The Dangerous Liberty Project is an attempt to re-focus on the principles of our country’s Founders. When the United States became a nation, government was considered almost a necessary evil, to be limited as much as possible in its scope. This was especially true of the new federal government established with the ratification of the Constitution in 1788 (with the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791).
James Wilson said in 1787 that:
“[I]n delegating federal powers, another criterion was necessarily introduced, and the congressional power is to be collected, not from tacit implication, but from the positive grant expressed in the instrument of the union. Hence, it is evident that…everything which is not given is reserved.
This distinction being recognized, will furnish an answer to those who think the omission of a bill of rights a defect in the proposed constitution; for it would have been superfluous and absurd to have stipulated with a federal body of our own creation, that we should enjoy those privileges of which we are not divested, either by the intention or the act that has brought the body into existence.”
Wilson argued that the federal government only possessed the powers specifically granted to it by the states, as codified in the Constitution. Obviously, those original limited powers have grown significantly as the federal government has assumed more power, frequently through the exploitation of a crisis. All we need to do is to look at the last few Presidential elections. Why do we care so much about these elections? Because the federal government is so deeply involved in our day to day lives that we feel as though our futures hinge on these elections. It wasn’t intended to be this way.
The Founders were acutely aware of the dangers of a large centralized government. They did their best to limit its powers, and even distribute (break up) the powers it was given to prevent concentration of powers in a single branch. We the People, on the other hand, have allowed it to grow, to assume greater power, and to become a power that monitors us, dictates to us, and then promises us betterment of our place in life if we will only grant it more power. We can’t solve this by simply voting for the Republican or Democratic party. Both parties seek to grow the State and its power, although under different pretexts.
What is required is a political rising up of the People. The parties as they exist now need to be dismantled. The idea that we can only choose between two money and power-driven parties must be abandoned. The federal government must be pared back – drastically. Individual freedom should be maximized, while governmental power should be minimized. This isn’t just an argument about freedom, it is an economic necessity. The country can no longer afford the federal government and national programs that exist today. Our deficit is growing, and it will overtake us.
Please don’t take this as a) any sort of endorsement of violence or b) any sort of endorsement of anarchism. The government does not need to be abolished, it needs to be restrained. I believe there is still a chance to do this through the political process. I also believe, as the Founders declared in the Declaration of Independence, that government is necessary. However, government should be kept to the barest minimum.
This is why I chose the name “Dangerous Liberty Project.” This reduction of government will be dangerous because we, as a people, have come to expect the big government, with all of its programs, to be there for us. We expect it to be our safety blanket. To trim government programs will possibly mean more money in our pockets, but it will also mean we will have to look out for our neighbors and our communities in a far more active way than just shipping our taxes off to Washington for them to distribute. I believe we can do this. The future of the United States lies with the People, not the State. It always has. It’s time we remember it.