Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Plenty to be said, and much of it is right here.
A few excerpts (mainly for purposes of preserving links):
237 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the 13 colonies to affirm that governments are constituted to secure natural, individual rights and that they “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed.”Or this one:
And, that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”
Looking back on these words, it is hard to defend the government in its present form as one that either secures individual rights or operates with the consent of the governed. Particularly, when one considers how meticulously those rights have been eroded over time and how feckless the three branches of government have become at reining in virtually limitless expansions of federal power.
Consider for example the existence of super agencies that possess the power of each of the three branches to make laws, enforce them, and apply them to individuals caught in the web of the administrative state — a topic of much interest to authors such as talk show host Mark Levin (Liberty and Tyranny, Ameritopia) to George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley writing recently in the Washington Post “The rise of the fourth branch of government.”
In Ameritopia, author Levin extensively quotes philosopher John Locke, who in 1689 warned precisely against such a concentration of powers into single entities: “it may be too great temptation to human frailty, apt to grasp at power, for the same persons who have the power of making laws to have also in their hands the power to execute them.” Here, Locke famously argued — later refined by Charles de Montesquieu — that governmental powers should be separated.
For the uninitiated, as Levin’s book and daily broadcast make abundantly clear, Locke and Montesquieu together make two of the most influential philosophers whose works later advised the American Revolution, and then the form the federal government would take in the adoption of the Constitution, which made the separation of powers its cornerstone.
Locke called the concentration of power no less than tyrannical: “As usurpation is the exercise of power which another hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to.”Or this:
Is today’s administrative state tyrannical?
It is hard to argue that it is anything but arbitrary and capricious in its rulemakings. Also, the sheer number of agencies and their many subdivisions that issue such quasi-judicial rulings on individuals and businesses is simply overwhelming. The University of Virginia has published a comprehensive listing of these linking to the many federal databases containing the hundreds of thousands of rulings made each year.
The university is careful to note that this is not a listing of regulations per se, but of adjudicatory rulings: “This page is not an attempt to link to Federal Register or the Code of Federal Regulations information for each federal agency. It links to other administrative actions which are outside the scope of the CFR or the FR.”
In a May 30 broadcast, Levin promised his listeners he would soon address these problems in his upcoming book due to be published in August. “[O]ne day, we, you, me, millions of us have to take matters into our own hands. No, no, no, I don’t mean violence in any respect. One day, we have to take back our government, and there are ways to do it.”Lots to consider, but do read the whole piece. It's quite revealing.
He repeated, “There are ways to do it and we’ll talking about it in the months ahead.”
Is he referring to a constitutional convention, which can be called for by two-thirds, or 34 of the states? Time will tell, but if he is, he will undoubtedly have to be prepared to contend with Phyllis Shlafly’s 1987 objections to such an enterprise as a “runaway convention” that would “be wide open and able to consider any change in the Constitution.”
On the other hand, looking at the current body of the federal government, perhaps everything should be on the table anyway, since the government has already taken every conceivable power upon itself.