The Argument of Tyrants

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Apr 19, 1956

A Daily Thought

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves! — William Pitt

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jun 30, 1928

“How Liberty is Lost”

Insofar as the present dictatorships in Europe are concerned, Mr. Lippmann demonstrates satisfactorily that they have been caused by the knuckling in of people who surrendered to tyrants because of their fear, fear concerning their individual futures, fear about their jobs, fear of their truculent neighbors, always fear, fear, fear.

That sort of a condition cannot arise in a country that keeps its mind upon a fair distribution of wealth. Such a distribution does not mean, and can never mean, the ladling of money out of the public coffers to the undeserving. It does mean a wide distribution of jobs and of opportunities and a careful husbanding of the savings or accumulations of those who are smart enough to keep an eye out for the future.
…..

The American citizen of today who is blinded by constant sobbing references to his condition, to the “goodness” of the present administration, needs cast his attention upon the methods employed which have resulted in continued and widespread fear, the fear that grows on the tree of insecurity.

And there is no greater insecurity than to depend for one’s life upon the nod of an ambitious man looking for more power.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Jul 20, 1938

Sen. Goldwater may be a super, right-wing Republican, but that has not kept him from some fundamental points in what follows:

To understand the importance of the federal Constitution, we must recognize that it is primarily a system of restraints against the natural tendency of government to expand in the direction of absolutism.

We all know the main components of the system. The first is the limitation of the federal government’s authority to specific, delegated powers. The second, a corollary of the first, is the reservation to the states and the people of all power not delegated to the federal government. The third is a careful division of the federal government’s power among three separate branches. The fourth is a prohibition against impetuous, alteration of the system — namely, Article V’s tortuous but wise, amendment procedures.

Was it then a democracy the framers created? Hardly. The system of restraints on the face of it, was directed not only against individual tyrants, but also against a tyranny of the masses. The framers were well aware of the danger posed by self-seeking demagogues — that they might persuade a majority of the people to confer on government vast powers in return for deceptive promises of economic gain.

And so they forbade such a transfer of power — first by declaring, in effect, that certain activities are outside the natural and legitimate scope of the public authority, and secondly by dispersing public authority among several levels and branches of government in the hope that each seat of authority, jealous of its own prerogatives, would have a natural incentive to resist aggression by the others.

But the framers were not visionaries. They knew that rules of government, however brilliantly calculated to cope with the imperfect nature of man, however carefully designed to avoid the pitfalls of power, would be no match for men who were determined to disregard them.

In the last analysis of their system of government would prosper only if the governed were sufficiently determined that it should.

“What have you given us?” a woman asked Ben Franklin toward the close of the Constitutional Convention.

“A republic,” he said, “if you can keep it!”

We have not kept it. The system of restraints has fallen into disrepair. The federal government has moved into every field in which it believes its services are needed.

The state governments are either excluded from their rightful functions by federal pre-emption, or they are allowed to act at the sufferance of the federal government. Inside the federal government both the executive and judicial branches have roamed far outside their constitutional boundary lines.

…..

The Constitution is not an antique document. It is as pertinent today as it was when it was written. Our great error has been in departing from the Constitution as a document to restrain the concentration of power.

How do you stand, sir?

Daily Chronicle (Centralia, Washington) May 9, 1960

Delaware County Daily Times (Pennsylvania) Feb 22, 1966

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: