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Less Government is the Best Government


What Keeps Americans Free From One Generation to the Next?

-by Scott Rohter, October 2011

What keeps Americans free from one generation to the next?  Is it the Federal Government in Washington D.C.?  NO!  Is it Congress, or the WhiteHouse, or the nine men and women who sit on the Supreme Court?  Of course not!  It isn’t even the United States military, except in those rare instances when we have actually been threatened by a foreign enemy.  In 235 years that hasn’t happened very often.  But what keeps Americans free when we are daily threatened by domestic enemies?  Our strong military isn’t much help when our enemies are domestic.  All we have left to defend ourselves against domestic enemies, is our Constitution! 

Many other countries in the world have constitutions too.  And many of these country’s very own governments simply ignore their own constitutions, like Hugo Chaves in Venezuela, The Castro Brothers in Cuba, and Vladimir Putin in Russia.  Did you know that the Russians have a constitution?  Well they do, and the Russian leaders simply walk all over it!  The People’s Republic of China also has a constitution that is supposed to protect the citizens of Communist China, but the Communist Chinese Party merely ignores it whenever it suits them.  What makes the United States Constitution different from all of the rest?  (I sound like a young boy reading the Haggadah at a Passover Seder dinner.  “Why is this night different from all other nights?”  That’s just a little bit of ethnic humor for all of you non-Jews out there!)  So what really does make our country and our Constitution different from all of the others in the world?

Well first of all, I must inform you that while it always has been different, it is in grave danger now, and ‘the times they are a changing’!  I’m not so sure that it will continue to remain different for very much longer, if we don’t get involved now, and insist upon strict compliance with the Constitution from every elected public official!  But let me tell you what has made our Constitution different, and what has kept our country so different until now, because that is also at the very heart of what has kept Americans free from one generation to the next!  And I would like to thank Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for making this clear to me.

Many other countries in the world have constitutions.  And many countries with constitutions also have one Party rule, or essentially a single Party system, like China and Russia.  That would be the equivalent of having no Republican Party when the Democrats are in control in Washington.  The fact that we have had over the years, a powerful, and loyal opposition Party, has greatly contributed to keeping tyranny at bay!  Not only do we have a healthy two-Party system, to challenge the majority Party when they are in charge, but unlike all Parliamentary Systems where the Party in power also picks the chief executive from the very same Party who then goes on to become the Prime Minister, we have a system of government in which the people can elect a President from one Party, and the legislative branch of government from the other Party or Parties!

We have a delicately designed and Constitutionally protected balance of power between the executive and the legislative branches of government, that allows for the President to be picked from one political Party, and the Congress to be controlled by the other political Party.  Furthermore, since our legislative body is bi-cameral, in other words there are two Houses of Congress, the House of Representatives may even be controlled by one political Party, while the Senate is controlled by the other political Party.  This ability for the people to choose to thoroughly dilute and disperse political power between two political Parties, three branches of government, and two Houses of Congress, is the very reason that Americans are still free!  It is at the heart of why our Constitution is so different from others, and why the United States has been so different from other countries!  We were very lucky and very fortunate to have had such wise Founding Fathers.  It hasn’t been the norm in the world.  So let’s forever dismiss all talk of holding another Constitutional Convention to rewrite our exceptional Constitution! The notion is pure rubbish! 

The healthy competition that originates from our two Party system, with three distinct branches of government, and two separate Houses of Congress, is what has done such an excellent job of keeping Americans free!  The media and some politicians like to say that this causes gridlock.  Supreme Court Justice Scalia says that we should “embrace gridlock.”  In addition to making it difficult to accomplish anything in Washington, this ‘gridlock’ is what actually keeps us free!  We should be thankful for gridlock, and embrace it every single day of our lives!

The healthy competition that originates from our two Party system, and the division of power that exists between three branches of government, and two Houses of Congress, is technically referred to as the ‘Checks and Balances’ and the ‘Separation of Powers’.  These Checks and Balances and this Separation of Powers are built right into the Constitution and our Bill of Rights, and they are fundamentally the reason why America is so different than all of the other countries in the world, and why Americans remain free!

In addition, we have another concept enshrined in the Constitution, and in our American tradition, known as ‘Federalism’.  This concept is clearly defined in the 9th and 10th Amendments.  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution… are reserved to the States… and to the people.”  Also: “The enumeration of certain powers… shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  This power sharing arrangement between the Federal Government and the States is what is commonly referred to as Federalism, but there is nothing common at all about it!  It is actually extremely rare in the world!  The balance of power between the sovereign States and the Federal Government also greatly contributes to keeping Americans free!  We should thank God for States Rights, and thank God for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.  I’m sure Supreme Court Justice Scalia would agree that we should embrace the concept of Federalism as well!

But all of these Constitutional principles of limited government are increasingly coming under attack by progressives in both political Parties, both Houses of Congress, and every branch of the Federal Government!  Until recently, the decentralization of power between Washington and the 50 States, and the dilution and division of power between two political Parties, three branches of government, and two Houses of Congress, has prevented any one Party, or any one branch of the Federal Government from accumulating too much power, and getting too strong!  For over 235 years no single government jurisdiction, or political persuasion has been allowed to become too powerful.  The power sharing arrangement proscribed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution is at the very heart of why no administration, or branch of the Federal Government, has thus far been able to reduce Americans to something less than a free people!  But that arrangement is in danger of being undone. We are in danger of losing our Freedom, and these principles are coming under a barrage of assaults, like they have never been before in our Nation’s history!  There are real Socialists in power in Washington today, and there are real progressives in both political Parties who are calling for a Constitutional Convention to rewrite our Constitution!

Beleaguered and besieged from all sides by progressives, our wonderful, freedom-sustaining Constitution needs our support!  The delegate system of checks and balances designed into the Constitution, the critical balance of power between the States and the Federal Government, and the essential separation of powers between two political Parties, three branches of government, and two Houses of Congress, all have their detractors now in the progressive movement of today.  Therefore these principles are in danger of being undone and unwritten, and the thread that holds our republican form of government together is in danger of being unraveled.  It is time for Americans everywhere to get up and roll!  And I don’t just mean roll with the punches, but roll, as in LET’S ROLL!  While we are at it, let’s throw some punches of our own!

"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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