The country the Founding Fathers thought they were creating was very different than the one we have today. Their vision of our government exerted its power only when absolutely “necessary and proper” in order to maximize the individual liberties of the People, balancing the basic political urges of the masses (via the democratically elected House of Representatives) against the decentralized authority of the States (via the legislatively appointed Senate), all managed dutifully by an individual who could responsibly and sparingly exert the power of the executive to steer the ship of state through the narrow waters between the public and private necessities.
They meticulously argued each and every point and power, refining some, adding others, and removing a few, each toward a single vision. This vision was at times crystal clear, at other times an indistinct haze, always within reach yet just out of grasp, like a marble that they could barely get their fingers on but could not grab. Just on the horizon of their collective gaze, there was a perfect country, where men could be free not just of the tyrannical rule, but, in no small measure, from society itself, for which government is just another blunt instrument to infringe on the free will of the people.
In the country of their mind’s eye, an individual could be free to live his or her life without the imposition of artificial restraints. Since government had no special authority, agents of government did not enforce but a very few and specific enumerated powers. Outside of criminal accountability, men and women could live without undo constraint upon their actions or endeavors. While families bore the cost of failure in such a society, their individual duties to society were limited to what their consciences would bear. So long as they did not seek to harm others, they could live and work as they chose.
This was the course the Framers plotted for our country. A free society of true moral equality where justice and individual liberty astride one another, not against each other. It is sadly and obviously not the country that we have.
“I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.”
– George Washington
Our nation fails on every point, both practical and ideal, to live up to the vision of what it could and should be. We have large persistent underclasses consisting primarily of racial and ethnic minorities and poorly educated. We have an uncontrolled legal monstrosity that hangs its hands upon the throats of every man and every woman. We have forced morality imposed by screaming zealots, well meaning as they may be, with the most dire of consequences upon any dissent or resistance. We have a society gone absolutely mad, tearing itself apart, because no one can leave anyone else alone.
Since the late 19th Century, the social engineers of the Marxist tradition built a towering mass of regulatory agencies, legal edicts, and redistributive tax theories to control their countrymen in the name of “morality“, to force their social morality upon others, whether they want it or not. The reactionaries of the Nationalist tradition built walls and barriers within society to keep “them” away from “us“, never dismantling what the Marxists built, instead ever seeking to turn it to their advantage against “the other“. All the while, both groups dare to claim they represent the legacy of the Founders.
If we step beyond the wall of dust kicked up by the current conflict between these two desperately misguided and morally bankrupt ideologies, there is, still, a glow on the horizon, a beacon of hope of real freedom and true prosperity. A place where government does not impose morality made with excuses of false charity and enforced through brute force of law. A place where government lacks the power necessary to artificially keep people who’s only crime is being “different” from taking a place at the table of opportunity. A place where men and women are equals and not subservient to those who have political power, neither directly as politicians nor indirectly as lobbies.
“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism… a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom…”
The name of that place is America, not the America we have now, but the America that we were intended to have. What patriot can honestly look at the nation we have and say “This is precisely what the Founders hoped we would be.“? A nation where government has the power to take the wealth of the People and squander it by subsidizing favored businesses, funneling money to politically allies, and paying for well meaning but desperately immoral and inefficient welfare programs. Did the Framers truly intend to condemn us to this charade of taxation, regulation, and coercive enforcement of “do as we say or else“?
The great irony is that Americans, by and large, see themselves as free, even as they do as they are told, allow the government to confiscate a portion of their earnings, live and work their entire lives within the neat walls of the law, and not only tolerate the misery of their countrymen but revel in it. This isn’t the America the Framers envisioned. It’s long past time for us to demand something better, if not for ourselves, then the generations of Americans that will come after, because what we have now is clearly not American. It’s not even working.
Liberty is For The Win!