The election season of 2010 finds a large group of energized citizens who understandably dislike politics, confronted with the task of dismantling a system that has infused politics into virtually every aspect of American life. There is simply no apolitical way to interact with it… not any more. We can fortify ourselves against the messy business of partisan elections by remembering that our goal is to impose a set of principles upon the government, not an ideology. The Constitution was not meant as a tool to be adapted to various causes, or discarded when inconvenient. It was not presented to history as a set of suggestions for structuring the United States. Its genius lay in understanding that government must be required to observe its limits, always and everywhere, because allowing it to grow for “compassionate” reasons eventually produces a behemoth… with power based on the definition of compassion, not the consent of the governed. Government must be surrounded by walls of stone, because it has a way of leaking through chain-link fences.
Restoring constitutional restraint to government will be a massive undertaking, but it is not “radical.” It’s the most conservative project ever undertaken by the American electorate, for it seeks to conserve a birthright willed to us by quill pens scratching across parchment, centuries ago. There will be little else worth conserving if we fail to defend it. There won’t be much liberty for libertarians to discuss with the helpless, bitter supplicants of a government-run health care system. Moral enlightenment will not be found among the broken ruins of a bankrupt nation, after a mountain of unfunded liability comes crashing down.