The Perfecting of HistorySteven Lieberman
The “Perfecting” of History
Over the last few days, the single most important story that could dramatically effect our lives: The escalation on the Korean Peninsula has been supplanted by a insane act of violence in Virginia. Once again, the weapon of choice was not a gun or a knife… it was an automobile.
It was also a desperate reminder that politics has a failure point… what then happens… the result is often bloodshed.
Our system of government is elegant. It was developed to withstand the whims and vagaries of successive generations and stylistic attitudes. It does this through an absolute prohibition of allowing the government the ability to screw around with the minority.
This is important. Minority rights are the bulwark against tyranny. It also allows for both constructive dialogue as well as a shared “American Experience”. Without both, our Republic is lost.
The Constitution was written with goals in mind. Chief among them, as articulated in the Preamble: “To Secure the blessing of Liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity…”
Liberty is freedom from Tyranny, and that has traditionally been seen as tyranny by the majority against the minority. This is not always the case. There have been far too many instances of the reverse being true as well: Tyranny of the minority, against the majority.
The genius of our Founding Fathers is the realization that the government was a tool of force. A blunt, egregious club that if used properly was only effective in protecting the boundaries of human conduct. People would need to rely upon their own devices for social interaction and self development both personally and economically. The government was to be limited to securing the forum for an individual to act in a manner consistent with the development of their own personal happiness. Counter to this system, would be an individual using the coercive power of government to achieve a personal end.
Yet, here we are.
Individuals have become “corporatized”. There is no such thing as the “individual” . There is only the membership in a group or tribe that creates social value…. and for the first time in our history, the inclusiveness of that group or tribe has become selective. No longer do we yearn to have our thoughts grow, and have influence on others. Now, we seek exclusivity through the moniker of “Minority”.
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If we are a member of a minority group, we are defined as “aggrieved”… Yet the protector of our group has always been the Constitution itself. If the majority refuses to read your pamphlet, they cannot be coerced into doing so by the government. The market place of ideas will regulate which speech is sought, and which is considered worthless. The individual must tailor his message to achieve the widest receptive audience. If he is not successful, then his message… at least, at that time in history… will fall upon deaf ears. The majority cannot however use the power of the government to silence him. They can only use their freedom to ignore him.
The majority in any one particular City State, may not like the bearing of arms, but to the minority that finds comfort in the safety they provide, they should be secure in the knowledge that their rights are protected by the Constitution.
Yet, when the minority finds offense in the very nature of the Constitution… Well, now we have a problem.
Those that spout off about racial superiority are by definition intellectually inferior. Yet, should we say the same about those that seek cultural separation? What exactly is the culture that we are talking about in the first place? I participate in a variety of cultures. I am a lawyer, and as such, I participate in a culture that is based around other lawyers and an interest in eschewing emotion for logic. I am a historian, I surround myself with others that share a similar interest in using history as a measure of the human experience. I am a firearms enthusiast, a hunter, a Libertarian. All of these “cultures”, I am a part of, and some are mutually exclusive.
Because of the First Amendment, I am free to associate with those that hold a similar ideal and position within my culture. I am also desperately interested in attracting new members to my culture. My culture cannot be exclusive or they will ultimately die.
There is a common thread that connects all of these cultural tapestries… A fundamental understanding that I AM AN AMERICAN.
That means something.
That means… that I fight against tyranny. That I fight against the forces that would subjugate the Constitution to their own benefit, and that, I fight for the fundamental rights of my fellow Americans.
When we took our oaths as military officers, we swore to protect the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic…. the “domestic” clause is there for a reason.
Abraham Lincoln in his Lyceum address said “ All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasures of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force to take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be it’s author… and it’s finisher.”