The purpose of the Constitution was to establish a set of inalienable rights that would never be infringed at all, and thus could not be rolled downhill. There are supposed to be some aspects of individual freedom that are forever off the table, no matter how urgently benevolent politicians and super-intelligent regulators want to violate them for the “greater good.” Once concessions have been made from an absolute right, it is no longer absolute, and its further dissolution becomes negotiable. It is now common for these concessions to be extracted through executive action and judicial decisions, rather than using the amendment process provided by the Constitution. But for an example of a very slippery slope that began the “right” way, with a Constitutional amendment, compare the current state of the income tax to the promises made at its inception. How much government power grew from the concession that income could be directly taxed – just a tiny little bit, mind you, and only from the vast income of millionaires, never the hard-won paychecks of the working man?
Today it seems as though we’re surrounded by issues that would have been dismissed as the fanciful delusions of slippery-slope paranoia only a few years ago. And of course, we are once again promised there will be no further developments, no efforts to take a political crusade in directions that today’s voters would never approve of. There seems to be little interest in exhuming the ignored warnings of yesterday’s critics, to measure the accuracy of concerns that were waved away. What receives less respect in today’s culture than the wisdom of previous ages? Tradition is inertia, mindless obedience to hollow ritual! And yet, those who insist on moving rapidly “forward” seem unable to consider the danger of racing down a decline marked with points of no return.