We live in a divided nation. Our politics have become not just polarized, but toxic. For a country founded on the principles of individual liberty, democratic choice in representative government, and republican protection of natural rights, America has seemingly lost its way. American politics have devolved into a zero-sum game power struggle between two wings of the same establishment—with the prize being the privilege of exploiting the American working class. We are a long way, both figuratively and literally, from the raging fires of liberty that opposed the crown’s Stamp Act in 1765.
Like all empires, America’s decline, or “transformation” in the words of our 44th president, was the result of poor decisions by both elected leaders and the citizens who elected them. Corruption on the part of a rent-seeking elite and apathy on the part of the citizens have delivered us to our present situation. Although it is important to understand the mistakes that we made along the road to our failing empire, the real question we should be asking now is what are we to do about our current predicament.
In David Reaboi’s essay in the Claremont Institute’s The American Mind, he discusses the importance of ending traditional America’s favorite pastime of arguing the same ground with the political opposition over and over again—as if minds are not already made up and just one more pithy tweet or witty meme would finally produce a tidal wave of political defections. Instead, he states, we should consider the work we must do in order to salvage some form of republican society that appreciates and protects the founding principles of America’s charter and our way of life.