What Should We Do About the American Empire?

Garet Garrett defined the American empire in his book, The People’s Pottage, seventy years ago.  From a Mises Institute condensation, titled, “The American Empire,” (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), Garrett says,

Do not ask whether or not it is possible [to alter our course].  Ask yourself this: if it were possible, what would it take?  How could the people restore the Republic if they would?  Or, before that, how could they recover their Constitutional sovereign right to choose for themselves?

When you have put it that way you are bound to turn and look at the lost terrain.  What are the positions, forgotten or surrendered, that would have to be recaptured?

He then lists the hills that must be retaken if the republic is to be reestablished.

The first hill is “a state of mind,”

To recover the habit of decision the people must learn again to think for themselves; and this would require a kind of self-awakening, as from a wee small alarm in the depths.

The second is “renewed public debate of foreign policy.”  Citing a speech given to the National Women’s Democratic Club on November 20, 1951, by President Truman, Garrett quotes,

You remember what happened in 1920.  When the people voted for Harding, that meant a tremendous change in the course the United States was following.  It meant that we turned our backs on the new-born League of Nations…  I think most people now recognize that the country chose the wrong course in 1920…  Since I have been President, I have sought to steer a straight course of handling foreign policy matters on the sole basis of the national interest.  The people I have chosen to fill the major positions concerned with foreign policy have been picked solely on merit, without regard to party labels.  I want to keep it that way.  I want to keep our foreign policy out of domestic politics.

Garrett then analyzes Truman’s remarks,

So far had the American mind been conditioned by the infatuate phrase, bi-partisan foreign policy, that extraordinary statement was vacantly received.  What was the President saying?  He was saying that because, in his opinion, the people once voted wrong on foreign policy, they ought not to vote on it at all anymore.  Let them leave it to the President.  It follows logically that the people have no longer anything to say about war and peace.

On this [hill], where foreign policy once more shall be debated by the people who may have to die for it, let the wind be cold and merciless.  Let those be nakedly exposed to it who have brought the country to this impasse.

The next hill that must be retaken is the “public purse,” once controlled by the people through congress, and now by the unelected Government Executive through (or, sometimes, in spite of) the president.  He writes,

Until the people have recovered [the public purse] they cannot tame Executive Government.  Passing laws to control or restrain it is of no avail whatever.  The only way to reason with it is to cut it off at the pockets…  No matter how badly the people may manage the public purse it cannot control them, whereas, in the hands of the government, control of the purse becomes the single most powerful instrument of executive policy touching the lives of the people.

Finally, the highest hill Garrett identifies, is the cost to save the republic that each citizen must pay, which he names “the Peak of Fortitude.”

What you have to face is that the cost of saving the Republic may be extremely high.  It could be relatively as high as the cost of setting it up in the first place, [two hundred forty-seven] years ago, when love of political liberty was a mighty passion, and people were willing to die for it.

When the economy has for a long time been moving by jet propulsion, the higher the faster, on the fuel of perpetual war and planned inflation, the time comes when you have to choose whether to go on and on and dissolve in the stratosphere or decelerate.  But deceleration will cause a terrific shock.  Who will say, “Now!”?  Who is willing to face the grim and dangerous realities of deflation and depression?

…No doubt the people know they can have their Republic back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price.  The only point is that no leader has yet appeared with the courage to make them choose.

As a defining example of the restoration cost, Garrett cites the scripture, “When Moses had brought his people near to the Promised Land, he sent out scouts to explore it…”  However, he incorrectly concludes that the Israelites would have had to fight for the land themselves in their own strength.  Garrett neglected to mention that the Lord God promised that He would fight for them.  In this, Garrett is grievously mistaken.  Actions of mere men will never overturn powers, principalities, and rulers of the darkness

Remarkably, though, all of Garrett’s remarks were written seventy years ago; they sound familiar, don’t they?

We must not forget that the principles of the republic are still valid, no changes required.  But, as John Adams reportedly said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

To restore the republic, two things must happen.  First, we must repent of our luxury and moral indifference and function as free and responsible citizens again.  And second, we must pray that the hand of God removes the administrative state with its rules and regulations and installs responsible citizens in reconstituted city, state, and federal governments.

During this time of turmoil and strife, we do well to abide by the command,

“Do not call [confederacy] all that this people calls [confederacy], and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.  But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy.  Let him be your fear and let him be your dread.  Isaiah 8:12-13 (English Standard Version and Geneva Bible)

Please do not be led astray by those imposters pretending to be the way to peace, safety, and health.  There is only One Who is The Way.

We must rest in the fact that the government of this world is on the Lord Jesus Christ’s shoulders (Isaiah 9:6.)

Remembering always to pass on to the next generation the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

God alone can save us.

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