“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
My Dear Posterity,
Previously, I arose to implore you to consider whether or not the current course of your culture as currently constructed could answer the question “whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice.” Our fear is that based on so many years of neglecting the garden of liberty, you, as stewards of this wellspring, are implicitly answering in this negative.
But, as I left you previous: Take heart! We still have faith that this may still yet to endure as a republic, if indeed, you can keep it (except for Mr. Adams, who hasn’t stopped brooding since the election of 1912. But alas, a topic for another time).
I once explained the tenuous knife’s edge that is the construct of our constitutional republic: That a free society governed by men must have safeguards in place to balance the avarice of the people, as well as the powers that control them. As we can clearly see from here, men are still not angels. So what then, in light of this, are we to make of the current state of this race? I believe that just as Caesar once stood on the banks of the Rubicon and cast his die, so too will this race be remembered as a similar bridge: To either the continued liberty and prosperity we bequeathed you, or to their extinguishment and assured darkness.
My chief concern is that, as given to your current cultural moment, you are forsaking principle for the power of personality – again. Just as Roman forbearers did with the first Caesar, the calamitous ruin of a free people seems poised to take place not at the tip of a conquering sword, but by the winsome and gullible surrender of a free, peaceable (but rightly pissed off) people. In both camps, you have persons who, through the power of modern celebrity, are essentially (and perhaps literally. Who knows?!) getting away with murder.
One side seems intent on continuing its long, heinous tradition of using the media to buy people’s emotions with their own treasure (or, lack thereof. Seriously, have you seen your national debt? Not even Mr. Hamilton can condone such an egregious lack of fiscal constraint). This is nothing new; it is a tactic that has been persistently employed ever since the days of Jackson and Van Buren (don’t worry, neither are here). But currently, it has reached a clear tipping point, and the fate of the republic and perhaps humanity hangs in the balance. Desist being fooled by this at once, for no free people should ever voluntarily usher in their ruin when the basics of math should be so self-evident.
And yet, on the other side, you now stand ready to surrender yourselves to a man whose duplicity, lack of principle, and taste for power seem to know no bounds. A recent endorsement by another caricatured celebrity has only compounded matters, and furthered your confusion.
I wonder which of you could explain how this current front runner is the answer to “ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place”? His ambition clearly seems to know no bounds, and constitutional rights only seem to be fodder for his bullying tactics, easily dismissed when it suits him. He is the very embodiment of whom we originally wrote against so long ago, and yet, here he is again, poised to cast his die across the bridge of a bleak American future.
I fear that if you let him, dear ones, you will not only forsake what we passed on through blood and sacrifice, but you will be ignoring what is plainly in plain sight: He is no constitutionalist, but only another in a long line of history’s strong men, poised to roll over God given rights in the name of doing what he believes is best, and then destroying you if you disagree. Such a man cannot be trusted, because he would not consent to the enumerated limits we prescribed. This monster has worn many face and names throughout antiquity, but his methods and results are always the same: Tyranny, oppression, and the trampling of self-evident truths. Ironically, his ascension is always the same as well: The confluence of people’s anger, and their naiveté.
There are no angels among you, and there never will be. Not until this side of heaven, anyway. But this is why we left you a system constructed to balance that reality with the need for the freest order possible. Do not surrender that now to another strong man just because you foolishly believe he’s “your strong man.” For every strong man is only his own strong man, and the rest of us pay the price for his strength.
Follow the principles of our Constitution, and the principles that it is based on. For if you do not, all will surely be lost.
With warmest regards and the highest hopes,
“Publius” is a contributor to the ’76 Blog, and the pseudonym of a concerned patriot who previously taught American history, served in Afghanistan, and currently works in law enforcement in the Denver area. You can follow Publius on Twitter @Publiussays on Facebook at facebook.com/Publiussays, or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find all of Publius’ latest commentary at publiussays.wordpress.com.