What they meant was, “This isn’t the sort of thing I expect the government of a free people to do! This is not what our government OUGHT to do” and I agreed with that sentiment wholeheartedly. It can be applied to any number of egregious tyrannies committed recently. However, democracy, in and of itself, is no guarantor of liberty, and the Founders knew that. So did the body of the population of that day. Being students of history, a tyranny of the majority was a justifiable concern to them. Looking at present events here in these united States, it turns out to have been a very well-founded concern. The Founders, all students of the Enlightenment, all knew that looting of the productive has been a root cause of societal collapse since the dawn of Time, as it will be here in these united States, if present trends are allowed to continue.
What I would have liked to have said, had I penned a response at the time, would have been this:
“Democracy does not guarantee freedom.
Monarchy does not guarantee oppression.
Look at the essence and not the form.”
In point of fact, our Federal government is constituted neither as a democracy nor a monarchy, but as a republic, with certain limited, specific powers granted to the central government, some powers granted to the State and local governments, and all other power and rights remaining with the people. The idea was to keep government as close to the people as possible, to give central government only those specific powers that were perceived to be absolutely necessary, and for all other powers to rest with the States or the people themselves.
Further, the stated intention behind the Constitution was to divide the exercise of the authority extended to the central government so as to limit the aggregation of power by any one individual and to restrict the tendency of any group of people to vote, rather than work, for a living. Sadly, this did not work. Almost from the date of ratification, clever and amoral men have sought to evade, avoid, bypass or simply ignore the constraints imposed by the Constitution.
Even Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, overstepped his authority under the Constitution, by, among other things, making the Louisiana Purchase. True, he did press for the repeal of the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by Adams, but from the time of Washington, administration after administration have, bit by bit, slow step by slow step, law upon law, taken us to the point of becoming a totalitarian police state, where our rulers aspire to monitor every email, listen to every phone call, bug our vehicles, track every person’s movements, monitor and tax our purchases, tax and regulate what we eat and drink, arrest us for protesting, arrest us and hold us for years for NOTHING without charge, fly drones over our homes, and kill us without trial. Nowhere in the Constitution have these powers been granted, yet they have been arrogantly assumed by those in power. Our governments have paid tens of millions of people not to work, paid the medical bills of countless millions more and in so doing have created an entitlement class unequaled in human history. The Federal government has even taken States to court to force them NOT to enforce the laws regarding immigration or legal residence, so that they can expand the mooching class.
To accomplish this, our governments have spent our wealth, and not content with that, the wealth of future generations and in so doing have amassed a debt which can never be repaid. The total obligation of the Federal government of these united States is somewhere above 100 trillion dollars, or more wealth than exists on the planet Earth. To assist them in this looting, our governments have given control of our money supply into the hands of a private banking cartel which rules the economy with an iron hand, and ensures that the wealth of this nation continues to be extracted from the unknowing taxpayers.
And they are unknowing. If asked, most people on the street would claim that they live in the freest country on Earth. They point to our Constitution, to our electoral process, and proudly proclaim that they are free. Free? Are we really living in the land of Liberty?
We live inside the shell of Liberty, under the decaying roof of Freedom, but here in these united States, tyranny is devouring us and our freedoms alike. Like fungus on wet wood, like salt water on old steel, like cancer, the philosophy of totalitarianism is slowly and gradually eroding our rights, under our noses, while we wonder in bewilderment how things have gotten so screwed up. How can this be?
There are many reasons, and the root causes will doubtless be debated for years after true liberty is restored. Three events I believe are pivotal; the establishment of State-run, State funded, mandatory public ‘progressive’ education on the Prussian Model; the passage of the Amendment to allow an income tax; and the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank, which is neither Federal, a reserve, nor a bank, as those things are defined in the common law and the Constitution. But those three events would not have happened if the people of these united States had not forgotten or been mislead about the proper functions of Government, and if they had not, in their ignorance, confused the form of Liberty with it’s substance.
We have forgotten the timeless advice of John Philpott Curran who wrote “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." This sentiment has been widely attributed to Jefferson and to Thomas Paine, among others, and Andrew Jackson used it, but Curran is the first to put it in print. It is curious to note that this sentiment was widely circulated during the 18th and 19th centuries, but the advent of state run public schools at the dawn of the 20th century saw a decline in this sentiment. We have not been vigilant, and the bill for our laziness is coming due.
Form does not trump substance; a tyranny cloaked in pleasing attire, wrapped in sentiment, is no less evil. The Soviet Union had a constitution. So did Nazi Germany. Look to the substance behind the paper, and you will not be so often deceived. Whenever examining a government’s actions, ask yourself “Where does the government get this power? Has the government been given the right to do this?” If the answer is no, then one ought to oppose such government action, no matter how laudable the ostensible cause or reason. We must each, as free people, jealously guard our freedoms, if the substance of Freedom is to support the Forms we all hold dear.