If the Presidency of Barack Obama has done anything useful for the American people or the conservative movement it is to pull back the shroud and dissipate the sweet odors masking the putrid decay of America’s once great institutions of government. By wielding the executive power that has been built up for decades from the framework laid down during the New Deal President Obama has at last showed the American people just how little Congress can do to control the government it was supposed to dominate.
Yet how do we find ourselves in the position of executive omnipotence where unaccountable regulators can admit millions of illegal aliens, seize control over the internet using a law written before the internet was even created, apply tax laws to punish political enemies with impunity, and sweep away the entire coal industry based on the latest vanity project of a tiny insular group of elitists? It is not some defect in our constitution that led us to this juncture. The structure of the constitution still works as intended when it is followed. The problem is that we long ago stopped following the constitution. It is our society’s decisions that has led us to this peril fraught juncture in our nation’s young existence.
Institutions are only as resilient as the people who breath life into them. Institutions cannot enforce their own rules; no matter how brilliant the architecture created by ink, it is the continuous work of millions of people to animate and enforce the words we call law. The American people stopped believing in the constitution as anything more than a symbol of our continuity of government and instead started believing in men and political parties. This disease of character has stricken our entire society from small to great, rich to poor, proud and humble. We are deliberately ignorant of our constitutional structure because it is inconvenient for the vast majority of Americans who want the government to do things that it is not legally entitled to do, like legalize millions of immigrants for cheap labor, seize control of the internet to tax competitors and stop unwanted speech, punish political enemies, or roll back the tide of the oceans. Our constitution is not broken, we are broken. If we want the constitution to work again then we as a culture and a society must return to the upright character, humility, thrift, and prudence of our forbearers who wrote the constitution.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams