Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 2 Comments
When the fledgling American colonies permanently parted ways with Britain, they chose independence over being part of a great nearly global state and instead determined that it was better for a people to control their own destiny than to be gears within the great clock of empire.
In the present day when centralization, globalization and internationalization are the virtues of the age, it is shocking to realize how far we have strayed from independence. American law and freedom of action is governed often by international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and others which decide what laws we may pass and what actions we may take. International law has closed the lunar and deep sea frontiers to us by turning them over to the U.N. Attempts to fight offshore gambling has caused the US to run afoul of the WTO and even Minnesotta's law mandating that American flags be manufactured in America will likely be struck down by the WTO as well.
Nationally, Federalism has come to dominate absolutely, dictating what laws states may pass and subjecting local measures to national review. With the Federal government doling out massive tax bounties to pork projects by a Congress swollen with the huge amounts of revenues they have to play with, while using those same tax revenues as the point of a gun at which to force the states to fall into line even on laws that are not within the purview of the Federal government, e.g. local drinking ages, centralization and federalization dominates nationally.
Individually we find ourselves increasingly living in a nanny state that labels every item for our safety but won't let us obtain cheaper medications from overseas. That arrests 6 year olds in school but opens the borders to illegal immigrants. That has a billion regulations for everyone to follow while the government and influential corporations follow no regulations at all.
When it comes to health care, it is only a matter of time before we find ourselves dependent on a national plan. When it comes to law enforcement, we have been taught that complete obedience to anything law enforcement officers say and do is the only way while defending ourselves is a crime. When it comes to building a home, running a business, taking care of our family or any of the many mundane things that form up our lives, we find ourselves dependent and entangled by the government as never before.
Independence was not simply about separation from Britain. It was about escaping a system of distant control for a system of local control. Today we have ended up with a system not too different from the one Europe has. In part it is because we have caught up to Europe but in part it is also because we have fallen behind when it comes to liberty and democracy. We have abandoned our standard of a fearless nation of men and women opening up frontiers and living individual lives in favor of collectivization. We have given up independence for dependency.
Dependency has a great appeal. For the insecure, it provides comfort. For the cautious, it provides reinforcement. And thus a dependent system is what we have. A system in which the President seeks the U.N.'s permission to go to war and the WTO's permission to pass laws. A system in which states perpetually have their hands out to the federal government and in which congressional representatives specialize in making underhanded deals to bring some of their own state's tax money back to their own state. A system in which we are as afraid of the police as we are of criminals.
Thomas Jefferson once called for a revolution in every generation. That is because every system trends toward centralization and then decay before encountering collapse. To keep a system vital, it needs revitalization lest it begin to grow together into one tangled fibrous mess.
When the fireworks burst over the rivers and plains of America this 4th, it may be good to remember that the national will which once forged this nation can reforge it once again.