March 17th, 2013

It’s All Been Done Before – BNL Said So!


In 1998, the Canadian rock band Bare Naked Ladies released their album Stunt.  The album’s second song, It’s All Been Done, was a big hit.  The lyrics seem to confirm that – unless we are careful – history repeats itself.

Verse 1:

I met you before the fall of Rome.
. . . . .

Between 509 BC and the death of Caesar in 44BC, the Roman Republic was a model of self-government.  Led by two consuls elected by citizens of Rome, the government was advised by a Senate.  Public offices were held only for one year.  Only the Senate could authorize expenditures.  A system of checks and balances provided protections for individual citizens against the administrative power of officials.  Caesar’s assassination produced years of internal strife that eventually led, first to a triumvirate of dictators, and then to one man rule – Emperor Octavian (or Augustus).  The protections for citizens from the administrative power of government collapsed.

Verse 2:

I knew you before the West was won.
. . . . .

In 1776, before we moved off the Atlantic coast to “win the West,” a handful of British Lords in London imposed a similar tyranny on their fellow citizens in America.  Just a handful of ministers had sufficient power to impose the Stamp Act, the Sugar Act, the Quartering Act, the Townshend Acts (the Indemnity Act, the Commissioners of Customs Act, The Vice Admiralty Court Act, and the New York Restraining Act).

After years of attempted compromise, the American colonies chose revolution as the practical way to move in the opposite direction – toward a constitutional republic in which written controls obliged officials administering government to control both themselves and government.

The Founders observed the advances in agriculture, physics, science, and mathematics that were occurring across the developing world – the dawn of the machine age.  They saw how specialization was allowing individuals to be more productive in professions, trades, and manufacturing.  The Founders anticipated the increasing importance of independence of the mind to each citizen in the pursuit of happiness.

The Founders set these principles down, in writing – first in each of the thirteen state constitutions, and then, in a federal Constitution whose primary purpose was to create and defend the world’s first common market while protecting independence of the mind for each of the republic’s citizens.

Verse 3:

Alone and bored on a thirtieth-century night
Will I see you on The Price Is Right?
Will I cry? Will I smile?
As you run down the aisle?

In 2009, two or three people, alone in a Senate office (with numerous unknown lobbyist and staff helpers), wrote a 2000 page federal bill regulating health-care in the United States.  With little discussion of the draft that emerged, no regular order in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, and the most fervent promises that none of the penalties imposed by the health care bill were taxes, one sixth of the American economy was regulated for the first time by the national government.  “Independence of the mind” for doctors, nurses, patients, citizens, and companies offering health care to their employees took a heavy punch that day.

It’s all been done
It’s all been done
It’s all been done before!

Unless we are careful, history does repeat itself.  Some of our fellow citizens – clothed with the power of government – begin to believe that the inherent limitations they seek to remedy in other human beings cannot be found in themselves.

A thirtieth century night watching The Price is Right?  Ugh!  [Not for me, but for my descendants.]

The mid-course corrections proposed in The Second Bill of Rights and The New Federalist Papers focus upon the need for a simple restoration of liberty – independence of the mind.  The 2nd, 9th, and 11th of the Amendments proposed in The Second Bill of Rights restore control of economic decisions (including health care) to individual citizens.   

We hope you will dig much deeper into these and other ideas in our new book.  To help us rekindle individual freedom and liberty in the United States, click on the Book link above or go directly to Amazon:

With malice toward none, and charity for all!


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