LEEF: Are we past the point of no return?

House speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., greets President Joe Biden as he arrives to deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris applauds at left. (Julia Nikhinson/Pool via AP)

For decades, powerful forces have been working to transform the U.S. from a free society under constitutionally-limited government into a controlled society under omnipotent government.  

The best name for the coalition that wants this transformation is Takers. Everything they want involves taking liberty and property away from the rest of us. They don’t produce value; they feel entitled to take it. 

We’ve always had some Takers, but for most of our history, the law was against them. Stealing was illegal and laws protected our right to say “no” when they asked for support.  

So the Takers set their sights on subverting the law — changing it from a shield protecting individual rights into a sword they could use to force people to obey them. In that, they’ve been amazingly successful.  

Older Takers such as John F. Kennedy were content merely to siphon away some of America’s great output for their supporters, but the new generation have embraced the idea that America is essentially an evil country. They insist on an “economic reset” to dismantle capitalism and a “living Constitution” that gives government virtually limitless power. 

If they get their way, America will wither, losing prosperity and innovation, which only thrive under freedom. But the Takers aren’t concerned with our long-run health. They crave authority now. Besides, they are so utterly convinced of their righteousness that they can’t imagine any bad consequences stemming from control by enlightened, “scientific” people like themselves. 

The bad news is that the Takers are close to their goal of cementing themselves into power.  

Currently, they have the White House, Congress, and the vast, heavily partisan federal bureaucracy.  

The media is dominated by reporters and commentators who have been steeped all their lives in collectivistic ideology, and slant everything to make people believe in the need for bigger government.  

Our education system has become a training ground for the Takers. From grade school through college and beyond, students are fed a diet of socialist clichés and lessons meant not to impart knowledge, but to instill a sense of grievance. Very rarely do students hear anything about the benefits of economic freedom and limited government. And if students dare to defend those concepts, they’re apt to suffer reprisals from teachers and classmates. 

In monetary resources, the Takers have a huge edge. They get to spend tax money in vast quantities to buy the allegiance of voters. As for private funds, philanthropies that favor leftism have about five times the resources of those that support traditional American values. 

The Takers don’t believe either in debate or democracy and have therefore contrived to stifle freedom of speech so that opposing voices aren’t heard, and to rig our elections.  

With all their power and resources, the Takers are getting close to their objective: a radically different America under their direction. Can those of us who don’t want their vision of the future possibly pull the country back from the edge and restore the spirit of liberty that made America so successful? 

It seems an unfair fight, but we have some things in our favor.  

One is that many people no longer trust in government. That’s been helped greatly by the reactions of officials to Covid. People have seen the blatant hypocrisy of politicians and their efforts at suppressing information contrary to their mandates. The authoritarian policies of federal, state, and local governments caused so much harm to so many people that they now doubt the Taker mantra that government always acts in the public interest. 

Another is that people are looking for educational alternatives to the politicized government schools and colleges. This is starting to weaken the ideological hold that leftist indoctrination has over young people. 

Another hopeful sign is that Americans increasingly see the mainstream media as hopelessly biased, much as Russians used to see Pravda. Thus, the ability of the media to cover for the damage big government is doing to the country is fading. 

The Takers’ worldview is an intellectual house of cards, ready to fall with any breeze of reality. That’s what happens in my novel The Awakening of Jennifer Van Arsdale, causing a profound mental transformation in the main character.  

I believe that the U.S. is ready for a counterattack against the bloated, domineering, intolerant, prodigiously costly government we now suffer under. The Takers have overplayed their hand. Americans are ready for a renewal of the spirit of liberty. 

George Leef is Director of Research at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal in Raleigh. The Awakening of Jennifer Van Arsdale is his first novel.