The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that there should be a difference between an American citizen and a person who merely resides within the borders of the United States. Yet, the line between two such people becomes thinner and blurrier as time passes. The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights outline the privileges and responsibilities of being citizens, but mere residents are gaining more privileges without the responsibilities.
Victor Davis Hanson, a historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, recently posted an article titled “The Death of American Citizenship.” He writes that American citizenship is being assaulted on several sides, such as the 11-20 million undocumented residents who “are becoming legally indistinguishable from citizens and enjoy exemption from federal immigration law in some 500 sanctuary jurisdictions.” He states that multiculturalism “has reduced the idea of e pluribus unum to a regressive tribalism” and that Americans are more loyal to people “who look like they do” than to the United States.
Being a historian, Hanson looks at America through the lens of history. He says that “It is eerie how such current American retribalization resembles the collapse of Rome, as Goths, Huns, and Vandals all squabbled among one another for what was left of 1,200 years of Roman citizenship – eager to destroy what they could neither create nor emulate.”
Hanson says that it is the middle classes that protect citizenship because they are “more independent and self-reliant than the poor, but can stand up to the influence and power of the elite.” He believes that the middle class is threatened by “stagnant wages [as well as] outsourcing, offshoring, and unfair global trade.” He says that the constitutional government usually ends when the middle class dies.
Hanson writes that one of the greater threats is the fact that the “coastal elites” do not see anything “exceptional in America, past and present.” They look at the “culture and values of the European Union” but fail to see how the continent has been damaged “by open borders, economically stultifying regulations, and unapologetic and anti-democratic efforts to curb free expression and local autonomy.” As citizens of the world they prefer the European ideas on “climate, criminal justice, and human rights.”
With the growing strength of progressivism, there is a desire to “destroy statues, rename streets and buildings, and wipe away art that does not reflect more global values.” Even the basic right of Americans to vote for their political leaders does not seem to matter much as voter fraud takes place in many localities. “Lone activist judges frequently overturn legislation and referenda” that do not agree with their political views. Then there is “the proverbial ‘swamp’ of the bureaucratic, administrative, and regulatory state is so vast and unaccountable that a few clerks can harass entrepreneurs, issue edicts with the force of legislation that ruins lives, or indict, regulate, or audit a target individual into legal bankruptcy.” Hanson concludes his article with the following paragraphs:
We are unwinding at both ends. Tribalism, the erosion of the middle class, and de facto open borders are turning Americans into mere residents of a particular North American region between Mexico and Canada.
Yet even more dangerously, thanks to the fiats of unelected bureaucrats and officials, along with the social media lynch mobs who boycott, harass, and shame us, our constitutional rights are now increasingly optional. They mostly hinge on whether we are judged worthy by an unelected, politically correct, and morally righteous elite.
In theory, American citizenship remains the same; in reality, it is disappearing fast.
Hanson’s article reminded me of what happened in ancient America prior to visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ as told in the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Secret combinations ceased control of the government and ruled with their “secret works of darkness” (Helaman 8:4) and corruption. There was so much selfishness and wickedness in the region that the Lord could no longer bless the people, and a famine forced the people to repent or die. The people were righteous for a while, and then they turned to wickedness. The secret combinations were so powerful that the people gathered in one group to fight them, and they eventually destroyed or converted the robbers.
The people began to be “distinguished by ranks according to their riches and their chances for learning” (3 Nephi 6:12) and brought great inequality to their land. The wickedness became so great that “the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land” (3 Nephi 7:2).
This is a short summary of the happenings of about fifty years. Shortly before the Savior appeared there were great earthquakes and other natural disasters. Many cities were destroyed, particularly among the more wicked parts of the land. The only people who survived were the more righteous ones.
The Savior taught His gospel to the people, and they became righteous. The people lived in righteousness for approximately two hundred years before pride and wickedness again entered the land. It was a death spiral from that time on, and the entire society was destroyed about four hundred years after the Savior’s visit.
The Nephite society in ancient America is just one of many great societies that was destroyed from within itself. The United States is the most powerful nation in the world today, but it is decaying from the inside because of secret combinations are destroying the unity of the nation. Secret combinations fight against all who oppose them or seek to expose their works of darkness, and they do this in order to hold onto power, wealth, and glory. Unity is necessary for a nation to survive, and America is greatly divided. There is a strong push to bring socialism into the United States, and socialism would destroy this country just as it destroys every country that embraces it. There is great anger against anyone who desires to make and/or keep America strong and powerful.
There is a great desire to destroy any reminders of history. Statues are torn down and murals are painted over in attempt to hide past historical events. People from all over the world are coming to our nation and maintaining their own language and customs, and some even want to bring their own laws with them.
Even though I had not considered that all these things were destroying American citizenship, I can now see that they are. Since the middle class is the protector of citizenship, we must do everything that we can do to strengthen and grow the middle classes of America.