Abandoning the Republic – American Elites and the 4th of July
Abandoning the Republic – A Threat To Civil Peace?
Most Americans who value their liberty realize by now that the survival of their life as a free people is currently endangered by a threat greater than any it has faced since the founding of the United States. This threat manifests itself in every facet of the nation's existence. However, as a practical matter the threat is rooted in the fact that America's elites have abandoned the commitment to government of, by and for the people that was characteristic of the outstanding individuals who informed and articulated the thinking responsible for America's break with the British monarchy; the thinking that ultimately gave rise to the Constitution of the United States. In every walk of life and especially in everything that has to do with government and politics, most members of what I call the elite faction have substantiated or fallen prey to a moral and intellectual culture that rejects the idea that lawful government requires a republican form, derived from the general consent of the people.
This is not simply a matter of abstract concern. Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution commands that "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government…." In Federalist #39 Madison summarizes the reasons for this requirement:
It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the people of America; with the fundamental principles of the Revolution; or with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government. If the plan of the convention, therefore, be found to depart from the republican character, its advocates must abandon it as no longer defensible.
Madison's last observation points to the fact that the people of America would not have ratified the proposed Constitution except they were convinced that it provided for a government that was republican in character.
Madison gives central importance to the fact that no other form of government was reconcilable with "the fundamental principles of the Revolution." These are the principles epitomized in the Declaration of Independence. They impelled the American Revolutionaries to oppose, by force of arms if necessary, the British Monarch's violation of their God endowed rights. These first patriots of America knew full well that by doing so they confirmed a state of war between themselves and the British government. The abuses charged to the British monarch in the Declaration of Independence were all of them instances of his violation of their unalienable rights, and his abrogation of the republican form of government with respect to them. This abrogation was, therefore, the fundamental cause of America's Revolutionary war.
So, according to the American understanding of lawful government exemplified in the founding generation, abandoning the republican form of government is casus belli, i.e., a just cause for war. It follows that, in order to avoid this occasion for war, the Constitution that establishes and guarantees the republican form of government, must be maintained. Among other things this explains why Article VI of the U.S. Constitution makes it the sworn duty of every government official, both of the United States and of the several states, "to support this Constitution." Failure to do so not only injures the prospects of liberty. It foments a condition of fundamental injustice so grave that war ought to be its inevitable consequence.
Insofar as America's elitist faction adopts and acts on an understanding that rejects, disregards, or seeks to subvert and overthrow the republican character of government in the United States, their activity constitutes, in the gravest practical sense, a threat to the peace and order of the nation. In any time but our own a matter with such dangerous implications for civil society would never be far from the minds of responsible government officials, or anyone else with a decent regard for the country's well-being. Whether through malice, blindly selfish ambition, or blithely stupid ignorance, few so-called political leaders in the United States take it seriously. In fact they focus almost exclusively on advancing their own position and power by means of a political process that fails on all three of the criteria Madison gives for establishing and maintaining a republican government.
The current elitist twin-party political sham:
- neglects or openly rejects the principles of the Revolution, beginning with the premise of God endowed right;
- purposefully thwarts the genius of the people of America;and
- systematically denigrates, undermines and corrupts the people's capacity for self-government.
With respect to the first, it connives at promoting or imposing by law actions that deny or disrespect the premise of God endowed right (for example: abortion, gay marriage, and the suppression of public piety by means of an abusive and false concept of separation of church and state).
With respect to the second, it undermines the exceptional spirit of initiative and enterprise once characteristic of Americans by promoting rampant spending and borrowing, which leads to excessive taxation of individuals and businesses; burdensome regulation of their entrepreneurial activities; and centralized control of their financial institutions.
With respect to the third, the elitist political sham encourages the proliferation of programs and policies based on the false promise that government will care for individuals. This leads to woeful neglect of government's proper function, which is to act as the agent of people of goodwill whose concern for the common good gives rise to the institution of just government. So the elitist information media (including politicians and academics, as well prominent figures in the news and entertainment sectors) induce people to see their political activity in terms of selfish individual gain. Meanwhile, this media ignore or denigrate the duty of individuals, as members of the sovereign body of the people, to take responsibility for the common good of the nation as a whole.
The whole point of the elitist party scam is to "hide in plain sight" the elite faction's hostility to the species of republican government established by America's founders. Thanks to their more blatant embrace of socialism, with its foundation in supposedly "scientific" materialism, it's hardly necessary to dwell at length on the Democrat Party's evident rejection of America's founding principles. Democrats are almost universally the champions of secularist political doctrines and approaches. As a result they demand that, as a matter of Constitutional law, all concepts that assume or refer to the Creator be banished, not only from law and politics but from any public arena or activity in which the government is involved or which it even indirectly supports. Where the Creator is banished there obviously can be no place for right endowed with His authority, or for any premises of government dependent upon that endowment. As all the principles of American republicanism are derived from such premises, beginning with the requirement that just government must be empowered by the consent of the governed, neither those principles nor the Constitution framed in light of them, can long survive God's exile.
The so-called Republican Party masks this hostile behind the claims that it upholds the Constitution of the American Republic. In recent times, however, it has become increasingly hard to miss its failure to do so, no matter which of Madison's three criteria is in question. But this is especially true with respect to the Party's abandonment of the moral principles of the American Revolution, those which justify and support constitutional self-government of, by and for the people.
By contrast the so-called Republicans are not averse to making general references to the Declaration of Independence; if only in paraphrases that carefully avoid its clarity as to the standard and authority from which all people derive their claims of right. Practice, however, is the true test of their allegiance, and in this regard they almost universally fail. Indeed, the pretended alternative to Obama they are preparing to offer the nation (Mitt Romney) is a perfect example of a GOP politician who maintains the pretense of allegiance to Declaration principles while having in practice uniformly implemented policies that disregard, nullify or contradict them. Except for those who willfully lie about or ignore his record as Governor of Massachusetts, no one else denies this. That's why the choice Romney represents is so often referred to as the lesser of evils.
Even with so unpalatable a main course, however, those who continue to frequent the GOP's establishment contend that some of the accompanying side dishes are seasoned with enough American principle to flavor the hope that the American Republic can survive in its gravely weakened condition. It's unclear why this pallid hope would satisfy anyone sincerely committed to its restoration. Be that as it may, among so-called Republicans who profess to work for that result, Ron Paul is the one most often cited as a passionate, consistent advocate of the Constitution. If it turns out that even he refuses in practice to apply the Republic's foundational principles, the utter hopelessness of relying on the GOP as the instrument of its restoration should be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Unfortunately for those who vest their hopes in him, it's not hard to show that, by this criterion, Paul fails the test. On the issues that most directly involve what Madison calls "the principles of the Revolution" (as epitomized in the American Declaration of Independence) Paul takes the view that they are properly to be decided by the State governments. With respect to abortion, as well as the assault against the natural rights of family involved in the push to assert so-called "marriage" rights for homosexuals, Paul argues that the State legislatures may lawfully decide them, one way or the other. This means, for example, that if by law some State governments recognize the specious right to murder innocent human beings in the earliest stages of their physical development, Ron Paul holds that they nonetheless retain the character of republican governments.
But the murder of innocent human beings clearly violates the unalienable right of life, an instance of the law of nature. That law, as John Locke (the main instructor of America's founders) says:
Teaches all mankind, who will but consult it; that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions; for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise Maker; all the servants of one sovereign Master, sent into the world by His order and about His business, they are His property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during His, not one anothers pleasure…. [E]very one as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station willfully, so by the like reason when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he as much as he can to preserve the rest of mankind, and not unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb or goods of another. (John Locke, 2nd Treatise of Government, Chapter II)
Locke goes on to say that "all men may be restrained from invading others' rights" for which purpose "the execution of the law of nature is…put into every man's hands, whereby everyone has the right to punish the transgression of that law to such a degree, as may hinder its violation." This is the origin and purpose of government's power to execute the law. But though individuals vest the exercise of this right of execution in their institution of government, the government has no rightful power that ventures beyond what individuals had in the first place. It can therefore have no power but "to preserve the rest of mankind"; no power lawfully to make it right for one person or group of people to do what the law of nature, which governs all, declares to be wrong for all.
The just powers of government are constrained and limited to those which respect the law of nature. These powers extend no further than is consistent with securing the unalienable rights that arise from the obligations the law of nature entails. This is the core meaning of "limited government". On the face of it, no violation of these natural obligations can give rise to a right, for this would entail the self-destruction of the law. Unless, therefore we embrace the notion that, by the mere accident of their physical conception all human beings violate the unalienable right of their parent(s), (which would, a priori, make everyone an offender punishable by law), there can be no power of government that treats the murder of innocent human beings, at any stage of development, as a "right".
By this straightforward reasoning it is clear that no government which violates its natural law obligation "to preserve the rest of mankind" satisfies the criterion of principle by which, in their adoption of the U.S. Constitution, the American people recognized the republican form of the government it established. When Ron Paul, or any of the other so-called Republicans, takes the position that State governments that "legalize" abortion are still republican in character, they reject, in principle, the understanding of republicanism from which the U.S. Constitution is derived, and which was the basis for its ratification.
Ironically, in order to justify this rejection Paul and others who take a "States' rights" position on abortion, invoke the concept of federalism, as if that somehow justifies their view. Madison deals extensively with the requirements of federalism in Federalist #39. His discussion begins by alluding to the charge made by the Constitution's adversaries that "it was not sufficient for the convention to adhere to the republican form. They ought, with equal care, to have preserved the federal form…." Madison capably answers the charge itself, but his allusion to it makes clear that federalism was regarded on all sides as distinct from republicanism.
Federalism has to do with the balance that must be maintained between the sovereign powers delegated to the national government and those left to the States. This balance aims to protect against the infringement of liberty, while maintaining, on the whole, the order and respect for right required to assure that liberty will not be lost on account of injustice. But the principle of federalism in no way authorizes the abandonment of republicanism, at any level of government. In fact, as we have noticed, the U.S. Constitution explicitly requires that every State preserve a republican form of government, and makes it a responsibility of the United States to see to it that they do. Clearly, when any State takes actions that reject, in principle, the criteria of republican government, this rejection makes any semblance of republicanism they retain not so much a form of government as a mere formality, intended to mask the fact that they have abandoned all but the outward show of respect for right.
Once abandoned in substance, it's only a matter of time until rights are suppressed in fact, behind the speciously legitimizing façade of fraudulent elections that leave the people without representation. The irony is that, even as they vote for candidates who have discarded the moral principles that make representative government an imperative of justice, some people still protest against the tactics that suppress true representation. But thanks to their own misplaced political support, they protest but in vain.
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