It’s a strange and terrible tragedy when a culture forgets its own history and identity. It is even more tragic when that culture becomes deluded enough to think it can replace its heritage from scratch, that it can conjure political and social reformations out of thin air and abandon the centuries upon centuries of accomplishment and failures of generations past. To think that one can live without the lessons and principles of one’s ancestors is a disease — a mental disorder of the highest caliber. It is an insanity that leads to terrifying catastrophe.
There is no such thing as “starting over” or “rising anew.” There is no such thing as pure and unadulterated “change.” All shifts in human civilization are a product of that which has come before; and, therefore, each of these shifts retains the ideas, accomplishments and dreams of our forefathers. No matter how ingenious we think we are today, most grand schemes and wondrous plans for the world have already been discovered, rediscovered and applied over and over again by industrious men, great men and even nefarious men century after century.
Unique ideas are very rare. The American republic, as a sociopolitical structure, is such an idea.
The concept of citizen self governance is extremely uncommon in the annals of humanity, namely because there has always been an establishment of elitists within any given epoch that has sought to destroy it. There have always been organizations of the power hungry who make it their mission to suppress free thought and free peoples, and these organizations certainly exist today.
Though we have been given an astonishing guide map in the form of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the establishment attempts to sell us on a very different value system. In their world, true self governance is impossible, because only the elect will ever receive the political and monetary support needed just to join the ranks of those who might be elected. The common man has no place within the halls of the Federal oligarchy, and the elite like it that way.
In their world, leaders do not owe allegiance to the citizenry. They do not answer to the public. They do as they wish, whenever they wish. And as long as they can wrap their tyranny in the costumes of so-called patriotism, justice or safety of the masses, they can continue uninterrupted. The system is their playground, not ours.
Those people allowed to operate as government employees are treated as indentured servants of the state. Their first loyalties, the government claims, are not to Americans, but to the corporate apparatus that America has become. That is to say, they are supposed to protect the integrity of the system before they protect the lives and liberties of the people.
CIA Director John Brennan’s “Honor the Oath” campaign makes this position clear. In Brennan’s words, the oath government employees take is not to the Constitution, but to the “corporate culture of secrecy.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s response to the Snowden leaks on National Security Agency mass surveillance is also rather revealing in regard to how the establishment views the exposure of truths, especially when those truths involve the government’s systematic targeting of innocent Americans. The Hill reported:
“I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason,” the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters.
The California lawmaker went on to say that Snowden had violated his oath to defend the Constitution.
“He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s treason.”
I would also point out that this same twisted viewpoint has been expressed by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Top Democrats and top Republicans want Snowden’s head on a platter.
Now I can see a certain (but very selective) logic to the belief that defending the government structure from attack is the same as defending the American public from attack. Undoubtedly, an outside force seeking to undermine our safety and our freedoms should be stopped; and some people believe we need watchmen to ensure this is done. However, what happens when the greatest threat to our way of life is coming from the watchmen themselves?
The Federal government was created by the Founding Fathers, begrudgingly, to serve one primary purpose: The defense of individual liberty. But what happens when the Federal government no longer pursues this function? What happens when the government becomes the very enemy it was designed to defend us against? Has it not then violated the charter that made it legal in the first place? And if so, should it not then be exposed and disbanded as a broken tool, a useless piece of hardware that no longer does any good for the people overall?
The problem is that the “watchmen” were institutionalized and bureaucratized. We were supposed to be the watchers and defenders, each and every one of us, but we handed over that power to elitist interests and secretive entities. We have handed over our eyes and our hands to men who care only for their own private societies and not American society. We have fallen asleep on the job and dark-minded doppelgängers have taken our place.
Even so, this does not mean our responsibilities have disappeared. As the actions of a handful of government whistle-blowers (including Snowden and Bradley Manning) have shown, the requirements of honor and conscience are not void simply because you now receive a government paycheck. In fact, for any government employee who considers himself honest and principled, whistle-blowing is not “treason,” as the White House would have us believe. Rather, it is a duty.
There are two kinds of law. The first is natural law; those laws follow the dictates of our hearts and our inborn moral compass. The Constitution upon which our nation was built is a perfect written representation of natural law. The second is self-serving law; those are the laws that one group of people in power use to control another group of people without power. Most legal structures that exist in writing today are sadly a product of self-serving law.
Legitimate treason is essentially the abandonment of the true well-being of one’s culture in order to gain something for oneself. Maybe the enticement is monetary, or maybe the enticement is to aid a foreign interest. Or maybe it is to satisfy a dangerously selfish ideological ego. In any case, the end result is severe harm to one’s homeland.
The question is: Is it “treason” to tell the truth to the American people? Is the truth harmful to our culture, or is it just harmful to the establishment? Is the survival of the establishment irreconcilably intertwined with the survival of our society, or is that only what they want us to think? If the establishment dies because it is revealed as corrupt, do we all die with it; or could we carry on without it?
As I pointed out before, without our heritage and our history, America fails to be. Without the lessons of the past, we are nothing. Our Federal government today has separated itself from the people and elevated itself to a godlike position in our personal lives, as many despotic governments throughout history have done. Our leadership has formed alliances with private elitist interests and forsaken their responsibilities in an effort to cement their political dominance rather than protect the common good, the kind of action that has invariably led to the totalitarian monstrosities of the past. Further, our government has deemed that which is moral “unimportant” or “dangerous,” and that which is immoral a matter of national security, and thus sacrosanct. We are now expected to maintain “faith” in the benevolence and good graces of government and damn to hell the very voice within our souls. We are expected to pray for the continued longevity of the machine and rage against anyone who might enlighten us to the evil within it.
Many people who now work for the machine are not necessarily like the machine. They are not bent on the destruction of free civilization. They are not the enemy of life or the deeper good of man. But under the long-cast shadow of tyranny, the path they have chosen eventually ends; and it will end with an incalculably difficult decision: to do what is right or to do what is safe. To remember what it is our government is supposed to stand for or to forget all that came before.
Loyalty is not and never has been unconditional: loyalty to government most of all. Loyalty to the system is dependent upon the nature of the system and the people who sit at its apex. The system must reflect the higher aspirations of the society it seeks to manage or protect. It must be held to the highest possible standard and totally transparent in its nature. It is the job of government whistle-blowers to make this possible. If they do not, then criminality will remain painfully felt but officially unconfirmed. Our country will continue to crumble into fascist oblivion, and all that will be left for the citizenry is revolution.
We must remember what we believe in and allow that to be enough. Our fears, our biases and our superficial desires are all irrelevant. In the end, the only thing that matters is what we leave behind. For those within government today, this could mean a legacy of desperation and sadness or a legacy of strength, truth and enduring peace. Time is running out.