You can’t watch a political TV show today without someone being described as on the Left or on the Right. Today, to be on the left means you’re a democrat, or to be on the right means you’re a republican. But the distinctions don’t end there. When someone really wants to make somebody else look bad, they’ll label them as far left or far right. Then there are those who are considered more moderate. They’re said to be in the middle, you know they’re the “nice people” in the political spectrum.
Now how would the founding fathers chime in on this way of measuring government? How would they label a democrat or republican today? Would they use the same standards as we do for their measuring stick?
They differed greatly from us today in this way. They didn’t measure government by political parties at all. Democrat or Republican is irrelevant when it comes to the founding fathers measuring stick. Their measuring stick is party blind. It doesn’t recognize campaign rhetoric or anything like that. This is because they didn’t measure government by political parties, but by the amount of political power being exerted.
Think about the modern measuring stick – Communists are thrown on the left; Fascists are put on the Right. If that’s the case, what’s in the middle? Is a moderate person someone who likes a little Communism and a little fascism; a mixture of both maybe? Looking at it this way we can see that the modern measuring stick is not really a measuring stick at all.
The founding fathers had a better, more accurate way of measuring government. It’s a timeless way too – it never goes out of style. It’s always accurate, and it’s blind to political parties and a person’s intentions, whether good or bad, and it doesn't change with the shifting sands of expediency. Here’s what their measuring stick looks like.
This image represents the simple way the founder’s measured government, and they learned about this by studying history. The founding fathers wanted to structure a government that was under the control of the people. They wanted the government to be strong enough to protect the people but not too strong to oppress them, and they called that the balanced center. Now the political spectrum makes sense when we look at it this way.
Remember, the history of nations went through a repeated cycle, and here’s how it works. The people are oppressed by a leader, they get tired of it and oust the tyrant, violently. Then they’re free from tyranny, but here’s the problem – they don’t know what to do with their freedom. They don’t understand the science of government and correct principles based on self-government, so the people start fighting amongst themselves and then anarchy reigns. Then to restore order, a new tyrant takes over and the people are right back where they were at the beginning. People seldom learn from history.
The founders called this the swinging pendulum. Tyranny to anarchy and back to tyranny again. The founders were watching it unfold right before their eyes during the French revolution. In 1789 the French revolted. They executed the tyrant in a violent revolution and a reign of terror began. It was open anarchy. Then, they appealed to Napoleon to restore order. They even signed a pack to make him and his family rulers forever. They were right back to where they were in the beginning.
This almost happened in America because of the weak government under the Articles of Confederation. America was close to anarchy right after the war for independence. Some wanted to make George Washington, George I, king of America, so he could fix the problems. Of course, Washington, a man of honor and virtue, refused. Here’s what he said regarding the political spectrum.
“… we may find by our own unhappy experience, that there is a natural and necessary progression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny ….”
Thomas Jefferson said this:
“We are now vibrating between too much government and too little government, and the pendulum will rest finally in the middle.”
There in that statement the spectrum was defined perfectly by Jefferson, and he never mentions political parties. The Constitution of the United States was designed to put us right in the middle of that spectrum. Enough power to protect us, but not too much to tyrannize us. So, using the measuring stick of the founding fathers, how would you measure politics today? I think you’ll find that most parties aren’t on different ends of the measuring stick at all.
To learn more about this and many other important concepts of government, get a copy of The 5000 Year Leap. This book explains, in simple terms, many basic principles taught by the Founding Fathers.