Alan Keyes
Why Ben Carson is not the answer
Candidate is committed to pragmatism over principle
By Alan Keyes
May 14, 2015

    ...mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves.... But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
America's founders had a shrewdly accurate understanding of human nature. Because they aimed to maintain a form of government based on reasonable persuasion, rather than forceful manipulation, in their political speech, they drew upon this understanding in order reasonably to justify a given course of action.

So the above quoted words from the Declaration of Independence refer to the natural tendency of human beings to keep on doing what they have done, even when they suffer by doing so. To be sure, at some point the pain they experience will cause them to act out against what or whomever they perceive to be responsible for it. The question is, will their action be a reflexive, ill-conceived squall of outrage, liable to do more harm than good – or a deliberate choice, made in light of a clear sense of their own good? Will it be intended just to manage their pain, or to heal the disease that occasions it?

The pain-management alternative is like the action of a mob – dangerous, unpredictable, likely to be morally and materially destructive, but ultimately ineffective against the disease. Such were the peasant revolts in medieval times (e.g., the uprisings against the nobility in France during the 14th century, known as the "jacqueries," or in the German Peasants' War of the 16th century), the urban uprisings that marked the advent of the French Revolution in the late 18th century, and most recently the mass movements of the so-called Arab Spring.

But America's founders disparaged what Lincoln would later call the "mobocractic" spirit. As John Adams made clear when he wrote:

"What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760-1775, in the course of 15 years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington." (letter to Thomas Jefferson, Aug. 24, 1815)

Ironically, the present elitist faction assault against the constitutional sovereignty of the American people implements a strategy that abuses the understanding of the founders in order to destroy the Constitution's republican form of government the founders were determined to perpetuate. The disposition to "suffer while evils are sufferable" avoids casual instability. But it may also lead people to be lethargic when real threats to their liberty require energetic, expeditious action. Their high threshold of pain makes them susceptible to an intentional pain-management strategy, one that subverts and replaces the institutions that enshrine and implement their constitutional sovereignty.

The pain-management strategy involves taking steps that in principle discard and overthrow the constitutional sovereignty of the people, while ensuring that the damage inflicted on any given group of people stays below the threshold of perceived pain pervasive enough to unleash a general squall.

This strategy allows repeated assaults on the common good of the people. But it does so gradually, taking care to maintain the façade of republican institutions dependent on the will of the people. Those institutions foster the illusion of representative government. So the people who bother to vote must see their poor judgment or ineffectiveness as partly responsible for the pain they are suffering. And those who don't bother to vote must see their passivity as partly to blame for their plight.

This sense of responsibility simultaneously mobilizes shame and pride against the impulse to decry or actively resist the abuses from which they suffer. After all, if officials they voted for are responsible for such abuses, the first step required to oppose them is to admit that voting them into power was a damaging mistake. Pride rebels against such a shameful admission. People may happily take advantage of any excuse to avoid it or, if they admit to being mistaken, to palliate the gravity of their action. Meanwhile, people who refrain from citizen action may content themselves with the excuse that it obviously doesn't do any good.

Ironically, the economic damage done by elitist-faction policies intended to weaken and preoccupy the people compounds the detrimental effect of their natural disposition to "suffer while evils are sufferable." So even when they see the harm being done to the common good by the elitist faction's assault against the principles and institutions of the Constitution's republic, and have the will to resist, they are increasingly hampered by an actual incapacity (lack of time and money) to do so.

Thus, even people who earnestly desire to restore and maintain America's constitutional republic continue to participate in the elitist faction's sham party system. To restore the constitutional republic, Americans must conform their political activity to the structure and purpose laid out in the Constitution. All who instead uncritically conform to the structure and purpose of the elitist faction's partisan sham must realize that they are contributing their money, time, and moral resources to republic's destruction.

As you consider this conclusion, ponder an illustration of its truth. This week, Ben Carson formally announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for president. With supposedly fiery rhetoric calling on people to "tear down the GOP establishment," he seeks to attract and absorb the time, money, and resources of some of the people who know that the GOP leadership now collaborates with Obama to serve the anti-republican agenda of the elitist faction. But when he endorsed pro-abortion U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby in Oregon, Carson made it clear that he is an expedient "pragmatist." He talks about being principled, but then makes clear that he thinks giving priority to issues of principle is like scraping barnacles off the hull of a battleship while the real battle rages elsewhere.

Carson declared for president because, as he put it, he is "willing to be part of the equation," i.e., involved in the elitist faction's partisan sham. It is an equation that factors out the issues of principle on either side, so that they can be eliminated from the expression of the people's will on Election Day. What's left is an equation of raw power from which every expression of moral right and justice has been removed. Not coincidentally, this reverses the intention of America's founders. They sought to establish a regime in which checks and balances arranged powers in light of the principle of God-endowed right. They aimed, therefore, to factor out the issues of raw power to assure that right and justice would be served on account of the government's due dependence on the goodwill of the people.

Toward that end, Dr. Carson's leftist-sounding "tear down the GOP establishment" is intended to exploit the anger of the people, rather than serve and mobilize their constitutional good will. The better alternative is to structure and direct our political activity in conformity with the Constitution, so as to leave the GOP's corruption, and the whole anti-republican shibboleth of elitist faction tyranny, foundering in the wake of our liberty restored.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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