And the republic for which it stands……

May 12, 2019

A long time ago, in a computing time far, far away I found myself sitting in my office chair, a thirty two year old man as giddy as a six year old at Christmas who’d just discovered he’d actually gotten what he’d asked for.  (Farm Christmases were directly proportional to farm summers and the yield and price of wheat and milo so there was ebb and flow to the space beneath the tree each December 25th.)

There it was, a brand new Packard Bell “PC” desktop computer complete with the marvel of a CD Rom drive.  It may be old tech today, but back then the idea that one shiny disc could now hold the same information as a shelf full of encyclopedias just twenty years earlier was the amazement of amazements.

Unlike the pages of my old World Books with black and white pictures, this baby brought it to life.  First up was the Apollo 11 moon landing.  That what previously had to be viewed via a television documentary or VHS tape was right there with the click of a mouse was this history lover’s nirvana

A quarter century later the internet has dwarfed that simple CD in our ability to go back in time and re-live much of the 20th century as it happened.  And I for one could not be more grateful.  For all its issues and pitfalls the World Wide Web is still man’s greatest gift to man.  The amount of knowledge available with a few words of “search” and milliseconds of one’s time is literally beyond comprehension.

And so it was, thanks to that technology that a grainy, black and white video clip made its way across my twitter feed this past week.  The man in the video and the bookshelves behind him were circa 1960’s but the topic of his words are as relevant today as they were that now half century past.

“The ideal of a Constitutional Republic is individual liberty. A democracy always degenerates into dictatorship which promises government guaranteed equality and security but it delivers nothing but poverty and serfdom for the people it robs and rules. America was founded as a Constitutional Republic to safeguard the liberties of the people against the tyranny of democracy or a one man dictatorship. In this century, great strides have been made toward the goal of subverting our republic into a democracy. The foremost tactic of the subverters is the subversion of language. By calling America a democracy, until people thoughtlessly accept and use the term, the totalitarians have obscured the real meaning of our principles of government.”

Using that same internet that delivered the historical tidbit to me I discovered the man in the video was Dan Smoot. And while history shows a man on the far right even in his time, his words on this topic are neither left nor right, they are straight from our founding.

If I had to name but only one inaccuracy in the political minutia that is thrown at us today it’s the constant repeating of “a threat to our democracy”, “our democracy is in danger”, “American democracy is at stake”.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve comment on or responded to online articles and tweets with a simple “We are a Constitutional Republic, we are NOT a democracy.”

Why, because there is a difference, a big difference.  The Salem Witch trials and the French Revolution just two examples of the danger of pure democracy.

And with tens of millions of young Americans today not having been taught the historical knowledge of the founding of this republic in school continual rote repeating of the word “democracy” as defining American government has an exponential effect on the psyche of the body politic that elects that government.

Just look at how quickly so many today are blindly accepting calls to abolish the Electoral College, have judges or “experts” draw Congressional districts, and abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement while embracing sanctuary cities.

The rule of law and the very founding principles that protect that rule are under attack by power hungry politicians happily willing to mislead a gullible public with their siren call of “democracy”.

Americans are pitted against Americans with rhetoric that conditions aren’t “fair”, that there is too much “inequality”, too many being “left behind”.  And of yes, of course “elect me and I will use the government to make it all fair, equal and inclusive.

A promise that could only be achieved by using the power of government against the very individual liberties the Constitution and the republic it represents was founded to protect.

So whatever your political leanings, I beg you, don’t just hear the words, use this great technology, this world wide web, to look up the facts for yourself.

Learn of your republic today lest you find a tomorrow with it no more.

Editor’s Note:  A version of this column first appeared in the May 12, 2019 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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