Better to be insane with the crowd than sane alone? So goes the length of this analysis by Brian Schoeneman below about reflecting on such items as Medicare, the Department of Education, and No Child Left Behind as “unconstitutional” acts.
The problem with all of this is that there has been a steady voice from many Americans well before this reign of supra-constitutional acts came down from Washington. When the average American looks to the Constitution, then looks at how the nation is being run and cannot equate the two, it is not reassuring to those very same Americans to hear from the high priests of the new order that everything is OK.
In fact, that only makes matters more maddening.
Here’s the catch: America is built on two understandings: (1) that there is a natural law that governs all men and from this issue inalienable rights, and that (2) under that law Americans have formed a social contract.
When the laws of any nation become muddied beyond the ability of the average person to understand such laws, it does absolutely no good to hear from politicians and judges and lawyers about how everything makes sense, that an archaic set of laws have sprung into motion, and what you read in the U.S. Constitution does not have to make sense. Rather, our Constitution must conform to our laws, rather than our laws conforming to our Constitution.
This is no mere partisan wave. Independents have been swinging the gate between Democrats and Republicans since 2006. Anger at government knows no political party. First the Congress, then the White House, now the U.S. House swings back.
It’s not just the Tea Party. Nor is it only “hope and change” — Americans are pissed off at the clique of elites who tells them how tall their grass must be, what they can and cannot build on their property, how their taxes are collected, what those taxes are spent upon, and whether or not they can be arrested or charged on any number of items in the name of safe streets or counter-terrorism (or illegal immigration enforcement — pick your poison).
What ever happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Look at a TSA counter and find out.
I would take the opposite argument. Yes, there are many things that are wholly wrong with the way America is governed. And yes, it is the sign of a healthy, vibrant American republic that every law is challenged based on its constitutional merits. More directly to the point, the American people should not require the imprimatur of a constitutional lawyer or politician to be able to raise the question.
The more government does for us, the less we require of ourselves. Show me the constitutional authority for the TSA? The massive entitlement system? Government mandating that I buy health care? Show me where Americans must provide at the federal level for a public education system held hostage by the teacher’s union, and is one of the worst performing in the G-20? Where is the constitutional authority for the Commerce Department? No Child Left Behind? The EPA? Social Security?
Flip the coin to its the other side: Show me the constitutional authority for torture? Indefinite internment without charges? The invasion and permanent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan? The need for troop deployments in Germany and South Korea? What about a $700 billion defense budget?
Never waste a crisis — remember that line? Because in times of crisis, men do what men have always done — they expand their control. This is the “fatal conceit” that Hayek warned against, and those who enjoy the power and philanthropy of the state see opportunity in your crisis.
These are the questions being asked. Citing the Code of Federal Regulations or a bevy of court opinions doesn’t wash.
We The People — not we the high priests of courts and government — forged the Constitution so that we may be governed by law, not by men.
You know what I think bothers folks? That it really might all be unconstitutional.
That scares the hell out of a bureaucratic engine of millions of employees and families. But the secret to American greatness lies in our ability to govern less, not more.
Think about that for awhile, and see whether or not those who preach the light hand of government really aren’t really just putting the heavy hand of big government in a velvet glove — and whether you, your forefathers, or your children would ever consent to such an arrangement.