According to our Declaration of Independence, governments derive “…their just powers from the consent of the governed.” But as demonstrated in the Middle East today, all government powers, just or unjust, are by consent of the governed; and that consent can be withdrawn from even the most oppressive dictators.
So the problem with despotism is never really the despot. The problem is that for every despot there is a majority of citizens who empowered that despot. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Caligula and countless others didn’t kill hundreds of millions by themselves, you know. Do not fool yourself; people like Kim Jong Il, Charles Taylor, Hirohito, Mugabe, Quadhafi, Nebuchadnezzar II, Nero or even Vlad the Impaler are everywhere and always among us. They are nobody special by themselves.
Here in the USA, we can conveniently, painlessly choose how we are to live. Deny it or not, we have exactly what the majority of us have freely chosen. We may say we want change, but we vote for mostly elites and incumbents. We may say we don’t like the corruption and money in politics, but less than 10% of us ever vote for anything else. Many dictators of the past century, including Benito Mussolini, were elected by people just like us.
So consider what we’ve chosen. We’ve not had even a year’s peace since the War to End All Wars. The Home of The Brave has sacrificed freedom for empty promises of security. The Land of The Free has the world’s highest percentage of citizens in prison. We really do tax people out of their homes to pay for homelessness programs; and we tax, regulate and litigate away businesses to stimulate the economy. We guard borders everywhere in the world except at home. For the first time ever, we’re working longer hours, taking fewer vacations, spending less time with our kids, and living more poorly than the previous generation. The rules we must live by are unknowable and ever-changing – law has now become little more than incantations, as high priests of law in grand courts decree, apparently on whim, how things are to be.
Are you happy with this? Is this how you want to live?
Humans can learn. When we want something, we know all about our choices of color, flavor, engine size, craftsmanship, price or caliber. We spend crazy amounts of time on sports, or romance novels. I know people who can tell you the vertical jump height of their favorite basketball stars, or can detail Oprah’s diet ups and downs.
But by what I’ve personally seen in tens of thousands of average voters, We The People apparently don’t care about the injustice and madness we’ve chosen to make of our lives. We know less about those we’ve chosen to lord over us than we know about movie stars. We certainly don’t know anything about our state and federal constitutions.
Despite what we may say, our votes say that we want unaccountable people of status and money to tell us what to do. Our behavior in the voting booth is beckoning a dictator. I believe we’re going to get one soon.
May I make a request? I’d like for you to read your state and federal constitutions and see what we’ve thrown away…and could have back anytime we choose. They are still law, though we act otherwise. They would still work better than anything else ever tried, if we’d only try them.
If you’ve taken the hour or so it takes to read the federal constitution, you already know that federal government should be invisible to almost all of us almost all the time. The Indiana constitution is the contract most relevant to Hoosier life. It’s a longer read, but still not terribly long or complicated. Both comprise rules of life that are few enough to know, simple enough to understand, and important enough that everybody should obey them without exception, all the time. The free life these contracts describe is simpler, safer, and in every way better than the politicized lives we’re living now.
You can read these constitutions (with my annotations)here:
Please ask other people to read them too. If you know somebody who wants to read them, and has no internet access, and you’re too cheap to print them out yourself, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get you copies.
Yes; it’s that important to me. I have to live here too…