The Death of the Republic: Symptoms

Yesterday, I made clear my belief that the Republic known as the United States of America is in grave danger.  Today, I will show you why I believe that to be the case.  The problem is apathy, or if you prefer: indifference, inattention, ambivalence, or detachment. These corruptions within the culture and system cancers that have taken root because of an even more dangerous toxin inherent within America.

But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors

Hosea 10:14

Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
for he will get nothing in return.

Job 15:31

The terror you inspire
and the pride of your heart have deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks,
who occupy the heights of the hill.
Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s,
from there I will bring you down,”
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 49:16

We, as Americans, have been made to be apathetic.  We feel untouchable, so we have neglected the public trust that citizenship in this republic was meant to bestow on each person.  Diversity, fairness, and tolerance are riding high, our economy is the benchmark of the world (even despite the failings in our recent past), and liberty seems to be safe, but the seeds of our own destruction have been sowed.  Our own understanding of liberty and freedom have been altered and changed from those demanding a responsible, attentive, and alert citizenry to those of a complacent one unwilling, unable, or uninterested in those same responsibilities, liberties, and freedoms.

Based on the Nielsen Ratings from the last few weeks, only two non-entertainment programs cracked the top ten watched television shows. Less than 7% of viewers watched news programs of the most watched programs on television.  The majority of viewers watched The Voice, the NBA Playoffs, or other entertaining programs rather than informational programs.  This is evident of a populace not engaged in the problems prevalent in our society, but rather wishing to ignore them or completely oblivious to them either consciously or unconsciously.

For years, with the notable exception of the youth turnout for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, the voter turnout has been decreasing as a percentage of eligible voters as they become more disengaged with politics and governmental affairs, apathetic in general, or dissatisfied with the process.

With the revelation of the IRS political-enemies targeting, Justice Department press wiretapping, and NSA wide-swath metadata collection programs, there has been little if any outrage outside of the politically knowledgeable, which make up a small percentage of the population.  In fact, with all of the revelations of scandals of late dating from the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-running program, through the Benghazi botched response and follow-through, and all of the rest since, the lack of outrage and even a baseline of knowledge amongst the hoi polloi has been shameful as I have observed generally and in the total lack of even a base understanding of what happened, let alone the causes or repercussions.  This lack of knowledge is a sign of the apathy that has taken root amongst the generations today.

The surveillance programs in particular rely on an understanding of the political news cycle that the worst scandals can be swept under the rug in a hurry because the public en masse no longer has the desire to hold the government’s feet to the fire over abuses and usurpations as long as they disappear from the collective radar quickly so they can get back to their entertainment.  The collective attention span has dropped so precipitously that the seriousness of each of these scandals has failed to register.  The scandals, each one, would be enough to bring down an administration in the past, but the speed at which they are being revealed and then replaced in the public consciousness additionally produces a weariness in the public mind.  This same weariness was observed during the last few campaign cycles because politicians never took an off day and the public eventually just tuned it all out.

When apathy becomes an useful tool of the politician to force the public to go along with their plans, that politician has become dangerous to liberty and freedom.  It is not because they convince people to follow their ideas or even have great ideas, it’s that they proverbially beat them until the abused electorate acquiesces to the beatings and just says “whatever you say, I don’t care.”  In addition, when those politicians intentionally obfuscate the political environment and make it difficult to understood who is involved, why, or in what way, they make it easier to fool the public.  As a result blatant positional and topical contradictions go unnoticed because the people simply no longer care to rectify what they hear with what they see.

I. Don’t. Care.  These are the three most critically damaging words in the English language.  But is that not what we’re seeing in the response to the revelations about NSA’s Operation PRISM.  The American public has been beaten over the head for over a decade as to the threat of terrorism and as a result, a majority thinks that the program is fine despite the fact that it casts a wide net and over half of the citizens of this country are under warrantless and illegal searches of their private communications.  What makes it even worse is that these obvious Constitutional violations require an apathetic public, not just after-the-fact, but during it.

Apathy is destroying the United States of America – this is truth, but apathy is only partially to blame.  There is a deeper fault that is causing the apathy even… the apathy is surely a cancer, but the deeper disease is a loss of and lack of passion.

Passion?

Look at the divorce rate (53% of all marriages end in divorce).  What passion do men and women have for maintaining what was supposed to be a lifelong commitment?  Maintain a lifelong love takes hard work and devotion and our culture celebrates this lack of passion now.

Look at the voter participation rate (barely half of the eligible population votes).  What passion do we have as a people for participating in our democratic republic?  When barely half of eligible voters even bother to cast a ballot, the other half is abdicating their right to choose their representatives.  I may not agree with how you personally choose to vote in a particular instance, but a representative republic does not serve the people if the people do not make their beliefs clear through voting, petition, and redress.

Compare the government approval rate and how likely you are as an incumbent to be reelected (Congress approval rate is treading water at 16%, yet 90% of incumbents were reelected in 2012).  What passion do we have about the problems of our day if we keep sending back the same disliked idiots every two or six years to keep just doing what they’ve been doing?  We say that we hate the performance of Congress and then rehire them come November at a near-unanimous rate.

We do not have passion in this country or for this country.

We have apathy.

We have ambivalence…

and it is killing us.

Without passion for this country and passion in general, how can we honestly expect the next generation to understand the importance of our liberties and freedoms, of the moral, theological, logical, and philosophical foundations upon which those liberties and freedoms were derived?

How can we honestly expect the next generation to care if we do not care?

How can we honestly expect our government to abide by the constraints put upon it by mortal men nearly three hundred years ago if we do not understand those constraints and possess a heart and mind for defending them with words, deeds, and arms if necessary?

How will apathy end up killing us in the end?  Tune in tomorrow.

Need

One of the questions being blasted over the airwaves and over print media has been “why does anyone need an assault rifle/high capacity magazine?” (My apologies over the use of assault rifle per my previous rants on this misnomer).

This is a difficult question to answer as the sort of person asking the question either has not thought through the ramifications of their premise, nor are they knowledgeable enough about Constitutional construction, modern firearms technology, or lethal force application principles to be involved in the discussion anyway.

How do you answer their question sufficiently in a way that they will understand without belittling their lack of information or understanding?

Christ often used parables to insert a thought into the minds of men who were either incapable or unwilling to know and understand the Truth if presented openly.  What follows was inspired by a number of similar writings on message boards and hopefully conveys this concept in a way more commonly understood than by those of us who have taken the time to learn not only where we stand, but why we stand there based on facts and historical writings.

The authors of the Constitution were extremely forward thinkers.  They understood when they put pen to paper to write our foundational document that they would not have all of the answers.  They included things like the amendment process in order to allow the document to be modernized and changed while still preserving the integrity of it and the principles it codified.  They also understood that they would one day die and it would be up to others to interpret that document to infer those principles as time and technology advanced.  They wrote extensively in the Federalist Papers of the Constitution and the first ten amendments to it (which are the Bill of Rights) and how those should be understood for common men and for future generations.

Now, the United States, with all of it’s component parts, side-by-side systems and hierarchical structure is fairly similar to a computer.  The Constitution is the computer’s operating system.  It provides the framework for all of the computer’s potential to be put to work.  All of the various laws and bureaucracies are like computer programs – some are big, some are small, but they are supposed to work with the operating system to enhance the computer.

The founders understood men to be fallible, so they codified the First Amendment, our right to freedom of speech, the press, to assemble, to petition the government to tackle our complaints and fix the problems we have with it.  The First is like an antivirus and firewall on a computer.  It protects the inner workings of the computer from malicious programs or data packets that would damage it, one of the regular programs, or the operating system as a whole.  The founders considered it to be the first line of defense against corruption and destruction of the computer of the U.S.

Imagine your computer, what is the first program that starts after you turn it on?  The operating system.  The second is the antivirus and firewall.

What happens to your computer though when something invades through the firewall and disables the antivirus?  What can you do?

There are a few options remaining.  You can wipe the system, reinstall the operating system, and essentially start completely anew, but having lost a great deal of time and irreplaceable data.  Terrible damage was done, but all was not lost.  That is what the Second Amendment to the Consitution is for… it codified the right, that the founders understood to be possessed by all by virtue of their very existence, to keep and bear arms (more on this momentarily).  They understood that the computer needed a way to defend itself as well and that if the very programs that defended the computer, such as the antivirus (freedom of the press), were co-opted to work for the malicious program, then a built-in defense mechanism would be necessary.  That mechanism needed to be sufficiently powerful to be able to overthrow the rogue programs and files, beat back the original malicious program, and basically do a system restore to the “computer.”  It’s dirty, annoying, and takes time, but some malicious programs are that mean.

But, do you really need a rifle that can shoot thirty times before reloading?

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.

Noah Webster

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.

Patrick Henry

The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…[I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.

Albert Gallatin

The right of self defence is the first law of nature…. Wherever the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.

St. George Tucker

No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people

William Rawle

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

The arms intended by the Constitution are such as are suitable for the general defence of the community against invasion or oppression.

Thomas Cooley

So the next time someone asks why you need a thirty r0und magazine for your evil black rifle, don’t belittle them. Educate them on why.  Use a metaphor if you need to, but let them leave the conversation with a deeper respect of the reason why.  If you can break the framework of their thought process a little, you might just find them able to better understand the truth differently phrased.

Or simply ask them why they seem to want the return of feudalism or the rise of centralized totalitarianism so badly?

Violation of Second Amendment liberties is part of a comprehensive program to centralize political power and to overcome the ability of citizens to use the ballot box to resist the extension of this centralized political power.

Gary North

53%

Governor Romney, in a video secretly captured during a moment during a fundraiser back in May, spoke something that has enlivened the week politically.  He dared mention how people benefiting from government largesse are more prone to elect politicians who promise to increase their particular take.

How brazen!

How shocking!

How dare he state something so true?!?

My preschooler understands that if he acts like we want him to he will be rewarded with special food, privileges, et cetera.  If I want a citizen to vote for me ad nauseum, why not give him something for nothing, and then threaten him constantly of taking it away.  What an amazing leash to control someone by in order to ensure that his votes keep coming in my favor.

What the citizen fails to recognize though is that the chain has already been placed around him and the shackles are bolted on.  He has been convinced, without need of firing a shot or committing violence that he is subservient and incapable of life without that politician’s continuance of his means of livelihood.  This is the fundamental essence of the welfare state.  This “benefit” is the crushing boot of tyranny, of slavery, of oppression.

Now how can it be oppression if it is for the downtrodden and unfortunate?  Have you no heart?

I am more concerned for the long term survival of my country and our innate freedoms and liberties, however temporal they may be when measured against eternity.

The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.

Samuel Adams

While the chains of bondage in this case are meant to be benevolent, they are anything but as they further dependency.  This isn’t about being your brother’s keeper, or helping widows and orphans.  This is about destroying the ability to live joyfully.  This benevolence replaces God as the bearer of all of your needs and supplants Him with government and politicians.

The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave…

Samuel Adams

If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.

Thomas Jefferson

So how was Mitt Romney wrong in any way?

He spoke the truth.  A large portion of this country’s populace is dependent on the government.  This portion also tends to vote in what it has been conditioned is it’s own self-interests rather than the country’s as a whole.  This is not how this country was designed to function. If things continue as they are and then accelerate with Obamacare being fully implemented, the republic will fall.

What happens when the 53% of taxpayers who don’t ask anything of the government other than equal protection under the law and defense of hearth and home decide to stop playing the game and elect liberty or death over tyranny, over the chains of servitude, over the slavery of government benevolence?

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry

Slavery once was defended as a benevolent institution that kept them fed, clothed, and occupied (Source).  How is the modern entitlement state any different?  If you support such institutions, recognize that you are supporting slavery of the soul and spirit.

What Governor Romney was implying was that it is up to the remainder of us, the 53%, to stand up for our fellow citizens, to point to their chains and their shackles and say “ENOUGH.”  In this way, we will be our brother’s keeper to free them from the curse of liberal progressive bondage.

Declaration – Part One (Life)

Do we live in a Christian nation?  Does the Declaration of Independence even matter any more or is it just a letter addressed to the King of England back in the latter half of the 18th century and relegated to the dustbin of history?

For the next few writings, I want to explore the Declaration of Independence and what it means.  The first section is the most recognizable.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

The very first sentence of this section speaks of where our rights come from, our Creator – God, and specifically identifies some of them: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The simple fact that these rights originate from God, a power above and beyond any assembly of men, that means that they are inalienable or untouchable.  They are beyond reproach and can not be repealed or revoked.

What is life?  Why is that listed as a right?  Doesn’t the concept of being alive constitute having a life?

Medically and scientifically, sure.

Consider these definitions of life:

the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual: to risk one’s life; a short life and a merry one.
a corresponding state, existence, or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul: eternal life.
Could the Founders have been considering that the right to life that we have been endowed with by God be spiritual rather than physical?  How does the Declaration’s meaning change if you look at our right to life through the lens of Christ rather than the temporary lens of man?
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