I usually don’t write in the morning. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I did. This might be the first morning post. Today I woke up and I’m trying this new idea – I drink 40 oz of water before I do anything else. Our bodies like to flush out toxins often, but since I was asleep for 8 hours or so, I’m a little behind. Toxins have built up in my body, and it’s time to flush them out. This is supposed to keep me healthier, and make me feel better for the rest of the day. We’ll see how it works. I imagine I’ll just have to pee real bad.
Anyways – I was reading Mark Levin’s new book, Ameritopia, and I came across an important passage, and one that triggered a few troublesome thoughts. (By the way – that’s how you know it’s a good book – it makes you think.) In a chapter discussing Charles de Montesquieu, Mark explains the differences between the three forms of government; republic, monarchy, despotism. In a republic, the people have sovereign power. In a monarchy, one person or group has power, but is bound by established laws. In a despot, one person or group has all power, and can make and break laws however they sees fit.
Now, although you could argue that America is no longer a republic, given that our government continues to push it’s people around more and more, I’m going to just go ahead and say we’re a republic. While we certainly aren’t the republic we once were, we’re not a monarchy, and although the left seeks despotism, we’re not there yet either. We’re a republic.
Something very important separates republicanism from monarchism and despotism. Monarchism and despotism deal only with the nature of government, and it’s principles. Montesquieu writes, “There is a difference between the nature of government and it’s principle: its nature is that which makes it what it is, and it’s principle, that which makes it act. The one is its particular structure, the other is the human passions that set it in motion.” And that’s all there is – nature, and principle.
Montesquieu continues, however, to confront republicanism – “In a popular state (a republic) there must be an additional spring, which is virtue.” Well, then – virtue is something that matters. While in a despotic government (fascism, totalitarianism, etc) there is no need for virtue since one person has absolute power and need not answer to anyone else, a republic requires virtue to stay a republic. Otherwise it slowly slips away, and we wind up with some kind of pseudo-republic like we have now.
It’s been said over and over again, by countless people, “Freedom is fragile.” How true. When the entire state of government and society rests on the virtue of those in office, our system is very fragile. This tells us that because those in power can make or break a republic, and turn it into a tyrannical despotic nation, it’s important to limit their power. Those in office make the decisions that in the end affect our freedom. And if we’re only going on their “virtues” to maintain our freedom, well – let’s just not give them that power in the first place.
This is an argument for smaller government. Because freedom and individual sovereignty is widely dispersed, so power should be the same way. The power to make decisions in our own lives should come from us as individuals. Not only is freedom dispersed, but so is knowledge. Only you, the individual, have the knowledge to know what is best for your life. The government should not, and cannot, make decisions for you – whether those decisions have to do with your healthcare, energy bill, or what kinds of guns you keep in your house.
Our government and all the crooks and cronies in it, all affect the way our country works. Does it sound like a good idea to give them more power, as if they’re somehow more noble, wise, and well-meaning than any other human? No – of course not. Limit their power, and we can sustain all the freedoms that come along with being a republic.
Recommended reading – “The Spirit of Laws” by Charles de Montesquieu, and “Ameritopia” by Mark Levin.