Welcome back this week to our book study called “The 5000 Year Leap”. (Skousen, W. Cleon. The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Ideas That Changed the World. National Center for Constitutional Studies, 1981). Last week, we learned that humankind made a 5,000-year leap in America’s first 200 years. What was the cause of this giant leap? It was the form of government that they gave to us. The principles of our government were known but never really practiced much until the birth of our country.
Today we are looking at some basics of creating a society. Ever hear of a 3 yr old’s basketball team? I went to a practice. They dribble, baby, dribble. They trip a few times while retrieving runaway basketballs; Point is, even 3 yr. olds can dribble when you give the proper instruction with illustrations, patience, and consistency. That’s how Skousen teaches us in the chapter entitled, “Structuring a New Government.”
This chapter is full of great basics. Here are a few to consider:
You cannot define governments by political parties, i.e., Communists on the left and Fascists on the right. Political parties and their platforms shift from one generation to the next. (Would you agree)? Skousen says that both extremes end up being police states.
Instead, Skousen contends that it’s not political parties, but political power that defines governments. Have a pencil and paper handy? Draw a line. On one end of the line, write the word, “tyranny” and on the other end, “anarchy.” Tyrannical governments are established by conquest with the people being subservient to the Ruler. Anarchies are lawless governments. Our Founders saw this dichotomy in history. Their challenge was to form a government that provided freedom for the people- a government of the people, by the people, for the people. You would place “The People’s Law” right in the center of the line you have drawn.
The Founders looked to Anglo-Saxon Common Law and the People’s Law of ancient Israel to help formulate the American government. That is, they looked to examples from history and the Bible that reinforced self-government by the consent of the people. No concentration of earthly power in one person or group. This is demonstrated by the structure of our three branches of government-legislative, executive, and judicial.
The Founders clearly understood humans’ inclination to run from anarchy to tyranny. History shows that statement to be true.
Our Founders didn’t always like each other. (That’s to be expected in a room full of strong personalities). They had disagreements about the small things but, in the “fundamental precepts and ultimate objectives, they seemed practically unanimous,” according to Skousen.
The Founders shared a broad knowledge base of sound reading from both ancient and contemporary literature. They all basically “sang from the same songbook” when it came to nation-building fundamentals.
These are just a few of the fundamentals covered in this chapter. I am growing more knowledgeable of how my government was formed and who formed it by reading this book. I am humbled and truly impressed that our Founders understood the need to tolerate each other’s differences but united together on a common goal: to build the United States of America on sound principles that work when they are practiced with consistency.