat here.

But there is nonetheless a reason the church does not well integrate with the state. Power corrupts even the church, and if we are to save anything in life it must be our soul.


55 posted on 07/16/2012 10:27:27 AM PDT by Monorprise
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 51 | View Replies]

To: An American!

“WHAT ARE WE PREPARED TO SACRIFICE TO ELECT NEW MEMBERS TO CONGRESS?”

Speaking for myself? Nothing. The game is rigged. It’s political 3 card monte, and conservatives are the suckers for playing. The action that matters will be at the state and local level.


56 posted on 07/16/2012 7:00:30 PM PDT by RKBA Democrat ( We're all Texians now.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 53 | View Replies]

To: myself6

You’d have to be a fool to not see things moving in the direction of a divorce. While I personally am not a secessionist, I think that things are heading in that direction. Interestingly, I think that our political opponents on the left are pushing for it.


57 posted on 07/16/2012 7:05:10 PM PDT by RKBA Democrat ( We're all Texians now.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: Monorprise

With God, good and bad can coexist, or, rather, bad can repent to good. That is part of everyone’s soul battle and national soul or world soul battle. This was the essence of the compromise that the Founding Fathers had anticipated, and that this was going to happen “under God”. “Under God” is not an admonition to worship, but a fact that we live “under the sun”, as Salomon did not want to upset his persecuting people when he mentioned it.

With Obama, we have a perverted headless chicken babling many absurditities without any goal or plan ahead other than gratifying impulsive appetites that a mad mind comes to convulse with.

The people following him is their man. The highway to hell is wide indeed. Obama and his followers have decided to be prostitutes with vanity and to do away with good altogether. Whether they like it or not, stated or not in the pledge, they still are under God.

The Founding Fathers worked well to let the rebellious be rebellious so long they were at bay. That was the essence of the constitution. But now we have Julia Justice Roberts signing Obamacare caught like a deer in the headlight with OBama’s own motives and eligibility in question, and, thus, Julia Roberts Justice is going to be caught into question, GOP-E style. THe whole thing has been corrupted. THis is what happens when one yields to pressure.


58 posted on 07/18/2012 10:11:27 AM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 50 | View Replies]

To: A.A. Cunningham

59 posted on 07/18/2012 2:35:31 PM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: AngelesCrestHighway

Well done !!!!


60 posted on 07/20/2012 6:31:49 AM PDT by Robert Drobot (Fiat voluntas tua)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 59 | View Replies]

To: iowamark
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.

Yes it does. Deus Vult!

61 posted on 07/22/2012 7:26:05 PM PDT by sauropod (You can elect your very own tyranny - Mark Levin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand

Start with your local zoning Nazis.


62 posted on 07/28/2012 8:07:40 PM PDT by Paladin2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-62 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson