The Challenge of the Next Decade

As long as you live under my roof, you will follow my rules!

It is a simple principle, perhaps a little harsh, but it can be appropriate in a parent-child relationship.

But when the elected begin to treat the electorate like this, we have a problem. Unlike the parent who is sacrificing to provide for their children and has a natural responsibility to lead them with wisdom and authority into adulthood, our elected officials draw both their power (money) and authority (right to make laws) from the very individuals they propose to rule.

The Declaration of Independence explains:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.

As we move into a new decade I believe we are facing a constitutional crises on par with that faced during the Civil War. In the face of this crisis, the resolve of the American people will determine if we will be ruled or served by our government. And the choice is not as easy or as clear-cut as we might assume.

Congress seems determined to abdicate much of their lawmaking responsibilities to the executive branch. They write massive bills that no one can read or understand, designed primary to institute more government control and leaving the actual rulemaking to the bureaucrats. These 2000 plus page bills, written in concert with the president, must then be interpreted and fleshed out by executive branch regulators, unelected and chosen by the most liberal president in U.S. History. They are more than happy to take on the task.

James Madison, often called the Father of the Constitution, warned us of this very thing, “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Even now, regulators are scrambling to write new rules related to Obamacare – another law so large and complicated, that according to the New York Times, “executive-branch regulators have wide leeway in determining what the rules should say and how they should be carried out.”

If his goal was a fundamental change of America, the president has been wildly successful so far with the assistance of his lap dogs Reid and Pelosi in Congress.

The next move I expect will be net neutrality, a power grab by the FCC to begin regulating the internet. Touted as needed government over watch, it will insure those evil internet providers provide equal access to everyone. It sounds great. However, as is so often the case, this is just the camel’s nose under the tent. If history holds true, before too long, we will all be sharing our internet tent with a large (and smelly) roommate.

But what harm can it do to reign in the big internet providers a little?

That’s not the point. It’s not the individual regulations that are dangerous, it’s the huge shifting of power to unelected bureaucrats that is scary. 

I often write how glad I am to be a Virginian where there is still a modicum of common sense displayed by our state government. So it was no real surprise when I heard that according to the 2010 census, there has been a shifting of the population in the last ten years from liberal states such as Massachusetts and New York to more conservative friendly states such as Texas and Arizona. Others, apparently, are seeking a little common sense too.

Peggy Noonan recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “The biggest threat to America right now is not government spending, huge deficits, foreign ownership of our debt, world terrorism, two wars, potential epidemics or nuts with nukes. The biggest long-term threat is that people are becoming and have become disheartened, that this condition is reaching critical mass, and that it afflicts most broadly and deeply those members of the American leadership class who are not in Washington, most especially those in business.”

Porter Stansberry, an economist and investment advisor calls this the Atlas Shrugged risk, and says, “Most people don’t understand how dangerous a narrow tax base is, especially when those few heavily taxed people have the means to exit.”

So what is the answer? I can tell you what it is not. It is not to give the electoral nod to Republicans and then watch them ignore the Constitution and enact their own brand of expensive, society shaping mandates. Instead we must demand that every law be written in accordance with constitutional principles and justified by a need to support freedom and innovation or to protect the American people.

We must elect representatives willing to govern by these principles, regardless of their party, even if it hurts. Getting our country back on track will not be easy. There are many who have grown accustomed to sucking on the government teat that will loudly complain and call us heartless. Let them. In the long run they will be stronger, the American people will win, and, as history has shown, when we win, the world wins.