Essay On Responsible Government

Yet Wilson emphasized the duties, as well as the rights, of citizens: "Need I infer, that it is the duty of every citizen to use his best and most unremitting endeavours for preserving it [the Constitution] pure, healthful, and vigorous?For the accomplishment of this great purpose, the exertions of no one citizen are unimportant.

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In matters of public concern, it was the original intent to keep authority as close to home as possible.

The lesser courts, the police, the maintenance of roads and sanitation, the levying of real-property taxes, the control of public schools, and many other essential functions still are carried on by the agen­cies of local community: the township, the village, the city, the county, the voluntary association.

Thus it is that on the occasion of the Bicentennial celebrating of the Constitution, a mighty effort ought to be made to restore the American public's awareness of the principles of their government, of their responsibilities toward their country, their neighbors, their children, their parents, and themselves to be sure that their patriotism is based on this solid foundation.

No one knows how late the hour is; but it is later than most people think.

The success of the American Republic as a political structure has been the consequence, in a very large part, of the voluntary participation of citizens in public affairs - enlisting in the army in time of war; serving on school boards; taking part unpaid in political campaigns; petitioning legislatures; sup­porting the President in an hour of crisis; and in a hundred other great ways, or small-assuming responsibility for the com­mon good.

The Constitution has functioned well, most of the time, because conscientious men and women have given it flesh.It must be remembered that the great strength of the Signers of the Declaration and the Framers of the Constitution was that they knew their classical history, and how the ancient Greek cities had lost their liberties, and how the Roman system had sunk to its ruin under the weight of proletariat and military state. Although America's social difficulties are formidable, probably they are less daunting than those of any other great nation today.The economic resources of the United States remain impressive; and the country's intellectual resources are large.Below we set down some of the causes for the decline of a sense of responsibility among some American citizens.In other words, the temptation of public men in Washington is always to offer to have the federal government assume fresh responsibilities - with consequent decay of local and private vigor (it might be argued that, at least in part, a failure in the proper exercise of citizens' responsibility permitted the development of the welfare state syndrome - that the government owes them a living.closer centralization; a steadily growing bureaucracy; State power and faith in State power increasing; social power and faith in social power diminishing; the State absorbing a continually larger proportion of the national income; production languishing; the State in consequence taking over one 'essential industry' after another, managing them with ever-increasing corruption, inefficiency, and prodigality, and finally resorting to a system of forced labor.Then at some point in this process a collision of State interests, at least as general and as violent as that which occurred in 1914, will result in an industrial and financial dislocation too severe for the asthenic [weak] social structure to bear; and from this the State will be left to 'the rusty death of machinery' and the casual anonymous forces of dissolution." Modern civilization offers a great variety of diversions, amusements, and enticements - some of them baneful.By 1978 there were more people receiving regular government checks than there were workers in the private sector.What follows, if we are to judge by the history of fallen civilizations, is described by Albert Jay Nock in his book Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (1943): "...They must be moved by patriotism and their attachment to the Constitution.And patriotism alone, ignorant boasting about ones native land, would not suffice to preserve the Republic.


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