The Fourth American Republic

As pointed out on the Riehl World View the idea of the Fourth Republic of America is generating much interest these days. Especially with the election of the hyper-partisan bunch we have in control of the Hill.

Riehl makes an excellent observation about the growth of governance and movements, there is always the intellectual and the organic.

This brings me to an article in the American Magazine which I read, coincidentally, earlier this week, The Coming of the Fourth American Republic.

James DeLong, the author, makes an compelling case that the "special interest state," which we have lived in the the throes of for 70+ years, is living on borrowed time. Due to a some interruptions by historical intervention it was pulled out of the morgue before the burial could begin.

If it is in a state of demise, the questions still remains, "What will replace it?"

Like most developments in history there are a few forces which enact their influence over situations. People, attitudes, awareness, day-to-day events, reason, and courses of action. All of these have their roots in either the intellectual, organic, or both. Nevertheless, our own influence or sphere of control is directly proportionate to our understanding of history and how we reason these past events. This, whether you want to believe it or not, is the basis of purist conservatism.

Take for instance the Great Depression and what eventually corrected this horrific economic downturn. The New Deal did nothing more than stabilize, to a small degree, that rapid decline. In fact, in 1938 we faced another recession within a depression because of the failed policies of the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations.

When the intellect failed, society provided an organic answer to the problem, World War II. Rather than massive government spending on social programs it was the commitment by the government to the war effort and manufacturing that actually corrected the economy, GNP estimates were as high a 40% at the time. All to often when life has to make the correction for you it is usually costly and painful. Subsequently, we have chosen to gloss over these facts and are traveling down an almost identical path. Mark Twain once said, "History doesn't repeat itself-at best it sometimes rhymes."

After the organic there is the intellectual. How you interpret the events of the past and their application to the future is the job of reasoned thought. Looking at recent political events offers a prism into our current situation. Much of the country was swept up by the media's Bush Bashing. Some rightfully earned but most nothing more than propaganda. This opened up the door for societies' realization that something in American government had to change. Barack Obama and his cohorts sought to seize upon that realization and market their campaign to fit, they came charging in promising to herald in a new era of governance and leadership. Unfortunately, all we have received is a lawyer in charge, once again.

Over fifty million of my fellow Americans chose not to fully use their cognitive resources and recognize this was coming. While they understood the need for change from Washington's status quo, they failed to further investigate into the messenger of that change. However, most of their intentions were noble and I do not fault them for that.

Finally, this brings me to my next point concerning political orators and philosophers which have made cameo appearances on this site. Gentlemen such as Russell Kirk, Edmund Burke, Du Tocqueville, Cicero, St. Thomas Aquinas, Locke, etc. All of these men were concerned with the organic development of society and culture and realized that the lessons of the past could guide us, not dictate us, to our futures. They used these lessons, combined with reason, to chart a course for future generations to follow to success. It's a shame we aren't listening.

While I cannot predict the path this country will take with any certainty I do know its future rests solely in our own hands. Even though these decisions can be frightening it is also very exciting.

There is no greater reward than to watch history unfold right in front of your eyes and becoming part of it. Thereupon, the path we choose should be taken on with the same zeal as those who forged our Republic. If we do it right we could be on the brink of true hope and change, not the kind one lawyer with a Messianic complex has offered up.



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