M wrote earlier this month:
“Seems last we exchanged....I had
challenged your notion that the Bill of Rights is in worse and
worse shape as the years go by....and that you had said I was
wrong and you'd explain in some length in the spring.
”While one-sided accounting will
easily persuade most Conservatives and Libertarians.....and make
our dire straits something to whine about for a lifetime.....
”I was suggesting that a brief look at
the other side of the ledger seems to leave no excuse for
whining....and that we should be more appreciative of how free
we are and be celebrating every day (though still working for
”And you were going to say:
Thanks for writing.
In America, we enjoy a measure of
We are not nearly as free as we
think we are.
Millions of Americans are willing
to relinquish what is left of their liberty.
I have said it countless times and I
will say it again: GW Bush is not Adolph Hitler. Neither Al Gore
nor John Kerry would have been Joe Stalin. We can vote. We can
speak. We can write our congressmen. I can write this without
fear of doing time in a forced labor camp on the North Slope of
We can worship the God of the Bible or
we can worship Allah, Vishnu, a cow or Mungabunga. We can
promote creation, evolution or any explanation we want for how
we came to be. We can amass wealth. We can invent. We can
travel. We can consume alcohol. We can smoke those nasty,
raunchy, skanky butts. We can listen to all kinds of music. We
can read all kinds of books. We can watch all kinds of movies.
We can gamble. We can fornicate. We can go to strip joints and
mud wrestling venues.
Moreover, we are communicating on the
internet. THE FLIPPIN' INTERNET! Freedom, anyone?
And if we don’t like it, we can leave.
So why am I constantly – in your words
– whining about our vanishing liberty?
Because, by any objective measure, our
liberty is going away.
I unearthed an old column by Joseph
Sobran the other day. In it, he writes of Alexis de
Tocqueville’s visit to America in the 1830s:
“Tocqueville wondered whether this happy condition
could last. He forecast that democracy would devolve
into bureaucracy, and we’d wind up with a ‘mild but
extensive’ sort of tyranny, ‘without tortures or
terrors’, but strong enough to control an
essentially timid populace.”
Indeed, we enjoy a measure of liberty.
However, we are subject to myriad intrusions on our ability to
maneuver through life. And because so many of us
we are free, we are incredibly easy pickings for those who would
Tyranny is a lot like cancer. While
early detection is a great thing, prevention is a far better
thing. Millions have survived both totalitarianism and cancer. I
would rather avoid than survive either of these. This is why I
am being so vocal NOW, while I can still do so without fear of
government retribution. Consider it early detection.
Consider two things about America as
America, “the land of the free”,
has the world’s highest incarceration rate.
All ten planks of the Communist
Manifesto are the law of the land and have been for years.
Among these are a progressive income tax, inheritance taxes,
the federal department of education and the Federal Reserve
Our society is one of the most tightly
controlled societies on earth. These controls are always sold to
us with some good intention in mind, e.g. the environment, the
children, a drug-free America, victory over terrorism. However,
these controls carry a price: i.e. our lives, our liberty and
our pursuit of happiness.
I once read that, in a lot of
countries, it is probably not a good idea to run down the main
street of town yelling, “Death to the president!” However, these
governments are not nearly as intrusive into other areas of life
as is the United States government. One reason – among many –
that so many jobs are going overseas is that industry is not
nearly as tightly regulated.
The Founders’ vision was that of a
free society, not a perfect society. With this in mind, they
gave us a Constitution that severely limited the size and scope
of the federal government. Hence, they gave us three branches of
government with an intricate system of checks and balances. They
delegated 18 powers to the feds.
Not satisfied, a Virginia delegate
named George Mason refused to sign the Constitution because it
did not contain a declaration of rights. Mason would lead the
charge to develop what we now know as the Bill of Rights. These
first ten amendments to the Constitution are a bill of
prohibitions on federal activity.
While we have never been perfect in
our application of this Bill of Rights, this does not excuse the
reckless disregard with which our contemporary ruling class
treats it. Indeed, when its provisions are violated, the
violators always justify their abuses of power by naming
precedents. (When W spied on the American people, his amen
corner responded by saying that, “Well, Bill Clinton spied on
the American people, too.”)
America has two constitutions. One is
written. However, this Constitution is not worth the paper it is
printed on if the constitution of the people – i.e. what they
are made of – is so weak as to rationalize and justify
violations of the written Constitution.
And how is our Bill of Rights violated
by the current power elite? Here is a partial list, the result
of a brainstorm. I will probably be deluged with e-mails naming
all kinds of other intrusions on our freedom.
The Internal Revenue Code
The gradual removal of expressions
of Christianity from the public square
Campaign finance laws
The chilling effect of
501(c)(3) on what
pastors may preach about
20,000 laws infringing on the
“right of the people to keep and bear arms”
The Patriot Act
The Military Commissions Act
NSPD 51 and HSPD 20
John Warner Defense Authorization
Act of 2007
The Real ID Act
The Drug War
Airport Security – even before
The Elian Raid
Brown standoff in
The Hollis Wayne
Fincher show trial
Compulsory school attendance laws
Government schools in general
Juries that are not
fully informed of their rights
to judge both the facts and the law pertaining to a given
Prison sentences for “victimless
Harassment of home schooling
Minimum wage laws
Racial hiring quotas
Asset forfeiture laws
Seventy thousand pages of
regulations in the Federal Register
The supreme Court hearing a case
about a student displaying a banner that read “Bong
hits 4 Jesus”
Roe v. Wade
Kelo v. New London
militarization of America’s police forces
The Duke lacrosse case
The merging of the United States
into the North American Union with Canada and Mexico
A whole host of treaties, trade
agreements and other schemes to undermine America's
sovereignty and bring us under a world government
And many, many more.
It has never been my intent to be
overly negative or pessimistic. However, it has been my intent
to take a defensive posture regarding threats to our freedom.
Scripture -- Ezekiel 33:6 -- calls us to be watchmen. It is not
“negative” to lock doors, save part of your income, buy
insurance, cut down on the carbs or exercise more. It is being
cautious. Bad things – theft, bankruptcy, obesity, heart attacks
-- can and do happen if we are not careful.
Extremely bad things – 7- and 8-digit
body counts -- can and do happen if we do not keep a very close
eye on our government. The Founders knew this. And they were not
always nice about how they expressed themselves.
All the evil, wicked, mean and nasty
things that Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Thomas Payne and
others wrote about King George III were directed at a “tyrant”
who taxed the colonists at the excruciating rate of about three
percent. Moreover, there was no Royal Department of Education,
Environmental Protection Ministry or war on drugs in those days.
The result of the rebellion of 1776
was a governmental framework that allowed for greater freedom,
productivity, creativity, charity and many other good things
than any other society in human history.
And yet millions of Americans are
willing to give what remains of this freedom away. Left-wingers
are willing to give it away over global warming, which is based
on a lot of junk science. Right-wingers are willing to give it
away over terrorism, an “enemy” that does not even control the
government of Afghanistan and a
threat that is totally overblown. Mencken was so right when
he stated that:
“The whole aim of practical politics
is to keep the populace alarmed -- and thus clamorous to be led
to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of
hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
To summarize, there are lots of
powerful and well-positioned people who want to deprive
Americans of their liberty, and there are millions of Americans
who are more than willing to relinquish it. Before they give it
up – even temporarily – I would invite them to consider another
people who gave up their freedom in 1933 and got it back in
1945. They were the people of Germany. We all know what happened
in the interim. Had more Germans been more vocal earlier, Hitler
would have been out of power in 1934 and most people never would
have heard of him.
I don’t want it to come to this in
America. That is why I am being so vocal NOW, while I am free to
do so. Eternal vigilance, Jefferson said, is the price of
liberty. “Woulda”, “coulda” and “shoulda” are three of the
saddest words in the English language. I don’t want to be
sitting here -- or in some prison cell -- someday saying, “We
woulda kept our freedom and we coulda kept our freedom. We
SHOULDA said and done something back in the days when we COULDA!”
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