I saw this yesterday, but I didn’t really register how profound it is until this morning, when I saw that Linoge had it as his QOTD for yesterday. From Joe Huffman at The View From North Central Idaho, commenting on a different QOTD:
The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant privileges. It guarantees rights. The only granting is that of certain enumerated powers to the government. The government is not a parent. The government is not an ideal. It is a necessary evil. The government is not to be obeyed by the people. The government must obey the people. The people must respect the laws which fall within the enumerated powers of the government.
This was something I already understood, which is why I didn’t really catch on to the significance right away. It’s like someone pointing out that meat is dead animals – it’s such basic knowledge that you don’t think about it until you realize that there are people who actually believe that meat is made in a factory, or just comes from the grocery store. It’s a lack of knowledge that’s both shocking and puzzling to those who do have that knowledge.
It’s surprising how many people don’t realize the truth Joe has pointed out, just like it’s surprising how many people don’t realize – as Linoge points out – that the US is a republic, not a democracy, or even how many people don’t understand what a republic is in the first place, never mind what the difference is or that our founders were vehemently opposed to democracy as a form of government.
Our founders understood that government is a necessary evil – and that government, like fire, is dangerous if not kept under close watch and tight control. To realize this, one need only remember another surprisingly little-known fact: the government created by the Constitution was not our first government after the Revolution. That first government failed because it was too weak, and had insufficient power to actually perform it’s legitimate duties. It was the attempt to correct deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation that lead to scrapping the whole thing and starting over, eventually resulting in the Constitution as we know it.
Today, our government has slipped from it’s bonds. The founders lit a candle to warm the room, then changed it to a brazier when they realized a candle was insufficient. Today, we have spilled the coals from the brazier and allowed it to set the carpet and drapes on fire. The worst part is that people are complaining that the room is too cold and urging us to light the ceiling on fire, too, because they don’t realize that fire out of control will kill them – and they’re yelling at us for trying to put the drapes out.
The ignorance of the people is a tyrant’s best tool.