It took Obama, a Kenyan born jihadist, at war with America, to finally bring the left and the right together. It took the help of a young man named Snowden to actually provide the catalyst by alerting the whole world to the fact that our own NSA is collecting data on every American. He brought the likes of Bob Beckel, Rand Paul, Ralph Nadar, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, and Glenn Beck together in agreement. They all agree that this is an unconstitutional violation of our civil liberties. To be sure, there is still considerable division, even on this question.
The issue has exposed who the big government people are in both parties. John McCain supports Big Brother. Gosh, what a surprise that is. So does Dick Cheney. He always did sort of remind me of Himmler. And John Boehner lines up licking Obama’s boots as usual. During the war of independence, McCain and Boehner would be on the side of the “rule of law” and king George. In Nazi Germany, “law abiding” people obeyed Hitler.
This week, I was reading from my favorite history book, A Patriot’s History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. (Parents, make your children read this book!). I was reminded that this conflict between the proponents of big government and the defenders of individual liberty dates back to the founding of the Republic. In the beginning, the Federalists wanted an overpowering central government. They were led by Alexander Hamilton who was supported by the banks and the merchant class. Hamilton wanted a nationally regulated economy with protective tariffs and subsidies to select industries (sound familiar?).
Jefferson and Madison led the anti-federalist Republican Party which would later become the Democrat Party we know today. In the beginning, they supported a less powerful federal government, less taxation, a balanced budget and strict construction of the Constitution limiting federal power to the enumerated powers. The anti-federalists insisted upon the Bill of Rights as a condition of adopting the Constitution. They distrusted a federal government that could deny God given civil rights.
Interestingly, a key factor in the downfall of the Federalists was their adoption of the Alien and Sedition Acts abridging first amendment speech rights. Federalist judges convicted 25 mostly Republican newspaper editors for speaking out against the government. Have we come full circle? Is Obama a re-incarnation of John Adams? Unfortunately, no, because the people were smart enough to vote Adams out after one term (He didn’t have the welfare state to buy off his voters and Hollywood to keep them distracted).
The Republican Party of Jefferson eventually split into Whigs and Democrats. The Democrats, out of economic greed, ended up using the states’ rights argument to defend slavery. As Schweikart and Allen record, “Jefferson’s libertarian ideals – the ideals of the American Revolution – would, incongruously, be used to defend the enslavement of four million human beings.” (A Patriot’s History of the United States, p.178.) Liberty is not long preserved when immorality and injustice are tolerated.
Lincoln properly understood that the union could not survive half free and half slave and he used the power of the federal government to end it. Slavery is immoral everywhere. The Libertarians of today should learn from this example. Abortion and sodomy are immoral everywhere and those issues cannot be decided by the states if our Republic is to preserve its liberty.