Tocqueville’s America

“Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville.

And he’s correct as the era of constitutional government is over. The U.S. has developed a post-constitutional culture where independent citizens are dependents, relying on the government for their needs.

In this, Congress has made itself the weakest of the three branches. Today’s post-constitutional congressman’s job is to hold hearings on school lunch menus, to add new benefits under Medicare, and to issue press releases about a newly funded bridge for some district.

The goal of the Constitution’s authors was to ensure liberty; separating the powers of the three governmental branches, so no one branch became dominant. They believed at the time, that the Legislative branch was the most dangerous branch because of its closeness to the people.

For this reason, precautions were established to make it less potent. Yet, over the last 100 years, Congress has surrendered powers given in Article I of the Constitution to the Executive branch; the Federal Reserve prints money and manages the economy; trade agreements are on a “fast track;” and military base closures are made by unelected commissions.

In his ruling on ObamaCare, it took Chief Justice Roberts 21 pages to explain that the language of the law is “ambiguous” when it is actually quite plain. For the Court’s majority protecting entitlements is what really matters, not the law.

And, now there’s no area of American life in which the federal government doesn’t play the ‘nanny.’ It makes college education “affordable to all”, provides housing and mortgages, offers food and cell phones, secures access to “free” birth control; “protects” children against obesity; and now subsidizes healthcare.

We were warned that our liberty would be overthrown by a “soft” tyranny, not in violence and with this latest Supreme Court decision, that prophecy has come true. The American citizen, once seen as independent, self-sufficient, and resourceful, is a footnote replaced by one more likely to be a bailed-out investment banker or the recipient of an “Obama phone.”

Tocqueville also wrote: “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

Sadly, this Constitutional Republic, the United States of America, has past.

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