The Coming Second American Civil War (7 of 14)

For a full version of this study go to Shapinghowwethink.com, click on “University”, then click on “History”, then click on “Political History” and finally click on “The Coming Second American Civil War”. Or just click HERE. 

7.

WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE

For 125 years, from 1776 until 1901, though tested 85 years after our beginning with a civil war, we were under the original principles from which we built a new nation. 1901 begins the new era of progressivism challenging those original principles. Like Lenin who understood that Marxism would never evolve as Marx hoped, he tried to force those changes through violence. Radicals in the 1960s tried to push their radical progressivism through riots but were stopped by a public not ready for violence and locked the radicals behind doors (they went underground). It wasn’t an end to the cold war that began in 1901, it was still being fought just not violently. That is until Obama unlocked the doors and let radicals out. What we didn’t understand at the time was that progressives out in the open were becoming more radical and violent already. It was first seen in their rhetoric, more recently in their actions.

When I wrote my historical study Miracle Across the Water looking for answers to why we as a nation developed as we did, two reasons were clear: we were influenced by the Protestant Reformation and we were mostly English who fled to the New World. Take these two realities away we would have become just another nation, nothing special. Let me just reference a book I only recently read, Inventing Freedom: How The English-Speaking Peoples Made The Modern World, by Daniel Hannan. If you want to really understand Hannan’s perspective you need to also read Winston Churchill’s momentous work, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples featuring all the groups of people that made up this large island land, including the influence of Rome after they conquered Britannia in 55 BC, their roust by the Picts, the Scots, and particularly the Saxons in 410 AD—it was the Saxon ideology that influenced how the Britons saw themselves. This influence would be temporarily lost after 1066 when the last Saxon king, Edward the Confessor, died. It was now when William of Orange came across the English Channel from Normandy with a wholly different ruling principle feudal and anti-reason, a period sometimes called the Dark Ages. Norman rule lasted until the Plantagenet line beginning with Henry II in 1154 AD. Just a quick bit of history here:

Henry was succeeded by his son, Richard the Lionhearted, and Richard designated his brother, John, as his heir. John’s harsh rule led to baronial revolt and the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, binding the king to the rule of law. John’s heir, Henry III, ruled for fifty-six years and was succeeded by his son, Edward I. Edward defeated the Scottish rebel, William Wallace, and greatly influenced English common law, but, his son, Edward II, was defeated by the Scottish leader, Robert Bruce. Edward III, however, not only routed the Scots but refused to pay homage to France, thus starting the Hundred Years’ War and extending England’s conquests.

In 1377, Edward III died and was succeeded by his grandson, Richard II. During Richard II’s reign, English peasants rose in revolt and Parliament withdrew most civil liberties cherished by the people. Richard surrendered his throne to his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke, who became King Henry IV when Richard’s death was announced in 1400. Henry IV died after ten years of rule and was succeeded by his son Henry V in 1413. (This you find in Churchill’s book, or HERE in a summary of his book.)

The Plantagenet kings were very violent which didn’t sit well with the English people who from their Saxon memories forced compromises like in the Magna Carta. I mention this period in Briton’s history because those Saxon principles stayed with them through the Norman period, through the Plantagenet period into the 1600s when Puritans and others took with them those same Saxon principles to the New World. When you understand this history you understand our love of democracy, of common law, of natural rights, of limited government, of free-market enterprise. It was this thinking inside the minds of those men in Independence Hall that formed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What’s interesting is that over all our years of history, and through three different clashes over political and social structure, in all three clashes one side was always consistent and true to one set of principles, our founding principles.

Debate 1. A civil war is two opposite sides of the citizenry at loggerheads over how their nation or state should be designed and represented. It certainly was being argued inside Independence Hall as well as outside. The argument was over this fundamental question; Could individuals govern themselves without the need of someone governing over them? The premise of our Founders was that there was no Divine Right of Kings to rule, no ruling class of people who were more qualified to rule than the average person, that the only legitimate government was one of the people, for the people, and by the people and that those who we elected  to rule on our behalf are there by our consent. No one had ever formed a government on these principles. The counter argument for some was that we couldn’t govern ourselves, we needed some king or monarchy for that. Some arguments were heated but at no time did it estrange us one from another. And it wasn’t a settled argument and, at least one reason was, progressivism was so easily accepted by some.

Debate 2. World-wide, everything changed after the Industrial Revolution as the futurist Alvin Toffler wrote in his book The Third Wave—the first wave being our shift from hunting and gathering to farming, the second wave was our shift into a new industrialism from which would come a new political ideology we would label as Marxism/Socialism/Progressivism. Marxism, socialism, and progressivism were not three separate movements, socialism and progressivism were just different iterations of Marxism. With the exception of a short period in Ancient Athens, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Israel where forms of democracy were in play, mostly people were ruled by Kings or Pharaohs or Tsars or Sultans or Emperors, and whether it be under monarchs or aristocrats or dictators it was always about the powerful making the rules. This is why when the people of America’s Thirteen Colonies had their chance to form a new government they used rational thought and extensive study to determine what was the best form of governing that would benefit all the people, not just the so-called privileged. Their guiding principles of what this would look like can be found in the Declaration of Independence. This was the material of debate 1 that lasted 125 years.

But the fundamentals of debate wholly changed in Debate 2 as for the first time the principles that formed America’s Democratic Republic were stripped of having any meaning replacing it with the idealism of Marxism/Socialism/Progressivism seeing itself as the only righteous form of governing.

Let me back up a bit because the Third Wave also saw another change that affected how nations saw their role regarding their definition of themselves amongst other nations. In all of history until philosophers like Plato and Aristotle built a political philosophy that attempted to shape politics inside nations, political structures evolved internally. Political theory didn’t play a role. And there certainly wasn’t an economic theory that defined for nations the role of money and commerce. In fact, economics as a discipline didn’t come into play until Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations, and it wasn’t an academic study on the principles of economics. Adam Smith went about Britton asking why some businesses failed and why some were successful. It wasn’t an economic textbook, rather this is what works and why and I’m just recording what I found. The Wealth of Nations wasn’t about individual wealth but a nation’s wealth revealing that GDP (gross domestic product) was the real measurement of a nation. Wikipedia gives a good definition of GDP: “It is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a period (quarterly or yearly) of time. Nominal GDP estimates are commonly used to determine the economic performance of a whole country or region, and to make international comparisons.”

Prior to this new understanding of wealth, nations operated on a hodgepodge of economics and what was grown and built and what prices each was sold for was mostly determined by individuals, and guilds, with little state involvement. When Smith wrote about the invisible hand of the market, this hand was not businessmen sitting around a table deciding what the market should be, and for certain it wasn’t the government making those decisions, consumers through their purchasing habits defined the market. It wasn’t yet the free-market system Smith wrote about in England but at times it acted like one. Guilds came into being mostly for protectionism of the marketeers to control both what was created and the profits. As government learned these markets were a large part of their wealth they began controlling the marketplace. However the marketplace was being worked, either through the talent of individuals in what they create, or through crookery of the advantaged disadvantaging others for their own greed, some got rich and other didn’t.