At a conference last spring I sat on the speakers’ panel for Q&A from the audience. Unscripted Q&A is one of my favorite moments at conferences—you never know what’s coming, exactly. During what followed someone asked (paraphrasing), “At what point did things go wrong in America?” He certainly had in mind the slide into tyranny we have experienced since our beloved founders.

My response, I think, shocked some. Since we had just been discussing the issue of Lincoln and States’ rights in passing, the anticipated answer was “The Civil War.” I went back even further to the first great advance of tyranny: “The Constitutional Convention.”

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