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Editor’s note: Listen to this column online.

When Constitutional scholar Barack Hussein Obama and the assortment legal advisers that surrounds him decided that the Commerce Clause authorized the federal government to force private citizens to purchase a product, freedom vanished from America.

With this newly declared authority, the federal government can force its citizens to do anything the government wishes. This omnipotent power is the same power exercised by the governments of Hitler, Stalin and all other despots who have denied freedom to their citizens.

What happened to freedom? It was erased, little by little, until we no longer have a choice among the types of light bulbs we buy. Government has dictated that its citizens can no longer buy a 40-cent incandescent light bulb; after Jan. 1, formerly free people living in a formerly free-market system will be forced by government to buy a $4 light bulb, probably made in China.

People in King County, Wash., are no longer free to use their private property as they wish; government has dictated that its residents must leave 65 percent of their property in its natural condition. People in Orem, Utah, are no longer free to water, or not water, their lawn. Betty Perry’s lawn was not as green as the government thought it should be, so an enforcement officer “…dragged her sorry a– off to a holding pen,” according to press reports at the time. In Collier County, Fla., people who live in designated areas south of State Road 80 are not allowed to develop their land. People who live in designated areas north of the highway are free to develop their land. Collier County is truly the land of the free – if you happen to own land in a government-designated area north of State Road 80.

Government says you must not smoke in public places or in many private businesses, and in some locations, not even in your own home. Government says you must wear a helmet if you ride a motorcycle. Government says you must wear seat belts in your automobile. Government says your child must be in an approved car seat if your car is moving on a public highway. These are a few examples of government-mandated behavior. If you deposit $5,000 or more in cash, the government requires the bank to report it. Finally, you, or anyone, can be detained by law enforcement officers – without a warrant – upon the simple declaration that you are suspected of affiliation with terrorist activity. Is this a government-controlled society or what?

The Constitution says citizens have the right to be “… secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects …” unless a judge, upon an “… oath or affirmation” issues a warrant.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is apparently unaware of this constitutional guarantee. For years now, they have tried to force farmers and other animal owners to declare and identify every cow, pig, horse, chicken and two dozen more species, and report any movement off the owner’s property to the federal government. Enormous public opposition has blocked this USDA project so far, but they are still trying to force formerly free people to report their assets to the government – without a warrant issued by a judge – as the Fourth Amendment requires.

What happened to freedom? A small group of people who believe that the rights of the community as a whole outweigh the rights of the individual have been successful in transforming the curriculum of the public education system. They have been successful recruiting and electing candidates to public office at every level of government. And they have been successful getting judges appointed to the bench. Consequently, laws. rules and regulations have been promulgated that give government the power to throw Betty Perry in jail for not watering her lawn and to dictate the behavior of all of its citizens.

The belief that the rights of the community outweigh the rights of the individual is the bedrock principle of communism. The belief that government has the inherent right to dictate the behavior of its citizens is another bedrock principle of communism. The belief that government should manage the economic affairs of its citizens is directly out of the Communist Manifesto. The more the Communist Manifesto is read and understood, the more clearly one sees the transformation that has been imposed upon a formerly free people.

The transformation began long before Barack Hussein Obama. He, unfortunately, seeks to drive the final nail into the coffin of freedom. Obama and the so-called progressives he leads are working diligently to expand government power and diminish the rights of the individual, to destroy the last vestige of a free market and to denigrate and discredit all who disagree with their communist philosophy.

Nowhere has this philosophy been delivered through local governments more effectively than through the idea of “sustainable development,” defined in Agenda 21. Sustainable development means “government-approved.” Every time the word “sustainable,” appears, replace it with the term “government-approved.” Think about it: “government-approved” development; “government-approved” agriculture; “government-approved” communities. Sounds a lot like communism, doesn’t it?

This is what happened to freedom.

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