The (New) Ugly Americanrnby Joseph SobranrnThe regime we live under—the regime of the United StatesrnConstitution—began with a set of clear understandings.rnOne was that the federal government was to be the servant ofrnthe people. It was to be confined to the specific powers thernpeople “delegated” to it, pursuant to the general welfare andrncommon defense of the United States. If it exercised powersrnthe people had not delegated to it, it was “usurping” power andrncommitting “tyranny.” A federal government was, of course, arncompact among the sovereign states, as opposed to a “consolidated”rnor centralized government that was itself sovereign.rnFew Americans understand this kind of talk today. Wordsrnlike “delegated” and “consolidated” are known only to peoplernwho set out to build more powerful vocabularies. You can hardlyrnexplain the difference between “federal” and “consolidated”rngovernment to the products of modern American education,rnbecause when they hear the word “federal,” they assume itrnmeans the same thing our ancestors meant by “consolidated.”rnFor all practical purposes, “federal” is just a fancy synonym forrn”big.”rnThe idea of restricting government to “enumerated” powersrn—a written and finite list—is equally alien to today’s American.rnThe only remedies he can think of for big government arcrnterm limits and a balanced budget amendment. The lucid andrnshared philosophy of the Founding Fathers, imperfect as it was,rnhas also become unintelligible to today’s American, who knowsrnonly a set of slogans labeled “liberal,” “conservative,” andrn”moderate.” Of course there are wide areas of consensus; if yournare outside those areas, you are an “extremist.”rnJoseph Sobran is a nationally syndicated columnist. This articlernwas delivered as a speech at a Chicago conference in March onrn”America’s Intervention in the Balkans,” hosted by Chroniclesrnand The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies.rnOne of the things we can all agree on—unless we are extremistsrn—is that America has a mission abroad: “world leadership.”rnBoth parties and all stripes of pundits agree on that. Wernmust lead the “international community” in keeping peace, deterringrn”terrorism,” and securing “human rights.” Along withrnthese lofty goals, we must defend our “vital interests” aroundrnthe world.rnTo deny this part of the new American creed is to be labeledrnan “isolationist.” We must never forget “the lesson of Munich,”rnwhich our new Secretary of State considers her formative lesson,rnas opposed to what some people call “the lesson of Vietnam,”rnor what might be called “the lesson of Sarajevo.” Isolationismrnled to World War II. Never mind what led to WorldrnWar I.rnI grew up in a family in which Franklin Roosevelt was only arnnotch below Cod. My father and uncles had all fought inrnWorld War II, and it was unpatriotic to entertain the faintestrndoubt that the war had been righteous. Not that we had any argumentsrnabout this; it was a given. I never doubted it until Irnwas a middle-aged man. And in doing so I was typical of myrngeneration, except that in my ease, doubt eventually set in.rnToday 1 marvel at the consensus in favor of that war. It killedrn400,000 young Americans in foreign places. It robbed a generationrnof men like those in my family of a normal youth. It involvedrnthe United States in an alliance with the worst tyranny inrnWestern history. It was chiefly waged against civilians, withrnAmerican planes bombing huge cities without mercy. It endedrnwith communist rule over ten Christian nations. It created nuclearrnweapons—and we used them. Those weapons were soonrnaimed at us, putting us in far more peril than we had everrndreamed possible. And Poland, over which the war had started,rnended up a possession of one of the original aggressors.rnThere is a deeply touching painting by Norman Rockwell ti-rn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn