Yesterday I posted a Quote of the Week from John Adams, and the quote was:
“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”
You can see the comment if you scroll down to the next post below this one, but the main thing that I took from it was concern over Mr. Adams’ use of the word “sacred” in referring to property. (Thank you, Pieter for the great comment!) I agree with Pieter, but at the same time, I think it would be fair to Mr. Adams to explain just a bit more about his remark, and to go into how it might apply to us today, so here is my annual political ‘editorial.’
This quote comes from a piece entitled “A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” written by Adams in 1787. Mr. Adams was, in the larger context making the case that if private property could be seized at any time by any government, the result would be tyranny, not simply because Mr. Adams was a materialist, which I doubt, but because his view was that if a government can seize the rightful property of its citizens without due process of law, then it could also take away any right of a citizen. He was using this argument to argue for the adoption of the U. S. Constitution, as that Constitution created a government of limited scope, rather than one with sweeping authority. Understood in this light, I think Mr. Adams makes a fair point for anybody to give a little thought to in any time.
For us today, however, it is even more urgent for us to consider Mr. Adams’ view, not as a theological point but as it applies to our secular governance. As a theological point, we put way too much emphasis on “things” and should be more the imitators of Christ who served selflessly His Father’s purpose and had no possessions at all. As a matter of secular governance while we are here on this earth, I happen to think it requires our attention.
Just the other day, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton observed that the current U. S. Administration has made mistakes by “abrogating” too much power to the president. I found this quite remarkable, as I wouldn’t have expected that Mrs. Clinton would make such a comment in public. Yet, she is quite right (and I have never been one of her fans). We have seen in recent months a series of statements by our president in which he has said that he will not wait for Congress to act (in various matters) but will take action himself on them. And, we have also seen a series of Executive Orders that have made good his promises. For instance, in one of them he raised the salaries fo Federal Workers and included a pay raise for Members of Congress.
I’ve been waiting for the outcry from Congress and public, but I haven’t heard any… In this little order, Mr. Obama has ignored the Constitution that he has so recently sworn to God to uphold, as he doesn’t have the authority to make law, and he does not have the authority to meddle in Congressional pay issues. Congress is the legislative branch, not the president. Members of Congress are not Federal employees. Congress and the president are co-equal, and Mr. Obama has not only taken a position of supremacy, he has entirely disregarded the Constitution which specifically states how money can be appropriated. I can’t help but think that if John F. Kennedy had done a trick like this 50 years ago, that he would have been Impeached. Consider the other important issues of the day that are pending…
A debate is simmering in the background, and one of these days it will move into public view. That debate is whether or not we should simply get rid of our old “outdated” and “antiquated” Constitution and come up with something that provides much wider authority to government to address our problems. I hope that if and when this becomes a serious debate, ‘we the people’ will be paying better attention than we are now!
OK, there’s my political post for 2013, back to important things…