America's greatness lies in those principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the first ten amendments of the Constitution. While the Constitution is not perfect, as Rand pointed out, the clear intent of the framers was to ensure that future generations of Americans would enjoy the benefits of the Rights affirmed viz. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. They did this by limiting the Government's power to inflict tyranny on the people. Every one of the first ten amendments is a chain link forged around the ankles of government employees elected or hired which prevents them from imposing such tyranny.
Principles are values. They suffer no defect from time or the unwise. They are, by definition, either true or not true. They cannot be parsed by regulation, are not applicable to one citizen but not another, and cannot be denied by the howling of the mob.
The sole reason the American form of government has persisted for two and a half centuries is that enough citizens understood the meaning of the DOI and the BOR. It should not come as a shock that there exist people who do not believe that Individuals should be free and independent beings and that government should have no limits placed on them to control the lives of Individuals down to minutest degree. In the recent election, H. Clinton was pressed to agree that Americans had the right to bear arms. After a short period of evasion she replied that yes people had a right to own guns but like all rights they were subject to "reasonable regulation."
So did America stop being great? And when? Did its decline stem from the original Commerce Clause? "The Commerce Clause describes an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.""
Or was the beginning of the end traceable to the advent of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887 as I suggested on this post?
It is impossible to put a date and time on the decline and fall of America. But to trivialize and deny the loss of individual rights can only be the work of fools.