Saturday, January 2, 2010

Government is Obliged to Control Itself

In Federalist 51, James Madison writes about the checks and balances provided by the Constitution. It is in this paper he penned these famous words:

"...But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external or internal controls on government would be necessary."

And, of course, we know that men (read: our elected officials and bureaucrats) are not angels. Yet somehow our respect for the government our Founders gave us has blinded us to the reality that government is simply a collection of people with good and bad intentions, not some benign, beneficent parent.

"In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. " (emphasis mine)

If we have learned anything this first year of the Democrat controlled Legislative and Executive branch, we have learned that our representatives are completely out of control. They are spending as if there were no tomorrow. They are invading every aspect of our pocketbooks and our lives. They are treading where no U.S. government has dared to go and they are doing so without the sanction of the Constitution.

In today's Wall Street Journal, Senator Orrin Hatch, Blackwell and Klukowski write an editorial explaining why the health care bill in unconstitutional. The final paragraph is chilling.
"America's founders intended the federal government to have limited powers and that the states have an independent sovereign place in our system of government. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi legislation to take control of the American health-care system is the most sweeping and intrusive federal program ever devised. If the federal government can do this, then it can do anything, and the limits on government power that our liberty requires will be more myth than reality."

If they can do this, they can do anything. 2009 was the watermark of a government out of control. Let's ensure 2010 is the year American citizens reassert our claim to the representative government our Founders gave us--a government that controls itself: "A dependence on the people is no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."

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