ELDER PATRIOT – Few Americans today understand the foundational tenets that led to American exceptionalism. It was not the abundant natural resources or the people who lived here that catalyzed America’s ascendancy. Many nations that are blessed with natural resources have not shared our dynamic economic growth. Likewise, the inhabitants of our great land have their roots in countries that only marvel at our individual and collective accomplishments.
America’s rise to greatness was fueled by the vesting of individual freedoms in the people, to the greatest extent possible by our Founding Fathers. This, both, freed the entrepreneurial spirit where it existed and attracted those from around the world who possessed that spirit. America’s rise was derived from this truth: that while not all men would attain greatness, guaranteeing individual freedoms would allow as many men to reach their potential as possible. What is now known is the proven and direct correlation between a nation’s level of personal freedoms and that nation’s economic growth. The success of many provided the rising tide that lifted everyone’s boat.
The Constitution’s Framers, perhaps the greatest collection of political philosophers to ever assemble in one place demonstrated their concern that protecting the rights of the individual would be impossible without avoiding the concentration of power in government:
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
Their great fear of the byproduct of tyranny can be found in this quote from Madison:
“Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.”
To ensure decentralization of power as best they could, the Founders created three distinct branches of government each “possessing checks and balances” over the other two. Even here Madison advised us:
Seeking to further decentralize government to ensure the people’s ability to exercise self-governance the Tenth Amendment was included in our Bill of Rights:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
For nearly two centuries the freedoms we enjoyed cleared the path for the great economic pioneers to build financial empires and small entrepreneurs to enjoy the fruits of their labors. In the process, jobs were created for those with less incentive and life became easier for all who lived here.
While Americans were enjoying their growing prosperity, as yet unidentified forces were plotting to capitalize on it for their own enrichment by whatever means possible. Next: Part II – The drive towards centralization and the New World Order.