In 1787 citizens gathered outside of Independence Hall as delegates emerged after the Philadelphia convention closed. As Benjamin Franklin made his way through the crowd a Philadelphia native Mrs. Powel asked Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
The other night when I was watching President Obama give his State of the Union address, he opened his speech talking about his grandparents and their contributions during World War II. This generation is often referred to as the “greatest generation.” This was the generation that held the country together during the great depression. This was the generation that stepped up and saved the world from the forces of evil. This was the generation that came home from the war and helped transform America into an economic powerhouse. They were a generation with innovative ideas and a free market economy to grow them. They were shining examples of rugged individualism who believed in free market principles and limited government intervention. Contrary to popular belief, they were not fans of Social Security or Medicare. Most viewed any kind of government program claiming to offer security in exchange for liberty with suspicion. They believed that more government meant less freedom. I know this because my grandparents were a part of this generation and they loved liberty.
Today we live in unprecedented times. America’s debt has spiraled out of control. The dollar is no longer the preferred currency of the world. Our credit rating has been downgraded. Our economic indicators show a weak economy growing at a snail’s pace with an unemployment rate of 8+ percent. Our education system is a complete failure. Our elected officials have doubled down on stupid by implementing terrible policies that have hampered economic growth and shackled individual liberty. They pass unconstitutional legislation and spending bills that create new and prop up old unsustainable government entitlement programs with borrowed money from China. Our growing national debt is over $15 trillion and is now 100+ percent of our GDP. Backroom deals and dirty politics have become the norm in D.C. as our elected officials raid the treasury to enrich themselves and fund pet projects. People are clamoring that the system is broken. There’s talk of reform and fundamental transformation. Folks we’re losing our republic and no one in Washington D.C. has the integrity or courage to save it.
This is not the first time in history that a great republic has fallen. We have the fall of the Roman Republic as a blueprint to examine. Rome like us was saddled with a massive amount debt due to continuous wars and corrupt politicians. Men of ambition rose to power through their military conquest and political maneuvering. The institutions and traditions that made the Roman Republic great were poisoned from within and fear grew within its citizenry as these same men of ambition promised reform to fix the system. Unemployment was high and a large portion of the population was much more interested in the games than reestablishing their constitution. A few champions of the republic stepped forward with cries to restore it and warnings that the end was near, but for the most part these pleas fell on deaf ears. Most Roman citizens were looking for the least painful solutions to solve their problems. They were looking for a leader to save them instead of looking to themselves for the answers. Rome turned into a mob and surrendered their liberties to an empire because it was the least painful solution. 2,000 years after the fall of the Roman Republic we find ourselves at the same crossroads and we’re making the same mistakes.
There is talk of a system in dire need of reform. I agree. We need to reform the system in a manner that limits the ability of ambitious politicians from obtaining more power to infringe on our rights. We do this by reestablishing the constitution as the law of the land. One candidate will not save the republic. It will take the effort of all liberty loving people to do the things required of them to hold our elected officials feet to the fire. As we look at the crop of candidates the process has selected for us to choose from, I must say I’m extremely disappointed. We need a liberty loving mindset in D.C. and this means we need a candidate who is willing to reestablish the constitution as the law of the land and deconstruct the unconstitutional agencies that are regulating our lives. We need a candidate who has the courage to repeal unconstitutional laws and deregulate so that our market can be a free market once again. We need a candidate who will decentralize control and give the power back to the states and people. We need a candidate who is willing to make themselves and government an irrelevant factor in our lives.
Do we have a candidate who is willing to do these things? The answer is yes. Is he leading the field? The answer is no. Why is he not leading the field? Because people are comfortable with big government in their lives and like the Roman citizens of old, they’re choosing the path that is least painful. And this is why we’re going to lose the republic folks. This is why America will lose its exceptionalism and we will be no different than any other nation in the world. We will go down as the generation who allowed the republic to slip away. I wonder how history will judge us.
Will history be kind to this generation or judge us harshly? Will history view us as weak or strong? 2,000 years from now will students be examining and discussing the glaring mistakes we’re making today? Will they wonder how we could be so stupid and let a good thing slip away? My guess is yes. If we fail now I believe history will be unkind to this generation and we’ll deserve it. You see we have very little time to reverse course and save the republic. If we don’t change our ways and change them within the next couple of years there will be an economic reckoning unlike we have ever seen before band we will wonder what happened. Many people will be blindsided by these economic events and will look to a leader or the government for more flawed solutions and trust me the government will be more than happy to offer them up. This equates to less liberty and more central planning by an imperfect government and that’s the kind of environment that will eventually lead to tyranny.
So this is where we are. How do we act? Do we take the painful and necessary steps needed to save the republic or do we take the path of least resistance? By the looks of who is leading in the polls we already decided. So much for keeping the republic our founders gave us.
Ben Franklin would be so proud of this generation…
Liberty forever, freedom for all!