Sometimes it is as blatant as ratcheting click-click-click of handcuffs painfully pinning your hands behind your back…the echoing, metallic clang of a jail cell door slamming shut behind you…or your President signing into law a National Defense Authorization Act with murky language giving Government unprecedented power to arrest and detain American citizens on American soil without due process.
More often, though, it is something as innocent-looking and innocuous as a car’s seat belts or a bicycle helmet…a NO RIGHT TURN ON RED sign…or your President signing into law something as noble-sounding as the Patient Affordable Care Act.
There are all kinds of analogies for it…camel’s nose under the tent flap and frog-in-the-pot-syndrome are two that immediately come to mind. It is the insidious slow and creeping erosion of liberty that isn’t noticeable on a minute-by-minute basis, but when you look at the BEFORE and AFTER pictures it becomes readily apparent...“HOW THE HELL DID WE MISS THAT?”
A lawyer and politician himself, Daniel Webster (1782-1852) warned us long ago that “…our destruction, should it come at all, will be from…the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing.”
Warnings like this are prevalent throughout the writings of the wisest of men throughout time. Webster recognized that in governance, “good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority…[the] strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures.” Webster also stated that “[it] is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.” Good intentions are the lifeblood of the liberal mindset, highlighted by the illogical fallacy that what benefits one, by extension, must benefit all.
The problem lies in the power paradigm…local, state and national governments don’t EARN the money that they spend. Rather, it is TAKEN from the citizens that they are supposed to serve. The old adage of absolute power corrupting absolutely begins to take form.
Another of Webster’s observations points out that “[there] are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” The combination of this “do-gooder” mentality coupled with the power to take what it needs from the populace is a dangerous mixture.
George Washington knew from experience that “government is like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Once government gets involved in any affairs, however peripherally, it NEVER leaves and only involves itself further.