Guest Editorial


U.S. government seceded from the American people

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lawrence sellinThe Preamble explicitly declares that “We the people…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The federal government is entirely a creature of the Constitution. It is a government of delegated powers, possessing no authority not expressly or by implication granted to it by the instrument that created it.

Edwin Vieira notes that, without exception, “We the people” are the sole source of whatever legal status the Constitution, the federal government and public officials have. “We the people,” therefore, are personally responsible for maintaining and protecting the Constitution and seeing to its enforcement even when the government, as an institution, proves to be impotent and our representatives are incompetent or dishonest. The republic could fall through domestic usurpation and tyranny when evil or misguided men corrupt, subvert and pervert the government by misusing the law to break the law, while, simultaneously, claiming to act under the law and in the interest of the American people.

In his 1999 book “Machiavelli on Modern Leadership” political scholar Michael A. Ledeen notes that republican governments don't turn into dictatorships overnight. He quotes Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), who, in Discourses (Book III, Chapter VIII), blamed the influence of corrupt leaders on society:

"To usurp supreme and absolute a free state, and subject it to tyranny, the people must have already become corrupt by gradual steps from generation to generation."

The implication is that people living in a free state will not go quietly into tyranny unless they have become complacent following generations of political corruption.

The assault on the Constitution and representative government has indeed been ongoing for generations. During the 1880s, Congress evolved from an institution of "citizen legislators" to a place where professional politicians advanced their political careers and member reelection and internal power incentives began to shape its proceedings.

According to Angelo Codevilla , in his book and Johns Hopkins University doctoral dissertation, “Congressional Government “ (1885), Woodrow Wilson argued that the U.S. Constitution prevents the government from meeting the country’s needs by enumerating rights that the government may not infringe. (“Congress shall make no law…” says the First Amendment, typically). Wilson maintained that an electoral system based on single member districts, empowers individual voters at the expense of “responsible parties.” Hence, the ruling class’s perpetual agenda has been to diminish the role of the citizenry’s elected representatives while enhancing that of party leaders as well as of groups willing to partner in the government’s plans. Fundamental to that effort is to craft a “living” Constitution in which restrictions on government give way to “positive rights,” meaning the growth of government power.

In a follow-up article, Codevilla contends that the United States already has a bona fide ruling class that transcends government, sees itself as distinct from the rest of society and as the only element that may act on its behalf. The ruling class considers those who resist it as having no moral or intellectual right, and, only reluctantly, any civil right to do so.

Republican leaders neither contest that view nor vilify their Democrat counterparts because they do not want to beat the ruling class, they want to join it. The GOP leadership has gradually solidified its choice to no longer represent what had been its constituency, but to adopt the identity of junior partners in the ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the views of Republican voters, the leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013, a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.

The differences between the Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind. There is now a sharp division between the bipartisan ruling class and the rest of Americans, who are considered retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly controlled by the dictates of central authority.

The federal government has become an entity unto itself operating outside of Constitutional constraints and accountability to the American people.

The conflict of interests between the rulers and the ruled represented by the corrupt political status quo is unsustainable. A clash of historic proportions is inevitable.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution (Jul 7, 2013) - Kindle eBook and “Afghanistan and the Culture of Military Leadership.“ He receives email at [email protected].