Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Republic or Empire?

The founders of our nation were great students of history. Many of their friendships and bonds came from a mutual appreciation of great thinkers and great writers. The tenets of our sovereignty were forged in a manner unlike any other nation. There were great debates lasting months, even years. Great philosophies were dissected, deconstructed, and held to the light of experience, reason, history, and judicious analysis.

For more than a decade after these United States won their independence, great thinkers wrote, studied, debated and convened to set the right course for what would emerge as the uniquely democratic republic called the United States of America.

Famously [according to the notes of a Maryland delegate to the Convention of 1787], as the last day of Constitutional deliberation drew to a close and the attendees were exiting Independence Hall:

A lady asked Dr. Franklin,

"Well Doctor, what have we got: a republic or a monarchy?"

"A republic," replied the Doctor, "if you can keep it."

The ever astute Benjamin Franklin set the correct challenge before us those many years ago. Can we keep the republic envisioned by our inspired founders? Or will we fall to the natural temptation to choose monarchy and empire . . . to trade liberty for security and bondage?

This is not an outdated question. In all of recorded history there have been powerful leaders who articulately, resolutely, and logically argued for the cause of empire – and against the ennervating freedoms of the common people. Some of the most famous clashes amongst our own founders were upon this question. But they — all of them – ratified, in the end, a system which favored freedom above security and democracy above hierarchy. History is full of the regimes that decided otherwise – and the atrocious abuses of power that resulted.

Unfortunately, there is no question about it for a surprising number of our current leaders. They strongly advocate empire. If history is any guide, it is clear what path they are championing. And it is not a path I want to follow.

President J. Reuben Clark put it best, perhaps:

"For America has a destiny – a destiny to conquer the world – not by force of arms, not by purchase and favor, for these conquests wash away, but by high purpose, by unselfish effort, by uplifting achievement, by a course of Christian living; a conquest that shall leave every nation free to move out to its own destiny; a conquest that shall bring, through the workings of our own example, the blessings of freedom and liberty to every people, without restraint or imposition or compulsion from us; a conquest that shall weld the whole earth together in one great brotherhood in a reign of mutual patience, forbearance, and charity, in a reign of peace to which we shall lead all others by the persuasion of our own righteous example."

Finally, since I don't seem to be following up with my writing goals lately (lol) or moving (as indicated) to my new blog yet, here is a relevant discussion at an outstanding blog I just found last week.

Also, a website that has umpteen thousand recent articles and books on this topic: "Liberty Park, USA" . . . I especially recommend and

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