The Progressive poisoning of liberty

“The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous. It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

-James Madison The Federalist No. 62

Progressives, of course, reject this. They regard the Constitution as a “living document,” whose legal constraints on government may be dispensed with in the fashion of Barack Obama suspending politically inexpedient parts of Obamacare. Progressives may prattle about “the law of the land,” but they desire a nation ruled by men, not by law.

Of course, it has to be the right men. A primary tenet of centrally planned economies is that having the “right people” in charge – the best and brightest, the brain-trust, the dollar-a-year men, the “czars” – improves everyone’s lives. The right men can direct the economy from their offices in Washington. They know if a sparrow falls, and why. If there is failure, the utopian visions are never at fault: It was the wrong men. The argument is still heard, for example, that Stalin and Mao failed because they were the “wrong” people: Communism would work with the right men in charge. Still, Progressives never come to wonder why the wrong people are always the ones who lead in Communist countries.

So, if the democratically elected head of the richest nation on earth, the brilliant and charismatic Barack Obama, isn’t the “right person” to usher in a statist utopia, who ever could be?