The horrible treatment of some of those arrested by the federal government for their participation (however remote) in the January 6th protests has caused not a few to see in that injustice a turning point in the history of the United States; now, it is said, we are in a post-republic era in which the Deep State will throw aside the rule of law and openly persecute its political opponents for the non-crime of having different views on various policies and ideas.
There is some truth in that, but looking back through U. S. history reveals something a bit more disturbing: The treatment of J6 protestors didn’t usher in a new era; it simply revived what had lain dormant for a time. A quick comparison will verify this. Here is part of a description from one of the protestors, Joe Biggs, of the conditions he experienced in federal prison:
Today is my 3 month anniversary being locked up. Not allowed to work out. My body feels as if it’s aged so much. Can hardly move. Walking has become very difficult. I sleep on a piece of steel welded to a wall with a thin mattress. I now have major lower back issues and shoulder pain from the “bed”. I’ve gotten maybe 10hrs outside all together since being here. I get to go outside maybe 3 times a month. The food here is all soy based. So its weakening our bodies. Hardly any protein. Mostly processed foods and some kind of gelatin dog food looking stuff. No privacy allowed when sh*tting allowed. You have to be in view of everyone. Each cell has a shelf. You are not allowed to use it. Nothing can be placed on it. Lights go out at 11:45 pm and back on @ 4am for “breakfast”. Luckily the showers are only one person allowed at a time. Every cell has a Small window that has been sand blasted so you can never see outside. Breaking any rules can result In losing ability to talk to family or a trip the hole for a few weeks where you are stripped naked a left in a bright freezing room. I have anxiety bad now. Panic attacks so bad I black out. . . .
And here is a description of how Jefferson Davis was treated after his arrest by Union forces during his imprisonment at Fortress Monroe after hostilities between the North and the South had ceased:
‘Jefferson Davis was held incommunicado; his guards could not speak to him; and no on would tell him the fate or destination of his family. The second afternoon of his imprisonment, on Miles’s order, a captain with two blacksmiths entered his cell bearing an anvil and chained leg irons. Four guards held the outraged prisoner down while heavy iron bands were riveted on his thin ankles.
‘ . . .
‘Davis was not allowed to write to his wife or to hear from her. He was denied access to Northern attorneys eager to defend him at a trial. The good doctor did all within his power to alleviate the prisoner’s discomfort and humiliations, where hostile eyes were constantly upon him, even when he washed or when a portable commode was rolled into the room.
‘ . . .
‘However, the dank, moldy cell, the tormenting sleeplessness caused by the lamp and the tormenting boots, kept the prisoner in a state of prostration and brought on a near-fatal attack of erysipelas’ (Jefferson Davis: Private Letters 1823-1889, H. Strode, edr., Da Capo Press, New York, 1995, pgs. 167, 168).
It is a hard saying for some, but the sad truth is that the patrimony of ordered liberty, limited government, etc., did not die in 2021 with the Biden regime but in 1861 when President Lincoln launched a savage war against the Southern States for their non-crime of following the example of their forefathers in 1776: for peacefully leaving a union which they felt had become a threat to them in many serious ways. The treatment rendered to the J6 protestors is simply a stark reminder of the new dispensation under which we have all been living for more than 160 years now, not the beginning of a new one.
And one could go further. One of the Anti-Federalists (Tench Coxe?) wrote an eerily prophetic letter in response to James Wilson’s pro-ratification rhetoric in 1787:
…. Suppose therefore, that the military officers of congress, by a wanton abuse of power, imprison the free citizens of America, What satisfaction can we expect from a lordly court of justice, always ready to protect the officers of government against the weak and helpless citizen… What refuge shall we then have to shelter us from the iron hand of arbitrary power?
This is exactly what has played out in the case of Davis and now with the J6 protestors (other similar abuses could be enumerated, too). And things are only getting worse as the FBI arrested one of the strongest Republican candidates for governor of Michigan on a flimsy pretext to make it easier for Gov. Whitmer to stay in power.
For too long now folks in the States have told themselves nice little fairy tales full of sunshine and happy, bouncy bunny rabbits about what a great system we live under, but it is mostly a shameful distraction to hide from our eyes the reality of our situation, which is bad and getting worse. The system of government we have lived under is not without its merits, but it does need some revisions in order for us to overcome some serious new threats that our ancestors would not have imagined: the LGBT mafia, powerful mega-corporations that are wealthier than some countries controlling government officials at all levels, counterproductive health mandates, pervasive media propaganda, etc.
Some solutions are beginning to show themselves. But whether it is the new statement of principles offered by the Edmund Burke Foundation, or Scott McKay’s Revivalist ideas, or Steve Turley’s civilizational states – whatever path we choose, we need to make sure some simple goals are achieved: among them, a societal, governmental framework that upholds Christianity as the highest good, that promotes the formation of traditional families, that protects the small land and business owner against large predatory corporations. One other thing we might add here is to ensure that there are multiple explicit provisions for individuals, organizations, local communities, States, etc., to protect themselves from laws inimical to the common good or unjust in any other way: referendum, jury nullification, State nullification, and so on.
Written constitutions are a means to an end not, not the end itself, and should therefore be changed when needed rather than kept in a fixed, unchangeable form and worshipped like a heathen’s idol. Present circumstances require some alterations. Let us make them prudently, and as quickly as we can, with God’s generous help.