I have a young friend whom I admire very much. She writes, and this is one of the things she wisely wrote, ‘Government as a human act of governing oneself and one’s responsibilities and one’s dependents is very different from the modern institution of the State.’ What she says here is, I think, the foundation of all true government, and when one has this kind of government, one needs very little else for the proper functioning and maintenance of the state. The country I live in, (the United States of) America, was designed and established to operate on this model. Our original Constitution and Bill of Rights can only be successfully applied ‘as is’ to a free people, folks who govern themselves and manage their responsibilities responsibly. Every true democracy and revolutionary state started out this way, but none has successfully followed through. They (like we) alter the original documents to ‘make do.’
I like the original Communist idea, that society will evolve in such a way that people of good will can govern themselves and deal with each other responsibly and with high morality to the point that ‘government,’ that is, what we call ‘the state,’ will just wither away. Living in the nineteen sixties and seventies as a young ‘revolutionary’ myself, belonging to various kinds of ‘people’s this-and-that,’ you know, co-ops and so on, I could almost feel what a stateless society would be like. Well, I am a historian and know what actually happened to my generation’s ‘revolution’ and everyone else’s. Flop! At least, in our case, the death casualties were much less than those of the French Revolution of 1789 or the Russian which ushered in the Soviet Union. There were casualties, nonetheless. Spiritual casualties, and in the time since then, the worst calamity ever to occur in America, the devolution of education.
You see, a dumb people cannot be a free people. They can only be what ignorance makes them, babies. Well, a baby is a cute and cuddly thing if you don’t mind the dirty diapers, the food messes, the unintelligible bauble and cacophonous crying, not to mention the fact you’re tied down with babysitting or carting them with you everywhere—Whew! I’m glad that’s over! But when a whole nation is gradually reduced to this ‘state of helplessness’ (pun intended), somebody has to step in and manage the menagerie. This is why the saying is pungently and urgently correct, ‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.’ Well, let me tell you, we’ve tried ignorance in America, perfecting it as a tool of the political elite for as long as I have been alive. Fortunately, I started my life early enough to see the vestiges of an educated, informed, and free people, before they all died off, and I remember.
It shouldn’t be this way. ‘America’ shouldn’t be something you only read about in history books or an idea that people say is only an impossible ideal. Yes, as I have said many times, ‘America’ is not just a country, it is an idea. It is an idea that any thinking person in the whole universe would want to live for, and want to live in, if it ever were a real country. The hope of that still resounds throughout the world, even though the land of its birth, the United States, now demonized as the moral refuse of the earth, called ‘the Great Satan’ and other less flattering epithets, has fallen from it, still motivates people to want to live here. I’m sure most of them, once they are apprised of the current reality, still want to, not because it’s perfect here in America, but because we still have hope, and free speech. If only those two things remained in America, it would still be worth living in, and dying for (if it ever came to that).
Today I noticed yet another ‘Republican’ candidate announcing his intention to run for President, that office of elected monarch that, in view of its current occupant, makes Napoleon look good. The man that caught my eye today is a proven successful politician, having been governor of the largest of the old states, bringing ‘gold coins by the bushel’ (as predicted a fortune cookie I once opened) to his state’s coffers. Well, none of this impresses me. It’s not that he is a successful politician that makes me disregard him. It’s his stockpile of worthless band-aids. Like almost everyone else who is entering the race, he is focusing on symptoms, not on causes. What has gone wrong with America from top to bottom has nothing to do with jobs, or the environment, or people not getting enough rights, and so on. What’s wrong with my country is its profound and engineered ignorance. We need education.
And education without hindrance by cultural and political correctness, because these false moralities have eroded not only our sense of real morality, but our spiritual (not religious) base, that national character that makes us capable of living as a free people. Just as paper Christianity has little holding power, so does paper Liberty. You can proclaim that we are a free people till you are hoarse, but it will mean no more than the Maoist platitudes puked out by the Chinese politburo during the Cultural Revolution. Politicians, we can see right through you. Your promises are as dear as fast-food commercials, and your faces as beautiful as the rear end of an ass. Please, stay home and play computer games or do your online stock deals to your hearts’ content, but get off the podiums, put down your megaphones, retire your cheerleaders, and leave us in peace to decide our future. We deserve better than you.
Back to education. This is, or should be, the priority that decides the fate of America in the next election. What? Education will pay the bills? Education will preserve the ecology? Education will defend the country against its enemies? Well, uh, yes, it will. But better than that, and if for no other reason, an educated people is a free people. They can really vote in elections, and know how to vote reasonably and not as a response to automatic subconscious stimuli dished out by invisible sociopaths. An educated people knows what is right and wrong. They are not afraid of God or the Ten Commandments. They understand what the Constitution really means, not what they are told it means. They can think, and speak, for themselves. O my God! Can a people really be trusted to be free? I might not think so, if it weren’t for the fact that God actually showed up in person and said, ‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed’ (John 8:36).
Have I said enough? Am I expressing myself politically? Have I incited controversy? Well, no one pays any attention to me anyway, and for good cause. I’ve never really learned how to live successfully in this world, and now I am almost too old to try. But in almost every encounter I have with anyone or anything outside my front door I am disappointed by the ignorance I meet. This is not intellectual ignorance. Not everyone has to speak three or four languages and be able to recite from memory every British monarch since Henry VII in correct order (with the dates). No, it’s an ignorance of a greater magnitude. It’s an ignorance that dissolves ‘the other’ person and makes service a lie, friendliness an act, righteousness a function only of balanced books and a good credit rating. It’s an ignorance that doesn’t know what to do when your house is burning down and there’s an unused fire hydrant right in front of it.
People! Let’s come to our senses, wherever we live, in America of the outer or the inner worlds, people of good will, let’s lay down our false political allegiances which are no more than the shackles of slavery, let’s learn to live by reason, let’s learn before it’s too late how to build our house, how to maintain it, how to guard it and sustain it. Educate ourselves! Free ourselves from the darkness of laziness and apathy. Follow not the swine as they, demon-jockeyed, hurl themselves down the slopes into a lake from which there is no return. Remember the Gospel, Christians! Remember our Freedom. He is that and much, much more, as those who become His friends will discover. But if you’re not able for whatever reason to accept Him as He is, then at least, think on these words penned by one of His also unchurchable disciples,
To the States, or any one of them, or any city of The States,
Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth,
ever afterward resumes its liberty.
— Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1860)