Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I got this from Ed Emery, Missouri State Representative today:
Considering my OathIsn't he wonderful? Why can't the critters in DC think like this?
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” Patrick Henry
As your elected representative, two things concern me. The first is how little of a relationship there is between my oath of office and the expectations imposed upon my office. The second is the lack of a public outcry over that disconnect. I have reprinted here the entire oath of office: "I do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of the state of Missouri, and faithfully perform the duties of my office, and that I will not knowingly receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing for the performance or nonperformance of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law." Emphasis mine.
To “support” the constitution means to keep it from falling or hold it upright in its place. The intuitive question is – why does it need protecting and from whom. Patrick Henry’s quotation gives a clue. Government’s nature is to grow ever bigger and more dominating. A constitution is a fence around government, limiting its powers. My oath is to maintain those limits.
If government were no threat to liberty, a constitution would be unnecessary; an organizational chart would suffice. However, then the organization would be its own master and ours. Such was not the intention of early Americans. Early Americans had escaped powerful kings and monarchs, and they deliberately limited the government’s jurisdiction and power. While they needed a central government to protect against external enemies, their experience proved that unlimited government was itself a threat to life, liberty, and property.
My oath of office is to maintain (support) your protections against unconstitutional government. Somehow, however, we have failed to educate Missourians as to the difference between threats to liberty and threats to health, wealth, or comfort. Only the uneducated or naïve believes that a government can protect from both. Thomas Jefferson said it well: “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”
In other words, government is not to protect me from the consequences of my decisions; it is to protect my right to make those decisions. It is not to protect Missourians from ever being poor; it is to ensure that poor Missourians enjoy the same protections against lawbreakers as the rich. Government cannot make everyone rich; it can make everyone poor. The natural laws of science, economics, and reason all contradict the notion that the supply of everything can be made to fully meet the demand.
Regardless of political party, when we ignore constitutional limits on government we exchange personal liberties for false promises that government cannot fulfill. If we cannot agree on this basic element of our constitutional republic, then we will continue to impose counter-intuitive, unattainable, and unconstitutional objectives for government, and America will cease forever to be the land of freedom and prosperity.
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