Living With The Choices We Make

In the latest Real Clear Politics national polling data, Obama continues to lead McCain by almost six percentage points. The same data indicates that almost three-quarters of the American people think we are on the wrong track as a nation. Is it possible that after only 232 years the American people have grown weary of the responsibilities of freedom? Is it possible they are no longer capable of governing themselves? These polling data indicate the answer to both questions is a resounding yes.

The American people continue to look for a major change in the way our government does business. Anyone who still does not know the kind of change an Obama presidency would bring about simply has not been paying attention. It remains to be seen whether he has the leadership skills to control the change as it occurs, but there is no question about what kind of changes his presidency would bring. His intentions are to completely change our form of government as well as the structure of our economic and cultural institutions.

The Socialists among us believe our next form of government will be a socialist democracy. However, there is ample evidence that with Obama as President our next form of government will be a socialist oligarchy. Either way, it will be socialist and not republican in nature. We have been quietly renouncing our capacity to govern ourselves ever since we started transferring the powers of government from the state capitols, and the people, to Washington almost a century ago.

In the process we have allowed our state and local governments to deteriorate into cesspools of corruption, graft and favoritism. Our state and local politicians are always to be found at the front of the line seeking federal handouts to appease the populace and maintain their grip on power. We the people have permitted this state of affairs to develop as long as we perceive a personal benefit from the goodies being handed out by Washington. Seldom do we stop to realize that the price of those goodies come out of our pocketbooks and represent the product of our labors.

On July 4 we celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In that documents the Founding Fathers set forth the principle that it is the right of the people to change the form of government that rules over them when that government becomes, in their opinion, detrimental to their pursuit of happiness. As the American people consider whether to exercise that right in the coming election it is important that we understand what the choices are. There are four in number.

The Status Quo

Everyone pretty much agrees, the status quo is unacceptable. As the nation becomes more evenly divided and the belligerence between the factions increase with every passing news cycle, attempting to maintain the status quo can only result in a continuing decline in our economic and cultural institutions until we eventually become just another second rate power, at the mercy of those who seek to take from us the progress of the past four hundred years.

Government Reform

The most difficult of our four choices, and therefore the least likely to occur, is government reform. True reform would mean returning to the principles laid down by the Founding Fathers of a limited government with enumerated powers set forth in the contract between the people and the government: The Constitution.

We have become too accustomed to the pseudo-comforts of the paternalistic relationship that has grown up between us and Washington to suddenly take on again the responsibility for our own welfare. We no longer protest, as we should, when we are told what we should eat, what we should think, what the temperature in our home should be, what type of lighting we should have, what type of transportation we should use, or what level of medical care we are entitled to.

Any attempt to disentangle our individual lives from the web of government we have created would cause dislocations in our social structure that would be difficult to control. The sudden elimination of every function of government not sanctioned by the Constitution would be so overwhelming that the government probably would not survive. Nevertheless, if we are to survive as the America we have known and loved, we must begin to do just that. It cannot be done overnight, but it could be done in a few generations if the American people made up their minds to that choice.

Democratic Socialism

The easiest of the four choices is the choice of democratic socialism because it requires us to do nothing. All we have to do is continue down the path begun by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. When I read the polls about “right path, wrong path”, I always hope that means the people are waking up and realizing that we are heading toward socialism and think that is the wrong path to take. In my heart, I fear the opposite is true. I fear their feeling of discontent stems from their belief that we are not moving toward socialism fast enough.

Socialism is an interesting philosophy. Its foundation rests on a profound pessimism toward our fellow countrymen. Poll after poll shows that we are confident of our own ability to prosper in our pursuit of happiness, but we worry about our less competent neighbors. To assuage our feelings of guilt caused by our own fortuitous circumstances compared to our neighbors we seek to take on the responsibility of seeing to their welfare—through the government, of course. Moreover, for some reason, we assume that the expense of caring for our neighbor will be born by still other neighbors, and never by ourselves.

It is this quirk in human nature that provides the impetus for a potential takeover of our government by socialism. By some magical thinking process, we somehow believe we can allow socialism to take over the government without it also taking over our lives. As any parent can tell you, it is difficult to have the responsibility for the welfare of another without having control over their behavior. If we expect the government to be responsible for our welfare, or our neighbor’s, we must also expect it to take over control of both ours and our neighbor‘s behavior.

Socialist Oligarchy

In the struggle between the federal courts and the federal legislature for dominance in our society, the courts have emerged as the final arbiter of public policy concerning everything from the education of our children, to the social customs of our people, to the waging of war. In recent times, decisions by the Supreme Court have pivoted on the vote of one Justice. Usually that Justice is Anthony Kennedy.

Justice Kennedy is getting on in years and is subject to retirement at any time. Should his retirement come during an Obama administration it is likely he will be replaced by a socialist Justice in the mold of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. When that happens, we cease to be a Constitutional Republic and become instead, a socialist oligarchy ruled over by the judicial whims of five men (or women) in black robes.

Unfortunately, there is little we the people can do about it until the Congress decides to reinstitute their congressional authority to establish the jurisdiction of the courts and exercise their powers of impeachment over sitting judges who violate their oath of office by attempting to overrule the Constitution.

Ordinarily we could look to the President to provide leadership in any attempt to seriously reform government. At this time in history, however, that is not feasible. Any reform must come from the legislature, and that can only happen if the American people send to Washington, men and women who are truly dedicated to the rule of law, under the Constitution.

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