For most of us, our concept of history begins with our own generation. Consequently, we believe that the problems we face were invented by us and it is up to us to find new solutions for them. That is not the case, however. Many generations have faced the problems we are dealing with today. The reason we are having such a difficult time in solving them is twofold. First is the idea that it is up to our political leadership, and particularly those in our national government to come up with the solutions. Second is our tendency to view every problem as a separate issue, each with its own unique solution.
Although, on the surface, the problems we face today all seem to be separate issues, they are not. Out of control spending, the looming specter of confiscatory taxes, a burgeoning national debt, health care, energy, the global warming farce, declining quality of education and all the other issues we worry about daily are merely symptoms of our one fundamental problem, a lawless, out of control government. That, in itself, is not new by any means. It dates back to the beginning of our republic and to some of our Founding Fathers.
President Obama brought nothing new to the table. His administration is merely the culmination of the hundred year assault on our Constitution that began in the late eighteen hundreds during the Progressive (American socialist) era. Even that was not the first attempt by our elected leaders to circumvent the Constitution. Many of the Delegates who participated in the Philadelphia Convention were in favor of an all-powerful federal government with the state governments subordinate to its will. That is why it proved so difficult to get a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution after it was ratified by the states.
The lust for power was as strong in the breasts of our Founders as in any of the politicians we send to Washington today. John Adams, for example, one of the leading patriots during the Revolution, and who later became our first Vice-President and then our second President, was a great admirer of the British system of government, as was his close friend Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson relates an incident concerning Hamilton and Adams and their admiration of the British Constitution in a letter to Benjamin Rush, January 16, 1811.
“I invited them to dine with me, and after dinner, sitting at our wine, having settled our question, other conversation came on, in which a collision of opinion arose between Mr. Adams and Colonel Hamilton, on the merits of the British Constitution, Mr. Adams giving it as his opinion, that, if some of its defects and abuses were corrected, it would be the most perfect constitution of government ever devised by man. Hamilton, on the contrary, asserted, that with its existing vices, it was the most perfect model of government that could be formed; and that the correction of its vices would render it an impracticable government. And this you may be assured was the real line of difference between the political principles of these two gentlemen.”
As we pointed out in a previous post, the British constitution is the model for the progressives concept of a “living Constitution”. Jefferson also made the following observation concerning Adams’ Presidency in a 1793 letter to James Madison.
“…If Mr. Adams could be induced to administer the government on its true principles, quitting his bias for an English constitution, it would be worthy consideration whether it would not be for the public good,”…
Today, Adams is esteemed as one of our greatest Presidents, and in many ways, he was. However, he seemed to possess two of the character flaws that are common among those who aspire to government. First was the belief that only a member of an aristocracy is suited to the role of government, and second was his inability to deal well with opposition. These characteristics coupled with his disregard for the American Constitution caused him to overstep his authority as President and eventually destroyed his Presidency and the Federalist Party he and Hamilton founded. Jefferson also referred to this aspect of the Presidency of Adams in his “Thoughts On Lotteries” included in a petition to the Virginia Legislature around 1825.
“…[D]uring the administration of Mr. Adams, [t]heir usurpations and violations of the constitution at that period, and their majority in both Houses of Congress, were so great, so decided, and so daring, that after combating their aggressions, inch by inch, without being able in the least to check their career, the republican leaders thought it would be best for them to give up their useless efforts there, go home, get into their respective legislatures, embody whatever of resistance they could be formed into, and if ineffectual, to perish there as in the last ditch…..”
The Federalist Party’s and Adams’ disregard for the constraints of the Constitution, more than anything else resulted in his defeat at the polls in 1800 and the eventual demise of the Party some twenty years later. The electorate could very well deliver the same verdict on the Obama Presidency and the Democratic Party in 2010 and 2012. That, in fact, represents the best and possibly only hope for the survival of our Republic.
Should the present follow the same course as history, displaced Democrats will flock to the Republican Party over the next few decades, transforming it into a progressive party. That would be the proper time for the emergence of a “Constitution based” Conservative Party to preserve the Republic. The current attempts by the media and the progressives to encourage the formation of a third party based on the tea party resistance, is premature and self-defeating. Its only result would be the continuance of the country in the grip of progressivism, leading to the final destruction of the Constitution.