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Fiddling While Rome Burns: Yes, our civilization is burning!



Personal freedom has always been the hallmark that distinguished us from the other nation-states of the world. We fought the Revolutionary War to gain freedom from the oppressive tyranny that was typical of governments throughout history. But today we are facing a modern-day version of the age-old human impulse to control and regulate others, which diminishes our freedoms. Though it is in more benign clothing than its predecessors, the ultimate threat is just as real, and regardless of the good intentions of our governing class the result is the same: suppression of the human spirit and thwarting of the fulfillment of our individual aspirations. We must check the unbridled hubris of those politicians that treat us with disdain in the belief that their superior intelligence qualifies them to govern us as they see fit.


Our culture places a high value on personal freedom and this has enabled the diversity of our people to flourish; this diversity embraced within our common culture, is one of the signal strengths of our nation. Through the exercise of our personal freedoms, we are individually able to develop our talents and realize our potential in those fields that draw us to them. The result is a level of personal satisfaction that is the envy of people around the world. So we must fiercely defend our hard-won freedoms against the political forces that would undermine and destroy them.


But cries of warning that we risk losing the freedoms we cherish but take for granted are now coming with greater frequency and urgency (see examples in The Fourth Revolution by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, Why Governments Fail So Often by Peter H. Schuck, Coming Apart by Charles Murray and The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson). With that backdrop, the noted historian Victor Davis Hanson (The Savior Generals) voiced this concern in an interview when he asked, in effect,


“Where are the reformers that

we desperately need today?”


We submit that “We the People” are those reformers, and we must collectively step up and take control of our dysfunctional and unresponsive government.


There are many individuals and groups doing admirable work on pieces of our puzzle, but there is a compelling need to take a more comprehensive view of our underlying problems. As we do so, it becomes increasingly clear that to get at the heart of the matter we must undertake significant reforms of our federal government. To ignore this need is to “fiddle while Rome burns.”


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