by Roger Prather
As Iâ€™ve grown older, learned more, and experience takes a toll on my philosophy, I have come to trust government less and less. Iâ€™m distrustful of all government, but particularly, Iâ€™m distrustful of the federal government of the United States because it is the most difficult to control. The government of the United States has become the distant, detached, self-important entity that the founders had hoped to avoid when writing the Constitution. Today, the government is a being in and of itself â€“ in national security planning, steps are taken to ensure that the government is preserved. Elected officials and unelected bureaucrats take the position that itâ€™s their job to do what they think is in Americaâ€™s best interest whether the American people agree or not.
It is this type of behavior on the part of government that has led us into fighting two wars simultaneously that drain our national resources. It was this philosophy of governance that created the financial environment that led to our current economic crisis. In the current administration, nothing has changed, really. The political goals may be different, but the underlying philosophy of government remains â€“ a philosophy that holds that government can ignore the electorate and disregard the Constitution if they feel doing so is â€œin the best interest of America.â€
I couldnâ€™t disagree more.
It was this recognition, that government is not really what it pretends to be, that led me to self-identify as a libertarian, which eventually led to my involvement with the Tenth Amendment Center. And it is this same realization that causes me to applaud WikiLeaks and the sunshine it has brought to American government.
I grew up Christian with a very specific moral code which had very specific standards of behavior. Of course, being human and a child, I didnâ€™t feel the need to always obey our standards of behavior. Sometimes, (okay, a lot of times), what I wanted to do didnâ€™t align with what I was supposed to do. So my parents and religious leaders told me a story about how I was always being watched by God and I had a guardian angel following me around with a book. And in that book, my angel wrote down all the bad things and good things that I did, and it was up to me to make sure that there were more good things in that book than bad, because one day I would be judged and the contents of that book, my lifeâ€™s record, would be laid bare for all to see.
The government of the United States was instituted by men who held government to a certain standard of behavior. It was their belief that government should be instituted to protect the liberty of individuals, but it was also their realization that all governments are a monopoly of force and will tend to disregard liberty in pursuit of their own ends. Sometimes, (okay, a lot of times), what government wants to do isnâ€™t what government is supposed to do. Realizing this, our founders protected the freedoms of speech and press believing that an interested, knowledgeable populous would follow the goings-on in government, writing it all down with the intention that governmentâ€™s record would be laid bare for all to see, and judge.
Sometimes, the mainstream press does its job well calling government to account for its misdeeds, misleads, or outright lies. Other times, the press itself seems to be fooled by, or in collusion with, a government that just does what it wants. This is why movements like the Tenth Amendment Center rise up and become successful â€“ because there will always be a group of people who see the inherent evil in centralized government and do all they can to keep it in check. And because I am one of those people, a Tenther, a Constitutionalist, and a lover of liberty, I cannot help but support the mission of WikiLeaks, which, according to their website is to foster and promote the freedom of information in an effort to keep governments open and transparent.
On the page dedicated to WikiLeaksâ€™ most recent document dump of American diplomatic cables, I find this quote:
This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’ public persona and what it says behind closed doors, and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see whatâ€™s going on behind the scenes.
My sentiments exactly.
Iâ€™ve realized for some time now that the public persona of the United States is nothing like the closed door policy discussions. Our government talks openly of freedom, democracy and republican principles, but in reality, the United States is the largest sponsor of totalitarian regimes in the world. Our politicians pay homage to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but ignore them when they pass legislation designed to infringe on the principles and protected rights in those documents. That there are others out there, like WikiLeaks, who see the same thing as me, keeps hope alive.
WikiLeaks can be a powerful tool for the Tenth Amendment movement. It gives us undeniable sources showing the hypocrisy of our federal government and provides impetus for local activism designed to rein in a federal leviathan thatâ€™s out of control. We, along with WikiLeaks and other pro-transparency movements, can be the federal governmentâ€™s guardian angel â€“ God knows it needs one â€“ because it just keeps on doing whatever it wants.
Roger Prather [send him email] is the Communications Coordinator for the Massachusetts Tenth Amendment Center.