The American Way of Life (Part 23 of 28)

Part 23: of a 28-part series

Within its proper sphere, government by town meeting is the form of government most effectively under our control. You can see [more clearly] locally. And it is more transparent to observe a key oversight of the local rulers. That’s where we need to begin. That’s where they did begin. When they could watch and observe what happened locally among themselves, from those of themselves, then they could reason into the next sphere, into the larger spheres.

And that’s the idea. Anyone who disapproves of any of these objects, or the way in which it is proposed to be obtained, has an opportunity to declare his opinions. We don’t even know how to articulate an opinion. We don’t even have an opinion to articulate. Help us, Lord, help us.

This comes through exercise, through training. We have to be trained to do this. It’s not that we’re apathetic. We’re just stupid. We’re dumb. I refer especially to the delusion that the government is a sort of mysterious power. See, we think of it as some hard thing out there, when it’s most immediate. If we know how to do the immediate, it is not so hard out there. [We see government as a] sort of mysterious power, a sense of a magical and inexhaustive fund of wealth, able to do all manner of things for the benefit of the people. Some such notion as this…is inexpressibly dear to demagogues.

“It is the prolific root from which springs that luxurious cloth of humbug upon which political tricksters thrive as pigs fattened upon gourds and, point of fact, no such government with a magic fount of its own has ever existed upon the earth. No government has ever yet used any money for public purposes which it did not first take from its own people, unless it may have plundered it from some other people in victorious warfare.”

To be continued…