On a whimsy, I read it last week, and found I was completely wrong. What sounded like hollow demagoguery back in 1981 is now seen to have been a warning against a lot of frightening things on the national newsfront.
Yes, we know it is not hip to speak of family, Bible, and American exceptionalism. Skousen sets the matter straight. “It is extremely important to distinguish between a sense of mission and the spirit of perverted chauvinism associated with the idea of “racial superiority.” The former is a call to exemplary leadership and service. The latter is the arrogant presumption of a self-appointed role to conquer and rule.”
“Mission,” too, is a scary words these days, but the author quotes John Adams’ definition of America’s mission as, “the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” What’s wrong with that?
Skousen plainly exposes the nonsense behind the Fundamental Transformation promised by President Obama. We are not supposed to be a socialist state. We are not supposed to be a welfare state. People were supposed to rise to the full measure of their creation, and people in government were supposed to keep an eye on each other to make sure people like Lois Lerner would have to take the heat for making life more difficult for one group than another.
Speaking of making life more difficult for one group, Skousen points out, as many before and after him have, that federal programs hurt more than hinder. They implicitly assume one group is inferior to another. People, made in God’s image, are now recruited for and addicted to federal programs for basic subsistence. People are steered away from the American dream of being given a chance to work, save, invest, and prosper. Instead, they are given false hopes of instant mass prosperity, which thing never was and never will be. The line only serves to get phonies elected and hold them in office.
The power to treat people like animals to be fed a the trough, legitimized by weird rulings of the Supreme Court, is not one of the powers intended for the federal government by the Founders. Federal programs are notorious for increasing caseloads more than solving anything; hence the saying, “If the federal government had a War on Pregnancy, men would be having babies.”
In the early pages, I felt as if I was reading Atlas Shrugged without the love scenes. The so-called absurdities of power run-amok were not Rand’s inventions, but merely a fictitious portrayal of history repeating itself.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Founding Fathers were not shills bankrolled by the Koch brothers. They had had experience with the blood and horrors that result from too much power getting in one place. They fled from King George III, a tyrant, in an era when the notion of one guy forcing his whims on others was considered an insufferable evil.
The Founders went to great lengths to come up with a form of government that would respect the voice of the people while working against the creation of a privileged class. The idea of having a chief executive, a Senate, and a House of Representatives was a means of tying together monarchies, aristocracies, and democracies.
The reasoning was that megalomania gravitated toward seats of power, and so the best way to keep power in check was to pit power against power. Roles and responsibilities for each branch were written down in a Constitution. Back before the Norman Conquest, human rights were so self-evident, there was no need to write them down. The Founders learned from the consequences of the Norman Invasion the importance of putting things in writing.
Of course, most of the power remained with the people. It was incumbent upon citizens to be informed and involved. Public education was supposed to prevent people from tuning out and dropping out. If power vested in states halls of government could not control a jack bottom from “borrowing power,” the people themselves sure as hades would.
And so, it was important that the law be reasonable and plain so even the simplest among us could understand it. A bill so complex that it had to be passed to be understood – or even read – was out of the question. The rule of law was to protect people so they could plan for their future. Back in 1776, it was well-known that a health insurance law hard of interpretation and oscillating at the whim of arrogant powermongers would hurt the economy by causing employers to postpone hiring decisions.
As written, the Constitution gave the federal government very limited powers. The states were to manage their own affairs, and the federal government was to oversee international affairs. Alliances were considered entangling, and the Fathers knew enough about economics to trust that the realtime market could handle international trade better than the remote control of non-experts.
There is no need to alter or abolish the federal government. We need only elect people willing to uphold the law of the land. Adding his own emphasis to Thomas Jefferson’s words in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Skousen writes, “In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but BIND HIM DOWN FROM MISCHIEF BY THE CHAINS OF THE CONSTITUTION.”
The 5000 Year Leap is a simple book that can be read in a day. It is billed as something candidates can read while campaigning. And well they should because so much of its common sense is lost on our leaders. This Fourth of July, please consider reading the 5000 Year Leap.