Posts for February, 2014
"....give me death." words spoken by Patrick Henry at the founding of this great nation. Words that would never be heard today in this self-indulgent, dependent society. This post is about liberty, or freedom if you will. This nation was founded by people who escaped from a despotic all-powerful monarchic government under King George III in England. They were deptermined to limit the centralization of power, which they accomplished by writing a Constitution that restricted government to limited, specified, functions, all other powers to be vested in the states. By enforcing decentralization, they hoped to prevent the concentration of power that inevitably results in despotism. In the words of Lord Acton, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
I was eight years old at the start of the Second World War for the United States. I wasn't quite sure what was going on, but I knew it was something very important. As time passed, I became aware that we were in the fight of our lives, for the survival of freedom. The entire nation joined in the greatest mobilization of industry and military might the world has ever known. There was no dissent, because the cause was so precious--our freedom. Great numbers of young Americans sacrificed their lives for an ideal so important as to impel the dire risk of life. Civilians sacrificed in a severe rationing program without complaint; well, maybe a little. Consequently, we prevailed over the powerful Nazi and Japanese war machines. Make no mistake, it was a near thing. I personally believe that God took a hand in this struggle to give us the victory. The D-Day invasion would have failed except for a fortuitous confluence of happenstances that blunted the Nazi response to the invasion. I don't believe in "fortuitous happenstance," otherwise known as luck
Time has passed. Bit by bit our freedoms have been co-opted in the name of security and protection. Government has grown into the all-powerful megalith that we have today and we have let it. The Constitution has been circumvented and often simply bypassed to justify "programs" promoted as benefits. As the Marquis de Custine said in 1839, "Despotism is never a greater menace than when it claims to do good. It excuses its most heinous acts by its intentions, and evil posing as a remedy has no limits."
Every law, every regulation, every bureaucratric policy constitutes a loss of freedom. Each government intrusion into our lives incorporates a transfer of power to the central government. Degree by degree, over the years, the frog has been boiled. Today, virtually every activity involves government to some degree. Yes, we are secure, more or less. Yes, we are comfortable, more or less. But at what price? We have abdicated the first two letters of "independence".
Of course some law and regulation is necessary for an orderly society. But we have gone well beyond that. The free, aggressive, independent entrepreneural spirit that built this nation has been coopted by government control. Liberals would say, "Good; only government has the power to fix things." Unfortunately, as Lord Acton wisely observed, with power goes corruption. Government has become an end in itself. It has become more concerned with perpetuating and expanding its power by whatever means necessary than serving the public.
Everything political has become about power. Even environmentalism-at the government level-and health care ("Obamacare") are about power. Common Core is more about federal control than education. The "War on Poverty" instituted in the 1960's, an abject failure by any measure despite the expenditure of trillions, was more about centralized power than helping people. You don't help people out of poverty by giving them things; you simply sap ambition and make them dependent--on the government. An African-American leader, I think it was Sharpton, once said in all seriousness, (I paraphrase) "The solution to the poverty problem is for the government to give every poor person $10,000." (Ten grand was a lot more money back then.) Only personal ambition and resolve will solve the poverty problem, and that's what our liberal, socialistic government actively discourages.
I'm not saying all politicians and bureaucrats are charlatans. Unfortunately, though, many are. The fault lies with the philosophy. Helping and giving are not necessarily synonymous. "Please help the poor" should not mean a handout, but rather a hand up. The liberal approach is a handout; the conservative is opportunity. This is perhaps overly simplistic, but the concept is valid. Only the opportunity, exercised, to become self-sufficient is a permanent solution. Al Sharpton's approach would last maybe six months and the recipeints would be worse off than before. Don't scoff; a version of that policy has already been implemented.
Freedom is the heart of opportunity. Freedom and independence are intertwined. Take away a person's independence and you stifle ambition and incentive. Our government, mainly at the federal level, has become so pervasive in our society that the kind of brave resolve so evident during the "Great War" is largely gone. The frog is boiled and I fear for the future of this soon-not-to-be great nation. It was a noble and daring experiment created by inordinately brilliant men, I believe with divine guidance, and enforced by the most remarkable document ever created, our Constitution, a set of precepts that uniquely enshrined freedom. Diabolically clever people have found ways to circumvent it, to our great peril. What the Founders feared has come to pass. We have become for all intents and purposes a monarchy.
George III is reincarnated and lives in the White House.
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