Authored by William Robert Barber
Since the inception of government, beginning with the first city-state, the attainment and discretionary exhibition of power has been government’s ethos-essential. In short order, helplessly, every member of the governing populous sensed the potent and willful execution of its power.
Soon it was known that a government without power is no government at all. A government that does not apply its power is a toothless irrelevancy, doomed to anarchism and eventual dismissal as an effective governing entity. All governments either proliferate by all means measurable or become dismissive and irrelevant. The DNA of government is designed, at all cost, to expansion in size, scope, and ever-increasing power. This DNA of government will not be denied, and as is the case in America, government expansion negatively abates personal freedom and individual liberty. And finally, historical evidence provides the certainty that government has the intrinsic ability to administer unimaginable evil upon its own people.
Despite the valiant efforts of the Founders who created in constitutional form a government that they themselves and subsequent descendants found impossible to practice. Before the election of 1800 the ideals and spirit of limited government was corrupted, defaced, redirected, and maligned by a variable of special interest. And since that election, every aspect of original constitutional intent has eviscerated the meaningfulness of the Constitution: the check and balance system, adherence to the principle of federalism, the tenant of equal but separate branches of government, the senatorial prerogative of advice-and-consent, imperial overreach in one administration after another.
Since the end of President Washington’s second term elected personalities of political parties have demonstrated acts in favor of party instead of the nation, enumerated and implied powers have been subordinated by executive order, and costly elections every two years are more or less a ritual of scurrilous accusations, outright lies, exaggerations, and self-service embellishments than a debate over issues and policies.
Funded by politically motivated entities, the media of today is nothing less than an unlicensed lobbyist wherein via all alternative distribution channels, at its sole discretion, guides the electorate either by panegyric enhancement, purposeful disregard, or aspersive altercation.
Our teachers taught that the defining difference totalitarian, draconian, fascist, or gangster-style dictatorship governments and a republic is the derivative source of governmental power. In a republic (such as America) the derivative source of power is the people; that subsequently America is a nation of laws not of men; it is the citizens that establish, construe, enforce, and interpret the guiding vitality of its Constitutional authority… well, not in America — not any more.
I am not sure if there was a specific time wherein the “people” lost its derivative source of power; I assume bit by tiny bit since 1789. There is no doubt that the republic of today is an abstruse process, working its will through a Byzantine bureaucratic contrivance. Does anyone understand the internal rules of the House of Representatives or the Senate? Considering all the amendments, exceptions, and nuances of procedure/process, surely the layperson voter — possibly even a significant number of elected — do not comprehend their very governing dictums.
Leo Tolstoy, one of the world’s most profound writers, felt that robbers were far less dangerous than a well-organized government. In a letter to a friend he said: “The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens… Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.” Of course the government of Tolstoy’s time and place could not be equated within the same sphere as the American republic. Nevertheless, the descriptive “exploit and corrupt” surely applies to the government of the United States.
Politicians have learned the art of harvesting votes with the left hand whiles usurping the Constitution with the right. Mawkish moments by the Secretary of State in the recent congressional hearings pass for a Benghazi explanation of events. The president’s inaugural speech positively addressed the popular votes liberal majority whiles promising the less than majority (conservatives, libertarians, and the rest) the choice between “hell or high water.”
The ideals of limited government as originally prescribed within the Constitution of 1789 has, as voted upon by many, many an election, been set aside by a quiescent majority who insists on empowering the very entity that debases their personal liberty and curtails individual freedom. It is as if history is stuck within a Sisyphean exercise wherein freedom is lost and regained time and time again.
Pliant, pliable, with immutable taciturnity the constituents of ancestors that once, at the risk of life and property, challenged King George III have, in less than 200 years, surrendered a significant vestige of constitutionally granted liberty and freedom for the protection of Caesar.