“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.”
— French political analyst and philosopher, Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
A careful examination of some of the changes occurring in modern America should be a cause for serious concern.
America’s early settlers left England because they felt too many restrictions on their beliefs and their lives from the king and his administration. They hoped to build new lives in a society that offered more freedom of thought and action. Over the years, frictions with the home country and the imposition of laws from a remote region, became more and more intolerable. The citizens were determined to create something better.
However, the new approach was not flawless because citizens themselves are not flawless. Decades later, it took a long, brutal war with a half million deaths to resolve the issue of slavery – with half the citizenry standing on one side and half on the other. It was a major struggle involving a moral view by some, largely unaffected by the economic aspect, pitted against an economic and somewhat self-serving view by others, at the expense of their fellow humans.
In the end, the Civil War taught us anew that societal order not structured on a moral platform, can be an illusory “house of cards”. While the Civil War was fought nearly a century after our Declaration of Independence, the need for a moral bedrock was not lost on our original founders. John Adams left a wise legacy when he said:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
By way of some history and homage to the wisdom of our Founders, we now reach a general introduction to this article – stated here in a negative construction for emphasis:
The Four Dumbest Things Citizens Can Do in America
Ignore the Constitution
Mistake good intentions for moral action
Lead the nation to financial insolvency
Lack the courage for timely corrective action
So, let’s talk about some of these things we’re doing that perhaps can be done more wisely and more morally.
Is Robin Hood’s Mantra of “Take from the Rich, Give to the Poor Any Morally Different than “Robbin’ the ‘Hood'”?
Consider the following scenario: Citizen B has obeyed his nation’s laws, supported his family and paid his taxes as Congress has mandated. He contributes to charities as he can. However, he has difficulty finding the morality or constitutionality, by which the government takes his earnings, the earnings he uses to support his family, and transfers them to citizen A to serve A’s needs. Moreover, the government punishes citizen B if he refuses to hand over his funds. This arrangement is vaguely reminiscent of the armed robbery portrayed below:
What Would James Madison Say?
In 1794, Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some French refugees. James Madison, credited as principal author of our Constitution, stood on the floor of the House to object saying (a):
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
Madison’s vision of morality and common sense seems lost on too many Americans, particularly in view of this next group of data.
70.5% of federal spending now goes to dependence-creating programs, up dramatically from 28.3% in 1962, and 48.5% in 1990. Over the next 25 years, more than 77 million “Baby Boomers” will begin collecting Social Security checks, drawing Medicare benefits, and relying on long-term care under Medicaid. No event will financially challenge these important programs over the next two decades more than this largest retirement activity in American history.
Entitlements, Dependency and the Link to Drug Pusher Morality
Two Imporant Questions for All Americans:
Can our republican form of government withstand the political weight of a growing population of Americans who receive benefits from fellow citizens but who are not even really asked to do what they can for themselves?
How seriously have these Federal programs eroded civil society by diminishing what were once citizens’ personal obligations, either individually or voluntarily provided by families, congregations, community groups, and local governments?
We have allowed these community group responsibilities to evolve into impersonal “political trinkets”, thereby diminishing the freedoms, ideals, morality and humanity of every citizen.
The following figure shows of the logical options and consequences of this impersonal system:
In summary, which the following systems do we prefer?
- “Free to Die?”, Walter E. Williams, Patriot Post, December 7, 2011 Ref: http://patriotpost.us/opinion/walter-e-williams/2011/12/07/free-to-die/print/ “
- “A Nation of Dependents”, Bob Beauprez, Townhall.com, January 28, 2012
- “Is President Obama Creating A Nation Of Dependents?”, John Merline, Investor’s Business Daily, Jan 26, 2012
- “Avoiding the Obvious Solution to Entitlements”, Bob Beauprez, Townhall.com, February 2, 2012
- “The Index of Dependence on Government”, William W. Beach and Patrick D. Tyrell, A Report of the Heritage Center for Data Analysis, Feb 8, 2012