Creative Destruction in a Constitutional Republic

The destruction of a corrupt form of government that no longer protects our most valuable principles and the creation of one that does is America's duty and responsibility.

A while back I wrote that, in my opinion, one of the issues that drives a significant amount of chaos in our contemporary culture is that mankind has largely stopped searching for meaning, adopting a nihilistic,” I better grab all I can get now because there is no future” view of the world.

It certainly seems people have stopped trying to define and understand the natural world (i.e. God) and deal with it on its own everlasting terms. They wish to ignore reality by redefining it to fit their desire to eviscerate any semblance of rules or order. Each sex seeking to “identify” as the other, people of one race “identifying” as one they are not, lies passed off as truth, opinions as fact – these are all examples of undisciplined minds succumbing to absurdity and giving up the search for reality, reason, and truth. Cutting through the absurdity of our times is a frustratingly tedious endeavor – but as Camus stated, there is purpose and happiness to be found in the endless work against it.

We are witness to an absurdist rebellion against nature, an uprising of the simple minded where ridiculous platitudinous theory spouted by pseudo-intellectual automatons are substituted for true scholarship and wisdom. It is a revolt of intellectually immature children, speaking a language constructed of pure nonsense and non sequitur, all the while receiving accolades from the ignorant madding crowd. This crowd consisting of people who are slaves to emotion and feeling rather than masters of logic and reason.

French philosopher Albert Camus noted, “Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle.”

Camus was correct, of course – but I also recall a quote by Vaclav Havel, the Czech statesman, playwright, and former dissident, who served as the last president of Czechoslovakia and then as the first president of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003.

Havel said:

“The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.”

Aye, there’s the rub.

If we don’t care about the meaning of our own lives – what freedom, independence and economic liberty mean as a part of our existence, how is it ever possible we will ever value such things? And if we do not understand the value, how will we ever devise ways to protect them?

I know that sometimes (OK, often) my philosophical rants are too long and involved, so let me cut that down by quoting two different documents, authored by two different men about a century apart and you will see my meaning.

First from the Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson (1776):

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Now from the Second Treatise of Civil Government by John Locke (1680):

“The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a legislative, is, that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the members of the society, to limit the power, and moderate the dominion, of every part and member of the society: for since it can never be supposed to be the will of the society, that the legislative should have a power to destroy that which every one designs to secure, by entering into society, and for which the people submitted themselves to legislators of their own making; whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence. Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who. have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society.”

Both Jefferson and Locke foresaw the nature of the nexus of men and power. They recognized that when power over others is at stake, representatives often seek to become rulers and rather than deposing them, the systems and methods of their tyranny must be destroyed, by revolution if necessary.

“Creative destruction” is an economic term that applies to how the free-market capitalism weeds out the inefficient and replaces it with something new and productive – but the term inexorably ties capitalism to our representative republic. What Locke proposed in his Second Treatise and mirrored by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most creative of all destructions – the destruction of a corrupt form of government that no longer protects our most valuable principles and the creation of one that does.

The Havel quote I posted at the beginning gets at the root of our destruction – knowing little about who we are but caring even less. The philosopher Immanuel Kant (yes, I know he was a real pissant!) called it “nonage” – the self-imposed immaturity of willful ignorance.

I often wonder if we would all benefit if one year out of every 4 years it takes to get an undergraduate degree should be spent on nothing but the study of philosophy and the transcendent wisdom of the ages.

I know it is beating a dead horse, but the answers to our problems are staring us in the face. They were given to us by the likes of Locke and Jefferson. We only need the courage to use them.