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cross-posted from the Oregon Tenth Amendment Center
Many of us in the Libertarian movement mistakenly view the Federal government as a stick with which to hit the State government like a pinata. I believe this view stems from the faulty belief that the Federal govt. can be limited by a simple piece of paper as if that paper somehow had a magical property that would prevent its own violation, that somehow the three branches of the Federal govt. are set inexorably against each other. Of course, a honest look through history would convince any but the most naive, that this is not the case. Branches routinely collude to eliminate any and all limits upon their power. The only realistic limiter of the powers of the three branches of the Feds is/are the State govt(s). Consider the frailty of any other checks:
Otherwise known as “throwing the bums out,” elections have amounted to no check at all, every since I can remember . In 1994, we had a big change in the composition of Congress (from Dem to Rep). Most people said this was in direct response to the attempt by the Democrat-dominated Congress to pass “Hillarycare.” Republicans were swept into office with the promise of smaller govt., eliminating the abuse that had been taking place within the welfare system, and of balancing the budget. Oddly enough, govt. did not shrink at any time during the subsequent years of Republican control. After six years of Republican domination in Legislature, what did we have? A LARGER govt. than we had started with.
In 2000, we were promised that if we would just elect GWB we would finally have all the power in govt. that was needed to shrink it… and yet, in 2008, the size of govt. was much larger after 8 years of Bush, than before. Out of the promises to shrink govt. and limit our involvement in foreign affairs, we got….wait for it….. MASSIVE DEFICITS, MEDICARE PARTD, TARP (WHICH AMOUNTED TO A FORCED CARTELIZATION OF BANKS A’LA MUSSOLINI), FIRST STIMULUS, CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, THE CLASSIFICATION OF CO2 AS A POLLUTANT, ETC…… Surprised? Or NOT?Details
Most people do not relate politics to philosophy, but that is exactly what they should be doing if they care to know the roots of the fruit growing from the trees of society and government. If they did, more could be done to communicate effectively to both citizen and politician. History tends to prove that public awareness regarding political philosophy grows out of mere circumstances which force basic reaction instead of intellectual response. Fortunately, it appears the United States is due for an awakening of freedom as the philosophy leading us down the road of slavery is at a natural end. But to hasten its end, this series of articles is written to educate the political student and concerned citizen about the origins of philosophy used to get the United States to where it is today.
You have likely heard the American Declaration of Independence described as an expression of new concepts relating to man, politics, and government. Some have gone so far as to describe it as “God-inspired”. Historically, this description is not true. The Declaration of Independence was a reflection of ideas presented by philosophers of the Enlightenment Period (approx. 1630-1800) and in particular, John Locke (1632-1704). Some of the verbiage used by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence was all but direct quotes from John Locke’s An Essay Concerning The True Original Extend and End of Civil Government. Some have even accused Thomas Jefferson of plagiarism given its similarities. Their comparisons in the endnote below prove this.
The foundational concepts the American Colonies used to secede from Great Britain were not new. They were specific ideologies expressed and expounded by philosophers for at least 150 years. Ironically, a 150 year period of development of ideology which created the renowned “freest nation on earth” suffocated just after the birth of the United States. No sooner had Enlightenment philosophy created the United States of America in 1776, a new philosophy had infiltrated and eventually revolutionized the politics of the United States. It destroyed the foundational concepts of the “State”. This new philosophy began by a person known as “the Aristotle of the Modern Age”: Georg Wilheim Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831).