The Second American Revolution Has Arrived…Very Quietly
Recent scandals involving the IRS, NAS, spying on the media, bungling Benghazi and all the rest are hardly good news for the Obama administration. But, even more troubling is that these incidents are part of a larger, half century-long pattern undermining the national government. No, we are not anticipating our version of some "Arab Spring." Nor is this a crisis requiring immediate attention; rather, the problem is more encompassing though barely visible, one captured by the old Chinese expression-- death by a thousand cuts. Let me explain.
Let's begin with the idea of legitimacy. Legitimacy means that government's decisions are accepted since the exercise of power generally accords with accepted procedures and political values. Such acquiescence to government's authority is unconscious and habitual-you obey Washington's edict because it is "the right thing" to do. Such national legitimacy is hardly universal. Elsewhere, e.g., Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and much of Africa, primary loyalty is to kinship groups, religious or tribal leaders. The central government exists largely in name only and absent popular support, it must depend on force or bribery to govern.
How does government lose legitimacy? The American Revolution illustrates the process. Until about the 1760s the colonists were British, not "Americans." Loyalty was to the Crown; laws were freely obeyed since Parliament properly enacted them and properly appointed Royal governors administered them. Slowly, however, a distinctive "American" identity grew and, of the utmost importance, British rule grew illegitimate, tyrannical. Obedience to London's decrees was no longer unconsciously accepted. The shift was imperceptible but inexorable: John Adams did not go to bed on Monday loyal to George III and wake up Tuesday a revolutionary patriot. It took thirty plus years but it did happen.
How this erosion of legitimacy occur? The Declaration of Independence explains this severing of ties, a death by a thousand cuts. Some excerpts:
He [King George III] has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
The catalogue continued, but the message was clear---though systematic misrule and incompetence the government in London lost legitimacy and thereby unworthy of obedience. To be sure, no government is perfect but, as the Declaration announces, a moment arrives where officialdom is so incompetent, so subversive of the public good and so contrary to the peoples' unalienable rights that it forfeits popular support. Again, illegitimacy comes not from a few abuses or bad laws; it arrives from a long string of abuses to the point where reversing the evil seems fruitless; something new is required, fixing the old order is futile.
Why might a contemporary Declaration-like bill of particulars be necessary? A few possibilities:
Washington has imposed crushing debt for purposes beyond its legal authority while corrupting the currency.
Washington has illegally expanded its authority to areas once reserved for local and state rule and without any corresponding benefits.
Washington has issued so many odious rules and regulations that we are now governed by unelected obscure functionaries whose oppressive whims have the full force of law.
Washington has forcefully sought to transform society to achieve "fairness" in ways that contravene human nature and the widespread failures of such ill-advised schemes only beget greater coercion.
Washington has proven ineffective in defending our borders from those who would enter illegally only to become public burdens.
Washington under the guise of compassion has caused millions to fall into permanent, irreversible dependency in which food and shelter are no longer personal responsibilities.
Washington has divided a once united people by insisting that its people be classified according to biological characteristics so as to reward and punish in ways that defy understanding.
Washington has corrupted democratic elections by making office seeking excessively expensive under the guise of "taking money out of campaigns"
Washington has illegally expanded its authority over an individual's natural right to decide his own physical well-being.
Washington has mocked our religious values and then defined upholding these cherished values as "hate."
No doubt, the troubling catalogue could be expanded along with myriad details, but the déjà vu should be apparent. And make no mistake, this misrule did not begin with Obama and will undoubtedly continue past 2016. In a nutshell, millions remain loyal patriotic Americans though growing uneasy about Washington's right to govern.
That said, no need to repeat the battles of Lexington and Concord. Times have changed. A more contemporary revolution-lite is more likely-civic disengagement whereby millions minimize contact with Washington. Examples include home-schooling, under-the-radar businesses paying zero taxes (and no Obamacare payments), off-shore banking for the wealthy, self-policing gated communities, relocating to friendlier isolated rural areas, even vigilante-like militias and commerce by barter. Further add ignoring laws deemed illegitimate, cheating on taxes or using the Internet to escape government imposed Orwellian political correctness.
It is, obviously, no accident that today's most vibrant opposition to Washington's misrule is called the Tea Party while millions arm themselves in anticipation that Washington will be unwilling and unable to perform its most basic responsibility, the protection of life and liberty.
What now? Recall an anti-War slogan from the 1960s-what if they gave a war and nobody showed up? Perhaps today's updated version should be-what if they gave a tyrannical central government and nobody noticed? In short, this Second American Revolution would be a personalized war of secession, a disengagement in which the current scandals are only the latest outcropping of a half century of tyrannical government mismanagement. Enough is enough.
Monday, June 17, 2013
The Very Quiet 2nd American Revolution
Family Security Matters.