Robert L. Hale Contributing Columnist
November 1, 2013
It is an appropriate time to opine about how, in a few short decades, history will record the turning points that moved America from history’s most prosperous nation to the ash heap of history.
America, in less than 150 years, became the most powerful and free nation in history. Not just a few, but the vast majority, of its citizens shared in America’s success. Artificial barriers to achievement were foreign concepts to Americans.
America once had true and meaningful religious freedom, unhampered by government interference. Americans regulated themselves and based their laws and lifestyles on America’s Judeo-Christian values. These values established the foundation that provided us a shared understanding of right and wrong.
America’s progressive elite has all but eliminated the moral and religious foundation that allowed America to prosper with a minimum of government and the attendant bureaucracy. As America’s moral values have been pushed from the public square, so have freedom, prosperity, power, and fiscal soundness. The corruption of America’s once-solid moral foundation has facilitated a steady stream of questionable, if not irrational, court decisions and an endless avalanche of government rules and regulations.
Rulings from our courts are unpredictable. No longer can any American say with certainty what is constitutional and what is not, or even at times what is legal and what is not. Judges and justices seem to make new constitutional “discoveries” on a regular basis. America is no longer a nation of laws rooted in common sense and common understanding. Instead, America has become a nation of political expediency fueled by unintelligible new rules and regulations masquerading as laws.
How did we get here? We arrived on the back of the lust for power wielded to justify our discarding of age-old values, truths, and the natural law. Two generations of public education have dulled the minds of America’s citizens and made them more receptive to what passes for “truth.” Political correctness and “how it feels” substitute as the basis for policies once grounded in rational thought and experience. America’s hard-earned fiscal wealth, intellectual honesty, and ability to accept moral truth have largely been eradicated over the past 50 years.
America began its slide to destruction at the turn of the twentieth century. However, until the beginning of the 1960s, we still were benefiting from our former store of values, ethics, and moral certitude.
As the political class emerged, increasingly asserting its arrogance, power, and certainty that it could remake America in the image of social justice, environmental supremacy, and political correctness, the greatness of America declined and is on the verge of disappearing.
Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society brought us the largest and most expensive welfare state in human history. Johnson’s experiment is also history’s great failure. The true tragedy, however, is not the cost or the size. The Great Society Experiment created a new nation, one in which half the people believe they are entitled to a living, regardless of whether they earn it. The new political class that the Great Society fostered has taken control of the once-legitimate power of government. The hallmark of the political class is to take from those who work and to give to those who do not.
This devolution was followed by Richard Nixon’s war on drugs. The only outcome of this 40-year-plus war has been to lay the groundwork of a national military-style police force.
George H. W. Bush’s legacy was the rise to power of Bill Clinton. Bush’s most famous accomplishment was to make political lying (“read my lips”) acceptable and expected. Clinton’s legacy was to lower America’s moral compass, legitimize infidelity, and reduce women to the status of mere physical objects. However, he was able to convince a majority of Americans that the character of our leaders does not matter as long as they “share our pain.”
Clinton’s excesses, disdain for our military, and crudeness gave us George W. Bush. In eight years, Bush bent the Constitution, pushing through the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, and America’s first civilian military force — the Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA). He also began an unbroken 17-year federal spending spree that has bankrupted the United States.
George W. Bush’s legacy was to pave the way for the election of Barack Obama. Under Obama, all pretense of a constitutional American has been erased. All pretense of a balance of power among the three branches of government is gone. All pretense of fiscal responsibility is gone. All pretense of the rule of law is gone.
Today, America exemplifies a once-great nation under the control of an unrestrained political class. Some in this class are simply ignorant; the leaders, however, are anything but ignorant. The leaders arrogantly believe that they are superior to the masses. They believe they can confiscate our wealth, freedom, and property, and assault our faith, forcing the practice of our moral beliefs behind closed doors.
Those who were fortunate enough to have learned real world history know the outcome of nations ruled by those like our despotic American political class. America’s future is grim. Its only hope is the resurrection of the beliefs, values, and morals that made America great. This will occur only if and when the political class no longer controls the destiny of America.
Robert L. Hale is founder and director of a nonprofit public interest law firm.