Uncommon Sense

Comments, facts, opinions and links.

My Photo

I like people, books, and technology. That mostly explains me.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

William Raspberry and John Ashcroft

William Raspberry of the Washington Post is worried again about John Ashcroft. Raspberry is upset because Ashcroft has the power to get his way, which is not Raspberry's way.

Yet, why should he be surprised? For 100 years, we the People have worked to unconstitutionally expand the powers of the Federal government. At the urging of "leaders" like Raspberry, we've elected Congressmen and Presidents who promised to fix all our problems and worries. They appointed and ratified like-minded judges who approved expanding the ability of the Feds to snoop on, regulate, "help", praise or punish citizens and local communities. Got a crime problem? Federalize it. Got a poverty problem? Federalize it. Environment, agriculture, health, labor, energy, education? Clearly, only the Feds can save us.

For 100 years Raspberry's heroes--FDR, LBJ, Earl Warren et al--have expanded Federal power and used it to force their "ethical virtues" down our throats. And now he's shocked--shocked, I tell you--that Ashcroft wishes to utilize that power to impose his own "ethical virtues."

We were warned. Jefferson thundered, "in questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution." Adams, Madison and others told us much the same. But we thought we were smarter than that. We "knew" we could solve all of society's problems if we just centralized power; we convinced ourselves that Washington, D.C. is the "most efficient" place to address society's ills, Constitutional restrictions be damned.

We were wrong. If any President or Attorney General really does override the First Amendment, he will only be following in the footsteps of those who ravaged Article I (limited powers), blew truck-sized holes through the Fourth Amendment (search and seizure limits), and dismissed the Tenth Amendment (powers reserved to the States) as a "meaningless tautology."

In 1802 and 1902 the Feds did not have enough power to worry anyone. If that has changed, then we can blame no one but ourselves.

Steve Setzer Send me a comment!