Verb:Most of the time, when we think of the term acclimate, we think about going from one type of climate to another. Let's say your employer wants to move you from Hawaii to Alaska. Your body, your psyche, your way of life dramatically changes, and it takes a while to get used to the new environs. Going from winters with balmy 70 degree nights, to sub-zero temperatures - for weeks or months at a time - can be a shock.
1.Become accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions.
2.Respond physiologically or behaviorally to a change in a single environmental factor.
You might very well tell your employer that you're not interested in making such a change. You resist the move. Not NO... HELL NO!
Politicians and governments know this. They understand that introducing dramatic change in a short period of time causes shock. Shock can result in resistance. So they make the changes gradually.
Instead of moving from Hawaii to Alaska, your company offers a move to San Diego. It might not be quite as lush and warm as Hawaii, but you can pretty easily make the change. It's still warm most of the time, plenty of eye-candy to check out, and there are even some benefits. Gasoline and food are both cheaper. And the pay raise and additional health benefits seal the deal.
Hey, maybe this isn't so bad after all!
In a couple of years, the company moves you to Northern California. More money, more benefits. Then to Washington state. Pretty soon, you're living in Idaho, then Montana. Before you know it, you're fully conversant on how to combat the bomber-sized mosquitoes in Alaska.
By this time - years down the road - you only have faint memories of the warm beaches. You've gone from an idyllic life to one which presents a number of barriers to living your life as you see fit. No more choosing to take a skinny-dip in the ocean at midnight. If you don't follow the laws of nature in Alaska, you end up dead. And you've consented to each and every step that brought you to this point.
You willingly gave up freedom for (financial) security.
In the early 1900's, you could exercise your unambiguous, enumerated right to keep and bear arms, and buy a gun from the Sears catalog.
Today, if someone directly sent you a handgun in the mail, the delivery man would be a federal agent - preparing to introduce you to the federal "justice" system.
Without the Constitution changing by one word or one comma, your ability to keep and bear arms has been infringed. Regardless of where you live in America, it is more difficult to buy a gun nowadays. In a few states, and in many more cities - for all intents and purposes - it is illegal to own a handgun.
This change didn't happen over night. Politicians - whom we all elected into office - made these changes. They gradually relocated us from Hawaii to Alaska, and we didn't even care. Hell, most have embraced the move.
We've been acclimated to the change.
Sometimes, the politicians need to quicken the pace of change. They need something altered or recognize an opportunity to expand their powers, and they jump.
I've written a number of times about how you get a change to take hold. The tactics are similar whether you're subverting the fourth amendment by conducting warrantless car stops in search of drunk drivers (and whatever else you might find), or whether you're bastardizing the "general welfare" clause by forcing Americans to pay into a retirement program that has unsurprisingly turned more Ponzi than protective. From the Social Security website -
Justice Cardozo wrote the opinions in Helvering vs. Davis and Steward Machine. After giving the 1788 dictionary the consideration he thought it deserved, he made clear the Court's view on the scope of the government's spending authority: "There have been statesman in our history who have stood for other views. . .We will not resurrect the contest. It is now settled by decision. The conception of the spending power advocated by Hamilton . . .has prevailed over that of Madison. . ." Arguing that the unemployment compensation program provided for the general welfare, Cardozo observed: ". . .there is need to remind ourselves of facts as to the problem of unemployment that are now matters of common knowledge. . .the roll of the unemployed, itself formidable enough, was only a partial roll of the destitute or needy. The fact developed quickly that the states were unable to give the requisite relief. The problem had become national in area and dimensions. There was need of help from the nation if the people were not to starve. It is too late today for the argument to be heard with tolerance that in a crisis so extreme the use of the moneys of the nation to relieve the unemployed and their dependents is a use for any purpose [other] than the promotion of the general welfare."
And finally, he extended the reasoning to the old-age insurance program: "The purge of nation-wide calamity that began in 1929 has taught us many lessons. . . Spreading from state to state, unemployment is an ill not particular but general, which may be checked, if Congress so determines, by the resources of the nation. . . But the ill is all one or at least not greatly different whether men are thrown out of work because there is no longer work to do or because the disabilities of age make them incapable of doing it. Rescue becomes necessary irrespective of the cause. The hope behind this statute is to save men and women from the rigors of the poor house as well as from the haunting fear that such a lot awaits them when journey's end is near."
Getting the change to "stick" requires a compliant Congress to write the law, and a compliant SCOTUS to bless it.
[Side note: This Thursday will be interesting when the SCOTUS releases its ruling on ObamaCare. Reading the precedence and logic of the constitutionality of Social Security, I don't see how ObamaCare couldn't be affirmed as constitutional.]
But you've got to first sell the idea to the public. To affect this change, you take one of two courses. The first is Public Safety. Bring up a horrific incident or event, and use it as the foundation for usurping rights. Drunk driving is a great example. Some mother tragically lost a child to a drunk driver, and was able to touch the hearts of millions of Americans.
Politicians across the nation jumped on this bandwagon. Each positioned themselves the tougher champion of dead kids everywhere. This morphed into warrantless car stops looking for drunk drivers.
When there would be push-back, the cry from MADD and the politicians was, "If just one child is saved.... if just one family is spared the pain and sorrow of losing a child before they had a chance to blossom, it's worth the sacrafice."
The SCOTUS blessed the warrantless searches in some broad, national safety guise. Public safety trumps personal freedom.
We saw it happen again with 9/11. Bush and Company saw the opportunity to designate the entire world - including the US - as a battlefield full of terrorists. To keep us safe, we're told, required giving up a few rights. Nothing that God-fearing Patriots wouldn't be willing to sacrifice.
Like personal and financial privacy. Or freedom of movement. Only terrorists need those things - not Real Americans.
The masses chug this line of "reasoning" like it is free beer at a frat house. They can't get enough of it. They'll even repeat the mantra of, "If you've done nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide."
The result is the gradual, irretrievable loss of rights. Poof! No mas, baby.
Your persons, houses, papers, and effects can be searched at the whim of a government agent, and your fellow citizens think it's a good idea.
The second course of attack is a bit more difficult, and usually takes more time to stick. Again, some arm of government feels the need to expand its sphere of influence, or as in the following example, assert its supremecy over the population. They want to flex muscles they don't legally possess.
They'll use the close cousin of safety (or lack thereof) - fear - as their tool. What they'll do is make an overt power grab, fully expecting outrage from the population. They take the spanking, giving back what they've taken. Well, most of what they've taken.
Over the last few years, we've seen press reports of increased frequency of military units "training" on American soil. The story is always, "Nuthin' to see here. We're just doing this to get our boys prepared to maintain the peace in [insert name of some God forsaken country]. Doing our job overseas keeps the crazy bastards off of US soil. Ooo rah!"
This is a specious argument, of course. What the government is doing is projecting a positive outcome (i.e., keeping the crazy bastards off of US soil) with a clearly unconstitutional action (US troops operating on US soil).
The fear of shoe bombers, underwear bombers and other assorted terrorists is more than enough incentive for most Americans to give TPTB all the leeway they need.
In this case, it starts with a public training exercise. People - seeing military vehicles passing through their town - are a bit worried, but mostly curious - and the press reports what's happening on the local military base.
The next time, they conduct a joint training exercise with local police agencies. We're just training - just picking up good ideas to use elsewhere.
That progresses to acting in an active supporting role with local authorities [link], No worries, we're just helpin' out.
Then, it's Game On. The military just moves in, uninvited -
The Aug. 10 report says it does not appear the historic tradition of limiting direct military involvement in civilian law enforcement activities was analyzed or considered.
It says the intent was to be a good Army neighbor.
The Army earlier confirmed that 22 military police and an officer were sent to Samson after the mass slaying of 10 people on March 10.Oh. They're just being good neighbors. We all like good neighbors, don't we?
I thought Good Fences made Good Neighbors. I must have been mistaken.
They're acclimating us to the idea of US troops operating on US soil is a good thing. Another board in our Constitutional Fence just got kicked over.
Like the first course of action, they always wrap their actions in the warm blanket of safety, but they'll add a side dish of patriotism. Yer either fer us or agin' us!
We saw Bush do this with the USA PATRIOT Act. Personal privacy is now a distant memory. Any local or federal official simply needs to whisper "terrorist" under their breath, and any semblance of personal freedom is vaporized.
Obama has followed this up with the NDAA and its teeny, tiny provision that, well, Americans can be snatched up anywhere in the world - including on US soil - and "disappeared". No court. No lawyer. Habeas corpus? Surely you jest. You just don't show up for work on Monday, and no one knows anything about it.
Soon, America will be a Free Fly Zone with drones buzzing our airspace.
"Hey! We'll only use the drones to catch America-hating terrorists, murderers, rapists and to find little children that have been snatched from their loving families. Only terrorists, murders, rapists and perverted kidnappers could possibly be against this modern crime-fighting tool."
Personal safety. Fear. National Security. Patriotism. All wrapped up in a nice, neat package.
It's a bit chilly around here, but you get used to it. Really.
Copyright 2012 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com