Without an actual shooting revolution, that is.
It seems obvious to me that our government, at all levels and in most of the 50 states, is overgrown. The mere expense of it all, even if it affected us in no other way, is ruining the way of life that made our country the economic engine of the world, and a geopolitical superpower. I think our Founders would shudder at the prospect of personal income taxation, not to mention a progressive scheme that combined with state and local taxes takes more than half of the yearly income of the folks doing the most to create our general prosperity. The cost, though, is hardly the most catastrophic effect of the excess of state power.
As I write this, there are a bunch of protesters camped out at a visitor center in a Federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. What exactly they are protesting isn’t being talked about much, if at all, in the left-wing press. When they do mention it, most of what it’s all about is ignored. The ‘crimes’ of the Hammond ranchers are only deemed crime in the first place because the BLM and the FWS have been trying to drive ranchers out of the area to expand that wildlife refuge where the protest is taking place. No actual harm was done by the burning of a small area of federal land. Fires in the wilderness are a natural occurrence, to which the flora and fauna are well-adapted, and the fires set by the Hammonds did nothing but restrict the growth of invasive species and protect their ranch and home from lightning-set fires. For this, the government wants to label them terrorists and imprison them for years. It comes down to the desire of BLM and FWS personnel to eliminate cattle-ranching in the area, rather than to protect wild lands and wildlife from anything. They simply should not have this kind of power to enforce their personal preferences.
My previous post on the Avery case also illustrates an excess of government power, this on a local level. There was a lot of over-reach in that case in the name [but not the service] of justice and the investigation of crimes. A few members of a county police force put a man, who they knew was not guilty, in prison. The only motivation seems to be revenge for an offense against a deputy’s wife and/or a feeling that Avery was a bad person, bound to commit a more serious crime eventually. This, again, is a power that government employees should simply never possess. When Avery eventually proved his innocence of rape, he was promptly railroaded back into prison, and his prosecution used as a lever to force him to settle for very little compensation for the eighteen years stolen from him, and to protect from liability the individual officers that had done the most to steal those years. In order to bolster their very weak case, police and prosecutor then abused a learning-disabled child [with the assistance of his court appointed public defender!] into implicating himself and Avery in crimes for which there never was any independent evidence, and used that ‘confession’ to imprison the child as well. That they pulled this off frankly horrifies me. That both Avery and Dassey still sit in prison for Avery’s defiance of the petulance of the Manitowoc County Sheriffs sickens me. That every level of jurisprudence, right up to the SCOTUS has endorsed this patent abuse of police and prosecutorial power frightens me. If Wisconsin was a death penalty state, these petty despots might already have succeeded in permanently silencing Avery’s protestation of innocence, and they might even have managed to have the State murder him over the rape in which he has, again, proven his innocence, rather than raised mere reasonable doubt. As it is, Avery is lucky to have survived prison, so far.
I used to be in favor of the death penalty for first degree murder. I’ve come around to generally opposing the DP, after seeing hundreds of exonerations for murder, like Avery’s for rape, by new DNA and other evidence. In many cases, prosecutors who happily use new science to obtain convictions in newer cases oppose DNA science used to prove earlier convictions incorrect. Anyone who does this ought to be locked up himself, rather than be lauded, much less re-elected, for being ‘tough on crime.’ Fighting to keep innocent people in prison is the exact opposite of ‘tough on crime,’ and libertarian-minded folks like myself should not be the only ones to recognize that. The possibility that people have been executed for crimes they did not commit should provoke revulsion at this excess of State power, in everyone, rather than acceptance. You do need to break eggs to make omelets, but human beings are not eggs, and justice is not an omelet. No analogy I can think of actually serves. Only the actual words for the actual factors involved convey the gravity of the situation. Government employees simply should not have the power to use the State to kill their fellow citizens if there is any doubt, even if that doubt appears unreasonable, that the accused is guilty of murder. This is not a Constitutionally-backed position, as the USC does explicitly countenance the death penalty, and does not proscribe its exercise by the several States. I don’t claim religious backing for my opinion on this either. For one, I don’t have any religious beliefs, and for two, I’m pretty sure the USC does prohibit the codification of religious beliefs into law.
So, I rely only on logic, and my belief that freedom is inherently better than oppression, under all circumstances. I hope that belief is more common than it appears.
To return to my headline: is this situation fixable? That’s another of my hopes, but I can feel that hope slowly dying. It seems that the pursuit of personal power leads many of our leaders on both sides of the major-party divide to policies that cannot but destroy our nation. From spending us into an inescapable black hole of debt, to mass immigration from cultures inherently opposed to freedom, it appears that we are on the brink of losing the ability to be a free people. It even appears a sizable minority of our youngest adults don’t even want that ability. I don’t know if it’s too late. I don’t know if even a shooting revolution could restore us. I do feel a deep gratitude for the possibility.
Good luck, y’all.