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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Does Anyone Realize That Government Should Be Limited?

I will provide the quote from Christopher DeMuth of The American Enterprise Online (that Jonah Goldberg used in his article "Time For A Republican Reformation"):

Thomas Jefferson played the pivotal role in choosing the site for our national capital, and selected what was essentially a malarial swamp. He had been in Paris when the Constitution was drafted, and he was not much impressed by its parchment provisions for limited government. So—anticipating the old dictum that “no man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session”—Jefferson added a climatologic backstop. Long, miserable summers were to serve as a natural deterrent to the growth of our national apparatus.

The "pigs at the trough", as Joe Kenner referred to both parties in Congress, have been pursuing increased powers outside of those delineated in the Constitution for over a century.

Goldberg admits that it is not just Congress at fault. Look at GW regarding his never vetoing a bill in front of him. Writes Goldberg:

Presidents have been just as bad, including George W. Bush. He campaigned against the proposed McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform" in the 2000 election. At the time Bush argued, rightly, that the legislation violated numerous constitutional principles. When the bill wound up his desk, however, in a more egregious form than the earlier versions, Bush signed it. If his erstwhile "serious constitutional concerns" had been justified, the president explained, then, heck, "the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions." But when the law went before the Supreme Court, Bush's Justice Department defended it and the justices in turn upheld it, out of deference to the "government." It's all so tawdry.

Yes, though in reading A Patriot's Histroy Of The United States last night, I learned how principled Grover Cleveland was. Grover Cleveland is the last small government Democrat. He vetoed any bill that exceeded the powers granted the federal government. Writes authors Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen:

When Grover Cleveland vetoed an insignificant seed corn bill, he knew it would hurt him politically, and that he would only win condemnation from the press and the people—but the Constitution did not permit it, and he refused.

Cleveland felt this was more for charities to handle than the federal government. What happened? The charities provided seeds that exceeded anything the Congress had authorized in their vetoed bill.

This is how it is supposed to work.

3 Comments:

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Allen Gorin said...

Neal:

Funny you should reference Grover Cleveland as a noteworthy president. I just finished reading an article by Larry Reed, Director of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan, in which Larry chooses Cleveland as among his favorite presidents. (Readers might access this article, which was originally given as a speech entitled "Government, Poverty, and Self-Reliance.")

A couple of choice excerpts from the article:

1) Indeed, frequent warnings against using the government to redistribute income were characterisitic of Cleveland's tenure. He regarded as a "serious danger" the notion that government should dispense favors and advantages to individuals or their businesses. This conviction led him to veto a wagonload of bills--414 in his first term, 170 in his second--far more than all the previous 21 presidents combined. "I ought to have a monument over me when I die," he once said, "not for anything I have ever done, but for the foolishness I have put a stop to."

2) As a devoted Christian, Cleveland saw the notion of taking from some to give to others as a violation of the Eight and Tenth Commandments, which warn against theft and envy. He noticed what 20th century welfare statists did not, namely, that there was a PERIOD after the word "steal" in the Eighth, with no added qualifications. It does not say, "Thou shall not steal unless the other guy has more than you do, or unless a government representative does it for you, or unless you can't find anyone who will give it to you freely, or unless you're totally convinced you can spend it better than the guy to whom it belongs."

 
At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Allen Gorin said...

Neal:

I forgot to mention in my post that the speech by Larry Reed can probably be accessed through the Mackinac website (www.mackinac.org)

 
At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work »

 

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