A Fresh Set of Downs

It’s first and ten again. 

Most years New Years just sort of happens.  It arrives.  Getting out of 2008 felt like we went for it on 4th and 13 deep inside our own territory.  We pulled the goalie and went with  a sixth attacker.  We sent an injured Albert Pujols to pinch hit for our best reliever.  We pulled out all the stops.

The year 2008 will go down as a watershed year.  It was the year in which man officially rejected God-given liberty and returned to the age-old theory that all power comes from government.  According to this theory, good governments dole out lots of cash and freedom to the commoners, while bad governments keep the money and chain the people.   For good or ill, though, we have given up on the idea of self-rule and limited government. 

Were I more ambitious, I’d write the history of the self-rule.  From Runnymede to that day September when John McCain left the campaign trail to help Hank Paulson drive a stake in the heart of capitalism. 

I’d write about self-rule’s greatest moments.  How ’bout Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration that, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem."    Or Thomas Jefferson’s prophetic foreboding that the Constitution would become a thing of wax in the hands of the Supreme Court.  Or Alexis de Tocqueville’s eerily accurate description of despotism in America: 

It would seem that if despotism were to be established among the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them.

"Degrade men without tormenting them."   Indeed.

What will we do with this fresh set of downs?  It’s late in the game.   We’re still in 4 down territory.  Our net is empty, and Pujols has a full count.  What will come of this experiment in 2009?  Will we accept our degradation, or will we fight against the machine, against this extensive and mild despotism? 

I hope we fight.  I fear we’ve already accepted the surrender.

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