The guilty ones responsible for the loss of our liberties

Summary:  Another chapter in the discussion of our dying Republic.  Here we point to those guilty rogues responsible for th loss of our liberty.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. A note about the world
  3. For more information

(1)  Introduction

Our liberties have faded so quickly.  In  a few decades we’ve become accustomed to the routine outrages of SWAT teams, well documented by Randy Balko of Reason magazine (from assault to murder).  Seizure of assets by the government without conviction of a crime {asset forfeiture}.  Law enforcement tools intended for narrow use become clubs wielded to pound innocent citizens into plea bargains (e.g., conspiracy, wire fraud, RICO).

Since 9-11 the government has seized a wide range of new powers.  Like the ones mentioned above, they’re initially used against a small number of bad guys.  Almost certainly future years will see them come into common use.  Extensive powers of surveillance, arbitrary imprisonment, even assassination. However shocking now, we’ll become accustomed to their use against our neighbors.  Slow change against a background of fear — with these one can move sheep over long distances with little effort.  While he cowers in a cave, bin Laden may ponder how 9-11 produced disaster for al Qaeda but many benefits for the US government.

How can this have happened so quickly, the loss of liberties painfully acquired over centuries?  Anyone who has felled trees will find it easy to understand.  Dead trees fall more easily than live ones.  The Liberty Tree died long ago, but remained upright until now.  We came to rely on the system erected by the Constitution — Congress, Courts, attorneys, law — as if they had an existence, a life, of their own.  As though we could live our lives in their shade, without sacrifice or effort (more than voting and jury duty) to keep the wheels of the Republic turning.  We believed it was a A Machine That Would Go of Itself (Michael Kammen explains this fallacy in his 1986 book of that name).  We could be consumers instead of citizens.

These institutions work only so long as the Constitution lives in our hearts.  When it died there from slow starvation these institutions could only glide on until the natural action of powerful groups warped them to their service.  Congress becomes an instrument for division of the spoils, ineffective otherwise.  Our finest attorneys, whether at the Office of Legal Counsel or the Vokolh Conspiracy become apologists for the expansion of government power.

The responsibility for the Republic’s fall is ours.  Where else could it rest?  That this remains controversal shows our decay, our loss of will and strength.  Just as the burden of self-government became too great for the people of Rome to bear, so has it become for us.

What next?  The miracle of reform and regeneration always remain possible.  Every generation offers a fresh start.  But in case events develop in a way not to our advantage, we should start devising a plan B.  What follows the death of the Constitution?  How can we forge a third Republic (following the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution).

(2)  A note about the world

The coming decades may bring end games for political regimes other than ours.  Japan, almost certainly.  And Europe will either fragment or find true unity.  The coming economic and demographic stress might do for the democracies what WWII did for the great Empires — Russia, Austro-Hungray, Ottoman, and German.  Life will go on, but perhaps running in different channels.

(3)  For more information about these things

See the FM reference page America – how can we reform it?

Other posts in this series:

  1. Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006
  2. The Constitution: wonderful, if we can keep it, 15 February 2008
  3. See the last glimmers of the Constitution’s life…, 27 June 2008
  4. Remembering what we have lost… thoughts while looking at the embers of the Constitution, 29 June 2008
  5. Another step away from our Constitutional system, with applause, 19 September 2008
  6. What comes after the Constitution? Can we see the outlines of the “Mark 3″ version?, 10 November 2008
  7. Listen to the crowds cheering Sarah Palin, hear the hammerblows of another nail in the Constitution’s coffin, 8 February 2010
  8. Another nail put in the Constitution’s coffin, but we don’t care, 9 February 2010
  9. Recommended reading about the Constitution, 17 March 2010
  10. Another step towards fascism: “Silencing the Lawyers”, 31 May 2010
  11. The Feds decide who to lock up for life (not just at Guantanamo), another nail in the Constitution’s coffin, 2 June 2010
  12. Code red! The Constitution is burning, 5 August 2010
  13. An Appalling Threat to Civil Liberties and Democracy, 8 August 2010
  14. What do our Constitution-loving conservatives say about our government’s assassination programs?, 2 September 2010
  15. Cutting down the tree of liberty, 9 September 2010
  16. Which political party will best protect our liberties?, 10 September 2010

Posts about America’s future:

  1. Forecasts – Why wait? Read tomorrow’s news … today! (part I), 11 July 2006
  2. The Future of America – Why wait? Read tomorrow’s news … today! (part 2), 17 July 2008
  3. Forecasts – Why wait? Read tomorrow’s news … today! (part 3), 17 July 2006
  4. Forecasts – Why wait? Read tomorrow’s news … today! (part 4), 17 July 2006
  5. Our futures seen in snippets of the past, 16 June 2008
  6. A soft despotism for America?, 22 July 2008
  7. America reaches a tipping point as Washington becomes its heart and soul, 29 January 2009
  8. A look at America’s future – grim unless we get smart and pull together, 12 March 2009
  9. “The Coming of the Fourth American Republic”, 24 April 2009
  10. The American public is organizing and getting involved! Are we happy now?, 12 August 2009
  11. More about the tottering structure of the American political regime, 17 August 2009
  12. An ominous trend: number of Americans working for the government vs. those making things, 5 March 2010
  13. A look at our future, when our $promises$ to ourselves come due, 25 March 2010
  14. A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one, 30 March 2010

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