On Impossibilites

Nov 29, 2013 by

Many people today claim that tyranny in America is an impossibility.  Dictatorship will never form.  Our spirit, as a free people, and our laws, under the constitution, will prevent it from ever having a chance to form.  And, there are many more situations, in addition to this, that people today dismiss as impossible.

However, let me point out that ‘impossibilities’ are many times what define history.  It was an impossible notion that a small sect of Judaism, beginning during the reign of Augustus, would ever become a major belief within the Roman Empire.  Fast forward to the time of Constantine, Christianity has become the official Religion of the Roman Empire.  In 1910, the rulers of Russia and Germany claimed that it was an absurdity to believe that any war between the two nations could occur so long as their leaders were still alive.  The two rulers, Nicholas and William, were in fact cousins who communicated via telegram on a regular basis.  They thought it impossible for any war between the two was an impossibility.  Four years later, World War I brakes out with the two nations on apposing sides.  In the Roman Republic, the idea of an Emperor was absurd.  Their nation was founded on the dethroning of Kings.  The people of Rome would never accept a monarchy or Emperor.  Then, Julius and Augustus Caesar came along.  After the first Napoleonic War, Napoleon was banished to a small island under guard by French and Austrian Forces.  Escape would have been deemed impossible.  Given a small army of 1000 soldiers at most, he managed to evade his guards, evade an English warship sent to intercept him, landed in France.  Then, he proceeded to march on Paris with his 1000 men.  His force was intercepted by the French Army, who immediately defected to his side.  Napoleon went from being exiled to Elba to Emperor of France again in record time.

Let me now proceed to give two final examples of American origin.  If, in 1770, you went through the Colonies in America and asked people if they were ready to revolt against England, they would have thought you mad.  They were part of England, brothers across an ocean.  Moreover, England was the greatest power in the world.  The idea that a revolution would even occur, much less succeed, was an ‘impossibility’.  Six years later, the Deceleration of Independence was signed.  Thirteen years later, America and England signed the Treaty of Paris, winning the United States its independence.  Thirteen years to pull off the impossible is pretty impressive.

Finally, let me offer one last example.  This one is fictional in that it was never a fulfilled impossibility, because of circumstance, but the evidence and reason show that this ‘impossibility’ would have been reality had it not been for one major event.  In the run up to the Civil War, a case came before the Supreme Court to decide the fate of Slavery in the Territories.  This is known as the Dred Scott case.  The ruling of this case was that the territories and Congress were subject to the Constitution, due to the Supremacy clause.  The Bill of Rights protects you from seizures of property.  The Supreme Court defined, in this case for the first time, a slave as property.  Thus, neither congress nor the territorial legislatures could ban slavery in the territories.  Now, Lincoln predicted a second Dred Scott case.  This case would make bans by state governments unconstitutional as well.  The reasoning for this is simple.  If the supremacy clause is what allows this logic to overrule congress and the territories, and the supremacy clause is above the states, as it is, then this logic overrules the states.  Thus, all free states would soon become slave states.  This was an impossibility, for which Lincoln was sharply criticized for putting forth.  The idea of the sovereignty of states in these matters was still alive and well.  For such an issue to be bulled over through a legal process was absurd.  However, even unbeknownst to Lincoln, cases were popping up in New York and California, where the courts were ruling, based off of the logic in Dred Scott, that slavery must be permitted in those Free States.  These cases would have gone before the same Supreme Court which decided the Dred Scott Case, had it not been for the election of Lincoln, the outbreak of war, and the fourteenth amendment.  If it wasn’t for that, this ‘impossibility’, would very likely have become a reality.

Thus, impossibilities and absurdities are accomplished every day.  These ‘impossibilities’ are often times more real than we imagine.  Unless we realize this and guard against the bad and strive for the good ‘impossibilities’, we will be left adrift on the designs and wills of others, who rarely have our best interests in mind.

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