Of, By and For The People: Chapter 6

Greetings my fellow Americans!

Welcome to the seventh installment in this series about the original, and novel, premise of America, and the Principles of Liberty upon which it is based.  If you’re newly engaging with us in this, and are not familiar with the 28 Principles of Liberty as put forth in the book The 5000-Year Leap, I encourage you to read at least the Prologue to this series before proceeding.

We focus this time on the organization and structure of our national government.  As with all of the principles we’ve discussed so far, much of this will likely seem obvious to anyone who has been blessed with educators who truly understood the unique and divine gift which had been imparted upon humanity with the crafting of America.  Our intent here continues to be reminding ourselves of these principles, and to deepen our understanding and appreciation for why these have worked so well when abided.  The next three Principles:

  1. The government should be separated into three branches:  legislative, executive and judicial.
  2. A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power.
  3. The unalienable rights of the people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written constitution.

As we’ve referenced many times already during this journey through the foundation of America, a deep and respectful appreciation for Natural Law served as the backdrop for virtually every aspect of the American framework for civilization, and these three principles are no exception.  Effective and efficient government protecting the unalienable rights of the citizenry required separate, yet coordinated branches, with checks and balances built in not only between these but also from The People and States who consented to be governed by it.  Our Founders knew full well the dangers of too much government power in the hands of one, or a few, and took broad and deliberate steps in their design of the general government to thwart that human temptation.  Government at the consent of the governed was taken to heart, and accountability across all of the factions deemed critical to ensure individual freedom and good government codified in our Constitution.

Still, such a framework, and the documentation of it, was completely novel to human history before the American proposal.  Others have taken similar approaches since, but we cannot appreciate enough just how unique America has been (and still is) in the litany of human civilizations.  Even the Founders themselves heavily resisted the notion of the three branches at first, as much from lack of precedent as anything.  Though the idea of such mixed forms of organization and structure across a national government dated back to at least 200 B.C., no prior nation-state had even attempted to implement such a hybrid model, so no empirical evidence of success (or failure) was available in the 18th Century.

Our Founders were also all too well aware of what could happen (i.e., tyranny, oligarchy, mob rule) if any of the factions became too powerful, which is why each was to hold the others accountable, or “in check.”  Fearing one of these negative outcomes, they prescribed separation of powers, but not absolutely so.  Since each component within the American framework represented what they saw as a necessary government purpose, and/or a constituency of the general population which may have competing interests between each other at any given time, each needed sufficient autonomy to represent those interests while still being accountable to the others to frustrate dominion of their interests.

And this all needed to be in writing, since history had also proved that unwritten traditions may be very easily erased, especially in times of crisis, conflict or conquest.  While not the first governmentally-based charter crafted by human hands, its comprehensiveness, and Natural and Divine constitutional premises, were unprecedented.

However, our Founders still knew that parchment alone would not be enough to maintain the balance between individuals and groups of human beings with competing self-interests, nor for the natural lust for power to which we are all susceptible as fallen souls.  Earlier in this list of Principles we highlighted the essential qualities for Liberty of morality and virtue, in The People as well as their leaders.  As comprehensive and complete as our Constitution is (or was intended to be), its authors presumed that a sufficient number of The People would self-maintain the morality, virtue, and humility borne of belief in a Creator.  They would not lose respect for either Natural or Divine Law, and recognize themselves as well as others as fallen souls subject to the evils of temptation which have led countless others to death and destruction.  This was all implied in what was originally a beautifully simple document of a “supreme law of the land.”

A group of our Founders also took the time to document much of the background thinking and historical precedent which had gone into the organization and structure upon which they had settled, so that those in the individual States (particularly New York) would be able to make as informed a decision as possible on whether to ratify what would become that Constitution.  Known today as The Federalist Papers, five of those installments alone were dedicated solely to the notion of, and rationale for, the checks and balances which were codified with the intent of preserving that law in the face of our human propensity to decivilize and self-destruct.

We’ve strayed as far as we have from the original American charter not because our Constitution is fundamentally flawed, but rather in that we have failed to collectively maintain the self-discipline needed to operate successfully utilizing such a framework.  I will continue to defer to the plethora of other sources of real current events and consequences which have resulted from our “progressive” deviation from the original American concept, and instead reiterate the premise that renewal (and proliferation) of the greatest civilization in human history lies not in “fundamentally transforming” America, but rather returning wholeheartedly to those fundamentals.  Of, By, and For THE PEOPLE.

 

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