“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton
Those famous words of Sir John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton were written in April 1887 in a letter to the English Theologian Mandell Creighton. They could have very easily been written however by James Madison, for over a century before Lord Acton made his famous pronouncement, Madison and the rest of the America’s founding fathers knew this fact all too well.
From the very beginning of humanity, ever since early man first began to gather in tribes and form civilizations, the one chief impediment towards fostering man’s liberty has been government. Not every time, but far too often those in possession of some level of power become intoxicated by the sweet delights that power provides, and strive to take action to seize control of even greater power.
James Madison and the rest of the framers of the Constitution knew all too well the perils of power, having fought for Independence from the British Empire, when they convened in Philadelphia in 1787 with the original intention of amending the Articles of Confederation. What they produced instead was the U.S. Constitution, a document that provided for a form of government which carried out the necessary and legitimate functions of government; defending the nation from foreign threats, administering justice, removing obstacles to free trade and maintaining internal order — while still providing checks that too much power is not held by any one individual or a mass of individuals.
Knowing that preserving freedom depended on the effective ability to restrain the accumulation of too much power in any one source, our founding fathers constructed the Constitution the way that they did. They knew of the dangers of tyranny be it from individuals or the masses who may be persuaded by smooth talking, power hungry individuals partaking in demagoguery. In the Constitution, they specifically outlined the limitations of federal authority to certain delegated powers. Those powers not expressly implied to the federal government, were granted solely to the States. Furthermore, the powers that were given to the federal government were split up in three branches, the Legislative, Executive and Judicial in a manner to provide a measure of checks and balances.
Near the closing of the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman, “what kind of government have you given us?”
“A Republic,” He replied, adding the caveat “if you can keep it.”
In that endeavor, we have failed.
We as a Nation have allowed ourselves to be swindled.
The French Historian, Alexis de Tocqueville realized this for himself that this would happen, when he visited America in the early half of the nineteenth century. In his book, Democracy in America he wrote the following:
Every man allows himself to be put in leading-strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons, but the people at large who hold the end of his chain.
By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master and then relapse into it again. A great many persons at the present day are quite contented with this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and the sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large.
Thanks to disasters such as the New Deal, we have completely disregarded the warnings given to us by our founding fathers, and have allowed for the radical reinterpretation of the role of our federal government as having the power to do whatever needs to be done — or more specifically, whatever those in power believe needs to be done.
Our federal government has grown to monolithic proportions, so large the George Washington’s, James Madison’s, Benjamin Franklin’s and Thomas Jefferson’s of our past would be ashamed to be called our founding fathers.
Now on November 4th, 2008 we as a nation are in danger of electing a candidate who is the worst type of demagogue our forefathers warned us about. Barack Obama has a clear and unabashed disdain for the U.S. Constitution, the document that framed our Nation’s form of government.
In 2001, when discussing the Civil Rights movement and the Warren Court’s role in it, Barack Obama stated that the fundamental flaw of the Supreme Court in that era was that, “It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution.”
He went on to state that the Constitution provides negative liberties. In that, in a perverse way Obama is right, because the Constitution clearly states what the government does not have the right to do, such as take away our freedom of speech, take away our right to bear arms, take away our liberties. It is not the government that has liberties, it is We, the People.
What Obama wants to change the Constitution to, is into a document that brings us Universal Health Care, Universal Housing, Universal Welfare. He wants to flip the power from We The People, to We the Government. In other words he wants to completely destroy everything our founding fathers believed in when they crafted the Constitution,
In that interview he stated that the Constitution provides for what the States can’t do to you, what the Federal Government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the government should do for you. To Barack Obama those are the flaws of our Constitution, but to our founding fathers and to anyone who truly loves the principles of freedom and liberty, those are the greatest strengths of our Constitution.
Barack Obama sees our system of Government and our U.S. Constitution as something that is out of date. He even admits it when he proclaims that, “It’s time for us to change America.“
The kind of change that Barack Obama wants is the same kind of change brought forth by the Stalin’s and Mussolini’s of the world.
If we elect Barack Obama as President, when Democracy in this country dies it will not be because it was stolen from us… it will be because we gave it away.