Way back in April, I wrote a two-part essay asking the question: Is America really free? I believe these two posts define one of the central themes of this blog. Unfortunately, Liberty Relearned was but a fledgling wog of a blog, without many followers to read them at the time. I really think they’re worth re-posting as sort of a “best of” look back at 2015. Here are key excerpts from both. Hope you enjoy!
“It’s a free country,” as the saying goes. We as Americans have been brought up to believe this. Our Founding Fathers even put it in writing. We say it without giving it much thought. It’s cliché. If we were forced to answer this question honestly, could we really answer in the affirmative? Even if we allow for some moral restrictions on our actions, can we with intellectual honesty say that America in the 21st century is a truly a free country?
In 2010, a law was passed requiring Americans to engage in commerce– whether they wanted to or not, whether they needed it or not. On top of that they product was product was made more expensive by requiring services that the buyers in some cases could not possibly use. The law of course is the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Worse than such a law even being passed is that the Supreme Court of the United States actually upheld it, or at least a key provision of the law known as the individual mandate. Their decision, apparently arrived through a lot of legal gymnastics, was that the individual mandate penalty is a tax and as such could be broadly regulated. At that point any pretense that America was a free country went up in smoke.
Convinced that the phone and pen could defeat pen and parchment, President Obama continued his government by decree campaign in 2014. Frustrated by Congress’ failure to pass immigration reform to his liking, he reverted to type and issued an Executive Order that he hopes will put some five million illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship. This despite the fact that he himself previously claimed he had no such authority. He was right: Article I, section 8 of the Constitution gives the power and responsibility to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization” to Congress, not the President.
We Americans have been on a steady decent away from being the rulers of this country to being the ruled. It has gotten to the point that I no longer use the expression, “it’s a free country,” anymore– it just rings hollow. I pray one day, that “We the People” will be able to proudly proclaim our freedom again, but that day will not come until we decide no longer to barter our freedom for security or comfort.