It seems every day in the 224 years since our Constitution was written, we, as a nation, have moved further away from the "more perfect union" it brought into being.
Right from the beginning, governments, both state and federal, were fighting to break free from the clearly laid out box this beautifully crafted document imposed on them. At various times those governments did break free – moments such as the Alien and Sedition Act and the actions of President Jackson come to mind – but overall, it remained contained and kept our individual liberty secure. Sadly, this is no longer the case.
When the states created the federal government, it was not to indenture themselves to it. It was expressly to handle those things they couldn't easily do individually. It was to defend the nation as a whole, to manage affairs between them, but never to rule over them. After all, the states created the federal government, not the other way around.
And that was the way power was supposed to flow - from the individual to the local, local to the state, from the state to the federal government – with each getting less as it progressed down the chain. But somewhere along the line, like the Chicago River, that flow was reversed. We went from a nation of rugged individualists who helped our neighbors when they need it to a nation teeming with more and more people looking to the federal government to provide an ever-increasing list of desires for them.
It seems almost quaint now that we were a nation where parents took care of their children, fed them, clothed them and made sure they stayed out of trouble and attended school. That when times were tough we turned to churches and civic organizations that were only too happy to help. Government took care of the "big stuff" and we took care of ourselves. Not anymore.
Life is much easier now. Many diseases have been wiped out or relegated to chronic from terminal. Tending the fields to feed one’s family is now a choice, not a necessity. Our nation went from not existing to being the richest in the world in an incredibly short time not because our government directed people what to do, but because it got out of their way and empowered them to do what they could.
As these hardships sank through technological advances brought about by the free market, do-gooders arose – idle hands and all that. Progressives, they were called. They are in both parties, though more heavily saturate the Democrat Party. Wealthy elites who found in themselves the arrogance to presume to “improve society” through social engineering, which was code for legislating their will. From this arrogance sprang nearly every despotic regime the world has seen in the last century and a half.
They, of course, are largely exempt from the impact of their whims. Their money tucked away in tax shelters and trusts, they fly private while extolling the virtues of shrinking your carbon footprint, and hold conferences in places such as Davos and Aspen to discuss how society should be made to bow to their will to improve the economy for all. They could hold these events in places in need of the economic stimulus they seek to manufacture, such as Cleveland or Detroit. But they’d rather not for reasons unknown. Maybe those airports don’t have enough private jet parking or aren’t close enough to one of their vacation homes, but it’s most likely they don’t want to be reminded of the monuments to waste their philosophy has produced. Looking at a pile of your eggshells can be unappealing.
Detroit, Cleveland and many other cities are the petri dishes of their failure, filled with prisoners of their policies. Who wants to be reminded of that?
The safety net provided by welfare, Medicaid, food stamps and countless other programs has become a hammock. It’s not one of comfort; it’s just enough to ensnare generations with the promise of a better future that all too often does not arrive. Those trapped by the hollow promise of a hand-up become addicted to the hand-out, and transform into a voting base for progressives who swear that better future is just around the corner of a dead-end street.
Government takes an ever-larger role in people’s lives and it becomes the norm. It feeds children breakfast and lunch, then subsidizes dinner in a home it pays for or at least subsidizes the rent. Progressives have transformed the federal government from one designed to barely be noticed beyond times of emergency to an omnipresent silent partner in tens of millions of Americans lives.
It is sold as a soft landing, a comfortable couch covered in velvet to break the fall. But chains are chains, no matter what they’re made of. Under the guise of “freedom from want,” comfortable velvet shackles have been constructed right before our eyes. And this prison does nothing but grow.
Soon we will become dependent upon our warden for our health care, as government moves to envelope millions more in the plush prison of dependency. Our liberty has devolved to the point we accept, with consternation but not question, decisions of nine unelected judges.
No matter what the issue or the decision, how sad is it that our Founding Fathers, men who risked everything they had on this earth to create a nation where the individual was free from a tyrannical government, would have that nation devolve into one where we find its citizens waiting every June for decrees from the Supreme Court to determine what rights we have or what the definition of a word is? We are now a nation of people who seek validation for their thoughts, actions and very existence from a branch of government?
This isn’t just about the decisions of the Supreme Court this week; it’s about the decisions of all branches of government every week, every month, every year. It’s about the next great progressive idea – a compulsory year of national service for every American between the ages of 18 and 25. Sound far-fetched? The push is starting.
This week in Aspen, progressive elites gathered to start a push for the idea. Headed by the Huffington Post and the Franklin Project, the national (indentured) service idea – service to progressive causes, by the way – has people who either married into money or were born into billions supporting it, and they are connected. The “born on 3rd base and acting like they hit a triple” brigade has nothing but time on its hands and access to the halls of power.
Get used to the idea. The word “compulsory” wasn’t chosen by accident or lack of vocabulary. A government powerful enough to force you to buy something, to redefine words, to overrule the will of its people will think nothing of adding a few links to their chain. After all, what’s a little velvet slavery when it comes to the common good?