The founders warned us about guys like GW Bush

If one believes in the supernatural, the concept of prescience is right up one’s alley.

If one believes in God, the idea of divine inspiration or revelation is the operative theory.

If one believes in humanism, the facts explained by prescience or revelation are more easily explained simply by the great intellect; one can easily predict the future if they understand cause-and-effect and think about things hard enough.

Whether the likes of Madison and Jefferson were prescient, divinely inspired, or simply a bunch of really smart guys is a fairly irrelevant issue; it reduces to one of those age-old questions that, in the best of cases, are endlessly argued by friends gathered to share a meal (or a few beers).

The question is, do we actually believe that those guys knew what they were talking about? Everybody talks about being patriotic and loving the USA, but what do they mean by “USA”? What is their definition of “patriotic”? Why do people insist that “My Country, right or wrong” is a patriotic statement, when the real patriots in the English colonies of America clearly disagreed with the sentiment? Does everybody clearly understand that the English would have designated our patriots as terrorists in today’s vernacular? Terrorists of the worst kind, at that, for we were the citizens of the English government, not even based in a foreign nation. It’s a good thing we were on a far-away continent, or the whole thing probably would have turned out a bit different. Scottish people may have some insight on that.

When one says that they “love the USA”, what exactly do they mean when they refer to the USA? Given that both sides of any political debate claim to love the USA, something has to be different somewhere.

When I say that “I love the USA”, I’m mostly referring to a form of government. I believe that our founding fathers revealed to the planet a more advanced, more sublime, and more perfect form of government that had ever been seen in planetary history. They looked at history, took elements from prior governments that seemed to work well, and wove them together in a new way designed to avoid the things that didn’t work so well. Another step forward in the history of social evolution.

To me, it is precisely the fact that I do love the USA that causes me to raise my voice in alarm when I see this nation deviating so far from the basic notions which make our chosen form of government clearly superior to the others. We are allowing our current leaders to flagrantly and repeatedly violate the very ideals which make our government better than everyone else’s.

What makes it worse is that we were warned about this ever present threat from the very beginning. If schools were doing their jobs, every high school graduate would be fully aware of the critical nature of this type of threat to our government.

In a post titled “The President We Were Warned About“, Robert Scheer discusses a few of these specific charges:

George W. Bush is the imperial president that James Madison and other founders of this great republic warned us about. He lied the nation into precisely the “foreign entanglements” that George Washington feared would destroy our experiment in representative government, and he has championed a spurious notion of security over individual liberty, thus eschewing the alarms of Thomas Jefferson as to the deprivation of the inalienable rights of free citizens. But most important, he has used the sledgehammer of war to obliterate the separation of powers that James Madison enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

With the “war on terror,” Bush has asserted the right of the president to wage war anywhere and for any length of time, at his whim, because the “terrorists” will always provide a convenient shadowy target. That’s just the “continual warfare” that Madison warned of in justifying the primary role of Congress in initiating and continuing to finance a war — the very issue now at stake in Bush’s battle with Congress.

But truly, in the long term, it’s not ultimately Bush’s fault. It’s not any industrial-military complex. The fault entirely lays on the shoulders of every US citizen, myself included. The people have been warned of the necessity of being ever-vigilant, but election turnout suggests that they either weren’t told or didn’t care. The people have grown tolerant to the concept of an elected representative engaged in willful lying to his constituency. We may complain, but we never truly do anything about it, so our elected representatives continue to engage in shady business or act in ways which offend the sensibilities and moralities of the people.

Everyone is so blinded by the Democrat/Republican labels that they can’t see that the labels increasingly refer to different piles of the same shit. In how many elections does the difference between dem or repub reflect the ideals of the politician versus it reflecting the party he believes gives the best chance of victory?

We absolutely must get to the point where we can actually trust the people we elect to lead and represent us. If we continue to allow our politicians to get away with anything, then that is precisely what they will do, and we’re already seeing the effects of that.

14 Responses to “The founders warned us about guys like GW Bush”

  1. Andriy Says:

    Well said my friend, I’m not American but I do admire your founding fathers and their system of government. What a shame that we’re forgetting about it and being scared into giving up the freedom we once had

  2. Sheridan Says:

    Well it seems like every president since Theodore Roosevelt has been either getting into foreign wars or starting them and in every case US involvement in these wars has always made the outcome of the war worse than it would have been.

  3. Do we love the USA, or are we just a nation of sheep? « BailiWick Says:

    [...] Then, ask yourself: “why do I love the USA?” (I presuppose that you do. Heck you live here. Find a silver lining.) Could it be for the same reasons articulated by this blogger: The founders warned us about guys like GW Bush [...]

  4. Andrew Says:

    VERY well said.
    You have perfectly articulated my thoughts.

  5. jkahan Says:

    We don’t have to go that far into history (not that it is taught in public schools anymore) for this warning. Just go back to 1961:

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    January 17, 1961, by President Dwight David Eisenhower

  6. Alex Says:

    Has the american people done any large scale protest against Bush? Freedom may sometimes only be possible by giving up other things like wealth and social status. Maybe people are afraid to give up those away.

  7. DefendThyself Says:

    I like the part about Dems/Reps being piles of the same shit. Trusting the person you vote for to do the right thing, regardless if they are dems or repubs. It’s time to move past the 2 party system.

    However, right now, there is not one Dem worth voting for. I am usually a libertarian, and except for Ron Paul, the Reps are all shit also.

    Thanks for not mincing words.

    Go Ron Paul, the only man who does not lie and would make the founding fathers very happy…

  8. Avid Voter Says:

    Good post.

    > The people have grown tolerant to the concept of an elected representative engaged in willful lying to his constituency. We may complain, but we never truly do anything about it, so our elected representatives continue to engage in shady business or act in ways which offend the sensibilities and moralities of the people.

    There’s at least one Congressperson who is trying to do something about it: Dennis Kucinich submitted resolutions to impeach Dick Cheney for illegal actions leading to the Iraq war and threatening war with Iran. He’s also a Democrat running for president. Interested people can learn more at his web site: dennis4president.com . Seriously inspired people can help support Kucinich in the massive one-day online event on December 15th: december152007.com .

  9. MA Says:

    “… our government better than everyone else’s”.

    Oh, yeah? Where’s the proof? Why is it that so many Americans are obsessed with being better than the rest of the world? Perhaps there’s an inferiority complex against us ‘liberal, leftie’ Europeans?

    That aside, you touched on Dubbya’s religiosity … matched with the majority of the USA population sharing similar delusions, it’s a recipe for Bad Things Happening. There’s quite a bit of evidence for correlation between religious belief and societal dysfunction. E.g.:

    “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.” - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article571206.ece + http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

    So, it may follow that Bush’s religious delusions are all the justification he needs to act as he has (and continues to do). Get the fucker out ASAP.

  10. JJB Says:

    “… our government better than everyone else’s”

    Please no! What’s worse is that you are expressing a ‘wake up call’ to you fellow americans, but fail to realize that its this arrogance which lies at the heart of the problems you are pointing out.

  11. Lon Says:

    Oh give it a rest, and lay off with the accusations of arrogance. I’ve been outside the borders of the USA, so don’t try to claim that arrogance is a USA-only phenomenon. Pot, meet kettle. I take it that the member-states of the EU don’t show any signs of believing that their own individual forms of government are superior to the others? No nationalism exists in Europe, eh? *cough*

    Of course it is my opinion that our form of government is superior, and indicated that to be my opinion quite clearly in my post. If such wasn’t my opinion, I wouldn’t be living here, would I? I also believe that the Scots make superior whiskey and the Swiss make superior chocolate.

    It isn’t the belief that our nation is the best that lies at the heart of our problems. What lies at the heart of our problems is leadership that doesn’t hold to our ideals, and a complacent populace that has allowed it to happen.

  12. JJB Says:

    On second thought maybe its better for this post that you refer to your government as the best, since this opinion might be more ‘in-line’ with those of the intended reader…

    I’m from an African country (not Europe) and I sure as hell don’t stay here because I think it has the best government in the world. I’m not trying to come across as hostile, just raising an opinion. What is your measure of “the best,” I think you love your country and I also love things about America, but I just don’t understand “the best.”

  13. Lon Says:

    @JJB
    I’m not trying to come across as hostile, just raising an opinion.

    No worries; my response was admittedly too “snippy”, and was directed at more than just you…or even the other commenter who raised the same objection. Just a reaction to hearing the “Americans are so arrogant” bit whenever one of us simply claims to like something. Then again, in many cases they have a point.

    As far as my measure of “the best”, in terms of forms of government, first we need to be clear that I speak of the ideas and notions embodied in this form of government rather than any various instances where we have fallen short of those ideals.

    One of the primary notions that makes us better than most is the idea that people are created as equals. This doesn’t mean that all are born with the same intelligence or the same wealth and/or societal class, of course, that would be silly. Rather it means that there is a core notion that people of lesser class or IQ have equal standing under the law with those of higher class. The law against theft, for example, applies to everyone equally. People in positions of authority don’t get free reign to steal from others. To me, this notion is clearly superior to forms of government which don’t recognize the rule of law, where a dictator or king can freely violate laws that they impose upon everyone else.

    The core notion of the equality of man (including both male and female in the definition of “man”) also implies that we should strive for equal opportunity. For example, to start a business in the USA, one needs a business license. Yes, this license has a fee attached, but that fee is fixed and applies to everyone who wishes to go into business. The fee isn’t waived or changed due to one’s political connections or the color of one’s skin. Anyone who can pay the fee can start their business; you can’t be prevented from doing so just because some government official doesn’t like you for whatever reason. Contrast this with some other forms of government where the obtainment of a business license relies more on your political connections and/or how well you’ve bribed the relevant officials. Again, to me, the latter is clearly inferior.

    I could continue describing the other rights that our government holds as “inalienable”, but, true to what you’d expect of my opinion, I hold that the superiority of those notions should be self-evident. And I do understand well that there are many examples where we fall terribly short in the realization of these ideals, but that doesn’t speak against the ideals themselves but rather our poor adherence to them.

    Another thing I feel makes our form of government superior to many others is the ideas of checks and balances, which seek to prevent our government from straying too far from our core ideals. Our congress, elected representatives of the people, make the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the judicial branch ensures that the other two branches are constrained to our constitution. If the executive branch begins violating laws, the judicial can stop them. If congress passes unconstitutional laws, the judicial can strike those laws down. And if the people feel that everything is getting off-track, we are enabled to choose a new congress (as well as the head of the executive) in order to correct the problem at a fundamental level.

    So, to me, it is the very fact that our government is based in checks and balances (to provide an obstacle for corruption) as well as a self-corrective nature (where the people have a built-in method of changing things without having to resort to an armed revolution) is what makes our form of government absolutely better than forms which lack these features.

    And thus, we have arrived at the entire point of my post. The people have been derelict in their duty to elect people who best represent us and the ideals embedded in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We continue to elect silver-tongued liars who claim to love the USA and then proceed to undermine the core notions at every opportunity. Not only did we elect a president who apparently strives to abolish the very checks and balances that make our government superior, but we foolishly re-elected the asshole. And we are paying, and will pay, for a long time for our errors.

    The “arrogance” and the obvious crap that the USA is currently displaying to the world is a direct result of our leaders flagrantly violating the very ideals of our government mixed with the public’s apparent apathy to it.

    The good news is that our government is based in the ability to self-correct, at least once the public gets annoyed enough. We have a poor president who will likely go down in history as one of our worst. But we’ve had bad presidents before and still achieved great progress after they were gone. While I don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see the full correction of the horrors committed by this administration, I’m fairly certain it will happen. The shame is, we’ve squandered our leadership position in the world and will likely fall way behind in the race to achieve perfection. By the time we catch up to where we were (IF we catch up), it is probable that some other country or countries will have achieved something more perfect than what we’ve got. All great civilizations in history have been marked by two phases…a rise, and a fall. It’s quite possible that we’ve entered into the second phase. I hope not, but I’m not sure I’d bet that way if real money were on the line.

  14. Why Politics and Religion Shouldn’t Mix | The Blog of Lon Says:

    [...] no difference between either party. I briefly touched on the problem of this in my “the founders warned us about GW Bush” [...]