Can Post-Constitutional America Recover Its Freedom And Prosperity?
It is by now undeniable that our Constitution is being unwound at an accelerating rate. With the wave of a blog post, the President of the United States suspends the due process checks and balances prescribed by the Constitution, refusing to enforce laws he finds politically inconvenient, while enacting other laws byexecutive decree to energize his political base.
Revelations that the Fourth Amendment has been rendered moot by massive internalspying operations are met with the facile explanation that administrations led by both parties have carried out such violations for a long time. Few people know the real extent of the spying, as it is a state secret.
Is it any wonder that other countries scoff at American entreaties to adopt liberal democracy? How can we expect others to respect and emulate the America Way when we think so little of our own system that we carelessly discard the rule of law whenever it’s expedient?
And it’s not just because our politicians have become mendacious and disingenuous—though many surely have—but because they have lost control of their own enterprise. Our laws, quite simply, have become too numerous, unwieldy, and riddled with contradictions. Many are flatly incomprehensible even to the legislators who are supposed to read and understand them before they foist them on the American people—often exempting themselves to avoid the unintended consequences.
What brought us to this point? Our failing public education system? The erosion of non-governmental social institutions? A media-induced national stupor? How about all of the above?
We demand an ever expanding array of entitlements that we expect someone else to pay for, distributed by a corrupt and bankrupt bureaucracy we openly hold in contempt.
We’ve become so easily distracted by “culture war” sideshows that we’ve forgotten how to hold elected officials to minimal standards of competence.
We have descended into such an abject state of ungovernable dysfunction that the best we can do when a floundering president starts ruling by decree is stand back and gawk.
Will there be no consequences?
Of course there will be. Just as an unaccountable professor with a printing press can go on creating an illusion of economic recovery only for so long before the world’s monetary system collapses, the President and Congress can only carry on enacting unintelligible, unworkable laws before their Frankenstein monster-like statutes begin to fall apart under their own weight.
Let us rejoice that Obamacare’s failure is arriving years ahead of schedule. Designed to implode after vitiating the private health insurance market and creating tens of millions of new dependents, its premature self-destruction is a blessing in disguise. Rather than greasing the slippery slope to single-payer nationalized healthcare—the preferred outcome for Obamacare’s designers—the midterm elections may open up the potential to junk the whole enterprise and start over.
We may never stuff the genie back in the bottle and re-impose those limits on the federal government listed under the strictly enumerated powers of the constitution. But there is still time to save ourselves from falling into a permanent state of legislative dysfunction. Recovering the freedom that once made us great will require reclaiming the inalienable rights and shouldering the personal responsibilities we have slowly been surrendering in return for promised security and false prosperity.
The only reason why this planet can support 7 billion souls is that most are being fed, clothed, and housed by vast engines of commerce developed by market-centric economies fueled by free enterprise, sustained by the rule of law, and rescued from both fascist and communist tyranny by the might and the example of the United States. If we abandon that which made us great and collapse under an orgy of self-inflicted mismanagement, it is just a matter of time before everyone else goes down with us.
All of humanity is watching, for if a nation comprised of the world’s most determined immigrants, raised in a melting pot unencumbered by Old World hatreds, and blessed with the most brilliant Constitution ever conceived cannot figure out how to effectively govern itself, who can?