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A republic, if we can regain it

Patrick Buchanan, 81, asked today, "How Long Can America Hold Together?" This is a pertinent question as the nation suffers its third impeachment farce as a House of Representatives tries to overthrow a president over policy disagreements instead of reserving this legislative tool to real crimes that threaten our nation.

Buchanan catalogued past disagreements that led to open defiance of the law. From Shays' Rebellion against taxes to Martin Luther King's civil disobedience against segregation laws to today's sanctuary cities for illegal aliens (and now sanctuary counties against gun confiscation) Americans have a lengthy history of rebellion.

As always, Buchanan offered a light on history seldom (if ever) considered by historians. He wrote, "A constitutional prohibition of the sale of beer, wine and liquor in the U.S., following the enactment of the 18th Amendment, led to massive civil disobedience in the Roaring ’20s, before it was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment."

That is the way things should be. Bad laws -- including constitutional amendments -- must be corrected within the system.

Today's anti-government protests are led by the president himself. It is an uncanny, necessary, and even humorous situation. The only nationally elected official finds himself at odds with the voting members elected by 435 congressional district and 50 states. Congress and the president often are at odds. Indeed, the Constitution deliberately set things up this way. However, by impeaching him, Democrats pushed beyond a civil disagreement.

The Founding Fathers created a republic, which has fallen into a democracy with mob justice superseding the the rule of law. The cancel culture gets people fired for saying things or doing things the mob at any point disagrees with. Mozilla fired Brendan Eich as CEO for donating $1,000 to support Proposition 8, which happened to pass in California.

But Donald Devine sees impeachment as a sign of the death of liberalism.

He wrote, "Donald Trump so dominates the news, he seems to be the cause of it all, with his impeachment by the House pushing that theory dramatically forward. Democratic progressives now believe they can replace him given his low popular approval ratings and are even rushing further left toward socialism and woke-identity politics. Yet, President Trump will surely be acquitted by the Senate and is still driving policy, less so in Congress but still generally rightwards in a modestly conservative direction.

"But policy has very little to do with the present predicament and almost nothing to do with conservatism. Everything today and for the immediate future is actually about the other guys: it is about progressivism’s collapse. Neither side can fully comprehend this intellectually — indeed progressives are still convinced they are the future and conservatives worry they may be right. But emotionally progressives sense great danger, and they do not like it one bit, expressed by their extreme passion for impeachment, from the very day Mr. Trump was sworn in as president."

I get his point perhaps better than he does. The injustice of the mob in forcing girls to wrestle boys in the name of transgender rights may be the tipping point in rejecting progressivism.

When President Trump said he would drain the swamp, he did not mean just prosecuting the worst of the actors. He meant reducing the level of the water of power. That is the real threat to Washington. If he limited his actions to criminal activities, the deep state would gladly hand over Jim Comey and maybe even John Brennan.

But President Donald John Trump wants to reduce federal interference in state affairs. A good example is backing off on school lunches. On paper, it is a good thing to promote healthy meals that meet whatever standards dietitians set today. Remember when whole milk was good for you? However, setting school lunch menus is not the job of the federal government. School cafeteria workers should set it. And if one or two schools get it wrong, the harm is limited compared to the likelihood that the federal government will someday get it wrong at all the schools.

Devine has little faith that Trumpism will outlast this presidency. History places the odds in Devine's favor.

He wrote, "Conservative belief in limited government should have much to say about this progressive reliance upon deep state experts to overrule elected presidents. Instead, many propose additional central bureaucratic control over moral issues. Others support President Trump’s pro-market policies but do not arm him and other leaders with the intellectual ammunition necessary to confront progressivism itself, and the fact that its logic necessarily leads to centralization and Praetorian Guards rather than the federalist pluralism of the Madisonian Constitution."

Buchanan wrote, "For a republic to endure, there has to be a common consent on the rule of law and what constitutes a good society."

That requires good rules. And the fewer the rules, the greater the odds that the ones we have are good. The Lord's Ten Commandments barely cover a third of one column in the Bible.

In 2018 alone, we added 68,082 pages to the Federal Registry. 2019 figures are unavailable.

The rules are written not by Congress but by a bureaucracy that presidents no longer control.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a friend asked Benjamin Franklin what sort of government they set up. He replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it."

We didn't. Now is the time to get that Republic back.

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