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Constitution Revolution: What Can We Expect Government to Do?
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Constitution Revolution: What Can We Expect Government to Do?

We are all familiar with human nature. But could there be such a thing as "government nature?"

This post is the third in a weekly Constitution Revolution series that will cover the entire Constitution and many of the principles it was founded on. Click here for last week’s lesson.


In last week’s post, I discussed the concept of human nature. Most of us have an instinctive understanding of human nature that helps us to understand how to approach people in a variety of situations in life. As I illustrated here, it’s that experience with human nature that tells us to be skeptical of anything a used car salesman tells us when we’re trying to buy a vehicle.

What’s cool about that is that our governments are run by people. We already know how the the people who run our governments will tend to behave, so that means there are certain ways that we can expect our governments to behave as well.

Here’s how I explained that this weekend on TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show:

Make no mistake about it: Governments will always grow and increase their own power until some outside force comes along and stops them. It’s a fact of life.

Most of our Founders understood that idea very well. For example, Brutus laid it out perfectly in what is commonly referred to as the Anti-Federalist Papers:

“[I]t is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of ages, that every man, and every body of men, invested with power, are ever disposed to increase it, and to acquire a superiority over everything that stands in their way.”

But we shouldn’t need the Founders to teach us this lesson. If we just sit down and think about it, it should be common sense that it is in the nature of a government to grow its own power.

Think about it this way. Try to imagine a large group of our Representatives and Senators - who are under no pressure from the citizens of this country - holding a major press conference to say, “You know what? We’ve just got too darned much power! We are immediately cutting our salaries and limiting our power to get involved in the lives of the American people!"

That idea is so far-fetched that it’s hard to even think about it without smirking a little bit.

The bottom line here is, if we ever expect our government to somehow benevolently choose to limit itself, we are living in a fantasy world. That will never happen.

That's why we need a constitution. Unless we want our government to continue to grow until it has finally consumed every aspect of our lives, we need to take action to restrict it’s growth. The best way to do that is to create a well-designed constitution that sets firm and fixed limits on the size of government.

It’s foolish to believe that we can buy into this idea our Constitution is a flexible document that has no fixed meaning without losing our freedom. Any time that the limits on the power of government are moveable, our politicians will just keep moving them more and more and more until all the limits on their power have been removed completely. That’s just the nature of government.

The only way to keep the government from eventually consuming every area of life is to create a constitution with firm, fixed limits on its power. For these limits to be effective, they have to be enforceable and can only be allowed to change with the consent of the people. In reality, any limits on government power that the government can change on its own are no limit at all.

So that’s this weeks lesson: It is the nature of government to grow and increase its own power until an outside force comes along to stop it. If we want to limit the government and protect our freedom, we must create well-defined limits on the power of government that are energetically enforced.

Chad Kent is an author and speaker with a unique style that makes the Constitution simple and fun. Listen to Chad every Saturday during The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze Radio and visit his web site at www.ChadKentSpeaks.com.

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