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Photo taken from deck of Warren's home.

The Regressives

Once upon a time, before the United States was formed, governments owned their citizens. Citizens existed to serve their governments. It didn’t matter whether your government was a pharaoh, tribal chieftain or a great conquerer. The people at the top, your government, owned you.

Peoples conquered and enslaved by the great Roman Empire could either serve Rome and surrender the fruit of their labor or risk death. Peasants were little more than chattel owned by the Nobleman upon whose land they lived. The King’s word was law. All subjects were duty-bound to do his bidding.

Government ordered and the people obeyed. And thus it was throughout history, until citizens of a country that had fought to rid themselves of a king’s rule created a new government for the purpose of serving them, instead of the other way around. The rules for running this new government were set forth in a Constitution. The laws would come not from a potentate, but from a legislature consisting of House of Representatives speaking as the voice of the people and a Senate representing the States. It was a government once described as being “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

And this government worked exceedingly well. The country grew to be the most wealthy and powerful country on Earth. A hundred years ago, with just 6% of the world’s population, this country produced half of all manufactured goods on the planet.

But always, as throughout history, there are people who want to rule. Bound by the chains of the Constitution, they set out to bend the rules as much as possible and change them when they could. The judicial branch of the government formed by the Constitution decided that it would be the arbiter of what the rules limiting it actually mean. Not surprisingly, using increasingly broad interpretations of the limited powers delegated to it, the government finds very little that the Constitution prevents it from doing to the point where today that government can safely ignore the limited powers it was granted and do pretty much anything it likes.

As a consequence, government of this once rich and powerful country now intrudes into every facet of citizens’ lives. The country’s citizens now find themselves working for the government, not the other way around. Like serfs of old, government has first claim on the fruit of their labors. We are left whatever government decides to let us keep.

The president of this country, who is required by the Constitution to “faithfully execute” the laws, now routinely ignores the laws themselves and issues directives to do as he orders, as though his word is law. He ignores his oath of office and the Constitution with impunity.

No longer are the people safe from warrantless searches and entitled to privacy. Government spies on us and collects data about our private lives with impunity. Permits are required as a prerequisite to exercise constitutionally protected rights. Government now has the ability to take over essential utilities like water and power as well as telephone and Internet communications. Government now dictates whom you may employ, how much you must pay them.

The laws are so voluminous that the country’s prisons have more inmates than any other nation in the world and fully half of the inmates never harmed anyone. They broke rules limiting their liberty.

Not coincidentally, the country is no longer rich and powerful. Is is heavily indebted with no hope of paying that debt.

The people behind this vast expansion of government call themselves “progressive.” implying that this extension of government into every aspect of our daily lives is somehow “progress.” But it isn’t. We are not progressing, we are regressing back to a time when citizens existed to serve the ruling class.

We have regressed to the point where government’s needs are superior to citizens’ needs in the government’s courts. We have regressed to the point that perpetuating government’s bureaucracies is more important than protecting what few rights citizens may still exercise.

They may call themselves “progressives” but they are in reality regressives, taking us back to a time when people existed to serve their governments.

It is interesting to note that “progressivism” is not new. At the end of the 19th century, progressives had so sullied the “progressive” brand with their failed policies that they abandoned “progressive” in favor of “liberal” and liberal they remained until liberalism too became tarnished by failed policies. It was time to once again dust off “progressivism” and inflict it on a populace that had forgotten how badly it failed previously.

Each time you hear someone extolling their “progressive” values, understand what they are really doing — taking us further back to a time when government reigned supreme and we were not free. It is not something about which to brag. It is not about progress; it is about ideas that have been tried and failed horribly. And it is certainly not about freedom. Their “progress” takes us only to an ever more authoritarian state.

The people propounding the progressive credo are not progressives, they are regressives.

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