Authored by William Robert Barber
In 1835 Alexis De Tocqueville recorded his impressions of America. Within the contextual of ‘Democracy in America’ he devoted the merits and meaningfulness of Americanism and specifically applauded the citizens’ relationship with the federal government as one where the individual is preeminent. The Frenchman noted that in America the ideal of freedom and individual liberty was prized, as Samuel Adams expressed, “above the tranquility of servitude.” It was his observation that to cleave a country out of the wilderness bequeathed upon these initiators an unyielding belief in individual liberty and freedom.
I feel that this American disposition of individual sovereignty was initiated upon leaving the motherland, enduring three months of tumultuous sailing across a vast ocean, and when the vessels unloaded their passengers the ship’s company uploaded all one could forage and sailed away. The settlers were stranded in an ambivalent land; their circumstance clearly defined a new reality: build, create, farm, and scavenge or perish. King and parliament were thousands of miles to the east. This ‘new world’ situation crafted an American brand of fortitude, a mindset of independent resolve, and a love if not passion of liberty. Scores of generations later these settlers, these English people, long before they considered themselves Americans, developed an Americanized spirit, a socio-economic Yankee inclination, a brashness, and as a result a heretofore deeply held sense of exceptionalism that ultimately overcame the allegiance to King George and England.
Dogged determination and a belief in the sensibility of the common became an American legacy. These early Americans — without even understanding its meaning (to the fullest) — were possibly the original practitioners of the philosophical thesis of individualism; these principles of individualism prompted the Declaration of Independence and were a preamble of conciseness in the initial drafting of the finalized 1789 constitution.
But much has changed; the transformation of America since the De Tocqueville analysis is profound. By every measure the politically attuned America is no longer the nation of 1835; today’s America has in most instances become the opposite of what De Tocqueville lauded. We are no longer a prideful self-reliant people. The American people have traded their traditional belief in liberty for a dependence on government guarantees, promises, and assurances of future services. The political class (Republican as well as Democratic) has been permitted to reinterpret, dismiss, and generally manipulate the nation’s constitutional tenets to serve interest other than the original interpretive of what was considered “in the common good.” But the most profoundly egregious sin perpetrated upon the ideal of Americanism was and is for the American people to ignore the financially unsustainable government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Additional concerns are the national debt, unfunded federal/state pension obligations, (I could go on and on) and, as consequence of such disregard, the people, as if hooked on heroin, willfully bless with their vote the continuance of the very same political policies and social programs they ignore.
“Top down” management has no operative status in a democratic republic; indeed, “top down” approach to governing is exemplified and practiced in totalitarian regimes wherein the economic model is a perverse schism of socialism and crony privatization by executive edict. Presently in America the “top down” model’s best exemplar is represented by the ideology of liberal progressivism.
The ultimate goal of liberal progressivism is to undermine, denigrate, reinterpret, and eventually altogether abrogate the heretofore traditional custom of American’s governing principles. The progressives’ want to obliterate any and all vestiges of a limited, grassroots bottom-up approach to governing; they also intend to initially distort then wholly dismiss the ideals of individualism as radical and extreme. In its finality the eventual of progressivism is determined to transform the rugged individualist into the grasps of nanny-state dependence on a government of wonks and elites.
In that regard, I think the progressives have made great if not spectacular gains in every measurable sector of American society.
ObamaCare will either wholly convert the populous to the president’s progressive vision or ObamaCare will drive a stake into the heart of liberal progressivism. Socialism continues its acceptance or is rejected as un-American. In 2014 the Republicans will capture the Senate and ultimately the White House or the progressives will dominate and eliminate once and for all even the pretense of a democratic republic America.