So I was reading the Declaration of Independence on the John yesterday, being as it was Independence Day, and being that I have one of those Heritage Foundation pocket Declaration/Constitutions on the shelf in the restroom. Something struck me when I was reading the first few reasons the writer gave as reasons for declaring their independence from Great Britain. The very first reason given was “He (King George) has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good”. The second reason elaborates: “He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them”. It struck me….Boy, King George sure sounds like our federal government, doesn’t he?
The very first reasons given by the founding fathers for dissolving their political bonds to the British monarchy was that they (the patriots) had the ability and right to govern themselves, and they were being denied that right by the king; a king who would not allow them to govern themselves and therefore address important issues, “pressing” issues as they needed to be addressed, and though claiming to be the protectorate of the states, he himself would not address them while not allowing the colonies that ability. I guess the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.
I’m not calling for armed revolution here. Despite the corruption of our government, I don’t believe it has come to that. We do however need a revolution like the one Thomas Jefferson spoke about when he said “Every generation needs a new revolution”. A man who also said, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent of sudden usurpations…this danger ought to be wisely guarded against.” Those “silent encroachments” are upon us as we speak, and too many good people are asleep at the helm. The federal government has become a gargantuan. It now makes decisions for the states that they can, should, and must make themselves if we would be free. Localities ruling themselves…this is freedom, and too many people unknowingly cede that freedom every day.
Reagan perhaps said it best: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.” Our system was initially set up to give most of the power to the states. This has been changing slowly but surely for a long long time, and seems to finally be coming to a head. I think we can and should plan and live our lives as we see fit, without having to grovel to Washington DC to do so and ask the permission of the unelected regulatory agencies that now abound.
States are more than able, and not only that, but have the right to rule themselves, as James Madison said in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and infinite.” Too many people have lost sight of that fact through time as the federal government has consolidated power. Let’s hope there are enough freedom-loving Americans out there who understand that freedom is the right of the people to rule themselves on the local level, in a more personal humane way, so that this country will continue to enjoy the freedoms it has now for over 200 years.