The last few years have witnessed disturbing transformations — not mere refinements — in the very fabric and underlying basis of American life.
If America’s multifaceted society is carefully examined from both political and socioeconomic perspectives, the early symptoms of stagnation and decay, of possible imploding collapse, are too widely prevalent to be simply dismissed as isolated instances of cultural failure.
The explanations behind the current decline and lack of stability in this country are numerous, usually motivated by party politics and almost always misleading.
One of the most coherent explanations traces our present crisis back to the actual administration of the Federal government over the last fifty years, finding fault in its increased private-sector infiltration, welfare-state paternalism and bureaucratic ineptness.
Irrespective of the party in power.
To truly grasp the significance of this present state of affairs, it helps to be aware of any similar historical situation. We grasp and understand the present through metaphor and analogy, which is how we can use the past in comparison with the present to hopefully gain an insight into the future.
We find one such analog in the year 1520.
In that year Martin Luther, the most prominent figure associated with the Reformation, addressed a polemic to the “Christian Nobility of the German Nation” in which he attacked the Catholic Church. He criticized and sharply engaged the Church and its corruptions, its abuses of authority — he powerfully asserted the right of the individual to spiritual independence.
Luther was motivated to direct his efforts at the Church for two critical reasons — (1) frequent attempts to arrange councils to discuss and remedy Church abuses had been frustrated at every turn, and (2) corruption among Church officials in Germany and other nations was matched by the Church itself centered in Rome.
The Church had grown into a parasitic beast, feeding on its own societal host until reform became a principle of survival — a statement of the scope of the individual’s desire for autonomy, of freedom from any domineering system of authority. A very human desire for justice and freedom.
Europe of 1520 was a society controlled by the institutionalized will of the Church. It was the focal point of all existence, embracing the individual from “cradle to grave.” It was socialism before that term even existed.
To maintain a stranglehold on the people, the Catholic Church had, according to Luther, “drawn three walls around themselves” in an effort to prevent reform and change of any kind.
The Government in America — centered in Washington — has constructed similar walls, and these too must be brought down, not to create some “new” freedom, but to return to a threatened freedom, a fading freedom — to renew our hope in the future.
The first wall Luther attacked concerned the systematic structure and belief — Church-established and nurtured — that held that bishops, priests, monks, and the Pope were entirely separate from society.
This ideological separatism, this suffocating theocracy, instituted an elaborate means of maintaining a destructive dualism in all economic, political, social, and spiritual matters.
Our Government does this today.
Our officials, meant to be representatives of the People, have devised their own systems to elevate and distance themselves from society. From excessive benefits, unique pension plans and other exclusive perks, they make themselves out to be above those who elected them. This subtle air of arrogance and separatism can only cause misunderstanding and lead to an environment of distrust and antipathy. Think health care exemptions among many things.
In addition, by the use of political favoritism, political appointments, political influence buying and selling and making the access of upper-level Government positions financially beyond the reach of most individuals, especially non-special-interest influenced individuals, and by maintaining through the passage of laws, regulations and rulings such a twisted maze that only the “initiated” can lead the People through, Government keeps this self-defeating separatism going and leads us to the edge of an abyss.
Just as the Church in 1520 stated that only priests were qualified to properly “explain” the Gospel to the so-called ignorant masses, our politicians today feel compelled to control us and handle the “issues” as they themselves determine.
Apparently we, the people, are too ignorant to govern ourselves.
The Church of 1520 used its system of differences to impose the second wall — the concept that temporal powers, the “others” in society, had no jurisdiction or authority over the spiritual powers of the Church, and further, only the Pope could correctly interpret Scripture.
The people had no power.
Our Government today attempts to tell us only THEY know the ultimate source of truth, only THEY may interpret the Constitution (or re-interpret it, as the case may be), and the individual is counted as nothing but an ignorant source of taxable income.
Government informs us that we do not know what is right, neither what is best, the Common Good — only Government claims to know these things, and we have no “right” to interfere in the administration of Government.
The Government controls all the critical issues of existence — through Congress, the Supreme Court and other courts, through the hierarchy of dependent officials and through the constant increase in the regulatory labyrinth — the individuals at all “lower” levels must defer, must bow down, must allow everything to be decided for them — you must submit to the Will of the State.
The State desires to be the shepherd of an obedient flock. A flock that is often sheared, to be sure.
Government only acknowledges the validity of its own decisions. It seeks to be the basis for its own truth, and no institution possesses truth, only individuals participate in truth.
Luther addressed the third wall, that only the Pope could call and convene a council, councils that were desperately needed to review poorly administered Church programs and decisions, to review Church appointments and to consider changes in Church policy.
How are we, today, to demand change in our Government, to make it responsive not to the needs of a few, but to humans everywhere? How do we rid ourselves of needless programs, of waste and corruption?
Efforts to influence legislation require tremendous amounts of manpower and dollar power, the very nature of the Beast hampers us. And what do we really have to say about the functioning of Congressional committees, where the laws are formed, about Government agencies, where the regulations and rulings flow, the courts, Federal appointments or, indeed, any step in the decision-making process?
Legislators do not vote the will of the People, but their own perspectives, or the narrow, selfish, view of a specific “constituency.” The power to formulate, enact and enforce laws that have any “ultimate” effect lies only with the Government.
Has any needed change taken place that has not been exploited by those in Government, or granted as some time-buying concession? Even when the people compel the Government to act it does so with the greatest of hesitation and calculation for self-aggrandizement.
Has Government responded to the needs of the people, or just to the needs of Government?
Every individual has certain rights which can never be taken away or threatened. This is the foundation of our society. Most important among these rights are those of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” To secure these rights, to enable the diverse elements within a society to fuse together to create and enjoy these rights, governments are derived from the consent of the governed.
The People select representatives who are to implement the popular will, and if ever a government becomes destructive toward the end of securing those rights, the People have the right, the duty to, “alter or abolish it (the government) and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
This is from the Declaration of Independence.
Although it is the right of every American to protest and rebel against an unfair, unjust, Government, any claim against Government today is turned into an attack on America, the American system.
It is almost impossible to open an honest dialogue because anyone attempting to do so is called a radical, a terrorist, or a traitor.
Or, a racist.
We must remember that America is not the Government, but the People. Government believes itself perfected. It is in error, and it cannot be readily forgiven.
The underlying ideal in Democracy, inherent in its grace and power, is that every individual is to be considered equal in terms of potential and actuality of opportunity, equal before the Law, and some individuals are selected to implement the will of the people.
Those who formed the framework and mechanics of the original government, knowing that any creation of humanity would require change and modification over time, stated specifically what every American can rebel against, and it is an unfair and unjust government.
Consider the points of dispute the signers of the Declaration of Independence cited as examples of the repeated injuries and usurpations committed by Britain toward the Colonies, and upon which the Revolution was based.
IMPORTANT: As you read, simply substitute “U.S. Government” where it currently reads “The King.”
(1) The King, George III, had refused to assert to laws that were wholesome and necessary for the public good. Today our Government continues its deficit spending policies, its inane monetary and fiscal policies, continues its paternalistic fondling — all of which wreck havoc with the economy and society, and causes great suffering for most people. The People are burdened with endless and needless programs and more Government is constantly created through laws, rulings and regulations. Laws which could truly be called universally wholesome and good are held up in passage, never proposed, or so weakened through “legislative” action that they are but shadows of their intent. The protection of specific selfish interests prevents the enactment of many necessary laws.
(2) The King had called together legislative meetings in faraway, unusual places, distant from the areas affected by legislative matters, so as to fatigue the People into compliance. When our Government proposes new laws, the People have little if any real participation in the decision-making process. How do we affect legislation? Writing to our Congressman? Petitions? By attending comment meetings, held in a few scattered locations? The People have recourse to complaint and compliance, but no real say. We have no part in the formation of policy and law; we are “allowed” to elect certain individuals who are to “represent” human interests, but, almost without exception, fail to do so. Laws get passed to bind the soul of the people which are not even read by the legislators.
(3) The King had dissolved representative assemblies and meetings that were held to discuss the invasion of the People’s rights. Our Government has grown so monstrous in its righteousness that it invokes no ethical or moral considerations in maintaining its present equilibrium. Whatever is necessary to dissuade, dissolve and discredit — this is done to counter dissenting factions (primarily through a media increasingly at the beck and call of Government), as well as displays of placation through tokenism, and the beneficent granting of minor concessions which are temporary and only blunt the cutting force of reform.
(4) The King made the judges dependent on his will for tenure and salary. Government does appoint judges to many of the highest courts in the land, but the practice extends into an incredible number of Government positions, such as the Cabinet, Federal agencies, Program Czars, and other vital positions. Key officials are wholly dependent on the Government; the People must live with a vicious circle of endorsements, appointments, and influence buying and selling.
(5) The King constantly created new offices, and sent swarms of new officials among the People to harass them and “eat out their substance.” Considering the vast growth in the bureaucracy, the widening reach of Government control, the rise in the budget size and the increase in laws, can we doubt this? The obscene bloat of the federal government demands our attention.
(6) The King attempted to “render the military independent of the Civil power.” This would create a separate source of power and influence with disturbing consequences. Our need to maintain a legitimate military presence can create a dangerous kind of dependency on the military — and this could debilitate the balancing force of civil authority — it is only the greatness of the individuals within the military who prevent this — but how Government utilizes the military must always be watched. In point of fact, a recent President of the United States has said this — “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” If you do not sense the danger in that statement, then all is, indeed, lost.
(7) The King impose taxes on the people without their consent. An issue that remains without a “valid” constitutional basis — it is a volatile area of much discontent, especially when viewed in the light of unbelievable Government waste and corruption, ridiculous expenditures, myopic budgets, poor planning and absurd reform measures with half-hearted enforcement. These pay tribute to the lack of coherent organization and control at the central level, and to the declining morality of the ruling class. Taxes are not only used to fund government operations, they form the unjustifiable basis for a redistribution of wealth to fulfill futile Socialist and Marxist dreams of equality without work.
The examples are clear — reform is needed — it must come now before the country begins to topple, because then it will be too late and nothing will prevent it from falling. The historical precedent is evident; the People must decide.
It is the heritage of a free society, governed by a shared vision of the future, that tells us we can consciously chose to change before it is a forced change.
Let us hope this can be accomplished in a peaceful fashion, using dialog, compromise, and ingenuity.
Starting with you…