The question that supersedes and eclipses all other questions in this kind of discussion is whether or not it is really possible that the United States of America will enter a period of constitutional transformation. That sort of change which falls into the largest definition of the word “revolution”. Then (and I admit that there may be revolution at all any time soon) one can come to the question of whether or not such a change will be occasioned by the relatively sane, patriotic and productive citizens of which the Tea party is one major grouping or whether change will come from forces which are more destructive, opportunistic and perhaps more largely foreign as well. Hunger and the threat of large-scale killing of citizens by the government are the most common reasons history shows us for people to seek to change their government. It may be that we need change but is there much chance of making real change. I think there is a less than fifty percent chance. However, Americans have a sense of creeping tyranny and a desire to react to it that is real. This is also rooted in their history. “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson — even republican democracies in form can be tyrannical. That is both true and a truth which the Founders believed. Jefferson was the most democratic in philosophy of the first rank of Founding Fathers and he certainly had a distrust for democracy and did not ever use it as a synonym for good government as we often see being done today.
In this four part posting I am exploring what an American Revolution might mean. I am looking at what it could come out of and where it might bring us. Here, in this post I focus more on our Revolutionary Heritage. By the fourth part I should be more focused on the Revolutionary future.
Other founders such as Adams were much more openly critical of the whole espousing of Democracy as an ideal and they did not believe that they had intended to create a democracy nor that such had been the result of there efforts. Adams was on the committee which assisted Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence and approved it before submitting it to Congress. Yet he did not hesitate to declare. “Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” John Adams There are many elements besides democracy which are supposed to be operating in our country’s governance and conventual. We are a country founded on getting these mechanics right under an accepted and specific constitution which provides the ground rules and lines of operation for the “game” which is government and indirectly culture and society. There is no way that people can all be persuaded to understand the same questions as being priorities nor to come up with an understanding that the same answers are always right and especially not right for all. Naive optimism is how our enemies have described our nation’s political philosophy but it is not fair even to our most idealistic founder: “An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.” Thomas Jefferson. There is more than conflict resolution here that is intended. Federalism itself allows some conflicts not to be resolved and states to live under different laws while all still are participating in the great American society with its greater resources and grand purposes. Far from Term Limits for everyone I believe that in a new constitutional order we should have three US Senators for each State. Let popular elections choose two as has become habitual but let a third one be elected by the state legislatures (as in the original constitution) but let this one officer be subject to certain qualifications tests (not too onerous) and be elected for a longer term. Let former Presidents, retired General Officers and the US and retired Justices of the US Supreme Court serve on a small per diem and their pensions as Censors. Let them control the Census now taken by the Commerce Department and also create districts and apportion seats for Congress. Let them serve independently and for life. Let them also hold some power over the organs for ethics in the federal government. Radical as this may seem there is evidence the founders thought we should get to this eventually. This Council of Censors would restore the nondemocratic elements which have wasted away and left us in chaos as we see all power in the hands of popular majorities. That is very un-American. We have a more complex society now and it should be under a more complex government not a less complex one.
Nor was this constitution designed to consider all starting positions as equal. It was not crafted so that all ideas and ways of life could start on exactly the same footing. Few were more in touch with the founding of the country that is the USA than John Adams and he did not hesitate to write about what was to be favored. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams. Nor was Adams merely concerned with any kind of piety. He could not have been more certain in his own mind of the pre-eminence of Judaeo- Christian values and cultural traditions in forming the national fabric. “The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. ” John Adams. Remember that the racial and ethnic implications are coming out clearly from one of the Declarers select committee. Some lands from the State and the federal government should be surrendered both to compact and a central government with small needs and specialized missions but a larger part (totalling as much as two or more percent of all lands) should be put into a “pot” together with Guam, American Samoa, part of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as well as all Indian Reservations to create a series of really viable Territories and Possessions which are represented in the House of Representatives and not in the US Senate. Part of Puerto Rico should be admitted as our final state and part as one of these new Territories, these two jurisdictions will have a compact. The relationship will be repeated in Hawaii and Alaska where close relations between distinct jurisdictions will be the norm. This will new order need to include a substantial Kingdom of Hawaii, Negro Possessions in the Southern States (as well as Creole of Color territories in some places) and two Mestizo territories in old settlements of the Spanish Borderlands Compact. These ethnic groups would have lands and governments to use and elect, they would have seats in the House and could have simple tribunes with limited vetoes and subpoenas in the Senate. Some funds and contracts would be reserved for their development in the new constitution. Poverty and prison programs would be replaced with innovation in many states. Schools would improve and the State universities would reserve a small percentage of their seats for the best qualified of their neighbors. However, most jurisdictions would service their own peoples needs and employ their own police and teachers. This would not be for all colored people as under Jim Crow but jurisdictions favoring specific raci0-ethnic groups with districts and rights for their own minorities. Real racial purity laws per se would be forbidden federally everywhere. The family associations would define the reace of there members for most purposes and the acts to deny racial identitry would be limited in effect and require due process. But America would not pretend to racial indifference any more. In the States there would be both colored districts where those not related to nearby districts would elect parties to the state legislature and have some kind of municipal governance but also be less than equal in many rights of the state citizen while protected as US Citizen. Northeast Asian Communities such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Sino-Filipino peoples would be assured equal representation for drawn minority majority districts in all states where they have a traditional population. In addition they would participate as full state citizens. Likewise Filipinos and Micronesians would be given special federal assistance in settling here because of the ties of their countries to ours. Family associations would work with these new laws and jurisdictions. But there would be an end to varied forms of racial madness in this country. All future immigrants would have to be admitted by both the United States and a lesser Jurisdiction State or otherwise. Each jurisdiction should elect one elector for life who will sit with the popular election electors for the President and also have other legislative roles. Such a person would be able to hold multiple offices.
Likewise, America has never been founded on any principle that allowed for weakness as a national ideal. “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War. ” George Washington. War, I would argue is not merely murder. Modern societies do not always fight wars quite frequently they just murder people. War involves, discipline, declarations, chains of command and a known return address ( to at least some degree) for the violence. I have often been critical of the US military but it is still the military founded by that tall Virginian quoted above. It is still one of the institutions that works in our society. The people have a right and a need for militias, hunting clubs and I think in a society like ours they need more differentiated groups along the lines of orders of chivalry where the most privileged speak a more refined language of violence. America is in danger of losing all that it is in this simple regard. “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.” George Washington. On this and some other issues I will focus my third and last portion of this posting.
We must also have a society where the federal and state governments are openly concerned with the moral development of these constituent armed groups and their members. No value neutral governance is possible part of our culture of defense and security. “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” George Washington. My last portion will also relate to this moral aspect of governance.
So, next time expect to see me discuss morals, arms and how to effect real change as well as other issues relevant to this subject not yet addressed. So far you can see that for me revolution is a word I take seriously.