There is one distinction with regard to the Constitution that explains much of the confusion that seems to plague the American left and it is this: the Constitution of the United States describes individual liberties guaranteed to all and constraints on the one collective entity common to all – government. The institutional left see it as just the opposite; they see the Constitution describing the liberties that the collective entity bestows on an individual and the constraints on the individual exercise of those liberties.
Sliced in any way, the “progressive” view is a communist, government first, point of view and completely inconsistent with the ideals that our country is founded upon. There is no provision in the ideals of this country for the provision of “things” by the government for their benefit at the expense of those who are able to provide for themselves. That concept is uniquely Marxist, embodied in the paraphrase of Marx’s concept:
From those according to their ability to those according to their need.
The result of the denial of our Constitution is a government intent on bending the population to its will, not a government controlled by the people.
Since the rise of the Progressive Party in the early 1900’s as a result of a split with the Republican Party, the political and legal class in America has continued to redefine the simple principles of the Constitution though clever constructions that serve to expand these tenets into areas and subjects that it was never meant to address – let me correct that – that a national government was never meant to address. It was clearly contemplated that many of these issues were intended to be addressed in manners closest to the people – those being at the state and local levels – and in manners consistent with the beliefs and desires of those people.
But that is not where we are.
We are now subject to an uncontrollable Leviathan that gives the illusion of electoral control. Where we are is in a condition where the government inserts itself into forcing behaviors on religious organizations by mandating that they do things that are against their convictions simply because they accept public funding – and yet the source of that funding, the taxpayer, cannot similarly assert control when federal money is used in contravention to individual beliefs. We have reached a point where it is acceptable for a group of fearful citizens seek to change the legal status of 99.9% of law abiding gun-owners simply because they are afraid, using the rationale of “why does anyone really need a gun?”, “some guns look scary” and “criminals have guns” as the only basis for their emotional reaction to a tragedy. We have reached a point where we are forced to buy a product, health insurance, by the government whether we choose to or not, and for no reason other than simply because we are alive – or face financial penalties.
We have created a central government so large that not even it knows where it spends our money, if we are getting any value from those expenditures and yet it demands more. We have reached the point where there is a permanent underclass of Americans who actually believe that they are entitled to the income of anyone who is more prosperous than they are. We have reached the point where large corporations hire lobbyists to procure favored status with a corporatist government that is quite comfortable with cronyism in pursuit of their ideological agenda.
We are at a point where it is not just the poor who are lapping at the government trough, the middle class and the elderly have joined them.
But the truth is that there is not one single minute of a day that doesn’t require some interaction with Leviathan.
We have created an illusion of freedom.
I was once confident in the wisdom of the American public but no more. The 2012 national elections disabused me of that notion. We have a nation of ignorant, envious people who have been fed a steady diet of collectivism and socialism for their entire lives and now fear true freedom and self-determination. We have reached a point where there are people who truly believe that if I work hard and make a lot of money, they deserve to share in the product of my success even though they don’t want to share in the costs if I fail.
The truth is that our founding principles simply cannot be bent this far without breaking.
I do see signs that Alexis de Tocqueville’s predictions are likely to come true:
If ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event may be attributed to the omnipotence of the majority, which may at some future time urge the minorities to desperation and oblige them to have recourse to physical force. Anarchy will then be the result, but it will have been brought about by despotism.
If you look around you, it is clear that the “free institutions” of America are being – or have been – destroyed. A free media, freedom of religion, attacks on our other Constitutional rights – even the judiciary has been co-opted to become a tool for legislation from the bench. Our unconditional institutions are crumbling right in front of us.
Once ideologues achieve positions of power, it becomes their primary objective to hold on to that power. Incompetents are also paradoxically very, very successful in retaining their positions through constructing rules by which ineffectiveness is rewarded and failure is ignored.
I don’t hold a lot of hope that this slide can be reversed short of a total collapse of government and the economy or an actual violent revolution.