In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, a Philadelphia lady named Mrs. Powel asked Benjamin Franklin the following question: “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Well, we didn’t keep it. The republic has been dead a long time. The final nail in the coffin may have been 1861, when the North refused to let the South secede. Since 1861 we have been an empire. In recent decades we have become an increasingly irresponsible empire run by an arrogant oligarchy. We are essentially bossed around by a conscienceless “elite” pretending that we are all part of a democracy always bowing to the will of the people. We have shrugged and gone along with this charade.
What are we to do? We didn’t keep our republic. Can we get it back? Should we want to get it back?
Here are eight things we could do.
1/The first option is just to do nothing–to keep on as we are now, passively accepting what comes at us. This unquestionably is the most popular option which most people will choose. It has its advantages. One doesn’t need to think and act; one can find a way to work within the system and can enjoy life. The problem is that very likely this option leads ultimately to disaster for us and for our family, neighbors, friends, and enemies. But hey, maybe disaster is not going to happen. Maybe it will all pan out in the end, as the panmillennialists believe, and doing nothing was a good choice.
2/Begin to work within the current political parties. One honorable person added to the mix is a very large addition. Working as an independent is also an option. Speaking the truth and failing to get elected is a tremendous step in the right direction. Some people have a gift for thinking on their feet and dealing with people. If they are also highly principled, such people are worth their weight in gold. Do you know someone in your church who might be a good political candidate? Encourage him to consider getting involved in politics.
3/Strengthen your family and your church. Develop high Christian ideals. Again, one person is a very large number. One family is an even larger number. Civil government in any form cannot work with an immoral populace. There are no short cuts. We have to become a godly people. Not all of us have to become godly, but enough of us need to do so in order that we become salt and light and we provide leadership. A Christian population which pays God one-quarter of His tithe (overall, we as American Christians give 2.5% instead of 10%; see the stats from the Christian group emptytomb), and votes itself abundance from the pockets of its neighbors, will never develop a wise limited civil government. Never. The disaster which has befallen the U.S. is 100% the fault of the Bible-believing church.
4/Read the Bible many times. Try to determine what it teaches about civil government, and what it teaches about personal responsibility. If we are not thinking the thoughts of God after Him, we will make as big a botch of civil government as everybody else. Many people who are Christians advocate policies that are evil. There is a biblical ethic which must guide us. Seek the truth in the Bible. Does this mean I think theocracy is a viable option? In fact, every nation without exception already is a theocracy. Every nation enforces the laws of its god. Point 7 below should relieve your fears on this point: non-Christians and anti-Christians need not be forced to live in a Christian theocracy. But we need to stop lying to ourselves that theocracy can be avoided. Theocracy is, the same as the sun in sky is. The U.S. is a theocracy right now–liberal humanist man is its god.
5/Consider what the Bible teaches in terms of eschatology–how history will play out to the end of time. Most American Christians are either amillennialists or dispensationalists. Both are psychologically devastating to Christians. Both encourage us to believe that the kingdom of God cannot really be advanced on earth, in time and history. Both amillennialism and dispensationalism I believe to be drivel. But what do I know? Maybe I’m a few bricks shy of a load. Think for yourself. Read your Bible. As you do so, read with the notion that maybe, just maybe, the Bible teaches that when God’s people are covenantally obedient to Him from the heart, good things begin to happen on the earth in time and history. I readily grant it can become very hard to be optimistic when so many things are going badly. But maybe they are going badly for good reasons, and we could change how things went if we changed the way we acted. Okay, it’s just a theory.
6/Read history. This is not only fun, it also helps us to learn about how the world is put together. Put down that TV set (it’s too heavy anyway) and pick up a good book. Pick up even a mediocre book. For part of your reading, read history.
7/Consider that breaking up the U.S. into several or many parts might be good for all of us, including those with whom we are in complete disagreement. Read The Breakdown of Nations by Leopold Kohr. He makes a good case that nations can be too big. When they become too big they become dangerous. He sees smallness as the plan of God. The U.S. became too big. We are no longer the modest self-respecting small republic which minded its own business. We feel obligated to preach to, and to bully, every other nation on the earth. If we broke into many smaller units, there could be places where Christians ran things, and places where Christianity was outlawed. Fantastic! Let God decide which places He wanted to bless. I make this recommendation with no great confidence that we Christians are ready to run our own lives in our own civil governments. I don’t think we are ready intellectually, theologically, spiritually, or morally. We would probably mess up greatly. But maybe we would learn. Or not. In any case, a small nation can do less harm than a giant nation. Consider the option of secession, or the breakup of the nation, as something maybe good for all.
8/The last option I will list is to give up, and to commit suicide. My personal favorite form of suicide will be slowly to eat and drink myself to death. This often seems like a viable option.
We did not keep our republic. We are bankrupt, financially. We were bankrupt morally, first. Fine. If we’ve learned a lesson, we are doing well. We don’t have to just do nothing. Even if what we do has little or no effect for good, isn’t it better to try than simply passively to accept what is shoved down our throats? Isn’t it better to go down six-shooters blazing than to let evil people destroy us, our family, our neighbors, our friends, and our enemies?
Mr. Franklin, you warned us. We refused to exercise eternal vigilance. Now we are in a mess of our own devising. But history has not yet come to an end. There may yet be republics, monarchies, democracies, or something elses worth keeping. We can be a part of helping to create such places. Although I admit that that beer, and that taco, look awfully inviting.