Kevin Price
America's road to serfdom
By Kevin Price
July 20, 2010

It seems as though millions of Americans have woken up to the reality that the United States is on the fast track towards socialism. The individual is shrinking in importance as we give homage to the collective mob. This is not a new problem. Barack Obama has simply made the situation so bad that Americans have finally begun to wake up and take notice. It is too bad it has taken so long, we have needed awareness for generations.

It is interesting that many of the Founding Fathers found themselves testifying to legislative bodies about what they meant when they wrote the Constitution. Some members of Congress in the early 19th century, who heard James Madison's eloquent testimony that the federal government actually owed its existence to the states, argued that is not what the founders meant. Madison stated in Federalist Paper 45 that: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." It is clear what Madison meant.

However, Madison's own colleague and one of the co-authors of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, had a consolidated view of government that stood in contrast to Madison. These two views — the dispersion of power and its collection, have become the two biggest themes and tensions in US history.

From the founding era until the mid 19th century, those who supported the dispersion of power to the states largely ruled the day. Certainly, there were movements away from the Founder's original intentions, but the states remained largely strong and the federal government was mostly very limited. The following are some of the major benchmarks that got the US to the point it is today:

    The Civil War. This was the first major paradigm shift from state power to its consolidation by the federal government. Before the war, it was believed that since the states created the federal government, they could succeed if they deemed it necessary. Our history books argue this war was about slavery, but the US is the only major country that required a civil war to end that institution. This war had far more to do with the consolidation of power than liberating slaves. Before the Civil War, Americans would say, in talking about their country, "The United States are..." Following the Civil War, they would say, "The United States is..." This reflected a significant change in US politics.

    The progressive policies of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson greatly weakened states' rights when US Senators were no longer chosen by state legislatures (through the Seventeenth Amendment) but through direct vote. This may have made the majority stronger, but it weakened the power of the states to protect individuals. Furthermore, Wilson brought us an income tax in the Sixteenth Amendment, which was explicitly opposed by our founders in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution because of the fact it would harm wealth creation and the government had no business knowing how incomes were earned. Finally, the federal government created the Federal Reserve, which started us down the road to political, rather than sound, money.

    The New Deal. Franklin Roosevelt created an entire shift in the role of government from protector to provider. His many "New Deal" programs changed the expression "general welfare" (which is beneficial to all) into specific welfare that harmed the economy and created entitlements. Many of his policies were reversed by the courts, many more changed the role of government forever.

    Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." Johnson's "War on Poverty" ended up becoming a war on the poor as the number of people below poverty level grew. Johnson chilled personal ambition with welfare programs that gave people every incentive to stay poor and, for the first time in US history, the percentage who were below poverty level found themselves growing every decade.

This leads us to where we are today. Barack Obama has utilized "Czars" as a way to have an unaccountable government when it comes to the Legislative branch. He is passing laws that are clearly unconstitutional and against the will of the voters (e.g., socialized medicine). He is developing a foreign policy that rewards our enemies and threatens our friends. He is waging a war on wealth creation that has lead to the highest unemployment in over 25 years and has developed a domestic doctrine that pursues a bigger crisis as a case for more government. Obama is not our first "mover" towards socialism, but he may be one of the most effective. We need to understand where we came from and how we got here, if we are ever going to get this republic on the road to liberty.

© Kevin Price


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Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


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