By Joel M. Skousen
Yes, I know very well that this country was not crafted as a democracy, but rather a republic of individual sovereign states. Democratic elements were there, to be sure, but they were strictly limited by a Constitution which restricts the lawmaking powers of the majority. Rights of the individuals were stipulated, and the lawmaking authority was delegated to representatives of the states, not the people at large.
Sadly, our constitutional limits have been gradually eroded by the courts, and we have become more of a democracy than a republic with all the inherent dangers of theft-by-majority-rule. What has become apparent, after the recent election, is that adherents to limited government are no longer the majority in this nation.
If we don’t change this trend, no significant reform of government will be possible by democratic means. Without a majority of citizens who are willing to take responsibility for themselves and reject increasing government intervention in the economy, anyone who seeks public office will be forced to appeal to benefits and programs favored by the new majority – which programs are financed by deficits and taxes that are sinking our fiscal ship of state.
One of our most important tasks is to help undo the poor level of political and economic education our youth receive in government schools. Our youth emerge with little knowledge of the basis for limited government laid down by the Founding Fathers or an appreciation for the free markets and the dangers of inflating the dollar to bail out the banks and other nations.
Instead, students are regaled by the glories of government programs “helping” the poor, the arts or education. It is easy to love what you don’t have to pay for, and this is why politicians love deficit spending: It allows them to sell the benefits of programs, foreign aid and even so-called “wars of liberation” without allowing the public to feel the direct financial pain.
If citizens had to directly pay for all they want government to do, support for so many government programs would collapse immediately. Now that we are already over a fiscal cliff, the only solution proffered is to “tax the rich,” who already pay most of the taxes anyway.
I have no illusions about the near impossible task of reforming government schools. What we can do, however, is make sure our youth get a strong dose of reality packaged in a way that youth can understand and enjoy. Here’s one way to start:
Country Singer Charlie Daniels hosts a powerful and vital DVD documentary that sounds the alarm over the current danger to American liberty: “Behold a Pale Horse.” I was one of those privileged to contribute to this great film. It serves a great need in that it allows us to introduce our youth and their friends to an overview of America’s problems in a way that is pleasant to watch and easy to understand. Let’s start winning back the hearts and minds of our youth with this well-crafted film.
Joel Skousen is a political scientist by training and the editor of the World Affairs Brief, a weekly news analysis service.