In ancient times the Roman Emperor was the parent to all his subjects. He looked out for their welfare, administered the empire on their behalf. He solved the problems they could not. He protected them from enemies foreign and domestic, and defined who they were. He controlled the money, property, and day to day conduct of the lives of his subjects. Rome developed a very effective bureaucracy to implement the will of the Emperor, which eventually took on a life of its own. Toward the end of the Roman Empire, it was the bureaucracy that kept the Empire alive.
Now, substitute republican or democratic government for emperor or king. It makes no matter how democratic or representative the elected officials are. Why you ask? Well, consider the United States’ federal government. We elect Senators, Representatives, and the President and Vice-president. Those currently add up to 544 people. We do not elect any of the many thousands, however, who make up the leadership of the many agencies that make up the actual machinery of our government. Then add to all of those the judges of the various federal judiciaries who make significant decisions, recently based on nothing more than their own desires or beliefs, along with the officers of their courts and you have a government within the government. These unelected officials write rules and regulations, create and enforce policy, have powers of arrest and confiscation coupled with all sorts of other powers, but we have no say in who they are or how they act in almost every situation. In most real senses, they are “the government”.
Wait a minute, you say, we elect our leaders. While that is true at the macro level (Senate, House, and President and Vice-President), it is the unelected bureaucracy that actually governs our day-to-day life. Frequently these officials act in specific ways because “they know best” and we are their paternal charges (re: the Roman emperor) or because they just know “the right thing to do.” The Constitution is not their guiding light.
In the end, most of what we experience as real government is the bureaucrat at the other end of the phone, email, letter, or the one who makes the decision that affects us, and they are a person who doesn’t have to answer to you and in many cases effectively they answer to no one but themselves.
To my mind, we are heading full circle. We are losing many of the rights given to us by our founding fathers. By their bureaucratic actions, large and small, these pseudo-governors chip away at what was once sacrosanct. Two simple examples are:
Our religious liberty. Arguing that government, because of its pervasiveness, has taken over the public square, which is now a freedom from religion zone. They have taken “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and denied the “prohibiting free exercise” clause in the public sphere on the specious argument that they will not break the “establishment clause” forgetting that the clause includes “Congress shall make no law” and the fundamental principal that allowing is not establishing anymore than allowing specific free speech is not establishing that speech, only permitting its exercise. Why is religion so different? Why must the most debase pornography be allowed, yet religion and its speech be seen as unacceptable. I am sure the signers of the Declaration of Independence, most of whom gave their lives for the liberty we spring from, would be apoplectic seeing what we have become.
As a result of all this dissembling, the bureaucratic mechanism of government says it cannot let the Ten Commandments hang in a school or courtroom or a Creche cannot be displayed on public property during the Christmas season. Though Congress made no such law, lower unelected officials (bureaucrats), using their assumed individual powers, have pushed every vestige of true Christianity out of government and the public square. If it weren’t so mind numbingly stupid, it would be utterly sad, since it is obvious this is not what the founders had in mind, those same Senators and Representatives who met every Sunday within Congress itself for worship services. The largest church in the capital in the early years of our country was the church that met in the capital building itself and whose members were elected members of government. Supposedly precedent matters…
The right to bear arms to protect ourselves. They now tell us that firearms and other defensive measures must be registered and rigidly controlled and in some places outlawed. We can no longer bear them anywhere, unless we are properly permitted and those are only given out at the discretion of the very unelected bureaucrats who have drafted the policies and procedures we are required to follow. Whatever happened to “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed“? Note the verbs; keep and bear. You will also note that it specifically says arms, not shotguns, or for hunting, or for any other specific limiting definition. Arms are weapons used to defend yourself from aggression and in this amendment the aggression was directly focused on coming from the government. A de-armed people is a defenseless people. Well, I am the people, I am not a criminal, and I am infringed.
These are but two examples among an uncountable number of growing infringements. Our Founding Fathers expected us to essentially govern ourselves. The official government was there to deal with the big issues, especially defense, policing, and international relations (treaties and securing our borders and such). They never expected us to become a nanny state where a powerful government would attempt to control every aspect of our lives (re: the Roman Emperor). Our constitution specifically enjoins them from doing that (if it were actually followed).
Those in our culture embracing this essential nannying call themselves progressives. Hardly. In truth they are regressives, taking us backward rather than forward, denying the essential individual liberty and responsibility that was expected of American citizens, arguing we are too [insert pet social failure here] to take care of ourselves. They are really saying, while finding effective dissembling ways of getting around the actual statement, that our republican form of government (we never were a full democracy) has failed and we as citizens are too inept to govern ourselves. Slowly, like a frog being prepared in a pot of gradually heating water, our liberties and individual responsibilities are being boiled off until at last there is no foundation left to effectively resist the coup de grace.
Yes, we are progressing, right down the regressive slide into the future nursery prepared for those not among the ruling elite and their bureaucratic minions. It is time to wake up (if it is not already too late), to smell the garbage for what it is, and like those who founded this country demand proper representation and adherence to the Constitution they gave their lives for. It is time for some symbolic tea to be dumped in some symbolic Boston Harbor.
It is possible that the illegal alien issue is the tea that will darken the public harbor and awaken the populace to their gathering peril. Who knows? One thing is for sure, our “leaders” never expected the backlash they have gotten over this issue. Will it be enough to awaken us? I don’t know. One can hope, one can pray, one can stand up and be counted.