[Originally published November 9, 2012]
"A nation that expects to be ignorant and free is a nation that never was and never will be." — T. Jefferson
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO UTOPIA. Alexis de Tocqueville put it this way:
"I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of [laypersons] . . Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate . . .
"It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood [to age 26 and beyond?] . . .
"[The elitist] chooses to be the sole agent and only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security [etc. but] what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking . . .
"[He] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd . . . . "
Can you say "32 ounce Slurpie," boys and girls? Plastic straws banned? Correct pronouns mandated? In his first inaugural address, President James Monroe said:
"What has raised us to the present happy state ? . . . The Government has been in the hands of the people. To the people, therefore, and to the faithful and able [representatives] of their trust is the credit due. Had the people . . been less intelligent, less independent, or less virtuous, can it be believed that we should have been blessed with the same success? While then [America] retains its sound and healthful state, everything will be safe . . .
"It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin."
Half of the people who vote for "Santa Claus" probably wouldn't be able to define "usurper" to save their lives. Well, if we can't beat 'em, maybe we should join them:
You want free cell phones? Free abortions? Okay, then give us free car insurance. Free insurance and free gasoline. Free insurance and gas and car repairs. Shoot, how about a free bed to go with the birth control, eh? Just remember one thing from history: that which becomes "free" soon becomes scarce or totally unavailable!
BY THE WAY, Webster says that "usurp" means "to seize or hold power or position" (etc.) by force OR "without legal right." Can you say voter fraud, boys and girls?
IN CONCLUSION, THE LESSONS OF THE 2012 and 2020 ELECTIONS:
1) "Nice" guys finish last.
2) America may not even deserve a nice guy "at this point in time"!
P.S. For eight years plus 6 weeks of kindergarten, I attended a one-room country school that operated on a shoe string. We now spend $12,000 per pupil per year, and the majority of "graduates" can't read, write, or do arithmetic at grade level. That's enough to make an old man cry. We were reading before getting half way through the 6 week kindergarten classes.
When I graduated from 8th grade, two students had a 12th grade equivalency score on the final exam. About 20 rated 11th grade. If I recall, about 40 percent of the 160 rural graduates scored 10th grade or better. Most of the rest scored 9th grade equivalency. There were NONE who came in below grade level!
PPS: By the way, I was the salutatorian with a "12th grade, first month" score. At the commencement, there was an invocation and a benediction by a priest. Two of the songs that we sung were "Faith of Our Fathers" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." That was May 26, 1956, almost exactly 67 years ago, before God, country, and phonics were pitched out the window.© Curtis Dahlgren
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