The latest in Mike Walsh’s continuing “To save America…” series.
I must say, I’m liking it already.
Over the past few months, we’ve been considering the wholly negative history of the so-called “Progressive”-era constitutional amendments, none of which did anything to improve the nation but did much to undermine its founding principles. Until the end of the Civil War, the constitution had only been amended twice since the passage of the Bill of Rights in 1791: the obscure, jurisdictional 11th Amendment, (1795), which had to do with lawsuits involving state and federal courts, and the 12th, (1804), which partially clarified the procedures for presidential elections. Then, between 1865 and 1870, came the three Reconstruction amendments, abolishing slavery (except as a punishment for a crime, such as a prison chain gang) and giving African-Americans citizenship and voting and other rights.
And then after a 43-year break, came the Progressive Era and its assault on Americans’ money and personal freedom, the radical changes in how the Senate is selected, Prohibition of a formerly legal substance, and finally the extension of the franchise to women, in defiance of all historical norms going back to the ancient Greeks, on the theory that it wasn’t “fair.” All have been proven disasters.
It’s not just the constitutional amendments that have contributed to the decline of the Republic, however: it’s also the actions of an ever-burgeoning federal government, which has simultaneously abandoned its core fiscal, executive, judicial, and legislative responsibilities, and extended its intrusive reach into almost every facet of our existence via the creation of the regulatory agencies, which now essentially control every aspect of a citizen’s public and private life.
Created by Congress, often at the urging of the president, these independent, immortal bureaucratic golems are a second form of government that co-exist with the constitutional system most Americans think we have. Being “independent,” they are at once legislative in function but also judicial in essence: their wishes have the force of law (often written by themselves), tried before administrative law judges, and enforced at gunpoint by their private police forces when necessary. They are effectively beyond the direct supervision of all three legitimate branches of government, to the extent that they now form a fourth branch of government.
Like most things involving the feds, they are largely staffed by members of the Civil Service — nearly three million employees and counting. Many, if not most, belong to one of some one hundred civil-service unions, through which they bargain with the IRS-funded government regarding their wages and working conditions; you, the taxpayer, have no say in the matter. So it’s no surprise that over the past hundred years, jobs in the “public” sector now pay better and have greater benefits, including more time off and greater job security, than do jobs in the private sector. So what if it’s become the employer of last resort for a significant portion of the population? They vote, en masse, for the folks who pay them.
I’ve been saying for years now that basically, the federal G amounts to a sort of wink-nudge employment program for Nee-grows who are too stupid, lazy, or just generally incompetent to hold down a job that’s actually, y’know, useful at all.