Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rightful Role of Government - Part 1

This is Part 1 of a two-part article on what I believe is the rightful role of government.

I wrote this in response to a couple of different groups that have been agitating for the scrapping of the US Constitution.

One of those groups, the Libertarians and Anarchists want to scrap it because they believe that any government other than self-government is too much government.  Based on FaceBook (FB) posts adherents to these views have made, they view the Constitution simply as a vehicle to usurp their personal sovereignty. They also tend to embrace the decadent cultural stance that all forms of external government are equally wrong from a moral standpoint.  This stance utterly ignores the reality that under various forms of despotism like Socialism and dictatorships, their very ability to voice such opinions would likely be ended with a bullet to the head.  Which stands in sharp contrast to how the US Constitution protects their rights to free speech.

The other group that wants to scrap the US Constitution are the Progressives / Socialists / Communists / Liberals.  This second group wants to scrap it because it expressly thwarts their efforts to eliminate personal property rights, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.  They use a variety of arguments against the Constitution and they have successfully implemented a vast array of laws, regulations and court rulings that fly in the face of the express authorities granted and reserved by the wording of the Constitution.  One of their chief arguments, not being able to truly contest the principles in the document, is that it was written by dead white farmers whose ideas are totally out of touch with the events of our day.  This argument ignores the facts that the principles embodied in the Constitution are derived from millenia of human experience and thought and that the "farmers" were actually among the best educated people in the world at the time and were experienced farmers, business owners, clergy, soldiers, philosophers and public servants.

There is no question (at least among serious students of history) that the US Constitution was an expansion of Federal power.  The problem at the time was that the Articles of Confederation left the union open to being picked apart by large European powers, mostly through connivance - since force would likely have been met with a united response from the American states.  And the Articles of Confederation had already proven inadequate for managing the financial obligations incurred in the war as well as the commercial and legal issues that were raised in the course of the Revolutionary War. 

In spite of what flaws there may be in the US Constitution, it was as Cleon Skousen calls it "a 5,000 year leap" forward in the governments of men.  And, it still stands as the best form of government in existence today, even after some significant dismantling and perversion by forces (legislatures as well as courts) over the past 100 years. 

In fact, most of the flaws cited today are those created in the past 100 years by those who are seeking to destroy the Constitution.  The beauty of the US Constitution (and the Bill of Rights) as originally framed and interpreted is that it created a strictly limited Federal government while explicitly recognizing that the powers of government derive solely from the governed.  Prior to this time, nearly every government in the world assumed that the powers of government derived solely from God onto the shoulders of the monarch, and that the citizens were not citizens, they were subjects (a person who is under the dominion or rule of a sovereignand they had NO inherent rights, the king being accountable only to God for the use of his power.

The Magna Charta was a huge leap forward in that it made the king accountable to the nobles and the people through the powers given to the parliament.  Previously the only accountability of the king was to those who could wield sufficient military or financial power to bring him to heel.  And financial power without the military might to back it was simply an invitation to have debts cancelled and wealth transferred at the point of bloody sword.

Anarchy or total self-government is not a realistic model for sustainable society in today's world.  In fact, the anarchist movement is largely a tool of the statists.  If the model of the anarchists were accepted, and every man became a law unto himself, human nature (essentially unchanged through 6,000 years of recorded human history) would soon find the strong preying on the weak.  The victims would band together and seek the protection of the strongest, or strength in numbers.  Either way, they would immediately have to trade some or all of their personal sovereignty for increased security.   The strongest would protect them and demand obedience and we would have feudalism and monarchy in short order.  Again, the stronger would "eat the sovereignty" the weaker until Empires were rebuilt and the monarch (the state) would again be the source of all authority and individuals would have surrendered all their individual sovereignty so that they would be prey only to one predator (their monarch) rather than be prey to a hundred different bullies.

The only time self-government (total individual sovereignty) will work is when the individuals will also agree to relinquish their sovereignty promptly (in a minute - e.g., minutemen militia) for self defense and the apprehension of predators (of the 2-legged variety), and agree to a common set of public standards for interaction (e.g.,  thou shalt not steal...).

Realistically speaking, the US Constitution has worked out very well for us so far.  It's bedrock is under unremitting attack right now and if it falls, the end result will be despotism, not freedom.  The US Constitution has successfully limited government and assured individual freedom for more than 200 years and helped create the most prosperous and powerful  nation on earth - powered by the will of individuals who believe that these freedoms are worth defending and that the principles underlying this structure are eternal beacons for the happiness of both individuals and society.

Coming Up - The Rightful Role of Government - Part 2, including...

  • Predation by the minority
  • Predation by the majority
  • The Rule of Law

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

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