This morning on radio, Glenn shared a recent statement from Former SCOTUS Justice David Souter where he told the University of New Hampshire School of Law that pervasive civic ignorance in the United States could bring forth a dictatorship.
“I don’t worry about losing a Republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion. I don’t worry about it because of a coup by the military as has happened in other places. What I worry about is when problems are not addressed. People will not know who’s responsible. And when the problems get bad enough, as they might, for example, with another serious terrorist attack or they might with another financial meltdown, some one person will come forward and say, “Give me total power and I will solve this problem.” That is how the republic fell in Roman times. Augustus became emperor not because he arrested the Roman Senate. He became emperor because he promised he would solve all the problems that were not being solved.”
See his statements here:
Quite a bold statement coming from someone who served as a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
After reading the statement, Glenn commented on the unbelievably high number of citizens that don’t pay any attention at all to what is going on in their own country, much less around the world.
“You’ve worked hard in the last four years or six years or eight years trying to educate yourself,” Glenn told listeners. “How many of our citizens don’t pay attention at all.”
The comments Justice Souter made at ‘Constitutionally Speaking’ in Concord, NH were his first extended public remarks since retiring three years ago.
Souter was nominated to the court by President George H.W. Bush in October of 1990 and retired in 2009 under President Obama, who nominated Sonia Sotomayor as his successor. While serving on the SCOTUS, Souter was not a favorite among conservatives due to his stances on abortion, affirmative action, among other issues he sided with the more liberal judges on.
That said, the former Justice was known as a strict Constitutionalist. Of all of the subjects he addressed, Souter was the most passionate on the education of Americans and the responsibilities of schools to teach young people the basic principals about their government and its founding principles.
Glenn agreed with Justice Souter’s statement. Regardless of what side of the aisle they claim to be on – Republican or Democrat – if they aren’t informed and there is a big enough problem, they will turn to the person who says they will give the person claiming to have the answers the power.
“Our biggest problem is civic ignorance.”
Much like Glenn, Souter doesn’t believe America has lost its Republic.
“I think it is in jeopardy. I am not a pessimist, but I am not an optimist about the future of American democracy,” he said. “We’re still in the game, but we have serious work to do, and serious work is being neglected right now.”