Once, we were a free society. I'm sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but we are not anymore.
When the government has the authority to seize your property, to bind you into military service, or take at threat of confinement substantial portions of your income, you are not free. You may be more free than most people in most other countries, but you are not free.
Let's go back in time for a moment. Our country had just thrown off the shackles of a government that thrived off of its citizens and wanted to make a government that was by, of, and for the people of this nation. They understood that Government had a tendency to grow to be by, of and for itself. So, they devised a Constitution that was designed to LIMIT the power of the central government. They knew that other limitations, other rules and such might be required that the Constitution didn't allow the Central Government to do, but it did allow State and Local Governments to do these things. They also understood that times would change and that Constitution may need to change with those times. This part is neat. What they did was, they built in a little mechanism for us to change it! They didn't make it easy, but it probably shouldn't be easy to manipulate the main limitation on government in our land.
So, what's happened? The Constitution has been changed a couple of times. Since it's adoption, there are a total of 27 amendments, 10 of which were passed almost immediately and 1 having been repealed by another of the amendments. So, obviously it can happen. Let's talk about that amendment that was passed and repealed by a later amendment. That of course is known as the time of Prohibition.
Prohibition is the common name for the time when our country banned the manufacture, import, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Well, why did they need a constitutional amendment for that? Couldn't Congress just pass a law? The answer is no. Congress could not pass a law to ban alcohol. It did not have the authority.
Wait wait wait, if Congress couldn't ban alcohol....how do they ban drugs, pollution, or force us to buy health insurance? Well, there certainly was no Constitutional Amendment that allowed it. What happened is that we stopped paying attention. The Press stopped being the watchdog. The Government stopped being by, of and for We the People. The Government has known for 222 years that they could never get you to trust them. Less than 25% of people in this country actually TRUST the government. They've found a better way to get you to agree to what they do. They have gotten you to DEPEND on them.
It started with little things that Congress would do and not get challenged on, then they would expand on that. Then they latched onto this theory of the "living Constitution." It's great, it changes with the whims of fate and time. No longer do we have to modify the actual words of the document, we just reinterpret them based on what we feel it means to us today.
How does this make us less free?
I'll draw you a map. Congress wants to impose a massive penalty on anyone who doesn't buy a Chevy Volt. If you don't buy one they will conscribe you to serve in the military and send you to a war zone where you will most likely be killed.
**So, my wife has asked me for some concrete examples of what are some federal mandates that have been passed down that are more realistic. Aside from stating that if the challenge to Obamacare fails and the government forcing people to participate in the Health Insurance racket ensues, nothing will stop the above example from happening, I would point out these few things:
By instituting a draft, our government requires that all men register to be eligible for the draft. The Draft is where the government forces you to join the armed forces, puts you in a war zone, usually in a foregin country and fighting against enemies who's existence only through the most tenuous stretch threatens any fragment of our nation, fighting for a government who has treated the basic life and liberty of it's young men with absolutely no regard. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness be damned, we've got a war that while it means nothing, we absolutely have to win it.
Some other...extra-constitutional mandates? How about forcing through economic pressures states to change their laws to reflect the will of the federal government? Mandating that all public school lunches offer flavored milk to students?
Then there's the way we go to war, by Presidential Decree. Nothing in the Constitution allows for Congress to give up this responsibility.**
Obviously the actual Constitution doesn't grant them this power. However, under the theory of the Living Constitution, they could be granted this power because hey, that's just the times we live in bro. Now, under the traditionalist way of viewing the Constitution, they could still do this, but only after 38 States agreed to allow it.
51 Senators and 218 Representatives
The Majority of Both Houses of 38 out of 50 States' Legislatures must approve it.
Which process makes you feel safer?
**I asked a recent law school graduate today, where in the Constitution the Government had the authority to pass a law mandating car manufacturers achieve certain fuel economy standards. She pointed me to the usual suspects of the General Welfare and Commerce Clauses. I gave her some homework, I'll give it to you too. After reading the Constitution with the foreknowledge that in the time it was written, when powers were "Enumerated" as they are in Article 1, that list is exhaustive and not just a "startiing off point" as some have interpreted them today, can you determine whether or not our Government is still bound by what was designed to be our primary protection against abuse?