Slip Slidin’ Away

WHERE HAS COMMON SENSE GONE? No. 13 Thomas Paine – November  2010

Paul Simon covered a lot of ground in his highly popular song, but he left out probably the most important thing…..liberty and the freedom from tyranny. I have no idea what his political persuasion was at the time he wrote Slip Slidin’ Away, but in fairness to him I will say he had not yet seen some of the excesses of a derelict judiciary, none of us had.  Some of the excesses we have now been so adversely exposed to that have been detrimental to the national interest. The Earl Warren court was just then in the process of opening a new pathway that established as a precedent it was not always necessary to reach a high court decision based on constitutional grounds. “Social Fairness” should be given appropriate consideration.

Does this mean we should be opposed to the decision the court reached in landmark “Brown versus Board of Education”? No, not in principle, but certainly opposed to the logic by which it was reached. Even more so when we recognize there was ample constitutional ground to reach the same decision by following a purely constitutional pathway. But, of course, that would not have provided the precedence Justice Warren needed if he was to demonstrate it was not always necessary to follow the constitution explicitly. We should have heard the melancholy strains of “Slip Slidin’ Away” audible in the background, but we didn’t and we have paid a tremendous price. We had at that juncture crossed over onto the “slippery slope” of judicially supported socialism.

Now we have an opportunity to reverse the slippery slope and return to level ground. We now have the attention of the general citizenry, but we must decide how to best focus that attention and direct it toward reaffirmation of the sound governing principles our founders bequeathed to us.

The effort to reestablish these principals will be long and difficult and it must be conducted on two separate stages concurrently, the stage of federal government and the stage of state government.  It is not enough to send conservative minded representatives to Washington, D.C. or to send similarly minded persons to the statehouses. The players on both stages must be selected based on their willingness to work each with the other in their efforts to devolve unconstitutional federal government activity and return it to the states where it can be reformulated in ways beneficial to the state citizens equally, instead of to only a select few special interests chosen by the power brokers in Washington. And, these representatives on both stages must be in the majority concurrently. This is where the voters come in.

As an example we should promote the recognition by representatives sent to Washington, D.C. that they can be reelected if they eliminate the corrupt practice of earmarks and instead return to their voters, in their home state, the means to equally benefit the entire state citizenry in a way that promotes prosperity instead of wasteful practices beneficial to only a select few.

This and similar activity of devolution will not be easy but it is the best defense against socialism yet devised by man. Why were our founding fathers so mistrustful of a strong national central government? It was not only because of the injustices they had suffered at the hands of their own king, but because of the larger recognition that a strong central government cannot resist the urge to exert its power and thus co-opt intentionally or unintentionally the liberty of its citizens. Does anyone doubt the King of England was more favorably disposed towards his citizens in England than he was towards his citizens in the Colonies? Does anyone doubt the same thing happens in Washington when the most powerful few come from a few select states having mutually self-beneficial voting blocs?

One need merely look at the current state of affairs of nearly all national governments in the developed world to see that there has been an inexorable slide towards socialism over the past hundred plus years. This bias will always exist so long as the few can exert unconditional power over the many. The select few learned long ago the easiest way to keep a potentially unruly element of the population from becoming restive, and to preserve their own political power, is to give select groups of citizens (or even non-citizens)  something for little or nothing, something taken from the remaining many to appease the few. This is what our current administration does best.

But wait, haven’t we just sent to Washington some new faces that are going to solve these problems? Will we not send Washington even more like-minded representatives in the future? Probably so, but they will not solve the problem of socialistic bias on a permanent basis as there is a permanent ebb and flow of political tides. There will always be an Obama or a Pelosi or a Reed or a Barney Frank lurking in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to return to the path of “social justice”, imposed on the unwilling many by the select few. Our founding fathers provided us with precisely the right instrument to eliminate this bias, if we have the courage to use it, and this is precisely the right time to start returning to its use.

That instrument can best be summed up in the term “States Rights”.

WHERE HAS COMMON SENSE GONE?

What about out-of-control entitlements that the federal government does not have the courage to address in a rational manner? An example of one such entitlement that can be argued till the end of the day is the one about whether social security is constitutional or not. It makes no present difference whether one believes or disbelieves social security is constitutional.  Social security is present and it is out of control. Since it is present and I have paid into it certain amounts of dollars for many years, I am not willing just to say it should disappear; however, I am much in favor of saying it should be devolved to State level where its’abuses and absurdities can be more easily recognized and eliminated. The closer the voters are to the application of their financial resources, the more likely they are to pay close attention to any state representatives who behave badly. The voters will know what to do at the next election.  It will not take the representatives long to recognize this and start behaving in a way that is of benefit to all of the citizens of each state. A huge and costly federal department would be eliminated, as would the ability of congress to relegate social security to the attributes of a crass Ponzi scheme, while placing a huge burden of national debt, on all of us. The states could then manage the social security of their respective citizens in a way the citizens approved, and the citizens of a fiscally irresponsible state could then choose in which state they preferred to live.

If California voters continued to drive themselves toward financial oblivion, so be it. The rest of us would not be required to bail out their irresponsible behavior. Also those in California with enough sense to recognize their federal cash machine had been eliminated would probably move to Texas and become productive citizens. If they opted to not be productive, but they relocated anyway, they would benefit only in proportion to what they had previously contributed, not in proportion to what some Washington politician decided they should get in order to ensure their vote at the next national election. The belief a strong and bloated national government will serve all of its citizens fairly has been proved patently false, but this does not mean a strong and rational application of limited government is not needed at the proper state level.

Returning power to the states will not be easy, but it can be accomplished if we have the courage to reduce the unconstitutional power of the national government, forego any unearned personal benefit and protect the truly needy by returning to the several states any activity constitutionally provided to the states to be exercised as the individual states see fit and necessary. This would provide the means for that activity to be reformed in a manner which will ensure application of the scarce resources to productive activity and thus reinvigorate a fair and balanced capitalistic environment. The capitalistic system in America is not irreparably broken. It has however been severely corrupted by an irresponsible and socialistically biased national government. It is time to make the national government quit doing the things it should not do and start doing the things it is required to do. Governmental subsidy of activity because it is not self-supporting must be stopped at once if our country is to return to sound and well balanced financial stability on a long term basis. Also, one cannot doubt that our national foreign policy and related international activity, for example, would be much better coordinated and more professionally exercised in an environment in which the federal government devoted sufficient attention and energy to matters enumerated to it by the constitution and quit devoting most of its energy and attention to matters it should not even be involved it.

WHERE HAS COMMON SENSE GONE                                               T.P. November  2010

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