The progressives never declared a counter-revolution. Instead, they merely attacked and conspired to undermine our nation until all that now remains of constitutional republicanism is a facade made up of our constitution and our alleged devotion to it. For the twenty-five percent of the population that knows what has been done, it is difficult to convey to the roughly fifty percent of their disengaged countrymen who do not see it and who may welcome some parts of the counter-revolutionaries’ progressive reforms, not understanding the relationship of specific measures to the cabal against the whole. If we intend to turn the tide against the counter-revolutionaries, we must explain their purpose and their true identity, but also ours. Many formerly-disengaged Americans have begun to realize the nation is leaning only now toward collapse finally under the weight of the statists’ agenda. Their quiet coup against our constitutional republic has been under way for more than one-hundred years, but to rescue our nation, we will be compelled to expose them along with their collaborators. While there may be differences among us, we must unite in commitment to the proposition that to restore our dying, fading republic, the blunt facts and deferred truths must finally be told.
The constitutional republic we inherited had fallen into disrepair. Too many years of bending to pragmatic surrenders of liberty had already taken their toll. Too many shoddy reinterpretations of the definitions of words on which it relies had been at first permitted and then accepted. Simple concepts all too common to our republic’s framers have been sullied, misrepresented, and discarded as antique, obsolete, or primitive. One might wonder how successive generations of Americans had allowed this to happen, but the answer is ever the same: We and our forbears who ought to have risen against it were often beguiled into acceptance or even into open support because of political calculations about the practical nature of the issues. For eighty years, we have accepted the lie that Roosevelt had saved the country, when we know he helped only to finally wreck it. For a century, we have accepted the premise of Wilson that America should make the world safe for democracy. For all of my life, we have permitted the statists to continue a lie of gargantuan proportions about the efficacy of the welfare state for fear of being labeled as compassion-less.
We must become truth-tellers about all of it. We must dare even to tell the truth about the parts of it in which we may have participated. We must tell this truth to the young, because they ought to know it from us. It starts with a single confession: There exists no cause that will not precipitate an effect; there are no causeless effects. This simple truth applies to everything we understand about our world, but most particularly in this context to every human endeavor. Money does not fall as pennies from Heaven, and there is no free lunch. For every thing some person consumes, somewhere, in some fashion, payment will be made. The plotters and the schemers of the statist counter-revolution know this, but it has been their desire to disguise it, and too often, we have permitted them to propagate outright lies about it, or to reduce it to an emotional artifice upon which facts have no bearing or relevance.
I am reminded of an old joke about a wife trying on new dress. Asking her husband plaintively, she already has an answer in mind when she queries: “Does this dress make me look fat?” It is assumed in our culture that the man must answer in a particular fashion to soothe the vanity of his wife irrespective of reality by answering in the negative, but if true, what an honest husband must answer is: “No. It’s not the dress that makes you look fat.” It is this second clause of the answer, the one that defines the real problem, that we have abandoned as a culture. It is this second form, telling the whole truth, that we have permitted ourselves for the sake of immediate comfort to abandon. While doing so may be a suitable approach to marital relations in the estimations of many, such a fraud will not permit a country to live and thrive. What we have adopted is the cultural form of the expected answer for which the wife in this old joke had been hoping to soothe her vanity. This then must be the form of our answer in full, but applied to our cultural and political context: “It’s not the dress that makes you look fat. It’s the fat that makes you look fat.”
That sort of brutal honesty is a thing most are not now willing to adopt for themselves, never mind to profess it publicly. This basic shading of the truth by redirecting the question of effect to unrelated causes is the heart of our collapse. The statists rely upon it in so many issues and policies that I doubt I could name them all. It’s not a lack of contraception that makes women pregnant. It’s not the lack of a job that makes a person unemployable. It’s not a lack of any particular material thing that makes a person poor. It’s not a lack of money that makes a bank robber. It’s not the widespread availability of axes that makes axe-murderers possible. It’s not a lack of social programs that makes persons income-insecure in their old age, disability, youth, or at any other point in their lives. All of these are artifices, and all are contrived to permit us to avoid the unpleasant necessity of relating cause to effect.
Whatever we do, if we are to have any hope of reversing our decline, we must be truthful about its cause. When the professional protesters of statists’ instigation arrive to demand this thing or that thing, all assumed to alleviate their current state of discomfort, we are right to reject their bankrupt appeals, but more, to state flatly our judgments of the proximal cause of their “plights.” We must also state these truths about ourselves. We will not capture any solid proportion of the youth if we hide from the facts behind platitudes or pragmatic politics. The young people in this country are being sacrificed, and we are permitting it. We are. We’re permitting is because we don’t believe they’re worth the effort, and because we are consumed with hanging onto so much as remains of our own ambitions, goals, and long-range prosperity.
Our founders risked everything to carry out a revolution against that era’s preeminent manifestation of the state. They did not hide behind platitudes. They did not construct flimsy artifices and swallow them whole. They dared to name the truth of the matters at hand, and they did so knowing they might not survive to bear their revolution’s fruits. What truths will we risk? When we bounce our grandchildren upon our knees, taking delight in their precious smiles, at what point will we consider them old enough to know the truth about the world we are bequeathing to them? When our children near adulthood, will we have armed them with the facts, or will we permit them to struggle against or for the wrong cause, having unlinked the true cause of the effects they must now suffer? It is our silence that will kill them. It is the collection of artifices we have accepted that will annihilate their futures. Dare to look them in the eyes and tell them all the excuses, and that it hadn’t been your fault. After all, you didn’t choose this. You didn’t consent to this.
That shame we feel at having let this befall them must be given a voice. Since there are none but us to find it, we must gather our courage to say it. The statists did not alone impose this upon us. They had collaborators. Until we are willing to name them by confession, our silence is purchased and we are the root of the problem. Even now the Republicans who had opposed Obama-care with varying levels of ferocity only now to accept its miserable implementation as grudging convicts accepting the lashes for a secret guilt. Our progeny may now become slaves to our guilt, because for the sake of what we hope to scrounge in a dimming future, we won’t tell them the truth lest they discover our complicity. This conversion to rampant statism could not happen without our participation, or at least our silent assent. The establishment Republicans in Washington and elsewhere are those who had known better but said nothing out of fear that upsetting their apple-cart would cost them, too. We are the people who had accepted this as “leadership,” and who took a few of their crumbs offered as bribes for our silence.
Time is running short for this fading republic, and if we are to make a true effort for restoring her, we must state our case, including the confessions of every deceit we’ve accepted. It is not as though we hadn’t known. When we accepted the income tax, we knew where that would lead. When we accepted debt as money, we could not have believed it would be a solid foundation. When we accepted the programs with their ever-increasing eligibility, we must have known what it would birth. When we decided that we could “have it all” without the corresponding effort required to truly have it, we knew we were short-cutting. Let us then embark if we will upon a single premise that we often mouth without commitment to its meaning: “Freedom isn’t free.” It is now time that we clean our messes and bear its costs. If vanity leads the wife to ask a question for which she wants only a dishonest answer, what character defect in the husband permits him to satisfy the request? This is the central question that lies at the heart of our national morass, and until we answer it truthfully, there can be no restoration. We cannot hope to stave off the counter-revolutionaries by soothing their egos, and in so doing, satisfying a few of our own indulgences. The time for truth is now.
It’s not liberty that makes socialism unworkable…