WHEN RULE BREAKERS BECOME RULE MAKERS
By Geoff Metcalf
May 26, 2009
“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” --Hanlon’s razor
Solutions to epic problems can usually be found in an objective return to basics. Too often, smart people exacerbate a problem with reinventing the wheel and mandating fixes doomed to failure and mantled in arrogant presumptions.
Ayn Rand once clearly restated an intrinsic reality, “…it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals --that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government --that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government."
As the nation struggles in the frothy wake of petty partisanship, ‘he said/she said’ sophistry, and ‘gotcha’ golden rules (the guy with the gold makes the rules) garbage, it becomes increasingly obvious that to assume the folks who created the mess will successfully clean it up is a shattered pipe dream.
Proving that even a broken clock is correct twice a day, a French Baron once observed, "The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded." Hey, the dry rot evidenced in our founding principles can no long support the corpulent weight of government. The boards gifted us by the founders need to be replaced with new wood from an old tree.
Principles matter. Regardless of race, creed, political affiliation or what NFL team you support, the basics that established our republic were, are, and will remain sound…the basics worked…until politicians and a gaggle of co-conspirators mucked things up to a farethewell. And, no, this is not a partisan screed…there is an abundance of blame crossing all party lines. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Whigs, Bull Moose, et al have contributed to undermining and even abrogating core principles that established the republic.
The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights are all brilliant documents. However, they are not sacred scripture. As Rand observed, the Constitution didn’t give power but was intended to protect the people against power. The Constitution was intended to be a bridle not a bludgeon.
Frankly, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not give us ANYthing…those documents simply acknowledge God given, inalienable rights, that no one and no institution grants OR can take away…ever. Privileges can be granted and rescinded. Privileges can be earned and loss. Rights are intrinsic and forever.
Contemporary politicians would be well served (and better serve the people they are elected to represent) if or when they return to the basics and acknowledge the empirical evidence Rev. William John Henry Boetcker observed in 1873:
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
• You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
• You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
• You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
• You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
• You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
• You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
• You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
• You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
• You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Once upon a time, those were basic Republican principles. Each of the above ten statements is an axiom. Mitigation of any of those principles is anathema and the reason for the bastardization of the Republican Party, and the quagmire we see the once great republic sinking into daily.
The only reason the Democrats and the Republicans have not imploded as a result of mendacity of their own whole cloth creations is the broken system of congressional power. When rule breakers become rule makers, vice, fraud and sleaze become inevitable consequences.
Once upon a not so long ago time, President Obama said, "Whether we're Democrats or Republicans, surely there's got to be some capacity for us to work together, not agree on everything but at least set aside small differences to get things done. People have to break out of some of the ideological rigidity and gridlock that we've been carrying around for too long."
Obama missed (or obfuscated) a key point. The differences he asks for partisans to “set aside” are not “small differences,” but humongous canyons. The differences debated are really big honking differences of basic core principles…constitutional principles.
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Congress, the Executive and Judiciary have become addicted to ignoring their constitutionally mandated responsibilities.
The framers of our constitution did a remarkable and brilliant job. The tragic flaw of their common sense, reasonable delineation of ingredients for the republic was ignoring Murphy’s Law, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."