November 5, 2009
The Great Mystery
One of the great mysteries in today's United States is how a country founded on the principle of individual freedom, having achieved great wealth and world influence, could have developed a political class bent on transforming the nation into a collective dominated by a powerful central government.
The history of man is replete with the rise and fall of major civilizations. The downfall of these societies inevitably stemmed from a prolonged period without adversity, which in turn generated internal strife and political and monetary greed. In due course, these empires were easily conquered or dominated by others.
John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife of his need to study politics and war so his sons could study mathematics and philosophy and his grandchildren could study poetry and music. Surely this grand new experiment known as the United States, based on the rights of the individual and not the state, could avoid the pitfalls that plagued other nations.
The peace, prosperity, and lack of national adversity Adams envisioned came to pass, and future generations were able to study subjects other than war. Unfortunately, destructive modern political philosophies, such as Marxism and socialism, manipulated by the self-absorbed to achieve political power, were matters John Adams and his fellow founding fathers could not have anticipated.
The inherent basis of Marxism and socialism is no different from that of earlier monarchies -- the domination of a state by a select class or individual. Today's believers in these "-isms" are no different from those in the past who believed they were preordained to rule the masses. Modern society will not accept the concept of an authoritarian dictator or monarch; thus, a powerful central government, with its trappings of public legitimacy, serves as a substitute.
In order for this strategy to succeed, the public must be manipulated into accepting the premise that only government and not they can provide economic and personal security. This can best be done in a country such as the United States not in an era of adversity, but one of prosperity and good fortune.
The last period of what could be called true national adversity was the 1930s and the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt and his fellow travelers were unable to fully realize an all-powerful central government despite their best efforts. While he certainly made inroads, the people and circumstances were such that FDR could not achieve his ultimate goal.
However, in the nearly seventy years since, during which the United States became the most powerful economic and military force the world has ever seen, there has been an inexorable march to government domination of the citizenry at all levels. Parallel to this track has been the rise of the socialist Left, the most influential group of all political entities.
The lack of national adversity over these years allowed the adherents of Marxism and socialist philosophies to recruit among the college-aged and the middle class by citing the so-called inequities of American society and the need to remake the country. They fanned the egos of these gullible individuals by convincing them of their individual superiority and ability, not to mention the necessity that they govern and educate the huddled masses.
One need only watch many in the committed American Left make pilgrimages to those second- and third-world countries controlled by Marxist governments and fawn over their rulers. The diminished standard of living, the loss of liberty, and the bleak future for the people of these nations are ignored while the power achieved by the head of state is celebrated.
It is that acquisition of power which motivates the self-named "Progressives," not the welfare of the general public, as they so loudly proclaim.
A strategy was needed on how a faction that represented less than 20% of the citizenry could elicit this endgame with a people overwhelmingly against the concept of powerful central government and within the framework of a written constitution.
Using the backdrop of overwhelming prosperity, the Left seized upon the concept of "fairness" to promote their agenda and intimidate the populace. This "fairness" strategy was further reinforced by the incessant promotion that the United States as a civilization was responsible for all manner of evils throughout its history.
On the surface, it appeared that there was nothing this country did not have the money for, nothing it could not accomplish. To make up for past sins by guaranteeing equal outcomes was the least that could be done. The argument became that with so much wealth, the United States could afford to (fill in the blank).
As a result, much of the citizenry quietly accepted the argument and simply dropped out of active participation in government. They assumed the nation was in reasonably good hands with the two political parties, whose motives or agenda were never questioned. Most did not realize that by the mid 1980's, the Left had a stranglehold on the Democratic Party, and the Republicans, unable or unwilling to fully warn the population of the future consequences of an all-powerful central government, were only able to slow down the march to socialism -- and that only when they were in power.
This march was not at gunpoint, but rather by the destruction of the economy and self-determination through massive spending programs which were unsustainable but became woven into the fabric of society.
In the 2008 election, the Left, with its ideal stealth candidate for President, actualized the culmination of their grand strategy. We now have the most radical government in our history. These people are unabashedly brazen in their triumph. While still assuming that the general public is asleep, they do not hesitate to openly advocate policies not wanted by the electorate, such as Cap and Trade and Health Care Reform. They do so not as a benefit for the country or its people, but to enhance and make permanent government power, regardless of the long-term consequences to the nation.
It is, however, this same megalomania, and the long-awaited awakening of the American people, that will be the downfall of this political class. The seizure of power for the sake of power is doomed to failure.
It is often claimed that the Left in the United States is simply trying to copy European socialism. However, the grand experiment of Euro-socialism, while now proven unsuccessful, stemmed from the unimaginable devastation of World War II. Victor and vanquished alike suffered a near-total loss of economic and social infrastructure which took nearly twenty years to overcome.
The motivation of the European political class was to promote the general welfare of the population, not self-aggrandizement. The failure of their brand of socialism was due to a determination to never repeat the circumstances which brought about two World Wars in the twentieth century. However, the political class and the populace did not fully appreciate the long-term economic consequences of the many social programs enacted. Many European societies, having realized their error, are moving back from the abyss and adopting more free-market principles.
Here in the United States, there has never been a similar devastating factor to justify a turn to a socialist state and a powerful central government. What is happening now is driven purely by arrogance and manipulation. It has the potential to end in national economic and social disaster, similar to so many empires of the past.
The American people are starting to understand the true motivations of those now in power. As shown in the 2009 elections in Virginia and New Jersey, the people can, by their participation in the electoral process, halt or stall the progress made by the Progressives to realize their socialist dream.
The country can return to the path of economic and social prosperity and relegate the Left to the background of the nation's politics, where they belong, once and for all. The key is time, and time is something we have little of. The 2010 elections will be the most important midterm election in our history.
While John Adams and his fellow founders could not have anticipated what has happened to the country they established, they did give it a framework -- a constitution -- which can enable us to avoid the same egocentrism that led to the downfall of other major civilizations.