Once Again, Weiner Proves, Size Matters
Conservatives should thank him for making the case for smaller government.
June 10, 2011 - 7:41 am
Remember, if not for Weiner’s blunder (broadcasting a private message), his perversion and deception might have remained secret for years.
Like the FBI Abscam video of the late Rep. Jack Murtha toying coyly with a bribe offer, this incident should alert us to the constant covert cloud of whispering Washington. Muffled by the mahogany, or muted by the roar of the Learjet — what we don’t hear has greater impact than what’s on C-SPAN.
Weinergate tells a cautionary tale. Men are weak, wily, wicked. Don’t give them any more power over you than absolutely necessary, and then surround those to whom you delegate authority with high walls, coils of razor wire, large snarling dogs, guard towers, and brilliant spotlights. (Of course, you could simply substitute a plain reading of, and adherence to, the U.S. Constitution.)
President Obama once bemoaned the fact that the Warren Court still saw the Constitution as “a charter of negative liberties,” a document that says “what the federal government can’t do to you.”
Mr. Obama longed for a constitution that would specify what the government “must do on your behalf.” Predictably, he wants to centralize control of our housing, banking, health care, automobile, petroleum, education, charity, and other formerly free enterprises.
As smart as Mr. Obama may be, the dullest wit in the convention of 1787 and the subsequent state-by-state ratifying conventions would put him to shame. They knew that because power is so tempting, and the concentrated consequences of transgression so devastating, we should not put all of our eggs in one basket.
By restraining the federal government to a few, specific functions, and setting it up with checks and balances, and yes, negative liberties, we mitigate the harmful effects of human nature. Smaller government is also easier to monitor, and error and evil harder to hide.
The Utopian dreams of the Left perpetually die on the altar of human frailty.
Nevertheless, they always assume that the world could be a better place if only the proper people were in charge — people like us, who would not be vulnerable to corruption or ignorance. This, in itself, is part of our human frailty — the arrogance of seeing ourselves as better than others, beyond corruption, immune to temptation.
Despite the bombast and rhetorical certitude of some in the conservative political entertainment business, the reality is that Constitutional conservatism is a humbling ideology. It is the tacit admission that, “I can’t be trusted, and so I must be constrained, limited in my authority and monitored by the public, to keep me honest. I must have the fear of electoral loss, and of legal jeopardy, continually over me, in case my personal morality should fail.”
Rep. Weiner’s “tweet seen round the world” should bolster the case for stripping the federal government of its extraconstitutional junk, for your protection.