Our Founding Principles – Role of Government
- “…That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness…”
The sole purpose of government is to secure our natural rights — not to grant them, but to secure them. In the history of mankind, only one system of government has proven effective for this purpose: a republic. Democracies always go from democracy to socialism, to oligarchy, and finally to despotism.
Karl Marx lays out the first stage of the process of this transition in the Communist Manifesto of 1848.
- “We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the
working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of
ruling as to win the battle of democracy.
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by
degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all
instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the
proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the
total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by
means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on
the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures,
therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable,
but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves,
necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are
unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of
Production.” ~Karl Marx
James Madison says of democracies in Federalist Number 10,
“…Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of
turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with
personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been
as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths…”
Of all the systems of government devised by man, the most insidious is the socialist system. It presents itself clothed in the language of democracy. It mocks faith and denounces capitalism as materialistic and avaricious while it teaches envy, jealousy and greed as virtue. It promises security and ease while ninety percent of its followers live in abject poverty and the ten percent ruling class lives in the lap of luxury.
We have seen this pattern transpire in one country after another in every part of the globe, from Russia and the Eastern Block nations to China, North Korea and Cuba; and now we see it in Venezuela and its beginnings in America. The one characteristic that marks the difference between socialism, despotism, and republicanism is the rule of law.
One might argue that the more law we have the less liberty we possess. All of the socialist nations mentioned above rule their people with draconian laws. The difference is that in socialist countries law is used to control the people while in republics law is first used to control the government. If you carefully read the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the land, you will not find a single instance where it places a requirement or restriction on the actions of the people. Instead, its law places restrictions on government, limiting its power, not the people’s.
In this, the Founding Fathers were unanimous, only government acting within the constraints of a written constitution, protecting the rights of the people, will keep the people free and preserve their liberties.
Abraham Lincoln began his Gettysburg Address by reminding us that our nation was “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal” and ended by vowing, “government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not pass from this earth”.
Benjamin Franklin on the final day of deliberations in the Philadelphia Convention said,
- “In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other”.
A second important aspect of republicanism is that the laws governing the people be made by representatives elected by the people and accountable to them. That is why the Constitution restricted the powers of the federal government in making laws directly applicable to the governing of the people, leaving those laws to the states and the people. Today there are three main sources of law governing the lives of citizens. First, there is Congress whose individual members are elected by and accountable to less than a fraction of one percent of the population. Second, there are the bureaucracies, unelected and unaccountable to the people. Third, are the federal courts, again, unelected and unaccountable to the people.
The most onerous laws are those made by the bureaucracies and the courts. They are permitted and sometimes encouraged by Congress as a means of shielding individual congressmen from the wrath of the people.
The third characteristic of republicanism is intolerance for corruption. We have always had a certain amount of corruption and always will have, so long as we are governed by men and not Angels. However, the degree of corruption we have seen within the past year is unprecedented in the history of our nation. Is it possible that the people themselves have become so corrupted by the siren song of socialism as to be capable of no other form of government than despotism, as Franklin suggested?