(Re-post from June 4, 2010 on old site for continuity)
In her book, “The End of America”, Naomi Wolf clearly defines the fascist threats to our free society. I applaud her immensely for pointing out that we are running headlong down a swift path to totalitarianism. The executive branch has assumed too much power. The legislative branch has been usurped by power brokers who promote and sell their minions. The judicial branch has is not impartial in its reframing of the Constitution in practice. The only question I would ask her is this: are you sure who the culprits are?
First of all, the term “democracy” is thrown around without a lot of thought these days as to what type of government our forefathers really established. We can define democracy as the rule of the people. But this is not quite what was established in the beginning. The fathers created a Constitutional Republic. Within the framework of the Republic was the allowance for the democratic process. In other words, many things that had no bearing on the structure of the law could be decided by the legislative process.
To give an example of this concept, let’s look at the original Greek text of the New Testament of the Bible. There is a word adiaphora, plural of adiaphoron. The basic meaning of this word is “outside the law”. This is a very important concept for church affairs. What it amounts to is a democratic process. The Church is to be built on the rule of law. The ten commandments set out what is proper, and the Gospel spells out the proper structure of love toward God under which these laws were to be obeyed. The purpose of living under these laws for the benefit of each individual and for the body as a whole. But, these laws were a framework. They did not get into the minutia of everyday details of living. Unlike the Torah, or Old Testament, which prescribe a lot more detail about how to eat, dress, and work, New Testament granted Christians the right to use their own judgment, guided by the framework, to work out their daily living. They then have Christian liberty, total freedom in these adiaphora, or, matters not specified in the framework of law, so long as their practices did not violate the spirit of the law.
To return to democracy, then, democracy is for deciding the adiaphora. States have individual freedom to customize the Constitution to their needs and tastes, so long as they do not violate the structure itself. The Constitution is supposed to be the immutable law of the Republic. The democratic process can flesh out the law as needed, but it shall not modify or supersede the Constitution.
There is truly liberty in democracy. But liberty is not license. We have no license to bend the Constitution to every whim of the people. This, unfortunately, is what we have been doing for the last century. And this is the great fallacy that has opened the door to despotism in this country. The Constitution cannot be changed, bought, or influenced; but the will of the people can! The greatest trick of the last century has been to convince the people we are a democracy and not a republic.
Again, I have to take my hat off to Naomi Wolf. She rightly tells us that the responsibility for Constitutional knowledge rests with each individual. It’s also the responsibility of everyone to learn history. History allows us to see how men have tried to subvert the rule of law, and what the consequences have been. But history is written by the winners. Winners are not likely to tell us when they were unethical. Therefore, only careful study of the framework, and careful examination of the acts of men against the backdrop of that framework, can lead one to an understanding of the truth. But we have to want to see the truth.
All men sin, and great men sin greatly. It is our job to be ready to tell them when they have sinned and help them get back on the right path. I’m certain that the prophet Nathan didn’t want to go confront King David, the most powerful man of his time, and accuse him of adultery and murder, especially when the evidence was merely circumstantial and unprovable. Yet, he did what had to be done. Fortunately for him, David fessed up and repented. Now I suppose that I could say that our modern media is the Nathan of the story. It’s easy for the media to harangue the devils they know, but what about the devils they don’t know? Or, more likely, what about the men that they see as great. Are they just as likely to call out their great sins? Or are they willing to shove them under the rug, with the understanding that it’s a necessary evil in order to effect a “regime change”? What has been gained if there is still a regime?
I feel inclined to ask whether the players in the political game are more than just pawns. I feel inclined to ask whether, in the larger picture, there is really only one regime, and that all the men and women on the stage are merely players. If we, as suggested, decide to impeach and imprison the present colludes, what is to prevent them from being replaced by an equally complicit group from the “good side”? Unless and until we root out the cause of the disease that corrupts both sides, we accomplish nothing. Until we restore the Republic, we are destined to be ruled by men.