All Good Things
...must come to an end. If you've been here for the whole ride, thanks for joining me.
Previous: Message to the Faithful
All good things must come to an end.
When I launched this essay series back in January, I committed to a minimum six-month run. It’s closer to ten, and I’ve never missed a week. It’s been fun but the time has come. Today’s is the final entry. I now move into the next stage: updating my thoughts in light of what I have learned since posting them, compiling them into a book, and giving thought to a new series on a new topic. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege.
I regret deeply, however, that this series is not the only good thing that has come to an end. The country that once embodied the American Spirit has slipped into history. The United States today is neither a constitutional republic nor a free society. It is a bureaucratic elitist oligarchy that fails the primary test of legitimacy laid out in the Declaration of Independence: It neither recognizes nor secures our inalienable liberties. Fortunately, the American Spirit has been battered rather than beaten. It’s far from dead. A republican restoration is possible—but only if we work towards it.
So before wrapping up entirely, let’s take an honest if unconventional look at our history—modeled after a country that, at least in this respect, has been far more honest about its history than has our own. My model is France. When Americans first declared independence in 1776, France was an absolute monarchy. Since then, it’s cycled through four republics, two empires, a restored absolute monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, and a fascist puppet state. It’s now in its fifth republic, which it honestly calls the Fifth French Republic.
We’ve been remiss in our own labeling. Though few Americans like to admit it, we’ve changed regimes more than once. The revolutionary period and the Articles of Confederation (1776-89) gave the world the First American Republic. It failed. The Constitution of 1789 gave birth to a far more robust Second American Republic. That one collapsed into secession and civil war in 1860. The post-civil war Constitutional Amendments and deletions yielded a Third American Republic with very different takes on equality, citizenship, and the rights of states from the Second.
That Third Republic ended not with a bang, but a whimper. No one ever announced that it was over or took a dramatic step to end it. Instead, the slow rise of the administrative state between Woodrow Wilson and Lyndon Johnson morphed it into something very, very different. It’s likely impossible to put a date on the demise of the Third American Republic and the rise of the Fourth, but most Americans alive today have known only that Fourth American Republic.
Our Fourth Republic was always problematic—in that it seemed to lack a clear Constitutional basis—but one of its bedrock principles was constant insistence upon its fidelity to the Constitution. That republican virtue died in March 2020, when our leadership dropped all pretense. The “Covid emergency” and the measures it justified were more than incompatible with the Bill of Rights. They announced the demise of the entire American idea.
That’s not hyperbole. Go back to March 2020 and consider what happened. What was the “emergency?” In March 2020 the U.S. was experiencing neither widespread death nor widespread disease. Hospitals reported no capacity issues. But thanks to the government, press reports, and information fed from foreign powers and NGOs that do not necessarily have our best interests at heart, people—including a supermajority of Americans—were terrified. Widespread panic motivated allegedly reasonable people to behave unreasonably. Contra JFK, the call went out “that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe,” sacrifice any liberty, censor any dissent, in the struggle against a viral respiratory disease.
In response to that fear, the federal government and most of the states engaged in the most comprehensive suppression of civil liberties in the history of the U.S. The moment that happened, a precedent was set. From March 2020 on forward, if the government determines that enough Americans are sufficiently frightened (or should be sufficiently frightened), the government may suspend any and all civil liberties. So much for the idea that these rights are inalienable and that the only proper and legitimate role of government is to secure them.
(The few governors who realized the error early and moved to correct it quickly deserve immense credit for standing against the crowd, but their efforts were too little too late to avoid having set the precedent. In March 2020, when the initial lockdowns began, there was not a single prominent American political leader in either party willing to state simply and loudly that the proposed suppression of civil liberties was incompatible with the American idea).
As a result, in America today, as across the entire globe, there are no inalienable rights. Period. The idea that motivated the great American experiment has been buried. It was a fine idea that brought enormous benefits to the world, but it was the primary casualty of Covid.
The American Spirit remains alive, though on life support. If we can revive it, we can restore America’s historic republicanism—breathe life into a Fifth American Republic. If not, well, as France has shown, there will likely still be a United States. It may be smaller or even larger—we’ve changed our map and our flag many times since 1776. It may be Woke or Utopian or something else. It will not, however, be the embodiment of the American nation forged in the 1776 Declaration.
The choice that faces us today is stark. We can reinvigorate the American Spirit and give birth to a Fifth American Republic. Or we can glide aimlessly until we morph into something very different, on current trends likely something very Woke.
What lies in the American future? The American Spirit vs. The Great Awokening. One or the other. The choice is ours. It’s where I started this essay series. It’s where I end it.
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For more information about Bruce D. Abramson & American Restorationism, visit: www.BruceDAbramson.com
To learn more about how America’s elites destroyed the republic, see: The New Civil War: Exposing Elites, Fighting Utopian Leftism, and Restoring America (RealClear Publishing, 2021).
To learn more about the ideology driving today’s anti-American leftism, see: American Restoration: Winning America’s Second Civil War (Kindle, 2019).
To learn more about our work at the American Coalition for Education and Knowledge, visit us at The Coalition for America.
To learn more about how I turn the ideas I discuss here into concrete projects that serve the interests of my clients, donors, and society at large, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.