American Dream Become the American Nightmare?
By John W.
“Most Germans, so far as I could see, did not seem
to mind that their personal freedom had been taken
away, that so much of their splendid culture was
being destroyed and replaced with a mindless
barbarism, or that their life and work were being
regimented to a degree never before experienced even
by a people accustomed for generations to a great
deal of regimentation … On the whole, people did not
seem to feel that they were being cowed and held
down by an unscrupulous tyranny. On the contrary,
they appeared to support it with genuine
enthusiasm.” ― William L. Shirer,
The Nightmare Years 1930-40
- For too long now, the American people have allowed
themselves to be persuaded that the government’s job is
to take care of us: to feed us, clothe us, house us,
educate us, raise our children, heal our infirmities,
manage our finances, protect us from our enemies, guard
us against all dangers (real and imaginary), and provide
for our every need.
go wrong is in failing to recognize that there’s
always a catch to such devil’s bargains purportedly
carried out for the good of all society.
You want free
education for your children? The government can take
care of it. In exchange for free public schools,
however, your children will be molded and indoctrinated
into compliant, obedient citizens who reflect the
government’s values rather than your own.
You want free
health care? The government can take care of that, too.
In exchange, your medical decisions—how you live and
die—will ultimately be determined by corporations to
whom you are little more than a line item impacting
their profit and loss margins.
You want to be
insulated from all things that might cause offense?
That’s not a problem for the government. Its thought
police will use hate crime laws to criminalize speech,
thought and actions that may be politically incorrect.
You want a
guarantee of safety? Sure, but your local police will
also have to be militarized and trained in battlefield
tactics, your communities and communications will be
subjected to round-the-clock surveillance, and you—the
citizenry—will be treated as suspects and enemy
You want to
root out domestic extremism and terrorism? That’s just
fine. But in the process of identifying and targeting
terrorists, the government will have the power to label
anyone who disagrees with its policies as an
extremist/terrorist and subject them to indefinite
starting to get the picture?
This is the
terrible price—the loss of our freedoms and the
enslavement of future generations—that must eventually
be paid for the goods and services rendered by a
government whose priorities are the acquisition of
ever-more power, control and money.
As the old
adage warns: “A government big enough to give you
everything you want is a government big enough to take
away everything that you have.”
we’ve been on the receiving end of the government’s
taxpayer-funded handouts—and its deceptively
well-intended dictates—for so long that many Americans
have forgotten what it is to think for themselves,
provide for themselves, and govern themselves.
age of entitlement is a far cry from the kind of
constitutional republic America’s founders envisioned.
Gone is the
proud, independent-minded, pioneering spirit of early
Americans like my parents who
rejected what they called “hand-outs,” worked hard
for whatever they had, protected their homes and
families, and believed the government’s job was to
govern based on the consent of the governed and not
fiercely-independent, early Americans who took to heart
James Madison’s admonition to
distrust all those in power with today’s citizens
who not only expect the government to care for their
needs but have blindly entrusted the government with
vast, growing powers.
By giving the
government the green light to act in loco parentis
and treat the citizenry as children in need of
caretakers, “we the people” have allowed ourselves to be
demoted and infantilized, reduced from knowledgeable,
independent-minded, capable masters of a republic to
wayward, undisciplined, dependent, vulnerable children
incapable of caring for ourselves.
It’s time to
despite the fact that we allowed the government to
become all-knowing, all-powerful and all-mighty in the
mistaken belief that it would make our lives safer,
easier and more affluent, we’re still shocked when that
power and might is used against us.
It’s time to
stop being so gullible and so trusting.
Even when the
headlines blare out the news about SWAT team raids gone
awry, police shootings of unarmed citizens, roadside
cavity searches of young women, children being shackled
and tasered, and Americans jailed for profit in private
prisons, we still somehow maintain our state of denial
until suddenly we’re the ones in the firing line being
treated like suspects and criminals, having our skulls
cracked, our doors smashed, our pets shot, our children
terrorized, and our loved ones jailed for non-offenses.
It’s time to
remove those rose-colored, partisan-tinted glasses and
wake up to the fact that our nation of sheep has given
a government of wolves.
deep down, we have suspected that the system is run by
an elite who views the citizenry as little more than
cattle destined for the slaughterhouse, we’re still
shocked to find ourselves treated like slaves and
How could we
not have seen it coming?
How long has
the writing been on the wall?
How could we
have been so blind, deaf and dumb to the warnings all
it happens this way in every age, in every place where
freedom falls and tyranny flourishes.
Huxley recognized in his foreword to Brave New World:
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in
which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and
their army of managers control a population of slaves
who do not have to coerced, because they love their
servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in
present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of
propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.”
This is how the
seeds of authoritarianism are planted and watered and
cultivated into aggressive, invasive growths that can
quickly dominate an environment.
tyrants don’t always come to power in a show of force.
Often, they sweet-talk their way to absolute power,
buoyed along by a wave of populist demand for someone to
save the country from economic, military and political
Jim Powell writes for Forbes:
didn’t take over a small government with an
effective separation of enumerated, delegated and
limited powers. He took over a large welfare state…
He dealt with unemployment by introducing forced
labor for both men and women. Government control
of the economy made it virtually impossible for
anyone to seriously threaten his regime. Hitler
added secret police, death camps and another war
machine. The German educational system, which had
inspired so many American progressives, played a
major role in all this… the government gained
complete control of schools and universities, and
their top priority was teaching obedience. The
professorial elite promoted collectivism. The
highest calling was working for the government.
It can easily
In fact, the
early signs of this downshift are all around us if you
only know where to look.
You can smell
it in the air: there’s danger coming. A
recent New Yorker article reveals the
lengths some of the wealthiest in America are going to
in order to survive an apocalyptic breakdown of society:
isolated refuges, bunkers, gas masks, generators, solar
panels, ammunition, etc.
You can see it
in the changes taking place all around you: the
government is preparing for something ominous. For
Pentagon is using a dystopian training video to
prepare special forces to deal with the urban challenges
of megacities: criminal networks, illicit economies,
decentralized syndicates of crime, substandard
infrastructure, religious and ethnic tensions,
impoverishment, economic inequality, protesters, slums,
open landfills, over-burdened sewers, and a “growing
mass of unemployed.”
You can hear it
in the news coming out of the independent media: the
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches have
already weakened our long-established bulwarks against
tyranny by their constant undermining of the
Constitution and the president’s amassing of imperial
We are no
longer a constitutional republic.
dream is turning into a living nightmare.
We are fast
moving towards full-blown fascism.
So what’s the
The powers that
be can—and will—continue to distract us with electronic
gadgets and entertainment news, they can seduce us with
promises they have no intention of keeping, they can
drug us with politics packaged to resemble religion, and
they can use the schools to breed a populace of
In the end,
however, the choice of whether to keep drinking the
Kool-Aid or reject the false prophets and promises of
the police state—a.k.a. fascism or totalitarianism or
tyranny—rests with “we the people.”
After all, as I
make clear in my book
Battlefield America: The War on the American People,
it was “we the people” who struck this devil’s bargain
in the first place, trading our liberties for dubious
promises of prosperity, security and advancement.
inaction, our apathy and our unwillingness to do the
hard work of holding the government accountable, perhaps
“we the people” have been the greatest menace to
Perhaps all of
this is our fault.
advice was that if you made a mess, you had to clean it
No one else is
going to clean this mess up for us, certainly not anyone
on the government’s payroll.
As Jim Powell
rightly concludes: “Ultimately,
liberty can be protected only if people care enough to
fight for it, because everywhere governments push
for more power, and they never give it up willingly.”
So let’s stop
buying into the fairytale that politicians are saviors,
capable of fixing what’s wrong with our communities and
expecting the government to solve all our problems.
the partisan game that paints anyone not of your
political persuasion as evil.
the insanity of an immoral system of government that
sees nothing wrong with bombing innocent civilians,
jailing innocent citizens, and treating human beings as
little more than cattle.
a system of laws, tactics and policies that are
illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.
While you’re at
it, start taking responsibility for your lives—and your
freedoms—again. And maybe, just maybe, there will be
some hope for tomorrow.
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is
founder and president of The
Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield
America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks,
2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
expressed in this article are solely those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of
Information Clearing House.