A less perfect Union

A recent Wilmington StarNews editorial showed unusual nonpartisan views about our political system and citizen response to it. (Link below) But as usual they missed the bigger picture. The editorial refers to local politics, specifically about “passion” over land development in the region. Editors think this is interesting and “inspiring.”

For the past twenty-plus years I’ve lived here land development has always been contentious. Despite new commercial services and private improvements in roads, streets and landscapes, public complaints invariably focus on traffic—usually only a minor, temporary inconvenience for a few compared to major benefits for thousands—driven by the short-sighted, self-centered, impatient nature of modern Americans.

And we see these passions, sometimes uninspiring, show up—often violently— on larger State and national political landscapes as well. A few organized loud voices demand government “do something” to thwart benefits for a larger population that satisfy their personal wants.

Our Founders feared a government controlled by citizen voters—the “mob mentality.” (Editors seem to understand this with the comment “public hearings are not—and should not be—referendums.”)

The founding Fathers knew that under “democracy” a majority or a minority can impose tyranny on others. So they established a constitutional republic expecting to limit government, vest most of the power in legislators elected by the People— called Congress—and keep the president and courts in lesser roles to reduce their inevitable tyrannical power. In fact, they nearly decided on a system where the president would be chosen by the Congress.

The idea was that the elected people would come from the best in society. Of course, recent political events indicate that this comes under the heading: “It seemed like a good idea at the time, but….”

Actually, it was, but that was then, this is now.

Most of the leaders of that time were well educated, successful men wise to the historical record of European ruling disasters—men with the character to fight for their liberty, called “republican virtue.”  They knew, however, that to make a republican government work, the electorate would have to be moral, educated and have a vested interest (property owners) in keeping government under control.

Now, 227 years later, the electorate has degenerated to the point that many people in America are ignorant of history and economics; unprincipled about right and wrong; overwhelmed with themselves; apathetic toward vital issues—even hostile to American culture— and mentally disturbed.

David Kupelian, author of “The Snapping of the American Mind,” reminds us that life can be difficult for us individuals. We’ve always had disappointment, accidents, disease, betrayal, cruelty and misfortune. But those now in control of our huge central government deliberately scheme to upset us and destabilize our society. Kupelian writes:

Yet, during eras when society and families are stable, unified, and fundamentally decent and moral—as, say, America during the 1950s and early ‘60s—the stress level for each person is minimized, or at least not vastly compounded by a perverse society. Conversely, when, as is the case today, we have widespread family breakdown, a depraved culture that scorns traditional moral values, a chaotic economy, and power-mad government dominated by demagogues and seeming sociopaths, the normal stresses of life are vastly multiplied.

Under the current tactics in “Rules for Radicals,” the cultural Marxists that control the national government use them to foment social discontent, anger, grievances, and resentments to keep us “continually upset.” And it’s working. The strategy is to transform our Christian-based system of limited, constitutional government and the Blessing of Liberty into a “socialist, wealth-redistributionist system run by an all-powerful government.”

Our form of government can only be as good, or as bad, as the quality of elected officials and the people that support them.

Editors hope that “our leaders do what is best for the entire community.” But that’s not realistic. If it seems to happen, coincidentally it will also always benefit the “leaders.”

One of the great fallacies about the human condition promotes the idea that people in public “service” work in the interest of the “community”—that they somehow rise above their human nature and suddenly have unselfish concern for the welfare of others, or selflessness. As much as we would like to believe that, it is delusional.

Furthermore, as with any other segment of society, bad people, and good people with bad ideas, get into government. Witness the fact that Congress has about a 10 percent approval rating; slightly higher than the American media at 6 percent.

The “general Welfare” of the People has been ignored by our legislators so they can benefit themselves by favoring many small constituencies that will support them with cash and votes—politicians see to it that their factions get what they want, thus they get to keep their power and influence.

No amount of serving on “boards and commissions”; “showing up at public meetings”; writing letters or running for political office will change that fundamental reality.

Editors say they will help give voice to our “voting power.” That’s nice, but it won’t do anything to solve the problem unless only principled, honest, moral, properly educated people run for office and we elect them. Even then, they will not make decisions that benefit only all the citizens. Step by step our once cohesive culture has been segregated into many factions that the Founders knew would be dangerous to our survival as a constitutional republic.

That has been instigated and blatantly accelerated in Washington, D. C. during the past decade with surprisingly little opposition.

StarNews editors begin the editorial with: “Can you fight city hall? Yes. Are you always going to win? Probably not.”

Even when we have more control over smaller, local government it continues to grow: taking more of our wealth, distributing it to favored groups, increasing the bureaucracies and restricting our liberties with unending rules and regulations—right here in River City.

Federal government is stacked against the People because it is massively, intrusive; because it has too much power; because too much money fuels its excessive, self-serving authority; because the political class thrives on more power and influence.

Our Constitution promised a “more perfect Union.” Only with government lean and limited is that possible. Unfortunately, that has gone, metaphorically, whistling past the graveyard of our Constitution. We now live in a less perfect Union than was prescribed in that document—with no end in sight for its total oblivion.



About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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