I dedicate this article to Bob Mack and all other American patriots
It's going with the wind. Romance is shattered by reality, the reality of what is happening to
America today, what is happening to American democracy and the American people. On this side of the Pond we know all about creeping tyranny, as democracy is steadily eroded by the European Union, a bureaucratic monster that eats ever further into our individual lives. We should have seen this coming. Sadly we were betrayed by the lies and dissimulation of our politicians over many decades. The betrayal of America has taken place over a far shorter period. The betrayal of America is Obama.
Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote a classic study of American democracy in the nineteenth century, would no longer recognise the country. I do not mean simply because so much has changed in two hundred years. No, it’s at a more fundamental level. His American Republic was based on overlapping communities, a plurality of interests, something which gave it meaning and strength, something that kept state and government at suitable distance. Now the state, Obama state, is effectively crowding out the older forms of civil society, the older forms of liberty. It’s the big battalions now, no longer Edmund Burke’s small platoons.
The whole process saddens me. It saddens me that more Americans are not aware just how civil society and civil liberties have been eroded over the past four years by the most centralising government in the country’s history, a form of government that would once have been described as, well, un-American. Even religious communities are threatened by the overweening power of the state.
My thoughts here were focused by a brilliant article by George Weigel in the latest issue of the political journal Prospect (
Liberty, faith and Obama’s Leviathan). Take the massive health care bill which Congress passed in 2010. Did the senators and representatives actually read this document in its entirety? Has anyone read its 2000 odd pages and lived? No, probably not, but it’s a monster that has acquired a life of its own. Its acquired a life in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where, as Weigel says, one finds Obama’s statist tendencies at the most refined. Here the sacred flame of creeping state socialism is guarded with care.
This self-serving bureaucracy is set to acquire power over so many aspects of American life, of the life of ordinary Americans, set to be strangled in red tape. It’s staffed by people who represent the hard left of American politics. These are the refugees from The West Wing, now enjoying unprecedented and vicarious power, like the bureaucrats in
Europe. They have a bigger agenda. Weigel puts it thus;
For the regulators at HHS are not simply dedicated to the nationalisation of healthcare in the United States; they are committed to the use of federal regulatory power to promote and enforce their understanding of “preventative healthcare”, a euphemism that masks their commitment to the sexual revolution in its most extreme forms and their devotion to a virtually unrestricted abortion licence…Thus it seemed self-evidently clear o those drawing up plans for implementation of Obamacare that all employers be required to buy insurance plans that covered, not only contraceptives, but sterilisation and abortifacient drugs – all of which, to the permanent bureaucracy at HHS, are components of “preventative healthcare.”
Contraception here is not the issue. Contraception is widely available in the States. No, we are dealing with something more crucial; we are dealing with matters of conscience, conviction and religious principle. Obama, in his lack of wisdom, has taken on the Catholic Church and other religious communities in a manner I would never have believed possible in the
It’s not about birth control; the Church is not trying to impose itself on anyone. It’s about the use of coercive state power. It’s the insistence that the Church carry out procedures which conflict directly with its own teachings. In essence it’s about religious freedom and freedom of conscience, an issue over which Obama and his HHS minions have little or no comprehension. In Stalin’s
Russia, when the church was not being persecuted, it was turned into a department of state. In Obama’s America the Church is similarly set to be turned into a department of state.
An administration blind to religious freedom is also blind to other forms of freedom. The state is filling so many areas of discourse. The bureaucratic nightmare of Obamacare is creating, as Weigel indicates, a new Leviathan, the anti-pluralist form of rule identified in the seventeenth century by Thomas Hobbes. Power is being centralised, dissent marginalised. This is not a disease in isolation.
America has been infected by a European virus. Here the left is intolerant of dissent and debate. In American the left is equally intolerant of dissent and debate. Public space, in other words, is being filled with state power. American democracy is being consumed. Leviathan has a huge appetite.
It seems to me, that in this electoral year, that
America stands on a crossroads almost as critical as that in 1860. I can’t predict the future but the auspices are not good. I could only wish for a more effective and persuasive opponent to Obama than Mitt Romney. So much depends on opening the eyes and minds of the people to the dangers they face. If you want a possible view of the American future look to the European present - big government, big bureaucracy and massive waste all against the diminishing of personal freedom. It’s not a happy prospect. I feel sure that De Tocqueville would be horrified by the , the land of creeping tyranny. land of Obama