Originally published July 4 2014
On America's 238th birthday, it's time to examine our shrinking circle of liberty
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Not long ago, a steadfast and determined group of British subjects banded together to form a political movement whose aim was to throw off the shackles of authoritarianism and form a nation built on divinely inspired and sanctioned principles of personal liberty and freedom. This would be a grand experiment; it would be the first time in recorded human history that a government was premised on the concept that the governed must consent, and that those who did the governing would come from the people themselves.
This experiment, of course, refers the founding of the United States; those early British subjects who laid their blood and treasures on the line to fight for independence from the whims of a monarch became the first American citizens.
It's appropriate, as we gather with our families and friends in observance of our nation's 238th birthday, to see how far we have come; in many respects, we have nearly come full circle.
In a relatively short time span, when you consider the earth's age, America has changed dramatically. The institutions of our founding are still in place, but in many respects they no longer function as they were designed or intended:
-- Presidents assume the function of king when they write executive orders that take on the appearance and force of law. Executive orders are only supposed to be tools of the Executive Branch in administering the bureaucracy, not rule-making apparatuses. That's Congress' job.
-- And speaking of Congress, there are several tools at its disposal to ensure that both the Executive and Judicial Branches don't overreach. One tool is the power of the purse, which has been used many times in the past; Congress -- especially the House -- can choose not to fund certain pieces of legislation or court jurisdictions or Executive Branch bureaucracies, which effectively render them moot. But Congress almost never does this anymore.
-- Speaking of the bureaucracies, there are so many federal agencies now (430 in total, as you can see here) -- and all under the president's control -- together they form a de facto fourth branch of government. These agencies impose costs of more than $1.8 trillion annually on U.S. businesses and industries (which means, on Americans, because those costs are transferred to consumers), a figure that is equal to the world's 10th largest economy.
These agencies regulate every aspect of our lives -- what we can plant and grow, what we can drive, what kind of light bulbs we have to use, how much flushing water our toilets can use, what we can and cannot do on our own land, what kind of weapons we can and cannot have, what kind of health insurance we have to purchase (and we have no choice but to do so) and so on.
-- The Judicial Branch has long been divided along political and ideological lines, which is not its original design; some are "conservative," and some are "liberal," but only a few of them are literal interpreters of the Constitution, their primary duty. Have you ever watched the confirmation process for a Supreme Court justice? Confirming all federal judges, from the lowest court to the highest, is a function of the Senate; over the decades, the process has devolved into a political witch hunt, because presidents over the decades have politicized the process (Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the high court with liberals when, in 1935, a majority of justices began overturning major portions of the New Deal, ruling them unconstitutional).
In addition, the courts have also turned to legislating; the most recent example of this was when Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote Obamacare's individual mandate from a mandate to a tax, which even the President said was not the case.
The result of more than 230 years of gerrymandering with the Constitution's original intent has bastardized the founders' vision of individual freedom above all else, the result of which has been an ever-shrinking circle of liberty for all Americans. This July 4th is a good time to reflect on the state of our grand experiment and begin focusing on ways that We the People can reclaim what is rightfully ours: Our government.
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