Libertarian scribe John Stossel has some interesting thoughts on the liberties bequeathed to us by the Founders, and what we’ve done with them. Excerpt:
Although it’s the Declaration that we celebrate on the Fourth, it was another document, the Constitution, ratified 12 years later, that really gave the details of the system of limited government that would shape America.
The founders were sick of British tyranny. They understood the danger of big government.
Jefferson said, trust no man with too much government power; instead “bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
James Madison wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”
Some delegates still opposed the Constitution, not because it was too radical, but because they feared it still left government too much power.
Looking at what politicians and regulators have done since, I guess those delegates were right.
One wrote, “Conceiving as I did that the liberties of America were not secured by the system, it was my duty to oppose it.” He was outvoted, but objections like his inspired the Bill of Rights to further bind government.
The limits it imposed have done a lot of good.
The current crop of buncombe artists, conmen, malingerers and nincompoops we call Congress these days are mostly ignoring those limits; President Trump”s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court gives one a little hope that the principle of limited government might hold out a little longer – but only a little.
Far from the independence sought by the Founders, a plurality – if not an outright majority – of Americans sees government not as a fearful servant and a dangerous master, but as the be-all and end-all for every purpose; a wellspring of Free Shit, the key to obtaining ever-increasing portions of someone else’s stuff.
Stossel rightly points out that our system and the Constitution that defines it is still the best system on Earth, but that’s more a condemnation of the rest of the planet than a glowing recommendation of how the United States is governed today. How has it come to this?