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Shouting Us Down on the Path to Progressive Perfection

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Three newsworthy statements were reported over the past week that present a disturbing pattern for me.  President Obama’s ambitions for fundamentally transforming the United States of America are well underway and it appears that resistance, challenges, and obstacles to the program are becoming societally unacceptable.

During his usual post-tournament conference, professional golfer Phil Mickelson commented on the personal effects to his affairs from accelerated government spending by the California and U.S. governments; "If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate's 62, 63 percent.  So I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do. ... There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn't work for me right now.  So I'm going to have to make some changes."

About one week later, Mickelson sat in front of a new camera, speaking in the tone of an eight-year-old recently released from time-out; "Right now I'm like many Americans who are trying to understand the new tax laws. I've been learning a lot over the last few months and talking with people who are trying to help me make intelligent and informed decisions. I certainly don't have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family.  Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public. I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend not to let it happen again."

Who in the world would Mickelson have offended, except for the politicians whose hands are in the pockets of his plaid trousers?  Scary.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally sat down, under oath, to face Congress about the Benghazi incident that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.  When pressed by Senator Ron Johnson (R - Wisconsin) about why the American people had been misled on the motivations of the attackers, Secretary Clinton responded emotionally with, “Was it because of a protest?  Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans?  What difference, at this point, does it make?”

The third point that defined this circle showed up on CBS Sunday Morning last week when contributor Louis Michael Seidman opened up his commentary with, “I’ve got a simple idea; Let’s give up on the Constitution.”  Seidman openly frets about the Second Amendment getting in the way of modern debate on the citizens' right to own a gun.  “This is our country.  We live in it.  And we have a right to the kind of country we want.  We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us.  And neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today.  If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.”

Louis Michael Seidman is a professor of constitutional law.  Yes, a constitutional law professor.  At Georgetown University.  In Washington, D.C.

Connecting these three statements reveals an insidious progression that should make every American uncomfortable.  I offer in response three quotes that permanently hang in my personal study, provided originally by three Western thought leaders:

"This nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the principle--among others--that honest men may honestly disagree; that if they all say what they think, a majority of the people will be able to distinguish truth from error; that in the competition of the market place of ideas, the sounder ideas will in the long run win out." - Elmer Davis, But We Were Born Free, 1954

"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race: posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for tuth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error." - John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

"The resolution of policy through challenge and criticism and debate... is the real secret weapon of a democracy. The lack of it is the fatal defect of a dictatorship." - Alan Barth, Address to American Association of University Professors, 1951

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