The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns what causes constitutional systems and citizenship to perish. According to Victor Davis Hanson, “more than half of the current world’s 7 billion people are citizens of fully consensual governments.” This means that “50% alone enjoys constitutionally protected freedoms.” The lucky people who enjoy such freedoms usually live in Western nations or in “Westernized” nations.
Migrants – regardless of their race, religion, or gender – almost always head for a Western nation. And most often their destination remains the United States. The more it is now fashionable for Americans to take for granted or even to ridicule the idea of their own country, the more the non-American global poor risk their lives to crash America’s borders.
Constitutional systems easily perish because they ask a lot of their citizens – to vote, to be informed about civic and political issues, and to hold elected officials accountable. That responsibility is perhaps why, of the world’s true republics and democracies, only about 22 have been in existence for a half-century or more.
With the knowledge that constitutional systems are fragile, why has the United States of America been in existence for more than 235 years? Where does America get her ability to survive and prosper? Many Americans do not realize that “America is a rare, precious, and perhaps even fragile idea, both in the past and in the present.”
Hanson discusses ways that Americans are different that citizens of other nations. The first reason is that American citizens are not like peasants who lived “under the control of the rich.” Instead, America has “a broad, autonomous middle class” that has neither “the dependence of the poor” or “the insider influences of the elite.” “Suffocate the middle, and we know that a binary feudalism will soon replace it. We are seeing just that medievalization in contemporary California.”
Hanson’s second reason is that Americans are not “mere migratory residents who drift across nonexistent borders in expectation of receiving more rights than meeting responsibilities.” “Forfeit a sacred national space – a place where common customs, language, and traditions can shelter and thrive – and a unique America disappears into a precivilizational migratory void like the fluid vastness of late imperial Rome.”
Hanson’s third reason is that “Americans are quite different from tribal peoples whose first loyalties” are to “appearance or innate blood ties.” He stated that if America goes back to precivilizational tribalism, Americans face a future similar to former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq, or other such countries.
Even though Americans are not yet “premodern peasants, mere residents, and squabbling tribes,” we are “equally suspicious and rightfully distrustful of the top-down subversion of citizenship by postmodern elites and the privileged.” The COVID-19 pandemic brought out politicians and experts who are anxious to take away God-given freedoms of Americans in return for promised safety. Hanson compared it to “the Chinese model” – much different than “the vision of our Founders.”
Citizens object to “evolving” a 245-year-old republic into a radical socialist ochlocracy without checks and balances. That rebooting would mean scrapping ancient laws, long-held customs, and hallowed traditions – from the Electoral College and a nine-person Supreme Court to the Senate filibuster and 50-state union.
Consensual societies usually implode when desperate factions resort to subverting hallowed rules for short-term partisan gain.
Americans are joining the movement to save America in increasing numbers because we recognize the totalitarian overreaches of Leftists and Democrat politicians. We are not interested in living in a communist country or being “citizens of the world.” According to Hanson, Americans – with our privileges, affluence, and leisure – “must always ask ourselves whether as citizens we have earned what those who died at Gettysburg or on Omaha Beach bequeathed at such costs.”
We must not allow violation of our customs and traditions “as by breaking laws.” “Freedom requires constant reinvestment in and replenishment of a nation’s traditions and ideals.” Americans can protect and preserve our nation by understanding “that an innately self-correcting United States does not have to be perfect to be good – and especially when, in a world of innately flawed humans and failed states, it remains far better than any of the alternative abroad.”
Anyone who questions the goodness and blessings of America need only look to the masses of people who are moving to the United States. If America were as bad as the naysayers claim, people would be leaving our shores, not coming in the hundreds of thousands each month. America became the most powerful nation in the world because of its goodness, not because it is perfect. America will remain powerful as long as it maintains and preserves its constitutional way of life – not becoming a socialist/communist country.