THE TIPPING POINT FOR LIBERTY'S RETURN
Attorney Jonathan Emord
April 26, 2010
Having fought and won the American Revolution, the first citizens of this country with few exceptions considered individual liberty an inalienable birthright and committed this nation to preserve that liberty at all cost. Now, over two hundred years later, the struggle for freedom has faded into the distant memories of nearly every politican and the desire to be free at all cost has been replaced by the desire to be provided for at all cost.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are remarkable not for their understanding of our nation’s original principles and their commitment to preserve and protect them but for their zeal to expend the nation’s treasure on all manner of entitlements for special interests, transforming a limited government dedicated to liberty into an unlimited one dedicated to control and the divvying up of spoils, rendering all commerce that was once private into commerce so heavily regulated that it is inescapably public. To them, while their own liberty may be precious, they have little respect for everyone else’s; their every public act and their every vote is for measures that to one degree or another sacrifice individual liberty for political control.
To a mind that loves liberty, the prospect of subjecting entire sectors of the economy to federal bureaucratic control (the banking, automobile, and health care sectors) is unacceptable. The appetite of Reid and Pelosi to achieve those ends is, however, insatiable. If you scour all of their public statements, you will not find any that recite basic tenets of the founding generation: the view that political power is evil and corrupting and must be limited; the view that each person who labors is entitled to the fruits of his own labor; the view that just governments are instituted among men to protect the rights of the governed; the view that legislative, executive, and judicial powers may not be combined into single hands without giving rise to tyranny; or the view that legislative power invested in Congress by the Constitution may not be redelegated outside of Congress consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers. Either Reid and Pelosi have not read the great works of the Enlightenment philosophers; the writings of the Federalists and Antifederalists; the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution of the United States; and the major histories of the political, legal, and military movements to establish this country, or they have read them and disapproved of them.
Nothing in their political careers and nothing in their public speeches or writings reflects any commitment to defend America’s Constitution of liberty or advance the founding principles that give it life. To the contrary, one is hard pressed to find in their acts anything but advocacy for the establishment here of federal power over all private initiative. Their ideal involves a regulatory state that knows no bounds to its powers to intrude into commercial affairs and organize them.
If Reid and Pelosi were alone in their views, we might well consider this a sorrowful but temporary dereliction, but they are joined in this anti-constitutional sentiment by almost every Democrat and a considerable number of Republicans. Those who love individual liberty are thus confronted with a takeover of government by those who have little respect for liberty beyond their own (and no respect for liberty that conflicts with their plans for regulating America and spending America’s money).
While this situation is bleak, it includes within it the seeds for dramatic transformation. I am not one who subscribes to the view that the typical American loves regulation more than he or she does his or her own liberty. I believe most Americans appreciate that what makes America unique and that holds out the greatest promise for our future advancement is the extent to which our laws defend individual liberty—the personal quest of each of us to build an empire of greatness free of government coercion and constraint. Unleashed from prior restraints, there is no limit to the power of the individual to excel, achieve, and advance this nation to the greatest heights possible. We have much to fear from those in government who paternalistically believe they can decide for us what is in our own best interest. We have two centuries of proof that when we keep those in government at bay, servants to us and not our masters, we can raise the standard of living of the entire world through the independent actions of millions, each seeking his or her own rewards from innovation, advancement, and achievement. The lesson of world history is that governments never succeed when they endeavor to replace private initiative with state planning, and that, conversely, nations always progress when they eliminate state planning in favor of private initiative.
We are very near to the tipping point, the point at which those in government who presume to know better than we do what is in our own best interest so regulate and tax private initiative as to force the typical American into action. Whether it is this coming election or the one after it, I do not know, but I do believe genuine change in the direction of liberty is coming. There is much anger in the land, and people are anxious for the opportunity to remove arrogant officeholders from power. They are looking for people who will cut government out of their lives and restore individual liberty and the freedom of choice that enabled us to make America great. They are unwilling to accept that we must all be reduced to a common level of mediocrity if government takeovers become permanent fixtures, and they are unafraid to accept the consequences of their own inherently volatile market choices—whether that is success or failure.
The lie of the government promise—to relieve us from all earthly troubles without the need to pay for the federal leviathan that promises to change the earth—is becoming clear, even to those who once believed the promise. People are now asking routinely, how can our nation afford this monstrous government, and who will the tens of trillions actually help? National polls reveal little confidence in Congress, waning support for a President who has little love for the private sector, and the rise of a national political constituency favoring restoration of a Constitution of liberty.
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The pendulum appears about to swing back in favor of liberty. The destiny of mankind is tied to that movement. At this critical moment in world history, we will either rise to the occasion and free the genius of American industry or we will fall from our position as a global superpower replaced by others who have learned from us that freedom is not only the birthright of every citizen, it is the indispensable basis for all human progress.
© 2010 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved