ARE YOU AS FREE TODAY AS YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO?
Attorney Jonathan Emord
Author of "The Rise of Tyranny"
August 2, 2010
Two years into the Obama Administration and we have witnessed the largest expansion in government regulation in our nation’s history. That growth exceeds even George Bush’s renegade government. Bush was one of Big Governments greatest allies. He expanded a bloated federal government as never before, but President Obama has outdone his predecessor. He has created enormous new government agencies affecting every aspect of American life, like the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the Office of Financial Research in the Department of the Treasury established by the Financial Reform law or the over one hundred new regulatory entities created by the Health Care Reform law. Moreover, every existing federal agency has either grown significantly or been replaced by another, much larger new agency. Each has been granted new regulatory missions and investigatory powers, permitting as never before federal enforcement to reach deeply into the board rooms, banks, and homes of America and to impose an every dizzying array of paperwork and other regulatory burdens on Americans.
In his last presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, just weeks before the election, Ronald Reagan asked a question that riveted public attention on the plight befalling us from an inept Carter Administration: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” In the upcoming 2012 presidential election, the question the American people should ask as they contemplate a second Obama Administration is this: “Are you as free today as you were four years ago?”
The answer to Reagan’s question was obvious to most of us, and we voted Jimmy Carter out of office. The answer to this new question should likewise be obvious and should lead us to remove Barak Obama from office in a landslide victory for freedom.
Despite the fact that government spawn by the Obama Administration is enormous and more intrusive than ever before, not one sentence in any of the laws passed during his administration includes any material protection for civil or economic liberties. There are no procedural or substantive safeguards against abuse of new powers to regulate and investigate. There are no requirements that agencies proceed by judicial warrant before invading offices and homes. There are no requirements that government obtain consent before retrieving and using private financial and health information. There are no provisions for a right to independent judicial redress for the vindication of rights; rather, resort to courts is restricted or forbidden in the first instance, leaving the agency accuser as the judge.
Basic constitutional protections designed to prevent warrantless search and seizure, to ensure trial by an independent judiciary, to ensure innocence until guilt is proven, and, above all, to ensure separation of judicial, legislative, and executive powers are being obliterated en masse. With the endorsement of President Obama, the Congress of the United States has run roughshod over every constitutional limit on the exercise of government power, including even the Bill of Rights, in a rush to federalize every aspect of American life.
While the Framers of the Constitution defined liberty based on an absence of government interference with our lives, Republicans and Democrats alike on Capitol Hill have embraced the notion that individuals cannot be trusted with liberty but that bureaucrats can indeed be trusted with limitless power. Prior restraint is the most popular means of addressing any perceived problem. Rather than enforce the law against those accused of committing crimes on a case by case basis, the President, the Congress, and the federal agencies all prefer the adoption of broad prophylactic rules that burden the law abiding and the law transgressor alike, eliminating freedom of choice on the argument that some who exercise that freedom will do so in ways that harm others. In this way we are being enslaved, shackled on the assumption that if free we might do something harmful even when no proof exists that we are doing something harmful.
No trust is placed in the individual; all trust is placed in the regulator, and the regulator is loosed upon the regulated without the slightest limit to his or her discretion. No longer do those who govern us accept as fundamental the notion that liberty is the paramount end of government and is defined by the absence of government restraint. Instead, those who govern us accept as fundamental the notion that outcomes politically preferred are the end of government and that loss of liberty is a necessary means to achieve that end.
The false paradigm President Obama and Congress embrace gives power to governors without limit, presuming every use of power will be for the betterment of mankind, ignoring ancient and modern history that establishes that those with power abuse it, favoring some while disfavoring others, making winners out of market losers and losers out of market winners, and violating individual rights all along the way. They either do not know or do not appreciate the historic lesson that power unchecked is tyranny.
Because we dwell underneath a mighty bureaucratic oligarchy, our sovereignty has left us. The sovereigns are now the absolute rulers who govern the federal bureaucracy. Our republic has given way to a bureaucratic oligarchy.
Sadly the most important issue we face, the loss of individual sovereignty and freedom, is a point not even mentioned by most politicians, as they vote in favor of ever greater agency authority. There is no hesitation to expand investigatory power, ignoring its threat to law abiding citizens. There is no hesitation to adopt new prior restraints on business, ignoring its denial of freedom of choice to the law abiding. There is no hesitation to give federal bureaucrats veto power over private economic choice, ignoring the very real risk that doing so will destroy free enterprise, create perverse disincentives that interfere with supply and demand, and reduce the American standard of living.
We have entered an age where the typical politician is ignorant of the Founding Fathers’ philosophy of government, an age where freedom is feared and where certainty of outcome is applauded, and an age where regardless of how corrupt any official may be, evil is never ascribed to the power delegated but, rather, only to the misguided conduct of the one invested with the power.
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As Americans come to appreciate the changes brought about by the Obama Administration, as they feel the impact of less freedom and greater government burdens, they will likely recall with fondness the freedoms they once enjoyed and may experience anger at how cavalierly those they trusted to govern have dispensed with their freedom. Only then, if there are enough who share this sentiment, can we hope to restore the republic and the freedoms designedly protected by our Constitution. Only then may we be assured that America will focus on the essential question that should be asked in 2012: “Are you as free today as you were four years ago?”
© 2010 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved