Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What limits our federal government?

"[W]e are confirmed in the opinion, that the present age would be deficient in their duty to God, their posterity and themselves, if they do not establish an American republic. This is the only form of government we wish to see established; for we can never be willingly subject to any other King than He who, being possessed of infinite wisdom, goodness and rectitude, is alone fit to possess unlimited power."

Instructions of Malden, Massachusetts for a Declaration of
Independence, 27 May 1776 {Reference: Documents of American History, Commager, vol. 1 (97)}

When I read this quote from The Patriot Post's Founders' Quote Daily, I couldn't help but wonder what limits still exist on our federal government?

When was the last time Congress or the president said 'no' to anything because they didn't have the authority to do it? Other than Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), do you know of any member of Congress who has cast a no vote because the item in question wasn't authorized as a specific duty of Congress?

Does our federal government now possesses unlimited power? If not, where is the proof?


The A-Hole Lawyer said...

Our citizens apparently have a 200 year memory, and our government is very patient!

After the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment, I heard anti-gun supporters claim that the constitution should be a "living document" because the founders wrote it after breaking the chains of British tyranny and oppression, thus, the protections it affords which limit government are not as applicable today.

As recent federal and state government attacks in freedom and liberty prove, the founders' brilliance was timeless, it has just taken 200 years for the government to begin its trek back toward oppression. Which the founders understood was the natural state of government.

200 years? "But, TAHL that as far back as 1976." Yes, the bicentennial, I remember it well. And as I recall in 1976 there were no smoking bans or restrictions on airline flights, or showing smoking on TV, or advertising liquor, or seat belt laws, or helmet laws, etc. etc. etc. But, as Walter Williams points out, restrictions on liberty don't come en-mass - all at once - in one fail swoop. That might cause revolution.

Governments restrict liberty incrementally, one small chip at a time. Who thought flying across the country without smoke billowing through the cabin on an airplane was a bad idea? No-one. But jump ahead 35 years and now "who could argue that saving waitresses from second hand smoke is a bad idea??!!" I could.

A Constitution (federal or state) or a Charter, is a LIMITING document, not an EMPOWERING one. Only those powers specifically given (enumerated) to a government, may be exercised by that body. All other rights are retained by the people.

Its been 232 years, but its time to remember and REMIND our government that liberty and freedom belong to the citizens, and as the founders recognized, the government is subject to the restrictions of the Constitution, not enabled by it.


Hooda Thunkit said...

Why are you surprised; the Feral (check it out, the definition seems to be correct) government closely mimics that of our State and Loco (also spelled fittingly) governments in their stated duty and purpose.

Another example of absolute power corrupting absolutely...

Tim Higgins said...


You see what happens when you let a conservative lawyer comment on the Constitution ... he gets it right. Great job Maggie and TAHL for reminding us.

Robin said...

Off topic, but I'm really sad that Ron Paul dropped out of the Presidential race. Even though I disagree with him on more than I agree, I was considering voting for him. Basically because he's one of the only politicians who comes across as honest and lives by what says he believes. (And from your post, he looks like the only one in Congress who realizes the limitations of governement).

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