Political Opinion

James D. Best

Americans never used to worry about tyranny. Fear of oppression is a twenty-first century phenomenon. Before the millennium, we felt comfortable that we would be protected by our system and heritage. Sure, the government might misstep, and the United States Constitution had been eroded, but few believed that the people in power actually intended to harm us.

Then George H. W. Bush became president and the progressives went all paranoid. They believed Bush would destroy them either through an oppressive state or by ignoring a global ecological disaster— surely Brown Shirts or melting icecaps would invade our homes. It was all just too horrible to imagine … but they did.

With adrenalin cursing through their veins, the progressives grabbed all political power. First they took the House and Senate in 2006, and then in 2008, they strengthened their majority in both houses and put Barack Obama in the White House.

Now conservatives went into shock. Progressives were in complete control and started doing all the things they accused Bush of doing. The government grew by leaps and bounds while unfathomable debt threatened to drown us. Stern-faced bureaucrats marched into our doctor’s office, children’s classroom, and local eatery. The government threw us all back into kindergarten, and demanded that we learn to share.  Progressives patted us on the head and told us it was for our own good. It was all just too horrible to imagine … but we lived it.

What’s the difference? Conservatives fear oppression by the government. Progressives fear oppression from everywhere else and rely on government to protect them. Who’s right? Well, unless the history of the world suddenly changes course, conservatives are right. Oppression comes from governments. It always has, and always will. What about those mean, selfish corporations? In one-company towns, corporations wield enormous power, but the oppression comes from their exercising governmental power, not business power. It’s the same with religion. Religions become oppressive when they extend themselves into a governmental role. This was true in the middle ages, and it’s true today for those under Sharia law.

Our Founding Fathers understood this truth. They knew oppression always came from governments. They knew it from their own experience, and they knew it from their extensive scrutiny of governmental forms throughout history. Concentrated power was more than dangerous, it was life threatening. That’s why they balanced power between the three branches and gave each branch checks on the other two. It’s why they engineered checks on the central government by the states. It’s also why they gave the national government only enumerated powers, and retained all other power in the hands of the people.

The Founders knew government was not an agency to protect rights—governments were the ones that threaten rights. In the Bill of Rights, we the people ordered the government to stay away from rights bestowed on us by God. Read the Bill of Rights. The first eight amendments include phrases like: Congress shall make no law, shall not be infringed, shall not be violated, nor be deprived, shall not be required. Just in case we forgot something, the ninth amendment says the people retain any rights we didn’t mention. Does this sound like a list of rights the government is promising to protect, or restrictions on government interfering in our lives?

Progressives love government—the bigger, the better. They believe injustices in this unfair world can only be set right through the unbridled power of government. They are wrong! They are not just wrong, they are deadly wrong. World history is tragically filled with tyranny and oppression of the worst kind—all perpetuated by governments. The only thing that has changed is that governments in the twentieth century learned how to kill millions, instead of mere thousands.

We as a country must get back to our Founding Principles. We must resurrect the governmental form defined in our United Sates Constitution. Only through a limited representative republic can we preserve our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

James D. Best is the author of Tempest at Dawn, a novel about the 1787 Constitutional Convention. http://www.jamesdbest.com/