by Scott Martin, South Carolina Tenth Amendment Center

Big Government.  Collectivism.  Central authority.  Corporatism, fascism, socialism, etc.  Call it what you want, but it’s an overbearing master, operating in the name of we-know-best-and-we’ll-take-care-of-you type of government.

Somewhere around the dawn of civilization, a few people  thought human activity can and should be centrally planned and organized.  They have figured out how to advance the collectivist way of life.

They simply needed to get enough folks to agree to small doses of their plan, now and then, here and there, by teaching them it would be a good idea.

In our country, the plan has been marching forward quite steadily for about 100 years, or so.

The Three Legged stool.

The central authority was built on three legs, some weaker than others.  What are they?  Which is  the weakest?  How do we tip it over?


Constant bombardment with the message is the name of the game.  When I watch broadcast TV news, I feel I’m part of a very small minority with common sense, that these people live in a very different world than I do.  I tell myself there’s no way these talking heads believe what they’re saying (and don’t believe what they don’t say), but they keep saying it, over and over, night after night.  It’s all an illusion, and purposeful.


We’ll tell you what the facts are.  Don’t think outside the box.  Don’t ask questions outside a narrow range.  I think back to my school days, and how history and civics were taught to me.  I remember lessons that bear no resemblance to the real, grownup world I inhabit.


We’ll take charge, and never let go.  We’re the government, and we’re here to help.

I have always wanted to start my own business in the aviation world.  Every time I get really motivated, I find myself knocked down by wall of Washington bureaucracy, with no way to get to the other side where I could actually make some money.  Or at least not have my business shut down for violating some super important, but overlooked regulation.

How the collectivists built it.

1. If the key positions in mass media, both news and entertainment, were filled with people that agreed with you that a powerful central government was the way to go, you could convincingly get the word out with a consistent, ever-present message about how good and nice the government is.  Bombard everyone with a coordinated message.

The media dramatize a nasty part of the human condition, tout all the good that the government could do to solve it, with emphasis on how much the officials cares about you.  They tell the audience what they want them to hear, and don’t tell them what you don’t want them to hear.  After a few years (or generations) people would agree because they had heard it, and it alone, so many times that they just accepted it.  Some went along because they thought they were part of a very small minority of the population that though differently, so just went along to get along.

This crazy-train started with the advent of movies.  Talkies, they called them.  TV put it into overdrive.

2. For those who noted that the story didn’t match the facts, the second leg, education, would prop up the stool.  If the facts don’t match the message, change the facts.

After WWI, progressives found some sympathetic PhD candidates in the ivy league education programs.  These folks spread out these new government-friendly PhDs as they matriculated.  Eventually every kindergarten teacher in America would believe and teach the new facts, and disregard the old facts.

3. Since the ratification of the Constitution, the federal government has grown incrementally.  A few small bureaucracies that promote causes most people support get started.  They inevitably grow in size, scope, and power.  They spin off more bureaucracies.  As the media and education influence take hold of the population, more ‘great’ causes get taken up by government, and along with them come more bureaucracies.

Have you ever seen a bureaucracy eliminated?  This last leg is the sturdiest.  It can’t be taken out, because it would take politics to eliminate it, and it’s politically untouchable.  That’s why it’s there in the first place.

Slow Squeeze.

Here we are in the early 21st century, with a government that is demonstrably limiting personal and economic liberties that were protected by the Constitution.  It’s just a piece of paper, though, and knowledge of its contents, and its authors’ intent, are required for it to have enforcers.  Our media and educational institutions have been telling us for almost 100 years that it’s a living, breathing document.  The federal government tells us this in our schools.  The media touts it in the context of current events.

The kicker is that the bureaucracy, education system, and media tell us the federal government is the final arbiter on the Constitution’s ‘current’ meaning.  The outfit that doesn’t want its power limited, interprets for us the one thing that limits its power.  Convenient.

How to knock it over.

This whole thing rests on three legs, so if we take out just one, it topples.

The bureaucracies won’t go away.  In fact, you could probably find a majority of US citizens support a majority of the bureaucracies, if you mention any one by name.  Everyone has their pet project, or special interest, if you will.  If you just ask about nameless ‘bureaucracy,’ however, you’d get almost unanimous disdain.  The political fight to end each one would take years at least, and probably would never be won.  The whole system would collapse under it’s own weight beforehand, and the upheaval from such an event usually has ended up with an authoritarian government firmly in place.

If we could educate everyone the clearly stated ideas the framers of the Constitution put in it, we might eventually have enough people asking the right questions that we elect people to Washington that go to actually roll back the government.  After all, this was the collectivist plan.

That took about 100 years.  We don’t have that long.  Start teaching the meaning of the Constitution–limited government.  Teach states rights, and the 10th amendment, in particular.  Nothing else exists to counter the consolidation of power in one place.

Media is the wobbly leg.

While I think the traditional print and broadcast media spent their last round of credibility promoting, electing, and supporting Obama, I don’t think they’re dead.  The decision makers in the industry are still committed to the Big Government cause, and will continue to transmit the party line even after the last TV gets turned off and the last newspaper rests in the bottom of the birdcage.

People are hungry for some common sense in an easily accessible, mass media type format, though.  It’s out there on the blogs, websites, and once in a while on cable TV.  It’s inexpensive to access, and easy to find.  Print. Audio. Video.  It’s easy to produce, too.

The problem is simply that humans are creatures of habit.  Yes, it’s difficult to un-teach people things they’ve been told their whole life, and to be open-minded to a different point of view, but that’s not what I meant.  Folks that have been watching the CBS evening news since Johnson was president will continue to watch CBS evening news, no matter how bad it gets, until someone they know shows them the alternatives, and asks them to try it.

Action Plan.

Find your family and friends who are still watching dinosaurs.  Show them the alternatives.  Show them how unbelievably similar the mainstream media stories are from outlet to outlet–too similar to be coincidence.

Write on a blog.  Even if it is only once a month. Ask readers how any honest person could read a 16 page document that defines and stipulates a very limited government, but find in it three sentences that allow unlimited authority OVER the creators of said government.  Answer:  No honest person could.  Ask why free men would enslave themselves by voluntarily creating their own master.  Answer:  under no circumstances.

The Original Constitution

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The Tea Party groups have potential to make a difference in politics, and slowly dismantle bureaucracies.  Most of them don’t like what they see in general, but most of their individual members have  particular interests, like Social Security and Medicare. 

Mention the unmentionable–talk about entitlements.  The true cost of which is freedom.  Attend their events, and talk about the 10th amendment.  Make sure everyone knows that the states made the federal government, not the other way around.

Find the people that AREN’T going to the TAC Nullify Now tour.

It’s a long road back from the brink.  Find your individual way, and take the first step.

Scott Martin [send him email] is the state chapter coordinator for the South Carolina Tenth Amendment Center

Copyright © 2010 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given

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