The federal government’s functions now include
protecting children from parents;
protecting schools from states, parents and students;
protecting employees from employers;
protecting criminals from police;
protecting adherents from their own faiths.
The Bill of Rights’ main function was once to protect citizens from the federal
government, but fortunately, that government
(with a few amendments and interpretations)
now protects us from the Constitution.
Note: I realize some of these lines are arguable. But there must be something to them, given how hard we’ve been arguing about them. Example: The government protecting criminals from police. One could argue that the government only protects criminals from police who abuse the laws and violate the rights of the accused. Though certainly there’s something to the other side as well.
When I wrote this, some government actions to protect parishioners from their faiths made sense (such as priests who sexually abused kids); but they often made no sense—federal courts allowing deprogrammers to be “expert witnesses,” for instance, and for many years allowing these same deprogrammers to kidnap and attempt to brainwash (de-brainwash, they claimed) members of faiths that the parents of those kidnapped didn’t like. Eventually a court stopped them, but it took many years.
If you’ll look at the Bill of Rights newly, I think you’ll see that it does attempt to protect individuals against government overreach and protect minorities against majorities. For example, you are free to speak out even if the government or the majority disagrees—at least per the Bill of Rights. So, of course, it is in the interest of a controlling (scared) government to set things up so that freedom of speech becomes freedom for certain people to censor the speech of other people (with the government’s encouraging this censorship hidden and disclaimed)—thus setting one group of people against another group of people, while the government claims, “It has nothing to do with us!”
In other words, the Bill of Rights has been undermined. Now, why would a government do that?
Lest you think I’m arguing for the right wing here, I’m not sure that it’s been better under Republican administrations. The “small government” people (like Ron and Rand Paul) have not been running things. In any case, I wrote that rant at a time when I knew nothing of Trump and Biden, woke, etc. I just noticed that our government was like a butcher with his thumb on the scale to make it read “right.”
I suspect a broader view of how populaces are controlled in a democratic republic would find that, for a couple of centuries, a main way of controlling was to get us into wars—excuses (emergencies) to weaken constitutional restraints and also to give the most dangerous citizens (young people) something else to do: fight, get killed, receive military discipline, and so forth. Creating economic disasters came in handy too. These methods seem to have been used by both liberals and conservatives (and, more recently, neoconservatives). So, this isn’t about right and left. It’s rather about a population of citizens who don’t know or don’t defend their rights or who sell out their rights to obtain small favors. What’s happening now is not a big change, just an increase in more covert methods.
Also note: Each line of the first section listing the “protections” needs its own essay. Of course, government should intervene when parents are murdering or seriously abusing their children (usually local government); but why would government intervene (as it often has) to prosecute parents who don’t want their kids given psychiatric drugs?
In other words, why has “abuse” been applied more and more broadly to things that have in the past been considered parental rights? Why has the government told parents what to do in so many ways that weaken the ability of a parent to manage the family? And of course, this is the model for families in both the USSR and Communist China: in the USSR, in co-ops, parents had little say over the education of their children and were treated as impediments often.
But this was true under Nazi rule as well. In both systems (Communists and Nazis), children were taught to inform on their parents—report the parents’ un-Communist or un-Nazi actions or statements to officials of the government, often via the schools. And under these governments, parents couldn’t take children out of the schools easily, couldn’t keep their kids from getting the government-ordered curriculum; for example, Nazi eugenics taught that the Jews as a “race” should be despised and crushed.
The point is each of the protections I list has some validity but becomes destructive (and totalitarian) when pushed too far—when, for instance, parents are not allowed to know what’s being done with their kids or to have any say on what their kids will learn. That’s too much protection for the schools.
I omitted another area of protection: The government (and its FDA) is supposed to protect the “people” (most of us) from pharmaceutical abuse; but now the government is protecting the pharmaceutical companies from us—as in letting them hide the results of their testing (though one court recently forced release of some of the testing documents) and forbidding liability suits against them if some of their products turn out to be harmful.
Back to protecting schools even from the states: Much of that came up during the W (Bush) administration—federal rules on what tests were required of students, what courses had to be taught, etc. All of this violated the amendment that leaves any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government to the states and the people. I’m sure there are a lot more complex arguments on this; but states and localities have long had the ability to regulate public schools (and sometimes private schools). So, here’s the federal government bypassing state and local governments and enforcing—by giving or withholding federal funding—the curricula of schools in considerable detail, and then taking steps to PROTECT these schools from interference by localities (school boards), parents and states.
Over several decades, the federal government increased its funding of education—and got the money directly from citizens, who then had less money to give the states to pay for education. Thus schools became dependent on fed. money. So, when the federal government then made rules forcing schools to teach certain subjects in certain ways, under threat of losing funding, the school systems were already addicted to federal funding (including the money the feds paid to schools for every kid they put on Ritalin!).
Actually, the government is protecting itself (since it has taken over a lot of control of the schools) from the people, the states and the localities—and especially from the parents. And the development of these government controls was much promoted by Republican administrations as well as Democratic administrations (as far as I know—some here may know better); so, this is a bipartisan insanity.
When I was in high school, around 1958–59, the official subject in all high school debates nationwide was whether the federal government should take over education in the USA. Much of the argument was that education had to be controlled in the direction of promoting math and science so we could catch up with and surpass the USSR, which had launched the first orbiting vehicles—starting with Sputnik. Hence, this was a big issue already in the days of Eisenhower and JFK. No wonder Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex!
These were the days of the bestseller Why Johnny Can’t Read. American education sucked; so, the federal government should take over before the Russians beat us via their allegedly wonderful educational system, run by their government. What do parents or school boards in Podunk know about education?
Therefore, these are long-standing agendas pushed by both parties over many decades. And I think they met resistance from members of both parties too.