Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reflections on a National Disaster


By Alan Caruba

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.” -- John Adams (1835-1826)

There is no question in my mind that I have lived long enough to see everything the nation once stood for in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world begin to disintegrate and fail.

John Adams, for those who slept through history class, was America’s second president, and one of the Founders who participated in the writing of our Constitution. If you worry about deals made behind closed doors, you are herewith reminded that the Constitution was written behind closed doors. Though the room in Philadelphia had its share of lawyers, the man who presided over the process was a soldier and farmer called George Washington. Others included farmers, physicians, and even clergymen.

Along with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the sharpest mind among them was that of John Adams. After the ratification of the Constitution, he warned that “a Constitution of government once changed from freedom can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

The healthcare bill is freedom lost forever. I hope I am wrong, but I now doubt it will be repealed, nullified by the states, or reversed by the Supreme Court. While it is true that most constitutional scholars believe it is unconstitutional, taking and twisting the Commerce clause beyond recognition, I believe the damage has been done.

I freely admit that, before the vote, I remained hopeful that, even if enacted and signed, it could be overturned, but I am now less confident of that. In retrospect, the entitlement society that began in the depths of 1930s Great Depression and has been expanded ever since has proven to be the slow poison that will undo our constitutional system of government.

Conservatives have long warned against the excesses and delusions of liberals, but we have also seen self-identified conservatives like former President George W. Bush preside over the expansion of Medicare with a prescription program that defied any manner of funding at a time when Medicare and Social Security was known to be going broke.

In 2005, Bush did try to mend the system for the vast redistribution of wealth by campaigning to allow workers to divert some of their Social Security into private accounts as a hedge against old age and illness. When Nancy Pelosi said this was a plan to unravel public pensions, the voters decided they didn’t like that idea.

I confess I have tried in my mind to dismiss the Speaker of the House as just some lunatic, fringe advocate for liberalism run amuck, but like a lot of Republicans today, it is clear that she was underestimated (along with the Senate’s Harry Reid) for her political skills.

She engineered a political victory that has not only restored President Obama’s reputation as a leader on the domestic front, but has set in motion the destruction of America’s frail financial foundations.

Few believe that the U.S. can continue to borrow the billions necessary to maintain Social Security and Medicare. The alternative, of course, is to tax all Americans to such an extent that it destroys the middle class and drives more corporations offshore.

Speaker Pelosi ate, drank, and breathed Democrat politics from birth. Her father, Thomas D’Alesandro was a congressman and mayor of Baltimore. Her brother was also a mayor of Baltimore. She made her first public speech at age seven at her father’s swearing in ceremony.

I opened with a quote by John Adams and will close with one by Thomas Jefferson:
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Americans, however, have long since abandoned the principles of the Constitution, a small and limited central government, for a behemoth that now controls our very lives through a bill that vastly expands the federal government and gives it the power to intervene between our physicians and ourselves.

We have been betrayed by an insurance industry that will be happy to rid itself of the high risk and costly need to provide health insurance while continuing to prosper from life, property, and other forms. We have been betrayed by the pharmaceutical companies now salivating at the prospect of future profits funded by the taxpayers. The American Medical Association supported healthcare reform; a betrayal.

Even the States, many of which now want to protect themselves from even greater unfunded mandates, have long since abandoned their sovereignty by allowing the federal government to control education, highways, environment, and a myriad of other local responsibilities.

None of the institutions of government, not the executive, not the Congress, and probably not the courts will uphold a Constitution now distorted beyond recognition. Despite the usual talk of a new revolution, of midterm elections to return power to the Republican Party, the People are essentially defenseless.

Tell me I am wrong. Then tell me why.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

26 comments:

Rachel P said...

Wow, what has happened for you to suddenly have such a change of heart, such a loss of hope? I wish I could tell you you are wrong, but I'm not sure either! But I was at least encouraged by facts like: a) attorneys-general in 13 states are suing to protect their states from it; b) amid the tide of massive growing disapproval of Barry Hussein, the election of Republicans in highly liberal states; c) the seemingly high level of disapproval and downright anger about this bill passage, which could lead to an upheaval in Congress in November; and d) Obama's overall rapidly plummeting approval rating.
Are these things (and possibly more) no longer providing you with some hope? If not, why not? I've seen somewhat conflicting reports about Americans' feelings...what do you make of this poll? http://www.gallup.com/poll/126929/Slim-Margin-Americans-Support-Healthcare-Bill-Passage.aspx
It was thrown in my face by a raving liberal that I've been "talking" with. It seems to contradict the general feeling that I've been seeing, which is that most people are NOT happy with this bill. Your thoughts? Thanks! And try to keep the faith...

Alan Caruba said...

Rachel: I remained hopeful until the vote and bill signing, but I have been mindful of trends in the life of the nation and wrote about them a day or so ago, discussing signs of national decline.

I am by nature an optimist, but I am also at heart a pragmatist. That's why the URL of this blog is "facts not fantasy."

Thus, it is difficult to conclude that the healthcare bill has not triggered even worse to come...if that is possible given the insane debt the nation has heedlessly taken on.

In a democracy the majority rules. We now have a majority of people content to "let the government take care of them".

Rachel P said...

Where does this majority think the government gets the money to "take care of them"? Can people really be so ignorant as to think it doesn't cost THEM anything? Or is the majority now loaded with spongers & illegal aliens who are fine with allowing others to pay for them to have the benefit of having the government provide for their needs? If the latter, then maybe you're right, this country IS in a downhill slide from which we may not be able to recover. Maybe we should be making plans to defect to another country where our children may still have a hope of retaining some freedoms?

Alan Caruba said...

Rachel...this is no other country to which to go. Socialism is everywhere.

baltwo said...

See Murder, She Wrote

Carolyn said...

Mr. Caruba, you've always been my bright spot whenever I cam read you! I agree with you though. I can't stand seeing what has happened and what is happening to this country- I can not imagine how folks such as yourself who have been born here and lived through as much can stand it. It's a shame, and I really have not much hope either, because of all of what you've said already, and has been on my mind for a long time. People say things but don't do or follow through- and I don't beleive folks have the kind of gumption our founders had, and that too is helping the country fail. They say they are angry, and they may even march. We send petitions, we send e mails, we call- but then we don't show up on election day. Worse yet, we don't enter the race ourselves if we want things to change. We let those who have made careers be re elected because as much as we can't stand them, they are comfortable and familiar.
I wish we could find a few Adams', Washingtons, Henrys- but I just don't think those kinds of men exist these days. I know a lot of good men, but Washington would chew them up and spit them out in no time.
Well, now reading this post Mr. Caruba, I am throroughly depressed, but I ask God's Blessings on you! PS- My son and I just started our history lessons on John Adams yesterday.

Alan Caruba said...

Carolyn, nations like men and women change over time. For the longest time I have no wanted to think, let alone write, these gloomy thoughts, but they are based as best as possible on the known facts.

I think you put your finger on it when you say that people talk a good game as patriots but then do not show up to vote.

And a nation has to be very lucky to have an extraordinary group such as our Founding Fathers or, in our time, a Ronald Reagan.

The US is not trending in the right direction and there is always a price to pay for that behavior.

WES said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Guy said...

Alan, I have to agree that there are certainly some rough times facing this society. I feel your pain, and share your pessimism. There is one hope I continue to hang on to though ...

We are a tough, resilient bunch. It certainly looks like things are going to hell in America, but maybe that's just what we need. Are we not being overrun with millions of bottom-feeding, government program loving, good-for-nothing slackers? Perhaps what this country needs is a REAL crisis .... one that separates the men from the boys so to speak, and performs a function vital to every species that's ever inhabited this planet .... a thinning of the herd if you will.

Our society may be balanced precariously on the edge of the abyss of Socialism, but perhaps we will be lucky enough to avoid the slow, painful free fall and get right to the "sudden stop" at the bottom.

If we can hit bottom and get things sorted out from within before our enemies figure out how weak we are and attempt to exploit us, I have faith that the strong among us will survive, and rebuild our country on the same principles it was founded on, hopefully with additional safeguards to prevent a repeat of this travesty we're seeing now.

The thinkers and producers among us are taking steps to protect ourselves, and our families. Those sitting around with their hands out will be the ones caught by surprise the day the handouts come to an end ...

Atlas Shrugged

ytba said...

"Tell me I am wrong."
You are wrong...maybe. Anything's possible, if you want it badly enough (and for the right reasons), especially when those you are fighting are evil, and there are more of you than them.

"Then tell me why."
Because a minority of good people can defeat even a majority of evil people. The proof is the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, which was a very similar victory. And, the fact that we are the majority, and they the minority, should inspire even more confidence. Sure, there are is no certainty of victory if we pursue it (any more than there was during the revolution), but if we quit, we are guaranteed to lose.

And, remember, that before we won our freedom from the British oppressor, we didn't have it. So, let's shake things up, and make this victory a renewal of the founding of America. There's always a first time for everything.

ytba said...

YES WE CAN - p.s.

"'Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide'. -- John Adams (1835-1826)"

Which is why our Founding Fathers gave us a "Republic," instead of a "Democracy."

Ron H. said...

Alan, I'm sorry to say I have lost my optimism also. That house vote did it.

I don't have much faith in the courts to overturn this obviously unconstitutional mess, as they have done so poorly in the past.

The state AGs may be only posturing. Most states, seriously dependent on federal funds, aren't likely to seriously oppose federal law.

I don't know where we can go from here.

BranDex said...

I have only one quibble. Doesn't every road and street with a mail box become a post road? That comes under Congress as per Article I, section 8 of the Constitution.

I am only supprised that it has taken this long for the CPUSA to destroy this country.

Alan Caruba said...

(This is a resubmittal of an earlier comment by Wes at his request)

Alan,
Unfortunately I have to agree with your assessment of the situation.

The progressive liberals have for a hundred years taken over our country inch by inch while America either slept or had their head in the sand. The vast majority were lulled into a sense of complacency and just couldn't wrap their mind around how our nation could ever fail. I include myself in that group for it has only been in the last 4 -5 years that I began to awaken and take notice of what was going on.

I know that Americans are capable of anything but there just doesn't seem to be any modern day George Washingtons or Jeffersons or the likes of the other other founding fathers.

To fix this would require a total collapse and re-start based on the constitution. We would have erase most of laws that have been implemented in the last 100 years.

It would also require eliminating the Federal Reserve, the IRS and income taxes, going back to the gold standard. It would require congressmen to have unwavering principles and values and only serve two terms. We would have to re-instate prayer, ten commandments and the bible in our schools and make abortion illegal. We would have to do away with unions. We would have to eliminate all entitlements including social security, welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, & food stamps.

These are just a few of things that would be required.

Will any of these things happen? Very unlikely.

In years past I thought of maybe moving to some other country but could never find one that wasn't worse than ours. However, some of those other places are starting to look pretty good. (I'm thinking Fiji or Bora)

The very fact that over 50% of our nation's voters thought Obama was the man for the job and that 50% of our nation thought Gore should have been President should speak volumes. How can so many be deceived?

I pray that I'm wrong but I suspect it is too late to resurrect our nation. It's time to launch the lifeboats. Others may want to stand on the deck and listen to the music while the ship goes down but I'm getting prepared for the worse. I have no intentions of going down with this ship.

Robert said...

The GOP is overrepresented among the taxpaying class, while the Democratic Party is overrepresented among tax consumers. And the latter are growing at a faster rate than the former.

The minorities that are growing most rapidly, Hispanics and Asians, cast 60 to 70 percent of their presidential votes for the Democratic Party. Black Americans vote 9-1 for national Democrats. In 2008, they went 30-1.

Put succinctly, the red pool of voters is aging, shrinking and dying, while the blue pool, fed by high immigration and a high birth rate among immigrants, is steadily expanding.

Philosophically, too, the country is turning away from the GOP creed of small government and low taxes. Why?

Nearly 90 percent of immigrants, legal and illegal, are Third World poor or working-class and believe in and rely on government for help with health and housing, education and welfare. Second, tax cuts have dropped nearly 40 percent of wage earners from the tax rolls.

If one pays no federal income tax but reaps a cornucopia of benefits, it makes no sense to vote for the party of less government.


January 20, 2009
Is GOP Still a National Party?
By Patrick Buchanan

Rachel P said...

Robert: your post echoes what I have been thinking as of late regarding the state of our nation...what was once a benefit to our country has now become its undoing - immigration. Over 100 years ago, LEGAL immigration infused this country with the productivity of HARD WORKERS, having come to this country to achieve the American dream, never dreaming of expecting the government to be their livelihood. Now, not all, but the majority of immigration (mostly ILLEGAL) has become a drain on the nation, because it continues to be allowed to continue relatively unchecked...and these immigrants come here EXPECTING to receive all these benefits for FREE! I've asked myself lately, why does socialized medicine seem to work relatively well in other countries? Maybe it's because people in other countries are relatively homogenous in ethnicity, culture & lifestyle expectations and there is little to none of this "entitlement" mentality that is sucking the life out of this country. I'm not an expert, but just a thought.

Rachel P said...

PS - Why was Wes' post removed by the blog administrator? I hope this is not the beginning of censorship as well!

Alan Caruba said...

Wes requested that his original post be removed and replaced with a corrected one. Which I did.

I only censor idiots. :-)

ytba said...

NOT READY FOR THE FAT LADY YET

It's apparently not quite over. Diligent Conservatives may have struck a major blow to the Obama nightmare, one we can only hope is mortal.

Ronbo said...

Alan:

Yesterday my lap top was stolen from my hotel room in Salt Lake City - $1,500 down the drain, but at least I got two years of service from it before the rip off - The one before that lasted only three months before walking off with some illegal help.

Did I tell you about my car being stolen last year in San Diego? I did get it back though...In pieces at the chop shop.

My point? Law and Order are breaking down - ordinary policemen in California are targets of bombings and assassinations - just one example of spreading anarchy.

I think you are on to something I knew intellectually, but refused to look at, like a man who refuses to accept the reality of a beloved wife dying slowly of cancer.

This country is dying of the cancer of socialism of the fascist variety...That's what the Progressives like Obama are - fascist pigs who think they destroy the old republic and still live in wealth and safety.

We are living ATLAS SHRUGGED and like the protagonists in the book we should give up and head for the hills or we'll be buried in the ruins.

A sunny cool spring here in Salt Lake City. I'm sending this message from the computer room of the beautiful and modern public library downtown. I'm looking at the well dressed people walking past on their lunch breaks and wondering what this scene will look like in five years.

Cheers, Ronbo

Alan Caruba said...

Ronbo, I hope you have backed up the data on your laptop. Sorry to hear it's been stolen. (No insurance?)

Rachel P said...

Alan: I didn't think that it was you who may have "censored" Wes' comments...I thought that maybe some blogspot "overseer" had removed it for a reason that I would not agree with. But you're right to censor idiots...we get enough of those everywhere else; I appreciate reading the comments of intelligent people on your blog! :-)

Justin said...

At the core of liberalism is "social justice." Social justice is more smoke and mirrors than a tangable thing.


Theocracies, communist rovolutions, utopians in general victomize them selves endlessly fighting a nebulous hazy concept.


Many persons were against the vietnam war, a war mired in entangle ments fighting shadows, ghosts, and boogy mans.


People who strive for "social justice" mire them selves in "vietnam wars of emotion" endlessly entangling themselves.

You target the smoke and mirrors of global warming famously. Tackling the smoke and mirrors of "social justice" should be a peice of cake.


With that socialism, liberalism should simply disolve.

Justin said...

At the core of liberalism is "social justice." Social justice is more smoke and mirrors than a tangable thing.


Theocracies, communist rovolutions, utopians in general victomize them selves endlessly fighting a nebulous hazy concept.


Many persons were against the vietnam war, a war mired in entangle ments fighting shadows, ghosts, and boogy mans.


People who strive for "social justice" mire them selves in "vietnam wars of emotion" endlessly entangling themselves.

You target the smoke and mirrors of global warming famously. Tackling the smoke and mirrors of "social justice" should be a peice of cake.


With that socialism, liberalism should simply disolve.

Ronbo said...

"Ronbo, I hope you have backed up the data on your laptop. Sorry to hear it's been stolen. (No insurance?)"

No back up and no insurance. But I did have serial number to give to the police :-) We learn the hard way. The next laptop is gonna be the cheapest thing in the store. I just need Internet access most of the time anyway.

Paul said...

I believe that it will not be the case that the healthcare bill is freedom lost forever. You are probably right, though, that we will never experience freedom like it was experienced in 1787.