Nation's Capital Implements Measures Violating Rights & Property
As the nation's capital, Washington DC is often looked to for various approaches on how to handle a number of growing issues around the country. Usually government eggheads like to formulate their grandiose schemes from their comfortable halls of power and impose them upon areas of the heartland so far from scrutinizing eyes that very few end up seeing what is actually going on. However, there are now a number of policies being implemented within the city that will soon be at the forefront of efforts to undermine life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In the episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" titled "Past Tense", areas called Sanctuary Districts were established in mid-21st century America as places in major cities in which to corral the economically challenged irrespective of their criminal status. Though initially established in the name of the well being of those assigned to reside there, according to the entry at Star Trek Wiki Memory Alpha, "This internment, in fact, amounted to nothing less than imprisonment."
Those thinking their feet are more firmly planted on the ground and heads out of the clouds will no doubt respond that all that is just a story that could never become reality. Think again.
In order to curb the crime in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast, Washington, DC, police established "Neighborhood Safety Zones" where checkpoints were set up blocking access. It's bad enough if law enforcement just about literally points a gun at the head of everyone coming into the neighborhood compelling motorists to permit officers to ransack through vehicles regardless of whether or not anything suspicious is going on.
However, things have gone beyond the limits of conscience when American citizens that have neither been convicted nor accused of a crime are then forbidden from proceeding down a free public street. Supporters of these police state tactics will counter that those entering the neighborhood with a “legitimate purpose” such as “going to a doctor, to church, or visiting a relative” could be granted access.
For starters, who are police to determine if an activity that does not violate pre-established law is of a legitimate purpose or not? Secondly, people that must divulge their law abiding activities to law enforcement who then pass judgment as to whether or not such innocent undertakings are appropriate are dangerously close to losing one of the most basic of fundamental liberties that at one time set this country apart from the lesser nations of the earth. Do we really want to further condition the American people into embracing their status as docile little Pavlovians who eagerly wag their tails every time the government blows its whistle and demands that we reveal additional information about ourselves?
Though it was claimed motorists would be granted access if they had legitimate reasons to enter the neighborhood, individuals with valid reasons in fact claim they were turned away. What part of public in "public street" don't these Keystone Cops not understand?
For now, these blockades are often temporary. What is to prevent them from being made permanent and expanded in the future?
What is to stop authorities from turning the entire federal city into a Neighborhood Safety Zone with anyone barred entry that cannot prove either residency or occupational status in the district? Already in the name of preventing terrorism, Americans are denied access to structures we are repeatedly told through propaganda belong to all of us such as the Capitol building in Washington, DC and the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
If there is power now to tell us whether or not we are to be granted access to structures belonging to "the people" and once deemed public, makes you wonder if there might come a day that they might tell you what otherwise lawful discretionary activity you can and cannot enjoy in your own home. Wait, they are already trying to do that now.
If these checkpoints are constitutional, what is to stop them from being implemented across the United States either independently by various municipalities or through the promulgation of a presidential executive order such as those already quietly drafted basically saying the government can essentially take from you anything it wants and do to you anything it wants including compulsory civilian involuntary servitude during a time of so-called "national emergency". Through implementing nationwide "safety zones", only those granted police or bureaucratic approval would be permitted to move within or without specified jurisdictions. There are likely those such as Al Gore and even Barack Obama (who chastised Americans for eating too much and driving SUV's even though he has been seen locomoting in this particular kind of vehicular conveyance on numerous occasions who would probably have no qualms about implementing such measures in the name of the environment.
The way in which the Nazi and Soviet regimes were implemented would not be successful here in the United States. Those seeking to control every last aspect of people's lives have noticed that at least here in America they must quietly implement their policies step by step so that Americans are stealthfully goaded into eventually embracing the future being planned for them by the elites of the New Order.
According to social planning, the new urbanism, sustainable development, or whatever other flurdelore you want to dress it up with, it is no longer satisfactory to allow concentrated areas of population to develop, expand, or contract in compliance with forces attributed to Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Rather, these areas are to be remodeled into the image seen fit by heavy-handed public-private partnerships even if it means ruining the lives of upstanding citizens in the process so long as it gives corporate tycoons what they want and makes politicians intoxicated on the narcotic of media attention look good in the press.
Social welfare programs instituted by government are often justified on the grounds of improving the lives of those experiencing hardship. However, often such assistance has very little to do with getting the unfortunate back on their feet but rather about fostering a state of dependence that will keep the tentacles of the government expanding often at the price of the individual's well-being, especially if the individual could actually get their life back together though private charity rather than public means.
In the District of Columbia where the city government is dominated by Democrats and the like who claim government's most important function is safeguarding the economically disadvantaged, it seems playgrounds for the hyperrich (commonly referred to as ball stadiums) are a greater priority than those struggling to make it on their own. According to a March 26, 2008 Washington Post article titled "Straining In The Stadium's Shadow", a number of those providing charitable and business services in the vicinity of the Nationals' stadium where in fact forced out using a variety of strategies.
One of the hardest hit is the group known as Positive Nature, which counsels troubled youth. In the course of about two years, taxes on the organization's property went from $9000 to $83,000. As a result, Positive Nature may have to close up shop, possibly causing those getting assistance from the organization to be taken away from their parents and placed in a variety of state run institutions such as psychiatric hospitals and possibly even in prison.
Maybe that is exactly what those thinking government is the only solution for what's plaguing the human condition want. Instead of providing for oneself or seeking assistance from other private sources, the individual is to seek purpose and solutions to life's problems from the state.
Others already capable of sustaining themselves through the efforts of their own toil might no longer be able to do so. Those trained to salivate on cue for their government handout might snap businesses ought to be soaked to provide for the havenots.
Oh really? Does this include small businesses and sole proprietorships with tax bills that went from $600 to $16,000 and from $1500 to $22000. If that is the bribe one must pay to the state, why not just throw in the towel and become a welfare leech and suckle off the system as well?
According to the Washington Post story, the stadium was marketed to citizens forced to pick up the tab for this playground for millionaires as a way to raise revenue for schools, roads, and subsidized housing. But as with all the other grandiose promises made by tax boosters throughout history, downplayed is how these assessments are also enacted as a means of social and economic engineering with any money raised a secondary matter compared to the implementation of a far more comprehensive agenda.
Considerable grassroots backlash has arisen against the Kelo decision in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of forcing owners to sell property to developers in the name of economic improvement. But now, instead of drawing out this process as reluctant owners might put up a fight in an attempt to retain homes and businesses, all governments have to do to get people out is to raise taxes to either force owners to sell or (even better in the eyes of bureaucrats) get the owner to fall behind in their taxes so revenuers can move in to seize the property without having to pay a dime in order to acquire it.
Furthermore, by tinkering with tax rates and the like, governments, developers, and other organizational monstrosities such as public-private partnerships can economically corral undesirable populations into parts of town deemed appropriate for those not deemed worthy of living amongst the elite even if those no longer deemed worthy of an area have lived their for decades. Ultimately, such populations can be forced into low-cost housing where the movements of such individuals can be more effectively monitored, controlled, and even curtailed. Thus establishing, in essence, “sanctuary districts” quite similar to those described earlier in this essay in a manner less shocking than they may have sounded initially.
The concepts of private property and freedom of movement as we once knew them are endangered species going out of existence. In their place will arise a new system where those once knowing liberty will be manipulated into clamoring for more and more control all for the rotting pottage of prosperity and security.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.