Last week, Real Clear Politics quoted Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) saying that “[Mr.] Cliven Bundy doesn’t believe that the American government is legitimate.” Mr. Bundy’s largely accurate belief apparently came as a shock to Senator Reid.
Now, before proceeding, let us recall that the Founders intended the limited national government they created to do no more than (a) promote commerce and prosperity by keeping the decks clear for American enterprise; (b) protect the republic from foreign and internal enemies; (c) obey the Constitution and enforce the laws made pursuant to it; (d) conduct foreign relations; and (e) ensure the nation’s sovereignty and independence.
With these parameters in mind, it seems clear that the attitude ascribed to Mr. Bundy by Senator Reid has merit. Legitimacy in government or any other of life’s endeavors comes from successful deeds, not vacuous words and certainly not from words meant to deceive, as in “mission accomplished” and “you can keep your doctor.” But it seems that Senator Reid and most members of both parties do not recognize — as Mr. Bundy and many other Americans do — that the federal government no longer adequately performs the tasks assigned to it by the Founders, tasks they believed, if effectively executed, would make the national government legitimate, respected, and even loved by its citizens.
That Senator Reid does not understand this is shocking in its own right. Indeed, so blatant is federal illegitimacy, that one wonders how Senator Reid could think that all ordinary working Americans would consider the current national government legitimate or worthy of respect and affection, especially given the hundreds of examples of its deliberate, knowing failure to execute its responsibilities? The following half-dozen items are examples of such intentional and stupefying failures. They may not be the most destructive examples that could be cited, but they will do for starters.
- Forty-one years after the first oil embargo, both parties have failed to move the United States to energy self-sufficiency, and today’s administration is blocking the private sector from exploiting a real chance to achieve that status so that the Democratic Party can keep campaign contributors contributing. As a result, economic activity and employment are deliberately suppressed here at home, and our independence of action is compromised by continued dependence on Arab tyrants.
- U.S. political leaders from both parties have taken the republic into numerous wars since 1945, most unnecessary and all illegal and unconstitutional. They also have failed to win a single one. In so doing, they have deliberately negated one of the constitution’s main protections against tyranny — making sure one man can not take the republic to war. These wars also have helped us to achieve the bankruptcy in which we are now mired; committed us to go to war for useless allies and interests unrelated to U.S. security; and killed and maimed tens of thousands of our soldier-children.
- Both parties have failed — or is it refused? — to maintain an indispensable component of national sovereignty and national defense, the control of borders. As a result, we have more than 10 million undocumented felons in the country — they broke the law to get here — some portion of which means to harm this country and its people. Without effectively defended borders assertions of American sovereignty, independence, and national security are sick jokes.
- Both parties have taken no effective action to legally regulate immigration to ensure needed immigrants are admitted and to halt the admission of unwanted and unneeded immigrants. The result has been to tear the republic’s social fabric by accumulating millions of immigrants who are neither needed nor wanted; who have no intention of assimilating or speaking English; and whose loyalty goes first to another nation. If, as the Founders believed, national unity and a cohesive society are keys to the republic’s survival, the lack of an immigration policy that promotes those two items amounts to a death wish.
- Both parties have adhered to a mindless free-trade policy that has emptied America of manufacturing jobs, thereby blocking the road into the middle class for Americans of all races and making us dependent on the willingness of foreigners to make and sell us what we need — even in the sphere of national defense. And the current administration is doing its best to prevent the accelerated development of the republic’s abundant natural gas and other energy resources which would help mightily to rebuild U.S. manufacturing and reopen a vital door through which workers can advance to the middle class. For Washington, under both parties, prairie dogs, crayfish, and tortoises always are more important than the citizenry
- Much of America’s transportation infrastructure is in an advanced state of decay, a process of deterioration that has been underway and recognized for more than 40 years. Although Washington spends huge amounts of taxpayer money in this area, bridges still collapse, traffic remains gridlocked, and the improvements supposedly bought by the expenditures seem marginal at best. And yet, both parties continue to pump tens of billions of dollars into foreign countries ruled by tyrants, juntas, theocracies, militaries, and thieves, preferring to curry favor with irrelevant foreigners — who mostly hate us but love our money — than to improve our transportation system which would, in turn, promote commerce, jobs, and prosperity here at home.
In point of fact, what should have astounded Senator Reid was not that Mr. Bundy thought the national government illegitimate, but that he himself thought that most ordinary American could conceivably consider it a legitimate and likeable entity rather than an increasingly clear enemy. Washington today appeals mostly to a jangling and intolerant coterie of whining, often unsavory minority groups, the growing number of slackers encouraged by politicians to live off of other peoples’ labor, and Ivy League ideologues who hate and intend to destroy Americans’ traditions, regional affections, and Christianity, as well as their stubborn devotion to family, community, and Constitution.
Senator Reid and his unperceptive bipartisan colleagues ought to be schooled in the reality that the strongest respect ordinary Americans have today for their national government lies in their fear of its consistent readiness to use massive and unbridled executive, bipartisan-legislative, judicial, and law-enforcement power to smash its tiniest opponents — like Mr. Bundy and the Little Sisters of the Poor. Americans know that any dissent from plans laid by Washington’s bipartisan tyranny will yield attacks on them and their children through politically motivated IRS actions, attacks on the 2nd Amendment, hate-speech laws, punitive tax levels, FBI entrapment operations, unconstitutional foreign interventions and wars, incompetent, politically biased judges, the use of eminent domain, and, perhaps most of all, its control and implementation of an educational doctrine mean to degrade and eventually erase students’ knowledge of and love for their republic’s history, and which inculcates a pervasive passivity to an increasingly tyrannical central government.
One doubts whether Senator Reid or any of his colleagues from either party would be willing or able first to learn and then accept the reality that growing numbers of Americans’ view them as the power-grabbing enemies of their republic, society, security, livelihoods, children, and religion. But a short history lesson might help them. “[For a government] to usurp dominion over a people … or to grasp more power than they are willing to entrust,” Alexander Hamilton wrote in February 1775,
“is to violate that law of nature which gives every man a right to his personal liberty and can, therefore, confer no obligation to obedience. … When the first principles of civil society are violated and the rights of the whole people are invaded, the common forms of municipal law are not to be regarded. Men may then betake themselves to the law of nature; and if they but conform their actions to that standard, all cavils against them betray either arrogance or dishonesty.”
Because Senator Reid and his colleagues from both parties regularly and blithely violate “the first principles of civil society” and invade the rights of citizens, while championing those of illegal aliens and convicted felons, Mr. Hamilton and the other Founders, in their wisdom, left Americans a remedy for such tyranny. Let us hope that Senator Reid, et. al, can be persuaded to accept that they are seen by many Americans as the enemy and must reform. If they do not, they will eventually be subjected to the rage of Americans, first at the polls — if they are lucky — or perhaps because the Founders left to ordinary Americans that last-resort protection against an arrogant, destructive, and centralized tyranny, namely, the 2nd Amendment