Government is the Problem

And it looks as though people are (finally!) starting to figure that out:

Government (and the creatures who infest its rotten carcass) was the most important problem facing the United States in 2014, Americans tell Gallup pollsters. That’s up from being the second most serious problem in 2013, and the third-ranker in 2012.

Who says the American political system is stuck? This is progress!

It is, indeed. Not quite enough, though – we need people to really understand, deep down in their bones, that government is a necessary burden, not something that can be a genuine force for good. It can restrain, it cannot really help – only people, acting as individuals and groups, can help other people. To be sure, if you could get a government run entirely by saints, you might have something which could do better – but that just isn’t going to happen because the sort of people who become saints wouldn’t want to be in government; while the sort of people who do want to be in government often ensure that government is messed up, when not actually malevolent. The mistrust of government upon which our nation was founded is healthy, and the sooner we get it back, the better.

18 thoughts on “Government is the Problem

  1. Retired Spook January 3, 2015 / 11:14 am

    One of the biggest problems with our current government is the overreach by the EPA, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Response Action Network has an excellent short piece about the EPA’s unconstitutional power grab with a link toward the end to Frederic Bastiat’s famous 1850 pamphlet, “The Law”. I know I’m probably beating a dead horse, but there literally is NOTHING new under the sun. We seem to be utterly incapable of learning from history and not repeating the same mistakes over and over.

    First published in 1850, “The Law” has served as a fundamental text for all defenders of liberty. Bastiat’s main theme in “The Law (link is external)” is simple: when does a law become unjust — and when do those who make laws become, themselves, lawbreakers?

    Bastiat answers the question just as directly: laws become unjust and destructive — he frequently refers to them as tools of “plunder” — when those who make the laws rob citizens of their fundamental rights to life and property.

    In Bastiat’s view, a just society where the law functions to protect individual rights would not only prosper, it would also be orderly. But because this system is diffifult, requiring people to work, save, and invest for their own well-being, the lazy, the greedy, and the “do-gooders” will seek to use the law to steal their neighbor’s good work. The result is what Bastiat call “lawful plunder.” How do we recognize it? through a simple test:

    “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.”

    The system begins slowly and quietly — just a few lawmakers will pass legislation that takes from those who produce and gives to those who don’t. This sets off a chain reaction, as those who have been plundered try to get in on the action, asking for more laws that will help them recoup their losses, and get a little bit extra, too.

    In the end, the law becomes a mockery of justice that sets interest against interest — with each of them looking to steal from the other.

    Perhaps 2015 will be the year when a significant portion of the American public wake up and realize what’s going on. I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Cluster January 3, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    I think this quote from Madison defines our current Government problem very well:

    “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”
    ― James Madison

    Obamacare is exactly what Madison warned of.

    • Amazona January 3, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      Madison also “….drafted and help pass something known as the Virginia Resolutions, a state-level “legislative device” in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts. Here’s a key part:”

      … in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them. (“said compact” referring to the Constitution.)

      Madison was not the only Founder who explained what citizens are supposed to do when their federal government engages in the exercise of other powers not granted by the Constitution. (We have to remember that he was the driving force behind getting the Bill of Rights ratified, in which the boundaries of federal authority are clearly explained in the Tenth Amendment.)

      Thomas Jefferson, while vice president of the United States, wrote:

      The several states composing the United States of America are not united on a principle of unlimited submission to their general government.

      … where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy

      … that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them

      The article goes on to say: “Like Madison advised in Federalist No. 46, both he and Jefferson advised a state-level response to dangerous federal acts. In 1798, neither of them even mentioned voting or lawsuits.

      Jefferson told us that a “nullification is the rightful remedy.” And Madison told us that states are “duty-bound to interpose.”

      When Daniel Webster called on these same principles in response to military conscription plans during the War of 1812, he said:

      The operation of measures thus unconstitutional and illegal ought to be prevented by a resort to other measures which are both constitutional and legal. It will be the solemn duty of the State governments to protect their own authority over their own militia, and to interpose between their citizens and arbitrary power. These are among the objects for which the State governments exist; and their highest obligations bind them to the preservation of their own rights and the liberties of their people…

      Here’s the bottom line. You are not supposed to wait two or four years for some new politicians to get in office and give your permission to be free. You are not supposed to wait two or four or six years for some federal court to tell you, “OK, you be free now.”

      You are supposed to stand up, resist, refuse to comply and nullify unconstitutional federal acts — as soon as they happen.

      All the money and time you throw at firing Congress or winning in federal court will never, ever work — unless you start resisting right here in your state. And that resistance needs to be your first response, not your last.”

      • Cluster January 4, 2015 / 9:40 am

        100% agree. Now, who is prepared to leave their comfortable home and family and lay their life down for to reverse the abuses of the Constitution? As Dr. John Warren and so many other minutemen lost their life to construct the Constitution. We have become a complacent society. And a dumbed down society. I am not convinced that this country could win WWII again if we had to refight that battle. This country has largely become selfish, self absorbed, complacent, entitled, and intellectually lazy. We have recently seen video of three innocent Americans beheaded by a large, vicious, and well organized jihadist militia that vows to destroy our way of life and yet we continue to try and reconcile the peace. We continue to look at ourselves to see if we are possibly the source of their rage and what we might be able to do to satisfy their blood lust. Hillary Clinton recently expressed these exact sentiments. I can only imagine how Washington, Madison, Adams, Roosevelt, Churchill, or Patton would have confronted this jihadist threat.

      • Amazona January 4, 2015 / 10:47 am

        Cluster, I think you are way ahead of yourself here. That may be required at some date, but I think that civil disobedience at the state level, right now, is where we need to start. Colorado and Washington State are doing it right now, in legalizing marijuana—they are defying federal drug laws and so far the feds have not been inclined to push the matter. (Admittedly, this might be due to the president’s love for the weed, and the Left’s inclination in that direction, as much as anything else.)

        Several states have refused to go along with federal Obamacare regulations.

        I didn’t even know some states had upped their interstate speed limits to 80 MPH until recently, but I do know that the feds tried to flex their muscles for quite some time, trying to use the threat of pulling federal money to force states to keep lower speed limits—is this an example of some states standing up to DC? (That is not a rhetorical question—-I really don’t know.)

        Some states have declared their intent to enforce illegal immigration laws.

        I think that a movement of states to nullify any law passed in DC which exceeds the limits of delegated powers would send a strong message and be the first step. So instead of asking who is willing to go get shot, how about asking who is willing to run for office, at the state level, on the platform of state nullification of improper federal legislation? We need candidates who will step up and point out that no Executive Order constitutes a legitimate law, which must come from the legislative branch, and ask for our votes based on a promise to act accordingly if elected to Congress, or to the statehouse, or as the state’s governor. And we need to provide those votes.

        A million votes for a man who ran for governor on such a platform would send a strong message to DC, even if the candidate failed to be elected. A million votes in each of 30 states would be hard to ignore. So we should start with electing governors who will stand up to DC, and statehouses that will back them up. We should start with electing Congresscritters who will do the same thing in the nation’s capital, who have the power to do all sorts of things that will start the ball rolling.

        I have two ideas of bills that would undoubtedly be vetoed by Barry if passed, but which would resonate with the people. One is a bill to establish some penalties for failing to honor the oath of office. The Dems would vote against it, which is a statement in and of itself, and if it did pass Barry would veto it, which would also be a statement. The other is a bill that says that Congress has the right to review and override any Executive Order. Put a condition on it, if necessary—any Executive Order which appears to be in contradiction of the 10th Amendment, or something similar. But start to send the message that Congress is going to guard, very strenuously, its role as the sole legislative body in the land.

        We also need a movement to promote the idea of state sovereignty, to explain it, to get the word out, to inform people of statements such as those I quoted above. The entire CONCEPT is missing from a citizenry never educated about the formation of this government in the first place, and its foundational principles, and the reasons behind those principles. This is probably the hardest part, as it would mean going up against the Complicit Agenda Media, but it is essential.

      • Cluster January 4, 2015 / 11:21 am

        Oh I am not suggesting we need large civil unrest at this point, but I do often think of, and am amazed at the courage and commitment to principles that previous generations had and were prepared to fight for that I think is largely absent from this current society.

      • Retired Spook January 4, 2015 / 11:23 am

        A million votes for a man who ran for governor on such a platform would send a strong message to DC, even if the candidate failed to be elected. A million votes in each of 30 states would be hard to ignore. So we should start with electing governors who will stand up to DC, and statehouses that will back them up. We should start with electing Congresscritters who will do the same thing in the nation’s capital, who have the power to do all sorts of things that will start the ball rolling.

        And I think once the ball starts rolling the snowball effect will take over. Once one state makes the federal government blink (and I do think they will blink on pretty much every legitimate issue), it’ll be Katie bar the door. There are actually a number of state nullification efforts currently in the works. They just aren’t getting a lot of press because, well, because they don’t fit the press’ agenda.

        An Associated Press analysis found that about four-fifths of the states now have enacted local laws that directly reject or ignore federal laws on marijuana use, gun control, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver’s licenses. The recent trend began in Democratic leaning California with a 1996 medical marijuana law and has proliferated lately in Republican strongholds like Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback this spring became the first to sign a measure threatening felony charges against federal agents who enforce certain firearms laws in his state.

        Some states, such as Montana and Arizona, have said “no” to the feds again and again — passing states’ rights measures on all four subjects examined by the AP — despite questions about whether their “no” carries any legal significance.

      • Amazona January 4, 2015 / 11:34 am

        Cluster, I have to agree with you there—the courage and commitment of those who sacrificed so much in the pursuit of the government model laid out in our Constitution are stunning, and should be held up as inspiration.

        Back to Executive Branch overreach: I just ran across this in an article on Barry’s plans for 2015, leading with the paragraph “President Barack Obama this week will unveil policy initiatives on housing, college affordability and job creation during a three-day road trip to highlight his 2015 agenda, the White House said on Saturday.”

        Later in the article is the heart of the message:

        “The initiatives on housing, college costs and jobs will include a mix of legislative proposals and actions that the president will take that do not need congressional approval, said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.”

        OK, setting aside the fact that Eric Schultz can make any statement like this with (presumably) a straight face, just what “legislative ………actions” do NOT “..need congressional approval..”?

        The president, so much happier on anything that feels like a campaign than actually doing his job, certainly has the right to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to tell people what he thinks are important “initiatives” for the country. But at that point his job is to STFU and let Congress act, or not act, on his proposals. It is not to claim that he has the constitutional authority to “take” (his spokeskid’s word) any “..legislative proposals and actions” just because he has decided that well, he wants to, so he just proclaims that they do not “…need congressional approval.”

        So far I have not heard of any self-proclaimed “journalist” asking just which “legislative actions” do NOT “need congressional approval”. Evidently that is not the kind of thing taught in Agenda Journalism schools these days, where Liberals are told their real job is to promote the goals of the Left, and not to worry that this makes them come across as journalistic whores, because the end justifies the means.

      • Cluster January 4, 2015 / 3:38 pm

        Evidently that is not the kind of thing taught in Agenda Journalism schools these days, where Liberals are told their real job is to promote the goals of the Left,

        And that’s exactly what “journalism schools” have taught and promoted – activism. MSNBC for example is an absolute affront to journalism integrity and the fact that they employ Al Sharpton should nullify them from being called a “news organization”

        For more than a decade, corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network. What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence.

      • Amazona January 4, 2015 / 12:14 pm

        Here are some ideas on the three topics mentioned in the press release.

        Housing: What about it? What has His Majesty determined to be the problem with housing these days? He can’t promote ownership—that concept was supported by Bush, and is therefore labeled as stupid, evil and corrupt.

        (Prediction: Barry will say the feds have the obligation to make housing more “affordable”—that is to say, paid for by OPM.)

        College affordability? How about student loans that are only for classic Liberal Arts studies or areas leading to employment, and stopping government subsidies and loans for “studies” programs that are nothing but indoctrinational fluff that allow people to put off adulthood indefinitely while posturing as legitimate students and avoiding having to get jobs. There was nothing wrong with the educational model that was based on the advantages of having a solid classical education—-an additional language or two, knowledge of history and literature, etc.—-so people who were working in various fields would actually be EDUCATED. Shared knowledge of classical studies is unifying in a culture, but only as an adjunct to practical knowledge leading to employment. But the “studies” programs of today are nonsense. Ethnic studies, women’s studies, black studies, transgendered vision-impaired Eskimo studies, etc. Every category of “studies” could and should be part, a small part, of a comprehensive EDUCATIONAL program, designed to expand real knowledge and prepare the student for becoming an independent and productive member of society. Stripping the nonsense out of college curricula and diminishing the size of administration and staff now necessary to support the fluff would go a long way toward making college not just affordable, but meaningful.

        (Prediction: Barry will say the feds have the obligation to make college more “affordable”—that is to say, paid for by OPM.)

        Job creation: This is easy. Cut taxes. Have a moratorium on overseas money, allowing it to come back into the country at a very low tax rate for a period ending December 31, 2015. Cut corporate taxes to 15%, or even less. Slash capital gains from its current economy-stifling 28% to 10% and get the money now locked up due to reluctance to pay such a stiff penalty for selling of capital back into the system. Cut personal income taxes. Streamline or eliminate regulations that are now inhibiting enterprise. Engage in welfare reform, giving all welfare recipients but the truly disabled two years to get job training and then get jobs, showing employers that when they tool up and expand due to more available capital there will be a work force there to turn to. HALT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION and the dilution of the low-end job market by bringing in millions of unskilled workers to compete with Americans for those jobs.

        (Prediction: Barry will say the feds have the obligation to make all jobs pay a “living wage” (higher minimum wages) and we need more government agencies and programs he can claim “create jobs”—that is to say, paid for by OPM.)

      • Amazona January 4, 2015 / 12:57 pm

        Spook, your linked article quotes a so-called “constitutional law” professor, who is evidently ignorant of the delegated powers of the federal government, and/or the 10th Amendment, when he says:

        “…the law is clear — the supremacy clause (of the U.S. Constitution) says specifically that the federal laws are supreme over contrary state laws, even if the state doesn’t like those laws,” Winkler added.”

        Note the coy way he tries to dismiss legitimate objections to laws which exceed the constitutional boundaries of federal authority by simpering that this is really just a matter of “…the state doesn’t LIKE those laws”. What a tool.

        Well, Winkler, let’s have a faceoff—you bring your supremacy clause and I’ll bring the list of delegated authority and the 10th Amendment, and we’ll see who wins. Because I can flat-out GUARANTEE that the supremacy clause does not cover laws which exceed the Constitutional authority first granted by the Constitution and then backed up in no uncertain terms by the 10th Amendment. It looks like Winkler needs a refresher course in this constitutional law he postures as being qualified to teach.

        Here’s a beginning—the actual wording of the so-called “supremacy clause”:

        “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

        See how the first sentence—“ This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof…”—clearly states that the laws which are the “supreme law of the land” are only those made “ pursuance..” of the Constitution.

        So go back to that pesky old Constitution, and look at what it allows Congress to legislate. First we can look a usually-Left-leaning Wikipedia for their take on the “supremacy clause”:

        The Supremacy Clause is the provision in Article Six, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution that establishes the United States Constitution, federal statutes, and treaties as “the supreme law of the land.” It provides that these are the highest form of law in the United States legal system, and mandates that all state judges must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either a state constitution or state law of any state.

        So far, so good. But then Wiki goes a step farther and opines: (emphasis mine)

        The supremacy of federal law over state law only applies if Congress is acting in pursuance of its constitutionally authorized powers.

        So the next step (one which we might have assumed would have been taken by a true constitutional scholar and professor who presumes to TEACH constitutional law…) would, naturally, be to take a look at just what those “authorized powers” are. I would like to point out that these are “delegated duties” of the federal government, not just things that the federal government can do if it is in the mood.

        Congress’s legislative powers are enumerated in Section Eight: (numbering is my own)
        (1) The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
        (2) To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
        (3) To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
        (4) To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
        (5) To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
        (6) To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current coin of the United States;
        (7) To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
        (8) To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
        (9) To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
        (10) To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
        (11) To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
        (12) To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
        (13) To provide and maintain a Navy;
        (14) To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
        (15) To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
        (16) To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
        (17) To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And
        (18) To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

        (I would like to point out that there is an effort to interpret “…and general Welfare of the United States..” to mean an open-ended, unlimited, authority to do whatever anyone claims is in the best interest of individuals in the United States, rather than the interpretation intended by the Founders. Their contemporaneous writings make it clear that there were two matters addressed here, one being the demand to “..provide for the common defense” and one to provide for the “general Welfare of the United States”. I’ve already provide quotes from several of the Founders on this, and their agreement that this clause was never intended to mean for the general welfare of the people but for the general welfare of the nation, the entity of the United States of America. )

        We’ve done a half-assed job on # 4, kind of but not really “establishing a uniform rule of naturalization” and being shamefully remiss in applying # 18 to # 4 and making “all laws which should be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing power(s)”.

        Setting that aside, I see nothing giving the feds the authority to engage in providing health care or health care insurance to citizens (much less to non-citizens) or any form of welfare. Yes, I know the argument is that this is really providing for the general welfare, but given the rebuttal of that interpretation by the very men who wrote the document I find that feeble and unconvincing. There is nothing about gun control—on the contrary, the only reference in the Constitution is in its 2nd Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms. I see nothing about regulating any drug that is not sold across state lines, and even then # 3 would just allow regulation of “commerce” among the states, not the product in question.

        In other words, some states are finally starting to read the national Constitution and recognize the illegal incursions into state sovereignty, and starting to stand up not just for states’ rights but for compliance with our national rule of law.

      • Retired Spook January 4, 2015 / 1:54 pm

        In other words, some states are finally starting to read the national Constitution and recognize the illegal incursions into state sovereignty, and starting to stand up not just for states’ rights but for compliance with our national rule of law.

        And it’s about-!#@$%^&* time.

        Amazona, I debated whether to expand on Professor Winkler’s statement, but then I figured that you would address it and do so in a much more comprehensive way than I could — and you did. Now if our elected representatives understood it half as well as you do I would be much more optimistic about the future.

      • Retired Spook January 4, 2015 / 6:31 pm

        the fact that they employ Al Sharpton should nullify them from being called a “news organization”

        Cluster, I’m curious — you invade the enemy camp more than I do. Have you ever seen anyone defend Sharpton?

      • Cluster January 4, 2015 / 7:31 pm

        Not exactly defend, but certainly justify. They like that he is an agitator and to them the ends justify the means, as always. KMG is still adamant that Obama did not lie on his Obamacare promise that you can keep your plan if you like your plan. He blames the insurance company and simply won’t acknowledge that the ACA new mandates forced the cancellations. It’s the same with Sharpton’s egregious behavior – if you just don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist.

      • Retired Spook January 4, 2015 / 8:47 pm

        Do you suppose they get paid for that level of denial?

      • Cluster January 4, 2015 / 9:15 pm


      • M. Noonan January 5, 2015 / 1:29 am

        Trouble is, most of them don’t – but they do get a reward: they get to believe they are smarter than everyone else.

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