It's A Kean World


A Southern Perspective



“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” Alexis de Tocqueville


It is not without sadness that I witness the rapid decline of the United States.  It is my home and the home of all my relatives but a few distant cousins who reside in Canada.  My paternal grandparents moved to Mississippi in 1907 from the Province of Ontario.  The maternal side of my family has a long history of living in the South.  My great-grandfather, Christopher J. Cox, fought for the Confederate States of America. 


The United States of America was, upon its creation, exactly what the name infers.  It was a group of independent states who chose to unite by creating a central government which would carry out the wishes of the states and provide more security for each of them. 


"The several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes [and] delegated to that government certain definite powers and whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. To this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, its co-states forming, as to itself, the other party. The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution the measure of its powers."  Thomas Jefferson


The founding fathers did not agree on the power to be given the central government, but the best consensus of their viewpoints must be obtained from the Constitution.  This is the document they used to memorialize what powers the new government would have.


In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.  Alexander Hamilton


Hamilton preferred a strong central government, but even he noted that it is necessary to require that government to control itself.  It seems difficult to argue that the federal government is willing or able to exert any substantial self control. 


The Tenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was included to make certain that the powers of the federal government were limited to those specified and all others remained with the States.


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. 10th Amendment US Constitution


Many will argue the exact date, event, or judicial decision that put the United States on a slippery slope destined for mediocrity or what is most likely something much worse.  In truth those first faltering steps away from an amazing system of government began shortly after its creation.  The fortunate confluence of great men at a time when their abilities could be put to a higher use than even they likely expected was relatively brief.


In less than one hundred years a president who violated the Constitution to a degree never before seen was considered by many to be great.  In the 21st century the myth of Abraham Lincoln remains.  He is regaled for having “saved the Union” as if that cause could possibly justify the deaths of a million human beings. 


In “saving the Union” he also removed the final barrier and protection of the states and people from the all powerful federal government.  Freely the states joined together but few believed that once in the Union there was no escape. 


WE the Delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly, and now met in Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon, DO in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any capacity, by the President or any department or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes: and that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified by any authority of the United States.  State of Virginia, June 26, 1788  


The concept of “saving the Union” at all costs is a puzzlement to me.  It means, in the final analysis, keeping the Southern States: the very part of the United States often derided as backward and worthy of scorn.  When you consider the north was willing to allow hundreds of thousands to die in order to keep this “backward” area of the country it remains an enigma.  

Had the Confederate States of America not been invaded there would be two free nations instead of one.  Slavery could not have lasted into the twentieth century for so many reasons that it seems a waste of time to list them, but I will mention two.  In addition to the fact that no other developed nation would have condoned slavery, none would have traded with the Confederate States. 


The end of the Confederate States of America and the aftermath of that tragedy, fixed in place a federal government able to control its citizens but unable to control itself.  The final threat to an omnipotent federal government is secession.  Without that ultimate weapon the states are defenseless against an ever growing and intrusive federal government. 


It is no surprise that the issue of secession has been mentioned lately in both Texas and Montana.  While not a serious possibility at this time, the increasing dissatisfaction of a large segment of the population combined with the rapid overreaching of the federal government has certainly set into motion the demise of the United States as we have come to know it.


There are really only two questions yet to be answered.  The first is whether the people of the United States will wrest control of the government from those politicians who pander to the lowest common denominator.  This is highly unlikely due to evolving demographics, the changing concept of what a government should do and a press (newspapers, television) that has totally abdicated the responsibility to be a watchdog for the people.


The second question relates to how long before the United States ceases to be a nation demanding respect.  An adjunct matter is whether the world will survive the failure of the United States.  The road is downhill and the speed at which we hurtle to our demise will no doubt increase.


I wish it were not so but as Jefferson Davis said: “Truth crushed to the earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again.”  Whatever words are written here will in no manner change what is true.  Whether ten years or fifty, it is as certain as anyone can be of the future that the demise of the United States awaits only the passage of time, but certainly not time measured in centuries.


Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
Alexis de Tocqueville   



Jack Kean

Copyright 2009

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