"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society." ~ John Adams
The Good Guys Are NOT Coming to Save Us
Column by Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com
A lot of Americans know that the US government is out of control. Anyone who has cared enough to study the US Constitution even a little knows this. Still, very few of these people are taking any significant action, and largely because of one error: They are waiting for “the good guys” to show up and fix things.
Some think that certain groups of politicians will pull it together and fix things, or that one magnificent politician will ride in to fix things. Others think that certain members of the military will step in and slap the politicians back into line. And, I’m sure there are other variations.
There are several problems with this. I’ll start with the small issues:
- It doesn’t happen. A lot of good people have latched on to one grand possibility after another, waiting for a good guy to save the day, and it just doesn’t happen. Thousands of hours of reading, writing and waiting are burned with each new “great light” who comes along with a promise to run the system in the “right” way, and give us liberty and truth. (Or whatever.) Lots of decent folks grab on to one pleasant dream after another, only to end up right back where they started . . . but poorer in time, energy and finances.
- Hope is a scam. It’s a dream of someday, somehow, getting something for nothing. People who hope do not act –they wait for other people to act. Hope is a tool to neuter a natural opposition: they sit and hope, and never act against you. Even the biblical meaning of hope is something more like expectation (or sometimes waiting) than the modern use of hope.
- Petitioning an abuser for compassion. The “good guys” are considered to be a few people inside the abusive government. But if the good guys were really good, wouldn’t they have dissociated themselves with an abuser some time ago? By pleading for the good guys to rise up, people are asking one sub-group of the abusers to save them from the rest of the abusers. However, they all work for the same operation; they all get paid out of the same offices; according to the same rulebook. And if the good guys are so willing to turn against their employers, why would they have waited until now?
- Movies. We all grew up in the company of movie heroes who rode in at the last minute to save the noble victims. From John Wayne to Star Trek to Bruce Willis, the story line differs little. These are pleasant stories, of course, but cinema is not reality, and hoping for it to become reality is something that we should get over prior to adulthood.
But, as I say, those are the smaller issues. Let’s move on to the serious ones.
The Magic System
A lot of Americans believe that the American “Founders” created a system that automatically fixes itself. They talk about the “balance of powers,” and think that it will always save them from a tyrant. The balanced powers of the US Constitution, however, were trashed within 15 years and doubly-trashed just a century ago.
In the Constitution, the states balanced the power of the national government (the one now in Washington, DC). Not only did the states control half of the legislature, but they decided if and how they would implement the edicts of the national government. And that included deciding whether a law was constitutional or not.
This changed in 1803 with the Marbury v. Madison ruling. This ruling – taught as a work of genius in American schools – was a fraud against the US Constitution. In it, the Supreme Court held that they understood the Constitution better than James Madison, the man who wrote it!
But worse than even this, they held – with absolutely no basis – that it was they who would decide what was constitutional or not. The states were tossed aside. Even the sitting President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, called it “a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
Marbury’s judicial review (the Supremes ruling on constitutionality) merely involves one branch of the national government providing a check on the other branches of the national government. After Marbury, no one could check the national government.
Washington, D.C. was unleashed with Marbury v. Madison. What made it almighty was the 17th Amendment of 1913, which took the powers of the states and transferred them to Washington, by mandating the popular election of senators.
With senators being elected directly by the populace, the states were cut out of the equation. In their place, political parties gained massive power, and nearly all power was consolidated in the city of Washington.
And so it is today. Washington is an unfettered beast. The system will NOT fix itself; the mechanisms to do that were lost a long time ago.
The Easy Way Out
Standing up against a beast like Washington, D.C. is scary, to be sure. Understandably, not many people want to do such a thing. But if the beast is abusing you, what other choice do you have? You can certainly avoid or evade the beast, but we all know that the beast hurts people it catches avoiding it, so the risk of doing this isn’t zero either.
So, what’s a person to do? They hate their abuse, but outright disobedience would be scary. Unfortunately, many people have come up with a third option: Get someone else to do it for you.
Lots of writers have done this, for example: Write flamboyantly about the abuses people face and stir them to “rise up against the power.” Fairly seldom does the writer take big risks himself – he just stirs up others to do the scary stuff.
Something very similar happens to basically moral people who don’t want to risk pain and suffering: they imagine good guys riding in to save them.
But, as I say, these are genuinely decent people, and they are willing to take smaller risks to help the good guys: They will spend time and money promoting them, and they will even accept name-calling in many cases. They just don’t want to become full-blown rebels and outcasts.
The result of this is predictable: abuse by the political class. If the politicians show them a viable possibility every election cycle, they’ll keep voting their way forever . . . and the hero never really has to show up.
The Sad Truth
Let’s just say it:
No one is going to ride in and save you.
If you want things to get better, then YOU will have to make them better. YOU will have to stand up and take the arrows, yourself. Liberty, at this stage of human development, requires risk and pain.
I trust that you will remember the end of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount: That it is not those who call upon his name who will be saved, but only those who DO the things he said.
Likewise in this situation, our only hope of salvation lies in DOING.
[Editor’s Note: Paul Rosenberg is the author of FreemansPerspective.com, a collection of insights on topics ranging from Internet privacy to economic freedom.]