Chapter 2: The Magnitude of the Sacrifice

In continuing on from the previous post titled, “What Are the Unknown Knowns” I concluded that,

“In re-learning basic concepts of freedom we can exercise that knowledge for our benefit, rather than continually choosing to forget it. Taking a stand on something is not the same as martyrdom, but it takes a similar type of courage to stand up to something you know to be wrong.”

This was based upon my assessment that:

“What is left is a community where the LOUDEST VOICE is allowed to present absurdities, and because they are LOUD and because they are accomplished in their YELLING, they are lauded as “good” by “the institution”.”

Here’s my thought,

In such a progressive-minded society we still have rules governing our society. Which are being regarded more and more like constrictive edges of a paper keeping the proliferating words of the law from running off the page into oblivion. However, in order to grant more freedom of access to those in the margins of our society we have turned the table completely over, re-written the map, and have decided to follow a course of action that ties up our democracy with arguments equivalent to redefining the size of that paper, rather then focus on how these new emerging problems can be resolved in our pre-existing free democracy.

“Eight and a half by eleven or fight!”

Some scary comments I’ve read from the internet are things like,

“Joshua, I think that means you’d need to contemplate the possibility that the country is mentally ill and needs serious psychotherapy.”

“It’s just hard for me to imagine that our dear founding fathers would be like, “yeah cool — keep that bit about the right to bear arms EXACTLY as it is” if they saw the news these days.”

Wait a sec…

Could we, the 21st century “we the people”, write and agree upon a constitution today as the 18th century “We The People” actually did?, and then be so committed to it that we would sacrifice everything to protect it?

And would that constitution continue to serve “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”?

I’ve heard “yes” and “yes”, but the founding fathers weren’t exactly so sure.

Our forefathers were not philosophical gods, but rational thinking men with big issues to solve like us.

You see, WE DO KNOW what our forefathers thought when they were contemplating the formation of our Union, and what they thought in writing the constitution. We know it, because they told us as much in their letters and individual writings.

(If you are curious where to start learning perhaps you should click here. )

What they thought was prolific and hopeful but also riddled with concern over the protection of State’s rights verses National rights.

In their writings;

  • They considered trade between individual states and trade between states and other countries and what the role of federal government would be if a country had a trade dispute with a state. Or if a state had a trade dispute with another state.
  • They debated how a uniform system in commercial relations would be necessary to their common interest and their permanent harmony, and the lengths to which the federal government should involve itself;
  • They wrestled with how to report to the several States such an act, “The Constitution” and whether if this union they formed would unanimously be ratified by the states, or fall short and insight more rebellion.

One the biggest surprises in educating myself about the founding fathers and the constitution was this revealing passage I found in a letter written on September 17, 1787 before the presentation of the constitution to the general public by George Washington,

“It is obviously impracticable in the Federal Government of these States to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be preserved; and, on the present occasion, this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.”

I wrestle with this, as I’m sure Washington did. In our present age we are rushing to try and bring opportunity to the disenfranchised or marginalised group, without requiring from them to give up a share of their liberty, but expecting that the government will provide for the interest and safety of all [sic]. And when It doesn’t work, somehow we feel like we have the right to become severely cynical of the process — when the whole time our founding fathers knew all this in advance and decided anyway to setup a system in hopes that “the democratic solution” and time would iron out differences between people.

When Washington states that it is difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be preserved [sic] there is an point here that in order for this system to work not everyone is going to win what they want. However, they will secure what they need, and perhaps just enough to even thrive.

Is this sacrifice acceptable?

Can we agree on this one point, that perhaps… Perhaps… we can sacrifice and compromise on a few issues in order to preserve the Union from invasion or dissolvement?

Or must we tarry on endlessly, forgoing freedoms we really should protect, gaining some we really didn’t need, all in order to forge a “perfect paradoxical union” in which everyone gets their own cake and eats it too?

Perhaps for the privilege of freedom, we might yield a few inches before we’ve lose miles.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for Chapter 3


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