When I’ve made this statement in front of Big Government Liberals and RINO’s I usually get the same question, “What do you mean LIMITED?” Many of them will agree that the federal government of today is an over-reaching, over-bloated, over-spending, over-regulating entity but none of them want to change it if it means touching their “golden goose.” It is the same old thing, “Well we have to be compassionate” or something of the like. I’ve been told “You must have human compassion, help the needy, and protect our national security.” I agree that the needy (the truly needy) should have help but that should come from citizens, churches, and local entities not the Federal Government making them wards of the state. I totally agree that protecting our national security is important but sometimes I have to ask, “At what cost?” When it is a government that has demonstrated narcissistic, tyrannical tendencies I have to dig my heels in the dirt and say WHOA! I’ve known for a long time that once you let government through the door you never get them out of the house. Once a program is begun it never seems to cease and certainly never gets smaller. Big government is insatiable in its thirst and hunger for power, control, and money and if you give it an inch it will take ten miles.
The founders of this Republic understood that the federal government had to be LIMITED or it would become TYRANNICAL. That is why they attempted to place the ultimate power in the hands of WE THE PEOPLE and limit the size and scope of all three branches of government. They choose three branches as a means of checks and balances hoping that we would remain diligent and involved in government and giving oversight to politicians, but we have been far less than diligent. The idea of LIMITED GOVERNMENT is a theme that is so intrinsically woven into the fabric of the Constitution that it is impossible to miss. Just a cursory glance at how the First Amendment begins identifies that theme – – “Congress shall make no law…” The founders believed, and so do I, that the only real source of governmental authority must naturally and exclusively come from the consent of those governed – WE THE PEOPLE. Yet, politicians of all stripes seem to believe that they are the sole source of authority and once they walk the halls of Congress or the White House they forget their campaign promises, the wording of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
It is the Constitution where WE THE PEOPLE have expressed explicitly that the federal government is to be LIMITED to only those things that are clearly defined as powers given to them by us. In order to achieve LIMITED GOVERNMENT the founders instituted a three branch system of government which is the doctrine of “separation of powers.” They feared and warned of allowing any branch to gain too much power and exercise too much authority. They knew and we are finding out that to allow this is to open the door for TYRANNY. In the monarchies of old, the central power of government was in the hands of the monarch and today we have a President who believes his office makes him a regal, a Congress that believes the same but believe that they are also members of the ruling gentry, and a Court System that has bought into the same doctrine viewing themselves as the arbiters of the Constitution. James Madison declared that the “accumulation of powers” was by definition TYRANNY!
Under our Constitution and Bill of Rights, the President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, giving him a powerful position in a time of war. But even in that the founders were concerned that this would be too unlimited and in an effort to limit the power that one branch had provided that Congress had to ‘declare war’ not the President. So if the President tries to launch a war effort that Congress believes illegitimate they can pull the plug on it by refusing to continue funding the deployment. Likewise if Congress passes a law that the President believes is either ill-advised or unconstitutional he can VETO it. Congress can override that veto but it takes a two-thirds majority in both houses to accomplish that and it is very difficult to do. The Supreme Court then has the power through judicial review to overturn laws that are unconstitutional. That sets the stage for some dramatic confrontations but most of the time it opens the door to compromise from the varying and differing branches. When we complain about ‘gridlock’ we need to remember that the founders knew that their checks and balances would produce a certain amount of that to work. So, all gridlock is not necessarily bad it just might be the system working.
A key element in our system working and having LIMITED GOVERNMENT is FEDERALISM. In our federal system there are some key powers held by the centralized national government and others are reserved exclusively for the individual and various state governments. In truth, American federalism existed before the Constitution. The 13 States or Colonies had already grown accustomed to wielding their individual power, autonomy, and authority and were not at ease in turning over those powers to a federal government. If you think about it the American Revolution was, in part, a revolt against a distant all-powerful centralized government so what would be a reason to recreate anything that would be potentially tyrannical? The founders knew that in order to preserve a union and have a nation that had a chance of survival they had to have a centralized government with certain powers and responsibilities but strove diligently to LIMIT THAT GOVERNMENT. Federalism helped to bring that into reality. This was where the division of powers between the states and the national government came into play and was, in truth, a compromise. The goal was to equip and empower the national government to do a limited job and enable the states to retain their sovereignty and autonomy. In this we had a check and balance between the state governments and the national government both limiting the power of the other.
Today, we have drifted so far from that foundation that it is hardly recognizable. The power grabs, corruption, and cronyism that exists in Washington and most state governments is repugnant and repulsive. It is a far cry from what we were found upon and should be desirous to return to. I am committed to keeping pressure on my elected officials and touch as many people as possible trying to rekindle the desire to return to a Constitutional Republic in America.
May God bless you and may God bless America!