The Unfounding of America
Life under President Barack Obama and a radical-led, Democrat-dominated Congress has been a clarion call to many Americans that their beloved home is permeated by elites who have little respect for this nation’s founding principles. But only a minority of Americans recognize that the Democrat Party does not merely ignore the Constitution, it stands in direct opposition to the vision of the founders of this great country.
The founding principles of this nation, as expressed in and gleaned from The Constitution, can be summarized as the following: Federalism, limited government, divided powers, individualism, liberty, private property, the rule of law, and free market capitalism.
For serious students of politics, these are sensible institutions that safeguard a people from government oppression. But to the naive liberals, if any charismatic politician purports that he seeks to “change” the nature of government from a coercive institution to a supposedly liberating, “democratic” instrument of the people, he is to be lauded and supported. For those who know history and are able to learn from it, megalomanical politicians always veil their designs on freedom in the language of false generosity, paternalistic benevolence, idle pleasantries, and transcendent visions.
Americans should not fall into the trap of believing that Obama is a figure who has single-handedly brought the country to the brink of unchecked tyranny. We Americans have largely done this to ourselves: either through ignorance, unrealistic idealism, or through trepidation at the thought of challenging the progressive narrative, which is intentionally beset with rhetorical traps to snare those who would be “cruel” enough to debunk its unreality. Obama is the harbinger of the future, he is not the molder of it. Progressives do not fundamentally alter the nature of a people, they take all that is weak and gullible and lazy and dishonorable and they exploit and exaggerate it, until people are unable to check the vices in themselves and require government to do it for them.
People need to realize that whether nationalist or socialist in nature, the government seeks to coerce; it is its primary business, it is its nature, and it attracts men who seek to utilize that power of coercion for their own benefit and that of their benefactors. These tend to be men of deception, of ambition, and of unscrupulous morality; whether Bush, or Obama, or the next incompetent or power-hungry control freak selected for the reins of power.
As polities trend towards democracy, the leaders increasingly reflect the worst qualities of the people. And as the people continue to deteriorate morally, through their lack of capacity for self-governance, the leaders find themselves increasingly compelled to exercise their powers of coercion over them. And increasingly the people begin to agree with the tyrants that it is for their own good.
The lesson here is that America will escape the constant danger of authoritarianism not when it has benevolent and sage leadership, a modern-day Marcus Aurelius if you will, but when the power structure is altered from collectivist centralization to federalist individualism. This is not because political architecture is everything, but that such a system allows people to interact with reality and to learn from it; this provides them the opportunity to be responsible, productive, morally well-adjusted people.
And of course, some people will fail. Accepting that men can be imperfect is a vital step to dealing with their foibles; a legal system that consistently penalizes aggressive and parasitical behavior is key to forcing men to deal with themselves and to learn self-control. This is indispensable for social stability and a civil society based on mutual respect.
The growth and spread of a government that naturally has no intention of governing itself began to metastasize about midway between the founding and now. This is not to imply that such seminal events as the Civil War and Reconstruction were not instrumental for the central government’s consolidation of power for statists like Wilson and FDR and Bush and Obama. But it is during the Progressive Era when the nation began to incrementally but unmistakably transform into the opposite of its founding.
Under the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson ensued in earnest the accumulation of power in the central government, which is the true source of our current dilemma. During the progressive era, power began to rapidly accumulate in Washington. Liberty became increasingly scoffed at. The brave new world seemed to lay with scientistic collectivisms such as Fordism and Taylorism. Private property was incrementally obliterated under burdensome tax laws and dubious rationalizations for public confiscation. Socialism and other forms of collectivism became all the rage. Presidents and university professors began to talk openly of a “living, breathing Constitution.” The executive started to accumulate unauthorized powers, even unilaterally decreeing a novel second “Bill of Rights.” A cult of personality swelled up surrounding the nation’s highest officials abetted by an all-too-accommodating press. The economic system was broken by government manipulation of the currency and rampant government interference. A crisis of confidence in capitalism ushered in a period of experimentation and a virtually unlimited tolerance for failure. All the progressives knew was that capitalism had failed the world, and America needed to lead humanity out of darkness.
Such began the crusade of the self-appointed intellectual vanguard to remake the world. A savage world war, seemingly fueled by science and capitalism, led to worldwide depression and the rise of the jackbooted fascists and nationalistic dictators who desired to guard their lands against further chaos and dependency. The world system seemed to be founded on selfishness, competition, and national sovereignty. Division appeared to sow the seeds of discord. Only in unity would all dissension, and all opposition, dissolve away. What was needed were Guardians, led by Philosopher-kings, to unite the world and manage it “scientifically.”
In this drive for unity, a new synthetic logic was demanded, and Marxism fit this order perfectly. Even if it was generally understood that Marxism was a fanciful myth, it was in its Hegelian dialectical method that lay its true strength: To unify one must not clash one opposing side against the other, but bring them together to convergence through synthesis. This is the secret of the transformation of the United States; it was not that socialists sought to destroy the capitalist system, they intended to transform it to socialism. That is why the Democrats appear fascist, despite their internationalist bent. It is in the death throes of market capitalism, as it is systematically corrupted by socialism, that the economy takes on the appearance of fascism.
The more our Constitutional order is transformed into its opposite totalitarianism, the more unpredictable and unstable the nation becomes, ultimately to the point of “crisis,” or transference from the old system to the new. We are impending this transference point, and this is the meaning behind the shift in the Democrats’ language from veiled Marxism to unabashed socialist rhetoric. We are not the audience for this change in tone – our children are.
Thus the Democrats are increasingly unafraid to state their true goals for this country: Centralization, uniformity of opinion, endless regulation, redistribution of wealth, unlimited government, consolidation of power, arbitrary rule by a charismatic leader – essentially, socialism.
But what has caused these Americans, if we may call them that, to turn so vehemently against the nation that has entrusted them with power? Is it sheer elitism that drives them to think that they are more enlightened than our Founders and Framers? Is the elites’ faith in progress so ingrained in their minds that ‘the worse things get, the better things are becoming’? Is their existential crisis so complete that they are willing to tear down all existing order, break down all barriers, and undo all real progress in order to remake the world into what they see fit?
The uneasy answer is yes – it is for a bit of all of these reasons that we have elites who crave power to do what they perceive to be good, even if that means doing what we perceive to be evil. Citizens perceive to be good that which is conducive to civilization and that which makes a happy life possible for all citizens, weak and strong alike. Evil is that which is contrary to civilization and that which allows the strong to prey on the weak without justice. But to the elites, good and evil is an abstraction nested in pagan and religious mythos; it presents a mystical barrier that inhibits their ability to pragmatically and scientifically manage society.
Ultimately, progressives cannot allow that America’s Founding Fathers were wiser than them; that would imply that progress is not automatic, as it is according to the socialist delusion. They cannot allow that there is so such thing as human nature; that implies that men are not perfectible, and therefore it only remains that everything in mankind’s environment must be controlled to bring about the conditions for “the new man.”
Progressives, therefore, are immersed in denial: Of reality, of human nature, even of life itself. They hopelessly lament, because of the “death of God,” that it is “just us down here.” Therefore, they feel it incumbent to create the paradise that was denied to them by God’s death; and since there is no hell to dissuade them, then money, morals, and mankind itself are expendable.