by Andrew Napolitano
What if the whole purpose of the Constitution was to limit the government? What if Congress’ enumerated powers in the Constitution no longer limited Congress, but were actually used as justification to extend Congress’ authority over every realm of human life?
What if the president, meant to be an equal to Congress, has become a democratically elected, term-limited monarch? What if the president assumed everything he did was legal, just because he’s the president? What if he could interrupt your regularly scheduled radio and TV programming for a special message from him? What if he could declare war on his own? What if he could read your emails and texts without a search warrant? What if he could kill you without warning?
What if the rights and principles guaranteed in the Constitution have been so distorted in the past 200 years as to be unrecognizable by the Founders? What if the states were mere provinces of a totally nationalized and fully centralized government? What if the Constitution was amended stealthily, not by constitutional amendments duly passed by the states, but by the constant and persistent expansion of the federal government’s role in our lives? What if the federal government decided whether its own powers were proper and constitutional?
What if you needed a license from the government to speak, to assemble or to protest the government? What if the right to keep and bear arms only applied to the government? What if posse comitatus – the law that prohibits our military from our streets – were no longer in effect? What if the government considered the military an adequate dispenser of domestic law enforcement? What if cops looked and acted like troops and you couldn’t distinguish the military from the police? What if federal agents could write their own search warrants in defiance of the Constitution? What if the government could decide when you weren’t entitled to a jury trial?
What if the government could take your property whenever it wanted it? What if the government could continue prosecuting you until it got the verdict it wanted? What if the government could force you to testify against yourself simply by labeling you a domestic terrorist? What if the government could torture you until you said what the government wanted to hear? What if people running for president actually supported torture? What if the government tortured your children to get to you? What if the government could send you to your death and your innocence meant nothing so long as the government’s procedures were followed? What if America’s prison population, the largest in the world, was the result of a cruel and unusual way for a country to be free? What if half the prison population never harmed anyone but themselves?
What if the people had no rights except those the government chose to let them have? What if the states had no rights except to do as the federal government commanded? What if our elected officials didn’t really live among us, but all instead had their hearts and their homes in Washington, D.C.? What if the government could strip you of your rights because of where your mother was when you were born? What if the income tax was unconstitutional? What if the states were convinced to give up their representation in Congress? What if the government tried to ban you from using a substance older than the government itself? What if voting didn’t mean anything anymore because both political parties stand for Big Government?
What if the government could write any law, regulate any behavior and tax any event, the Constitution be damned? What if the government was the reason we don’t have a Constitution anymore? What if you could love your country but hate what the government has done to it? What if sometimes to love your country, you had to alter or abolish the government?
What if Jefferson was right? What if that government is best which governs least? What if I’m right? What if the government is wrong? What if it is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong? What if it is better to perish fighting for freedom than to live as a slave? What if freedom’s greatest hour of danger is now?
Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel, and the host of FreedomWatch on the Fox Business Network. His latest books are Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History, (Nelson, 2010), and his newest release, It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.
Copyright © 2011 Creators Syndicate