The critical thinking that might help us escape our current travails

Last week, I said that "Americans now cannot tell reality from its perception."  The inability to do so prevents individuals from accurately analyzing factual data and taking appropriate and effective action steps.  If this impairment defines those in political power, as opposed to regular citizens, the damage to society is incalculable.

Remembering that in our constitutional system We the People are the ultimate sovereign, once it becomes clear that a critical mass of those in important positions cannot now tell reality from its perception, the sovereign must somehow step in.  It is a predicament that Americans hoped they would never have to face, but that predicament is upon us.

General Lloyd Austin declares, in public, that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was "remarkably well done."  What will be remarkably well done is if the veterans' groups and other volunteers manage to rescue students and their teachers from California without incident.  This would include a children's choral group and girls' soccer team.  Students from American University of Kabul are still stranded.  Surely our State Department can set aside its embarrassment and help these brave Americans who are trying to help.

All this leaves We the People trapped in a precarious position.  The nation's security is now partially dependent on the critical thinking skills and mature judgment of its citizens because we cannot depend on our leaders.

Back to square one.  When America won her revolution against Great Britain in 1783, John Dickinson crafted the Articles of Confederation as America's first governing document.  It became clear in a few years that the Articles did not create enough energy or power in the national government to stave off foreign interest in picking off the fragile new nation and its abundant natural resources.  But the agreed-upon Articles provided for amendment, not replacement.  To do anything but amend would not be honorable.

George Washington and other Founders knew this inconvenient fact but decided to replace the Articles anyway and have citizens ratify what they came up with — the United States Constitution.  The People narrowly agreed, understanding that the authors had gone outside the boundaries of the Articles but preferring to take a chance on the strengths of the document itself and on the integrity of its main backer.

How can we use this experience to help us now?

For starters, it is important to be clear-eyed.  This is hard to do today, as we do not have enough intelligent and curious journalists to dig out facts and present them to the sovereign people.  This consistent factual omission is terribly damaging.

So-called journalists today are activists with their own agendas, and, as one television commentator told us, they feel no compunction to give alternative arguments on any given issue.  By contrast, the citizens of 1787 had the thorough Federalist Papers to read, digest, question, and weigh.  The Founders knew what they faced against a revengeful Great Britain.

What we need to be clear-eyed about today is that there will be no voluntary course correction from the current policymakers.  Doubling down is possibly the mother of more tragedy to come.  A young child carrying her three-year-old brother across the desert dies of dehydration.  Thirteen service members needlessly blown up with many more critically injured.  This does not include those waiting with passports and credentials, waving hopefully as they squeeze in to be killed.  These are the victims of arrogance wrapped in the unsound, which has reached dizzying heights.

To be clear-eyed does not mean that others necessarily have a better idea regarding these weighty matters.  Antony Blinken envisioned "power sharing" with the Taliban, which would have amounted to surrender done slightly better.  America can never surrender to terrorist groups.  Islam allows four kinds of lying to the enemy: takiyya (hiding your true intentions); tawriya (lying by omission); kitman (telling a partial truth); and murna (blending in to deceive).  The Taliban and other terrorists are not going to do anything but one or more of the above.  The other things they will do need not be elucidated.

Much of our federal leadership is irresponsible, paralyzed, or frightened.  But we have wonderful people.  The people might start with the Constitution that our Founders so intelligently created.  Article IV, Section 4: "The United States shall protect each [state] against Invasion."

As a first step to righting the ship of state, we should ask the Supreme Court to interpret this, considering what is happening along our southern border.

It might be wise, also, to imagine motive.  What is happening cannot be mere incompetence, or shame and resignations would have naturally followed.  What is going on is deliberate.  The wished for "transformation of America" seems to include her demise, with her stable middle class destroyed.  Whatever the motive, We the People need to embrace the critical thinking skills that can come up with a solution — and soon.

M.E. Boyd's Apples of Gold – Voices from the Past that Speak to Us Now is available at using title and subtitle.

Image: We the People by Navyatha123.  CC BY-SA 4.0.

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