GOVERNMENT ISN’T US

7/31/13

Obama said, “in this democracy, we the people recognize that this government belongs to us, and it’s up to each of us and every one of us to make it work better. We can’t just stand on the sidelines. We can’t take comfort in just being cynical. We all have a stake in government success—because the government is us”. Obama 2010 at U. of Michigan.
“When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us”. Ohio State in May.
Some will warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brace and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
Obama who fancies himself a scholar president in the mold of Woodrow Wilson, it is not asking too much for him to evince a little more understanding of the constitutional foundations of the republic.
This should induce some measure of skepticism about government for it points directly at the principal -agent problem. That is how can principals (voters) make sure that their agents (elected representatives) are actually working on behalf of the public, rather than for their own personal gain. Many times for instance, the policy demands of one faction will result in harm to another. If an aggressive faction holds a numerical majority, should the minority then expect to be plundered? How does that serve the public good?
Re James Madison summarizing the republic—-“the great desideratum in government is such a modification of the Sovereignty as will render it sufficiently neutral between the different interest and factions, to controul one part of the society form invading the rights of another, and at the same time sufficiently controuled itself, from setting up an interest adverse to that of the whole society.”
The lessons of the 1770’s and 1780’s was clear: Getting the government to do “our” business is much easier said than done.
Worrying about what the government is up to is not “paranoia”. It is healthy skepticism grounded in an understanding of the self-interested nature of man as evidenced by centuries of experience. Our government has violated the republican principle on a regular basis since it was established.
In 2008 , he claims to be the reformer; today he is the chief executive of a government in desperate need of reform.
Since he arrived on the national stage, Obama has tried to recast every criticism of himself as some sort of paranoid, fringe plot cooked up by knaves or fools. He is now trying to dump American luminaries like Madison and Jefferson, who dared wonder if government was really looking out for the people, into the crazy bin with the rest of us.

Source weekly standard, jay cost

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