Tuesday, March 01, 2016


"A republic, if you can keep it."

I've written and said in several places and times that our Republic is dead.  This sounds pretty radical to people and I get looks of sad contempt and dismissal like old Christopher that opinionated jerk has gone too far, the poor dear.  Its the kind of response you give old people when they say something terribly unfashionable and out of date, a sort of kindly dismissal and mockery.
So I thought I'd make my case here and let people decide.
The quote at the top is what Benjamin Franklin gave when he was asked what the revolution and constitutional convention has given the people of America.  Franklin, like all of the founding fathers, knew that this experiment was fragile and prone to destruction.  They knew that without constant vigilance, virtue, and vitalization, the republic was doomed.
We've left all that behind.  When, exactly, is a matter of some debate, but for me the last desperate, slim glimmer of a hope was November 2012 when President Obama was reelected.  When doesn't really matter so much as how and why.
Over and over, the founders warned future generations and their people that unless the nation clung to certain specific principles, it would lose liberty and everything they'd fought for.  Chief among these was virtue.
"We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
-John Adams

"Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."
-Patrick Henry

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the deigns of ambition.”
-Thomas Jefferson

"A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security."
-Samuel Adams

Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.
-George Washington
In short, a nation which is not guided by strong ethical principles based upon an objective, absolute standard, will be blown about like a rudderless, anchorless ship in a storm.  And a people who have no virtue will not consider the future or greater rewards and concepts, but only their immediate personal gain.

"We have forgotten that he who will not answer to the rudder will answer to the rocks"
-Mortimer Adler
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
-Thomas Jefferson
Such a people will, as the founders warned, stop voting for what is right and good, but for what is handy and valuable to them personally and directly.  As Sir Alex Fraser Tytle noted:
A democracy... can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
To put it simply, people will start voting themselves goodies at the expense of liberty, the future, economics, and personal well being.  As soon as a republic crosses that line, it ends.  And we've crossed that line.
The problem too many people develop is a sort of blindness.  They know at some level it isn't true, but begin to convince themselves that if only the right sort of people get into office, they can fix everything, or at least slow the disaster.  But the United States is a democratic republic, so that means we elect representatives by popular vote to govern in our place.
And in that kind of system, we get the people who reflect and represent the culture and people of the nation at large.  Once a nation loses its virtue and direction, it votes for people just like that.  We get venal, corrupt, selfish leaders without integrity, honor, or virtue because we have become a nation of people with these characteristics.  They represent us in more than simply policy decisions; they represent us as people as well.
Even if, by some chance or act of God, some leader is elected who differs from this pattern, they are powerless and shunned.  The politician now who is constitutionally responsible, has integrity, honor, and seeks liberty and future benefit for the nation over immediate comfort and gain is the outcast who will not play by the rules.  They are the trouble maker, the rebel, the crazy guy who won't shut up.
Imagine, if you will, some miraculous scenario where all three branches of government were somehow filled with your perfect ideal of a conservative servant of the people and the constitution.  That sounds wonderful, right?
Now imagine what happens once they are sworn into office.  That very second, the news media, popular culture, academia, and out-of-power Democrats begin to bombard every conceivable outlet from social media to film, TV, radio, newspaper, books, personal conversation, and more with the same message.
Monsters.  Tyrants.  Horrific.  Racist.  Sexist. Homophobic.  Islamophobic.  Theocrats.  Extremist.  Draconian.  They hate the elderly, children, handicapped, transexuals, minorities, women, on and on.  They support rape.  They support slavery.  They're trying to put you back in chains.  They burn crosses.  They'll drag you in chains behind their pickup truck.
Every single policy position, every single vote, every single action would be met with carefully orchestrated, filmed, and broadcast rallies and protests.  The pre-printed signs would be handed out, the paper-machet giant heads would be constructed, the streets closed off so that the "people" hired by groups like International A.N.S.W.E.R. can "spontaneously" take to the streets.
Every news broadcast would be filled with sad little faces and woeful stories of how horrific this bill is that hasn't even taken effect and how its causing their puppy to starve.  Every hit song would be about how horrible things are on the streets filled with starvation, misery, and death.  Simply returning to how things were ten years ago would be depicted as Jim Crow times ten, packed with uninsured people dying on the streets.
And the people of the United States, bombarded with this in overwhelming fashion, would vote these people out in the next possible election, replacing them with radicals who would not only reverse what the Conservative Majority did, but go even further in the name of social justice and righting past wrongs.  They'd use this chance and the momentum to go even further than ever before.
Who wins what office makes no difference.  Until the nation undergoes a tremendous shift at the basic, cultural level, elections will only pour more of the same on this country and every new election makes matters worse.  And that cultural shift takes time, not elections.

"Through the Mercy of Fools all Justice is lost."
-Rabbi Nachmanides
We're at a point in this nation where the Supreme Court has been stuffed with a near-majority of members for whom the constitution is simply a set of words they can use to lever in anything the latest progressive positions hold.  When a court has even a few judges who are utterly disinterested in constitution, wisdom, reason, justice, or sanity, that court ceases to have any validity whatseover.  It has been corrupted to the point of being useless.
Arguments we have to get the right sort of politician in this position or that for The Judges ignores the utter destruction of the constitution and nation that has already been wrought by a supposed judicially sensible majority.  After the utter abortion that was the Kelo vs New London decision, the court followed up with several horrendously decided trash cases which demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with power no matter who they are or what they claim about law.
Will a supreme court justice picked by a corrupt, horrible hag like Hillary Clinton be much worse than even a lying bozo like Donald Trump?  Yes.  But the bad is not a question of ruining the nation, its a question of how fast and in what direction.  Its going that way anyway, its just a matter of how swiftly.
Technically, the USA is still around, of course.  We have the framework, sagging and rotted as it is, of what the country means still in place.  There are the habits of a Republic still here.  Technically we still vote.  In name at least we have representatives in office.  All of it still looks more or less the same.  Its just been gutted, like the shell of an insect that has been burrowed out from within by parasites.
The only direction this nation goes from here on out is away from liberty, away from the founders, away from the great experiment, and toward inevitable failure and tyranny.  There's only one vector, even if it staggers a bit once in a while.
There's a phrase some use to describe this attitude: "let it burn."  Some misunderstand this as a call to destroy the nation.  But its not.  Its a call to step back and give up the fight because its going down either way.  For years now I've been telling everyone to focus locally, on family, neighbors, local politics.  Your home, your area, your town.  Because the federal government is a write-off.  There is no fixing it through any elections.
That's what Let It Burn means; not "revolution!!!" but rather "its already burning and the firefighters know it won't be saved."  Let it Burn recognizes that its already on fire.  We're past the point of preventing it.  We cannot save this Republic, until we get past the hard times ahead and begin the slow, painful process of rebuilding.
I'm sorry.  I don't like it either.  but that doesn't make it any less true.  And recognizing this doesn't make me a crazy old man.  Just a sad one.
"Posterity--you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
-John Quincy Adams
Sorry, John.  We didn't.  We gave it a pretty good run for a while, but its over.


Brian in Arizona said...

I was tempted to write a long response in support of this essay but realized that what is written here is precise, concise and right. I cannot improve on it.

It still amazes me how quickly the nation has fallen. But I read history and understand that the effort to tear down the republic started well over a century ago and that what was a gradual decline has now gone over the edge of the abyss with no end in sight of just how low it will fall. The seeds planted in the 19th century and nurtured and grown during the 20th century have now borne fruit. Very poisonous fruit.

SAHMmy said...

This. Is. Excellent. This is exactly what's happened and where we are and what needs to happen for this nation to survive. Best explanation I've read so far.

P.S. Don't be sad. This is necessary.

Drake said...

Things sure have a late Roman Republic feel to them right now. The framework is all still there, but it's just for show. Sulla and his cronies have already weaponized government institutions such as the IRS for political gain, now the only question is "who gets to do it next?" And who gets proscribed?

Judith said...

We're past the point of preventing it. We cannot save this Republic, until we get past the hard times ahead and begin the slow, painful process of rebuilding.

Who's we? How many people even have freedom and rule of law in their experience or education? Will we be allowed to rebuild?

Anonymous said...

"Let it burn" is a destructive nihilistic attitude which denies the possibility of hope. Every time we say that, the folks who want to destroy all vestiges of the republic win a little more. The underlying assumption - that something better may come from the bonfire - ignores the world's history of revolutions which misfired, resulting in corruption, mob rule and/or blood in the streets. The US republic arising from the Revolutionary War (after some misadventures under the old Articles of Confederation) was and is a major exception - one of the very few times in which burning the current government down resulted in a Republic. The Magna Carta was a result of a compromise between King John and his barons and was re-affirmed by subsequent kings as a grand compromise. It was not a result of the barons saying "burn it down" or "let it burn".

AGoyAndHisBlog said...

All true and yet... sadly, this misses the very important fact that the U.S. ceased to exist as a republic over 150 years ago, and that's a critical element in determining whether or not "it's over". Maybe; maybe not.

When the Executive Branch of the general government unilaterally granted itself the authority to provoke and wage war on American civilians, and State sovereignty was rendered moot through military occupation and federal usurpation, the character of the republic was fundamentally transformed. What emerged from that transformation was an empire ruled by an oligarchy in D.C. using the illusion of democracy as a carrot and the lingering threat of military force as a stick - an arrangement that has stood, unopposed, from that time to this. The Guarantee to each State of a Republican Form of Government effectively expired on April 6, 1861.

One can resist this notion all one likes, but the fact is that it's not possible to fully understand today's bonfire without acknowledging this transformation and the process that led to it, and which has proceeded from it. That transformation led to the establishment of a single lever - the increasingly autonomous and omnipotent federal government - capable of driving the character of the entire country and readily available for abuse by any faction with the time, money, temerity and persistence required to wrest control over it.

In the late 19th century, that faction was the burgeoning establishment of Hamiltonian neo-mercantilists, "American System" economics fraudsters, central banksters and manipulative industrialists whose ideology promoted centralized management of the economy, crony capitalism funded with Taxpayers' wealth, corrupted fiat currency and total, centralized control over civil governance. Today, however, who controls that lever is not as clear. We like to think it's the so-called "progressives", but in some ways it's easy to see how their morally adolescent, appeal-to-emotion agenda has been completely co-opted and exploited for the benefit of the economic/financial oligarchy who still call the shots.

But that's getting ahead of things...

Originally, the Founders established a nation and system of government where society, culture, civil law - essentially, everything except for those specific issues arising among and/or between the States - was managed under the jurisdiction of the States, themselves. That distributed arrangement of governance provided a Free Marketplace of Ideas where State citizens governed themselves according to local customs, ethnicity, mores, ethics and economics (e.g., agrarian vs. industrial, etc.). For any given Citizen, the State government was tens or maybe hundreds of miles away - rather than thousands - and, as such, State-level elected officials were subject to a far greater degree of accountability than we see in today's D.C. elites. Most importantly, where accountability and the electoral process failed, one was free to vote with one's feet and relocate to a different State where governance was more to one's liking. Good governance across the nation of sovereign States was thus largely self-selecting. Furthermore, if one State's ideas for governance failed miserably, it didn't take the entire nation down with it.


Anonymous said...

From Sacramento, California.

This is 100% accurate.

Aesop said...

You nailed it.
Well said.

Anonymous said...

Yes,the ship is going down,I sadly accept that reality.

That said,like the mighty phoenix we can shake off the ashes of our self immolation and rebuild,though a ugly time between now and then.I hope to be around to at least repoint the foundation of the republic and other do the rest of the rebuild,best to all of us.

Bri2301 said...

"... the possibility of hope."

Do you take in what the "government" has become, it's actions towards its own taxpaying citizens and really have hope?

This thing is out of control, sliding downhill and accelerating. We're approaching the tyranny of the majority as "they" determine what's right and what's wrong, re-enforcing their diktats with "legal" decisions by an increasingly illegitimate "Supreme" Court.

We have corruption at the highest levels and to the degree that there is one application of law for "them" and another for us. Mob rule? Occupy? BLM? The movement of the day, blocking traffic, barring the right of way, interfering in life and commerce... Fear not, there will be blood in the streets. The "elites" will not relinquish their power lightly and their lap dogs will be willing to take to the streets for them, as always. Only soon, we'll be there to meet them and initiate the next revolution.

Anonymous said...

I am in law enforcement. All I can tell you is there is a brutal, harsh, sadistic underclass that will, without feeling or remorse victimize your family once the rule of law breaks down.

Gun Control is not for the criminals, it's for the law abiding who would use arms to defend themselves from the thugs and criminal class.

As the author of this blog so eloquent stated, the republic is dead, now all that's left is to see who can scavenge from the carcass the longest and out last the other scavengers.

Good luck people. Hug your children and teach them to shoot straight and live without fear. Courage, cunning and some intelligence is the only thing that will save them while on this earth for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ March 3 @ 8:30,

Read first. Then, write.

"The underlying assumption - that something better may come from the bonfire - ignores the world's history of revolutions which misfired, resulting in corruption, mob rule and/or blood in the streets."

Read first. Then, write.

It's just like that note you left for yourself on your dresser for when you dress in the morning. The one that says "Pants first. Then, shoes."

Anonymous said...

"Until the nation undergoes a tremendous shift at the basic, cultural level, elections will only pour more of the same on this country and every new election makes matters worse."

That basic shift must occur at the level of Biblical understanding. People today simply have zero. To the extent that this situation can be improved is the degree to which the country will improve.

I don't see many people honestly studying their Bibles rightly divided between prophesy and the mystery revealed to Paul.

Unknown said...

Absolutely perfect! I've been trying to say this same thing for years but could never do so as eloquently as you have! Bravo! Now, let's get down to the business of survival first, rebuild later!

Christopher R Taylor said...

And I still believe this is true. President Trump is not a savior, he's a speed bump. He's delayed the inevitable. Its still coming.