How often have you heard the term “middle ground” used in news reports, op-eds, on the radio, TV, and in social media? Okay, that’s a rhetorical question. In fact, this oft-mentioned and praised term has been bandied about as though it was handed down to us on stone tablets. And it often goes by a more frequently used term: compromise. But I’ll refer to the term middle ground here, because it is something we can visualize. It’s ground, don’tchya know—just like the other two “grounds” that aren’t referred to as such: “left” and “right”. But it’s hallowed ground. When we reach middle ground, we are admired by the vast middle grounders in society. We are enlightened. We have attained nirvana.

The term middle ground is most often used in the political sphere, but it is not solid ground. The only solid ground in this Republic is the ground that was formed by the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries, who didn’t sacrifice so much only to have it become a vain exercise decades later. They didn’t create a nation that would become another England in so many ways, from encroaching on people’s liberties, to excessive taxation, and seeking to control other nations. By becoming middle grounders, we’ve become ungrounded.

We’ve been sold a bill of goods over the decades, and most of us have come to savor those goods, which take the form of an imperial presidency, high taxation, reduced civil liberties, welfare, ad nauseum. We will accept mandated toilets, light bulbs, windows, auto standards, etc., as long as we aren’t hassled too much in our daily activities, as long as these mandates are “hidden” from us, buried in the regulations and duties imposed on businesses that serve us. We have less liberty, but hey, we’re safer.

I’ve found that there are three main impediments to the effective restoration of our Republican form of government. The first is a populace ignorant of the founding principles of our Republic, as well as the principles that informed the Founding Fathers. Next is the outgrowth of that ignorance: our elected officials, practically all of whom forget, in daily practice, what country they are in. (They would be perfectly at home in any European socialist wonderland.) The last impediment is our income tax system, especially where the federal government found it to their advantage—not ours’ mind you—to have an income tax (a tax on our labor) withheld from our paychecks. This mandated, legalized pilferage has grown the federal government to a size that could not have been contemplated by the Founding Fathers, and as a result of this funding and growth, our freedoms have eroded.

The bigger a central government becomes, the more it takes from the periphery – the states and the people – to maintain its hegemony.

Many will dismiss this article as being “out there,” as not being middle groundish, but in so doing they  make my point. And anyway, I couldn’t care less. I reference below the Introduction to the 1974 book: “Voices of the American Revolution,” by the People’s Bicentennial Commission. Reprinted in that book is an Associated Press release from the late 1960s:

“Only one person out of 50 approached on Miami streets by a reporter agreed to sign a typed copy of the Declaration of Independence. Two called it ‘commie junk,’ one threatened to call the police, and another warned: ‘Be careful who you show that kind of antigovernment stuff to, buddy.’

Comments from those who took the trouble to read the first three paragraphs:

‘This is the work of a raver.’
‘Somebody ought to call the FBI about this sort of rubbish.’
‘The boss’ll have to read this before I can let you put it in the shop window. But politically, I can tell you he don’t lean that way. He’s a Republican.’

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If anyone thinks our situation has improved since then, all they need to do is hear the responses to questions Jay Leno asks in his candid street interviews.

The middle ground is a meaningless ground. It is a creation of those who muddle the issue of whether the federal government can do whatever it wants, or if it has to operate within its Constitutional constraints, specifically outlined in Article 1, Section 8 and buttressed by the Tenth Amendment. These muddlers or middlers are either disingenuous, or they are clueless. They either want the federal government to ignore the Constitution, or they want the federal government to assume extra powers because it is for the “good of the people.” (And it scores “I care” points for e politicians when it comes time for reelection.)

The middle ground is not solid ground. It lies on a fault. And the fault is ours.

“Compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another – too often ending in the loss of both.”
–Tryon Edwards

David Welsh
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