Commentary

Government is supposed to exist to protect our rights

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States are sovereign political entities. The United States Constitution lays out the powers relinquished by the several states and the people and loaned to the federal government during periods of good behavior. The purpose of the federal government is broadly to protect the people’s inalienable rights and property; limited in the powers granted for other purposes.

The timeline is important: first came the people, then came the states, then came the federal government. The people and the states wrote and ratified the Constitution. The people and the states created the federal government and limited the scope of its powers. Further, there are built-in checks and balances among the people, states and branches of government (the legislature, executive and judiciary). “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Amendment IX)

Our written Constitution sets out the limitations on the powers that the elected, appointed and hired officials of the federal government may exercise. The “living” constitution, beloved by some socialist-leaning presidents, members of Congress, judges, justices, educators and elites, cedes unlimited power over the rights of the people and the states. The “living” Constitution is a theoretical construct, not our Constitution.

The purpose of government is stated clearly in the Declaration of Independence: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” The “consent of the governed” means that the elected, appointed and hired officials employed by the American people have a legal duty and obligation to protect the American people’s rights. Period!

The only way to change the Constitution is for Congress to pass a proposed constitutional amendment by a two-thirds (2/3) vote in Congress (House and Senate), and a three-quarters (3/4) vote of the various state legislatures. Changes to the letter and spirit of our Constitution cannot be made by passing a law, declaring an emergency, issuing an executive order, promulgating a rule, or by a judicial decision or precedent. The only way to amend the Constitution is by one of the two ways listed in Article V.

It is up to the people and the states to make changes in the powers granted to governments by the Constitution. Laws, edicts and pronouncements that do not pass constitutional muster — of which there are many these days — are null and void.

About John MacGregor

John "Jock" MacGregor is a student of history and politics, a pursuit he has enjoyed for most of his 79 years. Jock attended Villanova University’s School of Education; served in the U.S. Marine Corps; and is an entrepreneur with enterprises in restaurants, construction and boatbuilding. Mr. MacGregor was managing editor of an online news site in Hot Springs Arkansas. Currently, Jock comments on the role of government in society. Jock believes in a constitutionally limited government, instituted by the people, to protect their rights to life, liberty and property.

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