Why Accept Tyranny and Ruin?
On Election Day, Rush Limbaugh advanced an intriguing notion given him by a friend. Rush fancied the idea "a fascinating little think piece." Here's the idea, per Rush:
"If the Republicans win, they get to select the half of the country they want and the Democrats get the other half. You split this country right down the middle. Republicans pick the side they want; the Democrats get the other side. We have Mitt; they have Obama. You can live wherever you want to live. You choose which side you want to live in." He [Rush's friend] said, "The question is: How long would it be before Democrats are building tunnels to get underneath the wall keeping them out of the Republican side?"
The Republicans, of course, didn't win the election. But it doesn't make the concept any less interesting. And it makes one wonder: will the day come when what is now a mere intellectual exercise morph into a broad sentiment -- a sentiment that concretizes as conviction that translates into action?
It seems fantastic now -- "Divorce, American Style" -- but perhaps in a decade the idea that the marriage (more a shotgun affair) between Right and Left America suffers from irreconcilable differences and can no longer continue might be common currency.
No sober-thinking person wants Americans to divorce -- to separate into permanent red and blue Americas -- and for more than the kids' sake. Better to have an America united in liberty, prosperous through free enterprise, and safe from its enemies, domestic and foreign.
But that's not how the American left and its voters see the country; they have (in fact, have had since the early 20th century) a radically different vision for what America should be. And what America should be has little to do with Washington, Jefferson, and Madison and more to do with Hegel, Marx, and the architects who birthed modern corporatist Europe. Moreover, the American left -- typified by President Obama -- is dedicated to a diminution of the United States' power and role in the world. Call it "America the Lesser."
The critical question becomes: if the left remains ascendant; if its principles and policies continue to be ratified by voters in elections to come; if it continues to degrade the culture and morals of society; if the noose is drawn ever tighter around the throats of the individual; if the engine of our prosperity is further hamstrung and plundered, when will conservative America shout, "Enough!"? Why would right America "go gentle into that good night"? Why would conservative America accept tyranny -- albeit a soft tyranny -- and ruin? When is the tipping point reached?
Passivity isn't in the American character. Will Americans -- at least that portion of the nation that retains the revolutionary spirit that gave thirteen colonies their independence -- accept the demise of their freedoms?
As the Founders keenly appreciated, there is always the possibility of a "tyranny of the majority." The nation was never conceived as a democracy, as the left for decades have persuaded many citizens to believe. America is a republic, a nation of laws with men subordinate. Government was created to safeguard man's natural rights. Democracy is an indispensible feature of the republic, but it wasn't intended to be unfettered; it was intended to be blunted or thwarted when democracy produced majorities (or pluralities) that act contrary to basic rights.
Americans, a civil people, are compelled to abide by election results. The rights of speech, assembly, petition, and the exercise of the franchise through regular elections guarantee that no majority is entrenched, that today's electoral mandate can be overturned tomorrow legally and peacefully.
"Factions," as Madison would phrase it, can vie and clash civilly for elective offices and leadership, for the right to set the nation's course -- within narrow confines. This process is intrinsic to the nation's social contract. Election losers don't resort to arms when elections fail to go their way; likewise, election winners don't jettison due process or trample laws and the rights of their opponents to achieve their ends.
The nation's social contract hasn't been rent. Conservative America, the loser in the recent election, hasn't been barred from its rights to speech, assembly, petition, and the vote. No obstacle prevents conservative America from contending with the left for the hearts and minds of fellow citizens. Fortunes can turn, and they often surprisingly do. Reagan's ascendency ushered in nearly a generation where the left's dominance and advances were arrested. Regrettably, though, Reagan's rise didn't end the left's march; there was no wide repudiation of the left's precepts and aims, no return to founding principles and truly limited government.
But one wonders: when do elections -- the right to contend -- no longer suffice? When does a "long train of abuses and usurpations," to quote the Declaration of Independence, give a people, or a portion thereof, the "right and duty to throw off such government" (to paraphrase the Declaration) as oppresses them? How long must "the train of abuses" be to compel separation? What is the tipping point?
It's crucial to keep in mind the arc of the nation's history in the last century or so. Leftism -- under the guises of liberalism or progressivism -- has dominated and defined the nation. Leftism -- a statist variant -- has advanced, at times in leaps and bounds and at others in creeps and crawls. But pushed forward it has, with a fierce determination.
The American left has also evolved -- dreadfully, for those who prize liberty and cultural and moral decency.
The modern left has shed faith in God. God -- who is foundational to our rights and being as a nation. The left seeks, in fact, to infringe on the rights of churches and their agencies regarding the provision of contraceptive and abortion services. That's a first step in subordinating religion to the state. It has sought to drive and largely succeeded in driving out faith from the public square. It pushes to impose a smothering political correctness -- a tyranny on expression and action. It acts to hobble and punish enterprising and productive citizens and nurture government dependence. It's debauching the nation's currency, plundering the treasury, and adding debt atop debt. The left has moved over the decades, and now with accelerating speed, to centralize and consolidate its power in the national government. "[The left] has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." It has foisted on the nation the fallacy of a "living constitution," open to whatever interpretation by liberal jurists that rationalizes and facilities statist policies.
Moreover, as Selwyn Duke articulated in a brilliant American Thinker article, the left is assiduously undermining the nation's culture, traditions, and morals. Leftism is a cancerous nihilism in the nation's body. The Tree of Freedom's roots cannot be nurtured if the soil in which those roots are sunk is poisoned (to approximate Duke's sentiment).
As Lincoln famously proclaimed before the Civil War: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Lincoln further averred:
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South.
The notion of America as a slave nation was awful to Lincoln. The notion of modern America enslaved to a leftist tyranny is awful to right America.
Can conservative America eventually win back the nation? If not, will conservative America simply acquiesce to the left and let the house stand? Or will red and blue America divorce first? If so, what will have been the tipping point?