Copyright © Rachel Bjorklund, January 2010
A few short years ago, the world was caught up in the breathtaking imagery and passion of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Although he insisted it was not allegorical, Tolkien’s fantasy epic was heavily influenced by his Catholic faith, his disgust for some of the harmful side effects of the Industrial Revolution, and the horrors he experienced in the trenches, fighting against powers bent on the domination of Europe during World War I.
The story centered around a ring of power which should never have been made, and which corrupted and seduced any who tried to wield it. Try as they might to use the power of the ring for “good”, it would ultimately destroy the bearer, and so the only true solution was to destroy it.
Today, the “ring of power” parellel could very well be drawn to federal powers not granted by the constitution. Since the Civil War, the federal government has been slowly expanding beyond the original 17 enumerated powers granted to it by our founders. Some of these new powers were granted constitutionally through the amendment process, others were not.
Both major parties are guilty of wielding these illegal powers for the “common good”. And though each side complains loudly when the other abuses these powers to pursue goals they disagree with, they are often silent when their own party abuses unconstitutional federal power to pursue policies they prefer.
Where does the constitution grant the federal government the right to fund and control education, or health care, or entitlement programs, or gun restrictions, or the Federal Reserve? It’s not in there.
It’s seductive and ultimately corruptive, this unconstitutional power. We may think we can use it for “good”, but we end up undermining our own liberties and creating a bureaucratic monster which is never satisfied, always demaing more money and power.
Do we finally have the courage to “unmake” that which should never have been made? Is there a single politician willing to make the argument that every unconstitutional act, department, agency and program at the federal level should be abolished, so that Americans can once again be truly free? Or will we continue to deceive ourselves that we can wield these illegal powers “for good” and not suffer the inevitable consequences of tyranny?
Some may ask, “what about Social Security and Medicare?” Such programs should be left to the descretion of the states, per the 10th Amendment.
“What about agencies we might want to keep, like the FDA?” Do it properly and propose an amendment to the constitution if you believe that the federal government should have that power. Otherwise, leave it to the states.
“How are we going to get funding for our roads and schools?” Again, this should be taken care of at the local level, where lawmakers can more easily be held responsible for their spending by their constituents.
One of the reasons why states lack funding is that their power to tax is greatly reduced by the already burdensome federal income tax. Repealing the 16th Amendment would solve this problem and allow taxes to go directly to the states where they would be used, rather than being funneled through Washington lobbyists and special interests, and coming back in the form of “pork”.
There is no reason why taxpayers in New York should be paying for roads in California from which New Yorkers receive no benefit, or vice versa. All this does is create a corrupt culture of bribery and back-scratching, in which one congressman will approve pork for another state if they will vote for his.
If we have a government that is willing to pursue any “good idea” while running roughshod over the very basis of our national law, then we have no law at all. No rights, no restrictions. Government can and will do whatever it wants, and you will pay for it or go to jail. That’s the monster we’ve created by ignoring the constitution whenever we think it “gets in the way” of our do-gooder agenda.
We have huge problems that our Founders never anticipated. But human nature hasn’t changed, and neither has the nature of government. The constitution was designed to keep that deadly power in check, accountable to the people so WE can control our destinies and fix those problems.
Rather than amend it, respect it, and work on our problems within the framework of the law, Statists will defy the law, ignore it, bend it out of proportion and trample on it, all in the name of “progress”.
The Statists will take away your liberties and believe they are doing you a favor all the while.
Pick up a copy of “Liberty and Tyranny” and arm yourself with the lessons of history. This battle is just beginning.