Richard Kronenfeld
Adult Ba'al Teshuvah Ph.D. Physicist

Lamenting the Decline of Liberty

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The story is told that when Benjamin Franklin left the closing session of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, passersby in the street asked him what kind of government the delegates had given us, to which he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Clearly, we no longer can maintain our republic.

It should come as no surprise that individual liberty in America is in free fall. In particular, the First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution are hanging by a thread; moreover, our justice system doesn’t even pretend to prescribe similar treatment for different segments of the population charged with similar offenses. Antifa and BLM rioters in the summer of 2020 who assaulted police officers and civilians and even killed people, not to mention committing widespread property damage by firebombing and vandalization, generally had their charges either dropped entirely or reduced to misdemeanors with minimal penalties. On the other hand, January 6 defendants, even those who were demonstrably non-violent, have been subjected to “preventive detention” lasting two years or more without bail and without even having a trial scheduled, many of them in solitary confinement, denied visitation by family or attorneys, and held under such despicable conditions that some of them petitioned to be moved to the Guantanamo Bay holding facility for terrorists on the grounds that they would be treated better there, as reported by Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, and one of the attorneys for January 6 defendants.

As an example of the callous treatment exercised by the Department of Justice, Zach Rehl, an honorably discharged Marine Corps veteran on 100% disability, went to the Capitol to protest irregularities in the 2020 election, and despite having harmed neither persons nor property, the FBI raided his house and arrested him on March 17, 2021. He has been held since then without bail and charged by the DOJ, on the basis of his membership in the Proud Boys, an organization that the Administration disapproves of, with seditious conspiracy, a felony that carries a long prison term. To add insult to injury, the VA, based on his having been charged, not convicted, suspended his disability pension, leaving his wife and two daughters scrambling for means of support. And newly revealed emails show that FBI agents were given access to supposedly privileged emails between lawyers and defendants. As Julie Kelly reports in American Greatness, the presiding judge, Tim Kelly, not only didn’t express outrage over the privacy violations but excluded testimony on the subject and gave the prosecution time to concoct a plausible excuse. Furthermore, investigation showed that the government is using a communications system that allows it to spy on attorney-client email, and affected parties are required to consent to such a gross violation of their Constitutional rights in order to use the system.

Many of those who were arrested were hauled out of their homes in the early morning hours by heavily armed FBI SWAT teams in the presence of their wives and children, effectively constituting a domestic demonstration of “shock and awe.” (Similar treatment has been accorded to pro-life protesters.) With the DOJ having announced up to 1,000 more arrests forthcoming in the next few weeks, we can expect additional abuses from the FBI, which has increasingly come to resemble the early Soviet Union’s secret police, the Cheka, rounding up political dissidents. In short, America now has its very own Gulag Archipelago.

As disturbing as these developments are, what may be worse is the ease with which Americans have accepted being intimidated by our government, beginning with the COVID lockdowns. Not since Aisav sold his birthright to Yaakov for a pot of lentil stew with a side order of bread has so much been given up in exchange for so little. A case can be made for replacing the eagle with a sheep as our national symbol. Moreover, with the Left now in control of all of our social institutions and indoctrinating each new cohort of students in the principles of racial and gender identity (critical race theory under any other name doesn’t change what it is) as well as anti-Americanism (and anti-Semitism), I see little prospect for a “reversal of fortune” without Divine intervention. While I make no claim to being a prophet, I do anticipate that G-d will respond in due course to the greatest challenge to His authority since the Generation of Dispersion proposed to build the Tower of Bavel; this time the defiance takes the form of working to obliterate every moral precept of the Torah. As historical precedent, such as Hitler’s invasion of Russia, shows, when people become too powerful to be defeated, they destroy themselves. One likely possibility is that once it has decimated western civilization, chas v’sholem, the red-green alliance will fracture as the Islamists and Leftists fight each other to secure the dominant role in society.

In any event, to prepare for the end, I purchased a paperbound copy of the unabridged  Federalist Papers to bid a fond farewell to constitutional government in America. I console myself with the personal feeling that America’s downfall is a prerequisite for the coming of Mashiach. Once and for all, humanity needs to be convinced that we are incapable of governing ourselves with man-made laws and need to accept G-d’s Rulership and to live in accordance with His Torah.

About the Author
I'm a native New Yorker (Brooklyn, to be precise) transplanted to the desert as a teen-ager. I hold a Ph.D in Physics from Stanford and have taught mathematics and physics at the high school, community college, and university level. I'm an adult ba'al teshuvah and label myself as centrist Orthodox and a Religious Zionist along the lines of OU, Yeshiva University, and Mizrachi.
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