According to the most recent edition of the Economic Freedom of the World Report, the U.S. sits at 9th when it comes to protection of person and property. This is quite the decline, considering we ranked #1 in 1980. We dominated the chart for the next twenty years, but Bush’s Patriot Act put a quick end to that. With Obama in power, the gradual erosion of our constitutional freedoms has only hastened. It’s time for a big change.
The war on terrorism is largely to blame for our evaporating liberties. Americans were all too quick to give up liberty in exchange for security in the wake of 9/11. But enough time has passed now that we should have seen a bounceback. Any president worth his salt would have made it his first goal to roll back some of the freedom-encroaching laws that may or may not have been temporarily useful. But he didn’t have the guts or the will. Obama has instead chosen to keep the worst parts of Bush’s policies and enact plenty of his own.
It’s Not Just the White House
But the buck in this case doesn’t stop with Obama. We’re looking at a widespread government-endorsed erosion of the Constitution, backed largely by liberals. They are the ones who are constantly on about the Constitution being a living document, a view not shared by most of the founding fathers. In fact, it was President Woodrow Wilson who popularized this constitutional blurriness, claiming that it should be changed to fit the needs of the times. Since then, judges and politicians alike have delighted in interpreting the document in any way they see fit. The Constitution is not so much changed to fit the times as it is interpreted to suit an agenda.
Amendments are one thing. That is a case of changing the Constitution to fit the times, and these amendments are ratified in a process that has proven to be wise and fair. Interpreting the Second Amendment to mean, “Well, they didn’t mean everyone should be able to have a gun,” is a whole ‘nother matter. Put that together with an extraordinarily loose approach to “unlawful search and seizure” and you have a recipe for…well…exactly what we have now. A country that is increasingly under the thumb of politicians, judges, and police.
We’ve repeated the “living document” mantra so many times that we’ve begun to believe it. Are there situations that require a judge to apply a certain amount of interpretation? Of course. But that’s a far cry from activists making law from the bench. It’s a far cry from giving the president so much executive authority that our governmental checks and balances become a joke.
Whoever takes the White House in 2016, I hope they bring a strong dedication to the (original) Constitution along with them. We need a leader willing to sacrifice his or her own power for the good of the country. We need it quick, before we have to admit that the Constitution is not a living document after all, but rather quite the opposite.