Politics: We neither 'belong to' our government, nor are we 'part of' it

Published by: Robert Laurie on Friday September 7th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE - Democrats like to claim that government is the one thing "to which we all belong." Here's why they're wrong.

I published this piece yesterday, in a slightly modified form, at the Detroit News website, The Michigan View.  They're gracious enough to allow me to share it here.  In light of The DNC's pro-government themes, and Granholms bizarro speech, I think CainTV's readers will enjoy.

Left wing media is a lot like a parrot. Every day, the Democratic Party sends out its talking points, and every evening they’re presented as fact by an army of slavish talking heads. This week, when the Democrats released a creepy video claiming "Government is the only thing we all belong to," DNC speaker and former Governor, Jennifer Granholm was quick to hop on board.

A message on her Facebook page read: "In America, you can't love your country and hate your government -- we ARE the government." With all due respect to the former governor - sorry, but no.

We may fund our government, elect our government, or appoint our government. We may hire politicians, fire them, laud them, or impeach them. We may even watch them fail their states and slink away when term limits force them out of power. We are, however, NOT our government, nor do we belong to it.

This may be the most fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives. People like Granholm believe that Government is our family. When it takes from us, we're "sharing." When we're forced to sacrifice for it, it's a moral imperative. Like the mythical Force from Star Wars, it surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds us together. This ideology was front and center during this week’s Democratic Convention.

For conservatives, it's the exact opposite.

Conservatives believe that government is a beast - a hungry monster that's ready, willing, and able to devour us all. There's no boundary it won't cross, and no transgression too despicable. If there's an inch it will take it, if there's a crack in your armor, it will exploit it. The only time it "penetrates us," is when we're being strip searched by the TSA.

Unfortunately for people of Granholm's ilk, history's lessons back her opponents.

From Rome to colonial England, from Nazi Germany to Russia - and even in present-day countries like China, Iran and Saudi Arabia - the story of humanity is rife with governments that acted as though their citizens were tenants rather than landlords. Once a government begins the "you belong to us" rhetoric, it's not long before it resorts to atrocity and violence in an attempt to control its increasingly dissatisfied public. From there, it's a short hop to war, chaos, and collapse.

Fortunately, our forefathers saw fit to create a place that could avoid this very pattern.

In the Constitution they spelled out specific limits that would reign in out-of-control presidents. They gave us checks and balances, a judiciary, and the 10th Amendment - all of which were designed, in excruciating detail, to grant us means by which we could limit a government that had crossed the line.

If all else failed, they guaranteed us the right to bear arms. If the "worst case scenario" presented itself, at least we would have the means to fight the beast we'd created.

None of this would be necessary if, as Governor Granholm claims, we "ARE the government."

The founders recognized very clearly that, while people do have need of a small, functional federal system, it would always have the potential to expand beyond its constitutional boundaries. They were well aware that it could grow into something which views its own people not as its keepers, but as the kept. Clearly, they didn't think we were a part of it, or they never would have given us the means to defend ourselves against it.

This week, in their "Government is the only thing we all belong to" moment, Democrats have finally declared what Conservatives have known for years. The political left does not view the American Citizen as a boss. It sees him as a subject.