There really is an unfortunate trend on the Right to run towards the “ALL ENCOMPASSING STATE” to solve problems they see with society. It doesn’t matter if it’s bathroom issues, marriage, schooling, pornography, or family, the Right believes it’s up to the “ALL ENCOMPASSING STATE” to do a quick fix, instead of taking a long term approach. It’s completely understandable because the Left has done the exact same thing, and enjoys a fair amount of success with it. But it doesn’t mean the Right should immediately try to emulate what the Left is doing. Reactionary laws, like Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance, begat more reactionary laws, like North Carolina’s bathroom bill, and just increase the government’s control of our lives. Unless the Right and the Left want to turn America into some version of the police state of Mega-City One, where almost everyone is outlawed, they will have to move away from the “ALL ENCOMPASSING STATE” and be willing to allow people to live their own lives how they see fit. The Left isn’t going to, so the Right needs to get back to actually being for “freedom and liberty,” instead of sort of for “freedom and liberty.”
This is something which has happened really since the beginning of country’s formation. The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by Congress and signed by John Adams in 1798, which violated the First Amendment because it limited what people could say in the press. The U.S. Supreme Court did Marbury v. Madison in 1803, which created the idea of judicial review out of nothing. This is completely ignoring the most ignoble part of the Constitution: slavery, which goes against the tenets of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness the Declaration of Independence loudly proclaims. It’s an unfortunate part of government because of how easily the “ALL ENCOMPASSING STATE” can seep its way into our lives.
It’s possible these failures by the original Congresses and presidents are why later Congresses and presidents saw it okay to go beyond what the Constitution set forth. The Progressive Era saw even more violations, with the creation of the USDA and the FDA in response to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. This created more bureaucracy for private businesses to go through, instead of society convincing meat packing companies to change their ways. The Progressive Era also saw people look towards the federal government to start fixing disasters, instead of letting private businesses and individuals try to help. The New Deal saw one of the biggest jumps in statism with price and wage controls, Social Security, and federal involvement in breaking down slums. The Great Society lead to the failed war on poverty. It also saw the supposedly conservative GOP create the VA, the EPA, and DHS which massively expanded the federal government’s role in our lives. Perhaps if the original federal government hadn’t given into the “ALL ENCOMPASSING STATE,” future governments would eschew the temptation.
I can see the detractors now, “But Taylor, all you’ve mentioned are federal government expansion of powers. North Carolina and Charlotte are state and local governmental bodies.” Here’s the thing: if the federal government hadn’t expanded their own powers, it’s possible state and local governments wouldn’t either. It should also be pointed out all politics are local, so small-time politicians who worked their way into state office were eventually able to bring their big government policies to the federal level. Conceal carry bans were done by states first, before the federal government got involved. The Progressive Era started with local and state officials, as did the temperance push. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on local and state elections where the “ALL ENCOMPASSING STATE” can start revealing its head. Here’s also where it’s extremely important to keep politicians accountable and not let them run roughshod when they’re in DC.
There are certainly situations the federal government can be involved in, but the power still has to be checked. I do not believe George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams believed the U.S. military should be as humongous or as involved as in world affairs as it is. It’s doubtful they believed the U.S. should be involved in massive trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, and TPP or entangling alliances like the UN and NATO. The question is just how far should the federal government’s power go? How far should the state and local governments’ power go? People have to avoid giving the “ALL ENCOMPASSING STATE” all the power in the world or they’ll soon end up in a position where the individual has no power at all. Which would be a tragedy.