Article Image

IPFS News Link • Government

The Stronger the Government, the Weaker the Nation

•,By Jacob G. Hornberger

The principal justification for an ever more powerful government is that it keeps the American people safe from the likes of terrorists, drug dealers, communists, illegal immigrants, Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, and Muslims. Moreover, it is argued, a powerful military-intelligence establishment enables the U.S. government to violently police the world and thereby earn respect and credibility from foreign regimes.

What hardly anyone notices about this big-government shibboleth is the price that is paid for it: a weak nation.

For example, no one can deny that the American people, despite living under the most powerful government in history, are among the most frightened people in the world. This phenomenon was perfectly manifested after the 9/11 attacks, when most Americans eagerly and willingly traded away their freedom for the aura of "security." Examples include the support for the USA Patriot Act, the TSA takeover of airports, the unconstitutional invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the torture center at Guantanamo Bay, the power to torture and assassinate American citizens, and the illegal telecom surveillance scheme.

But let's fist backtrack a bit. I'd venture to say that most Americans are convinced that the federal government and the nation are one and the same thing. When people use the pronouns "we" or "us" to describe the actions of the U.S. government, in their minds they are referring both to the U.S. government and the American people (that is, the nation). For example, "We need to be strong by invading and bombing that country. Otherwise, people won't respect or fear us." In the process, people manifest their courage vicariously through the actions of U.S. troops.

Actually, however, the U.S. government and the American people (the nation) are two separate and distinct entities. This phenomenon is perfectly reflected by the Bill of Rights, whose passage our ancestors insisted upon as a condition of approving the Constitution, the document that called the federal government into existence. The Bill of Rights expressly protects the American people from the federal government, implicitly establishing that the federal government and the American people (the nation) are two separate and distinct entities.