On this important date let’s remember the past and look forward to our future
Summary: On this day in 1781 the America Republic was born in the midst of war. Here we review its evolution, and the latest stage — which looks like the largest step yet. At some point incremental steps create something new, something different.
Science Fiction Shows a Possible Future for America
“So this is how liberty dies. To thunderous applause.”
– Queen Padme in Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Evolution of the American Republic
On this day in 1781 the Republic version 1.0 was born, as Maryland ratified the Articles of Confederation, making it the basis of the revolutionary government.
On 21 June 1788 version 2.0 of the Republic was born, as New Hampshire ratified the Constitution – replacing the Articles (in defiance of the Articles provisions for amendment).
On 9 April 1865 General Lee surrendered, ending the 4 year long birth throes of version 2.1 of the Republic.
On 2 September 1945 the Empire of Japan surrendered, ending the 12 year long birth throes of version 2.2 of the Republic.
On 11 September 2011 al Qaeda attacked America, giving Bush Jr the opportunity to initiate massive changes in US domestic and foreign policy. Ratified and expanded by Obama, these radically changed the course of America’s evolution from that of version 2.0. As with the previous transitions, the magnitude of this change will become obvious only slowly. This might be the largest transformation of all. My guess is that the result will be version 3.0 — a New America.
Versions 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1 had highly limited franchises — limiting the vote by property, race, and gender. Version 3.0 might also be a limited democracy. Perhaps very limited, such as a plutocracy or a high-tech version of a elite-controlled society.
The builders of the New America, and the applause
A government reflects the nature of the governed. Most importantly, their strength and weaknesses — and their relative desires for security and liberty. As we have changed so must our political system. In our dynamic society this evolution has happened quickly and easy: civil liberties stripped away, massive new security services created, broad domestic surveillance machinery erected, and police militarized.
Even more important we developed the deference to government of subjects, not citizens. Legislatures, judges and journalists all genuflect before the Executive Branch’s claims of secrecy — and accept as gospel whatever accounts of its actions the Executive deigns to give. Broad claims of new powers are greeted with respectful silence — or even applause.
This shows that these changes have the consent of the governed. Some are enthusiastic, especially those in the police, domestic security, intelligence, and defense “communities”. Point out to them the attacks on the Constitution and hear their contempt. Such this concise statement from a smart, knowledgable citizen (their defection from the Republic shows our peril):
“I support these measures. Huh. How about that.”
What about the large numbers of people who do not approve? Silence means assent. Every day is referendum. Every day that goes by without large protests is a vote for the New America.
An upcoming post will discuss what this means for those seeking to reform America.
Innovation of new forms of society and technology. It is the key to our progress. It has allowed us to evolve from naked hunter-gatherers to the dominant species on this planet. This process is slow, normally taking hundreds or even thousands of years. But occasionally evolution leaps forward.
— A slight tweak of Professor Xavier’s words from the title sequence of the movie X-Men (2000)
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For More Information
A look at America’s future: birth of the New America
- A soft despotism for America?, 22 July 2008
- What comes after the Constitution? Can we see the outlines of the “Mark 3″ version?, 10 November 2008
- US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder, 3 January 2009
- America reaches a tipping point as Washington becomes its heart and soul, 29 January 2009
- A look at America’s future – grim unless we get smart and pull together, 12 March 2009
- “The Coming of the Fourth American Republic”, 24 April 2009
- For America to prosper it must first burn, 22 November 2010
- Origins of what may become the 3rd American Republic (a plutocracy), 8 April 2011
- A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals, 10 August 2011
- How to Fund an American Police State (aka Weaponizing the Body Politic), 5 March 2012
- What will replace the Constitution in Americans’ hearts? Let’s check for Fascism., 29 March 2012
- Bulletins about the birth of the New America, and the disinformation driving it, 24 September 2012
- Under the cloak of liberalism America slides to Fascism, 20 October 2012
- Attention Americans: the Revolution has begun. You must choose a side., 23 November 2012
- The New America needs a new national anthem! Here’s my nomination., 24 November 2012