As Progressives and many in the media complain about gridlock, Carla Garrison of the Washington Times reminds us the Founders took into account the power motive that animates those who seek government office and purposely created a system of checks and balances that make it so difficult to get things done in Washington.
Utopias, rights, freedom, and big government — Carla Garrison, Washington Times
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2012 —The debate over the size and role of government is about to reach a crescendo in America. The arguments are not new or unique to this country. They are the same ones that led to the American Revolution and at root every revolution. Deciding where you stand is important to our future.
The American formula is unique: big society, small government.
The formula that led to the only real free country to ever exist, hinges on checks and balances distributed among three branches of government with regularly elected representation of the people by the people. The technical form is constitutional republic. James Madison, primary author of the Constitution, explained in Federalist #51 that only this structure could preserve a free society because human nature will not change. By nature, humans are both bad and good. People that are smart enough to run government will inherently be ambitious. Ambition leads to power seeking.
Madison said, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” It is through the constitutionally created checks and balances and relative autonomy of each branch that ambition counteracts ambition.
“It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself,” Madison explained.
What is the role of government?
The Obama Administration, Democrats and Progressives have been successful so far in framing the President Barack Obama’s decision to rule the Catholic Church must provide its employees with insurance that covers activities the Church has long held sinful — abortion via the morning after pill, sterilization and contraceptives — as an issue about contraception and women’s health. For example, stories about this confrontation are often headlined as “debate over contraception.”
Give the President his due for manipulating the liberal media into aping his political spin. But, the issue is all of our right to religious freedom as stated in the the very first clause of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (emphasis added).
I am not a Catholic, nor do I believe in the Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception. But, I support the Church’s right to abide by its religious principles and to resist the Health and Human Services mandate an violation of its First Amendment rights. Below is the latest letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan articulating the Church’s position, and the state of the discussions with the Obama Administration which was posted on March 3, 2012 by Deacon Bob Yerhot.
Office of the President
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
March 2, 2012
My brother bishops,
Twice in recent weeks, I have written you to express my gratitude for our unity in faith and action as we move forward to protect our religious freedom from unprecedented intrusion from a government bureau, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I remain deeply grateful to you for your determined resolve, to the Chairmen of our committees directly engaged in these efforts – Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Bishop Stephen Blaire and Bishop William Lori -who have again shown themselves to be such excellent leaders during these past weeks, and to all our staff at the USCCB who work so diligently under the direction of the Conference leadership.
How fortunate that we as a body have had opportunities during our past plenary assemblies to manifest our strong unity in defense of religious freedom. We rely on that unity now more than ever as HHS seeks to define what constitutes church ministry and how it can be exercised. We will once again dedicate ample time at our Administrative Committee meeting next week, and at the June Plenary Assembly, to this critical subject. We will continue to listen, discuss, deliberate and act.
Thank you, brothers, for the opportunity to provide this update to you and the dioceses you serve. Many of you have expressed your thanks for what we have achieved together in so few weeks, especially the data provided and the leadership given by brother bishops, our conference staff and Catholic faithful. And you now ask the obvious question, “What’s next?” (Read more)
Geithner and the ‘Privilege’ of Being American — Lawrence Lindsay, Wall Street Journal
“Last week Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the “most fortunate Americans” should pay more in taxes for the “privilege of being an American.” One can debate different ways of balancing the budget. But Mr. Geithner’s argument highlights an unfortunate and very destructive instinct that seems to permeate the Obama administration about the respective roles of citizens and their government. His position has three problems: one philosophical, one empirical, and one logical.” Read More
The rapid growth of the internet — free from the dictates of the governing elite — demonstrates in our own time the power of spontaneous order and the development of the common law. By so doing, the internet stands as an affront to all who seek power over markets and the lives of others. Not surprisingly, a cadre of dictators is now moving to gain control over the internet and to limit the freedom of those who use it. For its part, the Obama Administration stands silent, unaware of the threat, or unwilling to act to defend freedom and prosperity that the internet has produced for millions of human beings all over the world.
Reports Robert McDowell: ”On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish ‘international control over the Internet’ through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.
“If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.” Read more
“…Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries?
This is government by presidential fiat. In Venezuela, that’s done all the time. Perhaps we should we call Obama’s “accommodation” Presidential Decree No. 1.
Consider the constitutional wreckage left by Obamacare:
1) The assault on the free exercise of religiou
2) The assault on free enterprise
3) The assault on individual autonomy
This constitutional trifecta -the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies and the individual citizen -should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.
When government agencies are free to “invest” billions of dollars in speculative ventures, political connections — and campaign contributions — inevitably are entangled with the decision making process. Green energy is just the latest example of how crony capitalism corrupts those who govern while providing the rationale for squandering billions of dollars taken from American tax payers.
President Obama routinely blames the Bush tax cuts for our current economic woes, which he implies have starved the Federal government of the revenue it needs to create jobs and an “economy that is built to last.” Among his proposals is to impose a new, 30% minimum tax on “millionaires.”
But, as Lawrence Hunter points out : ”If every taxpayer earning more than $1 million was put under Obama’s 30-percent minimum tax rule, it would generate a maximum of only about $39 billion new revenues a year on a purely static basis, which requires assuming unrealistically that they all take no action to mitigate their increased tax liability. This is chump change for the federal government (3 percent of the annual deficit) and a clear indication that Mr. Obama’s proposal to increase the progressivity of the already highly progressive federal income tax (See Chart 2) is motivated more by animus toward those at the top of the economic ladder than by the deficit, concern for the economy, or compassion for those at the bottom trying to get a leg up the ladder.”
The call for higher tax rates on those with financial resources is also about increasing the power of the Federal Government over the private sector by starving it of risk capital and money for philanthropic activities.
In his State of the Union Speech, President Obama articulated his vision of the path forward for America. We are to imagine ourselves as members of a military organization selflessly following the orders of our superior officers no matter the personal cost up through the chain of command to the President as Commander in Chief. This is the metaphor President Obama chose to explain the relationship between government and the American people.
The President’s conclusion, that “This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a (emphasis added) team,” is exactly wrong. This country was not built by “a” team or “The A Team.” The American people built our country by taking care of their families, their customers, and their communities through millions of voluntary organizations and the generous giving of their time and money. The President’s grandiose claim to the contrary is an affront to our history and a threat to our liberty.
Even the Warmists Don’t Believe in Global Warming — Louis Woodhill, Forbes.com
Geoengineering offers the possibility of reducing global warming directly. It is far less expensive than controlling CO2 emissions, and requires none of the government controls that would sharply curtail our economic liberty. As Woodhill points out, climate change proponents’ stiff opposition to experiments demonstrating the effectiveness of geoengineering solutions is consistent with a desire to use the fear of global warming as an avenue to increase their power. The “power motive” at work.