The concept of Law of Nations is descriptive in form, no proscriptive in type, which is to say it describes the powers of a Nation and which domains they fall under. Law of Nations does not tell of how to make a Nation, it does not decree what a Nation shall and shall not have as powers, and, instead, merely describes the powers that all Nations have by being a Nation. From this comes the concept of 'sovereign powers', which are those powers that accrue to a Nation's government and are those things which all citizens agree are necessary to have as the formulation of that government.
A republican government is one of distributed and de-centralized powers within a Nation State, and any Nation utilizing a republican form of government can determine which bodies within a government get which powers and how they are assembled. In general this has meant executive powers (those things like external relations with other governments, running the government bureaucracy, and administering law) has been placed into a branch separated from legislative powers (drafting internal laws, by and large) and judicial powers (the review of cases to determine them in fact and in law). These are in no way 'co-equal' powers as they each have their own domain in which they are sovereign exercises of a Nation via Law of Nations.
The Treaty of Westphalia came about to end the 30 Years War, which had been pitting Catholic Nations against Protestant Nations to the tune of 15% to 20% of the population in those areas ravaged by war being killed, and that is outside the plagues and other artifacts that attend war when it destroys infrastructure and leaves famine in its wake. During the 30 Years War Nations would change sides due to the religious affiliation of their leaders as those changed from generation to generation and the religious beliefs of the population were expected to change to that of the sole sovereign. The end of the 30 Years War saw the general agreement that amongst the three main sects of Christianity (Catholicism, Lutheranism, Calvinism) that there would be tolerance at the Nation State level for these sects and no attempts to change the existing religious beliefs of individuals due to a change at the top of the power structure. Church was not separated from State by this, but the State agreed that to have a civil population that is not put at strife nor forced migration to the deep sorrow of all, there must be the removal of religious bias by the Nation State for its own people amongst the three sects of Christianity. Post-Westphalian Law of Nations reads with that firmly in place, and by the time of the Founding of the United States this conceptual doctrine had undergone expansion to all believers in the realm of the citizenry. The National government could not dictate which church or sect one should belong and held power to ensure that all laws would be administered equally and without bias to all religious communities.
The United States, itself, started out the Revolutionary War under the Articles of Confederation which is a form of republican government. By forming from British Colonies the United States gains the Treaty of Westphalia due to the Restoration of the Monarchy as that family was covered under the Great Peace by name and all are to continue on its establishment forever after as part of the Eternal Treaty. Thus these new States that formed under the Articles of Confederation are Westphalian States and they exercise powers as part of a joint agreement of association under the Articles of Confederation. States are, thusly, the powers behind the United States under the Articles, and keep that Confederal government under a tight leash as it has only a narrow range of diplomatic and trade powers assigned to it by the States. The Confederal government had no broad taxation powers to pay off the Revolutionary War debt and no military organization held separately from the States. What it could do was assign a portion of the National Debt to each State to figure out how to pay off, and that it did by population. This meant that the Southern States, rich with trade and agriculture, were able to handle their debt burden while the Northeastern States, without bountiful trade, were finding that the taxes were rising on the population and impoverishing the very farmers that should be the fount of agricultural trade. This came to a boiling point as a Revolutionary slogan of 'no taxation without representation' was now finding that highly populated cities like Boston and Hartford could administer higher taxes on rural settlements to the benefit of the larger trading houses in those cities. By 1786 this had come to a boiling point in MA where ex-Revolutionary War soldiers were not getting their benefits for having served in the war, had not gotten back pay, and were now finding their farms being taxed into non-existence. From this the Shayesites manifested as one in a long string of local uprisings and was the closest to getting to the arms and supplies of a local State arsenal and turning into a second Revolutionary War.
There are many reasons for having a federal government that has powers to tax member States and centralize debt burdens with the foremost being that a Confederal System wasn't working. Many proposals for redrafting the Articles had happened and the Annapolis Convention in 1786 recommended another Convention for 1787 to try and iron out these problems. What was needed was a system that got larger State buy-in for a National government, with powers of taxation across all States. Any stronger and more centralized government is a threat to individual liberty and freedom and to keep this new federal government from overstepping its bounds there must be a system of checks and balances of that government. This is achieved in multiple ways via a system of sovereign power checks and balances within the government and, more importantly, it puts the taxation and budgetary power in a part of a bicameral legislative body and it is that part which is directly tied to the Revolutionary goals of being represented for taxation. The States are the bodies that must sign off on this new form of government and they are given a say in the other part of the bicameral legislative body as a form of check and balance within the legislative branch, itself.
While the internal checks and balances are most lauded by schoolteachers, the external checks and balances held by the States and the people are often overlooked or omitted entirely. The States were given the tax collection power for the federal government because of the good reason that they had some veto in legislation coming from the House and could seek a politically satisfactory revenue stream that met National obligations without impoverishing local communities. Further the people had a say through their representatives of what should and should not be in a federal government under the Constitutional form agreed to by their States.
The primary mover of the sovereign powers is that they are enumerated and restricted in scope via a charter of negative powers derived from individual negative liberties. By enumerating these powers they are, at the same time, restricted to that enumeration just by being put in place. This schema is bolstered by the Amendments IX and X, which puts all other rights, liberties and powers to the States and the people as the people are the source of all such things and the creators of society and its organ called government. There are other checks on federal tyranny, such as the freedom of speech, assembly and utilization of arms which are also upheld under the Bill of Rights, which forms along the older tradition of the Magna Carta as absolute guarantees beyond all other statements and verbiage, laws and decisions: the Bill of Rights exactingly tells that the enumerated powers are restricted and that it is the people that hold all the power in this Nation.
This concept of following the actual text of the Constitution to find out how it works in multiple places is structuralism. I have gone over this conception put forward by Nicholas Rosenkranz in two prior posts centering on the subjects and objects of the Constitution. English as a language has an SVO system which is: Subject, Verb, Object. Objects are acted upon by Subjects and that action is the Verb in the sentence. Structuralism is not Original Intent doctrine nor is it Strict Constructionism doctrine, as the first looks outside the Constitution for intent and the latter examines power outlays, checks and balances. Strict Constructionism, coming first, does not rely on the utilization of English sentence structure nor does it seek the reinforcing language within the Constitution that clearly defines words and their meanings contextually. If there is primary intent for the Constitution it must be reflected in the actual sentences and clauses within the document, and if there is a construction to those outlays then that derives from the actual structural integrity of the written sentences and clauses. By knowing Law of Nations, English Common Law and having a good biblical foundation for individuals being directly granted rights and liberty, the US Constitution reflects a deep rooted understanding in human nature and the things that humans do on this Earth.
When understood in a structuralist context, the power grants contained in the Constitution are pretty clear on what they do in this complex system because of the way they are stated.
Article I, Section 8, US Constitution, the 'Commerce Clause':
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
That seems pretty simple, right? Look at the entities involved and you see a continuity: foreign Nations, the several States and Indian Tribes. This is a clause that deals with sovereign entities and it is not differentiating between foreign Nations, the several States and Indian Tribes, thus the power domain is the same for all three of them. Do 'the several States' mean the entire Nation, as a whole? Utilizing structuralism it is necessary to find out how the States are dealt with elsewhere in the Constitution and what the meaning of those clauses and phrases are in regards to their approach to States and in the type of qualifications being applied.
The United States is in the Preamble and it applies to all of the States in the Nation as a whole, without regard to any State or sub-set of States. Thus the United States is a whole entity, indivisible and complete made up of all of the States that are United together.
In Article I, Section 1 this is also how Congress is labeled: Congress of the United States.
The first appearance of 'the several States' is in Article I, Section 2 with regards to the House:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
Here there is a recognition that each State has a different form of government (albeit republican in form) and that there are variations between States in how their legislative bodies work. In this 'the several States' refers to the differences between States and among States and such differences are recognized and respected. Further in Section 2 there is addressing of representation and taxation, and do note that the language of the first sentence is changed by following Amendment(s):
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
Here there is recognition that 'the several States' are of those in the Union, but does not include Indians who are not taxed nor 3/5ths of all other people. The latter portion refers to non-free people and the former to Indians living in tribal territories recognized later as having sovereign domains within any State. Indians living within State domains would not fall under that auspice and would be held in the enumeration to be represented as part of the population of the State, not of some other entity.
At this point there is a difference between the United States as a whole entity and the several States, which recognizes the individual States as separate entities within the larger Union. Is this applied elsewhere with other powers? Going back to Article I, Section 8 and before the 'Commerce Clause' is the first clause which is the 'General Welfare Clause':
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Here are two instances that bolster the Preamble and Article I Sections 1 and 2, in which the United States is treated as a whole. Most particularly telling is that the second part of the clause specifically enumerates that Duties, Imposts and Excises are uniform throughout the United States. There is no exception in that, no mention of 'the several States,' and no power grant for the federal government to differentiate between the States with this power. From that the United States must mean the entire Nation, as a whole, not as divisions nor parts and this power cannot be subdivided beneath the level of the entire Nation, as a whole.
The next clause again follows in the structural framework already laid out:
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
This is where our National Debt comes from: the federal government borrowing in the name of the entire Nation.
After that is the Commerce Clause which is then followed by this clause:
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
Here is where those wishing to emigrate to the United States are regulated by sovereign power delegated to Congress for external affairs. For sovereign power over Bankruptcies, that is set at the National level by Congress and is applied to the United States as a whole, equally. In one clause two forms of sovereign power under Law of Nations are delegated to Congress.
Now skipping down a bit, there is in Article I, Section 9, another and different look at the States:
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
That first clause is interesting as it is a passive voice clause, which is to say it is not specifically enumerating a power (the Congress shall have power to...) or restricting a part of any government from doing something (like in Amendment I, Congress shall pass no law...). Because it is passive and has no direct indication of who it is being applied to, the examination is then one of who gets the positive powers of duties and taxation? In the federal government that is Congress which gets the positive power for this, thus the restriction is on the States and that branch of State government that normally applies taxes and duties. Thus this a prohibition on the States from imposing a duty or tax upon goods exported from other States. This is carried through in the next clause, which also prohibits the free movement of vessels between States and is a further stoppage of getting payment to enter a State from another State. As payments are usually a function of an executive power, this is a prohibition on the exercise of a power which is in addition to the prior prohibition which is usually from a legislative branch. In these two clauses are prohibitions of State power both on both legislative and executive branches of government, although those powers may end up anywhere and these clauses stop all use of them by the States.
This is the third way that the Constitution address States, and that is in powers States cede to the federal government or are prohibited from exercising on their own in regards to other States.
Now what is very interesting is that the power restrictions have relaxation points to them, which is to say areas in which they can be utilized given certain conditions. Article 10 establishes those conditions and they are the 'escape hatches' of the power restrictions:
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
Escape hatch one is for things that cannot be foreseen, like Gypsy Moth or Med Fly spread in which pests that are harmful to the agricultural system of a State need to be eradicated and re-importation of such pests stopped. Also this covers such things as inspection of vehicles for safety reasons, or to establish the amount of wear and tear on infrastructure so that certain vehicles must pay for special passage: that money goes not to the State but the federal government.
The third clause of Article I, Section 10 is one that I think of as the State Self-Preservation Clause in that all the normal martial restrictions and foreign policy restrictions laid upon the powers of a State are removed for invasion or imminent Danger which will not admit delay. Got an invasion by a foreign power via sneak attack? The States do not have to wait for the federal government to respond. Have an insurrection that is threatening the tranquility of the State? Again the State is not barred from action by having to wait for the federal government to respond. Have an earthquake, pirates rampaging through the streets, or UFO's landing to mutilate livestock and abduct citizens? Hey! That is the sort of thing that cannot be written into a Constitution, so the States get wide leeway in dealing with sudden threats to their very existence: they do NOT have to wait for permission to act as the State IS a sovereign power that is RESTRICTED by the Constitution ONLY. The US Constitution is not a suicide pact, in other words.
From this the third addressing of the States is one that also is qualified and recognizes the sovereign nature of the States. Without such restrictions, the States would have those powers if the State constitution allowed it to the government of that State.
Yet another way the States are addressed is as single States. This is seen in Article I, Section 8 dealing with areas under direct Congressional authority for lawmaking:
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;
Individual States are addressed in the granting of land to the federal government for the District and for other forts, magazines, etc. dealing with necessary functions of the federal government in particular the military. Note that Congress must ask for such land and the Legislature of the State must grant the federal government use of that land. These are not permanent land grants, however, as the retrocession of the part of DC in VA and the various returning of old bases and such to States have happened, as well. The grant of the use of land is a voluntary one and EITHER side may pull out of that grant, which also recognizes that the power over the land in question belongs to the States, not the federal government.
Four ways to address the States: as part of the whole of the US, in the several as sovereign entities making up the US, in the restriction of power by these sovereign entities with exemptions, and as single States for the use of land.
Now fast-forward to the present day.
What is the US federal government in that it is not given to be in?
Land and property via the FHA, Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie: the federal government should have no say over the mortgage system of the United States, as a whole, nor amongst the several States as land is not part of inter-State commerce. The federal government 'created' a 'national market' through GNMA via the bundling and securitizing of loans (which is to say the US government determined if loans were good or not) and allowed cross-State banks to go into residential and other property systems. To be clear the federal government in picking up the backing of loans is not starting such loans... that is done by applying regulations to the banking industry via things like the Community Reinvestment Act... and utilizes intermediaries which wanted into this new 'market' and put the government on the hook for the 'secured' value of those loans.
This is how the FHA builds up control over a portfolio of property: by being the backer of organizations that hold them. As a 'quasi-governmental agency', Fannie and Freddie are the conduits for this FHA control, and yet nowhere is any federal involvement in holding State lands granted save by permission of the State involved for each and every property as passed by Legislative acts. For 'quasi-governmental agencies' Fannie and Freddie have open pipelines into the Treasury and that other 'quasi-governmental agency' the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve acts as the intermediary for US borrowing and holds a good portion of the US debt. It was created and designed by the banks, themselves, and pushed through Congress and put into power and given shielding from oversight by Congress. To this day it is hard to say exactly which banks are in the Federal Reserve Board and how they conduct their operations.
How has this worked out? First it killed the S&Ls, and that was by design, not bad luck. Savings & Loans had restricted, local portfolios which gave them insight into the local community and how it works. S&L's worked to foster local businesses, make sure families had stable employers and generally had a pretty low return on investment and pretty high overhead. Yet they were extremely conservative on lending so that bad loans did not flow out into their communities as these institutions rested on local solvency. Larger, national banks could under-cut and outperform these institutions, which they did, to the detriment of local economies but to the great benefit of inter-State banking regulation at the federal level which now had a say in local property transactions. The S&L was something that grew up within States for local markets and were regulated as such and given protection from national banking and lending institutions that catered more towards commercial and industrial lending. When that guarantee of a local market was broken by federal law, the structure that allowed the S&L structure to exist for low profit and conservative lending and borrowing practices went with it.
Yet the federal government is granted no power in this sector.
The Commerce Clause recognizes the States as separate entities and the ones that are the backers of the federal government. To regulate banking amongst the several States the federal government must actually work with the individual States to set up such an arrangement that would then be run by the States. The role of the federal government in the Commerce Clause is to regularize commerce amongst the several States and to help States put organizations in place via assent between them as the federal government does via Treaties with foreign Nations and Indian tribes.
It does not get this power from the coinage and currency power, either:
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
Coinage and regulation of value is linked to the value of foreign Coin and to a fixed set of standards to measure them by. It is not creating a fiat currency but one that has measured value that can be affixed to coins which are traditionally of a metal. Yes paper currency is a nice and handy way to move value around, and when it is backed by measured and standards of metal with value then it represents that value and can be exchanged for it. Do note that it is only after the establishment of the Federal Reserve by the Wilson Administration that the sequestration of valuable metals by the FDR Administration then move the Nation from a coinage and paper currency with value to one with only representative value that you couldn't get. With the Nixon Administration that final link is broken and the coin of the United States is now fixed only to relative value, not absolute value. Yet the power of the Coin, the Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause, taken together, do not allow the creation of the Federal Reserve, the outlawing of holding precious metals, nor the creation of an entity or entities to go into the local markets of States and 'regulate' them.
What that took was the Wickard v. Filburn case of 1942 in which a farmer grew beyond the quota of grain to feed cattle on his farm and otherwise utilize home grown foodstuffs. That was seen by the SCOTUS as involving a 'national market' as the farmer didn't have to buy grain and that grain was sold on commodity exchanges as part of a national market. By not participating in a market the farmer had a negative impact on the market by not taking part in commerce in it. The idea of a 'national market' for such regulation had already been started with the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission, and yet each of those rested on the shaky ground of the federal government getting oversight of 'national markets'. To do that both the Commerce Clause and General Welfare Clause were deployed, and yet each has specific ways of addressing the States that are at odds with each other.
The General Welfare Clause addresses the whole of the United States which is all the States and all the parts of the United States as a unitary whole. That is the way 'the United States' is utilize throughout the rest of the Constitution and it has a specific and structural meaning to it: the whole of the United States as a Nation.
The Commerce Clause addresses the several States and recognizes their sovereignty by addressing them in that way. This is how 'the several States' is used elsewhere in the Constitution and it has a specific meaning: the States as sovereign actors as part of the United States with independent authority within the Nation.
Neither of these Clauses actually allows for rationing of wheat or being able to tell farmers how much they can and cannot grow, and the FDR Administration was doing that work even before the onset of WWII. None of the clauses actually allows for a Federal Reserve to act as the intermediary for US debt nor to regulate its currency as that is a direct function of the federal government and cannot be passed off to any other organization but one directly controlled by the federal government. Only by intentionally expanding federal power by misconstruing the actual words can the federal power expand and it does so at the expense of the sovereignty of the States and the rights of the people.
The Wickard case allowed for the navigation of waterways to become yet another 'National market' in the sense that navigable waterways are a necessity to the States and that all States are effected by them. Yet the Clean Air and Water Act moves far beyond that, and the navigable airways, and puts federal power in where it does not have such power. Setting navigation standards for the air and waterways is one thing, seeing them as part of an larger 'environment' that requires protection is something else again and not handed to the federal government as the unitary whole power does not grant authority over the several States where actual navigation, work, mining, and industry takes place. Again if the federal government felt there was a need for such work the way to get that organized is not in the federal government, which doesn't have the sovereign power over these things, but to get the States to work out a system to yield cleaner air and water as implemented by each State as part of that framework.
That is how it is addressed for the vital functions of elections, so one would think that minor process procedures which are also addressed in the exact, same way should be handled that way as well.
Moving on to the 'entitlements': you aren't entitled to them because Congress isn't given the power to make them.
That is the actual rendering of Social Security via the SCOTUS as I went over previously, as two cases establish that you do not have an 'account' with the federal government. You have, from the Helvering v. Davis decision in 1937, a tax imposed by Congress and such funds are not earmarked in any way for anything, but put into the general funds. Congress does fun things with bonds and funding the government to give appearances that there was a 'lock box' but even by the Johnson Administration getting ability to openly raid SSA it was pretty well known that SSA tax funds weren't, actually, directed at SSA. Johnson ended the charade, not change what was actually going on. On the outward side you have whatever Congress wishes to pay out, you have no 'account' to draw upon, no actual property in the US government. That was ruled on in the Flemming v. Nestor case in 1960.
Congress did the same with Medicare and got the States on the hook for some fund matching with Medicaid. Neither are an 'entitlement', both are paid out of current revenue and there is no 'account' set up for you with any value in it. Any value you perceive is in political wishing, the actual value is the cost of postage, paper and ink to get that paper to you to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling that the federal government can actually 'help'. Currently these three entitlements are in the red, and for SSA it is so far in the red that it is cashing out future securities and adding to the current debt by doing so. They had to be paid sometime and that sometime started a couple of years ago. In the realm of private businesses this condition is known as 'bankrupt' and 'insolvent', and for SSA it is liquidating solvent assets to gain liquidity as a temporary holding measure.
Yet in no place in the US Constitution is giving 'entitlements' actually allowed to the federal government via its enumerated powers. Again the General Welfare Clause addresses the United States as a unitary whole and that is the clause most often addressed for handing out these goodies. If the federal government wanted to address the poor and needy, the sick and infirm, the method is to work with the several States to create ways so that they can manage such problems if they want to and do so in a regularized way that is suited to each State. And if the States didn't want to form up such a thing, then it wouldn't be formed. If a few wanted to do it and could find a way to do so that was agreeable to them and didn't infringe on the commerce of other States, then they would be welcome to do so.
So much current federal power rests upon the Wickard case that it isn't funny any more. The absolute expenditure of money to fund 'good things', which means taking money from taxpayers to assuage the consciences of those who do not like finding themselves as the center of providing charity which is part and parcel of our responsibilities for our positivee and negative liberties, starts a corrosive effect on the general population in morals and ethics. When our governmental institutions, which are only organs of society, take power from society itself in the positive realm of building ties and private institutions to care for the sick and needy, society as a whole (not in its parts) is lessened. Each individual has liberty robbed from them in both the taking of such 'entitlements' because you have the obligation to care for yourself and sustain yourself with your fellow man removed from you as an individual, and from those who are on the giving end, which are the taxpayers, as the government is the least efficient, most authoritarian way to provide any service ever devised by man. That sort of system is wonderful for protecting borders, sustaining a military and protecting commerce from pirates, but is less well suited, indeed generally ill-suited, to doing such things as providing health care or even 'managing' energy on a National scale.
A purposeful intent that can be read from the structure of the US Constitution is that the people are to be left to their own resources outside of the few and necessary functions of government so as to provide for themselves, each other and create a diverse and robust system amongst themselves. The people are capable, government is seen as a negative weight on individuals, society and the Nation which makes it only a necessary evil that can serve a few useful functions. To get a strong and diverse energy sector or health care sector, say, requires no government intervention at all at the federal level not just because it isn't granted power to do so, but because it is a centralized system that is then a single point of failure. When an individual fails in their duties to their fellow man, that is a minor happening and the individual can right his or her ways to do better. When government fails in carrying out its powers it puts the wealth of the Nation, the rights of the citizenry and, indeed, the very existence of the Nation at risk. This doesn't just go to not enforcing our borders and seeing international scofflaws go unaccountable, but goes to the root of deficit spending which now threatens to impoverish ourselves, our posterity and snuff out the light of liberty on Earth, possibly forever.
When the Framers put the Constitution together they were mindful of past successful Nations and their fate in history: they turned into Empires, became decadent and then debauched (in turn) and then either imploded or were invaded to lose the cultural identity that had been present before the Empire existed. Not so bad for the 'Great Man Empires' of Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great as their lives demarcated the extent of the cultural effect they had and while you can still hear about Alexander's exploits sung about in Afghanistani villages today, they are not speaking Greek when they do so. Rome, on the other hand, lost its republican structure years if not decades before Julius Caesar and it was only at the end of his life that Octavian realized that his debauched life had proven to be the final corruption to kill republican spirit in the population once and for all. Clearly large scale republics have problems, and ours is one of them. Yet ours rests on a foundation of not just republicanism but in the understanding that our self-evident and unalienable rights to act upon this Earth are held by each of us. It is this understanding that is hard to corrupt and snuff out that offers the promise of renewal, rebirth and a final conquering of authoritarian and totalitarian ideas of government as being useful or even good ways to govern amongst men.
Yet we have a class of politicians and elites in the world who still think they know how to run your life better than you do.
They wish to transmute the gold of our understanding into lead, and then into iron chains with chaos, blood and ruin.
You cannot depend on government to stop this for you, that lesson is drawn by seeing how far restricted government can turn evil in a mere three generations. No matter what the intent of those who started this process of spinning the anti-alchemical dream into being, that process is now running its course and now comes back to you. Only you can be a positive actor in creating society, and government only be a useful function by removing those that would be toxic to such society from society and when government fails at that prime task the task of renewal begins not at the top, but the bottom.
Always remember the credo of The Prisoner, played by Patrick McGoohan:
"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed or numbered. I am not a number, I am a FREE MAN."
When the time comes will you be numbered amongst the free or merely numbered?
Are you willing to spin gold, with all the difficulties of that, or accept lead attached to your limbs?
Can you tell the difference between who is spinning gold and who is turning gold into lead?
Would you dare to spin gold when lead is all around you?
Because it all comes down to you.