Restructuring a Collapsed America
W. Cleon Skousen. Restructuring a Collapsed America. Prepared on February 15, 1990
Introduction: For a number of years the greatest nation in the world has been coming unraveled. Fractionalizing has been occurring all across the board — economically, politically, socially, morally, criminally, ethically, and educationally. Nearly everyone saw it happening, and a few people studied the facts sufficiently to come up with some solutions, but one thing was lacking: an intense and passionate desire to demand a change. The majority of the people — the politicians, the educators, the business leaders and the everyday folks — were fearfully apprehensive about any serious definitive reform. As a result, those who suggested various reforms were generally viewed as either alarmists or pipe dreamers. Both the press and the public ended up attacking the problem solvers instead of the problems.
This therefore brings us to the key question in this seminar:
I. What must happen before the majority of the America people are willing and anxious to see the nation reformed and restructured?
A. We find the answer in the pages of history. The United States must reach a state of catastrophic calamity where all Americans can see that the very existence of the nation is at stake.
B. This is what happened to the Soviet Union and the members of the Communist bloc in Eastern Europe. Who could have believed that all of their dictatorships would fall in a single year. The masses of the people in those countries knew they had to have a stupendous reform or suffer a catastrophic calamity.
C. It is a basic lesson of history that reform must rise out of some desperate crisis where the people are faced with terror, suffering, and virtual hopelessness. It seems that such a crisis is necessary before the people will listen to a serious discussion of reform.
The Breakdown of National Government
II. What might happen in the United States to bring about such a colossal crisis? There are a few things that could do it singly — each one by itself — but it is likely that the American crisis will come from a combination of things. Historically speaking, here are some possibilities.
A. A series of violent earthquakes rolling across the continent from San Francisco to New York could leave our nation in a shambles. Only rarely does an earthquake extend over a whole continent, but this has happened before and it could happen again. Everything disintegrates — cities, roads, airports, air lines, railroads, delivery of the food supply, electric power, coal supply, gasoline and oil, hospitals, medicines — all the basic amenities of life disappear overnight and lie buried in the debris.
B. Furthermore, earthquakes often produce gigantic tidal waves. The Atlantic and Pacific coastal areas are the most heavily populated and also the most vulnerable. A mountainous tidal wave or series of such waves on either or both coasts could be devastating.
C. The breakdown of the infrastructure of the government could result from civil violence or insurrection, the turmoil of economic turmoil, the unexpected invasion of millions of refugees, or the massive attack of hostile military forces.
D. Economic turmoil could erupt from the sudden failure of the Social Security System, the collapse of the dollar on the world money market thereby producing wild inflation (such as occurred in Germany following World War I), the loss of savings and investments precipitated by the collapse of the national banking system coming under attack by the powerful central banks of Europe and Asia, or the Bank of International Settlements. In many ways our economy is very fragile and survives only so long as world conditions do not subject it to undue stress. It is very vulnerable to destabilization because our economy does not operate on the basis of precious metals but only on the basis of fiat money, the value of which depends upon the confidence which other nations have in our economic stability. Take that away and the whole system disintegrates.
Preparing for the Crisis
III. Knowing that such a crisis could occur sometime in the future, it is important to recognize the historical fact that too often a crisis overtakes the people before anyone has prepared a carefully designed plan for the restoration of order and the restructuring of the system. When there is no such plan, the populace instinctively demands a military dictatorship to restore order. The people hope they will get back their civil rights after things have quieted down. This rarely ever happens.
The French learned this when their Revolution of 1789 degenerated into widespread anarchy. They panicked and allowed Napoleon to take over and set up a military dictatorship. Instead of stabilizing the nation and restoring civil rights, Napoleon used his dictatorship to mobilize the French people and launch a foolhardy attempt to conquer all of Europe.
In the American Revolution, the Founders had a plan to restore civil rights as soon as the war was won. However, their plan, which was called the Articles of Confederation, proved inadequate. Instead of giving up, leaders such as Washington, Madison, Jefferson and John Adams insisted that they make a second attempt. This resulted in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which formulated a charter for the first free people in modern times. It eventually produced the richest and most powerful nation on earth.
The problem in America today is the fact that the Constitution has been shredded. If a crisis occurs, the only long range solution is to reorganize the people and restructure the government, the economy, and the cultural pattern as the Founding Fathers originally designed them.
Five Groups Working to Restore the Constitutional
IV. We know of five separate groups who are working on the basic requirements for the permanent stabilizing of the infrastructure of America if the United States should ever become completely unravelled.
A. The National Center for Constitutional Studies which has already published: The Roots of America, The Miracle of America, The Making of America, The 5,000 Year Leap, and individual studies on special issues.
B. The Institute for Constitutional Education which has prepared an advanced study of the Founders’ original intent entitled: “The Divine Science of Good Government.” An additional study is being prepared entitled: “The History of the United States from a Constitutional Perspective”
C. The John Eidsmoe Group. This is a group of practicing attorneys from various parts of the country who have prepared several studies in support of the Founders’ original intent. Among their publications are: Restoring the Constitution, Christianity and the Constitution, and The Christian Legal Advisor.
D. The Albert Blaustein Group of Rutgers University. Dr. Blaustein is one of the world authorities on the constitution of various nations, ancient and modern. He is responsible for two major works: The Constitutions of the World and Constitutions that Made History.
E. The Hyrum Andrus-Richard Vetterli group. This is a group of university professors who are studying the origin of the Founders’ precepts and the ideology behind their work. Hyrum Andrus is preparing a multi-volume work and Richard Vetterli has already published: In Search of the Republic.
How To Restore Order
V. These groups have recognized that the restructuring process must be dealt with in progressive phases. Phase one is to restore order.
A. There should be a convocation of a temporary “Supreme Council” consisting of recognized leaders from various segments of the people.
B. Where the Council finds the government virtually disintegrated in a city, region, or the entire country, the first step is restoring order by martial law. The use of the military must be firm but friendly. The military must try to identify itself as the friends of the people, not as “the enemy.”
C. The new leaders must assure the people through the media that the military is simply assigned to protect the people and their property. It should be announced that if people have complaints of mistreatment, they may register such complaints at a designated places. A prime objective of the Council is to gain the confidence of the people as soon as possible. A firm but well-mannered military can help achieve this.
D. The Constitution permits the suspension of the right to a writ of Habeas Corpus (immediate judicial hearing) when a person is arrested during a time of rebellion and the public safety requires it.
E. Emergency incarceration should be on two levels:
1. Maximum security for instigators of crime or violence.
2. A “bull pen” (such as a sports arena or indoor gymnasium) where minor offenders or suspects are incarcerated until the charges against each one can be heard.
VI. To facilitate the restoration of order, the Supreme Council should undertake, to the best of its ability, the distribution of food and other necessities, giving special attention to the needs of the injured, the ill, the elderly, and the children.
Setting up food kitchens and emergency shelter for the more distressed segment of the population is one of the most effective devices for the pacification of the community.
Organizing by Tens, Hundreds and Thousands
VII. The second phase consists of organizing the people so that they can begin ministering to their own needs on an organized basis. The mainspring of action is emphasizing “volunteerism.”
A. Based on existing residence location (whether in houses or camps) the people should be organized into Precincts. These consist of approximately 100 families (or individuals acting as a family) in each Precinct. Each unit of one hundred families was called “the hundred” in England but later adopted in New England under the name of “wards.” These self-governing units of around 100 families worked so efficiently for the states of New England that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin advocated their adoption for all of the states. However, the word “ward” is used to designate the parish of certain churches, and it is most important to understand that the “hundreds” of our restructured society are divisions of civil government, not any particular church. They will therefore be called Precincts to maintain the complete separation of church and state.
B. Have each Precinct select a temporary leader to work with the Supreme Council and eventually help set up the permanent political structure of the Precinct. The temporary leader will then select two temporary subordinates known as “Captains of Fifty Families.” Each of these Captains will select five temporary subordinates known as “Captains of Ten Families.” Each Precinct will then be adequately organized for the distribution of food and the providing of necessities for those in distress.
C. Ten of these Precincts will be combined to constitute a thousand families or a County. A temporary leader will then be selected by the captains of the ten Precincts to govern the County level.
D. Ten thousand families will constitute a Region and a temporary leader will be installed in a manner similar to the selection of the temporary leaders on the lower levels. The leaders of the ten Counties under his direction will constitute a Council for the Region.
E. Emphasize to the people that the leadership assigned to the various levels of government is only temporary, and announce the future date when a permanent cadre of leaders will be selected for each level.
F. Also emphasize that both the temporary leaders as well as the leaders selected for permanent positions later on, will serve as a public trust, not for compensation.
The Dissolution of Political Parties
Note #1: One of the most significant features of this structure which the Founders proposed, is the fact that it eliminates political parties. The Councils on each level of government select public servants on the basis of merit and willingness to serve rather than political partisanship. The Founders had this procedure in mind when they set up the Electoral College for the choosing of the President and Vice President. The political party system later nullified the proper functioning of this excellent device. Had it been allowed to function according to its original design it would have demonstrated the supreme advantages of the council system over the political party system.
George Washington spent considerable time in his Farewell Address, warning against the rise of political parties or political factions. (By way of definition, a political party is a cohesive group of citizens who seek to acquire power in the government and then distribute favors or high salaried offices to their faithful supporters. This procedure is called the “political spoils system.”)
Note what George Washington predicted would happen in America if the political party system was allowed to develop in this country as it had in Europe:
“Let me now warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effect of the spirit of party…. It exists … in all governments … but in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.
“The alternate [or alternating] domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge … has perpetrated the most horrid enormities….
“It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasional riot and insurrection.”
Washington declared that this infighting tends to evolve into party dictatorships which in “itself is a frightening despotism.” He said this self-defeating party warfare can lead the people to become so disillusioned with government in general that the people “seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns … to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.”
Today, the prophecies of Washington stand fulfilled in every so-called democracy on the face of the earth that has adopted the political party system on the assumption that it would provide “balance.” Washington considered the system of councils a better way. He said the history of political parties is one of “continual mischiefs,” and the evidence “is sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”
New Leaders for the New Structure Serve Without Pay
Note #2: Not only did the Founding Fathers denounce political parties, but they also wanted officers of the government to be seasoned leaders who had a supreme sense of duty and would serve without compensation. All of the leading Founders had set this pattern, and Benjamin Franklin wanted this to become a permanent characteristic of all those who served in leadership positions throughout the American republic.
At the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin declared on June 2, 1787:
“Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move Heaven and Earth to obtain it….
“And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these … will perpetually be endeavoring to distress [your elected representatives] … thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.
“Besides these evils, sir, though we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find, that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations; and there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them…. and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more…. I am apprehensive, therefore — perhaps too apprehensive — that the government of these States may in future times end in a monarchy. But this catastrophe, I think, may be long delayed, if in our proposed system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction, and tumult, by making our posts of honor places of profit….
“It may be imagined by some, that this [idea of no compensation for positions of honor] is an utopian idea and that we can never find men to serve us in the Executive Department, without paying them well for their services. I conceive this to be a mistake. Some existing facts present themselves to me, which incline me to a contrary opinion. The High Sheriff of a County in England is an honorable office, but it is not a profitable one. It is rather expensive, and therefore not sought for. But yet it is executed, and well executed, and usually by some of the principal gentlemen of the county…. I only bring the instance to show, that the pleasure of doing good and serving their country, and the respect such conduct entitles them to, are sufficient motives with some minds, to give up a great portion of their time to the public, without the mean inducement of pecuniary satisfaction.
“Another instance is that of…. Quakers. It is an established rule with them that they are not to go to law, but in their controversies they must apply to their monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings. Committees of these [Quakers] sit with patience to hear the parties, and spend much time in composing their differences. In doing this, they are supported by a sense of duty, and the respect paid to [their] usefulness. It is honorable to be so employed, but it was never made profitable by salaries, fees, or perquisites [tips]. And indeed, in all cases of public service, the less the profit the greater the honor.
“To bring the matter nearer home, have we not seen the greatest and most important of our offices, that of General of our Armies, executed for eight years together, without the smallest salary, by a patriot whom I will not now offend by any other praise; and this, through fatigues and distresses … and the constant anxieties peculiar to his station? And shall we doubt finding three or four men in all the United States, with public spirit enough to bear sitting in peaceful Council, for perhaps an equal term, merely to preside over our civil concerns, and see that our laws are duly executed? Sir, I have a better opinion of our Country. I think we shall never be without a sufficient number of wise and good men to undertake, and execute well and faithfully, the office in question.
“Sir, the saving of the salaries … is not an object with me. The subsequent mischiefs of proposing them are what I apprehend.”
Franklin cited the instance of the High Sheriff of London as well as the Quakers serving without compensation. If Thomas Jefferson had been present instead of serving as the American minister to France, he would have no doubt observed that serving without compensation was the policy of both the Anglo-Saxons and the ancient Israelites.
Having leading officials serve through a sense of duty rather than for profit had two major advantages. First of all, it provided a system of natural selection which brought to the surface citizens of merit and public virtue. Others of lesser caliber would not respond to the call. Jefferson designated these citizens who possessed a strong sense of service (which he called “public virtue”) as America’s “natural” aristocracy, thereby distinguishing them from Europe’s “dynastic” aristocracy based on inheritance rather than merit.
Secondly, this policy automatically eliminated the curse of political spoils. Such spoils constitute the heart and core of all corrupt political party systems. Without offices of profit to distribute among his supporters, the politician has no spoils to promise or attract supporters.
This means that under this system individuals would not be inclined to seek an office or position. Nor would they be inclined to campaign for an appointment, or raise funds to get themselves selected. A person called to a position of trust and honor knew he or she would be required to make great sacrifices in both time and resources. The biographies of Washington and other leading Founders prove the point.
The Founders even believed that full time civil servants in government should be paid less than the going rate, thereby insuring dedication and a sense of service to go with the honor of the office.
This was reflected in the Constitution of Pennsylvania which provided:
“As every freeman, to preserve his independence, ought to have some profession, calling, trade, or farm, whereby he may honestly subsist, there can be no necessity for, nor use in, establishing offices of profit; the usual effects of which are dependence and servility, unbecoming freemen…. Wherefore, whenever an office, through increase of fees or otherwise, becomes so profitable, as to occasion many to apply for it, the profits ought to be lessened by the legislature.”
Permanent Councils and Captions
VIII. Having established peace and order so that food and other necessities can begin to be distributed to the needy in an orderly manner, the next phase is to set up permanent Councils and permanent captains.
A. The nominating power is in each Council, but those in charge may defer to the recommendation of the people at each level of government. This is what Moses did. However, note that the people’s candidate had to have the approval of the leader of the governing council.
B. The power of final approval is always in the body of the people over whom the elected leader will serve. On occasion, in the past, a leader nominated by the Supreme Council was rejected by the people. The people have the final say.
C. Notice that under this system, everyone has a voice and a vote. Each person votes for his or her captain of ten, captain of fifty, captain of a hundred, captain of a thousand, captain of ten thousand, etc.
One Importation Limitation
D. However, this entire system has one limitation. It will only work for a righteous people. Not that there won’t be anti-social elements arise on occasion, but the fundamental structure of the society must be good people who will prevent the criminal or anti-social element from becoming dominant.
The Founding Fathers were fully aware of this requirement. Here is what John Adams said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Here is what Benjamin Franklin said: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Here is what Samuel Adams said: “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”