Tibor R. Machan
It bothers me to no end that millions of Americans simply don’t get just how dangerous this current administration’s views are, especially about the nature of our basic rights.
I suppose I should not be surprised, given the utterly perverted primary and secondary education most people receive now in their government run schools. After all, those very schools and everyone with a job in the system, depend upon the flat out rejection of the idea of our basic, natural rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. For if each of us does in fact have an unalienable right to our life, our liberty, our pursuit of our happiness and the rest, then those schools exists in direct contradiction to these rights. They are built with the loot the politicians and bureaucrats confiscate from the citizenry, loot that involves the violation of those basic rights the Declaration states every human being has!
So then in order to continue the confiscation of our resources with impunity at all levels of state, it is required that the confiscators deny those rights. And that is just what has transpired–in our era the White House and its legal team, lead by Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, insist that government creates our rights, that we have none based on our human nature. That we if one complains about these people extorting from us our life-times and our property, i.e., a chunk of our very lives, the politicians and bureaucrats can retort that these are not really ours at all, we have no rights apart from what they decide we have! (This is exactly what some of the stars of contemporary political theory preach!) That is what it means to claim that government creates our rights and we have none based on our humanity! That is what it means to claim that instead of governments being instituted so as to secure our basic natural, prelegal rights, governments just happen to exist and do with us as they please, like monarchs, tsars, dictators, pharaohs and Caesars used to, proclaiming that they have the divinely obtained authority to do so. When Thomas Hobbes strove to defend the unlimited authority of government without appealing to its divine appointment, he retained the core authoritarian idea that genuine rights are the product of the sovereign’s will and that, therefore, no subject could have rights against the sovereign. The anti-authoritarian resistance to tyrannical government that was manifested in 17th and 18th century Ango-American political history was grounded in the idea that government itself is subject to moral constraints that it neither creates nor can abrogate.
This is why this utter distortion of the nature of government and our basic rights must be something to which American citizens should pay the utmost attention instead of dosing through the experience. They do appear to be in a semi coma about it, except for a few, like Judge Napolitano at Fox-TV. But the vast majority are clueless about just how dangerous is the current administration’s legal philosophy. Incredibly they behave like those sad peons of past centuries who tended to accept without much question that some human beings are mysteriously authorized to rule them and they have no justification to call this rule into question. All those ideas and ideals with which American had been associated, albeit even then not closely enough, about how when governments begin to act as tyrants they may be dismissed from their job, seem to have been forgotten. Instead the vast majority has come to accept their reactionary status as mere subjects to whom governments simply promise–though rarely deliver–various benefits in return for their silence and compliance.
Any protests, as put forth by some of the Tea Party people, are dismissed by the elite–writing in forums such as The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, etc.–with the sneers and snootiness of an untouchable elite. (And even the few well positioned conservative skeptics tend to refuse to truly challenge all this, apparently because they, too, want not to reaffirm universal, unalienable individual rights but to wrest power and establish their Right wing version of coercive statism.)
Although in the long haul there is still cause for some optimism–after all, the American system of government, dedicated as it was supposed to be, to the protection of the individual rights of the citizenry, is a very radical notion and its principles require a great deal of ongoing vigilance to be fully realized–for the time being it does appear that the truly exceptional Americanism that distinguished the country from those around the globe (including, especially, the European top down systems the Founders and Framers wanted to disown) is under full assault.
The currently fashionable European system of democratic socialism–which, in practice, comes to nothing else but a type of fascism–is all the rage in Washington. And this country’s exceptional standing is now scoffed at by our political thinkers and leaders. It is time to wake up to this travesty and to do something decisive about it. And that must start in the hearts and minds of the citizenry.