America voted for change. That was the resounding theme from Democrats this week after they seized control of both the House and Senate from a Republican Party that had embraced the philosophy of “compassionate conservatism” which is nothing more than a veil for the principles of big government social spending and liberalism as the solution to the problems of Americans. The truth of the matter however is that America did not vote for change. They merely voted to speed up the process of taxing the rich to redistribute the wealth to the less productive and any number of other economic and social principles and policies that are failing all over the world.
We’ve progressed far away from the principles upon which America was founded and the journey has taken its toll on liberty. It started before the ink was even dry on the Constitution. One need only look at how the founding fathers themselves compromised on the concept of “all men created equal” and turned a blind eye to the evils of slavery for the sake of political power and national unity. But much like if a bank robber proclaims that murder is wrong, the fact that the bank robber was a cheat and a crook does not negate the truth that murder is wrong.
Our founding fathers were not bank robbers but they certainly were not perfect human beings. That does not mean that they did not have a lot of things right however. Thomas Jefferson, who is perhaps one of the most often misquoted of the founding fathers, once wrote “I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious” and “liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others”.
I selected these two quotes because I could surely spend hours quoting many of our founding fathers but not sum up the vast majority of their opinions more succinctly than this. When you boil it all down, despite the flaws of implementation, what was talked about most during our founding was liberty for the people and limited government.
But despite espousing these principles, America immediately entered into the wilderness exiling such principles from the start. In the beginning however because the departures were few the seeds that were sown were able to take root and become the basis of a fairly successful republic.
But as Thomas Jefferson said, “A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, and to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.” And just as he himself did not always follow his own advice we continue to justify to this day our departures from the principles upon which we founded this nation. His words ultimately ring hauntingly true.
Despite making progress at correcting some wrongs throughout our history, programs such as the “New Deal” and the “Great Society” cemented in American society our willingness to create “parasites” who on Election Day are encouraged to pull the lever for those which will take from the “labor of the industrious” and place it into their hands. We have thrown to the wind the concepts of liberty and equal rights for all citizens in exchange for government management of our lives through confiscatory taxes and liberty infringing regulations.
The “new course” that is preparing to be plotted is the same old course that has kept us stranded in the wilderness long past our time. Except now a new captain will be at the helm who thinks that they can make the wilderness more palatable.
Our history has been fraught with taking one step towards liberty only take two steps backwards into the wilderness. No matter what we have called ourselves in order to justify these encroachments from “progressive” to “compassionate conservative”, in the years since our founding all that has really changed is the speed at which we implement policies that destroy liberty and depart us from principle.