Did the Constitution create a limited government?

Get ready for an idea that will help you win some arguments with some friends and family.  Here is the Constitution Revolution segment from last week’s Chris Salcedo Show:

The contrast between the 9th and 10th Amendments makes it extraordinarily clear that the Constitution was intended to create a government of limited power.  That removes all doubt that any interpretation of the Constitution that gives the federal government virtually unlimited power is clearly incorrect.

Despite that, the prevailing wisdom in this country is to interpret our Constitution in a way that favors the power of the federal government over the protection of your rights.  Unfortunately, that isn’t as innocent as just one point of view winning out over another.  It leaves you vulnerable to being mistreated by your government.

As I’ve discussed numerous times lately – the Constitution is designed to protect you from the people in government.  When we sit back and accept interpretations of the Constitution that allow our politicians to steal power that we did not intentionally grant them, that protection is destroyed.

Don’t forget to listen to the Constitution Revolution LIVE every Saturday on The Blaze Radio.

So… why did we create this government?

At a time when so many people don’t care too much about current events, it can be hard to explain why the heck our Constitution matters.  Well the Constitution Revolution segment from last week’s Chris Salcedo Show will help you out with that:

Here is the John Trenchard quote I mentioned in the clip:

“The Experience of every Age convinces us, that we must not judge of Men by what they ought to do, but by what they will do; and all of History affords us but few instances of Men trusted with great Power without abusing it, when with Security they could. [...]  For these Reasons, and convinced by the woful and eternal Experience, Societies found it necessary to lay Restraints upon their magistrates or publick servants, and to put Checks upon those who would otherwise put Chains upon them.”

Just like we lock our doors at night to protect ourselves from other people, we need to take steps to protect ourselves from the people in our government.  That’s the idea behind our Constitution – we restrict the power of government because history shows us that if we don’t that power will be used against us.

It’s very simple: we should do our best to protect the Constitution because the Constitution protects us.  Without it, we are at the mercy of the people who run our government.

Don’t forget to listen to the Constitution Revolution LIVE every Saturday on The Blaze Radio!

When is it ok for the government to spy on you?

If you missed my segment on The Chris Salcedo Show last weekend you missed a fun one.  Fortunately, you’re in the right place to catch the replay.  Here’s the clip:

So often when we’re are discussing different aspects of the Constitution we allow ourselves to get side tracked by the technology involved.  And that is definitely true here with the Fourth Amendment – a lot of the discussion is focused on the internet and not the nature of the searches that are taking place.

In situations like this, we need to slow down and ask ourselves two critical questions:

1. What was the purpose of our Constitution?

The Constitution is designed to protect you and me from the government.

2. Why was that the purpose?

The Founders understood that – because of the flaws in human nature – it is the natural tendency for a government to grow and ultimately become oppressive.  So we had to do our best to restrain that growth and protect the rights of the individual.

We need to keep the those two ideas in mind regardless of what clause in the Constitution we’re considering.  For example, let’s look at the 1st Amendment.  The Founders didn’t ratify the 1st Amendment because there was some new printing press that they thought needed protection from the government.  Technology had nothing to do with it.  They ratified the 1st Amendment because of the general principle that people in a free society have a right to speak their mind – and that that right should be protected from government infringement.  Does it matter if that individual speaks his mind in a newspaper, on an internet blog, or on a street corner?  No, because it’s the principle that matters.

The concept is the same with the 4th Amendment.  This amendment wasn’t ratified because the Founders were concerned that a certain type of property might be searched.  The idea was to prevent the government from invading the lives of citizens with broad, non-specific searches.  Does it matter if the government is doing that broad search in your home or in your e-mail box?  Of course not.  The idea here is to prevent the government from gaining too much power and having the ability oppress individual citizens.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happing today.

Who has the “final” say in how our military is used?

Here is the clip of my Constitution Revolution Segment from this weekend:

This one is pretty straight forward.  The Constitution only allows Congress to fund the military in two year increments.  The purpose of this clause is to give you and me some control over how our military is being used.

Founder Charles Pinckney sums up the idea well:

“It [the power to raise and support armies] is guarded by a declaration that no grants for this purpose shall be longer than two years at a time.”

If you weren’t aware of this provision, that should be a good illustration of why it’s important for all of us to learn about the Constitution.  We can’t use this control over our military if we don’t know it exists.  Now consider this: if you didn’t know that the Constitution protected you in this way, what other protections might be in there that you don’t know about?

Don’t forget, you can hear all of my Constitution Revolution segments during The Chris Salcedo Show on The Blaze Radio!!

Can the President just “order” the treasury to create the My IRA program?

Here is the Constitution Revolution segment that I did for The Chris Salcedo Show last weekend (which you can hear every weekend on The Blaze Radio!):

If you heard the first 6 parts of this Lawless Presidency series, it shouldn’t come as a shock to find out that the president doesn’t have the authority to change our nation’s tax policies.  It is Congress’s job to create tax laws and the president’s job to execute them.  Pretty simple.

However, there is a common misperception that Congress can tax us for any reason it wants.  That just isn’t true!

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress has the power to “to lay and collect taxes… to pay the debts and providing for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”

The first part of this clause explains what Congress has the power to do (lay taxes) and the second part tells us what Congress can use that power for (to pay debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare).

You don’t have to take my word for it, here’s what Justice Joseph Story had to say on the topic:

“In this sense, congress has not an unlimited power of taxation; but it is limited to specific objects, —the payment of the public debts, and providing for the common defense and general welfare.  A tax, therefore, laid by congress for neither of these objects, would be unconstitutional, as an excess of its legislative authority.”

This idea is extremely important because it protects you from politicians who want to use the taxing power as a tool to take away aspects of your freedom.  But because we allow Congress to ignore this restriction on it’s power, we have completely given up this protection.

Think about it – how did Chief Justice John Roberts justify Obamacare as being Constitutional?  As an exercise of the taxing power.  That’s why this matters to you.  If we still followed this one simple part of the Constitution, we wouldn’t be dealing with the nightmare that is Obamacare and you would still have that big chunk of your freedom that our government stole from you.

The president’s job is to execute the laws… all of them

Here is the Constitution Revolution segment that aired during Glenn Beck Show this morning (with Chris Salcedo guest hosting):

That is a very loaded question I ask at the end of the clip – what type of government do we have today?

But let’s look at the facts.  Congress passed a health care law that was required to take effect at a specific time and required specific groups of people to have health insurance.  Since that time the president has unilaterally chosen to delay Obamacare’s start date for certain groups of people and has decided  give other groups of people exemptions from the entire law.

So the law is not the law in this situation.  The law is whatever President Obama decides it is.

Again, Thomas Paine taught us that is absolute governments the king is law.  But in free governments, the law must be king.  Given what we know about how Obamacare is being implemented, ask yourself that question again: Are we moving closer to having a free government… or an absolute government?

The danger behind the IRS targeting scandal…

Here is the clip of this week’s Constitution Revolution segment that aired during The Chris Salcedo Show (which you can here every Saturday on The Blaze Radio!):

This is such a simple concept and one that everyone needs to consider.  Requiring our politicians to live under all the laws they pass is the single best protection of your freedom that you can have.  John Trenchard makes a similar point in Cato’s Letter #60:

“The only Secret therefore in forming a Free Government, is to make the Interests of the Governors and of the Governed the same, as far as human Policy can contrive.  Liberty cannot be preserved any other Way.

How do you keep the interests of the politicians the same as the interests of the people?  You make your politicians as much like regular citizens as possible.  That means no special “perks” of office –  like fancy pensions for example – and it means that politicians must be subject to every law they pass in the same way that average citizens are.

Under those circumstances, a politician can’t do anything to you that he isn’t willing to do to himself first.  That means that your representatives can’t take away your freedom unless they take away their own as well.  Now THAT’S an effective way to protect your freedom.

I touched a little on where this concept appears in the Constitution here as well.

The president is Commander in Chief, right? Not exactly…

Here is the clip from last week’s Constitution Revolution segment that aired during The Chris Salcedo Show (which you can hear every Saturday on The Blaze Radio):

In this clip I tried to explain the dangers of allowing President Obama to decide to use the military without Congressional approval.  It’s possible that you felt it’s not fair to say that it’s possible that this president might use our armed forces for something horrible like a coup.  Which is fine – that situation is hard for me to imagine as well.

However, when it comes to government we can’t only think about the present.  We always have to think about the precedent we’re setting for the future.  Are you sure the next president can be trusted with complete control over the military?  What about the one after that?

For people like you and me who have always had a peaceful nation to live in it’s hard to imagine our government doing something horrible to us.  But all you have to do is take one look at what is going on in the Ukraine and Venezuela right now to see that it is possible.  And we must have the foresight to protect ourselves from those situations before they happen so our country never has to go through something like this:

How many different ways is the birth control mandate unconstitutional?

Here is the clip of last week’s Constitution Revolution segment that aired on The Chris Salcedo Show (which you can hear on The Blaze Radio every Saturday):

What’s most interesting about this particular violation of the Constitution is the way it highlights the other ways that we are violating the Constitution.  If the way we interpret one section of the Constitution causes another section to become completely nonsensical, that’s a flashing neon sign that we’re doing something wrong.

In this case, we’ve been allowing executive agencies to create laws.  Now that an executive agency (the Department of Health and Human Services) has enacted a law that violates our Freedom of Religion it raises some tricky questions.  The 1st Amendment – which protects our God-given freedom of religion – says that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.  Notice that the president and executive agencies aren’t mentioned.

So then is this mandate technically Constitutional?  After all, Congress did not make a law violating our Freedom of Religion.  Well, the birth control mandate does violate the spirit of the 1st Amendment for sure.  But the fact that the 1st Amendment leaves our rights completely unprotected from this type of abuse by the Executive Branch tells us that something critical about the way this law was enacted.

The reason that the 1st Amendment ignores the president and his executive agencies is because there was no need to bring them up.  The Constitution gives ALL legislative power to Congress.  There was no need to protect us from the president violating our Freedom of Religion because the Executive Branch has no policy making powers.

This situation makes it even more obvious that the Founders did not intend to give any law-making powers to the Executive Branch – and that every last one of the hundreds of thousands of regulations that have been passed by executive agencies are unconstitutional.

When the president makes law, there is no liberty…

This week’s Constitution Revolution segment speaks for itself.  Here’s the clip that aired during The Chris Salcedo Show on The Blaze Radio this weekend: