Are We the Government?
May 19, 2010
By Matt Bogard
Commentators recently have made the common mistake of criticizing critics of government policy because "we are the government." This is based on the idea that because we elect people to represent us in Congress, and we elect the President, that we are in essence the government.
To be clear, we are the government in all those areas where the government acts in accordance with the specifically enumerated powers of the Constitution. However, no matter what the majority in Congress, no matter how large the margin for a presidential election, there is no mandate for any policy that lies outside the scope of government defined in the Constitution. In those cases, we are not the government. In fact, politicians (or Supreme Court justices that have made wild and complicated reckless interpretations of the Constitution) in these cases are transferring power away from the people to themselves. We cease to become a constitutional republic or a free society where government gets its power from the consent of the governed. We succumb to the “diseases most incident to republican government” that Madison warned us about in Federalist #10.
As a reminder, those diseases involved “a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project” – basically, many of the very things that created the financial crisis, the reason for the bailouts, and our runaway debt.
This is what is meant when people refer to "taking our country back." It’s not about a partisan agenda against one party or one particular politician or another. It is about restoring a government that respects constitutional principles. That is why this week’s primaries across the country did not represent a referendum on just incumbents, but on anyone in office that has associated themselves with this form of corruption. It is also about propelling candidates into office (like Rand Paul in Kentucky) who understand these basic principles and are promising to give people a voice and an opportunity to restore a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.