Wisdom of the founders

Think for Yourself


 Ben Franklin is credited with saying that “A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.” What the heck does that mean, and why should you think about it? I will try to explain that in 650 words. Please read this article, and share it with everyone you can. I don’t want you to share it because I believe I am wise, intelligent, and write such amazing articles. I want it shared because individuals much wiser and more intelligent than me did the heavy lifting. I am doing my best to relay the spirit of what they said and feel like I am shouting underwater. So, what does the Franklin quote have to do with anything? I am going to discuss a bit of history, work my way back to the present, and then try to bring it all together.

I’ll start with the founding of the nation. Our founders could have created any form of government they wanted. They chose to create a new form of government. The best way to describe this form is a constitutional federal republic with representative government and power divided into three distinct branches. That is a mouthful to say. So, people often refer to it as a democracy or a republic. Neither is accurate, though. Our founders didn’t want the dangers of “mob rule,” but they did not want an all-powerful government either. Instead, they created a government that is constrained by a constitution. This is a very simplified explanation, but I have limited space. The founders knew that people could not be trusted to protect the interests of their neighbors. There are numerous examples of the Founding Fathers’ fear of pure democracy, but Ambrose Bierce succinctly summed up all their fears when he wrote, “Democracy is four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” Mob-mentality is the most dangerous sickness that humanity has ever faced.

Our founders trusted in liberty and the rule of law. Under our Constitution, two branches are elected by the people, but the Supreme Court is appointed. The Constitution didn’t give the Supreme Court power to enforce its decisions because our founders could not comprehend a time or situation where the people would ignore the rule of law. Upon hearing that the Supreme Court had rule against the Indian Removal Act, Andrew Jackson said, “The Supreme Court has made its decision, now let them enforce it.” He then committed one of the greatest atrocities in the history of the United States. When we replace the rule of law with popular opinion, we disgrace all the struggles and sacrifices made by those who support liberty. You cannot have liberty without the rule of law. The crime and lawlessness that have become so prevalent today are simple proof that too many Americans no longer believe in the rule of law.

My quick close is this. The internet, mass media, unions, PACs, and political parties have been corrupted to do two things: seize power and destroy our nation. They divide, create chaos, and stifle real discussion. They drive Americans out to the edges and diminish the light of this great union. Most Americans have more in common than these forces want us to believe. They seek out the tiny cracks and drive wedges designed to turn us against one another. The truth is available for those who are willing to look. Quit believing the lies they are feeding you. Two more quotes from Ben Franklin for you to consider: “If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking” and “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” I am not wiser or a better writer than Franklin, but I would combine both statements into this one, “Think for yourself instead of struggling stupidly to accept the ignorance of the mob.”        


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