A Final Glance in the Rearview Mirror   Leave a comment

The administrative state presents us with a fundamental choice:

1)      Do we want to live under a government of laws, or

2)      Will we continue our slide toward a government of men?

3)      Do we want a government that rules by the consent of the governed through elections and representation, or

4)      Will we continue to delegate our power of self-government to unelected and unaccountable experts in faraway places so that they can administer our lives for us?

The administrative state has caused a constitutional crisis that must be confronted. Today’s agencies violate the separation of powers by combining legislative, executive, and judicial functions in the same hands, and they violate republicanism by vesting those powers in unelected and unaccountable bureaucracies.

We can develop a constitutional strategy to rein in the administrative state and subject it to the constitutional protections devised by our Founders. We have an opportunity to achieve the restoration of our constitutional principles and preservation of what makes our country so great.

Reforming the administrative state is not a utopian project and should not be an unpopular political aim. The administrative state is an assault on constitutional principles of government by consent, the separation of powers, and the rights of individuals. These are values both liberals and conservatives say they hold dear. The rise of unchecked bureaucracy that exercises arbitrary control over citizens should be alarming for anyone who values their own liberty.

Reforming the administrative state does not require a return to laissez-faire, unregulated capitalism, nor does it entail the dismantling of the federal government or federal administrative agencies. The legitimate need for regulation and administration can and must be made consistent with our constitutional principles.

Reform must be grounded in a proper understanding of these principles, not in the hope of immediate short-term gain or narrow self-interest. If we begin from constitutional principles and clearly communicate those principles and their relevance to the public, the suggested reforms are attainable. Americans must work together to forge an alternative to the administrative state so that we preserve our freedoms for future generations.

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