Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Silent Cal Should Have Spoken More

The Founding Fathers knew what Lord John Dalberg-Acton knew. And far too few of us know the totality of Lord Acton’s sage sentiment: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

“Great men are almost always bad men.” America as envisioned and designed by the Founders was absolutely great. Subsequent men and women striving for a legacy – to be themselves deemed “great” – have ruined what the Founders bequeathed us.

Which upon its creation Ben Franklin described – with a warning: “A republic, if you can keep it.” We have failed to keep it. Because too many have done too much Constitutional violence – in their attempts to be “great.”

We don’t need as leaders great men and women. We need ordinary men and women – who get out of the Constitution’s way and allow America and Americans to be great.

Washington, D.C. is overflowing with oft ridiculous people – trying to use government to augment their opinions of themselves. Government-policy-as-therapy may make you feel better – and appear better inside the Beltway. But it’s awful for the rest of us.

In just about every way possible, the federal government is careening out of control – and light years beyond its Constitutional bounds. And only gets worse and worse as more and more people pile in and pile on – looking for their own slices of “great.”

The Founders saw this coming – and established as a backstop the Separation and Balance of Powers. The Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches were established to work both symbiotically – and adversarially. But all three Branches are populated by mere men and women – too many of whom are seeking to be “great.”

The Judicial Branch far too often – instead of going for Constitutional – goes for ever-bigger-government “landmark.” Or “historic.” In search of their share of “great.”

The Legislative Branch – Congress – doesn’t use their Constitutional powers to slow down the out-of-control locomotive. They instead pledge to do everything possible to not use them. Meanwhile, the budget is $4 trillion a year – and expanding. The national debt is $18.3 trillion – and hurtling skyward. Future unfunded liabilities are upwards of $238 trillion. All aboard – destination Oblivion dead ahead.

Congress is supposed to set the legislative parameters of – and when necessary rein in – every Executive Branch department, agency, commission and board. But Congress far too often does no such thing. Every tentacle of the Executive Leviathan is incessantly, unilaterally taking unto themselves more and more power. They do not have the Constitutional authority to do any of it – but why should that stop them in their respective pursuits of “great?”

In February, the three unelected Democrat bureaucrats of the Barack Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unilaterally imposed 1934 all-encompassing landline telephone and railroad monopoly law – onto the Internet. Congress never passed a law granting the FCC said authority. And yet Congress has done nothing to stop it or roll it back.

And here is your Joke of the Day: These three Democrats promise they will use only some – not all – of the vast new taxing and regulating power they just seized for themselves. A pseudo-self-limiting fantasy dubbed “forbearance.”

But these Democrats are just more of the men and women about whom Lord Acton and the Founders warned. They don’t want to be Constitutional – as evidenced by the huge power grab in the first place. They would much rather be “landmark,” “historic” – “great.”

And even if these particular bureaucrats think their usurpation was “great” enough for themselves – the next bureaucrats will be starting from their own personal zero. They will have to engage in their own power grabs – to grab their shares of “great.” And with all of these taxes and regulations now on the table – just laying there – who doubts they won’t dive deeply into them and start wielding wildly?

Anyone who does – is steadfastly impervious to facts and history.

And government stumbles and lurches forward – ever larger and more oppressive. As the Founders and Lord Acton would say – “great,” isn’t it?

This first appeared in Townhall and Red State.