Post # 445  THE FOUNDING FATHERS AND THE PERILS OF IDEALISM

The general estimation by Americans of the dignified, erudite and creative, Founding Fathers, is, indeed, metaphorically, comparable to their devout reverence, for the ancient Biblical Prophets. The Founders’ creation of a radical and novel, Nation State, with the express elimination of the historic, European institution of preferential birth, (“all men are created [born] equal”), the philosophic and wise, division of the newly created government, into three separate branches, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, (“Separation of Powers”), and a protective, “firewall,” consisting of the potential ability of any one such branch of government, to check, any abuse of power or impropriety, of the other, (“Checks and Balances”) the “Bill of Rights”  assuring the liberty and basic rights, of all citizens, against interference by government, and the thoughtful treatment of specific, mandatory provisions, to assure the new Nation’s appropriate governance, amount, in retrospect, to a veritable, total masterpiece, and a brilliant example, of deliberated, foresight. Included, as well, was a prescient, protocol, for the removal of any abusive President.

The resultant document (the U.S. Constitution), has successfully, served the Nation, as a workable and all-inclusive, metaphoric, “field manual,” for the efficient and fair operation of its Democratic Republic. It is our empirical observation and understanding, that, one, of the many good explanations, for such success, is founded in the observation that, many, appropriate, provisions of this unique National document, were authored, prophetically and intentionally, in general, and non-specific, language, to permit interpretation and adjustment, as necessary, for future relevance, as society foreseeably, and inevitably, would change.

Less than one Century later, new, and previously unforeseen, problematic circumstances, arose in the Nation; the most consequential and tragic of which, was the “War Between the States” (The Civil War). The Founders, certainly, could not have anticipated such a horrific national upheaval, nor the shameful and inglorious period, that followed (“The Reconstruction”). It is disappointing to note that, some of the serious issues in contention, in the Civil War, are yet, awaiting full resolution, and that, unhappily, a noticeable, measure of sectional enmity, seems, intractably, to persist.

A plethora of other, consequential, National disputes, social and political, arose over subsequent years, such as, economic inequality, women’s rights (including “choice”), the denial of civil and voting rights to minorities, the contested issue of climate change and other environment disputes, specific issues in the relationship between Church and State, the problem of unfair taxation, U.S. health policy, the right of citizens to own guns, welfare capitalism, international involvement or isolation, the existence of the Electoral College, criminal system reform,  capital punishment, money in politics, tariff and immigration policy, water, natural resources and environmental policy, trade and military policies, and others.

While various problems did exist in the 18th century, the Framers, to their credit, could not possibly, have foreseen, the extent (and kind), of today’s abundance of disputed and divisive, issues. They certainly could not have anticipated, for example, the existence of unprincipled programs of intentionally wrongful and tactical persuasive, misstatements, by miscreant parties, the false communication of which, is inordinately facilitated, by the rapid pace of advance in electronic communication.

In an early, mini-essay, “The Death of Civic Amity,” we referred to the optimistic expectation of the Founders, that informed citizens, would, in good fellowship, debate the political issues of the day, and, that the results of such debates, would serve as a guide, for the representative government; thus resulting in the attainment of the ultimately intended, goal, viz., a government by, and for, the people. In their admirable, but profoundly naïve, optimism, they did not foresee the future advent and extent, of animosity, of the man in the street, towards others of divergent views; nor the divisive, (“tribal”) formation of insular groups of identical opinion, (“group think”) in an antagonistic, “cold war,” with other, like constituted, tribal groups of divergent opinion. Were the Founding Fathers suffering from a case of joint naïveté? Or did they generously, project their own admirable traits, of idealistic dedication, on to future others? Did they overestimate the existence and extent of dedicated patriotism and general virtue, of the future American citizen?

We are, comfortably certain that, aside from the presumed existence of the Framers,’ evident, optimistic perception, they could never have foreseen, an ignorant and unprincipled, Chief Executive, to rival our sitting President; one, who, by his, unprecedented, miscreant behavior, personally, as well as in his official capacity, has besmirched the historically revered, High Office of the American Presidency. To their credit, the Founders did provide a specific and detailed, Constitutional procedure, for the removal of a miscreant President. However, they, in their idealism and good intentions, could never have anticipated, the possibility of an errant President, remaining in office, despite his publically proven, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” at the will, and conspiratorial sufferance, of a large tribal cohort of, uninformed, reductive and unenlightened, supporters. It is to this “base” to which his, “snake oil” demagoguery, has been eternally, and exclusively, directed, as opposed, to proper and truthful, Presidential communication, by a dutiful Chief Executive, with the American people. Such. despicable “base,” in joint populist chorus, and blind loyalty, to the errant Chief Executive, have approved, and actually, gloried, in his outrageous acts, as, being, for them, happily, counter, to the(ir) hated “establishment.”

Notwithstanding the foregoing, we have, after some deliberation, decided to completely absolve the Founding Fathers’ for their apparent, naiveté,  and for any of their errors, in prophesy. Their optimism was, certainly, not rewarded, but, considering their times, their essential high character, and overly generous, if misguided, personal projection, onto future Americans, (of their own, dedicated and philosophical inclinations) it is, on further thought, sadly, understandable. It was reasonable, for them to, subjectively, prophesy, a literate, informed and dedicated future citizenry. Their projected expectations were optimistic, and, sadly, far from the eventual reality, but were not essentially.on second thought, evidence, of naiveté, or lack of reasonable foresight.

It is to be recognized that, in a Republican Democracy, such as ours, there are, (properly) reasonable limits to Government. It is, after all, and fundamentally, the contemporaneous character of the citizenry, that is inarguably, responsible, for the current profusion of profound and highly divisive issues, especially, those, who enabled, the disastrous and unprecedented elevation, of an incompetent, immoral and ignorant, neurotic, television game-show host, to America’s Oval Office.

The functional, raison d’etre, and principal motivation, for this blogspace, has always been, to serve as an enthusiastic and dedicated, cheerleader, and persistent prod, for the personal growth and advancement of the individual. A continuous, albeit, modest, dedication to learning, and the growth of understanding and mature, individual perception, of the self, and of the world, is the route, personally, to a better and more fulfilling life, and, vital to the Nation, in the creation of a valued citizen. We have, consistently and resolutely, encouraged the reading of good books, the regular reading of newspapers, and (at least) some, participation in the arts and sciences, such as attendance at theater and family museum visits. We would, again, request the readers’ forgiveness, for the numerous instances, in which we have referred to the existential admonition, by Thomas Jefferson, that: for a democracy to succeed, it is required to have an informed and educated citizenry.

With a sufficiently, educated, informed, [and voting] population, we can avoid, or resolve, many of the extant problems, including, most especially, the election of a traditionally, just and capable, American President.

As has been challengingly declared: we can have a Republic, if we can but keep it.

-p.

Published by

plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Post # 445  THE FOUNDING FATHERS AND THE PERILS OF IDEALISM”

  1. You can’t help yourself. Everything is a polemic disparaging Trump. You are completely incapable of looking at the opposition. Did you read the Wapo article respecting the effect of Impeachment? Any competent Pundit understands that there are always two sides to a discussion. People such as yourself guarantee his re-election.

    Like

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