Ben Franklin and Sam Adams might say we’ve already failed it.
Is it all over in America? This is a question that has been asked, I suppose, since its founding. It is reported that when Ben Franklin was asked after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, if America was a republic or a monarchy he replied, “A republic…If you can keep it.” So, even at the birth of our nation, there were doubts as to the feasibility of a government whose powers were reserved to “We, the People.” Never had a great nation survived without a group or groups of individuals seizing the reins and using governmental power to strip the rights from the people.
Fear of governmental abuse was so great in many of the Founders that in addition to clearly spelling out the duties of the three branches of our government in the Constitution, they added the Bill of Rights to restrain possible depredations by future generations. Yet some were opposed to this addition, arguing that the enumeration of certain rights that were sacrosanct would leave others open to attack. They need not have worried. Their prescient redundancy has not served its purpose; not for a lack of brilliancy on the part of its crafters, but for the sloth of its heirs.
Most of the Founders knew that in order to secure their liberty, future Americans would have to be just as vigilant and zealous in regard to their God-given rights as the were. As Samuel Adams put it: “No people will tamely surrender their liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant, and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without the aid of foreign invaders.”
Over the years, the worst fears of Franklin and Adams have been realized. The intentional dumbing-down of American citizens and the ridicule of virtue and the objective truths on which this nation was founded have been afoot for generations. Yet, one can’t help feel that there are still some things inherent to most Americans; that the love of freedom still beats in the national breast, though unheard in many quarters amidst the cacophony of media propaganda and populist sloganeering.
What is needed to stem the tide of encroaching cradle-to-grave government control of our lives is a series of hard questions put to the American people, to shake them out of their complacency and ignorance. Simply put and honestly asked, these are but a few suggestions for those who would hope to hold back the wave of Socialism that is well-past licking at our shores.
Should the government be involved in private industry? If people who have spent years in these industries can’t make a go of them — in no small part due to government regulation and interference — can the government itself? In the past eight years, men like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, an MBA and CEO respectively, were held up to ridicule and abuse, while the present administration is fat with folks who have never earned a paycheck in the private sector in their lives. Yet we are expecting them to save the banking and auto industries. Does this make any sense?
Is the freedom to practice one’s religion publicly as well as privately protected explicitly under the First Amendment? One has only to scan his daily newspaper for stories of students unable to pray at graduation, or schools that cannot mention the word Christmas, in order to know the answer to this one. Should this blatant usurpation continue?
Should there be such things as “hate crime” laws which punish thought? Do certain groups of citizens deserve special rights based on their sexual proclivities? Are hate crime laws in actuality designed to silence those who would speak out against the granting of such special rights?
Do you trust strangers to raise your children? Recent rulings against homeschoolers and the mandatory teaching of homosexual “lifestyles” in public school should make the skin of every American parent crawl. Do parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit?
Does anyone who has eyes and a memory believe that appeasement will work with Islamofascists? President Obama has made it a priority to assure the Muslim world that we like them; we really like them. Do you feel that this naive approach will work with those who have sworn death to all non-believers and send their women and children out to commit homicide bombings?
Is healthcare the number one issue in America? If so, should we follow the disastrous examples of Canada and Europe where, for example, the British provide coronary-bypass surgery or angioplasty to heart patients at only one-fourth the U.S. rate? Or might we go to the root of the problem by seeking to bring down costs by limiting frivolous malpractice lawsuits?
Do you believe that Americans must be punished by radically altering their lifestyles for an issue like global warming that is based, at best, on faulty science? Can a movement that blames cow flatulence for changes in the Earth’s atmosphere be taken seriously? Should we continue to finance our enemies in the Middle East and elsewhere by buying oil from them that can be easily drilled here at home?
How these questions are answered by the American people will manifest itself in the coming elections. And there is reason for hope. The people of California have rejected higher taxes and the incursions of the gay lobbyists who seek to couch their sexual preferences as a “civil rights” issue. The news from across the pond is also encouraging. Socialists are losing ground in Europe; suffering defeats in Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Poland.
We must not only persist in asking these and many more questions; we must demand answers. We must restore the power of critical thinking to the American people and encourage them to use it in the public square in order to preserve our cherished way of life. As Dr. Franklin said, “Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?