In the days immediately following the Second Coming of the Obama Presidency, the talk mainly centered on whether singer Beyonce' Knowles actually sang the Star Spangled Banner as opposed to lip synching her own recording. I, for one, am comforted that the latter is the case and I confess that I'd sooner watch her lip synch Captain and Tennille's Greatest Hits than listen to Barack Obama channel his inner Neville Chamberlain, Saul Alinsky, and Jeremiah Wright. That he did so using the language and ambience of the Constitution, much to the delight of his hagiographers in the media, is less indicative of his conversion to Madisonian limits on government than of his willingness to use the terminology of the Constitution in order to bring about its decomposition.
But see how he works:
What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.
Did you catch that? These truths, and their accompanying rights, as explained by the Founders, must be "bridged" to reality, the idea being that they are on a distant island somewhere in the misty, metaphysical past, disconnected from the, "realities of our time." And what are the realities that await these rights once they've crossed the government's bridge in search of relevance? For starters, they must come to terms with federal expenditures that consumed 8.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the middle of the Great Depression, which now eat up over 22 percent of the private economy, and a government that is over $16 trillion in debt with total unfunded obligations of over $61 trillion or, over $500,000 per household.
Forget pursuing happiness. Just try pursuing some fill dirt for that mud puddle on your own property and see what happens. You'll spend more time pursuing the intricacies of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and seeking the indulgences of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, because the federal government may very well consider that puddle on your property to be a wetland, herein defined as, "…those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation adapted for life in the saturated soil conditions." Piece of cake, right?
Try exercising your right to liberty when "the realities of our time" dictate that from building a home to purchasing a car, from the appliances, plumbing, and light bulbs in your house to the size, weight of, and fuel in your vehicle, to the composition of your Frosted Flakes and Twinkies (sorry,…the unions killed that last one), nothing you do, sell, or purchase is outside the purview of the Federal Government. You are responsible for complying with a Federal Register which stood at 81,045 pages of regulations in 2010 and which grew by over 81,000 more pages in 2011 alone, and whose compliance costs for 2012's regulations exceeded $1.8 trillion.
Last Wednesday, Chase Power down in Corpus Christi, Texas announced that, thanks to the suffocating effects of relentless EPA regulations, it was deep-sixing its $3 billion coal power plant project and, with that, killing 3,900 prospective jobs. If he were sincere in his rhetoric President Obama would correctly apply the rights he enumerated by deep-sixing the de-industrialization of America that his EPA is undertaking on a massive scale. Instead, he indicates that he will apply our God-given rights to this mess by growing an ever larger mess. Meanwhile, back at the podium:
For we have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.
The disconnects are jarring. Innovation is one thing, but "new responses" that abrogate the Constitution are something else entirely. In 2011, he said, "We can't wait for Congress to do its job, so where they won't act, I will." No constitutional authority was cited enumerating his power to circumvent the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives. He just made his declaration and went to work, changing everything from laws on immigration and welfare requirements to unilaterally declaring the Senate in recess for the purpose of making recess appointments. His bluff has been called on that by a Federal Appeals Court, yet his National Labor Relations Board indicates that it will proceed as if the ruling never happened.
This is a rather bizarre application of "fidelity to our founding principles" from a man who announced that, "…the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction." He says that our individual freedom depends on "collective action," but he's being a little too loose with the language here, because, as the explosion of agencies and regulations indicates, his definition of collective action has much more to do the authoritative, top-down dictates of government than the voluntary associations, contracts, and cooperation of free men.
A man who preaches freedom and constitutional fidelity, but perpetually expands the power of the state over the individual, is at cross purposes with himself. Better to believe his actions than his words. Through increased taxation and regulation, this president increases his dominion over our property. And, as Mark Levin writes in his most recent book, Ameritopia, "By dominating the individual's property, the utopian dominates the individual's labor, by dominating the individual's labor, he dominates the individual." By comparison, Beyonce's lip synching of the Star Spangled Banner was a service to the nation.