Saturday, January 3, 2009

The devils in DC

Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, explains about as well as anyone can the current crisis in Washington. This is not a shot at Obama or Bush, but an indictment of what the federal government in general has become.

Arnn quotes Constitution author James Madison from The Federalist Paper #51: “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 nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

Read Arnn’s entire essay here:

The founding fathers knew the temptation for corruption and self-interest would be great and wove into the Constitution two important features, checks-and-balances and the seeds of revolt.

As to checks-and-balances we have permitted Washington to distort the roles of the three branches of government. In November we didn’t elect the most capable President in terms of executive ability. Neither candidate stood before us and said, “I will run the departments of government in the most effective and efficient manner.”

Obama and McCain both were promising an agenda of new laws and initiatives. Neither had much executive experience. If we were really looking for the best “chief executive” we probably would have chosen Romney.

The Judiciary has taken to lawmaking in ways we never thought possible. They have gone far afield of the work of the court as defined in the Constitution.

And committee after committee is formed by Congress to hold hearings…hearings that are nothing more than publicized court cases with subpoenas, witnesses, testimonies, and cross examinations.

And no one in Washington seems to care that the enumerated powers of government have gotten way out of hand. To the contrary, passing laws is how they keep their power and influence.

As for the seeds of revolt, we watch as Washington tries to restrict the right to bear arms and to regulate the press. Peaceable assembly is an interesting cat-and-mouse game of how, when, and where you may hold your protest.

Still, the Declaration of Independence cautions us to use revolt sparingly with these words: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

Indeed we live in interesting times.

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