by Mr. Lesser (GHG) 3/20/15
This is not an essay where I share my viewpoint. Rather, my intention is to elicit viewpoints from others. You see, I’m frustrated because I know things are not the way they should be but I can’t figure out how we got to this point. So maybe the best place to start is to define “we” and “this point.”
“We” is America, or to be more specific, it is the American culture shaped by the American ideal. We are many peoples mixed in a melting pot where individual flavors are not lost but blended into the amalgamation of a common culture based on individual freedom and limited government and guaranteed by our founding documents.
“This point” is how radically different our culture has become from where it started. The culture war has been all but lost on every front: spiritual, family, economic, education and others. We now have less individual freedom and practically limitless government.
How did we get here? Where did it go wrong? Was there an initial misstep or were there a series of unrelated missteps? It could be argued that failure is inevitable with every human endeavor, but I don’t want to gloss over the details. I want to illuminate them. I’m just not sure what they are and I’m hoping this august group of ST’ers can help flesh them out.
To get the ball rolling, I will list some topics that seem like turning (tipping?) points to me. Certainly not an exhaustive list and maybe some not even germane. But please comment, give your studied opinion, or even just your gut feeling. Lively discussion is encouraged.
The first potential misstep is the U.S. Constitution itself. I have great respect for our founding documents and consider them on a par with the Magna Carta, if not surpassing it as the greatest of all man inspired documents (consider the Bible to be God inspired). But, the Constitution was a document of compromise, expeditious for ratification but leaving hairline fractures, some of which would be rent asunder four score and 7 years hence (actually less – but you know what I mean).
Were the seeds of our own destruction planted in the Constitution?
Some other potential missteps:
• Judicial Review (Marbury v. Madison). Was it constitutional to begin with? Has it blurred the separation of powers? Are the results good or bad?
• Lincoln’s nationalism and the Civil War’s effect on federalism and state sovereignty. The abolition of slavery was a worthy “end,” but did the “means” weaken the structure of our federal republic and give over some parts of state sovereignty to the federal government. And is that good or bad?
• The Sherman Anti-trust act and other economic legislation were intended to create a level playing field. Were the results beneficial or harmful to America’s free market system in the long run?
There are many other potential missteps and landmark events that may have contributed: Wagner Act (unions), 16th Amendment (IRS), creation and expansion of the government bureaucratic leviathan, enlightenment philosophies and science, just to name a few more.
I won’t presume to know where we’re going, but I think I have a good understanding of where we’re at. I’m hoping your contributions can help me have a better understanding of how we got here. Is this an exercise in futility? I suppose, but humor the old guy would ya.
GHG (Mr. Lesser to his friends) is a budding (no pun intended) freelance writer. • (2498 views)