Today's Covid-19 protests are a rejection of the central premise of America. There is no individual freedom without collective sacrifice.
Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America
The American Experiment
“We the People” might be the most radical political statement ever penned. The phrase is unavoidable, writ large at the top of what’s arguably the most important secular document in human history. It is a formal statement of collective will, a clear repudiation of Divine Right and a messy but thorough exploration of individual liberty. After more than two hundred and thirty years it is also the oldest— and longest-lasting-- constitution in the history of the world.
Today most political debate focuses on the Bill of Rights & the Amendments. People tend to skip the Preamble, perhaps because it renders some of the most common arguments against governmental power invalid.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense,
promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves
and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for
the United States of America."
A Constant Conflict
There are five clear objectives laid out in the Preamble, the last two expressing the inherent & constant conflict that lies at the heart of constitutional republicanism: promoting the general welfare of the people versus securing liberty for individuals and their progeny. This conflict was well understood by the Framers, who realized that perpetual, constant effort would be required in order to safeguard and sustain a more perfect Union.
The authors of the Constitution knew that no society has the power or authority to defend individual liberty without first obtaining the consent of the governed, in this case the collective consent of “We the People”. But consent doesn’t merely require permission from those governed—it also means a clear and unambiguous obligation to the general welfare of the society that government represents. Each individual must relinquish some personal liberty to ensure the rights of the larger group. This is what’s known as the Social Contract, and it is the central idea America was founded upon.
A Double Standard
America’s wealthy elites have always resented the social contract because they reject any right of the majority to limit or curb their own freedoms. The landed gentry of the Old South grew and maintained vast fortunes by holding other human beings in bondage. At the time the Constitution was written they more akin to feudal lords than to participants in a representative democracy.
The institution of slavery was the key sticking point in the formation of the United States, not because of any concern over the natural rights of the African men, women and children being brutalized, but because of a lack of consent by the wealthy elites to commit to the Union and give up what they felt was their God-given right to property—namely, enslaved human beings.
Plantation owners, the industrialists of their time, wanted all the benefits and security of the social contract, but without any of the obligation to society that came along with it. They refused to relinquish any degree of personal liberty— in other words they rejected the social contract— which nearly led to a stillborn American Experiment, and less than a century later would lead to a bloody and divisive civil war.
Lincoln Spins in his Grave
The billionaire oligarchs who fund the Long Con share the exact same belief in the primacy of individual rights & the possession of private property. Their stealth takeover of the Republican Party (the Trojan Elephant at the heart of the Long Con) puts today’s GOP squarely in line with not only the beliefs but the exact philosophical arguments the Southern plantation owners used to justify slavery and to turn their backs on the Union.
This is a complete and utter repudiation of the Party of Lincoln, which was founded expressly on the belief that obligation & fealty to the Union of We the People trumps any claim to property or individual rights that conflict with our social contract, the Constitution of the United States. The result of the Long Con is that today’s GOP rejects the very tenets of republicanism upon which it was founded.
Lincoln Weeps (Bill Mauldin, Chicago Sun Times)
In order to escape the social contract for themselves, the wealthy elites of the 20th Century embraced and funded ideas & individuals who argued against the moral right of our government to rule over its people, disavowing entirely the spirit and principles of representative democracy. They were thus able to brand the great racist migration of Southern Democrat voters to the Republican Party in 1964 as a matter of principle, based upon a firm belief in states’ rights and individual economic freedom, rather than the embrace of a new spin on racist, anti-government ideology that it was.
Grave Danger for We the People
Dismantling the social contract remains the goal of the Long Con. This has never been more obvious than today, during this time of pandemic & mandated shelter-in-place orders. Angry white Americans descend on statehouses to demand the government “reopen” the country for business, while the fundamental notion that We the People have any obligation to one another, or to the government that represents us, is rejected outright.
Armed lockdown protesters in Topeka, KS (Getty Images)
It’s impossible and inaccurate to credit these angry white mobs for mobilizing and organizing on their own. They have been funded and supported by billionaires like Liz Uihlein, who blame the national press for exaggerating the risks of Covid-19 (our video reveals exactly how the Uihleins spend their money to create & stoke fake controversies). Despite their strong feelings about individual liberty and the unfettered use of private property, however, Liz and Dick didn’t seem to be in attendance at the Wisconsin protests they supported.
What should concern every American— deeply— is the obvious parallels between the Southern plantation owners who formed the Confederacy and sent their poor subjects into battle to die for their own private, personal interests and the American oligarchs who’ve run a decades-long Long Con on the descendants of the selfsame subjects, and today send them—unmasked and unprotected— into armed protest against our government in order to protect the interests of the billionaire class.