The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acts everyday more like an autocratic government endowed with superpowers beyond anything ever imagined by the men who framed our form of government. Consider this disturbing report filed by the Washington Times on August 1 about a DHS raid on a private residence in South Carolina to seize a car that couldn’t pass Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) muster.
Jennifer Brinkley said she saw a line of law enforcement vehicles approaching her home and wondered what was wrong, the local WBTV reported. Homeland Security agents then went to her 1985 Land Rover Defender and lifted the hood.
“They popped up the hood and looked at the Vehicle Identification Number and compared it with a piece of paper and then took the car with them,” she said, WBTV reported.
She told Fox News that she was told the agents seized the vehicle because they thought it violated the Clean Air Act — though at the time, they weren’t completely sure. She also said her vehicle was just one of 40 that feds seized in various locations that same day for the same reason.
Ms. Brinkley told Fox News that she has no idea where the vehicle is now and that feds won’t tell her.
“I’m sad because I owned the car. It’s just an iconic car. I’m in disbelief ... and surprised that somebody can come in and take your property,” she told Fox News. “It’s scary, it’s scary when it happens to you.”
What’s even scarier is that it is happening more and more. The EPA, DHS, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), etc. are all accustomed to unaccountably passing regulations afforded the color of law, enforcing those regulations, adjudicating challenges to those regulations in front of “judges” appointment by the commissioners of those agencies, and imposing burdensome fines on anyone foolish enough to defy these petty tyrants.
Charles Pinto Duclos, a French writer and historian contemporary with the Founders, wrote:
We see on the theater of the world a certain number of scenes which succeed each other in endless repetition: where we see the same faults followed regularly by the same misfortunes, we may reasonably think that if we could have known the first we might have avoided the others. The past should enlighten us on the future: knowledge of history is no more than an anticipated experience.
In the case of these federal agencies terrorizing citizens, there is something of an “endless repetition” of the precise assaults on individual liberty perpetrated by the British government that led to the Declaration of Independence. In that document, Thomas Jefferson wrote of the “long train of abuses” committed by the crown.
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance,” Jefferson explained.
So prevalent in today’s society are examples of this complaint taken from Jefferson’s indictment of the crown that it almost needs no recitation of them.
Beyond the example of the DHS’s stocking trespass and seizure of private property, consider the tyranny of the Internal Revenue Service, as well.
The IRS admits that it targeted for investigation conservative groups who applied for tax-exempt status. Here’s a summary of the scandal as written by The New American’s Thomas Eddlem:
The IRS scandal involved the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS openly targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt 501(c)4 “social welfare” organization status between 2010 and 2012 for extra audits and agency scrutiny. The result was a focus of IRS audits — which can cost tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of employee hours to targeted organizations — upon the political Right, as well as delays of two years or longer in approving the tax-exempt status. Liberal groups were not selected for nearly as many audits, nor were they singled out by ideological code words, as conservatives had been.
These are only a couple of the hundreds of examples that could be provided of ways in which our government has ceased being our servant of the people and has become our cruel master.
We are witnesses of the words of Thomas Jefferson: “Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton.