In 2008 the world, and America in particular, stood in amazement as a young community organizer, turned US Senator, with absolutely no background or qualifications, leapt to the forefront of the Democratic nominees to eventually become president of these States united. Along the way followers attended his campaign rallies by the thousands; standing there with tears in their eyes and awestruck expressions on their faces while this young upstart offered us Hope & Change.
Just remembering that makes me feel nauseas and thinking about the change this country has undergone in the following 8 years gives me a migraine. Sometimes I think that the average American voter is so naive and gullible that a slick talking politician like Barack Obama could convince the masses to drink liquefied rat poison if he promised them it was nutritional.
In Jackson Browne’s song Lives in the Balance he sings, “They sell us our presidents the same way they sell us our clothes and our cars” meaning that all it takes to get the people to vote for a candidate is a slick campaign manager who is able to package the candidate attractively and come up with a catchy marketing jingle; Hope & Change for instance. Lest those on the Republican side of the aisle get all high and mighty, let us not forget Read My Lips; No New Taxes.
They all do it now; Hillary is using Stronger Together, Trump is saying Let’s Make America Great Again, while Sanders is saying, Feel the Bern. Couple these campaign slogans with the right rhetoric and you’ve got yourself a winner; regardless of whether or not any of them have any integrity or will adhere to the limits imposed upon the office they seek by the document which created our system of government.
Yet every four years the American people get all fired up when it comes to the election of a new president. They say it is your patriotic duty to go to the polls and vote for someone, either pre-packaged ass clown A, or pre-packaged ass clown B, and if you don’t then YOU are what’s wrong with America today. Few Americans, and I mean maybe less than 5%, are able to disassociate themselves from the process and see how, no matter who gets elected, our government continues to increase in size, scope of powers it wields, and while at the same time our liberty continues to diminish.
Change is not always good. If you are healthy and then things change, then it would mean that you are now sick. If you are rich and things change then you are now poor. If you are strong…well, you get the picture.
While our government has changed from one which held limited power over our lives to one which now regulates almost every aspect of them, there is another change that I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss; that being the change in values and beliefs of the people of this country.
It has been said that the system of government a country has is a mirror into the soul of the nation it governs. If our government is corrupt and oppressive then it is because the people are corrupt and weak; needing a strong government to manage their lives because they are incapable of doing so themselves.
As James Madison said in Federalist #51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Read that through a couple times and see if it sinks in. If man were honest, virtuous, and had integrity then we would not need a government to tell us what to do; we would do what is right because…well, because it is right. If honest men/women served in government then we would not need a Constitution limiting their power because they would not seek to do things which were not in the best interest of the nation, or which restricted the freedom of the people they represent.
But mankind isn’t made up of angels, power corrupts, and times change. Therefore, if our government has changed from one which valued the rights of the people it represents, and sought to preserve and protect them, into one which cares nothing about the liberty of the people of this country and actively seeks to limit their freedoms, it is because the values of the people in this country have changed sufficiently that they tolerate these violations of their rights. After all, our government holds its power and authority by a grant from the people, and at any time, if they grow too big and oppressive, we could conceivably withdraw that grant of power. Not that government would surrender it willingly; but then at least they would show their true colors and the people would know it for what it really is; tyrannical.
When Ben Franklin left the convention hall, after formalizing the final draft of the Constitution, he was met by a woman who asked what system of government the delegates had produced. Franklin responded by saying, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Franklin wasn’t singling out the woman who asked when he said YOU; he was speaking of the entire nation. For a Republic to thrive, it rests upon the shoulders of the people who comprise it to stay virtuous and hold fast to the principles upon which it was founded.
Thomas Jefferson spoke frequently about this very subject. In a letter to Judge Spencer Roane Jefferson wrote, “Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.”
In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson also said, “It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.”
Rounding it off to an even number, I have been alive 1/5th of the time our nation has been in existence. In my short life I’ve seen 10 men hold the office of president and I’ve seen our country transform itself from one which still valued, to a certain extent, the principles upon which it was founded, to one which cares nothing for the principles upon which it was founded and only cares about what government can do for the people. Liberty is not even an afterthought; it is something that people willingly surrender just for the promise of some sort of benefit from benevolent old Uncle Sam.
The name Charles Austin Beard may not be known as well as say Justin Beiber or Beyonce, but he was one of the foremost historians in America in the early 20th Century. Beard is quoted as once saying, “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”
It’s sad enough that the name of a pop icon is better known than a historian who said something of profound significance; let alone the fact that what he said is a statement of how much America has changed for the worse.
When repeating the very phrases which our Founders used to gain their independence from Britain become offensive, or get you labeled as a danger to society; there is something very wrong with society. It should raise warning flags for every American that by standing for the same things our Founders did causes one to be labeled a possible threat. The question then arises, who, or what do we threaten?
I’ll tell you who and what we threaten; we threaten government, and those who control government from behind the scenes. It has been said that Thomas Jefferson once said, “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Some argue that Jefferson never said that, but regardless of whether he did, or did not, the fundamental truth of the statement still holds true.
When talk of liberty gets one labeled as a danger to society, especially by the government which is supposed to protect that liberty, then there is something seriously wrong with society and with its system of government. Yet I wish I could snap photos of the expressions I get from people when they hear me talk about how my rights are being violated, or the purpose for which the first ten amendments to the Constitution were written. They look at me like I’m out of my mind, or pose a threat to them.
You want to know what’s changed in this country? The attitudes and values held by the people. Hell, when I was growing up the things people say today would have caused people to give them the same looks they give me today; like they were in need of serious medication to treat a mental illness.
I don’t want to make this all about gun control or the 2nd Amendment, but it is a perfect way to explain what I’m talking about. When I was a kid almost every child across America grew up first getting a cap gun, then a bb rifle, and some graduating up to actual firearms. You could mail order rifles right out of the Sears and Roebucks catalog for crying out loud; no background checks, no ten day waiting period; straight to your door. When I went to school you could go out into the parking lot and find pickup trucks with rifle racks in the rear windows with shotguns and hunting rifles. Yet America did not suffer from these mass shootings like it does now.
Guns have always been designed to kill, that is a truth that cannot be avoided. But guns have always been a part of our culture and history as well; and we never saw these type shootings until the past few decades. So what has changed? It certainly is not the fact that guns kill; that’s always been true. No, what has changed is the morals and values of the people in this country.
The same goes for government; the basic structure outlined by our Constitution, and the powers granted each branch of government have not been constitutionally amended, it is only what people believe to be the purpose of government which has changed.
Government is all too willing to accept these new powers. In fact it actively seeks to expand its power and control over our lives. It is up to us to resist any further assumptions of power, and actively work to reduce the power government holds over our lives. That is why speaking about liberty and freedom gets one labeled as a danger to society today; because speaking that way poses a threat to the power government holds over our lives.
If you’ve watched any of these science fiction films which deal with Artificial Intelligence, you will have seen that AI’s primary concern is with survival. It will attack anything which poses a threat to that survival. The Matrix and Terminator films are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. If you imagine government to be like an AI entity than anything which poses a threat to government’s power will be attacked. That means patriots speaking about liberty and freedom.
The easiest way for government to ensure its survival, and its control over our lives, is to reduce the knowledge the people are given regarding the true purpose for which it was established. That is why civics classes breeze over the bare minimum; producing entire generations with a distorted view of the purpose for which our government exists. This conditioning, once established, is almost impossible to break through so that people can be shown the truth.
Yet whether the people of this country choose to remove the blinders from their eyes and see what is really going on, one thing will remain true, the truth. Facts, evidence, and history itself back up the things I, as well as many other patriots, write about.
All I can say is that America has changed; a lot, and most of the changes we’ve undergone have not been for the good. In fact, most of the changes we’ve undergone make me sick to my stomach at the future they portend.