The classic definition of socialism is: government control of the sources of production. A bill now before Congress, H.R. 2421, will give the federal government absolute control over all sources of production. This bill, if enacted, will instantly convert the United States into a socialist nation.
The debate, however, is not about the merits of socialism over capitalism and free markets; the debate is about water. The bill will give to the federal government control over all water in the United States, and control over all “… activities affecting these waters.”
Water is essential in the production of virtually everything. If the government controls water, and all “activities affecting these waters,” then the government controls the sources of production.
There is absolutely no need for the government to take this draconian step. Water is already regulated far beyond necessity. The control and regulation of water has stripped property rights from people in every state – often for no definable public benefit. This bill will destroy the last vestige of the idea of private property rights.
For more than a generation, the liberal philosophy that government should “manage” society has prevailed in the education system and in practice. The 1973 Endangered Species Act gave the federal government power to declare private property to be “critical habitat” under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Court decisions in the 1980s defined privately owned “wetlands” to be the jurisdiction of the federal government. The 1990s saw the rise of comprehensive planning as the most effective way to control the use of land. Now, we’re faced with a bill to give government the power to control the use of water and all “activities affecting these waters,” and with it goes all claims to private property rights.
Americans have accepted the idea that the protection of a single population of a sub-species of some bug or weed is more important than the rights of the property owner. Americans have accepted the idea that some appointed planning council knows better how land should be used than the people who own and pay taxes on the land. Now, Americans are expected to accept the notion that government should control the water supply, and thereby control the sources of all production.
With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the current economic downturn, no one seems to be pointing to government’s involvement in and mismanagement of the marketplace. Why Americans sat by and allowed government to take their freedom away piecemeal is a mystery posterity will surely ponder. Historically, Americans rallied behind whatever effort it took to keep socialism from overtaking this nation. Now, Congress is moving rapidly toward enacting a law that will effectively embrace socialism.
The voices in Washington in opposition to this transformation are few and are drowned out by big-name officials who command media attention. This condition did not occur overnight. For a generation, a government-controlled education system has produced people who actually believe that government should be the master of society, rather than society being the master of government.
For a generation, these people have been gaining political power in local, state and federal offices. Now, it is difficult to find an elected body of government anywhere that is not dominated by people who believe the power of government must supersede the power of the people.
This condition will not be corrected overnight – if ever. Someone has to teach a new generation why the U.S. Constitution produced the most prosperous nation ever. Someone has to explain to a new generation the difference between a free market and a market managed by government. Someone has to teach a new generation that the exercise of freedom does not require the government’s permission.
The “someone” here will be the people who are elected to local, state and federal offices over the next several years. If the people who cherish freedom over government control fail to find and elect like-minded representatives, then freedom will continue to fade and government control – socialism – will continue to flourish.
Listen carefully to the candidates for every office, and reject those who campaign for more government programs and more government control. Identify those in the city council, county commission and in the state legislatures who vote for expanded government control – and vote for their opponents (if they advocate more freedom). Look at the list of cosponsors of H.R. 2421, and tell them to vote against this socialist bill. Read the bill yourself, and don’t let your representative tell you that it doesn’t expand government power over all “activities affecting these waters.”
This bill is expected to see floor action within the next several weeks. If it is enacted, it will not likely ever be undone. Once government gets its hands on new power, it is never relinquished.
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