Sunday, May 1, 2011

Slow Erosion of Our Rights

Over the course of the past many years I have come to despise the term “For your own good” or the alternative “for the collective good”. Yesterday, Patrice Lewis of Rural Revolution wrote a column for World Net Daily (as she does every weekend) titled “Serfdom: Coming soon to a country near you”. In her column she highlights how the people of England have slowly had their rights whittled away by a government who thinks they know better (let me rephrase that: by a government who knows they know better).  As she gets deeper into the column she laments how the pinching of rights here in this country could be precursor of things to come. While she doesn’t come right out and say it, I firmly believe many of the restrictions and laws set into place in England and here fall under the banner of “for your own good”.

English history is very long and lustrous. At one time they were the rulers of a very large portion of the known world. India, chunks of China, a large swath of Southwest Asia, Africa, and of course, North America north of the Rio Grande. If one is willing to read about the history of the time they had possession of all these colonies you will see there is a very strong undercurrent of “We need to rule you because we know better”. During the time of the Empire the ruling party was the monarchy, a very select group of people descended from royalty, a very small group of ruling elite.  As the 20th century came to pass and the Empire began to pass, England moved away from the Royals as the ruling class and became a democracy of sorts. One thing did not change though. These people were still part of a small group of elites, educated at places like Oxford and Cambridge. Another thing they had in common with the royals was the very distinct feeling of being much smarter than the general population at large. This new class of elected ruling elite very much felt the masses needed their well-educated guidance to show them the proper way forward. So even though the leadership of the nation had passed from the Royals to the elected officials the mantra of “We need to rule you because we know better” did not change.

As Patrice points out, we are very rapidly moving down the same path as has happened in England. I will point out that the beginnings were different. In England they moved from a monarchy to a parliament. Here is the US our young nation was not ruled by royalty, but rather by the common man. When you look back at where some of our leaders came from in the first hundred years you can see this. Andrew Jackson and Abe Lincoln were born in log cabins and came from very humble beginnings. But as the 20th century dawned, that began to change. Elitism moved into politics. The Roosevelt’s and Woodrow Wilson came from what could be considered elite families (Wilson’s father was a well-respected minister). Each were educated at top schools, and swam in very high societal circles.

Each of these men are the modern progressive’s heroes. Wilson was really the first to start push the government into economics and society. Wilson strongly felt “that the Founders had done badly by depriving the US government of the power to reshape American society” (Source: American Spectator). Wilson was also responsible for the Federal Reserve, which was the beginning of the end for the gold standard (FDR’s contribution).  Teddy Roosevelt is considered by many as the founder of the environmental movement.  FDR implemented many, many policies under his New Deal that forever put Americans at the mercy of the government.  As always, the common thread throughout these policies was a feeling they knew better than the masses.

Throughout her column, Patrice gives examples of how freedoms are being swept away, both in England and in our own nation. We are becoming a nation of continually shrinking freedoms as the ruling elite makes laws (many unconstitutional) that restrict what we can do and how we can do it. I certainly don’t advocate no government intrusion. There must be some form of governance or else we fall into anarchy.  But does an entrepreneur really need to have a license to build wooden furniture? Is it really necessary for a city to restrict when and how often a person can hold a garage sale at their own house?  While very few question the need for some form of control with respect to gun ownership, many states and municipalities have come close to either an outright ban or making gun ownership difficult to the point of impossibility of possession. The elites know better. To them, you are too stupid to know that guns can kill. So rather than educate you on this fact, they take it to the lowest common point, an outright ban, because it is for your own good. Never mind that overwhelmingly it is not legal gun owners taking lives with legal firearms, but the criminals who are not allowed to own guns killing other criminals who also shouldn’t own guns.

What is all comes down to is control. A society with individual freedoms is not possible to control to the degree in which the elites would like. How can the progressives teach whatever they want in our schools with Dick and Jane’s mom attending the PTA meetings? They take over the PTA and school board leadership, that is how. How about home schooling? In some states such as California there are attempts being made to make being a home schooling nearly impossible. Although the linked article is old and strict legal opinion looks like it sides with home schooling, it does give a window into the thought process of the progressive school administrator who don’t think parents have a right to teach their own children. It is for your own good that you don’t teach your children and it is for the collective good that children receive the same indoctrination teachings at government run (i.e. progressive) institutions.

Gun rights have been under constant attack for as long as I can remember. As pointed out above, there are many locations where it is completely illegal for a law-abiding citizen to even own a weapon, much less get a conceal-carry permit. Oddly enough, I live in one of the most liberal states in the Union, but we have fairly simple conceal-carry laws.  But others, such as those living in Chicago and San Francisco, are not so lucky. In a city like Chicago, where gangs run amok in many locations, it is illegal to even own a firearm for self-defense. Fortunately there is some push back. The Heller v. DC decision by the SCOTUS has finally defined an individual’s right to bear arms for private use in their homes. But the battle to keep these rights will continue.

I do believe that Americans are waking up, if ever so slowly. The Tea Party is an example. But we are fighting an uphill battle with an entrenched power who is not only willing to do what it takes, but is in the position to make laws that prevent us from exercising are full freedoms laid out in the Constitution.



  2. Please read "The Law" if you haven't already. It was written by the French economist: Frederic Bastiat. The legitimate purposes for the law are: To protect people from each other (coersion, brutality, theft, etc.); to protect private property, and to protect the peoples personal freedom.

  3. Anon: I have attempted to read Bastiat a couple of times but found his writing a little dry, but oddly enough his explanations are something I can understand. I know, sounds like a contridiction. But you are correct, if I am going to blog about freedoms, it pays to have as much knowledge as possible.

    Thank You for the tip; PACNW Righty