Revolutions happened in other countries. The USSR, their satellite countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, African countries, and of course those banana republics somewhere down south, but one thing is for sure, it can’t happen here. Following in the footsteps of giants who have used these prophetic words of Sinclair Lewis I want to examine how it did happen here.
In the America of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, in the America we inherited from our forefathers we knew that there could never be a revolution. We had the Constitution with its checks and balances, its separation of powers, and its Bill of Rights. These were rock solid, carved in stone, and strong enough to preserve the Republic and safe guard the freedom of its people.
Besides the American people would not stand for some wannabe dictator and his brown, black or whatever color shirt followers marching through the streets and into the White House. The sons of the Pioneers wouldn’t sit still for any attempt to curtail limited government, personal freedom, or economic opportunity. No way! No how! Others might accept censorship, surveillance, and rigged elections, but not us, not Americans. We had fought wars to defend our independence, wars to defeat totalitarianism; we had even fought wars to spread freedom. No, we wouldn’t quietly allow homegrown tyrants to grasp the levers of power.
I sounds so comforting, "It can’t happen here." If you take a beginning Political Science class in either High School or College you will learn how the government works. How bills become laws, how the legislature is made up of the freely elected representatives of the people, how the President runs the executive branch and the Supreme Court sits atop the judicial branch. You will learn about the Declaration of Independence and how the Constitution was written to replace the Articles of Confederation which were too weak to work. Yes, you will learn all about how it’s supposed to work.
In most schools you will also learn that the Constitution is a "living Document" that can be re-interpreted to fit every generation and every age. The results of 100 years of re-interpretation have led us to the brink of ruin and me to recommend that the study of the Constitution be moved from Political Science to History, since what rules us today is legal precedent and bureaucratic regulation. The courts use foreign laws and traditions to interpret our laws and traditions. The legislature passes laws they don’t read filled with thousands of pages of vague platitudes and goals that the bureaucrats fill in with no oversight and the force of law. And the
President does whatever he wants and no one says a thing.
So how did America fall for the oldest con in the world: "Give me your freedom and I’ll give you security?"
Those who wished to gain power had no ideology or theology which inspired them. They only sought power for power’s sake. They espoused whatever populist themes gave them the broadest support. To bring as many interest groups as possible into their coalition they embraced an "I’m okay you’re okay" relativity that rejected absolutes and extoled the fringe as the mainstream.
And all the while the decedents of the blacksmiths and farmers who once congregated on corners to discuss the latest political pamphlet or to debate the merits of economic policy snoozed on the couch waking up long enough to go to work or watch the game.
The Revolutionaries of the New America first took root in the faculty lounges of academia providing the intellectual and cultural cover for an American movement that promoted the opposite of everything America stood for. From the classrooms of our colleges, came the next generations of teachers, journalists, lawyers, artists, and politicians. Soon it was common knowledge that our once rock-solid Constitution was a Living Document to be twisted and changed whenever those in power found the need.
From here it was just a matter of time until a revolution was accomplished through evolutionary change. Once the centers of power were secure in Washington, Hollywood, and in the media the trickle of change became a torrent and the torrent became a tsunami. Two wings on the same bird of prey, perpetually re-elected representatives from the twin headed party of power pander to the lowest common denominators, buying votes, using taxes to punish enemies, and tax money to reward friends.
Our tyrants-in-training have captured the government and the economy, created a dependent class of motor-voters, convinced people that a continually growing debt is sustainable, and turned the government into the one who picks winners and losers instead of a free economy. The slow slide down a slippery slope has accelerated into a precipitous procession over a predictable precipice. To those who have seen this coming it is like watching a slow motion train wreck. The coming destruction is not mitigated in the least by the decades or warning.
Our prideful boast of it can’t happen here has become a heart wrenching analysis of how it did happen here. How did the Progressives capture our land and subvert our Republic? They did it gradually inch by inch, step by step. When they lost a round they held their gains and as soon as possible recovered their long march toward a totally transformed nation.
How they changed it brings us to the question, "How do we change it back?"
Violent revolt is both repugnant and obviously suicidal to people who understand that once that genie is out of the bottle there is no way to know which way it will go, except that the odds are heavily against it ever landing back in a stable land of limited government and personal freedom. The power of the state is overwhelming. Millions of shot guns, pistols, and even those terrible assault rifles we are constantly being lectured about would make no headway against Abrams tanks and F-18s.
There are only two ways to have a successful peaceful revolution. One: the vast majority of the people must go on strike and refuse to operate as a society until the changes have been made. Or two: it must happen gradually line upon line verse upon verse always keeping the goal in sight and moving forward at every opportunity. In other words we must do to the new establishment what they did to the old: not overthrow it, supplant it, and replace it in the hearts and minds of the people.
We can rest assured that all people at all times eventually yearn for freedom thus the stage is set by the very nature of man that God imprinted on us in His creation. Free choice is the natural state of man and in the end we will return to it. This pall of totalitarianism which is falling like a shadow across the land will one day awake to find the light of liberty cannot be quenched forever.
What should we do? Education is the key. If you are not a teacher become one. Learn to show yourself approved. Teach anyone who will listen of freedom, of the true History of the American experiment. Become involved in any way you can to retake control of our education system so that we can train the coming generations to love freedom, truth, justice, and the American way.
And don’t lose hope. God created us to be free, and though tyrants always seek to ensnare people in their self-serving systems we will one day be free again. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Remember what we thought couldn’t happen here has and what they think can’t happen to them will. Freedom will rise from the ashes and one day the light of liberty will once again burn brightly in America the beautiful.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @