Monday, December 9, 2013 09:57
This weekend during the Constitution Revolution segment on The Chris Salcedo Show (which you can hear on The Blaze Radio!), we discussed the single greatest protection your freedom can have. Here’s the clip:
Believe it or not, when the Constitution was ratified there was an expectation that politicians would live under the laws that they passed. Think about what an amazing protection that is. It means that unless a politician is willing to take away his own freedom, he can’t take away yours. But even more than that, unless a politician is willing to impose massive taxes on himself, he can’t impose massive taxes on you. Basically, he has to treat you just as well as he would treat himself.
It all goes back to the idea that the Constitution is designed to deal with human nature. This concept is based on self-interest – people will usually take better care of themselves than they will other people. So we use that to our advantage by requiring politicians to treat citizens the same way they treat themselves. It’s simple… yet brilliant!
You say, “Ok Chad, this all sounds great. But is it really in the Constitution?” You bet – I wish the Founders had laid it out more specifically but it is in there. You don’t have to believe me, take James Madison’s word for it:
“I will add as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together.”
We know that Congress is limited to only dealing with issues that affect every American citizen (international trade and diplomacy, immigration, national defense, and ensuring that products can move easily from state to state). Beyond that there is nothing in the Constitution granting Congress the power to exempt anyone from the laws that they pass – let alone a power to exempt themselves.
So if we actually enforced the Constitution, our politicians would have no choice but to live under the laws that they pass. In the Federalist #57, James Madison warned us of exactly what would happen if we ever abandoned this concept:
“If this spirit shall ever be so debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the Legislature as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.”
And here we are in 2013 with politicians who live under a special set of laws and citizens who are willing to tolerate anything from their government… except liberty.