By Randy Wills
This is my second contribution here at America’s Right and, though it may be unconventional, I felt as though I should follow up and expand upon my first. I’ve read the comments written in response to Barack Obama is Not the Problem, and I really appreciate that so many people took the time to express their views, some in support of the point that I was trying to make, and others in opposition. For those who were supportive, you have my heartfelt thanks. It’s good to know that I’m not alone. For those who took issue with my perspective, I might point out that a certain amount of respect for one’s elders–that would be me–is a “virtue”, much to be desired.
Just kidding. I’m tough — I can take it.
My concern, however, is that the last sentence of my article–And please, God, deliver us from any among us who would advocate change through violence.–really threw some readers off the central message: that the Founders believed the constitutional form of government that they were proposing was doomed to fail if certain values were not maintained by the citizens. Although I agree completely with their perspective, I am in no way making an attempt to convince anyone, other than by empirical evidence, that the Founders were right. No evangelizing or proselytizing here; just trying to “illuminate the record”, as old Mayor Curley of Boston was wont to say.
It is my firm conviction that the observable events, from the founding of our nation to this day, confirm their beliefs. Of course, lest I be accused of hypocrisy, the Founders themselves failed in one important instance of following their own convictions — they thought that it was necessary to sidestep the issue of slavery in order to keep the colonies together. It took another one hundred years and 600,000-plus lives to put an end to that evil. One can only wonder.
We talk about the foundational truths of the Constitution and how we must get back to a government which reflects the intent of the Founders in that document, but we don’t seem to want to acknowledge the central idea that only a God-honoring people would be able to preserve, in practice and longevity, a free democracy. I just happen to believe that we will never understand what has gone wrong unless we accept the possibility that they were given a supernatural wisdom that the nation has, to a large extent, abandoned. A historian will tell you this very same thing — that you can’t correctly interpret a historical record without first examining and understanding the perspective of the writer. So that is my contention, that we are trying to recreate something while omitting a fundamental ingredient in the process.
During those times in my work-life when I was responsible for either designing or managing complex manufacturing processes, I learned early on that to rectify an observed manufacturing defect in the finished product, I had to first set aside all of my assumptions about the process–even if I had designed it myself–and start at the very beginning of the process, constantly asking: “What has changed?” Assuming that the process had previously demonstrated the ability to turn out “good” product, I might find that one of the process modules had gone “out-of-control” and needed to be recalibrated, or it might be operator error due to inadequate training. More than once it turned out that the problem wasn’t the process itself but rather the material going into the process. But the solution to a failing production process was NEVER to try to meet the production schedule by simply culling out the defective product at the end of the process. This mentality, which I believe is reasonably analogous to our political problem, will inevitably bankrupt a company — or a country.
The point that I’m trying to make is that simply replacing the defective output of the process–in this case, the Obama administration and his minions in Congress–with different politicians and then expecting that everything will start to turn around is much too simplistic a response to the gut-wrenching direction in which the country is headed. I understand how others could perceive as pessimistic my language stating that I don’t think, in the long run, this approach is going to make much of any difference, but to me it’s just the unavoidable truth–let’s call it “reality”–that we have to face.
This assumes, however, that we are willing to stipulate that the Founders were given a special wisdom when they were writing the Constitution. If we are willing to accept that condition, then superimposing the above analogy on the political process, it would be difficult to avoid the conclusion that the fundamental problem is with the “material”–here, the voting public–going into the process. Furthermore, we can easily deduce from the Founders’ own words that the nature of the defect (again, “What has changed?”) in the “material” is the worldview which motivates an electorate to vote one way or another. In other words, the Founders anticipated that human nature, left to its own devices, has an innate tendency to gravitate towards lawlessness and only God-directed virtue would do as an antidote to that tendency. They believed, as I do, that without that Godly restraint, Congress would be unable to pass enough laws to sufficiently mitigate the effects of human nature. And isn’t that clearly what is eroding our freedoms? Because we don’t operate on the basis of personal responsibility for our own actions, Congress steps in and enacts more and more laws, or, as Benjamin Franklin said, more “masters.”
That being said, can you accept that I’m not trying to undermine the attempts to bring about positive change through the political system but, in focusing strictly on that, we are only treating the symptoms and not the sickness? Painkillers are helpful and, at my age, I thank God for them, but I’m not foolish enough to believe that, just because the pain is relieved for a time, anything of consequence has been cured. I believe it is indisputable that we can know from the historical record and observable events, just as the Founders did, what the disease is and how to cure it.
Now, I’m not a “philosopher” as someone suggested; I didn’t survive for all those years in one of the most competitive work environments by being a dreamy-eyed idealist. Where I come from, you had to deliver the goods or you were out and success always started with a willingness to face reality. Philosophers after all, don’t meet payrolls or customer expectations.
As for my rift on non-violence at the end of the article, I said nothing about self-defense. I did my time, when asked, in the military during a time of war, although I was assigned to Europe rather than Korea, and I am far from a pacifist. My point, however, is that preemptive violence was not the path that the colonists took to gain independence. They first formed an ad hoc governing body, convened the Continental Congress, declared their independence from England in writing, submitted it to the British Parliament, and only after their demand for independence was rebuffed and the British tried to confiscate their arms did they respond in warfare.
And there was another important factor regarding both with the Revolutionary War and the Civil War — there were observable physical boundaries defining the areas of claimed sovereignty which could be defended. If one were to advocate violence nowadays, where would they start? And, unless they are proposing guerilla-type violence, from where would they launch such an event? And who would be their targets? The next-door neighbor? Bravery has nothing to do with my position; there is a process that all legitimate uprisings must follow, and that process starts with peaceful means, employing lawful methods, to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the status quo. I learned long ago–and, as always, the hard way–that it is never what the other person does to me that caused irreparable damage; it was always the way that I responded to the affront that determined my well-being. So it is now with the political situation.
Our future depends more on changing the educational system which engulfs our children in an environment steeped in hostility towards all traditional Judeo/Christian values and traditions than it does on the election process. Yes, work to elect conservative representatives in government, but at the same time do whatever is necessary to protect our children from this hostile environment controlled by the unions and find ways to actually give them an education so that they have some idea of where we came from and where we went wrong. The present educational system defies all common sense by refusing to teach the very values that our Founders believed were the bedrock principles of our form of government and societal norms.
It is imperative that all who are concerned with the deterioration of values in our society to get our children out of the public school system. This system is in the full control of the teachers’ unions, which are unabashedly and irrevocably instruments of the very secular progressivism that, if allowed its way, will erase forever the perspective of our founders. Find an affordable private or church-run school that isn’t afraid to invoke the name of God, or home-school your children. If, by so doing, we could reduce the population of the public school system by 10 percent, it would not only redeem that same percentage of future voters but also would bring about massive change simply because of the shortfall in federal (read “taxpayer”) assistance based on attendance. After all, doesn’t it seem a little bizarre to bemoan the loss of freedom on one hand and, with the other, pay teachers to make sure that they are disabused of the notion that there are higher powers–parents and God–who have something to say about values and responsibility?
It has always been that, if those in power attempt to enslave the population by means of violence, then it will most certainly be met with violence. But that is not yet our situation, so let’s put our efforts where it will really make a difference. Save the children.
Randy Wills lives in the Northwest with his wife of over 52 years and divides his time between his role as Operations Manager of a software development business founded with his son in 2002 and maintaining close contact with his extended family. Both he and his wife are avid readers and spend as much time as they can together reading and engaging in deep discussion of history, religion, and politics. For recreation, Randy and his wife like to “get away” in their RV.