The 2 things that will kill this nation

Ben Nelms's picture

“How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.”

This sickening, but often correct, piece of political wisdom is attributed to Adolph Hitler. But, of course, such words would never have been uttered by the leaders of the American society during its 200-plus-year history. Our revered leaders in whom “We the people” put so much trust could never, would never, regardless their party affiliation, think such things. Or did they?

Much more recently in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, America’s national elected leaders from both parties dream only of a highly educated and participative constituency that will, thinking for themselves, scrutinize the actions of those responsible forging the future of this constitutional republic outfitted with a representative democracy.

Or do they? Or perhaps former Rep. Vin Weber (R-MN) had it right when he said, “We create the government that screws you, and then you’re supposed to thank us for protecting you from it.”

I said six months ago in this column that, “In my opinion, Congress, as a body and including both parties, by negligent naiveté or by design, is guilty of a kind of economic treason against the American people.” That opinion has not changed. It has only intensified.

But there is a much bigger fish to fry. It is “We the people.” What about us, the citizens of this land? After all, we so understandably find it easy to judge and condemn our government with impunity while divesting ourselves of the responsibility inherent to the very liberty we possess. It is easy for anyone to ask what has become of our leaders. But what has become of us? So here’s a test.

See if what you are about to read sounds anything like America today, some (not all!) of its people, their attitudes and inclinations. Notice the process involved.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, from spiritual truth to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

The elaboration of this process is most often attributed to Prof. Alexander Tytler (Lord Woodhouselee, 1747-1813), though it has also been attributed to a host of others such as Benjamin Disraeli, Arnold Toynbee and Lord Thomas Macaulay.

The important point is not who said it, but that it was said. Does any of this lengthy quote sound vaguely like what we see today, and have seen increasing incrementally in recent decades in this country?

Some, but thankfully not all, among us expect government to manage and finance their lives, womb to tomb. Some companies, too.

And for all the talk during the recent presidential campaign about Obama’s move further toward socialism, we only have to look at the Bush administration and the mysterious and morphing financial bail-out (please forgive me, I mean “rescue” so that I can be patriotic) to see what by any other name could easily be called a socialist maneuver, and far from the Fabian kind.

But why not go straight to the horse’s mouth. The words of Norman Thomas will do nicely. Thomas was the U.S. Socialist Party candidate for president in every election from 1928-1948 and cofounder of the precursor of the ACLU. Certainly a card-carrying socialist, here is what their presidential candidate said about America’s future.

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Well, there you have it. And while those in the halls of power through our multi-generational government/corporate interlock are certainly easy targets for thinking people (including several dead Presidents that warned us, but whose words are never uttered by the political parties/textbook publishers/national media interlock that shapes our world-view), I believe the primary responsibility for our current state of affairs rests with us, you and me, our parents and grandparents, and theirs.

I’m embarrassed to say that I believe that Tytler was right. Our days of liberty are numbered unless we find the resolve to alter our course.

“We the people” are the sentinels of our destiny; not government or politicians or the multinationals or academia or the national media. Any freedom we have came at a price paid in blood through conviction and the action that flowed from it. Any freedom we lose will be because we stood by (our hands out waiting for another government handout) and let it happen.

The time for thinking for ourselves is long overdue. The truth in this land today is that apathy and dependency are real. The truth is that apathy and dependency will kill this nation.

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Submitted by skyspy on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 6:20am.

" A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury."

Sad but true. Here we are a bankrupt nation of people who want everything handed to them for free.

Fred Garvin's picture
Submitted by Fred Garvin on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 8:07am.

America, with it's congress and now executive branch under liberal control, is on the fast track to becoming a socialist nation.

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 5:05pm.

....would you care for some cheese with that whine? Laughing out loud

Submitted by Davids mom on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 5:39am.

Fred - the point of the article is to STOP whining - and become involved. Your fear of 'liberalism' is clouding your ability to join the movement for surviving. WE can survive this - but not by standing by and watching our country go down the tubes. Demand the leaders to work for us - not the 'politicians, or CEO'S - who have used us up!!

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