Self-rule is still new-school.
Topics in this post:
- Let’s talk about self-government.
- A grand experiment.
- Our republic’s threat from within.
- Technically, many grand experiments.
“A government of laws, and not of men.” – John Adams.
Let’s talk about self-government.
At Citizen Do Good, we place our faith in self-rule as a true means for people to govern themselves. In the United States, you may overhear the phrase, “Government of the people, for the people, and by the people.”
Our republic is a form of self-government. It has been established and regulated by the institutions set forth in the Constitution of the United States of America. 250 years have passed since the founder’s Declaration of Independence and a mere 57 years as a democracy, our experiment in self-rule is still new-school as constitutional republics go.
At the time of the nation’s founding, it was quite a radical idea that people might govern themselves. Up to this point in most people’s memory, they only knew of kings and queens of old. Not since the likes of ancient Rome or Greece did we have any evidence of successful republics or democracies. By learning from their example, the framers tried to avoid their pitfalls and address the unique problems facing our nation.
A grand experiment.
As described in the post, “About Our Freedom,” we have had many versions of government. This shows the iterative nature embraced by the framers who struggled to create our union. Time and again, their faith was placed in a system of laws that could change along with our people.
They learned to layer these powers and authorities to establish a system of power-sharing. It was intended to stabilize a set of governmental power structures using checks and balances. It teetered and it fell on occasion. But we the people, the posterity of today, have the benefit of continuing the experiment. Self-rule is still new-school and we get to make the syllabus.
“I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.” – An ironic quote from Thomas Jefferson.
The idea of self-rule was in and of itself a grand experiment in thought. To consider the opportunity to make a new nation, one unlike any the world had seen in thousands of years. The promise, ratified in writing, of a place where people could join together under the common cause of liberty and self-direct their destiny with free agency and a stern will by law.
Our republic’s threat from within.
We also found that sometimes the enemy of your enemy can be your friend for a time – at least long enough to win your independence from a greater power. In their case, greater power was a king’s army. Eventually, old foes can turn new leaves as pressures from common threats are abated. A lesson not to forget and one reason why war has been used as a unifying force.
“When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government – that is despotism.” – Abraham Lincoln.
As history goes, our unreconcilable differences ultimately led to years of brutal civil war. The deadliest on U.S. soil, until the COVID-19 pandemic, and still the most Americans killed out of any of our many military engagements.
Reunification was fraught with issues. Slowly reconstruction failed to complete its mission. Yet another great compromise was won against the liberty of many. It became clear, that what was once an open war had become an insurgency.
Propaganda, terrorism, mob rule, and draconian law were used to reinstate old authoritarian power centers across the south. Those subversions inspired groups to spread throughout the union and share the gospel of hate.
The only real threat to the promise of forming a more perfect union was from within. The Confederate States of America and its mission of white supremacy were the greatest threat the Union had ever faced.
This continues to be the case. As we saw with our own eyes on January 6, 2021. Not to exclude the other days like it, leading up to that day of infamy. This is a nation of laws, not a nation of “the white race.”
Technically, many grand experiments.
Technically, the United States is not only one experiment in self-rule. It is not even fifty experiments. Beyond the fifty states plus D.C., we have a little more than three thousand counties. Each one with full governing institutions and operations. Add on top of those, we have cities, towns, and other styles of local government. That is a lot of self-governing and each version is a demonstration that self-rule is still new-school.
The reality is that within our nation alone, there are thousands of various-sized experiments in self-rule. They are operating in production right now.
Where you live and are probably sitting right now, you are a constituent of several representatives. For instance, a county seat representative, a lower chamber, and an upper chamber representative in your state legislature. Then Congressional House and Senate representatives to boot and, of course, the President of the United States.
These are the people that work directly for you. They are your representatives. They are the means by which we conduct self-rule – giving consent to our representatives for making law on our behalf.
In theory anyway. Today, it is more likely to be about money, money, and yet still again more money. They should all work for you by design. Unfortunately, there have been a number of bugs introduced into the code over the years we need to fix.
The beauty of self-rule is that it’s designed for change. So let’s get to it and form a more perfect union!
What are your thoughts on self-rule fellow citizens?