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Dying Citizen

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

It is unfortunately too easy to take for granted America and the freedom we enjoy. Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of what we currently enjoy in his new book, The Dying Citizen. You may not want to attempt to read this 400-page masterpiece, so you can get the general idea by reading his short article that summarizes some of the arguments in the book.

We can begin with the sad fact that only about half of the world’s 7 billion people are citizens of fully consensual governments. Those lucky 50 percent enjoy constitutional freedoms. Most of them are found in the Western world or else in countries that have been “Westernized.”

Hanson argues that constitutional systems easily perish because they ask quite a bit from their citizens: to vote, to be informed, to hold elected officials accountable. That probably explains why only 22 republics and democracies have been in existence for a half-century or more.

By now, you can probably guess the theme of his book and column. If the current trend continues, America won’t be in that first category of countries with constitutional freedoms. Political elites tell us that we need to reform the republic and scrap ancient laws, customs, and traditions. Retire the Electoral College, end the Senate filibuster, and pack the Supreme Court. The Constitution, they tell us, is in dire need of radical deletions and alterations.

As a student of history, Hanson observes that “consensual societies usually implode when desperate factions resort to subverting hallowed rules for short-term partisan gain.” Political elites with a utopian vision are willing to do just that. The only question left on the table is whether concerned citizens will resist them.viewpoints new web version

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