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We’ve worked through all 5 stages of grief for the Republic. Now, on to The New America!

8 January 2013

Summary:  As the Republic dies, its opponents become bolder.  They move from subtly working to undermine it, to outright advocacy of its overthrow.

“We’ve spawned a new race here … We’re a new nationality. We require a new nation.”
— Benjamin Franklin speaking at the Continental Congress, 7 June 1776 (in the film 1776)

20120618-constitution-coffin

Perhaps we’ve become a new race, so that the America-that-once-was no longer suits us.
Perhaps we require a New America.

Contents

  1. Five stages of grieving for the Republic
  2. A new Republic for a plutocracy
  3. A Marine speaks against the Constitution
  4. For More Information

(1)  Five stages of grieving for the Republic

Grief is the price we pay for love.  Kubler-Ross describes grief as psychological process of adjustment consisting of five stages (for more on the theories of Kuber-Ross see Changing Minds and Wikipedia):

  1. Shock & Denial:  Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news:  trying to avoid the inevitable.
  2. Anger:  Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
  3. Bargaining:  Seeking in vain for a way out.
  4. Depression:  Final realization of the inevitable.
  5. Testing and Acceptance:  Seeking realistic solutions; finally finding a way forward.

In March 2011 I wrote:

Our constitutional Republic has died (or details see this post of July 4, 2006), and each of us feels the loss in some way (this accounts for the low morale seen in public opinion polls).  We have moved with little fuss through stage one.  What comes next?  We’re sheep (the Republic died from our passivity and ignorance).  The ovine {of sheep} grief process differs from that of men and women.  Perhaps we will move directly to step five.

Less than a year has passed and we have evidence that my guess was correct.  It’s become routine to advocate overthrow of the Constitution and the Republic. Here are two examples.

(2) A new Republic for a plutocracy

Our first exhibit is a law professor who explains that the Constitution has died, as we’re too weak to amend it.  He’s less explicit about what comes next, but filling in those blanks takes little imagination.

Let’s Give Up on the Constitution“, Louis Michael Seidman, op-ed in the New York Times, 30 December 2012

As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

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20120416-American-decline-statue-of-liberty

… Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago. As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is.

… This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands.

… What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy. The president would have to justify military action against Iran solely on the merits, without shutting down the debate with a claim of unchallengeable constitutional power as commander in chief. Congress might well retain the power of the purse, but this power would have to be defended on contemporary policy grounds, not abstruse constitutional doctrine. The Supreme Court could stop pretending that its decisions protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.

The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity. And as we see now, the failure of the Congress and the White House to agree has already destabilized the country. Countries like Britain and New Zealand have systems of parliamentary supremacy and no written constitution, but are held together by longstanding traditions, accepted modes of procedure and engaged citizens. We, too, could draw on these resources.

What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences. No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation

… If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.

Louis Michael Seidman, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, is the author of the forthcoming book On Constitutional Disobedience.

Who will gain power once the paper walls of the Constitution are shredded?  (Eric Posner knows) What will replace the utopian dream of a nation ruled by “We the people”?

Despite Seidman’s assertion, we can predict “what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation”.  The few remaining restraints on the 1% will vanish, their limitless avarice will be unregulated, their lust for power will be unleashed.  It’s an old story.

(3)  A Marine boldly speaks out against the Constitution

Meanwhile the Republic rots from below, the ultimate cause of its fall being the our unwillingness to bear the burden of self-government.  Instead of understanding our system, people increasingly adopt the Constitution as a totem.  A fetish object, brandished to justify their personal beliefs. Once this happens, a people becomes an easily led mob.

Posted on the CNN website, where it ignited a firestorm.

Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government’s right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma’am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston
Corporal, United States Marine Corps

Corporal Boston has taken most the steps toward fascism. Belief in the “people” more than the Constitution.  Ignorance of American history (gun control has been common since the late 19th century; debate about the “militia” clause goes back even earlier). Most of all, unwillingness to follow properly enacted laws (without which no political order can survive).

We should start a poll:  brown shirts or black?  How soon?  In the service of whom?  As for the last, it will not for us.  I wonder how narrow Boston’s definition of Americans?  For many on the Right the category of “real Americans” excludes a large fraction of those bearing citizenship.

Combine these two developments — overthrow of the Constitution in the hearts and minds of our elites, and our Marine Corporals.  Truly only God knows how this all will end.  Each day’s news makes it more difficult for me to imagine this will end pleasantly.

(4)  For More Information

Posts about the death of the Constitution:

  1. Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006
  2. RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic died this week. Of course, we don’t care (that’s why it died)., 5 December 2011
  3. “Lawfare” – using the law to undermine the Constitution (a powerful tool in the quiet coup now in progress), 22 December 2011
  4. What will replace the Constitution in Americans’ hearts? Let’s check for Fascism., 29 March 2012
  5. The Republic has died. Let’s decide how to commemorate those responsible. Post your ideas!, 31 May 2012
  6. More death throes of the Constitution. Nothing remains in the ruins but politics., 20 June 2012
  7. Slowly more people see the “quiet coup” now in progress, 25 June 2012
  8. Looking ahead to the next step of the quiet coup, and a new America, 3 July 2012
  9. We are alone in the defense of the Republic, 5 July 2012
  10. More evidence that the military is slowly cutting itself off from civilian control, 15 July 2012
  11. They need not use force to take over, 16 July 2012
  12. Undercutting people’s trust in the Republic: another step to destroying the Republic, 27 August 2012

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One Comment
  1. Thomas More permalink
    8 January 2013 1:41 am

    FM asks: “We should start a poll: brown shirts or black?”

    A tasteful maroon, methinks. Since the global war on terror is in reality a new Grand Inquisition, clerical garments seems most appropriate.

    Like

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