The consequences of ignoring the basics

Dennis Petrucelli

Oh, those “V8 moments” when looking back at failures, only to discover that it was because we forgot or ignored the basics.

The framers, when forming our Republic stressed as essential, individual liberty, a free market economy, entrepreneurship, private property, high moral character and limited government. They viewed these six essential qualities as representative of the basics that would hold and retain America’s democratic way of government. To forget or ignore the framers reasoning then, is to guarantee failure and the end of our democracy.

The Declaration of Independence underscores their concern as they purposefully invoked that our unalienable Rights come from the Creator, not for religious purposes, but to emphasis those rights as natural born and not granted by “man.” It is also evident from the U.S. Constitution’s “We the people” that the framers held that the government being formed, sole purpose, was to serve its people, and not the reverse.  

In that same vein we should also take note that the framers were mindful of, and discouraged party affiliation. They did so because they believed that a two-party system would lead to a “loyalty to party” above country and hence promote tribalism.  Unfortunately, today in every aspect of our society we are witness to this bitter division.

We have those in power and position who continue to write their own narrative rather than the framers’ objective and established truths.  They do so because their mission is to discredit and eliminate every kind of human excellence, moral, cultural, social, intellectual.  We also have many utilizing strategic tactics such as, shame, blame or invoking guilt, demanding apologies, and cutting political enemies down with assorted factious or hyperbolic claims. They deny due process, invoke pre-judgment and apply a “Red Queen’s Justice.” They do so while simultaneously demanding you bow to their altar of political correctness and identity politics.  

This same group continues to attack our free market system and demonize successful entrepreneurs as if self- reliance was a mental illness and success a crime. They claim “democratic socialism” as a better model while denying it is factually “old time” socialism. Merriam-Webster defines socialism as “any of various economic or political theories advocating collective or government ownership and the administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”  One only need a cursory look at the left’s political agenda to see it meets this definition.  

To wit, we find with Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris’s demand for “Medicare for All” a plan that would replace private insurance and establish the federal government as a single payer who will decide what care to deliver, which drug to pay for, and how much to pay medical providers.  There it is “government control”.

The left’s utopian “Green New Deal” is first, laughingly fuzzy math at its best.  Secondly buried in all the hype is the fact that it also calls for “government control” of the most fundamental aspects of our private lives. The short time table would require America to be carbon neutral in 10 years, while ignoring that renewables provide approximately 11 percent of U.S. energy today. 

Further, consider their center plank with its diktat of producing 100% of electricity through clean and zero emissions. A 2015 plan from Stanford envisions that such an undertaking would require the installation of 154,000 offshore wind turbines, 355,000 onshore wind turbines, 75 million residential photovoltaic solar systems, 2.75 million commercial solar systems, and 46,000utility scale solar facilities. Alexandria Cortez made it clear that it is “government” that will be building all of this not the private sector. Perhaps, the dirty little secret here is that the Green New Deal isn’t real?  Perhaps its’ only a ploy to attract voters and that is why Alexandria Cortez has already taken it down from her website? Perhaps?

Then there is a call for “the government” to guarantee a basic income to augment the Green New Deal’s negative affect on employment. Yet Finland’s pilot project in offering guarantee income failed to produce evidence that providing the unemployed with a guarantee minimum doesn’t guarantee they will look for work.  But, do we really even need a study, given America’s history of how difficult it is to get many people off the dole or state unemployment. In that same vein our history is also replete with people who cherished and were of a mind to have the freedom to decide independently?  Who were and are self-reliant and refused government handouts and even embarrassed to be tethered to government handouts?

Elizabeth Warren’s direct attack on entrepreneurship is nothing short of an egregious form of intrusive “government control.” And to weaken the incentive to be productive, competitive and efficient Alexandria Cortez would demand a 70 percen tax rate on higher incomes.   

The left’s political platform also calls to raise payroll taxes to 14.8 percent for incomes above $400,000.   But not to be outdone Elizabeth Warren comes back with a proposal of a 2 percent tax rate for incomes above $50 million and 3 percent above $1 billion which includes assets abroad. Did Elizabeth Warren bother to notice that France dumped their wealth tax because it proved to be counter-productive.  And has there ever been a tax a politician didn’t like and that continued to spiral downward digging deeper and reaching into more taxpayers’ pockets. 

Defense of private property ownership is another dividing line to maintain one’s freedoms.  And as such we need to judicially guard this right. The government continues its eminent domain attempts at eroding all forms of property rights, real property, contractual rights, patents, trade secrets and copyrights.  Eminent domain is used to confiscate lands for public use.  Both federal and state government confiscate property before a person is convicted of a crime. The Takings Clause incorporated in the Fifth Amendment limits eminent domain by requiring  “ just compensation” but it doesn’t stop the government from trying and sometime succeeding (see Kelo v City of New London)  Courts  lean in favor of Congress and the  states,  as to what constitutes “public use” arguing that property need not actually be used by the public but its use or disposal  thereof derive a benefit for the public welfare. 

This all makes it pretty evident that given the enormous undertaking suggested in the aforementioned 2015 Stanford Plan would force the federal government to invoke Eminent Domain claiming private lands, easements, etc. as being for the public welfare. There has been an ongoing battle between government and private property owners now as to the unsavory environmental impact wind turbines and solar fields have had on people, birds of prey, etc.

The framers understood the motives and methods of ambitious people and that explains their careful and precise wording.

 The framers sought limited government and hence limited interference by government.  The political class instinctively move to gain more power and control both by misuse or inventing Constitutional rights or ignoring Congress and utilizing judicial activism as a tool for their progressive agenda.   

It is therefore imperative that interpretation of the U.S. Constitution be based solely on its original understanding at the time it was ratified and that the meaning of its content can only be changed by the procedure set forth in Article Five. Some would argue that the times have changed since the Constitution’s ratification and hence it is a Living Document. I would counter with, perhaps times have changed but people motivated by power and control have not, and since the beginning of time the propensity for mischief and mayhem to achieve their goals and desires as always prevailed. History records America as the longest lasting democratic experiment and it is precisely because of strict adherence to the Three Articles of Freedom.

Dennis Petrucelli is a resident of the Village of Bonnybrook and a frequent contributor to