Thursday, July 04, 2013

Revolutionary ideas

Roger Simon asks "Is America in a pre-revolutionary state this July 4th?"

That such questions are being asked is indicative of the answer, I suspect.  John Adams famously said
"The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution."  (emphasis added)
Or, to put it in the words of our founding document, a sufficient number of American colonists decided the government of Great Britain no longer secured their rights, but rather, actively threatened them:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Do we not see a similar shift occurring today, as people wake up to the realization how much their government monitors and controls them, through measures great and small?  It is difficult for anyone to imagine drastic change to the status quo.  But when enough input overcomes that inertia, change can be rapid indeed--just ask Louis XIV.

As the Declaration points out, however, there is a prudent reason to resist changing government for 'light or transient causes.'  The excesses of the French Revolution (or its modern counterpart in Russia in 1917) show what easily happens when pent-up social pressures finally explode.  The so-called 'Arab Spring' revolutions of the past few years also show that revolution does not yield automatic improvement.  We take it for granted the American War for Independence was going to produce the nation we call home today, but that was by no means a certainty. 

The events of the 1770s and 1780s were driven by a particular worldview and culture--one that our nation has done everything it can to undermine in recent decades.  Not content with the consolidation of power in the Federal Government that resulted from crushing the attempt at Southern secession, the powers that be have increasingly used that instrument to mold a culture and a people very different from those who founded the nation.

There are those who remain loyal to the ideas of 1776.  Increasingly, they are being forced to choose between those ideas and the modern version of the U.S. that professes to uphold them, but seems to do anything but.  It cannot be flags or symbols that command our allegiance--those are often subverted for other causes. Those who claim the legacy of the Founding Generation must trust in Christ and cling to what is right... no matter what banners it may advance.

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