It is said that the falling off a ladder is less a problem than one’s ultimate meeting with the ground below. So it is with democracy unrestrained by constitutional charter. The absurd debt incurred annually by Congressmen gaming re-election prospects will be less bothersome than the rioting in the streets when China cuts off our credit limit.

Democrats, the party of public dependence, responded in predictably shrill tones to the addition of Paul Ryan to the Mitt Romney ticket. Mr. Ryan’s budgetary proposal is to borrow $300 billion per year to operate the unconstitutionally large National Government instead of $1.3 trillion. My own preference is for Rand Paul’s plan which balances the budget in five years and uproots a few federal departments planted and grown under the liberal fallacy of a Constitution limited only by the whims of the populace.

Even so, I credit Mitt with choosing one of the three Pauls, even if his Paul carries a hedge-trimmer instead of shovel. With half our voting public pocketing one or another government subsidy, it’s a wonder we are not yet Venezuela. At this point in history I’ll take anyone who promises to whittle away at the dependency agenda.

Pragmatic libertarians like me view this is as a two-prong defense of liberty. The Republican presidential ticket, if true to its word, will slow and perhaps arrest some of the growth of the National Government. The longer prong is with the States. When I say States, I don’t mean the liberal miasmas of California or New York, but those hardy States with a citizenry displaying a clear bias for liberty and against the overlords of Washington, D.C.

To save our Constitution, our economy and our liberty from the collectivist tendencies of democratic socialism, we need the counterweight of state capitals solidly in our corner. One might find it challenging in the year 2012 to say with a straight face that Connecticut and Michigan are the bulwarks against federal tyranny, but James Madison wasn’t on the staff of The Onion when he wrote:

“On the other hand, should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”

Restoring our Republic means subordinating democracy to the Constitution and reaffirming the sovereignty of the States. Democratic socialism of the variety embraced by President Obama has saddled us with a massive entitlement state and $16 trillion of debt which probably can’t be paid back. I heartily support Mitt and Paul’s plan to starve the beast, but we need the States (and the Ron Paul Revolution) to corral that beast back into its constitutional cage.

cross-posted from the Sweaty Federalist

Benjamin Gross
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