Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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A Springtime Tour of the Global Village

Res Publica

March 1990

by Gregory Dunn

It’s spring and the weather is getting warmer; let’s put the top down and take a drive around the international block to see what our neighbors are up to.

The neighborhood itself is pretty diverse; it displays a wide variety of architectural styles. There are the tumble-down shacks of the third-world tyrannies and the moldering ruins of European monarchies. The two Germanies are trying to figure out how to rebuild their houses back into one. However, the most attention is directed towards the huge decaying mansion of the Soviet Union collapsing under its own weight and currently surrounded by scaffolding and braces erected for renovation by that unstoppable Bob Villa of the international scene, Gorbachev.

But all things considered, it is always good to return home to our place, a wonderful mixture of styles and tastes. It is a good home, and is holding up very well, even after more than two hundred years of use and abuse. Most in the neighborhood wonder why the thing has stayed up so long, but any carpenter will tell you that the key is the foundation. If that is strong, the house can stand forever.

The foundation itself is strong and heavy, constructed out of the bricks of truth and the mortar of reason. The fundamental truth, which is our cornerstone, is that a human is a human regardless of condition and that all humans have the right to be treated as equals.

But this is not to say that the house doesn’t have its fair share of problems. There is always a stuck window or a common plumbing problem to be corrected, and these always get attention and are fixed—eventually. There was even one time when the whole place was nearly split right down the middle and turned into a two-family duplex. Fortunately, there was one in the house who knew a great deal about carpentry, and was able to put the thing together. This would have been impossible if the foundation was not sound.

But now, there exists a group of people in the house, who seeing some of its faults, mainly the injustice of bigotry, have decided the best way to fix them is at the foundation. So they all picked up their eighteen-pound sledges, went down to the basement, and with their rallying cries of "dogmatic absolutism" and "distorted picture of human history" and "homophobic" and "racist" and "chauvinist," they began to hack away at reason and truth.

Fortunately, some of the people upstairs noticed all the racket and went down to see what the hell was going on. When they saw the shambles that the foundation was becoming, they called for help and tried to stop the insurrectionists. For once that foundation, the principle that all humans are created equal in their rights, is destroyed, the bigotry that the would-be renovators are trying to eliminate would grow and consume their lives and country. And so the battle for truth and reason began.

It is remarkable to me how anyone in their right mind would start to rebuild a house from the bottom up. If these renovators want to make a change, I would suggest starting upstairs, where they live, not in the basement. For once the foundation is weakened, the whole place will collapse, crushing not only the would-be renovators in the basement, but all who live above.

And then our only choice would be to rebuild our home out of rubble and hope we don’t get some monstrosity like the Communists did.

Take another look around the block. Everywhere, people are beginning to realize the importance of a strong foundation. The people of Eastern Europe realize it, as well as those in Central and South America. All around the block, houses are under massive reconstruction, and in the hand of each head foreman is a copy of the plans to our place. They are learning that they are human and should have the rights of humans.

With a strong foundation, the whole house may burn to the ground yet still be rebuilt like a phoenix rising from the ashes. But if the foundation is destroyed, all will collapse into chaos and violent death. There is a battle raging in our basement, and the outcome will determine our prosperity or destruction. Let’s try to keep this thing together for a while longer.

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