Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Time to Fight

“Evil rarely comes upon us all at once, and liberty is rarely lost in one stroke.”

Our federal government is out of control. The sprawling government we have today is markedly different from the one bequeathed to us by our Founders, which “was strictly limited in its scope, guaranteed individual liberty, preserved the free market, and on matters that pertain to our private behavior was supposed to leave us alone.” Now is the time to halt the unbridled growth of government power.

Judge Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge that is senior judicial analyst for Fox News, issues a call to action in this article. He begins the article by saying:
“Congress recognizes no limits on its power. It doesn't care about the Constitution, it doesn't care about your inalienable rights. If this health care bill becomes law, America, life as you have known it, freedom as you have exercised it, and privacy as you have enjoyed it will cease to be.”
Before you accuse me of being an evil Fox News ideologue, please note that I still live in the dark ages. I still rely on regular broadcast signals for the rare occasions that I watch TV, having never had cable TV in my home. I’ve never seen Napolitano on TV, although, I once heard him briefly on the radio.

I know that Napolitano is libertarian and I know what his detractors say about him. But the passionate concern for a properly constitutional federal government on display in his article speaks to concerns that I have long had. While the article is mainly focused on the current health care power grab by government, it addresses larger issues as well. Napolitano writes:
“When I recently asked Congressman James Clyburn, the third ranking Democrat in the House, to tell me "Where in the Constitution the federal government is authorized to regulate everyone's healthcare," he replied that most of what Congress does is not authorized by the Constitution, but they do it anyway. There you have it. Congress recognizes no limits on its power. It doesn't care about the Constitution, it doesn't care about your inalienable rights, it doesn't care about the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights, it doesn't even read the laws it writes.”
That, my friends, is the definition of tyranny. Our tyrannical federal government is out of control.

The quote at the top of this post comes from Napolitano’s article. Over time, our federal government has morphed from its original design to become “one big monster government that recognizes no restraint on its ability to tell us how to live. It claims the power to regulate any activity, tax any behavior, and demand conformity to any standard it chooses.”

The current health care bill is a special case because for the first time, the federal government will assume that it has power under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause (Article 1, Section 8, clause 3) to force you to purchase a personal product “you might not want, or may not need, or cannot afford.”

For those that believe that this would not be too onerous of a price to pay, consider the fact that “If you don’t purchase what the government tells you to buy, if you don’t do so when they tell you to do it, and if you don’t buy just what they say is right for you, the government may fine you, prosecute you, and even put you in jail. Freedom of choice and control over your own body will be lost. The privacy of your communications and medical decision making with your physician will be gone.”

This kind of thing smacks of King George III's actions outlined in the grievances noted in the Declaration of Independence. Now is the time to fight back. We must not tolerate this theft of our freedom. But what can we do? Napolitano urges:
“For starters, we can vote the bums out of their cushy federal offices! We can persuade our state governments to defy the Feds in areas like health care—where the Constitution gives the Feds zero authority. We can petition our state legislatures to threaten to amend the Constitution to abolish the income tax, return the selection of U.S. senators to state legislatures, and nullify all the laws the Congress has written that are not based in the Constitution.”
These sound like drastic measures that have little chance of success. But it may be possible to key into that spark of liberty that lives somewhere in the hearts of many Americans in a way that will set the political class on its heel. This is a fight for the soul of America, for your individual liberty, and for the freedom of your children.

This is not a particularly partisan fight. I agree with Napolitano when he says:
“We do not have two political parties in this country, America. We have one party; called the Big Government Party. The Republican wing likes deficits, war, and assaults on civil liberties. The Democratic wing likes wealth transfer, taxes, and assaults on commercial liberties. Both parties like power; and neither is interested in your freedoms.”
The American system of government was designed to protect our liberties, not to take them away in the name of some collective good. Not to have them meted out by some oligarchy and its army of faceless, unaccountable bureaucratic minions.

This is America. The time has come to fight for our freedoms.


Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Now is the time to fight because any later may be too late.

rmwarnick said...

Did you see what Billo said to Judge Napolitano on Faux News?

"I don’t care about the Constitution! ...Don’t be a pinhead."

Like many on the right, O'Reilly is ready to throw the Constitution out the window even though it's our best defense.

If Americans demonstrate through our actions that our often-expressed concern for the rule of law and human rights is nothing but rank hypocrisy, that validates al-Qaeda.

Scott Hinrichs said...

I am opposed to all that oppose the Constitution, whether they align themselves with the right, the left, the middle, up, or down.

Charles D said...

I agree that the mandate to purchase insurance is wrong on many counts. I would prefer that the government simply replace the entire private insurance industry for the public good rather than forcing citizens to purchase products that are probably inadequate at best. However, the mantra about loss of freedoms and liberties seems a bit farfetched.

Where were all the cries about loss of freedom when the Patriot Act was passed, or the Military Commissions Act, or when the Bush Administration trashed habeas corpus? All those constitute far more serious threats on our individual freedoms than health care reform.

I do agree with you and Napolitano that we have 1 political party with 2 branches - although we would describe them differently. And I agree that replacing the legislators that fail to represent our interests is what must happen if we are to improve the situation. All we have to do is simply refuse to vote for any candidate who has enough campaign cash to advertise on TV. Vote only for the unknown that the media tells you is not a serious contender.

Scott Hinrichs said...

Perhaps you should check the history of some of the liberty minded bloggers that posted many times about the Patriot Act before criticizing those that decry the current arrogation of power.

I almost always vote as you suggest. Not that it makes any difference. It is difficult to tell the difference between voting that way and voting by not voting.

Charles D said...

Glad to hear you vote smart - of course, you have to overcome the enormous majority of those who don't. My ideal Presidential matchup last year would have been Ron Paul vs. Dennis Kucinich.

I do recall a few libertarians opposing the Patriot Act, but far more like your Judge Napolitano spend time decrying positive government involvement and ignoring negative government involvement. For example, Rep Jerrold Nadler of New York (no libertarian he) is saying that the biggest threat to our liberties is the use and abuse of the state secrets doctrine to prevent citizens from using the courts to oppose government infringement on our rights. That seems more dangerous than mandating the purchase of crappy health insurance.

Michelle said...

That is why we need to do something, and do it NOW! I want a free nation left for my children.

There is a workshop coming up on Dec 5th in Sandy, UT that will help motivate conservatives and teach them how to KICK THE BUMS OUT. (http://www.facebook.com/events.php?ref=sb#/event.php?eid=167070988033&index=1)

Come and bring as many people as you can. There is a certain senator in Utah that needs to be replaced in 2010!

Charles D said...

That's an interesting conference. While I am certainly for throwing the bums out, replacing them with folks like those appearing at this conference would probably make things even worse. iPoliticom advertises its chief goal as restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington. IMHO, that's not the central problem.

It is difficult to cut taxes, provide for the common defense and the general welfare and be "fiscally responsible". Somethings got to give and with most libertarians, it is the general welfare. In our case, we need to strengthen the hand of government vis-a-vis the major corporations and banks, not weaken it. We need to use government to restore the American dream, not pull the rug out from under more Americans.

I'll skip the conference. Let us know how it goes.

Bill Walker said...

The author is obviously not up on his public record. The states have already acted. It is congress that refuses to obey the Constitution. All 50 states have submitted 750 applications for an Article V Convention, far in excess of the 34 required. The texts of the applications can be read at www.foavc.org.

This is a legal, constitutional way to control the federal government and any one serious about doing something sooner or later has to realize and support this because it is the only way that will work.

Scott Hinrichs said...

re Bill: While there have been a number of Article V applications, it would seem as if the states themselves do not take this seriously. Article V states that Congress "shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments" when two-thirds of the states' legislatures make application.

You have demonstrated that this threshold has long been met, yet Congress has never called an Article V convention. If the states, or even any state, were serious about this, they/it should bring a case before the federal courts on the matter.

Since nobody is earnest about doing that, I conclude that no state legislature currently takes seriously the 750 Article V applications that have already been made.

Does it even have to be a state that brings the case? Do not average citizens have standing on this issue? Where is the appeal to the courts on this matter?

re Charles D: Those that share Madison's understanding of the General Welfare clause see no conflict between the goals of keeping taxes low, providing for the common defense, and providing for the general welfare per the Constitution's enumerations. There are not enough resources in the entire world to meet the General Welfare provision under an expansive interpretation of that clause.

Yes, I know that SCOTUS essentially ruled that way in 1936 and 1937 and that we have attempted to govern accordingly ever since. But that does not mean that SCOTUS was correct and that efforts should not be undertaken to restore a more balanced interpretation.

Charles D said...

Where you and I disagree is rather obvious. I believe that government, properly constituted, is the medium through which the people act to achieve a better life for themselves and their fellow citizens. To restrictively interpret the Constitution in such a way as to prohibit the people from achieving the goals for which government was established places the letter over the spirit. Over 220 years, the needs of citizens and the ability of government have changed dramatically and our understanding of the role of government must change along with it.

There are economic issues of course, but those are rarely paramount.

Scott Hinrichs said...

This is why our Founders created an article in the Constitution that defines how the document is to be amended to address changing needs. If we are going to simply enact whatever legislation we want without regard for our founding contract, then the document no longer serves any purpose. The contract is null and void.

In that case, the purported ends can always be made to justify the means. Our political class can simply enact any kind of laws it wishes without regard for proper checks and balances.

A properly Constituted government can be made to serve the needs of the people reasonably well. But we are increasingly making people serve the whims of the government.