Guilty as Charged

Diogenes the Cynic and I are living in the same ceramic urn in the marketplace.

A long-time friend said she thinks I have become more cynical.

She is right. I have become more cynical. I think the problems we face are metastasizing and people are becoming more intractable. It is getting more difficult every day to see a civil solution, and I think the country is more divided today than it was in 1861.

Abe Lincoln’s first inauguration was conducted in the midst of national crisis. Secession was a grim reality and a mere two weeks earlier; Jefferson Davis had been inaugurated as the President of the Confederacy. Lincoln had arrived in Washington by a secret route to avoid danger, guarded by General Winfield Scott’s soldiers.

Even in this atmosphere, Lincoln’s trust in the people remained supreme. In his inaugural address, he stated:

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse.”

Even discussing secession, he stood firm on the role of the people versus the role of the government (including the judiciary).

“The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have referred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves can do this if also they choose, but the Executive as such has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present Government as it came to his hands and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor.

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.”

How different he found the role of the government…one gets the idea that our contemporary situation would have been unthinkable to him. Our governmental modus operandi has shifted so far away from Lincoln and toward the tenets of Marx, that it is unthinkable that a popular uprising could ever overcome the power of the central government or that such a movement could even be legitimate – ergo the bashing of the Tea Party by the statists in the political arena. For both major political parties and the bloated bureaucracy that supports them, the survival of the status quo is primary, and the will of the people is secondary.

Lincoln also said:

“By the frame of the Government under which we live this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.”

Would that Lincoln be correct in that “people retain their virtue and vigilance” so that “no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure”. The first 9 months of 2021 certainly have put Lincoln’s propositions to the test.

There is a significant percentage of our fellow citizens who are so dependent on government or are steeped in Marxist belief that they have lost any concept of retaining independence and freedom via exercise of “virtue and vigilance”. They have abdicated that responsibility – probably the reason that they demagogue anything for which the conservative movement stands.

There are many who think conservatives are calling for open rebellion simply by recognizing the same constitutional provision of which Lincoln spoke. We are not calling for rebellion, we are begging and pleading with the left to stop going down an anti-Constitutional path where rebellion becomes necessary. While the idea of rebellion foreign to our sensibilities, the Left uses it as a rhetorical weapon, a scare tactic.

But when the government (meaning any of the triumvirate of the legislative, judicial, and executive) is unresponsive or insulated from the will of the people and acting on its own, is it so farfetched that a new revolution is possible?

Lincoln certainly contemplated that it was within the scope of the Constitution:

“Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”

Can you imagine a modern president making that statement?

I can’t.

The Republic is in every bit as much danger of ripping apart today as it was in 1861. Then, the conflict was due to the enslavement of a race of people who were determined by the customs of the times to be inferior. A similar conflict arises today that cuts across racial and social lines, the economic slavery of the productive class of America by a Marxist government, regular people who are determined to be inferior by our elitist political class.

I guess cynicism is my way of dealing with it.