Dan Popp
This is what unconstitutional government looks like
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By Dan Popp
April 10, 2017

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. – John Adams

I had intended to write an essay about "infrastructure." I was going to say that the only infrastructure authorized by the Constitution is "post roads"; that infrastructure is just another word for "stimulus," which is a euphemism for the illegal make-work programs instituted by FDR during the First Great Depression. They don't work, and they aren't legal.

But, as our lawless agents prepared to spend another trillion dollars of our grandchildren's money on "infrastructure," something happened. Pictures came out of Syrians being gassed to death. And pictures grab us by the emotions. Emotions "motivate" us, or they will if we have no principles by which to judge them. So President Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian airfield. And people on both sides of the partisan chasm applauded.

Without irony, a pro-Trump account called "America First Policies" tweeted: "When faced with an illegal act of brutal horror, our President led, our nation acted. #AmericaLeadingAgain"

So "illegal" is bad? Or...hmm.

The Founders made the President the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, but gave Congress the authority to declare war. Surely this President has committed an act of war without a constitutional declaration of war (as did Obama and Bush and Clinton and others, going back to Truman and the "Korean Conflict"). I guess we're used to it by now.

This is what unconstitutional government looks like.

"Oh," some will say, "you apparently haven't heard of the War Powers Resolution, by which Congress gave this authority to the President." But Congress has no authority to reassign its authority. The benefit of the War Powers Resolution is that it allows representatives to say, "You go get 'em, Mr. President! We're behind you! Do whatever needs to be done!" – and then later tell their constituents that "Bush got us into war" and blame all the negative outcomes on the Commander-in-Chief. This is having one's cake and eating it, too. We would have to be as stupid as sheep to fall for it. (Nixon didn't fall for it, by the way; Congress passed it over his veto.)

This is what unconstitutional government looks like.

Now, the fans of illegal government are legion, and everywhere. Some are reading this article right now. They want Washington to feed people, contrary to the Constitution. But that's OK, you see, because we're only going to "take things away from you on behalf [sic] of the common good," per Hillary Clinton. People who want a government "safety net" have no ground on which to criticize President Trump for any illegal acts he might do. You wanted unconstitutional government. Congratulations.

This is what unconstitutional government looks like.

You didn't like Obama's rewriting of the immigration laws to suit himself (after admitting he had no such authority)? Tough. You believe that Roe v. Wade is a stain on jurisprudence, and you cringe when a Justice calls it "the law of the land?" Too bad for you. You wanted the government to bend the rules for you. Obviously it will bend the rules for others, too. Then it will break the rules, and use the broken pieces to keep you in your pen. And finally there will be no rules – only lawless acts with beautiful-sounding names.

This is what unconstitutional government looks like.

You want government to give you a pension stolen from younger workers, but don't approve of state-run health care? Well bless your heart! You want government to force insurance companies to insure the uninsurable, but don't think a baker or photographer should be forced to participate in godlessness? Ha ha! You applauded Trump when he donated part of his salary to the National Park Service, but never stopped to ask whether the federal government may own National Parks? The joke is on you, my friend.

This is what unconstitutional government looks like.

As Adams warned us, it doesn't get better. The pendulum doesn't swing back. The People can either rise up and insist that our employees in Washington follow the Constitution – all of it – or we can expect more and more lawless acts by those in power. Most of those criminal acts will be quite popular. That's what the Founders called the "tyranny of the majority." They feared it as the most oppressive tyranny of all.

© Dan Popp

 

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