Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Republic - But Can We Keep It?

Benjamin Franklin famously responded to an anxious woman's question about the type of government the founders had just created by saying, "A republic, if you can keep it!" Franklin's statement obviously indicates how closely and carefully he felt this form of government must be guarded, and perhaps more importantly, the fact that he responded this way to a member of the general populace reveals where he believed the responsibility of its keeping lay.

Constitutional Republicanism is perhaps the best-devised form of government possible involving the flaws of mere humanity. Or perhaps, as Winston Churchill said of democracy - "(it is) the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried."

However, even a cursory glance at the other great Republic of history indicates that a government of republican origins can totally be transformed into Empire. How can the roots of Republicanism yield the fruit of Empire? Whatever the reason, it appears that such a mutation is not only possible, but likely. Inevitable might be taking it too far, because even as the American Republic travels the same winding descent as its Roman predecessor, this patriot still hopes for a reversal, for a renewed understanding and respect for our founding principles.

As Rome the Republic was in its death throes and then rebirthed itself as Rome the Empire, it seems a lone voice sounded the alarm against the change - Cicero. As the title of this blog suggests, America's recent course towards Empire highlights the need for a Cicero of our own. But I am not so egotistical as to lay claim to his eloquence and wit, his unique gifts of rhetorical brilliance and political genius; rather, I share his sense of loss, and similarly cannot help but speak out.

In that light, I intend this blog to be a commentary on American culture, law, politics, business and perhaps even religion, from what might be called a Ciceronian perspective. That is, examining American actions against its founding principles, while hoping that perhaps readers of like (or respectfully dissenting) minds may find the blog interesting enough to post thoughtful responses (and provide the blog the articulate charm to make it worthy of its name).

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