“Confessions of a Radical Republican”


anthologized in:

Proud to be right: voices of the next conservative generation 



In a republic, plebs and patricians together each have a hand on the reins of the state.  Our Founders were aware of the sagacity of this arrangement - they enshrined it in our own Constitution, the People’s House and its legislative coconspirator, the austere and aristocratic Senate as well as in a chief executive whose power comes directly from the people and not from the blessing of God or purse or blood but is nonetheless electorally shielded from the passions of the public for four-year intervals.

Let us be blunt shall we?  Historically, these kinds of states are rare and fragile creatures, found in only a few anomalous locales and eras.  Indeed, the idea that the common man should have a say in his own governance must be ranked among the most bizarre and radical notions ever to have occurred to Man - certainly, the vast multitude who have ever gathered themselves into civilizations have done so under one form of tyranny or another.

Tyranny, not liberty, seems to be the natural order, on Earth as in Heaven.  In Escape from Freedom, Erich Fromm offers a diagnosis for this chronic human condition.  The myriad choices that freedom offers is a source of deep anxiety, says Fromm, causing our “fear of freedom” and all-too-often flight into the restricting but comforting arms of the state.

Our modern world is no different.  Statism continues to exert a powerful and comforting pall over man of the earth’s peoples, and the republican ideal is as radical and rare as ever.