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The New American Colonies

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I noticed an interesting correlation while reading an article by the late Frank Chodorov. His article, titled Time for Another Revolution, spoke at great length about the evils brought on by the passage of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He observed that the moment the national government acquired the ability to fund itself with fiat currency, it began to grow uncontrollably. He explained that in its original manifestation, the national government was to be limited in powers. Americans were made to look to their own individual state governments for all other unspecified powers.
Knowing that I could never explain it as well as he, let's just read the quote:
Bribing the Constitution
Further, the wealth acquired by the State at the expense of the producers enabled it to buy its way into sovereignty. The Founding Fathers put a check on the central power by clearly delimiting its scope, specifying that all other prerogatives, named and unnamed, shall reside in the component and autonomous commonwealths. They knew from experience what a far-away and self-sufficient authority could do to human liberty, and sought to avoid that danger by making local government the residuary of all unspecified power; not that the local politician is different in kind from the national politician, but that his proximity to the people makes him more sensitive to their will. [Ed. note: ...and more accountable for corruption.]
However, with the advent of the income tax this safeguard lost all meaning, for from then on the local politician was less and less under obligation to his constituents; on the other hand, they fell under his obligation by his ability to hand out gratuities derived from federal grants, for which he gave up nothing but the dignity vested in him by the Constitution. His political preferment is now largely a matter of dispensing federal patronage. The American no longer regards his local government as anything more than an agency of the State.
Thus, the original federation -- the Union -- has been superseded in fact by a single, centralized power, and the citizen of the commonwealth has become a subject of that power. The income tax alone made this possible, inevitable.
The transmutation of the Constitution by bribery has also been effected through private channels. The income tax has made the State the largest single buyer in the country and, since "the customer is always right," it is unthinkable that the recipients of its patronage would oppose the State on any issue important to its purposes. Subvention of agriculture, education, and the press has been supplemented by gratuities to sundry pressure groups, all easing the shift of sovereignty from the individual to the State. To top it all off, the capital absorbed by the State, via the income tax, has put it into business in a big way, so that it is now the largest employer in the nation; loyalty to a boss of that potential breeds a peculiar kind of freedom of conscience. (Emphasis and comments added.)
It got me thinking about how the individual states have become nothing more than placeholders on a map of the "United States of America." With all our entitlement programs, government subsidies, and National government encroachments, how can any state call itself independent and sovereign? With every cash transaction--better know as a taxpayer-funded grant of money--between the national and a state government, there are a myriad of strings attached. Each one of those strings are meant to bind the state down to the will of the national government. For proof of this, all one needs to do is look at the No Child Left Behind fiasco in which the states may receive as little as ten per cent of their educational funding from federal sources, but 100 per cent of their educational direction is dictated to them from the same.
Keep in mind we've seen this all before. It was the American colonies who felt the rope burns of oppression from their mother country, Great Britain. Sure, the colonies were upset they were being taxed without having a say in how those taxes were levied or spent, but I'm positive they felt that taxation with representation wasn't much better, either. However, that, in and of itself, was not what fanned the fires for revolution. For a clearer explanation, one must read past the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. The revolutionaries gave a long list of grievances which the King of Great Britain refused to address. Many of those in the colonies would have gladly remained under crown rule if the King would just allow them more autonomy. The colonists were wanting to be more independent, were wanting to govern themselves, while the King had other plans for them.
And this is where I observed that our present situation very much resembles the situation faced by those colonies of America. Just look at a the very definition of what a colony is:
Colony defined:
  1. a. A group of emigrants or their descendants who settle in a distant territory but remain subject to or closely associated with the parent country.
    b. A territory thus settled.
  2. A region politically controlled by a distant country; a dependency.
Today, the states, one could argue, have become nothing more than distant territories controlled by that far off country we call Washington D.C. Sure, the American colonies of old were separated by a great body of water from Great Britain, but the same could be said of most of the states today--the only difference being in the material which separates them. Through subsidies and grants and federal aid, we've sold our political souls to those who call Mordor-on-the-Potomac home. We've traded our independence for federal government largess and have become the new American colonies. If you don't believe me, just ask yourself this question: when was the last time any person or any state successfully defended themselves from national encroachment by citing either the Ninth or Tenth Amendments? In today's political environment, those amendments are laughable and have virtually become inapplicable--and that's too bad. Those two amendments were drafted specifically to protect the individual--whether it be the citizen or the state--from usurpation by the national government. Both have failed miserably in keeping the states and the individual free and independent.


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