Articles of Interest
The American EmpireTags U.S. History
[The following is a condensation of Garet Garrett's pamphlet The Rise of Empire, published in 1952, and included in his collection The People's Pottage (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1953).]
We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night; the precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say: “You now are entering Imperium.” Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: “Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.”
That a Republic may vanish is an elementary schoolbook fact.
The Roman Republic passed into the Roman Empire, and yet never could a Roman citizen have said, "That was yesterday." Nor is the historian, with all the advantages of perspective, able to place that momentous event at an exact point on the dial of time. The Republic had a long, unhappy twilight. It is agreed that the Empire began with Augustus Caesar. What Augustus Caesar did was to demonstrate a proposition found in Aristotle's Politics, one that he must have known by heart, namely this: "People do not easily change, but love their own ancient customs; and it is by small degrees only that one thing takes the place of another; so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about a revolution in the state."
Revolution within the Form
There is no comfort in history for those who put their faith in forms; who think there is safeguard in words inscribed on parchment, preserved in a glass case, reproduced in facsimile and hauled to and fro on a Freedom Train.
Let it be current history. How much does the younger half of this generation reflect upon the fact that in its own time a complete revolution has taken place in the relations between government and people?
The extent to which the original precepts and intentions of constitutional, representative, limited government, in the republican form, have been eroded away by argument and dialectic is a separate subject, long and ominous, and belongs to a treatise on political science. The one fact now to be emphasized is that when the process of erosion has gone on until there is no saying what the supreme law of the land is at a given time, then the Constitution begins to be flouted by executive will, with something like impunity. The instances may not be crucial at first and all the more dangerous for that reason. As one is condoned another follows and they become progressive.
To outsmart the Constitution and to circumvent its restraints became a popular exercise of the art of government in the Roosevelt regime. In defense of his attempt to pack the Supreme Court with social-minded judges after several of his New Deal laws had been declared unconstitutional, President Roosevelt wrote: "The reactionary members of the Court had apparently determined to remain on the bench for as long as life continued — for the sole purpose of blocking any program of reform."
Among the millions who at the time applauded that statement of contempt there were very few, if there was indeed one, who would not have been frightened by a revelation of the logical sequel. They believed, as everyone else did, that there was one thing a President could never do. There was one sentence of the Constitution that could not fall, so long as the Republic lived.
The Constitution says: "The Congress shall have power to declare war."
That, therefore, was the one thing no President could do. By his own will he could not declare war. Only Congress could declare war, and Congress could be trusted never to do it but by will of the people. And that was the innermost safeguard of the republic. The decision whether or not to go to war was in the hands of the people — or so they believed. No man could make it for them.
It is true that President Roosevelt got the country into World War II. That is not the same thing. For a declaration of war he went to Congress — after the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. He wanted it, he had planned it, and yet the Constitution forbade him to declare war and he durst not do it.
Nine years later a much weaker President did.
After President Truman, alone and without either the consent or knowledge of Congress, had declared war on the Korean aggressor, seven thousand miles away, Congress condoned his usurpation of its exclusive constitutional power. More than that, his political supporters in Congress argued that in the modern case that sentence in the Constitution conferring upon Congress the sole power to declare war was obsolete.
Mark you, the words had not been erased; they still existed in form. Only, they had become obsolete. And why obsolete? Because war may now begin suddenly, with bombs falling out of the sky, and we might perish while waiting for Congress to declare war.
The reasoning is puerile. The Korean War, which made the precedent, did not begin that way; secondly, Congress was in session at the time, so that the delay could not have been more than a few hours, provided Congress had been willing to declare war; and, thirdly, the President as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Republic may in a legal manner act defensively before a declaration of war has been made. It is bound to be made if the nation has been attacked.
Mr. Truman's supporters argued that in the Korean instance his act was defensive and therefore within his powers as Commander-in-Chief. In that case, to make it constitutional, he was legally obliged to ask Congress for a declaration of war afterward. This he never did. For a week Congress relied upon the papers for news of the country's entry into war; then the President called a few of its leaders to the White House and told them what he had done. A year later Congress was still debating whether or not the country was at war, in a legal, constitutional sense.
A few months later Mr. Truman sent American troops to Europe to join an international army, and did it not only without a law, without even consulting Congress, but challenged the power of Congress to stop him. Congress made all of the necessary sounds of anger and then poulticed its dignity with a resolution saying it was all right for that one time, since anyhow it had been done, but that hereafter it would expect to be consulted.
At that time the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate asked the State Department to set forth in writing what might be called the position of Executive Government. The State Department obligingly responded with a document entitled, "Powers of the President to Send Troops Outside of the United States, February 28, 1951." For the information of the United States Senate it said:
As this discussion of the respective powers of the President and Congress has made clear, constitutional doctrine has been largely moulded by practical necessities. Use of the congressional power to declare war, for example, has fallen into abeyance because wars are no longer declared in advance.
Caesar might have said it to the Roman Senate. If constitutional doctrine is moulded by necessity, what is a written Constitution for?
Thus an argument that seemed at first to rest upon puerile reasoning turned out to be deep and cunning. The immediate use of it was to defend the unconstitutional Korean precedent, namely, the declaration of war as an act of the President's own will. Yet it was not invented for that purpose alone. It stands as a forecast of executive intentions, a manifestation of the executive mind, a mortal challenge to the parliamentary principle.
The question is: "Whose hand shall control the instrument of war?"
It is late to ask. It may be too late, for when the hand of the Republic begins to relax another hand is already putting itself forth.
If you may have Empire with or without a constitution, even within the form of a republican constitution, and if also you may have Empire with or without an emperor, then how may the true marks of Empire be distinguished with certainty? What are they?
The first requisite of Empire is:
The executive power of government shall be dominant. It may be dominant originally, as in the days of hereditary kingship, or it may come to be dominant by change, as when the Roman Republic passed under the rule of Caesars.
What Empire needs above all in government is an executive power that can make immediate decisions, such as a decision in the middle of the night by the President to declare war on the aggressor in Korea, or, on the opposite side, a decision in the Politburo in the Kremlin, perhaps also in the middle of the night, to move a piece on the chessboard of cold war.
The Federal income-tax law of 1914 gave the government unlimited access to wealth and, moreover, power for the first time to levy taxes not for revenue only but for social purposes, in case there should arise a popular demand for redistribution of the national wealth. World War I immediately followed. Looking backward we can see that these two events marked the beginning of a great rise in the executive power of government. Then came in rapid succession (1) the Great Depression, (2) the revolutionary Roosevelt regime, and (3) World War II, all within an arc of twenty years.
In those twenty years the sphere of Executive Government increased with a kind of explosive force. Congress received from the White House laws that were marked "must." Its principal function was to enact and engross them. The part of the Supreme Court was to make everything square with the Constitution by a liberal reinterpretation of its language. The word executive came to have its new connotation. For all the years before when you spoke of the executive power of government you meant only the power to execute and administer the laws. Henceforth it would mean the power to govern.
A further very subtle change was taking place. Only a few years ago if you had asked such a question as, "Who speaks for the people?" or "What organ of government utters their sovereign will?" the answer would have been "The Congress of the United States." Certainly. That was what Congress was for.
Now it is the President, standing at the head of the Executive Government, who says: "I speak for the people," or "I have a mandate from the people." Thus the man who happens to be the embodiment of the executive principle stands between the Congress and the people and assumes the right to express their will.
There is more to this. How much more than Congress the President acts directly upon the emotions and passions of the people to influence their thinking. As he controls Executive Government, so he controls the largest propaganda machine in the world, unless it be the Russian machine; and this machine is the exclusive possession of Executive Government. The Congress has no propaganda apparatus at all and continually finds itself under pressure from the people who have been moved for or against something by the ideas and thought material broadcast in the land by the administrative bureaus in Washington.
The result is Bureau Government, administered by bureaucrats who are not elected by the people.
In The Grandeur that Was Rome, Stobart says that for a long time after the Republic had become an Empire a stout republican could still believe that he was governed by the Senate; yet little by little as a complete imperial bureaucracy was evolved the Senate sank into insignificance. It was really the bureaucracy of the imperial palace that governed the Roman world and strangled it with good intentions. The growth of the bureaucracy was both symptom and cause of the increasing power of the executive principle.
Aggrandizement of the executive principle of government takes place in several ways, mainly these: (1) By delegation. That is when the Congress delegates one or more of its constitutional powers to the President and authorizes him to exercise them. That procedure touched a very high point during the long Roosevelt regime, when an obliging Congress delegated to the President, among other powers, the crucial one of all, namely, power over the public purse, which until then had belonged exclusively to the House of Representatives, where the Constitution put it.
(2) By reinterpretation of the language of the Constitution. That is done by a sympathetic Supreme Court.
(3) By innovation. That is when, in this changing world, the President does things that are not specifically forbidden by the Constitution because the founders never thought of them.
(4) By the appearance in the sphere of Executive Government of what are called administrative agencies, with power to issue rules and regulations that have the force of law. These agencies have built up a large body of administrative law which people are obliged to obey. And not only do they make their own laws; they enforce their own laws, acting as prosecutor, jury and judge; and appeal from their decisions to the regular courts is difficult because the regular courts are obliged to take their findings of fact as final. Thus the constitutional separation of the three governmental powers, namely, the legislative, the executive and the judicial, is entirely lost.
(5) By usurpation. That is when the President willfully confronts Congress with what in statescraft is called the fait accompli — a thing already done — which Congress cannot repudiate without exposing the American government to the ridicule of nations. It might be, for example, an executive agreement with foreign countries creating an international body to govern trade, in place of the International Trade Organization Treaty which the Senate would probably not have approved. The point is that the Constitution does not specifically forbid the President to enter into executive agreements with foreign nations; it provides only for treaties. In any case, when an executive agreement has been signed the Congress is very loath to humiliate the President before the world by repudiating his signature. Or again, it may be such a thing as going to war in Korea by agreement with the United Nations, without the consent of Congress, or sending troops to join an international army in Europe, by agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
(6) Lastly, the powers of Executive Government are bound to increase as the country becomes more and more involved in foreign affairs. This is true because, both traditionally and by the terms of the Constitution, the province of foreign affairs is one that belongs in a very special sense to the President.
So much for the rise in the executive power of government to a colossal dimension, all in our own time. It is no longer a coequal power; it is the dominant power in the land, as Empire requires.
A second mark by which you may unmistakably distinguish Empire is: "Domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy."
That happened to Rome. It has happened to every Empire. The consequences of its having happened to the British Empire are tragically appearing. The fact now to be faced is that it has happened also to us.
It needs hardly to be argued that as we convert the nation into a garrison state to build the most terrible war machine that has ever been imagined on earth, every domestic policy is bound to be conditioned by our foreign policy.
The voice of government is saying that if our foreign policy fails we are ruined. It is all or nothing. Our survival as a free nation is at hazard. That makes it simple, for in that case there is no domestic policy that may not have to be sacrificed to the necessities of foreign policy — even freedom. It is no longer a question of what we can afford to do; it is what we must do to survive.
We are no longer able to choose between peace and war. We have embraced perpetual war. We are so committed by the Truman Doctrine, by examples of our intention, and by such formal engagements as the North Atlantic Treaty and the Pacific Pact.
Let it be a question of survival, and how relatively unimportant are domestic policies — touching, for example, the rights of private property, when, if necessary, all private property may be confiscated; or touching individual freedom, when, if necessary, all labor may be conscripted; or touching welfare and social security, when in a garrison state the hungry may have to be fed not by checks from the Treasury but in soup kitchens!
The American mind is already conditioned. For proof of that you may take the dumb resignation with which such forebodings as the following, from the lead editorial of The New York Times, October 31, 1951, are received by the people:
… the Korean war has brought a great and probably long-lasting change in our history and our way of life … forcing us to adopt measures which are changing the whole American scene and our relations with the rest of the world. … We have embarked on a partial mobilization for which about a hundred billion dollars have already been made available. … Finally, we have been forced not only to retain but to expand the draft and to press for a system of universal military training which will affect the lives of a whole generation. The productive effort and the tax burden resulting from these measures are changing the economic pattern of the land.
What is not so clearly understood, here or abroad, is that these are no temporary measures for a temporary emergency but rather the beginning of a wholly new military status for the United States, which seems certain to be with us for a long time to come.
What a loss it would be to the Bible if the prophets had been editorial writers on The New York Times. Never before in our history, probably never before in any history, could so dire a forecast have been made in these level tones. But what they are saying is true. And certainly never before could people have felt so helpless about it, as if this were not the harvest of our foreign policy but Jehovah acting through the Russians to afflict us — and nobody else responsible.
Another brand mark of Empire is: "Ascendancy of the military mind, to such a point at last that the civilian mind is intimidated."
The great symbol of the American military mind is the Pentagon in Washington with its seventeen and one half miles of corridor, in which admirals and generals sometimes get lost; its twenty-eight thousand people at desks, eight thousand automobiles parked outside — the largest indoor city in the world. It was built at a cost of seventy million dollars during World War II, not as temporary housing such as was built during World War I, but as a dwelling for Mars. What it represents is a forethought of perpetual war.
There global strategy is conceived; there, nobody knows how, the estimates of what it will cost are arrived at; and surrounding it is our own iron curtain. The information that comes from the inner side is only such as the military authorities are willing to divulge, or have a reason for imparting to the people. All the rest is stamped "classified" or "restricted," in the name of national security, and Congress itself cannot get it. That is as it must be of course; the most important secrets of Empire are military secrets. Even information that is without any intrinsic military value may be classified, on the ground that if it got out it might give rise to popular criticism of the military establishment and cause bad public relations.
It was General MacArthur himself who uttered these devastating words:
Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense. … Indeed, it is a part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusory foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders, almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.
The bald interpretation of General MacArthur's words is this. War becomes an instrument of domestic policy. Among the control mechanisms on the government's panel board now is a dial marked War. It may be set to increase or decrease the tempo of military expenditures, as the planners decide that what the economy needs is a little more inflation or a little less — but of course never any deflation. And whereas it was foreseen that when Executive Government is resolved to control the economy it will come to have a vested interest in the power of inflation, so now we perceive that it will come also to have a kind of proprietary interest in the institution of perpetual war.
Yet in the very nature of Empire, the military mind must keep its secrets. A Republic may put its armor on and off. War is an interlude. When war comes it is a civilian business, conducted under the advice of military experts. Both in peace and war military experts are excluded from civilian decisions. But with Empire it is different; Empire must wear its armor. Its life is in the hands of the General Staff and war is supremely a military business, requiring of the civilian only acquiescence, exertion and loyalty.
Another historic feature of Empire, and this is a structural feature, is:
A system of satellite nations.
We use that word only for nations that have been captured in the Russian orbit, with some inflection of contempt. We speak of our own satellites as allies and friends or as freedom loving nations. Nevertheless, satellite is the right word. The meaning of it is the hired guard. When people say we have lost China or that if we lose Europe it will be a disaster, what do they mean? How could we lose China or Europe, since they never belonged to us? What they mean is that we have lost or may lose a following of dependent people who act as an outer guard.
It is a long list, and satellite traffic in the American orbit is already pretty dense without taking into account client nations, suppliant nations and waif satellites, all looking to the American government for arms and economic aid. These are scattered all over the body of the sick world like festers. For any one of them to involve us in war it is necessary only for the Executive Power at Washington to decide that its defense is somehow essential to the security of the United States. That is how the Korean War started. Korea was a waif satellite.
Empire must put its faith in arms.
Fear at last assumes the phase of a patriotic obsession. It is stronger than any political party. Any candidate for office who trifles with its basic conviction will be scourged. The basic conviction is simple. We cannot stand alone. A capitalistic economy, though it possesses half the industrial power of the whole world, cannot defend its own hemisphere. It may be able to save the world; alone it cannot save itself. It must have allies. Fortunately, it is able to buy them, bribe them, arm them, feed and clothe them; it may cost us more than we can afford, yet we must have them or perish. This voice of fear is the voice of government.
Fear may be understood. But a curious and characteristic emotional weakness of Empire is:
A complex of vaunting and fear.
The vaunting is from what may be called that Titanic feeling. Many passengers on the doomed Titanic would not believe that a ship so big and grand could sink. So long as it was above water her listing deck seemed safer than a lifeboat on the open sea. So with the people of Empire. They are mighty. They have performed prodigious works, even many that seemed beyond their powers. Reverses they have known but never defeat.
So those must have felt who lived out the grandeur that was Rome. So the British felt while they ruled the world. So now Americans feel.
As we assume unlimited political liabilities all over the world, as billions in multiples of ten are voted for the ever expanding global intention, there is only scorn for the one who says: "We are not infinite. Let us calculate our utmost power of performance, weigh it against what we are proposing to do, and see if the scales will balance." The answer is: "We do not know what our utmost is. What we will to do, that we can do. Let us resolve to do what is necessary. Necessity will create the means."
Conversely, the fear. Fear of the barbarian. Fear of standing alone. A time comes when the guard itself, that is, your system of satellites, is a source of fear. Satellites are often willful and the more you rely upon them the more willful and demanding they are.
And then at last the secret, irreducible fear of allies — not this one or that one invidiously, but foreign allies in human principle, each with a life of its own to save. How will they behave when the test comes? — when they face, in this case, the terrible reality of becoming the European battlefield whereon the security of the United States shall be defended? If they falter or fail, what will become of the weapons with which we have supplied them? What if they were surrendered or captured and turned against us?
The possibility of having to face its own weapons on a foreign field is one of the nightmares of Empire.
As we have set them down so far, the things that signify Empire are these, namely:
(1) Rise of the executive principle of government to a position of dominant power,
(2) Accommodation of domestic policy to foreign policy,
(3) Ascendancy of the military mind,
(4) A system of satellite nations for a purpose called collective security, and,
(5) An emotional complex of vaunting and fear.
There is yet another sign that defines itself gradually. When it is clearly defined it may be already too late to do anything about it. That is to say, a time comes when Empire finds itself —
A prisoner of history.
The history of a Republic is its own history. Its past does not contain its future, like a seed. A Republic may change its course, or reverse it, and that will be its own business. But the history of Empire is world history and belongs to many people.
A Republic is not obliged to act upon the world, either to change or instruct it. Empire, on the other hand, must put forth its power.
What is it that now obliges the American people to act upon the world?
As you ask that question the fear theme plays itself down and the one that takes its place is magnifical. It is not only our security we are thinking of — our security in a frame of collective security. Beyond that lies a greater thought.
It is our turn.
Our turn to do what?
Our turn to assume the responsibilities of moral leadership in the world.
Our turn to maintain a balance of power against the forces of evil everywhere — in Europe and Asia and Africa, in the Atlantic and in the Pacific, by air and by sea — evil in this case being the Russian barbarian.
Our turn to keep the peace of the world.
Our turn to save civilization.
Our turn to serve mankind.
But this is the language of Empire. The Roman Empire never doubted that it was the defender of civilization. Its good intentions were peace, law and order. The Spanish Empire added salvation. The British Empire added the noble myth of the white man's burden. We have added freedom and democracy. Yet the more that may be added to it the more it is the same language still. A language of power.
Always the banners of Empire proclaim that the ends in view sanctify the means. The ironies, sublime and pathetic, are two. The first one is that Empire believes what it says on its banner; the second is that the word for the ultimate end is invariably Peace. Peace by grace of force.
One must see that on the road to Empire there is soon a point from which there is no turning back.
The argument for going on is well known. As Woodrow Wilson once asked, "Shall we break the heart of the world?." So now many are saying, "We cannot let the free world down."
What does going on mean? You never know.
On June 24, 1941, as he extended Lend-Lease to Russia in World War II, President Roosevelt said:
"We will accept only a world consecrated to freedom of speech and expression — freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — freedom from want and freedom from terrorism.
Senator Taft was one of the very few at that time who could imagine what going on from there might mean. He asked: "Will that part of the world which Stalin conquers with our airplanes and our tanks be consecrated to freedom of speech and expression? Will it be consecrated to freedom from want and freedom from terrorism? Or, after a Russian victory with our aid, must we step in with our armies to impose the four freedoms on two hundred million people, ten thousand miles away, who have never known freedom from want or freedom from terrorism?"
In October 1951, only ten years later, Collier's magazine devoted one entire issue to a preview of World War III, with twenty articles written by professors, military people, publicists and others who might call themselves makers of public opinion — and the sequel of it was the liberation of the Russian people. The answer to Mr. Taft's question.
Between government in the republican meaning, that is, constitutional, representative, limited government, on the one hand, and Empire, on the other hand, there is mortal enmity. Either one must forbid the other or one will destroy the other. That we know. Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the people.
The country has been committed to the course of Empire by Executive Government, one step at a time, with slogans, concealments, equivocations, a propaganda of fear, and in every crisis an appeal for unity, lest we present to the world the aspect of a divided nation, until at last it may be proclaimed that events have made the decision and it is irrevocable. Thus, now to alter the course is impossible.
Who says it is impossible? The President says it; the State Department says it; all globalists and one-worlders are saying it.
Do not ask whether or not it is possible. Ask yourself this: if it were possible, what would it take? How could the people restore the Republic if they would? Or, before that, how could they recover their Constitutional sovereign right to choose for themselves?
When you have put it that way you are bound to turn and look at the lost terrain. What are the positions, forgotten or surrendered, that would have to be recaptured?
The height in the foreground is a state of mind. To recover the habit of decision the people must learn again to think for themselves; and this would require a kind of self-awakening, as from a wee small alarm in the depths.
The second height to be regained is that where of old foreign policy was submitted to public debate. How long ago that seems! And how was that height lost? There was no battle for it. The government seized it without a struggle; and now the President may say the people ought to accept the government's foreign policy without debate.
In a speech to the National Women's Democratic Club on November 20, 1951, President Truman said:
You remember what happened in 1920. When the people voted for Harding, that meant a tremendous change in the course the United States was following. It meant that we turned our backs on the new-born League of Nations. … I think most people now recognize that the country chose the wrong course in 1920. … Since I have been President I have sought to steer a straight course of handling foreign policy matters on the sole basis of the national interest. The people I have chosen to fill the major positions concerned with foreign policy have been picked solely on merit, without regard to party labels. I want to keep it that way. I want to keep our foreign policy out of domestic politics.
So far had the American mind been conditioned by the infatuate phrase, bi-partisan foreign policy, that extraordinary statement was vacantly received. What was the President saying? He was saying that because, in his opinion, the people once voted wrong on foreign policy, they ought not to vote on it at all any more. Let them leave it to the President. It follows logically that the people have no longer anything to say about war and peace.
On this height, where foreign policy once more shall be debated by the people who may have to die for it, let the wind be cold and merciless. Let those be nakedly exposed to it who have brought the country to this impasse.
On the next height lies control of the public purse. Until the people have recovered that they cannot tame Executive Government. Passing laws to control or restrain it is of no avail whatever. The only way to reason with it is to cut it off at the pockets. The people have not always managed the purse well. They have sometimes stuffed it with bad money; they have sometimes flung its contents around in a reckless manner. But there is this difference, that no matter how badly the people may manage the public purse it cannot control them, whereas in the hands of the government control of the purse becomes the single most powerful instrument of executive policy touching the lives of the people.
The positions in the lost terrain that have been named are vital. To serve the Republic they must all be stormed and captured. But there is still one more, the last and highest of all. The slopes are steep and barren. No enemy is visible. The enemy is in yourself. For this may be named the Peak of Fortitude.
What you have to face is that the cost of saving the Republic may be extremely high. It could be relatively as high as the cost of setting it up in the first place, one hundred and seventy-five years ago, when love of political liberty was a mighty passion, and people were willing to die for it.
When the economy has for a long time been moving by jet propulsion, the higher the faster, on the fuel of perpetual war and planned inflation, the time comes when you have to choose whether to go on and on and dissolve in the stratosphere, or decelerate. But deceleration will cause a terrific shock. Who will say, "Now!"? Who is willing to face the grim and dangerous realities of deflation and depression?
When Moses had brought his people near to the Promised Land he sent out scouts to explore it. They returned with rapturous words for its beauties and its fruits, whereupon the people were shrill with joy, until the scouts said: "The only thing is, this land is inhabited by very fierce men."
Moses said: "Come. Let us fall upon them and take the land. It is ours from the Lord."
At that the people turned bitterly on Moses, and said: "What a prophet you have turned out to be! So the land is ours if we can take it? We needed no prophet to tell us that."
No doubt the people know they can have their Republic back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price. The only point is that no leader has yet appeared with the courage to make them choose.
[This condensed version appeared in a 1966 issue of Left and Right, edited by Murray Rothbard.]