Straddling the dead high atop the actions of that damnable path paved by good intentions, the paternalism of the great American experiment in republican government has weakened the electorate’s ability to assess their lifestyles and contributions to society from a moral angle. The Democrats, once plagued by a curable, albeit intense desire, for a concentrated, intrusive central government as the sick man of American politics has, like a malignant tumor, metastasized north of their already squeamish guts to the most fatal destination, their brains. Their radicalized brand of left-wing politics not only is America’s greatest existential threat, it is so because their brand of extremism ignited the long dormant ire and rage from their right-wing counterparts.
There is no immediate simple fix, given the lone manner for conserving a civil society is enacting change organically, on an indefinite scale with no timetable. To apply such a strategy towards a retroactive restoration of America’s founding principles and appreciation of her traditions will require a nearly unprecedented effort to juxtapose the progressive term “change” into the concept that it does not mean necessarily to reform. While some change is good, even necessary, unethical transformations to civil society are primarily achieved through coercion, collectivization, the legal and cultural muzzling of conscientious objectors, and most especially the abolition of individual rights to life, liberty and property.
Rejecting the cries for Plato’s concept of a “philosopher king” is critical for restoring American republicanism to its federalist beginnings in repudiating the current, rapidly consolidating welfare state. Thomas Jefferson envisioned an America rejecting primogeniture and entails characteristic of British aristocracy in favor of one born of merit, talent and virtue. The individual’s industry requires upholding the value of the individual’s personal confidence, moral prerogative and productivity in stifling collectivized alienation under the Democrat’s platform of progressive Sovietism through stealth.
A broad reliance on government’s soup ladle for shelter and nourishment will continue our children’s path towards an enslavement similar to fiefdom. Socialism has never killed the human spirit due to qualitative inequalities determining the talents unique to the individual. For societies to thrive due to the power of individuals, families and general society must imprint these values as the bedrock of America’s foundation. The human spirit naturally cries for liberty for every spark igniting the creative drive to excel.
Tolerating the intolerable and willing acquiescence assures there to be no reconciliation between the people and government. As Edmund Burke (1729-97) observed, “There is, however, a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.” And again, Jefferson opined in his letter of 18 November 1787 to William Stephens Smith from Paris that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time-to-time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” The conservative approach to avoiding both is to apply safeguard contingencies that nullify the possibility of bad laws creating the worst forms of tyranny. This can only begin by recounting the lessons of not just America, but human history in general, never trusting revisionist details or falling prey to our vices contributing most to the tyrant’s unchecked power. Pride for being an American, living free, blessed as one nation under God must morally arm us in the eternal war “so we may be always free,” as President Ronald Reagan explained at Omaha Beach during the fortieth anniversary of D-Day.
But qualitative freedom greatly differs from the idea of materialism and true greed. Author Robert Greene cautioned his readers in his 48 Laws of Power to “Despise the free lunch,” for time and again, “What is offered for free is dangerous — it usually involves a trick or a hidden obligation.” Sullying the principles behind the thesis of natural law in John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government (1688-9) rejects the unwavering conservative prescription well-acquainting the American people with America’s own history, culture and traditions which, according to John Adams, are “the general Principles of Christianity; and the general Principles of English liberty and American liberty.” Most profound however was Margaret Thatcher’s warning in concluding her speech before the College of Europe at Bruges in 1988 that, “Utopia never comes, because we know we should not like it if it did.”
“Constitutions have to be written on hearts,” Mrs. Thatcher also noted in her final book Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002), “not just paper.”
Conservatives must pledge to assure America’s future will remain free. Through trial and error, careful preparation, and faith in a moral order that has never failed us, but which we have failed it, we must undertake these tasks while understanding our flaws. To conserve civil society, we must accept and understand the goodwill of our fellow man which, according to Burke, requires restoring the narrative that our peers “Applaud us when we run, console us when we fall, cheer us when we recover.” While America has run the greatest race by a nation in history, she has fallen. But she can recover, and will. She deserves our consolation where she has fallen. And we must be willing to cheer her on to recovery.