Since 1776, more than 1,500,000 soldiers have died in battle to secure and protect our liberty. Yet we have far less liberty today than we had at the end of the Revolutionary War. We have a better standard of living. We live longer. We are blessed with all sorts of technology. However, we have less liberty and freedom. What happened to the liberty that our forefathers purchased for us at such a high price? Like Esau, we have sold our birthright for a bowl of porridge.
Since the Revolutionary War, our liberties have been steadily diminishing. In the past fifty years, they have been disappearing at an ever-increasing rate. The ironic truth is that most of them have been taken from us, or we have surrendered them, in the name of freedom and security. Who took ‘em? Mostly the liberals inside and outside our government. They have learned well from the despots of the twentieth century and they have perfected their techniques to the point where they are almost unnoticeable to anyone not paying close attention.
The two most effective means for separating the people from their liberties have proven to be incrementalism and segmentation. Using these techniques liberals are able to effect change that is so gradual they can easily be adapted to by the electorate rendering them all but painless, except to those directly affected. The rest of us are not aware of the changes until the day comes when they want to take away our own freedom.
Incrementalism really got its start during the New Deal under Franklin D. Roosevelt when the government discovered that the American people were more than willing to give up their liberty in exchange for the security of a roof over their head and food on the table. In the following decades millions of Americans became dependent on the government for all or part of their incomes either through government employment or through government welfare. Welfare and government employment tend to grow in direct proportion to each other. The desired result is always socialism.
In 1992, Hillary Clinton introduced a proposal for socialized medicine. It was promptly shot down by the American people. Instead of accepting the will of the people, the liberal strategy shifted to incrementalism. The prescription drug plan for seniors is one step in that strategy. Another is the recent SCHIP program. Little by little, liberals intend to force socialized medicine on the American Public whether we want it or not. Why? Dependency on government means control over the people by government.
Another good example is the recent attempt to pass the comprehensive immigration bill. When it failed in Congress, its proponents switched to incrementalism. Bit by bit the immigration bill is coming back in the form of amendments to “must pass” funding bills. This way they can get the bill passed piece meal without too many voters being aware of it.
Massive immigration is supported not only by liberal politicians seeking to expand their power base, but by the business community as well. Not so much because there is a shortage of unskilled workers. Our education system turns out plenty of those. Labor is a commodity and like any other commodity, as the supply increases the cost decreases. We have been conditioned to accept the conventional wisdom that six percent unemployment is good. Not for the six percent who are unemployed. During times of low unemployment, the cost of labor goes up. Massive illegal immigration increases the labor supply and drives down the cost of labor at all salary levels.
Like incrementalism, segmentation is an effective method for separating the people from their liberties and giving more power to the government and those who run it. With segmentation, the idea is to split off small groups of people and bring them, one after another, under government control until they have control over all the population.
The most common use of segmentation is in the area of taxes. It takes a lot of money to run all the socialist programs necessary to entice the voters to keep liberals in power. That necessitates an every expanding source of revenue from taxes. John Dillinger said, when asked why he robbed banks, “because that’s where the money is”. Wealthy people have more money than poor people. There are more poor people than wealthy. Hence the cultivation by liberal politicians of “class warfare”. It works well for raising taxes because the poor, who are not being taxed, could care less how much taxes the wealthy pay. The wealthy usually have the means to increase their income and offset the exorbitant taxation, so they pay without too much protest. Those caught in the middle are the middle income group. Lacking the organized advocacy groups available to the poor and the influence of money available to the wealthy they do not have the political “muscle” to effectively resist, so they pay and grumble among themselves but do little in real protest.
Another goal of liberals is to lessen the influence of Judeo-Christian values on the American culture. Working through groups like the ACLU and the Courts, they have been successful in just about eradicating all visible Judeo-Christian influence from the public arena. Even though the majority of Americans claim to be Christian, most have bought into the liberal interpretation of the extra-Constitutional doctrine of “separation of church and state” to the point where Christian influence can be segmented and eliminated with very little opposition from nominal Christians who make up the majority of Christian voters.
The classic example of combined incrementalism and segmentation in controlling the lives of citizens is the campaign against smoking. Decades ago liberals, armed with the medical myth of “second hand smoke” began to segregate and vilify smokers. (As we pointed out in an earlier article, if second hand smoke was as deadly as we have been led to believe we would not have a Social Security problem because there would be no one alive to collect it, since most people who are over 65 today grew up in a cloud of second hand tobacco smoke.)
The campaign against smoking began with segregated smoking areas on planes and in restaurants then spread to the workplace. As the number of voting smokers dwindled laws restricting smoking incrementally increased until virtually every place except wide open spaces, homes and automobiles were smoke free areas. (they are working on those now) Coinciding with the diminishing number of smokers came the ever increasing taxes on cigarettes, usually to the cheers of non-smokers who were by then in the majority. We are always happy to have someone else pay more taxes under the mistaken notion that it will mean less taxes for us. This is especially true if we can perceive a benefit for ourselves from those taxes. In this case, health insurance for our children and lower taxes paid by all for treating smoking related illnesses among the uninsured.
The next step will come when the tax base dries up, as it eventually will. Anyone who knows anything about marketing theory knows that as the price goes up the number of sales goes down. The price of tobacco bolstered by taxation is rapidly getting to the point where tobacco sales and the tax revenue connected to it will diminish to the point where it cannot support the social programs its intended to pay for.
When that happens the programs will stop. (Just kidding) We all know from experience the tax burden will simply be shifted to other sources. Right now, the overweight are being set up as the next target. Twinkies and soda pop. Toss in a few fast food items and there you go. Ever increasing taxes and ever decreasing freedom and liberty. There have even been proposals to tax bottled water. In fact, Chicago and a few other places have already implemented taxes on bottled water. Now that’s getting close to where it hurts. The bottom line is we are rapidly losing our liberties to the tax man and the nanny state. Liberty is not something that can be purchased with the blood of one generation allowing those who follow to live happily ever after. Liberty must be fought for and protected by each generation, not just on the battlefields of war, but in the corridors of government; national, state and local.