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A Servant’s Heart Serves Whom?


“Government is power. Constitutional government is power limited by law. It stands in contrast to government by fiat, government with unlimited power, government at the whim of power holders, government with rules subject to change without notice, government that does not recognize or assure any substantial body of liberties or rights for its citizens.”

“Politics is the process that determines authoritatively, that is, in a binding manner, how scarce material and nonmaterial goods (values) are to be distributed or allocated among members of society.”

“Unless politics and government effectively maintain an ongoing social order, that particular social order disintegrates and some other set of political power holders takes over. ”

“In a totalitarian state, there is no human activity – political, economic, social, religious, cultural or educational – that is exempt from government control and domination. The totalitarian state regards the individual as having no inalienable rights. Whatever freedom the individual possesses in the totalitarian state is his not as a matter of right but because it suits the state, for its own purposes, to allow him that freedom.”

(American Democracy in World Perspective – Ebenstein, Pritchett, Turner and Mann.)

It follows that the economic system of a society is determined by, or in concert with, the political authority. In the United States, the founding fathers established a laissez-faire economic system and supported it with a constitution which enhanced the power of the individual to produce with his own efforts and to keep the results of that production. Men were to be free to do as they wished. The Constitution limited the power of government to interfere with or to dictate what men could do with their lives. In writing that Constitution, the rights of government were listed and short as the founders were very respectful, even fearful, of the power of government. The quotes one sees from the founding fathers reflecting that fear of government are ubiquitous. One favorite is by George Washington: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

This quote tells what our first president thought of the power of government. He was not alone in his concern and it should be noted that this respect for the dangers of government were not just from the founders familiarity with abuses by England but from their study of history and governments throughout history.

Unfortunately, Constitutions are written on paper while governments are of men. So to maintain the limits on governments which a constitution might establish, requires that the men who are in power believe in and support the constitution which limits their power. But some men are weak and others are desirous of the power government can bestow and so, to them, the limits a Constitution places on the power of government is something to be circumvented. The process has been slow, but deliberate and constant. It is the process of the termite eating away at the framing of a house. Those who live there can tell of the slow weakening of the structure as a the wood is eaten one tiny mouth full at a time.

In a democracy, where political power is spread among all the people, when their lives are going well, it is easy for the people to ignore small, incremental diminishing of the limits a constitution places on the power of government. In fact this ignoring of their loss is found with many aspects of government: the abuse of the Constitution or, more accurately, the loss of freedom, is small to the average citizen. But those who lose, lose only a little at a time, those who benefit have much to gain. The problem is, very simply, the loss seems too much to stand and fight for. It always appears for those who are losing only a little, that to stand and fight for what they will lose takes a relatively great effort compared to what is being fought for. Conversely, those who gain from these small intrusions and abuses have much to gain and the fight for them is minor compared to what they would gain.

Let us observe that those who are attracted to political power are no different than other men. Some are honorable men, but not all are. Some are attracted to government simply for the power inherent in government. This is true whether they are elected to representative office or are those who take the administrative positions of authority. The sole difference being, if they are to be elected they must convince the people to vote for them, so they tell the people what the people want to hear. Notice this does not require them to tell the truth, but only to tell the people what the people desire to be true.

An example is the current race for the mayor’s office of Charlotte. Mr. Patrick Cannon, in an interview with Creative Loafing,  tells the public that “I bring about a servant’s heart to want to create a better city throughout every part of our city; to enjoy a safe, affordable and thriving city with a comprehensive transportation plan.” That is for the general voter. Then, for the Chamber of Commerce he says Charlotte has “A lack of public-private ventures.”

One can only suppose he means taking more taxpayer money from the many in order to give it to the politically connected crony capitalists of the Chamber: the Panthers or NASCAR museums, or perhaps Carowinds.

Now Mr. Cannon probably has what passes today for a servant’s heart. The question is: who is he the servant of? Is the giving of taxpayer money to special interests, the crony-capitalists, an answer to that question?

This is only one aspect of what our founding fathers feared and is only another example of what those who advocate for a constitution, which truly restricts government, face. The Chamber members who expect to benefit from the largess of a Cannon mayorship have much to gain, some of the checks may well be in the millions. Those who would oppose the transfer of funds from the poor to the rich, from the many to the few, have only the possibility of keeping their tax rate from going from $2,000 per year to perhaps $2,100 per year. So they might keep $100 per year if the crony capitalists are kept away from the trough, while the crony-capitalist is fighting to gain hundreds of thousands or more.

This then is what Constitutions are about: the attempt to keep the few from benefiting at the expense of the many. It is the goal of most TEA parties. Some of the people have finally realized the small, incremental losses are worth fighting about. Those who would take from everyone, those who would control everyone’s life, the totalitarians, would have you believe the TEA parties are the problem with our country. In fact the TEA parties are some of the few fighting to keep our country and freedom free from the “fearful master” of abusive government that George Washington spoke of.

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