When the Founding Fathers came together and crafted our constitution the notion that government was at best an imperfect entity that offered imperfect solutions was universally accepted by many of them. The history of past governments had taught them that no matter what constraints were placed on governments the natural evolution was to drift towards tyranny. This flawed nature of government was a direct reflection of our own human nature and the tendency for people to look to kings and enlightened leaders to solve their problems. Even the Israelites chose a king against the wishes of God because they desired to be like the rest of the nations of their world. This prevailing mindset of the period prompted George Washington say, ”Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” What he meant by this is government is indeed a powerful force and like any force much watched over and monitored because if left unattended it can quickly grow out of control and threaten everything in its path.
This natural progression towards tyranny is fueled by leaders corrupted by their own ambitions and desire for power. Our founders knew this and took great care in setting up our current constitutional republic. They didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past and head down the path towards tyranny. They wanted to ensure that our government had enough authority to hold the nation together and defended it when called upon. They also wanted to restrain it enough so it would secure our liberties and not infringe upon them. The Bill of Rights was the added insurance and a message to future leaders that this was the line they could never cross. They were looking for a balance and this was the mindset our founders were in when they hammered out our constitution.
They had deep concerns about setting up a government that wielded too much power over the people. They believed the people could self-govern their actions on the local level and the need for an all powerful federal government was not necessary. They envisioned a government that secured the liberties of the people with minimal government intervention because they knew any intervention would offer up flawed solutions. This doesn’t mean they thought people weren’t without flaws, they simply believed local governments would be in a better position to be responsive to the needs of the people. They also knew that local governments were closer to the pulse of the people and vise versa. It’s harder to pass a bill restricting the right to bear arms when the people you are regulating are your neighbors and friends. After all when government is closer to the people the better it is. Another thing to note is each state was viewed as a sovereign entity each with their own unique set of issues and priorities. An all encompassing cookie cutter approach by the federal government could not properly address the uniqueness of the problems that arose in each state.
This is why in the constitution the founders intentionally left most of the power with the states and strictly limited the powers of the federal government. They realized that the flawed solutions proposed by a federal government would create even more problems when applied uniformly on the states. What might be a good solution for one state could end up being terrible for another. Or worse yet a larger state that has a leading industry might lobby for regulations that benefits them and hurts another state with the same type of industry.
Today we have forces from the left and some on the right who believe this cookie cutter approach is exactly what is needed. They believe the people cannot be trusted at the local levels to govern themselves. That decisions are better left for the enlightened leaders who know what is best for each of us. In short what they desire is what the Israelites desired 3,000 years ago; a king. It’s not a radical idea, just an idea that has failed over and over again throughout history. My question is why so many so-called freedom loving Americans would follow an ideology that strips from them of the very liberties and freedoms they claim to cherish? To follow this ideology flies in the face everything our founders stood for. They believed in the individual. They believed each of us was born with inalienable rights and these rights are non-negotiable. Most of the major problems we face as a nation were not caused by the individual; they were caused by government injecting itself and intruding in the affairs of the individual to solve a perceived problem.
The other day I was watching the news and they were talking about my bank charging fees for my checking account. This is a direct result of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that was passed last year. You remember the law that was going to stick it to those Wall Street “Fat Cats.” People jumped on the “Fat Cat” wagon and like a mob demanded we go after them. I read article after article warning that the banks would pass on the cost to the customer in the form of ATM and checking account fees for having to contribute to a fund required by the government for future bailouts. Now the last I checked I’m not what you would call aWall Street “Fat Cat.” I’m like most of you, living on a modest income, trying to pay the bills and make ends meet every day. And now I’m forced to pay for this bank fund that is mandated by the government. And trust me the government knew the banks would pass their costs off onto their customers. Now this is one example of how this cookie cutter approach which was forced upon us like some sort of monarchal decree; an approach that benefited the large banks and hurt us.
Another example is something each of us feels each day in the rising cost of goods and gas. The Federal Reserve has manipulated our currency through the process of monetizing our debt and printing money. Because of this the value of our dollar has plummeted diminishing our buying power. Essential goods like groceries are now more expensive. The value of our savings has dramatically decreased. And because the price of crude oil is based on the dollar, the price of gas has risen sharply. The inability of our elected representatives in Washington to get their spending under control has created the environment for all this to occur. The implementation of bad monetary policy has been forced upon us because our enlightened leaders can’t get their house in order and once again the little guy is paying the price.
The list of regulatory abuses is long and extensive. From the EPA implementing rules that are driving coal plants out of business (which will drive the cost of electricity up) to Obamacare driving the cost of private insurance through the roof, our government has created most of the problems we’re facing today. College tuition is through the roof because of federally back loans and our housing market is flat on its back because of government intervention/regulation. And yet there are those on the left who want more regulation and more intervention. For them it matters very little whether the President or Congress acts within their constitutional limits. They believe the constitution is an outdated document that can’t possibly address our present day concerns. I counter that line of reasoning with the following. Our problems are a direct result of our elected officials ignoring the limitations our constitution has placed on them. President Reagan put things into perspective when he said, “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.” How’s that for being spot-on. What they know simply isn’t so.
If people on the left would just open their eyes and their minds, they just might realize that the solutions to our problems cannot come from a king or a group of enlightened leaders. The solutions to our problems will come from the people at the local levels and the very constitution they mock. Why they want a king or enlightened leaders to solve our problems is beyond my understanding. Neither have very good track records. I hope I’ve given you something to think about this November.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!
Original Post: The Sentry Journal