Skip to comments.Is the United States Broken?
Posted on 04/04/2002 10:13:48 AM PST by B. A. Conservative
There have been 26 people who responded to the initial post in this series entitled, "Not Goint to Take It Anymore". I have tried to infer their thinking regarding the underlying premise of the series: the United States as defined under our Constitution has ceased to exist. There are at least two separate population groups living within the geographical confines of the United States. The two groups have diametrically opposing views of government. There is some over-lapping of the geographic areas occupied by the two groups, but surprisingly the over-lap is less than most imagine. This makes a geo-political division between the groups feasible and perhaps desireable.
Of the 26 replies, there was only one who felt that the idea that the United States is broken was treachery or treasonous. There were four who plan to monitor these threads and who seemed undecided. Most respondents agree that the United States is in fact broken.
I am posting the first question now as its own thread to provide additional opportunities to recruit additional Freepers to participate in the discussion and for each participant to have a venue to clearly state their own opinions.
Is the United States broken?
Please don't be bashful and please recruit your Freeping buddies to participate. I am suggesting that this site exists because almost all of us have realized the truth, even though most of us have been unwilling to admit it to others and in particularly, many of us have been unwilling to admit the truth to ourselves. Recognition of an unpleasant truth make it incumbent upon us to deal with it or accept it. For some, this could amount to a revelation to ourselves that we really don't love freedom as much as we would pretend and are thus not the patriots we thought ourselves to be. For others, this could be a vital reawakening and a call to respond.
When this series is finished, I hope we all know in our own minds where we stand. From that knowledge, we may be able to synthesize a reasonable and rational plan to recover what we have lost.
Where do we begin? I think it might be more accurate to answer
"No, but the government of the US is....."
Then again, if the vast majority of everyone here, wants a
socialist EU clone, perhaps the answer truly is "Yes"
As far as the discussion on the Constitution goes, I'll be happy to participate as I can, and hope I can contribute something worthwhile.
One thing I do think seems to be a problem is the term "regulate". It's commonly understood meaning in the 18th century has been lost, and replacing it with the more modern definition within the context of the Constitution has resulted in serious misunderstanding of what the responsibilities and authority of the federal government are - IMHO.
A war was fought.
The Constitution was not created to deal with the political realities of the Industrial Age. After anti-trust laws broke the back of the Rugged Individual, 'Progressives' launched a host of national crusades (woman's sufferage, alcohol, cocaine, and opium prohibition...) unthinkable in rational government. Workers exploited the capitalists with the sit-down strike and extorted demands from the capitalists.
War was now exported to build the empire (Spanish-American, The Boxer Rebellion, World War One, Philippines Insurrection...)
We are still living with a failed Industrial Era government. Factories are now closing (as who wants the headaches?) in favor of mobile information business.
The Constitution was based on regional conflicts to promote a balance of power, however, with increased freedom of movement, the lines are drawn around cities and rural communities eager to receive fleeing urban capitalists.
A new Information Elite cares not for nationalism but, in this age, still has tight bonds to the land of our fathers. Much like the generation who fathered the forefathers were still attached to Mother England and would never think of 'rebelling.'
However, since the information elite can go to any port, in any country, and so long as he has his laptop and cell phone, he can conduct business and provide for his family. Thus, most of us will choose discretion as the better part of valor and opt to move rather than bleed for our farms. This is the metaphoric seach for Galt's Gulch we talked about in the last thread.
What will become of the nation-state that we knew? Well, that is why we enjoy politics. The have-nots will continue to demand more from that haves and arcane references to Constitutional interpretations will not stop what amounts to a 73%-93% tax on the amount of wealth we earn in a lifetime (compound interest on $5000 paid each tax year is ~$1.5 million in lifetime earnings- thus the opportunity cost must be considered.)
Alas but the 17th Amendment overturned that and we have what we have now. A group of men that appeal to the masses and whoever has the most money in their pockets
This may be considered simplistic, but in my view, the most significant factor is the ignorance of the Declaration of Independence and its reference to the Creator, as the grantor of rights.
The government is currently the grantor of rights, and rights are granted in a "right du jour" sort of way. This has allowed the origination of "rights", that aren't consistent with any objective moral standard.
Quite often, the only basis for morality, is political expedience, rather than a prescribed objective moral code. In this light, abortion "rights" [for ex.] are manufactured according to the best rationalization we can muster, regardless of how devoid of reason, since the attainment of the right is the [political] objective, and not the preservation or attainment of an objective moral state of affairs.
Now back to reality and our regularly scheduled programming.
Thats the funniest pic I seen in a long time.
Thats the funniest pic I've seen in a long time.
sorry for my poor typing
This expropriation is inevitable without property qualifications for voting, which is why the founding generation did so restrict the suffrage. Poll taxes were usefull for this also. To return to workable politics is impossible without crisis. Machievelli and Plato said that Democracy always fails after expropriating the rich. A tyrant is voted in to accomplish this, as was Hitler.
a) the Biblical morality is was built on is gone
b) the people have become so dumbed down that they're clueless
A massive factory in the late 19th Century and well into the 1930s was a huge capital investment. Since the investment could not be moved, there was 'tyranny of place' that is not accounted for in libertarian thought of Calhoun's time. However, the Information Age will solve that.
This should read "ARE the United States Broken". This is not a semantic exercise. It represents the erosion of state's powers and the growth of leviathan.
To the rest of the world ,GET THE HE!! OUT OF OUR WAY!
If one is driving their automatic transmissioned car down the road and the trans stops pulling, and the vehicle slows to a stop and won't go forward, and ATF starts spilling out on the pavement; One does not say, "It seems logicical to begin a debate on whether this car is broken."
I like the way this story is going! LOL!
Waco is the defining cultural event of my life, couple with the fact that not only were the people responsible not held accountable to the law, but the people relected the President in 1996.
I believe circa 1937 is about the time they started seriously screwing with things that should have been left well enough alone.
Neither Waco nor Bill Clinton's reelection was caused by any "broken" aspect of our constitutional system, unless you consider the people to be broken. It's an argument not without its merits. The system is reasonably intact. Oh sure, it could stand some serious improvement in its operation, and of course some laws are better than others, and certain judicial precedents are not exactly desirable. But my point remains: we had at our disposal several means of dealing with Waco and the aftermath of Waco. America freely chose. And likewise we have at our disposal all the power necessary to undo any bad precedent, punish any bad public officer, and advance any set of ideas we choose. I'd like to know why saying so scares you.
Not sure how I found this thread, but I am glad I did since there seems to be some real clarity of thought here. Sadly, my verbal skills are average compared to my analytical skills, and I avoided reading books until I got out of college. With that disclaimer out of the way, I think that the sad truth is that the politicians we rag on so much are mostly a mirror image of the people they represent. I know it sounds trite, but we need to do a real thorough self inspection and fix ourselves first. In a kind of ironic, and wasteful way, 9/11 has served as a partial catalyst for this in my opinion so there may be some positive changes in the near future. As far as what we can do politically, I am more pessimistic. Sometimes I think that this is just the natural cycle of all political systems, and we are powerless to stop it. One thing I do know is that this republic was turned into a democracy in 1913 when the 17th Amendment was ratified, and it didn't take too long for Ben Franklin's warning to come to fruition. Congress was pretty busy that year, they also ratified the income tax amendment.
Someone mentioned something about a government being its people or at least a manifestation of it or something like that. I couldn't agree more. Justice is for the just, freedom for the free, there will never be a democracy in Afghanistan. This is why I think uncontrolled immigration is suicidal, we will certainly choke to death at this high rate. As JohnGault rightly points out, the demand is produced by industry, which is ironically being shipped overseas by way of something akin to the NIMBY argument. Difficult to make sense of that pile of spaghetti and where it is going. A government is its people and some of the stuff I see more and more people do these days makes me nervous. The number of cars parked with their hazzard lights on in front of the grocery store at anytime, is a very visible sign of a sick people, but maybe I am overreacting.
Both of those thoughts have gone through my mind many times, but I never drew the link. Pretty insightful. How about the people who misuse the words democracy and republic? Do they deserve either?
I suppose that the 19th Amendment was the biggest step toward "universal suffrage." How do you feel about that one?
"The war was a conflict over grammar- whether the proper grammar was 'the united States are' or 'The United States is'."
They also passed the Federal Reserve Act.
I don't think so. I think "The People" is broken, and "the people" are being kept too distracted to notice. But they're catching on.
On Free Republic, several factions exist, and represent larger bodies. Conservative really doesn't mean anything anymore, so I'll break it down a little further. There are social conservatives, who believe the government should enforce certain moral codes, or at least allow cities and states to do so. There are fiscal conservatives, who don't believe the government should "legislate morality", but don't want vast expenditures of money. There are several flavors of Libertarian, but most believe the government should, for the most part, not exist, except to provide for military protection and to provide some critical infrastructure, such as roads, etc. Then, there are country club Republicans, who have no problem with high taxes, so long as most government expenditures are in the form of subsidies to their particular industry.
Many of these groups overlap with groups from the DU, GreenPeace, NAMBLA, etc, who don't usually post on Free Republic. These groups each have their own flavor from total socialism in one area to total anarchy in others.
For the most part, though, the country is broken because the government does not exist as it was designed. Congress has become Santa Claus, engaging in a bidding war for the votes of their various constituants. They no longer even consider whether something is Constitutional or not, since they are too busy fighting over whether the peanut farmers in Georgia or the chicpea growers in Louisiana will get the biggest subsidy from the current farm bill, since each of the sitting senators is vulnerable, and must buy votes for the next election.
Into this void of leadership steps the Supreme Court, which has assumed most of the legislative duties in the country by declaring that whatever pops into their heads when the lithium wears off is what the Constitution means. The role of the White House varies, depending upon the occupant, but for the most part, the President serves as a face for the government, and may veer the country slightly in one direction or another. Meanwhile, countless Federal bureaucracies create regulations which carry the weight of law, but are not subject to voter approval. These, along with strings tied to Federal funds, and activism in the court system, have removed the last of the states rights. The Internal Revenue Service claims the right to see every one of our banking records, rendering the right to be secure in our persons and properties totally meaningless.
Of course, most people don't really care, because they're too busy trying to get their piece of the public pie, or are involved in rampant hedonism. When was the last time there was a national college or pro sports championship that didn't cause a riot in the home city of the winner? I still remember a young lady calling into a talk show, livid because Al Gore lost, and all George Bush wanted to do was to take away her abortion, her vibrator, and her right to an orgasm, and she thought she was making a serious point.
The US government is broken, but we have the government we deserve, as do most people.
The more I learn, the more I disagree with Joe Sobran.
First, for assuming that state sovereignty would necessarily mean greater individual freedom than federal supremacy. The unlimited sovereignty of the state in Europe did not make individuals freer or the EU make them less freer. One can argue which way is better, but clearly one can't assume that more extended federal governments are always a greater threat than smaller or local ones. State governments have shown themselves to be fully as oppressive as the federal government.
Second, for asserting that the Founders wanted to restrict the powers of the federal government as drastically as he claims. They'd just lived through the days of the Articles of Confederation and the Federalists, as opposed to the Anti-Federalists opposed the weakness of the Federal government under the Articles. Many of the things the federal government does now are unwise and some may be unconstitutional, but an act of the federal government is not unconstitutional simply because it isn't explicitly provided for in the Constition. They could have written a Constitution that much more decisively restricted the powers of the federal government by using the word "expressly", but they chose not to do so.
That's not to say that federal power is better than state power or that everything the federal government does is right, wise or constitutional, but Joe is peddling stuff that's been called into question virtually since the beginning of the Republic and calling it gospel. It's worth reflecting that the Supreme Court was still overturning federal legislation that interfered in the internal commerce of a state as recently as the 1930s, so there is something to build on if one wants to argue some federal agencies unconstitutional, but the arguments Joe makes have been dead-letters since Jefferson exercised implied powers to buy Louisiana and Hamilton and later Madison used them to charter national banks.
One thing to consider is that our problems may not involve usurpations and tyrannies, but trying to act wisely and responsibly. The answer may not be secession or litigation but persuasion.
If we believe it is, it's we who've been broken. Our country is holding out against a world socialist insurgence that spends every waking moment demonizing capitalism, the rule of law and our republic. With so much energy being exhorted against us, we can not stand unless we trust in our hearts, that what we've built on the foundation laid down by our forefathers, is something good and worth fighting for. Just because the socialists have their foot in our door doesn't mean it is coming off the hinges. It is our job, our generation's turn, to do the necessary maintenence, to pitch in to fix the leaks, replace some siding, pull some weeds and fertilize the new plants in our garden. We've just had our wake-up call and if that siren warning of our neglect is not heeded, we will have failed at our turn at the helm and we will have denined our childrn the honor and privledge of taking their turn at the wheel.
The ninth Ammendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include the Penumbra of a right to abortion. Yet can any other right enforced by the courts be found under this Amendment?
The Tenth Amendment is null and void according to Robert Bork. The states have no Rights anymore. The years of the 55 mph speed limit are testimony to that. The Brady Law is testement to that. Nor are the people who are citizens of the USA guaranteed any rights under this Amendment.
I note the presence of this Amendment as a limit to Federal power. Those who say that the Federal Government can govern areas other than those deleagted powers specifically and expressly granted to the Federal Government should read this amendment and reread it.
Yes, our system as defined is broken and we as a nation will pay a terible price for ignoring our most fundamental law. The constitution in Germany in the `1930's and 1940's contained many guarantees of liberty but it was ignored. Likewise the Soviet Constitution contained numerous guartees of individual liberty that were never enforced. When the Constitution means whatever whover holds the power says it means then the only law is superior force. The end result of such a situation is almost always carnage on a massive scale.
Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown