erne lewis
book cover for 'An Act of Self Defense'

An Act of Self Defense

Erne Lewis


    Professor Stewart stared at the computer monitor, re-reading the paragraph he had just written. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, was a strong advocate of citizen-legislators. He feared the failure to include term limits for members of Congress was a fatal flaw in the Constitution. He
argued that even the best men are naturally corrupted by the power of high
office held too long. They become arrogant, he said, and self-serving in
proportion to the time they hold office. They come to love power and to believe
they are better than the citizens who elect them. He warned that over time a
self-serving political aristocracy would evolve, persistently increasing their
power and the power of the federal government and thereby destroying individual
liberty. He believed another bloody revolution would be necessary to regain the
individual liberty lost to those power-loving politicians.

    As he reviewed the paragraph, he became convinced Jefferson would not propose revolution today. He would certainly be appalled at the recent loss of individual rights. And he would be angry. But he would also see the impossibility of challenging the federal military power on a field of battle. Revolution, in the sense Jefferson meant it, was now impossible. The federal government would smash the uprising without difficulty and without a second thought. However, he thought he knew what the founders might do if they were presented with this problem.

    Well, maybe such men could make it work, but he could not. He was not the person to organize it because he didn’t know what would be required. He knew no one who could or would help. And without a high probability of success it would be a stupid, viciously immoral disaster. It would only advance tyranny.

    He pushed the idea to the back of his mind and returned to his writing.

  return to introduction page one >