After centuries of order based on the acceptance of the divine right of rule imposed on the people beginning with the declining aristocracy of Rome, western civilization veered toward democracy as the base principle from which the legitimacy of governing authority would flow. In England kings were finding that their crowns sat with increasing uneasiness upon their heads without the cooperation of men who would fight for them, and unending wars coupled with shifting alliances among the ruling class assured each ruler that they would need a steady supply of fighting men. It was this idea, the divine right of rule that had turned upon itself at last, and undermined the legitimacy of royal authority by presenting the people with would be rulers who each laid claim to competing rights to the ultimate divine authority that had done so. As scions from the Tudors, and the Yorks, the Stuarts and the Windsors each made war upon the other, it was increasingly important that would be monarchs won the hearts of the people. The inevitable result was, after several lessons in good faith were learned, a parliament of the people. When British citizens in the colonies saw that they would be given less equality than their counterparts in England, revolution ensued, and the yoke of monarchy was cast off for good.
It is important to recognize that the world was wide, and that those places that would eventually be known as t third world, were governed primarily by the sword, and that the consequence of this was that each ruler, assuming the crown of the vanquished, was forced to begin anew the process of establishing the peace that is the ultimate requirement for any civilization to advance and prosper. The world was to learn that conquest is much more feasible than occupation. It is far easier to take than it is to hold. As hard as it may be to understand, it is in those simple words that hope dwells for the defeated.
Perhaps the greatest value offered by a constitutional democracy is the fact that no citizen may make war upon another without attacking themselves. By imbuing our governing authority with that all important ingredient, legitimacy, we, as sovereign citizens pool our individual right to life in order that we may pursue a single purpose collectively. We cannot, therefore undermine the authority of our constitutionally appointed government without nullifying our own authority to legitimize. It is this very principle that has made America possible, and determined our course as the leaders of the world itself. The notion that the person taking your order at a restaurant has the same right to lend legitimacy as the person who owns that same restaurant is our sword, and our shield. The awe inspiring realization that the lowliest soldier on the battlefield contains within their simple life the exact same coin of legitimacy as he who commanded them to fight is not a reflection of America, it is America.
There are complications of course. The source of these complications, like the constitution itself, is simple, and it is rooted in the thing which must be granted the authority to rule; for once the source of legitimacy has been granted, and authority has been created, a government must be made. It is here, in the tool birthed by principles high above where our minds may follow, that weakness and corruption must, and will take root. Untended, any garden or field will fall prey to the chaotic influence of nature, that enemy of order, and we Americans in this last generation have been anything but vigilant. Content to place our belief in those chosen by constitutional means, pursuing that most American of ideals, the creation, development and sustenance of our families, communities, and churches, we have let slip our hold on those who govern, and thereby given up our birthright to legitimize.
Is the current American government without legitimacy? Rather than answer that question I call upon another text of legitimacy and say to you that by their works you shall know them. Look around. Is this the world you hoped for as a child? When you met the one you love, when your bodies and spirits joined together to make real the dream of your shared purpose was this the world you intended to leave your beautiful children? I say that as a whole, our government’s legitimacy is precarious, and with it our futures. The mind recoils from the prospect of what might happen, and, even worse, our inability to control that nightmare. But remember my words of comfort. It is easier to take than it is to hold. I, for one am defiant! Bear with me a few short weeks and allow me to show you a hidden pathway back onto the path foreordained for America. Come to Theos Branch and relearn your birthright by closely examining the constitution. Call it a contribution to our basic understanding of civics, then join me here on Clevenger and Witt for the op-ed to each lesson. I promise you this, our government may be bought, but we can take it back without spending a dime, because money is not the source of legitimacy in America, it is us.
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