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Haven’t we been down this road before?

January 1, 2013

With the advent of a new year upon us, sometimes it seems that what is new is really simply a do-over, and that we are in a cycle of being doomed to repeat past mistakes unless we recognize them and take the appropriate corrective measures.

The current state of the nations woes are nothing new.  In a letter from John Jay to Thomas Jefferson, October 27, 1786, Jay discusses the deficiencies of the Confederation as follows:

The inefficacy of our government becomes daily more and more apparent.  Our treasure and our credit are in a sad situation; and it is probable that either the wisdom or the passions of the people will produce changes.  A spirit of licentiousness has infected Massachusetts, which appears more formidable than some at first apprehended.  Whether similar symptoms will not soon mark a like disease in several other states is very problematical.

The public papers herewith sent contain everything generally known about these matters.  A reluctance to taxes, an impatience of government, a rage for property and little regard to the means of acquiring it, together with a desire of equality in all things, seem to actuate the mass of those who are uneasy in their circumstances.  To these may be added the influence of ambitions adventurers, and the speculations of the many characters who prefer private to public good, and of others who expect to gain more from wrecks made by tempests than from the product of patient and honest industry.  As the knaves and fools of this world are forever in alliance, it is easy to perceive how much vigor and wisdom a government, from its construction and administration, would possess, in order to repress the evils which naturally flow from such copious sources of injustice and evil.

Much, I think, is to be feared from the sentiments which such a state of things is calculated to infuse into the minds of the rational and well-intended.  In their eyes, the charms of liberty will daily fade; and in seeking for peace and security, they will too naturally turn toward systems in direct opposition to those which oppress and disquiet them.

If faction should long bear down law and government, tyranny may raise its head, or the more sober part of the people may even think of a king.

In short, my dear sir, we are in a very unpleasant situation.  Changes are necessary; but, what they ought to be, what they will be, and how and when to be produced, are arduous questions.  I feel for the cause of liberty, and for the honour of my countrymen, who have so nobly asserted it, and who, at present, so abuse its blessings.  If it should not take root in this soil, little pains will be taken to cultivate it in any other.

Within a short time after writing this letter, the Philadelphia congress met to make the needed corrections in the existing system of government, and ended up rewriting it in the form of our current Constitution.  While we see many parallels today with the defects of yesteryear – treasury and credit problems, “impatience” or abuse of government, disdain for the “makers” and industry, and a leaning towards class warfare to create “equality” in all things, as well as factions (political parties) who oppress to the point of creating a tyranny – back then it was caused by a lack of power in the federal government.  Today, it is the fault of the oppressive size and zeal of our federal government, and the problems arise not because we lack a proper framework for success….indeed we have one of the most perfect frameworks ever created …but because those elected to represent us do not follow the Constitution as it was written and intended to be understood.

The wreck of the nation stems from a overbearing and leviathan government, not from any lack of federal legislative power.

If our country, and particularly our government, continues to “abuse it’s blessings” as John Jay warned, the path from anarchy that existed after the revolution to the path leaning towards tyranny that exists today is one that we will certainly go down to our demise.

John Jay’s letter seemed to be able to distinguish the “good” guys from the “bad” guys.  As I look at Washington DC today, and hear what is spewed from Congress and the White House, it’s hard to tell the two apart, and more than ever seems that no matter what, the “little” guys in the form of we the people, always seem to end up with the negative consequences.  Instead of government “by and for the people”, it seems that we have government in spite of the people, or maybe I should say, because of the people.  It’s said that you get the government you deserve.

The Articles of Confederation were the result of a revolution, and it may be that we are headed towards a revolution of sorts once again in order to correct our course in liberty.  Please see my previous post entitled “Where is the Nation Headed?”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rad Beranek permalink
    March 4, 2013 2:14 am

    No comments yet – thet means nobody gets a rat’s ass, and you may be wrong in forcing the issue.
    There are no products of our high schools or colleges that can contradict the steady march towards new communism/ environtalism. The “evangelicals” are being defeated by the new tactics of the “save the planet” phony phlagellantes. They fascinate our young, while the fact that they will bear so much of our debt is totally lost on them,

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