“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
So wrote John Adams, founding father and second President of the United States, in 1798. The Constitution, you will recall, was a compromise between proponents of a strong central government and those who wanted states to have the larger share of power in the new nation. The purpose of the Constitution was to establish a government that could protect the God-given liberties of the American people. The question before us as 2020 draws to a close is this: Do the Constitution and the government it created still serve that purpose?
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that the purpose of government was indeed to protect our God-given liberties, and furthermore that any government that becomes destructive of those ends should be altered or abolished. Jefferson later said that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed, from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” In 1776, the American colonists believed that King George and his Parliament had crossed the line from good governance and into tyranny through their excessive taxes, regulation, and violations of their rights as freeborn Englishmen. Today, however, we have multiple layers of government that make King George look positively libertarian by comparison.
Conservatives have complained about government regulation and overreach for years, while doing little to curb it. Whereas the federal government of John Adams’ time was a small and remote organization, its successor is a beast, a leviathan that devours billions of dollars of American capital while intruding into every relationship. Government is the silent partner in every business arrangement, a third party in every marriage, and the decision maker in every doctor’s visit. The government can tell farmers how much to grow, businesses what they can sell, and local schools what they must teach our children. The Constitution was unable to prevent the government from assuming this much power.
Federal laws are literally byzantine, with so many overlaps and contradictions that a talented prosecutor could charge you with crimes you have never heard of, forcing you to plea bargain to avoid length prison sentences. The government uses its discretionary power to refrain from charging certain people or interest groups, while throwing the book at others. Police can arrest mothers taking their children to the park while allowing violent rioters to burn, loot, and topple statues with no penalty. Activists and journalists who expose monstrous crimes by the federal government are prosecuted, while those in government who commit such crimes can retire with full pensions and million-dollar book deals. The Constitution was unable to stop the rise of this anarcho-tyranny.
Mayors, governors, and unelected bureaucrats are infringing upon our freedom of movement and assembly using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse. Small businesses are being driven to bankruptcy by authoritarian lockdowns. Health departments are arbitrarily closing stores and restaurants and forcing people at the point of a gun to wear masks when out in public. Pastors of churches who defy the lockdowns have been arrested, while the governors who order the arrests enjoy lavish parties at expensive restaurants. The Constitution could not prevent this tyrannical overreach in the name of public health.
In the name of public health, our voting systems were compromised, allowing untold electoral fraud with little accountability to the American people. Mail-in voting allowed the Democratic Party to turbocharge their existing cheating operations, resulting in the brazen theft of the presidential election. President Trump’s campaign has filed suits in several states, but the odds of winning every single suit and overturning Joe Biden’s apparent victory are slim. The Constitution was not able to keep us from this precipice.
No matter if President Trump manages to pull a rabbit out of his hat and win reelection this year, the damage to our moral, social, and political fabric is terminal, and neither the president nor the Constitution can save us at this point. Boomer-aged Christians who post 2 Chronicles 7:14 on Facebook miss the point – our country was on its way down before they were even born. The Constitution was made to protect our liberties, but after nearly a quarter of a millennium it has utterly failed to do that. As President Adams said, the Constitution was made for a moral and religious people, and America is anything but that today.
The Constitution could not stop the severe decay of America’s morality over the last half century. Talk show host Jesse Kelly likes to point out that we are not fighting the culture war – we already lost. We put up very little fight as the godless left marched through our institutions. Gay marriage, which was considered absurd as late as 1995, is now the law of the land, and few Christians or conservatives are still willing to speak out against it. Prayer in schools was once an important issue for the Christian right, and now few people really care anymore – the public schools have been entirely ceded to the left. Of all the culture war issues, perhaps only abortion yet remains as a hill that Christians and conservatives are willing to fight and die on, but even that issue is receding. Many people have woken up to the fact that the Republican Party has been using abortion as a campaign issue for nearly half a century while doing little to stop it once they are in power. Scott Greer recently suggested that abortion has become a proxy for all the various issues that once animated the social conservative Right, but which we no longer feel comfortable speaking of in public.
Even Christian conservatives no longer speak of morality as a virtue. Chastity is a joke, even in churches. Few people take oaths and vows seriously, whether in marriage or in the courtroom. The average Christian conservative is too busy watching Netflix and football to lead his family or take a stand in his community. Rather than boldly preaching the truth, many churches simply say what their congregants want to hear, exactly as the Apostle Paul warned.
There are many conservatives who believe that an Article V Convention of States, called to rewrite the Constitution, is the answer to all our problems. This seems naïve, however. Rather than restoring America to the vision of our founders, rewriting the Constitution would open the door to all sorts of modern anathemas, because the left would have a say too. The same conservatives who could not conserve the women’s restroom would not be able to stand up to people demanding a new constitution that codifies diversity quotas and special rights for various ethnic and interest groups.
I do not have all the answers; however I am becoming increasingly convinced that some form of secession is the only way to save a remnant of Christendom in America. The fatal flaw of democracy is evident in America today, as tens of millions of people now support godless socialism. One thing is clear, however: the current system cannot go on much longer. America is transitioning from Republic into Empire; going back to 1950 (or earlier) is just not an option. President Trump might have slowed the decline, but the fall is inevitable. The tree of liberty looks mighty parched these days.