A Republic – 4.0 Why should you care?
“The primary goal of a free people should be to remain free.” Peter Weissbach
One time in my life I was a chairman of an international organization. It didn’t do much but there were a lot of important people in it. By some stroke of luck I was elected to be the chairman. I went about it in typical American fashion. We wheeled and dealt and got a huge amount done because we did not sweat the small stuff. But one day I went too far. I was proposing we do something that would require the Europeans and Canadians to get some kind of approval from their governments so the discussion stopped. I had to quickly adjourn for lunch to avoid an embarrassment. After lunch, my British delegation chief came to my table and asked to sit down. He was a very distinguished gentleman who was a peer in England and vice-president of a multi-million dollar firm. He said in his best perfect English, “I say, you think we are like you, don’t you?” He meant, did I think the European democracies were like the USA. I said, “Yes”. He said, “Well we’re not”! Then he sat down and proceeded to tell me how almost every European country had laws that in effect left the government as the center of power in that country and not the people. At the end of his thorough 1 hour lesson, he said, “Just remember, if you (the USA) fail, democracy fails”. Think about that. He is saying that if you and I don’t do our jobs and make this experiment work, democracy will fail all over the world. Freedom will be extinguished. This from a British Lord. It is a sobering thought. If you don’t learn the lessons of this book and take them to heart and ACT on them, it will.
The fact is gang the USA, warts and all, (which are all fixable if you will work at it) really is the “shining city on a hill”. Call it a small hill if you like, but the USA is an example for all other nations. It is still an experiment though. They are all watching to see if it works before they try it for real. You the people are the key to the whole thing – the whole world – a new better life for all people lies ahead if you can do it – if you can rule yourselves successfully. The Founders had faith that you could rule yourselves successfully and wisely. You will tell history whether they were right or wrong. Can you live up to the faith the Founders had in you? Time will tell.
QUOTES FROM ROME JUST BEFORE THE FALL OF THE REPUBLIC
“The people have become demoralized and more than ever inclined to sell their hands, votes, and voices to the highest bidder.” Anon
“Politicians put the people to sleep by amusing them with games and shows.” Anon
“Giving people free food robs them of their will power. The belly has no ears” Cato
“The Army is no longer of the people, and owes its allegiance to the state.” Anon
“The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign hands should be curtailed, lest Rome fall.” Cicero
The more laws, the less justice.” Cicero
“If we are forced, at every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of all respect for humanity.” Cicero
Anything familiar there?
How about this:
The average age of the world’s greatest democratic nations has been 200 years.
Each has been through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith.
From faith to great courage.
From courage to liberty.
From liberty to abundance.
From abundance to complacency.
From complacency to selfishness.
From selfishness to apathy.
From apathy to dependency.
And from dependency back again into bondage.”
Thomas MacCauley, British Historian
Can we escape this fate?
Where do you think we are we in the cycle?
Are we going up or down?
If we are going down the tubes, who can stop it? The boss, that’s who – and that’s YOU!
The fact is that ruling ourselves is just part of growing up as humans. It is natural but scary, just like when you were a teenager. Humans are just like teenagers at this stage in our development – rebellious, conflicted, confused but acting like we know the whole story and we don’t need any parents to tell us what to do. But do we? Sure we do, just like your teenager does.
So who are our parents? GOD, our ancestors (history), and wise people among us who are not in the teenage trap, there are many ways to figure out what we are doing wrong and many sources to tell us how to do it right. We/you just have to ask.
One source of both history and GOD is the Bible. There is a great story in the Bible in 1st Samuel where the Israelites decided to give up their republic. They ask Samuel to ask GOD for a king since they had decided that their representatives were too corrupt and they wanted a king to clean things up. Samuel asked GOD and GOD said, in no uncertain terms, that this king thing was a bad idea. I am no biblical scholar but it has to be one of the longest quotes from God in the Bible.
God said, “”This will be the manner of the king who shall reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for himself, for his chariots and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
And he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties, and will set them to till his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war and instruments of his chariots.
And he will take your daughters to be confectioners and to be cooks and to be bakers.
And he will take your fields and your vineyards and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
And he will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants.
And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
He will take a tenth of your sheep; and ye shall be his servants.
And ye shall cry out on that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”
Bible, I Samuel 8
Pretty heavy stuff isn’t it and pretty clear, so did they listen? Nah, they decided to go ahead anyway. GOD then tells Samuel to let them have a king but not to feel too bad about it. After all, GOD said, in taking a king they are not rejecting you, they are rejecting ME! When we allow some human to be our absolute boss we reject GOD. Think about it. How many humans do you let be your king in different areas? How about your representatives, do you let them boss you around? Probably not, most Americans don’t do that. But what they do do is demand that their politicians give them lots of goodies. And as long as the politicians do this, people keep electing them. And as long as they keep the goodies coming people let their politicians do whatever else they want. They shirk their responsibility to watch their representatives and see if they are doing it right. Let’s see here, “from selfishness to apathy”, and then where? – back into bondage, how about that. We will talk more about that in the chapter on power and how it can corrupt even the best of us. Stay tuned.
It seems we are all Israelites, shirking our responsibilities to our GOD and ourselves – that is to make a better world. That doesn’t mean we can’t have the good times. That doesn’t mean we should be poor and pray all day long. But if we don’t work at making a better world, the reality is that it will get worse. Then we there will be no more good times and we will be praying regularly to be free of the masters we ourselves have allowed to rule us. That is the situation that the USA was designed to reverse, the few ruling the many. That is why you the PEOPLE are above the government and right under GOD. That is how it is supposed to work. You are supposed to pick people of good character and capability to represent you in our government, but the responsibility for their actions is ultimately yours. You the PEOPLE are your own boss under GOD and are responsible for all that happens or doesn’t happen. You have to take that seriously and work at it if you want it to continue.
After all, how can you have a government of, by, and for the people without the people? If you the people stop caring there are always those who will sneak in while you are not looking and start to use YOUR power to help themselves. When they get it, they will then use it to keep it. That is called domination. That is what you get if you don’t listen to what this book says and start to ACT on it – DO it. Don’t just think about it or almost all will all be slaves again in a few years. History shows that this can happen overnight. The Roman Senate gave power to Caesar to solve a crisis and he promised to give it back when it was over. He didn’t. That led to 500 years of domination and degradation followed by another almost 1000 years of darkness and further degradation of people. Do you want to put yourselves and your children, the world and their children, through that? Could you be dominated by a small group of committed people aided by computers and modern spy techniques? Yes, you could, and those people live in your community. I bet you could name a couple. Do you know anyone who would be glad to rule you if you let them? DON’T LET THEM! You have the power to rule yourselves, but it takes some care and some work. If you don’t do that work, someone else will do it for you and eventually rule you. That’s the end of democracy. That’s the end of government of, by, and for the people.