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Now that the tea party has taken its greatest scalp – the House majority leader, no less – perhaps the GOP will now wake up from its long slumber and realize that lazy, sagging-bellied acquiescence in the left’s dismantling of the Founding Fathers’ vision was never popular with the voters of America.
In the age-long battle between the totalitarians and the libertarians, it is nearly always the former who win. For government is by its nature interventionist, and those who seek to govern do so because they think (wrongly) that they know best how to intervene.
That is why Reagans and Thatchers are rare and precious exceptions. For it takes courage, persistence, determination and hard work to stand out against a political establishment brought up on the notion that Nanny State Knows Best.
The voters will usually choose a Reagan or a Thatcher – if they are given the chance. Mr. Brat gave them the chance. They looked at the washed-out pantywaist who had eased himself comfortably but uselessly into the majority leader’s fancy quarters on Capitol Hill, saw that they had a choice and took it.
The lesson for the Republicans is that they can no longer drift along allowing the ever-harder left to take the initiative. They can no longer merely react to its totalitarianism. They must now come forward with their own alternative to government by the privileged few: a distinctive brand of libertarianism. Let us call it Americanism.
Here are some Americanist policies. Any GOP candidate who does not support them should be ejected as Cantor was ejected.
First, the Delegated Legislative Powers (Repeal) Act. This bill would take away all legislative power from unelected institutions such as the Environmental Destruction Agency and return it to the Congress elected by the people. For good measure, the bill could usefully abolish that power-hungry, anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, anti-everything agency and ensure that not one of its operatives is ever allowed to work for the government again.
Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution is entirely clear on this point. “All legislative power,” it says, “shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Congress has grown lazy and has handed its powers away to people beyond the reach or recall of the voters, and has done so on a dangerous, democracy-destroying scale. Now, Congress must become diligent again and must make and unmake the law itself.
The Constitution did not forbid Congress to delegate its legislative powers to bureaucratic agencies, but arguably it should have. There is already far too much law, a growing proportion of it made in secret, behind closed doors, by bureaucrats either in federal government agencies or, more and more often these days, by supranational institutions such as the U.N., the World Bank and the IMF, not one of which is elected by those whom it nominally serves.
Secondly, the Treaties Act will forbid the president to sign or the Senate to ratify any foreign treaty that does not contain an explicit right of withdrawal by any state party to that treaty at no more than three months’ notice.
Congress simply did not foresee the extent to which the “Democrats” would use the treaty-making power to make totalitarian laws no subsequent Congress may repeal.
It is an essential principle of government that no elected parliament or congress should have the power to bind its successors. For the will of the people may change, and it frequently does. Yet once one administration has entered into a foreign treaty that contains no right to resile, no subsequent administration has the power to repudiate it.
With every treaty that contains no escape clause, democracy dies a little.
Thirdly, the Public Expenditure Act will permit Americans, for the first time, to decide either to put all of the taxes they pay into the general government expenditure or to hypothecate it – in other words, to direct it to the government departments of their choice. For instance, you might decide, as I would, that all of your money should go to the Armed Forces, and none to the Environmental Profiteering Agency.
The Public Expenditure Act will contain two further important clauses: that all public borrowing shall be forthwith forbidden, and that the existing national and states’ debts shall be paid down until redemption according to a strict timetable; and that the maximum fraction of annual gross domestic product raised in taxation and spent by government departments shall not thereafter exceed one-quarter. The most powerful form of democracy is leaving the people’s money in the people’s pockets.
Fourthly, the People’s Rule Act will allow a small but significant fraction of the electorate – say, 1 or 2 percent – to petition for a referendum on any subject of interest to them. The referendum must be held at the same time as elections for Congress, and Congress will be bound by law – as its first act – to pass a bill that the Supreme Court in special session determines has given full expression to the people’s decision, or to resign and face further elections.
Fifthly, the Electoral Bribery Act will require that no individual or corporation in receipt of any state or federal subsidy may directly or indirectly donate any money whatsoever to the political party that enacted or granted the subsidy.
Sixthly, the Voters’ Act will provide that no one shall cast a vote in any public election unless that person shall have provided at the polling booth photographic proof of his or her identity and a document certifying that he or she is a citizen of the United States entitled to vote in that election. If that bill were passed, the “Democrats” would never hold office again.
The central principle underlying all of these laws is that there should be a restoration in all parts of government of the central principle that underlay the American Revolution: that the government should be the servant of the people, and not the other way about.
Only when the government relearns its place as the people’s handmaid and not as their master will the liberty that was Patrick Henry’s cry be restored to the Land of the Free. Mr. Brat, you have your manifesto. Get to work, and more power to the elbow that elbowed out the effete and useless Cantor.
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