Fighting the Fears in Replacing Government
What is it that when there is discussion of removing the existence of the federal government as it stands now and replacing it with a smaller, more restricted national government, people fear the not having a government? Especially when their fear is unfounded since government will most certainly still exist and be governing? It seems their only vision of a complete change of government will lead to utter chaos among society. Maybe they see an unrestrained population going hog wild raping, pillaging and plundering society all across America?
Regardless of what they fear, national government has been replaced before in the history of our nation. Government was first replaced when the Colonies threw off the ruling government of the English Crown. Granted this resulted in the start of a war of independence in America, but that didn’t stop us from removing a national government. A Continental Congress then brought into existence our first formal national government by writing the Articles of Confederation in 1776-77, which became effective over the new nation once ratified by all thirteen Colonies in 1781 (all while fighting the on-going war). The Articles were the basis the national government operated under during the ratification period.
Yet, even had the national government not functioned under the articles, government also existed at the Colony level (which I will refer to throughout the rest of this article as “State” government). Each State government maintained its own territory, providing the State’s society with a government capable of guiding and organizing the society. So even then there was no realistic fear of there being no government. Of course people had fears, like the possibility of losing a war and the aftermath that would be visited upon the fledgling nation for losing.
Luckily, that didn’t happen. The war ended in 1783 and the new independent nation functioned under the Articles. That was until 1787 when a convention was convened in order to restructure the Articles to improve them. It turned out that improvement was completely replacing the Articles (and their perceived weaknesses) with the United States Constitution. In effect the nation replaced the existing national government with a new one. Was there chaos, rape, pillage or plunder? No, there was not. The national government under the Articles of Confederation was (along with the Articles) replaced peacefully.
As before the dismissal of a national government did not leave the populace ungoverned. The governments of the States still existed and governed their State territory.
The “new” government of the United States of America was placed into effect in order to compensate and correct what were seen as deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation. This government has continued its existence right up to this very day. The national government has been modified within the guidelines set forth in our Constitution (the amendment process) over the last couple of hundred years. However, that does not mean the government should remain the national authority over American society. While the government instituted back in 1787 was believed to be an improvement over the government structured in the Articles, many today feel that the government of the Constitution has extended itself beyond the intentions of the founders who implemented it. In effect it has gone too far in the opposite direction of the Articles and needs to be replaced.
So why it is that if we serious consider this to be an option that needs to be implemented why is if there is raised the fear of chaos that would occur because we’d have no government? If we peacefully managed changing the government before can we not do the same again? This would be change by design, just as happened in 1787. Our Constitution even makes peaceful replacement of government possible by the enough of the States (33 or 34) calling for a convention to amend the Constitution. The “amendment” could simply be one that replaces the current Constitution with a new one, the current government with a new one – peacefully.
Once again, even if this process prevented operations of a national government in the nation we would not be without government. We would still have that continued pesky government at the State level, not to mention in all these scenarios there would be the local governments operating as well).
But, just for argument sake let’s say we don’t get this peaceful transition to new government, whether by following Jefferson’s advice or because of some economic collapse leading to a complete political collapse of the national government. There will be suffering then. There will be fighting then. There will be a struggle of many opposing sides. But, what there won’t be is a void of government in society. States will still exist and will be in place to govern their State territory. Even if, to stretch this out farther, the States governments failed there would still be the local level governments at the town, city and county levels. Should, stretching again, there be complete failure at the local level then people will band together to organize their government authority in their villages, towns and cities – just as was done throughout the history of this nation. Granted, there would be a lot more struggle and suffering. There may well be some levels of rape, pillage and plunder. But, it won’t last long as people band together and impose structure and order at the lowest levels while rebuilding or re-imposing new government at the higher levels.
Those who voice fears of there being no government haven’t considered all the levels of government that exist. Replacing our national government again can occur without their darkest fears coming into play. Or, if they come into play they will be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible by the people. We’ve accomplished it all before and we can do so again.
Remember, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” (FDR – March 4, 1933)