December 29, 1997
Two centuries ago the Founders of this nation fought a war to establish individual liberty and build a country based on the concept of self government. "...governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED."
The idea of the pre-eminence of the individual over the State sparked people around the world to sieze control over their own destinies, to demand that the dignity of the individual take precedence over the dictates of the government. Throughout history, power always decended down from the top, freedom was deemed a gift from the rulers. For the first time in history that process was reversed, and a nation was created with a written Constitution embodying the idea that power flowed upward from the people, and that government itself was a creation of the people.
No longer would the individual be burdened by the leaden hands of ruling elites; the result was an explosion of sociological, cultural, and technological progress over the course of 200 years which dwarfed the achievements of mankind over the previous 5000.
Then came the pernicious theories of the socialist utopia. The Communist Manifesto became the bible of those who sought to destroy freedom, and subject individual spirit to the dictates of the greater good of the community. Many people around the world came to believe -- and still believe -- that the forcible leveling of society was preferable to individual Liberty. The Communist Manifesto was nothing less than a blueprint to destroy individual liberty and free choice, and return the world to the dark ages of government-run slavery.
The final battle in the struggle between the forces of individual freedom and the forces of government slavery was ultimately waged between the two superpowers of the world: America and the Soviet Union. The battle lasted over seven decades, from 1917 when the communists took over Russia to implement their "vision", to the final, formal collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Freedom, it seemed, had triumphed over slavery. The rights of the individual were more important that the interests of the group, the class, or the State. Or so it seemed. But somewhere during that struggle, the ideas of individual Liberty got lost amid the growing welfare states in the West. That which had conquered Russia in an instantaneous and violent revolution, is gradually infecting America like a slow and deadly disease.
No longer do we in America speak of the rights and responsibilities of the individual, now we're more concerned with group entitlement; in schools we no longer teach our children to strive for superior individual performance, their efforts must be subordinated to the collectivized mediocrity of the group; we no longer celebrate achievement, as class warfare consumes us with the desire to punish success; private property succumbs to communal interests as defined by unelected bureaucrats; our national heritage is no longer celebrated, but is actively attacked in the drive to create a multicultural society which has no unifying culture; forces in our government actively seek the end to our national sovereignty; we insist that the government take care of us from cradle to grave; and the family is no longer the nucleus of society, because the 'enlightened' tell us that it no longer takes parents to raise a child, It Takes A Village.
Consider the stated goals of the Communist Manifesto:
Don't all these objectives perfectly encapsulate the goals of modern American liberalism? Don't major portions of our population, media, and government clamor for precisely these ends? What of the concepts of morality, right and wrong which flow from religion? Communism is hostile to religion, because the forcible redistribution of wealth upon which socialism depends is immoral, and morality must be redefined so as to justify such redistribution.
At the end of the 20th Century, despite the evidence of history, the traditions of our heritage, and the yearnings of the human spirit, the elites in the Western democracies have come to a remarkable conclusion: socialism works. The only new twist is that where old socialism demanded ownership of the means of production, new socialism merely exerts total regulatory control, which is just as effective and far more efficient.
These are the beliefs of modern liberalism, and the recent budget so praised by the so-called conservatives in Congress proves that they share those beliefs: expanded entitlements, increased funding for socialist propaganda mills, increased mandates from, and controls by, a monstrously growing central government. And the more socialism succeeds, the poorer we all become as a result of its success. But it was not through outside conquest that our culture, our heritage, our very national sovereignty are being compromised. We are throwing it all away voluntarily.
The demographic shift caused by immigration cannot be ignored in this process of triumphing socialism. When the majority of immigrants came from Europe, they had some social tradition of democracy, individualism, freedom, and private property rights in their native lands. There was also a resistance to governmental authority, spurred by the eastern European experience of living under a foreign conqueror. Most newer immigrants never had any societal experience with democracy, individualism, freedom, or private property rights, nor with the concept of restraint of governmental power.
Another strong factor at work subverting traditional American values is multiculturalism. Older waves of immigrants looked forward to becoming Americans, of learning and adopting the language, values, and traditions of their new home. Achieving citizenship was among the high points of their lives. Immigrants from the world over were, and still are, welcomed when they seek to assimilate into American culture and adopt traditional American values. Many of today's new immigrants, however, resist assimilation, and the melting-pot concept is considered genocidal. Citizenship is seen as nothing more than the right to apply for government handouts.
The values of democracy, individualism, freedom, and private property are viewed with cynicism. The ceremonies by which citizenship is conferred are often mass events, which many of the new citizens treat as a joke. Many new citizens are so openly hostile to American values, and so aggressively protective of the culture from which they came, that it is a wonder why they bothered to come here at all.
The Census Bureau predicts that by the year 2050, one in every three people who live in the U.S. will be post-1970 immigrants and their descendants; in other words, one-third of our population will have little or no tradition or experience with the traditional values of individual liberty. Their experience will be with socialism, totalitarianism, overbearing and unlimited government authority ... and with the great American welfare state. Does anyone seriously expect our Constitutional republic to survive when one-third of the population has little understanding of, and even less sympathy with, the traditions of Freedom and individual Liberty which were the basis for the creation of this nation; when even a majority of those born and raised in this country think that Liberty means the right to take the property of others, and to dictate how others will live their lives?
Anyone who ventures such concerns is branded a "nativist" and an "isolationist" by the open-borders crowd, the globalists, the multiculturalists who claim that the very concept of national sovereignty is obsolete. They strive mightily to make their nightmare vision of a dictatorial world government of regulatory bureaucrats, elected by no one, answerable to no one, a reality -- and they are succeeding in subordinating our national sovereignty, our Constitutional protections, and our Freedom to unaccountable bureaucrats at various multinational organizations.
Is it nativist to value the charters of Liberty which created the greatest republic the world has ever known? Is it isolationist to preserve that republic against assaults by those seeking to destroy our Freedom? So be it.
Those who have the urge to dictate to their fellows; who crave the power to rule every aspect of the lives of everyone around them; arrogant enough to believe they are able to 'reinvent' the government created by the Founders; those who consider themselves superior, by virtue of birth or education or overblown ego, to the mere mortals who constitute the People of this nation, do not like the Freedom which our Constitution was created to preserve.
That Constitution was created specifically to reign in petty tyrants such as these, which is why it was necessary to shred the Constitution before we embarked on our march toward socialism. Federal bureaucrats in black robes have repeatedly ignored and subverted the Constitution, with the willing collusion of far too many citizens who actually like the idea of government as lord and master, mother and father, redistributor of wealth; people who don't mind governance by bureaucratic mandate and Executive Order. People who would never use threats or violence to steal from another have no hesitation demanding the government use its overwhelming power to do just that on their behalf. A people may indeed be unfit for Liberty, because they are unable to practice the forbearance and the self-restraint which Liberty demands.
America remains the freest nation on earth, with the greatest commitment to individual liberty and equality of opportunity of any nation in history. But no society remains static. Ours is changing rapidly, and not for the better. As our government, obeying the will of the people, becomes more oppressive, more collectivist, more socialist, more intrusive into our everyday lives, less accountable, is anyone paying attention?
We complain about oppressive regulation, arrogant officials, and petty bureaucrats who make our lives a maze of regulatory stupidity. Yet when the rare individual tries to take some small steps to halt the growth of government, tries to return a small degree of power and Freedom to the People, those same people who complain about overbearing government turn around and parrot the slogans of class warfare, collectivized grievance, and group entitlement; that is, when they're not simply ignoring the whole process. When we wake up some morning and realize that Freedom is no longer a reality but a squandered ideal, and we cast around for someone to blame for our lost Liberty, it won't be hard to find the villain who stole our heritage: look in a mirror. The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance.
"... the ties that bind Americans to their national government have been uniquely idealistic. We have been in love with the idea of being American citizens, free and independent, equal before the law ... living our lives as we see fit. We and our government maintained this happy state of affairs by observing three tacit compacts.
"First ... citizens did not expect much from their government. Running the daily life of society was the job of 'we the people'.
"Second, the federal government tried hard to avoid taking sides in specific moral disputes ... The moral battles that arose ... were resolved via Constitutional amendment. The whole nation had to take a stand, and the federal government didn't get too far out in front.
"Third, the national government made it easy for us to pride ourselves on being good citizens. If the ordinary Joe did nothing more than make an honest living and take care of his family, he was as good an American as the highest in the land.
"Today, these compacts have been broken. [First] there is no social or economic problem of which a president can say 'That's not the government's responsibility.' [Second] abortion, affirmative action, gay rights and prayer in school are just a few of the many political controversies in which the federal government has ... allied itself with policies that large numbers of Americans ... oppose. [Third] one of the most profound consequences of governmental activism ... has been the geometric expansion of law ... there are more thousands of ways in which Americans can break federal law than anyone can count ... The result is that millions of good Americans must reasonably fear their national government. Their estrangement arises ... from a felt betrayal of what the federal government is supposed to mean in American life."
-- Charles Murray [polls show only 20% of Americans trust the federal government to do the right thing "just about always" or "most of the time"]
Formatting added by TYSK
The above article is
the property of Kim Weissman, and is reprinted with his permission.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT