“The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period…The United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.” George Washington
In an era when monarchs, rulers, oligarchs, autocrats and aristocrats governed according to their whims and disposition, having derived their right to rule based on caste or bloodline, a motley collection of men steeped in classical-liberal principles led a revolution and established a nation dedicated to natural law, inalienable rights, and individual freedom precepts that established the Declaration of Independence.
A decade later, the structural document creating the governmental framework based on the tenets articulated in the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the colonies. That document, our Constitution, stated specifically as enumerated powers, what our national government could do, and whatever powers were not specified or enumerated, were “reserved to the states respectively or to the people.”
Yet even at the nascent stages of the American experiment, the author of liberty, Thomas Jefferson, saw how our system would metamorphose into something entirely different. “Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
What started as a small list of enumerated powers in the Constitution has evolved into hundreds of thousands of pages of laws and regulations and a government that has debt greater than the entire gross domestic product of the nation. Laws have become so obtrusive that in any given day, millions unwittingly commit “crimes” against the state, as documented in the Alan Dershowitz and Harvey Silverglate book, Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.
In short, what we have today is an omnipotent Master governing its peon subjects. The tyrannical control far exceeds the relatively minor transgressions of King George against our founding colonists.
With such a noose of governmental control around the throat of the country, it’s amazing that anything can be produced, sold, or used, for as government grows in scope, power, and control, individual liberty is diminished and quashed. It’s a testimonial to the viability of capitalism that even under such oppressive regulatory control of the means of production that we can still eek out a modicum of GDP growth.
Is it possible to reverse America’s demise? It won’t be easy. For every dole paid out by our federal masters there is a clientele that would vociferously denounce any effort to reduce spending. It will require a resolute and informed electorate that is more vocal than the beneficiary recipients of our nanny-state master’s noblesse oblige.
If we are to prevent the otherwise inevitable collapse of our currency, our economy, and our nation, we must find the will and determination to begin shrinking the scope and cost of government. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The best government is that which governs least.” It is also more likely to endure.
You can read America, Founded in Liberty, Now Mired in Tyranny, by Richard Larsen in full at this link.