(This is the fourth of a series on Freedom, beginning with “The Agenda” archived here under “commentaries”.)

When we are told by politicians that they want to establish some well-meaning program that will help the poor or the middle class we assume that they are, whether right or wrong, at least sincere in their belief that their program will be successful and improve the well being of the masses. I am here to state unequivocally, this is not true.

If success of a program was the goal, how does one explain that for years the federal government has taken over more and more of this nation’s educational system, poured ever-increasing amounts of money into educating our kids, and grades have declined yearly? If success was the standard, we would have changed tactics years ago. But we haven't. Many children can't do basic math, spell, or write a coherent sentence. Yet, every year, government proposes more money and controls over our school system without solving the problems that plague it.

The inescapable conclusion is that politicians don't care about improving our educational system, they care about controlling it. To them, the more power the government has to call the shots in education, set the pay of teachers, and prescribe the curriculum, the more they enjoy the power they have accumulated. It's not about kids learning. It's all about political control.

The fact is that it’s almost impossible to fire a public employee, and bonuses are given almost automatically regardless of the results of any particular government agency or program. This is testimony to the fact we have developed kingdoms for politicians, not programs to help people.

The Veteran's Administration is a perfect example. For years medical care for Vets has been diminishing. It's not for lack of money since the Vets are granted more money by both parties yearly, and everyone concerned agrees that our men and woman in uniform deserve the best care possible when they return from service.

Yet, we at the same time have seen medical care deteriorate to the point that it has led to Vets dying waiting for care. The disintegration of the system has been ongoing for decades and well publicized. No administration has been able to solve this problem, even as funds have been increased yearly and after several heads of the VA have resigned or been replaced, the system itself continues to exist and deteriorate.

The reason? Better care isn't the goal. It's all about preserving the “system.” The way that public hospitals are run versus private hospitals is the difference between day and night. The private sector is a for-profit system where the customer comes first. Public hospitals are bureaucracies run by and for bureaucrats, unions, and politicians, not for profit, but for the benefit of the system itself. The system is inferior, yet it is considered an ideal of the Left. It is a single payer system, i.e., socialized medicine.

Vets can lay sick and dying before many public doctors, nurses, or assistants will forego a lunch break or take on an extra patient. They have rules about such things. This is the benevolence of the universal health care system. The fact that things got so bad that patients were actually dying led to a cover up. The problem had to be covered up rather than solved, since to expose the failure of the system would have put the system of socialized medicine on trial. Hence they sacrificed the individual rather than expose the failure of the supposed “ideal” system; and of course to preserve their jobs and perks.

Which brings us to Obamacare. In the name of "more affordable care,” prices have skyrocketed for the middle class, while the poor have received free care. Things started to get so bad that many of the penalties and new laws which make up Obamacare have been put on hold, lest there be a small revolution among the recipients. We will not see the full impact of the penalties of Obamacare until Obama is out of office, but they’re coming. The VA is just a peek at Obamacare in the future, if allowed to stand.

Many experts who were shocked at the state of care at VA hospitals agreed that an immediate solution to help those unable to get treatment would be to give Vets a voucher that they can cash at any hospital. Or even allow all Vets to enroll in Obamacare to get immediate treatment. Both plans would have solved the treatment problem almost immediately. Both were dismissed by the Administration. Why? It’s because the “ideal” of socialized medicine - like the “ideal” of public education - is so important that the system must be defended at any price, even at the expense of the individuals it aims to serve. “It isn’t the system; it’s the administration of the system that’s the problem” we are told by our President. Change the man at the top but keep the system.

Most liberals and progressives believe this. The idea of “the good” is totally divorced from reality and proven results in favor of theory and “morality,” Most of these ideas are the result of worshiping altruism: the doctrine of self-sacrifice. If we all sacrifice to help the poor, or the kids, or the Vets, or whoever and whatever, it must work because it is the “right thing to do.” Sacrifice is the good, and self-interest as practiced in the free market is “the bad.”

The fact that self-sacrifice doesn’t work as a political system is totally ignored by the Left.  It didn't work in Communist Russia, Communist China, or Cuba. The fact that free market capitalism does work is totally ignored, as in West Germany versus East Germany, or in South Korea versus North Korea. Liberals in this country are willing to impose any controls necessary and pour any amount of money into their programs even when they fail, hanging on to the belief that in the end they must work because they are “moral.”

This leads to our political leaders not being interested in solving the problems we have. They are more interested in maintaining “the ideal system,” and fighting to the death to curtail the market economy which is made up of greedy self-interested businessmen and selfish individuals that only care about profit, and nothing and no one else. If left to their own devices these freedom-loving types would devour the world.

To the Left, it's all about maintaining power and control over the individual.   The Individual can’t be trusted. Freedom must only be allowed when controlled and regulated, according to Liberal and Progressive doctrine. A society without the government controlling and regulating almost every aspect of individual life is Anarchy to the big government idealists.

We can go on and on. We could cite the EPA that confiscates individual property arbitrarily to protect endangered species or the environment with no due process, and mandates laws with no consent from Congress. It’s a run-away government institution with the power to coerce, confiscate, make law, prosecute and fine, all with no need to justify its actions.

Or we could cite Dodd-Frank, a thousand pages of new laws, regulations and controls all going into effect this year. The Volker Rule, called a “key component” of the law, endeavors to restrict the way banks can invest while regulating derivatives. It was devised to make sure that a financial crisis could never happen again. To this day, six years after the greatest financial crisis of our lifetime, no one can figure out how to define, let alone implement, the Volker Rule.

Yet, as of this year we will be living under thousands of laws, rules and regulations that will impede small businesses, corporations, and financial institutions from doing business while raising costs to all consumers. Is success the goal of Dodd-Frank legislation? Will it increase economic progress or prevent another financial crisis? The goal is to do so, but every indication is that this legislation will do more damage to the economy than prevent economic and monetary upheavals in the future.

Every expert and even the vast majority of politicians in both parties admit Dodd-Frank has done nothing to eliminate government and financial institutions that are “too big to fail”. Yet, regardless, all the controls and regulations of the State are about to descend on us, and no one lifts a finger to prevent it. This idea, that imposing more controls and regulations will in itself solve problems is absurdly false. Yet we clamor for them yearly with no proof of past success.

In every case described above – and many more  there is a running theme: the individual is expendable and the “system” or the “agency” is superior and must survive at all costs. Trampling over individual rights and the right to property, which is essential to a free society, is immaterial in the federally created kingdoms above. Freedom is being sacrificed to idealism, to government control and regulation of individuals, and to political whim. The federal government is now firmly in control.

Ronald Reagan said it best: “The federal government forgets; it’s not the government that created the states; it’s the states that created the government.” In today’s world, a world of edicts, mandates, and thousand page laws that descend from on high, we have forgotten the individual and his rights. It used to be that the federal government’s power was extremely limited, and most problems were solved on the state and local level.

Today every policy is judged by the President or the Congress as to whether it will help society, help the middle class, help the poor, help women, help the environment, help the economy. Nowhere do we speak of protecting the individual's freedom. It is all about control of the individual for the good of the collective. The means justify the ends. There is no rule of law. There is no line in the sand. There is more federal abuse of power evident today than at any time in our nation’s history.

There is no more eloquent example of this than the clamoring to increase the minimum wage. In this entire national debate has anyone thought to ask the employer whether he wants to raise wages? No. He’s immaterial. The fact that there is a contract between him and his employee is immaterial. The fact that it is his money that is to be confiscated is immaterial. The employer can own his business, but the state will tell him how to run it and what to pay his employees, and how much of his profit he can keep.

If a mandate by the President sounds reasonable and will help somebody, so what if it is not legal as long as “it’s the right thing to do”? No one cares to ask, what if it’s the wrong thing to do? What is being established today is legal precedent. In the future, any tin-type dictator can come along and use that precedent in the name of the “greater good.” It is becoming a matter of whim, no longer a matter law.

Think about the recent decision by the Supreme Court to allow employers to opt out of providing contraceptives to women on religious grounds. Why did the Administration take this to the Supreme Court? If they really wanted all women to have free contraceptives, all they needed to do is provide those contraceptives through facilities already established throughout the country. Problem solved!

But the Administration is not interested in women's lives. They’re interested in the control of lives they are establishing within “Obamacare”. They want this as a political issue to show that they are for women, and anyone that is against providing free birth control is anti-woman. The precedent being sought is the federal government’s right to supply something they feel is important – for free – to anyone. It’s a foot in the door to further the goal of a single payer system -- socialized medicine.

This kind of thinking opens the door to the “benevolent dictator”. Hitler started that way. He was elected because he was perceived as being for the German people, for the national interest, and for the man on the street. He was very popular. Soon he became the law of the land and no one stood against his popularity.

From this kind of thinking comes the IRS which can just as easily turn into the Gestapo and persecute minorities for their political views. There has to be a line in the sand. There has to be the rule of law. And there has to be the sanctity of the individual over the State. And if there is not…then comes Caesar.

If you think I exaggerate, ponder the fact that 71% of the American people believe (according to present polls) there is an IRS cover-up going on. Then consider that the press gave it a total of 3 MINUTES of coverage on the evening news in the week after the IRS e-mails were reported missing. We are looking at a possible IRS conspiracy to persecute private citizens for their political views – a crime larger than Watergate -- and the press looks the other way. Why? Perhaps not to go against President Obama who stated unequivocally, “There is not a smidgen of proof that the IRS did anything wrong”. Case closed…But for a free press? Why?

In just the last few weeks the President has declared “If congress can’t act on core issues (his issues) that will make a difference, then we’re going to have to act...” Freely translated: if Congress won’t act on the issues Obama wants handled, then to hell with Congress and the law making process; he will decide what’s right and wrong and establish the law of the land. After all, “It’s important.”

 “I’ve got a pen and a phone” he said. “And that’s all I need.” Freely translated, I don’t need the advice and consent of Congress as stipulated by the Constitution. These matters are too important for such niceties. “Where Congress won’t act” he declared, “I will.”  And if you don’t like it?  “Sue me!” He said.

 What about the rule of law Mr. President? What about the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?

 If you can break contracts, change laws at will, and make new ones up as you go along, we no longer have a Constitutional Republic. We have the beginnings of a dictatorship.

Folks – we’re in trouble. We need the rule of law in this country as set down by our Founding Fathers -- individuals that were scholars, philosophers, and patriots against tyranny. We need to stand up against anyone who attempts to simply disregard it. Never before has such a document as the Constitution been written and followed by a nation. For over 200 years we have been that beacon of light to all other nations. It’s what makes America, America. The Constitution embodies the rule of law and the sanctity of the individual which is precious and unique to this country.

We need to fight to protect it. Speak out whenever possible.

Paul Nathan