The increasingly dangerous non-constitutional overreach of the Federal Government should alarm anyone. And yet, while some state legislatures and governors are working to stop the power theft (like Virginia’s new governor Glenn Youngkin, much to the consternation of those who want complete Federal authority over everyone), many Libertarians and conservatives seem pacified by the current administration and congressional makeup.
Civil liberty supporting liberals were alarmingly tolerant of war and overreaching surveillance under Obama, just as many people who considered Obama overreach a sign of tyranny supported a growth in government power under President Trump. And they all seem fine with the Biden administration’s attempts at further ruling every aspect of our lives under the guise of COVID, “far-right” terrorism, or a “rise” in whatever bogeyman they can dream up to scare the populace.
Fear and liberty haven’t coexisted very well over the course of history. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about fear of government, fear of lawlessness, or fear of disease.
Unfortunately, many of today’s voting-age Americans have never even read the U.S. Constitution, which was written to prevent all of it. Apparently, most civics classes in public schools today dwell on other things. So far too many people have no clue how far their government has overreached and taken away their liberty.
But here’s the truth: The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Ever since the Southern states were prohibited from removing themselves from an alliance that no longer worked in their favor – an alliance they entered into voluntarily — the U.S. government has grown increasingly more powerful.
Here’s what has transpired since: During reconstruction the Republican Party centralized government, subsidized railroads, raised taxes on Southern property and businesses, then confiscated the property when taxes couldn’t be paid and established an education system that taught a revisionist history of the run-up to and causes of the war. Then, in 1917 Congress established the Federal Reserve — a non-constitutional entity with the power to control the U.S. money supply — President Franklin Roosevelt pushed through New Deal provisions that further empowered the Federal Government while enriching certain constituencies, President Nixon further destroyed the dollar and monetary freedom by taking the U.S. off the gold standard, The U.S. declared multiple “wars” on its own citizens in the form of the war on drugs and then the privacy-destroying war on terror, and Presidents Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden have pushed through extra-constitutional spending bills that send spending into the ultra-stratosphere.
Does it then surprise anyone that the mood of many in our country reached a tipping point as a result, or that radio and TV talk shows are alive with voices proposing that America return to its constitutional roots? Tea Party activists denounced the growing government and were squashed and deplatformed by the establishment starting a decade ago, and here we are, right back in the same place.
Unfortunately, many in America don’t understand what all the hubbub is about. So, to help them understand, here are five talking points from the 10th Amendment Center:
- The People created the federal government to be their agent for certain enumerated purposes only. The rest is to be handled by the state governments, or locally, by the people themselves. The Constitution does not include a congressional power to override state laws. It does not give the judicial branch unlimited jurisdiction over all matters. It does not provide Congress with the power to legislate over everything.
- If Congress had been intended to carry out anything they claim would promote the “general welfare,” what would be the point of listing its specific powers in Article I, Section 8, since these would’ve already been covered?
- The states remain individual and unique sovereignties; they were empowered in areas that the Constitution did not delegate to the federal government. Any federal attempt to legislate beyond the constitutional limits of Congress’s authority is unconstitutional.
- Governments and political leaders are best held accountable to the will of the people when government is local. The people of a state know what is best for them; they do not need bureaucrats, potentially thousands of miles away, governing their lives.
- We agree with historian Kevin Gutzman, who has said that those who would give us a “living” Constitution are actually giving us a dead one since such a thing is completely unable to protect us against the encroachments of government power.
If you want to first halt then reverse the tide of government overreach, pass these points around to your friends and send them to your state and U.S. representatives.
As another midterm election approaches, Americans need to thoroughly examine their current Representative in the House and their Senator and determine whether he or she has voted in a way that expands governmental overreach, or in a way that upholds the constitutional principles of the Founding Fathers.
If that Representative is found worthy, vote him or her back into office. If not, find an alternative. If your Senator passes the test and is on the ballot in November — a third of them are up for re-election — then re-elect him or her. But if he or she has failed the test, examine the alternative there.
Hopefully, the alternative candidate will understand that Americans are tired of a Congress that grows government into an ever-larger freedom-crushing leviathan and apparently doesn’t understand that, as James Madison wrote, anything the government does beyond the few enumerated powers means the government is overreaching. Our Founders wanted to limit government because they saw how oppressive it could become. The future they saw and warned against is our present.
Yours for the truth,
Editor, The Bob Livingston Letter®