July 29, 2021

We Must Restore America to a Government of Laws, Not of Personalities

Ben Franklin Famously said, “We’ve given you a republic, if you can keep it.” He did not say Democracy and he did not say Dictatorship, nor is our system of government consistent with either. We are a Constitutional Republic. 

Dictatorship: For some scholars, a dictatorship is a form of government that has the power to govern without the consent of those being governed (similar to authoritarianism), while totalitarianism describes a state that regulates nearly every aspect of the public and private behavior of its people. In other words, dictatorship concerns the source of the governing power and totalitarianism concerns the scope of the governing power.

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or indirectly through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, religious, cultural, ethnic and racial equality, justice, liberty and fraternity. 

A Republic is a form of government in which power is held by the people and representatives they elect, and affairs of state are a “public matter,” rather than privately accommodated (such as through inheritance or divine mandate). In modern times the definition of a republic is also commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch

We are a REPUBLIC. Barack, more than anyone needs to get that through his head. Furthermore, we need to return to the Republican form of government and Rule of Law we were established to be. At the very least, I can speak for a few million Americans who lost health coverage when I say,”The Ends DO NOT Justify the Means.” We have a laws, and the process DOES MATTER! Listen to Trey! 

Freedom Outpost Writes:

John Adams‘s oft quoted phrase “a government of laws and not of men” was once taken for granted in the United States. I grew up in the ’40s and ’50s when school children in the US were taught that it was a blessing to live in a nation founded by wise men who realized that a government of laws was stable, but a government of human beings, of personalities, was not.

George Washington, probably the most powerful personality of his day, was once offered the option of being a king or a president. He opted to be president, and even limited his service to two terms. Washington, in his wisdom, recognized the principle embodied in Adams’s phrase.

A body of laws tends to remain stable, providing those chosen to enforce those laws, i.e., the elected and appointed government officials and bureaucrats, pledge scrupulous allegiance to uphold and preserve them. In fact, when sworn in, elected officials take such a pledge before assuming office.

However, the principles embodied in our founding documents are easily lost or transmuted when they take second place to a “leader” in whom vast power is invested to govern without paying scrupulous attention to the pledge he or she has taken. Despite having taken the pledge to uphold and protect the US Constitution and the laws derived from it, Barack Obama promised instead to fundamentally transform America. Therein is the danger of electing a personal leader instead of a public servant. In such situations, grand personality trumps the humble promise to keep the nation as it was conceived and instead to fashion laws and policies to suit his intentions. How many executive orders has Mr. Obama issued to circumvent the US Constitution and the laws derived from it? I’m sorry, but I’ve lost count.

To avoid this very danger, the wise founders of our nation gave us a body of laws to ensure our great freedom, and of all our rights as American citizensChristopher Hitchens, once an avowed socialist, once said that they were the greatest documents ever conceived by man. Now, that endorsement is significant for its wisdom; and he was right to say it.

The practical fruits of the our system, the proof of its effectiveness and its value to civilization, have been two and a half centuries of freedom and wealth unprecedented in all of human history, not limited to those in political power, but spread among all people who possess energy and wit to pursue their own fortunes.

However, as Benjamin Franklin warned about keeping our republic, the Constitution and Bill of Rights can be lost to politicians with big, flashy personalities who make false promises. Therefore, as John Adams’s phrase tells us, we must have a government of laws and not of men.

Do We Have a Government of Laws, Not of Men?

 

YOU TELL ME!

 Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state.– Plato

 …if the laws are to be so trampled upon with impunity, and a minority…is to dictate to the majority, there is an end put at one stroke to republican government…for some other man or society may dislike another law and oppose it with equal propriety until all laws are prostrate, and everyone will carve for himself. –George Washington on the Whiskey Rebellion

 In the government of this commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men. — Article XXX of the Massachusetts Constitution (John Adams)

Do we have a government of laws and not of men? John Locke, from whom the Founders drew much wisdom, argued that the preservation of property, i.e. “men’s lives, liberties and estates” is the foundation of civil order. In simple terms, an established, predictable set of rules “not to be varied in particular cases but to have one rule for the rich and poor, for the favorite at Court, and the Country Man at the Plough.”  The rule of law means that justice cannot be arbitrarily contrived to favor one group over another, or enforced for some groups but ignored to the benefit of others.

The government’s selective enforcement of federal immigration law is one example of arbitrary justice. So-called “sanctuary” cities like San Francisco, which contradict federal statutes, go years without comment or federal action. Arizona, however, is immediately sued by the federal government for enacting legislation that reflects federal immigration law.

 

If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be: An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last… It is by this, in a still greater degree, that caballers, intriguers, and demagogues are prevented from climbing on the shoulders of faction to the tempting seats of usurpation and tyranny.

A sacred respect for constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government. –Alexander Hamilton, Letter No. III to the American Daily Advertiser, Aug. 28, 1794, in The Writings of Alexander Hamilton pp. 830-31.

 

The Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute members of the new Black Panther party is another example. Black Panther members were caught on tape intimidating voters, but political appointees in the Justice Department dropped the case.

In sworn testimony, a former D. O. J. attorney provided still another glimpse of the internal workings of the D.O.J. He quoted Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes advising D.O.J. employees that “the Voting Section will never or will not, at least while she is there, bring any more cases against blacks or other national minorities.” Such a policy threatens the integrity of elections and the very legitimacy of government.

When Congress balked at the creation of a rubber stamp Budget Commission in favor of a “credible” bi-partisan statutory commission, the President appointed his own.  Admittedly, this is not a groundbreaking departure from precedent and the rule of law, but it is another indication of this president’s willingness to circumvent the authority of other branches of government to enhance his own power.

In 1990, Congress enacted a $75 million liability cap as part of the Oil Pollution Act following the Exxon Valdez spill.  This is a ridiculously small amount considering the scope of the catastrophe.  But, that’s not the point.  Laws should not be changed retroactively because they are inconvenient.  BP has agreed not to seek protection under this cap, but one has to wonder what may have transpired had they not “agreed” to a $20 billion dollar “contribution” to the cleanup. The rhetoric out of the White House was fairly direct.  In Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s words, “”Our job is basically to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum.”

Likewise, one has to question if the role of the legislative branch is becoming irrelevant in the face of arbitrarily applied Executive Directives?  Consider events surrounding the passage of the Health Care Bill.  When Congress was unable to garner enough voters for passage, the President stepped in with what is proving to be a meaningless promise prohibiting federal funding of abortion. The executive order provided the necessary cover for allegedly pro-life congressmen to vote for the bill.

Perhaps most troubling is the news that the President has moved forward with a hitherto unimplemented Bush directive authorizing the Joint Chiefs to compile “hit lists” of Americans suspected of terrorism.  This salon.comarticle lays it out pretty well.  It is ironic, that while this administration seems bent on blurring the distinction between American citizens and foreign combatants with its desire to afford enemy combatants trials in US civilian courts, it is willing to deprive actual Americans the same rights.

There is more and more evidence that the blind lady with the scales is apparently on holiday and someone neither blind nor impartial has taken her place.

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