Several considerate readers have e-mailed me to point out that, while clearly delineating some government aberration; I have failed to tell them what to do about it. It is a valid complaint (although much easier to ask than answer!), and one which has nagged me for at least twenty years, since I started giving talks on our monetary system to interested groups. When asked then "But what can we do about it?" I would reply, "There are two answers to that question. One: we can do nothing about it. Two: we can correct it with little risk if we want to." Both answers are true.
The government is very vulnerable. Its bloated body wobbles on legs too puny to adequately support it. Even without much thought, I can think of a number of soft spots in that flabby under-belly:
ONE: the money system. Starting in 1913, and finishing in 1968, our government has removed all money from the people, replacing it with credit and fiat currency. This is clearly, undeniably, unlawful, but the government defends its lawlessness with ferocity. This is to be expected: imaginary money makes big government possible. If Uncle Sam had to support his programs, including his wars, with wealth seized from the people, the revolution would have occurred years ago. Taxation isn’t required for revenue, but to soak up funds that, in the hands of the public, might cause prices to explode. A managed economy, in other words, but managed by them, not by us. Does your governor realize that he has sworn an oath to uphold a Constitution which forbids his state to use anything but gold or silver coins as a legal tender? Do your state senators and representatives care that they are daily in violation of their oaths? Many, I am sure, are unaware of the Constitution’s provisions. They can be taught, at the ballot box, if necessary. Governors can be recalled: look at California.
TWO: the judiciary. The so-called "justice" system is little more than a joke. There are so many laws that anyone arrested can be accused of half-a-dozen infractions by even the least imaginative prosecutor, and conviction on all counts would result in two lifetimes in prison. An accused may thus "settle" for a lesser offense which he did not, in fact, commit, to minimize his years of incarceration. The Supreme Court evidently believes that it has authority to dominate the States, although the source of that authority is surely not apparent. It has demonstrated, in recent rulings, a frightening willingness to abandon all legal considerations in favor of an attractive (to it, at least) ideology. Supreme Court justices can be impeached. And there is no legal necessity for inferior federal courts to exist at all.
THREE: the schools. Never have so many been schooled so long to learn so little. State and federal interference in education has been catastrophic. A cynic might conclude that the purpose of the schools is to guarantee that the students remain uncontaminated by the truth, especially as regards their national heritage. Are parents powerless to control their children’s education?
FOUR: foreign policy, or the lack thereof. Just how, exactly, have Americans benefited from foreign aid? Perhaps it could be excused as a humanitarian exercise immediately after World War II, although it is surely quixotic that we risked countless lives and billions of dollars to destroy a nation which we then sought to rebuild, at least partly at our own expense. But that particular war has been over for nearly sixty years now, and the aid continues. Indeed, much of it goes to a country which didn’t exist at the time: Israel. Our lop-sided support of that regime is inexplicable as an exercise in legitimate government. How many Congresspeople would go along with it if they knew that a litmus test for election/re-election was withdrawal of support for all foreign aid?
You get the idea. The list could be expanded easily; I’ve just scratched the surface with ideas that came at once to my mind. None of these activities I’ve mentioned are legitimate; all of them continue unabated. So we return to the question: what to do about it; and the answer: nothing, or everything. Which is it?
It’s a matter of numbers. If you see a particular governmental transgression with crystal clarity, and write scathing letters of protest to your governor, or Congressman, and vent your spleen to the boys at the barber shop, you are doing nothing. A lone protestor, or even dozens of them, is as a fly or two on the back of an elephant. On the other hand, a considerably larger number, but not necessarily a majority, or even near it, can topple the beast.
Government acquires its power from our acquiescence. If we stop acquiescing, it’s all over for the boys in the statehouse, or D.C. And we break no laws if we hold our Congresspersons’ feet to the fire. Whether or not California’s Gov. Davis is recalled, you can be sure that he and his henchmen are thoroughly shaken. The group or groups working for the recall are learning by the experience, and may accomplish more in a few months than decades of irate letters to the editor.
So do you want to "do something" about the illegitimacy of government? Then don’t go it alone. Post flyers, call meetings, get organized — though loosely! The power that you hold in your collective hands is awesome, and irresistible. Remember, though, that the behemoth you are fighting took centuries to reach its present size. You cannot do away with it overnight. You can, however, let it know that it’s in a fight, and one which, in the long run it will lose, unless it reforms. "All power to the people" may have been a slogan of the Communists, who, of course, were hypocrites. Once they had gotten power, you can be sure the people would have nothing to say about the way it was used. But, in fact, all power does reside with the people, who can only wield it effectively if they wield it together. The most difficult step is the first one. Take it, or complain in vain.
I must add a final note: it may be hubris to think, that by our efforts, we can restore justice in this world! Individuals who may be unable to control their own eating, or smoking, or drinking, insist that there is something they can do to reform the entire nation! Scripture, for those of us who still attach significance to it, teaches "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice," not "those who achieve justice!" The pendulum of history swings slowly and ponderously from one extreme to another, and there may be nothing we can do but hang on for the ride, knowing that at some point a mid-stage will be reached between extremes. What we can do, without doubt, is perfect our own lives. Removing the beam from our own eyes before attempting the extraction of the mote from our comrades’ is good advice; a better world will result when WE are better, individually. Not a very dramatic or quick solution, to be sure, but a true one.