America was founded on the concept of individual freedom. The 13 colonies went to war, and proclaimed their independence, to provide a level of personal rights never before experienced by any people in the history of the world. A unique guarantee—the Bill of Rights—was embedded in the foundational laws of the country to insure and enshrine that concept.
The terrible imperfection in the early history of the United States—the existence of slavery—was resolved in the nation’s bloodiest conflict, a Civil War fought to make all men free. Voting rights for women followed. The practice of segregation was eventually legislated out of existence.
But has America’s inherent and underlying purpose for existence—individual rights—being driven to extinction?
There is a disturbing and rapidly growing trend in federal and state governments, in academia, and in the private sector as well, towards restricting personal freedom to a degree never before experienced by U.S. citizens.
Over the past seven years, we have seen Washington virtually hijacked by those who place the power of the federal government over the rights of individuals.
The Internal Revenue Service has been used to suppress those that disagree with President Obama.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been employed to attack private property rights in a manner that has nothing to do with preserving the health of the planet and everything to do with imposing federal control over privately held land.
The Federal Communications Commission has made several attempts to impose controls over the media. One example: an aborted move to place FCC “monitors” in news rooms. Another worrisome move: By this November, the White House’s weird action of replacing America’s internet control from U.S. oversight to an international body influenced by nations that favor censorship will be complete.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) runs roughshod, despite the First Amendment, over religious organizations that object to being forced to fund procedures they find objectionable.
An explosion of regulations affecting virtually every aspect of the way Americans work and use their property forces citizens to constantly look over their shoulder when going about their daily lives.
Washington is not alone in the disturbing trend to restrict personal freedom.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “All 50 states regulate the way money is spent in politics and elections…”
In the abstract, regulating the influence of money in politics may seem like a good idea. The problems, however, are numerous. The regulations work to enhance the chances of incumbents, no matter how bad their records are, to win re-election against challengers. New York State provides a prime example. Elected officials in the notoriously corrupt Empire State government are more likely to leave office due to death or criminal conviction than through elections in which challengers have a fair chance. Restricting campaign spending inevitably leads to restrictions on free speech, and restrictions on free speech inevitably allows crooked, lazy, or inept legislators to remain in office.
Some local governments simply ignore portions of the Bill of Rights. In many large cities, the Second Amendment is regulated into nonexistence by a host of restrictions that make it exceptionally difficult and expensive for private citizens to exercise this freedom.
The attack on freedom doesn’t just come from government. Throughout academia, the imposition of left wing views on students takes place on a regular basis. Students with more traditional American views are threatened with bad grades or worse. Some campuses restrict contrary views to so-called” free speech zones” that limit the chances of reaching a broad audience. There have been numerous calls to criminally prosecute individual scientists who disagree with the prevailing belief in the man-made global warming theory.
A number of major corporations have also abandoned traditional support for individual rights. Some social media companies actively restrict views which they disagree with from their sites. A number of major companies penalize employees for taking positions, even on private time and away from their worksites, that corporate leaders disagree with.
Taken as a whole, all of these factors combine to change the very essence of what America is. The United States was born out of a desire to have a nation where the citizens, not the government or any other powerful group, ruled. Piece by piece, right by right, that dream is being dissolved within our lifetime. It’s time for the “Spirit of ’76,” –the rights of the individual over that of the government or any other institution—to be restored.