Self Governance in the Words of Burke, Madison, Acton and Hayek

In America, our government does not draw legitimacy simply from elections. A government of the people, for the people and by the people is not a guarantee of liberty because, as history teaches, elections can be manipulated and a corrupt people will elect corrupt governments.

Edmund Burke said:

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.”

Just because something is legal does not mean it is legitimate. Our government draws its legitimacy, not from the people, but from loyalty and compliance to the Constitution.

The sadness and anger I feel about our current situation in America is that it was entirely avoidable. It was completely foreseeable – and was predicted 233 years ago as the debate raged over the ratification of our Constitution. In February of 1788, James Madison (Publius) penned Federalist #51, stating:

“It is equally evident, that the members of each department should be as little dependent as possible on those of the others, for the emoluments annexed to their offices. Were the executive magistrate, or the judges, not independent of the legislature in this particular, their independence in every other would be merely nominal.

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

Madison knew that an overweening government with an entrenched bureaucracy was the most effective delivery system of man’s most corrupt, evil and corrosive desires – those being the desires to elevate themselves and to have control over other men.

Lord Acton was clearly correct – power does corrupt, and absolute power does corrupt absolutely.

Humans have the capacity for the greatest good and the most hideous evil. Such was, is and shall always be the dichotomy of the human condition.

The crisis we have today is very simple – where the strong internally validate themselves based on their compliance to their own morals and principles, unprincipled, amoral weak people are looking for external validation of themselves. That is why we must be forced to recognize hundreds of different “genders”, acknowledge that thin-skinned student progressives need “safe spaces” – it is why people seek to enforce validation of certain behaviors by force of law. It is why they find it critically important to be given the imprimatur of government.

In his last book, “The Fatal Conceit”, F.A. Hayek stated:

“To understand our civilisation, one must appreciate that the extended order resulted not from human design or intention but spontaneously: it arose from unintentionally conforming to certain traditional and largely moral practices, many of which men tend to dislike, whose significance they usually fail to understand, whose validity they cannot prove, and which have nonetheless fairly rapidly spread by means of an evolutionary selection — the comparative increase of population and wealth — of those groups that happened to follow them. The unwitting, reluctant, even painful adoption of these practices kept these groups together, increased their access to valuable information of all sorts, and enabled them to be ‘fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it’ (Genesis 1:28). This process is perhaps the least appreciated facet of human evolution.”

America, as a nation, is leaking freedom because many of our citizens have lost the ability to self-govern.

America, as a people, is rapidly moving away from governance (and a government) constructed of people capable of self-governance based on spiritual laws, to a society governed by malleable human laws enforced with Orwellian interpretation and draconian efficiency, and as we do, corruption, rather than conscience, becomes the motivating force.

The Biden administration has accelerated America’s stumble toward the absurdity necessary to create a progressive state into a downhill, dead run.

Progressives always promise freedom and equality to the people, but history proves that they always default to coercion and tyranny to control the people. Human nature can never be overcome by an external system as the progressives (communists) claim, it can only be subdued from inside through a spiritual conversion.

No man is capable of governing other men if he cannot first govern himself.

It is time for those of us who can and do govern ourselves to just say no to those who cannot. We must never accept their weakness.

2 thoughts on “Self Governance in the Words of Burke, Madison, Acton and Hayek

  1. It is unfortunate that so many school boards across our Republic no longer require that students matriculate only after learning the thoughtful writings of people like those cited.

  2. Pingback: Links for your weekend! – The Daley Gator

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