There must be hundreds of books that I would like to read, but there's so little time. Also, I tend to read that which I agree with rather than that which grates low on my opinion meter. So, I muddle on looking for cheap knowledge and a quick learn in mediocrity that surrounds us every day.
There passed a book on my desk today that gave me pause; gave my senses a brief whiff of expression that remains timeless. Its appeal applied not so much to its content, but to the title. "On the Shoulders of Giants; The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy" made me think not necessarily of those sciences and scientists, but those of our founding; the giants that thought to conceive of our Republic. What great minds they must have been. Not just minds but great souls as well. Think for just a moment the incredible difficulties they had to overcome. They had to discern the good from the bad in terms of government, economics, leadership and character.
The task they undertook was no small one. Those men saw the examples of government in that of King George III of England and Louis XVI of France. They had enough of an inkling to know that what they saw was insufficient to the existence of modern man. In paraphrasing Jefferson, man did not come into this world to be treated as a horse, saddled, booted and spurred by some privileged class. In the natural world men are created equal and before Nature's God they should all be so. The document that expounded this remains one of the world's most enlightening treatises.
This expression led to a Revolution; freeing men from the tyranny of imposed rule. By no means was it perfect since nothing we can conceive should be thought to attain perfection. Nevertheless, it brought to life a new form of government; self rule with self determination in the realm of economics and leadership and, ultimately, lead to a change in our national character. We were now the United States of America; Conceived in Liberty, a nation of free men.
Something has changed in our national psyche, however. What has survived for 200 + years has lost its appeal, its desire and in essence our character. Rather than look to our founding documents to understand our greatness, we elect leaders who worship at the altar of majority rule. We have re-introduced the notion of tyranny of the majority; a 'one man, one vote' rule meant to silence those who have no desire to be saddled, booted and spurred. The founders knew the dangers of democracy and tried diligently to avoid the pitfall of its inception in the Constitution. They purposefully created a nation that was a Republic; a Federal Government that addressed only those issues that the states could not address by themselves. The States ratified the Constitution based on this premise; they would relinquish only those powers which they could not satisfactorily perform themselves. They gave the Federal Government only those enumerated powers listed in the founding. The United States of America and its Constitution was thus born.
When we think of those giants that led to this founding, we think of them as antiquated with no conception of a modern world. What we don't seem to understand is they knew perfectly well the insatiable nature of man and his thirst for power. They knew the dangers of democracy and tried to keep a government from overstepping its bounds by restricting its scope and reach. They left us enough information and advice to confront any problem. We, however, find ourselves much wiser and informed than these brilliant men. Rather then amend the Constitution when necessary, our current leaders simply propose and pass what they deem fit for the modern culture. We are no longer masters, but servants of the new democracy.