The State of Libertyby Jason Pye
I got bored today and wrote this, it’s kind of elaborating on things I’ve written here and on my site.
The United States of Americaâ€¦We are the bastion of liberty and the worldâ€™s object of admiration, as Reagan said, we are that â€œshining city on a hill,â€ right?
Many of us would like to believe these things. But what is a country where property rights mean little when compared to the will of the common good or a country where a third of oneâ€™s earnings are forcefully confiscated from the government and shifted through bureaucracy to corrupt and bankrupt government programs.
In the United States we have seen a constant assault on our liberties from both the right and the left. In the so-called â€œProgressive era,â€ the nation witnessed an assault on the spirit of Constitution, if not the Constitution itâ€™s self. Progressives passed amendments to the Constitution that allowed for a direct tax on income and the direct election of Senators, virtually eliminating representation of the States in Congress.
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments have been virtually ignored by the courts and politicians. The Founding Fathers were believers in the concept of Natural Rights and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution and the intention behind it was to secure rights that may not have been specifically guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, such as the right to contract, privacy, travel or other rights to life, liberty and property. When you look at the Ninth Amendment with the Declaration of Independence, it is clear that the Founders believed strongly in individual accomplishment and self-government, you could refer to them as the â€œManifesto of Natural Rights.â€
The Tenth Amendment merely backs up the Ninth and is supposed to ensure the concept of federalism. Where the Constitution limits the federal government, states have the ability to step in and once againâ€¦self-govern. Though the States themselves must provide a â€œrepublican form of government.â€
But due to the progressives the concepts of life, liberty and property are subject to the will of the common good and though there are right specifically guaranteed by the Constitution, they are now subject to plenary authority of the state legislature, to Congress, the Executive Branch (encompassing the cabinet) and the Judiciary.
The Supreme Court has this clever way of creating federal regulation of virtually everything under the commerce clause. Wickard v. Filburn is quite possibly the most ridiculous example of misuse of the Commerce Clause. The court determined that Roscoe Filburn was in violation of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, one of the New Deal travesties, because he grew more wheat than was allowed by law. Filburn told the court that the excess was for himself and his family and was not subject to federal quotas or the Commerce Clause, because was never intended to be placed on the market. The court unanimously ruled against him.
In 2005 the very foundation of the country was attacked in Kelo v. New London, when the Supreme Court ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut was acting in the publicâ€™s interested and was within the scope of the public purpose of the Fifth Amendment when it used eminent domain to take the land of several property owners and turned it over to a private entity to gain some sort of economic benefit by an increased tax base.
In the judiciary, guaranteed rights and individual liberty hold no weight to jurisprudence and court precedent.
The other branches of government are as guilty. Congress routinely passes legislation that is outside of its restrictions listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Whether it was the John Adams and the Federalists working to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts or a President interring Japanese-Americans during the height of a war, George W. Bush and the Republicans passing the USA PATRIOT Act, all three were done in the name of security and all three grossly violated the rights of due process.
Itâ€™s obviously reactionary politics. The idea that our government is â€œdoing somethingâ€ to protect us from Nazis, bankers and depression, Communists, terrorists or even ourselves. It is too much to ask our government not to do anything. Each time our government reacts to some sort of threat, it is always at the expense of individual liberty, and our right to self-govern is eliminated and treated as if it is some sort of crime.
Of course the end game, what these people want, is to eliminate the concept of individual rights and personal sovereignty and create society based upon the concept of the collective. That each citizen exists to fulfill the needs of the â€œgreater goodâ€ and any action outside of that is selfish and some how immoral.
I donâ€™t mean to sound like a McCarthy flashback, we are not in the middle of the Red Scare, but we are at a very serious crossroad in this country. One where we can change our course and work to bring back the essential liberties, both personal and economic, that have been essentially raped by power hungry bureaucrats or we can continue the present course that seeks to punish individual accomplishment.
Conservatives have a record equally damning. While progressives and liberals have worked to take away individual liberty through economic restraints and endless bureaucracy, Conservatives are using religion and the threat of terrorism to incite fear into the masses. One thing that I constantly hear from conservatives is, â€œTerrorists hate our freedom.â€ While they certainly hate our way of life, but Iâ€™d argue that through gay marriage amendments, elimination of privacy rights and a general disregard for the law, George W. Bush has done more damage to the idea of liberty than any person in recent memory. And letâ€™s not forget that he has surpassed Lyndon Johnson in terms of spending, a feat not easily accomplished.
My question to you is, how much longer do we sit by the way side and allow our government to destroy our most basic liberties?