To Rescue a Nation
Peoples become nations by following those who lead them to worship the same God or idols, and to act habitually as they do. The Greeks called these habits “ethics.” These change for good and ill as prominent persons change, or develop new ways of life, or foreign influences impose themselves. The general population tends to follow. Plato and Aristotle led subsequent generations to note that peoples tend to take on their leaders’ character.
Some see such changes as betrayal. If these alienate a large enough proportion of people, the body politic itself loses the capacity to act as a whole. Enough disarticulation, and the body politic ceases to exist for practical purposes. Serious changes, regardless of their sources, lead some to want a resetting the country on what they regard as its proper basis—or outright resuscitation.
Machiavelli wrote that doing that amounts to re-founding a nation, and that this is considerably more difficult than founding one in the first place.
What does it take to re-found a nation? The question is lively for twenty-first century Americans because the changes that have taken place in the bipartisan ruling class that controls nearly all our institutions have explicitly denied and denigrated what had made America itself. Today’s ruling class leads and even forces Americans to act, speak, and think as if all that they had thought good were bad, and vice versa. Almost as if a vengeful power had conquered the country. At least half the country yearns for some kind of rescue.
Though history does not lack examples of nations rescued and refounded, most rescues involve overthrowing the dominion of foreigners rather than of mutated ruling classes. But as the Book of Exodus shows, the removal of foreign influence is almost always much less than half the battle. Reference to foreign oppression is often a necessary, but always an insufficient factor. Charles de Gaulle’s success against the Germans was not enough to overcome resistance to his efforts to restore France’s corrupt body politic. Without a foreign focus however, refounding can only be a civil war of variable temperatures. Abraham Lincoln’s failure to avoid the Civil War is as clear an example as there is.
Machiavelli’s near equation of reform with re-founding mostly abstracts from the
Article from LewRockwell