The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen is a simple, yet thorough, explanation of the principles of freedom understood by the amazing statesmen at the time of our nation’s founding. The public must understand these principles if liberty is to be maintained. Without them, we are bound to slide toward tyranny or anarchy.
There are many great points made in this book, and I don’t want to bore everyone with a huge paper/review after reading it; therefore, I decided to make smaller posts on some of the ideas that catch my attention or touch my heart.
Today’s concept comes from Part I of the book. This section dispels some of the modern misunderstandings resulting from the creation of political parties and the increasing animosity between the different political groups.
Skousen reminds us that the Founding Fathers differed vehemently on many subjects, but in the end, they were in accord on the basic principles of sound government. Today, we focus on the differences and fight for the peculiarities of our beliefs. We would do well to learn from the Founders that underneath those differences in political ideology exists the truth that government is created to protect life, liberty, and property.
It seems that much of contemporary legislation is based on one party’s desire to secure a foothold for their specific issue. Worse, when “both sides of the aisle” come together, the public burden expands under bigger deficits, expanding bureaucracy, or “legalized” violations of individual liberty (IE: Patriot Act, NDAA).
Skousen identifies two wings of the government: the problem-solving wing and the conservation wing. The problem-solving wing consists of those compassionate individuals who see unmet needs and seek out solutions to those problems. The conservation wing consists of those individuals who are tasked with conserving the nation’s resources and freedom. Their duty is to analyze the plans of the problem-solving wing and determine if they are appropriate. To do this requires asking only two questions:
1) Can we afford it?
2) What will it do to the rights and individual freedom of the people?
If only our legislators asked these two questions about any bill or amendment in their hands! The current trends of growing the government on a dangerously enormous deficit would turn around. The ever-increasingly aggressive and unapologetic Police State would shrink back to its primary duty and sole role of protecting individual liberty by defending the Constitution.