By Ed Willing
In today’s social media-endowed news machine, new Executive Orders or legislative drafts come out into the open and set off a flurry of viral screaming and bloodletting, without much vetting. True, the current administration has a clear disregard for the Constitutional traditions we’ve held for so long, but it’s hard to blame them outside of simply being wrong – they aren’t the first in our nation’s history to attempt or succeed at doing this. From John Adams, to Franklin Roosevelt, there were countless moves to subvert the Constitution as it were for various “emergencies” but were more often stopped, or limited because of that hallowed document that God himself seemed to ordain for passage. Imagine any such document being passed now, even in a very Conservative state on a local scale. Surely, the event of the Constitution’s ratification is perhaps as historically significant as the contents of the document itself.
Currently, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has ordered the three counties of the state to forego their Sheriff’s arrest powers, in contradiction with their state’s Constitution. Earlier in 2012, a bill was passed to approve stripping the Sheriffs of their arrest powers, signed by the governor on June 19th. Of course, this means state statute is in violation of the state Constitution, and courts will have to challenge any potential challenges. What this shows is how relatively quick the traditions we know and take for granted can be stripped away. Now, of course, if this is truly the will of the vast majority of the people, no one has the moral right to question their change. But that is why Constitutions exist, both state and federal – to slow down the process of changing foundational law from being altered by a mere, temporary wave of emotional group-think. The state should be amending the Constitution to clarify this position, but perhaps Atty Gen Biden is not confident it would pass. Time will tell if this is important to Delaware residents.
“WE’RE PARTNERS NOW. CAN WE COUNT ON YOU?”
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, elected Sheriff David Clarke continues to show that not all officials move leftward once in office. In fact, they can evolve forward, or at least reveal more liberty-minded instincts over time. First assuming office in 2002, when Wisconsin was one of only two states that did not allow concealed carry, the Sheriff has witnessed the state of Wisconsin move rightward, and has embraced the recent changes in law that allowed over 150,000 residents to carry a firearm for protection. In a recent PSA on local radio, you can hear the Sheriff take the lead and make a case to the public that we are in fact “partners in this” until they “get there” to help the residents protect themselves. That is the essence of self-government. It is in direct contrast to the nannyism that has overtaken so many in office, and that so many in the public assume is the capability of their government. Until it fails them.
(Above: Sheriff David Clarke (Milwaukee County, WI) PSA on protecting your family. “We’re Partners now, can I count on you?”)
But, the reality is that laws only have an effect when people actually observe them. Violations in preserving liberties, or traditional forms of government (like the Sheriff’s office) only hold their strength in the ignorance, and acceptance of the public. So, cries about usurpations often fall on deaf ears, often to the great dismay of defenders and oathkeepers nationwide. The way these travesties have been beaten back before is not a mere war of rhetoric, but systematic, patient argument for the principles behind the policies, not just the policies themselves. If the people do not change, the government certainly will not. And no one should be surprised when government moves leftward from the line of liberty. No matter what good men or women may be in charge, the Founders learned from history that government inherently moves the opposite direction of freedom. It is not entirely the fault of the leaders that the very nature of government is to subvert the autonomy of the individual.
And as long as the public accepts these changes, nothing can be restored. Ironically, government, even in its abuse of liberties, still wields its power to execute in the will of the people, either by their demand for it, or by their acceptance of it.
OUR GAME PLAN MUST CHANGE
Therefore, each of us must do what we can to teach generations at a time what it means to self-govern. For when this ethic is lost, the vacuum will, and MUST be filled with something. Since those who cannot govern themselves naturally become dependent, that vacuum is always filled with government intervention. History has repeated this over and over again.
During the 19th century, the Progressives looked at a nation constantly rejecting their policies locally and nationally and realized that to change government, they had to change the people. Public schools were already in place in many communities, but they were not ubiquitous and they were not standardized. There was no common standard in every school district, and therefore, no ability to move the masses toward collectivist thought. Indeed, the greatest extent of “collective benefit” ever considered usually ended at the city borderline. In order to achieve their great change, Progressives everywhere understood and agreed in writings that the change must happen at the local level. Each school must become standardized, removing local cultural uniqueness, religious instruction or philosophical differences. The change was motivated by legitimate desires to reform education, but they went further by imposing these changes whenever possible by convincing the public that higher governments should bequeath these changes from on high, rather than among each of the thousands of individual schools. Once this autonomy was surrendered, it was only a matter of gaining a few seats of influence to wield the power to institute the Progressive agenda in the next generation.
By the late 19th century, the tide began to turn. Republican institutions of local government, such as primaries, municipal government and state representation in the US Government began to change. On the back of a populist movement, Teddy Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan and Robert Lafollette reformed the very foundation of government, and the people supported it. After a generation of being taught a new respect for the term “democracy,” the majority of the public despised what they perceived as the autocratic monopoly of the Founders’ intent.
Here we sit, over 100 years later with a nation altogether different than we had then. Prosperous on the backs of greater generations, but squandering it for the assurance that we do not have to govern ourselves, or be responsible for our own actions. We got to this point slowly, progressively by design. And to reverse it, we must come to agreement that it can only change the same way the progressives achieved theirs: education, and asserting independence on a local level.
Too many conservatives dismiss the notion, saying the public education system is too flawed to fix, and that it is beyond hope, and we should retreat to our own families and sew our seeds there. Yet, how can we abandon a campaign we never engaged to begin with? From the very beginning, constitutional lovers of the republican methods of government have no made a concerted effort to hold back the almost unchallenged conquest of the left in education. And since our children play in the back yards of the children still in the system, it is hardly responsible to declare it is not our responsibility.
The state of Delaware has been a progressive state for a very long time, and their people willingly accept these changes without much of a fight. But why would other states wait until the policy becomes a target, rather than take the fight to the mind itself? As Conservatives who love the Constitution and the system the Founders intended, we do not war against policy and elections; but against the minds and impulses of a people conditioned by a machine we have chosen to neglect for far too long. The presumption of strength in Government by the forces behind this centralization is empowered by a lack of knowledge among the people.
We have a nation of ignorance that does not understand God, Natural Law or the simple process of deducing ethics and morals because ironically, they have been taught that moral absolutes and personal standards are archaic and oppressive – while learning these new philosophies in an absolute and standardized environment.
Local politics (read: municipal, school, church government) is the new Third Party of the modern age. Instead of focusing our anger solely on the bahavior of two self-perpetuating Parties that exchange power in peaceful transition, negate their ability to wield that monopoly. Local politics are where it begins. If you truly want to restore the Founders’ vision and preserve the power of the ninth and tenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, get involved and don’t let go. It’s no longer our children’s future that depends on, but our own is at stake.