Principles of '98

The blog of Derek J. Sheriff. History and current events through the lens of 1798.

Reforming Washington, D.C. from the inside: A Failed Strategy

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Changing the people who make up the federal government will not bring back the Constitution from exile.

It’s important to elect the best people we can to represent us in Washington, but I don’t believe for one moment that is what’s going to challenge the status quo or bring the Constitution back from exile.

Trying to limit the power of the federal government and compell it to obey the Constitution by changing the people who make up the federal government is a failed strategy. There, I said it.

Washington, DC will never allow anyone or anything inside it’s own beltway to diminish its size or power. To believe that it somehow can or will, reminds me of Frodo’s shortsighted idea of what to do with the Ring of Power in Tolkien’s novel The Fellowship Of the Ring:

Frodo Baggins: [brightly] I’ll give it to you, Gandalf!
[Gandalf looks horrified]
Frodo Baggins: You’re wise and powerful! Will you not…
Gandalf: [anguished] No! Do not tempt me! I would wish to turn it to good, and it cannot be used so! Meaning to be kind, I would become as terrible as the Dark Lord himself. Do not tempt me!

The problem we face today is NOT that we simply have the wrong people weilding power in Washington, rather, it is the dangerous concentration of power itself!

Thomas Jefferson long ago predicted that we would be faced with this crisis:

“…the Federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scarecrow), working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one. When all government… in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” (1821)

It's more likely this dog will decide to go on a diet than that Washington, D.C. ever reform itself.

If we are ever to reclaim the liberty that was won by the American Revolutionaries, the balance of power between federal and state governments must be restored. We must inform and remind people that the state governments are co-equal to the federal government, not subordinates of it. The states must reclaim and jelously retain most of the powers given to government under the Constitution and the federal government must be limited to a few and very carefully defined ones. That is the arrangement established by the Constitution, and is one of the most important structural safeguards provided for our protection.

The federal government will never initiate the process of Constitutional re-decentalization (I think I just made that word up), regardless of who is serving in the Congress, the Senate, the White house or the Supreme Court. To expect that is as realistic as expecting your obese dog to loose weight by allowing it to have access to as much of the food you have in your house as often as it wants. Only state governments, who are like the Dog Wisperer (for lack of a better analogy), for the people of the several states, can restore true federalism.

State Rep. Matthew Shea and the Tenth Amendment Center have a plan!

But how do we get there from here? Where do we begin?

I cannot draft a better blueprint than the one written by a man who is already reclaiming his state’s sovereignty and is helping other state legislators do so as well. State Rep. Matthew Shea (WA-4th), gives us a step by step plan in his article: Resist DC: A Step-by-Step Plan for Freedom

Read it, share it and then get involved in your state’s Tenth Amendment Center chapter!

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Written by Derek Sheriff

February 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

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