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As we listen to the three major candidates and try to decode their statements and slogans (“Change we can believe in “or “Yes, we can”), it becomes increasingly obvious that the main issue of this campaign is the nature of our government and whether or not it should be changed. Changed to what? The Founding Fathers gave us a constitutional republic, which severely limited the power of government. It gave the American people the greatest freedom any people had ever enjoyed, and with that freedom they built the most dynamic, prosperous society in history.
Back in 1933, when Fabian Socialist George Bernard Shaw came to America to lecture us on our deficiencies, he said:
When you came to examine the American Constitution, you found that it was not really a Constitution but only a Charter of Anarchism. It was not an instrument of government: it was a guarantee to the whole American nation that it never should be governed at all. And that is exactly what the Americans want. …
You had perfected a Constitution of negatives to defend liberty, liberty, liberty – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – against the only checks on anarchy that could secure them, and fortified it by a Supreme Court which dealt out nothing but prohibitions, and a political party machinery of legislatures and senates, which was so wonderfully devised that when you sent in one body of men to govern the country, you sent in another body of men along with them to prevent their doing it.
Shaw, the socialist, did hit the nail on the head. And there are socialists among us today who want to do away with our constitutional system and change our government into a European style social democracy, which has unlimited power over every aspect of life.
To some extent we are already there, considering all of the government programs since Roosevelt’s New Deal that have intruded into every aspect of American life. But the two-party system has remained true to its function: to make it difficult for Congress and state legislatures to enact laws that are too radically removed from our basic form of government. The result is often gridlock, but that’s what’s supposed to happen when politicians try to impose laws the people don’t want. We call them checks and balances.
There is no doubt that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are on the side of social democracy. Where McCain stands is hard to pin down. He does occasionally sound like a conservative in favor of limited government, but he is not a movement conservative committed to a set of articulated principles. And neither is Bush. They espouse a kind of mushy country club Republicanism that occasionally echoes the principles of government enunciated by our Constitution.
But since everything has changed since 9/11 in the interest of national security, it has become hard to tell what kind of government we actually have. We have a horrendous problem with illegal immigration. Our economy is bedeviled with enormous debt, inflation, a falling dollar and employment insecurity. We are involved in a costly, frustrating war in Iraq and Afghanistan against Islamic extremism. The price of gasoline is changing driving habits. The government schools are still dumbing down the kids. And the calls for “change we can believe in” makes all conservatives very uneasy about our future.
Does “change we can believe in” mean giving up our national sovereignty for a North American Union to be later linked with the European Union?
Shaw may have called our constitutional system anarchic, but what did he offer in its place? In the same year he spoke, Hitler took control of Germany and got rid of any anarchic tendencies among the German people. The Communists in Russia were starving Ukrainians and applying the merciless dictatorship of the proletariat over every poor Russian.
Are the American people hankering for social democracy? Do they want socialized medicine? Do they want more government regulation and higher taxes? The Founding Fathers very wisely give us the Bill of Rights as added protection against government tyranny. And computer technology is providing the individual with the power to speak out and be heard. But what must come out of this coming election is some indication of where this country is headed. The present uncertainty is so unnerving that Americans seem to be putting their nation’s future and their own on hold. But hopefully, that uncertainty will end next November … or it will become worse.
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